Page:EB1911 - Volume 24.djvu/57

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43
SAINT-REAL—SAINTS, BATTLE of THE

fortifications erected under Louis XIV. were demolished between 1810 and 1820. During the Franco-Prussian War St Quentin repulsed the German attacks of the 8th of October 1870; and in January 1871 it was the centre of the great battle fought by General Faidherbe (below).

1. Battle of 1557.—An army of Spaniards under Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, invading France from the Meuse, joined an allied contingent of English troops under the walls of St Quentin, which was then closely besieged. Admiral Coligny threw himself on to the town, and the old Constable Montmorency prepared to relieve it. On St Lawrence's Day, 10th August, the relieving column reached the town without difficulty, but time was wasted in drawing off the garrison, for the pontoons intended to bridge the canal had marched at the tail of the column, and when brought up were mismanaged. The besiegers, recovering from their surprise, formed the plan of cutting off the retreat of the relieving army. Montmorency had thrown out the necessary protective posts, but at the point which the besiegers chose for their passage the post was composed of poor troops, who fled at the first shot. Thus, while the constable was busy with his boats, the Spanish army filed across the Bridge of Rouvroy, some distance above the town, with impunity, and Montmorency, in the hope of executing his mission without fighting, refused to allow the cavalry under the duc de Nevers to charge them, and miscalculated his time of freedom. The Spaniards, enormously superior in force, cut off and destroyed the French gendarmerie who formed the vanguard of the column, and then headed off the slow-moving infantry south of Essigny-le-Grand. Around the 10,000 French gathered some 40,000 assailants with forty-two guns. The cannon thinned their ranks, and at last the cavalry broke in and slaughtered them. Yet Coligny gallantly held St Quentin for seventeen days longer, Nevers rallied the remnant of the army and, garrisoning Péronne, Ham and other strong places, entrenched himself in front of Compiègne, and the allies, disheartened by a war of sieges and skirmishes, came to a standstill. Soon afterwards Philip, jealous of the renown of his generals and unwilling to waste his highly trained soldados in ineffective fighting, ordered the army to retreat (17th October), disbanded the temporary regiments and dispersed the permanent corps in winter quarters.

2. The Battle of 1871 was fought between the German I. army under General von Goeben and the French commanded by General Faidherbe. The, latter concentrated about St Quentin on the 18th of January, and took up a defensive position on both sides of the Somme Canal. The Germans, though inferior in numbers, were greatly superior in discipline and training, and General von Goeben boldly decided to attack both wings of the French together on the 19th. The attack took the customary enveloping form. After several hours' fighting it was brought to a standstill, but Goeben, using his reserves in masterly fashion, drove a wedge into the centre of the French line between the canal and the railway, and followed this up with another blow on the other bank of the canal, along the Ham road. This was the signal for a decisive attack by the whole of the left wing of the Germans, but the French offered strenuous resistance, and it was not until four o'clock that General Faidherbe made up his mind to retreat. By skilful dispositions and orderly movement most of his infantry and all but six of his guns were brought off safely, but a portion of the army was cut off by the victorious left wing of the Germans, and the defeat, the last act in a long-drawn-out struggle, was sufficiently decisive to deny to the defenders any hope of taking the field again without an interval of rest and reorganization. Ten days later the general armistice was signed.


SAINT-RÉAL, CÉSAR VICHARD DE (1639–1692), French historian, was born in Savoy, but educated in Paris by the Jesuits. Varillas gave him his taste for history and served as his model; he wrote hardly anything but historical novels. The only merit of his Don Carlos (1673) is that of having furnished Schiller with several of the speeches in his drama. In the following year he produced the Conjuration des Espagnols contre la République de Venise en 1618, which had a phenomenal success, but is all the same merely a literary pastiche in the style of Sallust. This work and his reputation as a free-thinker brought him to the notice of Hortense Mancini, duchesse de Mazarin, whose reader and friend he became, and who took him with her to England (1675). The authorship of the duchess's Mémoires has been ascribed to him, but without reason. Among his authentic works is included a short treatise De la critique (1691), directed against Andry de Boisregard's Réflexlons sur la langue françoise. His Œuvres complètes were published in 3 volumes (1745); a second edition (1757) reached 8 volumes, but this is due to the inclusion of some works falsely attributed to him. Saint-Réal was, in fact, a fashionable writer of his period; the demand for him in the book-market was similar to that for Saint-Évremond, to whom he was inferior. He wrote in an easy and pleasant, but mediocre style.

See Père Lelong; Bibliothèque historique de la France, No. 48, 122; Barolo, Memorie spettanti alla vita di Saint-Réal (1780; Saint-Réal was an associate o the Academy of Turin); Sayous, Histoire de la littérature française à l'étranger.


ST RÉMY, a town of south-eastern France in the department of Bouches-du-Rhone, 15 m. N.E. of Arles by road. Pop. (1906), town, 3668; commune, 6148. It is prettily situated to the north of the range of hills named the Alpines or Alpilles in a valley of olive trees. The town has a modern church with a lofty 14th-century spire. About a mile to the south are Gallo-Roman relics of the ancient Glanum, destroyed about 480. They comprise a triumphal arch and a fine three-storied mausoleum of uncertain date. Near by is the old priory of St Paul-de-Mausole with an interesting church and cloister of Romanesque architecture. In the vicinity of St Rémy there are quarries of building stone, and seed-cultivation is an important industry.


ST RIQUIER, a town of northern France, in the department of Somme, 8 m. N.E. of Abbeville by rail. Pop. (1906) 1158. St Riquier (originally Centula) was famous for its abbey, founded about 625 by Riquier (Richarnis), son of the governor of the town. It was enriched by King Dagobert and prospered under the abbacy of Angilbert, son-in-law of Charlemagne. The buildings (18th century) are occupied by an ecclesiastical seminary. The church, a magnificent example of flamboyant Gothic architecture of the 15th and 16th centuries, has a richly sculptured west front surmounted by a square tower. In the interior the fine vaulting, the Renaissance font and carved stalls, and the frescoes in the treasury are especially noteworthy. The treasury, among other valuable relics, possesses a copper cross said to be the work of St Eloi (Eligius). The town has a municipal belfry of the 13th or 14th centuries. In 1536 St Riquier repulsed an attack by the Germans, the women especially distinguishing themselves. In 1544 it was burnt by the English, an event which marks the beginning of its decline.

See Hénocque, “ Hist. de l'abbaye et de la ville de St Riquier," in Mém. soc. antiq. Picardie. Documents inédits, ix.-xi. (Paris, 1880–1888).


SAINTS, BATTLE OF THE. This battle is frequently called by the date on which it took place—the 12th of April 1782. The French know it as the battle of Dominica, near the coast of which it was fought. The Saints are small rocky islets in the channel between the islands of Dominica and Guadaloupe in the West Indies. The battle is of exceptional importance in naval history; it was by far the most considerable fought at sea in the American War of Independence, and was to Great Britain of the nature of a deliverance, since it not only saved Jamaica from a formidable attack, but after the disasters in North America went far to restore British prestige. The comte de Grasse, with 33 sail of the line, was at Fort Royal in Martinique. His aim was to effect a combination with a Spanish force from Cuba, and invade Jamaica. A British fleet (36 sail of the line), commanded by Sir George, afterwards Lord Rodney (q.v.), was anchored in Gros Islet Bay, Santa Lucia. On the 8th of April the British lookout frigates reported that the French were at sea, and Rodney immediately sailed in pursuit. Light and variable sea or land breezes made the movements of both fleets uncertain. Some of the ships of each might have a wind, while others were becalmed. On the 9th of April eight ships of the British van, at some distance from the bulk of their fleet, and nearly opposite the mountain called the Morne au Diable in Dominica, were attacked by fifteen of the French. The comte de Grasse, whose own ships were much scattered and partly becalmed, and who moreover was hampered by the transports carrying soldiers and stores, did not press the attack home. His chief wish was to carry his fleet through the channel between Dominica and Guadaloupe, while Rodney was anxious to force a battle. During the night of the 11th-12th the greater part of the French had cleared the channel, but a collision took place between two of their ships by which one was severely damaged.

The crippled vessel was seen and pursued by four ships of the