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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Viscount de Chateaubriand

  • [A distinguished French writer and statesman; born at St. Malo, September, 1768; destined to the Church, but preferred the army, which he entered, 1768; sailed for the United States, 1791, ostensibly to discover the North-west Passage; but, after a journey from Niagara to Florida, returned to France, 1792; joined the emigrants, and lived in poverty in England; returned 1800, and published “Atala,” a picture of aboriginal American life; elected to the Academy, 1811; ambassador to Berlin, 1820; to London, 1822; minister for foreign affairs, 1823; ambassador to Rome, 1828; died after a long retirement, July 4, 1848.]
  • If the cocked-hat and surtout of Napoleon were placed on a stick on the shores of Brest, it would cause Europe to run to arms from one end to the other.

  • Of the terror which the name of Napoleon, as once that of Richard Cœur de Lion, still inspired among those who had crushed him. Chateaubriand, however, called the history of France under Napoleon, “slavery less the shame” (l’esclavage moins la honte).
  • “France is a soldier” (La France est un soldat). A thought which was suggested to Chateaubriand by the history of France under the empire, the foundation of which rested upon military glory.
  • Talleyrand said of Chateaubriand in his old age, when not even the vivacious society and unremitting attentions of Mme. Récamier could dispel his despondency, “He thinks himself deaf, because he no longer hears himself talked of.”
  • Chateaubriand illustrated the inconstancy of his political life, which, however, manifested a great repugnance to imperialism and republicanism alike, by saying, “I am a Bourbonist by honor, a royalist by reason and conviction, and a republican by tastes and character.”