Duke De Cesar, a French prince, the eldest son of Henry IV. by his mistress Gabrielle d'Estrées, born in the castle of Coucy, Picardy, in June, 1594, died in Paris, Oct. 22, 1665. He was legitimated in his infancy, and in 1598 made duke of Vend6me and betrothed to the daughter of the duke de Mercosur, who resigned to him the government of Brittany. In 1610 he was allowed to take rank next to the princes of the blood. During the reign of his half brother Louis XIII., he participated in the conspiracy of Chalais against Richelieu (1626), was incarcerated for four years at Vincennes and Amboise, and banished for several years afterward. In 1641 he was charged with an attempt to poison Richelieu, and escaped to England. After the death of Richelieu he returned home, and was treated with great favor by the queen regent Anne of Austria; but he lost her good will by his active part in the Fronde. In 1650, having made his peace with the government, he was appointed governor of Burgundy. In 1653 he took Bordeaux from the Frondeurs, and in 1655, in the capacity of grand admiral of France, defeated the Spanish fleet off Barcelona. He left two sons, Louis and Francois, the latter of whom was the celebrated duke of Beaufort. (See Beaufort, Franqois de Vendôme, duke of).
Duke De Louis, son of the preceding, known as the duke de Mercoeur during his father's life, born in 1612, died in Aix, Aug. 6, 1669. He served abroad, returned to France after Richelieu's death, and became in 1649 viceroy and commander of the French troops in Catalonia. He married in 1651 Laura Mancini, a niece of Cardinal Mazarin, was made commander in Provence, and placed in 1656 at the head of the French army in Lombardy. On his wife's death (1657) he became a priest, was made cardinal, and held the office of papal legate in France.
Duke De Lonis Joseph, a French general, son of the preceding, born in Paris, July 1, 1654, died at Tinaroz, Catalonia, June 11, 1712. He was first known as the duke de Penthiévre, entered the army in 1672, distinguished himself in Alsace under Turenne and in Flanders under Créqui, and became governor of Provence in 1681. He distinguished himself at the battles of Steenkirk, Aug. 3, 1692, and Marsaglia, Oct. 4, 1693. In 1694 he became "general of the galleys," and in 1695 chief commander in Catalonia. In 1697 he besieged Barcelona, defeated the Spanish army which attempted to relieve the city, and forced it to surrender, Aug. 10; but in the same year it was restored to Spain in accordance with the treaty of Ryswick. On the breaking out of the war of the Spanish succession, he was, after the capture of Marshal Villeroi in Cremona, placed in command of the French army in Italy, and arrested the progress of Prince Eugene; but he was overtaken by his opponent at Luzzara, August, 1702, and saved himself from a disastrous defeat only by his generalship and intrepidity.
After a fruitless attempt to reach Germany through Tyrol, he returned to Piedmont, where he took several strongholds, and defeated Prince Eugene at Cassano (1705), and Reventlow at Calcinato (1706). After the battle of Ramillies he was called to Flanders to command the French army under the grandson of Louis XIV., the duke of Burgundy; hampered in his movements by those who surrounded the young prince, he could not prevent the junction of Marlborough and Eugene, failed to effect a junction with Berwick, and was defeated at Oudenarde (1708). Disgusted with the treatment he received, and feeling that he had lost the confidence of the king and was hated by Mme. de Maintenon, he retired from active service. In 1710 Philip V. of Spain, deserted by Louis XIV., his grandfather, who was now scarcely able to defend himself, asked that Vendôme should be sent to his assistance. The old warrior went at once to Valladolid, gathered crowds of volunteers, inspired the adherents of Philip with new confidence, and brought him back to his capital; then he defeated and captured at Brihuega an English corps under Stanhope, and finally won at Villaviciosa, Dec. 10, 1710, a decisive victory over the Austrian general Stahremberg, which firmly established Philip on his throne.
He was completing the conquest of Catalonia when he died suddenly.