Few are the princes whose lives merit a particular history. In vain have most of them been the objects of slander, or of flattery. Small is the number of those whose memory is preserved; and that number would be still more inconsiderable were none but the good remembered.
The princes who have the best claim to immortality are such as have benefited mankind. Thus, while France endures, the affection of Louis XII. for his people will ever be held in grateful remembrance. The great failings of Francis I. will be excused, for the sake of the arts and sciences of which he was the father. Blessed will be the memory of Henry IV., who conquered his kingdom as much by his clemency as by his valor. And the munificence of Louis XIV. in protecting the arts which owed their birth to Francis I. will be ever extolled.