BERNIS, Francois Joachim de Pierres de, bar-nes, f r6n-swa jo-a-kem pear de, French cardinal and minister of Louis XV: b. Saint Marcel, de l'Ardeche, 1715; d. Rome, 2 Nov. 1794. Madame de Pompadour presented him to Louis XV, who, being pleased with him, as signed to him an apartment in the Tuileries, with a pension of 1,500 livres. He went as Ambassador to Venice, and after his return en: joyed the highest favor at court and soon be came Minister of Foreign Affairs. The politi cal system of Europe was changed at that time. France and Austria, hitherto enemies, united in an offensive and defensive alliance, which was succeeded by the Seven Years' War, so unfortunate for France. Bernis has been des ignated by several writers as the chief author of this alliance. Duclos, however, asserts that it was the intention of Bernis to maintain the old system which, since the time of Henry IV and especially since the time of Richelieu, had made France the protectress of the less power ful states of Germany and the rival of Austria. Oppressed by the misfortunes of his country, which, in part at least, were ascribed to him, Bernis surrendered his post and was soon after banished from court. His disgrace lasted till
the year 1764, when the King appointed him archbishop of Albi and, five years later, Am bassador to Rome. Here he remained till his death. In the name of his court, and against his own opinion, he labored to effect the abo lition of the order of theJesuits. When the aunts of Louis XVI left France in 1791 they fled to him for refuge and lived in his house. The • Revolution deprived him of his fortune and •the•ineans-of indulging his generous dispo sition.. -The easy poetry of youth had procured hits a -place in the French Academy, but he himself is its severest critic. Voltaire had a great 'esteem for his talents, his judgment, his criticisms and his character, as is evident from their correspondence, which, in every other re' spect, is very honorable to Bennis. A collec tion of Bernis' works was published in 1797 by Didot, and another in 1825.