supreme ; disposed to brook not the slightest suggestion of interference with his wishes from anybody, and jealous of obedience and admiration, not to say adulation, from the whole of the civilised world.
The pendulum swung from one extreme to the other, and everything was done on a lavish scale. Louis had planned a reign which should dazzle by its splendour, and past experience had taught him that this was not to be attained by miserly niggardliness. " Leakages " of State monies were discovered and stopped ; the Surintendant Fouquet himself was condemned to banishment for peculation ; and with the demolition of the powers of the financiers and farmers of the revenue, who were either dismissed or hanged, the royal coffers were filled again to overflowing, and a new era commenced. What an era it was which brought to light such men as Condé, Turenne, and Vauban ; Colbert and Louvois ; Corneille, Racine, Molière, La Fontaine, Boileau, Bossuet, Fénélon, Le Brun, and Perrault—to name but a few of its master minds ! The only emblem of which Louis could think, in order fitly to symbolise the brilliance of the intellectual and material environment which was to distinguish his reign, was the sun itself, with resplendent rays darting from it, and accompanied by the legend i( Nec pluribus imparAnd "Le Roi Soleil" he became.
In writing of the encouragement of the arts in France at this time, we must not omit the name of Colbert, who was bequeathed, as it were, by Mazarin to the king as a most valuable possession ; which he indeed proved to be. He saw that financial encouragement was liberally accorded to anyone whose services would either benefit the State or tend to render the epoch more magnificent. There were other and most important factors also to be borne in mind, though perhaps, fft)m the point of view of strict morality, we might prefer to ignore them. It has been contended, however, that there is no morality in art. Be that as it may, certain it is
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