Although the title “The Just” belongs to Louis XIII, we can’t help mentioning it regarding his son, Louis XIV, as any great king must be just.
During his reign Louis faced plenty of challenging events and situations, which demanded balanced solutions. And he managed to pass all these trials rather well. Besides his brilliant mind, ability to make reasonable decisions, the true king of France, (not an imposter created after the French Revolution), was well-tempered and prefered to keep silence than to speak. This quality made most people fear him. So, if the king decided to punish somebody or he had to arrange a judgement, he never did it under the impact of emotions. In fact, Louis had a natural talent to control himself so well that nobody could guess him out.
Nicolas Fouquet’s story, too often presented as an act of Louis’s severity, is perverted and exaggerated to blacken the king, for sure. As a matter of fact, Fouquet robbed the French crown & the king, built palaces, plunged in luxury and laundered money. This situation is well-spread in our time almost as a norm, while in the 17th century France it meant a capital punishment. A life imprisonment, given to Fouquet by the king, was an act of mercy, as the king saved his life and many years after he released his ex minister. But due to a bad health condition Fouquet died rather soon after that.
Another act of the Royal justice was a case happened in one of the French province. The local religious people arranged a small rebellion. By King’s order they were imprisoned but released rather soon. Moreover, they were even paid to be able to return home and all their rights were restored.
The French criminal papers of Louis XIV’s time are full of examples of the Royal mercy and generosity, as he lived for his Subjects and never forgot about their good even if they committed a crime.
Vive le Roy!