Friday, June 13, 2008

Jean Antoinette Poisson


In reply to the question, "What man or woman, not monarch or acknowledged ruler, has wielded the most despotic power?" a writer says no single individual has ever equaled or even approached Jean Antoinette Poisson, the most famous among the train of Louis XV of France, who was created Marquise de Pompadour and for 20 years swayed the whole policy of France. She filled all public offices with her own nominees and made her own creatures ministers of France. She it was who brought Belle Isle into office, with his vigorous policy, and introduced the Abbe de Bernis into office to work her own pleasure. Previous to 1756 the policy of France had been to weaken Austria by alliance with Germany.

This she arbitrarily changed because Frederick the Great lampooned her, and because Maria Theresa wrote her a courteous letter entered into an alliance with Austria, ultimating, as it turned out, in the Seven Years' war. She, moreover, corresponded with the generals in the field, prepared all business for the king's eye and daily examined the letters sent through the post. The king was a mere puppet, who assisted at the spectacle of his own reign and the people for the time being "bowed down and worshiped" her. — Chicago Tribune.

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