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The Memoirs of Louis XIV

Louvois
M. de Louvois was a person of a very wicked disposition; he hated his father and brother,
and, as they were my very good friends, this minister made me feel his dislike of them.
His hatred was also increased, because he knew that I was acquainted with his ill-
treatment of my father, and that I had no reason in the world to like him. He feared that I
should seek to take vengeance upon him, and for this reason he was always exciting the
King against me. Upon this point alone did he agree with that old, Maintenon.
I believe that Louvois had a share in the conspiracy by which Langhans and Winkler
compassed my poor brother's death. When the King had taken the Palatinate, I required
him to arrest the culprits; the King gave orders for it, and they were in fact seized, but
afterwards liberated by a counter-order of Louvois. Heaven, however, took care of their
punishment for the crime which they had committed upon my poor brother; for Langhans
died in the most abject wretchedness, and Winkler went mad and beat his own brains out.
There is no doubt that the King spoke very harshly to Louvois, but certainly he did not
treat him as has been pretended, for the King was incapable of such an action. Louvois
was a brute and an insolent person; but he served the King faithfully, and much better
than any other person. He did not, however, forget his own interest, and played his cards
very well. He was horribly depraved, and by his impoliteness and the grossness of his
replies made himself universally hated. He might, perhaps, believe in the Devil; but he
did not believe in God. He had faith in all manner of predictions, but he did not scruple to
burn, poison, lie and cheat.
If he did not love me very well, I was at least even with him; and, for the latter part of his
time, he conducted himself somewhat better. I was one of the last persons to whom he
spoke, and I was even shocked when it was announced that the man with whom I had
been conversing a quarter of an hour before, and who did not look ill, was no more.
They have not yet learnt, although I have resided so long in France, to respect my seal.
M. de Louvois used to have all my letters opened and read; and M. Corey, following his
noble example, has not been more courteous to me. Formerly they used to open them for
the purpose of finding something to my prejudice, and now (1718) they open them
through mere habit.
 
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