Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 409 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
FRANCOIS ELIE JULES LEMAITRE (1853— ), French critic and dramatist, was born at Vennecy (Loiret) on the 27th of April 1853. He became a professor at the university of Grenoble, but he had already become known by his literary criticisms, and in 1884 he resigned his position to devote himself entirely to literature. He succeeded J. J. Weiss as dramatic critic of the Journal des Debats, and subsequently filled the same office on the Revue des Deux Mondes. His literary studies were collected under the title of Les Contemporains (7 series, 1886—1899), and his dramatic feuilletons as Impressions de theatre (Io series, 1888-1898). His sketches of modern authors are interesting for the insight displayed in them, the unexpectedness of the judgments and the gaiety and originality of their expression. He published two volumes of poetry: Les Medaillons (188o) and Petites orientates (1883); also some volumes of conies, among them En marge des vieux livres (1905). His plays are: Revoltee (1889), Le depute Leveau, and Le Mariage blanc (1891), Les Reis (1893), Le Pardon and L'Age dicile (1895), La Massiere (1905) and Bertrade (1906). He was admitted to the French Academy on the 16th of January 1896. His political views were defined in La Campagne nationaliste (1902), lectures delivered in the provinces by him and by G. Cavaignac. He conducted a nationalist campaign in the Echo de Paris, and was for some time president of the Ligue de la Patric Francaise, but resigned in 1904, and again devoted himself to literature. LE MANS, a town of north-western France, capital of the department of Sarthe, 77 M. S.W. of Chartres on the railway from Paris to Brest. Pop. (1906) town, 54,907, commune, 65,467. It is situated just above the confluence of the Sarthe and the Huisne, on an elevation rising from the left bank of the Sarthe. Several bridges connect the old town and the new quarters which have sprung up round it with the more extensive quarter of Pre on the right bank. Modern thoroughfares are gradually superseding the winding and narrow streets of old houses; a tunnel connects the Place des Jacobins with the river side. The cathedral, built in the highest part of the town, was originally founded by St Julian, to whom it is dedicated. The nave dates from the 11th and 12th centuries. In the 13th century the choir was enlarged in the grandest and boldest style of that period. The transepts, which are higher than the nave, were rebuilt in the 15th century, and the bell-tower of the south transept, the lower part of which is Romanesque, was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries. Some of the stained glass in the nave, dating from the first half of the 12th century, is the oldest in France; the west window, representing the legend of St Julian, is especially interesting. The south lateral portal (12th century) is richly decorated, and its statuettes exhibit many costumes of the period. The austere simplicity of the older part of the building is in striking contrast with the lavish richness of the ornamentation in the choir, where the stained glass is especially fine. The rose-window (15th century) of the north transept, representing the Last Judgment, contains many historical figures. The cathedral also has curious tapestries and some remarkable tombs, including that of Berengaria, queen of Richard Coeur de Lion. Close to the western wall is a megalithic monument nearly 15 ft. in height. The church of La Couture, which belonged to an old abbey founded in the 7th century by St Bertrand, has a porch of the 13th century with fine statuary; the rest of the building is older. The church of Notre-Dame du pre, on the right bank of the Sarthe, is Romanesque in style. The hotel de ville was built in 1756 on the site of the former castle of the counts of Maine; the prefecture (1760) occupies the site of the monastery of La Couture, and contains the library, the communal archives, and natural history and art collections; there is also an archaeological museum. Among the old houses may be mentioned the Hotel du Grabatoire of the Renaissance, once a hospital for the canons and the so-called house of Queen Berengaria (16th century), meeting place of the historical and archaeological society of Maine. A monument to General Chanzy commemorates the battle of Le Mans (1871). Le Mans is the seat of a bishopric dating from the 3rd century, of a prefect, and of a court of assizes, and headquarters of the IV. army corps. It has also tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a council of trade-arbitrators, a chamber of commerce, a branch of the Bank of France, an exchange, a lycee for boys, training colleges, a higher ecclesiastical seminary and a school of music. The town has a great variety of industries, carried on chiefly in the southern suburb of Pontlieue. The more important are the state manufacture of tobacco, the preparation of preserved vegetables, fish. &c., tanning, hemp-spinning, hell-founding, flour-milling, the founding of copper and other metals, and the manufacture of railway wagons, machinery and engineering material, agricultural implements, rope, cloth and stained glass. The fattening of poultry is an important local industry, and there is trade in cattle, wine, cloth, farm-produce, &c. The town is an important railway centre. As the capital of the Aulerci Cenomanni, Le Mans was called Suindinum or Vindinum. The Romans built walls round it in the 3rd century, and traces of them are still to be seen close to the left bank of the river near the cathedral. In the same century the town was evangelized by St Julian, who became its first bishop. Ruled at first by his successors—notably St Aldric—Le Mans passed in the middle ages to the counts of Maine (q.v.), whose capital and residence it became. About the middle of the 11th century the citizens secured a communal charter, but in 1063 the town was seized by William the Conqueror, who deprived them of their liberties, which were recovered when the countship of Maine had passed to the Plantagenet kings of England. Le Mans was taken by Philip Augustus in 1189, recaptured by John, subsequently confiscated and later ceded to Queen Berengaria, who did much for its prosperity. It was several times besieged in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1793 it was seized by the Vendeans, who were expelled by the Republican generals Marceau and \Vestermann after a stubborn battle in the streets. ,In 1799 it was again occupied by the Chouans. The battle of Le Mans (loth-12th January 1871) was the culminating point of General Chanzy's fighting retreat into western France after the winter campaign in Beauce and Perche (see FRANCO-GERMAN WAR). The numerous, but ill-trained and ill-equipped, levies of the French were followed up by Prince Frederick Charles with the German II. Army, now very much weakened but consisting of soldiers who had in six months' active warfare acquired the self-confidence of veterans. The Germans advanced with three army corps in first line and one in reserve. On the 9th of January the centre corps (III.) drove an advanced division of the French from Ardenay (13 M. E. of Le Mans). On the loth of January Chanzy's main defensive position was approached. Its right wing was east of the Sarthe and 3-5 M. from Le Mans, its centre on the heights of Anvours with the river Huisne behind it, and its left scattered along the western bank of the same river as far as Montfort (12 M. E.N.E. of Le Mans) and thence northward for some miles. On the loth there was a severe struggle for the villages along the front of the French centre. On the filth Chanzy attempted a counter-offensive from many points, but owing to the misbehaviour of certain of his rawest levies, the Germans were able to drive him back, and as their cavalry now began to appear beyond his extreme left flank, he retreated in the night of the 11th on Laval, the Germans occupying Le Mans after a brief rearguard fight on the 12th. LE MARCHANT, JOHN GASPARD (1766-1812), English major-general, was the son of an officer of dragoons, John Le Marchant, a member of an old Guernsey family. After a some-what wild youth, Le Marchant, who entered the army in 1781, attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel in 1797. Two years before this he had designed a new cavalry sword; and in 1801 his scheme for establishing at High Wycombe and Great Marlow schools for the military instruction of officers was sanctioned by Parliament, and a grant of £30,00° was voted for the " royal military college," the two original departments being afterwards combined and removed to Sandhurst. Le Marchant was the first lieutenant-governor, and during the nine years that he held this appointment he trained many officers who served with distinction under Wellington in the Peninsula. Le 111archant himself was given the command of a cavalry brigade in 1810, and greatly distinguished himself in several actions, being killed at the battle of Salamanca on the 22nd of July 1812, after the charge of his brigade had had an important share in the English victory. He wrote several treatises on cavalry tactics and other military subjects, but few of them were published. By his wife, Mary, daughter of John Carey of Guernsey, Le Marchant had four sons and six daughters. His second son, SIR DNIS LE MARCHANT, Bart. (1795-1874), was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, and was called to the bar in 1823. In 1830 he became secretary to Lord Chancellor Brougham, and in the Reform Bill debates made himself exceedingly useful to the ministers. Having been secretary to the board of trade from 1836 to 1841, he was created a baronet in 1841. He entered the House of Commons in 1846, and was under secretary for the borne department in the government of Lord John Russell. He was chief clerk of the House of Commons from 185o to 1871. He published a Life of his father in 1841, and began a Life of Lord Althorpe which was completed after his death by his son; he also edited Horace Walpole's Memoirs of the Reign of George III. (1845). Sir Denis Le Marchant died in London on the 3oth of October 1874. The third son of General Le Marchant, SIR JOHN GASPARD LE MARCHANT (1803-1874), entered the English army, and saw service in Spain in the Carlist War of 1835-37. He was after-wards lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland (1847-1852) and of Nova Scotia (1852-1857); governor of Malta (1859-1864); commander-in-chief at Madras (1865-1868). He was made K.C.B. in 1865, and died on the 6th of February 1874. See Sir Denis Le Marchant, Memoirs of General Le Merchant (1841); Sir William Napier, History of the War in the Peninsula (6 vols., 1828-1840).
SIR PETER LELY (1617—168o)
LEMBERG (Pol. Lwdw, Lat. Leopolis)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.