Abbé Montesquiou journal ca. 1798
The Abbé Montesquiou was born into an aristocratic family at the Château de Marsau, Gascony, in 1756. He became enmeshed in the political turmoil of the French Revolution while still a young man, serving as a General Agent of the Clergy in the Estates General of 1789. Montesquiou was a consistent supporter of the Ancien Régime throughout the crisis, opposing the abolition of privileges and voting against the Civil Constitution of the clergy. In 1792, the increasingly radicalized political climate led Montesquiou to flee France and emigrate to America, where he spent three years traveling through the mid-Atlantic states and Québec.
Upon his return to France in 1795, the Abbé took part in the Royalist Committee, and as a result, was exiled to Menton. Rehabilitated under the Empire, he was appointed Minister of the Interior, and later was awarded for his loyalty to the Royalist cause with the titles comte (1817) and finally duc (1821).