Dubois, Guillaume

Dubois, Guillaume a French prelate and statesman, was born at Brives-la-Gaillarde September 6, 1656. He studied at the college of St. Michael, at Paris, and afterwards became tutor in the family of the marquis de Pleuvant, and later of the duke of Orleans. He spared no pains to obtain the full confidence of his pupil, and for that end connived at all his excesses. Finally he succeeded, in 1692, in inducing the duke to marry Mademoiselle de Blois, a legitimized daughter of Louis XIV, who rewarded him for this service by giving him the abbey of St. Just. We now find him mixed in all the political events of the time. Two years after the death of Louis XIV he was made councilor of state by the regent, and soon found himself at the head of the government. Intent only on furthering his own interests, Dubois's policy was the precise opposite of Louis XIV's, and he became the obedient agent of England, with which power and Holland he concluded the treaty called the Threefold Alliance, at Hague, January 14, 1717. Appointed minister of foreign affairs, Dubois wished to be also archbishop, and especially cardinal, as Richelieu and Mazarin had been. He had caused, for that end, the bull Unigenitus to be registered in France, but had obtained nothing but promises from Clement XI. The archbishopric of Cambrai becoming vacant, Dubois applied for it, although he had only received the tonsure, without being in holy orders. The regent acceded to his demand, and after receiving all the necessary ordinations in one day, Dubois was consecrated June 9, 1720, all the most eminent members of the French clergy, with the exception of the cardinal de Noailles, taking part in the ceremony. He was made a cardinal in 1721 by Innocent XI (q.v.), whom, it is said, he helped with large sums of money at the time of his election. Dubois finally became prime minister in 1722, and president of the assembly of the French clergy. In this position he proved a capable and intelligent administrator, but ambitious and thoroughly unprincipled. He died at Versailles August 10, 1723. The duchess of Orleans, mother of the regent, wrote of him: "If abbot Dubois had as much honesty and religion as he has wit, he should be an excellent man; but he believes in nothing, and regards neither manners nor truth. He is very learned; he has taught my son, but yet I could wish that he had never seen him." Dubois, besides the archbishopric of Cambrai, had seven abbeys, and his revenues amounted to two millions, not counting a million he was said to have received from England for his secret services." See Duclos, Mem. secrets sur les reignes de Louis XIV et de Louis XV; Saint- Simon, Memoires, 18-20; G. Brunet, Memoires de la Princesse Palatine; Sismondi, Hist. des Franzais, 26 to 28; Sevelinges, Mem. secr. et Corresp. ined. du Cardinial G. Dubois, etc. Paris, 1814; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 13:859 sq.

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