The Last Days Of Louis XIV – August 27, 1715

Illustration of Louis XIV on his deathbed.
Illustration of Louis XIV on his deathbed.

August 27, 1715

It is Tuesday, eighteen days after Louis XIV first complained of the pain in his leg. No new black spot appeared during the last days, but the King is becoming weaker by the day. His mind is still clear, but his body merely flesh and bones. Each day his leg is dressed with new bandages in a painful procedure he endures without much ado. Louis XIV is aware he is dying and makes plans for what comes after.

The Marquis de Dangeau notes in his journal: “The King sent for the chancellor about two o’clock, and made him open some boxes full of papers, of which he ordered a part to be burnt, and gave him his orders as to what he wished to be done with the others. He dismissed the chancellor about six o’clock, and for the remainder of the day Madame de Maintenon, who had been there all the time with the chancellor, remained alone with him, and from time to time called in father le Tellier, who had been there all the morning; since his confession, he has not passed an hour without pious conversation, either with his confessor, or Madame de Maintenon, who notwithstanding her grief at the state in which she sees the King, has attended to nothing but to his conscience. He had heard mass at midnight, and given orders that none should enter the chamber but the grand- almoner and two almoners in rotation; we were in the large closet, in which the altar was, which he could see from his bed. Towards evening, he sent for Monsieur de Pontchartrain, by father le Tellier, and said to him : ” As soon as I am dead, you will expedite an order for conveying my heart to the professed establishment of the Jesuits, and for depositing it there in the same manner as that of the late King, my father.” He gave this order with perfect calmness. He had ordered, the day before yesterday, that the Dauphin should be conveyed to Vincennes, as soon as he had expired. He recollected, this evening, that Cavoye, Grand-Marechal des Logis, had never made the distribution of the apartments in this palace, where the court has not resided for fifty years. He ordered that they should go and take from a box he pointed out, the plan of the palace, and that it should be taken to Cavoye, to facilitate this distribution of apartments, which it would be necessary to make in it. He said, in the evening, to Madame de Maintenon, ” I had always heard that it was difficult to make up one’s mind to death; for me, who have now before me that moment so terrible to men, I do not find it so painful as is imagined.” Madame de Maintenon said to him : ” This resolution is difficult when we have an inordinate attachment to the things of this world; when we have hatred in the heart, restitutions to make.” ” Ah! As to restitutions to make,” said the King, ” I owe none to any person as an individual, but for those which I owe to the Kingdom, I trust, in the mercy of God.” This idea seemed to trouble him, during that night, he was much agitated. Every moment he was seen joining his hands, and praying to God. He said all the prayers in his bed, which he usually said when he was in health, striking his breast at the confiteor.”

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