Balue, John De La

Balue, John De La, a French cardinal, principal minister of Louis XI, was born about 1421 at Verdun. His father, a miller according to one authority, a shoemaker or tailor according to others, was made lord of the burgh of Angle, in Poitou, where Balue appears to have spent his early years. Having entered the priesthood, he attached himself to Jean Juvenal des Ursins, bishop of Poitiers. At the death of this prelate, Balue, being executor of the will, appropriated to himself what belonged to others. He sought to hide this from Louis XI, who made him his secretary and chaplain, in 1464 counsellor clerk in the Parliament of Paris, and in 1465 bishop of Evreux. Louis XI, attacked by the formidable league called "Du Bien Public," was defended by Balue and Charles of Melhul. For these services Balue received in 1467 the bishopric of Angers, and in the same year was made cardinal. But at last he was arrested, and confessed his crimes. The-pope attempted to interfere; but the king, determined to punish hirm, imprisoned him at Loches in one of the iron cages which Balue himself had inventel. Here.he remained eleven years, until Sextus IV procured his liberation (1480), when he retired to Rome. In 1484 the pope sent him as legate a latere to France, where he conducted himself in a bold and impudent manner before the king. On his return to Italy he was made bishop of Albano, then of Prenesta, by Innocent VIII, successor of Sextus IV. He was, moreover, provided with rich benefices, and received the title of "Protecteur de l'Ordre de Malte." He died at Ancona in October, 1491. According to one, he was a man of gross ignorance; according to another, a man of gentle spirit and great learning. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Gen., s.v.

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