1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Montmorency (family)

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MONTMORENCY, the name of one of the oldest and most distinguished families in France, derived from Montmorency, now in the department of Seine-et-Oise, in the immediate neighbourhood of Enghien and St Denis, and about 9 m. N.N.W. of Paris. The family, since its first appearance in history in the person of Bouchard I., sire de Montmorency in the 10th century, has furnished six constables and twelve marshals of France, several admirals and cardinals, numerous grand officers of the Crown and grand masters of various knightly orders, and was declared by Henry IV. to be, after that of the Bourbons, the first house in Europe. Matthieu I., sire de Montmorency, received in 1138 the post of constable, and died in 1160. His first wife was Aline, the natural daughter of Henry I. of England; his second, Adelaide or Alice of Savoy, widow of Louis VI. and mother of Louis VII., and according to Duchesne, he shared the regency of France with Suger, during the absence of the latter king on the second crusade. Matthieu II. had an important share in the victory of Bouvines (1214), and was made constable in 1218. During the reign of Louis VIII. he distinguished himself chiefly in the south of France (Niort, La Rochelle, Bordeaux). On the accession of Louis IX. he was one of the chief supports of the queen-regent Blanche of Castile, and was successful in reducing all the vassals to obedience. He died in 1230. His younger son, Guy, in right of his mother, became head of the house of Montmorency-Laval. Anne de Montmorency (q.v.), so named, it is said, after his godmother Anne of Brittany, was the first to attain the ducal title (1551). His eldest son, François de Montmorency (1530–1579), was married to Diana, natural daughter of Henry II.; another son, Henri I. de Montmorency (1534–1614), who became duc de Montmorency on his brother’s death in 1579, had been governor of Languedoc since 1563. As a leader of the party called the Politiques he took a prominent part in the French wars of religion. In 1593 he was made constable, but Henry IV. showed some anxiety to keep him away from Languedoc, which he ruled like a sovereign prince. Henry II. (1595–1632), son of duke Henry I., succeeded to the title in 1614, having previously been made grand admiral. He also was governor of Languedoc. In 1625 he defeated the French Protestant fleet under Soubise, and seized the islands of Ré and Oléron, but the jealousy of Richelieu deprived him of the means of following up these advantages. In 1628–1629 he was allowed to command against the duke of Rohan in Languedoc; in 1630 he defeated the Piedmontese, and captured Prince Doria, at Avigliana, and took Saluzzo. In the same year he was created marshal. In 1632 he joined the party of Gaston, duke of Orleans, and placed himself at the head of the rebel army, which was defeated by Marshal Schomberg at Castelnaudary (Sept. 1, 1632); severely wounded, he fell into the enemy’s hands, and, abandoned by Gaston, was executed as a traitor at Toulouse on the 30th of October. The title passed to his sister Charlotte-Margueritte, princess of Condé.

From the barons of Fosseux, a branch of the Montmorency family established in Brabant in the 15th century, sprang the seigneurs de Boutteville, among whom was the duellist François de Montmorency-Boutteville, who was beheaded in 1627. His son, François Henri, marshal of France, became duke of Piney-Luxemburg by his marriage with Madeleine Charlotte Bonne Thérèse de Clermont, daughter of Marguerite Charlotte de Luxemburg, duchesse de Piney. Charles François Frédéric, the son of the marshal, was created duke of Beaufort in 1688 and duke of Montmorency in 1689. In 1767 the title of duke of Beaufort-Montmorency passed by marriage to another branch of the Montmorency-Fosseux. This branch becoming extinct in 1862, the title was taken by the duc de Valençay, who belonged to the Talleyrand-Périgord family and married one of the two heiresses of this branch (1864). There were many other branches of the Montmorency family, among others that of the seigneurs of Laval (q.v.), a cadet branch of which received the title of duke of Laval and settled on the estate of Magnac in 1758. It is to this branch that Mathieu, duc de Montmorency (1767–1826), diplomatist and writer, and tutor of Charles X.’s grandson, Henri, duke of Bordeaux, belonged.