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After France lost the Battle of Rossbach (1757), during the Seven Years’ War, and would lose New France, Madame de Pompadour, the chief mistress of Louis XV, said: “au reste, après nous, le Déluge” (“Besides, after us, the Deluge”).

For France, it was the beginning of the Deluge. After the Seven Years’ War, it was on the brink of bankruptcy, which, as we have seen, led to the meeting of the Estates General. It opened on 5 May 1789, but the French Revolution began two months later, on 14 July 1789, the day the Bastille was stormed.

For the people of New France, it was also the Deluge. New France (see map) was very large, but it had few inhabitants, about 70,000. These were the descendants of 26,000 colonists, but its population would grow.

The current population of Quebec is 8,455,402, 81% of whom are French-speaking. Many immigrants to Quebec are French-speaking North Africans: Blacks and Whites. Several are Algerians and, a large number, Muslims. (See The Population of Quebec, World Population Review.com.)

Madame de Pompadour

Madame de Pompadour was born Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson (29 December 1721 – 15 April 1764) and she was the royal mistress from 1745 to 1751, or from the age of 24 to the age of 30. She had to retire from her role as chief mistress because of health problems. However, she remained Louis XV’s friend and mistress of his heart. She was very influential at court. On 8 February 1756, she was named lady-in-waiting to Marie Leszczyńska, Louis XVI‘s mother.

The marquise was a patroness of the arts and a student of François Boucher. He taught her how to make engravings. She also learned to engrave semi-precious stones, such as onyx. The images shown below are by François Boucher and Pompadour, after gemstone engraver Jacques Guay. (Wiki2.org.) In 1759, our marquise bought a porcelain factory, at Sèvres. (See Madame de Pompadour, Wiki2.org.)

Les Lumières

Not only was the Marquise a patroness of the arts, but she was also a friend of the physiocrates and philosophes of the Enlightenment, Voltaire, no less, as well as its encyclopédistes: Denis Diderot, Jean le Rond d’Alembert

When Madame de Pompadour died of tuberculosis at the age of 42, Voltaire wrote:

I am very sad at the death of Madame de Pompadour. I was indebted to her and I mourn her out of gratitude. It seems absurd that while an ancient pen-pusher, hardly able to walk, should still be alive, a beautiful woman, in the midst of a splendid career, should die at the age of forty-two.”
(See Madame de Pompadour, Wiki2.org.)

“… après nous, le Déluge.”

Love to everyone 💕

 Les Tendres SouhaitsLe Poème harmonique
Claire Lefilliâtre, soprano
Vincent Dumestre, lutenist and founder of the ensemble Le Poème harmonique

Head of a Woman from Behind by François Boucher (WikiArt.org)

© Micheline Walker
26 February 2019