Montalembert, Mark Rene De

, senior member of the academy of sciences of France, was born July 16, 1714, at Angouleme. His family had been a long time rendered illustrious in arms by An. re* De Montalembert, count d’Esse“, lieutenant-general to the king, commander of his armies in Scotland, governor of Terouane near St. Omers, and who died on the breach, the 12th of June 1553. In 1732 the young Montalembert entered into the army, and distinguished himself at the sieges of Kehl and Philipsburg in 1736. He was afterwards captain of the guards to the prince of Conti. In peace he studied the mathematics and natural philosophy: he read a memoir to the academy of sciences, upon the evaporation of the water in the salt works at Turcheim, in the palatinate, which he had examined, and was made a member in 1747. There are in the volumes in the academy some memoirs from him upon the rotation of bullets, upon the substitution of stoves for fire-places, and upon a pool, in which were found pike purblind, and others wholly without sight. From 1750 to 1755 he established the forges at Angoumoisand Perigord. and there founded cannon for the navy. In 1777 three volumes were printed of the correspondence which he held with the generals and ministers, whilst he was employed by his country in the Swedish and Russian armies during the campaigns of 1757 and 1761, and afterwards in Britanny and the isle of Oleron, when fortifying it. He fortified also Stralsund, in Pomerania, against the Prussian troops, and gave an account to his court of the military operations in which it was concerned; and this in a manner which renders it an interesting part of the History of the Seven-years War. In 1776 he printed the first volume of an immense work upon Perpendicular Fortification, and the art of Defence; demonstrating the inconveniences of the old system, for which he substitutes that of casemates, which admit of such a kind of firing, that a place fortified after his manner appears to be impregnable. His system has been, however, uot always approved or adopted. His treatise was extended to ten volumes in quarto, with a great number of plates; the last volume was published | in 1792, and will doubtless carry his name to posterity as an author as well as a general. He married, in 1770, Marie de Comarieu, who was an actress, and the owner of a theatre, for whom the general sometimes composed a dramatic piece. In 1784 and 1786 he printed three operatical pieces, set to music by Cambini and Tomeoni: they were,” La Statue,“” La Bergere qualite,“and” La Bohemienne." Alarmed at the progress of the revolution, he repaired to England in 1789 or 1790, and leaving his wife there, procured a divorce, and afterwards married Rosalie Louise Cadet, to whom he was under great obligation during the Robespierrian terror, and by whom he had a daughter born in July 1796. In his memoir published in 1790, it may be seen that he had been arbitrarily dispossessed of his iron forges, and that having a claim for six millions of livres clue to him, he was reduced to a pension, but ill paid, and was at last obliged to sell his estate at Maumer, in Angoumois, for which he was paid in assignats, and which were insufficient to take him out of that distress which accompanied him throughout his life. He was sometimes almost disposed to put an end to his existence, but had the courage to resume his former studies, and engaged a person to assist him in compleating some new models. His last public appearance was in the institute, where he read a new memoir upon the mountings (affect) of ship-guns. On this occasion he was received with veneration by the society, and attended to with religious silence: a man of eighty-six years of age had never been heard to read with so strong a voice. His memoir was thought of so much importance, that the institute wrote to the minister of marine, who sent orders to Brest for the adoption of the suggested change. He was upon the list for a place in the institute, and was even proposed as the first member for the section of mechanics, but learning that Bonaparte was spoken of for the institute, he wrote a letter, in which he expressed his desire to see the young conqueror of Italy honoured with this new crown. His strength of mind he possessed to the last, for not above a month before his death he wrote reflections upon the siege of St. John d’Acre, which contained further proofs of the solidity of his defensive system, but at last he fell ill of a catarrh, which degenerated into a dropsy, and carried him off March 22, 1802. 1


Dict. Hist. Biographic Moderne.