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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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Madame de, a very noted character in the history of France, both in secular and ecclesiastic affairs, was born of a noble Protestant family in the prison at Niort, France, Nov. 27, 1635; came with her parents to this country, but returned to France in 1646; married the poet Scarron in 1651, and after his death (1660) was about to remove to Portugal, when she was secured by Madame Montespan, the favorite of Louis XIV, as governess of the duke of Maine, the illegitimate son of the king. The large estate of Maintenon was presented to her, until now Francoise D'Aubigne, and hereafter she assumed the name of the estate. Later she became a formidable rival of Madame Montespan. It was by the influence of Madame de Maintenon that Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, and that he established the educational institution in the abbey of St. Cyr. In the last-named place she spent her days after the death of the king. She died April 15,1719. It is difficult to describe Madame de Maintenon's relation to Louis XIV. She was married to him some eighteen months after the death of the queen. She is never believed to have been the king's mistress, in the ordinary sense of the term, but her association with him was surely of a very intimate character long before they were joined in wedlock. She certainly exercised an uncommon influence over him. She had a passion to be regarded as "a mother of the Church;" but while she confessed the strength of her desire to Romanize the Huguenots, she earnestly denied that she approved of the detestable dragonnades. Her pretended Memoirs are spurious, but her Letters (Amst. 1759, 9 vols.; best edit. by Lavallec, Paris, 1865 sq.) are genuine. See Noailles, Histoire de Mad. de Maintenon (1858-59, 4 vols. 8vo); Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du Lundi, 4; Blackwood's Magazine, 1.850 (Feb.); Fraser's Magazine, 1849 (March). See Louis XIV.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Maintaenon'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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