SAINT-SIMON

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Author

FrenchBorn Louis DE ROUVROY

French soldier, diplomatist and writer of memoirs

Born on January 16, 1675 in Paris, France , France

Died on March 02, 1755 in Paris, France

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His father was a tall and taciturn man who was keen on hunting. Saint-Simon, was the opposite, garrulous, exceptionally short, and preferred to live indoors. His father had become a minor favourite of Louis XIII, who was addicted to hunting. Louis made him his Master of Wolfhounds and then gave him a Dukedom when relatively young; he was 68 when Saint-Simon was born. Saint-Simon was high up the order of precedence among the Dukes, but many of them were higher, in terms of ancestry and wealth.



His mother, Charlotte de L'Aubespine, belonged to a family which had been distinguished in the public service at least since the time of Francis I. Her son Louis was well educated, to a great extent by herself, and he had for godfather and godmother Louis XIV and Queen Marie Thérèse. After some tuition by the Jesuits, he joined the mousquetaires gris in 1692. He was present at the 1692 siege of Namur, and the battle of Neerwinden. Then he began the crusade of his life by instigating an action on the part of the peers of France against François-Henri de Montmorency, duc de Luxembourg, his victorious general, on a point of precedence.

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He fought another campaign or two (not under Luxembourg), and in 1695 married Gabrielle de Durfort, daughter of Guy Aldonce de Durfort de Lorges, a marshal who had commanded him. He seemed to have regarded her with a respect and affection unusual between husband and wife at the time; and she sometimes succeeded in modifying his aristocratic ideas. As he did not receive the promotion he desired, he flung up his commission in 1702. Thus Louis XIV took a dislike to him, and he kept his place at court only with difficulty. He was, however, intensely interested in all the transactions of Versailles, and kept a collection of informers ranging from dukes to servants, who gave him the extraordinary secret information which he has handed down.



Saint-Simon's own part appears to have been entirely subordinate. He was appointed ambassador to Rome in 1705, but the appointment was cancelled before he started. At last he attached himself to Philippe II of Orléans, Louis XIV's nephew and the future Regent. Though this was hardly likely to conciliate Louis, it gave him at least the status of belonging to a definite party and it eventually placed him in the position of friend to the acting Chief of State. He also was attached to Louis, duke of Burgundy, the Dauphin's son and next heir to the throne.



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