1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Broglie, de
|←Brögger, Waldemar Christofer||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 4
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BROGLIE, DE, the name of a noble French family which, originally Piedmontese, emigrated to France in the year 1643. The head of the family, François Marie (1611-1656), then took the title of comte de Broglie. He had already distinguished himself as a soldier, and died, as a lieutenant-general, at the siege of Valenza on the 2nd of July 1656. His son, Victor Maurice, Comte de Broglie (1647-1727), served under Condé, Turenne and other great commanders of the age of Louis XIV., becoming maréchal de camp in 1676, lieutenant-general in 1688, and finally marshal of France in 1724.
The eldest son of Victor Marie, François Marie, afterwards Duc de Broglie (1671-1745), entered the army at an early age, and had a varied career of active service before he was made, at the age of twenty-three, lieutenant-colonel of the king's regiment of cavalry. He served continuously in the War of the Spanish Succession and was present at Malplaquet. He was made lieutenant-general in 1710, and served with Villars in the last campaign of the war and at the battle of Denain. During the peace he continued in military employment, and in 1719 he was made director-general of cavalry and dragoons. He was also employed in diplomatic missions, and was ambassador in England in 1724. The war in Italy called him into the field again in 1733, and in the following year he was made marshal of France. In the campaign of 1734 he was one of the chief commanders on the French side, and he fought the battles of Parma and Guastalla. A famous episode was his narrow personal escape when his quarters on the Secchia were raided by the enemy on the night of the 14th of September 1734. In 1735 he directed a war of positions with credit, but he was soon replaced by Marshal de Noailles. He was governor-general of Alsace when Frederick the Great paid a secret visit to Strassburg (1740). In 1742 de Broglie was appointed to command the French army in Germany, but such powers as he had possessed were failing him, and he had always been the “man of small means,” safe and cautious, but lacking in elasticity and daring. The only success obtained was in the action of Sahay (25th May 1742), for which he was made a duke. He returned to France in 1743, and died two years later.
His son, Victor François, Duc de Broglie (1718-1804), served with his father at Parma and Guastalla, and in 1734 obtained a colonelcy. In the German War he took part in the storming of Prague in 1742, and was made a brigadier. In 1744 and 1745 he saw further service on the Rhine, and in 1756 he was made maréchal de camp. He subsequently served with Marshal Saxe in the low countries, and was present at Roucoux, Val and Maastricht. At the end of the war he was made a lieutenant-general. During the Seven Years' War he served successively under d'Estrées, Soubise and Contades, being present at all the battles from Hastenbeck onwards. His victory over Prince Ferdinand at Bergen (1759) won him the rank of marshal of France from his own sovereign and that of prince of the empire from the emperor Francis I. In 1760 he won an action at Corbach, but was defeated at Vellinghausen in 1761. After the war he fell into disgrace and was not recalled to active employment until 1778, when he was given command of the troops designed to operate against England. He played a prominent part in the Revolution, which he opposed with determination. After his emigration, de Broglie commanded the “army of the princes” for a short time (1792). He died at Münster in 1804.
Another son of the first duke, Charles François, Comte de Broglie (1719-1781), served for some years in the army, and afterwards became one of the foremost diplomatists in the service of Louis XV. He is chiefly remembered in connexion with the Secret du Roi, the private, as distinct from the official, diplomatic service of Louis, of which he was the ablest and most important member. The son of Victor François, Victor Claude, Prince de Broglie (1757-1794), served in the army, attaining the rank of maréchal de camp. He adopted revolutionary opinions, served with Lafayette and Rochambeau in America, was a member of the Jacobin Club, and sat in the Constituent Assembly, constantly voting on the Liberal side. He served as chief of the staff to the Republican army on the Rhine; but in the Terror he was denounced, arrested and executed at Paris on the 27th of June 1794. His dying admonition to his little son was to remain faithful to the principles of the Revolution, however unjust and ungrateful.
Achille Charles Léonce Victor, Duc de Broglie (1785-1870), statesman and diplomatist, son of the last-named, was born at Paris on the 28th of November 1785. His mother had shared her husband's imprisonment, but managed to escape to Switzerland, where she remained till the fall of Robespierre. She now returned to Paris with her children and lived there quietly until 1796, when she married a M. d'Argenson, grandson of Louis XV.'s minister of war. Under the care of his step-father young de Broglie received a careful and liberal education and made his entrée into the aristocratic and literary society of Paris under the Empire. In 1809, he was appointed a member of the council of state, over which Napoleon presided in person; and was sent by the emperor on diplomatic missions, as attaché, to various countries. Though he had never been in sympathy with the principles of the Empire, de Broglie was not one of those who rejoiced at its downfall. In common with all men of experience and sense he realized the danger to France of the rise to power of the forces of violent reaction. With Decazes and Richelieu he saw that the only hope for a calm future lay in “the reconciliation of the Restoration with the Revolution.” By the influence of his uncle, Prince Amédée de Broglie, his right to a peerage had been recognized; and to his own great surprise he received, in June 1814, a summons from Louis XVIII. to the Chamber of Peers. There, after the Hundred Days, he distinguished himself by his courageous defence of Marshal Ney, for whose acquittal he, alone of all the peers, both spoke and voted. After this defiant act of opposition it was perhaps fortunate that his impending marriage gave him an excuse for leaving the country. On the 15th of February 1816, he was married at Leghorn to the daughter of Madame de Staël. He returned to Paris at the end of the year, but took no part in politics until the elections of September 1817 broke the power of the “ultra-royalists” and substituted for the Chambre introuvable a moderate assembly. De Broglie's political attitude during the years that followed is best summed up in his own words: “From 1812 to 1822 all the efforts of men of sense and character were directed to reconciling the Restoration and the Revolution, the old régime and the new France. From 1822 to 1827 all their efforts were directed to resisting the growing power of the counter-revolution. From 1827 to 1830 all their efforts aimed at moderating and regulating the reaction in a contrary sense.” During the last critical years of Charles X.'s reign, de Broglie identified himself with the doctrinaires, among whom Royer-Collard and Guizot were the most prominent. The July revolution placed him in a difficult position; he knew nothing of the intrigues which placed Louis Philippe on the throne; but, the revolution once accomplished, he was ready to uphold the fait accompli with characteristic loyalty, and on the 9th of August took office in the new government as minister of public worship and education. As he had foreseen, the ministry was short-lived, and on the 2nd of November he was once more out of office. During the critical time that followed he consistently supported the principles which triumphed with the fall of Laffitte and the accession to power of Casimir Périer in March 1832. After the death of the latter and the insurrection of June 1832, de Broglie took office once more as minister for foreign affairs (October 11th). His tenure of the foreign office was coincident with a very critical period in international relations. But for the sympathy of Great Britain under Palmerston, the July monarchy would have been completely isolated in Europe; and this sympathy the aggressive policy of France in Belgium and on the Mediterranean coast of Africa had been in danger of alienating. The Belgian crisis had been settled, so far as the two powers were concerned, before de Broglie took office; but the concerted military and naval action for the coercion of the Dutch, which led to the French occupation of Antwerp, was carried out under his auspices. The good understanding of which this was the symbol characterized also the relations of de Broglie and Palmerston during the crisis of the first war of Mehemet Ali (q.v.) with the Porte, and in the affairs of the Spanish peninsula their common sympathy with constitutional liberty led to an agreement for common action, which took shape in the treaty of alliance between Great Britain, France, Spain and Portugal, signed at London on the 22nd of April 1834. De Broglie had retired from office in the March preceding, and did not return to power till March of the following year, when he became head of the cabinet. In 1836, the government having been defeated on a proposal to reduce the five per cents, he once more resigned, and never returned to official life. He had remained in power long enough to prove what honesty of purpose, experience of affairs, and common sense can accomplish when allied with authority. The debt that France and Europe owed him may be measured by comparing the results of his policy with that of his successors under not dissimilar circumstances. He had found France isolated and Europe full of the rumours of war; he left her strong in the English alliance and the respect of Liberal Europe, and Europe freed from the restless apprehensions which were to be stirred into life again by the attitude of Thiers in the Eastern Question and of Guizot in the affair of the “Spanish marriages.” From 1836 to 1848 de Broglie held almost completely aloof from politics, to which his scholarly temperament little inclined him, a disinclination strengthened by the death of his wife on the 22nd of September 1838. His friendship for Guizot, however, induced him to accept a temporary mission in 1845, and in 1847 to go as French ambassador to London. The revolution of 1848 was a great blow to him, for he realized that it meant the final ruin of the Liberal monarchy—in his view the political system best suited to France. He took his seat, however, in the republican National Assembly and in the Convention of 1848, and, as a member of the section known as the “Burgraves,” did his best to stem the tide of socialism and to avert the reaction in favour of autocracy which he foresaw. He shared with his colleagues the indignity of the coup d'état of the 2nd of December 1851, and remained for the remainder of his life one of the bitterest enemies of the imperial regime, though he was heard to remark, with that caustic wit for which he was famous, that the empire was “the government which the poorer classes in France desired and the rich deserved.” The last twenty years of his life were devoted chiefly to philosophical and literary pursuits. Having been brought up by his step-father in the sceptical opinions of the time, he gradually arrived at a sincere belief in the Christian religion. “I shall die,” said he, “a penitent Christian and an impenitent Liberal.” His literary works, though few of them have been published, were rewarded in 1856 by a seat in the French Academy, and he was also a member of another branch of the French Institute, the Academy of Moral and Political Science. In the labours of those learned bodies he took an active and assiduous part. He died on the 25th of January 1870.
Besides his Souvenirs, in 4 vols. (Paris, 1885-1888), the duc de Broglie left numerous works, of which only some have been published. Of these may be mentioned Écrits et discours (3 vols., Paris, 1863); Le Libre Échange et l'impôt (Paris, 1879); Vues sur le gouvernement de la France (Paris, 1861). This last was confiscated before publication by the imperial government. See Guizot, Le Duc de Broglie (Paris, 1870), and Mémoires (Paris, 1858-1867); and the histories of Thureau-Dangin and Duvergier de Hauranne.
Jacques Victor Albert, Duc de Broglie (1821-1901), his eldest son, was born at Paris on the 13th of June 1821. After a brief diplomatic career at Madrid and Rome, the revolution of 1848 caused him to withdraw from public life and devote himself to literature. He had already published a translation of the religious system of Leibnitz (1846). He now at once made his mark by his contributions to the Revue des deux Mondes and the Orleanist and clerical organ Le Correspondant, which were afterwards collected under the titles of Études morales et littéraires (1853) and Questions de religion et d'histoire (1860). These were supplemented in 1869 by a volume of Nouvelles études de littérature et de morale. His L'Église et l'empire romain au IV e siècle (1856-1866) brought him the succession to Lacordaire's seat in the Academy in 1862. In 1870 he succeeded his father in the dukedom, having previously been known as the prince de Broglie. In the following year he was elected to the National Assembly for the department of the Eure, and a few days later (on the 19th of February) was appointed ambassador in London; but in March 1872, in consequence of criticisms upon his negotiations concerning the commercial treaties between England and France, he resigned his post and took his seat in the National Assembly, where he became the leading spirit of the monarchical campaign against Thiers. On the replacement of the latter by Marshal MacMahon, the duc de Broglie became president of the council and minister for foreign affairs (May 1873), but in the reconstruction of the ministry on the 26th of November, after the passing of the septennate, transferred himself to the ministry of the interior. His tenure of office was marked by an extreme conservatism, which roused the bitter hatred of the Republicans, while he alienated the Legitimist party by his friendly relations with the Bonapartists, and the Bonapartists by an attempt to effect a compromise between the rival claimants to the monarchy. The result was the fall of the cabinet on the 16th of May 1874. Three years later (on the 16th of May 1877) he was entrusted with the formation of a new cabinet, with the object of appealing to the country and securing a new chamber more favourable to the reactionaries than its predecessor had been. The result, however, was a decisive Republican majority. The duc de Broglie was defeated in his own district, and resigned office on the 20th of November. Not being re-elected in 1885, he abandoned politics and reverted to his historical work, publishing a series of historical studies and biographies written in a most pleasing style, and especially valuable for their extensive documentation. He died in Paris on the 19th of January 1901.
Besides editing the Souvenirs of his father (1886, &c.), the Mémoires of Talleyrand (1891, &c.), and the Letters of the Duchess Albertine de Broglie (1896), he published Le Secret du roi, Correspondance secrète de Louis XV avec ses agents diplomatiques, 1752-1774 (1878); Frédéric II et Marie Thérèse (1883); Frédéric II et Louis XV (1885); Marie Thérèse Impératrice (1888); Le Père Lacordaire (1889); Maurice de Saxe et le marquis d'Argenson (1891); La Paix d'Aix-la-Chapelle (1892); L'Alliance autrichienne (1895); La Mission de M. de Gontaut-Biron à Berlin (1896); Voltaire avant et pendant la Guerre de Sept Ans (1898); Saint Ambroise, translated by Margaret Maitland in the series of “The Saints” (1899).