Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Louis the Dauphin (1729-1765)

Louis the Dauphin was the only son of Louis XV and the father of three kings of France, including Louis XVI. According to Wikipedia:

Louis was rather plump. He was well educated: a studious man, cultivated, and a lover of music, he preferred the pleasures of conversation to those of hunting, balls, or spectacles. With a keen sense of morality, he was very much committed to his wife, Marie-Josèphe, as she was to him. Very devout, he was a fervent supporter of the Jesuits, like his mother and sisters, and was led by them to have a devotion to the Sacred Heart. He appeared in the eyes of his sisters as the ideal of the Christian prince, in sharp contrast with their father who was a notorious womanizer.

Kept away from government affairs by his father, Louis was at the center of the Dévots, a group of religiously-minded men who hoped to gain power when he succeeded to the throne.

Louis the Dauphin would take his children to view the local parish register, to see their names inscribed along with the names of the lowliest peasant children, to show them that all distinctions of rank vanish in the eyes of God. He was only thirty-six years old when he passed away, leaving a devoted wife Marie-Josèphe de Saxe, who died not long afterwards, and five young children. It is strange how the oldest son of every generation of the Bourbon family died in youth or infancy before inheriting the throne, almost recalling the tenth plague of Egypt. Some claim it is because of Louis XIV's refusal to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart, which may be true, although it is beyond me to analyze the ways of the Almighty. Share


lara77 said...

I read your article on the Dauphin and wondered how differently France's history would have been if he had lived a long life. How very sad for France and the thousands and thousands of lives that would be snuffed out after the fall of the Bastille.There is the possibilty that events still would have happened in 1789 but I will always wonder what if? Poor France! The rivers of blood that would flow in the name of "freedom"!

Jack B. said...

Even back further two generations, what would France been like had Louis XV's father - the Dauphin/Duke of Burgundy (eldest grandson of Louis XIV), who was also extremely devout, a disciple of Fenelon and who WAS being prepared in the ways of statemanship by his grandfather had lived?
And what if HIS eldest son had lived (Louis XV's older brother). Both the Dauphin, his wife and his eldest son died within weeks of the pox, leaving the 5(?) year old Duke of Normandy as the heir to his aging great-grandfather, eventually to be raised by the ambitious Regent Duke of Orleans (ancestor of Egalite and Louis Phillipe) to be nothing but a wastrel? The French Bourbons of the 1700s were very unlucky in their premature deaths.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, they were. Thanks, Jack, for reminding us of those other heirs who died young.