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Item - BSL - Louis XIV 1713



Louis XIV

Louis XIV - The Sun King of France
Issues a Passport to John Forbes, Scotsman, to study medicine in Paris for two months - Signed by Louis XIV and his Chief Minister Jean Baptiste Colbert.

Jean Francois Colbert
Signed "By the King" - as PM

Louis XIV autograph
 signed at Paris 25 March 1713

Historical Note

Louis XIV - The Sun King of France (1638 - 1715)
French Monarchy - Capetian Dynasty - Bourbon Branch

Louis XIV (Louis-Dieudonné) reigned as King of France and of Navarre from May 14, 1643 until his death at the age of 77. He succeeded to the throne a few months before his fifth birthday, but did not assume actual personal control of the government until the death of his First Minister ("Premier Ministre"), Jules Cardinal Mazarin, in 1661. Louis XIV, known as The Sun King (in French Le Roi Soleil) or as Louis the Great (in French Louis le Grand, or simply Le Grand Monarque 'the Great Monarch'), ruled France for seventy-two years—the longest reign of any French or other major European monarch. Louis XIV increased the power and influence of France in Europe, fighting three major wars—the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession—and two minor ones—the War of Devolution, and the War of the Reunions. One of France's greatest kings, Louis XIV worked successfully to create an absolutist and centralized state. Louis XIV became the archetype of an absolute monarch. The phrase "L'État, c'est moi" ("I am the state") is frequently attributed to him, though this is considered by historians to be a historical inaccuracy and is more likely to have been conceived by political opponents as a way of confirming the stereotypical view of the absolutism he represented. Quite contrary to that apocryphal quote, Louis XIV is actually reported to have said on his death bed: "Je m'en vais, mais l'État demeurera toujours." ("I am going, but the State shall always remain")

Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Torcy (1665-1746)

Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Torcy, generally called Colbert de Torcy, was the namesake of his uncle, Jean Baptiste Colbert, Le Grand Colbert, Louis' Chief Advisor and Minister of Finance and the Father of Mercantilism - for whom the title of Torcy was created. He was also the son of Charles Colbert, Louis' Minister of Foreign Affairs; the young Marquis de Torcy had a heady pedigree. Colbert de Torcy was a brilliant and precocious legal student. Following the death of his father and uncle Torcy proved himself so able that in 1689 Louis XIV granted him the right to succeed to his father's position as Minister of Foreign Affairs, a position he held until Louis' death. He negotiated some of the most important treaties towards the end of Louis XIV's reign, notably the treaty (1700) that occasioned the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), in which the dying Charles II of Spain named Louis XIV's grandson, Philippe, duc d'Anjou, heir to the Spanish throne, eventually founding the line of Spanish Bourbons. Torcy was the guiding spirit of French diplomacy at the series of international conferences that resulted in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) and the Treaty of Rastatt (1714). Colbert de Torcy was concerned with professionalizing the conduct of diplomacy. He instituted an Académie Politique to train young professionals in the equivalent of a foreign service bureaucracy: it did not survive his retirement, but his establishment at Versailles of a centralized diplomatic archive (1710) has been a service to historians. The aged king, recognizing that Torcy had been a de facto Secretary of State, named him such in his will. But when Louis died in 1715, his will was broken by the Regent, Philippe duc d'Orléans, who deprived Torcy of any political power and he settled into a long but vociferous retirement.

Document Specifications: Document is one page and measures 14.25" tall x 8.5" wide (360mm x 215mm) and is signed by Louis XIV and dated Paris, 23 March 1713. It is also signed by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the Marquis of Torcy as Minister. The reverse has a docketing notation "Loge rue des noyer a L'Hotel du St. Esprit" [possibly a delivery address meaning: Lodging on Walnut Street near the Hotel St. Esprit]. The sheet has one vertical and three horizontal folds with some deterioration and water staining, some affecting the lower part of Louis' signature (see image for detail). There is some trimming of very right edge likely from opening the folded letter. This is a Passport for John Forbes (Jean Forbesse), Scotsman, to study medicine in Paris for a period of two months.

 Offered by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd.

End of Item - BSL - Louis XIV

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