The Life of Marie de Medicis — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 443 pages of information about The Life of Marie de Medicis — Volume 1.

Meanwhile, amid all the dissensions, both political and domestic, by which Henri IV had latterly been harassed, his earnest desire to improve and embellish his good city of Paris and its adjacent palaces had continued unabated.  Henri III, during whose reign the Pont Neuf had been commenced, had only lived long enough to see two of its arches constructed, and the piles destined to support the remainder raised above the river; this undertaking was now completed, and numerous workmen were also constantly employed on the galleries of the Louvre, and at the chateaux of St. Germain-en-Laye, Fontainebleau, and Monceaux; the latter of which, as we have already stated, the monarch had presented to the Queen on her arrival in Paris; while, emulating the royal example, the great nobles and capitalists of the city were building on all sides, and increasing alike the extent and splendour of the metropolis.[281] It was at this period that Henry joined the Faubourg St. Germain to the city, and caused it to be paved; constructed the Place Royale; repaired the Hotel de St. Louis for the purpose of converting it into a plague-hospital; and commenced building the Temple Square.[282]

Other great works were also undertaken throughout the kingdom; the junction of the Garonne with the Aude, an attempt which presented considerable difficulty and which was only terminated during the reign of Louis XIV, was vigorously commenced; other rivers, hitherto comparatively useless, were rendered navigable; and the canal of Briare, with its two-and-thirty locks, although not more than half completed at the death of Henry, had already cost the enormous sum of three hundred thousand crowns.  Numerous means of communication were established by highways which had not previously existed; bridges were built, and roads repaired; taxes which paralyzed the manufactures of the country were remitted; the fabrication of tapestried hangings wrought in worsted, silk, and gold, was earnestly encouraged; mulberry plantations were formed, and the foundation laid for the production of the costly silks and velvets for which Lyons has ever since been so famous.  An imitation of the celebrated Venetian glass was also introduced with great success; and, above all, even in the midst of these expensive undertakings, a tax of four annual millions of francs, hitherto raised by the customs upon the different classes of citizens, was altogether abolished.  Hope and energy were alike aroused by so vigorous a measure; and thus the people ceased to murmur, and were ready to acknowledge that the King had indeed begun to verify his celebrated declaration that “if he were spared, there should not exist a workman within his realm who was not enabled to cook a fowl upon the Sunday.” [283]


[210] Gabrielle-Angelique de Bourbon, who was declared legitimate as her brother had previously been, married in 1622 Bernard de la Valette et de Foix, Duc d’Epernon, and died in childbed in April 1627.

Project Gutenberg
The Life of Marie de Medicis — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook