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HENRY IV. ob. 1610. LOUIS XIII. 1643. Louis XIV. ob. 1715.

This century commenced with a confederacy among the nobles in favour of liberty; that is to say, the liberty which nobles have usually fought for, which consists of their own independence of the king. The whole pith and sap, however, of the many-branched regime of feudality had long since gone to strengthen the central trunk of absolutism, and the affair was soon at an end. The conspiracy was decapitated with Marshal Biron, its ostensible head, and fell to the ground. [A. D. 1602.]

The recall of the Jesuits, at the solicitation of the pope, followed; and then the conspiracy of one of the king's mistresses, a harlot called D'Entragues, who had vexed, insulted, and abused him with impunity for many years.

At last, while Henry was arming against Austria, to conquer universal peace, and obtain the political philosopher's stone, he was assassinated with remarkable adroitness, in one of the most public streets of his metropolis. [A. D. 1610.] It had been predicted long before, that the day would be fatal to him. Was the deed the consequence of the prediction, or the cause of it? Henry IV. was a most amiable man. He wished that all his subjects should have a fowl in the pot on Sundays; but in the mean time he seduced their wives, and condemned them to the galleys for killing rabbits. He was the first king of France who reduced despotism to a system; and to this day he is almost as popular in the country as Napoleon himself.

Louis XIII. being only nine years of age, the kingdom was governed by an Italian called Concini, afterward Marshal D'Ancre, and his wife, who ruled the regent queen-mother. Sully, the able minister of Henry IV., was turned away, and factions and conspiracies recalled. The States-General were convoked, for the last time till the Revolution, and debated upon the affairs of the clergy. (A. D. 1614.]

The king, galled by the yoke of his mother, was persuaded to have Concini assassinated; and about the same time, the wife of this adven. turer was burned for sorcery. The queen-mother was exiled, and revolted twice; and the Calvinists were in frequent insurrection. [A. D. 1624.)

This was the epoch of the advent of Richelieu, who had been a protégé Concini. The king, feeble in soul, but strong in animal force, became a terrible instrument in the hands of this political magi. cian. Richelieu struck first at the grandees. He condemned several of them to death, and suppressed the high offices of admiral and constable. He then carried his arms against the Protestants, who wished, it is said, to establish a federative republic in France; and, after a year's resistance, levelled Rochelle with the ground, the grand citadel of the party, and subdued Rohan their commander-in-chief. Rousillon was conquered; the house of Austria humbled ; Catalonia added to

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France ; every thing bent before the genius of the tyrant priest. Ro. sistance within the kingdom was as vain as without. The Marshal de Marillon was executed, [A. D. 1630 ;] the Duke of Montmorencig even after he obtained the king's pardon, shared the same fate, (A. D. 1632 ;] and Cinq-Mars and

De Thou, at the head of whose conspiracy was Louis himself, tired of the yoke of his haughty minister, perished likewise on the scaffold. [A. Đ. 1642.] At last, Richelieu condescended to die in person ; and the king, as usual, followed in his wake. [A. D. 1643.}

It must be added, that the cardinal nodded into beirg the French Academy; and that this learned body, proud of their origin, continued to play his apotheosis for a hundred and fifty years.

The next regent queen-inother-Louis XIV. being only five years old-was Anne of Austria ; and Mazarin succeeded his patron Richelieu in the tyranny. He had less energy than his predecessor, but was infinitely cunning; and during the performance of his tricks, the people were kept amused by the successful battles of Condé and Tu

The former beat the Austrians at Rocroy and Friburg, and the latter was conqueror at Nordlingue and Dunkirk. [A. D. 1644.} Condé then gained the battle of Sens; and the war was terminated by the advantageous treaty of Westphalia.

The grandees had now leisure to bestir themselves against Mazarin ; they allied themselves to the parliament, and commenced the civil war of the Fronde with bons mots. The citizens of Paris renewed the bar. ricades, and supported the many against one-apparently from a common principal of policy; for in reality, it was nothing to them who lost or won. Condé too detached himself from the court party, to which, however, Turenne remained faithful; and Mazarin, after somo struggle, quitted France, but only to return immediately, escorted by seven thousand men. The Frondeurs allied themselves to the Spaniards, and the two parties came to blows in the faubourg Saint Antoine. [A. D. 1652.] The Duke of Orleans was made lieutenant of the kingdom ; Mazarin again retired ; and the victorious Frondeurs laid down their arms. Mazarin of course immediately returned, and became more absolute than ever. (A. D. 1653.]

Condé had rejoined the Spaniards, and the war between them and Turenne continued for a long time, but was at last terminated by the treaty of the Pyrenees : France preserving Artois, Rousillon, and Alsace, and Louis XIV. marrying the infanta Maria Theresa. [A. D. 1659.]

Mazarin died; and Louis XIV, began his reign with éclat. He had already gone into the chamber of parliament, booted and spurred, with his hunting whip in his hand, to advise them not to meddle with affairs of state. Louis, however, had the sugacity to discern that no one can be a great king without having men of genius about him.

The finances were restored ; commerce and industry began to flourish ; literature was protected, and order introduced into the administration. The canal of Languedoc was constructed ; and a national navy created fit to contend with those of England and Holland.

Louis then declared against Spain, to recover the imaginary rights of his queen, after her father's death; and was beset by Holland, England, and Sweden, who came into the field as the allies of that country. (A.D. 1668.) Ho conquered Flanders and Franche-Comté; but by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle gave up the latter.,

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Louis fell out with Holland, and having reduced its heretofore allies, earried an army of two hundred thousand men against that republic. He proposed the most insulting and ruinous conditions ; but in the mean time, Admiral Ruyter beat the English and French fleets; and when affairs had come to extremity, the brave Dutch broke up their dykes and laid the country under water to preserve their freedom. [A. D. 1673.]

Louis withdrew, but his pride was not humbled. It soon raised his neighbours up against him. He reconquered Franche-Comté ; Turenne burned the Palatinate ; Condé fought the battle of Senef with the Dutch, in which twenty-five thousand men were killed ; Duquesne gained three naval victories in the Mediterranean; and the peace of Nimeguen consolidated the victories of France. [A. D. 1678.]

The stadtholder, invading in his turn, was repulsed by Marshal Luxem. bourg. Strasbourg was taken. [A. D. 1681.] Algiers was bombarded for insulting the French flag, and Genoa bombarded for assisting Algiers. Louis had gained the top of his arch of greatness, where he remained steady for a inoment, to snuff up the adulation of the world before beginning to descend. His palace of Versailles was the most magnificent in Europe ; his person was said to be a realization of the finest dreams of sculpture ; he was loved by the women, worshipped

men, and wheedled by the Jesuits. The glory of mere physical conquests was not enough for this French god; he resolved to try his power also upon the human mind, and to extirpate heresy! Missionaries and dragoons were sent into the Cevennes to convert and massacro; the edict of Nantes was revoked ; churches were demolished; and children stolen from their parents to be educated in the Catholic faith. Nearly a million of industrious citizens fled from their country to enrich strangers with their labour, and bring up their sons in detestation of France. [A. D. 1685.]

The Prince of Orange entered into a league at Augsburg with a great part of Europe against this monster of despotism. [A. D. 1687.}

The prince was called to the throne under the name of William III. by the English, who had at last fairly thrown off the incubus, half ludicrous, half horrible, of the Stuart family ; and Louis, a kindred spirit in somne respects, opened his arms to the discarded king. A tremendous war burst forth. Luxembourg beat over and over again the English king; and Catinat triumphed at Marseilles. On the other hand, Tourville lost fourteen vessels at La Hague ; and at length a peace was concluded at Ryswik, the combatants on both sides being quite worn out. [A. D. 1697.) France was ruined. Money! money! was the cry: any thing would have been sold for a consideration; patents of nobility went at two thousand growns a-piece.

The seventeenth century is called the age of Louis XIV.; and its character may be deduced from that of the king. He formed the age as far as regarded France ; and when he said " The state—that is, I?" the expression was by no means an extravagance. The people were taught to believe that their glory centered in an individual; and thus the national spirit was extinguished. The splendour of the king attracted all eyes, and dazzled and blinded the gazers. Racine, Boileau, Moliere, Corneille, Pascal, La Fontaine, Fenelon, La Bruyère, and other radiant names, threw the lustre of genius over this extraordinary reign. All the elements existed, bright, powerful, glorious, for making the seventeenth century the true age of reason, and it was only the age of-Louis The FOURTEENTH!

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