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FRANCOIS LOUIS DE BOURBON

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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 28 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FRANCOIS LOUIS DE BOURBON, prince de Conti (1664–1709), younger brother of the preceding, was known until 1685 as prince de la Roche-sur-Yon. Naturally of great ability, he received an excellent education and was distinguished both for the independence of his mind and the popularity of his manners. On this account he was not received with favour by Louis XIV.; so in 1683 he assisted the Imperialists in Hungary, and while there he wrote some letters in which he referred to Louis as le roi du thedtre, for which on his return to France he was temporarily banished to Chantilly. Conti was a favourite of his uncle the great Conde, whose grand-daughter Marie Therese de Bourbon (1666–1732) he married in 1688. In 1689 he accompanied his intimate friend Marshal Luxembourg to the Netherlands, and shared in the French victories at Fleurus, Steinkirk and Neerwinden. On the death of his cousin, Jean Louis Charles, duc de Longueville (1646–1694), Conti in accordance with his cousin's will, claimed the principality of Neuchatel against Marie, duchesse de Nemours (1625–1707), a sister of the duke. He failed to obtain military assistance from the Swiss, and by the king's command yielded the disputed territory to Marie, although the courts of law had decided in his favour. In 1697 Louis XIV. offered him the Polish crown, and by means of bribes the abbe de Polignac secured his election. Conti started rather unwillingly for his new kingdom, probably, as St Simon remarks, owing to his affection for Frangoise, wife of Philip II., duke of Orleans, and daughter of Louis XIV. and Madame de Montespan. When he reached Danzig and found his rival Augustus II., elector of Saxony, already in possession of the Polish crown, he returned to France, where he was graciously received by Louis, although St Simon says the king was vexed to see him again. But the misfortunes of the French armies during the earlier years of the war of the Spanish Succession compelled Louis to appoint Conti, whose military renown stood very high, to command the troops in Italy. He fell ill before he could take the field, and died on the 9th of February 1709, his death calling forth exceptional signs of mourning from all classes. Louts ARMAND DE BOURBON, prince de Conti (1696-1727), eldest son of the preceding, was treated with great liberalityby Louis XIV., and also by the regent, Philip duke of Orleans. He served under Marshal Villars in the War of the Spanish Succession, but he lacked the soldierly qualities of his father. In 1713 he married Louise Elisabeth (1693–1775), daughter of Louis Henri de Bourbon, prince de Conde, and grand-daughter of Louis XIV. He was a prominent supporter of the financial schemes of John Law, by which he made large sums of money. Louts FRANCOIS DE BOURBON, prince de Conti (1717-1776), only son of the preceding, adopted a military career, and when the war of the Austrian Succession broke out in 1741 accompanied Charles Louis, duc de Belle-Isle, to Bohemia. His services there led to his appointment to command the army in Italy, where he distinguished himself by forcing the pass of Villafranca and winning the battle of Coni in 1744. In 1745 he was sent to check the Imperialists in Germany, and in 1746 was transferred to the Netherlands, where some jealousy between Marshal Saxe and himself led to his retirement in 1747. In this year a faction among the Polish nobles offered Conti the crown of that country, where owing to the feeble health of King Augustus III. a vacancy was expected. He won the personal support of Louis XV. for his candidature, although the policy of the French ministers was to establish the house of Saxony in Poland, as the dauphiness was a daughter of Augustus. Louis therefore began secret personal relations with his ambassadors in eastern Europe, who were thus receiving contradictory instructions; a policy known later as the secret du roi. Although Conti did not secure the Polish throne he remained in the confidence of Louis until 1755, when his influence was destroyed by the intrigues of Madame de Pompadour; so that when the Seven Years' War broke out in 1756 he was refused the command of the army of the Rhine, and began the opposition to the administration which caused Louis to refer to him as " my cousin the advocate." In 1771 he was prominent in opposition to the chancellor Maupeou. He supported the parlements against the ministry, was especially active in his hostility to Turgot, and was suspected of aiding a rising which took place at Dijon in 1775. Conti, who died on the 2nd of August 1776, inherited literary tastes from his father, was a brave and skilful general, arid a diligent student of military history. His house, over which the comtesse de Boufflers presided, was the resort of many men of letters, and he was a patron of Jean Jacques Rousseau. Louts FRANCOIS JOSEPH, prince de Conti (1734–1814), son of the preceding, possessed considerable talent as a soldier, and distinguished himself during the Seven Years' War. He took the side of Maupeou in the struggle between the chancellor and the parlements, and in 1788 declared that the integrity of the constitution must be maintained. He emigrated owing to the weakness of Louis XVI., but refused to share in the plans for the invasion of France, and returned to his native country in 1790. Arrested by order of the National Convention in 1793, he was acquitted, but was reduced to poverty by the confiscation of his possessions. He afterwards received a pension, but the Directory banished him from France, and as he refused to share in the plots of the royalists he lived at Barcelona till his death in 1814, when the house of Conti became extinct. See F. de Bassompierre, Memoires (Paris, 1877) ; G. Tallemant des Reaux, Historiettes (Paris, 1854—186o) ; L. de R. duc de Saint Simon, Memoires (Paris, 1873) ; C. E. duchesse d'Orleans, Memoires (Paris, 188o) ; R. L. Marquis d'Argenson, Journal et memoires (Paris, 1859—1865) ; F. J. de P. cardinal de Bemis, Memoires et lettres (Paris, 1878) ; J. V. A. due de Broglie, Le Secret du roi (Paris, 1878); P. A. Cheruel, Histoire de la manorite de Louis XIV et du ministere de Mazarin (Paris, 1879) ; E. Boutarie, Correspondance secrete de Louis X V sur la politique etrangere (Paris, 1866) ; P. Foncin, Essai sur le ministere de Turgot (Paris, 1877) ; E. Bourgeois Neuchatel et la politique prussienne en Franche-Comte (Paris, 1877).
End of Article: FRANCOIS LOUIS DE BOURBON
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