Adrien Albert Marie de Mun

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For the Australian medicinal chemist, see Adrien Albert.
Comte Albert de Mun.

Adrien Albert Marie, Comte de Mun (French pronunciation: ​[adʁjɛ̃ albɛʁ maʁi kɔ̃t də mœ̃], (1841 - 1914), was a French political figure and Social Reformer of the nineteenth century.

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Albert was born at Lumigny-Nesles-Ormeaux, Seine-et-Marne. He entered the French Army, saw much service in Algeria (1862), and took part in the fighting around Metz in 1870 (during the Franco-Prussian War). On the surrender of Metz, he was sent as a prisoner of war to Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), where he met René de La Tour du Pin. They both were determined to respond to the dilemma of the working class upon their release from prison. The following year they organized a Catholic Workers’ club, under the name “L’Oeuvre des Cercles Catholiques d’Ouvriers” (Society of Catholic Worker Circles), at the request of Maurice Maignen (founder of the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul). The clubs spread quickly throughout France. These “circles” or clubs brought together the wealthy and the workers from a given locale for prayer, socializing, and hearing lectures by members of the aristocracy. He also assisted in the capture of Paris from the Paris Commune.[1]

A fervent Roman Catholic, Albert devoted himself to advocating Social Catholicism. His attacks on Third French Republic's social policy ultimately provoked a prohibition from the Minister of War. He thereupon resigned his commission (November 1875), and in the following February stood as Royalist and Catholic candidate for Pontivy.[1]

The influence of the Church was exerted to secure his election, and, during the proceedings, he was awarded the Order of Saint Gregory the Great by Pope Pius IX. He won the next elections for the same area, but the result was declared invalid. De Mun was re-elected, however, in the following August, and for many years was the most conspicuous leader of the anti-Republican party.

"We form", he said on one occasion, "the irreconcilable Counter-Revolution".[1]

Later years[edit]

As far back as 1878 he had declared himself opposed to universal suffrage, a declaration that lost him his seat from 1879 to 1881. He spoke strongly against the expulsion of the French princes (after the Count of Paris rose suspicions that he was preparing to claim the throne), and it was chiefly through his influence that the support of the Royalist party was given to Georges Boulanger.[1]

But as a faithful Catholic, he obeyed the modernising encyclical of 1892, Rerum novarum, and declared his readiness to rally to a Republican government, provided that it respected religion. In the following January he received from Leo XIII a letter commending his action, and encouraging him in his social reforms. [1]

He was defeated at the general election of that year, but in 1894 was elected in Finistère (Morlaix). In 1897 he succeeded Jules Simon as a member of the Académie française, owing to the quality and eloquence of his speeches, which, with a few pamphlets, form the bulk of his published work. In Ma vocation sociale (1908) he wrote an explanation and justification of his career.[1]

References[edit]