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That conduct exposed the king to accusations of incest as well as adultery. When Mme de Châteauroux, the last of the sister-Â� mistresses, suddenly died in 1744, Parisians muttered darkly that Louis’s crimes could bring down the punishment of God on the entire kingdom. And when he took up with Mme de Pompadour in 1745, they complained that he was stripping the kingdom bare in order to heap jewelry and châteaux on a vile commoner. Those themes stood out in the poems and songs that reached the king, some of them so violent as to advocate regicide: “A poem has appeared with two hundred fifty horrible lines against the king.

Berryer, the lieutenant general of police, who was also a Pompadour protégé, would be understandably eager to enforce d’Argenson’s orders, now that d’Argenson had replaced Maurepas as head of the Department of Paris. But there was more to the provocation and the response than met the eye. 7 Of course, the d’Argenson faction could reply that the poetastery was a plot of the Maurepas faction. 8 By exhorting the police to pursue the investigation “as high as it may go,”9 he might pin the crime 36â•… poetry and the police on€his poÂ�litÂ�iÂ�cal enemies.

They turned up a counselor in the Grand Conseil (Langlois de Guérard), the clerk of an attorney in the Grand Conseil (Jouret), the clerk of an attorney (Ladoury), and the clerk of a notary (Tranchet). They also encountered another cluster of students whose central figÂ�ure seemed to be a young man named Varmont, who was completing his year of philosophy at the Collège d’HarÂ� court. He had accumulated quite a collection of seditious verse, including poem€1, which he memorized and dictated in class to Du€Chaufour, a fellow student of philosophy, who passed it down the line that eventually led to Bonis.

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