Saturday, September 7, 2013
There's an off-chance that I can claim a member of the Estates General as an ancestor. The connection hasn't been proven and since the member in question was a Catholic priest, it's safe to say he's not a "direct." His morals were compared to those of the notoriously dissolute Mirabeau, though, so I guess it's not inconceivable that he fathered a child, but none that would've carried his name. (Or maybe I'm wrong in assuming that a disparaging reference to someone's morals in the Eighteenth Century is necessarily alluding to the sexual variety. Maybe he just didn't recycle or ate fast food or some such modern day sin.) Though my mother's maiden name, Maury, is no longer the surname of any living relative (that I can think of), Maurys (and Fontaines) are sprinkled among the first and middle names.
Jean-Sifrein Maury was born in Valréas in 1747 and died in Rome in 1817. He successfully, for the most part, navigated the churning water that was France during the transition from ancien régime to the Bourbon Restoration, seemingly by jumping from life raft to life raft and supporting whomever was at the helm. During those years, he went from Abbé to Cardinal and received honors and recognition for his speaking and writing. He was especially known for his dry wit.
During the early years of the Revolution, the abbé was a member of the Académie Française and the Estates General. In the National Constituent Assembly, he was a defender of the monarchy known for his oratory contests with Mirabeau in which he was "though always defeated on the vote, was not seldom the conquerer in the debate," according to New Advent online Catholic Encyclopedia. In 1792, he joined the French émigrés in Coblenz where he was hailed by Louis XVIII as a defender of the Church and of the monarchy. As the tides turned, he supported Napoleon and his pursuit of divorce from Josephine which resulted, later, in suspension and imprisonment by the Pope. Cardinal Maury's health suffered as a result of his months in prison and he died in May 1817, rosary in hand. Despite his steadfast support of the monarchy years earlier, Louis XVIII never forgave Maury's association with Napoleon and refused to allow him to be buried in his titular church.