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Louis XIII, the Just

Louis XIII, the Just

A. LLOYD MOOTE
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 417
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pp5sg
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  • Book Info
    Louis XIII, the Just
    Book Description:

    In this fascinating biography, A. Lloyd Moote provides the first authoritative account of one of the most enigmatic figures of seventeenth-century Europe. Contrary of popular portrayals of the monarch as a hapless kind, Moote argues that Louis XIII was a ruler who powerfully shaped his people's destiny.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-91158-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Plates
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction: Interpreting Louis XIII
    (pp. 1-16)

    A perplexed historian once wrote: ʺLouis XIII was one of those persons whom we do not know how to judge; it is not possible to make pronouncements about him if one wishes to be scrupulously accurate and fair.ʺ¹ What perplexed that scholar makes this seventeenth-century Bourbon king of France an engrossing challenge for a historical biographer. For Louis XIII was driven by the contrary impulses of personal insecurity and determination to rule; and by an exalted sense of royal authority that was undermined by unkingly tendencies to be taciturn, morose, suspicious of others, and backbiting. He was known to his...

  6. PART I THE FORMATION OF A KING, 1601–15

    • 1 A DAUPHIN’S WORLD
      (pp. 19-38)

      Shortly after 10:00 p.m. on 27 September 1601, in the oval chamber of the royal palace at Fontainebleau, the king and queen of France celebrated the birth of their first child. It was a boy, the first dauphin to be born to a reigning French monarch in fifty-eight years. Within nine years he would mount his fatherʹs throne, the only firstborn French royal son in over eighty years to become king.

      Henry IV, first Bourbon king of France, was so excited over the prospect of a male heir to continue his dynasty that he scarcely left his wife during the...

    • 2 THE BOY KING
      (pp. 39-60)

      At mid afternoon on Friday, 14 May 1610, the dauphin of France was enjoying a short carriage ride and the chance to practice with his firearms near the Louvre. The king was headed in a separate carriage for the home of his favorite advisor, the duke of Sully, his thoughts concentrated on a projected military campaign in the German borderlands. The queen remained behind at the Louvre, basking in the glow of her recent coronation and preparing for her ʺinauguralʺ parade on Sunday past the specially erected triumphal arches, theaters, and banners which her husband and son were now viewing....

    • 3 KING, ESTATES, AND STATE
      (pp. 61-76)

      What is it like to be thirteen and legally responsible for a countryʹs destiny? For King Louis XIII in September 1614, it meant a considerably increased involvement in state affairs, although not enough to make him content. From the moment of Louisʹs majority, Marie deʹ Medici ruled his state not as duly authorized regent but only at his continued ʺpleasureʺ as ʺhead of council.ʺ This meant that the legality of all state acts depended on Louisʹs validation, however automatic that was for this dutiful son. Henceforth, official communications were directed to him, the royal council met in his presence, and...

  7. PART II LOUIS THE JUST COMES OF AGE, 1615–24

    • 4 ROYAL MARRIAGE AND COUP D’ETAT
      (pp. 79-96)

      By 1615, Louis XIII was marked for life as a highly emotional person with strong principles. He also had a worrisome tendency to seek out someone to lean on. And he had difficulty expressing differences with others, resorting instead to studied silence and occasional, sharply worded retorts. This royal teenager was not ideally equipped to handle his ambiguous position as a formal head of state who was under the control of a strong-willed mother. There was bound to be inner torment and eventually an open explosion as the king approached manhood.

      Nevertheless, Louisʹs rites of passage to personal and royal...

    • 5 SEEKING AN EFFECTIVE MODE OF GOVERNANCE
      (pp. 97-115)

      Moments after Conciniʹs demise, Colonel Ornano proudly told his sovereign: ʺSire, at this hour you are king, for Marshal Ancre is dead.ʺ¹ Many fifteen-year-olds would have cringed at the way this turn of events had come about and shrunk from its consequences. Louis XIII did neither. This determined youth managed immediately to arrive at a stopgap way of making decisions. Then, as he grew from adolescence to adulthood between 1617 and 1624, the king profited from sobering experiences with the grasping minion Luynes, ambitious ministers, and a manipulative mother. Through trial and error, Louis worked his way by his early...

    • 6 FIGHTING FOR JUST CAUSES
      (pp. 116-136)

      No one would describe Louis XIII as a great political leader with sophisticated goals and elaborate plans to achieve those goals. Throughout his personal reign he was stronger on principles than on policy, more of a reactor than an initiator. Yet as he reacted during his late teens and early twenties to the issues of the day, he took stands that amounted to state policy in embryonic form. Indeed, the three fundamental achievements that Louis and Richelieu realized together after 1624 were already anticipated by the king during the previous seven years.

      In the area of internal state reform, the...

    • 7 GROWING UP IN PUBLIC
      (pp. 137-152)

      Louis XIIIʹs childhood has attracted so much attention that we almost forget that he had an unusual adolescence. Here he was, married to a foreign princess at age fourteen, turning against his mother before he was sixteen, and caught in the grip of an embarrassing obsession with a middle-aged subject during his late teens—and all the while weighted down with ceremonial burdens and the awesome task of learning how to rule his kingdom. Living in those conditions would have been difficult enough for even the most self-confident and outgoing youngster; for the high-strung Louis XIII, it was almost impossible...

  8. PART III FRENCH ABSOLUTISM IN THE MAKING, 1624–35

    • 8 PARTNERSHIP OF KING AND CARDINAL
      (pp. 155-174)

      Historians have always been awed by the political changes in the France of Louis XIII during the decade 1624–35, for they marked a major stage in the development of what is called absolute monarchy. The monarch crushed family, court, and ministerial opposition more serious than the opposition he had met during the Wars of the Mother and Son—including plotting against his brotherʹs forced marriage in 1626, flagrant dueling by the courtier Bouteville in 1627, and the Day of Dupes challenge of 1630 by Marie and his minister Marillac. The Huguenot state within the state, which Louis had been...

    • 9 ORDERING PRIORITIES
      (pp. 175-198)

      The five years of Louis XIIIʹs rule that began with Richelieuʹs appointment and culminated in the fall of La Rochelle were a confusing but pivotal period in French history. Between 1624 and 1628, the king settled on basic policies that made possible fundamental political change during the rest of the reign. Five elements were involved in this process. Only one is universally known, though the oft-told story of a second ingredient is commonly linked to it. Two other factors have been glossed over. A fifth is unknown.

      The most spectacular ingredient was Richelieuʹs promise to Louis on entering his service...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
    • 10 ALAIS, MANTUA, AND THE DAY OF DUPES
      (pp. 199-219)

      Three months after subduing La Rochelle, Louis XIII embarked on one of the most daring exploits of his life. In the dead of winter, against the objections of his family and the dévots, he led thirty-five thousand foot soldiers and three thousand cavalry across the snow-driven Alps to fight Savoy, Spain, and the German emperor on behalf of the new duke of Mantua. He then reentered southern France and took the last fortified towns of the French Protestants. This whirlwind campaign of 1629 destroyed the Huguenot state within the state, and opened the first of Franceʹs ʺgatesʺ beyond its borders....

    • 11 GOVERNMENTAL REVOLUTION
      (pp. 220-236)

      As stunning as the coup dʹétat of 11 November 1630 was to Louis XIIIʹs France, it was not an isolated event, but part of a broader historical process. The policies that had evolved during the first thirteen years of Louis XIIIʹs personal rule continued during his last thirteen. What the Day of Dupes did alter was the degree and scope of political change. The king of France disciplined his family and court more than before; he whittled away more extensively at the autonomy and privileges of groups within the society of orders; and he pursued more foreign policy initiatives along...

  9. PART IV THE LEGACY OF LOUIS XIII, 1635–43

    • 12 WARFARE KING, STATE, AND SOCIETY
      (pp. 239-255)

      Louis XIIIʹs declaration of war on Philip IV of Spain in 1635, which was followed a year later by hostilities with Emperor Ferdinand, placed enormous strains on his person, his state, and French society. We can only guess at all the effects wartime living had on the kingʹs deteriorating constitution, yet it surely hastened his death. He fretted constantly about how to raise money, men, and supplies for his troops; and he exposed himself to the grim conditions his soldiers endured, from the moment the first shots were fired until just before his death eight years later, as a prematurely...

    • 13 KING AND CULTURE
      (pp. 256-272)

      Modest and unassuming as he was in his tastes, Louis XIII had no interest in bequeathing to the world a Louis Treize style of art, interior design, literature, or music. Of course, he could not avoid being a patron of the arts; but he did it as a duty, allowing his mother, brother, and chief minister to play the role of enthusiastic Maecenas.¹ His close friend Bassompierre despaired of the lack of royal cultural leadership, telling the assembled notables in 1627 that the kingʹs ʺinclination is in no way directed toward building, and Franceʹs finances will certainly not be exhausted...

    • 14 THE INTIMATE LOUIS
      (pp. 273-290)

      Anecdotal history has dismissed the aging Louis XIII as a fawning lover of brainless young men and a hopeless prude with women, unlikely the father of his own son. This biographer has even heard the spurious story that Mazarin sired the future Louis XIV whispered to him in the Bibliothèque nationale (though Mazarin was out of France both before and during the gestation period). Some writers have gone out of their way to give the paternity award to Buckingham, who died a decade earlier! To get to the truth, we must examine Louisʹs intimate life in its totality.

      As Louis...

  10. Conclusion: Louis XIII Beyond the Grave
    (pp. 291-298)

    Louis XIII fell ill for the last time in February 1643 while staying at his boyhood residence in St-Germain. He kept rallying, attended his council, and walked in his gardens. But in April he retired to his chambers, with their view of the basilica at St-Denis, where shortly he would join Franceʹs past kings and queens.

    He made all the arrangements for the transition to his widowʹs regency. Saint-Simon was recalled, and he wept at his masterʹs bedside as he listened to instructions about the funeral. La Vrillière, considered Louisʹs most trustworthy secretary of state, drew up his will and...

  11. Appendix
    (pp. 299-306)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 307-358)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 359-382)
  14. Index
    (pp. 383-401)