The Last Days Of Louis XIV – August 26, 1715

Philippe II d'Orleans, Regent of France from 1715 to 1723.
Philippe II d’Orleans, Regent of France from 1715 to 1723.

August 26, 1715

Louis XIV says his good-byes. At ten o’clock the bandages were removed and his leg lanced to the bone several times. All the while Madame de Maintenon knelt alone at the foot of the bed.

At noon, the King sent for the Dauphin, the future Louis XV.
“You are going to be a great King, but your happiness will depend on your submission to God and the good that you do to your people. You must avoid war as far as you can, for it is the ruin of nations. Do not follow the bad example that I have set you. I have often begun war too lightly and continued it through vanity. Do not imitate me, but be a peaceful prince, and let your principal care be to relieve the distress of your subjects. Profit by the good education which Madame de Ventadour is giving you and obey her, follow also the good advice of Pere le Tellier, whom I give you as confessor.”

Louis can not hold his tears back as he blessed the Dauphin, his great-grandson, repeatedly and kissed him.

At half past twelve, the King heard Mass in his bedroom. Then he asked the Duc de Tresmes, Head Valet de Chambre, to bring together all the officers he could find. Facing death, the King seemed more humble and showed genuine gratitude. “Gentlemen, I ask your pardon for the evil example I have given you. I have greatly to thank you for the manner in which you have all served me, for the attachment and fidelity you have always manifested towards me. I am much grieved not to have done for you what I could have wished to do. Unfortunate circumstances are the cause of it. I request of you for my grandson the same assiduity and the same fidelity as you have shewn in my service. He is a child who may encounter many difficulties. Let your example be one for all my other subjects. Attend to the orders my nephew will give you; he is about to govern the realm, I hope he will do it happily. I trust too that you will all contribute to promote union, and that, if any one go astray, you will endeavour to reclaim him. I feel that I be come affected, and that I affect you also. I ask your pardon for it. Farewell, gentlemen. I trust that you will sometimes think of me.”

The King then spoke to Marshal Villeroy in private. “Monsieur le Maréchal, I give you at my death a new mark of my confidence. I make you governor of the Dauphin, which is the most important office I can bestow. You will know, by the contents of my will, what you are to do with respect to the Duc du Maine. I do not doubt your serving me after my death, with the same fidelity as you have during my life. I trust that my nephew will live with you on the terms of respect and confidence due from him to a man whom I have always loved. Farewell, Monsieur le Maréchal. I hope you will preserve the remembrance of me.”

Louis XIV then sent for the Duc d’Orleans and recommended Madame de Maintenon to his special care. Afterwards Madame and the Princesses were admitted to say their last farewell. The meeting only lasted a few moments and was filled with lamentations of the ladies and their sobs.

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