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THE REAL LOUIS
THE FIFTEENTH

VOL. I



LIB RARY J



THE REGENT QF THE ROUES.

with Seventeen Portraits.

Demy 8vo, cloth gilt, I6s. net.

' ' This book, written in popular style to show — hut to
show truthfully — the romance of the period of eight years
before Louis XV. came to the throne, is in Colonel
Haggard's best vein. It is a romance in which women
take a chief part." — Daily Graphic.

" No better guide to the history of France after the
death of Louis XIV. could possibly be found than
the entertaining writer who so vividly pictured for us
the Grand Monarque and his satellites in ' Louis XIV.
in Court and Camp.' " — Manchester Courier.




c^2^?-fA



'^^ Js:v



T



HE REAL LOUIS
^» THE FIFTEENTH

By Ueut.=Colonel ANDREW C. P.
HAGGARD. D.S.O. Auihor of " Side-

lights on the Court of France," " Louis XIV.
in Court and Camp," "The Regent of the

Roues," etc.



WITH 34 FULL-PAGE PORTRAITS . .
INCLUDING 2 PHOTOGRAVURE PLATES



Vol. I



London: HUTCHINSON 6 CO.

PATERNOSTER ROW # # ^ 1906



MY OLD FRIEND

BARON NICOLAS DE VAY

SEIGNEUR DE VAJA

KNIGHT OF THE ORDER OF ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM

THE FOLLOWING PAGES ARE

AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED

ANDREW HAGGARD



PREFATORY NOTE



Only when the brave, dissipated, good-natured, and
humane Regent, Philippe d'Orleans, sunk to his death
upon the shoulder of Madame de Falari can Louis XV.
be said to have ascended the throne of France. This
was on December 2nd, 1723. Prior to this date, although
the taciturn httle boy Louis had succeeded his great-
grandfather eight years earher, the Due d'Orleans had
been practically King. The subsequent rule of the
fourth of the Bourbon Monarchs, who was, as if in irony,
termed The Well- Beloved, extended to May, 1774, when
he closed a degraded life by a degraded death.

The reign of le Bien-Aime seems naturally to divide
itself into two periods. It is with the earlier period,
that which terminates with the year after the Peace of
Aix-la-Chapelle, concluded in October, 1748, that the
first of these volumes deals. It may, in contradistinc-
tion to that which follows, be characterised as the period
of the Priest and the Petticoat, while in 1749 began
those struggles with the clergy which eventually banished
the Jesuit and left the Woman supreme.



V.l



viii Prefatory Note

Up to 1749, however, the Priest, under one guise or
another, and the Petticoat, in frequently changing
form, ruled contemporaneously and frequently con-
jointly. After that date the ruling element became
gradually centred in the decision of Pompadour, an
invalid and hourgeoise mistress who had long ceased to
charm, or the whim of du Barry, a vulgar and self-assured
courtesan who sprang from the lowest ranks of the
people.

Great indeed is the change with which we are con-
fronted when we close the volume of the atheistical
Regent of the Roues and open that of the degrading
days of Louis XV., the devout pupil, so far as form goes,
of holy Mother Church.

One passes at once from the full light of day at the
Palais-Royal, where every action, no matter how well
intentioned, no matter how ignoble, takes place before
all the world, to the gloom of night in the darksome
petits cabinets of Versailles. There, one unpatriotic
trick, one infamous or inglorious intrigue succeeds the
other, all alike evolved from the cunning brain of
the Jesuit without ; it may be at Issy or Saint-Sulpice
close by, or in the tricky purlieus of the Court of
Madrid.

Filtering through the lips of the old-womanish Car-
dinal Fleury, those of the four successive Nesle sisters,
those of the three far too favourite daughters of the
Monarch, or of Pompadour, inspired by her relatives the
farmers-general Paris, these intrigues reach the licentious



Prefatory Note ix

Monarch in his besotted moments of debauchery and
semi-intoxication.

The result is seen in actions, apparently those of
the weak, obstinate, and cowardly King himself, which
tend to the discredit of his Government, the disgrace
of his kingdom, and the untold misery of millions of
his subjects.

Nor do these priestly and womanish intrigues which,
under Fleury, owing to his weakness for a bigoted Austria,
sacrifice a French army in the snows at Prague, affect
France alone. It will be seen in the following pages
how they cause the blood to flow in streams all over
Europe, and how, time and time again, that heroic
figure Frederick the Great, the faithful ally of France,
is treacherously abandoned owing to their far-reaching
influences.

ANDREW HAGGARD.



VOL. I.



CONTENTS



CHAP.
I.

II.

III.

IV.

y.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.
XX.

VOL.



THE BISHOP AND THE MARQUISE DE PRIE

HOW A QUEEN WAS MADE .

HOW A QUEEN WAS DEPOSED

FRANCE, AFTER THE MARQUISE .

A TROUBLESOME QUEEN

THE DUG DE RICHELIEU AND PRINCE EUGENE

TPIE TRIALS OF MARIE LESCZVNSKA .

THE AFFAIRE CADIERE.

LOUIS'S FIRST LOVES— AND BELLE-ISLE

THE WAR OF THE POLISH SUCCESSION

MADEMOISELLE DE NESLE .

THE HOUSE OF ORLEANS

THE GREAT FREDERICK

A ROVAL CONSPIRACY AND A DOTARD'S
FOLLIES

THE INSTALLATION OF A FAVOURITE.

THE WAR OF THE AUSTRIAN SUCCESSION

THE DISC;RACE OF THE FAVOURITES .

\ENGEANCE AND DEATH OF MADAME DE
CHATEAUROUX ....

THE BATTLE OF FONTENOY

MADEMOISELLE LECOUVREUR AND THE

MARECHAL DE SAXE
I. xi c



I
19

33
45
60

74
86

96
1 1 1

125
137
151
i6r

171
1 89
197
208

225
234

249



xii Contents

CHAP. PAGE

XXI. MADEMOISELLE POISSON — MARQUISE DE

POMPADOUR 259

XXIL BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE AND FLORA

MACDONALD 268

XXIIL MANCEUVRES OF THE MARQUIS D'ARGENSON 28O

XXIV. THE FAMILY, POMPADOUR, VOLTAIRE, AND

PEACE 293

XXV. A VENGEANCE FOR MADAME DE POMPADOUR 3 II

XXVL MANNERS AND MORALS AT THE COURT OF

STANISLAS 323

XXVn. COURT ETIQUETTE AND POMPADOUR'S MAG-
NIFICENCE 338



ILLUSTRATIONS

VOL. I
LOUIS XV. {Photogravure) Frontispiece

„ FACING PAGE

CARDINAL FLEURY

4
MARIE LESCZYNSKA {after Va7iloo) 32

JOSEPH PARIS-DUVERNEY . . .o

PRINCE EUGENE OF SAVOY ^8

MARIE LESCZYNSKA {after Nattier) 04

MAR^CHAL DE BELLE-ISLE j2q

FREDERICK THE GREAT j56

EMPRESS MARIE THERESE .



MADAME DE CHATEAUROUX



184
230



MAURICE DE SAXE ... „p,

MARQUISE DE POMPADOUR . . 25q

PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD .STUART 278

MADAME MARIE LOUISE j^LISABETH DE FRANCE 288

MADAME HENRIETTE OF FRANCE . . ,0,

COMTE PH^LIPPEAUX DE MAUREPAS 320

STANISLAS LESCZYNSKI ^,2



THE

REAL LOUIS THE FIFTEENTH



CHAPTER I
The Bishop and the Marquise de Prie

1723 AND LATER

When the dissolute Regent, Philippe, Due d'Orleans,
expired upon the shoulder of Madame de Falari, on
December 2nd, 1723, the nod of an old man's head
transferred the Kingdom of France.

The dwarfish little Minister of State Prisons, la
Vrilliere, who in his day signed no less than fifty thousand
lettres de cachet, had a paper ready in his pocket in case
of the Regent's death. This was a patent appointing
M. le Due de Bourbon, Prince de Conde, to the office of
First Minister, towards which supreme post even before the
Regent's decease M.le Due had been casting covetous eyes.

First Minister was the title which had been assumed
by the Due d'Orleans since the death of, that disgrace to
France, the infamous Cardinal Dubois, and the recently
declared majority of the boy-King Louis XV. That
Prince had, however, practically remained all-powerful
Regent to his last moments, which had come with
VOL. I. I



2 The Real Louis the Fifteenth

such awful suddenness. Louis XV., great-grandson of
Louis XIV. and third son of the Due de Bourgogne and
Marie-Adelaide of Savoy, was born on February 15th,
1710. He was crowned at Reims on October 25th, 1722,
and his majority declared on February 19th, 1723.

Still very childish for his age, and taciturn in manner
to a remarkable degree, the little boy was entirely under
the thumb of his aged preceptor, Fleury, Bishop of
Frejus. Hastily warning M. le Due, before any steps
could be taken by the Due de Chartres, son of the late
Regent, la Vrilliere repaired with the scheming scion of
the house of Conde to the King's apartments. These
apartments, in the chateau of Versailles, were situated
just above those occupied by the Regent, who was
now lying dead below.

It was early on the winter's night, while the Due
de Noailles and Due de Guiche were in Paris seeking for
the Regent's son, that the first Prince of the Blood
was forestalled at Versailles.

The Due de Bourbon found the young King with his
eyes red from weeping. Hard and cold as was the boy's
nature, he had latterly become attached to the kindly
disposition of his cousin the Regent ; moreover, tears
came easily to him.

While the gnome-like Due de la Vrilliere fingered the
oath written out ready in his pocket, the Due de Bourbon
demanded of the King to make him First Minister.

The boy, without saying a word, looked across at old
Fleury, who, as already arranged, remarked quietly that
the King " could not do better." Still without a word,
the boy-King made a sign of assent. The aspirant to
office thanked him, took the paper from la Vrilliere,
signed it, and went out.



The Bishop and the Marquise de Prie 3

Thus was inaugurated the government of the Marquise
de Prie, for it was this mistress en titre of M. le Due who
actually ruled the kingdom for the ensuing year or two.
The Due de Bourbon was the name, the harpy, Madame
de Prie, the power behind that name. Behind both was
Fleury, the King's preceptor.

In the arrangements made with the new First Minister,
the apparently benevolent seventy-year-old Bishop
merely reserved for himself a seat in the Privy Council
and the dispensation of ecclesiastical preferment. Who
would, then, have dreamed that in three years' time that
humble-mannered old man would have blossomed out
into the position of practical Monarch, to rule absolutely
for seventeen years, until he died at the age of ninety ?

But such indeed was the case. Not for twenty years
from the time that Bourbon signed the oath was Louis XV.
able gleefully to exclaim, " Messieurs, here I am, then —
at last — First Minister ! " while the courtiers in turn
shouted, " Le cardinal est mort ! Vive le roi .' " as though
it were a new reign commencing.

By that time Louis XV., who succeeded his great-
grandfather on September ist, 1715, had been twenty-
eight years upon a throne without becoming his own
master. And during the thirty-one subsequent years
of his reign it was the King's mistresses who really
ruled, or mis-ruled, the State.

Those who remember the closing scenes of the life of
Louis XIV. will recollect that one of the last actions of
the Grand Monarque was to sign the appointment,
suggested to him by his rabid Jesuit confessor le Tellier,
of Fleury as preceptor and confessor to the little five-year-
old boy about to succeed to the kingdom.

Louis " Dicudonnc " then acted rather against his



4 The Real Louis the Fifteenth

will, for he did not care for Fleury ; although, thanks
to a handsome face and majestic presence, he had origin-
ally appointed him Almoner to the Queen. About six
feet in height, the appearance of the Abbe Fleury was
gentle rather than truculent when he first appeared at
the Court, and such it had remained. From the position
of Queen's Almoner he was promoted to that of King's
Almoner, although he was only a deacon and apparently
in no hurry to take further orders. It was not until he
had entered his fortieth year that Fleury made up his
mind to become priest. It is to be feared that in those
days the future Cardinal was not more particular in his
moral conduct than Harlay de Champvallon, the Arch-
bishop of Paris, who became so notorious with his
duchesses and grisettes that the populace hooted him in
the streets. The celebrated Abbe Pucelles, the courageous
mainstay of Jansenism in the Parliament of Paris, went
indeed so far as to declare that he and Fleury, for the sake
of economy, shared the same mistress. These reports
came to the ears of the King, who, already annoyed at
the publicity of the Archbishop's immoralities, punished
his Almoner by making him a Bishop and sending him far
away from Paris.

The bishopric of Frejus, to which he was appointed,
was the most unenviable see in the whole of France.
Two hundred leagues from Paris, Frejus was in a marsh
whence, for fifteen long years, the only sounds of revelry
which saluted the ears of the pleasure-loving prelate were
the croakings of the frogs. He signed his letters " Bishop
of Frejus — by divine indignation."

Any prospects which he might have had of returning
to the Court, the Bishop ruined for himself by his own
indiscretion during the War of the Spanish Succession.




From a)t engraving after the picture l)y Rigaiui.

CARDINAI, 1-LEURY.



The Bishop and the Marquise de Prie 5

Prince Eugene and the Duke of Savoy having invaded
Provence, the incautious prelate visited them in their
camps and charmed them with his agreeable society.
Until the year after the Peace of Utrecht Fleury remained
thus in banishment and disgrace, when he threw himself
into the arms of the Jesuits in the hope of obtaining their
good graces. Nor were his hopes in vain : the Jesuits
accepted him, with a proviso. This was that the Bishop
of Frejus should receive at their hands a very hard
taskmaster, in the shape of the ruler of the Seminary
Saint-Nicolas, the Pere Pollet, as his confessor.

Under the auspices of this awful man, one of the
savage and cruel despoilers of the Jansenist convent and
cemetery of Port-Royal, Fleury floated back into favour ;
until Louis XIV., after the gangrene had already
gained his limbs, signed his appointment to his great-
grandson as preceptor and confessor.

In this position the Regent left him ; but knowing the
ignorance and indolence of the Bishop of Frejus, the Due
d'Orleans gave him two able assistants for the education
of the child-King. Another priest, also named Fleury,
was made his sous-preceptcur, while the Abbe Wittement,
or Vitement, formerly reader to the Due de Bourgogne
and a very honest man, taught the King to read.

When, in August, 1722, the wilful boy-King, schooled
by his governor, the Due de Villeroi, commenced to show
his impatience of control, by refusing a Jesuit as confessor
and cruelly, in his sullen temper, butchering his tame
white doe, the Bishop played his cards well. Seeing
that his Royal charge disliked constraint, he sent away
the learned Fleury, author of the Histoire ecclesiastique ;
he also sent off the excellent Wittement.

Thus the Bishop of Frejus remained alone with the



6 The Real Louis the Fifteenth

King, and, by allowing him to follow his own devices
and not forcing him to talk, became absolutely necessary
to the youth. It is true that, by way of keeping in with
the Jesuits, the Bishop persuaded his charge to give the
name of his confessor to a member of that order, the
Pere Linieres, but it was merely a name. Fleury alone
governed the young Louis in everything, and did so by
doing nothing, never seeming to assert himself, either
with the boy or with those in authority who might have
become jealous had he pushed himself forward. More-
over, he taught the King absolutely nothing.

In the year 1722, after the Regent had seized the
person of the insolent old Due de Villeroi and sent him
off to his estates for interfering between himself and the
King, Fleury remained the master while seeming the
slave. That he was the former was made manifest when,
upon the death of the Regent, he again played his cards
well by permitting the most powerful of the Princes of
the Blood to assume the nominal dictatorship.

To have allowed the Due de Chartres, the honest but
inefficient son of Phihppe d'Orleans, to have become
First Minister would, from Fleury's point of view, have
been a mistake. The Due d'Orleans once said to his
son, whose incompetence he realised, " You will never
be anything but an honest man." This was true, and
his honesty, which turned to devotion and Jansenism,
ended up in semi-madness.

A Prince of Jansenistical principles would have helped
Fleury little with the Jesuits or Rome, the persecutors of
the Jansenists ; while, again, the turbulent and jealous
spirit of the Condes and Contis, the other Princes, would
before long have made the position of the First Prince of
the Blood impossible, and probably resulted in a civil war.



The Bishop and the Marquise de Prie 7

The Due de Chartres — now Due d'Orleans — was heir
to the throne while the young Louis liad no children, and
was excessively jealous of his position as head of the
Royal Family. This fact also would have rendered the
post of Fleury far more difficult to maintain than by
accepting, as he quietly did, the rule of the Conde — for a
time. The Due d'Orleans would have sought the support
of the Jansenist faction, strong in the Parliament of Paris,
against the Jesuits, the protectors of Fleury, and thus
his Bishop's place would probably before long have been
vacant.

With M. le Due there was nothing of that sort to fear.
He was no friend of the Due de Noailles, no friend of the
Jansenists or the Parliament ; the Jesuits, Pollet and
the rest, accordingly promised him their support. The
Due de Bourbon, of course, promised in return to obtain
from Rome the Cardinal's hat for the Bishop of Frejus.
He promised, moreover, to work against and persecute
the Jansenists, who still refused to accept the constitution
of the Papal Bull Unigenitus. This Bull was framed
in 171 1 by Louis XIV. and his grandson the Due de
Bourgogne to crush the Jansenists, and furthermore
it was forced by Louis and the Due upon Clement XL,
a semi-Jansenist Pope. Bourbon also promised to
persecute the Protestants.

At Chantilly, the home of the Condes, irreligion
reigned supreme, as it had reigned everywhere in France
during the Regency, when indifference, led by the Regent
and Cardinal Dubois, had been, fortunately for the
Protestants, the order of the day. The Regent indeed
had befriended the Protestants, and rescued many of
their number from the galleys ; while the unbelieving
Cardinal Dubois only made a pretence of wishing to



8 The Real Louis the Fifteenth

persecute either Jansenist or Protestant for a short time,
when agitating for his Cardinal's hat. That once
obtained, all the old cruel traditions of the time of
Louis XIV. and Madame de Maintenon had been com-
pletely forgotten and ignored.

It is not to be supposed, therefore, that the religious
question was of more importance at Chantilly than it
had been during the Regency. Madame de Prie was the
friend of the ladies of the Conde family, all of them
Princesses of more than light reputation. Madame la
Duchesse the mother of the Due de Bourbon, Made-
moiselle de Charolais and Mademoiselle de Clermont his
sisters, his brother the Comte de Charolais, were all
alike known for their immoral behaviour. All of these
were the friends of Voltaire. The astute farmer-
general Paris-Duverney, who with his three brothers
had come into great prominence during the Regency, had
been selected by Madame de Prie as her right-hand man.
He helped to make Voltaire's enormous fortune, by giving
him a share in his traffic in provisions for the army and
the State, while Madame de Prie caused the poet to be
given a pension.

Things being thus at Chantilly, from the first M. le
Due did not back up the Jesuits, who were behind Fleury,
in a whole-hearted manner. Thus although, at the
instance of Lavergne de Tressan, Bishop of Nantes, who
wished to be made a Cardinal, an old edict of persecution
of the days of Louis XIV. was revived against the Pro-
testants, M. le Due took the sting out of it. He secretly
removed the murderous article from the code which
the clergy contrived to get him to promulgate — the
clause by which every one found to be a Protestant might,
for the crime of " relapse," be executed in some horrible



The Bishop and the Marquise de Prie 9

manner, burned or broken on the wheel. Nor did he
press the demand for the Cardinal's hat for Fleury : on
the contrary, he tried to block the matter. Regarding
the persecution of the Jansenists he was lukewarm also,
and demanded peace from Rome instead of war.

M, le Due was the more careless in these matters
because from the first he found that the Bishop of Frejus
was playing him false with the young King. While
keeping entire control over the Monarch, Fleury also
kept in his own hands the best part of the spoils of the
State through that control. He reserved in a great
measure the rewards, the power ; moreover, as regards
his influence with the boy-King, he held M. le Due
in a condition of fear as to how it might be exerted
against him.

Madame de Prie did not, however, propose to remain
in the future Cardinal's tutelage. From the first she
determined to be Queen in the State, and, with the
assistance of Paris-Duverney, for a time she succeeded.

There was no money in the State coffers, and without
money the old priest Fleury was powerless. Paris-
Duverney and his three brothers from Dauphine, who but
two years earlier had been the conquerors of the brilliant
Scotsman John Law and his SysUme, always seemed
to have the knack of obtaining money. The brothers
Paris were no common men ; Duverney in particular,
who lived to the age of eighty, filled a century with his
activity. At one time the favourite of de Prie, he was,
many years afterwards, the favourite of Pompadour, who
called him familiarly " my old booby." Long before
the days of de Prie, he and his brothers, mountaineers
and inn-keepers in the passes of the Alps, had helped
Louvois, the furious Minister of War, to pass an army



lo The Real Louis the Fifteenth

rapidly across those Alps. All the brothers had a
wonderful knowledge of affairs, while Duverney, with
a remarkable sense of order and precision, loved affairs
for themselves more than for the money they could
bring. During his career he handled many millions,
but only left a moderate fortune. He never cared
about honours or titles, and was content to be known,
while under the Due de Bourbon, as Secretaire des
commandements de M. le Due.

Having been associated with the great financier
Samuel Bernard, the brothers Paris did all the rough
work for him, provisioned army after army, always
paying money down, and obtaining provisions when none
else could find any. Upon one occasion they suddenly
produced forty thousand horses at once for the Marechal
de Villars ; moreover, they conducted him and pro-
visioned him during his last splendid efforts upon the
Rhine, which resulted in peace.

In the days of the Seven Years' War we shall find
Paris-Duverney, as an octogenarian, again in the field,
as active as ever, and always a performer of miracles.

Such, then, was the man with whom Madame de Prie
had associated herself. In her alliance with him she was
strong ; she found means to satisfy her ambition, and
that greed which had enabled her, with M. le Due and
his family, to make at least fifty millions of livres, by
dubious methods, out of John Law and his Systeme
during the Regency.

Madame de Prie, daughter of Madame Pleneuf, an
amiable lady with many lovers, became at an early age
the wife of the Marquis de Prie, a starveling envoy at
Turin to the Court of Victor Amadeus of Savoy, King of
Sardinia. When «he returned to Paris she was floated



The Bishop and the Marquise de Prie 1 1

by a well-known stock- jobbing lady, Madame de Verrue,
who was of the ducal family de Luynes.

Madame de Verrue also had lived long in Italy, in
Piedmont, where her husband had taken it in very bad
part when she refused to become the mistress of the
then Duke of Savoy, rviler of Piedmont. She at length
gave way to the importunities of the Duke, and practically
became Queen of the State, until, wearied out by the
jealous tyranny of her Royal lover, she made her escape
back to Paris and indulged in both unlimited pleasure
and boundless speculations. Her hotel became famous
for its splendid picture-galleries, and especially for its
collection of paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt, of
whose work Madame de Verrue was one of the earliest
admirers.

When the Marquise de Prie, then in the flower of her
youthful beauty, returned, full of Italian charms and
graces, from Turin, Madame de Verrue saw in the beautiful
but depraved girl an object of speculation. She knew the
young Due de Bourbon to be tired of Madame de Nesle,
by whom he had two daughters, one acknowledged and



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