François-René de La Tour du Pin, Chambly de La Charce

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François-René de La Tour du Pin
Marquis de la Charce
File:Rene la Tour du Pin 2.jpg
Born 1 April 1834
Arrancy, France
Died 4 December 1924(1924-12-04) (aged 90)
Lausanne, Switzerland
Allegiance France
Service/branch French Army
Years of service 1852 - 1881
Rank Lieutenant-Colonel (France)
Battles/wars Crimean War,
Franco-Prussian War.

François René de La Tour du Pin, Marquis de la Charce, was a French Military Officer, Politician and Social Reformer.

Early life

François-René was born on April 1, 1834, in Arrancy, Aisne, Picardy Region, France ‘’(near Laon)’’. He was the eldest son of Humbert de La Tour du Pin, Marquis de La Charce, and Charlotte Alexandrine de Maussion. François-René was a descendant from an old noble dauphinoise family, Catholic, and royalist.

In 1892, he married his cousin, Marie Séraphine de La Tour du Pin Montauban. The marriage never produced any children.


François-René attended École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr in 1852. As a Junior Officer, he served the Second Empire in the Crimean War, in Second Italian War of Independence and the French Third Republic during the Franco-Prussian War.

Taken prisoner at the surrender of Metz in October 1870, François-René and Albert de Mun, met in a German prisoner of war camp at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), 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. Previous social writings of Frederic Le Play influences François-René’s political writings.

Monarchists beliefs

In 1877, François-René was appointed military attaché in Austria-Hungary. In Vienna, he was influenced by the Austrian Social Catholicism. While in Frohsdorf, he met exiled Henri, Count of Chambord, the Legitimist pretender to the French throne. In 1881, he resigned from the army and retired to Arrancy, where he became mayor.

In 1883, Henri's death left the Legitimist line of succession distinctly confused. On one hand, Henri himself had accepted that the head of the Maison de France (as distinguished from the Maison de Bourbon) would be the head of the Orléans line, (the Count of Paris). This was accepted by many Legitimists, and was the default on legal grounds; the only surviving Bourbon line more senior was the Spanish branch, which had renounced its right to inherit the throne of France as a condition of the Treaty of Utrecht. However, many if not most of Henri's supporters, including his widow, chose to disregard his statements and this law, arguing that no one had the right to deny to the senior direct-male-line male Bourbon to be the head of the Maison de France and thus the legitimate King of France; the renunciation of the Spanish branch is under this interpretation illegitimate and therefore void. Thus these Legitimists settled on Juan, Count of Montizón, the Carlist pretender to the Spanish throne (the Salic law having been suspended in Spain, the actual king, Alfonso XII, was not the senior descendant in the male line), as their claimant to the French crown. François-René, along with other supporters of the Count of Chambord, prevented, Philippe d’Orleans (Count of Paris), from claiming the French Crown.

In early 1885, while passing through Rome, François-René was received by Pope Leo XIII to discuss Social Catholicism. In 1891, unlike Albert de Mun, he prevented French Catholics from rallying against the Third Republic. Hubert Lyautey, the future Marshal of France, published ‘‘"The Social Role of the Officer"’’, which largely inspired these rallying Catholics, however, François-René remained faithful to his monarchists beliefs.

In 1892, he met a young Charles Maurras and they began correspondence with each other, that lasted until his death. Once the Action Française was founded in 1899, François-René assisted the movement and published three articles in the journal of the same name: "the nobility", "the professional representation", and "territorial organization of France". In 1907, he published ‘‘"Towards a Christian Social Order"’’. François René de La Tour du Pin Chambly, Marquis de la Charce, died in Lausanne, Switzerland, on December 4, 1924, at 90 years of age.

Published works

  • Towards a Christian social order - Milestones road 1882-1907, Paris, New National Library, undated (1907), size 8vo, xii + 514 pages. This is a collection of articles published between 1882 and circumstance 1907 in various journals, mainly the Catholic Revival and French.

This book contains articles into five parts:

  • I - Origins of a Program
  • II - Social Economy
  • III - Social Policy
  • IV - Against the Foot of the Revolution
  • V - The French Restoration

See also


  • Roger Sémichon, Les idées sociales et politiques de La Tour du Pin exposées d'après son livre "Jalons de route" , éditions Beauchesne 1936.
  • Antoine Murat, La Tour du Pin en son temps, Via Romana, 2008 ISBN 978-2-916727-32-5

External links