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A Popular History of France from the Earliest Time

Illustration Cardinal Dubois 78 James Stuart


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only serious result of Cellamare's conspiracy was to render imminent a rupture with Spain. From the first days of the regency the old enmity of Philip V. towards the Duke of Orleans and the secret pretensions of both of them to the crown of France, in case of little Louis XV.'s death, rendered the relations between the two courts thorny and strained at bottom, though still perfectly smooth in appearance. It was from England that Abbe Dubois urged the Regent to seek support. Dubois, born in the very lowest position, and endowed with a soul worthy of his origin, was "a little, lean man, wire-drawn, with a light colored wig, the look of a weasel, a clever expression," says St. Simon, who detested him; "all vices struggled within him for the mastery; they kept up a constant hubbub and strife together. Avarice, debauchery, ambition, were his gods; perfidy, flattery, slavishness, his instruments; and complete unbelief his comfort. He excelled in low intrigues; the boldest lie was second nature to him, with an air of simplicity, straightforwardness, sincerity, and often bashfulness." In spite of all these vices, and the depraving influence he had exercised over the Duke of Orleans from his earliest youth, Dubois was able, often far-sighted, and sometimes bold; he had a correct and tolerably practical mind. Madame, who was afraid of him, had said to her son on the day of his elevation to power, "I desire only the welfare of the state and your own glory; I have but one request to
make for your honor's sake, and I demand your word for it, that is, never to employ that scoundrel of an Abbe Dubois, the greatest rascal in the world, and one who would sacrifice the state and you to the slightest interest." The Regent promised; yet a few months later and Dubois was Church-councillor of State, and his growing influence with the prince placed him, at first secretly, and before long openly, at the head of foreign affairs.

[Illustration: Cardinal Dubois----78]

James Stuart, King James II.'s son, whom his friends called James III. and his enemies Chevalier St. George, had just unsuccessfully attempted a descent upon Scotland. The Jacobites had risen; they were crying aloud for their prince, who remained concealed in Lorraine, when at last he resolved to set out and traverse France secretly. Agents, posted by the English ambassador, Lord Stair, were within an ace of arresting him, perhaps of murdering him. Saved by the intelligence and devotion of the post-mistress of Nonancourt, he embarked on the 26th of December at Dunkerque, too late to bring even moral support to the men who were fighting and dying for him. Six weeks after landing at Peterhead, in Scotland, he started back again without having struck a blow, without having set eyes upon the enemy, leaving to King George I. the easy task of avenging himself by sending to death upon the scaffold the noblest victims. The Duke of Orleans had given him a little money, had known of and had encouraged his passage through France, but had accorded him no effectual aid; the wrath of both parties, nevertheless, fell on him.

Inspired by Dubois, weary of the weakness and dastardly incapacity of the Pretender, the Regent consented to make overtures to the King of England. The Spanish nation was favorable to France, but the king was hostile to the Regent; the English loved neither France nor the Regent, but their king had an interest in severing France from the Pretender forever. Dubois availed himself ably of his former relations with Lord Stanhope, heretofore commander of the English troops in Spain, for commencing a secret negotiation which soon extended to Holland, still closely knit to England. "The


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