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Birth of Louis, Dauphin of France...

Item # 552102

August 3, 1682

LONDON GAZETTE, London, England, August 3, 1682

* Louis de France, Duke of Bourgogne born

A report from "Paris" on the reverse begins: "The sixth instant about 10 at night the Dauphiness was (to the great joy of this Court) brought to bed of a young Prince who is called Duke of Burgundy..." and a bit more about the news of his birth and the "publick joy".

This was the son of the Louis de Grand Dauphin and the father of Louis XV, as well as the grandson of Louis XIV (the Sun King).

Singlesheet, has a small numerical notation above the masthead.

WIKIPEDIA NOTES: The Duke of Bourgogne initially was reputed to be a difficult child who respected no one but under the influence of his famous tutor François Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambrai, he grew into a very pious and religious man. Fénelon's thoughts and beliefs would continue to influence the young prince throughout his life.

In 1702, at the age of 20, the Duke of Bourgogne was admitted by Louis XIV to the Conseil d'en haut (High Council), which was in charge of state secrets regarding religion, diplomacy and war. This greatly delighted him because his father had only been admitted at the age of 30.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, he was appointed to the command of the army in Flanders in 1708 with the experienced soldier Louis Joseph de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme theoretically serving under him. The uncertainty as to which of the two should truly command the army led to delays and the need to refer decisions to Louis XIV. Continued indecision led to French inactivity as messages travelled between the front and the capital; the Allies were then able to take the initiative. The culmination of this was the Battle of Oudenarde where the Duke of Bourgogne's mistaken choices and reluctance to support Vendôme led to a decisive defeat for the French. In the aftermath of the defeat, his hesitation to relieve the Siege of Lille doomed the city and allowed the Allies to make their first incursions onto French soil.

The Duke of Bourgogne was influenced by the dévots and was surrounded by a circle of people known as the "Faction of Bourgogne". This was most notably made up of his old tutor Fénelon, his old governor Paul de Beauvilliers, duc de Saint-Aignan and his brother-in-law Charles Honoré d'Albert, duc de Chevreuse, as well as the famous author of historical memoirs, Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon.

These high-ranking aristocrats sought a return to a monarchy less absolute and less centralised, with vast powers granted to the individual provinces. They perceived that government should work through councils and intermediary organs between the king and the people. These intermediary councils were to be made up not by commoners from the bourgeoisie (as the ministers appointed by Louis XIV) but by aristocrats who perceived itself as the representative of the people and would assist the king in governance and the exercise of power. Had the Duke of Bourgogne succeeded to the throne, he would probably have applied this concept of monarchy.

After his father's death in 1711, the Duke of Bourgogne succeeded him as Dauphin and became heir to the throne. However, his wife Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy contracted measles and died on 12 February 1712. The Duke of Bourgogne, who dearly loved his wife, had stayed by her side throughout the fatal illness and, as a result, had also contracted the disease. He did not last the week. Both their children also became infected, and their elder surviving son, Louis, Duke of Bretagne, the latest in a series of Dauphins, succumbed to it within the month. However, the younger son, the Duke of Anjou, then only two years of age, survived the ordeal and would succeed as Louis XV upon the death of his great-grandfather, Louis XIV, in 1715.

The premature death of the Duke of Bourgogne precipitated a possible succession crisis as he left as the heir to his seventy-four-year-old grandfather his frail infant son whose chances of survival were thought minimal. It also ruined the hopes of the "Faction of Bourgogne", whose members would soon die of natural deaths. Nonetheless, some of their ideas were put into practice when the Regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, created a form of government known as polysynody, where each ministry was replaced by a council composed of aristocrats. However, the absenteeism, ineptitude and conflicts of the aristocrats caused this system of governance to fail, and it was soon abandoned in 1718 in favour of a return to the preceding style of rule.

Category: The 1600's and 1700's

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