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General

army, title, france, conferred, appears, reign and command

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GENERAL, a title conferred on mili tary men above the rank of field-officers. In all the states of Europe it indicates the commander-in-chief of the forces of the nation; the commander of an army or grand division, and also those who, under the latter, exercise his functions, with the particular designations of lieute nant-general and major-general.

The origin of the title appears in the history of France, in which country it seems to have been conferred on the commander of the royal army about the middle of the fifteenth century, when something like a regular military force was first established in Europe. The kings were then considered as holding the chief command of the army in virtue of their birth ; and, on appointing persons under them to exercise a general superinten dence of the forces, they gave to such officers the title of in order to designate at the same time the extent of their duties and their depend ence on the sovereign whom they repre sented. By n decree made in the year 1450, in the reign of Charles VII., John, count of Dunois, was so qualified ; and the title of lieutenant-general, denoting the immediate commander-in-chief of an army, was long retained in the French service. In the course of time, by an abbreviation in language, the prefix of the title was omitted, and the term general alone was applied to persons holding such command.

Previously to the epoch above men tioned the title of Grand Senechal of France appears to have conferred the right of commanding the, royal armies ; but the dignity being hereditary in the counts of Anjou, when that province passed to the crown of England in the reign of Henry II., the right ceased, and the kings of France delegated their authority to noblemen chosen at pleasure. In 1218 Philip Augustus conferred the command on Mathieu de Montmorenci, the constable of France ; and the succes sors of that high officer held it till the reformation of the army in the reign of Charles VII.

It must be remarked, however, that at a period more early than that of the creation of lieutenant-generals under the sovereign, the title of captain-general had been conferred on certain officers with militaryjurisdiction over particular dis tricts. This species of command is sup

posed to have been first instituted in 1349 by Philip of Valois, who placed Guy de Nele, already Mardchal de France, over the district of Xaintonge ; within which he was authorised to inspect the castles and fortified towns, and to superintend all the military affairs. The nature of the duty therefore seems to have resem bled that of the inspecting field-officers now appointed to particular divisions of this country and the colonies. But in 1635, that is, about eight years after the suppression of the post of constable of France, Louis XIII. gave the title of captain-general, for the army of Italy, to the Duke of Savoy ; and this appointment was precisely that of commander-in-chief, since it placed the duke above the Mare chal de Crequi, who was previously at the head of the army.

It is about this time that the term lieu tenant-general, in the sense which it now bears, first appears. For, according to Pere Daniel, who quotes the history of Cardinal Richelieu for the fact, when the Prince of Conde was made commander in-chief of the army destined against Spain, the Marquis de la Force was ap pointed his and M. de Feuquieres held the same rank under the Due de Longueville, who was to apt with an army in Franche-Compte. We lime here but one lieutenant-general for each army : but the writer above mentioned observes that, during the reign of Louis XIV., the armies of France being much more numerous than before, the officers were also greatly multiplied; and adds that, in 1704, there were more than sixty who had the title of lieutenant-general. The title of captain-general above men tioned must not be confounded with that which was created by Cardinal Riche lieu, in 1656, in favour of the Marquis de Casteluaut : this officer was placed above the lieutenant-generals of the army, but was subordinate to the marshal of France, who commanded in chief; and it appears that some of the former having retired from the service in disgust, in consequence of the new appointment, the cardinal was obliged to create others in their places.

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