The Revolutionary Spirit Preceding the French Revolution

By Félix Rocquain; J. D. Hunting | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II.
Ministry of the Duc de Bourbon and the First Half of the Fleury Ministry. (1724-1733.)

IN the same hour that the Duc d'Orléans died, the Duc de Bourbon begged of the King the office of Prime Minister. Though a mere man of pleasure, tied to the apron strings of the Marquise de Prie, and knowing nothing of the science of government, he obtained the place. Eighteen months later, placards posted in the Palais-Royal and other parts of Paris, demanded his dismissal.

The government of " M. le duc" followed more nearly than that of the Regent the lines laid down in the previous reign. The Jesuits were allowed to get the upper hand, and under their direction Louis XV. married Marie Leczinska, who owed to their patronage her nickname of Unigenita. A Declaration was issued against the Protestants which, had it been carried out to the letter, would have proved more severe than the Edict of 1685. Yet the Parliament registered it without comment. In religious matters, the thoughts of all men were entirely taken up with the Bull.

The prophecies of Saint Simon were rapidly fulfilled. Until 1724, the doctrine of Infallibility had been propounded only in letters and mandates. In that year an entire book appeared in which the absolute sovereignty of Pontiffs and their superiority to Councils was insisted upon. This publication asserted that bishops derived their authority from the Holy See and not from Jesus Christ, and, recalling the fact that the Saviour conferred upon St. Peter dominion over Heaven and earth, insinuated that the Popes had authority over kings. "This," said Gilbert de

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