1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Montgaillard, Jean Gabriel Maurice Roques, Comte de

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MONTGAILLARD, JEAN GABRIEL MAURICE ROQUES, Comte de (1761–1841), French political agent, was born at Montgaillard, near Villefranche (Haute Garonne), on the 16th of November 1761. His parents belonged to the minor nobility, and he was educated at the military school of Sorèze, where he attracted the notice of the comte de Provence (afterwards Louis XVIII.). After serving for some years in the West Indies Maurice de Roques returned to France. In 1789 he was established in Paris as a secret diplomatic agent, and though he emigrated to England after the 10th of August 1792, he returned six weeks later to Paris, where his security was most probably purchased by services to the revolutionary government. He was again serving the Bourbon princes when he met Francis II. of Austria at Ypres in 1794 and saw Pitt in London, where he published his Etat de la France an mais de mai 1794, predicting the fall of Robespierre. He was employed by Louis XVIII. to secure Austrian intervention on behalf of Mme Royale (afterwards duchess of Angouléme), still a prisoner in the Temple, and he drew up the proposition made by the prince to Charles Pichegru, the details of which appear in his “ Mémoire sur la trahison de Pichegru ” (Moniteur, April 18, 1804). In June 1796 he made a journey to Italy in the hope of opening direct relations with Bonaparte. On his return to the princes at Blankenburg he was regarded with suspicion, and he departed for Paris to await events. He is thought to have indicated the possession by the comte d'Antraigues, agent of the princes, of documents compromising Pichegru. In April 1798 he surrendered to Claude Roberjot, the Hamburg minister of the Directory, further papers relating to the matter. He followed Roberjot to Holland, and there wrote a memorandum to prove that the only hope for France lay in the immediate return of Bonaparte from Egypt, followed by assumption of the supreme power. This note reached Alexandria by way of Berlin and Constantinople. When he ventured to return to Paris in the hope of recognition from the First Consul he was imprisoned, and on his release he was kept under police supervision. Napoleon, who appreciated his real insight into European politics and his extraordinary knowledge of European courts, attached him to his secret cabinet in spite of his intriguing and mendacious character. He received a salary of 14,000 francs, reduced later to 6000, for reports on political questions for Napoleon's use, and for pamphlets Written to help the imperial policy. He tried to dissuade Napoleon from the Austrian marriage and the Russian campaign, and counselled the limitation of the empire Within the Rhine, the Alps and the Pyrenees. The Bourbon restoration made no change in his position; he was maintained as confidential adviser on foreign and home politics, and gave shrewd advice to the new government. His career ended with the old monarchy, and he died in obscurity at Chaillot on the 8th of February 1841.

His Souvenirs, which must be read with the utmost caution, were edited by Clément de Lacroix (3rd ed., 1895); his Mémoires diplomatiques (1805–1819) were published by the same editor in 1896. His Etat de la France was translated into English by Edmund Burke. His other writings include Ma conduite pendant le cours de la revolution française (London, 1795); Histoire secrète de Coblentz dans la revolution des français (London, 1795); De La France et de l’Europe sous le gouvernement de Bonaparte (Lyons, 1904); Situation de l’Angleterre en 1811 (Paris, 1811); De la restauration de la monarchie des Bourbons et du retour à l’ordre (Paris, 1814); and Histoire de France depuis 1825 jusqu’à 1830 (Paris, 1839).