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FRANCOIS (1558-1614)

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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 28 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FRANCOIS (1558-1614), the third son of this marriage, was given the, title of marquis de Conti, and between 1581 and 1597 was elevated to the rank of a prince. Conti, who belonged to the older faith, appears to have taken no part in the wars of religion until 1587, when his distrust of Henry, third duke of Guise, caused him to declare against the League, and to support Henry of Navarre, afterwards King Henry IV. of France. In 1589 after the murder of Henry III., king of France, he was one of the two princes of the blood who signed the declaration recognizing Henry IV. as king, and he continued to support Henry, although on the death of Charles cardinal de Bourbon in 1590 he himself was mentioned as a candidate for the throne. In 16o5 Conti, whose first wife Jeanne de Coeme, heiress of Bonnetable, had died in 16o,, married the beautiful and witty Louise Marguerite (1574-1631), daughter of Henry duke of Guise. and Catherine of Cleves, whom, but for the influence of his mistress Gabrielle d'Estrees, Henry IV. would have made his queen. Conti died in 1614. His only child Marie having predeceased him in 161o, the title lapsed. His widow followed the fortunes of Marie de' Medici, from whom. she received many marks of favour, and was secretly married to Francois de Bassompierre (q.v.), who joined her in conspiring against Cardinal Richelieu. Upon the exposure of the plot the cardinal exiled her to her estate at Eu, near Amiens, where she died. The princess wrote Aventures de la tour de Terse, in which, under the veil of fictitious scenes and names, she tells the history of her own time. In 1629 the title of prince de Conti was revived in favour of ARMAND DE BOURBON (1629-1666), second son of Henry II. of Bourbon, prince of Conde, and brother of Louis, the great Conde. He was destined for the church and studied theology at the university of Bourges, but although he received several benefices he did not take orders. He played a conspicuous part in the intrigues and fighting of the Fronde, became in 1648 commander-in-chief of the rebel army, and in 165o was with his brother Conde imprisoned at Vincennes. Released when Mazarin went into exile, he wished to marry Mademoiselle de Chevreuse (1627–1652), daughter of the famous confidante of Anne of Austria, but was prevented by his brother, who was now supreme in the state. He was concerned in the Fronde of 1651, but soon afterwards became reconciled with Mazarin, and in 1654 married the cardinal's niece, Anne Marie Martinozzi (1639-1672), and secured the government of Guienne. He took command of the army which in 1654 invaded Catalonia, where he captured three towns from the Spaniards. He afterwards led the French forces in Italy, but after his defeat before Alessandria in 1657 retired to Languedoc, where he devoted himself to study and mysticism until his death. At Clermont Conti had been a fellow student of Moliere's for whom he secured an introduction to the court of Louis XIV., but afterwards, when writing a treatise against the stage entitled Traite de la comedie et des spectacles selon les traditions de l'Eglise (Paris, 1667), he charged the dramatist with keeping a school of atheism. Conti also wrote Letlres sur la grace, and Du devoir des grands et des devoirs des gouverneurs de province.
End of Article: FRANCOIS (1558-1614)
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