1755 1st ed History of Reign of Louis XI FRANCE Valois Charles the Bold 6v SET

Nicolas Baudot de Juilly Marguerite de Lussan


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Louis XI (1423 – 1483), called the Prudent (French: le Prudent), was a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 1461 to 1483. He succeeded his father Charles VII.


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1755 1st ed History of Reign of Louis XI FRANCE Valois Charles the Bold 6v SET

Par mademoiselle de Lussan / Beautiful Set & Contents


Louis XI (1423 – 1483), called the Prudent (French: le Prudent), was a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 1461 to 1483. He succeeded his father Charles VII.


Main author: Nicolas Baudot de Juilly; Marguerite de Lussan


Title: Histoire et regne de Louis XI. Par mademoiselle de Lussan.


Published: A Paris, chez Pissot, libraire, quai de Conti, à la descente du Pont-neuf. M. DCC. LV.


Language: French


Notes & contents:

  • 1st edition
  • Title page vignette
  • Handwritten notes on blanks
  • Contents of each tome, years of reign in France:
    • Tome I : 1461-1465.
    • Tome II : 1465-1467.
    • Tome III : 1468-1470.
    • Tome IV : 1470-1474.
    • Tome V : 1474-1476.
    • Tome VI : 1476-1483.
  • Signatures: a6, A-V12, X4 ; a4, A-T12, V8 ; a6, A-T12 ; a4, A-S12, T6 ; a4, A-S12, T6 (f. T6 bl.) ; a6, A-T12, V6.




Wear: wear as seen in photos

Binding: tight and secure leather binding

Pages: complete with all pages; plus indexes, prefaces, and such

Publisher: A Paris, chez Pissot, libraire, quai de Conti, à la descente du Pont-neuf. M. DCC. LV.

Size: ~6.5in X 4in (16.5cm x 10cm)





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Louis XI (3 July 1423 – 30 August 1483), called the Prudent (French: le Prudent), was a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 1461 to 1483. He succeeded his father Charles VII.

Louis was a devious and disobedient Dauphin of France who entered into open rebellion against his father in a short-lived revolt known as the Praguerie in 1440. The king forgave his rebellious vassals, including Louis, to whom he entrusted the management of the Dauphiné, then a province in southeastern France. Louis’ ceaseless intrigues, however, led his father to banish him from court. From the Dauphiné, Louis led his own political establishment and married Charlotte of Savoy, daughter of Louis, Duke of Savoy, against the will of his father. Charles VII sent an army to compel his son to his will, but Louis fled to Burgundy, where he was hosted by Philip the Good, the Duke of Burgundy, Charles’ greatest enemy.

When Charles VII died in 1461, Louis left the Burgundian court to take possession of his kingdom. His taste for intrigue and his intense diplomatic activity earned him the nicknames the Cunning (Middle French: le rusé) and the Universal Spider (Middle French: l’universelle aragne), as his enemies accused him of spinning webs of plots and conspiracies.

In 1472, the subsequent Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, took up arms against his rival Louis. However, Louis was able to isolate Charles from his English allies by signing the Treaty of Picquigny (1475) with Edward IV of England. The treaty formally ended the Hundred Years’ War. With the death of Charles the Bold at the Battle of Nancy in 1477, the dynasty of the dukes of Burgundy died out. Louis took advantage of the situation to seize numerous Burgundian territories, including Burgundy proper and Picardy.

Without direct foreign threats, Louis was able to eliminate his rebellious vassals, expand royal power, and strengthen the economic development of his country. He died in 1483 and was succeeded by his son Charles VIII.

Contents  [hide]

1              Biography

1.1          Early life

1.2          Succession as King

1.3          Feud with Charles the Bold

1.4          Dealings with England

1.5          Settling with Charles the Bold

1.6          The Italian Question

1.7          Death

1.8          Legacy

2              Children with Charlotte of Savoy

3              Ancestors

4              In popular culture

5              References


Early life[edit]

Louis was born in Bourges on 3 July 1423, the son of King Charles VII of France.[1] At the time, during the Hundred Years War, the English held northern France, including the city of Paris, and Charles VII was restricted to the centre and south of the country.[2] Louis was the grandson of Yolande of Aragon, who was a moving spirit in the royal family to drive the English out of France. France was suffering a low point in the war, however. Just a few days after Louis’ christening at the Cathedral of St. Étienne on 4 July 1423, the French army suffered a crushing defeat to the English at Cravant.[3] Shortly thereafter a combined Anglo-Burgundian army would be threatening Bourges itself.


In this painting by Jean Fouquet, Louis’ father Charles VII is depicted as one of the three magi, and it is assumed that Louis, then Dauphin, is one of the other two.

During the reign of Louis’ grandfather, Charles VI (1380–1422), the Duchy of Burgundy was very much connected with the French throne. However, because of the absence of any real concentrated power in a central government, all the duchies of France tended to act independently. Also, during the reign of King Charles VI, Duke Phillip II (The Bold) was reigning as Duke of Burgundy. Phillip was an uncle of King Charles VI and Phillip was actually serving on a council of regents for King Charles. The Dukes of Anjou, Berry and Bourbon,[4] all uncles of Charles VI, also served on this council of regents. Therefore, all effective power actually lay with the council of dukes, and the real power in France lay with these duchies.

In its position of independence from the French throne, Burgundy had grown in size and power. By the reign of Louis’ father, Charles VII, Phillip III, the Good (1419-1467) was reigning as Duke of Burgundy and the Duchy had expanded its borders to include all the territory in France from the North Sea in the north to the Jura Mountains in the south and from the Somme River in the west to the Moselle River in the east.[5] The duchy had also grown in political power. During the Hundred Years War, the Burgundians actually allied with England against the French crown. Indeed, the Burgundians were responsible for the capture of and burning at the stake of Joan of Arc on 31 May 1431.[6]

In 1429, young Louis found himself in the presence of Joan of Arc at Loches. Joan was fresh from her first victory over the English at the Battle of Orléans.[3] Her victories on the battlefield proved to be the turning point for the French in the Hundred Years War. Joan led troops in other victories at the Battle of Jargeau and the Battle of Patay.[6] Although Joan was unable to liberate Paris during her lifetime, the city was liberated after her death, and Louis and his father Charles VII were able to ride in triumph into the city on 12 November 1437.[7] Nevertheless, Louis grew up aware of the continuing weakness of the French nation, and he despised his father for this weakness and regarded his father as a weakling.


Margaret Stewart of Scotland.[8]

On 24 June 1436 Louis met Margaret of Scotland, daughter of James I of Scotland, the bride his father had chosen for diplomatic reasons.[9] There are no direct accounts from Louis or his young bride of their first impressions of each other, and it is mere speculation whether they actually had negative feelings for each other. Several historians think that Louis had a predetermined attitude to hate his wife. But it is universally agreed that Louis entered the ceremony and the marriage itself dutifully, as evidenced by his formal embrace of Margaret upon their first meeting.

Louis’s marriage with Margaret resulted from the nature of medieval royal diplomacy and the precarious position of the French monarchy at the time. The wedding ceremony — very plain by the standards of the time — took place on the afternoon of 25 June 1436 in the chapel of the castle of Tours and was presided over by the Archbishop of Reims.[10] The 13-year-old Louis clearly looked more mature than his eleven-year-old bride, who was said to resemble a beautiful “doll”, and was treated as such by her in-laws.[10] Charles wore “grey riding pants” and “did not even bother to remove his spurs”.[10] The Scottish guests were quickly hustled out after the wedding reception, as the French royal court was quite impoverished at this time. They simply could not afford an extravagant ceremony or to host their Scottish guests for any longer than they did. The Scots, however, saw this behaviour as an insult to their small, but proud, country.[11]


Charlotte of Savoy.

Following the ceremony, “doctors advised against consummation” because of the relative immaturity of the bride and bridegroom. Margaret continued her studies and Louis went on tour with Charles to loyal areas of the kingdom. Even at this time, Charles was taken aback by the intelligence and temper of his son. During this tour, Louis was named Dauphin by Charles, as was traditional for the eldest son of the king.[11] The beautiful and cultured Margaret was popular at the court of France, but her marriage to Louis was not a happy one, in part because of his strained relations with her father-in-law, who was very attached to her. She died childless at the age of 20 in 1445.

In 1440, Louis, aged 17, took part in an uprising known as the Praguerie, which sought to neutralize Charles and install Louis as Regent. The uprising failed and Louis was forced to submit to the King, who chose to forgive him.[12] In this revolt, Louis came under the influence of Charles I, Duke of Bourbon,[13] whose troops were in no condition to mount such a serious threat to royal authority. Louis was forced to retreat to Paris, but was “by no means trounced.”[14] In fact, before his final defeat, “[Louis’s]…military strength, combined with antipathy of the masses for great lords, won him the support of the citizens of Paris.”[14] This was a great learning experience for Louis. James Cleugh notes:

Like other strong-minded boys, he had found at last he could not carry all before him by mere bluster. Neither as prince nor as king did he ever forget his lesson. He never acted on pure impulse, without reflection, though to his life’s end he was constantly tempted to take such a risk.[10]

Louis continued soldiering. In 1444 he led an army of “écorcheurs” against the Swiss at the Battle of St. Jakob an der Birs and was impressed by the latter’s military might. He still quarreled with his father, however, and his objectionable scheming, which included disrespectful behavior directed against his father’s beloved mistress Agnès Sorel,[15] caused him to be ordered out of court on 27 September 1446 and sent to his own province of Dauphiné. He lived mainly in Grenoble, in the tour de la Trésorerie.[16] Despite frequent summons by the king, the two would never meet again. In Dauphiné, Louis ruled as king in all but name,[17] continuing his intrigues against his father. On 14 February 1451, Louis, 27, who had been widowed for six years, made a strategic marriage to the eight-year-old Charlotte of Savoy, without Charles’ consent.[18] This marriage was to have long-ranging effects on foreign policy as the beginning of French involvement in the affairs of the Italian peninsula.

Finally, in August 1456, Charles sent an army to Dauphiné. Louis fled to Burgundy, where he was granted refuge by Duke Philip the Good and settled in the castle of Genappe.[19] King Charles was furious when Philip refused to hand over Louis and warned the duke that he was “giving shelter to a fox who will eat his chickens”.

Succession as King[edit]


The Entry of Louis XI into Paris. – Facsimile of a Miniature in the “Chroniques” of Monstrelet, Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century (Imperial Library of Paris).

In 1461, Louis learned that his father was dying and hurried to Reims to be crowned in case his brother, Charles, Duke of Berry, tried to do the same. Louis XI became King of France on 25 July 1461.[20]

Louis pursued many of the same goals that his father had, such as limiting the powers of the dukes and barons of France, with consistently greater success. Louis instituted reforms to make the tax system more efficient.[21] He suppressed many of his former co-conspirators, who had thought him their friend, and he appointed to government service many men of no rank, but who had shown promising talent. He particularly favored the associates of the great French merchant, Jacques Coeur.[21] He allowed enterprising nobles to engage in trade without losing their privileges of nobility,[21] and he eliminated offices within the government bureaucracy and increased the demand on other offices within the government in order to promote efficiency in government.[21] Louis spent a large part of his kingship on the road.[22] Travelling from town to town in his kingdom, Louis would surprise local officials, investigate local governments, establish fairs, and promote trade regulations.[23] Perhaps the most significant contribution of Louis XI to the organization of the modern state of France was his development of the system of royal postal roads. In this system relays at instant service to the king operated on all the high roads of France; this communications network spread all across France and led to the king gaining the nickname, the “Universal Spider”.[24]

As king, Louis became extremely prudent fiscally, whereas he had previously been lavish and extravagant. He wore rough and simple clothes and mixed with ordinary people and merchants. A candid account of some of his activities is recorded by the courtier, Philippe de Commines, in his memoirs of the period. Louis made a habit of surrounding himself with valuable advisers of humble origins, such as Commines himself, Olivier Le Daim, Louis Tristan L’Hermite, and Jean Balue. Louis burned to speed up everything, transform everything, and build his new world.[21] For all the changes that Louis XI made to the government of France, he has the reputation of a leading “civil reformer” in French history and his reforms were in the interests of the rising trading and mercantile classes that would later become the bourgeoisie classes of France.

Louis XI also involved himself in the affairs of the Church in France. In October of 1461, Louis abolished the Pragmatic Sanction that his father had instituted in 1438 to establish a French (Gallican) Church free of Rome.[25]

Feud with Charles the Bold[edit]

Philip III (The Good) (1419–1467) was reigning as Duke of Burgundy at the time that Louis XI came to the throne of France. Phillip was keen to start a Crusade to the Holy Lands. However, he needed funds to organize the Crusade. Louis XI gave him 400,000 gold crowns for the Crusade in exchange for a number of territories, including Picardy and Amiens.[26] However, Philip’s son, the future Charles I, Duke of Burgundy, but currently the Count of Charolais, was angry about this transaction, feeling that he was being deprived of his inheritance. He joined a rebellion called the League of the Public Weal, led by Louis’s brother, the Duke of Berry who was also named Charles.[27] Although the rebels were largely unsuccessful in battle, Louis had no better luck. Louis XI fought an indecisive battle against the rebels at Montlhéry[28] and, thus, was forced to grant an unfavourable peace as a matter of political expediency.[29]


Engraving of Louis XI of France

Upon becoming Duke of Burgundy in 1467, Charles I (The Bold) seriously considered declaring an independent kingdom of his own. However, progress toward a strong centralized government had already advanced to the point, thanks, in part, to the continuous efforts of Louis XI, that Burgundy could no longer act as independently as the Duchy had done in the past. The Duchy now faced many problems with his territories, especially with the people of Liège, who conducted the Liège Wars against the Duke of Burgundy. In the Liège Wars, Louis XI, at first, allied himself with the people of Leige.

In 1468, Louis and Charles met at Péronne, but in the course of negotiations they learned that the Liègois had again risen up and killed the Burgundian governor.[30] Charles was furious. Philippe de Commines, at that time in the service of the duke of Burgundy, had to calm him down with the help of the duke’s other advisors for fear that he might hit the king. Louis was forced into a humiliating treaty. He gave up many of the lands he had acquired and Louis XI turned on his erstwhile allies in Liege and swore to help Charles put down the uprising in Liege. Louis XI, then, witnessed the siege of Liège, in which hundreds were massacred.[31]

But once out of Charles’s reach, Louis declared the treaty invalid and set about building up his forces. His aim was to destroy Burgundy once and for all; nothing could be more odious to a centralized monarchy than the existence of an over-mighty vassal such as the Duke of Burgundy. War broke out in 1472. Duke Charles laid siege to Beauvais and other towns. However, these sieges proved unsuccessful and the siege was finally lifted on 22 July 1472.[32] and he finally sued for peace. Philippe de Commines was welcomed into the service of King Louis.

In 1469, Louis founded the Order of St. Michael, probably in imitation of the prestigious Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece, founded by Charles’ father Philip the Good, just as King John II of France had founded the now defunct Order of the Star in imitation of the Order of the Garter of King Edward III of England. In both cases, a French king appears to have been motivated to found an order of chivalry to increase the prestige of the French royal court by the example of his chief political adversary.


Law & Government

European History


Nicolas Baudot de Juilly Marguerite de Lussan

Printing Date

18th Century





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