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George D’Amboise

French cardinal, archbishop, and statesman (1460-1510)

Amboise, GEORGE D’, French cardinal, archbishop, and statesman, b. at Chaumont-sur-Loire in 1460; d. at Lyons, May 25, 1510. He was one of the prominent figures of the French Renaissance. Nominated Bishop of Montauban at the age of fourteen, he did not assume office till he was twenty-four. In 1493, he became Archbishop of Rouen. He belonged to the party of the Duke of Orleans, who, when he became Louis XII (1498) at once made d’Amboise his prime minister. He was created a cardinal by Alexander VI, the same year. As a prime minister he pursued an ambitious foreign policy, and urged Louis XII to the conquest of Milan; at home, he inaugurated a firm and wise policy of retrenchment and reform, reducing the imposts one-tenth, setting the finances in order, and introducing needed improvements into legislation and the judicial system. As a churchman, he was much less admirable. Ambitious to become pope he strove by every means in his power to compass this end at the death of Alexander VI. Louis XII lent him the prestige of France, and Caesar Borgia intrigued at Rome with the Spanish cardinals in his interest. In the balloting he stood third with thirteen votes, Giuliano della Rovere receiving fifteen, and Cardinal Caraff a fourteen. When Caesar Borgia retired from Rome, d’Amboise suffered from the reaction, and was content to promote the election of Pius III, On the death of Pius he renewed his efforts and, having again failed, went so far as to encourage schism between France and Julius II. His plans, however, came to naught through the failure of the French army in Italy. To conciliate the King, Julius made d’Amboise “Legate a latere” for the whole of France, a most exceptional honor. Cardinal d’Amboise held his high office in Church and State till his death, which took place at the convent of the Celestins in Lyons, May 25, 1510. He has a splendid tomb in the Cathedral of Rouen.

F. P. HAVEY


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