This guy, Count Montgaillard, seems to have switched allegiances as often as he used to breath - he was an aristocrat and en emigre who then served the Republic, the Bourbon princes, again the Diectory, Napoleon, and again the Bourbons. (And to be sure he was not a tecnhocrat but rather a political adviser, a profession that does not usually enable one to change employers in such a way). However, all things come to an end ans wikipedia informs us that:

His career ended after the July Revolution, and he died in obscurity at Chaillot.

I wonder why? Did he get too old to perform the allegiance switch trick one more time? Did he genuinely tire of politics (not likely, null hypothesis)? Was he compromised in the eyes of the new regime by some special bad turn he had done them? Something else I am missing?

  • Not sure why he went into eclipse. But Carlyle sure didn't like him, although he uses him as a source (I believe it's the same Montgaillard): "He is an acrid distorted man." (Chapter 2.6.VIII)
    – user2590
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 20:05
  • 2
    Perhaps at 69 years of age he thought finally to retire. Did he switch allegiance more often than Tallyrand (Napoleon's "turd in a silk stocking")? Both look to have a similar count to me. Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 0:11
  • @PieterGeerkens However, Talleyrand managed to get a plum job from Louis-Philippe as well (ambassador to London, the top diplomatic posting in those days). Why couldn't Montgaillard too? Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 7:05
  • @Vector Yes, it was your quote about Meudon etc that led me to look up the man... :) Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 7:05
  • @FelixGoldberg - Carlyle cites him constantly. It appears that he wrote a History and a lot of other things - but the references are in French: amazon.com/…
    – user2590
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


Turns out this fellow was a historian, keeping himself very busy after his retirement from public service by proceeding to write History of France between 1787 and 1825.
Volume 1 was published in Paris in 1832;
Volume 2 was published in Paris in 1832;
Volume 3 was published in Paris in 1833.

Yes, the French government did supply pensions to some classes of workers prior to Bismarck (my emphasis):

Starting from 1679 sailors were allowed a pension if an injury stopped them from working and in 1709 all fishing and merchant sailors were granted a retirement pension. During the 19th century, various other professions were granted pensions, including employees of the Banque de France, employees of the Comédie-Française, civil servants, national rail employees, and miners.

  • Well yes, but how does that answer the question? Presumably if he had the choice between an active career and writing, he would have stayed active. Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 11:16
  • @FelixGoldberg: Say what! There are individuals in this world who live for the day when they can spend all day writing (though I am not one of them). I was unable to determine what pension he might have been entitled to at age 70, but note that he was only 16 months short of that milestone after the July Revolution. Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 23:10
  • Were there pensions in the modern sense at all back then? I thought they were introduced by Bismarck first. Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 23:12
  • @FelixGoldberg: Bismarck was the first to introduce "universal" retirement pensions, but other pensions of various sorts existed in many countries prior to that, including the US: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pension#History Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 23:18
  • see also: pbenyon.plus.com/Naval.html and in particular pbenyon.plus.com/Cond_of_Serv/Naval_Pay.html#warrant as what appears to be the earliest example from the former. Commented Jan 3, 2014 at 23:25

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