Lot 284: Mistress and second wife of Louis XIV (1635–1719). ALS in French, signed "Maintenon," one page both sides, 6.5 x 9, August 6, 1712. Letter to Madame de Vertrieux, Mother Superior of the Dames de la Maison royale Saint-Louis at Saint Cyr, the famous school founded by Maintenon, in part (translated): "I am delighted, my dear Mother (Superior), at your readiness to render thanks and gratitude. Keep this spirit well in mind among us for it seems to me that most people after asking devoutly for favors, soon forget them once they've received them. The lifting of the siege of Landrecy is a greater favor than one can believe.I ask you for 1/4 of an hour of extraordinary prayers for the capture of Douay. Wouldn't it be a good idea to have the prayers replace the catechism, which could be omitted…I am not at all opposed to the distancing between recreation periods and I believe as you do that they will thus be more appreciated. Mademoiselle d'Aumale replied to you concerning Mad. De Penchrech who will see by what I have done how much friendship I have for her because I don't like to bother the King. I implore you to make Sister de Glapion obey. I've heard reports from many sources that she's been coughing and that she wants to abstain from eating meat. She must follow the doctor's orders…I can't intervene in the matter of the latest Catholic news from Lyons and I must be extremely circumspect about making solicitations because it has sometimes happened that complaints have been made to the King, but if it's really important to you and you make a request through Mr. Mauduyt asking one of the judges to protect the good Catholic, I don't think there is any problem with that. I'm quite vexed at not being able to celebrate with you and for bringing only my sorrows to you. I embrace our dear girls and you my dear Mother with all the distinction you deserve." In fine condition, with edge toning and a stray ink mark across one paragraph. Over a decade into the War of the Spanish Succession, in which France and Spain faced the Grand Alliance led by the Holy Roman Empire and Great Britain, Louis XIV's armies were rapidly recapturing previously lost grounds. While his marriage to Madame de Maintenon was never officially recognized, Louis did entertain her suggestions throughout the war, giving her great political influence at this crucial time. Despite her declaration of reluctance to pester the King regarding "the latest Catholic news from Lyons," she was known to draw his attention towards less pressing matters, hence the "complaints…made to the King." Addressing not only the business of the Maison royale de Saint-Louis—which she had founded and closely monitored throughout her life—but also the siege at Douai, a prominent educational hub for English Catholics and a contentious area in the current war, this is an outstanding letter concerning politics, religion, and education.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 460
Wednesday, 16th September 2015
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