Page images
PDF
EPUB

By revoking the edict of Nantes, and persecuting the hugonots, Lewis the fourteenth, roused all the protestant princes of Europe in their cause. The prince of Orange formed a league with the whole German empire, with Spain, Holland, and Savoy, which threatened to crush the power of France; and the French king, to anticipate their schemes, invaded the empire.

His attention was soon turned towards England; where, William, prince of Orange, son-in-law of James , the · second, was raised to the throne. But the attention of Lewis, on various accounts, and with various success, was turned also, rapidly, to Italy, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Barcelona, Carthagena, and to many other places.

After all, in 1697, he signed an inglorious peace; by which he resigned, to their late possessors, nearly all the conquests for which his people had shed their blood. He watched, with anxiety, the declining health of Charles the second, of Spain, and resolved to assert his pretensions to that succession, which he had solemnly renounced in a former treaty. He now negociated with king William, the celebrated treaty of PARTITION, which divided the dominions of Charles during his life. By accepting a legacy for his grandson, he violated the treaty of partition, and soon after, made all Italy tremble for its freedom. At such behaviour, the emperor was roused to arms, and

entrusted entrusted his army with the celebrated prince Eugene, who totally defeated the French.

On the death of James the second, Lewis proclaimed his son to be James the third, in direct violation of his former acknowledgment of the title of William to the throne of England. That kingdom immediately prepared to vindicate her choice by arms; and William, to preserve the ballance, and the liberties of Europe, concerted the tripple alliance between Germany, England, and the United Provinces. On his death, queen Anne, daughter of James the second, declared her resolution to prosecute the plans of her predecessor. The confederate army was commanded by the duke of Marlborough, who was joined by prince Eugene. At Blenheim, in Italy, and in the Netherlands, splendid victories were obtained over the French; so that the concluding years of Lewis the fourteenth, present a melancholy prospect of desolation and defeat. He repeatedly sued for peace, which the victorious confederates rejected.

But separate treaties were, at length, concluded with England, Holland, Prussia, Portugal, and Savoy; and now, Lewis was compelled to draw near to very different scenes. His court, which formerly was unrivalled in gaiety and magnificence, had long been involved in gloom; and his domestic sorrows were not inferior to the public misfortunes. Within a few months, he was deprived by death, of his only son, of the duke and duchess

of

of Burgundy, and of their eldest son; and his people, as well as himself, beheld that reign which had opened in splendor, close in calamity. At length, it is said, that in the seventy-eighth year of his age, he expired with fortitude and resignation.

Fortitude and resignation are of various kinds. They arise from different perceptions, and rest on different motives. A war horse may have more courage than his rider; and a superstitious king, may seem at least, to be more resigned in his dying moments than a much better man. But if they who have read attentively, Voltaire's private memoirs and anecdotes of the reign of Lewis the fourteenth, or the history, of his reign, in seven volumes, by a man who admired him almost as much as Voltaire; if THEY can think highly, of the fortitude and resignation of Lewis, on his death bed, certainly, their way of thinking, differs widely from my own. He had several pleasing qualities, which, were it lawful, I should wish to possess; but of the piety of Lewis the fourteenth, in any period of his life, though called Lewis the Great, I am utterly unable to form a pleasing opinion. Many names are engraved on the tablet of real worthies, that are not found in what is commonly called, the tablet of fame: but, those sufferers, of whom the world was not worthy, have an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.

MEMOIRS

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

U f this eminent christian, we are informed, by the author of the history of the edict of Nantes, that he was a man of constancy, of piety, and of uncommon sweetness of temper; that upon the revocation of that edict, he was the FIRST, against whom the parliament of Paris executed the rigour of their declarations; that he endured much under their authority, and died, at last, in a dungeon, at Marseilles.

The substance of the following account of the sufferings, patience, and piety, of Mr. Marolles, is taken from Mr. Jaquelot's history of our martyr;

*but

but is now given with many alterations in the phraseology and style.

Mr. Marolles, was born in Champaigne, of an ancient family, very much noted for their skill in the law. He was loved and esteemed by all that knew him, being of a sweet and easy temper, and of a pleasant and agreeable conversation. Had he loved the world, he would have appeared among the learned with distinction; for he was a good philosopher and mathematician, and well skilled in algebra; but he was contented to live a quiet and obscure life amongst his relations, in St. Menehoult, and made it his chief business there, to acquaint himself with revealed religion, and to grow and advance in piety.

This virtue was, in him, a truly christian grace, founded upon the knowledge, and lively persuasion of the truth, and of his duty. It was not the effect of a phlegmatic and melancholy temper, which sometimes puts on the appearance of piety, the better to judge and censure all mankind. Never was any man more agreeable and pleasant in every thing wherein piety was not concerned. He made use of music for his recreation, and sometimes of hunting to preserve his health. In a word, he was esteemed by all his acquaintance, and affectionately regarded by all his friends. He was always of a smooth and equal temper; always shewing an honest and becoming gravity, without being crabbed and troublesome; always of a

[graphic]

as a DVD

a

cheerful

.

« PreviousContinue »