Monday, December 4, 2017


Noticed this weekend in Chateuabriand's memoirs:
Incompetence is a freemasonry that has its lodges in every country; and this brotherhood has dungeons of which it springs the trap doors, and in which it causes governments to disappear.
Chateaubriand had just been visiting the court of exiled Bourbons in Prague, and the grand master of this lodge may have been the Baron de Damas or the Prince de Polignac.

Daniel Halévy's The End of the Notables ends, as I recall, with the refusal in 1871 of the titular Henry V to accept the throne of France unless the tricolor were replaced with the Bourbon lily. Halévy observes that this refusal had no relation to the essentially realistic approach of the French kings; he refers to Henry V as a nostalgist, a reader of Chateaubriand. Certainly Henry V was a nostalgist, and certainly Chateaubriand knew how to sound the nostalgic note; but from all that I can tell, Chateaubriand was far more realistic than that.

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