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Montalenibert

Montalenibert, Charles Forbes, Comte de (1810-70), French politician, historian, and theologian, was by his mother's side of the Scottish family of Forbes, hence his knowledge of English, and his fondness of the English social system. He was a curious mixture of ardent liberal with aristocratic instincts, and Ultramontane Catholic. Along with his comrade Lacordaire, and the Abbe Lamennais, he indulged in dreams of a democratic theocracy, an alliance between Catholicism and liberty, and in 1830 he started a paper, L'Avenir, taking as its motto "God and Liberty." In 1831 Lacordaire and Montalenibert together started a public school without permission of the Government, the result being a prosecution, and a brilliant speech in defence by Montalenibert, their only punishment being a fine of 100 francs. In 1832 the Pope condemned L'Avenir, and Montalenibert abandoned some of his liberal ideas, and gave himself more fully to Ultramontanism. About 1836 he became a member of the Chamber of Peers, and distinguished himself as a defender of the freedom of the press. In 1843 he went to Madeira, where lie studied the history of St. Bernard. At this time he was known as an eloquent orator, a defender of the episcopate, and an acknowledged chief of the Catholic party. He was a strong advocate of the freedom of Poland, of the Greeks, of the Syrian Christians, and of Ireland. For the sake of the clerical party he joined the party of reaction after 1848, but he defended Louis Napoleon againf unjust accusations. In 1852 he became an Academician, and in 1857 he retired from public life. The chief work of his later years was contributing to Le Correspond ant, in whose columns he vigorously attacked M. Veuillot. In 1869 he was opposed to the dogma of infallibility, and a few days before his death wrote a striking letter as to the power of the Vatican. His works (of which Les Moines de V Occident is perhaps the best known) have been published in 9 vols. An interesting little piece of his is La Grammaire et le Bictionnaire, a discourse on the study of language.