Voltaire’s Age of Louis XIV.; Henri Martin’s
History of France; Miss
Pardoe’s History of the Court of Louis XIV.; Letters of Madame de
Maintenon; Memoires de Greville; Saint Simon; P. Clement; Le
Gouvernement de Louis XIV.; Memoires de Choisy; Oeuvres de Louis XIV.;
Limiers’s Histoire de Louis XIV.; Quincy’s Histoire Militaire de Louis
XIV.; Lives of Colbert, Turenne, Vauban, Conde, and Louvois; Macaulay’s
History of England; Lives of Fenelon and Bossuet; Memoires de Foucault;
Memoires du Due de Bourgogne; Histoire de l’Edit de Nantes; Laire’s
Histoire de Louis XIV.; Memoires de Madame de la Fayette; Memoires de
St. Hilaire; Memoires du Marechal de Berwick; Memoires de Vilette;
Lettres de Madame de Sevigne; Memoires de Mademoiselle de Montpensier;
Memoires de Catinat; Life, by James.
A. D. 1710-1774.
REMOTE CAUSES OF REVOLUTION.
It is impossible to contemplate the inglorious reign of Louis XV. otherwise than as a more complete development of the egotism which marked the life of his immediate predecessor, and a still more fruitful nursery of those vices and discontents which prepared the way for the French Revolution. It is in fact in connection with that great event that this reign should be considered. The fabric of despotism had already been built by Richelieu, and Louis XIV. had displayed and gloried in its dazzling magnificence, even while he undermined its foundations by his ruinous wars and courtly extravagance. Under Louis XV. we shall see even greater recklessness in profitless expenditures, and more complete abandonment to the pleasures which were purchased by the burdens and sorrows of his people; we shall see the monarch and his court still more subversive of the prosperity and dignity of the nation, and even indifferent to the signs of that coming storm which, later, overturned the throne of his grandson, Louis XVI.
And Louis XV. was not only the author of new calamities, but the heir of seventy years’ misrule. All the evils which resulted from the wars and wasteful extravagance of Louis XIV. became additional perplexities with which he had to contend. But these evils, instead of removing, he only aggravated by follies which surpassed all the excesses of the preceding reign. If I were asked to point out the most efficient though indirect authors of the French Revolution, I would single out those royal tyrants themselves who sat upon the throne of Henry IV. during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I shall proceed to state the principal events and features which have rendered that reign both noted and ignominious.