Kind permission granted by the The Trustee of the Estate of Hilaire Belloc for this new edition.
Foreword by Roger Buck
Monarchy—or Plutocracy? This is the rousing question the great Hilaire Belloc placed before his readers in this masterly 1938 work. Belloc, grown old, now realised the revolutionary dreams of his youth were naive. The great liberal insurrections, which supposedly led to Democracy, had yielded instead to secretive control by shadowy Capitalistic elites. As provocative as this thesis was in 1938, many today harbour similar suspicions of entities as varied as Wall Street, Washington, the European Union and the World Economic Forum. Could the only answer be a Catholic Monarchy, which naturally favours Distributism and a true democratic spirit? Today’s readers may well wonder after pondering these pages! For although this book is ostensibly a biography of France's illustrious “Sun King,” it is, in reality, much more than a simple narrative of the life of Louis XIV.
Rather, it is a study of the mysterious nature of Monarchy. Moreover, Belloc states “the matter which I think is central to this study and which I have particularly emphasised is the natural conflict between Monarchy and the Money-power.”
For in Seventeenth Century France, Louis XIV combatted the new financial elites with a certain success—unlike his ill-starred Stuart cousin James II, the last Catholic king of England, who fell before the power of Protestant monied interests. Here is an epic tale, wherein Capitalism triumphed in the emerging Anglosphere, while a flawed Catholic King in France took instead “the road less travelled.” Filled with fascinating insight, this book offers a rich Catholic meditation on the roots of modernity as well as a profound enquiry into matters as varied as French royalty, European tradition and economic justice.
This new edition features an unusually extensive foreword by Roger Buck, which enters into Belloc’s life and thinking. It also clarifies the book’s historical setting for modern readers, who may be insufficiently aware of this time-period in France and England.
Praise for Monarchy
Monarchy: A Study of Louis XIV is the mature Belloc at his best. The young Belloc had been loyal to the notion of the French Republic, seeing it as a patriotic duty. The mature Belloc went deeper, considering the role of monarchy in resisting the rise of the plutocracy that would lead to globalism. Those wishing to understand history and political philosophy on a deeper level should read this book and learn the lessons it teaches. —Joseph Pearce, author of Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc
An axiom that Belloc carried with him throughout his life was one he had heard in his youth (aged 22) from Benjamin Jowett, Master of Balliol, Oxford: “You cannot have a Republic without Republicans.” In some respects, Belloc remained a republican until his death, but increasingly realized that there were not enough republicans to make a republic function effectively. Belloc thus felt that monarchy was the most practicable, superior form of government to—to use Napoleon’s words—master the Money power in the State, and he explored this theme increasingly through his biographies and other histories in the later years of his life. Monarchy: A Study of Louis XIV is an important contribution to—and explanation of—this development in his thinking. —Michael Hennessy, Chairman of the Hilaire Belloc Society
In many Catholic histories today, Louis XIV—due to his enmity toward the pious House of Habsburg—is portrayed unrelentingly as a villain. With his habitual flair Hilaire Belloc exposes for us the complexity of the Sun King, as well as his real triumphs and failures. On the one hand, he shows us Louis’ actions according to their author’s intentions (whether or not they were justified is another issue). On the other hand, he shows us Monarchy in the abstract through one of its foremost practitioners—independent of other political considerations. The reprinting of this book is indeed a great favour to us all. —Charles Coulombe, author of Blessed Charles of Austria: A Holy Emperor and His Legacy
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-1-990685- 06-4 | paperback | $24.95 USD
ISBN: 978-1-990685- 07-1 | hardcover | $31.95 USD
Monarchy: A Study of Louis XIV by Hilaire Belloc (Foreword by Roger Buck)
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