The 'Affair of Poisons' by Madame Montespan

The 'Affair of Poisons' by Madame Montespan

Louis XIV ‘The Sun King’, was the king of France in the middle and late seventeenth century. However, one day a rumor began to circulate in Paris that the king was going to make a general cleaning of customs of the population. That way I would end practices like sodomy, something that was considered abominable and was punished with the stake.

He wanted to implement such a rule on several occasions but his advisers assured him that it would be difficult to do, since they assured that all this would lead to his younger brother, the Duke of Orleans.

These rumors, whether true or not, caused a great unrest among the population, including those who did not practice such sexual activities. The actions of each person began to be investigated and personalities such as Jean Racine or La Voisin, but eventually the investigation fell apart.

All this was because the detainees who were in Vincennes They did not stop naming the Marchioness of Montespan. During the time of the investigations, detained dozens of people with detestable practices such as fortune tellers, child kidnappers, counterfeiters, abortionists, poison traffickers and love filters, among others.

One of the detainees was called Lesage, who had fortunately escaped going to the galleys for the intervention of a La Voisin client. Minister Louvois spoke with him and offered him get free if he told her everything he had to say. The first person he named was the Marchioness of Montespan. He claimed that the Marchioness had provided him with certain powders regularly.

Under torture, a woman named Madame Filastre also confessed that Madame Montespan provided him with various potions, among which the love filters stood out, although after the torture he denied everything said.

From that moment on, all the prisoners detained for dark practices began to claim that The Marchioness of Montespan was the main client of the witches and fortune tellers from the city of Paris. They even went so far as to give details such as that La Voisin had gone on numerous occasions to meet in various places with the Marchioness.

Finally it was stated that he had been supplying powerful love filters to the king himself to keep him by her side, since at that moment he was his favorite. In addition, according to the statements, he would have held a black mass to get the support of the devil in those who supposedly had been sacrificed children.

The accusations went further and it was stated that La Voisin wanted give the king a paper impregnated with poison the same day that she had been arrested and that she had given the Duchess de Fontanges poisoned gloves as well.

La Reiynie, one of the king's advisers, finally decided inform the king of everything that was being said. This produced a government crisis. Louis XIV had to convene an extraordinary council with his ministers that lasted several days trying to figure out what to do in such a serious situation, since it directly affected the king and his official lover, which could have serious consequences.

For Louis XIV it was a great blow, since he considered the Marchioness of Montespan like a second wife. She had to take action but she didn't know how, since in addition to being her favorite she was the mother of 8 children and had a loving relationship with the people of the palace. Thus, he did not feel capable of sending her to court even though one of the accusations was that she was supplying him with love filters to keep him by her side.

What was clear is that even if he was innocent, after the trial he would always be marked as the poisoner and it would be associated with black magic practices and even human sacrifice. Also, it wouldn't be nice to hear the jokes that could be created both in France and in the rest of Europe about the love filters that she supposedly provided him.

He finally resolved to end the matter and burn all files related to the case. The only one who disagreed was La Reynie, stating that poisoning had to end and that preventing the court from acting was not fair. He also stated that by burning everything related to the case many detainees would be exonerated.

The king then decided that everything could continue as long as the evidence involving the Marchioness was suppressed, but it was something very complicated considering that practically all the prisoners had declared against her.

La Reynie then decided that there was only one thing that could be done, awarding all the prisoners with a so-called 'Lettre de cachet', A letter signed by the king himself in which he was sent to prison without any trial. This meant that they would not be subjected to any punishment, but all the accused would go to prison, including all those who were innocent.

The Burning Chamber ended in 1682 With 36 people tortured and burned alive, 4 were sent to galleys, 36 upper-class people fined and exiled, and finally 36 people acquitted. 81 people received signed letters and sealed by the king they had to spend the rest of their life in prison in solitary confinement cells and were flogged if they dared to speak.

Images: Public domain

With a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was a child I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.


Video: Meet the mistresses of Louis XV at the Palace of Versailles