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What is a Frenchman?

Some of the Monarchical papers reproach the Republic with having amongst its .functionaries certain persons of alien origin. They are alike sorrowful and indignant at seeing the destinies of France committed in any degree to men of English, of German, or of Italian origin. To reconcile them to this state of affairs the Parisian Globe points out how largely the foreign element pervaded the race of kings for whose return they sigh so vainly. Suppose it be admitted that Henry IV. was a true-born Frenchman. He married Marie des Medicis, an Italian, and his son, Louis XIII., would, therefore, be only half French. Louis XIII. married Anne of Austria, and, therefore, Louis XIV., offspring of this union, would be only quarter French. If this arithmetical test be rigorously applied to each succeeding branch of the genealogical tree, the result is certainly curious. Louis XV., Louis XVI., Louis XVIII., and Charles X. each contributed to the admixture of alien elements with the real blue blood royal of France, until in the case of the Comte de Chambord the quantity of the genuine article must be infinitesimal. If, instead of taking Henry of Navarre as the point of departure, an earlier monarch is selected, the case becomes even stronger. This method of proving the son of St. Louis to be a pilgrim and a stranger in the land of his legal ancestry is a neat leductio ad absurdum of the foolish temper of mind that judges the patriotism of public men, not by their actions, but by obscure considerations of nationality.

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Bibliographic details

What is a Frenchman?, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 273, 19 February 1881

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What is a Frenchman? Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 273, 19 February 1881