As the name suggests, the dévots was a faction with roots in religion. Their origin began with opposition to the Protestants within France and their key object was to uphold the Catholic church's presence at court. That in itself became quite a challenge as the court of Louis XV grew further and further from the faith of their ancestors.
Originally, they had been opposed to an absolute monarchy but they had to fall in line when Louis XIV entered the stage.
|Mesdames Victoire, Adélaide and Louise|
Fénelon, who was close to the Duc de Bourgogne, flirted with the dévots but is also mentioned as a supporter of the Duc de Burgogne's faction. Like most other dévots, he was convinced that Louis XIV's court had grown corrupt and sinful and they wasted no time in placing blame with the mistresses. Madame de Pompadour was especially among the targets of Louis XV's daughters' blame, as was Madame du Barry.
The dévots launched a direct campaign against Madame de Pompadour in which the goal was to have her dismissed by blaming her for most of France's problems. That tactic did not work with the King but only succeeded in making Louis XV seem weak and completely controlled by his charming mistress.
|Louis Ferdinand, Dauphin|
Despite the continued presence of the mistresses, the dévots wielded considerable power at court. Due to their basis in religion, they found supporters not just among the clergy but with other court factions and managed to oppose new tax demands from Parlement.
The dévot faction was strongly opposed to France's alliance with Austria which also meant that they were against Louis Auguste's marriage with Marie Antoinette. This opposition was only enhanced by their dislike of the Duc de Choiseul - the architect behind the alliance. They had never really forgiven him for choosing Marie Antoinette over a relative of their mother from Saxony, Marie-Josèphe.
Ironically, Louis XVI was also a dévot which meant that he was suspicious of the Austrians as well; although he did grew to adore his Austrian wife.