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LOUIS XIV.



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.x/-



HISTORY



OF



LOUIS XIV.



By JOHN^ S. C. ABBOTT,

AUTHOR OF

"THE HISTORY OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE," "THE
FRENCH REVOLUTION," &o.



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TmWQ Kllusttationst.




'.V OF'co^



NEW YORK:
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,

FRANKLIN SQUARE.
187 I.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by

Haepee & Beotuees,

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.






PREFACE.



We all live a double life : the external life
which the world sees, and the internal life of
hopes and fears, joys and griefs, temptations
and sins, which the world sees not, and of
which it knows but little. JSTone lead this
double life more emphatically than those who
are seated upon thrones.

Though this historic sketch contains allu-
sions to all the most important events in the
reign of Louis XIY., it has been the main ob-
ject of the writer to develop the inner life of
the palace ; to lead the reader into the interior
of the Louvre, the Tuileries, Versailles, and
Marly, and to exhibit the monarch as a man,
in the details of domestic privacy.

This can more easily be done in reference
to Louis XIY. than any other king. Yery
many of the prominent members of his house-
hold left their autobiographies, filled with the
minutest incidents of every-day life.

It is impossible to give any correct idea of
the life of this proud monarch without allusion



viii Preface.

to the corruption in the midst of which he
spent his days. Still, the writer, while faithful
to fact, has endeavored so to describe these
scenes that any father can safely read the nar-
rative aloud to his family.

There are few chapters in history more re-
plete with horrors than that which records the
"Eevocation of the Edict of Nantes." The
facts given are beyond all possibility of con-
tradiction. In the contemplation of these
scenes the mind pauses, bewildered by the re-
flection forced upon it, that many of the actors
in these fiend-like outrages were inspired by
motives akin to sincerity and conscientious-
ness.

The thoughtful reader will perceive that in
this long and wicked reign Louis XIV. was
sowing the wind from which his descendants
reaped the whirlwind. It was the despotism
of Louis XIY. and of Louis XY. which ushered
in that most sublime of all earthly dramas, the
French Revolution.

John S. C. Abbott.

New Haven, Conn., 1870.



CONTENTS.



Chapter Page

I. BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD 13

II. THE BOY-KING 49

III. MATRIMONIAL PROJECTS 86

IV. THE MARRIAGE OP THE KING 121

V. FESTIVITIES OF THE COURT 159

VI. DEATH IN THE PALACE 194

VII. THE WAR IN HOLLAND 234

VIII. MADAME DB MAINTENON 268

IX. THE REVOCATION OF THE EDICT OP NANTES 302

X. THE SECRET MARRIAGE 330

XL INTRIGUES AND WARS 359

XIL LAST DAYS OP LOUIS XIV 384



ENGRAVINGS.



Page

LOUIS XIV. . Frontispiece.

THE CASTLE OF BLOIS 18

PALACE OF ST. GERMAIN-EN-LAYE 23

THE PALAIS ROYAL 31 - ^

PALACE OF THE LUXEMBOURG 52

THE TUILERIES . 74

THE CASTLE OF VINCENNES 79

PALACE OF CHANTILLY 98

VIEW OF FONTAENEBLEAU 103

ISLE OF PHEASANTS . 129

THE LOUVRE AND THE TUILERIES 139 "

PALACE OF FONTALNEBLEAU . 145

CHATEAU MAZARIN 157

CHATEAU DE VAUX 176

CONVENT OF VAL DE GRACE 198

THE PALACE OF ST. CLOUD 201

INTERIOR OF ST. DENIS 208

ST. DENIS . 236

PORTE ST. DENIS 254

MADAME DE MAINTENON 273

PALACE OF VERSAILLES 297

PARTERRE OF VERSAILLES . 324

RACINE AND BOILEAU - 339

THE TRIANON 351

MARLY - - - . 354

LOUIS XIV. DIRECTING THE SIEGE 362

FRONT VIEW OF ST. GERMAIN 376

ANNOUNCEMEMT OF THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV. . . 409



LOUIS XIV.



Chapter I.
BiETH AND Childhood.



Marriage of Louis XIII.



LOUIS XIII. of France married Anne of
Austria on the 25th of N"oveinber, 1615.
The marriage ceremony was performed with
great splendor in the Cathedral of Bordeaux.
The bride was exceedingly beautiful, tall, and
of exquisite proportions. She possessed the
whitest and most delicate hand that ever made
an imperious gesture. Her eyes were of
matchless beauty, easily dilated, and of extra-
ordinary transparency. Her small and ruddy
mouth looked like an opening rose-bud. Long
and silky hair, of a lovely shade of auburn,
gave to the face it surrounded the sparkling
complexion of a blonde, and the animation of
a brunette.*

The marriage was not a happy one. Louis

* Louis XIV. et son Siecle.



14 Louis XIY. [1615.

Character of Louis XIII.

XIII. was not a man of any mental or physical
attractions. He was cruel, petulant, and jeal-
ous. The king had a younger brother, Gaston,
duke of Anjou. He was a young man of joy-
ous spirits, social, frank, a universal favorite.
Plis moody, taciturn brother did not love him.
Anne did. She could not but enjoy his socie-
ty. Wounded by the coldness and neglect of
her husband, it is said that she was not unwill-
ing, by rather a free exhibition of the fascina-
tions of her person and her mind, to win the
admiration of Gaston. She hoped thus to in-
spire the king with a more just appreciation of
her merits.

Louis XIIL, at the time of his marriage,
was a mere boy fourteen years of age. His
father had died when he w^as nine years old.
He was left under the care of his mother, Mary
de Medicis, as regent. Anne of Austria was
a maturely developed and precocious child of
eleven years when she gave her hand to the
boy-king of France. 'Not much discretion
could have been expected of two such children,
exposed to the idleness, the splendors, and the
corruption of a court.

Anne was vain of her beauty, naturally co-
quettish, and very romantic in her views of life.



1624.] BiETH AND Childhood. 15

Character of Anne of Austria. Cardinal Eichelieu.

It is said that the queen dowager, wishing to
prevent Anne from gaining much influence
over the mind of the king, did all she could to
lure her into flirtations and gallantri-es, which
alienated her from her husband. For this
purpose she placed near her person Madame
Chevreuse, an intriguing woman, alike renown-
ed for wit, beauty, and unscrupulousness.

Quite a desperate flirtation arose between
Anne and little Gaston, who was but nine years
of age. Gaston, whom the folly of the times
entitled Duke of Anjou, hated Louis, and de-
lighted to excite his jealousy and anger by his
ojDen and secret manifestation of love for the
beautiful Anne. The king's health failed.
He became increasingly languid, morose, ema-
ciate. Anne, young as she was, was physically
a fully developed woman of voluptuous beauty.
The undisguised alienation which existed be-
tween her and the king encouraged other
courtiers of eminent rank to court her smiles.

Cardinal Richelieu, notwithstanding his ec-
clesiastical vows, became not only the admirer,
but the lover of the queen, addressing her in
the most impassioned words of endearment.
Thus years of intrigue and domestic wretched-
ness passed away until 1624. The queen had



16 Louis XIV. [1628.

The Duke of Buckingham. His death.

then been married nine years, and was twenty
years of age. She had no children.

The reckless, hot-headed George Yilliers,
duke of -Buckingham, visited the French court
to arrange, terms of marriage between Henriet-
ta Maria, sister of Louis XIIL, and the Prince
of Wales, son of James I. of England. He
was what is called a splendid man, of noble
bearing, and of chivalric devotion to the fair.
The duke, boundlessly rich, displayed great
magnificence in Paris. He danced with; the
queen, fascinated her by his openly avowed
admiration, and won such smiles in return as
to induce the king and Cardinal Kichelieu al-
most to gnash their teeth with rage.

This flirtation, if we may not express it by
a more emphatic phrase, created much heart-
burning and wretchedness, criminations and
recriminations, in the regal palace. In Au-
gust, 1628, the Duke of Buckingham, then in
England, terminated his wretched and guilty
life. He fell beneath the dagger of an assas-
sin. Anne, disdaining all dissimulation, wept
openly, and, secluding herself from the gaye-
ties of the court, surrendered herself to grief.

A mutual spirit of defiance existed between
the king and queen. Both were wretched.



1637.] Birth and Childhood. 17

Estrangement of the king and. queen.

Such are always the wages of sin. Ten more
joyless years passed away. The rupture be-
tween the royal pair was such that they could
scarcely endure each other. Louis himself
was the first to inform the queen of the news
so satisfactory to him, so heart-rending to her,
that a dagger had pierced the heart of Buck-
ingham. After this they met only at unfre-
quent intervals. All confidence and sympathy
were at an end. It was a bitter disappointment
to the queen that she had no children. Upon
the death of the king, who was in very feeble
liealth, her ovni position and infiuenjse would
depend almost entirely upon her having a son
to w^hom the crown would descend. Louis re-
sided generally at the Castle of Blois, Anne
held her court at the Louvre.

A married life of twenty-two years had pass-
ed away, and still the qjieen had no child.
Both she and her husband had relinquished all
hope of offspring. On the evening of the 5th
of December, 1637, the king, having made a
visit to the Convent of the Visitation, being
overtaken by a storm, drove to the Louvre in-
stead of Blois. He immediately proceeded to
the apartments of the queen. Anne was as-
tonished, and did not disguise her astonishment

B



18



Louis XIV.



Joy of the nation.



[1637.




THE CASTLE OP BLOIS.



at seeing him. He, however, remained nntil
the morrow.

Soon after this, tp the inexpressible joy of
the queen, it appeared that she was to become
a mother. The public announcement of the
fact created surprise and joy throughout the
nation. The king was equally astonished and
delighted. He immediately hastened to the
Louvre to offer the queen his congratulations.

The queen repaired to St. Germain-en-Laye,
about six miles from Versailles, to await the



1638.] • Birth and Childhood. 19

Birth of Louis XIV.

birth of her child. Here she occupied, in the
royal palace, the gorgeous apartments in which
Henry lY. had formerly dwelt. The king
himself also took up his abode in the palace.
The excitement was so great that St. Germain
was crowded with the nobility, who had flock-
ed to the place in anxious expectancy of the
great event. Others, who could not be accom-
modated at St. Germain, stationed couriers on
the road to obtain the earliest intelligence of
the result.

On the 6th of September, 1638, the king
was greeted with the joyful tidings of the birth
of a son. A vast crowd had assembled in fi^ont
of the palace. The king, in the exuberance of
his delight, took the child from the nurse, and,
stepping out upon a balcony, exhibited him to
the crowd, exclaiming, " A son ! gentlemen, a
son !"

The announcement was received with a uni-
versal shout of joy. The happy father then
took the babe into an adjoining apartment,
where the bishops were assembled to perform
the ordinance of baptism. These dignitaries
of the Church had been kneeling around a
temporary altar praying for the queen. The
Bishop of Meaux performed the ceremony. A



20 Louis XIY. [1638.

Gift of the Pope.'

Te Deum was then chanted in the chapel of
the castle. Immediately after this, the king
wrote an autograph letter to the corporation
of Paris, announcing the joyful tidings. A
courier was dispatched with the document at
his highest .possible speed.

The enthusiasm excited in the capital sur-
passed any thing which had ever before been
witnessed. The common people, the nobles,
the ecclesiastics, and the foreign embassadors,
vied with each other in their demonstrations
of joy. A few months after, in July, an extra-
ordinary messenger arrived from the pope, to
convey to the august mother and her child the
blessing of the holy father. He also present-
ed the queen, for her babe, swaddling-clothes
which had been blessed by his holiness. These
garments were exceedingly rich with gold and
silver embroidery. They were inclosed in a
couple of chests of red velvet, and elicited the
admiration of the royal pair.

The France of that day was very different
from that magnificent empire which now stands
in intellectual culture, arts, and arms, promi-
nent among the nations of the globe. The
country was split up into hostile factions, over
which haughty nobles ruled. The roads in the



1640.] BiETH AND Childhood. 21

Condition of Paris. Keconciliation of the king and queen.

rural districts were almost impassable. Paris
itself was a small and dirty city, with scarcely
any police regulations, and infested with rob-
bers. There were no lamps to light the city
by night. The streets were narrow, ill paved,
and choked with mud and refuse. Immedi-
ately after nightfall these dark and crooked
thoroughfares were thronged with robbers and
assassins, whose depredations were of the most
audacious kind.

Socially, morally, and intellectually, France
was at the lowest ebb. The masses of the peo-
ple were in a degraded condition of squalid
poverty and debasement. Still the king, by
enormous taxation, succeeded in wresting from
his wretched subjects an income to meet the
expenses of his court, amounting to about four
millions of our money. But the outlays were
so enormous that even this income was quite
unavailing, and innumerable measures of ex-
tortion were adopted to meet the deficit.

The king was so much gratified by the birth
of a dauphin that for a time he became quite
reconciled to his beautiful and haughty queen.
Two years after the birth of the dauphin, on
the 21st of September, 1640, Anne gave birth
to a second son, who took the title of Philip,



22 Louis XIY. [1640.

Orders of Louis XIII. respecting the dauphin.

duke of Anjou. The queen and her two chil-
dren resided in the beautiful palace of Saint
Germain-en-Laye, where the princes were born.

A company of French Guards, commanded
by Captain Montigni, protected the castle.
Madame de Lausac was the governess of the
two children. The title by which the king's
brother was usually designated was simply
Monsieur. But for these children of the king,
the crown, upon the death of the monarch,
would descend immediately to Monsieur, the
king's brother. The morals of the times were
such that the king was ever apprehensive that
some harm might come to the children through
the intrigues of his brother. Monsieur lived
in Paris. The king left orders with Madame
de Lausac that, should his brother visit the
queen, the officers of the household should im-
mediately surround the dauphin for his protec-
tion, and that Monsieur should not be permit-
ted to enter the palace should he be accompa-
nied by more than three persons.

To Montigni, the captain of the guard, the
king gave half of a gold coin, of which he re-
tained the other half. Montigni was com-
manded to watch over the persons of the princes
with the utmost vigilance. Should he receive



1643.] BiKTH AND Childhood. 25

111 health of Louis XIII.

an order to remove them, or to transfer them
to other hands, he was enjoined not to obey
that order, even should it be in the handwrit-
ing of his majesty himself, nnless he at the
same time received the other half of the broken
coin.

The king, as we have mentioned, had been
for some time in feeble health. Early in the
spring of 1643 he became seriously ill. The
symptoms were so alarming as to lead the
king, as well as his friends, to think that death
could not be far distant. There are few men
so hardened as to be able to contemplate with-
out some degree of anxiety death and the final
judgment. The king was alarmed. He be-
took himself to prayer and to the scrupulous
discharge of his religious duties.

In preparation for the great change, he re-
paired to Saint Germain to invest the queen
with the regency when he should die. His
brother. Monsieur, who had taken the title of
the Duke of Orleans, and all the leading nobles
of the court, were present. The king, pale,
emaciate, and with death staring him in the
face, was bolstered in his bed. Anne of Aus-
tria stood weeping by his side. She did not
love her husband — she did love power ; but



26 Louis XIY. [1643.

The dauphin declared King Louis XIV,

the scene was so solemn and so affecting as to
force tears into all eyes. The dauphin was
then four and a half years old. He was de-
clared king, with the title of Louis XIY., un-
der the regency of his mother until he should
attain his majority.

The next day, April 21st, the christening of
the dauphin with his new title took place with
great state in the chapel of the palace. After
the celebration of the rite, the dauphin was
carried into the chamber of his dying father,
and seated upon the bed by his side. The
poor king, dying in the prime of life, was op-
pressed with the profoundest melancholy.
There was nothing in the memory of the past
to give him pleasure ; nothing in the future to
inspire him with well-grounded hope. Turn-
ing to the little prince, who had just been chris-
tened with the royal title, he inquired,

" What is your name, my child ?"

"Louis XIY.," the dauphin promptly replied.

" I^ot yet," said the king, sadly, shaking his
head ; " but pray God that it may soon be so."

A few more days of sickness and suffering
passed away, during which it was almost hour-
ly expected that the king would die. Death
often comes to the palace invested with terrors



1643.] BiKTH AND Childhood. 27



Last hours of Louis XIII.



unknown in the cottage. Beneath his sceptre
all gradations and conditions of rank disap-
pear. The sufferings of the king were such
that he longed for release.

On the 13th of May, as the shades of even-
ing were gathering around his dying bed, he
anxiously inquired of his physicians if it were
possible that he could live until morning.
They consulted together, and then informed
him that they did not think it possible.

" God be praised !" the king replied. " I
think it is now time that I should take leave
of all whom I love."

The royal household was immediately as-
sembled around the couch of the dying mon-
arch. He had sufficient strength to throw his
arms around the neck of the queen, and to press
her tenderly to his heart. In such an hour
past differences are forgotten. In low and
broken tones of voice, the king addressed the
queen in a few parting words of endearment.

The dauphin was then placed in his arms.
Silently, but with tearful eyes, he pressed his
thin and parched lips to both cheeks and to the
brow of the child, who was too young to com-
prehend the solemn import of the scene.

His brother, Monsieur, the duke of Orleans,



28 Louis XIY. [1643.

Death of Louis XIII.

tlie king had never loved. In these later years
he had regarded him with implacable hostility.
But, subdued by the influences of death, he
bade that brother an eternal adieu, with even
fond caresses. Indeed, he had become so far
reconciled to Monsieur that he had appointed
him lieutenant general of the kingdom, under
the regency of Anne of Austria, during the mi-
nority of the dauphin.

Several of the higher ecclesiastics were pres-
ent, who had assisted in preparing him to die.
He affectionately embraced them all, and then
requested the Bishop of Meaux to read the
service for the dying. While it was being
read he sank into a lethargy, and never spoke
again. He died in the forty-second year of
his age, after a reign of thirty-three years, hav-
ing ascended the throne when but nine years
old.

Immediately after the death of the king,
Anne of Austria held a private interview with
Monsieur, in which they agreed to co-operate
in the maintenance of each other's authority.
The Parliament promptly recognized the queen
as regent, and the Duke of Orleans as lieutenant
general, during the minority of the dauphin.

The Duke de Grammont, one of the highest



1643.] Birth and Childhood. 29

Louis XIV, recognized king.

nobles of France, and a distinguished member
of the court of Louis XIII., had a son, tlie
Count de Guiche, a few months older than the
dauphin. This child was educated as the play-
fellow and the companion in study of the
young king. One of the first acts of Anne of
Austria was to assemble the leading bodies of
the realm to take the oath of allegiance to -her
son. The little fellow, four and a half years
old, arrayed in imperial robes, was seated upon
the throne. The Count de Guiche, a very se-
date, thoughtful, precocious child, was placed
upon the steps, that his undoubted propriety of
behavior might be a pattern to the infant king.
Both of the children behaved remarkably well.
Soon after this, at the close of the year 1643,
the queen, with her household, who had resided
during the summer in the palace of the Louvre,
took up her residence in what was then called
the Cardinal Palace. This magnificent build-
ing, which had been reared at an enormous ex-
pense, had been bequeathed by the Cardinal
Richelieu to the young king. But it was sug-
gested that it was not decorous that the king
should inhabit a mansion which bore the name
of the residence of a subject. Therefore the
inscription of Cardinal Palace was effaced



80 Louis XIY. [1643.

Palais Royal. Apartments of the queen regent.

from above the doorway, and that of Palais
Hoyal placed in its stead. The palace had
cost the cardinal a sum nearly equal to a mil-
lion of dollars. This ungrateful disregard of
the memory of the cardinal greatly displeased
his surviving friends, and called forth earnest
remonstrance. But all expostulations were in
vain. From that day to this the renowned
mansion has been known only as the " Palais
Royal." The opposite engraving shows the
palace as left by the cardinal. Since his day
the building has been greatly enlarged by ex-
tending the wings for shops around the whole
inclosure of the garden.

Louis XIY. was at this time five years old.
The apartments which had been occupied by
Richelieu were assigned to the dauphin. His
mother, the queen regent, selected for herself
rooms far more spacious and elegant. Though
they were furnished and embellished with ap-
parently every appliance of luxury, Anne, fond
of power and displa}^, expended enormous sums
in adapting them to her taste. The cabinet of
the regent, in the gorgeousness of its adorn-
ments, was considered the wonder of Paris.
' Cardinal Mazarin had also a suite of rooms
assigned him in the palace which looked out



1643.] BiKTH AND Childhood. 33

Educational arrangements for Louis XIV.

upon the Rue des bons Enfans. These house-
holds were quite distinct, and they were all
surrounded with much of the pageantry of
royalty. The superintendence of the educa-
tion of the young prince was intrusted to the
cardinal. He had also his governor, his sub-
governor, his preceptor, and his valet de cham-
bre, each of whom must have occupied posts of
honor rather than of responsibility. The Mar-
chioness de Senecey, and other ladies of high
rank, were intrusted with the special care of
the dauphin until he should attain the age of
seven years.

Thus the court of the baby-king was quite
imposing. From his earliest years he was ac-
customed to the profoundest homage, and was
trained to the most rigid rules of etiquette.
The dauphin early developed a fondness for
military exercises. Very eagerly he shoulder-
ed the musket, brandished the sword, and beat
the drum. The temperament of his brother
Philip, the duke of Anjou, was very different:
he was remarkably gentle, quiet, and affection-
ate. Gradually the baby-court of the dauphin
was increased by the addition of other lads.
The young king was the central luminary
around whom they all revolved. By them all

C



34 Louis XIY. [1643.

Speech of Louis at five years old.

the danpliin was regarded with a certain kind
of awe, as if he were a being of a superior, al-
most of a celestial race. • These lads were
termed " children of honor." They always
addressed the king, and were addressed in re-
turn, with the formality of full-grown men.
One day a little fellow named Lomenie de-
lighted the king with a gift. The king was
amusing himself with a cross-bow, which for
the time being happened to be in special favor.
He loaned the bow for a few moments to Lo-
menie. Soon, however, anxious to regain the
valued plaything, he held out his hand to take
it back. His governess, the Marchioness de
Senecey, said to him, aside,

" Sire, kings give what they lend."
Louis, immediately approaching his compan-


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