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The Supremacy of France and the Wars of Louis XIV Thomas Henry Dyer

The Supremacy of France and the Wars of Louis XIV

Thomas Henry Dyer

Published January 24th 2015
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Kindle Edition
449 pages
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In the last days of his existence Louis XIV was abandoned by all his family and courtiers, and died in the presence only of priests, physicians, and attendants. He had attained the age of seventy-seven years, during seventy-two of which he had satMoreIn the last days of his existence Louis XIV was abandoned by all his family and courtiers, and died in the presence only of priests, physicians, and attendants. He had attained the age of seventy-seven years, during seventy-two of which he had sat upon the throne, the longest reign on record. He died with constancy and resignation, and the last days of his life show him to more advantage as a man than the season of his greatest glory and prosperity. It had been well for his people had the aged monarch been impressed at an earlier period of his reign with those words of counsel which he addressed on his deathbed to the youthful Dauphin. “My child”, said he, “you will soon be the sovereign of a great kingdom. Do not forget your obligations to God- remember that it is to Him you owe all that you are. Endeavour to live at peace with your neighbors- do not imitate me in my fondness for war, nor in the exorbitant expenditure which I have incurred. Take counsel in all your actions. Endeavour to relieve the people at the earliest possible moment, and thus to accomplish what, unfortunately, I am unable to do myself”.These words, which were afterwards inscribed on the bed of Louis XV by order of Marshal Villeroi, are, in fact, a condemnation by Louis himself of his whole reign. In that retrospect of conscience, he denounces his constant wars, his profligate expenditure, his uncontrollable self-will, and regrets that no time was left him to repair the misfortunes which they had produced. This condemnatory review was confirmed by the French people. The day of his funeral was a day of rejoicing and holiday- the procession was greeted with laughter and songs by the carousing populace, who added another article of reproach, over which the royal conscience had slumbered. Some proposed to use the funeral torches to set fire to the houses of the Jesuits- but Louis had expired without giving the slightest indication that the course which he had pursued in religious matters gave him any compunction. In spite, however, of his defects, Louis XIV must be allowed in many respects to have possessed the qualities of a great sovereign. He was generous and munificent- in grace, affability, and dignity of manner, in all that goes to constitute the outward semblance and bearing of a king, he was unrivalled- and all his projects, however unjust and impolitic, were marked by grandeur of conception, and ability and perseverance in their execution. And now that the misery inflicted by his reign has been forgotten, and only the French, its glory and conquests are remembered, it is probable that the image of Louis XIV will continue to occupy a conspicuous niche in the national Pantheon of the French, a nation ever ready to pardon the faults of those who have extended their boundaries, upheld their military reputation, and promoted the fame of their literature and art...