Lomenie, De Brienne, Etienne Charles De

Lomenie, De Brienne, Etienne Charles De a very celebrated French prelate, was born at Paris in 1727. He renounced his primogeniture and the rigors of military glory for the easy honors of the Church, and became a great and powerful opponent of the Protestants. Promoted in 1763 to the archbishopric of Toulouse, he aspired, it would seem, to the part of a Mazarin or a Richelieu in the state, without possessing either the ability or the unscrupulous daring necessary to it. Upon the coronation of Louis XVI in 1775, he took particular pains to strike against the Protestants, but it was not until 1787 that he gained prominence in state affairs. In this year, after figuring in a commission for the reform of the clergy, and coquetting with the philosophy of D'Alembert and the encyclopaedists, he became a member of the Assembly of Notables, and, having headed the party by whom the administration of Calonne was overthrown, he succeeded that unfortunate as minister, adopted his plans, and proved himself just as incapable of executing them. An excited contest arose between the king and Parliament, and resulted in the dismissal of the latter by force of arms. In 1788 he was made prime minister, and was also promoted to the rich archbishopric of Sens. In 1791 he was offered a cardinal's hat, but, knowing the opposition of the people against the clergy, he declined this distinction. In July, 1788, he was compelled by the dissatisfaction of the people to proceed to the Convocation of the states general for the month of May following, and on the 24th of August he retired to private life. He resided for a time at Nice, but the cardinal's hat which Pius VI bestowed on him he now gratefully accepted. He was one of those who took the oath as a constitutional bishop, on account of which he was deprived of the cardinal's hat. He was nevertheless arrested February 15, 1794, and died of apoplexy the same night. See Heroes, Philosophers, and Courtiers of the Time of Louis XVI (London, 1863, 2 volumes, 12mo); Lacroix's Pressense, Religion and the Reign of Terrora, pages 43, 124; Droz, Hist. due regne de Louis XVI; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Gen. 31:532 sq. (J.H.W.)

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