Louis Marie Jacques Amalric Narbonne-Lara - Encyclopedia




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LOUIS MARIE JACQUES AMALRIC, NARBONNE-LARA Comte De (1755-1813), French soldier and diplomatist, was born at Colorno, in the duchy of Parma, on the 24th of August 1755. He was the son of one of the ladies-in-waiting of Elizabeth, duchess of Parma, and his father was either a Spanish nobleman or - as has been alleged - Louis XV. himself. He was brought up at Versailles with the princesses of France, and was made colonel at the age of twenty-five. He became marechal-decamp in 1791, and, through the influence of Madame de Stael, was appointed minister of war. But he showed incapacity in this post, gave in his resignation, and joined the Army of the North. Incurring suspicion as a Feuillant and also by his policy at the war office, he emigrated after the 10th of August 1792, visited England, Switzerland and Germany, and returned to France in 1801. In 1809 he re-entered the army as general of division, and was subsequently minister plenipotentiary at Munich and aide de camp to Napoleon. In 1813 he was appointed French ambassador at Vienna, where he was engaged in an unequal diplomatic duel with Metternich (q.v.) during the fateful months that witnessed the defection of Austria from the cause of Napoleon to that of the Allies. He died at Torgau, in Saxony, on the 17th of November 1813.

See A. F. Villemain, Souvenirs contemporains (Paris, 1854).

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