Orleans, Lewis Duke Of

, a learned and pious prince of the s blood royal of France, was the son of Philip duke of Orleans, afterwards regent, and of Mary Frances of Bourfron. He was born at Versailles, Aug. 4, 1703, and appeared first at court at the time the prince his father became regent of France. After the death of the regent he married Augusta Maria, of Baden, in 1724; a princess whose amiable qualifications made her death justly lamented by her consort, and people of all denominations. She died in 1726, having been married only two years. | The prince, deeply affected with his loss, and sensible of the infelicity of titles^ pre-eminence, and all earthly enjoyments, sought for that comfort in the exercises of religion which courts cannot bestow. In 1730 he toot, in the abbey of St. Genevieve, an apartment mean and inconvenient, and in a manner sequestered from the world. He first retired to it only at the solemn festival, but resided in it more frequently after 1735; and, when he left the court in 1742, took up his constant residence there, nor returned more to his palace, except to attend the council, from which he seldom absented himself. In his retirement he practised the most rigid austerities; slept on a rough straw bed, rose early, passed several hours in prayer, fasted, drank nothing but water, and constantly deprived himself of the convenience of fire, even in the most inclement seasons; and was, in all his actions, an example of severe self-denial. His charitable disposition led him to relieve the indigent of every nation, found several public charities, and send missionaries to the remotest parts of the world.

When Orleannois was laid waste by the overflowing of the Loire in 1733, the duke, by his speedy help, saved a multitude of men who were perishing in the water, and furnished even the necessary grain for sowing the lands. It is universally known that, in 1739 and 1740, his liberality had no bounds but the people’s wants. He extended his alms not only to the poor catholics in Berlin, and throughout Silesia, but to those of the Indies and America. This great man also founded charity-schools in several places, and communities of men and women for the instruction of youth; a college at Versailles; a divinity chair in the Sorbonne, for explaining the Hebrew text of the holy scriptures. At Orleans he established foundations of midwives, and of surgeons for cutting for the stone. He purchased several very useful secrets, which he made public; and his gardens were filled with scarce and valuable simples from the most remote climates, for the relief of the sick. Anxious about. the public good to his last moments, he bequeathed to the seminary of the Trentetrois, a sum sufficient for the re-establishment of the scholarships; and from that time the young divines of this seminary have been taught Hebrew in the Sorbonne. These charitable occupations did not prevent his acquiring great learning. He applied with incredible success to the study | of St. Thomas, Estius, the most valuable treatises in defence of religion, the fathers, the best ecclesiastical authors, the Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Greek languages, that he might have the satisfaction of reading the hoi? scriptures in the original text. He also devoted some time to studying history, geography, botany, chemistry, natural philosophy, and painting. So rapid was his progress, that, in the last seven or eight years of his life, he cited texts of scripture almost always from memory, with the variations of the Hebrew, Greek, anoWulgate. The Greek fathers were as familiar to him as the Latin; and he explained with facility Plato’s Dialogues, and other profane authors. The duke of Orleans honoured the literati with his patronage, and encouraged them by his bounty, preferring those whose researches contributed to the glory of religion, or the public welfare. In the codicil of his* will., he leaves an annuity to the abb Frangois, and explains his motive in the following terms: “Being desirous to take upon myself to return the obligation which the public are under to S. abbe” Francois, author of a late work on the proofs of our religion, and to enable him to continue such useful labours, I give and bequeath to the foresaid S. Abbe Francois, five hundred livres annual-rent and annuity.“Ivlothwiths’tanding the immense sums which this prince spent, both in France and in foreign counrries, he discharged the accumulated debts of his own house,” restored its exhausted finances, and considerably increased its domains. Though humble and plain in his private life, he was grand and noble on public occasions. It is well known with how much magnificence he went into Alsace to espouse the queen in his majesty’s name; how liberal he was to the soldiers while colonel-general of the French infantry, and in what manner he celebrated the dauphin’s birth, the marriage of the duke of Chartres, &c. Gay and lively in conversation, he became serious the moment that any one began to talk to him on business. His austerities and application to study having brought on a long and painful illness, he waited for the approach of death with an incredible firmness and courage, speaking of it with the greatest tranquillity. He died February 4, 1752, aged forty-eight years and six months, universally regretted. He left many works in manuscript, principally literal translations, paraphrases, and commentaries on part of the Old Testament; a literal translation of the Psalms | from the Hebrew, with a paraphrase, and notes; several dissertations against the Jews; a literal translation of St. Paul’s Epistles from the Greek, with a paraphrase, notes, and pious reflections, and several other curious treatises and dissertations on different subjects. His modesty would not permit him to print any of his writings he bequeathed them, with his library, to the Dominicans.1