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Title: A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 5
Author: Guizot, François
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 5" ***

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HISTORY OF FRANCE

BY M. GUIZOT



VOLUME V.


LIST OF STEEL ENGRAVINGS:

CASTLE OF PAU  FRONTISPIECE.

GABRIELLE D’ESTREES  130

MARIE DE MEDICI.  147

RICHELIEU.   180

LOUIS XIV.   344

TURENNE.  444



LIST OF WOOD-CUT ILLUSTRATIONS.

Henry IV.  11

Henry IV. at Ivry   26

“Do not lose Sight of my White Plume.”    30

Rosny Castle 30

Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma 32

Charles de Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne 35

Sully   37

Lemaitre, Mayenne, and the Archbishop of Lyons   53

Henry IV.’s Abjuration    56

The Castle of Monceaux  91

The Castle of St. Germain in the Reign of Henry IV.  107

The Castle of Fontainbleau   124

Henry IV. and his Ministers   138

The Arsenal in the Reign of Henry IV.  143

The Louvre  145

Concini, Leonora Galigai, and Mary de’ Medici  149

Louis XIII. and Albert de Luynes   154

Murder of Marshal d’Ancre  155

Double Duel   188

“Tapping with his Finger-tips on the Window-pane.”  191

Henry, Duke of Montmorency, at Castelnaudary   199

The King and the Cardinal   204

Cinq-Mars and De Thou going to Execution   215

The Parliament of Paris reprimanded   217

The Barefoots   221

The Abbot of St. Cyran   234

Demolishing the Fortifications   244

The Harbor of La Rochelle   248

The King and Richelieu at La Rochelle  250

John Guiton’s Oath  254

The Defile of Suza Pass  278

Richelieu and Father Joseph  280

Gustavus Adolphus  282

Death of Gustavus and his Page  290

The Palais-Cardinal   305

The Tomb of Richelieu   308

Descartes at Amsterdam   316

The King’s Press  323

Peter Corneille  334

The Representation of “the Cid.”    335

Corneille at the Hotel Rambouillet  342

The Great Conde  348

Arrest of Broussel  352

Cardinal de Retz  352

“Ah, Wretch, if thy Father saw thee!”   354

President Mole  355

The Great Mademoiselle  373

Anne of Austria and Cardinal Mazarin  394

Death of Mazarin.  399

Fouquet   404

Vaux le Vicomte   405a

Colbert   405

Louis XIV. dismissing Fouquet  407

Louvois  411

William III., Prince of Orange  434

The Brothers Witt  436

Death of Turenne  443

An Exploit of John Bart’s  446

Duquesne victorious over Ruyter  446

Marshal Luxembourg  461a

Heinsius  461

Battle of St. Vincent  465a

The Battle of Neerwinden  465

“Here is the King of Spain.”   475

News for William III.  481

Bivouac of Louis XIV.  503

The Grand Dauphin  505

Marshal Villars and Prince Eugene  512

Marly  525

Colonnade of the Louvre  525a

The Louvre and the Tuileries  525b

Versailles  526

Vauban  534

The Torture of the Huguenots  552

Revocation of the Edict of Nantes  556

Death of Roland the Camisard  569

Abbey of Port-Royal  580

Reading the Decree  581

Bossuet  591

Blaise Pascal  597

Fenelon and the Duke of Burgundy  610

La Rochefoucauld and his fair Friends  629

La Bruyere  633

Corneille reading to Louis XIV.  642

Racine   646

Boileau-Despreaux  650

La Fontaine, Boileau, Moliere, and Racine  657

Moliere  664

Death of Moliere  669

Lebrun  674

Le Poussin and Claude Lorrain  675

Lesueur  676

Mignard  677

Perrault  678



A POPULAR HISTORY OF FRANCE FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES.



CHAPTER XXXV.----HENRY IV., PROTESTANT KING. (1589-1593.)

On the 2d of August, 1589, in the morning, upon his arrival in his
quarters at Meudon, Henry of Navarre was saluted by the Protestants King
of France.  They were about five thousand in an army of forty thousand
men.  When, at ten o’clock, he entered the camp of the Catholics at St.
Cloud, three of their principal leaders, Marshal d’Aumont, and Sires
d’Humieres and de Givry, immediately acknowledged him unconditionally, as
they had done the day before at the death-bed of Henry III., and they at
once set to work to conciliate to him the noblesse of Champagne, Picardy,
and Ile-de-France.  “Sir,” said Givry, “you are the king of the brave;
you will be deserted by none but dastards.”  But the majority of the
Catholic leaders received him with such expressions as, “Better die than
endure a Huguenot king!”  One of them, Francis d’O, formally declared to
him that the time had come for him to choose between the insignificance
of a King of Navarre and the grandeur of a King of France; if he
pretended to the crown, he must first of all abjure.  Henry firmly
rejected these threatening entreaties, and left their camp with an urgent
recommendation, to them to think of it well before bringing dissension
into the royal army and the royal party which were protecting their
privileges, their property, and their lives against the League.  On
returning to his quarters, he noticed the arrival of Marshal de Biron,
who pressed him to lay hands without delay upon the crown of France, in
order to guard it and save it.  But, in the evening of that day and on
the morrow, at the numerous meetings of the lords to deliberate upon the
situation, the ardent Catholics renewed their demand for the exclusion of
Henry from the throne if he did not at once abjure, and for referring the
election of a king to the states-general.  Biron himself proposed not to
declare Henry king, but to recognize him merely as captain-general of the
army pending his abjuration.  Harlay de Sancy vigorously maintained the
cause of the Salic law and the hereditary rights of monarchy.  Biron took
him aside and said, I had hitherto thought that you had sense; now I
doubt it.  If, before securing our own position with the King of Navarre,
we completely establish his, he will no longer care for us.  The time is
come for making our terms; if we let the occasion escape us, we shall
never recover it.”  “What are your terms?” asked Sancy.  “If it please
the king to give me the countship of Perigord, I shall be his forever.”
 Sancy reported this conversation to the king, who promised Biron what he
wanted.

Though King of France for but two days past, Henry IV. had already
perfectly understood and steadily taken the measure of the situation.  He
was in a great minority throughout the country as well as the army, and
he would have to deal with public passions, worked by his foes for their
own ends, and with the personal pretensions of his partisans.  He made no
mistake about these two facts, and he allowed them great weight; but he
did not take for the ruling principle of his policy and for his first
rule of conduct the plan of alternate concessions to the different
parties and of continually humoring personal interests; he set his
thoughts higher, upon the general and natural interests of France as he
found her and saw her.  They resolved themselves, in his eyes, into the
following great points: maintenance of the hereditary rights of monarchy,
preponderance of Catholics in the government, peace between Catholics and
Protestants, and religious liberty for Protestants.  With him these
points became the law of his policy and his kingly duty, as well as the
nation’s right.  He proclaimed them in the first words that he addressed
to the lords and principal personages of state assembled around him.
“You all know,” said he, “what orders the late king my predecessor gave
me, and what he enjoined upon me with his dying breath.  It was chiefly
to maintain my subjects, Catholic or Protestant, in equal freedom, until
a council, canonical, general, or national, had decided this great
dispute.  I promised him to perform faithfully that which he bade me, and
I regard it as one of my first duties to be as good as my word.  I have
heard that some who are in my army feel scruples about remaining in my
service unless I embrace the Catholic religon.  No doubt they think me
weak enough for them to imagine that they can force me thereby to abjure
my religion and break my word.  I am very glad to inform them here, in
presence of you all, that I would rather this were the last day of my
life than take any step which might cause me to be suspected of having
dreamt of renouncing the religion that I sucked in with my mother’s milk,
before I have been better instructed by a lawful council, to whose
authority I bow in advance.  Let him who thinks so ill of me get him gone
as soon as he pleases; I lay more store by a hundred good Frenchmen than
by two hundred who could harbor sentiments so unworthy.  Besides, though
you should abandon me, I should have enough of friends left to enable me,
without you and to your shame, with the sole assistance of their strong
arms, to maintain the rights of my authority.  But were I doomed to see
myself deprived of even that assistance, still the God who has preserved
me from my infancy, as if by His own hand, to sit upon the throne, will
not abandon me.  I nothing doubt that He will uphold me where He has
placed me, not for love of me, but for the salvation of so many souls who
pray, without ceasing, for His aid, and for whose freedom He has deigned
to make use of my arm.  You know that I am a Frenchman and the foe of all
duplicity.  For the seventeen years that I have been King of Navarre, I
do not think that I have ever departed from my word.  I beg you to
address your prayers to the Lord on my behalf, that He may enlighten me
in my views, direct my purposes, bless my endeavors.  And in case I
commit any fault or fail in any one of my duties,--for I acknowledge that
I am a man like any other,--pray Him to give me grace that I may correct
it, and to assist me in all my goings.”

[Illustration: Henry IV.----11]

On the 4th of August, 1589, an official manifesto of Henry IV.’s
confirmed the ideas and words of this address.  On the same day, in the
camp at St. Cloud, the majority of the princes, dukes, lords, and
gentlemen present in the camp expressed their full adhesion to the
accession and the manifesto of the king, promising him “service and
obedience against rebels and enemies who would usurp the kingdom.”  Two
notable leaders, the Duke of Epernon amongst the Catholics, and the Duke
of La Tremoille amongst the Protestants, refused to join in this
adhesion; the former saying that his conscience would not permit him to
serve a heretic king, the latter alleging that his conscience forbade him
to serve a prince who engaged to protect Catholic idolatry.  They
withdrew, D’Epernon into Angoumois and Saintonge, taking with him six
thousand foot and twelve thousand horse; and La Tremoille into Poitou,
with nine battalions of Reformers.  They had an idea of attempting, both
of them, to set up for themselves independent principalities.  Three
contemporaries, Sully, La Force, and the bastard of Angouleme, bear
witness that Henry IV. was deserted by as many Huguenots as Catholics.
The French royal army was reduced, it is said, to one half.  As a
make-weight, Saucy prevailed upon the Swiss, to the number of twelve
thousand, and two thousand German auxiliaries, not only to continue in
the service of the new king, but to wait six months for their pay, as he
was at the moment unable to pay them.  From the 14th to the 20th of
August, in Ile-de-France, in Picardy, in Normandy, in Auvergne, in
Champagne, in Burgundy, in Anjou, in Poitou, in Languedoc, in Orleanness,
and in Touraine, a great number of towns and districts joined in the
determination of the royal army.  The last instance of such adherence had
a special importance.  At the time of Henry III.’s rupture with the
League, the Parliament of Paris had been split in two; the royalists had
followed the king to Tours, the partisans of the League had remained at
Paris.  After the accession of Henry IV., the Parliament of Tours, with
the president, Achille de Harlay, as its head, increased from day to day,
and soon reached two hundred members, whilst the Parliament of Paris, or
Brisson Parliament, as it was called from its leader’s name, had only
sixty-eight left.  Brisson, on undertaking the post, actually thought it
right to take the precaution of protesting privately, making a
declaration in the presence of notaries “that he so acted by constraint
only, and that he shrank from any rebellion against his king and
sovereign lord.”  It was, indeed, on the ground of the heredity of the
monarchy and by virtue of his own proper rights that Henry IV. had
ascended the throne; and M. Poirson says quite correctly, in his learned
_Histoire du Regne d’Henri IV._  [t. i.  p. 29, second edition, 1862],
“The manifesto of Henry IV., as its very name indicates, was not a
contract settled between the noblesse in camp at St. Cloud and the
claimant; it was a solemn and reciprocal acknowledgment by the noblesse
of Henry’s rights to the crown, and by Henry of the nation’s political,
civil, and religious rights.  The engagements entered into by Henry were
only what were necessary to complete the guarantees given for the
security of the rights of Catholics.  As touching the succession to the
throne, the signataries themselves say that all they do is to maintain
and continue the law of the land.”

There was, in 1589, an unlawful pretender to the throne of France; and
that was Cardinal Charles de Bourbon, younger brother of Anthony de
Bourbon, King of Navarre, and consequently uncle of Henry IV., sole
representative of the elder branch.  Under Henry III., the cardinal had
thrown in his lot with the League; and, after the murder of Guise, Henry
III. had, by way of precaution, ordered him to be arrested and detained
him in confinement at Chinon, where he still was when Henry III. was in
his turn murdered.  On becoming king, the far-sighted Henry IV. at once
bethought him of his uncle and of what he might be able to do against
him.  The cardinal was at Chinon, in the custody of Sieur de Chavigny,
“a man of proved fidelity,” says De Thou, “but by this time old and
blind.”  Henry IV. wrote to Du Plessis-Mornay, appointed quite recently
governor of Saumur, “bidding him, at any price,” says Madame de Mornay,
“to get Cardinal de Bourbon away from Chinon, where he was, without
sparing anything, even to the whole of his property, because he would
incontinently set himself up for king if he could obtain his release.”
 Henry IV. was right.  As early as the 7th of August, the Duke of Mayenne
had an announcement made to the Parliament of Paris, and written notice
sent to all the provincial governors, “that, in the interval until the
states-general could be assembled, he urged them all to unite with him in
rendering with one accord to their Catholic king, that is to say,
Cardinal de Bourbon, the obedience that was due to him.”  The cardinal
was, in fact, proclaimed king under the name of Charles X.; and eight
months afterwards, on the 5th of March, 1590, the Parliament of Paris
issued a decree “recognizing Charles X. as true and lawful king of
France.”  Du Plessis-Mornay, ill though he was, had understood and
executed, without loss of time, the orders of King Henry, going bail
himself for the promises that had to be made and for the sums that had
to be paid to get the cardinal away from the governor of Chinon.  He
succeeded, and had the cardinal removed to Fontenay-le-Comte in Poitou,
“under the custody of Sieur de la Boulaye, governor of that place, whose
valor and fidelity were known to him.”  “That,” said Henry IV. on
receiving the news, “is one of the greatest services I could have had
rendered me; M. du Plessis does business most thoroughly.”  On the 9th of
May, 1590, not three months after the decree of the Parliament of Paris
which had proclaimed him true and lawful King of France, Cardinal de
Bourbon, still a prisoner, died at Fontenay, aged sixty-seven.  A few
weeks before his death he had written to his nephew Henry IV. a letter in
which he recognized him as his sovereign.

The League was more than ever dominant in Paris; Henry IV. could not
think of entering there.  Before recommencing the war in his own name, he
made Villeroi, who, after the death of Henry III., had rejoined the Duke
of Mayenne, an offer of an interview in the Bois de Boulogne to see if
there were no means of treating for peace.  Mayenne would not allow
Villeroi to accept the offer.  “He had no private quarrel,” he said,
“with the King of Navarre, whom he highly honored, and who, to his
certain knowledge, had not looked with approval upon his brothers’ death;
but any appearance of negotiation would cause great distrust amongst
their party, and they would not do anything that tended against the
rights of King Charles X.”  Renouncing all idea of negotiation, Henry IV.
set out on the 8th of August from St. Cloud, after having told off his
army in three divisions.  Two were ordered to go and occupy Picardy and
Champagne; and the king kept with him only the third, about six thousand
strong.  He went and laid the body of Henry III. in the church of
St. Corneille at Compiegne, took Meulan and several small towns on the
banks of the Seine and Oise, and propounded for discussion with his
officers the question of deciding in which direction he should move,
towards the Loire or the Seine, on Tours or on Rouen.  He determined in
favor of Normandy; he must be master of the ports in that province in
order to receive there the re-enforcements which had been promised him by
Queen Elizabeth of England, and which she did send him in September,
1589, forming a corps of from four to five thousand men, Scots and
English, “aboard of thirteen vessels laden with twenty-two thousand
pounds sterling in gold and seventy thousand pounds of gunpowder, three
thousand cannon-balls, and corn, biscuits, wine, and beer, together with
woollens and even shoes.”  They arrived very opportunely for the close of
the campaign, but too late to share in Henry IV.’s first victory, that
series of fights around the castle of Arques which, in the words of an
eye-witness, the Duke of Angouleme, “was the first gate whereby Henry
entered upon the road of his glory and good fortune.”

After making a demonstration close to Rouen, Henry IV., learning that
the Duke of Mayenne was advancing in pursuit of him with an army of
twenty-five thousand foot and eight thousand horse, thought it imprudent
to wait for him and run the risk of being jammed between forces so
considerable and the hostile population of a large city; so he struck
his camp and took the road to Dieppe, in order to be near the coast and
the re-enforcements from Queen Elizabeth.  Some persons even suggested
to him that in case of mishap he might go thence and take refuge in
England; but at this prospect Biron answered, “There is no King of
France out of France;” and Henry IV. was of Biron’s opinion.  At his
arrival before Dieppe, he found as governor there Aymar de Chastes, a
man of wits and honor, a very moderate Catholic, and very strongly in
favor of the party of policists.  Under Henry III. he had expressly
refused to enter the League, saying to Villars, who pressed him to do
so, “I am a Frenchman, and you yourself will find out that the Spaniard
is the real head of the League.”  He had organized at Dieppe four
companies of burgess-guards, consisting of Catholics and Protestants,
and he assembled about him, to consider the affairs of the town, a small
council, in which Protestants had the majority.  As soon as he knew, on
the 26th of August, that the king was approaching Dieppe, he went with
the principal inhabitants to meet him, and presented to him the keys of
the place, saying, “I come to salute my lord and hand over to him the
government of this city.” “Ventre-saint-gris!” answered Henry IV., “I
know nobody more worthy of it than you are!”  The Dieppese overflowed
with felicitations.  “No fuss, my lads,” said Henry: “all I want is your
affections, good bread, good wine, and good hospitable faces.”  When he
entered the town, “he was received,” says a contemporary chronicler,
“with loud cheers by the people; and what was curious, but exhilarating,
was to see the king surrounded by close upon six thousand armed men,
himself having but a few officers at his left hand.”  He received at
Dieppe assurance of the fidelity of La Verune, governor of Caen,
whither, in 1589, according to Henry III.’s order, that portion of the
Parliament of Normandy which would not submit to the yoke of the League
at Rouen, had removed.  Caen having set the example, St. Lo, Coutances,
and Carentan likewise sent deputies to Dieppe to recognize the authority
of Henry IV.  But Henry had no idea of shutting himself up inside
Dieppe: after having carefully inspected the castle, citadel, harbor,
fortifications, and outskirts of the town, he left there five hundred
men in garrison, supported by twelve or fifteen hundred well-armed
burgesses, and went and established himself personally in the old castle
of Arques, standing, since the eleventh century, upon a barren hill;
below, in the burgh of Arques, he sent Biron into cantonments with his
regiment of Swiss and the companies of French infantry; and he lost no
time in having large fosses dug ahead of the burgh, in front of all the
approaches, enclosing within an extensive line of circumvallation both
burgh and castle.  All the king’s soldiers and the peasants that could
be picked up in the environs worked night and day.  Whilst they were at
work, Henry wrote to Countess Corisande de Gramont, his favorite at that
time, “My dear heart, it is a wonder I am alive with such work as I
have.  God have pity upon me and show me mercy, blessing my labors, as
He does in spite of a many folks!  I am well, and my affairs are going
well.  I have taken Eu.  The enemy, who are double me just now, thought
to catch me there; but I drew off towards Dieppe, and I await them in a
camp that I am fortifying.  Tomorrow will be the day when I shall see
them, and I hope, with God’s help, that if they attack me they will find
they have made a bad bargain.  The bearer of this goes by sea.  The wind
and my duties make me conclude.  This 9th of September, in the trenches
at Arques.”

All was finished when the scouts of Mayenne appeared.  But Mayenne also
was an able soldier: he saw that the position the king had taken and the
works he had caused to be thrown up rendered a direct attack very
difficult.  He found means of bearing down upon Dieppe another way, and
of placing himself, says the latest historian of Dieppe, M. Vitet,
between the king and the town, “hoping to cut off the king’s
communications with the sea, divide his forces, deprive him of his
re-enforcements from England, and, finally, surround him and capture him,
as he had promised the Leaguers of Paris, who were already talking of the
iron cage in which the Bearnese would be sent to them.  “Henry IV.,”
 continues M. Vitet, “felt some vexation at seeing his forecasts
checkmated by Mayenne’s manoeuvre, and at having had so much earth
removed to so little profit; but he was a man of resources, confident as
the Gascons are, and with very little of pig-headedness.  To change all
his plans was with him the work of an instant.  Instead of awaiting the
foe in his intrenchments, he saw that it was for him to go and feel for
them on the other side of the valley, and that, on pain of being
invested, he must not leave the Leaguers any exit but the very road they
had taken to come.”  Having changed all his plans on this new system,
Henry breathed more freely; but he did not go to sleep for all that: he
was incessantly backwards and forwards from Dieppe to Arques, from Arques
to Dieppe and to the Faubourg du Pollet.  Mayenne, on the contrary,
seemed to have fallen into a lethargy; he had not yet been out of his
quarters during the nearly eight and forty hours since he had taken them.
On the 17th of September, 1589, in the morning, however, a few hundred
light-horse were seen putting themselves in motion, scouring the country
and coming to fire their pistols close to the fosses of the royal army.
The skirmish grew warm by degrees.  “My son,” said Marshal de Biron to
the young count of Auvergne [natural son of Charles IX. and Mary
Touchet], “charge: now is the time.”  The young prince, without his hat,
and his horsemen charged so vigorously that they put the Leaguers to the
rout, killed three hundred of them, and returned quietly within their
lines, by Biron’s orders, without being disturbed in their retreat.
These partial and irregular encounters began again on the 18th and 19th
of September, with the same result.  The Duke of Mayenne was nettled and
humiliated; he had his prestige to recover.  He decided to concentrate
all his forces right on the king’s intrenchments, and attack them in
front with his whole army.  The 20th of September passed without a single
skirmish.  Henry, having received good information that he would be
attacked the next day, did not go to bed.  The night was very dark.  He
thought he saw a long way off in the valley a long line of lighted
matches; but there was profound silence; and the king and his officers
puzzled themselves to decide if they were men or glow-worms.  On the
21st, at five A. M., the king gave orders for every one to be ready and
at his post.  He himself repaired to the battle-field.  Sitting in a big
fosse with all his officers, he had his breakfast brought thither, and
was eating with good appetite, when a prisoner was brought to him, a
gentleman of the League, who had advanced too far whilst making a
reconnaissance.  “Good day, Belin,” said the king, who recognized him,
laughing: “embrace me for your welcome appearance.”  Belin embraced him,
telling him that he was about to have down upon him thirty thousand foot
and ten thousand horse.  “Where are your forces?” he asked the king,
looking about him.  “O! you don’t see them all, M. de Belin,” said Henry:
“you don’t reckon the good God and the good right, but they are ever with
me.”

The action began about ten o’clock.  The fog was still so thick that
there was no seeing one another at ten paces.  The ardor on both sides
was extreme; and, during nearly three hours, victory seemed to twice
shift her colors.  Henry at one time found himself entangled amongst some
squadrons so disorganized that he shouted, “Courage, gentlemen; pray,
courage!  Can’t we find fifty gentlemen willing to die with their king?”
 At this moment Chatillon, issuing from Dieppe with five hundred picked
men, arrived on the field of battle.  The king dismounted to fight at his
side in the trenches; and then, for a quarter of an hour, there was a
furious combat, man to man.  At last, “when things were in this desperate
state,” says Sully, “the fog, which had been very thick all the morning,
dropped down suddenly, and the cannon of the castle of Arques getting
sight of the enemy’s army, a volley of four pieces was fired, which made
four beautiful lanes in their squadrons and battalions.  That pulled them
up quite short; and three or four volleys in succession, which produced
marvellous effects, made them waver, and, little by little, retire all of
them behind the turn of the valley, out of cannon-shot, and finally to
their quarters.”  Mayenne had the retreat sounded.  Henry, master of the
field, gave chase for a while to the fugitives, and then returned to
Arques to thank God for his victory.  Mayenne struck his camp and took
the road towards Amiens, to pick up a Spanish corps which he was
expecting from the Low Countries.


[Illustration: Sully----37]

For six months, from September, 1589, to March, 1590, the war continued
without any striking or important events.  Henry IV. tried to stop it
after his success at Arques; he sent word to the Duke of Mayenne by his
prisoner Belin, whom he had sent away free on parole, “that he desired
peace, and so earnestly, that, without regarding his dignity or his
victory, he made him these advances, not that he had any fear of him, but
because of the pity he felt for his kingdom’s sufferings.”  Mayenne, who
lay beneath the double yoke of his party’s passions and his own ambitious
projects, rejected the king’s overtures, or allowed them to fall through;
and on the 21st of October, 1589, Henry, setting out with his army from
Dieppe, moved rapidly on Paris, in order to effect a strategic surprise,
whilst Mayenne was rejecting at Amiens his pacific inclinations.  The
king gained three marches on the Leaguers, and carried by assault the
five faubourgs situated on the left bank of the Seine.  He would perhaps
have carried terror-stricken Paris itself, if the imperfect breaking up
of the St. Maixent bridge on the Somme had not allowed Mayenne,
notwithstanding his tardiness, to arrive at Paris in time to enter with
his army, form a junction with the Leaguers amongst the population, and
prevail upon the king to carry his arms elsewhither.”  The people of
Paris,” says De Thou, “were extravagant enough to suppose that this
prince could not escape Mayenne.  Already a host of idle and credulous
women had been at the pains of engaging windows, which they let very
dear, and which they had fitted up magnificently, to see the passage of
that fanciful triumph for which their mad hopes had caused them to make
every preparation--before the victory.”  Henry left some of his
lieutenants to carry on the war in the environs of Paris, and himself
repaired, on the 21st of November, to Tours, where the royalist
Parliament, the exchequer-chamber, the court of taxation, and all the
magisterial bodies which had not felt inclined to submit to the despotism
of the League, lost no time in rendering him homage, as the head and the
representative of the national and the lawful cause.  He reigned and
ruled, to real purpose, in the eight principal provinces of the North and
Centre--Ile-de-France, Picardy, Champagne, Normandy, Orleanness,
Touraine, Maine, and Anjou; and his authority, although disputed, was
making way in nearly all the other parts of the kingdom.  He made war not
like a conqueror, but like a king who wanted to meet with acceptance in
the places which he occupied and which he would soon have to govern.  The
inhabitants of Le Mans and of Alencon were able to reopen their shops on
the very day on which their town fell into his hands, and those of
Vendome the day after.  He watched to see that respect was paid by his
soldiers, even the Huguenots, to Catholic churches and ceremonies.  Two
soldiers, having made their way into Le Mans, contrary to orders, after
the capitulation, and having stolen a chalice, were hanged on the spot,
though they were men of acknowledged bravery. He protected carefully the
bishops and all the ecclesiastics who kept aloof from political strife.
“If minute details are required,” says a contemporary pamphleteer, “out
of a hundred or a hundred and twenty archbishops or bishops existing in
the realm of France not a tenth part approve of the counsels of the
League.”  It was not long before Henry reaped the financial fruits of his
protective equity; at the close of 1589 he could count upon a regular
revenue of more than two millions of crowns, very insufficient, no doubt,
for the wants of his government, but much beyond the official resources
of his enemies.  He had very soon taken his proper rank in Europe: the
Protestant powers which had been eager to recognize him--England,
Scotland, the Low Countries, the Scandinavian states, and Reformed
Germany--had been joined by the republic of Venice, the most judiciously
governed state at that time in Europe, but solely on the ground of
political interests and views, independently of any religious question.
On the accession of Henry IV., his ambassador, Hurault de Maisse, was
received and very well treated at Venice; he was merely excluded from
religious ceremonies: the Venetian people joined in the policy of their
government; the portrait of the new King of France was everywhere
displayed and purchased throughout Venice.  Some Venetians went so far as
to take service in his army against the League.  The Holy Inquisition
commenced proceedings against them for heresy; the government stopped the
proceedings, and even, says Count Daru, had the Inquisitor thrown into
prison.  The Venetian senate accredited to the court of Henry IV. the
same ambassador who had been at Henry III.’s; and, on returning to Tours,
on the 21st of November, 1589, the king received him to an audience in
state.  A little later on he did more; he sent the republic, as a pledge
of his friendship, his sword--the sword, he said in his letter, which he
had used at the battle of Ivry.  “The good offices were mutual,” adds M.
de Daru; the Venetians lent Henry IV. sums of money which the badness of
the times rendered necessary to him; but their ambassador had orders to
throw into the fire, in the king’s presence, the securities for the
loan.”

As the government of Henry IV. went on growing in strength and extent,
two facts, both of them natural, though antagonistic, were being
accomplished in France and in Europe.  The moderate Catholics were
beginning, not as yet to make approaches towards him, but to see a
glimmering possibility of treating with him and obtaining from him such
concessions as they considered necessary at the same time that they in
their turn made to him such as he might consider sufficient for his party
and himself.  It has already been remarked with what sagacity Pope Sixtus
V. had divined the character of Henry IV., at the very moment of
condemning Henry III. for making an alliance with him.  When Henry IV.
had become king, Sixtus V. pronounced strongly against a heretic king,
and maintained, in opposition to him, his alliance with Philip II. and
the League.  “France,” said he, “is a good and noble kingdom, which has
infinity of benefices and is specially dear to us; and so we try to save
her; but religion sits nearer than France to our heart.”  He chose for
his legate in France Cardinal Gaetani, whom he knew to be agreeable to
Philip II. and gave him instructions in harmony with the Spanish policy.
Having started for his post, Gaetani was a long while on the road,
halting at Lyons, amongst other places, as if he were in no hurry to
enter upon his duties.  At the close of 1589, Henry IV., king for the
last five months and already victorious at Arques, appointed as his
ambassador at Rome Francis de Luxembourg, Duke of Pinei, to try and enter
into official relations with the pope.  On the 6th of January, 1590,
Sixtus V., at his reception of the cardinals, announced to them this
news.  Badoero, ambassador of Venice at Rome, leaned forward and
whispered in his ear, “We must pray God to inspire the King of Navarre.
On the day when your Holiness embraces him, and then only, the affairs of
France will be adjusted.  Humanly speaking, there is no other way of
bringing peace to that kingdom.”  The pope confined himself to replying
that God would do all for the best, and that, for his own part, he would
wait.  On arriving at Rome, “the Duke of Luxembourg repaired to the
Vatican with two and twenty carriages occupied by French gentlemen; but,
at the palace, he found the door of the pope’s apartments closed, the
sentries doubled, and the officers on duty under orders to intimate to
the French, the chief of the embassy excepted, that they must lay aside
their swords.  At the door of the Holy Father’s closet, the duke and
three gentlemen of his train were alone allowed to enter.  The
indignation felt by the French was mingled with apprehensions of an
ambush.  Luxembourg himself could not banish a feeling of vague terror;
great was his astonishment when, on his introduction to the pontiff, the
latter received him with demonstrations of affection, asked him news of
his journey, said he would have liked to give him quarters in the palace,
made him sit down,--a distinction reserved for the ambassadors of kings,
--and, lastly, listened patiently to the French envoy’s long recital.  In
fact, the receptions _intra et, extra muros_ bore very little resemblance
one to the other, but the difference between them corresponded pretty
faithfully with the position of Sixtus V., half engaged to the League by
Gaetani’s commission and to Philip II. by the steps he had recently
taken, and already regretting that he was so far gone in the direction of
Spain.”  [_Sixtus V,_ by Baron Hiibner, late ambassador of Austria at
Paris and at Rome, t. ii.  pp. 280-282.]

Unhappily Sixtus V. died on the 27th of August, 1590, before having
modified, to any real purpose, his bearing towards the King of France and
his instructions to his legate.  After Pope Urban VIII.’s apparition of
thirteen days’ duration, Gregory XIV. was elected pope on the 5th of
December, 1590; and, instead of a head of the church able enough and
courageous enough to comprehend and practise a policy European and
Italian as well as Catholic in its scope, there was a pope humbly devoted
to the Spanish policy, meekly subservient to Philip II.; that is, to the
cause of religious persecution and of absolute power, without regard for
anything else.  The relations of France with the Holy See at once felt
the effects of this; Cardinal Gaetani received from Rome all the
instructions that the most ardent Leaguers could desire; and he gave his
approval to a resolution of the Sorbonne to the effect that Henry de
Bourbon, heretic and relapsed, was forever excluded from the crown,
whether he became a Catholic or not.  Henry IV., had convoked the
states-general at Tours for the month of March, and had summoned to that
city the archbishops and bishops to form a national council, and to
deliberate as to the means of restoring the king to the bosom of the
Catholic church.  The legate prohibited this council, declaring,
beforehand, the excommunication and deposition of any bishops who should
be present at it.  The Leaguer Parliament of Paris forbade, on pain of
death and confiscation, any connection, any correspondence, with Henry
de Bourbon and his partisans.  A solemn procession of the League took
place at Paris, on the 14th of March, and a few days afterwards the
union was sworn afresh by all the municipal chiefs of the population.
In view of such passionate hostility, Henry IV., a stranger to any sort
of illusion at the same time that he was always full of hope, saw that
his successes at Arques were insufficient for him, and that, if he were
to occupy the throne in peace, he must win more victories.  He
recommenced the campaign by the siege of Dreux, one of the towns which
it was most important for him to possess in order to put pressure on
Paris, and cause her to feel, even at a distance, the perils and evils
of war.

On Wednesday, the 14th of March, 1590, was fought the battle of Ivry,
a village six leagues from Evreux, on the left bank of the Eure.
“Starting from Dreux on the 12th of March” [Poirson, _Histoire du Regne
d’Henri IV.,__ t. i.  p. 180], “the royal army had arrived the same day
at Nonancourt, marching with the greatest regularity by divisions and
always in close order, through fearful weather, frost having succeeding
rain; moreover, it traversed a portion of the road during the shades of
evening.  The soldier was harassed and knocked up.  But scarcely had he
arrived at his destination for the day, when he found large fires lighted
everywhere, and provisions in abundance, served out with intelligent
regularity to the various quarters of cavalry and infantry.  He soon
recovered all his strength and daring.”  The king, in concert with the
veteran Marshal de Biron, had taken these prudent measures.  All the
historians, contemporary and posterior, have described in great detail
the battle of Ivry, the manoeuvres and alternations of success that
distinguished it; by rare good fortune, we have an account of the affair
written the very same evening in the camp at Rosny by Henry IV. himself,
and at once sent off to some of his principal partisans who were absent,
amongst others to M. de la Verune, governor of Caen.  We will content
ourselves here with the king’s own words, striking in their precision,
brevity, and freedom from any self-complacent gasconading on the
narrator’s part, respecting either his party or himself.

[Illustration: Henry IV. at Ivry----26]

LETTER OF KING HENRY IV. TOUCHING THE BATTLE OF IVRY.

“It hath pleased God to grant me that which I had the most desired, to
have means of giving battle to mine enemies; having firm confidence that,
having got so far, God would give me grace to obtain the victory, as it
hath happened this very day.  You have heretofore heard how that, after
the capture of the town of Honfleur, I went and made them raise the siege
they were laying to the town of Meulan, and I offered them battle, which
it seemed that they ought to accept, having in numbers twice the strength
that I could muster.  But in the hope of being able to do so with more
safety, they made up their minds to put it off until they had been joined
by fifteen hundred lances which the Duke of Parma was sending them; which
was done a few days ago.  And then they spread abroad everywhere that
they would force me to fight, wheresoever I might be; they thought to
have found a very favorable opportunity in coming to encounter me at the
siege I was laying before the town of Dreux; but I did not give them the
trouble of coming so far; for, as soon as I was advertised that they had
crossed the river of Seine and were heading towards me, I resolved to put
off the siege rather than fail to go and meet them.  Having learned that
they were six leagues from the said Dreux, I set out last Monday, the
12th of this month, and went and took up my quarters at the town of
Nonancourt, which was three leagues from them, for to cross the river
there.  On Tuesday, I went and took the quarters which they meant to have
for themselves, and where their quarter-masters had already arrived.
I put myself in order of battle, in the morning, on a very fine plain,
about a league from the point which they had chosen the day before, and
where they immediately appeared with their whole army, but so far from me
that I should have given them a great advantage by going so forward to
seek them; I contented myself with making them quit a village they had
seized close by me; at last, night constrained us both to get into
quarters, which I did in the nearest villages.

“To-day, having had their position reconnoitred betimes, and after it had
been reported to me that they had shown themselves, but even farther off
than they had done yesterday, I resolved to approach so near to them that
there must needs be a collision.  And so it happened between ten and
eleven in the morning; I went to seek them to the very spot where they
were posted, and whence they never advanced a step but what they
made to the charge; and the battle took place, wherein God was pleased to
make known that His protection is always on the side of the right; for in
less than an hour, after having spent all their choler in two or three
charges which they made and supported, all their cavalry began to take
its departure, leaving their infantry, which was in large numbers.
Seeing which, their Swiss had recourse to my compassion, and surrendered,
colonels, captains, privates, and all their flags.  The lanzknechts and
French had no time to take this resolution, for they were cut to pieces,
twelve hundred of one and as many of the other; the rest prisoners and
put to the rout in the woods, at the mercy of the peasants.  Of their
cavalry there are from nine hundred to a thousand killed, and from four
to five hundred dismounted and prisoners; without counting those drowned
in crossing the River Eure, which they crossed to Ivry for to put it
between them and us, and who are a great number.  The rest of the better
mounted saved themselves by flight, in very great disorder, having lost
all their baggage.  I did not let them be until they were close to
Mantes.  Their white standard is in my hands, and its bearer a prisoner;
twelve or fifteen other standards of their cavalry, twice as many more of
their infantry, all their artillery; countless lords prisoners, and of
dead a great number, even of those in command, whom I have not yet been
able to find time to get identified.  But I know that amongst others
Count Egmont, who was general of all the forces that came from Flanders,
was killed.  Their prisoners all say that their army was about four
thousand horse, and from twelve to thirteen thousand foot, of which I
suppose not a quarter has escaped.  As for mine, it may have been two
thousand horse and eight thousand foot.  But of this cavalry, more than
six hundred horse joined me after I was in order of battle, on the
Tuesday and Wednesday; nay, the last troop of the noblesse from Picardy,
brought up by Sire d’Humieres, and numbering three hundred horse, came up
when half an hour had already passed since the battle began.

“It is a miraculous work of God’s, who was pleased, first of all, to give
me the resolution to attack them, and then the grace to be able so
successfully to accomplish it.  Wherefore to Him alone is the glory; and
so far as any of it may, by His permission, belong to man, it is due to
the princes, officers of the crown, lords, captains, and all the
noblesse, who with so much ardor rushed forward, and so successfully
exerted themselves, that their predecessors did not leave them more
beautiful examples than they will leave to their posterity.  As I am
greatly content and satisfied with them, so I think that they are with
me, and that they have seen that I had no mind to make use of them
anywhere without I had also shown them the way.  I am still following up
the victory with my cousins the princes of Conti, Duke of Montpensier,
Count of St. Paul, Marshal-duke of Aumont, grand prior of France, La
Tremoille, Sieurs de la Guiche and de Givry, and several other lords and
captains.  My cousin Marshal de Biron remains with the main army awaiting
my tidings, which will go on, I hope, still prospering.  You shall hear
more fully in my next despatch, which shall follow this very closely, the
particulars of this victory, whereof I desired to give you these few
words of information, so as not to keep you longer out of the pleasure
which I know that you will receive therefrom.  I pray you to impart it to
all my other good servants yonder, and, especially, to have thanks given
therefor to God, whom I pray to have you in His holy keeping.

“HENRY.
“From the camp at Rosny, this 14th day of March, 1590.”

[Illustration: Rosny Castle----30]

History is not bound to be so reserved and so modest as the king was
about himself.  It was not only as able captain and valiant soldier that
Henry IV. distinguished himself at Ivry; there the man was as conspicuous
for the strength of his better feelings, as generous and as affectionate
as the king was farsighted and bold.  When the word was given to march
from Dreux, Count Schomberg, colonel of the German auxiliaries called
reiters, had asked for the pay of his troops, letting it be understood
that they would not fight if their claims were not satisfied.  Henry had
replied harshly, “People don’t ask for money on the eve of a battle.”  At
Ivry, just as the battle was on the point of beginning, he went up to
Schomberg.  “Colonel,” said he, “I hurt your feelings.  This may be the
last day of my life.  I can’t bear to take away the honor of a brave and
honest gentleman like you.  Pray forgive me and embrace me.”  “Sir,”
 answered Schomberg, “the other day your Majesty wounded me, to-day you
kill me.”  He gave up the command of the reiters in order to fight in the
king’s own squadron, and was killed in action.  As he passed along the
front of his own squadron, Henry halted; and, “Comrades,” said he, “if
you run my risks, I also run yours.  I will conquer or die with you.
Keep your ranks well, I beg.  If the heat of battle disperse you for a
while, rally as soon as you can under those three pear trees you see up
yonder to my right; and if you lose your standards, do not lose sight of
my white plume; you will always find it in the path of honor, and, I
hope, of victory too.”

[Illustration: “Do not lose Sight of my White Plume.”----30]

Having galloped along the whole line of his army, he halted again, threw
his horse’s reins over his arm, and clasped his hands, exclaiming, “O
God, Thou knowest my thoughts, and Thou dost see to the very bottom of my
heart; if it be for my people’s good that I keep the crown, favor Thou my
cause and uphold my arms.  But if Thy holy will have otherwise ordained,
at least let me die, O God, in the midst of these brave soldiers who give
their lives for me!”  When the battle was over and won, he heard that
Rosny had been severely wounded in it; and when he was removed to Rosny
Castle, the king, going close up to his stretcher, said, “My friend, I am
very glad to see you with a much better countenance than I expected; I
should feel still greater joy if you assure me that you run no risk of
your life or of being disabled forever; the rumor was, that you had two
horses killed under you; that you had been borne to earth, rolled over
and trampled upon by the horses of several squadrons, bruised and cut up
by so many blows that it would be a marvel if you escaped, or if, at the
very least, you were not mutilated for life in some limb.  I should like
to hug you with both arms.  I shall never have any good fortune or
increase of greatness but you shall share it.  Fearing that too much
talking may be harmful to your wounds, I am off again to Mantes.  Adieu,
my friend; fare you well, and be assured that you have a good master.”

Henry IV. had not only a warm but an expansive heart; he could not help
expressing and pouring forth his feelings.  That was one of his charms,
and also one of his sources of power.

The victory of Ivry had a great effect in France and in Europe.  But not
immediately and as regarded the actual campaign of 1590.  The victorious
king moved on Paris, and made himself master of the little towns in the
neighborhood with a view of investing the capital.  When he took
possession of St. Denis [on the 9th of July, 1590], he had the relics and
all the jewelry of the church shown to him.  When he saw the royal crown,
from which the principal stones had been detached, he asked what had
become of them.  He was told that M. de Mayehne had caused them to-be
removed.  “He has the stones, then,” said the king; “and I have the
soil.”  He visited the royal tombs, and when he was shown that of
Catherine de’ Medici, “ Ah!” said he smiling, “how well it suits her!”
 And, as he stood before Henry III.’s he said, “Ventre-saint-gris!  There
is my good brother; I desire that I be laid beside him.”  As he thus went
on visiting and establishing all his posts around Paris, the investment
became more strict; it was kept up for more than three months, from the
end of May to the beginning of September, 1590; and the city was reduced
to a severe state of famine, which would have been still more severe if
Henry IV. had not several times over permitted the entry of some convoys
of provisions and the exit of the old men, the women, the children, in
fact, the poorest and weakest part of the population.  “Paris must not be
a cemetery,” be said; “I do not wish to reign over the dead.”  “A true
king,” says De Thou, “more anxious for the preservation of his kingdom
than greedy of conquest, and making no distinction between his own
interests and the interests of his people.”  Two famous Protestants,
Ambrose Pare and Bernard Palissy, preserved, one by his surgical and the
other by his artistic genius, from the popular fury, were still living at
that time in Paris, both eighty years of age, and both pleading for the
liberty of their creed and for peace.  “Monseigneur,” said Ambrose Pare
one day to the Archbishop of Lyons, whom he met at one end of the bridge
of St. Michael, “this poor people that you see here around you is dying
of sheer hunger-madness, and demands your compassion.  For God’s sake
show them some, as you would have God’s shown to you.  Think a little on
the office to which God hath called you.  Give us peace or give us
wherewithal to live, for the poor folks can hold out no more.”  The
Italian Danigarola himself, Bishop of Asti and attache to the embassy of
Cardinal Gaetani, having publicly said that peace was necessary, was
threatened by the Sixteen with being sewn up in a sack and thrown into
the river if he did not alter his tone.  Not peace, but a cessation of
the investment of Paris, was brought about, on the 23d of August, 1590,
by Duke Alexander of Parma, who, in accordance with express orders from
Philip II., went from the Low Countries, with his army, to join Mayenne
at Meaux and threaten Henry IV. with their united forces if he did not
retire from the walls of the capital.

[Illustration: Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma----32]

Henry IV. offered the two dukes battle, if they really wished to put a
stop to the investment; but “I am not come so far,” answered the Duke of
Parma, “to take counsel of my enemy; if my manner of warfare does not
please the King of Navarre, let him force me to change it, instead of
giving me advice that nobody asks him for.”  Henry in vain attempted to
make the Duke of Parma accept battle.  The able Italian established
himself in a strongly intrenched camp, surprised Lagny, and opened to
Paris the navigation of the Marne, by which provisions were speedily
brought up.  Henry decided upon retreating; he dispersed the different
divisions of his army into Touraine, Normandy, Picardy, Champagne,
Burgundy, and himself took up his quarters at Senlis, at Compiegne, in
the towns on the banks of the Oise.  The Duke of Mayenne arrived on the
18th of September at Paris; the Duke of Parma entered it himself with a
few officers, and left it on the 13th of November with his army on his
way back to the Low Countries, being a little harassed in his retreat by
the royal cavalry, but easy, for the moment, as to the fate of Paris and
the issue of the war, which continued during the first six months of the
year 1591, but languidly and disconnectedly, with successes and reverses
see-sawing between the two parties and without any important results.

Then began to appear the consequences of the victory of Ivry and the
progress made by Henry IV., in spite of the check he received before
Paris and at some other points in the kingdom.  Not only did many
moderate Catholics make advances to him, struck with his sympathetic
ability and his valor, and hoping that he would end by becoming a
Catholic, but patriotic wrath was kindling in France against Philip II.
and the Spaniards, those fomenters of civil war in the mere interest of
foreign ambition.  We quoted but lately the words used by the governor of
Dieppe, Aymar de Chastes, when he said to Villars, governor of Rouen, who
pressed him to enter the League, “You will yourself find out that the
Spaniard is the real head of this League.”  On the 5th of August, 1590,
during the investment of Paris, a placard was pasted all over the city.
“Poor Parisians,” it said, “I deplore your misery, and I feel even
greater pity towards you for being still such simpletons.  See you not
that this son of perdition of a Spanish ambassador [Bernard de Mendoza],
who had our good king murdered, is making game of you, cramming you so
with pap that he would fain have had you burst before now in order to lay
hands on your goods and on France if he could?  He alone prevents peace
and the repose of desolated France, as well as the reconciliation of the
king and the princes in real amity.  Why are ye so tardy to cast him in a
sack down stream, that he may return the sooner to Spain?”  On the 6th of
August, there was found written with charcoal, on the gate of St.
Anthony, the following eight lines:--

               “Some folks, for Holy League bear more
               Than the prodigal son in the Bible bore;
               For he, together with his swine,
               On bean, and root, and husk would dine;
               Whilst they, unable to procure
               Such dainty morsels, must endure
               Between their skinny lips to pass
               Offal and tripe of horse or ass.”

“These,” said a Latin inscription on the awnings of the butchers’ shops,
“are the rewards of those who expose their lives for Philip” [_Haec sunt
munera pro iis qui vitam pro Philippo proferunt: Memoires de L’Estoile,_
t. ii.  pp. 73, 74].  In 1591 these public sentiments, reproduced and
dilated upon in numerous pamphlets, imported dissension into the heart of
the League itself, which split up into two parties, the Spanish League
and the French League.  The Committee of Sixteen labored incessantly for
the formation and triumph of the Spanish League; and its principal
leaders wrote, on the 2d of September, 1591, a letter to Philip II.,
offering him the crown of France, and pledging their allegiance to him as
his subjects.  “We can positively assure your Majesty,” they said, “that
the wishes of all Catholics are to see your Catholic Majesty holding the
sceptre of this kingdom and reigning over us, even as we do throw
ourselves right willingly into your arms as into those of our father, or
at any rate establishing one of your posterity upon the throne.”  These
ringleaders of the Spanish League had for their army the blindly
fanatical and demagogic populace of Paris, and were, further, supported
by four thousand Spanish troops whom Philip II. had succeeded in getting
almost surreptitiously into Paris.  They created a council of ten, the
sixteenth century’s committee of public safety; they proscribed the
policists; they, on the 15th of November, had the president, Brisson, and
two councillors of the Leaguer Parliament arrested, hanged them to a beam
and dragged the corpses to the Place de Grove, where they strung them up
to a gibbet with inscriptions setting forth that they were heretics,
traitors to the city and enemies of the Catholic princes.  Whilst the
Spanish League was thus reigning at Paris, the Duke of Mayenne was at
Laon, preparing to lead his army, consisting partly of Spaniards, to the
relief of Rouen, the siege of which Henry IV. was commencing.  Being
summoned to Paris by messengers who succeeded one another every hour, he
arrived there on the 28th of November, 1591, with two thousand French
troops; he armed the guard of Burgesses, seized and hanged, in a
ground-floor room of the Louvre, four of the chief leaders of the Sixteen,
suppressed their committee, re-established the Parliament in full
authority, and, finally, restored the security and preponderance of the
French League, whilst taking the reins once more into his own hands.  But
the French League before long found itself, in its turn, placed in a
situation quite as embarrassing, if not so provocative of odium, as that
in which the Spanish League had lately been; for it had become itself the
tool of personal and unlawful ambition.  The Lorraine princes, it is
true, were less foreign to France than the King of Spain was; they had
even rendered her eminent service; but they had no right to the crown.
Mayenne had opposed to him the native and lawful heir to the throne,
already recognized and invested with the kingly power by a large portion
of France, and quite capable of disputing his kingship with the ablest
competitors.  By himself and with his own party alone, Mayenne was not in
a position to maintain such a struggle; in order to have any chance he
must have recourse to the prince whose partisans he had just overthrown
and chastised.

[Illustration: Charles de Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne----35]

On the 11th of November, 1591, Henry IV. had laid siege to Rouen with a
strong force, and was pushing the operations on vigorously.  In order to
obtain the troops and money without which he could not relieve this
important place, the leader of the French League treated humbly with the
patron of the Spanish League.  “In the conferences held at La Fere and at
Lihom-Saintot, between the 10th and the 18th of January, 1592,” says M.
Poirson, “the Duke of Parma, acting for the King of Spain, and Mayenne
drew up conventions which only awaited.  the ratification of Philip II.
to be converted into a treaty.  Mayenne was to receive four millions of
crowns a year and a Spanish army, which together would enable him to
oppose Henry IV.  He had, besides, a promise of a large establishment for
himself, his relatives, and the chiefs of his party.  In exchange, he
promised, in his own name and that of the princes of his house and the
great lords of the League, that Philip II.’s daughter, the Infanta
Isabella (Clara Eugenia), should be recognized as sovereign and
proprietress of the throne of France, and that the states-general,
convoked for that purpose, should proclaim her right and confer upon her
the throne.  It is true,” adds M. Poirson, “that Mayenne stipulated that
the Infanta should take a husband, within the year, at the suggestion of
the councillors and great officers of the crown, that the kingdom should
be preserved in its entirety, and that its laws and customs should be
maintained.  .  .  .  It even appears certain that Mayenne purposed not
to keep any of these promises, and to emend his infamy by a breach of
faith.  .  .  .  But a conviction generally prevailed that he recognized
the rights of the Infanta, and that he would labor to place her on the
throne.  The lords of his own party believed it; the legate reported it
everywhere; the royal party regarded it as certain.  During the whole
course of the year 1592, this opinion gave the most disastrous assistance
to the intrigues and ascendency of Philip II., and added immeasurably to
the public dangers.”  [Poirson, _Histoire du Regne d’Henri IV.,_  t.  i.
pp.  304-306.]

Whilst these two Leagues, one Spanish and the other French, were
conspiring thus persistently, sometimes together and sometimes one
against the other, to promote personal ambition and interests, at the
same time national instinct, respect for traditional rights, weariness of
civil war, and the good sense which is born of long experience, were
bringing France more and more over to the cause and name of Henry IV.
In all the provinces, throughout all ranks of society, the population
non-enrolled amongst the factions were turning their eyes towards him as
the only means of putting an end to war at home and abroad, the only
pledge of national unity, public prosperity, and even freedom of trade, a
hazy idea as yet, but even now prevalent in the great ports of France and
in Paris.  Would Henry turn Catholic?  That was the question asked
everywhere, amongst Protestants with anxiety, but with keen desire, and
not without hope, amongst the mass of the population.  The rumor ran
that, on this point, negotiations were half opened even in the midst of
the League itself, even at the court of Spain, even at Rome, where Pope
Clement VIII., a more moderate man than his predecessor, Gregory XIV.,
“had no desire,” says Sully, “to foment the troubles of France, and still
less that the King of Spain should possibly become its undisputed king,
rightly judging that this would be laying open to him the road to the
monarchy of Christendom, and, consequently, reducing the Roman pontiffs
to the position, if it were his good pleasure, of his mere chaplains.”
 [_OEconomies royales,_ t. ii.  p. 106.] Such being the existing state of
facts and minds, it was impossible that Henry IV. should not ask himself
roundly the same question, and feel that he had no time to lose in
answering it.

At the beginning of February, 1593, he sent for Rosny, one evening very
late.  “And so,” says Rosny, “I found his Majesty in bed, having already
wished every one a good night; who, as soon as he saw me come in, ordered
a hassock to be brought and me to kneel thereon against his bed, and said
to me, ‘My friend, I have sent for you so late for to speak with you
about the things that are going on, and to hear your opinions thereon; I
confess that I have often found them better than those of many others who
make great show of being clever.  If you continue to leave me the care of
that which concerns you, and yourself to take continual care of my
affairs, we shall both of us find it to our welfare.  I do not wish to
hide any longer that for a long time past I have had my eye upon you in
order to employ you personally in my most important affairs, especially
in those of my finances, for I hold you to be honest and painstaking.
For the present, I wish to speak with you about that large number of
persons of all parties, all ranks, and different tempers, who would be
delighted to exert themselves for the pacification of the kingdom,
especially if I can resolve to make some arrangement as regards religion.
I am quite resolved not to hear of any negotiation or treaty, save on
these two conditions, that some result may be looked for tending both
to the advantage of the people of my kingdom and to the real
re-establishment of the kingly authority.  I know that it is your custom,
whenever I put anything before you, to ask me for time to think well
thereon before you are disposed to tell me your opinion; in three or four
days I shall send for you to tell me what has occurred to you touching
all these fine hopes that many would have me anticipate from their
interventions; all of them persons very diverse in temper, purposes,
interests, functions, and religion.”

“Whereupon,” says Rosny, “the king having dismissed me with a good
evening, he did not fail to send for me again three days afterwards, in
order that I should go and see him again in bed, near the which having
made me kneel as before, he said, ‘Come, now, tell me this moment, and
quite at leisurely length, all your foolish fancies, for so you have
always called the best counsels you have ever given me, touching the
questions I put to you the other evening.  I am ready to listen to you
right on to the end, without interrupting you.’”

“Sir,” said Rosny, “I have reflected not only on what your Majesty was
pleased to tell me three days ago, but also on what I have been able to
learn, as to the same affairs, from divers persons of all qualities and
religions, and even women who have talked to me in order to make me talk,
and to see if I knew any particulars of your private intentions.  .  .  .
As it seems to me, sir, all these goings, comings, writings, letters,
journeys, interventions, parleys, and conferences cannot be better
compared than to that swarming of attorneys at the courts, who take a
thousand turns and walks about the great hall, under pretence of settling
cases, and all the while it is they who give them birth, and would be
very sorry for a single one to die off.  In the next place, not a single
one of them troubles himself about right or wrong, provided that the
crowns are forthcoming, and that, by dint of lustily shouting, they are
reputed eloquent, learned, and well stocked with inventions and
subtleties.  Consequently, sir, without troubling yourself further with
these treaty-mongers and negotiators, who do nothing but lure you, bore
you, perplex your mind, and fill with doubts and scruples the minds of
your subjects, I opine, in a few words, that you must still for some time
exercise great address, patience, and prudence, in order that there may
be engendered amongst all this mass of confusion, anarchy, and chimera,
that they call the holy catholic union, so many and such opposite
desires, jealousies, pretensions, hatreds, longings, and designs, that,
at last, all the French there are amongst them must come and throw
themselves into your arms, bit by bit, recognize your kingship alone as
possible, and look to nothing but it for protection, prop, or stay.
Nevertheless, sir, that your Majesty may not regard me as a spirit of
contradiction for having found nothing good in all these proposals made
to you by these great negotiators, I will add to my suggestions just one
thing; if a bit of Catholicism were quite agreeable to you, if it were
properly embraced and accepted accordingly, in honorable and suitable
form, it would be of great service, might serve as cement between you and
all your Catholic subjects; and it would even facilitate your other great
and magnificent designs whereof you have sometimes spoken to me.
Touching this, I would say more to you about it if I were of such
profession as permitted me to do so with a good conscience; I content
myself, as it is, with leaving yours to do its work within you on so
ticklish and so delicate a subject.”

“I quite understand your opinions,” said the king; “they resolve
themselves almost into one single point: I must not allow the
establishment of any association or show of government having the least
appearance of being able to subsist, by itself or by its members, in any
part of my kingdom, or suffer dismemberment in respect of any one of the
royal prerogatives, as regards things spiritual as well as temporal.
Such is my full determination.”

“I answered the king,” continues Rosny, “that I was rejoiced to see him
taking so intelligent a view of his affairs, and that, for the present, I
had no advice to give him but to seek repose of body and mind, and to
permit me likewise to seek the same for myself, for I was dead sleepy,
not having slept for two nights; and so, without a word more, the king
gave me good night, and, as for me, I went back to my quarters.”

A few days before this conversation between the king and his friend
Rosny, on the 26th of January, 1593, the states-general of the League
had met in the great hall of the Louvre, present the Duke of Mayenne,
surrounded by all the pomp of royalty, but so nervous that his speech in
opening the session was hardly audible, and that he frequently changed
color during its delivery.  On leaving, his wife told him that she was
afraid he was not well, as she had seen him turn pale three or four
times.  A hundred and twenty-eight deputies had been elected; only fifty
were present at this first meeting.  They adjourned to the 4th of
February.  In the interval, on the 28th of January, there had arrived,
also, a royalist trumpeter, bringing, “on behalf of the princes,
prelates, officers of the crown, and principal lords of the Catholic
faith, who were with the King of Navarre, an offer of a conference
between the two parties, for to lay down the basis of a peace eagerly
desired.”  On hearing this message, Cardinal Pelleve, Archbishop of Sens,
one of the most fiery prelates of the League, said, “that he was of
opinion that the trumpeter should be whipped, to teach him not to
undertake such silly errands for the future;”  “an opinion,” said
somebody, “quite worthy of a thick head like his, wherein there is but
little sense.”

The states-general of the League were of a different opinion.  After long
and lively discussion, the three orders decided, each separately, on the
25th of February, to consent to the conference demanded by the friends of
the King of Navarre.  On the 4th of February, when they resumed session,
Cardinal Philip de Sega, Bishop of Placencia (in Spain) and legate of
Pope Clement VIII., had requested to be present at the deliberation of
the assembly, but his request was refused; the states confined themselves
to receiving his benediction and hearing him deliver an address.

The different fate of these two proposals was a clear indication of the
feelings of the assembly; they were very diverse in the three orders
which constituted it; almost all the clergy, prelates, and popular
preachers were devoted to the Spanish League; the noblesse were not at
all numerous at these states.  “The most brilliant and most active
members of it,” says M. Picot correctly, “had ranged themselves behind
Henry IV.; and it covered itself with eternal honor by having been the
first to discern where to look for the hopes and the salvation of
France.”  The third estate was very much divided; it contained the
fanatical Leaguers, at the service of Philip II. and the court of Rome,
the partisans, much more numerous, of the French League, who desired
peace, and were ready to accept Henry IV., provided that he turned
Catholic, and a small band of political spirits, more powerful in talent
than number.

Regularly as the deputies arrived, Mayenne went to each of them, saying
privately, “Gentlemen, you see what the question is; it is the very
chiefest of all matters (_res maxima rerum agitur_).  I beg you to give
your best attention to it, and to so act that the adversaries steal no
march on us and get no advantage over us.  Nevertheless, I mean to abide
by what I have promised them.”  Mayenne was quite right: it was certainly
the chiefest of all matters.  The head of the Protestants of France, the
ally of all the Protestants in Europe--should he become a Catholic and
King of France?  The temporal head of Catholic Europe, the King of Spain
--should he abolish the Salic law in France, by placing upon it his
daughter as queen, and dismember France to his own profit and that of the
leaders of the League, his hirelings rather than his allies?  Or,
peradventure, should one of these Leaguer-chiefs be he who should take
the crown of France, and found a new dynasty there?  And which of these
Leaguer-chiefs should attain this good fortune?  A half-German or a true
Frenchman?  A Lorraine prince or a Bourbon?  And, if a Lorraine prince,
which?  The Duke of Mayenne, military head of the League, or his uterine
brother, the Duke of Nemours, or his nephew the young Duke of Guise, son
of the Balafrc?  All these questions were mooted, all these pretensions
were on the cards, all these combinations had their special intrigue.
And in the competition upon which they entered with one another, at the
same time that they were incessantly laying traps for one another, they
kept up towards one another, because of the uncertainty of their chances,
a deceptive course of conduct often amounting to acts of downright
treachery committed without scruple, in order to preserve for themselves
a place and share in the unknown future towards which they were moving.
It was in order to have his opinion upon a position so dark and
complicated, and upon the behavior it required, that Henry IV., then at
Mantes, sent once more for Rosny, and had a second conversation, a few
weeks later, with him.

“Well! my friend,” said the king, “what say you about all these plots
that are being projected against my conscience, my life, and my kingdom?
Since the death of the Duke of Parma [on the 2d of December, 1592, in the
Abbey of St. Waast at Arras, from the consequences of a wound received in
the preceding April at the siege of Caudebec], it seems that deeds of
arms have given place to intrigues and contests of words.  I fancy that
such gentry will never leave me at rest, and will at last, perhaps,
attempt my liberty and my life.  I beg you to tell me your opinion
freely, and what remedies, short of cruelty and violence, I might now
employ to get rid of all these hinderances and cabals (monopoles) that
are going on against the rights which have come to me by the will of God,
by birth, and by the laws of the realm.”

“Sir,” said Rosny, “I do not fancy that deferments and temporizations,
any more than long speeches, would now be seasonable; there are, it seems
to me, but two roads to take to deliver yourself from peril, but not from
anxiety, for from anxiety kings and princes, the greater they are, can
the less secure themselves if they wish to reign successfully.  One of
the two roads is to accommodate yourself to the desires and wishes of
those of whom you feel distrust; the other, to secure the persons of
those who are the most powerful, and of the highest rank, and most
suspected by you, and put them in such place as will prevent them from
doing you hurt; you know them pretty nearly all; there are some of them
very rich; you will be able for a long while to carry, on war.  As for
advising you to go to mass, it is a thing that you ought not, it seems to
me, to expect from me, who am of the religion; but frankly will I tell
you that it is the readiest and the easiest means of confounding all
these cabals (_monopoles_), and causing all the most mischievous projects
to end in smoke.”

The King:  “But tell me freely, I beg of you, what you would do if you
were in my place.”

Rosny:  I can assure you honestly, sir, that I have never thought about
what I should feel bound to do for to be king, it having always seemed to
me that I had not a head able or intended to wear a crown.  As to your
Majesty it is another affair; in you, sir, that desire is not only
laudable, but necessary, as it does not appear now this realm can be
restored to its greatness, opulence, and splendor but by the sole means
of your eminent worth and downright kingly courage.  But whatever right
you have to the kingdom, and whatever need it has of your courage and
worth for its restoration, you will never arrive at complete possession
and peaceable enjoyment of this dominion but by two sole expedients and
means.  In case of the first, which is force and arms, you will have to
employ strong measures, severity, rigor, and violence, processes which
are all utterly opposed to your temper and inclination: you will have to
pass through an infinity of difficulties, fatigues, pains, annoyances,
perils, and labors, with a horse perpetually between your legs, harness
[_halecret,_ a species of light cuirass] on back, helmet on head, pistol
in fist, and sword in hand.  And, what is more, you will have to bid
adieu to repose, pleasure, pastime, love, mistress, play, hunting,
hawking, and building; for you will not get out of such matters but by
multiplicity of town-takings, quantity of fights, signal victories, and
great bloodshed.  By the other road, which is to accommodate yourself,
as regards religion, to the wish of the greatest number of your subjects,
you will not encounter so many annoyances, pains, and difficulties in
this world, but as to the next, I don’t answer for you; it is for your
Majesty to take a fixed resolution for yourself, without adopting it from
any one else, and less from me than from any other, as you well know that
I am of the religion, and that you keep me by you not as a theologian and
councillor of church, but as a man of action and councillor of state,
seeing that you have given me that title, and for a long space employed
me as such.”

The king burst out laughing, and, sitting up in his bed, said, after
scratching his head several times, to Rosny,--

“All you say to me is true; but I see so many thorns on every side that
it will go very hard but some of them will prick me full sore.  You know
well enough that my cousins, the princes of the blood, and ever so many
other lords, such as D’Epernon, Longueville, Biron, d’O, and Vitry, are
urging me to turn Catholic, or else they will join the League.  On the
other hand, I know for certain that Messieurs de Turenne, de la
Tremoille, and their lot, are laboring daily to have a demand made, if I
turn Catholic, on behalf of them of the religion, for an assembly to
appoint them a protector and an establishment of councils in the
provinces; all things that I could not put up with.  But if I had to
declare war against them to prevent it, it would be the greatest
annoyance and trouble that could ever happen to me: my heart could not
bear to do ill to those who have so long run my risks, and have employed
their goods and their lives in my defence.”

At these last words, Rosny threw himself upon his knees, with his eyes
full of tears, and, kissing the king’s hands, he said, “Sir, I am
rejoiced beyond measure to see you so well disposed towards them of the
religion.  I have always been afraid that, if you came to change your
religion, as I see full well that you will have to do, you might be
persuaded to hate and maltreat those of us others, of the towns as well
as of the noblesse, who will always love you heartily and serve you
faithfully.  And be assured that the number thereof will be so great
that, if there rise up amongst them any avaricious, ambitious, and
factious, who would fain do the contrary, these will be constrained by
the others to return to their duty.  What would, in my opinion, be very
necessary, would be to prevail upon the zealous Catholics to change that
belief which they are so anxious to have embraced by all the rest, to
wit, that they of the religion are all damned.  There are certainly,
also, some ministers and other obtrusive spirits amongst the Huguenots
who would fain persuade us of the same as regards Catholics; for my own
part, I believe nothing of the kind; I hold it, on the contrary, as
indisputable that, of whatever religion men make outward profession,
if they die keeping the Decalogue and believing in the Creed (Apostles’),
if they love God with all their heart and are charitable towards their
neighbor, if they put their hopes in God’s mercy and in obtaining
salvation by the death, merits, and justice of Jesus Christ, they cannot
fail to be saved, because they are then no longer of any erroneous
religion, but of that which is most agreeable to God.  If you were
pleased to embrace it and put it in practice all the days of your life,
not only should I have no doubt of your salvation, but I should remain
quite assured that, not regarding us as execrable and damned, you would
never proceed to the destruction or persecution of those of our religion
who shall love you truly and serve you faithfully.  From all such
reflections and discourse I conclude that it will be impossible for you
ever to reign in peace so long as you make outward profession of a
religion which is held in such great aversion by the majority of both
great and small in your kingdom, and that you cannot hope to raise it to
such general splendor, wealth, and happiness as I have observed you often
projecting.  Still less could you flatter yourself with the idea of ever
arriving at the accomplishment of your lofty and magnifi cent designs for
the establishment of a universal most Christian republic, composed of all
the kings and potentates of Europe who profess the name of Christ; for,
in order to bring about so great a blessing, you must needs have tranquil
possession of a great, rich, opulent, and populous kingdom, and be in a
condition to enter into great and trustworthy foreign associations.”
 [_OEconomies royales, or Memoires de Sully,_ t. ii.  pp. 81-100.] One is
inclined to believe that, even before their conversations, Henry IV. was
very near being of Rosny’s opinion; but it is a long stride from an
opinion to a resolution.  In spite of the breadth and independence of his
mind, Henry IV. was sincerely puzzled.  He was of those who, far from
clinging to a single fact and confining themselves to a single duty, take
account of the complication of the facts amidst which they live, and of
the variety of the duties which the general situation or their own
imposes upon them.  Born in the Reformed faith, and on the steps of the
throne, he was struggling to defend his political rights whilst keeping
his religious creed; but his religious creed was not the fruit of very
mature or very deep conviction; it was a question of first claims and of
honor rather than a matter of conscience; and, on the other hand, the
peace of France, her prosperity, perhaps her territorial integrity, were
dependent upon the triumph of the political rights of the Bearnese.  Even
for his brethren in creed his triumph was a benefit secured, for it was
an end of persecution and a first step towards liberty.  There is no
measuring accurately how far ambition, personal interest, a king’s
egotism, had to do with Henry’s IV.’s abjuration of his religion; none
would deny that those human infirmities were present; but all this does
not prevent the conviction that patriotism was uppermost in Henry’s soul,
and that the idea of his duty as king towards France, a prey to all the
evils of civil and foreign war, was the determining motive of his
resolution.  It cost him a great deal.  To the Huguenot gentry and
peasantry who had fought with him he said, “You desire peace; I give it
you at my own expense; I have made myself anathema for the sake of all,
like Moses and St. Paul.”  He received with affectionate sadness the
Reformed ministers and preachers who came to see him.  “Kindly pray to
God for me,” said he to them, “and love me always; as for me, I shall
always love you, and I will never suffer wrong to be done to you, or any
violence to your religion.”  He had already, at this time, the Edict of
Nantes in his mind, and he let a glimpse of it appear to Rosny at their
first conversation.  When he discussed with the Catholic prelates the
conditions of his abjuration, he had those withdrawn which would have
been too great a shock to his personal feelings and shackled his con duct
tod much in the government, as would have been the case with the promise
to labor for the destruction of heresy.  Even as regarded the Catholic
faith, he demand of the doctors who were preparing him for it some
latitude for his own thoughts, and “that he should not have such violence
done to his conscience as to be bound to strange oaths, and to sign and
believe rubbish which he was quite sure that the majority of them did not
believe.”  [_Memoires de L’Estoile,_ t. ii.  p. 472.] The most passionate
Protestants of his own time reproached him, and some still reproach him,
with having deserted his creed and having repaid with ingratitude his
most devoted comrades in arms and brothers in Christ.  Perhaps there is
some ingratitude also in forgetting that after four years of struggling
to obtain the mastery for his religious creed and his political rights
simultaneously, Henry IV., convinced that he could not succeed in that,
put a stop to religious wars, and founded, to last for eighty-seven
years, the free and lawful practice of the Reformed worship in France,
by virtue of the Edict of Nantes, which will be spoken of presently.

Whilst this great question was thus discussed and decided between Henry
IV. in person and his principal advisers, the states-general of the
League and the conference of Suresnes were vainly bestirring themselves
in the attempt to still keep the mastery of events which were slipping
away from them.  The Leaguer states had an appearance of continuing to
wish for the absolute proscription of Henry IV., a heretic king, even on
conversion to Catholicism, so long as his conversion was not recognized
and accepted by the pope; but there was already great, though timidly
expressed, dissent as to this point in the assembly of the states and
amongst the population in the midst of which it was living.  Nearly a
year previously, in May, 1592, when he retired from France after having
relieved Rouen from siege and taken Caudebec, the Duke of Parma, as
clear-sighted a politician as he was able soldier, had said to one of the
most determined Leaguers, “Your people have abated their fury; the rest
hold on but faintly, and in a short time they will have nothing to do
with us.”  Philip II. and Mayenne perceived before long the urgency and
the peril of this situation: they exerted themselves, at one time in
concert and at another independently, to make head against this change in
the current of thoughts and facts.  Philip sent to Paris an ambassador
extraordinary, the Duke of Feria, to treat with the states of the League
and come to an understanding with Mayenne; but Mayenne considered that
the Duke of Feria did not bring enough money, and did not introduce
enough soldiers; the Spanish army in France numbered but four thousand
three hundred men, and Philip had put at his ambassador’s disposal but
two hundred thousand crowns, or six hundred thousand livres of those
times; yet had he ordered that, in respect of the assembly, the pay
should not come until after the service was rendered, i.e. after a vote
was given in favor of his election or that of his daughter the Infanta
Isabella to the throne.  It was not the states-general only who had to be
won over; the preachers of the League were also, at any rate the majority
of them, covetous as well as fiery; both the former and the latter soon
saw that the Duke of Feria had not wherewith to satisfy them.  “And such
as had come,” says Villeroi, “with a disposition to favor the Spaniards
and serve them for a consideration, despised them and spoke ill of them,
seeing that there was nothing to be gained from them.”  The artifices of
Mayenne were scarcely more successful than the stingy presents of
Philip II.; when the Lorrainer duke saw the chances of Spain in the
ascendant as regarded the election of a King of France and the marriage
of the Infanta Isabella, he at once set to work--and succeeded without
much difficulty--to make them a failure; at bottom, it was always for the
house of Lorraine, whether for the marriage of his nephew the Duke of
Guise with the Infanta Isabella or for the prolongation of his power,
that Mayenne labored; he sometimes managed to excite, for the promotion
of this cause, a favorable movement amongst the states-general or a blast
of wrath on the part of the preachers against Henry IV.; but it was
nothing but a transitory and fruitless effort; the wind no longer sat in
the sails of the League; on the 27th of May, 1593, a deputation of a
hundred and twenty burgesses, with the provost of tradesmen at their
head, repaired to the house of Count de Belin, governor of Paris, begging
him to introduce them into the presence of the Duke of Mayenne, to whom
they wished to make a demand for peace, and saying that their request
would, at need, be signed by ten thousand burgesses.  Next day, two
colonels of the burgess-militia spoke of making barricades; four days
afterwards, some of the most famous and but lately most popular preachers
of the League were hooted and insulted by the people, who shouted at them
as they passed in the streets that drowning was the due of all those
deputies in the states who prevented peace from being made.  The
conference assembled at Suresnes, of which mention has already been
made, had been formed with pacific intentions, or, at any rate, hopes;
accordingly it was more tranquil than the states-general, but it was not
a whit more efficacious.  It was composed of thirteen delegates for the
League and eight for the king, men of consideration in the two parties.
At the opening of its sessions, the first time the delegates of the
League repaired thither, a great crowd shouted at them, “Peace!  Peace!
Blessed be they who procure it and demand it!  Malediction and every
devil take all else!”  In the villages they passed through, the peasantry
threw themselves upon their knees, and, with clasped hands, demanded of
them peace.  The conference was in session from the 4th of May to the
11th of June, holding many discussions, always temperately and with due
regard for propriety, but without arriving at any precise solution of the
questions proposed.  Clearly neither to this conference nor to the
states-general of the League was it given to put an end to this stormy
and at the same time resultless state of things; Henry IV. alone could
take the resolution and determine the issue which everybody was awaiting
with wistfulness or with dread, but without being able to accomplish it.
D’Aubigne ends his account of the conference at Suresnes with these
words: “Those who were present at it reported to the king that there were
amongst the Leaguers so many heart-burnings and so much confusion that
they were all seeking, individually if not collectively, some pretext for
surrendering to the king, and consequently, that one mass would settle it
entirely.”  [_Histoire Universelle,_ bk. iii.  chap. xx.  p. 386.]

Powers that are conscious of their opportuneness and utility do not like
to lose time, but are prompt to act.  Shortly after his conversations
with Rosny, whose opinion was confirmed by that of Chancellor de Chiverny
and Count Gaspard de Schomberg, Henry IV. set to work.  On the 26th of
April, 1593, he wrote to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand de’ Medici,
that he had decided to turn Catholic “two months after that the Duke of
Mayenne should have come to an agreement with him on just and suitable
terms;” and, foreseeing the expense that would be occasioned to him by
“this great change in his affairs,” he felicitated himself upon knowing
that the grand duke was disposed to second his efforts towards a levy of
four thousand Swiss, and advance a year’s pay for them.  On the 28th of
April, he begged the Bishop of Chartres, Nicholas de Thou, to be one of
the Catholic prelates whose instructions he would be happy to receive on
the 15th of July, and he sent the same invitation to several other
prelates.  On the 16th of May, he declared to his council his resolve to
become a convert.  Next day, the 17th, the Archbishop of Bourges
announced it to the conference at Suresnes.  This news, everywhere spread
abroad, produced a lively burst of national and Bourbonic feeling even
where it was scarcely to be expected; at the states-general of the
League, especially in the chamber of the noblesse, many members protested
“that they would not treat with foreigners, or promote the election of a
woman, or give their suffrages to any one unknown to them, and at the
choice of his Catholic Majesty of Spain.”  At Paris, a part of the
clergy, the incumbents of St. Eustache, St. Merri, and St. Sulpice, and
even some of the popular preachers, violent Leaguers but lately, and
notably Guincestre, boldly preached peace and submission to the king if
he turned Catholic.  The principal of the French League, in matters of
policy and negotiation, and Mayenne’s adviser since 1589, Villeroi,
declared “that he would not bide in a place where the laws, the honor of
the nation, and the independence of the kingdom were held so cheap;” and
he left Paris on the 28th of June.  Finally, on this same day, the
Parliament of Paris, all chambers assembled, issued a decree known by the
name of the decree of President Lemaitre, who had the chief hand in it,
and conceived as follows:--

“The court, having, as it has always had, no intention but to maintain
the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion, and the state and crown of
France, under the protection of a most Christian, Catholic, and French
king, hath ordained and doth ordain that representations shall be made,
this afternoon, by President Lemaitre, assisted by a proper number of
councillors of the said court, to the Duke of Mayenne, lieutenant-general
of the state and crown of France, to the end that no treaty be made for
the transfer of the crown to the hands of foreign princes or princesses,
and that the fundamental laws of the realm be observed.  .  .  .  And
from the present moment, the said court hath declared and doth declare
all treaties made or hereafter to be made for the setting up of foreign
prince or princess null and of no effect or value, as being made to the
prejudice of the Salic law and other fundamental laws of this realm.”

It was understood that this decree excluded from the crown of France not
only Philip II., the Infanta Isabella, Archduke Ernest, and all the
Spanish and Austrian princes, but also all the princes of the house of
Guise, “because the qualification of foreigners applied to all the
princes who were not of the blood royal and who were issue of foreign
houses, even though they might have been born in France and were
regnicoles.”

Mayenne refused, it is not known on what pretext, to receive the
communication of this decree on the same day on which it was voted by the
Parliament.  When President Lemaitre presented it to him the next day
before a large attendance, Mayenne kept his temper, and confined himself
to replying gruffly, “My first care has always been to defend the
Catholic religion and maintain the laws of the realm.  It seems now that
I am no longer necessary to the state, and that it will be easy to do
without me.  I could have wished, considering my position, that the
Parliament had not decided anything in a matter of such importance
without consulting me.  However, I will do all that I find possible for
me and that appears reasonable as to the two points of your
representations.”  On the following day, 30th of June, Mayenne was dining
with the Archbishop of Lyons, Peter d’Espinac; President Lemaitre was
sent for, and the wrath of the lieutenant-general burst forth.  “The
insult put upon me is too palpable for me to be quiet under it; since I
am played fast and loose with in that way, I have resolved to quash the
decree of the Parliament.  The Archbishop of Lyons is about to explain to
you my feelings and my motives.”

[Illustration: Lemaitre, Mayenne, and the Archbishop of Lyons----53]

The archbishop spoke long and bitterly, dwelling upon the expression that
“the Parliament had played fast and loose “ with the prince.  President
Lemaitre interrupted him.  “I cannot unmoved hear you repeating, sir,
that to which my respect made me shut my eyes when the prince spoke.
Looking upon me as an individual, you might speak to me in any way, you
thought proper; but so soon as the body I represent here is injured by
insulting terms, I take offence, and I cannot suffer it.  Know then, sir,
that the Parliament does not deceive or play fast and loose with anybody,
and that it renders to every man his due.”  The conversation was
continued for some moments in this warm and serious tone; but the quarrel
went no further; from the account they received of it, the Parliament
applauded the premier president’s firmness, and all the members swore
that they would suffer anything rather than that there should be any
change in the decree.  It remained intact, and Mayenne said no more about
it.

During these disputes amongst the civil functionaries, and continuing all
the while to make proposals for a general truce, Henry IV. vigorously
resumed warlike operations, so as to bring pressure upon his adversaries
and make them perceive the necessity of accepting the solution he offered
them.  He besieged and took the town of Dreux, of which the castle alone
persisted in holding out.  He cut off the provisions which were being
brought by the Marne to Paris.  He kept Poitiers strictly invested.
Lesdiguieres defeated the Savoyards and the Spaniards in the valleys of
Dauphiny and Piedmont.  Count Mansfeld was advancing with a division
towards Picardy; but at the news that the king was marching to encounter
him, he retired with precipitation.  From the military as well as the
political point of view, there is no condition worse than that of
stubbornness mingled with discouragement.  And that was the state of
Mayenne and the League.  Henry IV. perceived it, and confidently hurried
forward his political and military measures.  The castle of Dreux was
obliged to capitulate.  Thanks to the four thousand Swiss paid for him by
the Grand Duke of Florence, to the numerous volunteers brought to him by
the noblesse of his party, “and to the sterling quality of the old
Huguenot phalanx, folks who, from father to son, are familiarized with
death,” says D’Aubigne, Henry IV. had recovered, in June, 1593, so good
an army that “by means of it,” he wrote to Ferdinand de’ Medici, “I shall
be able to reduce the city of Paris in so short a time as will cause you
great contentment.”  But he was too judicious and too good a patriot not
to see that it was not by an indefinitely prolonged war that he would be
enabled to enter upon definitive possession of his crown, and that it was
peace, religious peace, that he must restore to France in order to really
become her king.  He entered resolutely, on the 15th of July, 1593, upon
the employment of the moral means which alone could enable him to attain
this end; he assembled at Mantes the conference of prelates and doctors,
Catholic and Protestant, which he had announced as the preface to his
conversion.  He had previously, on the 13th of May, given assurance to
the Protestants as to their interests by means of a declaration on the
part of eight amongst the principal Catholic lords attached to his person
who undertook, “with his Majesty’s authorization, that nothing should be
done in the said assemblies to the prejudice of friendly union between
the Catholics who recognized his Majesty and them of the religion, or
contrary to the edicts of pacification.”  On the 21st of July, the
prelates and doctors of the conference transferred themselves from Mantes
to St. Denis.  On Friday, July 23, in the morning, Henry wrote to Gabriel
le d’Estrees, “Sunday will be the day when I shall make the summerset
that brings down the house” (_le, saut perilleux_).  A few hours after
using such flippant language to his favorite, he was having a long
conference with the prelates and doctors, putting to them the gravest
questions about the religion he was just embracing, asking them for more
satisfactory explanations on certain points, and repeating to them the
grounds of his resolution.  “I am moved with compassion at the misery and
calamities of my people; I have discovered what they desire; and I wish
to be enabled, with a safe conscience, to content them.”  At the end of
the conference, “Gentlemen,” he said, “I this day commit my soul to your
keeping; I pray you, take heed to it, for, wheresoever you are causing me
to enter, I shall never more depart till death; that I swear and protest
to you;” and, in a voice of deep emotion, his eyes dim with tears, “I
desire no further delay; I wish to be received on Sunday and go to mass;
draw up the profession of faith you think I ought to make, and bring it
to me this evening; “when the Archbishop of Bourges and the Bishops of Le
Mans and Evreux brought it to him on the Saturday morning, he discussed
it apart with them, demanding the cutting out of some parts which struck
too directly at his previous creed and life; and Chancellor de Chiverny
and two presidents of the Parliament, Harlay and Groulart, used their
intervention to have him satisfied.  The profession of faith was
modified.  Next day, Sunday, the 25th of July, before he got up, Henry
conversed with the Protestant minister Anthony de la Faye, and embraced
him two or three times, repeating to him the words already quoted,
“I have made myself anathema for the sake of all, like Moses and St.
Paul.”  A painful mixture of the frivolous and the serious, of sincerity
and captious reservations, of resolution and weakness, at which nobody
has any right to be shocked who is not determined to be pitiless towards
human nature, and to make no allowance in the case of the best men for
complication of the facts, ideas, sentiments, and duties, under the
influence of which they are often obliged to decide and to act.

[Illustration: Henry IV.’s Abjuration----56]

On Sunday the 25th of July, 1593, Henry IV. repaired in great state to
the church of St. Denis.  On arriving with all his train in front of the
grand entrance, he was received by Reginald de Beaune, Archbishop of
Bourges, the nine bishops, the doctors and the incumbents who had taken
part in the conferences, and all the brethren of the abbey.  “Who are
you?” asked the archbishop who officiated.  “The king.”  “What want you?”
 “To be received into the bosom of the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman
Church.”  “Do you desire it?”  “Yes, I will and desire it.”  At these
words the king knelt and made the stipulated profession of faith.  The
archbishop gave him absolution together with benediction; and, conducted
by all the clergy to the choir of the church, he there, upon the gospels,
repeated his oath, made his confession, heard mass, and was fully
reconciled with the church.  The inhabitants of Paris, dispensing with
the passports which were refused them by Mayenne, had flocked in masses
to St. Denis and been present at the ceremony.  The vaulted roof of the
church resounded with their shouts of Hurrah for the king!  There was the
same welcome on the part of the dwellers in the country when Henry
repaired to the valley of Montmorency and to Montmartre to perform his
devotions there.  Here, then, was religious peace, a prelude to political
reconciliation between the monarch and the great majority of his
subjects.



CHAPTER XXXVI.----HENRY IV., CATHOLIC KING.  (1593-1610.)

During the months, weeks, nay, it might be said, days immediately
mediately following Henry IV.’s abjuration, a great number of notable
persons and important towns, and almost whole provinces, submitted to the
Catholic king.  Henry was reaping the fruits of his decision; France was
flocking to him.  But the general sentiments of a people are far from
satisfying and subduing the selfish passions of the parties which have
taken form and root in its midst.  Religious and political peace
responded to and sufficed for the desires of the great majority of
Frenchmen, Catholic and Protestant; but it did not at all content the
fanatics, Leaguer or Huguenot.  The former wanted the complete
extirpation of heretics; the latter the complete downfall of Catholicism.
Neither these nor those were yet educated up to the higher principle of
religious peace, distinction between the civil and the intellectual
order, freedom of thought and of faith guaranteed by political liberty.
Even at the present day, the community of France, nation and government,
all the while that they proclaim this great and salutary truth, do not
altogether understand and admit its full bearing.  The sixteenth century
was completely ignorant of it; Leaguers and Huguenots were equally
convinced that they possessed, in the matter of religion, the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and that they were in their right
to propagate its empire at any price.  Thence arose, in respect of
religious peace, and of Henry IV., who naturally desired it as the
requirement and the wish of France, a great governmental difficulty.

It is honorable to human nature that it never submits freely and
sincerely to anything but what it considers not only useful, but
essentially true and just; its passions bow to principles only; wherever
the higher principle is wanting, there also is wanting the force that
compels respect from passion.  Now the fanatics, Leaguer and Huguenot,
had a fixed principle; with the former, it was the religious sovereignty
of the pope, as representative and depositary of the unity of the
Christian church; with the others, it was the negation of this
sovereignty and the revindication of the free regimen of the primitive
Christian church.  To these fixed and peremptory principles the
government of Henry IV. had nothing similar to oppose; it spoke in the
name of social interests, of the public peace, and of mutual toleration;
all excellent reasons, but with merits consisting in their practical
soundness, not in their logical connection with the superior principle to
which the sixteenth century had not yet attained.  It was all very well
for Henry IV. to maintain the cause and to have the support of the great
majority in France; but outside of this majority he was incessantly
encountering and incessantly having to put down or to humor two parties,
or rather factions, full of discontent and as irreconcilable with him as
among themselves, for it was not peace and tolerance that they demanded
of him, but victory and supremacy in the name of absolute right.

This, then, was the scene; on one side a great majority of Catholics and
Protestants favorable for different practical reasons to Henry IV.
turned Catholic king; on the other, two minorities, one of stubborn
Catholics of the League, the other of Protestants anxious for their creed
and their liberty; both discontented and distrustful.  Such, after Henry
IV.’s abjuration, was the striking feature in the condition of France and
in the situation of her king.  This triple fact was constantly present to
the mind of Henry IV., and ruled his conduct during all his reign; all
the acts of his government are proof of that.

His first embarrassments arose from the faction of Catholics to the
backbone.  After his abjuration just as much as at his accession, the
League continued to exist and to act against him.  The legate, Gaetani,
maintained that the bishops of France had no right, without the pope’s
approval, to give an excommunicated prince absolution; he opposed the
three months’ truce concluded by Mayenne, and threatened to take his
departure for Rome.  Mayenne, to appease him and detain him, renewed the
alliance between the League and Spain, prevailed upon the princes and
marshals to renew also the oath of union, caused the states-general of
the League to vote the adoption of the Council of Trent, and, on
proroguing them, August 8, 1593, received from them a promise to return
at the expiration of the truce.  For the members of that assembly it was
not a burdensome engagement; independently of the compensation they had
from their provinces, which was ten livres (thirty-six francs, sixty
centimes) a day during each session, they received from the King of Spain
a regular retainer, which raised it, for the five months from June to
October, to seventy-two thousand one hundred and forty-four francs, which
they divided between themselves.  “It was presumed,” said Jehan
l’Huillier, provost of tradesmen, to one of his colleagues who was
pressing him to claim this payment from the ambassador of Spain, “that
the money came from M. de Mayenne, not from foreigners; “but honest
people, such as Du Vair and Thielement, did not content themselves with
this presumption, and sent to the Hotel-Dieu, for maintenance of the
poor, the share which was remitted to them.  [Poirson, _Histoire du Regne
de Henry IV.,_ t. i.  p. 463.  Picot, _Histoire des Etats generaux,_
t. iii.  p. 249.]

The states-general of the League did not appear again; their prorogation
was their death.  The year 1594, which came after them, was for Henry IV.
a year of home conquests, some pacific and due to the spontaneous
movement of the inhabitants, others obtained after resistance and
purchased with gold.  The town of Lyons set the example of the first.  A
rumor spread that the Spaniards were preparing an expedition against it;
some burgesses met to consult, and sent a private message to Alphonse
d’Ornano, who was conducting the war for the king in Dauphiny, pressing
him to move forward, on a day appointed, to the faubourg de la
Guillotiere.  A small force sent by Ornano arrived, accordingly, on the
7th of February, about daybreak, at the foot of the bridge over the
Rhone, in the faubourg, and, after a stubborn resistance, dislodged the
outpost on duty there.  At sound of the fighting, excitement broke out in
the town; and barricades were thrown up, amidst shouts of “Hurrah for
French liberty!” without any mention of the king’s name.  The archbishop,
Peter d’Espignac, a stanch Leaguer, tried to intimidate the burgesses,
or at any rate to allay the excitement.  As he made no impression, he
retired into his palace.  The people arrested the sheriffs and seized the
arsenal.  The king’s name resounded everywhere.  “The noise of the
cheering was such,” says De Thou, “that there was no hearing the sound of
the bells.  Everybody assumed the white scarf with so much zeal that by
evening there was not a scrap of white silk left at the tradesmen’s.
Tables were laid in the streets; the king’s arms were put up on the gates
and in the public thoroughfares.”  Ornano marched in over the barricades;
royalist sheriffs were substituted for the Leaguer sheriffs, and hastened
to take the oath of allegiance to the king, who had nothing to do but
thank the Lyonnese for having been the first to come over to him without
constraint or any exigency, and who confirmed by an edict all their
municipal liberties.  At the very moment when the Lyonnese were thus
springing to the side of their king, there set out from Lyons the first
assassin who raised a hand against Henry IV., Peter Parriere, a poor
boatman of the Loire, whom an unhappy passion for a girl in the household
of Marguerite de Valois and the preachings of fanatics had urged on to
this hateful design.  Assassin we have called him, although there was not
on his part so much as an attempt at assassination; but he had, by his
own admission, projected and made preparations for the crime, to the
extent of talking it over with accomplices and sharpening the knife he
had purchased for its accomplishment.  Having been arrested at Melun and
taken to Paris, he was sentenced to capital punishment, and to all the
tortures that ingenuity could add to it.  He owned to everything, whilst
cursing those who had assured him that “if he died in the enterprise, his
soul, uplifted by angels, would float away to the bosom of God, where he
would enjoy eternal bliss.”  Moved by his torments and his repentance,
the judge who presided at his execution took upon himself to shorten it
by having him strangled.  The judge was reported to the king for this
indulgence.  Henry praised him for it, adding that he would have pardoned
the criminal if he had been brought before him.  Thus commenced, at the
opening of his reign, the series of attempts to which he was destined to
succumb, after seventeen years of good, able, generous, and mild
government.

In Normandy, at Rouen, the royalist success was neither so easy nor so
disinterested as it had been at Lyons.  Andrew de Brancas, Lord of
Villars, an able man and valiant soldier, was its governor; he had served
the League with zeal and determination; nevertheless, “from the month of
August, 1593, immediately after the king’s conversion, he had shown a
disposition to become his servant, and to incline thereto all those whom
he had in his power.”  [_Histoire du Parlement de Normandi,_ by M.
Floquet, t. iii.  pp. 611-617.] Henry IV. commissioned Rosny to negotiate
with him; and Rosny went into Normandy, to Louviers first and then to
Rouen itself.  The negotiation seemed to be progressing favorably, but a
distrustful whim in regard to Villars, and the lofty pretensions he put
forward, made Rosny hang back for a while, and tell the whole story to
the king, at the same time asking for his instructions.  Henry replied,--

“My friend, you are an ass to employ so much delay and import so many
difficulties and manoeuvres into a business the conclusion of which is of
so great importance to me for the establishment of my authority and the
relief of my people.  Do you no longer remember the counsels you have so
many times given to me, whilst setting before me as an example that given
by a certain Duke of Milan to King Louis XI., at the time of the war
called that of the Common Weal?  It was to split up by considerations of
private interest all those who were leagued against him on general
pretexts.  That is what I desire to attempt now, far preferring that it
should cost twice as much to treat separately with each individual as it
would to arrive at the same results by means of a general treaty
concluded with a single leader, who, in that way, would be enabled to
keep up still an organized party within my dominions.  You know plenty of
folks who wanted to persuade me to that.  Wherefore, do not any longer
waste your time in doing either so much of the respectful towards those
whom you wot of, and whom we will find other means of contenting, or of
the economical by sticking at money.  We will pay everything with the
very things given up to us, the which, if they had to be taken by force,
would cost us ten times as much.  Seeing, then, that I put entire trust
in you and love you as a good servant, do not hesitate any longer to make
absolute and bold use of your power, which I further authorize by this
letter, so far as there may be further need for it, and settle as soon as
possible with M. de Villars.  But secure matters so well that there may
be no possibility of a slip, and send me news thereof promptly, for I
shall be in constant doubt and impatience until I receive it.  And then,
when I am peaceably king, we will employ the excellent manoeuvres of
which you have said so much to me; and you may rest assured that I will
spare no travail and fear no peril in order to raise my glory and my
kingdom to the height of splendor.  Adieu, my friend.  Senlis, this 18th
day of March, 1594.”

Amongst the pretensions made by Villars there was one which could not be
satisfied without the consent of a man still more considerable than he,
and one with whom Henry IV. was obliged to settle--Biron.  Villars had
received from Mayenne the title and office of admiral of France, and he
wished, at any price, to retain them on passing over to the king’s
service.  Now Henry IV. had already given this office to Biron, who had
no idea of allowing himself to be stripped of it.  It was all very fine
to offer him in exchange the baton of a marshal of France, but he would
not be satisfied with it. “It was necessary,” says M. Floquet [_Histoire
du Parlement de Normandie,_ t. iii.  pp. 613-616], “for the king’s sister
(Princess Catherine) to intervene.  At last, a promise of one hundred and
twenty thousand crowns won Biron over, though against the grain.”  But he
wanted solid securities.  Attention was then turned to the Parliament of
Caen, always so ready to do anything and sacrifice anything.  Saldaigne
d’Incarville, comptroller-general of finance, having been despatched to
Caen, went straight to the palace and reported to the Parliament the
proposals and conditions of Villers and Biron.  “The king,” said he, “not
having been able to bring Rouen to reason by process of arms, and being
impatient to put some end to these miseries, wishes now to try gentle
processes, and treat with those whom he has not yet been able to subdue;
but co-operation on the part of the sovereign bodies of the provinces is
necessary.”  “To that which is for the good of our service is added your
private interest,” wrote Henry IV. to the Parliament of Caen; and his
messenger D’Incarville added, “I have left matters at Rouen so arranged
as to make me hope that before a fortnight is over you will be free to
return thither and enter your homes once more.”  At the first mention of
peace and the prospect of a reconciliation between the royalist
Parliament of Caen and the leaguer Parliament of Rouen, the Parliament,
the exchequer-chamber, and the court of taxation, agreed to a fresh
sacrifice and a last effort.  The four presidents of the Parliament lost
no time in signing together, and each for all, an engagement to guarantee
the hundred and twenty thousand crowns promised to Biron.  .  .  .  The
members of the body bound themselves all together to guarantee the four
presidents, in their turn, in respect of the engagement they were
contracting, and a letter was addressed on the spot to Henry IV., “to
thank the monarch for his good will and affection, and the honor he was
doing the members of his Parliament of Normandy, by making them
participators in the means and overtures adopted for arriving at the
reduction of the town of Rouen.”  [M. Floquet, _Histoire du Parlement de
Normandi,_ t. iii.  pp. 613-616.]

Here is the information afforded, as regards the capitulation of Villars
to Henry IV., by the statement drawn up by Sully himself, of “the amount
of all debts on account of all the treaties made for the reduction of
districts, towns, places, and persons to obedience unto the king, in
order to the pacification of the realm.”

“To M. Villars, for himself, his brother, Chevalier d’Oise, the towns of
Rouen and Havre and other places, as well as for compensation which had
to be made to MM. de Montpensier, Marshal de Biron, Chancellor de
Chiverny, and other persons included in his treaty .  .  .  three
millions four hundred and forty-seven thousand eight hundred livres.”
 [Poirson, _Histoire du Regne de Henry IV.,_ t. i.  p. 667.]

These details have been entered into without hesitation because it is
important to clearly understand by what means, by what assiduous efforts,
and at what price Henry IV. managed to win back pacifically many
provinces of his kingdom, rally to his government many leaders of note,
and finally to confer upon France that territorial and political unity
which she lacked under the feudal regimen, and which, in the sixteenth
century, the religious wars all but put it beyond her power to acquire.
To the two instances just cited of royalist reconciliation--Lyons and the
spontaneous example set by her population, and Rouen and the dearly
purchased capitulation of her governor Villars--must be added a third, of
a different sort.  Nicholas de Neufville, Lord of Villeroi, after having
served Charles IX. and Henry III., had become, through attachment to the
Catholic cause, a member of the League, and one of the Duke of Mayenne’s
confidants.  When Henry IV. was King of France, and Catholic king,
Villeroi tried to serve his cause with Mayenne, and induce Mayenne to be
reconciled with him.  Meeting with no success, he made up his mind to
separate from the League, and go over to the king’s service. He could do
so without treachery or shame; even as a Leaguer and a servant of
Mayenne’s he had always been opposed to Spain, and devoted to a French,
but, at the same time, a faithfully Catholic policy.  He imported into
the service of Henry IV. the same sentiments and the same bearing; he was
still a zealous Catholic, and a partisan, for king and country’s sake, of
alliance with Catholic powers.  He was a man of wits, experience, and
resource, who knew Europe well and had some influence at the court of
Rome.  Henry IV. saw at once the advantage to be gained from him, and, in
spite of the Protestants’ complaints, and his sister Princess Catherine’s
prayers, made him, on the 25th of September, 1594, secretary of state for
foreign affairs.  This acquisition did not cost him so dear as that of
Villars: still we read in the statement of sums paid by Henry IV. for
this sort of conquest, “Furthermore, to M. de Villeroi, for himself, his
son, the town of Pontoise, and other individuals, according to their
treaty, four hundred and seventy-six thousand five hundred and
ninety-four livres.”  It is quite true that this statement was drawn up
by Sully, the unwavering supporter of Protestant alliances in Europe,
and, as such, Villeroi’s opponent in the council of Henry IV.; but the
other contemporary documents confirm Sully’s assertion.  Villeroi was
a faithful servant to Henry, who well repaid him by stanchness in
supporting him against the repeated attacks of violent Reformers.  In
1594, when he became minister of foreign affairs, the following verse
was in vogue at the Louvre:--

               “The king could never beat the League;
               ‘Twas Villeroi who did the thing;
               So well he managed his intrigue,
               That now the League hath got the king.”

It is quite certain, however, that Henry IV. was never of the opinion
expressed in that verse; for, ten years later, in 1604, Villeroi having
found himself much compromised by the treachery of a chief clerk in his
department, who had given up to the Spanish government some important
despatches, the king, though very vexed at this mishap, “the consequences
of which rankled in his heart far more than he allowed to appear openly,
nevertheless continued to look most kindly on Villeroi, taking the
trouble to call upon him, to console and comfort him under this
annoyance, and not showing him a suspicion of mistrust because of what
had happened, any more than formerly; nay, even less.”  [_Journal de
L’Estoile,_ t. iii.  pp. 85-441.] Never had prince a better or nobler way
of employing confidence in his proceedings with his servants, old or new,
at the same time that he made clear-sighted and proper distinctions
between them.

Henry IV., with his mind full of his new character as a Catholic king,
perceived the necessity of getting the pope to confirm the absolution
which had been given him, at the time of his conversion, by the French
bishops.  It was the condition of his credit amongst the numerous
Catholic population who were inclined to rally to him, but required to
know that he was at peace with the head of their church.  He began by
sending to Rome non-official agents, instructed to quietly sound the
pope, amongst others Arnold d’Ossat, a learned professor in the
University of Paris, who became, at a later period, the celebrated
cardinal and diplomat of that name.  Clement VIII.  [Hippolytus
Aldobrandini] was a clever man, moderate and prudent to the verge of
timidity, and, one who was disinclined to take decisive steps as to
difficult questions or positions until after they had been decided by
events.  He refused to have any communication with him whom he still
called the Prince of Bearn, and only received the agents of Henry IV.
privately in his closet.  But whilst he was personally severe and
exacting in his behavior to then, he had a hint given them by one of his
confidants not to allow themselves to be rebuffed by any obstacle, for
the pope would, sooner or later, welcome back the lost child who returned
to him.  At this report, and by the advice of the Grand Duke of Tuscany,
Ferdinand de’ Medici, Henry IV. determined to send a solemn embassy to
Rome, and to put it under the charge of a prince of Italian origin, Peter
di Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers.  But either through the pope’s stubborn
resolve or the ambassador’s somewhat impatient temper, devoted as he was,
however, to the Holy See, the embassy had no success.  The Duke of Nevers
could not obtain an official reception as ambassador of the King of
France.  It was in vain that he had five confidential audiences of the
pope; in vain that he represented energetically to him all the progress
Henry IV. had already made, all the chances he had of definitive success,
all the perils to which the papacy exposed itself by rejecting his
advances; Clement VIII. persisted in his determination.  Philip II. and
Mayenne still reigned in his ideas, and he dismissed the Duke of Nevers
on the 13th of January, 1594, declaring once more that he refused to the
Navarrese absolution at the inner bar of conscience, absolution at the
outer bar, and confirmation in his kingship.

Henry IV. did not put himself out, did not give himself the pleasure of
testifying to Rome his discontent; he saw that he had not as yet
sufficiently succeeded--sufficiently vanquished his enemies, or won to
himself his kingdom with sufficient completeness and definitiveness--to
make the pope feel bound to recognize and sanction his triumph.  He set
himself once more to work to grow still greater in France, and force the
gates of Rome without its being possible to reproach him with violence or
ill temper.

He had been absolved and crowned at St.  Denis by the bishops of France;
he had not been anointed at Rheims, according to the religious traditions
of the French monarchy.  At Rheims he could not be; for it was still in
the power of the League.  Researches were made, to discover whether the
ceremony of anointment might take place elsewhere; numerous instances
were found, and in the case of famous kings: Pepin the Short had been
anointed first of all at Mayence, Charlemagne and Louis the Debonnair at
Rome, Charles the Bald at Mayence, several emperors at Aix-la-Chapelle
and at Cologne.  The question of the holy phial (ampoule) was also
discussed; and it was proved that on several occasions other oils, held
to be of miraculous origin, had been employed instead.  These
difficulties thus removed, the anointment of Henry IV. took place at
Chartres on the 27th of February, 1594; the Bishop of Chartres, Nicholas
de Thou, officiated, and drew up a detailed account of all the ceremonies
and all the rejoicings; thirteen medals, each weighing fifteen gold
crowns, were struck, according to custom; they bore the king’s image, and
for legend, _Invia virtuti nulla est via_ (To manly worth no road is
inaccessible).  Henry IV., on his knees before the grand altar, took the
usual oath, the form of which was presented to him by Chancellor de
Chiverny.  With the exception of local accessories, which were
acknowledged to be impossible and unnecessary, there was nothing wanting
to this religious hallowing of his kingship.

But one other thing, more important than the anointment at Chartres, was
wanting.  He did not possess the capital of his kingdom the League were
still masters of Paris.  Uneasy masters of their situation; but not so
uneasy, however, as they ought to have been.  The great leaders of the
party, the Duke of Mayenne, his mother the Duchess of Nemours, his sister
the Duchess of Montpensier, and the Duke of Feria, Spanish ambassador,
were within its walls, a prey to alarm and discouragement.  “At
breakfast,” said the Duchess of Montpensier, “they regale us with the
surrender of a hamlet, at dinner of a town, at supper of a whole
province.”  The Duchess of Nemours, who desired peace, exerted herself to
convince her son of all their danger.  “Set your affairs in order,” she
said;--if you do not begin to make your arrangements with the king before
leaving Paris, you will lose this capital.  I know that projects are
already afoot for giving it up, and that those who can do it, and in whom
you have most confidence, are accomplices and even authors of the plot.”
 Mayenne himself did not hide from his confidants the gravity of the
mischief and his own disquietude.  “Not a day,” he wrote on the 4th of
February, 1594, to the Marquis of Montpezat, “but brings some trouble
because of the people’s yearning for repose, and of the weakness which is
apparent on our side.  I stem and stop this forment with as much courage
as I can; but the present mischief is overwhelming; the King of Navarre
will in a few days have an army of twenty thousand men, French as well as
foreigners.  What will become of us, if we have not wherewithal not only
to oppose him, but to make him lose the campaign?  I can tell you of a
verity that, save for my presence, Paris would have already been lost
because of the great factions there are in it, which I take all the pains
in the world to disperse and break up, and also because of the small aid,
or rather the gainsaying, I meet with from the ministers of the King of
Spain.”  Mayenne tried to restore amongst the Leaguers both zeal and
discipline; he convoked on the 2d of March, a meeting of all that
remained of the faction of the Sixteen; he calculated upon the presence
of some twelve hundred; scarcely three hundred came; he had an harangue
delivered to them by the Rev. John Boucher, charged them to be faithful
to the old spirit of the League, promised them that he would himself be
faithful even to death, and exhorted them to be obedient in everything to
Brissac, whom he had just appointed governor of the city, and to the
provost of tradesmen.  On announcing to them his imminent departure for
Soissons, to meet some auxiliary troops which were to be sent to him by
the King of Spain, “I leave to you,” he said, “what is dearest to me in
the world--my wife, my children, my mother, and my sister.”  But when he
did set out, four days afterwards, on the 6th of March, 1594, he took
away his wife and his children; his mother had already warned him that
Brissac was communicating secretly, by means of his cousin, Sieur de
Rochepot, with the royalists, and that the provost of tradesmen,
L’Huillier, and three of the four sheriffs were agreed to bring the city
back to obedience to the king.  When the Sixteen and their adherents saw
Mayenne departing with his wife and children, great were their alarm and
wrath.  A large band, with the incumbent of St. Cosmo (Hamilton) at their
head, rushed about the streets in arms, saying, “Look to your city; the
policists are brewing a terrible business for it.”  Others, more violent,
cried, “To arms!  Down upon the policists!  Begin!  Let us make an end of
it!”  The policists, that is, the burgesses inclined to peace, repaired
on their side to the provost of tradesmen to ask for his authority to
assemble at the Palace or the Hotel de Ville, and to provide for security
in case of any public calamity.  The provost tried to elude their
entreaties by pleading that the Duke of Mayenne would think ill of their
assembling.  “Then you are not the tradesmen’s but M. de Mayenne’s
provost?” said one of them.  “I am no Spaniard,” answered the provost;
“no more is M. de Mayenne; I am anxious to reconcile you to the Sixteen.”
 “We are honest folks, not branded and defamed like the Sixteen; we will
have no reconciliation with the wretches.”  The Parliament grew excited,
and exclaimed against the insolence and the menaces of the Sixteen.  “We
must give place to these sedition-mongers, or put them down.”  A decree,
published by sound of trumpet on the 14th of March, 1594, throughout the
whole city, prohibited the Sixteen and their partisans from assembling on
pain of death.  That same day, Count de Brissac, governor of Paris, had
an interview at the abbey of St. Anthony, with his brother-in-law,
Francis d’Epinay, Lord of St. Luc, Henry IV.’s grand-master of the
ordnance; they had disputes touching private interests, which they
wished, they said, to put right; and on this pretext advocates had
appeared at their interview.  They spent three hours in personal
conference, their minds being directed solely to the means of putting the
king into possession of Paris.  They separated in apparent dudgeon.
Brissac went to call upon the legate Gaetani, and begged him to excuse
the error he had committed in communicating with a heretic; his interest
in the private affairs in question was too great, he said, for him to
neglect it.  The legate excused him graciously, whilst praising him for
his modest conduct, and related the incident to the Duke of Feria, the
Spanish ambassador.  “He is a good fellow, M. de Brissac,” said the
ambassador; “I have always found him so; you have only to employ the
Jesuits to make him do all you please.  He takes little notice,
otherwise, of affairs; one day, when we were holding council in here,
whilst we were deliberating, he was amusing himself by catching flies.”
 For four days the population of Paris was occupied with a solemn
procession in honor of St. Genevieve, in which the Parliament and all the
municipal authorities took part.  Brissac had agreed with his
brother-in-law D’Epinay that he would let the king in on the 22d of
March, and he had arranged, in concert with the provost of tradesmen, two
sheriffs, and several district captains, the course of procedure.  On the
21st of March, in the evening, some Leaguers paid him a visit, and spoke
to him warmly about the rumors current on the subject in the city,
calling upon him to look to it.  “I have received the same notice,” said
Brissac, coolly; “and I have given all the necessary orders.  Leave me to
act, and keep you quiet, so as not to wake up those who will have to be
secured.  To-morrow morning you will see a fine to-do and the policists
much surprised.”  During all the first part of the night between the 21st
and 22d of March, Brissac went his rounds of the city and the guards he
had posted, “with an appearance of great care and solicitude.”  He had
some trouble to get rid of certain Spanish officers, “whom the Duke of
Feria had sent him to keep him company in his rounds, with orders to
throw themselves upon him and kill him at the first suspicious movement;
but they saw nothing to confirm their suspicions, and at two A. M.,
Brissac brought them back much fatigued to the duke’s, where he left
them.”  Henry IV., having started on the 21st of March from Senlis, where
he had mustered his troops, and arrived about midnight at St. Denis,
immediately began his march to Paris.  The night was dark and stormy;
thunder rumbled; rain fell heavily; the king was a little behind time.
At three A. M.. the policists inside Paris had taken arms and repaired to
the posts that had been assigned to them.  Brissac had placed a guard
close to the quarters of the Spanish ambassador, and ordered the men to
fire on any who attempted to leave.  He had then gone in person, with
L’Huillier, the provost of tradesmen, to the New Gate, which he had
caused to be unlocked and guarded.  Sheriff Langlois had done the same at
the gate of St. Denis.  On the 22d of March, at four A. M., the king had
not yet appeared before the ramparts, nor any one for him.  Langlois
issued from the gate, went some little distance to look out, and came in
again, more and more impatient.  At last, between four and five o’clock,
a detachment of the royal troops, commanded by Vitry, appeared before the
gate of St. Denis, which was instantly opened.  Brissac’s brother-in-law,
St. Luc, arrived about the same time at the New Gate, with a considerable
force.  The king’s troops entered Paris.  They occupied the different
districts, and met with no show of resistance but at the quay of L’Ecole,
where an outpost of lanzknechts tried to stop them; but they were cut in
pieces or hurled into the river.  Between five and six o’clock Henry IV.,
at the head of the last division, crossed the drawbridge of the New Gate.
Brissac, Provost L’Huillier, the sheriffs, and several companies of
burgesses advanced to meet him.  The king embraced Brissac, throwing his
own white scarf round his neck, and addressing him as “Marshal.”  “Render
unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” said Brissac, as he called
upon the provost of tradesmen to present to the king the keys of the
city.  “Yes,” said L’Huillier, “render them, not sell them.”  The king
went forward with his train, going along Rue St. Honore to the market of
the Innocents and the bridge of Notre-Dame; the crowd increased at every
step.  “Let them come near,” said Henry; “they hunger to see a king.”  At
every step, too, at sight of the smallest incident, the character of
Henry, his natural thoughtful and lovable kindliness, shone forth.  He
asked if his entry had met with resistance anywhere; and he was told that
about fifty lanzknechts had been killed at the quay of L’Ecole.  “I would
willingly give fifty thousand crowns,” said he, “to be able to say that I
took Paris without costing the life of one single man.”  As he marched
along the Rue St. Honore, he saw a soldier taking some bread by force
from a baker’s; he rushed at him, and would have struck him with his
sword.  As he passed in front of the Innocents, he saw at a window a man
who was looking at him, and pointedly keeping his hat on; the man
perceived that the king’ observed him, and withdrew, shutting down the
window.  Henry said, “Let nobody enter this house to vex or molest any
one in it.”  He arrived in front of Notre-Dame, followed by five or six
hundred men-at-arms, who trailed their pikes “in token of a victory that
was voluntary on the people’s part,” it was said.  There was no uproar,
or any hostile movement, save on the left bank of the Seine, in the
University quarter, where the Sixteen attempted to assemble their
partisans round the gate of St. Jacques; but they were promptly dispersed
by the people as well as by the royal troops.  On leaving Notre-Dame,
Henry repaired to the Louvre, where he installed royalty once more.
At ten o’clock he was master of the whole city; the districts of
St. Martin, of the Temple, and St. Anthony alone remained still in the
power of three thousand Spanish soldiers under the orders of their
leaders, the Duke of Feria and Don Diego d’Ibarra.  Nothing would have
been easier for Henry than to have had them driven out by his own troops
and the people of Paris, who wanted to finish the day’s work by
exterminating the foreigners; but he was too judicious and too
far-sighted to embitter the general animosity by pushing his victory
beyond what was necessary.  He sent word to the Spaniards that they must
not move from their quarters and must leave Paris during the day, at the
same time promising not to bear arms any more against him, in France.
They eagerly accepted these conditions.  At three o’clock in the
afternoon, ambassador, officers, and soldiers all evacuated Paris, and
set out for the Low Countries.  The king, posted at a window over the
gate of St. Denis, witnessed their departure.  They, as they passed,
saluted him respectfully; and he returned their salute, saying, “Go,
gentlemen, and commend me to your master; but return no more.”

After his conversion to Catholicism, the capture of Paris was the most
decisive of the issues which made Henry IV. really King of France.  The
submission of Rouen followed almost immediately upon that of Paris; and
the year 1594 brought Henry a series of successes, military and civil,
which changed very much to his advantage the position of the kingship as
well as the general condition of the kingdom.  In Normandy, in Picardy,
in Champagne, in Anjou, in Poitou, in Brittany, in Orleanness, in
Auvergne, a multitude of important towns, Havre, Honfleur, Abbeville,
Amiens, Peronue, Montdidier, Poitiers, Orleans, Rheims, Chateau-Thierry,
Beauvais, Sens, Riom, Morlaix, Laval, Laon, returned to the king’s
authority, some after sieges and others by pacific and personal
arrangement, more or less burdensome for the public treasury, but very
effective in promoting the unity of the nation and of the monarchy.  In
the table drawn up by Sully of expenses under that head, he estimated
them at thirty-two millions, one hundred and forty-two thousand, nine
hundred and eighty-one livres, equivalent at the present day, says M.
Poirson, to one hundred and eighteen millions of francs.  The rendition
of Paris, “on account of M. de Brissac, the city itself and other
individuals employed on his treaty,” figures in this sum total at one
million, six hundred and forty-five thousand, four hundred livres.
Territorial acquisitions were not the only political conquests of this
epoch; some of the great institutions which had been disjointed by the
religious wars, for instance, the Parliaments of Paris and Normandy,
recovered their unity and resumed their efficacy to the advantage of
order, of the monarchy, and of national independence; their decrees
against the League contributed powerfully to its downfall.  Henry IV.
did his share in other ways besides warfare; he excelled in the art of
winning over or embarrassing his vanquished foes.  After the submission
of Paris, the two princesses of the house of Lorraine who had remained
there, the Duchesses of Nemours and of Montpensier, one the mother and
the other the sister of the Duke of Mayenne, were preparing to go and
render homage to the conqueror; Henry anticipated them, and paid them the
first visit.  As he was passing through a room where hung a portrait of
Henry de Guise, he halted and saluted it very courteously.  The Duchess
of Montpensier, who had so often execrated him, did not hesitate to
express her regret that “her brother Mayenne had not been there to let
down for him the drawbridge of the gate by which he had entered Paris.”
 “Ventre-saint-gris,” said the king, “he might have made me wait a long
while; I should not have arrived so early.”  He knew that the Duchess of
Nemours had desired peace, and when she allowed some signs of vexation to
peep out at her not having been able to bring her sons and grandsons to
that determination, “Madame,” said he, a there is still time if they
please.”  At the close of 1594, he imported disorganization into the
household of Lorraine by offering the government of Provence to the young
Duke Charles of Guise, son of the Balafre; who eagerly accepted it; and
he from that moment paved the way, by the agency of President Jeannin,
for his reconciliation with Mayenne, which he brought to accomplishment
at the end of 1595.

The close of this happy and glorious year was at hand.  On the 27th of
September, between six and seven P.M., a deplorable incident occurred,
for the second time, to call Henry IV.’s attention to the weak side of
his position.  He was just back from Picardy, and holding a
court-reception at Schomberg House, at the back of the Louvre.  John
Chastel, a young man of nineteen, son of a cloth-merchant in the city,
slipped in among the visitors, managed to approach the king, and dealt
him a blow with a knife just as he was stooping to raise and embrace
Francis de la Grange, Sieur de Montigny, who was kneeling before him.
The blow, aimed at the king’s throat, merely slit his upper lip and broke
a tooth.  “I am wounded!” said the king.  John Chastel, having dropped
his knife, had remained on the spot, motionless and confused.  Montigny,
according to some, but, according to others, the Count of Soissons, who
happened to be near him, laid hands upon him, saying, “Here is the
assassin, either he or I.”  Henry IV., always prone to pass things over,
pooh-poohed the suspicion, and was just giving orders to let the young
man go, when the knife, discovered on the ground close to Chastel, became
positive evidence.  Chastel was questioned, searched, and then handed,
over to the grand provost of the household, who had him conveyed to
prison at For-l’Eveque.  He first of all denied, but afterwards admitted
his deed, regretting that he had missed his aim, and saying he was ready
to try again for his own salvation’s sake and that of religion.  He
declared that he had been brought up amongst the Jesuits in Rue St.
Jacques, and he gave long details as to the education he had received
there and the maxims he had heard there.  The rumor of his crime and of
the revelations he had made spread immediately over Paris and caused
passionate excitement.  The people filled the churches and rendered
thanks to God for having preserved the king.  The burgesses took up arms
and mustered at their guard-posts.  The mob bore down on the college of
Jesuits in Rue St. Jacques with threats of violence.  The king and the
Parliament sent a force thither; Brizard, councillor in the high chamber,
captain of the district, had the fathers removed, and put them in
security in his own house.  The inquiry was prosecuted deliberately and
temperately.  It brought out that John Chastel had often heard repeated
at his college “that it was allowable to kill kings, even the king
regnant, when they were not in the church or approved of by the pope.”
 The accused formally maintained this maxim, which was found written out
and dilated upon under his own hand in a note-book seized at his
father’s.  “Was it necessary, pray,” said Henry IV., laughing, “that the
Jesuits should be convicted by my mouth?”  John Chastel was sentenced to
the most cruel punishment; and he underwent it on the 20th of December,
1594, by torch-light, before the principal entrance of Notre-Dame,
without showing any symptom of regret.  His mother and his sisters were
set at liberty.  His father, an old Leaguer, had been cognizant of his
project, and had dissuaded him from it, but without doing anything to
hinder it; he was banished from the kingdom for nine years, and from
Paris forever.  His house was razed to the ground; and on the site was
set up a pyramid with the decree of the Parliament inscribed upon it.

The proceedings did not stop there.  At the beginning of this same year,
and on petition from the University of Paris, the Parliament had
commenced a general prosecution of the order of Jesuits, its maxims,
tendencies, and influence.  Formal discussions had taken place; the
prosecution and the defence had been conducted with eloquence, and a
decree of the court had ordained that judgment should be deferred.
Several of the most respected functionaries, notably President Augustin
de Thou, had pronounced against this decree, considering the question so
grave and so urgent that the Parliament should make it their duty to
decide upon the point at issue.  When sentence had to be pronounced upon
John Chastel, President de Thou took the opportunity of saying, “When I
lately gave my opinion in the matter of the University and the Jesuits, I
never hoped, at my age and with my infirmities, that I should live long
enough to take part in the judgment we are about to pass to-day.  It was
that which led me, in the indignation caused me by the course at that
time adopted, to lay down an opinion to which I to-day recur with much
joy.  God be praised for having brought about an occasion whereon we have
nothing to do but felicitate ourselves for that the enterprise which our
foes did meditate against the state and the life of the king hath been
without success, and which proves clearly at the same time how much the
then opinion of certain honest men was wiser than that of persons who,
from a miserable policy, were in favor of deferment!”  The court,
animated by the same sentiments as President do Thou, “declared the
maxims maintained in the Jesuits’ name to be rash, seditious, contrary to
the word of God, savoring of heresy and condemned by the holy canons; it
expressly forbade them to be taught publicly or privately, on pain, in
case of contraveners, of being treated as guilty of treason against God
and man.  It decreed, further, that the priests of the college in Rue St.
Jacques, their pupils, and, generally, all members of that society,
should leave Paris and all the towns in which they had colleges three
days after this decree had been made known to them, and the kingdom
within a fortnight, as corrupters of youth, disturbers of the public
peace, and enemies of the king and of the state.  In default of obedience
on their part, their property, real and personal, should be confiscated
and employed for pious purposes.  The court, besides, prohibited all
subjects of the king from sending their children as students to any
Jesuits out of the kingdom, on pain of being declared enemies of the
state.”  This decree was issued on the 29th of December, 1594.  And as if
to leave no doubt about the sense and bearing of this legislation, it was
immediately applied in the case of a Jesuit father, John Guignard, a
native of Chartres; his papers were examined, and there were found in his
handwriting many propositions and provocatives of sedition, such as,
“That a great mistake had been made at the St. Bartholomew in not having
opened the basilic vein, that is, in not having murdered Henry IV. and
the Prince of Conde, who were of the blood royal;  2. That the crown
might have been, and ought to have been, transferred to a family other
than that of the Bourbons;  3. That the Bearnese, in spite of his
pretended conversion, ought to consider himself only too lucky if it were
considered sufficient to shave his head and shut him up in a convent to
do penance there; that if the crown could not betaken from him without
war, then war must be made on him; and that if the state of things did
not admit of making war on him, he ought to be got rid of at any price
and in any way whatsoever.”  For having, not published, but thought and
with his own hand written out all this, and probably taught it to his
pupils, Father Guignard was obliged to retract, and was afterwards hanged
in the Place de Greve on the 7th of January, 1595.

The task of honest men and of right minds is greater and more difficult
in our day than it was in the sixteenth century, for we have to reconcile
the laws and the requirements of moral and social order with far broader
principles and sentiments, as regards right and liberty, than were those
of President Augustin de Thou and the worthy functionaries of his time.

It was one of Henry IV.’s conspicuous qualities that no event, auspicious
or inauspicious, affected the correctness of his judgment, and that he
was just as much a stranger to illusion or intoxication in the hour of
good fortune as to discouragement in the hour of ill.  He had sense
enough to see, in any case, things as they really were, and to estimate
at the proper value the strength they brought or the obstacles they
formed to his government.  He saw at a glance all the importance there
was for him in the submission of Paris, and what change in his conduct
was required by that in his position.  Certain local successes of the
Spaniards at some points in his kingdom, the efforts of Mayenne to
resuscitate the dying League, and John Chastel’s attempt at assassination
did not for a moment interfere with his confidence in his progress, or
cause him to hesitate as to the new bearing he had to assume.  He wrote
on the 17th of December, 1594, to the estates of Artois and Hainault,
“I have hitherto lacked neither the courage nor the power to repel the
insults offered me, and to send recoiling upon the head of the King of
Spain and his subjects the evils of which he was the author.  But just as
were the grounds I had for declaring war against him, motives more
powerful and concerning the interests of all Christendom restrained me.
At the present time, when the principal leaders of the factious have
returned to their duty and submitted to my laws, Philip still continues
his intrigues to foster troubles in the very heart of my kingdom.  After
maturely reflecting, I have decided that it is time for me to act.
Nevertheless, as I cannot forget the friendship my ancestors always felt
for your country, I could not but see with pain that, though you have
taken no share in Philip’s acts of injustice, on you will fall the first
blows of a war so terrible, and I thought it my duty to warn you of my
purpose before I proceed to execute it.  If you can prevail upon the King
of Spain to withdraw the army which he is having levied on the frontier,
and to give no protection for the future to rebels of my kingdom, I will
not declare war against him, provided that I have certain proof of your
good intentions, and that you give me reasonable securities for them
before the 1st of January in the approaching year.”  [_Lettres missives
de Henri IV,_ p. 280--De Thou, _Histoire universelle,_ t. xii.  pp. 328-
342.]

These letters, conveyed to Arras by one of the king’s trumpeters,
received no answer.  The estates of Flanders, in assembly at Brussels,
somewhat more bold than those of Artois and Hainault, in vain represented
to their Spanish governor their plaints and their desires for peace; for
two months Henry IV. heard not a word on the subject.  Philip II.
persisted in his active hostility, and continued to give the King of
France no title but that of Prince of Bearn.  On the 17th of January,
1595, Henry, in performance of what he had proclaimed, formally declared
war against the King of Spain, forbade his subjects to have any com merce
with him or his allies, and ordered them to make war on him for the
future just as he persisted in making it on France. This able and worthy
resolve was not approved of by Rosny, by this time the foremost of
Henry’s IV.’s councillors, although he had not yet risen in the
government, or, probably, in the king’s private confidence, to the
superior rank that he did attain by the eminence of his services and the
courageous sincerity of his devotion.  In his _OEconomies royales_ it is
to interested influence, on the part of England and Holland, that he
attributes this declaration of war against Philip II., “into which,” he
says, “the king allowed himself to be hurried against his own feelings.”
 It was assuredly in accordance with his own feelings and of his own free
will that Henry acted in this important decision; he had a political
order of mind greater, more inventive, and more sagacious than Rosny’s
administrative order of mind, strong common sense and painstaking
financial abilities.  To spontaneously declare war against Philip after
the capitulation of Paris and the conquest of three quarters of France
was to proclaim that the League was at death’s door, that there was no
longer any civil war in France, and that her king had no more now than
foreign war to occupy him.  To make alliance, in view of that foreign
war, with the Protestant sovereigns of England, Holland, and Germany,
against the exclusive and absolutist patron of Catholicism, was on the
part of a king but lately Protestant, and now become resolutely Catholic,
to separate openly politics from religion, and to subserve the temporal
interests of the realm of France whilst putting himself into the hands of
the spiritual head of the church as regarded matters of faith.  Henry
IV., moreover, discovered another advantage in this line of conduct; it
rendered possible and natural the important act for which he was even
then preparing, and which will be spoken of directly, the edict of Nantes
in favor of the Protestants, which was the charter of religious tolerance
and the securities for it, pending the advent of religious liberty and
its rights, that fundamental principle, at this day, of moral and social
order in France.  Such were Henry IV.’s grand and premonitory instincts
when, on the 17th of January, 1595, he officially declared against Philip
II. that war which Philip had not for a moment ceased to make on him.

The conflict thus solemnly begun between France and Spain lasted three
years and three months, from the 17th of January, 1595, to the 1st of
May, 1598, from Henry IV.’s declaration of war to the peace of Vervins,
which preceded by only four months and thirteen days the death of Philip
II. and the end of the preponderance of Spain in Europe.  It is not worth
while to follow step by step the course of this monotonous conflict,
pregnant with facts which had their importance for contemporaries, but
are not worthy of an historical resurrection.  Notice will be drawn only
to those incidents in which the history of France is concerned, and which
give a good idea of Henry IV.’s character, the effectiveness of his
government, and the rapid growth of his greatness in Europe, contrasted
with his rival’s slow decay.

Four months and a half after the declaration of war, and during the
campaign begun in Burgundy between the French and the Spaniards, on the
5th of June, 1595, near Fontaine-Francaise, a large burgh a few leagues
from Dijon, there took place an encounter which, without ending in a
general battle, was an important event, and caused so much sensation that
it brought about political results more important than the immediate
cause of them.  Henry IV. made up his mind to go and reconnoitre in
person the approaches of Dijon, towards which the enemy were marching.
He advanced, with about a hundred and fifty men-at-arms and as many
mounted arquebusiers, close up to the burgh of Saint-Seine; from there he
sent the Marquis of Mirebeau with fifty or sixty horse to “go,” says
Sully, “and take stock of the enemy;” and he put himself on the track of
his lieutenant, marching as a simple captain of light-horse, with the
purpose of becoming better acquainted with the set of the country, so as
to turn it to advantage if the armies had to encounter.  But he had not
gone more than a league when he saw Mirebeau returning at more than a
foot-pace and in some disorder; who informed him “that he had been
suddenly charged by as many as three or four hundred horse, who did not
give him leisure to extend his view as he could have desired, and that he
believed that the whole army of the Constable of Castille was marching in
a body to come and quarter themselves in the burgh of Saint-Seine.”
 Marshal de Biron, who joined the king at this moment, offered to go and
look at the enemy, and bring back news that could be depended upon; but
scarcely had he gone a thousand paces when he descried, on the top of a
little valley, some sixty horse halted there as if they were on guard; he
charged them, toppled them over, and taking their ground, discovered the
whole Spanish army marching in order of battle and driving before them a
hundred of the king’s horse, who were flying in disorder.  Biron halted
and showed a firm front to the enemy’s approach; but he was himself hard
pressed at many points, and was charged with such impetuosity that he was
obliged to begin a retreat which changed before long to a sort of flight,
with a few sword-cuts about the ears.  Thus he arrived within sight of
the king, who immediately detached a hundred horse to support Biron and
stop the fugitives; but the little re-enforcement met with the same fate
as those it went to support; it was overthrown and driven pell-mell right
up to the king, who suddenly found himself with seven or eight hundred
horse on his hands, without counting the enemy’s main army, which could
already be discerned in the distance.  Far from being dumbfounded, the
king, “borrowing,” says Sully, “increase of judgment and courage from the
greatness of the peril,” called all his men about him, formed them into
two squadrons of a hundred and fifty men each, gave one to M. de la
Tremoille with orders to go and charge the Spanish cavalry on one flank,
put himself at the head of the other squadron, and the two charges of the
French were “so furious and so determined,” says Sully, the king mingling
in the thickest of the fight and setting an example to the boldest, “that
the Spanish squadrons in dismay tumbled one over another, and retired
half-routed to the main body of Mayenne’s army; who, seeing a dash made
to the king’s assistance by some of his bravest officers with seven or
eight hundred horse, thought all the royal army was there, and, fearing
to attack those gentry of whose determination he had just made proof, he
himself gave his troops the order to retreat, Henry going on in pursuit
until he had forced them to recross the Sane below Gray, leaving Burgundy
at his discretion.”

A mere abridgment has been given of the story relating to this brilliant
affair as it appears in the (_OEconomies Royales_ of Sully [t. ii.
pp. 377-387], who was present and hotly engaged in the fight.  We will
quote word for word, however, the account of Henry IV. himself, who sent
a report four days afterwards to his sister Catherine and to the
Constable Anne de Montmorency.  To the latter he wrote on the 8th of
June, 1595, from Dijon, “I was informed that the Constable of Castile,
accompanied by the Duke of Mayenne, was crossing the River Sane with his
army to come and succor the castle of this town.  I took horse the day
after, attended by my cousin Marshal de Biron and from seven to eight
hundred horse, to go and observe his plans on the spot.  Whence it
happened that, intending to take the same quarters without having any
certain advices about one another, we met sooner than we had hoped, and
so closely that my cousin the marshal, who led the first troop, was
obliged to charge those who had advanced, and I to support him. But our
disadvantage was, that all our troops had not yet arrived and joined me,
for I had but from two to three hundred horse, whereas the enemy had all
his cavalry on the spot, making over a thousand or twelve hundred drawn
up by squadrons and in order of battle.  However, my said cousin did not
haggle about them; and, seeing that they were worsting him, because the
game was too uneven, I determined to make one in it, and joined in it to
such a purpose and with such luck, thank God, together with the following
I had, that we put them to the rout.  But I can assure you that it was
not at the first charge, for we made several; and if the rest of my
forces had been with me, I should no doubt have defeated all their
cavalry, and perhaps their foot who were in order of battle behind the
others, having at their head the said Constable of Castile.  But our
forces were so unequal that I could do no more than put to flight those
who would not do battle, after having cut in pieces the rest, as we had
done; wherein I can tell you, my dear cousin, that my said cousin Marshal
de Biron and I did some good handiwork.  He was wounded in the head by a
blow from a cutlass in the second charge, for he and I had nothing on but
our cuirasses, not having had time to arm ourselves further, so surprised
and hurried were we.  However, my said cousin did not fail, after his
wound, to return again to the charge three or four times, as I too did on
my side.  Finally we did so well that the field and their dead were left
to us to the number of a hundred or six score, and as many prisoners of
all ranks.  Whereat the said Constable of Castile took such alarm that he
at once recrossed the Sane; and I have been told that it was not without
reproaching the Duke of Mayenne with having deceived him in not telling
him of my arrival in this country.”

The day before, June 7, Henry had written to his sister Catherine de
Bourbon, “My dear sister, the more I go on, the more do I wonder at the
grace shown me by God in the fight of last Monday, wherein I thought to
have defeated but twelve hundred horse; but they must be set down at two
thousand.  The Constable of Castile was there in person with the Duke of
Mayenne; and they both of them saw me and recognized me quite well; they
sent to demand of me a whole lot of Italian and Spanish captains of
theirs, the which were not prisoners.  They must be amongst the dead who
have been buried, for I requested next day that they should be.  Many of
our young noblemen, seeing me with them everywhere, were full of fire in
this engagement, and showed a great deal of courage; amongst whom I came
across Gramont, Termes, Boissy, La Curse, and the Marquis of Mirebeau,
who, as luck would have it, found themselves at it without any armor but
their neck-pieces and _gaillardets_ (front and back plates), and did
marvels.  There were others who did not do so well, and many who did very
ill.  Those who were not there ought to be sorry for it, seeing that I
had need of all my good friends, and I saw you very near becoming my
heiress.”  [_Lettres missives de Henri IV.,_ t. iv.  pp. 363-369; in the
_Collection des Documents inedits sur l’Histoire de France_.]

This fight, so unpremeditated, at Fontaine-Francaise, and the presence of
mind, steady quicksightedness, and brilliant dash of Henry IV., led off
this long war gloriously.  Its details were narrated and sought after
minutely; people were especially struck with the sympathetic attention
that in the very midst of the strife the king bestowed upon all his
companions in arms, either to give them directions or to warn them of
danger.  “At the hottest of the fight,” says the contemporary historian
Peter Matthieu, “Henry, seizing Mirebeau by the arm, said, ‘Charge
yonder!’ which he did: and that troop began to thin off and disappear.”
 A moment afterwards, seeing one of the enemy’s men-at-arms darting down
upon the French, Henry concluded that the attack was intended for
Gilbert, de la Cure, a brave and pious Catholic lord, whom he called
familiarly _Monsieur le Cure,_ and shouted to him from afar, “Look out,
La Curee!” which warned him and saved his life.  The roughest warriors
were touched by this fraternal solicitude of the king’s, and clung to him
with passionate devotion.

It was at Rome, and in the case of an ecclesiastical question that Henry
IV.’s steady policy, his fame for ability as well as valor, and the
glorious affair of Fontaine-Francaise bore their first fruits.  Mention
has already been made of the formal refusal the king had met with from
Pope Clement VIII. in January, 1594, when he had demanded of him, by the
embassy extraordinary of the Duke of Nevers, confirmation of the
absolution granted him by the French bishops after his conversation at
St. Denis and his anointment at Chartres.  The pope, in spite of his
refusal, had indirectly given the royal agents to understand that they
were not to be discouraged; and the ablest of them, Arnold d’Ossat, had
remained at Rome to conduct this delicate and dark commission.  When
Clement VIII. saw Henry IV.’s government growing stronger and more
extensive day by day, Paris returned to his power, the League beaten and
the Gallican church upheld in its maxims by the French magistracy, fear
of schism grew serious at Rome, and the pope had a hint given by Cardinal
de Gondi to Henry that, if he were to send fresh ambassadors, they might
be favorably listened to.  Arnold d’Ossat had acquired veritable weight
at the court of Rome, and had paved the way with a great deal of art
towards turning to advantage any favorable chances that might offer
themselves.  Villeroi, having broken with the League, had become Henry
IV.’s minister of foreign affairs, and obtained some confidence at Rome
in return for the good will he testified towards the papacy.  By his
councillor’s advice, no doubt, the king made no official stir, sent no
brilliant embassy; D’Ossat quietly resumed negotiations, and alone
conducted them from the end of 1594 to the spring of 1595; and when a new
envoy was chosen to bring them to a conclusion, it was not a great lord,
but a learned ecclesiastic, Abbot James du Perron, whose ability and
devotion Henry IV.  had already, at the time of his conversion,
experienced, and whom he had lately appointed Bishop of Evreux.  Even
when Du Perron had been fixed upon to go to Rome and ask for the
absolution which Clement VIII. had seven or eight months before refused,
he was in no hurry to repair thither, and D’Ossat’s letters make it
appear that he was expected there with some impatience.  He arrived there
on the 12th of July, 1595, and, in concert with D’Ossat, he presented to
the pope the request of the king, who solicited the papal benediction,
absolution from any censure, and complete reconciliation with the Roman
church.  Clement VIII., on the 2d of August, assembled his consistory,
whither went all the cardinals, save two partisans of Spain who excused
themselves on the score of health.  Parleys took place as to the form of
the decree which must precede the absolution.  The pope would have liked
very much to insert two clauses, one revoking as null and void the
absolution already given to the king by the French bishops at the time of
his conversion, and the other causing the absolution granted by the pope
to be at the same time considered as re-establishing Henry IV. in his
rights to the crown, whereof it was contended that he was deprived by the
excommunication and censures of Sixtus V. and Gregory XIV., which this
absolution was to remove.  The two French negotiators rejected these
attempts, and steadily maintained the complete independence of the king’s
temporal sovereignty, as well as the power of intervention of the French
episcopate in his absolution.  Clement VIII. was a judicious and prudent
pope; and he did not persist.  The absolution was solemnly pronounced on
the 17th of September, 1595, by the pope himself, from a balcony erected
in St. Peter’s Square, and in presence of the population.  The gates of
the church were thrown open and a Te Deum was sung.  A grand ceremony
took place immediately afterwards in the church of St. Louis of the
French.  Rome was illuminated for three days, and, on the 7th of November
following, a pope’s messenger left for Paris with the bull of absolution
drawn up in the terms agreed upon.

Another reconciliation, of less solemnity, but of great importance, that
between the Duke of Mayenne and Henry IV., took place a week after the
absolution pronounced by the pope.  As soon as the civil war, continued
by the remnants of the dying League, was no more than a disgraceful
auxiliary to the foreign war between France and Spain, Mayenne was in his
soul both grieved and disgusted at it.  The affair of Fontaine-Francaise
gave him an opportunity of bringing matters to a crisis; he next day
broke with the Constable of Castile, Don Ferdinand de Velasco, who
declined to follow his advice, and at once entered into secret
negotiations with the king.  Henry wrote from Lyons to Du Plessis-Mornay,
on the 24th of August, 1595, “The Duke of Mayenne has asked me to allow
him three months for the purpose of informing the enemy of his
determination in order to induce them to join him in recognizing me and
serving me.  So doing, he has also agreed to bind himself from this
present date to recognize me and serve me, whatever his friends may do.”
 On the 23d of September following, Henry IV., still at Lyons, sent to M.
de la Chatre:--

“I forward you the articles of a general truce which I have granted to
the Duke of Mayenne at his pressing instance, and on the assurance he has
given me that he will get it accepted and observed by all those who are
still making war within my kingdom, in his name or that of the League.”
 This truce was, in point of fact, concluded by a preliminary treaty
signed at Chalons, and by virtue of which Mayenne ordered his lieutenants
to give up to the king the citadel of Dijon.  The negotiations continued,
and, in January, 1596, a royal edict, signed at Folembray, near Laon,
regulated, in thirty-one articles and some secret articles, the
conditions of peace between the king and Mayenne.  The king granted him,
himself and his partisans, full and complete amnesty for the past,
besides three surety-places for six years, and divers sums, which, may be
for payment of his debts, and may be for his future provision, amounted
to three million five hundred and eighty thousand livres at that time
(twelve million eight hundred and eighty-eight thousand francs of the
present day).  The Parliament of Paris considered these terms exorbitant,
and did not consent to enregister the edict until April 9, 1596, after
three letters jussory from the king.  Henry IV. nobly expressed, in the
preamble of the edict, the motives of policy that led to his generous
arrangements; after alluding to his late reconciliation with the pope,
“Our work,” he said, “would have been imperfect, and peace incomplete, if
our most dear and most beloved cousin, the Duke of Mayenne, chief of his
party, had not followed the same road, as he resolved to do so soon as he
saw that our holy father had approved of our reunion.  This hath made us
to perceive better than heretofore the aim of his actions, to accept and
take in good part all that he hath exhibited against us of the zeal he
felt for religion, and to commend the anxiety he hath displayed to
preserve the kingdom in, its entirety, whereof he caused not and suffered
not the dismemberment when the prosperity of his affairs seemed to give
him some means of it; the which he was none the more inclined to do when
he became weakened, but preferred to throw himself into our arms rather
than betake himself to other remedies, which might have caused the war to
last a long while yet, to the great damage of our people.  This it is
which hath made us desire to recognize his good intent, to love him and
treat him for the future as our good relative and faithful subject.”
 [_Memoires de la Ligue,_ t. vi.  p. 349.]

[Illustration: The Castle of Monceaux----91]

To a profound and just appreciation of men’s conduct Henry IV. knew how
to add a winning grace and the surprising charm of a familiar manner.
After having signed the edict of Folembray, he had gone to rest a while
at Monceaux.  Mayenne went to visit him there on the 31st of January,
1596.  There is nothing to be added to or taken from the account given by
Sully of their interview.  “The king, stepping forward to meet Mayenne,
embraced him thrice, assuring him that he was welcome, and that he
embraced him as cordially as if there had never been anything between
them.  M. de Mayenne put one knee on the ground, embraced the king’s
thigh, and assured him that he was his very humble servant and subject,
saying that he considered himself greatly bounden to him, as well for
having with so much, of gentleness, kindness, and special largesses
restored him to his duty, as for having delivered him from Spanish
arrogance and Italian crafts and wiles.  Then the king, having raised him
up and embraced him once more, told him that he had no doubt at all of
his honor and word, for a man of worth and of good courage held nothing
so dear as the observance thereof.  Thereupon he took him by the hand and
began to walk him about at a very great pace, showing him the alleys and
telling all his plans and the beauties and conveniences of this mansion.
M. de Mayenne, who was incommoded by a sciatica, followed as best he
could, but some way behind, dragging his limbs after him very heavily.
Which the king observing, and that he was mighty red, heated, and was
puffing with thickness of breath, he turned to Rosny, whom he held, with
the other hand, and said in his ear, ‘If I walk this fat carcass here
about much longer, then am I avenged without much difficulty for all the
evils he hath done us, for he is a dead man.’  And thereupon pulling up,
the king said to him, ‘Tell the truth, cousin, I go a little too fast for
you; and I have worked you too hard.’  ‘By my faith, sir,’ said M. de
Mayenne, slapping his hand upon his stomach, ‘it is true; I swear to you
that I am so tired and out of breath that I can no more.  If you had
continued walking me about so fast, for honor and courtesy did not permit
me to say to you, “Hold! enough!” and still less to leave you, I believe
that you would have killed me without a thought of it.’  Then the king
embraced him, clapped him on the shoulder, and said with a laughing face,
open glance, and holding out his hand, ‘Come, take that, cousin, for, by
God, this is all the injury and displeasure you shall ever have from me;
of that I give you my honor and word with all my heart, the which I never
did and never will violate.’  ‘By God, sir,’ answered M. de Mayenne,
kissing the king’s hand and doing what he could to put one knee upon the
ground, ‘I believe it and all other generous things that may be expected
from the best and bravest prince of our age.  And you said it, too, in so
frank a spirit and with so kindly a grace that my feelings and my
obligations are half as deep again.  However, I swear to you over again,
sir, by the living God, on my faith, my honor, and my salvation, that I
will be to you, all my life long, loyal subject and faithful servant; I
will never fail you nor desert you; I will have while I live no desires
or designs of importance which are not suggested by your Majesty himself;
nor will I ever be cognizant of them in the case of others, though they
were my own children, without expressly opposing them and giving you
notice of them at once.’  ‘There, there, cousin,’ rejoined the kinm, ‘I
quite believe it; and that you may be able to love me and serve me long,
go rest you, refresh you, and drink a draught at the castle.  I have in
my cellars some Arbois wine, of which I will send you two bottles, for
well I know that you do not dislike it.  And here is Rosny, whom I will
lend you to accompany you, to do the honors of the house and to conduct
you to your chamber: he is one of my oldest servants, and one of those
who have been most rejoiced to see that you would love me and serve me
cordially.’” [(OEconomies royales, t. iii.  pp. 7-10.]

Mayenne was as good as his word.  After the edict of Folembray, he lived
fourteen years at the court of Henry IV., whom he survived only about
sixteen months [for he died on the 4th of October, 1611, and Henry IV.
was assassinated by Ravaillac on the 13th of May, 1610], and during all
that time he was loyal and faithful to him, never giving him any but good
counsels and sometimes rendering him useful services.  A rare example of
a party-chief completely awakened and tamed by experience: it made him
disgusted with fanaticism, faction, civil war, and complicity with the
foreigner.  He was the least brilliant but the most sensible, the most
honest, and the most French of the Guises.  Henry IV., when seriously ill
at Fontainebleau in 1608, recommended him to Queen Mary de’ Medici as one
of the men whom it was most important to call to the councils of state;
and, at the approach of death, Mayenne, weary and weak in the lap of
repose, could conscientiously address those who were around him in such
grand and Christian language as this: “It is no new thing to know that I
must die; for twelve years past my lingering and painful life has been
for the most part an apprenticeship thereto.  My sufferings have so
dulled the sting of death that I rather count upon it than dread it;
happy to have had so long a delay to teach me to make a good end, and to
rid me of the things which formerly kept me from that knowledge.  Happy
to meet my end amongst mine own people and to terminate by a peaceful
death the sufferings and miseries of my life.  I formerly sought death
amidst arms; but I am better pleased, for my soul’s salvation, to meet it
and embrace it on my bed than if I had encountered it in battle, for the
sake of the glory of the world.”

Let, us return to Henry IV.  Since his declaration of war against Philip
II. he had gained much ground.  He had fought gloriously, in his own
person, and beaten the Spaniards at Fontaine-Francaise.  He had obtained
from Pope Clement VIII. the complete and solemn absolution which had been
refused to him the year before.  Mayenne had submitted to him, and that
submission had been death to the League.  Some military reverses were
intermingled with these political successes.  Between the 25th of June,
1595, and the 10th of March, 1597, the Spanish armies took, in Picardy
and Artois, Le Catelet, Doullens, Cambrai, Ardres, Ham, Guines and two
towns of more importance, Calais, still the object of English ambition
and of offers on the part of Queen Elizabeth to any one who could hand it
over to her, and Amiens, one of the keys to France on the frontier of the
north.  These checks were not without compensation.  Henry invested and
took the strong place of La Fere; and he retook Amiens after a six
months’ struggle.  A Spanish plot for getting possession of Marseilles
failed; the young Duke of Guise, whom Henry had made governor of
Provence, entered the city amidst shouts of Hurrah for the king!
“Now I am king!” cried Henry, on receiving the news, so generally was
Marseilles even then regarded as the queen of the Mediterranean.  The
Duke of Epernon, who had attempted to make of Provence an independent
principality for himself, was obliged to leave it and treat with the
king, ever ready to grant easy terms to those who could give up to him or
sell him any portion of his kingdom.  France was thus being rapidly
reconstituted.  “Since the month of January, 1596, Burgundy, parts of
Forez, Auvergne, and Velay, the whole of Provence, half Languedoc, and
the last town of Poitou had been brought back to their allegiance to the
king.  French territory and national unity had nothing more to wait for,
to complete their re-establishment, than a portion of Brittany and four
towns of Picardy still occupied by the Spaniards.”  [Poirson, _Histoire
du Regne de Henri IV., t. ii.  p. 159.]

But these results were only obtained at enormous expense and by means of
pecuniary sacrifices, loans, imposts, obligations of every sort, which
left the king in inextricable embarrassment, and France in a condition of
exhaustion still further aggravated by the deplorable administration of
the public finances.  On the 15th of April, 1596, Henry IV. wrote from
Amiens to Rosny, “My friend, you know as well as any of my servants what
troubles, labors, and fatigues I have had to go through to secure my life
and my dignity against so many sorts of enemies and perils.  Nevertheless
I swear to you that all these traverses have not caused me so much
affliction and bitterness of spirit as the sorrow and annoyance I now
feel at finding thyself in continual controversies with those most in
authority of my servants, officers, and councillors of state, when I
would fain set about restoring this kingdom to its highest splendor, and
relieving my poor people, whom I love as my dear children (God having at
present granted me no others), from so many talliages, subsidies,
vexations, and oppressions whereof they daily make complaints to me.
.  .  .  Having written to them who are of my council of finance how that
I had a design of extreme importance in hand for which I had need of a
fund of eight hundred thousand crowns, and therefore I begged and
conjured them, by their loyalty and sincere affection towards me and
France, to labor diligently for the certain raising of that sum, all
their answers, after several delays, excuses, and reasons whereof one
destroyed another, had finally no other conclusion than representations
of difficulties and impossibilities.  Nay, they feared not to send me
word that so far from being able to furnish me with so notable a sum,
they found great trouble in raising the funds to keep my household going.
.  .  .  I am resolved to know truly whether the necessities which are
overwhelming me proceed from the malice, bad management, or ignorance of
those whom I employ, or, good sooth, from the diminution of my revenues
and the poverty of my people.  And to that end, I mean to convoke the
three orders of my kingdom, for to have of them some advice and aid, and
meanwhile to establish among those people some loyal servant of mine,
whom I will put in authority little by little, in order that he may
inform me of what passes in my council, and enlighten me as to that which
I desire to know.  I have, as I have already told you, cast my eyes upon
you to serve me in this commission, not doubting at all that I shall
receive contentment and advantage from your administration.  And I wish
to tell you the state to which I am reduced, which is such that I am very
near the enemy, and have not, as you may say, a horse to fight on or a
whole suit of harness to my back.  My shirts are all torn, my doublets
out at elbows; my cupboard is often bare, and for the last two days I
have been dining and supping with one and another; my purveyors say they
have no more means of supplying my table, especially as for more than six
months they have had no money.  Judge whether I deserve to be so treated,
and fail not to come.  I have on my mind, besides, two or three other
matters of consequence on which I wish to employ you the moment you
arrive.  Do not speak of all this to anybody whatsoever, not even to your
wife.  Adieu, my friend, whom well I love.”

Henry IV. accomplished all that, when he wrote to Rosny, he had showed
himself resolved to undertake.  External circumstances became favorable
to him.  Since his conversion to Catholicism, England and her queen,
Elizabeth, had been colder in the cause of the French alliance.  When,
after his declaration of war against Philip II., Henry demanded in London
the support on which he had believed that he might rely, Elizabeth
answered by demanding in her turn the cession of Calais as the price of
her services.  Quite determined not to give up Calais to England, Henry,
without complaining of the demand, let the negotiation drag, confining
himself to saying that he was looking for friends, not for masters.  When
in April, 1596, it was known in London that Calais had been taken by the
Spaniards, Elizabeth sent word to Henry, then at Boulogne, that she would
send him prompt assistance if he promised, when Calais was recovered from
the Spaniards, to place it in the hands of the English.  “If I must be
despoiled,” answered Henry, “I would rather it should be by my enemies
than by my friends.  In the former case it will be a reverse of fortune,
in the latter I might be accused of poltroonery.”  Elizabeth assured the
French ambassador, Harlay de Sancy, “that it had never been her intention
to keep Calais, but simply to take care that, in any case, this important
place should not remain in the hands of the common enemy whilst the king
was engaged in other enterprises; anyhow,” she added, “she had ordered
the Earl of Essex, admiral of the English fleet raised against Spain, to
arm promptly in order to go to the king’s assistance.”  There was anxiety
at that time in England about the immense preparations being made by
Philip for the invasion he proposed to attempt against England, and for
the putting to sea of his fleet, the Grand Armada.  In conversation with
the high treasurer, Lord Burleigh, Elizabeth’s chief minister, Sancy
found him even colder than his queen; Burleigh laid great stress upon all
that the queen had already done for France, and on the one million five
hundred thousand gold crowns she had lent to the king.  “It would be more
becoming,” he said, “in the king’s envoys to thank the queen for the aid
she had already furnished than to ask for more; by dint of drawing water
the well had gone dry; the queen could offer the king only three thousand
men, on condition that they were raised at his own expense.”  “If the
king,” replied Sancy, “must expect neither alliance nor effectual aid on
your part, he will be much obliged to the queen to let him know what
course she takes, because he, on his side, will take that which will be
most expedient for his affairs.”  Some of the king’s councillors regarded
it as possible that he should make peace with the King of Spain, and did
not refrain from letting as much be understood.  Negotiations in London
seemed to be broken off; the French ambassadors had taken leave of
Elizabeth.  The news that came from Spain altered the tone of the English
government; threats of Spanish invasion became day by day more distinct
and the Grand Armada more dreaded.  Elizabeth sent word to the
ambassadors of France by some of her confidants, amongst others Sir
Robert Cecil, son of the high treasurer, that she was willing to give
them a last audience before their departure.  The result of this audience
was the conclusion of a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive
between France and England against the King of Spain, with a mutual
promise not to make, one without the other, either peace or truce, with
precise stipulations as to the number and pay of the troops which the
Queen of England should put in the field for the service of the King of
France, and, further, with a proviso establishing freedom of trade
between the two states.  The treaty was drawn up in London on the 24th of
May, 1596, ratified at Rouen by Henry IV. on the 19th of October
following, and on the 31st of October the States-General of Holland
acceded to it, whilst regulating, accordingly, the extent of their
engagements.

Easy as to the part to be played by his allies in the war with Spain,
Henry IV. set to work upon the internal reforms and measures of which he
strongly felt the necessity.  They were of two kinds; one administrative
and financial, the other political and religious; he wished at one and
the same time to consolidate the material forces of his government and to
give his Protestant subjects, lately his own brethren, the legal liberty
and security which they needed for their creed’s sake, and to which they
had a right.

He began, about the middle of October, 1596, by bringing Rosny into the
council of finance, saying to him, “You promise me, you know, to be a
good manager, and that you and I shall lop arms and legs from _Madame
Grivelee,_ as you have so often told me could be done.”  _Madame Grivelee
(Mrs. Pickings)_ was, in the language of the day, she who presided over
illicit gains made in the administration of the public finances.  Rosny
at once undertook to accomplish that which he had promised the king.  He
made, in person, a minute examination of four receiver-generals’ offices,
in order, with that to guide him, to get a correct idea of the amount
derived from imposts and the royal revenues, and of what became of this
amount in its passage from collection to employment for the defrayal of
the expenses of the state.  “When he went on his inspection, the
treasurers of France, receivers, accountants, comptrollers, either
absented themselves or refused to produce him any register; he suspended
some, frightened others, surmounted the obstacles of every kind that were
put in his way, and he proved, from the principal items of receipt and
expenditure at these four general offices, so much and such fraudulence
that he collected five hundred thousand crowns (one million five hundred
thousand livres of those times, and about five million four hundred and
ninety thousand francs of the present date), had these sums placed in
seventy carts, and drove them to Rouen, where the king was and where the
Assembly of Notables had just met.”

It was not the states-general properly so called that Henry IV. had
convoked; he had considered that his authority was still too feebly
constituted, and even too much disputed in a portion of the kingdom, to
allow him to put it to such a test; and honest and sensible patriots had
been of the same opinion D’Aubigne himself, the most independent and
fault-finding spirit amongst his contemporaries, expressly says, “The
troubles which were not yet extinguished in France did not admit of a
larger convocation; the hearts of the people were not yet subdued and
kneaded to obedience, as appeared from the excitement which supervened.”
 [_Histoire universelle,_ t. iii.  p. 526.]  Besides, Henry himself
acknowledged, in the circular which he published on the 25th of July,
1596, at this juncture, the superior agency of the states-general.
“We would gladly have brought them together in full assembly,” he said,
“if the armed efforts of our enemies allowed of any longer delay in
finding a remedy for the plague which is racking us so violently; our
intent is, pending the coming of the said states, to put a stop to all
these disorders in the best and quickest way possible.”  “The king,
moreover,” says Sully, “had no idea of imitating the kings his
predecessors in predilection for, and appointment of, certain deputies
for whom he had a particular fancy; but he referred the nomination
thereof to them of the church, of the noblesse, and of the people; and
when they were assembled, he prescribed to them no rules, forms, or
limits, but left them complete freedom of their opinions, utterances,
suffrages, and deliberations.”  [OEconomies royales, t. iii.  p. 29.]
The notables met at Rouen to the number of eighty, nine of the clergy,
nineteen of the noblesse, fifty-two of the third estate.  The king opened
the assembly on the 4th of November, 1596, with these words, full of
dignity, and powerful in their vivid simplicity: “If I desired to win the
title of orator, I would have learned by rote some fine, long speech, and
would deliver it to you with proper gravity.  But, gentlemen, my desire
prompts me towards two more glorious titles, the names of deliverer and
restorer of this kingdom.  In order to attain whereto I have gathered you
together.  You know to your cost, as I to mine, that when it pleased God
to call me to this crown, I found France not only all but ruined, but
almost entirely lost to Frenchmen.  By the divine favor, by the prayers
and the good counsels of my servants who are not in the profession of
arms, by the sword of my brave and generous noblesse, from whom I single
out not the princes, upon the honor of a gentleman, as the holders of our
proudest title, and by my own pains and labors, I have preserved her from
perdition.  Let us now preserve her from ruin.  Share, my dear subjects,
in this second triumph as you did in the first.  I have not summoned you,
like my predecessors, to get your approbation of their own wills.  I have
had you assembled in order to receive your counsels, put faith in them,
follow them, in short, place myself under guardianship in your hands; a
desire but little congenial to kings, graybeards, and conquerors.  But
the violent love I feel towards my subjects, and the extreme desire I
have to add those two proud titles to that of king, make everything easy
and honorable to me.”

L’Estoile relates that the king’s favorite, Gabrielle d’Estrees, was at
the session behind some tapestry, and that, Henry IV. having asked what
she thought of his speech, she answered, “I never heard better spoken;
only I was astonished that you spoke of placing yourself under
guardianship.”  “Ventre saint-gris,” replied the king, “that is true; but
I mean with my sword by my side.”  [_Journal de Pierre l’Estoile,_
t. iii.  p. 185.]

The assembly of notables sat from November 4, 1596, to January 29, 1597,
without introducing into the financial regimen any really effective
reforms; the rating board (_conseil de raison_), the institution of which
they had demanded of the king, in connection with the fixing of imposts
and employment of public revenues, was tried without success, and was not
long before, of its own accord, resigning its power into the king’s
hands; but the mere convocation of this assembly was a striking instance
of the homage paid by Henry IV. to that fundamental maxim of free
government, which, as early as under Louis XI., Philip de Commynes
expressed in these terms: “There is no king or lord on earth who hath
power, over and above his own property, to put a single penny on his
subjects without grant and consent of those who have to pay, unless by
tyranny and violence.”  The ideas expressed and the counsels given by the
assembly of notables were not, however, without good effect upon the
general administration of the state; but the principal and most salutary
result of its presence and influence was the personal authority which
Sully drew from it, and of which he did not hesitate to make full use.
Having become superintendent-general of finance and grand master of the
ordnance, he exerted all his power to put in practice, as regarded the
financial department, a system of receipts and expenses, and as regarded
materials for the service of war, the reforms and maxims of economy,
accountability, and supervision, which were suggested to him by his great
good sense, and in which Henry IV.  supported him with the spirit of one
who well appreciated the strength they conferred upon his government,
civil and military.

His relations with the Protestants gave him embarrassments to surmount
and reforms to accomplish of quite a different sort, and more difficult
still.  At his accession, their satisfaction had not been untinged by
disquietude; they foresaw the sacrifices the king would be obliged to
make to his new and powerful friends the Catholics.  His conversion to
Catholicism threw into more or less open opposition the most zealous and
some of the ambitious members of his late church.  It was not long before
their feelings burst forth in reproaches, alarms, and attacks.  In 1597,
a pamphlet, entitled _The Plaints of the Reformed Churches of France_
[_Memoires de la Ligue,_ t. vi.  pp. 428-486], was published and spread
prodigiously.  “None can take it ill,” said the anonymous author, “that
we who make profession of the Reformed religion should come forward to
get a hearing for our plaints touching so many deeds of outrage,
violence, and injustice which are daily done to us, and done not here or
there, but in all places of the realm; done at a time, under a reign in
which they seemed less likely, and which ought to have given us better
hopes.  .  .  .  We, sir, are neither Spaniards nor Leaguers; we have had
such happiness as to see you, almost born and cradled, at any rate
brought up, amongst us; we have employed our properties, our lives, in
order to prevent the effects of ill will on the part of those who, from
your cradle, sought your ruin; we have, with you and under your wise and
valiant leadership, made the chiefest efforts for the preservation of the
crown, which, thank God, is now upon your head.  .  .  .  We do beseech
you, sir, to give us permission to have the particulars of our grievances
heard both by your Majesty and all your French, for we do make plaint of
all the French.  Not that in so great and populous a kingdom we should
imagine that there are not still to be found some whose hearts bleed to
see indignities so inhuman; but of what avail to us is all they may have
in them of what is good, humane, and French?  A part of them are so soft,
so timorous, that they would not so much as dare to show a symptom of not
liking that which displeases them; and if, when they see us so
maltreated, they do summon up sufficient boldness to look another way,
and think that they have done but their duty, still do they tremble with
fear of being taken for favorers of heretics.”

The writer then enters upon an exposition of all the persecutions, all
the acts of injustice, all the evils of every kind that the reformers
have to suffer.  He lays the blame of them, as he has just said, upon the
whole French community, the noblesse, the commons, the magistracy, as
well as the Catholic priests and monks; he enumerates a multitude of
special facts in support of his plaints.  “Good God!” he cries, “that
there should be no class, no estate in France, from which we can hope for
any relief!  None from which we may not fear lest ruin come upon us!”
 And he ends by saying, “Stem, then, sir, with your good will and your
authority, the tide of our troubles.  Direct your counsels towards giving
us some security.  Accustom your kingdom to at least endure us, if it
will not love us.  We demand of your Majesty an edict which may give us
enjoyment of that which is common to all your subjects, that is to say,
of far less than you have granted to your enemies, your rebels of the
League.”

We will not stop to inquire whether the matters stated in these plaints
are authentic or disputable, accurate or exaggerated; it is probable that
they contain a great deal of truth, and that, even under Henry IV., the
Protestants had many sufferings to endure and disregarded rights to
recover.  The mistake they made and the injustice they showed consisted
in not taking into, account all the good that Henry IV. had done them and
was daily doing them, and in calling upon him, at a moment’s notice, to
secure to them by an edict all the good that it was not in his power to
do them.  We purpose just to give a brief summary of the ameliorations
introduced into their position under him, even before the edict of
Nantes, and to transfer the responsibility for all they still lacked to
the cause indicated by themselves in their plaints, when they take to
task all the French on the Catholic side, who, in the sixteenth century,
disregarded in France the rights of creed and of religious life, just as
the Protestants themselves disregarded them in England so far as the
Catholics were concerned.

One fact immediately deserves to be pointed out; and that is the number
and the practical character of meetings officially held at this period by
the Protestants: an indisputable proof of the liberty they enjoyed.
These meetings were of two sorts; one, the synods, were for the purpose
of regulating their faith, their worship, their purely religious affairs.
Between 1594 and 1609, under the sway of Henry IV., Catholic king, seven
national synods of the Protestant church in France held their sessions in
seven different towns, and discussed with perfect freedom such questions
of religious doctrine and discipline as were interesting to them.  At the
same epoch, between 1593 and 1608, the French Protestants met at eleven
assemblies, specially summoned to deliberate, not in these cases upon
questions of faith and religious discipline, but upon their temporal and
political interests, upon their relations towards the state, and upon the
conduct they were to adopt under the circumstances of their times.  The
principle to which minds, and even matters, to a certain extent, have now
attained, the deep-seated separation between the civil and the religious
life, and their mutual independence, this higher principle was unknown to
the sixteenth century; the believer and the citizen were then but one,
and the efforts of laws and governments were directed towards bringing
the whole nation entire into the same state of unity.  And as they did
not succeed therein, their attempts produced strife instead of unity, war
instead of peace.  When the French Protestants of the sixteenth century
met in the assemblies which they themselves called political, they acted
as one nation confronting another nation, and labored to form a state
within state.  We will borrow from the intelligent and learned _Histoire
d’Henri IV.,_ by M. Poirson, (t. ii.  pp. 497-500), a picture of one of
those assemblies and its work.  “After the king’s abjuration, and at the
end of the year 1593, the French Huguenots renewed at Mantes their old
union, and swore to live and die united in their profession of faith.
Henry was in hopes that they would stop short at a religious
demonstration; but they made it a starting-point for a new political and
military organization on behalf of the Calvinistic party.  They took
advantage of a general permission granted them by Henry, and met, not in
synod, but in general assembly, at the town of Sainte Foy, in the month
of June, 1594.  Thereupon they divided all France into nine great
provinces or circles, composed each of several governments or provinces
of the realm.  Each circle had a separate council, composed of from five
to seven members, and commissioned to fix and apportion the separate
imposts, to keep up a standing army, to collect the supplies necessary
for the maintenance and defence of the party.  The Calvinistic republic
had its general assemblies, composed of nine deputies or representatives
from each of the nine circles.  These assemblies were invested with
authority to order, on the general account, all that the juncture
required, that is to say, with a legislative power distinct from that of
the crown and nation.  .  .  .  If the king ceased to pay the sums
necessary to keep up the garrisons in the towns left to the Reformers,
the governors were to seize the talliages in the hands of the king’s
receivers, and apply the money to the payment of the garrisons.  And in
case the central power should attempt to repress these violent
procedures, or to substitute as commandant in those places a Catholic for
a Protestant, all the Calvinists of the locality and the neighboring
districts were to unite and rise in order to give the assistance of the
strong hand to the Protestant governors so attacked.  Independently of
the ordinary imposts, a special impost was laid on the Calvinists, and
gave their leaders the disposal of a yearly sum of one hundred and twenty
thousand livres (four hundred and forty thousand francs of the present
day).  The Calvinistic party had thus a territorial area, an
administration, finances, a legislative power and an executive power
independent of those of the countr;y; or, in other words, the means of
taking resolutions contrary to those of the mass of the nation, and of
upholding them by revolt.  All they wanted was a Huguenot stadtholder to
oppose to the King of France, and they were looking out for one.”

Henry IV. did not delude himself as to the tendency of such organization
amongst those of his late party.  “He rebuffed very sternly (and
wisely),” says L’Estoile, “those who spoke to him of it.  ‘As for a
protector,’ he told them, ‘he would have them to understand that there
was no other protector in France but himself for one side or the other;
the first man who should be so daring as to assume the title would do so
at the risk of his life; he might be quite certain of that.’”  Had Henry
IV. been permitted to read the secrets of a not so very distant future,
he might have told the Huguenots of his day that the time was not so far
off when their pretension to political organization and to the formation
of a state within the state, would compromise their religious liberty and
furnish the absolute government of Louis XIV. with excuses for abolishing
the protective edict which Henry IV.’s sympathy was on the point of
granting them, and which, so far as its purely religious provisions went,
was duly respected by the sagacity of Cardinal Richelieu.

After his conversion to Catholicism, and during the whole of his
reign, it was one of Henry IV.’s constant anxieties to show himself
well-disposed towards his old friends, and to do for them all he could do
without compromising the public peace in France, or abdicating in his own
person the authority he needed to maintain order and peace.  Some of the
edicts published by his predecessors during the intervals of civil war,
notably the edict of Poitiers issued by Henry III., had granted the
Protestants free exercise of their worship in the castles of the
Calvinistic lords who had jurisdiction, to the number of thirty-five
hundred, and in the faubourgs of one town or borough of each bailiwick of
the realm, except the bailiwick of Paris.  Further, the holding of
properties and heritages, union by marriage with Catholics, and the
admission of Protestants to the employments, offices, and dignities of
the realm, were recognized by this edict.  These rights, in black and
white, had often been violated by the different authorities, or suspended
during the wars; Henry IV. maintained them or put them in force again,
and supported the application of them or decreed the extension of them.
It was calculated that there were in France eight hundred towns and three
hundred bailiwicks or seneschalties; the treaties concluded with the
League had expressly prohibited the exercise of Protestant worship in
forty towns and seventeen bailiwicks; Henry IV. tolerated it everywhere
else.  The prohibition was strict as regarded Paris and ten leagues
round; but, as early as 1594, three months after his entry into Paris,
Henry aided the Reformers in the unostentatious celebration of their own
form in the Faubourg St. Germain; and he authorized the use of it at
court for religious ceremonies, especially for marriages.  Three
successive edicts, two issued at Mantes in 1591 and 1593, and the third
at St. Germain in 1597, confirmed and developed these signs of progress
in the path of religious liberty.

[Illustration: The Castle of St. Germain in the Reign of Henry IV.--107]

The Parliaments had in general refused to enregister these decrees a fact
which gave them an incomplete and provisional character; but equitable
and persistent measures on the king’s part prevailed upon the Parliament
of Paris to enregister the edict of St. Germain; and the Parliament of
Dijon and nearly all the other Parliaments of the kingdom followed this
example.  One of the principal provisions of this last edict declared
Protestants competent to fill all the offices and dignities of the
kingdom.  It had many times been inserted in preceding edicts, but always
rejected by the Parliaments or formally revoked.  Henry IV. brought it
into force and credit by putting it extensively in practice, without
entering upon discussion of it and without adding any comment upon it.
In 1590 he had given Palleseuil the government of Neuchatel in Normandy;
he had introduced Hurault Dufay, Du Plessis-Mornay and Rosny into the
council of state; in 1594 he had appointed the last a member of the
council of finance; Soffray de Colignon, La Force, Lesdiguieres, and
Sancy were summoned to the most important functions; Turenne, in 1594,
was raised to the dignity of marshal of France; and in 1595 La Tremoille
was made duke and peer.  They were all Protestants.  Their number and
their rank put the matter beyond all dispute; it was a natural
consequence of the social condition of France; it became an habitual
practice with the government.

Nevertheless the complaints and requirements of the malcontent
Protestants continued, and became day by day more vehement; in 1596 and
1597 the assemblies of Saumur, Loudun, and Vendome became their organs of
expression; and messengers were sent with them to the camp before La
Fere, which Henry IV. was at that time besieging.  He deferred his reply.
Two of the principal Protestant leaders, the Dukes of Bouillon and La
Tremoille, suddenly took extreme measures; they left the king and his
army, carrying off their troops with them, one to Auvergne and the other
to Poitou.  The deputies from the assembly of Loudun started back again
at the same time, as if for the purpose of giving the word to arm in
their provinces.  Du Plessis-Mornay and his wife, the most zealous of the
Protestants who were faithful at the same time to their cause and to the
king, bear witness to this threatening crisis.  “The deputies,” says
Madame du Mornay in her Memoires, “returned each to his own province,
with the intention of taking the cure of their evils into their own
hands, whence would infallibly have ensued trouble enough to complete the
ruin of this state had not the king, by the management of M. du Plessis,
been warned of this imminent danger, and by him persuaded to send off and
treat in good earnest with the said assembly.”  “These gentry, rebuffed
at court,” says Du Plessis-Mornay himself in a letter to the Duke of
Bouillon, “have resolved to take the cure into their own hands; to that
end they have been authorized, and by actions which do not seem to lead
them directly thither they will find that they have passed the Rubicon
right merrily.”  It was as it were a new and a Protestant League just
coming to a head.  Henry IV. was at that time engaged in the most
important negotiation of his reign.  After a long and difficult siege he
had just retaken.  Amiens.  He thought it a favorable moment at which to
treat for peace with Spain, and put an end to an onerous war which he had
been for so long sustaining.  He informed the Queen of England of his
intention, “begging her, if the position of her affairs did not permit
her to take part in the treaty he was meditating with Spain, to let him
know clearly what he must do to preserve amity and good understanding
between the two crowns, for he would always prefer an ally like her to
reconciled foes such as the Spaniards.”  He addressed the same
notification to the Dutch government.  Elizabeth on one hand and the
states-general on the other tried to dissuade him from peace with Spain,
and to get him actively re-engaged in the strife from which they were not
disposed to emerge.  He persisted in his purpose whilst setting before
them his reasons for it, and binding himself to second faithfully their
efforts by all pacific means.  A congress was opened in January, 1598, at
Vervins in Picardy, through the mediation of Pope Clement VIII., anxious
to become the pacificator of Catholic Europe.  The French
plenipotentiaries, Pomponne de Bellievre and Brulart de Silleri, had
instructions to obtain the restoration to the king of all towns and
places taken by the Spaniards from France since the treaty of peace of
Cateau-Cambresis, and to have the Queen of England and the United
Provinces, if they testified a desire for it, included in the treaty, or,
at any rate, to secure for them a truce.  After three months’ conferences
the treaty of peace was concluded at Vervins on the 2d of May, 1598, the
principal condition being, that King Philip II. should restore to France
the towns of Calais, Ardres, Doullens, Le Catelet, and Blavet; that he
should re-enter upon possession of the countship of Charolais; and that,
if either of the two sovereigns had any claims to make against one of the
states their allies in this treaty, “he should prosecute them only by way
of law, before competent judges, and not by force, in any manner
whatever.”  The Queen of England took no decisive resolution.  When once
the treaty was concluded, Henry IV., on signing it, said to the Duke of
Epernon, “With this stroke of my pen I have just done more exploits than
I should have done in a long while with the best swords in my kingdom.”

A month before the conclusion of the treaty of peace at Vervins with
Philip II., Henry IV. had signed and published at Paris on the 13th of
April, 1598, the edict of Nantes, his treaty of peace with the Protestant
malcontents.  This treaty, drawn up in ninety-two open and fifty-six
secret articles, was a code of old and new laws regulating the civil and
religious position of Protestants in France, the conditions and
guarantees of their worship, their liberties, and their special
obligations in their relations whether with the crown or with their
Catholic fellow-countrymen.  By this code Henry IV. added a great deal
to the rights of the Protestants and to the duties of the state towards
them.  Their worship was authorized not only in the castles of the lords
high-justiciary, who numbered thirty-five hundred, but also in the
castles of simple noblemen who enjoyed no high-justiciary rights,
provided that the number of those present did not exceed thirty.  Two
towns or two boroughs, instead of one, had the same religious rights in
each bailiwick or seneschalty of the kingdom.  The state was charged with
the duty of providing for the salaries of the Protestant ministers and
rectors in their colleges or schools, and an annual sum of one hundred
and sixty-five thousand livres of those times (four hundred and
ninety-five thousand francs of the present day) was allowed for that
purpose. Donations and legacies to be so applied were authorized.  The
children of Protestants were admitted into the universities, colleges,
schools, and hospitals, without distinction between them and Catholics.
There was great difficulty in securing for them, in all the Parliaments
of the kingdom, impartial justice; and a special chamber, called the
edict-chamber, was instituted for the trial of all causes in which they
were interested.  Catholic judges could not sit in this chamber unless
with their consent and on their presentation.  In the Parliaments of
Bordeaux, Toulouse, and Grenoble, the edict-chamber was composed of two
presidents, one a Catholic and the other a Reformer, and of twelve
councillors, of whom six were Reformers.  The Parliaments had hitherto
refused to admit Reformers into their midst; in the end the Parliament
of Paris admitted six, one into the edict-chamber and five into the
appeal-chamber (enquetes).  The edict of Nantes retained, at first for
eight years and then for four more, in the hands of the Protestants the
towns which war or treaties had put in their possession, and which
numbered, it is said, two hundred.  The king was bound to bear the
burden of keeping up their fortifications and paying their garrisons;
and Henry IV.  devoted to that object five hundred and forty thousand
livres of those times, or about two million francs of our day.  When the
edict thus regulating the position and rights of Protestants was
published, it was no longer on their part, but on that of the Catholics,
that lively protests were raised.  Many Catholics violently opposed the
execution of the new law; they got up processions at Tours to excite the
populace against the edict, and at Le Mans to induce the Parliament of
Normandy to reject it. The Parliament of Paris put in the way of its
registration retardations which seemed to forebode a refusal.  Henry
summoned to the Louvre deputies from all the chambers.  “What I have
done,” he said to them, “is for the good of peace.  I have made it
abroad; I wish to make it at home. Necessity forced me to this decree.
They who would prevent it from passing would have war.  You see me in my
closet.  I speak to you, not in royal robe, or with sword and cape, as
my predecessors did, nor as a prince receiving an embassy, but as a
father of a family in his doublet conversing familiarly with his
children.  It is said that I am minded to favor them of the religion;
there is a mind to entertain some mistrust of me.  .  .  .  I know that
cabals have been got up in the Parliament, that seditious preachers have
been set on.  .  .  .  The preachers utter words by way of doctrine for
to build up rather than pull down sedition.  That is the road formerly,
taken to the making of barricades, and to proceeding by degrees to the
parricide of the late king.  I will cut the roots of all these factions;
I will make short work of those who foment them.  I have scaled the
walls of cities; you may be sure I shall scale barricades.  You must
consider that what I am doing is for a good purpose, and let my past
behavior go bail for it.”

Parliaments and Protestants, all saw that they had to do not only with a
strong-willed king, but with a judicious and clearsighted man, a true
French patriot, who was sincerely concerned for the public interest, and
who had won his spurs in the art of governing parties by making for each
its own place in the state.  It was scarcely five years ago that the king
who was now publishing the edict of Nantes had become a Catholic; the
Parliaments enregistered the decree.  The Protestant malcontents resigned
themselves to the necessity of being content with it.  Whatever their
imperfections and the objections that might be raised to them, the peace
of Vervins and the edict of Narrtes were, amidst the obstacles and perils
encountered at every step by the government of Henry IV., the two most
timely and most beneficial acts in the world for France.

Four months after the conclusion of the treaty of Vervins, on the 13th of
September, 1598, Philip II. died at the Escurial, “prison, cloister, and
tomb all in one,” as M. Rosseeuw St. Hilaire very well remarks [_Histoire
d’Espagne,_ t. x.  pp. 335-363], situated eight leagues from Madrid.
Philip was so ill, and so cruelly racked by gout and fever, that it was
doubted whether he could be removed thither; “but a collection of relics,
amassed by his orders in Germany, had just arrived at the Escurial, and
the festival of consecration was to take place within a few days.  ‘I
desire that I be borne alive thither where my tomb already is,’ said
Philip.”  He was laid in a litter borne by men who walked at a snail’s
pace, in order to avoid all shaking.  Forced to halt every instant, he
took six days to do the eight leagues which separated him from his last
resting-place.  There he died in atrocious agonies, and after a very
painful operation, endured with unalterable courage and calmness; he had
ordered to be placed in front of his bed the bier in which his body was
to lie and the crucifix which his father, Charles V., at his death in the
monastery of Yuste, had held in his hand.  During a reign of forty-two
years Philip II. was, systematically and at any price, on the score of
what he regarded as the divine right of the Catholic church and of his
own kingship, the patron of absolute power in Europe.  Earnest and
sincere in his faith, licentious without open scandal in his private
life, unscrupulous and pitiless in the service of the religious and
political cause he had embraced, he was capable of any lie, one might
almost say of any crime, without having his conscience troubled by it.
A wicked man and a frightful example of what a naturally cold and hard
spirit may become when it is a prey to all the temptations of despotism
and to two sole passions, egotism and fanaticism.

After the death of Philip II. and during the first years of the reign of
his son Philip III., war continued between Spain on one side, and
England, the United Provinces, and the German Protestants on the other,
but languidly and without any results to signify.  Henry IV. held aloof
from the strife, all the while permitting his Huguenot subjects to take
part in it freely and at their own risks.  On the 3d of April, 1603,
a second great royal personage, Queen Elizabeth, disappeared from the
scene. She had been, as regards the Protestantism of Europe, what Philip
II. had been, as regards Catholicism, a powerful and able patron; but,
what Philip II. did from fanatical conviction, Elizabeth did from
patriotic feeling; she had small faith in Calvinistic doctrines, and no
liking for Puritanic sects; the Catholic church, the power of the pope
excepted, was more to her mind than the Anglican church, and her private
preferences differed greatly from her public practices.  Besides, she
combined with the exigencies of a king’s position the instincts of a
woman; she had the vanities rather than the weaknesses of one; she would
fain have inspired and responded to the passions natural to one; but
policy always had the dominion over her sentiments without extinguishing
them, and the proud sovereign sent to the block the overweening and
almost rebel subject whom she afterwards grievously regretted.  These
inconsistent resolutions and emotions caused Elizabeth’s life to be one
of agitation, though without warmth, and devoid of serenity as of
sweetness.  And so, when she grew old, she was disgusted with it and
weary of it; she took no pleasure any more in thing or person; she could
no longer bear herself, either in her court or in her bed or elsewhere;
she decked herself out to lie stretched upon cushions and there remain
motionless, casting about her vague glances which seemed to seek after
that for which she did not ask.  She ended by repelling her physicians
and even refusing nourishment.  When her ministers saw her thus, almost
insensible and dying, they were emboldened to remind her of what she had
said to them one day at White-Hall, “My throne must be a king’s throne.”
 At this reminder she seemed to rouse herself, and repeated the same
words, adding, “I will not have a rascal (vaurien) to succeed me.”  Sir
Robert Cecil asked her what she meant by that expression.  “I tell you
that I must have a king to succeed me; who can that be but my cousin of
Scotland?”  After having indicated the King of Scotland, James Stuart,
son of the fair rival whom she had sent to the block, Elizabeth remained
speechless.  The Archbishop of Canterbury commenced praying, breaking off
at intervals; twice the queen signed to him to go on.  Her advisers
returned in the evening, and begged her to indicate to them by signs if
she were still of the same mind; she raised her arms and crossed them
above her head.  Then she seemed to fall into a dreamy state.  At three
o’clock, during the night, she quietly passed away.  Some few hours
afterwards, her counsellors in assembly resolved to proclaim James
Stuart, King of Scotland, King of England, as the nearest of kin to the
late queen, and indicated by her on her death-bed.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century Henry IV. was the only one
remaining of the three great sovereigns who, during the sixteenth, had
disputed, as regarded religion and politics, the preponderance in Europe.
He had succeeded in all his kingly enterprises; he had become a Catholic
in France without ceasing to be the prop of the Protestants in Europe;
he had made peace with Spain without embroiling himself with England,
Holland, and Lutheran Germany.  He had shot up, as regarded ability and
influence, in the eyes of all Europe.  It was just then that he gave the
strongest proof of his great judgment and political sagacity; he was not
intoxicated with success; he did not abuse his power; he did not aspire
to distant conquests or brilliant achievements; he concerned himself
chiefly with the establishment of public order in his kingdom and with
his people’s prosperity.  His well-known saying, “I want all my peasantry
to have a fowl in the pot every Sunday,” was a desire worthy of Louis
XII.  Henry IV. had a sympathetic nature; his grandeur did not lead him
to forget the nameless multitudes whose fate depended upon his
government.

He had, besides, the rich, productive, varied, inquiring mind of one who
took an interest not only in the welfare of the French peasantry, but in
the progress of the whole French community, progress agricultural,
industrial, commercial, scientific, and literary.  The conversation of an
independent thinker like Montaigne had, at the least, as much attraction
for him as that of his comrades in arms.  Long before Henry IV. was King
of France, on the 19th of December, 1584, Montaigne, wrote, “The King of
Navarre came to see me at Montaigne where he had never been before, and
was there two days, attended by my people without any of his own
officers; he permitted neither tasting (essai) nor state-banquet
(couvert), and slept in my bed.”  On the 24th of October, 1587, after
winning the battle of Contras, Henry stopped to dine at Montaigne’s
house, though its possessor had remained faithful to Henry III., whose
troops had just lost the battle; and on the 18th of January, 1590, when
the King of Navarre, now become King of France, besieged and took the
town of Lisieux, Montaigne wrote to him, “All the time through, sir, I
have observed in you this same fortune that is now yours; and you may
remember that even when I had to make confession thereof to my
parish-priest I did not omit to regard your successes with a kindly eye.
Now, with more reason and freedom, I hug them to my heart.  Yonder they
do you service by effects; but they do you no less service here by
reputation.  The report goes as far as the shot.  We could not derive
from the justice of your cause arguments so powerful in sustaining or
reducing your subjects as we do from the news of the prosperity of your
enterprises.”

Abroad the policy of Henry IV. was as judicious and far sighted as it was
just and sympathetic at home.  There has been much writing and
dissertation about what has been called his grand design.  This name has
been given to a plan for the religious and political organization of
Christendom, consisting in the division of Europe amongst three
religions, the Catholic, the Calvinistic, and the Lutheran, and into
fifteen states, great and small, monarchical or republican, with equal
rights, alone recognized as members of the Christian confederation,
regulating in concert their common affairs, and pacifically making up
their differences, whilst all the while preserving their national
existence.  This plan is lengthily and approvingly set forth, several
times over, in the _OEconomies royales,_ which Sully’s secretaries wrote
at his suggestion, and probably sometimes at his dictation.  Henry IV.
was a prince as expansive in ideas as he was inventive, who was a master
of the art of pleasing, and himself took great pleasure in the freedom
and unconstraint of conversation.  No doubt the notions of the grand
design often came into his head, and he often talked about them to Sully,
his confidant in what he thought as well as in what he did.  Sully, for
his part was a methodical spirit, a regular downright putter in practice,
evidently struck and charmed by the richness and grandeur of the
prospects placed before his eyes by his king, and feeling pleasure in
shedding light upon them whilst giving them a more positive and more
complete shape than belonged to their first and original appearance.
And thus came down to us the grand design, which, so far as Henry IV. was
concerned, was never a definite project.  His true external policy was
much more real and practical.  He had seen and experienced the evils of
religious hatred and persecution.  He had been a great sufferer from the
supremacy of the house of Austria in Europe, and he had for a long while
opposed it.  When he became the most puissant and most regarded of
European kings, he set his heart very strongly on two things--toleration
for the three religions which had succeeded in establishing themselves in
Europe and showing themselves capable of contending one against another,
and the abasement of the house of Austria, which, even after the death of
Charles V. and of Philip II., remained the real and the formidable rival
of France.  The external policy of Henry from the treaty of Vervins to
his death, was religious peace in Europe and the alliance of Catholic
France with Protestant England and Germany against Spain and Austria.  He
showed constant respect and deference towards the papacy, a power highly
regarded in both the rival camps, though much fallen from the substantial
importance it had possessed in Europe during the middle ages.  French
policy striving against Spanish policy, such was the true and the only
serious characteristic of the grand design.

Four men, very unequal in influence as well as merit, Sully, Villeroi,
Du Plessis-Mornay, and D’Aubigne, did Henry IV. effective service, by
very different processes and in very different degrees, towards
establishing and rendering successful this internal and external policy.
Three were Protestants; Villeroi alone was a Catholic.  Sully is beyond
comparison with the other three.  He is the only one whom Henry IV.
called my friend; the only one who had participated in all the life and
all the government of Henry IV., his evil as well as his exalted
fortunes, his most painful embarrassments at home as well as his greatest
political acts; the only one whose name has remained inseparably
connected with that of a master whom he served without servility as well
as without any attempt to domineer.  There is no idea of entering here
upon his personal history; we would only indicate his place in that of
his king.  Maximilian de Bethune-Rosny, born in 1559, and six years
younger than Henry of Navarre, was barely seventeen when in 1576 he
attended Henry on his flight from the court of France to go and recover
in Navarre his independence of position and character.  Rosny was content
at first to serve him as a volunteer, “in order,” he said, “to learn the
profession of arms from its first rudiments.”  He speedily did himself
honor in several actions.  In 1580 the King of Navarre took him as
chamberlain and counsellor.  On becoming King of France, Henry IV., in
1594, made him secretary of state; in 1596, put him on the council of
finance; in 1597, appointed him grand surveyor of France, and, in 1599,
superintendent-general of finance and master of the ordnance.  In 1602 he
was made Marquis de Rosny and councillor of honor in the Parliament; then
governor of the Bastille, superintendent of fortifications, and surveyor
of Paris; in 1603, governor of Poitou.  Lastly, in 1606, his estate of
Sully-sur-Loire was raised to a duchy-peerage, and he was living under
this name, which has become his historical name, when, in 1610, the
assassination of Henry IV. sent into retirement, for thirty-one years,
the confidant of all his thoughts and the principal minister of a reign
which, independently of the sums usefully expended for the service of the
state and the advancement of public prosperity, had extinguished,
according to the most trustworthy evidence, two hundred and thirty-five
millions of debts, and which left in the coffers of the state, in ready
money or in safe securities, forty-three million, one hundred and
thirty-eight thousand, four hundred and ninety livres.

Nicholas de Neufville, Lord of Villeroi, who was born in 1543, and whose
grandfather had been secretary of state under Francis I., was, whilst
Henry III. was still reigning, member of a small secret council at which
all questions relating to Protestants were treated of.  Though a strict
Catholic, and convinced that the King of France ought to be openly in the
ranks of the Catholics, and to govern with their support, he sometimes
gave Henry III. some free-spoken and wise counsels.  When he saw him
spending his time with the brotherhoods of penitents whose head he had
declared himself, “Sir,” said he, “debts and obligations are considered
according to dates, and therefore old debts ought to be paid before new
ones.  You were King of France before you were head of the brotherhoods;
your conscience binds you to render to the kingship that which you owe it
rather than to the fraternity that which you have promised it.  You can
excuse yourself from one, but not from the other.  You only wear the
sackcloth when you please, but you have the crown always on your head.”
 When the wars of religion broke out, when the League took form and Henry
de Guise had been assassinated at Blois, Villeroi, naturally a Leaguer
and a moderate Leaguer, became the immediate adviser of the Duke of
Mayenne.  After Henry III.’s death, as soon as he heard that Henry IV.
promised to have himself instructed in the Catholic religion, he
announced his intention of recognizing him if he held to this engagement;
and he held to his own, for he was during five years the intermediary
between Henry IV. and Mayenne, incessantly laboring to reconcile them,
and to prevent the estates of the League from giving the crown of France
to a Spanish princess.  Villeroi was a Leaguer of the patriotically
French type.  And so Henry IV., as soon as he was firm upon his throne,
summoned him to his councils, and confided to him the direction of
foreign affairs.  The late Leaguer sat beside Sully, and exerted himself
to give the prevalence, in Henry IV.’s external policy, to Catholic
maxims and alliances, whilst Sully, remaining firmly Protestant in the
service of his king turned Catholic, continued to be in foreign matters
the champion of Protestant policy and alliances.  There was thus seen,
during the sixteenth century, in the French monarchy, a phenomenon which
was to repeat itself during the eighteenth in the republic of the United
States of America, when, in 1789, its president, Washington, summoned to
his cabinet Hamilton and Jefferson together, one the stanchest of the
aristocratic federalists and the other the warm defender of democratic
principles and tendencies.  Washington, in his lofty and calm
impartiality, considered that, to govern the nascent republic, he had
need of both; and he found a way, in fact, to make both of service to
him.  Henry IV. had perceived himself to be in an analogous position with
France and Europe divided between Catholics and Protestants, whom he
aspired to pacificate.

He likewise succeeded.  An incomplete success, however, as generally.
happens when the point attained is an adjournment of knotty questions
which war has vainly attempted to cut, and the course of ideas and events
has not yet had time to unravel.

Henry IV.  made so great a case of Villeroi’s co-operation and influence,
that, without loving him as he loved Sully, he upheld him and kept him as
secretary of state for foreign affairs to the end of his reign.  He
precisely defined his peculiar merit when he said, “Princes have servants
of all values and all sorts; some do their own business before that of
their master; others do their master’s and do not forget their own; but
Villeroi believes that his master’s business is his own, and he bestows
thereon the same zeal that another does in pushing his own suit or
laboring at his own vine.”  Though short and frigidly written, the
Memoires of Villeroi give, in fact, the idea of a man absorbed in his
commission and regarding it as his own business as well as that of his
king and country.

Philip du Plessis-Mornay occupied a smaller place than Sully and Villeroi
in the government of Henry IV.; but he held and deserves to keep a great
one in the history of his times.  He was the most eminent and also the
most moderate of the men of profound piety and conviction of whom the
Reformation had made a complete conquest, soul and body, and who placed
their public fidelity to their religious creed above every other interest
and every other affair in this world.  He openly blamed and bitterly
deplored Henry IV.’s conversion to Catholicism, but he did not ignore the
weighty motives for it; his disapproval and his vexation did not make him
forget the great qualities of his king or the services he was rendering
France, or his own duty and his earlier feelings towards him.  This
unbending Protestant, who had contributed as much as anybody to put
Henry IV. on the throne, who had been admitted further than anybody,
except Sully, to his intimacy, who ever regretted that his king had
abandoned his faith, who braved all perils and all disgraces to keep and
maintain his own, this Mornay, malcontent, saddened, all but banished
from court, assailed by his friends’ irritation and touched by their
sufferings, never took part against the king whom he blamed, and of whom
he thought he had to complain, in any faction or any intrigue; on the
contrary, he remained unshakably faithful to him, incessantly striving to
maintain or re-establish in the Protestant church in France some little
order and peace, and between the Protestants and Henry IV. some little
mutual confidence and friendliness.  Mornay had made up his mind to serve
forever a king who had saved his country.  He remained steadfast and
active in his creed, but without falling beneath the yoke of any
narrow-minded idea, preserving his patriotic good sense in the midst of
his fervent piety, and bearing with sorrowful constancy his friends’
bursts of anger and his king’s exhibitions of ingratitude. Between 1597
and 1605 three incidents supervened which put to the proof Henry IV.’s
feelings towards his old and faithful servant.  In October, 1597, Mornay,
still governor of Saumur, had gone to Angers to concert plans with
Marshal de Brissac for an expedition which, by order of the king, they
were to make into Brittany against the Duke of Mercoeur, not yet reduced
to submission.  As he was passing along the street with only three or
four of his men, he was unexpectedly attacked by one Sieur de Saint-Phal,
who, after calling upon him to give some explanation as to a disagreement
that had taken place between them five months before, brutally struck him
a blow on the head with a stick, knocked him down, immediately mounted a
horse that was held all ready on the spot, and fled in haste, leaving
Mornay in the hands of ten or a dozen accomplices, who dealt him several
sword-thrusts as he was rising to defend himself, and who, in their turn,
fled.  Some passers-by hurried up; Mornay’s wounds were found to be
slight; but the affair, which nobody hesitated to call murder, made a
great noise; there was general indignation; the king was at once informed
of it; and whilst the question was being discussed at Saumur whether
Mornay ought to seek reparation by way of arms or by that of law, Henry
IV. wrote to him in his own hand on the 8th of November, 1597:--

“M. du Plessis: I am extremely displeased at the outrage you have met
with, wherein I participate both as king and as your friend.  As the
former I will do you justice and myself too.  If I bore only the second
title, you have none whose sword would be more ready to leap from its
scabbard than mine, or who would put his life at your service more
cheerfully than I.  Take this for granted, that, in effect, I will render
you the offices of king, master, and friend.  And on this truthful
assurance, I conclude, praying God to have you in His holy keeping.”

Saint-Phal remained for a long while concealed in the very district,
amongst his relatives; but on the 12th of January, 1599, he was arrested
and put in the Bastille; and, according to the desire of Mornay himself,
the king decided that he should be brought before him, unarmed, should
place one knee on the ground, should ask his pardon, and then, assuming
his arms, should accordingly receive that pardon, first of all from
Mornay, whom the king had not permitted to exact in another way the
reparation due to him, and afterwards from the mouth of the king himself,
together with a severe admonition to take heed to himself for the future.
The affair having thus terminated, there was no more heard of Saint-Phal,
and Mornay returned to Saumur with a striking mark of the king’s
sympathy, who, in his own words, had felt pleasure “in avenging him as
king and as friend.”

The second incident was of more political consequence, and neither the
king nor Mornay conducted themselves with sufficient discretion and
dignity.  In July, 1598, Mornay published a treatise on the institution
of the eucharist in the Christian church, how and by what degrees the
mass was introduced in its place.  It was not only an attack upon the
fundamental dogma and cult of the Catholic church; the pope was expressly
styled Antichrist in it.  Clement VIII. wrote several times about it to
Henry IV., complaining that a man of such high standing in the government
and in the king’s regard should treat so insultingly a sovereign in
alliance with the king, and head of the church to which the king
belonged.  The pope’s complaint came opportunely.  Henry IV. was at this
time desirous of obtaining from the court of Rome annulment of his
marriage with Marguerite de Valois, that he might be enabled to contract
another; he did not as yet say with whom.  Mornay’s book was vigorously
attacked, not only in point of doctrine, but in point of fact; he was
charged with having built his foundation upon a large number of
misquotations; and the Bishop of Evreux, M. du Perron, a great friend of
the king’s, whom he had always supported and served, said that he was
prepared to point out as such nearly five hundred.  The dispute grew warm
between the two theologians; Mornay demanded leave to prove the falsehood
of the accusation; the bishop accepted the challenge.  For all his
defence of his book and his erudition, Mornay did not show any great
hurry to enter upon the contest; and, on the other hand, the bishop
reduced the number of the quotations against which he objected.  The sum
total of the quotations found fault with was fixed at sixty.  A
conference was summoned to look into them, and six commissioners, three
Catholic and three Protestant, were appointed to give judgment; De Thou
and Pithou amongst the former, Dufresne la Canaye and Casaubon amongst
the latter.  Erudition was worthily represented there, and there was
every probability of justice.  The conference met on the 4th of May,
1600, at Fontainebleau, in presence of the king and many great lords,
magistrates, ecclesiastics, and distinguished spectators.

[Illustration: The Castle of Fontainbleau----124]

Mornay began by owning that “out of four thousand quotations made by him
it was unlikely that some would not be found wherein he might have erred,
as he was human, but he was quite sure that it was never in bad faith.”
 He then said that, being pressed for time, he had not yet been able to
collate more than nineteen out of the sixty quotations specially
attacked.  Of these nineteen nine only were examined at this first
conference, and nearly all were found to be incorrect.  Next day, Mornay
was taken “with a violent seizure and repeated attacks of vomiting, which
M. de la Riviere, the king’s premier physician, came and deposed to.”
 The conference was broken off, and not resumed afterwards.  The king
congratulated himself beyond measure at the result, and even on the part
which he had taken.  “Tell the truth,” said he to the Bishop of Evreux,
“the good right had good need of aid;” and he wrote, on the 6th of May to
the Duke of Epernon, “The diocese of Evreux has beaten that of Saumur.
The bearer was present, and will tell you that I did wonders.  Assuredly
it is one of the greatest hits for the church of God that have been made
for some time.”  He evidently had it very much at heart that the pope
should be well informed of what had taken place, and feel obliged to him
for it.  “Haven’t you wits to see that the king, in order to gratify the
pope, has been pleased to sacrifice my father’s honor at his feet?”  said
young Philip de Mornay to some courtiers who were speaking to him about
this sad affair.  This language was reported to the king, who showed
himself much hurt by it.  “He is a young man beside himself with grief,”
 they said, “and it is his own father’s case.”  “Young he is not,” replied
the king; “he is forty years old, twenty in age and twenty from his
father’s teaching.”  The king’s own circle and his most distinguished
servants gladly joined in his self-congratulation.  “Well,” he said to
Sully, “what think you of your pope?”  “I think, sir,” answered Sully,
“that he is more pope than you suppose; cannot you see that he gives a
red hat to M. d’Evreux?  Really, I never saw a man so dumbfounded, or one
who defended himself so ill.  If our religion had no better foundation
than his crosswise legs and arms (Mornay habitually kept them so), I
would abandon it rather to-day than to-morrow.”  [_OEconomies royales,_
t. iii.  p. 346.]

Sully desired nothing better than to find Mornay at fault, and to see the
king fully convinced of it.  Jealousy is nowhere more wide-awake and more
implacable than at courts.  However, amongst the grandees present at the
conference of Fontainebleau there were some who did not share the general
impression.  “I saw there,” said the Duke of Mayenne as he went away from
it, “only a very old and very faithful servant very badly paid for so
many services;” and, in spite of the king’s letter, the Duke of Epernon
sent word to Mornay that he still took him for a gentleman of honor, and
still remained his friend.  Henry IV. himself, with his delicate and
ready tact, was not slow to perceive that he had gone too far and had
behaved badly.  Being informed that Mornay was in deep suffering, he sent
to him M. de LomLnie, his cabinet-secretary, to fully assure him that the
king would ever be his good master and friend.  “As for master,” said
Mornay, “I am only too sensible of it; as for friend, he belongs not to
me: I have known men to make attempts upon the king’s life, honor, and
state, nay, upon his very bed; against them, the whole of them, he never
displayed so much severity as against me alone, who have done him service
all my life.”  And he set out on his way back to Saumur without seeing
the king again.

He returned thither with all he had dearest in the world, his wife,
Charlotte Arbaleste de la Borde, his worthy partner in all his trials--
trials of prosperity as well as adversity.  She has full right to a few
lines in this History, for it was she who preserved to us, in her
_Memoires,_ the picture, so salutary to contemplate, of the life and
character of Mornay, in the midst of his friends’ outbursts of passion
and his adversaries’ brutal exhibitions of hatred.  As intelligent as she
was devoted, she gave him aid in his theological studies and labors as
well as in the confronting of public events.  “During this expedition to
Fontainebleau, I had remained,” she says, “at Paris, in extreme
apprehension, recently recovered from a severe illness, harassed by the
deadlock in our domestic affairs.  And, as for all that, I felt it not in
comparison with the inevitable mishap of this expedition.  I had found
for M. du Plessis all the books of which he might possibly have need,
hunted up, with great diligence considering the short time, in the
libraries of all our friends, and I got them into his hands, but somewhat
late in the day, because it was too late in the day when he gave me the
commission.”  The private correspondence of these two noble persons is a
fine example of conjugal and Christian union, virtue, and affection.  In
1605, their only son, Philip de Mornay, a very distinguished young man,
then twenty-six years of age, obtained Henry IV.’s authority to go and
serve in the army of the Prince of Orange, Maurice of Nassau, at deadly
war with Spain.  He was killed in it on the 23d of October, at the
assault upon the town of Gueldres.  On receiving news of his death,
“I have now no son,” said his father; “therefore I have now no wife.”
 His sorrowful prediction was no delusion; six mouths after her son’s
death Madame de Mornay succumbed, unable any longer to bear the burden
she was supporting without a murmur.  Her Memoires concludes with this
expression: “It is but reasonable that this my book should end with him,
as it was only undertaken to describe to him our pilgrimage in this life.
And, since it hath pleased God, he hath sooner gone through, and more
easily ended his own.  Wherefore, indeed, if I feared not to cause
affliction to M. du Plessis, who, the more mine grows upon me, makes me
the more clearly perceive his affection, it would vex me extremely to
survive him.”

On learning by letter from Prince Maurice that the young man was dead,
Henry IV. said, with emotion, to those present, “I have lost the fairest
hope of a gentleman in my kingdom.  I am grieved for the father.  I must
send and comfort him.  No father but he could have such a loss.”  “He
despatched on the instant,” says Madame de Mornay herself, “Sieur
Bruneau, one of his secretaries, with very gracious letters to comfort
us; with orders, nevertheless, not to present himself unless he were sure
that we already knew of it otherwise, not wishing to be the first to tell
us such sad news.”  [_Memoires,_ t. ii.  p. 107.] This touching evidence
of a king’s sympathy for a father’s grief effaced, no doubt, to some
extent in Mornay’s mind his reminiscences of the conference at
Fontainebleau; one thing is quite certain, that he continued to render
Henry IV., in the synods and political assemblies of the Protestants, his
usual good offices for the maintenance or re-establishment of peace and
good understanding between the Catholic king and his malcontent former
friends.

A third Protestant, Theodore Agrippa d’Aubigne, grandfather of Madame de
Maintenon, has been reckoned here amongst not the councillors, certainly,
but the familiar and still celebrated servants of Henry IV.  He held no
great post, and had no great influence with the king; he was, on every
occasion, a valiant soldier, a zealous Protestant, an indefatigable lover
and seeker of adventure, sometimes an independent thinker, frequently an
eloquent and bold speaker, always a very sprightly companion.  Henry IV.
at one time employed him, at another held aloof from him, or forgot him,
or considered him a mischief-maker, a faction-monger who must be put in
the Bastille, and against whom, if it seemed good, there would be enough
to put him on his trial.  Madame de Chatillon, who took an interest in
D’Aubigne, warned him of the danger, and urged him to depart that very
evening.  “I will think about it, madame,” said he; “I will implore God’s
assistance, and I will see what I have to do.”  .  .  .  “The inspiration
that came to me,” says he, “was to go next morning very early to see his
Majesty, and, after having briefly set before him my past services, to
ask him for a pension, which up to that time I had not felt inclined to
do.  The king, surprised, and at the same time well pleased to observe a
something mercenary behind all my proud spirit, embraced me, and granted
on the spot what I asked of him.”  The next day D’Aubigne went to the
Arsenal; Sully invited him to dinner, and took him to see the Bastille,
assuring him that there was no longer any danger for him, but only since
the last twenty-four hours.  [_La France Protestante,_ by MM. Haag,
t. i.  p. 170.]  If D’Aubigne had not been a writer, he would be
completely forgotten by this time, like so many other intriguing and
turbulent adventurers, who make a great deal of fuss themselves, and try
to bring everything about them into a fuss as long as they live, and who
die without leaving any trace of their career.  But D’Aubigne wrote a
great deal both in prose and in verse; he wrote the _Histoire
universelle_ of his times, personal _Memoires,_ tales, tragedies, and
theological and satirical essays; and he wrote with sagacious,
penetrating, unpremeditated wit, rare vigor, and original and almost
profound talent for discerning and depicting situations and characters.
It is the writer which has caused the man to live, and has assigned him a
place in French literature even more than in French history.  We purpose
to quote two fragments of his, which will make us properly understand and
appreciate both the writer and the man.  During the civil war, in the
reign of Henry III., D’Aubigne had made himself master of the Island of
Oleron, had fortified it, and considered himself insufficiently rewarded
by the King of Navarre, to whom he had meant to render, and had, in fact,
rendered service.  After the battle of Coutras, in 1587, he was sleeping
with a comrade named Jacques de Caumont la Force, in the wardrobe of the
chamber in which the King of Navarre slept.  “La Force,” said D’Aubigne
to his bed-fellow, “our master is a regular miser, and the most
ungrateful mortal on the face of the earth.”  “What dost say, D’Aubigne?”
 asked La Force, half asleep.  “He says,” repeated the King of Navarre,
who had heard all, that I am a regular miser, and the most ungrateful
mortal on the face of the earth.”  D’Aubigne, somewhat disconcerted, was
mum.  “But,” he adds, “when daylight appeared, this prince, who liked
neither rewarding nor punishing, did not for all that look any the more
black at me, or give me a quarter-crown more.”  Thirty years later, in
1617, after the collapse of the League and after the reign of Henry IV.,
D’Aubigne, wishing to describe the two leaders of the two great parties,
sums them up in these terms: “The Duke of Mayenne had such probity as is
human, a good nature and a liberality which made him most pleasant to
those about him; his was a judicious mind, which made good use of
experience, took the measure of everything by the card; a courage rather
steady than dashing; take him for all in all, he might be called an
excellent captain.  King Henry IV. had all this, save the liberality; but
to make up for that item, his rank caused expectations as to the future
to blossom, which made the hardships of the present go down.  He had,
amongst his points of superiority to the Duke of Mayenne, a marvellous
gift of promptitude and vivacity, and far beyond the average.  We have
seen him, a thousand times in his life, make pat replies without hearing
the purport of a request, and forestall questions without committing
himself.  The Duke of Mayenne was incommoded by his great bodily bulk,
which could not support the burden either of arms or of fatigue duty.
The other, having worked all his men to a stand-still, would send for
hounds and horses for to begin a hunt; and when his horses could go no
farther, he would run down the game afoot.  The former communicated his
heaviness and his maladies to his army, undertaking no enterprise that he
could not support in person; the other communicated his own liveliness to
those about him, and his captains imitated him from complaisance and from
emulation.”

[Illustration: GABRIELLE D’ESTREES--130]

These politicians, these Christians, these warriors had, in 1600, a grave
question to solve for Henry IV., and grave counsel to give him.  He was
anxious to separate from his wife, Marguerite de Valois, who had, in
fact, been separated from him for the last fifteen years, was leading a
very irregular life, and had not brought him any children.  But, in order
to obtain from the pope annulment of the marriage, it was first necessary
that Marguerite should consent to it, and at no price would she consent
so long as the king’s favorite continued to be Gabrielle d’Estrees, whom
she detested, and by whom Henry already had several children.  The
question arose in in 1598, in connection with a son lately born to
Gabrielle, who was constantly spreading reports that she would be the
king’s wife.  To give consistency to this report she took it into her
head to have her son presented at baptism as a child of France, and an
order was brought to Sully “to pay what was right to the heralds,
trumpeters, and hautbois players who had performed at the baptism of
Alexander, Monsieur, child of France.”  After looking at the order, Sully
detained it, and had another made out, which made no mention of
Alexander.  The men complained, saying, “Sir, the sum we ought to have
for our attendance at the baptism of children of France has for a long
while been fixed.”  “ Away, away!” said Sully, in a rage; “I’ll do
nothing of the sort; there are no children of France.”  And he told the
king about it, who said, “There’s malice in that, but I will certainly
stop it; tear up that order.”  And turning to some of his courtiers, “See
the tricks that people play, and the traps they lay for those who serve
me well and after my own heart.  An order hath been sent to M. de Rosny,
with the design of offending me if he honored it, or of offending the
Duchess of Beaufort if he repudiated it.  I will see to it.  Go to her,
my friend,” he said to Rosny; “tell her what has taken place; satisfy her
in so far as you can.  If that is not sufficient, I will speak like the
master, and not like the man.”  Sully went to the cloister of St.
Germain, where the Duchess of Beaufort was lodged, and told her that he
came by the king’s command to inform her of what was going on.  “I am
aware of all,” said Gabrielle, “and do not care to know any more; I am
not made as the king is, whom you persuade that black is white.”  “Ho!
ho! madame,” replied Sully, “since you take it in that way, I kiss your
hands, and shall not fail to do my duty for all your furies.”  He
returned to the Louvre and told the king.  “Here, come with me,” said
Henry; “I will let you see that women have not possession of me, as
certain malignant spirits spread about that they have.”  He got into
Sully’s carriage, went with him to the Duchess of Beaufort’s, and, taking
her by the hand, said, “Now, madame, let us go into your room, and let
nobody else enter except you, and Rosny, and me.  I want to speak to you
both, and teach you to be good friends together.”  Then, having shut the
door quite close, and holding Gabrielle with one hand and Rosny
with the other, he said, “Good God! madame, what is the meaning of this?
So you would vex me for sheer wantonness of heart in order to try my
patience?  By God, I swear to you that, if you continue these fashions of
going on, you will find yourself very much out in your expectations.  I
see quite well that you have been put up to all this pleasantry in order
to make me dismiss a servant whom I cannot do without, and who has always
served me loyally for five and twenty years.  By God, I will do nothing
of the kind, and I declare to you that if I were reduced to such a
necessity as to choose between losing one or the other, I could better do
without ten mistresses like you than one servant like him.”

Gabrielle stormed, was disconsolate, wept, threw herself at the king’s
feet, and, “seeing him more strong-minded than had been supposed by those
who had counselled her to this escapade, began to calm herself,” says
Sully, “and everything was set right again on every side.”

But Sully was not at the end of his embarrassments or of the sometimes
feeble and sometimes sturdy fancies of his king.  On the 10th of April,
1599, Gabrielle d’Estrees died so suddenly that, according to the bias of
the times, when, in the highest ranks, crimes were so common that they
were always considered possible and almost probable, she was at first
supposed to have been poisoned; but there seemed to be no likelihood of
this.  The consent of Marguerite de Valois to the annulment of her
marriage was obtained; and negotiations were opened at Rome by Arnold
d’Ossat, who was made a cardinal, and by Brulart de Sillery, ambassador
ad hoc.  But a new difficulty supervened; not for the negotiators, who
knew, or appeared to know, nothing about it, but for Sully.  In three or
four weeks after the death of Gabrielle d’Estrees Henry IV. was paying
court to a new favorite.  One morning, at Fontainebleau, just as he was
going out hunting, he took Sully by the hand, led him into the first
gallery, gave him a paper, and, turning the other way as if he were
ashamed to see it read by Sully, “Read that,” said he, “and then tell me
your opinion of it.”  Sully found that it was a promise of marriage given
to Mdlle. Henriette d’Entraigues, daughter of Francis de Balzac, Lord of
Entraigues, and Marie Touchet, favorite of Charles IX.  Sully went up to
the king, holding in his hand the paper folded up.

“What do you think of it?” said the king.  “Now, now, speak freely; your
silence offends me far more than your most adverse expressions could.  I
misdoubt me much that you will not give me your approval, if it were only
for the hundred thousand crowns that I made you hand over with so much
regret; I promise you not to be vexed at anything you can possibly say to
me.”  “You mean it, sir, and you promise not to be angry with me,
whatever I may say or do?”  “Yes, yes; I promise all you desire, since
for anything you say it will be all the same, neither more nor less.”
 Thereupon, taking that written promise as if he would have given it back
to the king, Sully, instead of that, tore it in two, saying, a “There,
sir, as you wish to know, is what I think about such a promise.”  “Ha!
morbleu, what are you at?  Are you mad?”  “It is true, sir; I am a madman
and fool; and I wish I were so much thereof as to be the only one in
France.”  “Very well, very well: I understand you,” said the king, “and
will say no more, in order to keep my word to you; but give me back that
paper.”  “Sir,” replied Sully, “I have no doubt your Majesty is aware
that you are destroying all the preparatives for your dismarriage, for,
this promise once divulged,--and it is demanded of you for no other
purpose,--never will the queen, your wife, do the things necessary to
make your dismarriage valid, nor indeed will the pope bestow upon it his
Apostolic blessing; that I know of my own knowledge.”

The king made no answer, went out of the gallery, entered his closet,
asked for pen and ink, remained there a quarter of an hour, wrote out a
second paper like that which had just been torn up, mounted his horse
without saying a word to Sully whom he met, went hunting, and, during the
day, deposited the new promise of marriage with Henriette d’Entraigues,
who kept it or had it kept in perfect secrecy till the 2d of July, the
time at which her father, the Count of Entiaigues, gave her up to, the
king in consideration of twenty thousand crowns cash.

In the teeth of all these incidents, known or voluntarily ignored, the
negotiations for the annulment of the marriage of Henry IV.  and
Marguerite de Valois were proceeded with at Rome by consent of the two
parties.  Clement VIII. had pronounced on the 17th of December, 1599,
and transmitted to Paris by Cardinal de Joyeuse the decree of annulment.
On the 6th of January, 1600, Henry IV. gave his ambassador, Brulart de
Sillery, powers to conclude at Florence his marriage with Mary
de’ Medici, daughter of Francis I. de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany,
and Joan, Archduchess of Austria and niece of the Grand Duke Ferdinand I.
de’ Medici, who had often rendered Henry IV. pecuniary services dearly
paid for.  As early as the year 1592 there had been something said about
this project of alliance; it was resumed and carried out on the 5th of
October, 1600, at Florence with lavish magnificence.  Mary embarked at
Leghorn on the 17th with a fleet of seventeen galleys; that of which she
was aboard, the _General,_ was all covered over with jewels, inside and
out; she arrived at Marseilles on the 3d of November, and at Lyons on the
2d of December, where she waited till the 9th for the king, who was
detained by the war with Savoy.  He entered her chamber in the middle of
the night, booted and armed, and next day, in the cathedral-church of
St. John, re-celebrated his marriage, more rich in wealth than it was
destined to be in happiness.  Mary de’ Medici was beautiful in 1592, when
she had first been talked about, and her portrait at that time had
charmed the king; but in 1600 she was twenty-seven, tall, fat, with
round, staring eyes and a forbidding air, and ill dressed.  She knew
hardly a word of French; and Henriette d’Entraigues, whom the king had
made Marquise do Verneuil, could not help exclaiming when she saw her,
“So that is the fat bankeress from Florence!”

Henry IV. seemed to have attained in his public and in his domestic life
the pinnacle of earthly fortune and ambition.  He was, at one and the
same time, Catholic king and the head of the Protestant polity in Europe,
accepted by the Catholics as the best, the only possible, king for them
in France.  He was at peace with all Europe, except one petty prince, the
Duke of Savoy, Charles Emmanuel I., from whom he demanded back the
marquisate of Saluzzo, or a territorial compensation in France itself on
the French side of the Alps.  After a short campaign, and thanks to
Rosny’s ordnance, he obtained what he desired, and by a treaty of January
17, 1601, he added to French territory La Bresse, Le Bugey, the district
of Gex, and the citadel of Bourg, which still held out after the capture
of the town.  He was more and more dear to France, to which he had
restored peace at home as well as abroad, and industrial, commercial,
financial, monumental, and scientific prosperity, until lately unknown.
Sully covered the country with roads, bridges, canals, buildings, and
works of public utility.  The moment the king, after the annulment of his
marriage with Marguerite de Valois, saw his new wife, Mary de’ Medici, at
Lyons, she had disgusted him, and she disgusted him more every day by her
cantankerous and headstrong temper; but on the 27th of September, 1601,
she brought him a son, who was to be Louis XIII.  Henry used to go for
distraction from his wife’s temper to his favorite, Henriette
d’Entraigues, who knew how to please him at the same time that she was
haughty and exacting towards him.  He set less store upon the peace of
his household than upon that of his kingdom; he had established his
favorite at the Louvre itself, close beside his wife; and, his new
marriage once contracted, he considered his domestic life settled, as
well as his political position.

He was mistaken on both points; he was not at the end of either his
political dangers or his amorous fancies.  Since 1595, his principal
companion in arms, or rather his camp-favorite, Charles de Gontaut, Baron
de Biron, whom he had made admiral, duke, and marshal of France, was, all
the while continuing to serve him in the field, becoming day by day a
determined conspirator against him.  He had begun by being a reckless
gamester; and in that way he lost fifteen hundred thousand crowns, about
six millions (of francs) of our day.  “I don’t know,” said he, “whether I
shall die on the scaffold or not; but I will never come to the
poorhouse.”  He added, “When peace is concluded, the king’s love-affairs,
the scarcity of his largesses, and the discontent of many will lead to
plenty of splits, more than are necessary to embroil the most peaceful
kingdoms in the world.  And, should that fail, we shall find in religion
more than we want to put the most lukewarm Huguenots in a passion and the
most penitent Leaguers in a fury.”  Henry IV. regarded Biron with tender
affection.  I never loved anybody as I loved him,” he used to say;
“I would have trusted my son and my kingdom to him.  He has done me good
service; but he cannot say that I did not save his life three times.  I
pulled him out of the enemy’s hands at Fontaine-Francaise so wounded and
so dazed with blows, that, as I had acted soldier in saving him, I also
acted marshal as regarded the retreat.”  Biron nevertheless prosecuted
his ambitious designs; the independent sovereignty of Burgundy was what
he aspired to, and any alliance, any plot, was welcome as a
stepping-stone.  “Caesar or nothing,” he would say.  “I will not die
without seeing my head on a quarter-crown piece.”  He entered into
flagrant conspiracy with the King of Spain, with the Duke of Savoy, with
the French malcontents, the Duke of Bouillon, and the Count of Auvergne.
Henry IV. knew it, and made every effort to appear ignorant of it, to win
Biron back to him; he paid his debts; he sent him on an embassy he
tempted him to confessions which should entitle him to a full pardon.
“Let him weep,” he would say, “and I will weep with him; let him remember
what he owes me, and I will not forget what I owe him.  I were loath that
Marshal de Biron should be the first example of my just severity, and
that my reign, which has hitherto been calm and serene, should be charged
all at once with thunder and lightning.”  He employed Rosily to bring
Biron to confess.  “My friend,” said he, “here is an unhappy man, the
marshal.  It is a serious case.  I am anxious to spare him.  I cannot
bring myself to harm a man who has courage, who has served me so long and
been so familiar with me.  My fear is that, though I spare him, he will
not spare me or my children, or my kingdom.  He would never confess
anything to me; he behaves to me like a man who has some mischief in his
heart.  I beg you to see him.  If he is open with you, assure him that he
may come to me and I will forgive him with all my heart.”  Rosny tried
and failed.  “It is not I who want to destroy this man,” said the king;
“it is he who wants to destroy himself.  I will myself tell him that, if
he lets himself be brought to justice, he has no mercy whatever to expect
from me.”  He saw Biron at Fontainebleau, received him after dinner,
spoke to him with his usual familiarity, and pointing to his own
equestrian statue in marble which was on the mantelpiece, said, “What
would the King cf Spain say if he saw me like that, eh?”  “He would not
be much afraid of you,” answered Biron.  Henry gave him a stern look.
The marshal tried to take back his words: “I mean, sir, if he were to see
you in that statue yonder, and not in your own person.”  The retreat was
not successful; the shot had taken effect; Henry left the room, went back
into his closet, and gave orders to his captain of the guard to arrest
him.  Then he returned to the room and said, “Marshal, reflect upon what
I have said to you.”  Biron preserved a frigid silence.  “Adieu, Baron de
Biron!” said the king, thus by a single word annulling all his dignities,
and sending him before his proper judges to answer for his treasons.  On
the 18th of June, 1602, he brought the marshal before the court of
Parliament.  The inquiry lasted three weeks.  Biron was unanimously
condemned to death by a hundred and twenty-seven judges “for conspiracies
against the king’s person, attempts upon his kingdom, and treasons and
treaties with the enemies of the kingdom.”  The king gave to this
sentence all the alleviations compatible with public interests.  He
allowed Biron to make his will, remitted the confiscation of his
property, and ordered that the execution should take place at the
Bastille, in the presence of certain functionaries, and not on the Place
de Greve and before the mob.  When Biron found himself convicted and
sentenced, he burst into a fury, loaded his judges with insults, and
roared out that “if he were driven to despair and frenzy, he would
strangle half of those present and force the other half to kill him.”
 The executioner was obliged to strike him unawares.  Those present
withdrew dumbfounded at the crime, the prisoner’s rage, the execution,
and the scene.

When the question of conspiracies and conspirators--with Spain against
France and her king had thus been publicly raised and decided, it
entailed another: had the Spanish monks, the Jesuits, to call them by
their own name, taken part therein?  Should proceedings accordingly be
taken against them?  They were no longer in France; they had been
banished on the 29th of December, 1594, by a solemn decree of Parliament,
after John Chatel’s attempt.  They were demanding their return.  The pope
was demanding it for them.  If at other times,” they said, “the society
had shown hostility to France and her king, it was because, though well
received everywhere else, especially in the dominions of the King of
Spain, they had met in France with nothing but persecutions and insults.
If Henry would be pleased to testify good will towards them, he would
soon find them devoted to his person and his throne.”  The question was
debated at the king’s council, and especially between Henry IV. and Sully
when they were together.

[Illustration: Henry IV. and his Ministers----138]

Sully did not like the return of the Jesuits.  “They are away,” said he;
“let them remain so.  If they return, it will be all very fine for them
to wish, and all very fine for them to act; their presence, their
discourse, their influence, involuntary though it be, will be opposed to
you, will heat your enemies, will irritate your friends; hatred and
mistrust will go on increasing.”  The king was of a different opinion.
“Of necessity,” he said to Sully, “I must now do one of two things: admit
the Jesuits purely and simply, relieve them from the defamation and
insults with which they have been blasted, and put to the proof all their
fine sentiments and excellent promises, or use against them all
severities that can be imagined to keep them from ever coming near me and
my dominions.  In which latter case, there is no doubt it would be enough
to reduce them to utter despair, and to thoughts of attempting my life;
which would render me miserable or listless, living constantly in
suspicion of being poisoned or assassinated, for these gentry have
communications and correspondence everywhere, and great dexterity in
disposing men’s minds as it seems good to them.  It were better for me to
be dead, being therein of Caesar’s opinion that the pleasantest death is
that which is least foreseen and apprehended.”  The king then called to
remembrance the eight projected or attempted assassinations which, since
the failure of John Chatel, from 1596 to 1603, had been, and clearly
established to have been, directed against him.  Upon this, Sully at once
went over to the king’s opinion.  In September, 1603, letters for the
restoration of the Jesuits were issued and referred to the Parliament of
Paris.  They there met, on the 24th of December, with strong opposition
and remonstrances that have remained celebrated, the mouthpiece being the
premier president Achille de Harlay, the same who had courageously
withstood the Duke of Guise.  He conjured the king to withdraw his
letters patent, and to leave intact the decree which had banished the
Jesuits.  This was not, he said, the feeling of the Parliament of Paris
only, but also of the Parliaments of Normandy and Burgundy; that is, of
two thirds of the magistrates throughout the king dom.  Henry was touched
and staggered.  He thanked the Parliament most affectionately; but, “We
must not reproach the, Jesuits for the League,” said he; “it was the
fault of the times.  Leave me to deal with this business.  I have managed
others far more difficult.”  The Parliament obeyed, though with regret,
and on the 2d of January, 1604, the king’s letters patent were
enregistered.

This was not the only business that Henry had at heart; he had another of
another sort, and, for him, more difficult to manage.  In February, 1609,
he saw, for the first time, at the court of France, Charlotte Marguerite,
third daughter of the Constable de Montmorency, only sixteen years old.
“There was at that time,” say all contemporaries, “nothing so beautiful
under heaven, or more graceful, or more perfect.”  Before presenting her
at court, her father had promised her to Francis de Bassompierre,
descended from a branch of the house of Cloves, thirty years old, and
already famous for his wit, his magnificence, and his gallantry.  He was
one of the principal gentlemen of the chamber to the king.  Henry IV.
sent for him one morning, made him kneel on a hassock in front of his
bed, and said that, obtaining no sleep, he had been thinking of him the
night before, and of getting him married.  “As for me,” says
Bassompierre, “who was thinking of nothing so little as of what he wanted
to say to me, I answered that, if it were not for the constable’s gout,
it would have already been done.  ‘No,’ said he to me, ‘I thought of
getting you married to Mlle. d’Aumale, and, in consequence of that
marriage, of renewing the Duchy of Aumale in your person.’  I asked him
if he wanted me to have two wives.  Then he said to me with a deep sigh,
‘Bassompierre, I will speak to thee as a friend.  I have become not only
enamoured, but mad, beside myself, about Mlle. de Montmorency.  If thou
wed her and she love thee, I shall hate thee; if she loved me, thou
wouldst hate me.  It is better that this should not be the cause of
destroying our good understanding, for I love thee affectionately and
sincerely.  I am resolved to marry her to my nephew the Prince of Conde,
and keep her near my family.  That shall be the consolation and the
support of the old age which is coming upon me.  I shall give my nephew,
who is young and loves hunting ten thousand times better than women, a
hundred thousand francs a year to pass his time, and I want no other
favor from her but her affection, without looking for anything more.”

Thoroughly astounded and put out as he was, Bassompierre reflected that
it was, so far as he was concerned, “an amour modified by marriage,” and
that it would be better to give way to the king with a good grace: and,
“I withdraw, sir,” he said, on very good terms as regarded Mdlle. de
Montmorency as well as himself.  The king embraced him, wept, promised to
love him dearly, saw him again in the evening in company with Mdlle. de
Montmorency, who knew nothing, and conversed a long while with the young
princess.  When she retired, perceiving that Bassompierre was watching
her, she shrugged her shoulders, as if to hint to him what the king had
said to her.  “I lie not,” says Bassompierre: “that single action pierced
me to the heart; I spent two days in tormenting myself like one
possessed, without sleeping, drinking, or eating.”  Two or three days
afterwards the Prince of Conde, announced that he intended to marry
Mdlle.  de Montmorency.  The court and the city talked of nothing but
this romance and the betrothal which immediately followed.

Henry IV. was fifty-six.  He had been given to gallantry all his life;
and he had never been faithful or exacting in his attachments.  He was
not one of those on whom ridicule fastens as fair prey; but he was so
under the dominion of his new passion that the young Princess of Conde,
who had at first exclaimed, “Jesus, my God, he is mad!”  began to fancy
to herself that she would be queen before long.  Mary de Medici became
jealous and uneasy.  She determined to take her precautions, and demanded
to be crowned before the king set out on the campaign which, it was said,
he was about to commence against Austria in accordance with his grand
design and in concert with the Protestant princes of Germany, his allies.
The Prince of Conde had a fit of jealousy; he carried off his wife first
into Picardy; and then to Brussels, where he left her.  Henry IV., in
respect, first, of going to see her, then of getting her to come back,
then of threatening to go after her out of France, took some wild and
puerile steps, which, being coincident with his warlike announcements and
preparations, caused some strange language to be used, and were injurious
to his personal weight as well as to his government’s character for
steadiness.  Sully grew impatient and uneasy.  Mary de’ Medici was
insisting strongly upon being crowned.  The prospect of this coronation
was displeasing to Henry IV., and he did not conceal it.  “Hey! my
friend,” he said to Sully: “I know not what is the meaning of it, but my
heart tells me that some misfortune will happen to me.”  He was sitting
on a low chair which had been made for him by Sully’s orders at the
Arsenal, thinking and beating his fingers on his spectacle-case; then all
on a sudden he jumped up, and slapping his hands upon his thighs, “By
God,” he said, “I shall die in this city, and shall never go out of it.
They will kill me; I see quite well that they have no other remedy in
their dangers but my death.  Ah! accursed coronation!  Thou wilt be the
cause of my death.”  “Jesus! Sir,” cried Sully, “what fancy of yours is
this?  If it continue, I am of opinion that you should break off this
anointment and coronation, and expedition and war; if you please to give
me orders, it shall soon be done.”  “Yes, break off the coronation,” said
the king: “let me hear no more about it; I shall have my mind at rest
from divers fancies which certain warnings have put into it.  To bide
nothing from you, I have been told that I was to be killed at the first
grand ceremony I should undertake, and that I should die in a carriage.”
 “You never told me that, sir; and so have I often been astounded to see
you cry out when in a carriage, as if you had dreaded this petty peril,
after having so many times seen you amidst cannon-balls, musketry,
lance-thrusts, pike-thrusts, and sword-thrusts; without being a bit
afraid.  Since your mind is so exercised thereby, if I were you, I would
go away to-morrow, let the coronation take place without you, or put it
off to another time, and not enter Paris for a long while, or in a
carriage.  If you please, I will send word to Notre-Dame and St. Denis
to stop everything and to withdraw the workmen.”  “I am very much
inclined,” said the king; “ but what will my wife say?  For she hath
gotten this coronation marvellously into her head.”  “She may say what
she likes; but I cannot think that, when she knows your opinion about it,
she will persist any longer.”

Whatever Sully might say, Mary de’ Medici “took infinite offence at the
king for his alarms: the matter was disputed for three days, with high
words on all sides, and at last the laborers were sent back to work
again.”

Henry, in spite of his presentiments, made no change in his plans; he did
not go away; he did not defer the queen’s coronation; on the contrary, he
had it proclaimed on the 12th of May, 1610, that she would be crowned
next day, the 13th, at St. Denis, and that on Sunday, the 16th, she would
make her entry into Paris.  On Friday, the 14th, he had an idea of going
to the Arsenal to see Sully, who was ill; we have the account of this
visit and of the king’s assassination given by Malherbe, at that time
attached to the service of Henry IV., in a letter written on the 19th of
May, from the reports of eye-witnesses, and it is here reproduced, word
for word.

[Illustration: The Arsenal in the Reign of Henry IV.----143]

“The king set out soon after dinner to go to the Arsenal.  He deliberated
a long while whether he should go out, and several times said to the
queen, ‘My dear, shall I go or not?’  He even went out two or three
times, and then all on a sudden returned, and said to the queen, ‘My
dear, shall I really go?’ and again he had doubts about going or
remaining.  At last he made up his mind to go, and, having kissed the
queen several times, bade her adieu.  Amongst other things that were
remarked he said to her, ‘I shall only go there and back; I shall be here
again almost directly.’  When he got to the bottom of the steps, where
his carriage was waiting for him, M. de Praslin, his captain of the
guard, would have attended him, but said to him, ‘Get you gone; I want
nobody; go about your business.’

“Thus having about him only a few gentlemen and some footmen, he got into
his carriage, took his place on the back seat at the left hand side, and
made M. d’Epernon sit at the right.  Next to him, by the door, were M. de
Montbazon and M. de la Force; and by the door on M. d’Epernon’s side were
Marshal de Lavardin and M. de Crsqui; on the front seat the Marquis of
Mirabeau and the first equerry.  When he came to the Croix-du-Tiroir he
was asked whither it was his pleasure to go; he gave orders to go towards
St. Innocent.  On arriving at Rue de la Ferronnerie, which is at the end
of that of St. Honors on the way to that of St. Denis, opposite the
Salamandre he met a cart, which obliged the king’s carriage to go nearer
to the ironmongers’ shops which are on the St. Innocent side, and even to
proceed somewhat more slowly, without stopping, however, though somebody,
who was in a hurry to get the gossip printed, has written to that effect.
Here it was that an abominable assassin, who had posted himself against
the nearest shop, which is that with the _Coeur couronng perce d’une
fleche,_ darted upon the king, and dealt him, one after the other, two
blows with a knife in the left side; one, catching him between the armpit
and the nipple, went upwards without doing more than graze; the other
catches him between the fifth and sixth ribs, and, taking a downward
direction, cuts a large artery of those called venous.  The king, by
mishap, and as if to further tempt this monster, had his left hand on the
shoulder of M. de Montbazon, and with the other was leaning on M.
d’Epernon, to whom he was speaking.  He uttered a low cry and made a few
movements.  M. de Montbazon having asked, ‘What is the matter, sir?’ he
answered, ‘It is nothing,’ twice; but the second time so low that there
was no making sure.  These are the only words he spoke after he was
wounded.

“In a moment the carriage turned towards the Louvre.  When he was at the
steps where he had got into the carriage, which are those of the queen’s
room, some wine was given him.  Of course some one had already run
forward to bear the news.  Sieur de Csrisy, lieutenant of M. de Praslin’s
company, having raised his head, he made a few movements with his eyes,
then closed them immediately, without opening them again any more.  He
was carried up stairs by M. de Montbazon and Count de Curzon en Quercy,
and laid on the bed in his closet, and at two o’clock carried to the bed
in his chamber, where he was all the next day and Sunday.  Somebody went
and gave him holy water.  I tell you nothing about the queen’s tears; all
that must be imagined.  As for the people of Paris, I think they never
wept so much as on this occasion.”

The grief was deep and general, at the court as well as amongst the
people, in the provinces as well as at Paris; and with the grief were
mingled surprise and alarm, and an idea, also, that the king had died
unhappy and uneasy.  On the 14th of May, in the morning, before starting
upon his visit to the Arsenal, he had gone to hear mass at the
Feuillants’ [order of St.  Bernard]; and on his return he said to the
Duke of Guise and to Bassompierre, who were in attendance, “You do not
understand me now, you and the rest; but I shall die one of these days,
and, when you have lost me, you will know my worth and the difference
there is between me and other kings.”  “My God, sir,” said Bassompierre,
“will you never cease vexing us by telling us that you will soon die?
You will live, please God, some good, long years.  You are only in the
flower of your age, in perfect bodily health and strength, full of honor
more than any mortal man, in the most flourishing kingdom in the world,
loved and adored by your subjects, with fine houses, fine women, fine
children who are growing up.”  Henry sighed as he said, “My friend, all
that must be left.”

These are the last words that are to be found of his in contemporary
accounts; a few hours afterwards he was smitten to death in his carriage,
brought back to the Louvre, laid out on his bed; one of his councillors
of state, M. de Vie, seated on the same bed, had put to his mouth his
cross of the order, and directed his thoughts to God; Milon, his chief
physician, was at the bedside, weeping: his surgeons wanted to dress his
wounds; a sigh died away on his lips, and “It is all over,” said the
physician; “he is gone.”  Guise and Bassompierre went out to look after
what was passing out of doors; they met “M. de Sully with some forty
horse, who, when he came up to us, said to us in tearful wise,
‘Gentlemen, if the service ye vowed to the king is impressed upon your
souls as deeply as it ought to be with all good Frenchmen, swear all of
ye this moment to keep towards the king his son and successor the same
allegiance that ye showed him, and to spend your lives and your blood in
avenging his death?’   ‘Sir,’ said Bassompierre, ‘it is for us to cause
this oath to be taken by others; we have no need to be exhorted thereto;’
Sully turned his eyes upon him, he adds, and then went and shut himself
up in the Bastille, sending out to ‘seize and carry off all the bread
that could be found in the market and at the bakers’.  He also despatched
a message in haste to M. de Rohan, his son-in-law, bidding him face about
with six thousand Swiss, whose colonel-general he was, and march on
Paris.”  Henry IV.  being dead, it was for France and for the kingship
that Sully felt alarm and was taking his precautions.

[Illustration: The Louvre----145]



CHAPTER XXXVII.----REGENCY OF MARY DE’ MEDICI. (1610-1617.)

On the death of Henry IV. there was extreme disquietude as well as grief
in France.  To judge by appearances, however, there was nothing to
justify excessive alarm.  The edict of Nantes (April 13, 1598) had put an
end, so far as the French were concerned, to religious wars.  The treaty
of Vervins (May 2, 1598) between France and Spain, the twelve years’
truce between Spain and the United Provinces (April 9, 1609), the death
of Philip II. (September 13, 1598), and the alliance between France and
England seemed to have brought peace to Europe.  It might have been
thought that there remained no more than secondary questions, such as the
possession of the marquisate of Saluzzo and the succession to the duchies
of C1eves and Juliers.  But the instinct of peoples sees further than the
negotiations of diplomats.  In the public estimation of Europe Henry IV.
was the representative of and the security for order, peace, national and
equitable policy, intelligent and practical ideas.  So thought Sully
when, at the king’s death, he went, equally alarmed and disconsolate, and
shut himself up in the arsenal; and the people had grounds for being of
Sully’s opinion.  Public confidence was concentrated upon the king’s
personality.  Spectators pardoned, almost with a smile, those tender
foibles of his which, nevertheless, his proximity to old age rendered
still more shocking.  They were pleased at the clear-sighted and strict
attention he paid to the education of his son Louis, the dauphin, to
whose governess, Madame de Montglas, he wrote, “I am vexed with you for
not having sent me word that you have whipped my son, for I do wish and
command you to whip him every time he shows obstinacy in anything wrong,
knowing well by my own case that there is nothing in the world that does
more good than that.”  And to Mary de’ Medici herself he added, “Of one
thing I do assure you, and that is, that, being of the temper I know you
to be of, and foreseeing that of your son, you stubborn, not to say
headstrong, madame, and he obstinate, you will verily have many a tussle
together.”

[Illustration: Marie de Medicis----147]

Henry IV. saw as clearly into his wife’s as into his son’s character.
Persons who were best acquainted with the disposition of Mary de’ Medici,
and were her most indulgent critics, said of her, in 1610, when she was
now thirty-seven years of age, “that she was courageous, haughty, firm,
discreet, vain, obstinate, vindictive and mistrustful, inclined to
idleness, caring but little about affairs, and fond of royalty for
nothing beyond its pomp and its honors.”  Henry had no liking for her or
confidence in her, and in private had frequent quarrels with her.  He
had, nevertheless, had her coronation solemnized, and had provided by
anticipation for the necessities of government.  On the king’s death, and
at the imperious instance of the Duke of Epernon, who at once introduced
the queen, and said in open session, as he exhibited his sword, “It is as
yet in the scabbard; but it will have to leap therefrom unless this
moment there be granted to the queen a title which is her due according
to the order of nature and of justice,” the Parliament forthwith declared
Mary regent of, the kingdom.  Thanks to Sully’s firm administration,
there were, after the ordinary annual expenses were paid, at that time in
the vaults of the Bastille or in securities easily realizable, forty-one
million three hundred and forty-five thousand livres, and there was
nothing to suggest that extraordinary and urgent expenses would come to
curtail this substantial reserve.  The army was disbanded, and reduced to
from twelve to fifteen thousand men, French or Swiss.  For a long time
past no power in France had, at its accession, possessed so much material
strength and so much moral authority.

[Illustration: Concini, Leonora Galigai, and Mary de’ Medici----149]

But Mary de’ Medici had, in her household and in her court, the
wherewithal to rapidly dissipate this double treasure.  In 1600, at the
time of her marriage, she had brought from Florence to Paris her nurse’s
daughter, Leonora Galigai, and Leonora’s husband, Concino Concini, son_
of a Florentine notary, both of them full of coarse ambition, covetous,
vain, and determined to make the best of their new position so as to
enrich themselves, and exalt themselves beyond measure, and at any price.
Mary gave them, in that respect, all the facilities they could possibly
desire; they were her confidants, her favorites, and her instruments, as
regarded both her own affairs and theirs.  These private and subordinate
servants were before long joined by great lords, court-folks, ambitious
and vain likewise, egotists, mischief-makers, whom the strong and able
hand of Henry IV. had kept aloof, but who, at his death, returned upon
the scene, thinking of nothing whatever but their own fortunes and their
rivalries.  They shall just be named here pell-mell, whether members or
relatives of the royal family or merely great lords the Condes, the
Contis, the Enghiens, the Dukes of Epernon, Guise, Elbeuf, Mayenne,
Bouillon, and Nevers, great names and petty characters encountered at
every step under the regency of Mary de’ Medici, and, with their
following, forming about her a court-hive, equally restless and useless.
Time does justice to some few men, and executes justice on the ruck: one
must have been of great worth indeed to deserve not to be forgotten.
Sully appeared once more at court after his momentary retreat to the
arsenal; but, in spite of the show of favor which Mary de’ Medici thought
it prudent and decent to preserve towards him for some little time, he
soon saw that it was no longer the place for him, and that he was of as
little use there to the state as to himself; he sent in, one after the
other, his resignation of all his important offices, and terminated his
life in regular retirement at Rosny and Sully-sur-Loire.  Du Plessis-
Mornay attempted to still exercise a salutary influence over his party.

“Let there be no more talk amongst us,” said he, “of Huguenots or
Papists; those words are prohibited by our edicts.  And, though there
were no edict at all, still if we are French, if we love our country, our
families, and even ourselves, they ought henceforth to be wiped out of
our remembrance.  Whoso is a good Frenchman, shall to me be a citizen,
shall to me be a brother.”  This meritorious and patriotic language was
not entirely without moral effect, but it no longer guided, no longer
inspired the government; egotism, intrigue, and mediocrity in ideas as
well as in feelings had taken the place of Henry IV.  Facts, before long,
made evident the sad result of this.  All the parties, all the personages
who walked the stage and considered themselves of some account, believed
that the moment had arrived for pushing their pretensions, and lost no
time about putting them forward.  Those persons we will just pass in
review without stopping at any one of them.  History has no room for all
those who throng about her gates without succeeding in getting in and
leaving traces of their stay. The reformers were the party to which the
reign of Henry IV. had brought most conquests, and which was bound to
strive above everything to secure the possession of them by extracting
from them every legitimate and practicable consequence.  Mary de’ Medici,
having been declared regent, lost no time about confirming, on the 22d of
May, 1610, the edict of Nantes and proclaiming religious peace as the due
of France.  “We have nothing to do with the quarrels of the grandees,”
 said the people of Paris; “we have no mind to be mixed up with them.”
 Some of the preachers of repute and of the party’s old leaders used the
same language.  “There must be nought but a scarf any longer between us,”
 Du Plessis-Mornay would say.  Two great Protestant names were still
intact at this epoch: one, the Duke of Sully, without engaging in
religious polemics, had persisted in abiding by the faith of his fathers,
in spite of his king’s example and attempts to bring him over to the
Catholic faith: the other, Du Plessis-Mornay, had always striven, and was
continuing to strive, actively for the Protestant cause.  These two
illustrious champions of the Reformed party were in agreement with the
new principles of national right, and with the intelligent instincts of
their people, whose confidence they deserved and seemed to possess.

But the passions, the usages, and the suspicions of the party were not
slow in reappearing.  The Protestants were highly displeased to see the
Catholic worship and practices re-established in Bearn, whence Queen
Jeanne of Navarre had banished them; the rights of religious liberty were
not yet powerful enough with them to surmount their taste for exclusive
domination.  As a guarantee for their safety, they had been put in
possession of several strong places in France; neither the edict of
Nantes nor its confirmation by Mary de’ Medici appeared to them a
sufficient substitute for this guarantee; and they claimed its
continuance, which was granted them for five years.  After Henry IV.’s
conversion to Catholicism, his European policy had no longer been
essentially Protestant; he had thrown out feelers and entered into
negotiations for Catholic alliances; and these, when the king’s own
liberal and patriotic spirit was no longer there to see that they did not
sway his government, became objects of great suspicion and antipathy to
the Protestants.  Henry had constantly and to good purpose striven
against the spirit of religious faction and civil war; anxious, after his
death, about their liberty and their political importance, the Reformers
reassumed a blind confidence in their own strength, and a hope of forming
a small special state in the midst of the great national state.  Their
provincial assemblies and their national synods were, from 1611 to 1621,
effective promoters of this tendency, which before long became a formal
and organized design; at Saumur, at Tonneins, at Privas, at Grenoble, at
Loudun, at La Rochelle, the language, the movements, and the acts of the
party took more and more the character of armed resistance, and, ere
long, of civil war; the leaders, old and new.

Duke Henry of Rohan as well as the Duke of Bouillon, the Marquis of La
Force as well as the Duke of Lesdiguieres, more or less timidly urged on
the zealous Protestants in that path from which the ancient counsels of
Sully and Mornay were not successful in deterring them.  On the 10th of
May, 1621, in the assembly at La Rochelle, a commission of nine members
was charged to present and get adopted a, plan of military organization
whereby Protestant France, Warn included, was divided into eight circles,
having each a special council composed of three deputies at the general
assembly, under a chief who had the disposal of all the military forces;
with each army-corps there was a minister to preach; the royal moneys,
talliages, aid and gabel, were to be seized for the wants of the army;
the property of the Catholic church was confiscated, and the revenues
therefrom appropriated to the expenses of war and the pay of the
ministers of the religion.  It was a Protestant republic, organized on
the model of the United Provinces, and disposed to act as regarded the
French kingship with a large measure of independence.  When, after thus
preparing for war, they came to actually make it, the Protestants soon
discovered their impotence; the Duke of Bouillon, sixty-five years of age
and crippled with gout, interceded for them in his letters to Louis
XIII., but did not go out of Sedan; the Duke of Lesdiguieres, to whom the
assembly had given the command of the Protestants of Burgundy, Provence,
and Dauphiny, was at that very moment on the point of abjuring their
faith and marching with their enemies.  Duke Henry of Rohan himself, who
was the youngest, and seemed to be the most ardent, of their new chiefs,
was for doing nothing and breaking up.  “If you are not disposed to
support the assembly,” said the Marquis of Chateauneuf, who had been sent
to him to bring him to a decision, “it will be quite able to defend
itself without you.”  “If the assembly,” said Rohan, feeling his honor
touched, “does take resolutions contrary to my advice, I shall not sever
myself from the interest of our churches; “and he sacrificed his better
judgment to the popular blindness.  The Dukes of La Tremoille and of
Soubise, and the Marquises of La Force and of Chatillon followed suit.
As M. de Sismondi says, to these five lords and to a small number of
towns was the strength reduced of the party which was defying the King of
France.

Thus, since the death of Henry IV., the king and court of France were
much changed: the great questions and the great personages had
disappeared.  The last of the real chiefs of the League, the brother of
Duke Henry of Guise, the old Duke of Mayenne, he on whom Henry, in the
hour of victory, would wreak no heavier vengeance than to walk him to a
stand-still, was dead.  Henry IV.’s first wife, the sprightly and too
facile Marguerite de Valois, was dead also, after consenting to descend
from the throne in order to make way for the mediocre Mary de’ Medici.
The Catholic champion whom Henry IV. felicitated himself upon being able
to oppose to Du Plessis-Mornay in the polemical conferences between the
two communions, Cardinal de Perron, was at the point of death.  The decay
was general, and the same amongst the Protestants as amongst the
Catholics; Sully and Mornay held themselves aloof or were barely listened
to.  In place of these eminent personages had come intriguing or
ambitious subordinates, who were either innocent of or indifferent to
anything like a great policy, and who had no idea beyond themselves and
their fortunes.  The husband of Leonora Galigai, Concini, had amassed a
great deal of money and purchased the Marquisate of Ancre; nay, more, he
had been created Marshal of France, and he said to the Count of
Bassompiere, “I have learned to know the world, and I am aware that a
man, when he has arrived at a certain pitch of prosperity, comes down
with a greater run the higher he has mounted.  When I came to France,
I was not worth a son, and I owed more than eight thousand crowns.
My marriage and the queen’s kind favor has given me much advancement,
office, and honor; I have worked at making my fortune, and I pushed it
forward as long as I saw the wind favorable.  So soon as I felt it
turning, I thought about beating a retreat and enjoying in peace the
large property we have acquired.  It is my wife who is opposed to this
desire.  At every crack of the whip we receive from Fortune, I continue
to urge her.  God knows whether warnings have been wanting.  My
daughter’s death is the last, and, if we do not heed it, our downfall is
at hand.”  Then he quietly made out an abstract of all his property,
amounting to eight millions, with which he purposed to buy from the pope
the usufruct of the duchy of Ferrara, and leave his son, besides, a fine
inheritance.  But his wife continued her opposition; it would be cowardly
and ungrateful, she said, to abandon the queen: “So that,” cried he, “I
see myself ruined without any help for it; and, if it were not that I am
under so much obligation to my wife, I would leave her and go some
whither where neither grandees nor common folk would come to look after
me.”

This modest style of language did not prevent Marshal d’Ancre from
occasionally having strange fits of domineering arrogance.  “By God,
sir,” he wrote to one of his friends, “I have to complain of you; you
treat for peace without me; you have caused the queen to write to me
that, for her sake, I must give up the suit I had commenced against M. de
Montbazon to get paid what he owes me.  In all the devils’ names, what do
the queen and you take me for?  I am devoured to my very bones with
rage.”  In his dread lest influence opposed to his own should be
exercised over the young king, he took upon himself to regulate his
amusements and his walks, and prohibited him from leaving Paris.  Louis
XIII. had amongst his personal attendants a young nobleman, Albert de
Luynes, clever in training little sporting birds, called butcher-birds
(pies grieches, or shrikes), then all the rage; and the king made him his
falconer and lived on familiar terms with him.  Playing at billiards one
day, Marshal d’Ancre, putting on his hat, said to the king, “I hope your
Majesty will allow me to be covered.”  The king allowed it, but remained
surprised and shocked.  His young page, Albert de Luynes, observed his
displeasure, and being anxious, himself also, to become a favorite, he
took pains to fan it.

[Illustration: Louis XIII. and Albert de Luynes----154]

A domestic plot was set hatching against Marshal d’Ancre.  What was its
extent and who were the accomplices in it?  This is not clear.  However
it may have been, on the 24th of April, 1617, M. de Vitry, captain of the
guard (_capitaine de quartier_) that day in the royal army which was
besieging Soissons, ordered some of his officers to provide themselves
with a pistol each in their pockets, and he himself went to that door of
the Louvre by which the king would have to go to the queenmother’s.  When
Marshal d’Ancre arrived at this door, “There is the marshal,” said one of
the officers; and Vitry laid hands upon him, saying, “Marshal, I have the
king’s orders to arrest you.”  “Me!” said the marshal in surprise, and
attempting to resist.

[Illustration: Murder of Marshal d’Ancre----155]

The officer fired upon him, and so did several others.  It was never
known, or, at any rate, never told, whose shot it was that hit him; but,
“Sir,” said Colonel d’Ornano, going up to the young king, “you are this
minute King of France: Marshal d’Ancre is dead.”  And the young king,
before the assembled court, repeated with the same tone of satisfaction,
“Marshal d’Ancre is dead.”  Baron de Vitry was appointed Marshal of
France in the room of the favorite whom he had just murdered.  The day
after the murder, the mob rushed into the church of St. German-
l’Auxerrois, where the body of Marshal d’Ancre had been interred; they
heaved up the slabs, hauled the body from the ground, dragged it over the
pavement as far as the Pont-Neuf, where they hanged it by the feet to a
gallows; and they afterwards tore it in pieces, which were sold, burned,
and thrown into the Seine.  The ferocious passions of the populace were
satisfied; but court-hatred and court-envy were not; they attacked the
marshal’s widow, Leonora Galigai.  She resided at the Louvre, and, at the
first rumor of what had happened, she had sent to demand asylum with the
queen-mother.  Meeting with a harsh refusal, she had undressed herself in
order to protect with her body her jewels which she had concealed in her
mattresses.  The moment she was discovered, she was taken to the Bastille
and brought before the Parliament.  She began by throwing all the blame
upon her husband; it was he, she said, who had prevented her from
retiring into Italy, and who had made every attempt to push his fortunes
farther.  When she was sentenced to death, Leonora recovered her courage
and pride.  “Never,” said a contemporary, “was anybody seen of more
constant and resolute visage.”  “What a lot of people to look at one poor
creature!” said she at sight of the crowd that thronged upon her passage.
There is nothing to show that her firmness at the last earned her more of
sympathy than her weaknesses had brought her of compassion.  The mob has
its seasons of pitilessness.  Leonora Galigai died leaving one child, a
son, who was so maltreated that he persisted in refusing all food, and,
at last, would take nothing but the sweetmeats that the young queen, Anne
of Austria, married two years before to Louis XIII., had the kindness to
send him.

We encounter in this very insignificant circumstance a trace of one of
those important events which marked the earliest years of Mary de’
Medici’s regency and the influence of her earliest favorites.  Concini
and his wife, both of them, probably, in the secret service of the court
of Madrid, had promoted the marriage of Louis XIII. with the Infanta Anne
of Austria, eldest daughter of Philip III., King of Spain, and that of
Philip, Infante of Spain, who was afterwards Philip IV., with Princess
Elizabeth of France, sister of Louis XIII.  Henry IV., in his plan for
the pacification of Europe, had himself conceived this idea, and
testified a desire for this double marriage, but without taking any
trouble to bring it about.  It was after his death that, on the 30th of
April, 1612, Villeroi, minister of foreign affairs in France, and Don
Inigo de Caderiias, ambassador of the King of Spain, concluded this
double union by a formal deed.  They signed on the same day, at
Fontainebleau, between the King and Queen-regent of France on one side
and the King, of Spain on the other, a treaty of defensive alliance to
the effect “that those sovereigns should give one another mutual succor
against such as should attempt anything against their kingdoms or revolt
against their authority; that they should, in such case, send one to the
other, at their own expense for six months, a body of six thousand foot
and twelve hundred horse; that they should not assist any criminal
charged with high treason, and should even give them over into the hands
of the ambassadors of the king who claimed them.”  It is quite certain
that Henry IV. would never have let his hands be thus tied by a treaty so
contrary to his general policy of alliance with Protestant powers, such
as England and the United Provinces; he had no notion of servile
subjection to his own policy, but he would have taken good care not to
abandon it; he was of those, who, under delicate circumstances, remain
faithful to their ideas and promises without systematic obstinacy and
with a due regard for the varying interests and requirements of their
country and their age.  The two Spanish marriages were regarded in France
as an abandonment of the national policy; France was, in a great
majority, Catholic, but its Catholicism differed essentially from the
Spanish Catholicism: it affirmed the entire separation of the temporal
power and the spiritual power, and the inviolability of the former by the
latter; it refused assent, moreover, to certain articles of the council
of Trent.  It was Gallican Catholicism, determined to keep a pretty large
measure of national independence, political and moral, as opposed to
Spanish Catholicism, essentially devoted to the cause of the papacy and
of absolutist Austria.  Under the influence of this public feeling, the
two Spanish marriages and the treaty which accompanied them were
unfavorably regarded by a great part of France: a remedy was desired;
it was hoped that one would be found in the convocation of the
states-general of the kingdom, to which the populace always looked
expectantly; they were convoked first for the 16th of September, 1614,
at Sens; and, afterwards, for the 20th of October following, when the
young king, Louis XIII., after the announcement of his majority, himself
opened them in state.  Amongst the members there were one hundred and
forty of the clergy, one hundred and thirty-two of the noblesse, and one
hundred and ninety-two of the third estate.  The clergy elected for
their president Cardinal de Joyeuse who had crowned Mary de’ Medici; the
noblesse Henry de Bauffremont, Baron of Senecey, and the third estate
Robert Miron, provost of the tradesmen of Paris.

These elections were not worth much, and have left no trace on history.
The chief political fact connected with the convocation of the,
states-general of 1614, was the entry into their ranks of the youthful
Bishop of Lucon, Armand John dot Plessis de Richelieu, marked out by the
finger of God to sustain, after the powerful reign of Henry IV. and the
incapable regency of Mary de’ Medici, the weight of the government of
France.  He was in, two cases elected to the states-general, by the
clergy of Loudun and by that of Poitou.  As he was born on the 5th of
September, 1585, he was but twenty-eight years old in 1614.  He had not
been destined for the church, and he was pursuing a layman’s course of
study at the college of Navarre, under the name of the Marquis de
Chillon, when his elder brother, Alphonse Louis du Plessis de Richelieu,
became disgusted yith ecclesiastical life, turned Carthusian, and
resigned the unpretending bishopric of Lucon in favor of his brother
Armand, whom Henry IV. nominated to it in 1605, instructing Cardinal du
Perron, at that time his charge d’affaires at Rome, to recommend to Pope
Paul V. that election which he had very much at heart.  The young
prelate betook himself with so much ardor to his theological studies,
that at twenty years of age he was a doctor, and maintained his theses
in rochet and camail as bishop-nominate.  At Rome some objection was
still made to his extreme youth; but he hastened thither, and delivered
before the pope a Latin harangue, which scattered all objections to the
wind.  After consecration at Rome, in 1607, he returned to Paris, and
hastened to take possession of his see of Lucon, “the poorest and the
nastiest in France,” as he himself said. He could support poverty, but
he also set great store by riches, and he was seriously anxious for the
expenses of his installation.  “Taking after you, that is, being a
little vain,” he wrote to one of his fair friends, Madame de Bourges,
with whom he was on terms of familiar correspondence about his affairs,
“I should very much like, being more easy in my circumstances, to make
more show: but what can I do?  No house; no carriage; furnished
apartments are inconvenient; I must borrow a coach, horses, and a
coachman, in order to at least arrive at Lucon with a decent turn-out.”
 He purchased second-hand the velvet bed of one Madame de Marconnay, his
aunt; he made for himself a muff out of a portion of his uncle the
Commander’s martenskins.  Silver-plate he was very much concerned about.
“I beg you,” he wrote to Madame de Bourges, “to send me word what will
be the cost of two dozen silver dishes of fair size, as they are made
now; I should very much like to get them for five hundred crowns, for my
resources are not great.  I am quite sure that for a matter of a hundred
crowns more, you would not like me to have anything common.  I am a
beggar, as you know; in such sort that I cannot do much in the way of
playing the opulent; but at any rate, when I have silver dishes, my
nobility will be considerably enhanced.”

He succeeded, no doubt, in getting his silver dishes and his
well-appointed episcopal mansion; for when, in 1614, he was elected to
the states-general, he had acquired amongst the clergy and at the court
of Louis XIII. sufficient importance to be charged with the duty of
speaking, in presence of the king, on the acceptance of the acts of the
council of Trent, and on the restitution of certain property belonging
to the Catholic church in Warn.  He made skilful use of the occasion for
the purpose of still further exalting and improving the question and his
own position.  He complained that for a long time past ecclesiastics had
been too rarely summoned to the sovereign’s councils, “as if the honor
of serving God,” he said, “rendered them incapable of serving the king;”
 he took care at the same time to make himself pleasant to the mighty
ones of the hour; he praised the young king for having, on announcing
his majority, asked his mother to continue to watch over France, and “to
add to the august title of mother of the king that of mother of the
kingdom.” The post of almoner to the queen-regnant, Anne of Austria, was
his reward.  He carried still further his ambitious foresight; in
February, 1615, at the time when the session of the states-general
closed, Marshal d’Ancre and Leonora Galigai were still favorites with
the queen-mother; Richelieu laid himself out to be pleasant to them, and
received from the marshal in 1616 the post of secretary of state for war
and foreign affairs.  Marshal d’Ancre was at that time looking out for
supports against his imminent downfall.  When, in 1617, he fell and was
massacred, people were astonished to find Richelieu on good terms with
the marshal’s court-rival Albert de Luynes, who pressed him to remain in
the council at which he had sat for only five months.  To what extent
was the Bishop of Lucon at that time on terms of understanding with the
victor?  There is no saying; but to accept the responsibility of the new
favorite’s accession was a compromising act.  Richelieu judged it more
prudent to remain Bishop of Lucon and to wear the appearance of defeat
by following Mary de’ Medici to Blois, whither, since the fall of her
favorites, she had asked leave to retire.  He would there, he said, be
more useful to the government of the young king; for, remaining at the
side of Mary de’ Medici, he would be able to advise her and restrain
her.  He so completely persuaded Louis XIII.  and Albert de Luynes, that
he received orders to set out for Blois with the queen-mother, which he
did on the 4th of May, 1617.  The Bishop of Lucon, though still young,
was already one of the ambitious sort who stake their dignity upon the
ultimate success of their fortunes, success gained no matter at what
price, by address or by hardihood, by complaisance or by opposition,
according to the requirements of facts and times.  Dignity apart, the
young bishop had accurately measured the expediency of the step he was
taking in the interest of his future, high-soaring ambition.

On arriving at Blois with the queen-mother, he began by dividing his life
between that petty court in disgrace and his diocese of Lucon.  He wished
to set Albert de Luynes at rest as to his presence at the court of Mary
de’ Medici, the devotion he showed her, and the counsels he gave her.  He
had but small success, however.  The new favorite was suspicious and
anxious.  Richelieu appeared to be occupied with nothing but the duties
of his office; he presided at conferences; and he published, against the
Protestants, a treatise entitled _The Complete Christian (De la
Perfection du Chretien)_.  Luynes was not disposed to believe in these
exclusively religious preoccupations; he urged upon the king that
Richelieu should not live constantly in the queen-mother’s neighborhood,
and in June, 1617, he had orders given him to retire to the courtship of
Avignon.  Pope Paul V. complained that the Bishop of Lucon was exiled
from his diocese.  “What is to be done about residence,” said he, “which
is due to his bishopric?  and what will the world say at seeing him
prohibited from going whither his duty binds him to go?”  The king
answered that he was surprised at the pope’s complaint.  “An
ecclesiastic,” said he, “could not possibly be in any better place than
Avignon, church territory; my lord the Bishop of Lucon is far from
finding time for nothing but the exercises of his profession; I have
discovered that he indulged in practices prejudicial to my service.  He
is one of those spirits that are carried away far beyond their duty, and
are very dangerous in times of public disorder.”

Richelieu obeyed without making any objection; he passed two years at
Avignon, protesting that he would never depart from it without the
consent of Luynes and without the hope of serving him.  The favor and
fortune of the young falconer went on increasing every day.  He had, in
1617, married the daughter of the Duke of Montbazon, and, in 1619,
prevailed upon the king to have the estate of Maille raised for him to a
duchy-peerage under the title of Luynes.  In 1621 he procured for himself
the dignity of constable, to which he had no military claim.  Louis XIII.
sometimes took a malicious pleasure in making fun of his favorite’s
cupidity and that of his following.  “I never saw,” said he, “one person
with so many relatives; they come to court by ship-loads, and not a
single one of them with a silk dress.”  “See,” said he one day to the
Count of Bassompierre, pointing to Luynes surrounded by a numerous
following: “he wants to play the king, but I shall know how to prevent
it; I will make him disgorge what he has taken from me.”  Friends at
court warned Luynes of this language; and Luynes replied with a somewhat
disdainful impertinence, “It is good for me to cause the king a little
vexation from time to time: it revives the affection he feels for me.”
 Richelieu kept himself well informed of court-rumors, and was cautious
not to treat them with indifference.  He took great pains to make himself
pleasant to the young constable.  “My lord,” he wrote to him in August,
1621, “I am extremely pleased to have an opportunity of testifying to
you, that I shall never have any possession that I shall not be most
happy to employ for the satisfaction of the king and yourself.  The queen
did me the honor of desiring that I should have the abbey of Redon; but
the moment I knew that the king and you, my lord, were desirous of
disposing of it otherwise, I gave it up with very good cheer, in order
that being in your hands you might gratify therewith whomsoever you
pleased; assuring you, my lord, that I have more contentment in
testifying to you thereby that which you will on every occasion recognize
in me, than I should have had by an augmentation of four thousand crowns’
income.  The queen is very well, thank God.  I think it will be very meet
that from time to time, by means of those who are passing, you should
send her news of the king and of you and yours, which will give her great
satisfaction “ (Letters of Cardinal Richelieu, t. i.  p. 690).

Whilst Richelieu was thus behaving towards the favorite with complaisance
and modesty, Mary de’ Medici, whose mouthpiece he appeared to be, assumed
a different posture, and used different language; she complained bitterly
of the slavery and want of money to which she was reduced at Blois; a
plot, on the part of both aristocrats and domestics, were contrived by
those about her to extricate her; she entered into secret relations with
a great, a turbulent, and a malcontent lord, the Duke of Epernon; two
Florentine servants, Ruccellai and Vincenti Ludovici, were their
go-betweens; and it was agreed that she should escape from Blois and take
refuge at Angouleme, a lordship belonging to the Duke of Epernon.  She at
the same time wrote to the king to plead for more liberty.  He replied,
“Madame, having understood that you have a wish to visit certain places
of devotion, I am rejoiced thereat.  I shall be still more pleased if you
take a resolution to move about and travel henceforward more than you
have done in the past; I consider that it will be of great service to
your health, which is extremely precious to me.  If business permitted me
to be of the party, I would accompany you with all my heart.”  Mary
replied to him with formal assurances of fidelity and obedience; she
promised before God and His angels “to have no correspondence which could
be prejudicial to the king’s service, to warn him of all intrigues, which
should come to her knowledge, that were opposed to his will, and to
entertain no design of returning to court save when it should please the
king to give her orders to do so.”  There was between the king, the
queen-mother, Albert de Luynes, the Duke of Epernon and their agents, an
exchange of letters and empty promises which deceived scarcely anybody,
and which destroyed all confidence as well as all truthfulness between
them.  The Duke of Epernon protested that he had no idea of disobeying
the king’s commands, but that he thought his presence was more necessary
for the king’s service in Angoumois than at Metz.  He complained at the
same time that for two years past he had received from the court only the
simple pay of a colonel at ten months for the year, which took it out of
his power to live suitably to his rank.  He set out for Metz at the end
of January, 1619, saying, ii I am going to take the boldest step I ever
took in my life.”

The queen-mother made her exit from Blois on the night between the 21st
and 22d of February, 1619, by her closet window, against which a ladder
had been placed for the desecnt to the terrace, whence a second ladder
was to enable her to descend right down.  On arriving at the terrace she
found herself so fatigued and so agitated, that she declared it would be
impossible to avail herself of the second ladder; she preferred to have
herself let down upon a cloak to the bottom of the terrace, which had a
slight slant.  Her two equerries escorted her along the faubourg to the
end of the bridge.  Some officers of her household saw her pass without
recognizing her, and laughed at meeting a woman between two men, at night
and with a somewhat agitated air.  “They take me for a bona roba,” said
the queen.  On arriving at the end of the faubourg of Blois, she did not
find her carriage, which was to hwe been waiting for her there.  When she
had come up with it, there was a casket missing which contained her
jewels; there was a hundred thousand crowns’ worth in it; the casket had
fallen out two hundred paces from the spot; it was recovered, and the
queen-mother got into her carriage and took the road to Loches, where the
Duke of Epernon had been waiting for her since the day before.  He came
to meet her with a hundred and fifty horsemen.  Nobody in the household
of Mary de’Medici had observed her departure.

Great was the rumors when her escape became known, and greater still when
it was learned in whose hands she had placed herself.  It was civil war,
said everybody.  At the commencement of the seventeenth century, there
were still two possible and even probable chances of civil war in France;
one between Catholics and Protestants, and the other between what
remained of the great feudal or quasi-feudal lords and the kingship.
Which of the two wars was about to commence?  Nobody knew; on one side
there was hesitation; the most contradictory moves were made.  Louis
XIII., when he heard of his mother’s escape, tried first of all to
disconnect her from the Duke of Epernon.  “I could never have imagined,”
 said be, “that there was any man who, in time of perfect peace, would
have had the audacity, I do not say to carry out, but to conceive the
resolution of making an attempt upon the mother of his king .  .  . ; in
order to release you from the difficulty you are in, Madame, I have
determined to take up arms to put you in possession of the liberty of
which your enemies have deprived you.”  And he marched troops and cannon
to Angoumois.  “Many men,” says Duke Henry of Rohan, “envied the Duke of
Epernon his gallant deed, but few were willing to submit themselves to
his haughty temper, and everybody, having reason to believe that it would
all end in a peace, was careful not to embark in the affair merely to
incur the king’s hatred, and leave to others the honors of the
enterprise.”  The king’s troops were well received wherever they showed
themselves; the towns opened their gates to them.  “It needs,” said a
contemporary, “mighty strong citadels to make the towns of France obey
their governors when they see the latter disobedient to the king’s.
will.”  Several great lords held themselves carefully aloof; others
determined to attempt an arrangement between the king and his mother; it
was known what influence over her continued to be preserved by the Bishop
of Lucon, still in exile at Avignon; he was pressed to return; his
confidant, Father Joseph du Tremblay, was of opinion that he should; and
Richelieu, accordingly, set out.  The governor of Lyons had him arrested
at Vienne in Dauphiny, and was much surprised to find him armed with a
letter from the king, commanding that he should be allowed to pass freely
everywhere.  Richelieu was prepared to advise a reconciliation between
king and queen-mother, and the king was as much disposed to exert himself
to that end as the queen-mother’s friends.  At Limoges the Bishop of
Lucon was obliged to carefully avoid Count Schomberg, commandant of the
royal troops, who was not at all in the secret of the negotiation.  When
he arrived at Angers a fresh difficulty supervened.  The most daring, of
the queen-mother’s domestic advisers, Ruccellai, had conceived a hatred
of the bishop, and tried to exclude him from the privy council.
Richelieu let be, “Certain,” as he said, “that they would soon fall back
upon him.”  He was one of the patient as well as ambitious, who can
calculate upon success, even afar off, and wait for it.  The Duke of
Epernon supported him; Ruccellai, defeated, left the queen-mother, taking
with him some of her most warmly attached servants.  When the
subordinates were gone, recourse was had, accordingly, to Richelieu.  On
the 10th of August, 1619, he concluded at Angouleme between the king and
his mother a treaty, whereby the king promised to consign to oblivion all
that had passed since Blois; the queen-mother consented to exchange her
government of Touraine against that of Anjou; and the Duke of Epernon
received from the town of Boulogne fifty thousand crowns in recompense
for what he had done, and he wrote to the king to protest his fidelity.
The queen-mother still hesitated to see her son; but, at his entreaty,
she at last sent off the Bishop of Lucon from Angouleme to make
preparations for the interview, and, five days afterwards, she set out
herself, accompanied by the Duke of Epernon, who halted at the limits of
his own government, not caring to come to any closer quarters with so
recently reconciled a court.  The king received his mother, according to
some, in the little town of Cousieres, and, according to others, at Tours
or Amboise.  They embraced, with tears.  “God bless me, my boy, how you
are grown!” said the queen.  “In order to be of more service to you,
mother,” answered the king.  The cheers of the people hailed their
reconciliation; not without certain signs of disquietude on the part of
the favorite, Albert de Luynes, who was an eye-witness.  After the
interview, the king set out for Paris again; and Mary de’ Medici returned
to her government of Anjou to take possession of it, promising, she said,
to rejoin her son subsequently at Paris.  Du Plessis-Mornay wrote to one
of his friends at court, “If you do not get the queen along with you, you
have done nothing at all; distrust will increase with absence; the
malcontents will multiply; and the honest servants of the king will have
no little difficulty in managing to live between them.”

How to live between mother and son without being committed to one or the
other, was indeed the question.  A difficult task.  For three months the
courtiers were equal to it; from May to July, 1619, the court and the
government were split in two; the king at Paris or at Tours, the
queen-mother at Angers or at Blois.  Two eminent men, Richelieu amongst
the Catholics and Du Plessis-Mornay amongst the Protestants, advised
them strongly and incessantly to unite again, to live and to govern
together. “Apply yourself to winning the king’s good graces,” said
Richelieu to the queen-mother: “support on every occasion the interests
of the public without speaking of your own; take the side of equity
against that of favor, without attacking the favorites and without
appearing to envy their influence.”  Mornay used the same language to
the Protestants.  “Do not wear out the king’s patience,” he said to
them: “there is no patience without limits.”  Louis XIII. listened to
them without allowing himself to be persuaded by them; the warlike
spirit was striving within the young man; he was brave, and loved war as
war rather than for political reasons.  The grand provost of Normandy
was advising him one day not to venture in person into his province,
saying, “You will find there nothing but revolt and disagreeables.”
 “Though the roads were all paved with arms,” answered the king, “I would
march over the bellies of my foes, for they have no cause to declare
against me, who have offended nobody.  You shall have the pleasure of
seeing it; you served the late king my father too well not to rejoice at
it.”  The queenmother, on her side, was delighted to see herself
surrounded at Angers by a brilliant court; and the Dukes of Longueville,
of La Tremoille, of Retz, of Rohan, of Mayenne, of Epernon, and of
Nemours, promised her numerous troops and effectual support.  She might,
nevertheless, have found many reasons to doubt and wait for proofs.  The
king moved upon Normandy; and his quartermasters came to assign quarters
at Rouen.  “Where have you left the king?” asked the Duke of
Longueville.  “At Pontoise, my lord; but he is by this time far
advanced, and is to sleep to-night at Magny.”  “Where do you mean to
quarter him here?”  asked the duke.  “In the house where you are, my
lord.”  “It is right that I yield him place,” said the duke, and the
very same evening took the road back to the district of Caux.  It was
under this aspect of public feeling that an embassy from the king and a
pacific mission from Rome came, without any success, to Rangers, and
that on the 4th of July, 1619, a fresh civil war between the king and
the partisans of the queen-mother was declared.

It was short and not very bloody, though pretty vigorously contested.
The two armies met at Ponts de Ce; they had not, either of them, any
orders or any desire to fight; and pacific negotiations were opened at La
Fleche.  The queen-mother declared that she had made up her mind to live
henceforth at her son’s court, and that all she desired was to leave
honorably the party with which she was engaged.  That was precisely the
difficulty.  The king also declared himself resolved to receive his
mother affectionately; but he required her to abandon the lords of her
party, and that was what she could not make up her mind to do.  In the
unpremeditated conflict that took place at Ponts de Ce, the troops of the
queen-mother were beaten.  “They had two hundred men killed or drowned,”
 says Bassompierre, “and about as many taken prisoners.”  This reverse
silenced the queen’s scruples; there was clearly no imperative cause for
war between her and the king, and the queen’s partisans could not be
blind to the fact that, if the struggle were prolonged, they would be
beaten.

The kingship had the upper hand in the country, and a consent was given
to the desired arrangements.  “Assure the king that I will go and see him
to-morrow at Brissac,” said the queen-mother.  “I am perfectly satisfied
with him, and all I think of is to please him, and pray God for him
personally, and for the prosperity of his kingdom.”  A treaty was
concluded at Angers on the 10th of August, 1620; the queen-mother
returned to Paris; and the civil war at court was evidently, not put an
end to never to recur, but stricken with feebleness and postponed.

Two men of mark, Albert de Luynes and Richelieu, came out of this crisis
well content.  The favorite felicitated himself on the king’s victory
over the queen-mother, for he might consider the triumph as his own; he
had advised and supported the king’s steady resistance to his mother’s
enterprises.  Besides, he had gained by it the rank and power of
constable; it was at this period that he obtained them, thanks to the
retirement of Lesdiguieres, who gave them up to assume the title of
marshal-general of the king’s camps and armies.  The royal favor did not
stop there for Luynes; the keeper of the seals, Du Vair, died in 1621;
and the king handed over the seals to the new constable, who thus united
the military authority with that of justice, without being either a great
warrior or a great lawyer.  All he had to do was to wait for an
opportunity of displaying his double power.  The defaults of the French
Protestants soon supplied one.  In July, 1567, Henry IV.’s mother, Jeanne
d’Albret, on becoming Queen of Navarre, had, at the demand of the Estates
of Bearn, proclaimed Calvinism as the sole religion of her petty kingdom;
all Catholic worship was expressly forbidden there; religious liberty,
which Protestants everywhere invoked, was proscribed in Bearn; moreover,
ecclesiastical property was confiscated there.  The Catholics complained,
loudly; the Kings of France were supporters of their plaint; it had been
for a long time past repudiated or eluded; but on the 13th of August,
1620, Louis XIII. issued two edicts for the purpose of restoring in Bearn
free Catholic worship, and making restitution of their property to the
ecclesiastical establishments.  The council of Pau, which had at first
repudiated them, hastened to enregister these edicts in the hope of
retarding at least their execution; but the king said, “In two days I
shall be at Pau; you want me there to assist your weakness.”  He was
asked how he would be received at Pau.  “As sovereign of Warn,” said he.
“I will dismount first of all at the church, if there be one; but, if
not, I want no canopy or ceremonial entry; it would not become me to
receive honors in a place where I have never been, before giving thanks
to God, from whom I hold all my dominions and all my power.”  Religious
liberty was thus reestablished at Pau.  “It is the king’s intention,”
 said the Duke of Montmorency to the Protestants of Villeneuve-de-Berg,
who asked that they might enjoy the liberty promised them by the edicts,
“that all his subjects, Catholic or Protestant, be equally free in the
exercise of their religion; you shall not be hindered in yours, and I
will take good care that you do not hinder the Catholics in theirs.”  The
Duke of Montmorency did not foresee that the son and successor of the
king in whose name he was so energetically proclaiming religious liberty,
Louis XIV., would abolish the edict of Nantes whereby his grandfather,
Henry IV., had founded it.  Justice and iniquity are often all but
contemporary.

It has just been said that not only Luynes, but Richelieu too, had come
well content out of the crisis brought about by the struggle between
Louis XIII. and the queen-mother.  Richelieu’s satisfaction was neither
so keen nor so speedy as the favorite’s.  Pope Paul V. had announced, for
the 11th of January, 1621, a promotion of ten cardinals.  At the news of
this, the queen-mother sent an express courier to Rome with an urgent
demand that the Bishop of Lucon should be included in the promotion.  The
Marquis of Coeuvres, ambassador of France at Rome, insisted rather
strongly, in the name of the queen-mother and of the Duke of Luynes, from
whom he showed the pope some very pressing letters.  The pope, in
surprise, gave him a letter to read in the handwriting of King Louis
XIII., saying that he did not at all wish the Bishop of Lucon to become
cardinal, and begging that no notice might be taken of any
recommendations which should be forwarded on the subject.  The
ambassador, greatly surprised in his turn, ceased to insist.  It was
evidently the doing of the Duke of Luynes, who, jealous of the Bishop of
Lucon and dreading his influence, had demanded and obtained from the king
this secret measure.  It was effectual; and, at the beginning of the year
1621, Richelieu had but a vague hope of the hat.  He had no idea, when he
heard of this check, that at the end of a few months Luynes would undergo
one graver still, would die almost instantaneously after having practised
a policy analogous to that which Richelieu was himself projecting, and
would leave the road open for him to obtain the cardinal’s hat, and once
more enter into the councils of the king, who, however, said to the
queen-mother, “I know him better than you, madame; he is a man of
unbounded ambition.”

The two victories won in 1620 by the Duke of Luynes, one over the
Protestants by the re-establishment in Warn of free worship for the
Catholics, and the other over his secret rival Richelieu, by preventing
him from becoming cardinal, had inspired him with great confidence in his
good fortune.  He resolved to push it with more boldness than he had yet
shown.  He purposed to subdue the Protestants as a political party whilst
respecting their religious creed, and to reduce them to a condition of
subjection in the state whilst leaving them free, as Christians, in the
church.  A fundamentally contradictory problem; for the different
liberties are closely connected, one with another, and have need to be
security one for another; but, at the commencement of the seventeenth
century, people were not so particular in point of consequence, and it
was thought possible to give religious liberty its guarantees whilst
refusing them to general political liberty.  That is what the Duke of
Luynes attempted to do; to all the towns to which Henry IV. had bound
himself by the edict of Nantes, he made a promise of preserving to them
their religious liberties, and he called upon them at the same time to
remain submissive and faithful subjects of the sovereign kingship.  La
Rochelle, Montauban, Saumur, Sancerre, Charite-sur-Loire, and St. Jean
d’Angely were in this category; and it was to Montauban, as one of the
most important of those towns, that Louis XIII. first addressed his
promise and his appeal, inconsistent one with the other.

Some years previously, in May, 1610, amidst the grief and anxiety
awakened by the assassination of Henry IV. by Ravaillac, the population
of Montauban had maintained and testified a pacific and moderate
disposition.  The synod was in assembly when the news of the king’s death
arrived there.  We read in the report of the town-council, under date of
May 19, 1610,

“The ecclesiastics (Catholic) having come to the council, the consuls
gave them every assurance for their persons and property, and took them
under the protection and safeguard of the king and the town, without
suffering or permitting any hurt, wrong, or displeasure to be done them.
.  .  .  The ecclesiastics thanked them, and protested their desire to
live and die in that town, as good townsmen and servants of the king . .”
 On the 22d of May, in a larger council-general, the council gives notice
to the Parliament of Toulouse that everything shall remain peaceable.
.  .  .  Consul Beraud moves that “every one take forthwith the oath of
fidelity we owe to his Majesty, and that every one also testify, by
acclamation, his wishes and desires for the prosperity and duration of
his reign.”

Ten years later, in 1620, the disposition of the Protestants was very
much changed; distrust and irritation had once more entered into their
hearts.  Henry IV. was no longer there to appease them or hold them in.
The restoration of the freedom of Catholic worship in Warn had alarmed
and offended them as a violation of their own exclusive right proclaimed
by Jeanne d’Albret.  In January, 1621, during an assembly held at La
Rochelle, they exclaimed violently against what they called “the woes
experienced by their brethren of Warn.”  Louis XIII. considered their
remonstrances too arrogant to be tolerated.  On the 24th of April, 1621,
by a formal declaration, he confirmed all the edicts issued in favor of
the liberty of Protestants, but with a further announcement that he would
put down with all the rigor of the laws those who did not remain
submissive and tranquil in the enjoyment of their own rights.  This
measure produced amongst the Protestants a violent schism.  Some
submitted, and their chiefs gave up to the king the places they
commanded.  On the 10th of May, 1621, Saumur opened her gates to him.
Others, more hot-tempered and more obstinate, persisted in their
remonstrances.  La Rochelle, Montauban, and St. Jean d’Angely took that
side.  Duke Henry of Rohan and the Duke of Soubise, his brother,
supported them in their resistance.  Rohan went to Montauban, and,
mounting into the pulpit, said to the assembly, “I will not conceal from
you that the most certain conjecture which can be formed from the current
news is, that in a short time the royal army will camp around your walls,
since St. Jean d’Angely is surrendered, and all that remains up to here
is weakened, broken down, and ready to receive the yoke, through the
factions of certain evil spirits.  I have no fear lest the consternation
and cowardice of the rest should reach by contagion to you.  In days past
you swore in my presence the union of the churches.  Of a surety we will
get peace restored to you here.  I pray you to have confidence in me,
that on this occasion I will not desert you, whatever happen.  Though
there should be but two men left of my religion, I will be one of the
two.  My houses and my revenues are seized, because I would not bow
beneath the proclamation.  I have my sword and my life left.  Three stout
hearts are better than thirty that quail.”

The whole assembly vehemently cheered this fiery speech.  The premier
consul of Montauban, Dupuy, swore to live and die in the cause of union
of the churches.  “The Duke of Rohan exerted himself to place Montauban
in a position to oppose a vigorous resistance to the royal troops.
Consul Dupuy, for his part, was at the same time collecting munitions and
victuals.”  It was announced that the king’s army was advancing; and
reports were spread, with the usual exaggeration, of the deeds of
violence it was already committing.  “At the news thereof, every nerve is
strained to advance the fortifications “there is none that shirks, of
whatever age, or sex, or condition; every other occupation ceases; night
serves to render the day’s work bigger; the inhabitants are all a-sweat,
soiled with dust, laden with earth.”  Whilst the multitude was thus
working pell-mell to put the town substantially in a state of defence,
the warlike population, gentlemen and burgesses, were arming and
organizing for the struggle.  They had chosen for their chief a younger
son of Sully’s, Baron d’Orval, devoted to the Protestant cause, even to
the extent of rebellion, whilst his elder brother, the Marquis of Rosny,
was serving in the royal army.  Their aged father, Sully, went to
Montauban to counsel peace; not that he exactly blamed the resistance,
but he said that it would be vain, and that a peace on good terms was
possible.  He was listened to with respect, though he was not believed,
and though the struggle was all the while persisted in.  The royal army,
with a strength of twenty thousand men, and commanded by the young Duke
of Mayenne, son of the great Leaguer, came up on the 18th of August,
1621, to besiege Montauban, with its population of from fifteen thousand
to twenty thousand.  Besiegers and besieged were all of them brave; the
former the more obstinate, the latter the more hare-brained and rash.
The siege lasted two months and a half with alternate successes and
reverses.  The people of the town were directed and supported by
commissions charged with the duty of collecting meal, preparing quarters
for the troops, looking after the sick and wounded, and distributing
ammunition.  “Day and night, from hour to hour, one of the consuls went
to inspect these services.  All was done without confusion, without a
murmur.  Ministers of the Reformed church, to the number of thirteen,
were charged to keep up the enthusiasm with chants, psalms, and prayers.
One of them, the pastor Chamier, was animated by a zealous and bellicose
fanaticism; he was never tired of calling to mind the calamities
undergone by the towns that had submitted to the royal army; he was
incessantly comparing Montauban to Bethulia, Louis XIII.  to
Nabuchodonosor, the Duke of Mayenne to Holofernes, the Montalbanese to
the people of God, and the Catholics to the Assyrians.  The indecision
and diversity of views in the royal camp formed a singular contrast to
the firm resolution, enthusiasm, and union which prevailed in the town.
On the 16th and 17th of August the king passed his army in review;
several captains were urgent in dissuading him from prosecuting the
siege; they proposed to build forts around Montauban, and leave there the
Duke of Mayenne “to harass the inhabitants, make them consume both their
gunpowder and their tooth-powder, and, peradventure, bring them to a
composition.”  But the self-respect of the king and of the army was
compromised; the Duke of Luynes ardently desired to change his name for
that of Duke of Montauban; there was promise of help from the Prince of
Conde and the Duke of Vendome, who were commanding, one in Berry and the
other in Brittany.  These personal interests and sentiments carried the
day; the siege was pushed forward with ardor, although without combined
effort; the Duke of Mayenne was killed there on the 16th of September,
1621; and, amongst the insurgents, the preacher Chamier met, on the 17th
of October, the same fate.  It was in the royal army and the government
that fatigue and the desire of putting a stop to a struggle so costly and
of such doubtful issue first began to be manifested.  And, at the outset,
in the form of attempts at negotiation.  The Duke of Luynes himself had a
proposal made to the Duke of Rohan, who was in residence at Castres, for
an interview, which Rohan accepted, notwithstanding the mistrust of the
people of Castres, and of the majority of his friends.  The conference
was held at a league’s distance from Montauban.  After the proper
compliments, Luynes drew Rohan aside into an alley alone, and, “I thank
you,” he said, “for having put trust in me; you shall not find it
misplaced; your safety is as great here as in Castres.  Having become
connected with you, I desire your welfare; but you deprived me, whilst my
favor lasted, of the means of procuring the greatness of your house.  You
have succored Montauban in the very teeth of your king.  It is a great
feather in your cap; but you must not make too much of it.  It is time to
act for yourself and your friends.  The king will make no general peace;
treat for them who acknowledge you.  Represent to them of Montauban that
their ruin is but deferred for a few days; that you have no means of
helping them.  For Castres and other places in your department, ask what
you will, and you shall obtain it.  For your own self, anything you
please (carte blanche) is offered you.  .  .  .  If you will believe me,
you will get out of this miserable business with glory, with the good
graces of the king, and with what you desire for your own fortunes, which
I am anxious to promote so as to be a support to mine.”

Rohan replied, “I should be my own enemy if I did not desire my king’s
good graces and your friendship.  I will never refuse from my king
benefits and honors, or from you the offices of a kind connection.  I do
well consider the peril in which I stand; but I beg you also to look at
yours.  You are universally hated, because you alone possess what
everybody desires.  Wars against them of the religion have often
commenced with great disadvantages for them; but the restlessness of the
French spirit, the discontent of those not in the government, and the
influence of foreigners have often retrieved them.  If you manage to make
the king grant us peace, it will be to his great honor and advantage,
for, after having humbled the party, without having received any check,
and without any appearance of division within or assistance from without,
he will have shown that he is not set against the religion, but only
against the disobedience it covers, and he will break the neck of other
parties without having met with anything disagreeable.  But, if you push
things to extremity, and the torrent of your successes does not
continue,--and you are on the eve of seeing it stopped in front of
Montauban,--every one will recover his as yet flurried senses, and will
give you a difficult business to unravel.  Bethink you that you have
gathered in the harvest of all that promises mingled with threats could
enable you to gain, and that the remnant is fighting for the religion in
which it believes.  For my own part, I have made up my mind to the loss
of my property and my posts; if you have retarded the effects thereof on
account of our connection, I am obliged to you for it; but I am quite
prepared to suffer everything, since my mind is made up, having solemnly
promised it and my conscience so bidding me, to hear of nothing but a
general peace.”

The reply was worthy of a great soul devoted to a great cause, a soul
that would not sacrifice to the hopes of fortune either friends or creed.
It was a mark of Duke Henry of Rohan’s superior character to take
account, before everything, of the general interests and the moral
sentiments of his party.  The chief of the royal party, the Duke of
Luynes, was, on the contrary, absorbed in the material and momentary
success of his own personal policy; he refused to treat for a general
peace with the Protestants, and he preferred to submit to a partial and
local defeat before Montauban, rather than be hampered with the
difficulties of national pacification.  At a council held on the 26th of
October, 1621, it was decided to publicly raise the siege.  The king and
the royal army departed in November from the precincts of Montauban,
which they purposed to attack afresh on the return of spring: the king
was in a hurry to go and receive at Toulouse the empty acclamations of
the mob, and he ordered Luynes to go and take, on the little town of
Monheur, in the neighborhood of Toulouse, a specious revenge for his
check before Montauban.  Monheur surrendered on the 11th of December,
1621.  Another little village in the neighborhood, Negrepelisse, which
offered resistance to the royal army, was taken by assault, and its
population infamously massacred.  But in the midst of these insignificant
victories, on the 14th of December, 1621, the royal favorite, the
constable, interim keeper of the seals, Duke Albert of Luynes, had an
attack of malignant fever, and died in three days at the camp of
Longueville.  “What was marvellously surprising, and gave a good idea of
the world and its vanity,” says his contemporary, the Marquis of Fontaine
Mareuil, “was that this man, so great and so powerful, found himself,
nevertheless, to such a degree abandoned and despised, that for two days,
during which he was in agony, there was scarcely one of his people who
would stay in his room, the door being open all the time, and anybody who
pleased coming in, as if he had been the most insignificant of men; and
when his body was taken to be interred, I suppose, to his duchy of
Luynes, instead of priests to pray for him, I saw some of his valets
playing piquet on his bier whilst they were having their horses baited.”

It was not long before magnificence revisited the favorite’s bier.  “On
the 11th of January, 1622, his mortal remains having arrived at Tours,
all the religious bodies went out to receive it; the constable was placed
in a chariot drawn by six horses, accompanied by pages, Swiss, and
gentlemen in mourning.  He was finally laid in the cathedral-church,
where there took place a service which was attended by Marshal de
Lesdiguieres, the greatest lords of the court, the judicature, and the
corporation.  It is a contemporary sheet, the _Mercure Francais,_ which
has preserved to us these details as to the posthumous grandeur of Albert
de Luynes, after the brutal indifference to which he had been subjected
at the moment of his death.

His brothers after him held a high historical position, which the family
have maintained, through the course of every revolution, to the present
day; a position which M. Cousin took pleasure in calling to mind, and
which the last duke but one of Luynes made it a point of duty to
commemorate by raising to Louis XIII. a massive silver statue almost as
large as life, the work of that able sculptor, M. Rudde, which figured at
the public exhibition set on foot by Count d’Haussonville, in honor of
the Alsace-Lorrainers whom the late disasters of France drove off in
exile to Algeria.

Richelieu, when he had become cardinal, premier minister of Louis XIII.
and of the government of France, passed a just but severe judgment upon
Albert de Luynes.  “He was a mediocre and timid creature,” he said,
“faithless, ungenerous, too weak to remain steady against the assault of
so great a fortune as that which ruined him incontinently; allowing
himself to be borne away by it as by a torrent, without any foothold,
unable to set bounds to his ambition, incapable of arresting it, and not
knowing what he was about, like a man on the top of a tower, whose head
goes round and who has no longer any power of discernment.  He would fain
have been Prince of Orange, Count of Avignon, Duke of Albret, King of
Austrasia, and would not have refused more if he had seen his way to it.”
 [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ p. 169, in the _Petitot Collection,_ Series v.,
t. xxii.]

This brilliant and truthful portrait lacks one feature which was the
merit of the Constable de Luynes: he saw coming, and he anticipated, a
long way off and to little purpose, but heartily enough, the government
of France by a supreme kingship, whilst paying respect, as long as he
lived, to religious liberty, and showing himself favorable to
intellectual and literary liberty, though he was opposed to political
and national liberty.  That was the government which, after him, was
practised with a high hand and rendered triumphant by Cardinal Richelieu
to the honor, if not the happiness, of France.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.----LOUIS XIII., CARDINAL RICHELIEU, AND THE COURT.
(1622-1642.)

The characteristic of Louis XIV.’s reign is the uncontested empire of the
sovereign over the nation, the authority of the court throughout the
country.  All intellectual movement proceeded from the court or radiated
about it; the whole government, whether for war or peace, was
concentrated in its hands.  Conde, Turenne, Catinat, Luxembourg, Villars,
Vendome belonged, as well as Louvois or Colbert, to the court; from the
court went the governors and administrators of provinces; there was no
longer any greatness existing outside of the court; there were no longer
any petty private courts.  As for the state, the king was it.

For ages past, France had enjoyed the rare good fortune of seeing her
throne successively occupied by Charlemagne and Charles V., by St. Louis
and Louis XI., by Louis XII., Francis I.  and Henry IV., great conquerors
or wise administrators, heroic saints or profound politicians, brilliant
knights or models of patriot-kings.  Such sovereigns had not only
governed, but also impressed the imagination of the people; it was to
them that the weak, oppressed by the great feudal lords, had little by
little learned to apply for support and assistance; since the reign of
Francis I., especially, in the midst of the religious struggles which had
caused division amongst the noblesse and were threatening to create a
state within the state, the personal position of the grandees, and that
of their petty private courts, had been constantly diminishing in
importance; the wise policy, the bold and prudent courage of Henry IV.,
and his patriotic foresight had pacified hatred and stayed civil wars; he
had caused his people to feel the pleasure and pride of being governed by
a man of a superior order.  Cardinal Richelieu, more stern than Henry
IV., set his face steadily against all the influences of the great lords;
he broke them down one after another; he persistently elevated the royal
authority; it was the hand of Richelieu which made the court and paved
the way for the reign of Louis XIV.  The Fronde was but a paltry
interlude and a sanguinary game between parties.  At Richelieu’s death,
pure monarchy was founded.

[Illustration: RICHELIEU----180]

In the month of December, 1622, the work was as yet full of difficulty.
There were numerous rivals for the heritage of royal favor that had
slipped from the dying hands of Luynes.  The Prince of Conde, a man of
ability and moderation, “a good managing man (_homme de bon menage_),” as
he was afterwards called by the cardinal, was the first to get possession
of the mind of the king, at that time away from his mother, who was
residing at Paris.  “It was not so much from dislike that they opposed
her,” says Richelieu, “as from fear lest, when once established at the
king’s council, she might wish to introduce me there.  They acknowledged
in me some force of judgment; they dreaded my wits, fearing lest, if the
king were to take special cognizance of me, it might come to his
committing to me the principal care of his affairs.”  [_Memoires de
Richelieu,_ t. ii.  p. 193.]  On returning to Paris, the king,
nevertheless, could not refuse this gratification to his mother.
However, “the prince, who was in the habit of speaking very freely, and
could not be mum about what he had on his mind, permitted himself to go
so far as to say that she had been received into the council on two
conditions, one, that she should have cognizance of nothing but what they
pleased, and the other, that, though only a portion of affairs was
communicated to her, she would serve as authority for all in the minds of
the people.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. ii.  p. 194.] In fact, the
queen-mother quite perceived that she was only shown the articles in the
window, and did not enter the shop; “but, with all the prudence and
patience of an Italian, when she was not carried away by passion, she
knew how to practise dissimulation towards the Prince of Conde and his
allies, Chancellor Sillery and his son Puisieux, secretary of state.  She
accompanied her son on an expedition against the Huguenots of the South,
which she had not advised, “foreseeing quite well that, if she were
separated from the king, she would have no part either in peace or war,
and that, if they got on without her for ten months, they would become
accustomed to getting on without her.”  She had the satisfaction of at
last seeing the Bishop of Lucon promoted to the cardinalship she had so
often solicited for him in vain; but, at the same time, the king called
to the council Cardinal Rochefoucauld, “not through personal esteem for
the old cardinal,” says Richelieu, “but to cut off from the new one all
hope of a place for which he might be supposed to feel some ambition.”
 Nevertheless, in spite of his enemies’ intrigues, in spite of a certain
instinctive repugnance on the part of the king himself, who repeated to
his mother, “I know him better than you, madame; he is a man of unbounded
ambition,” the “new cardinal” was called to the council at the opening of
the year 1624, on the instance of the Marquis of La Vieuville,
superintendent of finance and chief of the council, who felt himself
unsteady in his position, and sought to secure the favor of the
queen-mother.  It was as the protege and organ of Mary de’ Medici that
the cardinal wrote to the Prince of Conde, on the 11th of May, 1624, “The
king having done me the honor to place me on his council, I pray God with
all my heart to render me worthy of serving him as I desire; and I feel
myself bound thereto by every sort of consideration.  I cannot
sufficiently thank you for the satisfaction that you have been pleased to
testify to me thereat.  Therefore would I far rather do so in deed by
serving you than by bootless words.  And in that I cannot fail without
failing to follow out the king’s intention.  I have made known to the
queen the assurance you give her by your letter of your affection, for
which she feels all the reciprocity you can desire.  She is the more
ready to flatter herself with the hope of its continuance, in that she
will be very glad to incite you thereto by all the good offices she has
means of rendering you with His Majesty.”  [_Lettres du Cardinal de
Richelieu,_ t. ii.  p. 5.] On the 12th of August, however, M. de la
Vieuville fell irretrievably, and was confined in the castle of Amboise.
A pamphlet of the time had forewarned him of the danger which threatened
him when he introduced Richelieu into the council.  “You are both of the
same temper,” it said; “that is, you both desire one and the same thing,
which is, to be, each of you, sole governor.  That which you believe to
be your making will be your undoing.”

From that moment the cardinal, in spite of his modest resistance based
upon the state of his health, became the veritable chief of the council.
“Everybody knew that, amidst the mere private occupations he had hitherto
had, it would have been impossible for him to exist with such poor
health, unless he took frequent recreation in the country.”  [_Memoires
de Richelieu,_ t. ii.  p. 289.] Turning his attention to founding his
power and making himself friends, he authorized the recall of Count
Schomberg, lately disgraced, and of the Duke of Anjou’s, the king’s
brother’s, governor, Colonel Ornano, imprisoned by the Marquis of La
Vieuville.  He, at the same time, stood out against the danger of
concentrating all the power of the government in a single pair of hands.
“Your Majesty,” he said, “ought not to confide your public business to a
single one of your councillors and hide it from the rest; those whom you
have chosen ought to live in fellowship and amity in your service, not in
partisanship and division.  Every time, and as many times as a single one
wants to do everything himself, he wants to ruin himself; but in ruining
himself he will ruin your kingdom and you, and as often as any single one
wants to possess your ear and do in secret what should be resolved upon
openly, it must necessarily be for the purpose of concealing from Your
Majesty either his ignorance or his wickedrnpss.” [_Memoires de
Richelieu,_ t. ii.  p. 349.] Prudent rules and acute remarks, which
Richelieu, when he became all-powerful, was to forget.

Eighteen months had barely rolled away when Colonel Ornano, lately
created a marshal at the Duke of Anjou’s request, was again arrested and
carried off a prisoner “to the very room where, twenty-four years ago,
Marshal Biron had been confined.”  For some time past “it had been
current at court and throughout the kingdom that a great cabal was going
on,” says Richelieu in his _Memoires,_ “and the cabalists said quite
openly that under his ministry, men might cabal with impunity, for he was
not a dangerous enemy.”  If the cabalists had been living in that
confidence, they were most wofully deceived.  Richelieu was neither
meddlesome nor cruel, but he was stern and pitiless towards the
sufferings as well as the supplications of those who sought to thwart his
policy.  At this period, he wished to bring about a marriage between the
Duke of Anjou, then eighteen years old, and Mdlle. de Montpensier, the
late Duke of Montpensier’s daughter, and the richest heiress in France.
The young prince did not like it.  Madame de Chevreuse, it was said,
seeing the king an invalid and childless, was already anticipating his
death, and the possibility of marrying his widowed queen to his
successor.  “I should gain too little by the change,” said Anne of
Austria one day, irritated by the accusations of which she was the
object.  Divers secret or avowed motives had formed about the Duke of
Anjou what was called the “aversion”  party, who were opposed to his
marriage; but the arrest of Colonel Ornano dismayed the accomplices for a
while.  The Duke of Anjou protested his fidelity to his brother, and
promised the cardinal to place in the king’s hands a written undertaking
to submit his wishes and affections to him.  The intrigue appeared to
have been abandoned.  But the “_dreadful (epouvantable) faction,_” as the
Cardinal calls it in his _Memoires,_ conspired to remove the young prince
from the court.  The Duke of Vendome, son of Henry IV. and Gabrielle
d’Estrees, had offered him an asylum in his government of Brittany; but
the far-sighted policy of the minister took away this refuge from the
heir to the throne, always inclined as he was to put himself at the head
of a party.  The Duke of Vendome and his brother the Grand Prior,
disquieted at the rumors which were current about them, hastened to go
and visit the king at Blois.  He received them with great marks of
affection.  “Brother,” said he to the Duke of Vendome, laying his hand
upon his shoulder, “I was impatient to see you.”  Next morning, the 15th
of June, the two princes were arrested in bed.  “Ah! brother,” cried
Vendome, “did not I tell you in Brittany that we should be arrested?”
 “I wish I were dead, and you were there,” said the Grand Prior.  “I told
you, you know, that the castle of Blois was a fatal place for princes,”
 rejoined the duke.  They were conducted to Amboise.  The king,
continually disquieted by the projects of assassination hatched against
his minister, gave him a company of musketeers as guards, and set off for
Nantes, whither the cardinal was not slow to go and join him.  In the
interval, a fresh accomplice in the plot had been discovered.

This time it was in the king’s own household that he had been sought and
found.  Henry de Talleyrand, Count of Chalais, master of the wardrobe,
hare-brained and frivolous, had hitherto made himself talked about only
for-his duels and his successes with women.  He had already been drawn
into a plot against the cardinal’s life; but, under the influence of
remorse, he had confessed his criminal intentions to the minister
himself.  Richelieu appeared touched by the repentance, but he did not
forget the offence, and his watch over this “unfortunate gentleman,” as
he himself calls him, made him aware before long that Chalais was
compromised in an intrigue which aimed at nothing less, it was said, than
to secure the person of the cardinal by means an ambush, so as  to rid
him at need.  Chalais was arrested in his bed on the 8th of July.  The
Marquis la Valette, son of the Duke of Epernon and governor or Metz had
been asked to give an asylum to Monsieur in case he decided upon flying
from the court, had answered after embarrassed fashion; the cardinal had
his enemies in a trap He went to call on Monsieur; it was in Richelieu’s
own house, and under pretext of demanding hospitality of him, that the
conspirators calculated upon striking their blow.  “I very much, regret,”
 said the cardinal to Gaston, “that your Highness did, not warn me that
you and your friends meant to do me the honor of coming to sup with me.
I would have exerted myself, to entertain them and receive them to the
best of my ability.”  [_Journal de Bassompierre,_ t. ii.] Monsieur seemed
to be dumbfounded; he still thought of flight, but Madame de Guise had
just arrived at Nantes with her daughter, Mdlle. de Montpensier; Madame
de Chevreuse had been driven from court; the young prince’s friends had
been scared or won over; and President le Coigneux, his most honest
adviser, counselled him get the cardinal’s support with the king.  “That
rascal,” said the president, “gets so sharp an edge on his wits, that it
is necessary to avail one’s self of all sorts of means to undo what he
does.”  Monsieur at last gave way, and consented to married, provided
that the king would treat it as appanage.  Louis XIII., in his turn,
hesitated, being attracted by the arguments of certain underlings, “folks
ever welcome, as being apparently out of the region of political
interests, and seeming to have an eye in everything to their master’s
person only.”  They represented to the king that if the Duke of Anjou
were to have children, he would become of more importance in the country,
which would be to the king’s detriment.  The minister, boldly demanded of
the king the dismissal of “those petty folks who insolently abused his
ear.”  Louis XIII., in his turn gave way; and on the 5th of August, 1626,
the cardinal celebrated the marriage of Gaston, who became Duke of
Orleans on, the occasion, with Mary of Bourbon, Mdlle. de Montpesier.
“No viols or music were heard that day and it was said in the
bridegroom’s circle that there was no occassion for having Monsieur’s
marriage stained with blood.  This was reported,to the king, and to the
cardinal who did not at all like it.”

When Chalais, in his prison, heard of the marriage, he undoubtedly
conceived some hope of a pardon, for he exclaimed, as the cardinal
himself says, “That is a mighty sharp trick, to have not only scattered a
great faction, but, by removing its object, to have annihilated all hopes
of re-uniting it.  Only the sagacity of the king and his minister could
have made such a hit; it was well done to have caught Monsieur between
touch-and-go (_entre bond et volee_).  The prince, when he knows of this,
will be very vexed, though he do not say so, and the count (of Soissons,
nephew of Conde) will weep over it with his mother.”

The hopes of Chalais were deceived.  He had written to the king to
confess his fault.  “I was only thirteen days in the faction,” he said;
but those thirteen days were enough to destroy him.  In vain did his
friends intercede passionately for him; in vain did his mother write to
the king the most touching letter.  “I gave him to you, sir, at eight
years of age; he is a grandson of Marshal Montluc and President Jeannin;
his family serve you daily, but dare not throw themselves at your feet
for fear of displeasing you; nevertheless, they join with me in begging
of you the life of this wretch, though he should have to end his days in
perpetual imprisonment, or in serving you abroad.”  Chalais was condemned
to death on the 18th of August, 1626, by the criminal court established
at Nantes for that purpose; all the king’s mercy went no farther than a
remission of the tortures which should have accompanied th execution.  He
sent one of his friends to assure his mother of his repentance.  “Tell
him,” answered the noble lady, that I am very glad to have the
consolation he gives me of, his dying in God; if I did not think that the
sight of me would be too much for him, I would go to him and not leave
him until his head was severed from his body; but, being unable to be of
any help to him in that way, I am going to pray God for him.”  And she
returned into the church of the nuns of Sainte-Claire.  The friends of
Chalais had managed to have the executioner carried off, so as to retard
his execution; but an inferior criminal, to whom pardon had been granted
for the performance of this service, cut off the unfortunate culprit’s
head in thirty-one strokes.  [_Memoires d’un Favori du Duc d’ Orleans
(Archives curieuses de l’Histoire de France),_ 2d series, t. iii.] “The
sad news was brought to the Duke of Orleans, who was playing abbot; he
did not leave the game, and went on as if instead of death he had heard
of deliverance.”  An example of cruelty which might well have discouraged
the friends of the Duke of Orleans “from dying a martyr’s death for him”
 like the unhappy Chalais.

It has been said that Richelieu was neither meddlesome nor cruel, but
that he was stern and pitiless; and he gave proof of that the following
year, on an occasion when his personal interests were not in any way at
stake.  At the outset of his ministry, in 1624, he had obtained from the
king a severe ordinance against duels--a fatal custom which was at that
time decimating the noblesse.

[Illustration: Double Duel----188]

Already several noblemen, amongst others M. du Plessis-Praslin, had been
deprived of their offices or sent into exile in consequence of their
duels, when M. de Bouteville, of the house of Montmorency, who had been
previously engaged in twenty-one affairs of honor, came to Paris to fight
the Marquis of Beuvron on the _Place Royale_.  The Marquis’s second, M.
de fussy d’Amboise, was killed by the Count of Chapelles, Bouteville’s
second.  Beuvron fled to England.  M. de Bouteville and his comrade had
taken post for Lorraine; they were recognized and arrested at Vitry-le-
Brule and brought back to Paris; and the king immediately ordered
Parliament to bring them to trial.  The crime was flagrant and the
defiance of the kings orders undeniable; but
the culprit was connected with the greatest houses in the kingdom; he had
given striking proofs of bravery in the king’s service; and all the court
interceded for him.  Parliament, with regret, pronounced condemnation,
absolving the memory of Bussy d’Amboise, who was a son of President De
Mesmes’s wife, and reducing to one third of their goods the confiscation
to which the condemned were sentenced.  “Parliament has played the king,”
 was openly said in the queen’s ante-chamber; “if the things proceed to
execution, the king will play Parliament.”

The cardinal was much troubled in spirit,” says he himself it was
impossible to have a noble heart and not pity this poor gentleman, whose
youth and courage excited so much compassion.”  However, whilst
expounding, according to his practice, to the king the reasons for and
against the execution of the culprits, Richelieu let fall this astounding
expression: “It is a question of breaking the neck of duels or of your
Majesty’s edicts.”

Louis XIII. did not hesitate: though less stern than his brother, he was,
more indifferent, and “the love he bore his kingdom prevailed over his
compassion for these two gentlemen.”  Both died with courage.  “There was
no sign of anything weak in their words or mean in their actions.  They
received the news that they were to die with the same visage as they
would have that of pardon,”  “in such sort that they who had lived like
devils were seen dying like saints, and they who had cared for nothing
but to foment duels serving towards the extinction of them.”  [_Memoires
d’un Favori du Due d’ Orleans (Archives curieuses de l’Histoire de
France),_ t.  ii.]

The cardinal had got Chalais condemned as a conspirator; he had let
Bouteville be executed as a duellist; the greatest lords bent beneath his
authority, but the power that depends on a king’s favor is always menaced
and tottering.  The enemies of Richelieu had not renounced the idea of
overthrowing him; their hopes even went on growing, since, for some time
past the queen-mother had  been waxin jealous of the all powerful
minister, and no longer made common cause with him.  The king had
returned in triumph from the siege of La Rochelle; the queen-mother hoped
to retain him by her at court; but the cardinal, ever on the watch over
the movements of Spain, prevailed upon Louis XIII. to support his
subject, the Duke of Nevers, legitimate heir to Mantua and Montferrat, of
which the Spaniards were besieging the capital.  The army began to march,
but the queen designedly retarded the movements of her son.  The cardinal
was appointed generalissimo, and the king, who had taken upon himself the
occupation of Savoy, was before long obliged by his health to return to
Lyons, where he fell seriously ill.  The two queens hurried to his
bedside; and they were seconded by the keeper of the seals, M. de
Marillac, but lately raised to power by Richelieu as a man on whom he
could depend, and now completely devoted to the queen-mother’s party.

At the news of the king’s danger, the cardinal quitted St. Jean-de-
Maurienne for a precipitate journey to Lyons; but he was soon obliged to
return to his army.  During the king’s convalescence, the resentment of
the queen-mother against the minister, as well as that of Anne of
Austria, had free course; and when the royal train took the road slowly
back to Paris, in the month of October, the ruin of the cardinal had been
resolved upon.

What a trip was that descent of the Loire from Roanne to Briare in the
same boat and “at very close quarters between the queen-mother and the
cardinal!” says Bassompierre.  “She hoped that she would more easily be
able to have her will, and crush her servant with the more facility, the
less he was on his guard against it; she looked at him with a kindly eye,
accepted his dutiful attentions and respects as usual, and spoke to him
with as much appearance of confidence as if she had wholly given it him.”
 [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iii.  pp. 303-305.]

The king had requested his mother “to put off for six weeks or two months
the grand move against the cardinal, for the sake of the affairs of his
kingdom, which were then at a crisis in Italy” [_Memoires de
Bassompierre,_ t. iii.  p. 276], and she had promised him; but Richelieu
“suspected something wrong, and discovered more,” and, on the 12th of
November, 1630, when mother and son were holding an early conference at
the Luxembourg, a fine palace which Mary de’ Medici had just finished,
“the cardinal arrived there; finding the door of the chamber closed, he
entered the gallery and went and knocked at the door of the cabinet,
where he obtained no answer.  Tired of waiting, and knowing the ins and
outs of the mansion, he entered by the little chapel; whereat the king
was somewhat dismayed, and said to the queen in despair, ‘Here he is!’
thinking, no doubt, that he would blaze forth.  The cardinal, who
perceived this dismay, said to them, ‘I am sure you were speaking about
me.’  The queen answered, ‘We were not.’  Whereupon, he having replied,
‘Confess it, madam,’ she said yes, and thereupon conducted herself with
great tartness towards him, declaring to the king ‘that she would not put
up with the cardinal any longer, or see in her house either him or any of
his relatives and friends, to whom she incontinently gave their
dismissal, and not to them only, but even down to the pettiest of her
officers who had come to her from his hands.’” [_Memoires de Richelieu,_
t. iii.  p. 428.]

The struggle was begun.  Already the courtiers were flocking to the
Luxembourg; the keeper of the seals, Marillac, had gone away to sleep at
his country-house at Glatigny, quite close to Versailles, where the king
was expected; and he was hoping that Louis XIII. would summon him and put
the power in his hands.  The king was chatting with his favorite St.
Simon, and tapping with his finger-tips on the window-pane.  “What do you
think of all this?” he asked.  “Sir,” was the reply, “I seem to be in
another world, but at any rate you are master.”  “Yes, I am,” answered
the king, “and I will make it felt too.”  He sent for Cardinal La
Vallette, son of the Duke of Epernon, but devoted to Richelieu.  “The
cardinal has a good master,” he said: “go and make my compliments to him,
and tell him to come to me without delay.”  [Memoires de Bassompierre,
t. iii.  p. 276.]


[Illustration: “Tapping with his Finger-tips on the Window-pane.”----191]

With all his temper and the hesitations born of his melancholy mind,
Louis XIII. could appreciate and discern the great interests of his
kingdom and of his power.  The queen had supposed that the king would
abandon the cardinal, and “that her private authority as mother, and the
pious affection and honor the king showed her as her son, would prevail
over the public care which he ought, as king, to take of his kingdom and
his people.  But God, who holds in His hand the hearts of princes,
disposed things otherwise: his Majesty resolved to defend his servant
against the malice of those who prompted the queen to this wicked
design.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu._]  He conversed a long while with the
cardinal, and when the keeper of the seals awoke the next morning, it was
to learn that the minister was at Versailles with the king, who had
lodged him in a room under his own, that his Majesty demanded the seals
back, and that the exons were at his, Marillac’s, door to secure his
person.

At the same time was despatched a courier to headquarters at Foglizzo in
Piedmont.  The three marshals Schomberg, La Force, and Marillac, had all
formed a junction there.  Marillac, brother of the keeper of the seals,
held the command that day; and he was awaiting with patience the news,
already announced by his brother, of the cardinal’s disgrace.  Marshal
Schomberg opened the despatches; and the first words that met his eye
were these, written in the king’s own hand: “My dear cousin, you will not
fail to arrest Marshal Marillac; it is for the good of my service and for
your own exculpation.”  The marshal was greatly embarrassed; a great part
of the troops had come with Marillac from the army of Champagne and were
devoted to him.  Schomberg determined, on the advice of Marshal La Force,
in full council of captains, to show Marillac the postcript.  “Sir,”
 answered the marshal, “a subject must not murmur against his master,
nor say of him that the things he alleges are false.  I can protest with
truth that I have done nothing contrary to his service.  The truth is,
that my brother the keeper of the seals and I have always been the
servants of the queen-mother; she must have had the worst of it, and
Cardinal Richelieu has won the day against her and her servants.”
 [_Memoires de Puy-Seyur._]

Thus arrested in the very midst of the army he commanded, Marshal
Marillac was taken to the castle of St. Menehould and thence to Verdun,
where a court of justice extraordinary sat upon his case.  It was cleared
of any political accusation: the marshal was prosecuted for peculation
and extortion, common crimes at that time with many generals, and always
odious to the nation, which regarded their punishment with favor.  “It is
a very strange thing,” said Marillac, “to prosecute me as they do; my
trial is a mere question of hay, straw, wood, stones, and lime; there is
not case enough for whipping a lackey.”  There was case enough for
sentencing to death a marshal of France.  The proceedings lasted eighteen
months; the commission was transferred from Verdun to Ruel, to the very
house of the cardinal.  Marillac was found guilty by a majority of one
only.  The execution took place on the 10th of May, 1632.  The former
keeper of the seals, Michael de Marillac, died of decline at Chateaudun,
three months after the death of his brother.

_Dupes’ Day_ was over and lost.  The queen-mother’s attack on Richelieu
had failed before the minister’s ascendency and the king’s calculating
fidelity to a servant he did not like; but Mary de’ Medici’s anger was
not calmed, and the struggle remained set between her and the cardinal.
The Duke of Orleans, who had lost his wife after a year’s marriage, had
not hitherto joined his mother’s party, but all on a sudden, excited by
his grievances, he arrived at the cardinal’s, on the 30th of January,
1631, “with a strong escort, and told him that he would consider it a
strange purpose that had brought him there; that, so long as he supposed
that the cardinal would serve him, he had been quite willing to show him
amity; now, when he saw that he foiled him in everything that be had
promised, to such extent that the way in which he, Monsieur, had behaved
himself, had served no end but to make the world believe that he had
abandoned the queen his mother, he had come to take back the word he had
given him to show him affection.”  On leaving the cardinal’s house,
Monsieur got into his carriage and went off in haste to Orleans, whilst
the king, having received notice from Richelieu, was arriving with all
despatch from Versailles to assure his minister “of his protection, well
knowing that nobody could wish him ill, save for the faithful services he
rendered him.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. ii.  p. 444.]

The queen-mother had undoubtedly been aware of the Duke of Orleans’
project, for she had given up to him Madame’s jewels which he had
confided to her; she nevertheless sent her equerry to the king,
protesting “that she had been much astonished when she heard of
Monsieur’s departure, that she had almost fainted on the spot, and that
Monsieur had sent her word that he was going away from court because he
could no longer tolerate the cardinal’s violent proceedings against her.

“When the king signified to her that he considered this withdrawal very
strange, and let her know that he had much trouble in believing that she
knew nothing about it, she took occasion to belch forth fire and flames
against the cardinal, and made a fresh attempt to ruin him in the king’s
estimation, though she had previously bound herself by oath to take no
more steps against him.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. ii.  p. 465.]

The cardinal either had not sworn at all or did not consider himself more
bound than the queen by oaths.  Their Majesties set out for Compiegne;
there the minister brought the affair before the council, explaining with
a skilful appearance of indifference the different courses to be taken,
and ending by propounding the question of his own retirement or the
queen-mother’s.  “His Majesty, without hesitation, made his own choice,
taking the resolution of returning to Paris and of begging the
queen-mother to retire for the time being to one of his mansions,
particularly recommending Moulins, which she had formerly expressed to
the late king a wish to have; and, in order that she might be the better
contented with it, he offered her the government of it and of all the
province.”  Next day, February 23, 1631, before the queen-mother was up,
her royal son had taken the road back to Paris, leaving Marshal D’Estrees
at Compiegne to explain to the queen his departure and to hasten his
mother’s, a task in which the marshal had but small success, for Mary de’
Medici declared that, if they, meant to make her depart, they would have
to drag her stark naked from her bed.  She kept herself shut up in the
castle, refusing to go out and complaining of the injury the seclusion
did to her health; then she fled by night from Compiegne, attended by one
gentleman only, to go and take refuge in Flanders, whence she arrived
before long at Brussels.

The cardinal’s game was definitively won.  Mary de’ Medici had lost all
empire over her son, whom she was never to see again.

The Duke of Orleans meanwhile had taken the road to Lorraine, seeking a
refuge in the dominions of a prince able, crafty, restless, and hostile
to France from inclination as well as policy.  Smitten, before long, with
the duke’s sister, Princess Margaret, Gaston of Orleans married her
privately, with a dispensation from the Cardinal of Lorraine, all which
did not prevent either duke or prince from barefacedly denying the
marriage when the king reproached them with having contracted this
marriage without his consent.  In the month of June, 1632, the Duke of
Orleans entered France again at the head of some wretched regiments,
refuse of the Spanish army, given to him by Don Gonzalvo di Cordova.  For
the first time, he raised the standard of revolt openly.  For him it was
of little consequence, accustomed as he was to place himself at the head
of parties that he abandoned without shame in the hour of danger; but he
dragged along with him in his error a man worthy of another fate and of
another chief.  Henry, Duke of Montmorency, marshal of France, and
governor of Languedoc, was a godson of Henry IV., who said one day to
M. de Villeroy and to President Jeannin, “Look at my son Montmorency, how
well made he is; if ever the house of Bourbon came to fail, there is no
family in Europe which would so well deserve the crown of France as, his,
whose great men have always supported it, and even added to it at the
price of their blood.”  Shining at court as well as in arms, kind and
charitable, beloved of everybody and adored by his servants, the Duke of
Montmorency had steadily remained faithful to the king up to the fatal
day when the Duke of Orleans entangled him in his hazardous enterprise.
Languedoc was displeased with Richelieu, who had robbed it of some of its
privileges; the duke had no difficulty in collecting adherents there; and
he fancied himself to be already wielding the constable’s sword, five
times borne by a Montmorency, when Gaston of Orleans entered France and
Languedoc sooner than he had been looked for, and with a smaller
following than he had promised.  The eighteen hundred men brought by the
king’s brother did not suffice to re-establish him, with the queen his
mother, in the kingdom; the governor of Languedoc made an appeal to the
Estates then assembled at Pezenas; he was supported by the Bishop of Alby
and by that of Nimes; the province itself proclaimed revolt.  The sums
demanded by the king were granted to the duke, whom the deputies prayed
to remain faithful to the interests of the province, just as they
promised never to abandon his.  The Archbishop of Narbonne alone opposed
this rash act; he left the Estates, where he was president, and the duke
marched out to meet Monsieur as far as Lunel.  “Troops were levied
throughout the province and the environs as openly as if it had been for
the king.”  But the regiments were slow in forming; the Duke of Orleans
wished to gain over some of the towns; Narbonne and Montpellier closed
their gates.  The bishop’s influence had been counted upon for making
sure of Nimes, and Montmorency everywhere tried to practise on the
Huguenots; “but the Reformed ministers of Nimes, having had advices by
letter from his Majesty, whereby he represented himself to have been
advertised that the principal design of Monsieur was to excite them of
the religion styled Reformed, considered themselves bound in their own
defence to do more than the rest for the king’s service.  They assembled
the consistory, resolved to die in obedience to him, went to seek the
consuls and requested them to have the town-council assembled, in order
that it might be brought to take a similar resolution; which the consuls,
gained over by M. de Montmorency, refused.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_
t. iii.  p. 160.]  Thereupon the ministers sent off in haste to Marshal
La Force, who had already taken position at Pont-Saint-Esprit with his
army; and, he having despatched some light horse on the 26th of July, the
people cried, “Hurrah! for the king!” the bishop was obliged to fly, and
the town was kept to its allegiance.  “Beaucaire, the governor of which
had been won over,” made armed resistance.  “If we beat the king’s army,”
 said the Duke of Montmorency on returning to Pezenas after this incident,
“we shall have no lack of towns; if not, we shall have to go and make our
court at Brussels.”

At the news of his brother’s revolt, the king, who happened to be on the
frontiers of Lorraine, had put himself in motion, but he marched at his
ease and by short stages, “thinking that the fire Monsieur would kindle
would be only a straw fire.”

He hurried his movements when he heard of Montmorency’s uprising, and
left Paris after having put the seals upon the duke’s house, who had
imprudently left five hundred and fifty thousand livres there; the money
was seized and lodged in the royal safe.  The Princess of Guemene,
between whom and Montmorency there were very strong ties, went to see the
cardinal, who was in attendance on the king.  “Sir,” she said to him,
“you are going to Languedoc; remember the great marks of attachment that
M. de Montmorency showed you not long ago; you cannot forget then without
ingratitude.”  Indeed, when the king believed himself to be dying at
Lyons, he had recommended the cardinal to the Duke of Montmorency, who
had promised to receive him into his government.  “Madam,” replied
Richelieu coldly, “I have not been the first to break off.”

Already the Parliament of Toulouse, remaining faithful to the king, had
annulled the resolutions of the Estates, the letters and commissions of
the governor; and the Parliament of Paris had just enregistered a
resolution against the servants and adherents of the Duke of Orleans, as
rebels guilty of high treason and disturbers of the common peace.  Six
weeks were granted the king’s brother to put an end to all acts of
hostility; else the king was resolved to decree against him, after that
interval of delay, “whatsoever he should consider it his duty to do for
the preservation of his kingdom, according to the laws of the realm and
the example of his predecessors.”

It was against Marshal Schomberg that Montmorency was advancing.  The
latter found himself isolated in his revolt, shut up within the limits of
his government, between the two armies of the king, who was marching in
person against him.  Calculations had been based upon an uprising of
several provinces and the adhesion of several governors, amongst others
of the aged Duke of Epernon, who had sent to Monsieur to say, “I am his
very humble servant; let him place himself in a position to be served;”
 but no one moved, the king every day received fresh protestations of
fidelity, and the Duke of Epernon had repaired to Montauban to keep that
restless city to its duty, and to prevent any attempt from being made in
the province.

At three leagues’ distance from Castelnaudary, Marshal Schomberg was
besieging a castle called St.  Felix-de-Carmain, which held out for the
Duke of Orleans.  Montmorency advanced to the aid of the place; he had
two thousand foot and three thousand horse; and the Duke of Orleans
accompanied him with a large number of gentlemen.  The marshal had won
over the defenders of St. Felix, and he was just half a league from
Castelnaudary when he encountered the rebel army.  The battle began
almost at once.  Count de Moret, natural son of Henry IV. and Jacqueline
de Bueil, fired the first shot.  Hearing the noise, Montmorency, who
commanded the right wing, takes a squadron of cavalry, and, “urged on by
that impetuosity which takes possession of all brave men at the like
juncture, he spurs his horse forward, leaps the ditch which was across
the road, rides over the musketeers, and, the mishap of finding himself
alone causing him to feel more indignation than fear, he makes up his
mind to signalize by his resistance a death which he cannot avoid.”  Only
a few gentlemen had followed him, amongst others an old officer named
Count de Rieux, who had promised to die at his feet and he kept his word.
In vain had Montmorency called to him his men-at-arms and the regiment of
Ventadour; the rest of the cavalry did not budge.  Count de Moret had
been killed; terror was everywhere taking possession of the men.  The
duke was engaged with the king’s light horse; he had just received two
bullets in his mouth.  His horse, “a small barb, extremely swift,” came
down with him and he fell wounded in seventeen places, alone, without a
single squire to help him.  A sergeant of a company of the guards saw him
fall, and carried him into the road; some soldiers who were present burst
out crying; they seemed to be lamenting their general’s rather than their
prisoner’s misfortune.  Montmorency alone remained as if insensible to
the blows of adversity, and testified by the grandeur of his courage that
in him it had its seat in a place higher than the heart.”  [_Journal du
Duc de Montmorency (Archives curieuses de l’Histoire de France),_ t. iv.]

[Illustration: Henry, Duke of Montmorency, at Castelnaudary----199]

Whilst the army of the Duke of Orleans was retiring, carrying off their
dead, nearly all of the highest rank, the king’s men were bearing away
Montnmorency, mortally wounded, to Castelnaudary.  His wife, Mary Felicia
des Ursins, daughter of the Duke of Bracciano, being ill in bed at
Beziers, sent him a doctor, together with her equerry, to learn the truth
about her husband’s condition.  “Thou’lt tell my wife,” said the duke,
“the number and greatness of the wounds thou hast seen, and thou’lt
assure her that it which I have caused her spirit is incomparably more
painful, to me than all the others.”  On passing through the faubourgs of
the town, the duke desired that his litter should be opened, “and the
serenity that shone through the pallor of his visage moved the feelings
of all present, and forced tears from the stoutest and the most stolid.”
 [_Journal du Due de Montmorency (Archives curieuses de l’Histoire de
France)_, t.  iv.]

The Duke of Orleans did not lack the courage of the soldier; he would
fain have rescued Montmorency and sought to rally his forces; but the
troops of Languedoc would obey none but the governor; the foreigners
mutinied, and the king’s brother had no longer an army.  “Next day, when
it was too late,” says Richelieu, “Monsieur sent a trumpeter to demand
battle of Marshal Schomberg, who replied that he would not give it, but
that, if he met him, he would try to defend himself against him.”
 Monsieur considered himself absolved from seeking the combat, and
henceforth busied himself about nothing but negotiation.  Alby, Beziers,
and Pezenas hastened to give in their submission.  It was necessary for
the Duchess of Montmorency, ill and in despair, to quicken her departure
from Beziers, where she was no longer safe.  “As she passed along the
streets she heard nothing but a confusion of voices amongst the people,
speaking insolently of those who would withdraw in apprehension.”  The
king was already at Lyons.

He was at Pont-Saint-Esprit when he sent a message to his brother, from
whom he had already received emissaries on the road.  The first demands
of Gaston d’Orleans were still proud; he required the release of
Montmorency, the rehabilitation of all those who had served his party and
his mother’s, places of surety and money.  The king took no notice; and
a second envoy from the prince was put in prison.  Meanwhile, the
superintendent of finance, M. de Bullion, had reached him from the king,
and “found the mind of Monsieur very penitent and well disposed, but not
that of all the rest, for Monsieur confessed that he had been ill-advised
to behave as he did at the cardinal’s house, and afterwards leave the
court; acknowledging himself to be much obliged to the king for the
clemency he had shown to him in his proclamation, which had touched him
to the heart, and that he was bounden therefor to the cardinal, whom he
had always liked and esteemed, and believed that he also on his side
liked him.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. viii.  p. 196.]

The Duchess of Montmorency knew Monsieur, although she, it was said,
had pressed her husband to join him; and all ill as she was, had been
following him ever since the battle of Castelnaudary, in the fear lest he
should forget her husband in the treaty.  She could not, unfortunately,
enter Beziers, and it was there that the arrangements were concluded.
Monsieur protested his repentance, cursing in particular Father
Chanteloube, confessor and confidant of the queen his mother, “whom he
wished the king would have hanged; he had given pretty counsel to the
queen, causing her to leave the kingdom; for all the great hopes he had
led her to conceive, she was reduced to relieve her weariness by praying
to God.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. viii.  p. 196.]  As for Monsieur,
he was ready to give up all intelligence with Spain, Lorraine, and the
queen his mother, “who could negotiate her business herself.”  He bound
himself to take no interest “in him or those who had connected themselves
with him on these occasions for their own purposes, and he would not
complain should the king make them suffer what they had deserved.”  It is
true that he added to these base concessions many entreaties in favor of
M. de Montmorency; but M. de Bullion did not permit him to be under any
delusion.  “It is for your Highness to choose,” he said, “whether or not
you prefer to cling to the interests of M. de Montmorency, displease the
king and lose his good graces.”  The prince signed everything; then he
set out for Tours, which the king had assigned for his residence,
receiving on the way, from town to town, all the honors that would have
been paid to his Majesty himself.  M. de Montmorency remained in prison.

“He awaited death with a resignation which is inconceivable,” says the
author of his _Memoires;_ “never did man speak more boldly than he about
it; it seemed as if he were recounting another’s perils when he described
his own to his servants and his guards, who were the only witnesses of
such lofty manliness.”  His sister, the Princess of Conde, had a memorial
prepared for his defence put before him.  He read it carefully, then he
tore it up, “having always determined,” he said, “not to (chicaner) go
pettifogging for (or, dispute) his life.”  “I ought by rights to answer
before the Parliament of Paris only,” said he to the commission of the
Parliament of Toulouse instructed to conduct his trial, “but I give up
with all my heart this privilege and all others that might delay my
sentence.”

There was not long to wait for the decree.  On arriving at Toulouse,
October 27, at noon, the duke had asked for a confessor.  “Father,” said
he to the priest, “I pray you to put me this moment in the shortest and
most certain path to heaven that you can, having nothing more to hope or
wish for but God.”  All his family had hurried up, but without being able
to obtain the favor of seeing the king.  “His Majesty had strengthened
himself in the resolution he had taken from the first to make in the case
of the said Sieur de Montmorency a just example for all the grandees of
his kingdom in the future, as the late king his father had done in the
person of Marshal Biron,” says Richelieu in his Memoires.  The Princess
of Conde could not gain admittance to his Majesty, who lent no ear to
the supplications of his oldest servants, represented by the aged Duke of
Epernon, who accused himself by his own mouth of having but lately
committed the same crime as the Duke of Montmorency.  “You can retire,
duke,” was all that Louis XIII. deigned to reply.  “I should not be a
king if I had the feelings of private persons,” said he to Marshal
Chatillon, who pointed out to him the downcast looks and swollen eyes of
all his court.

It was the 30th of October, early: and the Duke of Montmorency was
sleeping peacefully.  His confessor came and awoke him.  “_Surgite,
eamus_ (rise, let us be going),” he said, as he awoke; and when his
surgeon would have dressed his wounds, “Now is the time to heal all my
wounds with a single one,” he said, and he had himself dressed in the
clothes of white linen he had ordered to be made at Lectoure for the day
of execution.  When the last questions were put to him by the judges, he
answered by a complete confession; and when the decree was made known to
him, “I thank you, gentlemen,” said he to the commissioners, “and I beg
you to tell all them of your body from me, that I hold this decree of the
king’s justice for a decree of God’s mercy.”  He walked to the scaffold
with the same tranquillity, saluting right and left those whom he knew,
to take leave of them; then, having with difficulty placed himself upon
the block, so much did his wounds still cause him to suffer, he said out
loud, “_Domine Jesu, accipe spiritum meum (Lord Jesus, receive my
spirit)!_”  As his head fell, the people rushed forward to catch his
blood and dip their handkerchiefs in it.

Henry de Montmorency was the last of the ducal branch of his house, and
was only thirty-seven.

It was a fine opportunity for Monsieur to once more break his
engagements.  Shame and anxiety drove him equally.  He was universally
reproached with Montmorency’s death; and he was by no means easy on the
subject of his marriage, of which no mention had been made in the
arrangements.  He quitted Tours and withdrew to Flanders, writing to the
king to complain of the duke’s execution, saying that the life of the
latter had been the tacit condition of his agreement, and that, his
promise being thus not binding, he was about to seek a secure retreat out
of the kingdom.  “Everybody knows in what plight you were, brother, and
whether you could have done anything else,” replied the king.

“What think you, gentlemen, was it that lost the Duke of Montmorency his
head?” said Cardinal Zapata to Bautru and Barrault, envoys of France,
whom he met in the antechamber of the King of Spain.  “His crimes,”
 replied Bautru.  “No,” said the cardinal, “but the clemency of his
Majesty’s predecessors.”  Louis XIII. and Cardinal Richelieu have
assuredly not merited that, reproach in history.

So many and such terrible examples were at last to win the all-powerful
minister some years of repose.  Once only, in 1636, a new plot on the
part of Monsieur and the Count of Soissons threatened not only his power,
but his life.  The king’s headquarters were established at the castle of
Demuin; and the princes, urged on by Montresor and Saint-Ibal, had
resolved to compass the cardinal’s death.  The blow was to be struck at
the exit from the council.  Richelieu conducted the king back to the
bottom of the staircase.

[Illustration: The King and the Cardinal----204]

The two gentlemen were awaiting the signal; but Monsieur did not budge,
and retired without saying a word.  The Count of Soissons dared not go
any further, and the cardinal mounted quietly to his own rooms, without
dreaming of the extreme peril he had run.  Richelieu was rather lofty
than proud, and too clear-sighted to mistake the king’s feelings towards
him.  Never did he feel any confidence in his position; and never did he
depart from his jealous and sometimes petty watchfulness.  Any influence
foreign to his own disquieted him in proximity to a master whose affairs
he governed altogether, without ever having been able to get the mastery
over his melancholy and singular mind.

Women filled but a small space in the life of Louis XIII.  Twice,
however, in that interval of ten years which separated the plot of
Montmorency from that of Cinq-Mars, did the minister believe himself to
be threatened by feminine influence; and twice he used artifice to win
the monarch’s heart and confidence from two young girls of his court,
Louise de La Fayette and Marie d’Hautefort.  Both were maids of honor to
the queen.  Mdlle. d’Hautefort was fourteen years old when, in 1630, at
Lyons, in the languors of convalescence, the king first remarked her
blooming and at the same time severe beauty, and her air of nobility and
modesty; and it was not long before the whole court knew that he had
remarked her, for his first care, at the sermon, was to send the young
maid of honor the velvet cushion on which he knelt for her to sit upon.
Mdlle. d’Hautefort declined it, and remained seated, like her companions,
on the ground; but henceforth the courtiers’ eyes were riveted on her
movements, on the interminable conversations in which she was detained by
the king, on his jealousies, his tiffs, and his reconciliations.  After
their quarrels, the king would pass the greater part of the day in
writing out what he had said to Mdlle. d’Hautefort and what she had
replied to him.  At his death, his desk was found full of these singular
reports of the most innocent, but also most stormy and most troublesome
love-affair that ever was.  The king was especially jealous of Mdlle.
d’Hautefort’s passionate devotion to the queen her mistress, Anne of
Austria.  “You love an ingrate,” he said, “and you will see how she will
repay your services.”  Richelieu had been unable to win Mdlle.
d’Hautefort; and he did his best to embitter the tiff which separated
her from the king in 1635.  But Louis XIII. had learned the charm of
confidence and intimacy; and he turned to Louise de La Fayette, a
charming girl of seventeen, who was as virtuous as Mdlle. d’Hautefort,
but more gentle and tender than she, and who gave her heart in all
guilelessness to that king so powerful, so a-weary, and so melancholy at
the very climax of his reign.  Happily for Richelieu, he had a means,
more certain than even Mdlle. d’Hautefort’s pride, of separating her from
Louis XIII.; Mdlle.  de La Fayette, whilst quite a child, had serious
ideas of becoming a nun; and scruples about being false to her vocation
troubled her at court, and even in those conversations in which she
reproached herself with taking too much pleasure, Father Coussin, her
confessor, who was also the king’s, sought to quiet her conscience; he
hoped much from the influence she could exercise over the king; but
Mdlle. de La Fayette, feeling herself troubled and perplexed, was urgent.
When the Jesuit reported to Louis XIII. the state of his fair young
friend’s feelings, the king, with tears in his eyes, replied, “Though I
am very sorry she is going away, nevertheless I have no desire to be an
obstacle to her vocation; only let her wait until I have left for the
army.”  She did not wait, however.  Their last interview took place at
the queen’s, who had no liking for Mdlle. de La Fayette; and, as the
king’s carriage went out of the court-yard, the young girl, leaning
against the window, turned to one of her companions and said, “Alas! I
shall never see him again!”  But she did see him again often for some
time.  He went to see her in her convent, and “remained so long glued to
her grating,” says Madame de Motteville, that Cardinal Richelieu, falling
a prey to fresh terrors, recommenced his intrigues to tear him from her
entirely.  And he succeeded.”  The king’s affection for Mdlle.
d’Hautefort awoke again.  She had just rendered the queen an important
service.  Anne of Austria was secretly corresponding with her two
brothers, King Philip IV. and the Cardinal Infante, a correspondence
which might well make the king and his minister uneasy, since it was
carried on through Madame de Chevreuse, and there was war at the time
with Spain.  The queen employed for this intercourse a valet named
Laporte, who was arrested and thrown into prison.  The chancellor removed
to Val-de-Grace, whither the queen frequently retired; he questioned the
nuns and rummaged Anne of Austria’s cell.  She was in mortal anxiety, not
knowing what Laporte might say or how to unloose his tongue, so as to
keep due pace with her own confessions to the king and the cardinal.
Mdlle. d’Hautefort disguised herself as a servant, went straight to the
Bastille, and got a letter delivered to Laporte, thanks to the agency of
Commander de Jars, her friend, then in prison.  The confessions of
mistress and agent being thus set in accord, the queen obtained her
pardon, but not without having to put up with reproaches and conditions
of stern supervision.  Madame de Chevreuse took fright, and went to seek
refuge in Spain.  The king’s inclination towards Mdlle. d’Hautefort
revived, without her having an idea of turning it to profit on her own
account.  “She had so much loftiness of spirit that she could never have
brought herself to ask anything for herself and her family; and all that
could be wrung from her was to accept what the king and queen were
pleased to give her.”

Richelieu had never forgotten Mdlle. d’Hautefort’s airs: he feared her,
and accused her to the king of being concerned in Monsieur’s continual
intrigues.  Louis XIII.’s growing affection for young Cinq-Mars, son of
Marshal d’Effiat, was beginning to occupy the gloomy monarch; and he the
more easily sacrificed Mdlle. d’Hautefort.  The cardinal merely asked him
to send her away for a fortnight.  She insisted upon hearing the order
from the king’s own mouth.  “The fortnight will last all the rest of my
life,” she said: “and so I take leave of your Majesty forever.”  She went
accompanied by the regrets and tears of Anne of Austria, and leaving the
field open to the new favorite, the king’s “rattle,” as the cardinal
called him.

M. de Cinq-Mars was only nineteen when he was made master of the wardrobe
and grand equerry of France.  Brilliant and witty, he amused the king and
occupied the leisure which peace gave him.  The passion Louis XIII. felt
for his favorite was jealous and capricious.  He upbraided the young man
for his flights to Paris to see his friends and the elegant society of
the Marais, and sometimes also Mary di Gonzaga, daughter of the Duke of
Mantua, wooed but lately by the Duke of Orleans, and not indifferent, it
was said, to the vows of M. Le Grand, as Cinq-Mars was called.  The
complaints were detailed to Richelieu by the king himself in a strange
correspondence, which reminds one of the “reports” of his quarrels with
Mdlle. d’Hautefort.  “I am very sorry,” wrote Louis XIII. on the 4th of
January, 1641, “to trouble you about the ill tempers of M. Le Grand.  I
upbraided him with his heedlessness; he answered that for that matter he
could not change, and that he should do no better than he had done.  I
said that, considering his obligations to me, he ought not to address me
in that manner.  He answered in his usual way: that he didn’t want my
kindness, that he could do very well without it, and that he would be
quite as well content to be Cinq-Mars as M. Le Grand, but, as for
changing his ways and his life, he couldn’t do it.  And so, he
continually knagging at me and I at him, we came as far as the
court-yard, when I said to him that, being in the temper he was in, he
would do me the pleasure of not coming to see me.  I have not seen him
since.  Signed, Louis.”  This time the cardinal reconciled the king and
the favorite, whom he had himself placed near him, but whose constant
attendance upon the king his master he was beginning to find sometimes
very troublesome.  “One day he sent word to him not to be for the future
so continually at his heels, and treated him even to his face with so
much tartness and imperiousness as if he had been the lowest of his
valets.”  Cinq-Mars began to lend an ear to those who were egging him on
against the cardinal.

Then began a series of negotiations and intrigues; the Duke of Orleans
had come back to Paris, the king was ill and the cardinal more so than
he; thence arose conjectures and insensate hopes; the Duke of Bouillon,
being sent for by the king, who confided to him the command of the army
of Italy, was at the same time drawn into the plot which was beginning to
be woven against the minister; the Duke of Orleans and the queen were in
it; and the town of Sedan, of which Bouillon was prince-sovereign, was
wanted to serve the authors of the conspiracy as an asylum in case of
reverse.  Sedan alone was not sufficient; there was need of an army.
Whence was it to come?  Thoughts naturally turned towards Spain.

For so perilous a treaty a negotiator was required, and the grand equerry
proposed his friend, Viscount de Fontrailles, a man of wit, who detested
the cardinal, and who would have considered it a simpler plan to
assassinate him; he consented, however, to take charge of the
negotiation, and he set out for Madrid, where his treaty was soon
concluded, in the name of the Duke of Orleans.  The Spaniards were to
furnish twelve thousand foot and five thousand horse, four hundred
thousand crowns down, twelve thousand crowns’ pay a month, and three
hundred thousand livres to fortify the frontier-town which was promised
by the duke.  Sedan, Cinq-Mars, and the Duke of Bouillon were only
mentioned in a separate instrument.

The king was then at Narbonne, on his way to his army, which was
besieging Perpignan.  The grand equerry was with him.  Fontrailles went
to call upon him.  “I do not intend to be seen by anybody,” said he, “but
to make speedily for England, as I do not think I am strong enough to
undergo the torture the cardinal might put me to in his own room on the
least suspicion.”  On the 21st of April, the cardinal was dangerously
ill, and the king left him at Narbonne a prey to violent fever, with an
abscess on the arm which prevented him from writing, whilst Cinq-Mars,
ever present and ever at work, was doing his best to insinuate into his
master’s mind suspicion of the minister, and the hopes founded upon his
disgrace or death.  The king listened, as he subsequently avowed, in
order to discover his favorite’s wicked thoughts and make him tell all he
had in his heart.  “The king was tacitly the head of this conspiracy,”
 says Madame de Motteville: “the grand equerry was the soul of it; the
name made use of was that of the Duke of Orleans, the king’s only
brother; and their counsel was the Duke of Bouillon, who joined with them
because, having belonged to the party of M. de Soissons, he was in very
ill odor at court.  They all formed fine projects touching the change
that was to take place to the advantage of their aggrandizement and
fortunes, persuading themselves that the cardinal could not live above a
few days, during which he would not be able to set himself right with the
king.”  Such were their projects and their hopes when the Gazette de
France, on the 21st of June, 1642, gave these two pieces of news both
together.  “The cardinal-duke, after remaining two days at Arles,
embarked on the 11th of this month for Tarascon, his health becoming
better and better.  The king has ordered under arrest Marquis de Cinq-
Mars, grand equerry of France.”

Great was the surprise, and still greater was the dismay, amongst the
friends of Cinq-Mars.  “Your grand designs are as well known at Paris as
that the Seine flows under the Pont Neuf,” wrote Mary di Gonzaga to him a
few days previously.

Those grand designs so imprudently divulged caused a presentiment of
great peril.  When left alone with his young favorite, and suddenly
overwhelmed, amidst his army, with cares and business of which his
minister usually relieved him, the king had too much wit not to perceive
the frivolous insignificance of Cinq-Mars compared with the mighty
capability of the cardinal.  “I love you more than ever,” he wrote to
Richelieu: “we have been too long together to be ever separated, as I
wish everybody to understand.  In reply, the cardinal had sent him a copy
of the treaty between Cinq-Mars and Spain.

The king could not believe his eyes; and his wrath equalled his
astonishment.  Together with that of the grand equerry he ordered the
immediate arrest of M. de Thou, his intimate friend; and the order went
out to secure the Duke of Bouillon, then at the head of the army of
Italy.  He, caught, like Marshal Marillac, in the midst of his troops,
had vainly attempted to conceal himself; but he was taken and conducted
to the castle of Pignerol.  Fontrailles had seen the blow coming.  He
went to visit the grand equerry, and, “Sir,” said he, “you are a fine
figure; if you were shorter by the whole head, you would not cease to be
very tall; as for me, who am already very short, nothing could be taken
off me without inconveniencing me and making me cut the poorest figure in
the world; you will be good enough, if you please, to let me get out of
the way of edged tools.”  And he set out for Spain, whence he had hardly
returned.

What had become of the most guilty, if not the most dangerous, of all the
accomplices?  Monsieur, “the king’s only (unique) brother,” as Madame de
Motteville calls him, had come as far as Moulins, and had sent to ask the
grand equerry to appoint a place of meeting, when he heard of his
accomplice’s arrest, and, before long, that of the Duke of Bouillon.
Frightened to death as he was, he saw that treachery was safer than
flight, and, just as the king had joined the all but dying cardinal at
Tarascon, there arrived an emissary from the Duke of Orleans bringing
letters from him.  He assured the king of his fidelity; he entreated
Chavigny, the minister’s confidant, to give him “means of seeing his
Eminence before he saw the king, in which case all would go well.”  He
appealed to the cardinal’s generosity, begging him to keep his letter as
an eternal reproach, if he were not thenceforth the most faithful and
devoted of his friends.

Abbe de La Riviere, who was charged to implore pardon for his master,
was worthy of such a commission: he confessed everything, he signed
everything, though he “all but died of terror,” and, at the cardinal’s
demand, he soon brought all those poltrooneries written out in the Duke
of Orleans’ own hand.  The prince was all but obliged to appear at the
trial and deliver up his accomplices in the face of the whole world.
The respect, however, of Chancellor Seguier for his rank spared him this
crowning disgrace.  The king’s orders to his brother, after being
submitted to the cardinal, bore this note in the minister’s hand:
“Monsieur will have in his place of exile twelve thousand crowns a month,
the same sum that the King of Spain had promised to give him.”

“Paralysis of the arm did not prevent the head from acting;” the dying
cardinal had dictated to the king, stretched on a couch at his side, in a
chamber of his house at Monfrin, near Tarascon, those last commands which
completed the dishonor of the Duke of Orleans and the ruin of the
favorite.  Louis XIII. slowly took the road back to Fontainebleau in the
cardinal’s litter, which the latter had lent him.  The prisoners were
left in the minister’s keeping, who ordered them before long to Lyons,
whither he was himself removed.  The grand equerry coming from
Montpellier, M. de Thou from Tarascon, in a boat towed by that of the
cardinal, and the Duke of Bouillon from Pignerol, were all three lodged
in the castle of Pierre-Encise.  Their examination was put off until the
arrival of such magistrates “as should be capable of philosophizing and
perpetually thinking of the means they must use for arriving at their
ends.”  That was useless, inasmuch as the grand equerry “never ceased to
say quite openly that he had done nothing to which the king had not
consented.”

Louis XIII. was, no doubt, affected by such language; for, scarcely had
he arrived at Fontainebleau, whither he had been preceded by news of the
end of the queen his mother, who had died at Cologne in exile and
poverty, when he wrote to all the parliaments of his kingdom, to the
governors of the provinces, and to the ambassadors at foreign courts, to
give his own account of the arrest of the guilty and the part he himself
had played in the matter.  “The notable and visible change which had for
the last year appeared in the conduct of Sieur de Cinq-Mars, our grand
equerry, made us resolve, as soon as we perceived it, to carefully keep
watch on his actions and his words, in order to fathom them and discover
what could be the cause.  To this end, we resolved to let him act and
speak with us more freely than heretofore.”  And in a letter written
straight to the chancellor, the king exclaims in wrath, “It is true that
having seen me sometimes dissatisfied with the cardinal, whether from the
apprehension I felt lest he should hinder me from going to the siege of
Perpignan, or induce me to leave it, for fear lest my health might
suffer, or from any other like reason, the said Sieur de Cinq-Mars left
nothing undone to chafe me against my said cousin, which I put up with so
long as his evil offices were confined within the bounds of moderation.
But when he went so far as to suggest to me that the cardinal must be got
rid of, and offered to carry it out himself, I conceived a horror of his
evil thoughts, and held them in detestation.  Although I have only to say
so for you to believe it, there is nobody who can deem but that it must
have been so; for, otherwise, what motive would he have had for joining
himself to Spain against me, if I had approved of what he desired?”

The trial was a foregone conclusion; the king and his brother made common
cause in order to overwhelm the accused, “an earnest of a peace which was
not such as God announced with good will to man on Christmas day,” writes
Madame de Motteville, “but such as may exist at court and amongst
brothers of royal blood.”

The cardinal did not think it necessary to wait for the sentence.  He had
arrived at his house at Lyons, in a sort of square chamber, covered with
red damask, and borne on the shoulders of eighteen guards; there,
stretched upon his couch, a table covered with papers beside him, he
worked and chatted with whomsoever of his servants he had been pleased to
have as his companion on the road.  It was in the same equipage that he
left Lyons to gain the Loire and return to Paris.  On his passage, it was
necessary to pull down lumps of wall and throw bridges over the fosses to
make way for this vast litter and the indomitable man that lay dying
within it.

It was on the 12th of September, 1642, that the accused appeared before
the commission; there were now but two of them; the Duke of Bouillon had
made his private arrangement with the cardinal, confessing everything,
and requesting “to have his life spared in order that he might employ it
to preserve to the Catholic church five little children whom his death
would leave to persons of the opposite religion.”  In consideration of
this pardon, a demand was made upon him to give up Sedan to the king,
“though it were easy to gain possession of-it by investment.”  The duke
consented to all, and he awaited in his dungeon at Pierre-Bncise the
execution of his accomplices who had no town to surrender.  Their death
was to be the signal of his liberation.

The two accused denied nothing.  M. de Thou merely maintained that he had
not been in any way mixed up with the conspiracy, proving that he had
blamed the treaty with Spain, and that his only crime was not having
revealed it.  “He believed me to be his friend, his one faithful friend,”
 said he, speaking of Cinq-Mars, “and I had no mind to betray him.”  The
grand equerry told in detail the story of the plot, his connection with
the Duke of Orleans, who had missed no opportunity of paying court to
him, the resolutions taken in concert with the Duke of Bouillon, and the
treaty concluded with Spain, “confessing that he had erred, and had no
hope but in the clemency of the king, and of the cardinal, whose
generosity would be so much the more shown in asking pardon for him as he
was the less bound to do so.”  There was not long to wait for the decree;
the votes were unanimous against the grand equerry, a single one of the
judges pronouncing in favor of M. de Thou.  The latter turned towards
Cinq-Mars, and said, “Ah! well, sir; humanly speaking, I might complain
of you; you have placed me in the dock, and you are the cause of my
death; but God knows how I love you.  Let us die, sir, let us die
courageously, and win Paradise.”

The decree against Cinq-Mars sentenced him to undergo the question in
order to get a more complete revelation of his accomplices.  “It had been
resolved not to put him to it,” says Tallemant des Reaux: “but it was
exhibited to him nevertheless; it gave him a turn, but it did not make
him do anything to belie himself, and he was just taking off his doublet,
when he was told to raise his hand in sign of telling the truth.”

The execution was not destined to be long deferred; the very day on which
the sentence was delivered saw the execution of it.  “The grand equerry
showed a never-changing and very resolute firmness to the death, together
with admirable calmness and the constancy and devoutness of a Christian,”
 wrote M. du Marca, councillor of state, to the secretary of state
Brionne; and Tallemant des Reaux adds, “He died with astoundingly great
courage, and did not waste time in speechifying; he would not have his
eyes bandaged, and kept them open when the blow was struck.”  M. de Thou
said not a word save to God, repeating the Credo even to the very
scaffold, with a fervor of devotion that touched all present.  “We have
seen,” says a report of the time, “the favorite of the greatest and most
just of kings lose his head upon the scaffold at the age of twenty-two,
but with a firmness which has scarcely its parallel in our histories.  We
have seen a councillor of state die like a saint after a crime which men
cannot justly pardon.  There is nobody in the world who, knowing of their
conspiracy against the state, does not think them worthy of death, and
there will be few who, having knowledge of their rank and their fine
natural qualities, will not mourn their sad fate.”

[Illustration: Cinq-Mars and De Thou going to Execution----215]

“Now that I make not a single step which does not lead me to death, I am
more capable than anybody else of estimating the value of the things of
the world,” wrote Cinq-Mars to his mother, the wife of Marshal d’Effiat.
“Enough of this world; away to Paradise!” said M. de Thou, as he marched
to the scaffold.  Chalais and Montmorency had used the same language.  At
the last hour, and at the bottom of their hearts, the frivolous courtier
and the hare-brained conspirator, as well as the great soldier and the
grave magistrate, had recovered their faith in God.



CHAPTER XXXIX.----LOUIS XIII., CARDINAL RICHELIEU, AND THE PROVINCES.

The story has been told of the conspiracies at court and the repeated
checks suffered by the great lords in their attempts against Cardinal
Richelieu.  With the exception of Languedoc, under the influence of its
governor the Duke of Montmorency, the provinces took no part in these
enterprises; their opposition was of another sort; and it is amongst the
parliaments chiefly that we must look for it.

“The king’s cabinet and his bed-time business (_petit coucher_) cause me
more embarrassment than the whole of Europe causes me,” said the cardinal
in the days of the great storms at court; he would often have had less
trouble in managing the parliaments and the Parliament of Paris in
particular, if the latter had not felt itself supported by a party at
court.  For a long time past a pretension had been put forward by that
great body to give the king advice, and to replace towards him the
vanished states-general.  “We hold the place in council of the princes
and barons, who from time immemorial were near the person of the kings,”
 was the language used, in 1615, in the representations of the Parliament,
which had dared, without the royal order, to summon the princes, dukes,
peers, and officers of the crown to deliberate upon what was to be done
for the service of the king, the good of the state, and the relief of the
people.

This pretension on the part of the parliaments was what Cardinal
Richelieu was continually fighting against.  He would not allow the
intervention of the magistrates in the government of the state.  When he
took the power into his hands, nine parliaments sat in France--Paris,
Toulouse, Grenoble, Bordeaux, Dijon, Rouen, Aix, Rennes, and Pau: he
created but one, that of Metz, in 1633, to severe in a definitive manner
the bonds which still attached the three bishoprics to the Germanic
empire.  Trials at that time were carried in the last resort to Spires.

Throughout the history of France we find the Parliament of Paris bolder
and more enterprising than all the rest: and it did not belie its
character in the very teeth of Richelieu.  When, after _Dupes’ Day_ was
over, Louis XIII. declared all the companions of his brother’s escape
guilty of high treason, the Parliament of Dijon, to which the decree was
presented by the king himself, enregistered it without making any
difficulty.  All the other parliaments followed the example; that of
Paris alone resisted, and its decision on the 25th of April contained a
bitter censure upon the cardinal’s administration.  On the 12th of May,
the decision of that Parliament was quashed by a decree of the royal
council, and all its members were summoned to the Louvre; on their knees
they had to hear the severe reprimand delivered by Chateauneuf, keeper of
the seals; and one president and three counsellors were at the same time
dismissed.  When the Parliament, still indomitable, would have had those
magistrates sit in defiance of the royal order, they were not to be found
in their houses; the soldiery had carried them off.

[Illustration: The Parliament of Paris reprimanded----217]

The trial of Marshal Marillac, before a commission, twice modified during
the course of proceedings, of the Parliament of Dijon, was the occasion
of a fresh reclamation on the part of the Parliament of Paris; and the
king’s ill-humor against the magistrates burst forth on the occasion of a
commission constituted at the Arsenal to take cognizance of the crime of
coining.  The Parliament made some formal objections the king, who was at
that time at Metz with his troops, summoned President Seguier and several
counsellors.  He quashed the decree of the Parliament.  “You are only
constituted,” said he, “to judge between Master Peter and Master John
(between John Doe and Richard Roe); if you go on as at present, I will
pare your nails so close that you’ll be sorry for it.”  Five counsellors
were interdicted, and had great trouble in obtaining authority to sit
again. So many and such frequent squabbles, whether about points of
jurisdiction or about the registration of edicts respecting finances,
which the Parliament claimed to have the right of looking into, caused
between the king, inspired by his minister, and the Parliament of Paris
an irritation which reached its height during the trial of the Duke of
La Valette, third son of the Duke of Epernon, accused, not without
grounds, of having caused the failure of the siege of Fontarabia from

jealousy towards the Prince of Conde.  The affair was called on before
a commission composed of dukes and peers, some councillors of state and
some members of the Parliament, which demanded that the duke should be
removed to its jurisdiction.  “I will not have it,” answered the king;
“you are always making difficulties; it seems as if you wanted to keep me
in leading-strings; but I am master, and shall know how to make myself
obeyed: It is a gross error to suppose that I have not a right to bring
to judgment whom I think proper and where I please.”  The king himself
asked the judges for their opinion.  [_Isambert, Recueil des anciennes
Lois Francaises,_ t. xvi.]  “Sir,” replied Counsellor Pinon, dean of the
grand chamber, “for fifty years I have been in the Parliament, and I
never saw anything of this sort; M. de La Valette had the honor of
wedding a natural sister of your Majesty, and he is, besides, a peer
of France; I implore you to remove him to the jurisdiction of the
Parliament.”  “Your opinion!” said the king, curtly.  “I am of opinion
that the Duke of La Valette be removed to be tried before the
Parliament.”  “I will not have that; it is no opinion.”  “Sir, removal is
a legitimate opinion.”  “Your opinion on the case!” rejoined the king,
who was beginning to be angry; “if not, I know what I must do.”
 President Bellievre was even bolder.  “It is a strange thing,” said he to
Louis XIII.’s face, to see a king giving his vote at the criminal trial
of one of his subjects; hitherto kings have reserved to themselves the
rights of grace, and have removed to their officers’ province the
sentencing of culprits.  Could your Majesty bear to see in the dock a
nobleman, who might leave your presence only for the scaffold?  It is
incompatible with kingly majesty.”  “Your opinion on the case!” bade the
king.  “Sir, I have no other opinion.”  The Duke of La Valette had taken
refuge in England: he was condemned and executed in effigy.  The
attorney-general, Matthew Mold, “did not consider it his business to
carry out an execution of that sort: “and recourse was obliged to be had
to the lieutenant-governor of convicts at the Chatelet of Paris.

The cup had overflowed, and the cardinal resolved to put an end to an
opposition which was the more irritating inasmuch as it was sometimes
legitimate.  A notification of the king’s, published in 1641, prohibited
the Parliament from any interference in affairs of state and
administration.  The whole of Richelieu’s home-policy is summed up in the
preamble to that instrument, a formal declaration of absolute power
concentrated in the hands of the king.  “It seemeth that, the institution
of monarchies having its foundation in the government of a single one,
that rank is as it were the soul which animates them and inspires them
with as much force and vigor as they can have short of perfection.  But
as this absolute authority raises states to the highest pinnacle of their
glory, so, when it happens to be enfeebled, they are observed, in a short
time, to fall from their high estate.  There is no need to go out of
France to find instances of truth.  .  .  .  The fatal disorders and
divisions of the League, which ought to be buried in eternal oblivion,
owed their origin and growth to disregard of the kingly authority  Henry
the Great, in whom God had put the most excellent virtues of a great
prince, on succeeding to the crown of Henry III., restored by his valor
the kingly authority which had been as it were cast down and trampled
under foot.  France recovered her pristine vigor, and let all Europe see
that power concentrated in the person of the sovereign is the source of
the glory and greatness of monarchies, and the foundation upon which
their preservation rests.  .  .  .  We, then, have thought it necessary
to regulate the administration of justice, and to make known to our
parliaments what is the legitimate usage of the authority which the
kings, our predecessors, and we have deposited with them, in order that a
thing which was established for the good of the people may not produce
contrary effects, as would happen if the officers, instead of contenting
themselves with that power which makes them judges in matters of life and
death and touching the fortunes of our subjects, would fain meddle in the
government of the state which appertains to the prince only.”

The cardinal had gained the victory.  Parliament bowed the head; its
attempts at independence during the Fronde were but a flash, and the yoke
of Louis XIV. became the more heavy for it.  The pretensions of the
magistrates were often foundationless, the restless and meddlesome
character of their assemblies did harm to their remonstrances; but for a
long while they maintained, in the teeth of more and more absolute kingly
power, the country’s rights in the government, and they had perceived the
dangers of that sovereign monarchy which certainly sometimes raises
states to the highest pinnacle of their glory, but only to let them sink
before long to a condition of the most grievous abasement.

Though always first in the breach, the Parliament of Paris was not alone
in its opposition to the cardinal.  The Parliament of Dijon protested
against the sentence of Marshal Marillac, and refused, to its shame, to
bear its share of the expenses for the defence of Burgundy against the
Duke of Lorraine, in 1636, a refusal which cost it the suspension of its
premier president.

The Parliament of Brittany, in defence of its jurisdictional privileges,
refused to enregister the decree which had for object the foundation of a
company trading with the Indies, “for the general trade between the West
and the East,” a grand idea of Richelieu’s, the seat of which was to be
in the roads of Morbihan; the company, already formed, was disheartened,
thanks to the delays caused by the Parliament, and the enterprise failed.
The Parliament of Grenoble, fearing a dearth of corn in Dauphiny, quashed
the treaties of supply for the army of Italy, at the time of the second
expedition to Mantua; it went so far as to have the dealers’ granaries
thrown open, and the superintendent of finance, D’Emery, was obliged to
come to terms with the deputies of Dauphiny, “in order that they of the
Parliament of Grenoble, who said they had no interests but those of the
province, might have no reason to prevent for the future the transport of
corn,” says Richelieu himself in his Memoires.

The Parliament of Rouen had always passed for one of the most
recalcitrant.  The province of Normandy was rich, and, consequently,
overwhelmed with imposts; and several times the Parliament refused to
enregister financial edicts which still further aggravated the distress
of the people.  In 1637 the king threatened to go in person to Rouen and
bring the Parliament to submission, whereat it took fright and
enregistered decrees for twenty-two millions.  It was, no doubt, this
augmentation of imposts that brought about the revolt of the Nu-pieds
(Barefoots) in 1639.  Before now, in 1624 and in 1637, in Perigord and
Rouergue, two popular risings of the same sort, under the name of
Croquants (Paupers), had disquieted the authorities, and the governor of
the province had found some trouble in putting them down.  The Nu-pieds
were more numerous and more violent still; from Rouen to Avranches all
the country was a-blaze.  At Coutances and at Vire, several monopoliers
and gabeleurs, as the fiscal officers were called, were massacred; a
great number of houses were burned, and most of the receiving-offices
were pulled down or pillaged.  Everywhere the army of suffering (_armee
de souffrance_), the name given by the revolters to themselves, made,
appeal to violent passions; popular rhymes were circulated from hand to
hand, in the name of General _Nu-pieds (Barefoot),_ an imaginary
personage whom nobody ever saw.  Some of these verses are fair enough.

[Illustration: The Barefoots----221]



                         TO NORMANDY.

               “Dear land of mine, thou canst no more
               What boots it to have served so well?
               For see! thy faithful service bore
               This bitter fruit--the cursed gabelle.
               Is that the guerdon earned by those
               Who succored France against her foes,
               Who saved her kings, upheld her crown,
               And raised the lilies trodden down,
               In spite of all the foe could do,
               In spite of Spain and England too?

               “Recall thy generous blood, and show
               That all posterity may know--
               Duke William’s breed still lives at need:
               Show that thou hast a heavier hand
               Than erst came forth from Northern land;
               A hand so strong, a heart so high,
               These tyrants all shall beaten cry,
               ‘From Normans and the Norman race
               Deliver us, O God of grace!’”

The tumult was more violent at Rouen than anywhere else, and the
Parliament energetically resisted the mob.  It had sent two counsellors
as a deputation to Paris to inform the king about the state of affairs.
“You may signify to the gentlemen of the Parliament of Rouen,” said
Chancellor Seguier, in answer to the delegates, “that I thank them for
the trouble they have taken on this occasion; I will let the king know
how they have behaved in this affair.  I beg them to go on as they have
begun.  I know that the Parliament did very good service there.”

In fact, several counsellors, on foot in the street and in the very midst
of the revolters, had, at the peril of their lives, defended Le Tellier
de Tourneville, receiver-general of gabels, and his officers, whilst the
whole Parliament, in their robes, with the premier president at their
head, perambulated Rouen, amidst the angry mob, repairing at once to the
points most threatened, insomuch that the presidents and counsellors were
“in great danger and fear for their skins.”  [_Histoire du Parlement de
Normandy,_ by M. Floquet, t. iv.]  It was this terror, born of tumults
and the sight of an infuriated populace, which, at a later period,
retarded the Parliament in dealing out justice, and brought down upon
it the wrath of the king and of the cardinal.

Meanwhile the insurrection was gaining ground, and the local authorities
were powerless to repress it.  There was hesitation at the king’s council
in choosing between Marshal Rantzau and M. de Gassion to command the
forces ordered to march into Normandy.  “That country yields no wine,”
 said the king “that will not do for Rantzau, or be good quarters for
him.”  And they sent Colonel Gnssion, not so heavy a drinker as Rantzau,
a good soldier and an inflexible character.  First at Caen, then at
Avranches, where there was fighting to be done, at Coutances and at
Elbeuf, Gassion’s soldiery everywhere left the country behind them in
subjection, in ruin, and in despair.  They entered Rouen on the 31st of
December, 1639, and on the 2d of January, 1640, the chancellor himself
arrived to do justice on the rebels heaped up in the prisons, whom the
Parliament dared not bring up for judgment.  “I come to Rouen,” he said,
on entering the town, “not to deliberate, but to declare and execute the
matters on which my mind is made up.”  And he forbade all intervention on
the part of the archbishop, Francis de Harlay, who was disposed, in
accordance with his office of love as well as the parliamentary name he
bore, to implore pity for the culprits, and to excuse the backward
judges.  The chancellor did not give himself the trouble to draw up
sentences. “The decree is at the tip of my staff,” replied Picot, captain
of his guards, when he was asked to show his orders.  The executions were
numerous in Higher and Lower Normandy, and the Parliament received the
wages of its tardiness.  All the members of the body, even the most aged
and infirm, were obliged to leave Rouen.  A commission of fifteen
councillors of the Parliament of Paris came to replace provisionally the
interdicted Parliament of Normandy; and, when the magistrates were
empowered at last to resume their sitting, it was only a six months’
term: that is, the Parliament henceforth found itself divided into two
fragments, perfect strangers one to the other, which were to sit
alternately for six months.  “A veritable thunderbolt for that sovereign
court, for by the six months’ term,” says M. Floquet, “there was no
longer any Parliament, properly speaking, but two phantoms of Parliament,
making war on each other, whilst the government had the field open to
carve and cut without control.”

“All obedience is now from fear,” wrote Grotius to Oxenstiern, chancellor
of Sweden; “the idea is to exorcise and annihilate hatred by means of
terror.”  “This year,” wrote an inhabitant of Rouen, “there have been no
New Year’s presents [_etrennes_], no singing of ‘the king’s drinking-song
[_le roi boit_], in any house.  Little children will be able to tell
tales of it when they have attained to man’s estate; for never, these
fifty years past, so far as I can learn, has it been so.”  [_Journal de
l’Abbe de la Rue_.]  The heaviest imposts weighed upon the whole
province, which thus expiated the crime of an insignificant portion of
its inhabitants.  “The king shall not lose the value of this handkerchief
that I hold,” said the superintendent Bullion, on arriving at Rouen.  And
he kept his word: Rouen alone had to pay more than three millions.  The
province and its Parliament were henceforth reduced to submission.

It was not only the Parliaments that resisted the efforts of Cardinal
Richelieu to concentrate all the power of the government in the hands of
the king.  From the time that the sovereigns had given up convoking the
states-general, the states-provincial had alone preserved the right of
bringing to the foot of the throne the plaints and petitions of subjects.
Unhappily few provinces enjoyed this privilege; Languedoc, Brittany,
Burgundy, Provence, Dauphiny, and the countship of Pau alone were
states-districts, that is to say, allowed to tax themselves
independently and govern themselves to a certain extent.  Normandy,
though an elections-district, and, as such, subject to the royal agents
in respect of finance, had states which continued to meet even in 1666.
The states-provincial were always convoked by the king, who fixed the
place and duration of assembly.

The composition of the states-provincial varied a great deal, according
to the districts.  In Brittany all noblemen settled in the province had
the right of sitting, whilst the third estate were represented by only
forty deputies.  In Languedoc, on the contrary, the nobility had but
twenty-three representatives, and the class of the third estate numbered
sixty-eight deputies.  Hence, no doubt, the divergences of conduct to be
remarked in those two provinces between the Parliament and the
states-provincial.  In Languedoc, even during Montmorency’s insurrection,
the Parliament remained faithful to the king and submissive to the
cardinal, whilst the states declared in favor of the revolt: in Brittany,
the Parliament thwarted Richelieu’s efforts in favor of trade, which had
been enthusiastically welcomed by the states.

In Languedoc as well as in Dauphiny the cardinal’s energy was constantly
directed towards reducing the privileges which put the imposts, and,
consequently, the royal revenues, at the discretion of the states.
Montmorency’s insurrection cost Languedoc a great portion of its
liberties, which had already been jeoparded, in 1629, on the occasion of
the Huguenots’ rising; and those of Dauphiny were completely lost; the
states were suppressed in 1628.

The states of Burgundy ordinarily assembled every three years, but they
were accustomed, on separating, to appoint “a chamber of states-general,”
 whereat the nobility, clergy, and third estate were represented, and
which was charged to watch over the interests of the province in the
interval between the sessions. When, in 1629, Richelieu proposed to
create, as in Languedoc, a body of “elect” to arrange with the fiscal
agents for the rating of imposts without the concurrence of the states,
the assembly proclaimed that “it was all over with the liberties of the
province if the edict passed,” and, in the chamber of the nobility, two
gentlemen were observed to draw their swords.  But, spite of the
disturbance which took place at Dijon, in 1630, on occasion of an impost
on wines, and which was called, from the title of a popular ditty, _la
Sedition de Lanturlu,_ the province preserved its liberties, and remained
a states-district.

It was the same subject that excited in Provence the revolt of the
_Cascaveous,_ or bell-bearers.  Whenever there was any question of
elections or “elect,” the conspirators sounded their bells as a rallying
signal, and so numerous was the body of adherents that the bells were
heard tinkling everywhere.  The Prince of Conde was obliged to march
against the revolters, and the states assembled at Tarascon found
themselves forced to vote a subsidy of one million five hundred thousand
livres.  At this cost the privileges of Provence were respected.

The states of Brittany, on the contrary, lent the cardinal faithful
support, when he repaired thither with the king, in 1626, at the time of
the conspiracy of Chalais; the Duke of Vendome, governor of Brittany, had
just been arrested; the states requested the king “never to give them a
governor issue of the old dukes, and to destroy the fortifications of the
towns and castles which were of no use for the defence of the country.”
 The petty noblemen, a majority in the states, thus delivered over the
province to the kingly power, from jealousy of the great lords.  The
ordinance, dated from Nantes on the 31st of July, 1626, rendered the
measure general throughout France.  The battlements of the castles fell
beneath the axe of the demolishers, and the masses of the district
welcomed enthusiastically the downfall of those old reminiscences of
feudal oppression.

As a sequel to the systematic humiliation of the great lords, even when
provincial governors, and to the gradual enfeeblement of provincial
institutions, Richelieu had to create in all parts of France, still so
diverse in organization as well as in manners, representatives of the
kingly power, of too modest and feeble a type to do without him, but
capable of applying his measures and making his wishes respected.  Before
now the kings of France had several times over perceived the necessity of
keeping up a supervision over the conduct of their officers in the
provinces.  The inquisitors (_enquesteurs_) of St.  Louis, the ridings of
the revising-masters (_chevauehees des maitres des requetes_), the
departmental commissioners (_commissaires departis_) of Charles IX., were
so many temporary and travelling inspectors, whose duty it was to inform
the king of the state of affairs throughout the kingdom.  Richelieu
substituted for these shifting commissions a fixed and regular
institution, and in 1637 he established in all the provinces overseers of
justice, police, and finance, who were chosen for the most part from
amongst the burgesses, and who before long concentrated in their hands
the whole administration, and maintained the struggle of the kingly power
against the governors, the sovereign courts, and the states-provincial.

At the time when the overseers of provinces were instituted, the battle
of pure monarchy was gained; Richelieu had no further need of allies, he
wanted mere subjects; but at the beginning of his ministry he had felt
the need of throwing himself sometimes for support on the nation, and
this great foe of the states-general had twice convoked the Assembly of
Notables.  The first took place at Fontainebleau, in 1625-6.  The
cardinal was at that time at loggerheads with the court of Rome: “If the
Most Christian King,” said he, “is bound to watch over the interests of
the Catholic church, he has first of all to maintain his own reputation
in the world.  What use would it be for a state to have power, riches,
and popular government, if it had not character enough to bring other
people to form alliance with it?”  These few words summed up the great
minister’s foreign policy, to protect the Catholic church whilst keeping
up Protestant alliances.  The Notables understood the wisdom of this
conduct, and Richelieu received their adhesion. It was just the same the
following year, the day after the conspiracy of Chalais; the cardinal
convoked the Assembly of Notables.  “We do protest before the living
God,” said the letters of convocation, “that we have no other aim and
intention but His honor and the welfare of our subjects; that is why we
do conjure in His name those whom we convoke, and do most expressly
command them, without fear or desire of displeasing or pleasing any, to
give us, in all frankness and sincerity, the counsels they shall judge on
their consciences to be the most salutary and convenient for the welfare
of the commonwealth.”  The assembly so solemnly convoked opened its
sittings at the palace of the Tuileries on the 2d of December, 1626.  The
state of the finances was what chiefly occupied those present; and the
cardinal himself pointed out the general principles of the reform he
calculated upon establishing.  “It is impossible,” he said, “to meddle
with the expenses necessary for the preservation of the state; it were a
crime to think of such a thing.  The retrenchment, therefore, must be in
the case of useless expenses.  The most stringent rules are and appear to
be, even to the most ill-regulated minds, comparatively mild, when they
have, in deed as well as in appearance, no object but the public good and
the safety of the state.  To restore the state to its pristine splendor,
we need not many ordinances, but a great deal of practical performance.”

The performance appertained to Richelieu, and he readily dispensed with
many ordinances.  The Assembly was favorable to his measures; but amongst
those that it rejected was the proposal to substitute loss of offices and
confiscation for the penalty of death in matters of rebellion and
conspiracy.  “Better a moderate but certain penalty,” said the cardinal,
“than a punishment too severe to be always inflicted.”  It was the
notables who preserved in the hands of the inflexible minister the
terrible weapon of which he availed himself so often.  The Assembly
separated on the 24th of February, 1627, the last that was convoked
before the revolution of 1789.  It was in answer to its demands, as well
as to those of the states of 1614, that the keeper of the seals, Michael
Marillac, drew up, in 1629, the important administrative ordinance which
has preserved from its author’s name the title of _Code Michau_.

The cardinal had propounded to the Notables a question which he had
greatly at heart--the foundation of a navy.  Already, when disposing,
some weeks previously, of the government of Brittany, which had been
taken away from the Duke of Vendome, he had separated from the office
that of admiral of Brittany; already he was in a position to purchase
from M. de Montmorency his office of grand admiral of France, so as to
suppress it and substitute for it that of grand master of navigation,
which was personally conferred upon Richelieu by an edict enregistered on
the 18th of March, 1627 .

“Of the power which it has seemed agreeable to his Majesty that I should
hold,” he wrote on the 20th of January, 1627, “I can say with truth, that
it is so moderate that it could not be more so to be an appreciable
service, seeing that I have desired no wage or salary so as not to be a
charge to the state, and I can add without vanity that the proposal to
take no wage came from me, and that his Majesty made a difficulty about
letting it be so.”

The Notables had thanked the king, for the intention he had “of being
pleased to give the kingdom the treasures of the sea which nature had so
liberally proffered it, for without [keeping] the sea one cannot profit
by the sea nor maintain war.”  Harbors repaired and fortified, arsenals
established at various points on the coast, organization of marine
regiments, foundation of pilot-schools, in fact, the creation of a
powerful marine which, in 1642, numbered sixty-three vessels and
twenty-two galleys, that left the roads of Barcelona after the
rejoicings for the capture of Perpignan and arrived the same evening at
Toulon--such were the fruits of Richelieu’s administration of naval
affairs. “Instead,” said the bailiff of Forbin, “of having a handful of
rebels forcing us, as of late, to compose our naval forces of foreigners
and implore succor from Spain, England, Malta, and Holland, we are at
present in a condition to do as much for them if they continue in
alliance with us, or to beat them when they fall off from us.”

So much progress on every point, so many efforts in all directions,
eighty-five vessels afloat, a hundred regiments of infantry, and three
hundred troops of cavalry, almost constantly on a war footing, naturally
entailed enormous expenses and terrible burdens on the people.  It was
Richelieu’s great fault to be more concerned about his object than
scrupulous as to the means he employed for arriving at it.  His
principles were as harsh as his conduct.  “Reason does not admit of
exempting the people from all burdens,” said he, “because in such case,
on losing the mark of their subjection, they would also lose remembrance
of their condition, and, if they were free from tribute, would think that
they were from obedience also.”  Cruel words those, and singularly
destitute of regard for Christian charity and human dignity, beside
which, however, must be placed these: “If the subsidies imposed on the
people were not to be kept within moderate bounds, even when they were
needed for the service of the country, they would not cease to be
unjust.”  The strong common sense of this great mind did not allow him to
depart for long from a certain hard equity.  Posterity has preserved the
memory of his equity less than of his hardness: men want sympathy more
than justice.



CHAPTER XL.----LOUIS XIII., CARDINAL RICHELIEU, THE CATHOLICS AND THE
PROTESTANTS.

Cardinal Richelieu has often been accused of indifference towards the
Catholic church; the ultramontanes called him the Huguenots’ cardinal; in
so speaking there was either a mistake or a desire to mislead; Richelieu
was all his life profoundly and sincerely Catholic; not only did no doubt
as to the fundamental doctrines of his church trouble his mind, but he
also gave his mind to her security and her aggrandizement.  He was a
believer on conviction, without religious emotions and without the
mystic’s zeal; he labored for Catholicism whilst securing for himself
Protestant alliances, and if the independence of his mind caused him to
feel the necessity for a reformation, it was still in the church and by
the church that he would have had it accomplished.

Spirits more fervent and minds more pious than Richelieu’s felt the same
need.  On emerging from the violent struggles of the religious wars, the
Catholic church had not lost her faith, but she had neglected sweetness
and light.  King Henry IV.’s conversion had secured to her the victory in
France, but she was threatened with letting it escape from her hands by
her own fault.  God raised up for her some great servents who preserved
her from this danger.

The oratorical and political brilliancy of the Catholic church in the
reign of Louis XIV. has caused men to forget the great religious movement
in the reign of Louis XIII.  Learned and mystic in the hands of Cardinal
Berulle, humane and charitable with St. Vincent de Paul, bold and saintly
with M. de Saint Cyran, the church underwent from all quarters quickening
influences which roused her from her dangerous lethargy.

The effort was attempted at all points at once.  The priests had sunk
into an ignorance as perilous as their lukewarmness. Mid all the
diplomatic negotiations which he undertook in Richelieu’s name, and the
intrigues he, with the queen-mother, often hatched against him, Cardinal
Berulle founded the con gregation of the Oratory, designed to train up
well-informed and pious young priests with a capacity for devoting
themselves to the education of children as well as the edification of the
people.  “ It is a body,” said Bossizet, “ in which everybody obeys and
nobody commands.”  No vow fettered the members of this celebrated
congregation, which gave to the world Malebranche and Massillon.  It was,
again, under the inspiration of Cardinal B6rulle, renowned for the pious
direction of souls, that the order of Carmelites, hitherto confined to
Spain, was founded in France.  The convent in Rue St.  Jacques soon
numbered amongst its penitents women of the highest rank.

The labors of Mgr. de Berulle tended especially to the salvation of
individual souls; those of St. Vincent de Paul embraced a vaster field,
and one offering more scope to Christian humanity.  Some time before, in
1610, St. Francis de Sales had founded, under the direction of Madame de
Chantal, the order of Visitation, whose duty was the care of the sick and
poor; he had left the direction of his new institution to M. Vincent, as
was at that time the appellation of the poor priest without birth and
without fortune, who was one day to be celebrated throughout the world
under the name of St. Vincent de Paul.  This direction was not enough to
satisfy his zeal for charity; children and sick, the ignorant and the
convict, all those who suffered in body or spirit, seemed to summon
M. Vincent to their aid; he founded in 1617, in a small parish of Bresse,
the charitable society of Servants of the poor, which became in 1633, at
Paris, under the direction of Madame Legras, niece of the keeper of the
seals Marillac, the sisterhood off Servants of the sick poor, and the
cradle of the Sisters of Charity.  “They shall not have, as a regular
rule,” said St.  Vincent, “any monastery but the houses of the sick, any
chapel but their parish-church, any cloister but the streets of the town
and the rooms of the hospitals, any enclosure but obedience, any grating
but the fear of God, or any veil but the holiest and most perfect
modesty.”  Eighteen thousand daughters of St. Vincent de Paul, of whom
fourteen thousand are French, still testify at this day to the
far-sighted wisdom of their founder; his regulations have endured
like his work and the necessities of the poor.

It was to the daughters of Charity that M. Vincent confided the work in
connection with foundlings, when his charitable impulses led him, in
1638, to take up the cause of the poor little abandoned things who were
perishing by heaps at that time in Paris.  Appealing for help, on their
account, to the women of the world, one evening when he was in want of
money, he exclaimed at the house of the Duchess of Aiguillon, Cardinal
Richelieu’s niece, “Come now, ladies; compassion and charity have made
you adopt these, little creatures as your own children; you have been
their mothers according to grace, since their mothers according to nature
have abandoned them.  Consider, then, whether you too will abandon them;
their life and their death are in your hands; it is time to pronounce
their sentence, and know whether you will any longer have pity upon them.
They will live if you continue to take a charitable care of them; they
will die and perish infallibly if you abandon them.”  St. Vincent de Paul
had confidence in human nature, and everywhere on his path sprang up good
works in response to his appeals; the foundation of Mission-priests or
Lazarists, designed originally to spread about in the rural districts the
knowledge of God, still testifies in the East, whither they carry at one
and the same time the Gospel and the name of France, to that great
awakening of Christian charity which signalized the reign of Louis XIII.
The same inspiration created the seminary of St. Sulpice, by means of
M. Olier’s solicitude, the brethren of Christian Doctrine and the
Ursulines, devoted to the education of childhood, and so many other
charitable or pious establishments, noble fruits of devoutness and
Christian sacrifice.

Nowhere was this fructuating idea of the sacrifice, the immolation of man
for God and of the present in prospect of eternity, more rigorously
understood and practised than amongst the disciples of John du Vergier de
Hauranne, Abbot of St. Cyran.  More bold in his conceptions than Cardinal
Berulle and St. Vincent de Paul, of a nature more austere and at the same
time more ardent, he had early devoted himself to the study of theology.
Connected in his youth with a Fleming, Jansen, known under the name of
Jansenius and afterwards created Bishop of Ypres, he adopted with fervor
the doctrines as to the grace of God which his friend had imbibed in the
school of St. Augustin, and employing in the direction of souls that
zealous ardor which makes conquerors, he set himself to work to
regenerate the church by penance, sanctity, and sacrifice; God supreme,
reigning over hearts subdued, that was his ultimate object, and he
marched towards it without troubling himself about revolts and
sufferings, certain that he would be triumphant with God and for Him.

[Illustration: The Abbot of St. Cyran----234]

Victories gained over souls are from their very nature of a silent sort:
but M. de St. Cyran was not content with them.  He wrote also, and his
book “Petrus Aurelius,” published under the veil of the anonymous,
excited a great stir by its defence of the rights of the bishops against
the monks, and even against the pope.  The Gallican bishops welcomed at
that time with lively satisfaction, its eloquent pleadings in favor of
their cause.  But, at a later period, the French clergy discovered in
St. Cyran’s book free-thinking concealed under dogmatic forms.  “In case
of heresy any Christian may become judge,” said Petrus Aurelius.  Who,
then, should be commissioned to define heresy?  So M. de St. Cyran was
condemned.

He had been already by an enemy more formidable than the assemblies of
the clergy of France.  Cardinal Richelieu, naturally attracted towards
greatness as he was at a later period towards the infant prodigy of the
Pascals, had been desirous of attaching St. Cyran to himself.
“Gentlemen,” said he one day, as he led back the simple priest into the
midst of a throng of his courtiers, “here you see the most learned man in
Europe.”  But the Abbot of St. Cyran would accept no yoke but God’s: he
remained independent, and perhaps hostile, pursuing, without troubling
himself about the cardinal, the great task he had undertaken.  Having
had, for two years past, the spiritual direction of the convent of Port
Royal, he had found in Mother Angelica Arnauld, the superior and reformer
of the monastery, in her sister, Mother Agnes, and in the nuns of their
order, souls worthy of him and capable of tolerating his austere
instructions.

Before long he had seen forming, beside Port Royal and in the solitude of
the fields, a nucleus of penitents, emulous of the hermits of the desert.
M. Le Maitre, Mother Angelica’s nephew, a celebrated advocate in the
Parliament of Paris, had quitted all “to have no speech but with God.”
 A howling (_rugissant_) penitent, he had drawn after him his brothers,
MM. de Sacy and de Sericourt, and, ere long, young Lancelot, the learned
author of Greek roots: all steeped in the rigors of penitential life, all
blindly submissive to M. de St.  Cyran and his saintly requirements.  The
director’s power over so many eminent minds became too great.  Richelieu
had comprehended better than the bishops the tendency of M. de St.
Cyran’s ideas and writings.  “He continued to publish many opinions, new
and leading to dangerous conclusions,” says Father Joseph in his
_Memoires,_” in such sort that the king, being advertised, commanded him
to be kept a prisoner in the Bois de Vincennes.”  “That man is worse than
six armies,” said Cardinal Richelieu; “if Luther and, Calvin had been
shut up when they began to dogmatize, states would have been spared a
great deal of trouble.”

The consciences of men and the ardor of their souls are not so easily
stifled by prison or exile.  The Abbot of St. Cyran, in spite of the
entreaties of his powerful friends, remained at Vincennes up to the death
of Cardinal Richelieu; the seclusionists of Port Royal were driven from
their retreat and obliged to disperse; but neither the severities of
Richelieu, nor, at a later period, those of Louis XIV., were the true
cause of the ultimate powerlessness of Jansenism to bring about that
profound reformation of the church which had been the dream of the Abbot
of St. Cyran.  He had wished to immolate sinful man to God, and he
regarded sanctity as the complete sacrifice of human nature corrupt to
its innermost core.  Human conscience could not accept this cruel yoke;
its liberty revolted against so narrow a prison; and the Protestant
reformation, with a doctrine as austere as that of M. de St. Cyran, but
more true and more simple in its practical application, offered strong
minds the satisfaction of direct and personal relations between God and
man; it saw the way to satisfy them without crushing them; and that is
why the kingly power in France succeeded in stifling Jansenism without
having ever been able to destroy the Protestant faith.

Cardinal Richelieu dreaded the doctrines of M. de St. Cyran, and still
more those of the reformation, which went directly to the emancipation of
souls; but he had the wit to resist ecclesiastical encroachments, and,
for all his being a cardinal, never did minister maintain more openly the
independence of the civil power.  “The king, in things temporal,
recognizes no sovereign save God.”  That had always been the theory of
the Gallican church.  “The church of France is in the kingdom, and not
the kingdom in the church,” said the jurisconsult Loyseau, thus
subjecting ecclesiastics to the common law of all citizens.

The French clergy did not understand it so; they had recourse to the
liberties of the Gallican church in order to keep up a certain measure of
independence as regarded Rome, but they would not give up their ancient
privileges, and especially the right of taking an independent share in
the public necessities without being taxed as a matter of law and
obligation.  Here it was that Cardinal Richelieu withstood them: he
maintained that, the ecclesiastics and the brotherhoods not having the
right to hold property in France by mortmain, the king tolerated their
possession, of his grace, but he exacted the payment of seignorial dues.
The clergy at that time possessed more than a quarter of the property in
France; the tax to be paid amounted, it is said, to eighty millions.  The
subsidies further demanded reached a total of eight millions six hundred
livres.

The clergy in dismay wished to convoke an assembly to determine their
conduct; and after a great deal of difficulty it was authorized by the
cardinal.  Before long he intimated to the five prelates who were most
hostile to him that they must quit the assembly and retire to their
dioceses.  “There are,” said the Bishop of Autun, who was entirely
devoted to Richelieu, “some who show great delicacy about agreeing to all
that the king demands, as if they had a doubt whether all the property of
the church belonged to him or not, and whether his Majesty, leaving the
ecclesiastics wherewithal to provide for their subsistence and a moderate
establishment, could not take all the surplus.”  That sort of doctrine
would never do for the clergy; still they consented to pay five millions
and a half, the sum to which the minister lowered his pretensions.  “The
wants of the state,” said Richelieu, “are real; those of the church are
fanciful and arbitrary; if the king’s armies had not repulsed the enemy,
the clergy would have suffered far more.”

Whilst the cardinal imposed upon the French clergy the obligations common
to all subjects, he defended the kingly power and majesty against the
Ultramoutanes, and especially against the Jesuits.  Several of their
pamphlets had already been censured by his order when Father Sanctarel
published a treatise on heresy and schism, clothed with the pope’s
approbation, and containing, amongst other dangerous propositions, the
following: “The pope can depose emperor and kings for their iniquities or
for personal incompetence, seeing that he has a sovereign, supreme, and
absolute power.”  The work was referred to the Parliament, who ordered it
to be burned in Place de Greve; there was talk of nothing less than the
banishment of the entire order.

Father Cotton, superior of the French Jesuits, was summoned to appear
before the council; he gave up Father Sanctarel unreservedly, making what
excuse he best could for the approbation of the pope and of the general
of the Jesuits.  The condemnation of the work was demanded, and it was
signed by sixteen French fathers.  The Parliament was disposed to push
the matter farther, when Richelieu, always as prudent as he was firm in
his relations with this celebrated order, represented to the king that
there are “certain abuses which are more easily put down by passing them
over than by resolving to destroy them openly, and that it was time to
take care lest proceedings should be carried to a point which might be as
prejudicial to his service as past action had been serviceable to it.”
 The Jesuits remained in France, and their college at Clermont was not
closed; but they published no more pamphlets against the cardinal.  They
even defended him at need.

Richelieu’s grand quarrel with the clergy was nearing its end when the
climax was reached of a disagreement with the court of Rome, dating from
some time back.  The pope had never forgiven the cardinal for not having
accepted his mediation in the affair with Spain on the subject of the
Valteline; he would not accede to the desire which Richelieu manifested
to become legate of the Holy See in France, as Cardinal d’Amboise had
been; and when Marshal d’Estrees arrived as ambassador at Rome, his
resolute behavior brought the misunderstanding to a head: the pope
refused the customary funeral honors to Cardinal La Valette, who had died
in battle, without dispensation, at the head of the king’s army in
Piedmont.  Richelieu preserved appearances no longer; the king refused
to receive the pope’s nuncio, and prohibited the bishops from any
communication with him.  The quarrel was envenomed by a pamphlet called
_Optatus Gallus_.  The cardinal’s enemies represented him as a new Luther
ready to excite a schism and found a patriarchate in France.  Father
Rabardeau, of the Jesuits’ order, maintained, in reply, that the act
would not be schismatical, and that the consent of Rome would be no more
necessary to create a patriarchate in France than it had been to
establish those of Constantinople and Jerusalem.

Urban VIII. took fright; he sent to France Julius Mazarin, at that time
vice-legate, and already frequently employed in the negotiations between
the court of Rome and Cardinal Richelieu, who had taken a great fancy to
him.  The French clergy had just obtained authority to vote the subsidy
in an assembly; and the pope contented himself with this feeble
concession.  Mazarin put the finishing touch to the reconciliation, and
received as recompense the cardinal’s hat.  In fact, the victory of the
civil power was complete, and the independence of the crown clearly
established.  “His Holiness,” said the cardinal, “ought to commend the
zeal shown by his Majesty for the welfare of the church, and to remain
satisfied with the respect shown him by an appeal to his authority which
his Majesty might have dispensed with in this matter, having his
Parliaments to fall back upon for the chastisement of those who lived
evilly in his kingdom.”  In principle, the supreme question between the
court of Rome and the kingly power remained undecided, and it showed
wisdom on the part of Urban VIII., as well as of Cardinal Richelieu,
never to fix fundamentally and within their exact limits the rights and
pretensions of the church or the crown.

Cardinal Richelieu had another battle to deliver, and another victory,
which was to be more decisive, to gain.  During his exile at Avignon, he
had written against the Reformers, violently attacking their doctrines
and their precepts; he was, therefore, personally engaged in the
theological strife, and more hotly than has been made out; but he was
above everything a great politician, and the rebellion of the Reformers,
their irregular political assemblies, their alliances with the foreigner,
occupied him, far more than their ministers’ preaching.  It was state
within state that the reformers were seeking to found, and that the
cardinal wished to upset.  Seconded by the Prince of Conde, the king had
put an end to the war which cost the life of the constable De Luynes, but
the peace concluded at Montpellier on the 19th of November, 1622, had
already received many a blow; pacific counsels amongst the Reformers were
little by little dying out together with the old servants of Henry IV.;
Du Plessis-Mornay had lately died (November 11, 1623) at his castle of
Foret-sur-Sevres, and the direction of the party fell entirely into the
hands of the Duke of Rohan, a fiery temper and soured by misfortunes as
well as by continual efforts made on the part of his brother, the Duke of
Soubise, more restless and less earnest than he.  Hostilities broke out
afresh at the beginning of the year 1625.  The Reformers complained that,
instead of demolishing Fort Louis, which commanded La Rochelle, all haste
was being made to complete the ramparts they had hoped to see razed to
the ground: a small royal fleet mustered quietly at Le Blavet, and
threatened to close the sea against the Rochellese.  The peace of
Montpellier had left the Protestants only two surety-places, Montauban
and La Rochelle; and they clung to them with desperation.  On the 6th of
January, 1625, Soubise suddenly entered the harbor of Le Blavet with
twelve vessels, and seizing without a blow the royal ships, towed them
off in triumph to La Rochelle--a fatal success, which was to cost that
town dear.

The royal marine had hardly an existence; after the capture made by
Soubise, help had to be requested from England and Holland; the marriage
of Henrietta of France, daughter of Henry IV., with the Prince of Wales,
who was soon to become Charles I., was concluded; the English promised
eight ships; the treaties with the United Provinces obliged the
Hollanders to supply twenty, which they would gladly have refused to send
against their brethren, if they could; the cardinal even required that
the ships should be commanded by French captains.  “One lubber may ruin a
whole fleet,” said he, “and a captain of a ship, if assured by the enemy
of payment for his vessel, may undertake to burn the whole armament, and
that the more easily inasmuch as he would think he was making a grand
sacrifice to God, for the sake of his religion.”

Meanwhile, Soubise had broken through the feeble obstacles opposed to
him by the Duke of Vendome, and, making himself master of all the
trading-vessels he encountered, soon took possession of the Islands of
Re and Oleron and effected descents even into Medoc, whilst the Duke of
Rohan, leaving the duchess his wife, Sully’s daughter, at Castres, where
he had established the seat of his government, was scouring Lower
Languedoc and the Cevennes to rally his partisans.  The insurrection was
very undecided, and the movement very irregular.  Nimes, Uzes, and Alais
closed their gates; even Montauban hesitated a long while before
declaring itself.  The Duke of Epernon ravaged the outskirts of that
place.  “At night,” writes his secretary, “might be seen a thousand
fires.  Wheat, fruit trees, vines, and houses were the food that fed the
flames.”  Marshal Themine did the same all round Castres, defended by
the Duchess of Rohan.

There were negotiations, nevertheless, already.  Rohan and Soubise
demanded to be employed against Spain in the Valteline, claiming the
destruction of Fort Louis; parleys mitigated hostilities; the Duke of
Soubise obtained a suspension of arms from the Dutch Admiral Haustein,
and then, profiting by a favorable gust of wind, approached the fleet,
set fire to the admiral’s ship, and captured five vessels, which he towed
off to the Island of Re.  But he paid dear for his treachery: the
Hollanders, in their fury, seconded with more zeal the efforts of the
Duke of Montmorency, who had just taken the command of the squadron; the
Island of Re was retaken and Soubise obliged to retreat in a shallop to
Oleron, leaving for “pledge his sword and his hat, which dropped off in
his flight.”  Nor was the naval fight more advantageous for Soubise.
“The battle was fierce, but the enemy had the worst,” says Richelieu in
his Memoires: “night coming on was favorable to their designs;
nevertheless, they were so hotly pursued, that on the morrow, at
daybreak, eight of their vessels were taken.”  Soubise sailed away to
England with the rest of his fleet, and the Island of Oleron surrendered.

The moment seemed to have come for crushing La Rochelle, deprived of the
naval forces that protected it; but the cardinal, still at grips with
Spain in the Valteline, was not sure of his allies before La Rochelle.
In Holland all the churches echoed with reproaches hurled by the
preachers against states that gave help against their own brethren to
Catholics; at Amsterdam the mob had besieged the house of Admiral
Haustein; and the Dutch fleet had to be recalled.  The English
Protestants were not less zealous; the Duke of Soubise had been welcomed
with enthusiasm, and, though Charles I., now King of England and married,
had refused to admit the fugitive to his presence, he would not restore
to Louis XIII. the vessels, captured from that king and his subjects,
which Soubise had brought over to Portsmouth.

The game was not yet safe; and Richelieu did not allow himself to be led
astray by the anger of fanatics who dubbed him State Cardinal.  “The
cardinal alone, to whom God gave the blessedness of serving the king and
restoring to his kingdom its ancient lustre, and to his person the power
and authority meet for royal Majesty which is the next Majesty after the
divine, saw in his mind the means of undoing all those tangles, clearing
away all those mists, and emerging to the honor of his master from all
those confusions.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iv.  p. 2.]

Marshal Bassompierre was returning from his embassy to Switzerland,
having secured the alliance of the Thirteen Cantons in the affair of the
Valteline, when it was noised abroad that peace with Spain was signed.
Count du Fargis, it was said, had, in an excess of zeal, taken upon
himself to conclude without waiting for orders from Paris.  Bassompierre
was preparing a grand speech against this unexpected peace, but during
the night he reflected that the cardinal had perhaps been not so much
astonished as he would have made out.  “I gave up my speech,” says he,
“and betook myself to my jubilee.”

The Huguenots, on their side, yielded at the entreaties of the
ambassadors who had been sent by the English to France, “with orders to
beg the Rochellese to accept the peace which the king had offered them,
and who omitted neither arguments nor threats in order to arrive at that
conclusion; whence it came to pass that, by a course of conduct full of
unwonted dexterity, the Huguenots were brought to consent to peace for
fear of that with Spain, and the Spaniards to make peace for fear of that
with the Huguenots.

The greatest difficulty the cardinal had to surmount was in the king’s
council; he was not ignorant that by getting peace made with the
Huguenots, and showing him that he was somewhat inclined to favor their
cause with the king, he might expose himself to the chance of getting
into bad odor at Rome.  But in no other way could he arrive at his
Majesty’s ends.  His cloth made him suspected by the Huguenots; it was
necessary, therefore, to behave so that they should think him favorable
to them, for by so doing he found means of waiting more conveniently for
an opportunity of reducing them to the terms to which all subjects ought
to be reduced in a state, that is to say, inability to form any separate
body, and liability to accept their sovereign’s wishes.

“It was a grievous thing for him to bear, to see himself so unjustly
suspected at the court of Rome, and by those who affected the name of
zealous Catholics; but he resolved to take patiently the rumors that were
current about him, apprehending that if he had determined to clear
himself of them effectually, he might not find that course of advantage
to his master or the public.”

The cardinal, in fact, took it patiently, revising and then confirming
the treaty with Spain, and imposing on the Huguenots a peace so hard,
that they would never have accepted it but for the hope of obtaining at a
later period some assuagements, with the help of England, which refused
formally to help them to carry on the war.  At the first parleys the king
had said, “I am disposed enough towards peace; I am willing to grant it
to Languedoc and the other provinces.  As for La Rochelle, that is
another thing.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iii.]  It was ultimately
La Rochelle that paid the expenses of the war, biding the time when the
proud city, which had resisted eight kings in succession, would have to
succumb before Louis XIII. and his all-powerful minister.  Already her
independence was threatened on all sides; the bastions and new
fortifications had to be demolished; no armed vessel of war might be
stationed in her harbor.  “The way was at last open,” said the cardinal,
“to the extermination of the Huguenot party, which, for a hundred years
past, had divided the kingdom.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iii.
p. 17.]

[Illustration: Demolishing the Fortifications----244]

The peace of 1626, then, was but a preliminary to war.  Richelieu was
preparing for it by land and sea; vessels of war were being built, troops
were being levied; and the temper of England furnished a pretext for
commencing the struggle.  King Charles I., at the instigation of his
favorite the Duke of Buckingham, had suddenly and unfeelingly dismissed
the French servants of the queen his wife, without giving her even time
to say good by to them, insomuch that “the poor princess, hearing their
voices in the court-yard, dashed to the window, and, breaking the glass
with her head, clung with her hands to the bars to show herself to her
women and take the last look at them.  The king indignantly dragged her
back with so great an effort that he tore her hands right away.”  Louis
XIII. had sent Marshal Bassompierre to England to complain of the insult
done to his sister; the Duke of Buckingham wished to go in person to
France to arrange the difference, but the cardinal refused.  “Has
Buckingham ever undertaken any foreign commission without going away
dissatisfied and offended with the princes to whom he was sent?” said
Cardinal Richelieu to the king.  So the favorite of Charles I. resolved
to go to France “in other style and with other attendants than he had as
yet done; having determined to win back the good graces of the Parliament
and the people of England by the succor he was about to carry to the
oppressed Protestant churches,” he pledged his property; he sold the
trading-vessels captured on the coasts of France; and on the 17th of
July, 1627, he set sail with a hundred and twenty vessels, heading for La
Rochelle.  Soubise was on board his ship; and the Duke of Rohan, notified
of the enterprise, had promised to declare himself the moment the English
set foot in France.  Already he was preparing his manifesto to the
churches, avowing that he had summoned the English to his legitimate
defence, and that, since the king had but lately been justified in
employing the arms of the Hollanders to defeat them, much more reasonably
might he appeal to those of the English their brethren for protection
against him.

This time the cardinal was ready; he had concluded an alliance with Spain
against England, “declaring merely to the King of Spain that he was
already at open war with England, and that he would put in practice with
all the power of his forces against his own states all sorts of
hostilities permissible in honorable warfare, which his Majesty also
promised to do by the month of June, 1628, at the latest.”  The king set
out to go and take in person the command of the army intended to give the
English their reception.  He had gone out ill from the Parliament, where
he had been to have some edicts enregistered.  “I did nothing but tremble
all the time I was holding my bed of justice,” he said to Bassompierre.
“It is there, however, that you make others tremble,” replied the
marshal.  Louis XIII. was obliged to halt at Villeroy, where the cardinal
remained with him, “being all day at his side, and most frequently not
leaving him at night; he, nevertheless, had his mind constantly occupied
with giving orders, taking care above everything to let it appear before
the king that he had no fear; he preferred to put himself in peril of
being blamed or ruined in well-doing, rather than, in order to secure
himself, to do anything which might be a cause of illness to his
Majesty.”  In point of fact, Richelieu was not without anxiety, for Sieur
de Toiras, a young favorite of the king’s, to whom he had entrusted the
command in the Island of Re, had not provided for the defence of that
place so well as had been expected; Buckingham had succeeded in effecting
his descent.  The French were shut up in the Fort of St. Martin, scarcely
finished as it was, and ill-provisioned.  The cardinal “saw to it
directly, sending of his own money because that of the king was not to be
so quickly got at, and because he had at that time none to spare; he
despatched Abbe Marcillac, who was in his confidence, to see that
everything was done punctually and no opportunity lost.  He did not
trouble himself to make reports of all the despatches that passed, and
all the orders that were within less than a fortnight given on the
subject of this business during the king’s illness, in order to provide
for everything that was necessary, and to prepare all things in such wise
that the king and France might reap from them the fruit which was shortly
afterwards gathered in.”

Meanwhile La Rochelle had closed her gates to the English, and the old
Duchess of Rohan had been obliged to leave the town in order to bring
Soubise in with her.  “Before taking any resolution,” replied the
Rochellese authorities to the entreaties of the duke, who was pressing
them to lend assistance to the English, “we must consult the whole body
of the religion of which La Rochelle is only one member.”  An assembly
was already convoked to that end at Uzes; and when it met, on the 11th of
September, the Duke of Rohan communicated to the deputies from the
churches the letter of the inhabitants of La Rochelle, “not such an one,”
 he said, “as he could have desired, but such as he must make the best
of.”  The King of England had granted his aid and promised not to relax
until the Reformers had firm repose and solid contentment, provided that
they seconded his efforts.  “I bid you thereto in God’s name,” he added,
“and for my part, were I alone, abandoned of all, I am determined to
prosecute this sacred cause even to the last drop of my blood and to the
last gasp of my life.”  The assembly fully approved of their chief’s
behavior, accepting “with gratitude the King of England’s powerful
intervention, without, however, loosing themselves from the humble and
inviolable submission which they owed to their king.”  The consuls of the
town of Milhau were bolder in their reservations.  “We have at divers
time experienced,” they wrote to the Duke of Rohan, whilst refusing to
join the movement, “that violence is no certain means of obtaining
observation of our edicts, for force extorts many promises, but the
hatred it engenders prevents them from taking effect.”  The duke was
obliged to force an entrance into this small place.  La Rochelle had just
renounced her neutrality and taken sides with the English, “flattering
ourselves,” they said in their proclamation, “that, having good men for
our witnesses and God for our judge, we shall experience the same
assistance from His goodness as our fathers had aforetime.”

M. de La Milliere, the agent of the Rochellese, wrote to one of his
friends at the Duke of Rohan’s quarters, “Sir, I am arrived from
Villeroy, where the English are not held as they are at Paris to be a
mere chimera.  Only I am very apprehensive of the September tides, and
lest the new grapes should kill us off more English than the enemy will.
I am much vexed to hear nothing from your quarter to second the exploits
of the English, being unable to see without shame foreigners showing more
care for our welfare than we ourselves show.  I know that it will not be
M. de Rohan’s fault nor yours that nothing good is done.

“I forgot to tell you that the cardinal is very glad that he is no longer
a bishop, for he has put so many rings in pawn to send munitions to the
islands, that he has nothing remaining wherewith to give the episcopal
benediction.  The most zealous amongst us pray God that the sea may
swallow up his person as it has swallowed his goods.  As for me, I am not
of that number, for I belong to those who offer incense to the powers
that be.”  It was as yet a time when the religious fatherland was dearer
than the political; the French Huguenots naturally appealed for aid to
all Protestant nations.  It was even now an advance in national ideas to
call the English who had come to the aid of La Rochelle foreigners.

Toiras, meanwhile, still held out in the Fort of St. Martin, and
Buckingham was beginning to “abate somewhat of the absolute confidence he
had felt about making himself master of it, having been so ill-advised as
to write to the king his master that he would answer for it.”  The proof
of this was that a burgess of La Rochelle, named Laleu, went to see the
king with authority from the Duke of Angouleme, who commanded the army in
his Majesty’s absence, and that “he proposed that the English should
retire, provided that the king would have Fort Louis dismantled.  The
Duke of Angouleme was inclined to accept this proposal, but the cardinal
forcibly represented all the reasons against it: “It will be said,
perhaps, that if the Island of Re be lost, it will be very difficult to
recover it;” this he allowed, but he put forward, to counterbalance this
consideration, another, that, if honor were lost, it would never be
recovered, and that, if the Island of Re were lost, he considered that
his Majesty was bound to stick to the blockade of Rochelle, and that he
might do so with success.  Upon this, his Majesty resolved to push the
siege of Rochelle vigorously, and to give the command to Mylord his
brother; “but Monsieur was tardy as usual, not wanting to serve under the
king when the health of his Majesty might permit him to return to his
army, so that the cardinal wrote to President Le Coigneux, one of the
favorite counsellors of the Duke of Orleans, to say that if imaginary
hydras of that sort were often taking shape in the mind of Monsieur, he
had nothing more to say than that there would be neither pleasure nor
profit in being mixed up with his affairs.  As for himself, he would
always do his duty.”  Monsieur at last made up his mind to join the army,
and it was resolved to give aid to the forts in the Island of Re.

[Illustration: The Harbor of La Rochelle---248]

It was a bold enterprise that was about to be attempted to hold La
Rochelle invested and not quit it, and, nevertheless, to send the flower
of the force to succor a citadel considered to be half lost; to make a
descent upon an island blockaded by a large naval armament; to expose the
best part of the army to the mercy of the winds and the waves of the sea,
and of the English cannons and vessels, in a place where there was no
landing in order and under arms.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iii.
p. 361]; but it had to be resolved upon or the Island of Re lost.  Toiras
had already sent to ask the Duke of Buckingham if he would receive him to
terms.

On the 8th of October, at eight A.  M., the Duke of Buckingham was
preparing to send a reply to the fort, and he was already rejoicing “to
see his felicity and the crowning of his labors,” when, on nearing the
citadel, “there were exhibited to him at the ends of pikes lots of
bottles of wine, capons, turkeys, hams, ox-tongues, and other provisions,
and his vessels were saluted with lots of cannonades, they having come
too near in the belief that those inside had no more powder.”  During the
night, the fleet which was assembled at Oleron, and had been at sea for
two days past, had succeeded in landing close to the fort, bringing up
re-enforcements of troops, provisions, and munitions.  At the same time
the king and the cardinal had just arrived at the camp before La
Rochelle.

[Illustration: The King and Richelieu at La Rochelle----250]

Before long the English could not harbor a doubt but that the king’s army
had recovered its real heads: a grand expedition was preparing to attack
them in the Island of Re, and the cardinal had gone in person to Oleron
and to Le Brouage in order to see to the embarkation of the troops.  “The
nobility of the court came up in crowds to take leave of his Majesty, and
their looks were so gay that it must be allowed that to no nation but the
French is it given to march so freely to death for the service of their
king or for their own honor as to make it impossible to remark any
difference between him that inflicts it and him that receives.”
 [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iii.  p. 398.] Marshal Schomberg took the
road to Marennes, whence he sent to the cardinal for boats to carry over
all his troops.  “This took him greatly by surprise, and as his judgments
are always followed by the effect he intended, he thought that this great
following of nobility might hinder the said sir marshal from executing
his design so promptly.  However, by showing admirable diligence,
doubling both his vessels and his provisions, he found sufficient to
embark the whole.”  [_Siege de La Rochelle.  Archives curieuses de
l’Histoire de France,_ t. iii.  p. 76.]  By this time the king’s troops,
in considerable numbers, had arrived in the island without the English
being able to prevent their disembarkation; the enemy therefore took the
resolution of setting sail, in spite of the entreaties which the Duke of
Soubise sent them on the part of the Rochellese, those latter promising
great assistance in men and provisions, more than they could afford.  To
satisfy them, the Duke of Buckingham determined to deliver a general
assault before he departed.

The assault was delivered on the 5th and 6th of November, and everywhere
repulsed, exhausted as the besieged were.  “Those who were sick and laid
up in their huts appeared on the bastions.  There were some of them so
weak that, unable to fight, they loaded their comrades’ muskets; and
others, having fought beyond their strength, being able to do no more,
said to their comrades, ‘Friend, here are my arms for thee; prithee, make
my grave;’ and, thither retiring, there they died.”  The Duke of
Buckingham wrote to M. de Fiesque, who was holding Fort La Pree, that he
was going to embark, without waiting for any more men to make their
descent upon the island; but the king, who trusted not his enemies, and
least of all the English, from whom, even when friends, he had received
so many proofs of faithlessness and falsehood, besides that he knew
Buckingham for a man who, from not having the force of character to
decide on such an occasion, did not know whether to fight or to fly,
continued in his first determination to transport promptly all those who
remained, in order to encounter the enemy on land, fight them, and make
them for the future quake with fear if it were proposed to them to try
another descent upon his dominions.

Marshal Schomberg, thwarted by bad weather, had just rallied his troops
which had been cast by the winds on different parts of the coast, when it
was perceived that the enemy had sheered off.  M. De Toiras, issuing from
his fortress to meet the marshal, would have pursued them at once to give
them battle; but Schomberg refused, saying, “I ought to make them a
bridge of gold rather than a barrier of iron;” and he contented himself
with following the English, who retreated to a narrow causeway which led
to the little Island of Oie.  There, a furious charge of French cavalry
broke the ranks of the enemy, disorder spread amongst them, and when
night came to put an end to the combat, forty flags remained in the hands
of the king’s troops, and he sent them at once to Notre-Dame, by Claude
de St. Simon, together with a quantity of prisoners, of whom the King
made a present to his sister, the Queen of England.

“Such,” says the Duke of Rohan, in his Hemoires, “was the success of the
Duke of Buckingham’s expedition, wherein he ruined the reputation of his
nation and his own, consumed a portion of the provisions of the
Rochellese, and reduced to despair the party for whose sake he had come
to France.  The Duke of Rohan first learned this bad news by the bonfires
which all the Roman Catholics lighted for it all through the countship of
Foix, and, later on, by a despatch from the Duke of Soubise, who exhorted
him not to lose courage, saying that he hoped to come back next spring in
condition to efface the affront received.”  This latter prince had not
covered himself with glory in the expedition.  “As recompense and
consolation for all their losses,” says the cardinal, “they carried off
Soubise to England.  He has not been mentioned all through this siege,
because, whenever there was any question of negotiation, no one would
apply to him, but only to Buckingham.  When there was nothing for it but
to fight, he would not hear of it.  On the day the English made their
descent, he was at La Rochelle; nobody knows where he was at the time of
the assault, but he was one of the first and most forward in the rout.”

Soubise had already been pronounced guilty of high-treason by decree of
the Parliament of Toulouse; but the Duke of Rohan had been degraded from
his dignities, and “a title offered to those who would assassinate him,
which created an inclination in three or four wretches to undertake it,
who had but a rope or the wheel for recompense, it not being in any human
power to prolong or shorten any man’s life without the permission of
God.”  The Prince of Conde had been commissioned to fight the valiant
chief of the Huguenots, “for that he was their sworn enemy,” says the
cardinal.  In the eyes of fervent Catholics the name of Conde had many
wrongs for which to obtain pardon.

The English were ignominiously defeated; the king was now confronted by
none but his revolted subjects; he resolved to blockade the place at all
points, so that it could not be entered by land or sea; and, to this end,
he claimed from Spain the fleet which had been promised him, and which
did not arrive.  “The whole difficulty of this enterprise,” said the
cardinal to the king, “lies in this, that the majority will only labor
therein in a perfunctory manner.”

His ordinary penetration did not deceive him: the great lords intrusted
with commands saw with anxiety the increasing power of Richelieu.  “You
will see,” said Bassompierre, “that we shall be mad enough to take La
Rochelle.”  “His Majesty had just then many of his own kingdom and all
his allies sworn together against him, and so much the more dangerously
in that it was secretly.  England at open war, and with all her maritime
power but lately on our coasts; the King of Spain apparently united to
his Majesty, yet, in fact, not only giving him empty words, but, under
cover of the emperor’s name, making a diversion against him in the
direction of Germany.  Nevertheless the king held firm to his resolve;
and then the siege of La Rochelle was undertaken with a will.”

The old Duchess of Rohan (Catherine de Parthenay Larcheveque) had shut
herself up in La Rochelle with her daughter Anne de Rohan, as pious and
as courageous as her mother, and of rare erudition into the bargain; she
had hitherto refused to leave the town; but, when the blockade commenced,
she asked leave to retire with two hundred women.  The town had already
been refused permission to get rid of useless mouths.  “All the
Rochellese shall go out together,” was the answer returned to Madame de
Rohan.  She determined to undergo with her brethren in the faith all the
rigors of the siege.  “Secure peace, complete victory, or honorable
death,” she wrote to her son the Duke of Rohan: the old device of Jeanne
d’Albret, which had never been forgotten by the brave chief of the
Huguenots.

At the head of the burgesses of La Rochelle, as determined as the Duchess
of Rohan to secure their liberties or perish, was the president of the
board of marine, soon afterwards mayor of the town, John Gutton, a rich
merchant, whom the misfortunes of the times had wrenched away from his
business to become a skilful admiral, an intrepid soldier, accustomed for
years past to scour the seas as a corsair.  “He had at his house,” says a
narrative of those days, “a great number of flags, which he used to show
one after another, indicating the princes from whom he had taken them.”
 When he was appointed mayor, he drew his poniard and threw it upon the
council-table.  “I accept,” he said, “the honor you have done me, but on
condition that yonder poniard shall serve to pierce the heart of whoever
dares to speak of surrender, mine first of all, if I were ever wretch
enough to condescend to such cowardice.”  Of indomitable nature, of
passionate and proud character, Guiton, in fact, rejected all proposals
of peace.  “My friend, tell the cardinal that I am his very humble
servant,” was his answer to insinuating speeches as well as to threats;
and he prepared with tranquil coolness for defence to the uttermost.  Two
municipal councillors, two burgesses, and a clergyman were commissioned
to judge and to punish spies and traitors; attention was concentrated
upon getting provisions into the town; the country was already
devastated, but reliance was placed upon promises of help from England;
and religious exercises were everywhere multiplied.  “We will hold out to
the last day,” reiterated the burgesses.

[Illustration: John Guiton’s Oath----254]

It was the month of December; bad weather interfered with the
siege-works; the king was having a line of circumvallation pushed
forward to close the approaches to the city on the land side; the
cardinal was having a mole of stone-work, occupying the whole breadth of
the roads, constructed; the king’s little fleet, commanded by M. de
Guise, had been ordered up to protect the laborers; Spain had sent
twenty-eight vessels in such bad condition that those which were rolled
into the sea laden with stones were of more value.  “They were employed
Spanish-fashion,” says Richelieu, “that is, to make an appearance so as
to astound the Rochellese by the union of the two crowns.”  A few days
after their arrival, at the rumor of assistance coming from England, the
Spanish admiral, who had secret orders to make no effort for France,
demanded permission to withdraw his ships.  “It was very shameful of
them, but it was thought good to let them go without the king’s consent,
making believe that he had given them their dismissal, and desired them
to go and set about preparing, one way or another, a large armament by
the spring.”  The Rochellese were rejoicing over the treaty they had
just concluded with the King of England, who promised “to aid them by
land and sea, to the best of his kingly power, until he should have
brought about a fair and secure peace.”  The mole was every moment being
washed away by the sea; and, “whilst the cardinal was employing all the
wits which God had given him to bring to a successful issue the siege of
La Rochelle to the glory of God and the welfare of the state, and was
laboring to that end more than the bodily strength granted to him by God
seemed to permit, one would have said that the sea and the winds,
favoring the English and the islands, were up in opposition and
thwarting his designs.”

The king was growing tired, and wished to go to Paris; but this was not
the advice of the cardinal, and “the truths he uttered were so
displeasing to the king that he fell somehow into disgrace.  The dislike
the king conceived for him was such that he found fault with him about
everything.”  The king at last took his departure, and the cardinal, who
had attended him “without daring, out of respect, to take his sunshade to
protect him against the heat of the sun, which was very great that day,”
 was on his return taken ill with fever.  “I am so downhearted that I
cannot express the regret I feel at quitting the cardinal, fearing lest
some accident may happen to him,” the king had said to one of his
servants: “tell him from me to take care of himself, to think what a
state my affairs would be in if I were to lose him.”  When the king
returned to La Rochelle on the 10th of April, he found his army
strengthened, the line of circumvallation finished, and the mole well
advanced into the sea; the assault was becoming possible, and the king
summoned the place to surrender.  [_Siege de La Rochelle.  Archives
eurieuses de l’Histoire de France,_ t. iii.  p. 102.]  “We recognize no
other sheriffs and governors than ourselves,” answered the sergeant on
guard to the improvised herald sent by the king; “nobody will listen to
you; away at once!”  It was at last announced that the re-enforcements so
impatiently expected were coming from England.  “The cardinal, who knew
that there was nothing so dangerous as to have no fear of one’s enemy,
had a long while before set everything in order, as if the English might
arrive any day.”  Their fleet was signalled at sea; it numbered thirty
vessels, and had a convoy of twenty barks laden with provisions and
munitions, and it was commanded by the Earl of Denbigh, Buckingham’s
brother-in-law.  The Rochellese, transported with joy, “had planted a
host of flags on the prominent points of their town.”  The English came
and cast anchor at the tip of the Island of Re.  The cannon of La
Rochelle gave them a royal salute.  A little boat with an English captain
on board found means of breaking the blockade; and “Open a passage,” said
the envoy to the Rochellese, “as you sent notice to us in England, and we
will deliver you.”  But the progress made in the works of the mole
rendered the enterprise difficult; the besieged could not attempt
anything; they waited and waited for Lord Denbigh to bring on an
engagement; on the 19th of May, all the English ships got under sail and
approached the roads.  The besieged hurried on to the ramparts; there was
the thunder of one broadside, and one only; and then the vessels tacked
and crowded sail for England, followed by the gaze “of the king’s army,
who returned to make good cheer without any fear of the enemy, and with
great hopes of soon taking the town.”

Great was the despair in La Rochelle: “This shameful retreat of the
English, and their aid which had only been received by faith, as they do
in the Eucharist,” wrote Cardinal Richelieu, “astounded the Rochellese so
mightily that they would readily have made up their minds to surrender,
if Madame de Rohan, the mother, whose hopes for her children were all
centred in the preservation of this town, and the minister Salbert, a
very seditious fellow, had not regaled them with imaginary succor which
they made them hope for.”  The cardinal, when he wrote these words, knew
nothing of the wicked proposals made to Guiton and to Salbert.  “Couldn’t
the cardinal be got rid of by the deed of one determined man?” it was
asked: but the mayor refused; and, “It is not in such a way that God
willeth our deliverance,” said Salbert; “it would be too offensive to His
holiness.”  And they suffered on.

Meanwhile, on the 24th of May, the posterns were observed to open, and
the women to issue forth one after another, with their children and the
old men; they came gliding towards the king’s encampment, but “he ordered
them to be driven back by force; and further, knowing that they had sown
beans near the counterscarps of their town, a detachment was sent out to
cut them down as soon as they began to come up, and likewise a little
corn that they had sown in some dry spots of their marshes.”  Louis the
Just fought the Rochellese in other fashion than that in which Henry the
Great had fought the Parisians.

The misery in the place became frightful; the poor died of hunger, or
were cut down by the soldiery when they ventured upon shore at low tide
to look for cockles; the price of provisions was such that the richest
alone could get a little meat to eat; a cow fetched two thousand livres,
and a bushel of wheat eight hundred livres.  Madame de Rohan had been the
first to have her horses killed, but this resource was exhausted, and her
cook at last “left the town and allowed himself to be taken, saying that
he would rather be hanged than return to die of hunger.”  A rising even
took place amongst the inhabitants who were clamorous to surrender, but
Guiton had the revolters hanged.  “I am ready,” said he, “to cast lots
with anybody else which shall live or be killed to feed his comrade with
his flesh.  As long as there is one left to keep the gates shut, it is
enough.”  The mutineers were seized with terror, and men died without
daring to speak. “We have been waiting three months for the effect of the
excellent letters we received from the King of Great Britain,” wrote
Guiton on the 24th of August, to the deputies from La Rochelle who were
in London, “and, meanwhile, we cannot see by what disasters it happens
that we remain here in misery without seeing any sign of succor; our men
can do no more, our inhabitants are dying of hunger in the streets, and
all our families are in a fearful state from mourning, want, and
perplexity; nevertheless, we will hold out to the last day, but in God’s
name delay no longer, for we perish.”  This letter never reached its
destination; the watchmaker, Marc Biron; who had offered to convey it to
England, was arrested whilst attempting to pass the royal lines, and was
immediately hanged.  La Rochelle, however, still held out. “Their rabid
fury,” says the cardinal, “gave them new strength, or rather the avenging
wrath of God caused them to be supplied therewith in extraordinary
measure by his evil spirit, in order to prolong their woes; they were
already almost at the end thereof, and misery found upon them no more
substance whereon it could feed and support itself; they were skeletons,
empty shadows, breathing corpses, rather than living men.”  At the bottom
of his heart, and in spite of the ill temper their resistance caused in
him, the heroism of the Rochellese excited the cardinal’s admiration.
Buckingham had just been assassinated.  “The king could not have lost a
more bitter or a more idiotic enemy; his unreasoning enterprises ended
unluckily, but they, nevertheless, did not fail to put us in great peril
and cause us much mischief,” says Richelieu “the idiotic madness of an
enemy being more to be feared than his wisdom, inasmuch as the idiot does
not act on any principle common to other men, he attempts everything and
anything, violates his own interests, and is restrained by impossibility
alone.”

It was this impossibility of any aid that the cardinal attempted to
impress upon the Rochellese by means of letters which he managed to get
into the town, representing to them that Buckingham, their protector, was
dead, and that they were allowing themselves to be unjustly tyrannized
over by a small number amongst them, who, being rich, had wheat to eat,
whereas, if they were good citizens, they would take their share of the
general misery.  These manoeuvres did not remain without effect: the
besieged resolved to treat, and a deputation was just about to leave the
town, when a burgess who had broken through the lines arrived in hot
haste, on his return from England; he had seen, he said, the armament all
ready to set out to save them or perish; it must arrive within a week;
the public body of La Rochelle had promised not to treat without the King
of England’s participation; he was not abandoning his allies; and so the
deputies returned home, and there was more waiting still.

On the 29th of September, the English flag appeared before St. Martin de
Re; it was commanded by the Earl of Lindsay, and was composed of a
hundred and forty vessels, which carried six thousand soldiers, besides
the crews; the French who were of the religion were in the van, commanded
by the Duke of Soubise and the Count of Laval, brother of the Duke of La
Tremoille, who had lately renounced his faith in front of La Rochelle,
being convinced of his errors by a single lesson from the cardinal.
“This armament was England’s utmost effort, for the Parliament which was
then being holden had granted six millions of livres to fit it out to
avenge the affronts and ignominy which the English nation had encountered
on the Island of Re, and afterwards by the shameful retreat of their
armament in the month of May.”  But it was too late coming; the mole was
finished, and the opening in it defended by two forts; and a floating
palisade blocked the passage as well.  The English sent some petards
against this construction, but they produced no effect; and when, next
day, they attacked the royal fleet, the French crews lost but
twenty-eight men; “the fire-ships were turned aside by men who feared
fire as little as water.”  Lord Lindsay retired with his squadron to the
shelter of the Island of Aix, sending to the king “Lord Montagu to
propose some terms of accommodation.”  He demanded pardon for the
Rochellese, freedom of conscience, and quarter for the English garrison
in La Rochelle; the answer was, “that the Rochellese were subjectss of
the king, who knew quite well what he had to do with them, and that the
King of England had no right to interfere.  As for the English, they
should meet with the same treatment as was received by the French whom
they held prisoners.” Montagu set out for England to obtain further
orders from the king his master.

All hope of effectual aid was gone, and the Rochellese felt it; the
French who were on board the English fleet had taken, like them, a
resolution to treat; and they had already sent to the cardinal when, on
the 29th of October, the deputies from La Rochelle arrived at the camp.
“Your fellows who were in the English army have already obtained grace,”
 said the cardinal to them; and when they were disposed not to believe it,
the cardinal sent for the pastors Vincent and Gobert, late delegates to
King Charles I. “they embraced with tears in their eyes, not daring to
speak of business, as they had been forbidden to do so on pain of death.”

The demands of the Rochellese were more haughty than befitted their
extreme case.  “Though they were but shadows of living men, and their
life rested solely on the king’s mercy, they actually dared,
nevertheless, to propose to the cardinal a general treaty on behalf of
all those of their party, including Madame de Rohan and Monsieur de
Soubise, the maintenance of their privileges, of their governor, and of
their mayor, together with the right of those bearing arms to march out
with beat of drum and lighted match” [with the honors of war].

The cardinal was amused at their impudence, he writes in his _Memoires,_
and told them that they had no right to expect anything more than pardon,
which, moreover, they did not deserve.  “He was nevertheless anxious to
conclude, wishing that Montagu should find peace made, and that the
English fleet should see it made without their consent, which would
render the rest of the king’s business easier, whether as regarded
England or Spain, or the interior of the kingdom.”  On the 28th the
treaty, or rather the grace, was accordingly signed, “the king granting
life and property to those of the inhabitants of the town who were then
in it, and the exercise of the religion within La Rochelle.”  These
articles bore the signature of a brigadier-general, M. de Marillac, the
king not having thought proper to put his name at the bottom of a
convention made with his subjects.

Next day, twelve deputies issued from the town, making a request for
horses to Marshal de Bassompierre, whose quarters were close by, for they
had not strength to walk.  They dismounted on approaching the king’s
quarters, and the cardinal presented them to his Majesty.  “Sir,” said
they, “we do acknowledge our crimes and rebellions, and demand mercy;
promising to remain faithful for the future, if your Majesty deigns to
remember the services we were able to render to the king your father.”

The king gazed upon these suppliants kneeling at his feet, deputies from
the proud city which had kept him more than a year at her gates;
fleshless, almost fainting, they still bore on their features the traces
of the haughty past.  They had kept the lilies of France on their walls,
refusing to the last to give themselves to England.  “Better surrender to
a king who could take Rochelle, than to one who couldn’t succor her,”
 said the mayor, “John Guiton, who was asked if he would not become an
English subject.  “I know that you have always been malignants,” said the
king at last, “and that you have done all you could to shake off the yoke
of obedience to me; I forgive you, nevertheless, your rebellions, and
will be a good prince to you, if your actions conform to your
protestations.”  Thereupon he dismissed them, not without giving them a
dinner, and sent victuals into the town; without which, all that remained
would have been dead of hunger within two days.

The fighting men marched out, “the officers and gentlemen wearing their
swords and the soldiery with bare (white) staff in hand,” according to
the conventions; as they passed they were regarded with amazement, there
not being more than sixty-four Frenchmen and ninety English: all the rest
had been killed in sorties or had died of want.  The cardinal at the same
time entered this city, which he had subdued by sheer perseverance;
Guiton came to meet him with six archers; he had not appeared during the
negotiations, saying that his duty detained him in the town.  “Away with
you!” said the cardinal, “and at once dismiss your archers, taking care
not to style yourself mayor any more on pain of death.”  Guiton made no
reply, and went his way quietly to his house, a magnificent dwelling till
lately, but now lying desolate amidst the general ruin.  He was not
destined to reside there long; the heroic defender of La Rochelle was
obliged to leave the town and retire to Tournay-Boutonne.  He returned to
La Rochelle to die, in 1656.

The king made his entry into the subjugated town on the 1st of November,
1628: it was full of corpses in the chambers, the houses, the public
thoroughfares; for those who still survived were so weak that they had
not been able to bury the dead.  Madame de Rohan and her daughter, who
had not been included in the treaty, were not admitted to the honor of
seeing his Majesty.  “For having been the brand that had consumed this
people,” they were sent to prison at Niort; “there kept captive, without
exercise of their religion, and so strictly that they had but one
domestic to wait upon them, all which, however, did not take from them
their courage or wonted zeal for the good of their party.  The mother
sent word to the Duke of Rohan, her son, that he was to put no faith in
her letters, since she might be made to write them by force, and that no
consideration of her pitiable condition should make her flinch to the
prejudice of her party, whatever harm she might be made to suffer.”
 [_Memoires du Duc de Rohan,_ t. i.  p. 395.]  Worn out by so much
suffering, the old Duchess of Rohan died in 1631 at her castle Du Pare:
she had been released from captivity by the pacification of the South.

With La Rochelle fell the last bulwark of religious liberties.
Single-handed, Duke Henry of Rohan now resisted at the head of a handful
of resolute men.  But he was about to be crushed in his turn.  The
capture of La Rochelle had raised the cardinal’s power to its height; it
had, simultaneously, been the death-blow to the Huguenot party and to
the factions of the grandees.  “One of them was bold enough to say,” on
seeing that La Rochelle was lost, “Now we may well say that we are all
lost.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu_]

Upper Languedoc had hitherto refused to take part in the rising, and the
Prince of Conde was advancing on Toulouse when the Duke of Rohan
attempted a bold enterprise against Montpellier.  He believed that he was
sure of his communications with the interior of the town; but when the
detachment of the advance-guard got a footing on the draw-bridge the
ropes that held it were cut, and “the soldiers fell into a ditch, where
they were shot down with arquebuses, at the same time that musketry
played upon them from without.”  The lieutenant fell back in all haste
upon the division of the Duke of Rohan, who retreated “to the best
Villages between Montpellier and Lunel, without ever a man from
Montpellier going out to follow and see whither he went.”  The war was
wasting Languedoc, Viverais, and Rouergue; the Dukes of Montmorency and
Ventadour, under the orders of the Prince of Conde, were pursuing the
troops of Rohan in every direction; the burgesses of Montauban had
declared for the Reformers, and were ravaging the lands of their Catholic
neighbors in return for the frightful ruin everywhere caused by the royal
troops.  The wretched peasantry laid the blame on the Duke of Rohan,
“for one of the greatest misfortunes connected with the position of
party-chiefs is this necessity they lie under of accounting for all their
actions to the people, that is, to a monster composed of numberless
heads, amongst which there is scarcely one open to reason.” [_Memoires de
Montmorency.]  “Whoso has to do with a people that considers nothing
difficult to undertake, and, as for the execution, makes no sort of
provision, is apt to be much hampered,” writes the Duke of Rohan in his
_Memoires_ (t. i.  p. 376).  It was this extreme embarrassment that
landed him in crime.  One of his emissaries, returning from Piedmont,
where he had been admitted to an interview with the ambassador of Spain,
made overtures to him on behalf of that power “which had an interest, he
said, in a prolongation of the hostilities in France, so as to be able to
peaceably achieve its designs in Italy.  The great want of money in which
the said duke then found himself, the country being unable to furnish
more, and the towns being unwilling to do anything further, there being
nothing to hope from England, and nothing but words without deeds having
been obtained from the Duke of Savoy, absolutely constrained him to find
some means of raising it in order to subsist.”  And so, in the following
year, the Duke of Rohan treated with the King of Spain, who promised to
allow him annually three hundred thousand ducats for the keep of his
troops and forty thousand for himself.  In return the duke, who looked
forward to “the time when he and his might make themselves sufficiently
strong to canton themselves and form a separate state,” promised, in that
state, freedom and enjoyment of their property to all Catholics.  A piece
of strange and culpable blindness for which Rohan was to pay right
dearly.

It was in the midst of this cruel partisan war that the duke heard of the
fall of La Rochelle; he could not find fault “with folks so attenuated by
famine that the majority of them could not support themselves without a
stick, for having sought safety in capitulation;” but to the continual
anxiety felt by him for the fate of his mother and sister was added
disquietude as to the effect that this news might produce on his troops.
“The people, weary of and ruined by the war, and naturally disposed to be
very easily cast down by adversity; the tradesmen annoyed at having no
more chance of turning a penny; the burgesses seeing their possessions in
ruins and uncultivated; all were inclined for peace at any price
whatever.”  The Prince of  Conde, whilst cruelly maltreating the
countries in revolt, had elsewhere had the prudence to observe some
gentle measures towards the peaceable Reformers in the hope of thus
producing submission.  He made this quite clear himself when writing to
the Duke of Rohan: “Sir, the king’s express commands to maintain them of
the religion styled Reformed in entire liberty of conscience have caused
me to hitherto preserve those who remain in due obedience to his Majesty
in all Catholic places, countries as well as towns, in entire liberty.
Justice has run its free course, the worship continues everywhere, save
in two or three spots where it served not for the exercise of religion,
but to pave the way for rebellion.  The officers who came out of rebel
cities have kept their commissions; in a word, the treatment of so-styled
Reformers, when obedient, has been the same as that of Catholics faithful
to the king .  .  .”  To which Henry de Rohan replied, “I confess to have
once taken up arms unadvisedly, in so far as it was not on behalf of the
affairs of our religion, but of those of yourself personally, who
promised to obtain us reparation for the infractions of our treaties,
and you did nothing of the kind, having had thoughts of peace before
receiving news from the general assembly.  Since that time everybody
knows that I have had arms in my hands only from sheer necessity, in
order to defend our properties, our lives, and the freedom of our
consciences.  I seek my repose in heaven, and God will give me grace to
always find that of my conscience on earth.  They say that in this war
you have, not made a bad thing of it.  This gives me some assurance that
you will leave our poor Uvennes at peace, seeing that there are more hard
knocks than pistoles to be got there.”  The Prince of  Conde avenged
himself for this stinging reply by taking possession, in Brittany, of all
the Duke of Rohan’s property, which had been confiscated, and of which
the king had made him a present.  There were more pistoles to be picked
up on the duke’s estates than in the Cevennes.

The king was in Italy, and the Reformers hoped that his affairs would
detain him there a long while; but “God, who had disposed it otherwise,
breathed upon all those projects,” and the arms of Louis XIII. were
everywhere victorious; peace was concluded with Piedmont and England,
without the latter treaty making any mention of the Huguenots.  The king
then turned his eyes towards Languedoc, and, summoning to him the Dukes
of Montmorency and Schomberg, he laid siege to Privas.  The cardinal soon
joined him there, and it was on the day of his arrival that the treaty
with England was proclaimed by heralds beneath the walls.  The besieged
thus learned that their powerful ally had abandoned them without reserve;
at the first assault the inhabitants fled into the country, the garrison
retired within the forts, and the king’s-soldiers, penetrating into the
deserted streets, were able, without resistance, to deliver up the town
to pillage and flames.  When the affrighted inhabitants came back by
little and little within their walls, they found the houses confiscated
to the benefit of the king, who invited a new population to inhabit
Privas.

Town after town, “fortified Huguenot-wise,” surrendered, opening to the
royal armies the passage to the Uvennes.  The Duke of Rohan, who had at
first taken position at Nimes, repaired to Anduze for the defence of the
mountains, the real fortress of the Reformation in Languedoc.  Alais
itself had just opened its gates.  Rohan saw that he could no longer
impose the duty of resistance upon a people weary of suffering, “easily
believing ill of good folks, and readily agreeing with those whiners who
blame everything and do nothing.”  He sent “to the king, begging to be
received to mercy, thinking it better to resolve on peace, whilst he
could still make some show of being able to help it, than to be forced,
after a longer resistance, to surrender to the king with a rope round his
neck.”  The cardinal advised the king to show the duke grace, “well
knowing that, together with him individually, the other cities, whether
they wished it or not, would be obliged to do the like, there being but
little resolution and constancy in people deprived of leaders, especially
when they are threatened with immediate harm, and see no door of escape
open.”

The general assembly of the Reformers, which was then in meeting at
Nimes, removed to Anduze to deliberate with the Duke of Rohan; a wish was
expressed to have the opinion of the province of the Cevennes, and all
the deputies repaired to the king’s presence.  No more surety-towns;
fortifications everywhere razed, at the expense and by the hands of the
Reformers; the Catholic worship re-established in all the churches of the
Reformed towns; and, at this price, an amnesty granted for all acts of
rebellion, and religious liberties confirmed anew,--such were the
conditions of the peace signed at Alais on the 28th of June, 1629, and
made public the following month at Nimes, under the name of Edict of
Grace.  Montauban alone refused to submit to them.

The Duke of Rohan left France and retired to Venice, where his wife and
daughter were awaiting him.  He had been appointed by the Venetian senate
generalissimo of the forces of the republic, when the cardinal, who had
no doubt preserved some regard for his military talents, sent him an
offer of the command of the king’s troops in the Valteline.  There he for
several years maintained the honor of France, being at one time abandoned
and at another supported by the cardinal, who ultimately left him to bear
the odium of the last reverse.  Meeting with no response from the court,
cut off from every resource, he brought back into the district of Gex the
French troops driven out by the Grisons themselves, and then retired to
Geneva.  Being threatened with the king’s wrath, he set out for the camp
of his friend Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weimar; and it was whilst fighting at
his side against the imperialists that he received the wound of which he
died in Switzerland, on the 16th of April, 1638.  His body was removed to
Geneva amidst public mourning.  A man of distinguished mind and noble
character, often wild in his views and hopes, and so deeply absorbed in
the interests of his party and of his church, that he had sometimes the
misfortune to forget those of his country.

Meanwhile the king had set out for Paris, and the cardinal was marching
on Montauban.  Being obliged to halt at Pezenas because he had a fever,
he there received a deputation from Montauban, asking to have its
fortifications preserved.  On the minister’s formal refusal, supported by
a movement in advance on the part of Marshal Bassompierre with the army,
the town submitted unreservedly.  “Knowing that the cardinal had made up
his mind to enter in force, they found this so bitter a pill that they
could scarcely swallow it;” they, nevertheless, offered the dais to the
minister, as they had been accustomed to do to the governor, but he
refused it, and would not suffer the consuls to walk on foot beside his
horse.  Bassompierre set guards at the doors of the meeting-house, that
things might be done without interruption or scandal; it was ascertained
that the Parliament of Toulouse, “habitually intractable in all that
concerned religion,” had enregistered the edict without difficulty; the
gentlemen of the neighborhood came up in crowds, the Reformers to make
their submission and the Catholics to congratulate the cardinal; on the
day of his departure the pickaxe was laid to the fortifications of
Montauban; those of Castres were already beginning to fall; and the
Huguenot party in France was dead.  Deprived of the political guarantees
which had been granted them by Henry IV., the Reformers had nothing for
it but to retire into private life.  This was the commencement of their
material prosperity; they henceforth transferred to commerce and,
industry all the intelligence, courage, and spirit of enterprise that
they had but lately displayed in the service of their cause, on the
battle-field or in the cabinets of kings.

“From that time,” says Cardinal Richelieu, “difference in religion never
prevented me from rendering the Huguenots all sorts of good offices, and
I made no distinction between Frenchmen but in respect of fidelity.”  A
grand assertion, true at bottom, in spite of the frequent grievances that
the Reformers had often to make the best of; the cardinal was more
tolerant than his age and his servants; what he had wanted to destroy was
the political party; he did not want to drive the Reformers to extremity,
nor force them to fly the country; happy had it been if Louis XIV. could
have listened to and borne in mind the instructions given by Richelieu to
Count de Sault, commissioned to see after the application in Dauphiny of
the edicts of pacification: “I hold that, as there is no need to extend
in favor of them of the religion styled Reformed that which is provided
by the edicts, so there is no ground for cutting down the favors granted
them thereby; even now, when, by the grace of God, peace is so firmly
established in the kingdom, too much precaution cannot be used for the
prevention of all these discontents amongst the people.  I do assure you
that the king’s veritable intention is to have all his subjects living
peaceably in the observation of his edicts, and that those who have
authority in the provinces will do him service by conforming thereto.”
 The era of liberty passed away with Henry IV.; that of tolerance, for the
Reformers, began with Richelieu, pending the advent with Louis XIV. of
the day of persecution.



CHAPTER XLI.----LOUIS XIII., CARDINAL RICHELIEU, AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

France was reduced to submission; six years of power had sufficed for
Richelieu to obtain the mastery; from that moment he directed his
ceaseless energy towards Europe.  “He feared the repose of peace,” said
the ambassador Nani in his letters to Venice; “and thinking himself more
safe amidst the bustle of arms, he was the originator of so many wars,
and of such long-continued and heavy calamities, he caused so much blood
and so many tears to flow within and without the kingdom, that there is
nothing to be astonished at, if many people have represented him as
faithless, atrocious in his hatred, and inflexible in his vengeance.
But no one, nevertheless, can deny him the gifts that this world is
accustomed to attribute to its greatest men; and his most determined
enemies are forced to confess that he had so many and such great ones,
that he would have carried with him power and prosperity wherever he
might have had the direction of affairs.  We may say that, having brought
back unity to divided France, having succored Italy, upset the empire,
confounded England, and enfeebled Spain, he was the instrument chosen by
divine Providence to direct the great events of Europe.”

The Venetian’s independent and penetrating mind did not mislead him;
everywhere in Europe were marks of Richelieu’s handiwork.  “There must be
no end to negotiations near and far,” was his saying: he had found
negotiations succeed in France; he extended his views; numerous treaties
had already marked the early years of the cardinal’s power; and, after
1630, his activity abroad was redoubled.  Between 1623 and 1642
seventy-four treaties were concluded by Richelieu: four with England;
twelve with the United Provinces; fifteen with the princes of Germany;
six with Sweden; twelve with Savoy; six with the republic of Venice;
three with the pope; three with the emperor; two with Spain; four with
Lorraine; one with the Grey Leagues of Switzerland; one with Portugal;
two with the revolters of Catalonia and Roussillon; one with Russia; two
with the Emperor of Morocco: such was the immense network of diplomatic
negotiations whereof the cardinal held the threads during nineteen
years.

An enumeration of the alliances would serve, without further comment,
to prove this: that the foreign policy of Richelieu was a continuation
of that of Henry IV.; it was to Protestant alliances that he looked for
their support in order to maintain the struggle against the house of
Austria, whether the German or the Spanish branch.  In order to give his
views full swing, he waited till he had conquered the Huguenots at home:
nearly all his treaties with Protestant powers are posterior to 1630.
So soon as he was secure that no political discussions in France itself
would come to thwart his foreign designs, he marched with a firm step
towards that enfeeblement of Spain and that upsetting of the empire of
which Nani speaks.  Henry IV. and Queen Elizabeth, pursuing the same end,
had sought and found the same allies: Richelieu had the good fortune,
beyond theirs, to meet, for the execution of his designs, with Gustavus
Adolphus, King of Sweden.

Richelieu had not yet entered the king’s council (1624), when the
breaking off of the long negotiations between England and Spain, on the
subject of the marriage of the Prince of Wales with the Infanta, was
officially declared to Parliament.  At the very moment when Prince
Charles, with the Duke of Buckingham, was going post-haste to Madrid, to
see the Infanta Mary Anne of Spain, they were already thinking, at Paris,
of marrying him to Henrietta of France, the king’s young sister, scarcely
fourteen years of age.  King James I. was at that time obstinately bent
upon his plan of alliance with Spain; when it failed, his son and big
favorite forced his hand to bring him round to France.  His envoys at
Paris, the Earl of Carlisle and Lord Holland, found themselves confronted
by Cardinal Richelieu, commissioned, together with some of his
colleagues, to negotiate the affair.  M. Guizot, in his _Projet de
Mariage royal_ (1 vol.  18mo: 1863; Paris, Hachette et Cie), has said
that the marriage of Henry IV.’s daughter with the Prince of Wales was,
in Richelieu’s eyes, one of the essential acts of a policy necessary to
the greatness of the kingship and of France.  He obtained the best
conditions possible for the various interests involved, but without any
stickling and without favor for such and such a one of these interests,
skilfully adapting words and appearance, but determined upon attaining
his end.

The tarryings and miscarriages of Spanish policy had warned Richelieu to
make haste.  “In less than nine moons,” says James I.’s private
secretary, James Howell, “this great matter was proposed, prosecuted, and
accomplished; whereas the sun might, for as many years, have run his
course from one extremity of the zodiac to the other, before the court of
Spain would have arrived at any resolution and conclusion.  That gives a
good idea of the difference between the two nations--the leaden step of
the one and the quicksilver movements of the other.  It also shows that
the Frenchman is more noble in his proceedings, less full of scruple,
reserve, and distrust, and that he acts more chivalrously.”

In France, meanwhile, as well as in Spain, the question of religion was
the rock of offence.  Richelieu confined himself to demanding, in a
general way, that, in this matter, the King of England should grant,
in order to obtain the sister of the King of France, all that he had
promised in order to obtain the King of Spain’s.  “So much was required,”
 he said, “by the equality of the two crowns.”

The English negotiators were much embarrassed; the Protestant feelings
of Parliament had shown themselves very strongly on the subject of the
Spanish marriage.  “As to public freedom for the Catholic religion,” says
the cardinal, “they would not so much as hear of it, declaring that it
was a deaign, under cover of alliance, to destroy their constitution even
to ask such a thing of them.”  “You want to conclude the marriage,” said
Lord Holland to the queen-mother, “and yet you enter on the same paths
that the Spaniards took to break it off; which causes all sorts of doubts
and mistrusts, the effect whereof the premier minister of Spain, Count
Olivarez, is very careful to aggravate by saying that, if the pope
granted a dispensation for the marriage with France, the king his master
would march to Rome with an army, and give it up to sack.”

“We will soon stop that,” answered Mary de’ Medici quickly; “we will cut
out work for him elsewhere.”  At last it was agreed that King James and
his son should sign a private engagement, not inserted in the contract of
marriage, “securing to the English Catholics more liberty and freedom in
all that concerns their religion, than they would have obtained by virtue
of any articles whatsoever accorded by the marriage treaty with Spain,
provided that they made sparing use of them, rendering to the King of
England the “obedience owed by good and true subjects; the which king,
of his benevolence, would not bind them by any oath contrary to their
religion.”  The promises were vague and the securities anything but
substantial; still, the vanity as well as the fears of King James were
appeased, and Richelieu had secured, simultaneously with his own
ascendency, the policy of France.  Nothing remained but to send to Rome
for the purpose of obtaining the dispensation.  The ordinary ambassador,
Count de Bethune, did not suffice for so delicate a negotiation;
Richelieu sent Father Berulle. Father Berulle, founder of the brotherhood
of the Oratory, patron of the Carmelites, and the intimate friend of
Francis de Sales, though devoid of personal ambition, had, been clever
enough to keep himself on good terms with Cardinal Richelieu, whose
political views he did not share, and with the court of Rome, whose most
faithful allies, the Jesuits, he had often thwarted.  He was devoted to
Queen Mary de’ Medici, and willingly promoted her desires in the matter
of her daughter’s marriage.  He found the court of Rome in confusion, and
much exercised by Spanish intrigue.  “This court,” he wrote to the
cardinal, “is, in conduct and in principles, very different from what
one would suppose before having tried it for one’s self; for my part, I
confess to having learned more of it in a few hours, since I have been on
the spot, than I knew by all the talk that I have heard.  The dial
constantly observed in this country is the balance existing between
France, Italy, and Spain.”  “The king my master,” said Count de Bethune,
quite openly, “has obtained from England all he could; it is no use to
wait for more ample conditions, or to measure them by the Spanish ell;
I have orders against sending off any courier save to give notice of
concession of the dispensation: otherwise there would be nothing but
asking one thing after another.”  “If we determine to act like Spain, we,
like her, shall lose everything,” said Father Berulle.  Some weeks later,
on the 6th of January, 1625, Berulle wrote to the cardinal, “For a month
I have been on the point of starting, but we have been obliged to take so
much trouble and have so many meetings on the subject of transcripts and
missives as well as the kernel of the business .  .  .  I will merely
tell you that the dispensation is pure and simple.”

King James I. had died on the 6th of April, 1625; and so it was King
Charles I., and not the Prince of Wales, whom the Duke of Chevreuse
represented at Paris on the 11th of May, 1625, at the espousals of
Princess Henrietta Maria.  She set out on the 2d of June for England,
escorted by the Duke of Buckingham, who had been sent by the king to
fetch her, and who had gladly prolonged his stay in France, smitten as he
was by the young Queen Anne of Austria.  Charles I. went to Dover to meet
his wife, showing himself very amiable and attentive to her.  Though she
little knew how fatal they would be to her, the king of England’s palaces
looked bare and deserted to the new queen, accustomed as she was to
French elegance; she, however, appeared contented.  “How can your Majesty
reconcile yourself to a Huguenot for a husband?” asked one of her suite,
indiscreetly.  “Why not?” she replied, with spirit.  “Was not my father
one?”

By this speech Henrietta Maria expressed, undoubtedly without realizing
all its grandeur, the idea which had suggested her marriage and been
prominent in France during the whole negotiations.  It was the policy of
Henry IV. that Henry IV.’s daughter was bringing to a triumphant issue.
The marriage between Henrietta Maria and Charles I., negotiated and
concluded by Cardinal Richelieu, was the open declaration of the fact
that the style of Protestant or Catholic was not the supreme law of
policy in Christian Europe, and that the interests of nations should not
remain subservient to the religious faith of the reigning or governing
personages.

Unhappily the policy of Henry IV., carried on by Cardinal Richelieu,
found no Queen Elizabeth any longer on the throne of England to
comprehend it and maintain it.  Charles I., tossed about between the
haughty caprices of his favorite Buckingham and the religious or
political passions of his people, did not long remain attached to the
great idea which had predominated in the alliance of the two crowns.
Proud and timid, imperious and awkward, all at the same time, he did not
succeed, in the first instance, in gaining the affections of his young
wife, and early infractions of the treaty of marriage; the dismissal of
all the queen’s French servants, hostilities between the merchant navies
of the two nations, had for some time been paving the way for open war,
when the Duke of Buckingham, in the hope of winning back to him the House
of Commons (June, 1626), madly attempted the expedition against the
Island of Re.  What was the success of it, as well as of the two attempts
that followed it, has already been shown.

Three years later, on the 24th of April, 1629, the King of England
concluded peace with France without making any stipulation in favor of
the Reformers whom hope of aid from him had drawn into rebellion.  “I
declare,” says the Duke of Rohan, “that I would have suffered any sort of
extremity rather than be false to the many sacred oaths we had given him
not to listen to any treaty without him, who had many times assured us
that he would never make peace without including us in it.”  The English
accepted the peace “as the king had desired, not wanting the King of
Great Britain to meddle with his rebellious Huguenot subjects any more
than he would want to meddle with his Catholic subjects if they were to
rebel against him.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iv.  p. 421.]  The
subjects of Charles I. were soon to rebel against him: and France kept
her word and did not interfere.

The Hollanders, with more prudence and ability than distinguished
Buckingham and Charles I., had done better service to the Protestant
cause without ever becoming entangled in the quarrels that divided
France; natural enemies as they were of Spain and the house of Austria,
they readily seconded Richelieu in the struggle he maintained against
them; besides, the United Provinces were as yet poor, and the cardinal
always managed to find money for his allies; nearly all the treaties he
concluded with Holland were treaties of alliance and subsidy; those of
1641 and 1642 secured to them twelve hundred thousand livres a year out
of the coffers of France.  Once only the Hollanders were faithless to
their engagements: it was during the siege of Rochelle, when the national
feeling would not admit of war being made on the French Huguenots.  All
the forces of Protestantism readily united against Spain; Richelieu had
but to direct them.  She, in fact, was the great enemy, and her
humiliation was always the ultimate aim of the cardinal’s foreign policy;
the struggle, power to power, between France and Spain, explains, during
that period, nearly all the political and military complications in
Europe.  There was no lack of pretexts for bringing it on.  The first was
the question of the Valteline, a lovely and fertile valley, which,
extending from the Lake of Como to the Tyrol, thus serves as a natural
communication between Italy and Germany.  Possessed but lately, as it
was, by the Grey Leagues of the Protestant Swiss, the Valteline, a
Catholic district, had revolted at the instigation of Spain in 1620; the
emperor, Savoy, and Spain had wanted to divide the spoil between them;
when France, the old ally of the Grisons, had interfered, and, in 1623,
the forts of the Valteline had been intrusted on deposit to the pope,
Urban VIII.  He still retained them in 1624, when the Grison lords,
seconded by a French re-enforcement under the orders of the Marquis of
Ceeuvres, attacked the feeble garrison of the Valteline; in a few days
they were masters of all the places in the canton; the pope sent his
nephew, Cardinal Barberini, to Paris to complain of French aggression,
and with a proposal to take the sovereignty of the Valteline from the
Grisons; that was, to give it to Spain.  “Besides,” said Cardinal
Richelieu, “the precedent and consequences of it would be perilous for
kings in whose dominions it hath pleased God to permit diversity of
religion.”  The legate could obtain nothing.  The Assembly of Notables,
convoked by Richelieu in 1625, approved of the king’s conduct, and war
was resolved upon.  The siege of La Rochelle retarded it for two years;
Richelieu wanted to have his hands free; he concluded a specious peace
with Spain, and the Valteline remained for the time being in the hands of
the Grisons, who were one day themselves to drive the French out of it.
Whilst the cardinal was holding La Rochelle besieged, the Duke of Mantua
had died in Italy, and his natural heir, Charles di Gonzaga, who was
settled in France with the title of Duke of Nevers, had hastened to put
himself in possession of his dominions.  Meanwhile the Duke of Savoy
claimed the marquisate of Montferrat; the Spaniards supported him; they
entered the-dominions of the Duke of Mantua, and laid siege to Casale.
When La Rochelle succumbed, Casale was still holding out; but the Duke of
Savoy had already made himself master of the greater part of Montferrat;
the Duke of Mantua claimed the assistance of the King of France, whose
subject he was; here was a fresh battle-field against Spain; and scarcely
had he been victorious over the Rochellese, when the king was on the
march for Italy.  The Duke of Savoy refused a passage to the royal army,
which found the defile of Suza Pass fortified with three barricades.

[Illustration: The Defile of Suza Pass----278]

Marshal Bassompierre went to the king, who was a hundred paces behind the
storming party, ahead of his regiment of guards.  “‘Sir,’ said he, ‘the
company is ready, the violins have come in,’ and the masks are at the
door; when your Majesty pleases, we will commence the ballet.’  ‘The king
came up to me, and said to me angrily, “Do you know, pray, that we have
but five hundred pounds of lead in the park of artillery?” ‘I said to
him, ‘It is a pretty time to think of that.  Must the ballet not dance,
for lack of one mask that is not ready?  Leave it to us, sir, and all
will go well.’  “Do you answer for it?”  said he to me.  ‘Sir,’ replied.
the cardinal, ‘by the marshal’s looks I prophesy that all will be well;
rest assured of it.’” [_Memoires de Bassompiere._]  The French dashed
forward, the marshals with the storming party, and the barricades were
soon carried.  The Duke of Savoy and his son had hardly time to fly.
“Gentlemen,” cried the Duke to some Frenchmen, who happened to be in his
service, “gentlemen, allow me to pass; your countrymen are in a temper.”

With the same dash, on debouching from the mountains, the king’s troops
entered Suza.  The Prince of Piedmont soon arrived to ask for peace; he
gave up all pretensions to Montferrat, and promised to negotiate with the
Spanish general to get the siege of Casale raised; and the effect was
that, on the 18th of March, Casale, delivered “by the mere wind of the
renown gained by the king’s arms, saw, with tears of joy, the Spaniards
retiring desolate, showing no longer that pride which they had been wont
to wear on their faces,--looking constantly behind them, not so much from
regret for what they were leaving as for fear lest the king’s vengeful
sword should follow after them, and come to strike their death-blow.”
 [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iv.  p. 370.]

The Spaniards remained, however, in Milaness, ready to burst again upon
the Duke of Mantua.  The king was in a hurry to return to France in order
to finish the subjugation of the Reformers in the south, commanded by the
Duke of Rohan.  The cardinal placed little or no reliance upon the Duke
of Savoy, whose “mind could get no rest, and going more swiftly than the
rapid movements of the heavens, made every day more than twice the
circuit of the world, thinking how to set by the ears all kings, princes,
and potentates, one with another, so that he alone might reap advantage
from their divisions.  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iv.  p. 375.]  A
league, however, was formed between France, the republic of Venice, the
Duke of Mantua, and the Duke of Savoy, for the defence of Italy in case
of fresh aggression on the part of the Spaniards; and the king, who had
just concluded peace with England, took the road back to France.
Scarcely had the cardinal joined him before Privas when an imperialist
army advanced into the Grisons, and, supported by the celebrated Spanish
general Spinola, laid siege to Mantua.  Richelieu did not hesitate: he
entered Piedmont in the month of March, 1630, to march before long on
Pignerol, an important place commanding the passage of the Alps; it, as
well as the citadel, was carried in a few days; the governor having asked
for time to “do his Easter” (take the sacrament), Marshal Crequi, who was
afraid of seeing aid arrive from the Duke of Savoy, had all the clocks in
the town put on, to such purpose that the governor had departed and the
place was in the hands of the French when the re-enforcements came up.
The Duke of Savoy was furious, and had the soldiers who surrendered
Pignerol cut in pieces.

The king had put himself in motion to join his army.  “The French
noblesse,” said Spinola, “are very fortunate in seeing themselves honored
by the presence of the king their master amongst their armies; I have
nothing to regret in my life but never to have seen the like on the part
of mine.”  This great general had resumed the siege of Casale when Louis
XIII. entered Savoy; the inhabitants of Chambery opened their gates to
him; Annecy and Montmelian succumbed after a few days’ siege; Maurienne
in its entirety made its submission, and the king fixed his quarters
there, whilst the cardinal pushed forward to Casale with the main body of
the army.  Rejoicings were still going on for a success gained before
Veillane over the troops of the Duke of Savoy, when news arrived of the
capture of Mantua by the Imperialists.  This was the finishing blow to
the ambitious and restless spirit of the Duke of Savoy.  He saw Mantua in
the hands of the Spaniards, “who never give back aught of what falls into
their power, whatever justice and the interests of alliance may make
binding on them;” it was all hope lost of an exchange which might have
given him back Savoy; he took to his bed and died on the 26th of July,
1630, telling his son that peace must be made on any terms whatever.
“By just punishment of God, he who, during forty or fifty years of his
reign, had constantly tried to set his neighbors a-blaze, died amidst the
flames of his own dominions, which he had lost by his own obstinacy,
against the advice of his friends and his allies.”

The King of France, in ill health, had just set out for Lyons; and
thither the cardinal was soon summoned, for Louis XIII. appeared to be
dying.  When he reached convalescence, the truce suspending hostilities
since the death of the Duke of Savoy was about to expire; Marshal
Schomberg was preparing to march on the enemy, when there was brought
to him a treaty, signed at Ratisbonne, between the emperor and the
ambassador of France, assisted by Francis du Tremblay, now known as
Father Joseph, perhaps the only friend and certainly the most intimate
confidant of the cardinal, who always employed him on delicate or secret
business.

[Illustration: Richelieu and Father Joseph----280]

But Marshal Schomberg was fighting against Spain; he did not allow
himself to be stopped by a treaty concluded with the emperor, and
speedily found himself in front of Casale.  The two armies were already
face to face, when there was seen coming out of the intrenchments an
officer in the pope’s service, who waved a white handkerchief; he came
up to Marshal Schomberg, and was recognized as Captain Giulio Mazarini,
often employed on the nuncio’s affairs; he brought word that the
Spaniards would consent to leave the city, if, at the same time, the
French would evacuate the citadel.  Spinola was no longer there to make a
good stand before the place; he had died a month previously, complaining
loudly that his honor had been filched from him; and, determined not to
yield up his last breath in a town which would have to be abandoned, he
had caused himself to be removed out of Casale, to go and die in a
neighboring castle.

Casale evacuated, the cardinal broke out violently against the
negotiators of Ratisbonne, saying that they had exceeded their powers,
and declaring that the king regarded the treaty as null and void; there
was accordingly a recommencement of negotiations with the emperor as well
as the Spaniards.

It was only in the month of September, 1631, that the states of Savoy and
Mantua were finally evacuated by the hostile troops.  Pignerol had been
given up to the new Duke of Savoy, but a secret agreement had been
entered into between that prince and France: French soldiers remained
concealed in Pignerol; and they retook possession of the place in the
name of the king, who had purchased the town and its territory, to secure
himself a passage into Italy.  The Spaniards, when they bad news of it,
made so much the more uproar as they had the less foreseen it, and as it
cut the thread of all the enterprises they were meditating against
Christendom.  The affairs of the emperor in Germany were in too bad a
state for him to rekindle war, and France kept Pignerol.  The house of
Austria, in fact, was threatened mortally.  For two years Cardinal
Richelieu had been laboring to carry war into its very heart.  Ferdinand
II. had displeased many electors of the empire, who began to be
disquieted at the advances made by his power.  “It is, no doubt, a great
affliction for the Christian commonwealth,” said the cardinal to the
German princes, “that none but the Protestants should dare to oppose such
pernicious designs; they must not be aided in their enterprises against
religion, but they must be made use of in order to maintain Germany in
the enjoyment of her liberties.”  The Catholic league in Germany,
habitually allied as it was with the house of Austria, did not offer any
leader to take the field against her.  The King of Denmark, after a long
period of hostilities, had just made peace with the emperor; and, “in
their need, all these offended and despoiled princes looked, as sailors
look to the north,” towards the King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus.

[Illustration: Gustavus Adolphus----282]

“The King of Sweden was a new rising sun, who, having been at war with
all his neighbors, had wrested from them several provinces; he was young,
but of great reputation, and already incensed against the emperor, not so
much on account of any real injuries he had received from him as because
he was his neighbor.  His Majesty had kept an eye upon him with a view of
attempting to make use of him in order to draw off, in course of time,
the main body of the emperor’s forces, and give him work to do in his own
dominions.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. v.  p. 119.]  Through
Richelieu’s good offices, Gustavus Adolphus had just concluded a long
truce with the Poles, with whom he had been for some time at war: the
cardinal’s envoy, M. de Charnace, at once made certain propositions to
the King of Sweden, promising the aid of France if he would take up the
cause of the German princes; but Gustavus turned a cold ear to these
overtures, “not seeing in any quarter any great encouragement to
undertake the war, either in England, peace with the Spaniards being
there as good as determined upon, or in Holland, for the same reason,
or in the Hanseatic towns, which were all exhausted of wealth, or in
Denmark, which had lost heart and was daily disarming, or in France,
whence he got not a word on which he could place certain reliance.”  The
emperor, on his side, was seeking to make peace with Sweden, “and the
people of that country were not disinclined to listen to him.”

God, for the accomplishment of his will, sets at nought the designs and
intentions of men.  Gustavus Adolphus was the instrument chosen by
Providence to finish the work of Henry IV. and Richelieu.  Negotiations
continued to be carried on between the two parties, but, before his
alliance with France was concluded, the King of Sweden, taking a sudden
resolution, set out for Germany, on the 30th of May, 1630, with fifteen
thousand men, “having told Charnace that he would not continue the war
beyond that year, if he did not agree upon terms of treaty with the king;
so much does passion blind us,” adds the cardinal, “that he thought it to
be in his power to put an end to so great a war as that, just as it had
been in his power to commence it.”

By this time Gustavus Adolphus was in Pomerania, the duke whereof,
maltreated by the emperor, admitted him on the 10th of July into Stettin,
after a show of resistance.  The Imperialists, in their fury, put to a
cruel death all the inhabitants of the said city who happened to be in
their hands, and gave up all its territory to fire and sword.  “The King
of Sweden, on the contrary, had his army in such discipline, that it
seemed as if every one of them were living at home, and not amongst
strangers; for in the actions of this king there was nothing to be seen
but inexorable severity towards the smallest excesses on the part of his
men, extraordinary gentleness towards the populations, and strict justice
on every occasion, all which conciliated the affections of all, and so
much the more in that the emperor’s army, unruly, insolent, disobedient
to its leaders, and full of outrage against the people, made their
enemy’s virtues shine forth the brighter.”  [_Memoires de Richelieu,_
t. vi.  p. 419.]

Gustavus Adolphus had left Sweden under the impulse of love for those
glorious enterprises which make great generals, but still more of a
desire to maintain the Protestant cause, which he regarded as that of
God.  He had assembled the estates of Sweden in the castle of Stockholm,
presenting to them his daughter Christina, four years old, whom he
confided to their faithful care.  “I have hopes,” he said to them, “of
ending by bringing triumph to the cause of the oppressed; but, as the
pitcher that goes often to the well gets broken, so I fear it may be my
fate.  I who have exposed my life amidst so many dangers, who have so
often spilt my blood for the country, without, thanks to God, having been
wounded to death, must in the end make a sacrifice of myself; for that
reason I bid you farewell, hoping to see you again in a better world.”
 He continued advancing into Germany.  “This snow king will go on melting
as he comes south,” said the emperor, Ferdinand, on hearing that Gustavus
Adolphus had disembarked; but Mecklenburg was already in his hands, and
the Elector of Brandenburg had just declared in his favor: he everywhere
made proclamation, “that the inhabitants were to come forward and join
him to take the part of their princes, whom he was coming to replace in
possession.”  He was investing all parts of Austria, whose hereditary
dominions he had not yet attacked; it was in the name of the empire that
he fought against the emperor.

The diet was terminating at Ratisbonne, and it had just struck a fatal
blow at the imperial cause.  The electors, Catholic and Protestant,
jealous of the power as well as of the glory of the celebrated
Wallenstein, creator and commander-in-chief of the emperor’s army, who
had made him Duke of Friedland, and endowed him with the duchies of
Mecklenburg, had obliged Ferdinand II. to withdraw from him the command
of the forces.  At this price he had hoped to obtain their votes to
designate his son King of the Romans; the first step towards hereditary
empire had failed, thanks to the ability of Father Joseph.  “This poor
Capuchin has disarmed me with his chaplet,” said the emperor, “and for
all that his cowl is so narrow he has managed to get six electoral hats
into it.”  The treaty he had concluded, disavowed by France, did not for
an instant hinder the progress of the King of Sweden; and the cardinal
lost no time in letting him know that “the king’s intention was in no
wise to abandon him, but to assist him more than ever, insomuch as he
deemed it absolutely necessary in order to thwart the designs of those
who had no end in view but their own augmentation, to the prejudice of
all the other princes of Europe.”  On the 25th of January, 1631, at
Bernwald, the treaty of alliance between France and Sweden was finally
signed.  Baron Charnace had inserted in the draft of the treaty the term
protection as between France and Gustavus Adolphus.  “Our master asks for
no protection but that of Heaven, said the Swedish plenipotentiaries;
“after God, his Majesty holds himself indebted only to his sword and his
wisdom for any advantages he may gain.”  Charnace did not insist; and the
victories of Gustavus Adolphus were an answer to any difficulties.

The King of Sweden bound himself to furnish soldiers,--thirty thousand
men at the least; France was to pay, by way of subsidy, four hundred
thousand crowns a year, and to give a hundred thousand crowns to cover
past expenses.  Gustavus Adolphus promised to maintain the existing
religion in such countries as he might conquer, “though he said,
laughingly, that there was no possibility of promising about that, except
in the fashion of him who sold the bear’s skin;” he likewise guaranteed
neutrality to the princes of the Catholic league, provided that they
observed it towards him.  The treaty was made public at once, through the
exertions of Gustavus Adolphus, though Cardinal Richelieu had charged
Charnace to keep it secret for a time.

Torquato Conti, one of the emperor’s generals, who had taken
Wallenstein’s place, wished to break off warfare during the long frosts.
“My men do not recognize winter,” answered Gustavus Adolphus.  “This
prince, who did not take to war as a pastime, but made it in order to
conquer,” marched with giant strides across Germany, reducing everything
as he went. He had arrived, by the end of April, before Frankfurt-on-the
Oder, which he took; and he was preparing to succor Magdeburg, which had
early pronounced for him, and which Tilly, the emperor’s general, kept
besieged.  The Elector of Saxony hesitated to take sides; he refused
Gustavus Adolphus a passage over the bridge of Dessau, on the Elbe.  On
the 20th of May Magdeburg fell, and Tilly gave over the place to the
soldiery; thirty thousand persons were massacred, and the houses
committed to the flames.  “Nothing like it has been seen since the taking
of Troy and of Jerusalem,” said Tilly in his savage joy.  The Protestant
princes, who had just been reconstituting the Evangelical Union, in the
diet they had held in February at Leipzig, revolted openly, ordering
levies of soldiers to protect their territories; the Catholic League,
renouncing neutrality, flew to arms on their side; the question became
nothing less than that of restoring to the Protestants all that had been
granted them by the peace of Passau.  The soldiery of Tilly were already
let loose on electoral Saxony; the elector, constrained by necessity,
intrusted his soldiers to Gustavus Adolphus, who had just received
re-enforcements from Sweden, and the king marched against Tilly, still
encamped before Leipzig, which he had forced to capitulate.

The Saxons gave way at the first shock of the imperial troops, but the
King of Sweden had dashed forward, and nothing could withstand him; Tilly
himself, hitherto proof against lead and steel, fell wounded in three
places; five thousand dead were left on the field of battle; and Gustavus
Adolphus dragged at his heels seven thousand prisoners.  “Never did the
grace of God pull me out of so bad a scrape,” said the conqueror.  He
halted some time at Mayence, which had just opened its gates to him.
Axel Oxenstiern, his most faithful servant and oldest friend, whose
intimacy with his royal master reminds one of that between Henry IV. and
Sully, came to join him in Germany; he had hitherto been commissioned to
hold the government of the conquests won from the Poles.  He did not
approve of the tactics of Gustavus Adolphus, who was attacking the
Catholic League, and meanwhile leaving to the Elector of Saxony the
charge of carrying the war into the hereditary dominions of Austria.
.  .  .  “Sir,” said he, “I should have liked to offer you my
felicitations on your victories, not at Mayence, but at Vienna.”  “If,
after the battle of Leipzig, the King of Sweden had gone straight to
attack the emperor in his hereditary provinces, it had been all over with
the house of Austria,” says Cardinal Richelieu; “but either God did not
will the certain destruction of that house, which would perhaps have been
too prejudicial to the Catholic religion, and he turned him aside from
the counsel which would have been more advantageous for him to take, or
the same God, who giveth not all to any, but distributeth his gifts
diversely to each, had given to this king, as to Hannibal, the knowledge
how to conquer, but not how to use victory.”

Gustavus Adolphus had resumed his course of success: he came up with
Tilly again on the Leek, April 10, 1632, and crushed his army; the
general was mortally wounded, and the King of Sweden, entering Augsburg
in triumph, proclaimed religious liberty there.  He had moved forward in
front of Ingolstadt, and was making a reconnoissance in person.  “A king
is not worthy of his crown who makes any difficulty about carrying it
wherever a simple soldier can go,” he said.  A cannon-ball carried off
the hind quarters of his horse and threw him down.  He picked himself up,
all covered with blood and mud.  “The fruit is not yet ripe,” he cried,
with that strange mixture of courage and fatalism which so often
characterizes great warriors; and he marched to Munich, on which he
imposed a heavy war-contribution.  The Elector of Bavaria, strongly
favored by France, sought to treat in the name of the Catholic League;
but Gustavus Adolphus required complete restitution of all territories
wrested from the Protestant princes, the withdrawal of the troops
occupying the dominions of the evangelicals, and the absolute neutrality
of the Catholic princes.  “These conditions smacked rather of your
victorious prince, who would lay down and not accept the law.”  He
summoned to him all the inhabitants of the countries he traversed in
conqueror’s style: _“Surgite d mortuis,”_ he said to the Bavarians, _“et
venite ad judieium” (Rise from the dead, and come to judgment)_.
Protestant Suabia had declared for him, and Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weimar,
one of his ablest lieute ants, carried the Swedish arms to the very banks
of the Lake of Constance.  The Lutheran countries of Upper Austria had
taken up arms; and Switzerland had permitted the King of Sweden to
recruit on her territory.  “Italy began to tremble,” says Cardinal
Richelieu; “the Genevese themselves were fortifying their town, and, to
see them doing so, it seemed as if the King of Sweden were at their
gates; but God had disposed it otherwise.”

The Emperor Ferdinand had recalled the only general capable of making a
stand against Gustavus Adolphus.  Wallenstein, deeply offended, had for
a long while held out; but, being assured of the supreme command over the
fresh army which Ferdinand was raising in all directions, he took the
field at the end of April, 1632.  Wallenstein effected a junction with
the Elector of Bavaria, forcing Gustavus Adolphus back, little by little,
on Nuremberg.  “I mean to show the King of Sweden a new way of making
war,” said the German general.  The sufferings of his army in an
intrenched camp soon became intolerable to Gustavus Adolphus.  In spite
of inferiority of forces, he attacked the enemy’s redoubts, and was
repulsed; the king revictualled Nuremberg, and fell back upon Bavaria.
Wallenstein at first followed him, and then flung himself upon Saxony,
and took Leipzig; Gustavus Adolphus advanced to succor his ally, and the
two armies met near the little town of Liitzen, on the 16th of November,
1632.

There was a thick fog.  Gustavus Adolphus, rising before daybreak, would
not put on his breastplate, his old wounds hurting him under harness:
“God is my breastplate,” he said.  When somebody came and asked him for
the watchword, he answered, “God with us;” and it was Luther’s hymn,
_“Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (Our God is a strong tower),_ that the
Swedes sang as they advanced towards the enemy.  The king had given
orders to march straight on Lutzen.  “He animated his men to the fight,”
 says Richelieu, “with words that he had at command, whilst Wallenstein,
by his mere presence and the sternness of his silence, seemed to let his
men understand that, as he had been wont to do, he would reward them or
chastise them, according as they did well or ill on that great day.”

It was ten A. M., and the fog had just lifted; six batteries of cannon
and two large ditches defended the Imperialists; the artillery from the
ramparts of Liitzen played upon the king’s army, the balls came whizzing
about him; Bernard of Saxe-Weimar was the first to attack, pushing
forward on Liitzen, which was soon taken; Gustavus Adolphus marched on to
the enemy’s intrenchments; for an instant the Swedish infantry seemed to
waver; the king seized a pike and flung himself amidst the ranks.  “After
crossing so many rivers, scaling so many walls, and storming so many
places, if you have not courage enough to defend yourselves, at least
turn your heads to see me die,” he shouted to the soldiers.  They
rallied: the king remounted his horse, bearing along with him a regiment
of Smalandaise cavalry.  “You will behave like good fellows, all of you,”
 he said to them, as he dashed over the two ditches, carrying, as he went,
two batteries of the enemy’s cannon.  “He took off his hat and rendered
thanks to God for the victory He was giving him.”

Two regiments of Imperial cuirassiers rode up to meet him; the king
charged them at the head of his Swedes; he was in the thickest of the
fight; his horse received a ball through the neck; Gustavus had his arm
broken; the bone came through the sleeve of his coat; he wanted to have
it attended to, and begged the Duke of Saxe-Altenburg to assist him in
leaving the battle-field; at that very moment, Falkenberg, lieutenant-
colonel in the Imperial army, galloped his horse on to the king and shot
him, point-blank, in the back with a pistol.  The king fell from his
horse; and Falkenberg took to flight, pursued by one of the king’s
squires, who killed him.  Gustavus Adolphus was left alone with a German
page, who tried to raise him; the king could no longer speak; three
Austrian cuirassiers surrounded him, asking the page the name of the
wounded man; the youngster would not say, and fell, riddled with wounds,
on his master’s body; the Austrians sent one more pistol-shot into the
dying man’s temple, and stripped him of his clothes, leaving him only his
shirt.  The melley recommenced, and successive charges of cavalry passed
over the hero’s corpse; there were counted nine open wounds and thirteen
scars on his body when it was recovered towards the evening.

[Illustration: Death of Gustavus and his Page----290]

One of the king’s officers, who had been unable to quit the fight in
time to succor him, went and announced his fall to Duke Bernard of
Saxe-Weimar.  To him a retreat was suggested; but, “We mustn’t think of
that,” said he, “but of death or victory.”  A lieutenant-colonel of a
cavalry regiment made some difficulty about resuming the attack: the duke
passed his sword through his body, and, putting himself at the head of
the troops, led them back upon the enemy’s intrenchments which he carried
and lost three times.  At last he succeeded in turning the cannon upon
the enemy, and “that gave the turn to the victory, which, nevertheless,
was disputed till night.”

“It was one of the most horrible ever heard of,” says Cardinal Richelieu;
“six thousand dead or dying were left on the field of battle, where Duke
Bernard encamped till morning.”

When day came, he led the troops off to Weisenfeld.  The army knew
nothing yet of the king’s death.  The Duke of Saxe-Weimar had the body
brought to the front.  “I will no longer conceal from you,” he said, “the
misfortune that has befallen us; in the name of the glory that you have
won in following this great prince, help me to exact vengeance for it,
and to let all the world see that he commanded soldiers who rendered him
invincible, and, even after his death, the terror of his enemies.”  A
shout arose from the host, “We will follow you whither you will, even to
the end of the earth.”

“Those who look for spots on the sun, and find something reprehensible
even in virtue itself, blame this king,” says Cardinal Richelieu,
“for having died like a trooper; but they do not reflect that all
conqueror-princes are obliged to do not only the duty of captain, but of
simple soldier, and to be the first in peril, in order to lead thereto
the soldier who would not run the risk without them.  It was the case
with Caesar and with Alexander, and the Swede died so much the more
gloriously than either the one or the other, in that it is more becoming
the condition of a great captain and a conqueror to die sword in hand,
making a tomb for his body of his enemies on the field of battle, than to
be hated of his own and poniarded by the hands of his nearest and
dearest, or to die of poison or of drowning in a wine-butt.”

Just like Napoleon in Egypt and Italy, Gustavus Adolphus, had performed
the prelude, by numerous wars against his neighbors, to the grand
enterprise which was to render his name illustrious.  Vanquished in his
struggle with Denmark in 1613, he had carried war into Muscovy, conquered
towns and provinces, and as early as 1617 he had effected the removal of
the Russians from the shores of the Baltic.  The Poles made a pretence of
setting their own king, Sigismund, upon the throne of Sweden; and for
eighteen years Gustavus Adolphus had bravely defended his rights, and
protected and extended his kingdom up to the truce of Altenmarket,
concluded in 1629 through the intervention of Richelieu, who had need of
the young King of Sweden in order to oppose the Emperor Ferdinand and the
dangerous power of the house of Austria.  Summoned to Germany by the
Protestant princes who were being oppressed and despoiled, and assured of
assistance and subsidies from the King of France, Gustavus Adolphus had,
no doubt, ideas of a glorious destiny, which have been flippantly taxed
with egotistical ambition.  Perhaps, in the noble joy of victory, when he
“was marching on without fighting,” seeing provinces submit, one after
another, without his being hardly at the pains to draw his sword, might
he have sometimes dreamed of a Protestant empire and the imperial crown
upon his head; but, assuredly, such was not the aim of his enterprise and
of his life.  “I must in the end make a sacrifice of myself,” he had said
on bidding farewell to the Estates of Sweden; and it was to the cause of
Protestantism in Europe that he made this sacrifice.  Sincerely religious
in heart, Gustavus Adolphus was not ignorant that his principal political
strength was in the hands of the Protestant princes; and he put at their
service the incomparable splendor of his military genius.  In two years
the power of the house of Austria, a work of so many efforts and so many
years, was shaken to its very foundations.  The evangelical union of
Protestant princes was re-forming in Germany, and treating, as equal with
equal, with the emperor; Ferdinand was trembling in Vienna, and the
Spaniards, uneasy even in Italy, were collecting their forces to make
head against the irresistible conqueror, when the battle-field of Lutzen
saw the fall, at thirty years of age, of the “hero of the North, the
bulwark of Protestantism,” as he was called by his contemporaries,
astounded at his greatness.  God sometimes thus cuts off His noblest
champions in order to make men see that He is master, and He alone
accomplishes His great designs; but to them whom He deigns to thus employ
He accords the glory of leaving their imprint upon the times they have
gone through and the events to which they have contributed.  Two years of
victory in Germany at the head of Protestantism sufficed to make the name
of Gustavus Adolphus illustrious forever.

Richelieu had continued the work of Henry IV.; and Chancellor Oxenstiern
did not leave to perish that of his master and friend.  Scarcely was
Gustavus Adolphus dead when Oxenstiern convoked at Erfurt the deputies
from the Protestant towns, and made them swear the maintenance of the
union.  He afterwards summoned to Heilbronn all the Protestant princes;
the four circles of Upper Germany (Franconia, Suabia, the Palatinate, and
the Upper Rhine), and the elector of Brandenburg alone sent their
representatives; but Richelieu had delegated M. de Feuquieres, who
quietly brought his weight to bear on the decision of the assembly, and
got Oxenstiern appointed to direct the Protestant party; the Elector of
Saxony, who laid claim to this honor, was already leaning towards the
treason which he was to consummate in the following year; France at the
same time renewed her treaty with Sweden and Holland; the great general
of the armies of the empire, Wallenstein, displeased with his master, was
making secret advances to the cardinal and to Oxenstiern; wherever he did
not appear in person the Imperial armies were beaten.  The emperor was
just having his eyes opened, when Wallenstein, summoning around him at
Pilsen his generals and his lieutenants, made them take an oath of
confederacy for the defence of his person and of the army, and, begging
Bernard of Saxe-Weimar and the Saxon generals to join him in Bohemia, he
wrote to Feuquieres to accept the king’s secret offers.

Amongst the generals assembled at Pilsen there happened to be Max
Piccolomini, in whom Wallenstein had great confidence: he at once
revealed to the emperor his generalissimo’s guilty intrigues.
Wallenstein fell, assassinated by three of his officers, on the 15th of
February, 1634; and the young King of Hungary, the emperor’s eldest son,
took the command-in chief of the army under the direction of the veteran
generals of the empire.  On the 6th of September, by one of those
reversals which disconcert all human foresight, Bernard of Saxe-Weimar
and the Swedish marshal, Horn, coming up to the aid of Nordlingen, which
was being besieged by the Austrian army, were completely beaten in front
of that place; and their army retired in disorder, leaving Suabia to the
conqueror.  Protestant Germany was in consternation; all eyes were turned
towards France.

Cardinal Richelieu was ready; the frequent treasons of Duke Charles of
Lorraine had recently furnished him with an opportunity, whilst directing
the king’s arms against him, of taking possession, partly by negotiation
and partly by force, first of the town of Nancy, and then of the duchy of
Bar; the duke had abdicated in favor of the cardinal, his brother, who,
renouncing his ecclesiastical dignity, espoused his cousin, Princess
Claude of Lorraine, and took refuge with her at Florence, whilst Charles
led into Germany, to the emperor, all the forces he had remaining.  The
king’s armies were coming to provisionally take possession of all the
places in Lothringen, where the Swedes, beaten in front of Nordlingen,
being obliged to abandon the left bank of the Upper Rhine, placed in the
hands of the French the town of Philipsburg, which they had but lately
taken from the Spaniards.  The Rhinegrave Otto, who was commanding in
Elsass for the confederates, in the same way effected his retreat,
delivering over to Marshal La Force Colmar, Schlestadt, and many small
places; the Bishop of Basle and the free city of Mulhausen likewise
claimed French protection.

On the 1st of November, the ambassadors of Sweden and of the Protestant
League signed at Paris a treaty of alliance, soon afterwards ratified by
the diet at Worms, and the French army, entering Germany, under Marshals
La Force and Breze, caused the siege of Heidelberg to be raised on the
23d of December.  Richelieu was in treaty at the same time with the
United Provinces for the invasion of the Catholic Low Countries.  It was
in the name of their ancient liberties that the cardinal, in alliance
with the heretics of Holland, summoned the ancient Flanders to revolt
against Spain; if they refused to listen to this appeal, the confederates
were under mutual promises to divide their conquest between them.  France
confined herself to stipulating for the maintenance of the Catholic
religion in the territory that devolved to Holland.  The army destined
for this enterprise was already in preparation, and the king was setting
out to visit it, when, in April, 1635, he was informed of Chancellor
Oxenstiern’s arrival.  Louis XIII. awaited him at Compiegne.  The
chancellor was accompanied by a numerous following, worthy of the man who
held the command of a sovereign over the princes of the Protestant
League; he had at his side the famous Hugo Grotius, but lately exiled
from his country on account of religious disputes, and now accredited as
ambassador to the King of France from the little queen, Christina of
Sweden.  It was Grotius who acted as interpreter between the king and the
chancellor of Sweden.  A rare and grand spectacle was this interview
between, on the one side, the Swede and the Hollander, both of them great
political philosophers in theory or practice, and, on the other, the
all-powerful minister of the King of France, in presence of that king
himself.  When Oxenstiern and Richelieu conferred alone together, the two
ministers had recourse to Latin, that common tongue of the cultivated
minds of their time, and nobody was present at their conversation.
Oxenstiern soon departed for Holland, laden with attentions and presents:
he carried away with him a new treaty of alliance between Sweden and
France, and the assurance that the king was about to declare war against
Spain.

And it broke out, accordingly, on the 19th of May, 1635.  The violation
of the electorate of Treves by the Cardinal Infante, and the carrying-off
of the elector-archbishop served as pretext; and Louis XIII. declared
himself protector of a feeble prince who had placed in his hands the
custody of several places.  Alencon, herald-at-arms of France, appeared
at Brussels, proclamation of war in hand; and, not be able to obtain an
interview with the Cardinal Infante, he hurled it at the feet of the
Belgian herald-at-arms commissioned to receive him, and he affixed a copy
of it to a post he set up in the ground in the last Flemish village, near
the frontier.  On the 6th of June, a proclamation of the king’s summoned
the Spanish Low Countries to revolt.  A victory had already been gained
in Luxembourg, close to the little town of Avein, over Prince Thomas of
Savoy, the duke-regnant’s brother, who was embroiled with him, and whom
Spain had just taken into her service.  The campaign of 1635 appeared to
be commencing under happy auspices.  These hopes were deceived; the Low
Countries did not respond to the summons of the king and of his
confederates; there was no rising anywhere against the Spanish yoke;
traditional jealousy of the heretics of Holland prevented the Flanders
from declaring for France; it was necessary to undertake a conquest
instead of fomenting an insurrection.  The Prince of Orange was advancing
slowly into Germany; the Elector of Saxony had treated with the emperor,
and several towns were accepting the peace concluded between them at
Prague; Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, supported by Cardinal Valette, at the
head of French troops, had been forced to fall back to Metz in order to
protect Lothringen and Elsass.  In order to attach this great general to
himself forever, the king had just ceded to Duke Bernard the landgravate
of Elsass, hereditary possession, as it was, of the house of Austria.
The Prince of Conde was attacking Franche-Comte; the siege of Dole was
dragging its slow length along, when the emperor’s most celebrated
lieutenants, John van Weert and Piccolomini, who had formed a junction in
Belgium, all at once rallied the troops of Prince Thomas, and, advancing
rapidly towards Picardy, invaded French soil at the commencement of July,
1636.  La Capelle and Le Catelet were taken by assault, and the
Imperialists laid siege to Corbie, a little town on the Somme four
leagues from Amiens.

Great was the terror at Paris, and, besides the terror, the rage; the
cardinal was accused of having brought ruin upon France; for a moment the
excitement against him was so violent that his friends were disquieted by
it: he alone was unmoved.  The king quitted St. Germain and returned to
Paris, whilst Richelieu, alone, without escort, and with his horses at a
walk, had himself driven to the Hotel de Ville right through the mob in
their fury.  “Then was seen,” says Fontenay-Mareuil, “what can be done by
a great heart (vertu), and how it is revered even of the basest souls,
for the streets were so full of folks that there was hardly room to pass,
and all so excited that they spoke of nothing but killing him: as soon as
they saw him approaching, they all held their peace or prayed God to give
him good speed, that he might be able to remedy the evil which was
apprehended.”

On the 15th of August, Corbie surrendered to the Spaniards, who crossed
the Somme, wasting the country behind them; but already alarm had given
place to ardent desire for vengeance; the cardinal had thought of
everything and provided for everything: the bodies corporate, from the
Parliament to the trade-syndicates, had offered the king considerable
sums; all the gentlemen and soldiers unemployed had been put on the
active list of the army; and the burgesses of Paris, mounting in throngs
the steps of the Hotel de Ville, went and shook hands with the veteran
Marshal La Force, saying, “Marshal, we want to make war with you.”  They
were ordered to form the nucleus of the reserve army which was to protect
Paris.  The Duke of Orleans took the command of the army assembled at
Compiegne, at the head of which the Count of Soissons already was; the
two princes advanced slowly; they halted two days to recover the little
fortress of Roze; the Imperialists fell back; they retired into Artois;
they were not followed, and the French army encamped before Corbie.

Winter was approaching; nobody dared to attack the town; the cardinal had
no confidence in either the Duke of Orleans or the Count of Soissons.  He
went to Amiens, whilst the king established his headquarters at the
castle of Demuin, closer to Corbie.  Richelieu determined to attack the
town by assault; the trenches were opened on the 5th of November; on the
10th the garrison parleyed; on the 14th the place was surrendered.  “I am
very pleased to send you word that we have recovered Corbie,” wrote
Voiture to one of his friends, very hostile to the cardinal [_OEuvres de
Voiture,_ p. 175]: “the news will astonish you, no doubt, as well as all
Europe; nevertheless, we are masters of it.  Reflect, I beg you, what has
been the end of this expedition which has made so much noise.  Spain and
Germany had made for the purpose their supremest efforts.  The emperor
had sent his best captains and his best cavalry.  The army of Flanders
had given its best troops.  Out of that is formed an army of twenty-five
thousand horse, fifteen thousand foot, and forty cannon.  This cloud, big
with thunder and lightning, comes bursting over Picardy, which it finds
unsheltered, our arms being occupied elsewhere.  They take, first of all,
La Capelle and Le Catelet; they attack, and in nine days take, Corbie;
and so they are masters of the river; they cross it, and they lay waste
all that lies between the Somme and the Oise.  And so long as there is no
resistance, they valiantly hold the country, they slay our peasants and
burn our villages; but, at the first rumor that reaches them to the
effect that Monsieur is advancing with an army, and that the king is
following close behind him, they intrench themselves behind Corbie; and,
when they learn that there is no halting, and that the march against them
is going on merrily, our conquerors abandon their intrenchments.  And
these determined gentry, who were to pierce France even to the Pyrenees,
who threatened to pillage Paris, and recover there, even in Notre-Dame,
the flags of the battle of Avein, permit us to effect the circumvallation
of a place which is of so much importance to them, give us leisure to
construct forts, and, after that, let us attack and take it by assault
before their very eyes.  Such is the end of the bravadoes of Piccolomini,
who sent us word by his trumpeters to say, at one time, that he wished we
had some powder, and, at another, that we had some cavalry coming, and,
when we had both one and the other, he took very good care to wait for
us.  In such sort, sir, that, except La Capelle and Le Catelet, which are
of no consideration, all the flash made by this grand and victorious army
has been the capture of Corbie, only to give it up again and replace it
in the king’s hands, together with a counterscarp, three bastions, and
three demilunes, which it did not possess.  If they had taken ten more of
our places with similar success, our frontier would be in all the better
condition for it, and they would have fortified it better than those who
hitherto have had the charge of it.  .  .  .  Was it not said that we
should expend before this place many millions of gold and many millions
of men with a chance of taking it, perhaps, in three years?  Yet, when
the resolution was taken to attack it by assault, the month of November
being well advanced, there was not a soul but cried out.  The best
intentioned avowed that it showed blindness, and the rest said that we
must be afraid lest our soldiers should not die soon enough of misery and
hunger, and must wish to drown them in their own trenches.  As for me,
though I knew the inconveniencies which necessarily attend sieges
undertaken at this season, I suspended my judgment; for, sooth to say, we
have often seen the cardinal out in matters that he has had done by
others, but we have never yet seen him fail in enterprises that he has
been pleased to carry out in person and that he has supported by his
presence.  I believed, then, that he would surmount all difficulties; and
that he who had taken La Rochelle in spite of Ocean, would certainly take
Corbie too in spite of Winter’s rains.  .  .  .  You will tell me, that
it is luck which has made him take fortresses without ever having
conducted a siege before, which has made him, without any experience,
command armies successfully, which has always led him, as it were, by the
hand, and preserved him amidst precipices into which he had thrown
himself, and which, in fact, has often made him appear bold, wise, and
far-sighted: let us look at him, then, in misfortune, and see if he had
less boldness, wisdom, and far sightedness.  Affairs were not going over
well in Italy, and we had met with scarcely more success before Dole.
When it was known that the enemy had entered Picardy, that all is a-flame
to the very banks of the Oise, everybody takes fright, and the chief city
of the realm is in consternation.  On top of that come advices from
Burgundy that the siege of Dole is raised, and from Saintonge that there
are fifteen thousand peasants revolted, and that there is fear lest
Poitou and Guienne may follow this example.  Bad news comes thickly, the
sky is overcast on all sides, the tempest beats upon us in all
directions, and from no quarter whatever does a single ray of good
fortune shine upon us.  Amidst all this darkness, did the cardinal see
less clearly?  Did he lose his head during all this tempest?  Did he not
still hold the helm in one hand, and the compass in the other?  Did he
throw himself into the boat to save his life?  Nay, if the great ship he
commanded were to be lost, did he not show that he was ready to die
before all the rest?  Was it luck that drew him out of this labyrinth,
or was it his own prudence, steadiness, and magnanimity?  Our enemies are
fifteen leagues from Paris, and his are inside it.  Every day come
advices that they are intriguing there to ruin him.  France and Spain,
so to speak, have conspired against him alone.  What countenance was kept
amidst all this by the man who they said would be dumbfounded at the
least ill-success, and who had caused Le Havre to be fortified in order
to throw himself into it at the first misfortune?  He did not make a
single step backward all the same.  He thought of the perils of the
state, and not of his own; and the only change observed in him all
through was that, whereas he had not been wont to go out but with an
escort of two hundred guards, he walked about, every day, attended by
merely five or six gentlemen.  It must be owned that adversity borne with
so good a grace and such force of character is worth more than a great
deal of prosperity and victory.  To me he did not seem so great and so
victorious on the day he entered La Rochelle as then; and the journeys he
made from his house to the arsenal seem to me more glorious for him than
those which he made beyond the mountains, and from which he returned with
the triumphs of Pignerol and Suza.”

This was Cardinal Richelieu’s distinction, that all his contemporaries,
in the same way as Voiture, identified the mishaps and the successes of
their country with his own fortunes, and that upon him alone were fixed
the eyes of Europe, whether friendly or hostile, when it supported or
when it fought against France.

For four years the war was carried on with desperation by land and sea in
the Low Countries, in Germany, and in Italy, with alternations of success
and reverse.  The actors disappeared one after another from the scene;
the emperor, Ferdinand II., had died on the 15th of February, 1637;--the
election of his son, Ferdinand III., had not been recognized by France
and Sweden; Bernard of Saxe-Weimar succumbed, at thirty-four years of
age, on the 15th of July, 1639, after having beaten, in the preceding
year, the celebrated John van Weert, whom he sent a prisoner to Paris.
At his death the landgravate of Elsass reverted to France, together with
the town of Brisach, which he had won from the Imperialists.

The Duke of Savoy had died in 1637; his widow, Christine of France,
daughter of Henry IV., was, so far as her brother’s cause in Italy was
concerned, but a poor support; but Count d’Harcourt, having succeeded, as
head of the army, Cardinal Valette, who died in 1638, had retaken Turin
and Casale from the Imperialists in the campaign of 1640; two years
later, in the month of June, 1642, the Princes Thomas and Maurice,
brothers-in-law of the Duchess Christine, wearied out by the maladdress
and haughtiness of the Spaniards, attached themselves definitively to the
interests of France, drove out the Spanish garrisons from Nice and Ivrea,
in concert with the Duke of Longueville, and retook the fortress of
Tortona as well as all Milaness to the south of the Po.  Perpignan,
besieged for more than two years past by the king’s armies, capitulated
at the same moment.  Spain, hard pressed at home by the insurrection of
the Catalans and the revolt of Portugal at the same time, both supported
by Richelieu, saw Arras fall into the hands of France (August 9, 1640),
and the plot contrived with the Duke of Bouillon and the Count of
Soissons fail at the battle of La Marfee, where this latter prince was
killed on the 16th of July, 1641.  In Germany, Marshal Guebriant and the
Swedish general Torstenson, so paralyzed that he had himself carried in a
litter to the head of his army, had just won back from the empire
Silesia, Moravia, and nearly all Saxony; the chances of war were
everywhere favorable to France, a just recompense for the indomitable
perseverance of Cardinal Richelieu through good and evil fortune.  “The
great tree of the house of Austria was shaken to its very roots, and he
had all but felled that trunk which with its two branches covers the
North and the West, and throws a shadow over the rest of the earth.”
 [_Lettres de Malherbe,_ t. iv.]  The king, for a moment shaken in his
fidelity towards his minister by the intrigues of Cinq-Mars, had returned
to the cardinal with all the impetus of the indignation caused by the
guilty treaty made by his favorite with Spain.  All Europe thought as the
young captain in the guards, afterwards Marshal Fabert, who, when the
king said to him, “I know that my army is divided into two factions,
royalists and cardinalists; which are you for?” answered, “Cardinalists,
sir, for the cardinal’s party is yours.”  The cardinal and France were
triumphing together, but the conqueror was dying; Cardinal Richelieu had
just been removed from Ruel to Paris.

For several months past, the cardinal’s health, always precarious, had
taken a serious turn; it was from his sick-bed that he, a prey to cruel
agonies, directed the movements of the army, and, at the same time, the
prosecution of Cinq-Mars.  All at once his chest was attacked; and the
cardinal felt that he was dying.  On the 2d of December, 1642, public
prayers were ordered in all the churches; the king went from St. Germain
to see his minister.  The cardinal was quite prepared.  “I have this
satisfaction,” he said, “that I have never deserted the king, and that I
leave his kingdom exalted, and all his enemies abased.”  He commended his
relatives to his Majesty, “who on their behalf will remember my
services;” then, naming the two secretaries of state, Chavigny and De
Noyers, he added, “Your Majesty has Cardinal Mazarin; I believe him to be
capable of serving the king.”  And he handed to Louis XIII. a
proclamation which he had just prepared for the purpose of excluding
the Duke of Orleans from any right to the regency in case of the king’s
death.  The preamble called to mind that the king had five times already
pardoned his brother, recently engaged in a new plot against him.

The king had left the cardinal, but without returning to St. Germain.  He
remained at the Louvre.  Richelieu had in vain questioned the physicians
as to how long he had to live.  One, only, dared to go beyond commonplace
hopes.  “Monsignor,” he said, “in twenty-four hours you will be dead or
cured.”  “That is the way to speak!” said the cardinal; and he sent for
the priest of St. Eustache, his parish.  As they were bringing into his
chamber the Holy Eucharist, he stretched out his hand, and, “There,” said
he, “is my Judge before whom I shall soon appear; I pray him with all my
heart to condemn me if I have ever had any other aim than the welfare of
religion and of the state.”  The priest would have omitted certain
customary questions, but, “Treat me as the commonest of Christians,” said
the cardinal.  And when he was asked to pardon his enemies, “I never had
any but those of the state,” answered the dying man.

The cardinal’s family surrounded his bed; and the attendance was
numerous.  The Bishop of Lisieux, Cospdan, a man of small wits, but of
sincere devoutness, listened attentively to the firm speech, the calm
declarations, of the expiring minister.  “So much self-confidence appalls
me,” he said below his breath.  Richelieu died as he had lived, without
scruples and without delicacies of conscience, absorbed by his great aim,
and but little concerned about the means he had employed to arrive at it.
“I believe, absolutely, all the truths taught by the church,” he had said
to his confessor, and this faith sufficed for his repose.  The memory of
the scaffolds he had caused to be erected did not so much as recur to his
mind.  “I have loved justice, and not vengeance.  I have been severe
towards some in order to be kind towards all,” he had said in his will,
written in Latin.  He thought just the same on his death-bed.

The king left him, not without emotion and regret.  The cardinal begged
Madame d’Aiguillon, his niece, to withdraw.  “She is the one whom I have
loved most,” he said.  Those around him were convulsed with weeping.  A
Carmelite whom he had sent for turned to those present, and, “Let those,”
 he said, “who cannot refrain from showing the excess of their weeping and
their lamentation leave the room; let us pray for this soul.”  In
presence of the majesty of death and eternity human grandeur disappears
irrevocably; the all-powerful minister was at that moment only this soul.
A last gasp announced his departure; Cardinal Richelieu was dead.

He was dead, but his work survived him.  On the very evening of the 3d of
December, Louis XIII. called to his council Cardinal Mazarin; and next
day he wrote to the Parliaments and governors of provinces, “God having
been pleased to take to himself the Cardinal de Richelieu, I have
resolved to preserve and keep up all establishments ordained during his
ministry, to follow out all projects arranged with him for affairs abroad
and at home, in such sort that there shall not be any change.  I have
continued in my councils the same persons as served me then, and I have
called thereto Cardinal Mazarin, of whose capacity and devotion to my
service I have had proof, and of whom I feel no less sure than if he had
been born amongst my subjects.”  Scarcely had the most powerful kings
yielded up their last breath, when their wishes had been at once
forgotten: Cardinal Richelieu still governed in his grave.

[Illustration: The Palais-Cardinal----305]

The king had distributed amongst his minister’s relatives the offices and
dignities which he had left vacant; the fortune that came to them was
enormous; the legacies left to mere domestics amounted to more than three
hundred thousand-livres.  During his lifetime Richelieu had given to the
crown “my grand hotel, which I built, and called Palais-de-Cardinal, my
chapel (or chapel-service) of gold, enriched with diamonds, my grand
buffet of chased silver, and a large diamond that I bought of Lopez.”  In
his will he adds, “I most humbly beseech his Majesty to think proper to
have placed in his hands, out of the coined gold and silver that I have
at my decease, the sum of fifteen hundred thousand livres, of which sum
I can truly say that I made very good use for the great affairs of his
kingdom, in such sort, that if I had not had this money at my disposal,
certain matters which have turned out well would have, to all
appearances, turned out ill; which gives me ground for daring to beseech
his Majesty to destine this sum, that I leave him, to be employed on
divers occasions which cannot abide the tardiness of financial forms.”

The minister and priest who had destroyed the power of the grandees in
France had, nevertheless, the true instinct respecting the perpetuation
of families.  “Inasmuch as it hath pleased God,” he says in his will,
“to bless my labors, and make them considered by the king, my kind
master, showing recognition of them by his royal munificence, beyond what
I could hope for, I have esteemed it a duty to bind my heirs to preserve
the estate in my family, in such sort that it may maintain itself for a
long while in the dignity and splendor which it hath pleased the king to
confer upon it, in order that posterity may know that, as I served him
faithfully, he, by virtue of a complete kingliness, knew what love to
show me, and how to load me with his benefits.”

The cardinal had taken pleasure in embellishing the estate of Richelieu,
in Touraine, where he was born, and which the king had raised to a
duchy-peerage.  Mdlle. de Montpensier, in her _Memoires,_ gives an
account of a visit she paid to it in her youth.  “I passed,” she says,
“along a very fine street of the town, all the houses of which are in the
best style of building, one like another, and quite newly made, which is
not to be wondered at.  MM. de Richelieu, though gentlemen of good
standing, had never built a town; they had been content with their
village and with a mediocre house.  At the present time it is the most
beautiful and most magnificent castle you could possibly see, and all the
ornament that could be given to a house is found there.  This will not be
difficult to believe if one considers that it is the work of the most
ambitious and most ostentatious man in the world, premier minister of
state too, who for a long while possessed absolute authority over
affairs.  It is, nevertheless, inconceivable that the apartments should
correspond so ill in size with the beauty of the outside.  I hear that
this arose from the fact that the cardinal wished to have the chamber
preserved in which he was born.  To adjust the house of a simple
gentleman to the grand ideas of the most powerful favorite there has ever
been in France, you will observe that the architect must have been
hampered; accordingly he did not see his way to planning any but very
small quarters, which, by way of recompense, as regards gilding or
painting, lack no embellishment inside.

“Amidst all that modern invention has employed to embellish it, there are
to be seen, on the chimney-piece in a drawingroom, the arms of Cardinal
Richelieu, just as they were during the lifetime of his father, which the
cardinal desired to leave there, because they comprise a collar of the
Holy Ghost, in order to prove to those who are wont to misrepresent the
origin of favorites that he was born a gentleman of a good house.  In
this point, he imposed upon nobody.”

The castle of Richelieu is well nigh destroyed; his family, after falling
into poverty, is extinct; the Palais-Cardinal has assumed the name of
Palais-Royal; and pure monarchy, the aim of all his efforts and the work
of his whole life, has been swept away by the blast of revolution.  Of
the cardinal there remains nothing but the great memory of his power and
of the services he rendered his country.  Evil has been spoken, with good
reason, of glory; it lasts, however, more durably than material successes
even when they rest on the best security.  Richelieu had no conception of
that noblest ambition on which a human soul can feed, that of governing a
free country, but he was one of the greatest, the most effective, and the
boldest, as well as the most prudent servants that France ever had.

Cardinal Richelieu gave his age, whether admirers or adversaries, the
idea which Malherbe expressed in a letter to one of his friends: “You
know that my humor is neither to flatter nor to lie; but I swear to you
that there is in this man a something which surpasses humanity, and that
if our bark is ever to outride the tempests, it will be whilst this
glorious hand holds the rudder.  Other pilots diminish my fear, this one
makes me unconscious of it.  Hitherto, when we had to build anew or
repair some ruin, plaster alone was put in requisition.  Now we see
nothing but marble used; and, whilst the counsels are judicious and
faithful, the execution is diligent and magnanimous.  Wits, judgment, and
courage never existed in any man to the degree that they do in him.  As
for interest, he knows none but that of the public.  To that he clings
with a passion so unbridled, if I may dare so to speak, that the visible
injury it does his constitution is not capable of detaching him from it.
Sees he anything useful to the king’s service, he goes at it without
looking to one side or the other.  Obstacles tempt him, resistance piques
him, and nothing that is put in his way diverts him; the disregard he
shows of self, and of all that touches himself, as if he knew no sort of
health or disease but the health or disease of the state, causes all good
men to fear that his life will not be long enough for him to see the
fruit of what he plants; and moreover, it is quite evident that what he
leaves undone can never be completed by any man that holds his place.
Why, man, he does a thing because it has to be done!  The space between
the Rhine and the Pyrenees seems to him not field enough for the lilies
of France.  He would have them occupy the two shores of the
Mediterranean, and waft their odors thence to the extremest countries of
the Orient.  Measure by the extent of his designs the extent of his
courage.”  [Letters to Racan and to M. de Mentin. _OEuvres de Malherbe,_
t. iv.]

[Illustration: The Tomb of Richelieu----308]

The cardinal had been barely four months reposing in that chapel of the
Sorbonne which he had himself repaired for the purpose, and already King
Louis XIII. was sinking into the tomb.  The minister had died at
fifty-seven, the king was not yet forty-two; but his always languishing
health seemed unable to bear the burden of affairs which had been but
lately borne by Richelieu alone.  The king had permitted his brother to
appear again at court.  “Monsieur supped with me,” says Mdlle. de
Montpensier, “and we had the twenty-four violins; he was as gay as if
MM. Cinq-Mars and De Thou had not tarried by the way.  I confess that I
could not see him without thinking of them, and that in my joy I felt
that his gave me a pang.”  The prisoners and exiles, by degrees,
received their pardon; the Duke of Vendome, Bassompierre, and Marshal
Vitry had been empowered to return to their castles, the Duchess of
Chevreuse and the ex-keeper of the seals, Chateauneuf, were alone
excepted from this favor.  “After the peace,” said the declaration
touching the regency, which the king got enregistered by the Parliament
on the 23d of April.  The little dauphin, who had merely been sprinkled,
had just received baptism in the chapel of the Castle of St. Germain.
The king asked him, next day, if he knew what his name was.  “My name is
Louis XIV.,” answered the child.  “Not yet, my son, not yet,” said the
king, softly.

Louis XIII. did not cling to life: it had been sad and burdensome to him
by the mere fact of his own melancholy and singular character, not that
God had denied him prosperity or success.  He had the windows opened of
his chamber in the new castle of St. Germain looking towards the Abbey of
St. Denis, where he had, at last, just laid the body of the queen his
mother, hitherto resting at Cologne.  “Let me see my last resting-place,”
 he said to his servants.  The crowd of courtiers thronged to the old
castle, inhabited by the queen; visits were made to the new castle to see
the king, who still worked with his ministers; when he was alone, “he was
seen nearly always with his eyes open towards heaven, as if he talked
with God heart to heart.”  [_Memoires sur la Mort de Louis XIII.,_ by his
valet-de-chambre Dubois; _Archives curieuses,_ t. v.  p. 428.]  On the
23d of April, it was believed that the last moment had arrived: the king
received extreme unction; a dispute arose about the government of
Brittany, given by the king to the Duke of La Meilleraye and claimed by
the Duke of Vendome; the two claimants summoned their friends; the queen
took fright, and, being obliged to repair to the king, committed the
imprudence of confiding her children to the Duke of Beaufort, Vendome’s
eldest son, a young scatter-brain who made a great noise about this
favor.  The king rallied and appeared to regain strength.  He was
sometimes irritated at sight of the courtiers who filled his chamber.
“Those gentry,” he said to his most confidential servants, “come to see
how soon I shall die.  If I recover, I will make them pay dearly for
their desire to have me die.”  The austere nature of Louis XIII. was
awakened again with the transitory return of his powers; the severities
of his reign were his own as much as Cardinal Richelieu’s.

He was, nevertheless, dying, asking God for deliverance.  It was
Thursday, May 14.  “Friday has always been my lucky day,” said Louis
XIII.: “on that day I have undertaken assaults that I have carried; I
have even gained battles: I should have liked to die on a Friday.”  His
doctors told him that they could find no more pulse; he raised his eyes
to heaven and said out loud, “My God, receive me to mercy!” and
addressing himself to all, he added, “Let us pray!”  Then, fixing his
eyes upon the Bishop of Meaux, he said, “You will, of course, see when
the time comes for reading the agony prayers; I have marked them all.”
 Everybody was praying and weeping; the queen and all the court were
kneeling in the king’s chamber.  At three o’clock, he softly breathed his
last, on the sane day and almost at the same moment at which his father
had died beneath the dagger of Ravaillac, thirty-three years before.

France owed to Louis XIII. eighteen years of Cardinal Richelieu’s
government; and that is a service which she can never forget.  “The
minister made his sovereign play the second part in the monarchy and the
first in Europe,” said Montesquieu: “he abased the king, but he exalted
the reign.”  It is to the honor of Louis XIII. that he understood and
accepted the position designed for him by Providence in the government of
his kingdom, and that he upheld with dogged fidelity a power which often
galled him all the while that it was serving him.



CHAPTER XIII.----LOUIS XIII., RICHELIEU, AND LITERATURE.

Cardinal Richelieu was dead, and “his works followed him,” to use the
words of Holy Writ.  At home and abroad, in France and in Europe, he had
to a great extent continued the reign of Henry IV., and had completely
cleared the way for that of Louis XIV.  “Such was the strength and
superiority of his genius that he knew all the depths and all the
mysteries of government,” said La Bruyere in his admission-speech before
the French Academy; “he was regardful of foreign countries, he kept in
hand crowned heads, he knew what weight to attach to their alliance;
with allies he hedged himself against the enemy.  .  .  .  And, can you
believe it, gentlemen? this practical and austere soul, formidable to the
enemies of the state, inexorable to the factious, overwhelmed in
negotiations, occupied at one time in weakening the party of heresy, at
another in breaking up a league, and at another in meditating a conquest,
found time for literary culture, and was fond of literature and of those
who made it their profession!”  From inclination and from personal
interest therein this indefatigable and powerful mind had courted
literature; he had foreseen its nascent power; he had divined in the
literary circle he got about him a means of acting upon the whole nation;
he had no idea of neglecting them; he did not attempt to subjugate them
openly; he brought them near to him and protected them.  It is one of
Richelieu’s triumphs to have founded the French Academy.

We must turn back for a moment and cast a glance at the intellectual
condition which prevailed at the issue of the Renaissance and the
Reformation.

For sixty years a momentous crisis had been exercising language and
literature as well as society in France.  They yearned to get out of it.
Robust intellectual culture had, ceased to be the privilege of the
erudite only; it began to gain a footing on the common domain; people no
longer wrote in Latin, like Erasmus; the Reformation and the Renaissance
spoke French.  In order to suffice for this change, the language was
taking form; everybody had lent a hand to the work; Calvin with his
Christian Institutes (_Institution Chretienne_) at the same time as
Rabelais with his learned and buffoonish romance, Ramus with his
Dialectics, and Bodin with his Republic, Henry Estienne with his essays
in French philology, as well as Ronsard and his friends by their
classical crusade.  Simultaneously with the language there was being
created a public intelligent, inquiring, and eager.  Scarcely had the
translation of Plutarch by Amyot appeared, when it at once became, as
Montaigne says, “the breviary of women and of ignoramuses.”  “God’s life,
my love,” wrote Henry IV. to Mary de’ Medici, “you could not have sent me
any more agreeable news than of the pleasure you have taken in reading.
Plutarch has a smile for me of never-failing freshness; to love him is to
love me, for he was during a long while the instructor of my tender age;
my good mother, to whom I owe everything, and who set so great store on
my good deportment, and did not want me to be (that is what she used to
say) an illustrious ignoramus, put that book into my hands, though I was
then little more than a child at the breast.  It has been like my
conscience to me, and has whispered into my ear many good hints and
excellent maxims for my behavior and for the government of my affairs.”

Thanks to Amyot, Plutarch “had become a Frenchman:” Montaigne would not
have been able to read him easily in Greek.  Indifferent to the
Reformation, which was too severe and too affirmative for him, Montaigne,
“to whom Latin had been presented as his mother-tongue, rejoiced in the
Renaissance without becoming a slave to it, or intoxicated with it like
Rabelais or Ronsard.  “The ideas I had naturally formed for myself about
man,” he says, “I confirmed and fortified by the authority of others and
by the sound examples of the ancients, with whom I found my judgment in
conformity.”  Born in 1533, at the castle of Montaigne in Perigord, and
carefully brought up by “the good father God had given him,” Michael de
Montaigne was, in his childhood, “so heavy, lazy, and sleepy, that he
could not be roused from sloth, even for the sake of play.”  He passed
several years in the Parliament of Bordeaux, but “he had never taken a
liking to jurisprudence, though his father had steeped him in it, when
quite a child, to his very lips, and he was always asking himself why
common language, so easy for every other purpose, becomes obscure and
unintelligible in a contract or will, which made him fancy that the men
of law had muddled everything in order to render themselves necessary.”
 He had lost the only man he had ever really loved, Stephen de la Boetie,
an amiable and noble philosopher, counsellor in the Parliament of
Bordeaux.  “If I am pressed to declare why I loved him,” Montaigne used
to say, “I feel that it can only be expressed by answering, because he
was he, and I was I.”  Montaigne gave up the Parliament, and travelled in
Switzerland and Italy, often stopping at Paris, and gladly returning to
his castle of Montaigne, where he wrote down what he had seen; “hungering
for self-knowledge,” inquiring, indolent, without ardor for work, an
enemy of all constraint, he was at the same time frank and subtle,
gentle, humane, and moderate.  As an inquiring spectator, without
personal ambition, he had taken for his life’s motto, “Who knows?  (Que
sais-je?)”  Amidst the wars of religion he remained without political or
religious passion.  “I am disgusted by novelty, whatever aspect it may
assume, and with good reason,” he would say, “for I have seen some very
disastrous effects of it.”  Outside as well as within himself, Montaigne
studied mankind without regard to order and without premeditated plan.
“I have no drill-sergeant to arrange my pieces (of writing) save
hap-hazard only,” he writes; “just as my ideas present themselves, I heap
them together; sometimes they come rushing in a throng, sometimes they
straggle single file.  I like to be seen at my natural and ordinary pace,
all a-hobble though it be; I let myself go, just as it happens.  The
parlance I like is a simple and natural parlance, the same on paper as in
the mouth, a succulent and a nervous parlance, short and compact, not so
much refined and finished to a hair as impetuous and brusque, difficult
rather than wearisome, devoid of affectation, irregular, disconnected,
and bold, not pedant-like, not preacher-like, not pleader-like.”  That
fixity which Montaigne could not give to his irresolute and doubtful mind
he stamped upon the tongue; it came out in his Essays supple, free, and
bold; he had made the first decisive step towards the formation of the
language, pending the advent of Descartes and the great literature of
France.

The sixteenth century began everything, attempted everything; it
accomplished and finished nothing; its great men opened the road of the
future to France; but they died without having brought their work well
through, without foreseeing that it was going to be completed.  The
Reformation itself did not escape this misappreciation and discouragement
of its age; and nowhere do they crop out in a more striking manner than
in Montaigne.  At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Rabelais is a
satirist and a cynic, he is no sceptic; there is felt circulating through
his book a glowing sap of confidence and hope; fifty years later,
Montaigne, on the contrary, expresses, in spite of his happy nature,
in vivid, picturesque, exuberant language, only the lassitude of an
antiquated age.  Henry IV. was still disputing his throne with the League
and Spain.  Several times, amidst his embarrassments and his wars, the
king had manifested his desire to see Montaigne; but the latter was ill,
and felt “death nipping him continually in the throat or the reins.”  And
he died, in fact, at his own house, on the 13th of September, 1592,
without having had the good fortune to see Henry IV. in peaceable
possession of the kingdom which was destined to receive from him,
together with stability and peace, a return of generous hope.  All the
writers of mark in the reign of Henry IV. bear the same imprint; they all
yearn to get free from the chaos of those ideas and sentiments which the
sixteenth century left still bubbling up.  In literature as well as in
the state, one and the same need of discipline and unity, one universal
thirst for order and peace was bringing together all the intellects and
all the forces which were but lately clashing against and hampering one
another; in literature, as well as in the state, the impulse, everywhere
great and effective, proceeded from the king, without pressure or effort.
“Make known to Monsieur de Geneve,” said Henry IV. to one of the friends
of St. Francis de Sales, “that I desire of him a work to serve as a
manual for all persons of the court and the great world, without
excepting kings and princes, to fit them for living Christianly each
according to their condition.  I want this manual to be accurate,
judicious, and such as any one can make use of.”  St. Francis de Sales
published, in 1608, the _Introduction to a Devout Life,_ a delightful and
charming manual of devotion, more stern and firm in spirit than in form,
a true Christian regimen softened by the tact of a delicate and acute
intellect, knowing the world and its ways.  “The book has surpassed my
hope,” said Henry IV.  The style is as supple, the fancy as rich, as
Montaigne’s; but scepticism has given place to Christianism; St. Francis
de Sales does not doubt, he believes; ingenious and moderate withal, he
escapes out of the controversies of the violent and the incertitudes of
the sceptics.  The step is firm, the march is onward towards the
seventeenth century, towards the reign of order, rule, and method.

The vigorous language and the beautiful arrangement in the style of the
magistrates had already prepared the way for its advent.  Descartes was
the first master of it and its great exponent.

[Illustration: Descartes at Amsterdam----316]

Never was any mind more independent in voluntary submission to an
inexorable logic.  Rene Descartes, who was born at La Haye, near Tours,
in 1596, and died at Stockholm in 1650, escaped the influence of
Richelieu by the isolation to which he condemned himself, as well as by
the proud and somewhat uncouth independence of his character.  Engaging
as a volunteer, at one and twenty, in the Dutch army, he marched over
Germany in the service of several princes, returned to France, where he
sold his property, travelled through the whole of Italy, and ended, in
1629, by settling himself in Holland, seeking everywhere solitude and
room for his thoughts.  “In this great city of Amsterdam, where I am
now,” he wrote to Balzac, “and where there is not a soul, except myself,
that does not follow some commercial pursuit, everybody is so attentive
to his gains, that I might live there all my life without being noticed
by anybody.  I go walking every day amidst the confusion of a
great people with as much freedom and quiet as you could do in your
forest-alleys, and I pay no more attention to the people who pass before
my eyes than I should do to the trees that are in your forests and to the
animals that feed there.  Even the noise of traffic does not interrupt my
reveries any more than would that of some rivulet.”  Having devoted
himself for a long time past to the study of geometry and astronomy, he
composed in Holland his Treatise on the World (_Traite du Monde_).  “I
had intended to send you my _World_ for your New Year’s gift,” he wrote
to the learned Minime, Father Mersenne, who was his best friend; “but I
must tell you that, having had inquiries made, lately, at Leyden and at
Amsterdam, whether Galileo’s system of the world was to be obtained
there, word was sent me that all the copies of it had been burned at
Rome, and the author condemned to some fine, which astounded me so
mightily that I almost resolved to burn all my papers, or at least not
let them be seen by anybody.  I confess that if the notion of the earth’s
motion is false, all the foundations of my philosophy are too, since it
is clearly demonstrated by them.  It is so connected with all parts of my
treatise that I could not detach it without rendering the remainder
wholly defective.  But as I would not, for anything in the world, that
there should proceed from me a discourse in which there was to be found
the least word which might be disapproved of by the church, so would I
rather suppress it altogether than let it appear mutilated.”

Descartes’ independence of thought did not tend to revolt, as he had
proved: in publishing his _Discourse on Method_ he halted at the
threshold of Christianism without laying his hand upon the sanctuary.
Making a clean sweep of all he had learned, and tearing himself free,
by a supreme effort, from the whole tradition of humanity, he resolved
“never to accept anything as true until he recognized it to be clearly
so, and not to comprise amongst his opinions anything but what presented
itself so clearly and distinctly to his mind that he could have no
occasion to hold it in doubt.”  In this absolute isolation of his mind,
without past and without future, Descartes, first of all assured of his
own personal existence by that famous axiom, “Cogito, ergo sum” (I think,
therefore I am), drew from it, as a necessary consequence, the fact of
the separate existence of soul and of body; passing oft by a sort of
internal revelation which he called innate ideas, he came to the pinnacle
of his edifice, concluding for the existence of a God from the notion of
the infinite impressed on the human soul.  A laborious reconstruction of
a primitive and simple truth which the philosopher could not, for a
single moment, have banished from his mind all the while that he was
laboring painfully to demonstrate it.

By a tacit avowal of the weakness of the human mind, the speculations of
Descartes stopped short at death.  He had hopes, however, of retarding
the moment of it.  “I felt myself alive,” he said, at forty years of age,
“and, examining myself with as much care as if I were a rich old man, I
fancied I was even farther from death than I had been in my youth.”  He
had yielded to the entreaties of Queen Christina of Sweden, who had
promised him an observatory, like that of Tycho Brahe.  He was delicate,
and accustomed to follow a regimen adapted to his studies.  “O flesh!”
 he wrote to Gassendi, whose philosophy contradicted his own: “O idea!”
 answered Gassendi.  The climate of Stockholm was severe; Descartes caught
inflammation of the lungs; he insisted upon doctoring himself, and died
on the 11th of February, 1650.  “He didn’t want to resist death,” said
his friends, not admitting that their master’s will could be vanquished
by death itself.  His influence remained for a long while supreme over
his age.  Bossuet and Fenelon were Cartesians.  “I think, therefore I
am,” wrote Madame de Sevigne to her daughter.  “I think of you tenderly,
therefore I love you; I think only of you in that manner, therefore I
love you only.”  Pascal alone, though adopting to a certain extent
Descartes’ form of reasoning, foresaw the excess to which other minds
less upright and less firm would push the system of the great
philosopher.  “I cannot forgive Descartes,” he said; “he would have
liked, throughout his philosophy, to be able to do without God, but he
could not help making Him give just a flick to set the world in motion;
after that he didn’t know what to do with God.”  A severe, but a true
saying; Descartes had required everything of pure reason; he had felt a
foreshadowing of the infinite and the unknown without daring to venture
into them.  In the name of reason, others have denied the infinite and
the unknown.  Pascal was wiser and bolder when, with St. Augustine, he
found in reason itself a step towards faith.  “Reason would never give in
if she were not of opinion that there are occasions when she ought to
give in.”

By his philosophical method, powerful and logical, as well as by the
clear, strong, and concise style he made use of to expound it, Descartes
accomplished the transition from the sixteenth century to the seventeeth;
he was the first of the great prose-writers of that incomparable epoch,
which laid forever the foundations of the language.  At the same moment
the great Corneille was rendering poetry the same service.

It had come out of the sixteenth century more disturbed and less formed
than prose; Ronsard and his friends had received it from the hands of
Marot, quite young, unsophisticated and undecided; they attempted, at the
first effort, to raise it to the level of the great classic models of
which their minds were full.  The attempt was bold, and the Pleiad did
not pretend to consult the taste of the vulgar.  “The obscurity of
Ronsard,” says M. Guizot, in his _Corneille et son Temps,_ “is not that
of a subtle mind torturing itself to make something out of nothing; it is
the obscurity of a full and a powerful mind, which is embarrassed by its
own riches, and has not learned to regulate the use of them.  Furnished,
by his reading of the ancients, with that which was wanting in our
poetry, Ronsard thought he could perceive in his lofty and really
poetical imagination what was needed to supply it; he cast his eyes in
all directions, with the view of enriching the domain of poetry.
‘Thou wilt do well to pick dexterously,’ he says, in his abridgment of
the art of French poetry, ‘and adopt to thy work the most expressive
words in the dialects of our own France; there is no need to care whether
the vocables are Gascon, or Poitevin, or Norman, or Mancese, or Lyonnese,
or of other districts, provided that they are good, and properly express
what thou wouldst say.’  Ronsard was too bold in extending his conquests
over the classical languages; it was that exuberance of ideas, that
effervescence of a genius not sufficiently master over its conceptions,
which brought down upon him, in after times, the contempt of the writers
who, in the seventeenth century, followed, with more wisdom and taste,
the road which he had contributed to open.  ‘He is not,’ said Balzac,
‘quite a poet; he has the first beginnings and the making of a poet; we
see in his works nascent and half-animated portions of a body which is in
formation, but which does not care to arrive at completion.’ ”

This body is that of French poetry; Ronsard traced out its first
lineaments, full of elevation, play of fancy, images, and a poetic fire
unknown before him.  He was the first to comprehend the dignity which
befits grand subjects, and which earned him in his day the title of
Prince of poets.  He lived in stormy times, not much adapted for poetry,
and steeped in the most cruel tragedies; he felt deeply the misfortunes
of his country rent by civil war, when he wrote,--

          “A cry of dread, a din, a thundering sound
          Of men and clashing harness roars around;
          Peoples ‘gainst peoples furiously rage;
          Cities with cities deadly battle wage;
          Temples and towns--one heap of ashes lie;
          Justice and equity fade out and die
          Unchecked the soldier’s wicked will is done
          With human blood the outraged churches run;
          Bedridden Age, disbedded, perisheth,
          And over all grins the pale face of Death.”

There was something pregnant, noble, and brilliant about Ronsard, in
spite of his exaggerations of style and faults of taste; his friends and
disciples imitated and carried to an extreme his defects, without
possessing his talent; the unruliness was such as to call for reform.
Peace revived with Henry IV., and the court, henceforth in accord with
the nation, resumed that empire over taste, manners, and ideas, which it
was destined to exercise so long and so supremely under Louis XIV.
Malherbe became the poet of the court, whose business it was to please
it, to adopt for it that literature which had but lately been reserved
for the feasts of the learned.  “He used often to say, and chiefly when
he was reproached with not following the meaning of the authors he
translated or paraphrased, that he did not dress his meat for cooks, as
if he had meant to infer that he cared very little to be praised by the
literary folks who understood the books he had translated, provided that
he was understood by the court-folks.”  A complete revolution in the
opposite direction to that which Ronsard attempted appeared to have taken
place, but the human mind never loses all the ground it has once won; in
the verses of Malherbe, often bearing the imprint of beauties borrowed
from the ancients, the language preserved, in consequence of the
character given to it by Ronsard, a dignity, a richness of style, of
which the times of Marot showed no conception; and it was falling,
moreover, under the chastening influence of an elegant correctness.  It
was for the court that Malherbe made verses, “striving, as he said, to
degasconnize it,” seeking there his public and the source of honor as
well as profit.  As passionate an admirer of Richelieu as of Henry IV.,
naturally devoted to the service of the order established in the state as
well as in poetry, he, under the regency of Mary de’ Medici, favored the
taste which was beginning to show itself for intellectual things, for
refined pleasures, and elegant occupations.  It was not around the queen
that this honorable and agreeable society gathered; it was at the Hotel
Rambouillet, around Catherine de Vivonne, in Rue St. Thomas du Louvre.
Literature was there represented by Malherbe and Racan, afterwards by
Balzac and Voiture, Gombault and Chapelain, who constantly met there, in
company with Princess de Conde and her daughter, subsequently Duchess de
Longueville, Mademoiselle du Vigean, Madame and Mdlle. d’Epernon, and the
Bishop of Lucon himself, quite young as yet, but already famous.  “All
the wits were received at the Hotel Rambouillet, whatever their
condition,” says M. Cousin: “all that was asked of them was to have good
manners; but the aristocratic tone was established there without any
effort, the majority of the guests at the house being very great lords,
and the mistress being at one and the same time Rambouillet and Vivonne.
The wits were courted and honored, but they did not hold the dominion.”
 At that great period which witnessed the growth of Richelieu’s power, and
of the action he universally exercised upon French society, at the
outcome from the moral licentiousness which Henry IV.’s example had
encouraged in his court, and after a certain roughness, the fruit of long
civil wars, a lesson was taught at Madame de Rambouillet’s of modesty,
grace, and lofty politeness, together with the art of forming good ideas
and giving them good expression, sometimes with rather too much of
far-fetched and affected cleverness, always in good company, and with
much sweetness and self-possession on the part of the mistress of the
house.  In 1627, Cardinal Richelieu, having become minister, sent the
Marquis of Rambouillet as ambassador to Spain.  He wanted to be repaid
for this favor.  One of his friends went to call upon Madame de
Rambouillet.  At the first hint of what was expected from her, “I do not
believe that there are any intrigues between Cardinal Valette and the
princess,” said she, “and, even if there were, I should not be the proper
person for the office it is intended to put upon me.  Besides, everybody
is so convinced of the consideration and friendship I have for his
Eminence that nobody would dare to speak ill of him in my presence; I
cannot, therefore, ever have an opportunity of rendering him the services
you ask of me.”

The cardinal did not persist, and remained well disposed towards Hotel
Rambouillet.  Completely occupied in laying solidly the foundations of
his power, in checkmating and punishing conspiracies at court, and in
breaking down the party of the Huguenots, he had no leisure just yet to
think of literature and the literary.  He had, nevertheless, in 1626,
begun removing the ruins of the Sorbonne, with a view of reconstructing
the buildings on a new plan and at his own expense.  He wrote, in 1627,
to M. Saintot, “I thank him for the care he has taken of the Sorbonne,
begging him to continue it, assuring him that, though I have many
expenses on my hands, I am as desirous of continuing to build up that
house as of contributing, to the best of my little ability, to pull down
the fortifications of La Rochelle.”  The works were not completely
finished at the death of the cardinal, who provided therefor by his will.

[Illustration: The King’s Press----323]

At the same time that he was repairing and enriching the Sorbonne, the
cardinal was helping Guy de la Brosse, the king’s physician, to create
the Botanic Gardens (_Le Jardin des Plantes_), he was defending the
independence of the College of France against the pretensions of the
University of Paris, and gave it for its Grand Almoner his brother, the
Archbishop of Lyons.  He was preparing the foundation of the King’s Press
(_Imprimerie royale_), definitively created in 1640; and he gave the
Academy or King’s College (college royal) of his town of Richelieu a
regulation-code of studies which bears the imprint of his lofty and
strong mind.  He prescribed a deep study of the French tongue.  “It often
happens, unfortunately, that the difficulties which must be surmounted
and the long time which is employed in learning the dead languages,
before any knowledge of the sciences can be arrived at, have the effect,
at the outset, of making young gentlemen disgusted and hasten to betake
themselves to the exercise of arms without having been sufficiently
instructed in good literature, though it is the fairest ornament of their
profession.  .  .  .  It has, therefore, been thought necessary to
establish a royal academy at which discipline suitable to their condition
may be taught them in the French tongue, in order that they may exercise
themselves therein, and that even foreigners, who are curious about it,
may learn to know its riches and the graces it hath in unfolding the
secrets of the highest discipline.”  Herein is revealed the founder of
the French Academy, skilful as he was in divining the wants of his day,
and always ready to profit by new means of action, and to make them his
own whilst doing them service.

Associations of the literary were not unknown in France; Ronsard and his
friends, at first under the name of the brigade and then under that of
the Pleiad, often met to read together their joint productions, and to
discuss literary questions; and the same thing was done, subsequently, in
Malherbe’s rooms.

“Now let us speak at our ease,” Balzac would say, when the sitting was
over, “and without fear of committing solecisms.”

When Malherbe was dead and Balzac had retired to his country house on the
borders of the Charente, some friends, “men of letters and of merits very
much above the average,” says Pellisson in his _Histoire de l’Academie
Francaise,_ “finding that nothing was more inconvenient in this great
city than to go often and often to call upon one another without finding
anybody at home, resolved to meet one day in the week at the house of one
of them.  They used to assemble at M. Conrart’s, who happened to be most
conveniently quartered for receiving them, and in the very heart of the
city (Rue St. Martin).  There they conversed familiarly as they would
have on an ordinary visit, and upon all sorts of things, business, news,
and literature.  If any one of the company had a work done, as, often
happened, he readily communicated its contents to all the others, who
freely gave him their opinion of it, and their conferences were followed
sometimes by a walk and sometimes by a collation which they took
together.  Thus they continued for three or four years, as I have heard
many amongst them say; it was an extreme pleasure and an incredible gain,
insomuch that, when they speak nowadays of that time and of those early
days of the Academy, they speak of it as a golden age during the which,
without bustle and without show, and without any other laws but those of
friendship, they enjoyed all that is sweetest and most charming in the
intercourse of intellects and in rational life.”

Even after the intervention and regulationizing of Cardinal Richelieu,
the French Academy still preserved something of that sweetness and that
polished familiarity in their relations which caused the regrets of its
earliest founders.  [They were MM. Godeau, afterwards Bishop of Grasse,
Conrart and Gombault who were Huguenots, Chapelain, Giry, Habert, Abbe de
Cerisy, his brother, M. de Serizay and M. de Maleville.] The secret of
the little gatherings was not so well kept but that Bois-Robert, the
cardinal’s accredited gossip, ever on the alert for news to divert his
patron, heard of them and begged before long to be present at them.
“There was no probability of his being refused, for, besides that he was
on friendly terms with many of these gentlemen, the very favor he enjoyed
gave him some sort of authority and added to his consequence.  He was
full of delight and admiration at what he saw, and did not fail to give
the cardinal a favorable account of the little assembly, insomuch that
the cardinal, who had a mind naturally inclined towards great things, and
who loved the French language, which he himself wrote extremely well,
asked if those persons would not be disposed to form a body and assembly
regularly and under public authority.”  Bois-Robert was intrusted with
the proposal.

Great was the consternation in the little voluntary and friendly Academy.
“There was scarcely one of these gentlemen who did not testify
displeasure: MM. de Serizay and de Maleville, who were attached to the
households of the Duke of La Rochefoucauld and Marshal Bassompierre, one
in retirement on his estates and the other a prisoner in the Bastille,
were for refusing and excusing themselves as best they might to the
cardinal.  Chapelain, who had a pension from his Eminence, represented
that “in good truth he could have been well pleased to dispense with
having their conferences thus bruited abroad, but in the position to
which things were reduced, it was not open to them to follow the more
agreeable of the two courses; they had to do with a man who willed in no
half-hearted way whatever he willed, and who was not accustomed to meet
resistance or to stiffer it with impunity; he would consider as an insult
the disregard shown for his protection, and might visit his resentment
upon each individual; he could, at any rate, easily prohibit their
assemblies, breaking up by that means a society which every one of them
desired to be eternal.”  The arguments were strong, the members yielded;
Bois-Robert was charged to thank his Eminence very humbly for the honor
he did them, assuring him that they were all resolved to follow his
wishes.  “I wish to be of that assembly the protector and the father,”
 said Richelieu, giving at once divers proofs that he took a great
interest in that establishment, a fact which soon brought the Academy
solicitations from those who were most intimate with the cardinal, and
who, being in some sort of repute for wit, gloried in being admitted to a
body which he regarded with favor.

In making of this little private gathering a great national institution,
Cardinal Richelieu yielded to his natural yearning for government and
dominion; he protected literature as a minister and as an admirer; the
admirer’s inclination was supported by the minister’s influence.  At the
same time, and perhaps without being aware of it, he was giving French
literature a centre of discipline and union whilst securing for the
independence and dignity of writers a supporting-point which they had
hitherto lacked.  Whilst recompensing them by favors nearly always
conferred in the name of the state, he was preparing for them afar off
the means of withdrawing themselves from that private dependence, the
yoke of which they nearly always had to bear.  Set free at his death from
the weight of their obligations to him, they became the servants of the
state; ere long the French Academy had no other protector but the king.

Order and rule everywhere accompanied Cardinal Richelieu; the Academy
drew up its statutes, chose a director, a chancellor, and a perpetual
secretary: Conrart was the first to be called to that honor; the number
of Academicians was set down at forty by letters patent from the king.
“As soon as God had called us to the conduct of this realm, we had for
aim, not only to apply a remedy to the disorders which the civil wars had
introduced into it, but also to enrich it with all ornaments suitable for
the most illustrious and the most ancient of the monarchies that are at
this day in the world.  Although we have labored without ceasing at the
execution of this design, it hath been impossible for us hitherto to see
the entire fulfilment thereof.  The disturbances so often excited in the
greater part of our provinces, and the assistance we have been obliged to
give to many of our allies, have diverted us from any other thought but
that of war, and have hindered us for a long while from enjoying the
repose we procured for others.  .  .  .  Our very clear and very much
beloved cousin, the cardinal-duke of Richelieu, who hath had the part
that everybody knows in all these things, hath represented to us that one
of the most glorious signs of the happiness of a kingdom was that the
sciences and arts should flourish there, and that letters should be in
honor there as well as arms; that, after having performed so many
memorable exploits, we had nothing further to do but to add agreeable
things to the necessary, and ornament to utility; and he was of opinion
that we could not begin better than with the most noble of all the arts,
which is eloquence; that the French tongue, which up to the present hath
only too keenly felt the neglect of those who might have rendered it the
most perfect of the day, is more than ever capable of becoming so, seeing
the number of persons who have knowledge of the advantages it possesses;
it is to establish fixed rules for it that he hath ordained an assembly
whose propositions were satisfactory to him.  For these reasons and in
order to secure the said conferences, we will that they continue
henceforth, in our good city of Paris, under the name of French Academy,
and that letters patent be enregistered to that end by our gentry of the
Parliament of Paris.”

The Parliament was not disposed to fulfil the formality of
enregistration.  The cardinal had compressed it, stifled it, but he had
never mastered it; the Academy was a new institution, it was regarded as
his work; on that ground it inspired great distrust in the public as well
as the magistrates.  “The people, to whom everything that came from this
minister looked suspicious, knew not whether beneath these flowers there
were not a serpent concealed, and were apprehensive that this
establishment was, at the very least, a new prop to support is
domination, that it was but a batch of folks in his pay, hired to
maintain all that he did and to observe the actions and sentiments of
others.  It went about that he cut down scavenging expenses of Paris by
eighty thousand livres in order to give them a pension of two thousand
livres apiece; the vulgar were so frightened, without attempting to
account for their terror, that a tradesman of Paris, who had taken a
house that suited him admirably in Rue Cinq Diamants, where the Academy
then used to meet at M. Chapelain’s, broke off his bargain on no other
ground but that he did not want to be in a street where a _’Cademy of
Canspirators (une Cademie e Manopoleurs)_ met every week.”  The wits,
like St. Evremond, in his comedy of the Academistes, turned into ridicule
the body which, as it was said, claimed to subject the language of the
public to its decisions:--

               “So I, with hoary head, to’ school
               Must, like a child, go day by day,
               And learn my parts of speech, poor fool, when
               Death is taking speech away!”

said Maynard, who, nevertheless, was one of the forty.

The letters patent for establishment of the French Academy had been sent
to the Parliament in 1635; they were not registered until 1637 at the
express instance of the cardinal, who wrote to the premier President to
assure him that “the foundation of the Academy was useful and necessary
to the public, and the purpose of the Academicians was quite different
from what it had been possible to make people believe hitherto.”

The decree of verification, when it at length appeared, bore traces of
the jealous prejudices of the Parliament.  “They the said assembly and
academy,” it ran, “shall not be powered to take cognizance of anything
but the ornamentation, embellishment, and augmentation of the French
language, and of the books that shall be made by them and by other
persons who shall desire it and want it.”

The French Academy was founded; it was already commencing its Dictionary
in accordance with the suggestion enunciated by Chapelain at the second
meeting; the cardinal was here carrying out that great moral idea of
literature which he had expressed but lately in a letter to Balzac: “The
conceptions in your letters,” said he, “are forcible and as far removed
from ordinary imaginations as they are in conformity with the common
sense of those who have superior judgment.  Truth has this advantage,
that it forces those who have eyes and mind sufficiently clear to discern
what it is to represent it without disguise.”  Neither Balzac and his
friends, nor the protection of Cardinal Richelieu, sufficed as yet to
give lustre to the Academy; great minds and great writers alone could
make the glory of their society.  The principle of the association of men
of letters was, however, established: men of the world, friendly to
literature, were already preparing to mingle with them; the literary,
but lately servitors of the great, had henceforth at their disposal a
privilege envied and sought after by courtiers; their independence grew
by it and their dignity gained by it.  The French Academy became an
institution, and took its place amongst the glories of France.  It had
this piece of good fortune, that Cardinal Richelieu died without being
able to carry out the project he had conceived.  He had intended to open
on the site of the horse-market, near Porte St. Honore and behind the
Palais-Cardinal, “a great Place which he would have called Ducale in
imitation of the Royale, which is at the other end of the city,” says
Pellisson; he had placed in the hands of M. de la Mesnardiere, a
memorandum drawn up by himself for the plan of a college “which he was
meditating for all the noble sciences, and in which he designed to employ
all that was most telling for the cause of literature in Europe.  He had
an idea of making the members of the Academy directors and as it were
arbiters of this great establishment, and aspired, with a feeling worthy
of the immortality with which he was so much in love, to set up the
French Academy there in the most distinguished position in the world, and
to offer an honorable and pleasant repose to all persons of that class
who had deserved it by their labors.”  It was a noble and a liberal idea,
worthy of the great mind which had conceived it; but it would have
stifled the fertile germ of independence and liberty which he had
unconsciously buried in the womb of the French Academy.  Pensioned and
barracked, the Academicians would have remained men of letters, shut off
from society and the world.  The Academy grew up alone, favored indeed,
but never reduced to servitude; it alone has withstood the cruel shocks
which have for so long a time agitated France; in a country where nothing
lasts, it has lasted, with its traditions, its primitive statutes, its
reminiscences, its respect for the past.  It has preserved its courteous
and modest dignity, its habits of polite neutrality, the suavity and
equality of the relations between its members.  It was said just now that
Richelieu’s work no longer existed save in history, and that revolutions
have left him nothing but his glory; but that was a mistake: the French
Academy is still standing, stronger and freer than at its birth, and it
was founded by Richelieu, and has never forgotten him.

Amongst the earliest members of the Academy the cardinal had placed his
most habitual and most intimate literary servants, Bois-Robert,
Desmarets, Colletet, all writers for the theatre, employed by Richelieu
in his own dramatic attempts.  Theatrical representations were the only
pleasure the minister enjoyed, in accord with the public of his day.  He
had everywhere encouraged this taste, supporting with marked favor ,
Hardy and the _Theatre Parisien_.  With his mind constantly exercised by
the wants of the government, he soon sought in the theatre a means of
acting upon the masses.  He had already foreseen the power of the press;
he had laid hands on Doctor Renaudot’s _Gazette de France;_ King Louis
XIII. often wrote articles in it; the manuscript exists in the National
Library, with some corrections which appear to be Richelieu’s.  As for
the theatre, the cardinal aspired to try his own hand at the work; his
literary labors were nearly all political pieces; his tragedy of
_Mirame,_ to which he attached so much value, and which he had
represented at such great expense for the opening of his theatre in the
Palais-Cardinal, is nothing but one continual allusion, often bold even
to insolence, to Buckingham’s feelings towards Anne of Austria.  The
comedy, in heroic style, of Europe, which appeared in the name of
_Desmarets,_ after the cardinal’s death, is a political allegory touching
the condition of the world.  Francion and Ibere contend together for the
favors of Europe, not without, at the same time, paying court to the
Princess Austrasia (Lorraine).  All the cardinal’s foreign policy, his
alliances with Protestants, are there described in verses which do not
lack a certain force: Germanique (the emperor) pleads the cause of Ibere
with Europe:--

          “No longer can he brook to gaze on such as these,
          Destroyers of the shrines, foes of the Deities,
          By Francion evoked from out the Frozen Main,[1]
          That he might cope with us and equal war maintain.


                               EUROPE.

          O, call not by those names th’ indomitable race,
          Who ‘midst my champions hold honorable place.
          Unlike to us, they own no shrine, no sacrifice;
          But still, unlike Ibere, they use no artifice;
          About the Gods they speak their mind as seemeth best,
          Whilst he, with pious air, still keepeth me opprest;
          Through them I hold mine own, from harm and insult free,
          Their errors I deplore, their valor pleases me.
          What was that noble king,[2] that puissant conqueror,
          Who through thy regions, like a mighty torrent, tore?
          Who marched with giant strides along the path of fame,
          And, in the hour of death, left victory with his name?
          What are those gallant chiefs, who from his ashes rose,
          Whom still, methinks, his shade assists against their foes?

          [1] The Swedes. [2] Gustavus Adolphus.


          What was that Saxon heart,[1] so full of noble rage,
          He, whom thine own decrees drove from his heritage?
          Who, with his gallant few, full many a deed hath done
          Within thine own domains, and many a laurel won?
          Who, wasting not his strength in strife with granite walls,
          Routs thee in open field, and lo! the fortress falls?
          Who, taking just revenge for loss of all his own,
          Compressed thy boundaries, and cut thy frontiers down.
          How many virtues in that prince’s[2] heart reside
          Who leads yon free-set[3] people’s armies in their pride,
          People who boldly spurned Ibere and all his laws,
          Bravely shook off his yoke and bravely left his cause?
          Francion, without such aid, thou say’st would helpless be;
          What were Ibere without thy provinces and thee?


                          GERMANIQUE.

          But I am of his blood:--own self same Deities.


                           EUROPE.

          All they are of my blood:--gaze on the self-same skies
          Do all your hosts adore the Deities we own?
          Nay, from your very midst come errors widely sown.
          Ibere for chief support on erring men relies
          Yet, what himself may do, to others he denies.
          What!  Francion favor error!  This is idle prate:
          He who from irreligion thoroughly purged the state!
          Who brought the worship back to altars in decay;
           Who built the temples up that in their ashes lay;
          True son of them, who, spite of all thy fathers’ feats,
          Replaced my reverend priests upon their holy seats!
          ‘Twixt Francion and Ibere this difference remains:
          One sets them in their seats, and one in iron chains.”

[1] Bernard of Saxe-Weimar. [2] Prince of Orange. [3] The Hollanders.


Already, in Mirame, Richelieu had celebrated the fall of Rochelle and of
the Huguenot party, bringing upon the scene the King of Bithynia, who is
taking arms

                         “To tame a rebel slave,
          Perched proudly on his rock washed by the ocean-wave.”

As epigraph to Europe there were these lines:--

          “All friends of France to this my work will friendly be;
          And all unfriends of her will say the author ill;
          Yet shall I be content, say, reader, what you will;
          The joy of some, the rage of others, pleases me.”

The enemies of France did not wait for the comedy, in heroic style, of
Europe in order to frequently say ill of Cardinal Richelieu.

Occupied as he was in governing the affairs of France and of Europe
otherwise than in verse, the cardinal chose out work-fellows; there were
five of them, to whom he gave his ideas and the plan of his piece; he
intrusted to each the duty of writing an act, and “by this means finished
a comedy a month,” says Pellisson.  Thus was composed the comedy of the
_Tuileries_ and the _Aveugle de Smyrne,_ which were printed in 1638;
Richelieu had likewise taken part in the composition of the _Visionnaires
of Desmarets,_ and supported in a rather remarkable scene the rule of the
three unities against its detractors.  A new comedy, the _Grande
Pastorale,_ was in hand.  “When he was purposing to publish it,” says the
_History of the Academy,_ “he desired M. Chapelain to look over it, and
make careful observations upon it.  These observations were brought to
him by M. de Bois-Robert, and, though they were written with much
discretion and respect, they shocked and nettled him to such a degree,
either by their number or by the consciousness they caused him of his
faults, that, without reading them through, he tore them up.  But on the
following night, when he was in bed, and all his household asleep, having
thought over the anger he had shown, be did a thing incomparably more
estimable than the best comedy in the world, that is to say, he listened
to reason, for he gave orders to collect and glue together the pieces of
that torn paper, and, having read it from one end to the other, and given
great thought to it, he sent and awakened M. de Bois-Robert to tell him
that he saw quite well that the gentlemen of the Academy were better
informed about such matters than he, and that there must be nothing more
said about that paper and print.”

The cardinal ended by permitting the liberties taken in literary matters
by Chapelain and even Colletet.  His courtiers were complimenting him
about some success or other obtained by the king’s arms, saying that
nothing could withstand his Eminence.  “You are mistaken,” he answered,
laughing; “and I find even in Paris persons who withstand me.  There’s
Colletet, who, after having fought with me yesterday over a word, does
not give in yet; look at this long letter that he has just written me!”
 He counted, at any rate, in the number of his five work-fellows one mind
too independent to be subservient for long to the ideas and wishes of
another, though it were Cardinal Richelieu and the premier minister.  In
conjunction with Colletet, Bois-Robert, De l’Etoile, and Rotrou, Peter
Corneille worked at his Eminence’s tragedies and comedies.  He handled
according to his fancy the act intrusted to him, with so much freedom
that the cardinal was shocked, and said that he lacked, in his opinion,
“the follower-spirit” (_l’esprit de suite_).  Corneille did not appeal
from this judgment; he quietly took the road to Rouen, leaving henceforth
to his four work-fellows the glory of putting into form the ideas of the
all-powerful minister; he worked alone, for his own hand, for the glory
of France and of the human mind.

[Illustration: Peter Corneille----334]

Peter Corneille, born at Rouen on the 6th of June, 1606, in a family of
lawyers, had been destined for the bar from his infancy; he was a
briefless barrister; his father had purchased him two government posts,
but his heart was otherwise set than “on jurisprudence;” in 1635, when he
quietly renounced the honor of writing for the cardinal, Corneille had
already had several comedies played.  He himself said of the first,
_Melite,_ which he wrote at three and twenty, “It was my first attempt,
and it has no pretence of being according to the rules, for I did not
know then that there were any.  I had for guide nothing but a little
common sense, together with the models of the late Hardy, whose vein was
rather fertile than polished.”  “The comedies of Corneille had met with
success; praised as he was by his competitors in the career of the
theatre, he was as yet, in their eyes, but one of the supports of that
literary glory which was common to them all.  Tranquil in their
possession of bad taste, they were far from foreseeing the revolution
which was about to overthrow its sway and their own.”  [_Corneille et son
Temps,_ by M. Guizot.]

Corneille made his first appearance in tragedy, in 1633, with a _Medee_.
“Here are verses which proclaim Corneille,” said Voltaire:--

          “After so many boons, to leave me can he bear?
          After so many sins, to leave me can he dare?”

They proclaimed tragedy; it had appeared at last to Corneille; its
features, roughly sketched, were nevertheless recognizable.  He was
already studying Spanish with an old friend of his family, and was
working at the _Cid,_ when he brought out his _Illusion Comique,_ a
mediocre piece, Corneille’s last sacrifice to the taste of his day.
Towards the end of the year 1636, the _Cid_ was played for the first time
at Paris.  There was a burst of enthusiasm forthwith.  “I wish you were
here,” wrote the celebrated comedian Mondory to Balzac, on the 18th of
January, 1637, “to enjoy amongst other pleasures that of the beautiful
comedies that are being played, and especially a _Cid_ who has charmed
all Paris.  So beautiful is he that he has smitten with love all the most
virtuous ladies, whose passion has many times blazed out in the public
theatre.  Seated in a body on the benches of the boxes have been seen
those who are commonly seen only in gilded chamber and on the seat with
the fleurs-de-lis.  So great has been the throng at our doors, and our
place has turned out so small, that the corners of the theatre, which
served at other times as niches for the pageboys, have been given as a
favor to blue ribbons, and the scene has been embellished, ordinarily,
with the crosses of knights of the order.”  “It is difficult,” says
Pellisson, “to imagine with what approbation this piece was received by
court and people.”  It was impossible to tire of seeing it, nothing else
was talked of in company; everybody knew some portion by heart; it was
taught to children, and in many parts of France it had passed into a
proverb to say, “Beautiful as the _Cid_.”  Criticism itself was silenced
for a while; carried along in the general twirl, bewildered by its
success, the rivals of Corneille appeared to join the throng of his
admirers; but they soon recovered their breath, and their first sign of
life was an effort of resistance to the torrent which threatened to carry
them away; with the exception of Rotrou, who was worthy to comprehend and
enjoy Corneille, the revolt was unanimous.  The malcontents and the
envious had found in Richelieu an eager and a powerful auxiliary.

[Illustration: The Representation of “the Cid.”----335]

Many attempts have been made to fathom the causes of the cardinal’s
animosity to the _Cid_.  It was a Spanish piece, and represented in a
favorable light the traditional enemies of France and of Richelieu; it
was all in honor of the duel which the cardinal had prosecuted with such
rigorous justice; it depicted a king simple, patriarchal, genial in the
exercise of his power, contrary to all the views cherished by the
minister touching royal majesty; all these reasons might have contributed
to his wrath, but there was something more personal and petty in its
bitterness.  In tacit disdain for the work that had been entrusted to
him, Corneille had abandoned Richelieu’s pieces; he had retired to Rouen;
far away from the court, he had only his successes to set against the
perfidious insinuations of his rivals.  The triumph of the _Cid_ seemed
to the resentful spirit of a neglected and irritated patron a sort of
insult.  Therewith was mingled a certain shade of author’s jealousy.
Richelieu saw in the fame of Corneille the success of a rebel.  Egged on
by base and malicious influences, he attempted to crush him as he had
crushed the house of Austria and the Huguenots.

The cabal of bad taste enlisted to a man in this new war.  Scudery was
standard-bearer; astounded that such fantastic beauties should have
seduced knowledge as well as ignorance, and the court as well as the cit,
and conjuring decent folks to suspend judgment for a while, and not
condemn without a hearing _Sophonisbe, Cesar, Cleopdtre, Hercule,
Marianne, Cleomedon,_ and so many other illustrious heroes who had
charmed them on the stage.”  Corneille might have been satisfied; his
adversaries themselves recognized his great popularity and success.

A singular mixture of haughtiness and timidity, of vigorous imagination
and simplicity of judgment!  It was by his triumphs that Corneille had
become informed of his talents; but, when once aware, he had accepted the
conviction thereof as that of those truths which one does not arrive at
by one’s self absolutely, without explanation, without modification.

          “I know my worth, and well believe men’s rede of it;
          I have no need of leagues, to make myself admired;
          Few voices may be raised for me, but none is hired;
          To swell th’ applause my just ambition seeks no claque,
          Nor out of holes and corners hunts the hireling pack:
          Upon the boards, quite self-supported, mount my plays,
          And every one is free to censure or to praise;
          There, though no friends expound their views or preach my
          cause,
          It hath been many a time my lot to win applause;
          There, pleased with the success my modest merit won,
          With brilliant critics’ laws I seek to dazzle none;
          To court and people both I give the same delight,
          Mine only partisans the verses that I write;
          To them alone I owe the credit of my pen,
          To my own self alone the fame I win of men;
          And if, when rivals meet, I claim equality,
          Methinks I do no wrong to whosoe’er it be.”

“Let him rise on the wings of composition,” said La Bruyere, “and he is
not below Augustus, Pompey, Nicodemus, Sertorius; he is a king and a
great king; he is a politician, he is a philosopher.”  Modest and bashfnl
in what concerns himself, when it has nothing to do with his works and
his talents, Corneille, who does not disdain to receive a pension from
Cardinal Richelieu, or, in writing to Scudery, to call him “your master
and and mine,” becomes quite another creature when he defends his genius:

          “Leaving full oft the earth, soon as he leaves the goal,
          With lofty flight he soars into the upper air,
          Looks down on envious men, and smiles at their despair.”

The contest was becoming fierce and bitter; much was written for and
against the _Cid;_ the public remained faithful to it; the cardinal
determined to submit it to the judgment of the Academy, thus exacting
from that body an act of complaisance towards himself as well as an act
of independence and authority in the teeth of predominant opinion.  At
his instigation, Scudery wrote to the Academy to make them the judges in
the dispute.  “The cardinal’s desire was plain to see,” says Pellisson;
“but the most judicious amongst that body testified a great deal of
repugnance to this design.  They said that the Academy, which was only in
its cradle, ought not to incur odium by a judgment which might perhaps
displease both parties, and which could not fail to cause umbrage to one
at least, that is to say, to a great part of France; that they were
scarcely tolerated, from the mere fancy which prevailed that they
pretended to some authority over the French tongue; what would be the
case if they proved to have exercised it in respect of a work which had
pleased the majority and won the approbation of the people?  M. Corneille
did not ask for this judgment, and, by the statutes of the Academy, they
could only sit in judgment upon a work with the consent and at the
entreaty of the author.”  Corneille did not facilitate the task of the
Academicians: he excused himself modestly, protesting that such
occupation was not worthy of such a body, that a mere piece
(_un libelle_) did not deserve their judgment.  .  .  .  “At length,
under pressure from M. de Bois-Robert, who gave him pretty plainly to
understand what was his master’s desire, this answer slipped from him:
‘The gentlemen of the Academy can do as they please; since you write me
word that my Lord would like to see their judgment, and it would divert
his Eminence, I have nothing further to say.’”

These expressions were taken as a formal consent, and as the Academy
still excused themselves, “ Let those gentlemen know,” said the cardinal
at last, “that I desire it, and that I shall love them as they love me.”

There was nothing for it but to obey.  Whilst Bois-Robert was amusing his
master by representing before him a parody of the _Cid,_ played by his
lackeys and scullions, the Academy was at work drawing up their
Sentiments respecting the _Cid_.

Thrice submitted to the cardinal, who thrice sent it back with some
strong remarks appended, the judgment of the Academicians did not succeed
in satisfying the minister.  “What was wanted was the complaisance of
submission, what was obtained was only that of gratitude.”  “I know quite
well,” says Pellisson, “that his Eminence would have wished to have the
_Cid_ more roughly handled, if he had not been adroitly made to
understand that a judge must not speak like a party to a suit, and that
in proportion as he showed passion, he would lose authority.”

Balzac, still in retirement at his country-place, made no mistake as to
the state of mind either in the Academy or in the world when he wrote to
Scudery, who had sent him his _Observations sur le Cid,_ “Reflect, sir,
that all France takes sides with M. Corneille, and that there is not one,
perhaps, of the judges with whom it is rumored that you have come to an
agreement, who has not praised that which you desire him to condemn; so
that, though your arguments were incontrovertible and your adversary
should acquiesce therein, he would still have the wherewith to give
himself glorious consolation for the loss of his case, and be able to
tell you that it is something more to have delighted a whole kingdom than
to have written a piece according to regulation.  This being so, I doubt
not that the gentlemen of the Academy will find themselves much hampered
in delivering a judgment on your case, and that, on the one hand, your
arguments will stagger them, whilst, on the other, the public approbation
will keep them in check.  You have the best of it in the closet; he has
the advantage on the stage.  If the _Cid_ be guilty, it is of a crime
which has met with reward; if he be punished, it will be after having
triumphed; if Plato must banish him from his republic, he must crown him
with flowers whilst banishing him, and not treat him worse than he
formerly treated Homer.”

The Sentiments de l’Academie at last saw the light in the month of
December, 1637, and as Chapelain had foreseen, they did not completely
satisfy either the cardinal or Scudery, in spite of the thanks which the
latter considered himself bound to express to that body, or Corneille,
who testified bitter displeasure.  “The Academy proceeds against me with
so much violence, and employs so supreme an authority to close my mouth,
that all the satisfaction I have is to think that this famous production,
at which so many fine intellects have been working for six months, may no
doubt be esteemed the opinion of the French Academy, but will probably
not be the opinion of the rest of Paris.  I wrote the _Cid_ for my
diversion and that of decent folks who like Comedy.  All the favor that
the opinion of the Academy can hope for is to make as much way; at any
rate, I have had my account settled before them, and I am not at all sure
that they can wait for theirs.”

Corneille did not care to carry his resentment higher than the Academy.
At the end of December, 1637, when writing to Bois-Robert a letter of
thanks for getting him his pension, which he calls “the liberalities of
my Lord,” he adds, “As you advise me not to reply to the _Sentiments de
l’Academie,_ seeing what personages are concerned therein, there is no
need of interpreters to understand that; I am somewhat more of this world
than Heliodorus was, who preferred to lose his bishopric rather than his
book; and I prefer my master’s good graces to all the reputations on
earth.  I shall be mum, then, not from disdain, but from respect.”

The great Corneille made no further defence he had become a servitor
again; but the public, less docile, persisted in their opinion.

          “In vain against the Cid a minister makes league;
          All Paris, gazing on Chimene, thinks with Rodrigue;
          In vain to censure her th’ Academy aspires;
          The stubborn populace revolts and still admires; ”

said Boileau subsequently.

The dispute was ended, and, in spite of the judgment of the Academy, the
cardinal did not come out of it victorious; his anger, however, had
ceased: the Duchess of Aiguillon, his niece, accepted the dedication of
the _Cid;_ when _Horace_ appeared, in 1639, the dedicatory epistle,
addressed to the cardinal, proved that Corneille read his works to him
beforehand; the cabal appeared for a while on the point of making head
again.  “_Horace,_ condemned by the decemvirs, was acquitted by the
people,” said Corneille.  The same year _Cinna_ came to give the
finishing touch to the reputation of the great poet:--

          “To the persecuted Cid the Cinna owed its birth.”

Corneille had withdrawn to the obscurity which suited the simplicity of
his habits; the cardinal, it was said, had helped him to get married; he
had no longer to defend his works, their fame was amply sufficient.
“Henceforth Corneille walks freely by himself and in the strength of his
own powers; the circle of his ideas grows larger, his style grows loftier
and stronger, together with his thoughts, and purer, perhaps, without his
dreaming of it; a more correct, a more precise expression comes to him,
evoked by greater clearness in idea, greater fixity of sentiment; genius,
with the mastery of means, seeks new outlets.  Corneille writes
_Polyeucte_.”  [_Corneille et son Temps,_ by M. Guizot.]

It was a second revolution accomplished for the upsetting of received
ideas, at a time when paganism was to such an extent master of the
theatre that, in the midst of an allegory of the seventeenth century,
alluding to Gustavus Adolphus and the wars of religion, Richelieu and
Desmarets, in the heroic comedy of _Europe,_ dared not mention the name
of God save in the plural.  Corneille read his piece at the Hotel
Rambouillet.  “It was applauded to the extent demanded by propriety and
the reputation already achieved by the author,” says Fontenelle; “but
some days afterwards, M. de Voiture went to call upon M. Corneille, and
took a very delicate way of telling him that _Polyeucte_ had not been so
successful as he supposed, that the Christianism had been extremely
displeasing.”  “The story is,” adds Voltaire, “that all the Hotel
Rambouillet, and especially the Bishop of Vence, Godeau, condemned the
attempt of _Polyeucte_ to overthrow idols.”  Corneille, in alarm, would
have withdrawn the piece from the hands of the comedians who were
learning it, and he only left it on the assurance of one of the
comedians, who did not play in it because he was too bad an actor.
Posterity has justified the poor comedian against the Hotel Rambouillet;
amongst so many of Corneille’s masterpieces it has ever given a place
apart to _Polyeucte;_ neither the _Saint-Genest_ of Rotrou, nor the
_Zaire_ of Voltaire, in spite of their various beauties, have dethroned
_Polyeucte;_ in fame as well as in date it remains the first of the few
pieces in which Christianism appeared, to gain applause, upon the French
classic stage.

[Illustration: Corneille at the Hotel Rambouillet---342]

Richelieu was no longer there to lay his commands upon the court and upon
the world: he was dead, without having been forgiven by Corneille:--

         “Of our great cardinal let men speak as they will,
          By me, in prose or verse, they shall not be withstood;
          He did me too much good for me to say him ill,
          He did me too much ill for me to say him good!”

The great literary movement of the seventeenth century had begun; it had
no longer any need of a protector; it was destined to grow up alone
during twenty years, amidst troubles at home and wars abroad, to flourish
all at once, with incomparable splendor, under the reign and around the
throne of Louis XIV.  Cardinal Richelieu, however, had the honor of
protecting its birth; he had taken personal pleasure in it; he had
comprehended its importance and beauty; he had desired to serve it whilst
taking the direction of it.  Let us end, as we began, with the judgment
of La Bruyere: “Compare yourselves, if you dare, with the great
Richelieu, you men devoted to fortune, you who say that you know nothing,
that you have read nothing, that you will read nothing.  Learn that
Cardinal Richelieu did know, did read; I say not that he had no
estrangement from men of letters, but that he loved them, caressed them,
favored them, that he contrived privileges for them, that he appointed
pensions for them, that he united them in a celebrated body, and that he
made of them the French Academy.”

The Academy, the Sorbonne, the Botanic Gardens (_Jardin des Plantes_),
the King’s Press have endured; the theatre has grown and been enriched by
many masterpieces, the press has become the most dreaded of powers; all
the new forces that Richelieu created or foresaw have become developed
without him, frequently in opposition to him and to the work of his whole
life; his name has remained connected with the commencement of all these
wonders, beneficial or disastrous, which he had grasped and presaged, in
a future happily concealed from his ken.



CHAPTER XLIII.----LOUIS XIV., THE FRONDE, AND THE GOVERNMENT OF CARDINAL
MAZARIN.  (1643-1661.)

[Illustration: LOUIS XIV.----344]

Louis XIII. had never felt confidence in the queen his wife; and Cardinal
Richelieu had fostered that sentiment which promoted his views.  When M.
de Chavigny came, on Anne of Austria’s behalf, to assure the dying king
that she had never had any part in the conspiracy of Chalais, or dreamt
of espousing Monsieur in case she was left a widow, Louis XIII.
answered, “Considering the state I am in, I am bound to forgive her, but
not to believe her.”  He did not believe her, he never had believed her,
and his declaration touching the Regency was entirely directed towards
counteracting by anticipation the power intrusted to his wife and his
brother.  The queen’s regency and the Duke of Orleans’ lieutenant-
generalship were in some sort subordinated to a council composed of the
Prince of Conde, Cardinal Mazarin, Chancellor Seguier, Superintendent
Bouthillier, and Secretary of State Chavigny, “with a prohibition against
introducing any change therein, for any cause or on any occasion
whatsoever.”  The queen and the Duke of Orleans had signed and sworn the
declaration.

King Louis XIII. was not yet in his grave when his last wishes were
violated; before his death the queen had made terms with the ministers;
the course to be followed had been decided.  On the 18th of May, 1643,
the queen, having brought back the little king to Paris, conducted him in
great state to the Parliament of Paris to hold his bed of justice there.
The boy sat down and said with a good grace that he had come to the
Parliament to testify his good will to it, and that his chancellor would
say the rest.  The Duke of Orleans then addressed the queen.  “The honor
of the regency is the due altogether of your Majesty,” said he, “not only
in your capacity of mother, but also for your merits and virtues; the
regency having been confined to you by the deceased king, and by the
consent of all the grandees of the realm, I desire no other part in
affairs than that which it may please your Majesty to give me, and I do
not claim to take any advantage from the special clauses contained in the
declaration.”  The Prince of Condo said much the same thing, but with
less earnestness, and on the evening of the same day the queen regent,
having sole charge of the administration of affairs, and modifying the
council at her pleasure, announced to the astounded court that she should
retain by her Cardinal Mazarin.  Not a word had been said about him at
the Parliament; the courtiers believed that he was on the point of
leaving France; but the able Italian, attractive as he was subtle, had
already found a way to please the queen.  She retained as chief of her
council the heir to the traditions of Richelieu, and deceived the hopes
of the party of Importants, those meddlers of the court at whose head
marched the Duke of Beaufort, all puffed up with the confidence lately
shown to him by her Majesty.  Potier, Bishop of Beauvais, the queen’s
confidant during her troubles, “expected to be all-powerful in the state;
he sought out the Duke of Orleans and the Prince of  Conde, promising
them governorships of places, and, generally, anything they might desire.
He thought he could set the affairs of state going as easily as he could
his parish-priests; but the poor prelate came down from his high hopes
when he saw that the cardinal was advancing more and more in the queen’s
confidence, and that, for him, too much was already thought to have been
done in according him admittance to the council, whilst flattering him
with a hope of the purple.” [_Memoires de Brienne,_ ii. 37.]

Cardinal Mazarin soon sent him off to his diocese.  Continuing to humor
all parties, and displaying foresight and prudence, the new minister was
even now master.  Louis XIII., without any personal liking, had been
faithful to Richelieu to the death; with different feelings, Anne of
Austria was to testify the same constancy towards Mazarin.

A stroke of fortune came at the very first to strengthen the regent’s
position.  Since the death of Cardinal Richelieu, the Spaniards, but
recently overwhelmed at the close df 1642, had recovered courage and
boldness; new counsels prevailed at the court of Philip IV., who had
dismissed Olivarez; the house of Austria vigorously resumed the
offensive; at the moment of Louis XIII.’s death, Don Francisco de Mello,
governor of the Low Countries, had just invaded French territory by way
of the Ardennes, and laid siege to Rocroi, on the 12th of May.  The
French army was commanded by the young Duke of Enghien, the Prince of
Conde’s son, scarcely twenty-two years old; Louis XIII. had given him as
his lieutenant and director the veteran Marshal de l’Hopital; and the
latter feared to give battle.  The Duke of Enghien, who “was dying with
impatience to enter the enemy’s country, resolved to accomplish by
address what he could not carry by authority.  He opened his heart to
Gassion alone.  As he was a man who saw nothing but what was easy even in
the most dangerous deeds, he had very soon brought matters to the point
that the prince desired.  Marshal de l’Hopital found himself
imperceptibly so near the Spaniards that it was impossible for him any
longer to hinder an engagement.”  [_Relation de 31 de la Houssaye._] The
army was in front of Rocroi, and out of the dangerous defile which led to
the place, without any idea on the part of the marshal and the army that
Louis XIII. was dead.  The Duke of Enghien, who had received the news,
had kept it secret.  He had merely said in the tone of a master “that he
meant to fight, and would answer for the issue.  His orders given, he
passed along the ranks of his army with an air which communicated to it
the same impatience that he himself felt to see the night over, in order
to begin the battle.  He passed the whole of it at the camp-fire of the
officers of Picardy.”  In the morning “it was necessary to rouse from
deep slumber this second Alexander.  Mark him as he flies to victory or
death!  As soon as he had kindled from rank to rank the ardor with which
he was animated, he was seen, in almost the same moment, driving in the
enemy’s right, supporting ours that wavered, rallying the half-beaten
French, putting to flight the victorious Spaniards, striking terror
everywhere, and dumbfounding with his flashing looks those who escaped
from his blows.  There remained that dread infantry of the army of Spain,
whose huge battalions, in close order, like so many towers, but towers
that could repair their breaches, remained unshaken amidst all the rest
of the rout, and delivered their fire on all sides.  Thrice the young
conqueror tried to break these fearless warriors; thrice he was driven
knack by the valiant Count of Fuentes, who was seen carried about in his
chair, and, in spite of his infirmities, showing that a warrior’s soul is
mistress of the body it animates.  But yield they must: in vain through
the woods, with his cavalry all fresh, does Beck rush down to fall upon
our exhausted men the prince has been beforehand with him; the broken
battalions cry for quarter, but the victory is to be more terrible than
the fight for the Duke of Enghien.  Whilst with easy mien he advances to
receive the parole of these brave fellows, they, watchful still,
apprehend the surprise of a fresh attack; their terrible volley drives
our men mad; there is nothing to be seen but slaughter; the soldier is
drunk with blood, till that great prince, who could not bear to see such
lions butchered like so many sheep, calmed excited passions, and to the
pleasure of victory joined that of mercy.  He would willingly have saved
the life of the brave Count of Fuentes, but found him lying amidst
thousands of the dead whose loss is still felt by Spain.  The prince
bends the knee, and, on the field of battle, renders thanks to the God of
armies for the victory he hath given him.  Then were there rejoicings
over Rocroi delivered, the threats of a dread enemy converted to their
shame, the regency strengthened, France at rest, and a reign, which was
to be so noble, commenced with such happy augury.”  [Bossuet, _Oraison
funebre de Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Conde._]  Victory or death, below
the cross of Burgundy, was borne upon most of the standards taken from
the Imperialists; and “indeed,” says the Gazette de France, “the most
part were found dead in the ranks where they had been posted.  Which was
nobly brought home by one of the prisoners to our captains when, being
asked how many there had been of them, he replied, “Count the dead.”
 Conde was worthy to fight such enemies, and Bossuet to recount their
defeat.  “The prince was a born captain,” said Cardinal de Retz.  And all
France said so with him, on hearing of the victory of Rocroi.

The delight was all the keener in the queen’s circle, because the house
of Conde openly supported Cardinal Mazarin, bitterly attacked as he was
by the Importants, who accused him of reviving the tyranny of Richelieu.

[Illustration: The Great Conde----348]

A ditty on the subject was current in the streets of Paris:--

          “He is not dead, he is but changed of age,
          The cardinal, at whom men gird with rage,
          But all his household make thereat great cheer;
          It pleaseth not full many a chevalier
          They fain had brought him to the lowest stage.
          Beneath his wing came all his lineage,
          By the same art whereof he made usage
          And, by my faith, ‘tis still their day, I fear.
                         He is not dead.

          “Hush! we are mum, because we dread the cage
          For he’s at court--this eminent personage
          There to remain of years to come a score.
          Ask those Importants, would you fain know more
          And they will say in dolorous language,
                        ‘He is not dead.’”


And indeed, on pretext offered by a feminine quarrel between the young
Duchess of Longueville, daughter of the Prince of Conde, and the Duchess
of Montbazon, the Duke of Beaufort and some of his friends resolved to
assassinate the cardinal.  The attempt was a failure, but the Duke of
Beaufort, who was arrested on the 2d of September, was taken to the
castle of Vincennes.  Madame de Chevreuse, recently returned to court,
where she would fain have exacted from the queen the reward for her
services and her past sufferings, was sent into exile, as well as the
Duke of Vendome.  Madame d’Hautefort, but lately summoned by Anne of
Austria to be near her, was soon involved in the same disgrace.  Proud
and compassionate, without any liking for Mazarin, she was daring enough,
during a trip to Vincennes, to ask pardon for the Duke of Beaufort.
“The queen made no answer, and, the collation being served, Madame
d’Hautefort, whose heart was full, ate nothing; when she was asked why,
she declared that she could not enjoy anything in such close proximity to
that poor boy.”  The queen could not put up with reproaches; and she
behaved with extreme coldness to Madame d’Hautefort.  One day, at
bedtime, her ill temper showed itself so plainly, that the old favorite
could no longer be in doubt about the queen’s sentiments.  As she softly
closed the curtains, “I do assure you, Madame,” she said, “that if I had
served God with as much attachment and devotion as I have your Majesty
all my life, I should be a great saint.”  And, raising her eyes to the
crucifix, she added, “Thou knowest, Lord, what I have done for her.”  The
queen let her go to the convent where Mademoiselle de la Fayette had
taken refuge ten years before.  Madame d’Hautefort left it ere long to
become the wife of Marshal Schomberg; but the party of the Importants was
dead, and the power of Cardinal Mazarin seemed to be firmly established.
“It was not the thing just then for any decent man to be on bad terms
with the court,” says Cardinal de Retz.

Negotiations for a general peace, the preliminaries whereof had been
signed by King Louis XIII. in 1641, had been going on since 1644 at
Munster and at Osnabriick, without having produced any result; the Duke
of Enghien, who became Prince of  Conde in 1646, was keeping up the war
in Flanders and Germany, with the co-operation of Viscount Turenne,
younger brother of the Duke of Bouillon, and, since Rocroi, a marshal of
France.  The capture of Thionville and of Dunkerque, the victories of
Friburg and Nordlingen, the skilful opening effected in Germany as far as
Augsburg by the French and the Swedes, had raised so high the reputation
of the two generals, that the Prince of  Conde, who was haughty and
ambitious, began to cause great umbrage to Mazarin.  Fear of having him
unoccupied deterred the cardinal from peace, and made all the harder the
conditions he presumed to impose upon the Spaniards.  Meanwhile the
United Provinces, weary of a war which fettered their commerce, and
skilfully courted by their old masters, had just concluded a private
treaty with Spain; the emperor was trying, but to no purpose, to detach
the Swedes likewise from the French alliance, when the victory of Lens,
gained on the 20th of August, 1648, over Archduke Leopold and General
Beck, came to throw into the balance the weight of a success as splendid
as it was unexpected; one more campaign, and Turenne might be threatening
Vienna whilst Conde entered Brussels; the emperor saw there was no help
for it, and bent his head.  The house of Austria split in two; Spain
still refused to treat with France, but the whole of Germany clamored for
peace; the conditions of it were at last drawn up at Munster by MM.
Servien and de Lionne; M. d’Avaux, the most able diplomatist that France
possessed, had been recalled to Paris at the beginning of the year.  On
the 24th of October, 1648, after four years of negotiation, France at
last had secured to her Elsass and the three bishoprics of Metz, Toul,
and Verdun; Sweden gained Western Pomerania, including Stettin, the Isle
of Rugen, the three mouths of the Oder, and the bishoprics of Bremen and
Werden, thus becoming a German power: as for Germany, she had won liberty
of conscience and political liberty; the rights of the Lutheran or
reformed Protestants were equalized with those of Catholics; henceforth
the consent of a free assembly of all the Estates of the empire was
necessary to make laws, raise soldiers, impose taxes, and decide peace or
war.  The peace of Westphalia put an end at one and the same time to the
Thirty Years’ War and to the supremacy of the house of Austria in
Germany.

So much glory and so many military or diplomatic successes cost dear;
France was crushed by imposts, and the finances were discovered to be in
utter disorder; the superintendent, D’Emery, an able and experienced man,
was so justly discredited that his measures were, as a foregone
conclusion, unpopular; an edict laying octroi or tariff on the entry of
provisions into the city of Paris irritated the burgesses, and Parliament
refused to enregister it.  For some time past the Parliament, which had
been kept down by the iron hand of Richelieu, had perceived that it had
to do with nothing more than an able man, and not a master; it began to
hold up its head again; a union was proposed between the four sovereign
courts of Paris, to wit, the Parliament, the grand council, the chamber
of exchequer, and the court of aids or indirect taxes; the queen quashed
the deed of union; the magistrates set her at nought; the queen yielded,
authorizing the delegates to deliberate in the chamber of St. Louis at
the Palace of Justice; the pretensions of the Parliament were exorbitant,
and aimed at nothing short of resuming, in the affairs of the state, the
position from which Richelieu had deposed it; the concessions which
Cardinal Mazarin with difficulty wrung from the queen augmented the
Parliament’s demands.  Anne of Austria was beginning to lose patience,
when the news of the victory of Lens restored courage to the court.
“Parliament will be very sorry,” said the little king, on hearing of the
Prince of Conde’s success.  The grave assemblage, on the 26th of August,
was issuing from Notre Dame, where a Te Deum had just been sung, when
Councillor Broussel and President Blancmesnil were arrested in their
houses, and taken one to St. Germain and the other to Vincennes.  This
was a familiar proceeding on the part of royal authority in its
disagreements with the Parliament.  Anne of Austria herself had practised
it four years before.

[Illustration: Arrest of Broussel----352]

It was a mistake on the part of Anne of Austria and Cardinal Mazarin
not to have considered the different condition of the public mind.
A suppressed excitement had for some months been hatching in Paris and in
the provinces.  “The Parliament growled over the tariff-edict,” says
Cardinal de Retz; “and no sooner had it muttered than everybody awoke.
People went groping as it were after the laws; they were no longer to be
found.  Under the influence of this agitation the people entered the
sanctuary and lifted the veil that ought always to conceal whatever can
be said about the right of peoples and that of kings, which never accord
so well as in silence.”  The arrest of Broussel, an old man in high
esteem, very keen in his opposition to the court, was like fire to flax.
“There was a blaze at once, a sensation, a rush, an outcry, and a
shutting up of shops.”  Paul de Gondi, known afterwards as Cardinal de
Retz, was at that time coadjutor of the Archbishop of Paris, his uncle
witty, debauched, bold, and restless, lately compromised in the plots of
the Count of Soissons against Cardinal Richelieu, he owed his office to
the queen, and “did not hesitate,” he says, “to repair to her, that he
might stick to his duty above all things.”

[Illustration: Cardinal de Retz----352]

There was already a great tumult in the streets when he arrived at the
Palais-Royal: the people were shouting, “Broussel!  Broussel!”  The
coadjutor was accompanied by Marshal la Meilleraye; and both of them
reported the excitement amongst the people.  The queen grew angry.
“There is revolt in imagining that there can be revolt,” she said: “these
are the ridiculous stories of those who desire it; the king’s authority
will soon restore order.”  Then, as old M. de Guitaut, who had just come
in, supported the coadjutor, and said that he did not understand how
anybody could sleep in the state in which things were, the cardinal asked
him, with some slight irony, “Well, M. de Guitaut, and what is your
advice?”  “My advice,” said Guitaut, “is to give up that old rascal of a
Broussel, dead or alive.”  “The former,” replied the coadjutor, “would
not accord with either the queen’s piety or her prudence; the latter
might stop the tumult.”  At this word the queen blushed, and exclaimed,
“I understand you, Mr. Coadjutor; you would have me set Broussel at
liberty.  I would strangle him with these hands first!”  “And, as she
finished the last syllable, she put them close to my face,” says De Retz,
“adding, ‘And those who .  .  .  ‘ The cardinal advanced and whispered in
her ear.”  Advices of a more and more threatening character continued to
arrive; and, at last, it was resolved to promise that Broussel should be
set at liberty, provided that the people dispersed and ceased to demand
it tumultuously.  The coadjutor was charged to proclaim this concession
throughout Paris; he asked for a regular order, but was not listened to.
“The queen had retired to her little gray room.  Monsignor pushed me very
gently with his two hands, saying, ‘Restore the peace of the realm.’
Marshal Meilleraye drew me along, and so I went out with my rochet and
camail, bestowing benedictions right and left; but this occupation did
not prevent me from making all the reflections suitable to the difficulty
in which I found myself.  The impetuosity of Marshal Meilleraye did not
give me opportunity to weigh my expressions; he advanced sword in hand,
shouting with all his might, ‘Hurrah for the king!  Liberation for
Broussel!’  As he was seen by many more folks than heard him, he provoked
with his sword far more people than he appeased with his voice.”  The
tumult increased; there was a rush to arms on all sides; the coadjutor
was felled to the ground by a blow from a stone.  He had just picked
himself up, when a burgess put his musket to his head.  “Though I did not
know him a bit,” says Retz, “I thought it would not be well to let him
suppose so at such a moment; on the contrary, I said to him, ‘Ah!
wretch, if thy father saw thee!’  He thought I was the best friend of his
father, on whom, however, I had never set eyes.”

[Illustration: “Ah, Wretch, if thy Father saw thee!”----354]

The coadjutor was recognized, and the crowd pressed round him, dragging
him to the market-place.  He kept repeating everywhere that “the queen
promised to restore Broussel.”  The fiippers laid down their arms, and
thirty or forty thousand men accompanied him to the Palais-Royal.
“Madame,” said Marshal Meilleraye as he entered, “here is he to whom I
owe my life, and your Majesty the safety of the Palais-Royal.”  The queen
began to smile.  “The marshal flew into a passion, and said with an oath,
‘Madame, no proper man can venture to flatter you in the state in which
things are; and if you do not this very day set Broussel at liberty,
to-morrow there will not be left one stone upon another in Paris.’  I
wished to speak in support of what the marshal said, but the queen cut
me short, saying, with an air of raillery, ‘Go and rest yourself, sir;
you have worked very hard.’”

The coadjutor left the Palais-Royal “in what is called a rage;” and he
was in a greater one in the evening, when his friends came and told him
that he was being made fun of at the queen’s supper-table; that she was
convinced that he had done all he could to increase the tumult; that he
would be the first to be made a great example of; and that the Parliament
was about to be interdicted.  Paul de Gondi had not waited for their
information to think of revolt.  “I did not reflect as to what I could
do,” says he, “for I was quite certain of that; I reflected only as to
what I ought to do, and I was perplexed.”  The jests and the threats of
the court appeared to him to be sufficient justification.  “What
effectually stopped my scruples was the advantage I imagined I had in
distinguishing myself from those of my profession by a state of life in
which there was something of all professions.  In disorderly times,
things lead to a confusion of species, and the vices of an archbishop
may, in an infinity of conjunctures, be the virtues of a party leader.”
 The coadjutor recalled his friends.  “We are not in such bad case as you
supposed, gentlemen,” he said to them; “there is an intention of crushing
the public; it is for me to defend it from oppression; to-morrow before
midday I shall be master of Paris.”

For some time past the coadjutor had been laboring to make himself
popular in Paris; the general excitement was only waiting to break out,
and when the chancellor’s carriage appeared in the streets in the
morning, on the way to the Palace of Justice, the people, secretly worked
upon during the night, all at once took up arms again.  The chancellor
had scarcely time to seek refuge in the Hotel de Luynes; the mob rushed
in after him, pillaging and destroying the furniture, whilst the
chancellor, flying for refuge into a small chamber, and believing his
last hour had come, was confessing to his brother, the Bishop of Meaux.
He was not discovered, and the crowd moved off in another direction.  “It
was like a sudden and violent conflagration lighted up from the Pont Neuf
over the whole city.  Everybody without exception took up arms.  Children
of five and six years of age were seen dagger in hand; and the mothers
themselves carried them.  In less than two hours there were in Paris more
than two hundred barricades, bordered with flags and all the arms that
the League had left entire.  Everybody cried, ‘Hurrah! for the king!’ but
echo answered, ‘None of your Mazarin!’”

The coadjutor kept himself shut up at home, protesting his powerlessness;
the Parliament had met at an early hour; the Palace of Justice was
surrounded by an immense crowd, shouting, “Broussel!  Broussel!”  The
Parliament resolved to go in a body and demand of the queen the release
of their members arrested the day before.  “We set out in full court,”
 says the premier president Mole, “without sending, as the custom is, to
ask the queen to appoint a time, the ushers in front, with their square
caps and a-foot: from this spot as far as the Trahoir cross we found the
people in arms and barricades thrown up at every hundred paces.”
 [_Memoires de Matthieu Mole,_ iii.  p. 255.]

[Illustration: President Mole----355]

“If it were not blasphemy to say that there was any one in our age more
intrepid than the great Gustavus and the Prince, I should say it was M.
Mole, premier president,” writes Cardinal de Retz.  Sincerely devoted to
the public weal, and a magistrate to the very bottom of his soul, Mole,
nevertheless, inclined towards the side of power, and understood better
than his brethren the danger of factions.  He represented to the queen
the extreme danger the sedition was causing to Paris and to France.
“She, who feared nothing because she knew but little, flew into a passion
and answered, furiously, ‘I am quite aware that there is disturbance in
the city, but you shall answer to me for it, gentlemen of the Parliament,
you, your wives, and your children.’”  “The queen was pleased,” says
Mole, in his dignified language, “to signify in terms of wrath that the
magisterial body should be answerable for the evils which might ensue,
and which the king on reaching his majority would remember.”

The queen had retired to her room, slamming the door violently; the
Parliament turned back to the Palace of Justice; the angry mob thronged
about the magistrates; when they arrived at Rue St. Honore, just as they
were about to turn on to the Pont Neuf, a band of armed men fell upon
them, “and a cookshop-lad, advancing at the head of two hundred men,
thrust his halbert against the premier president’s stomach, saying,
‘Turn, traitor, and, if thou wouldst not thyself be slain, give up to us
Broussel, or Mazarin and the chancellor as hostages.’”  Matthew Mole
quietly put the weapon aside, and, “You forget yourself,” he said, “and
are oblivious of the respect you owe to my office.”  “Thrice an effort
was made.to thrust me into a private house,” says his account in his
Memoires, “but I still kept my place; and, attempts having been made with
swords and pistols on all sides of me to make an end of me, God would not
permit it, some of the members (Messieurs) and some true friends having
placed themselves in front of me.  I told President de Mesmes that there
was no other plan but to return to the Palais-Royal and thither take back
the body, which was much diminished in numbers, five of the presidents
having dropped away, and also many of the members on whom the people had
inflicted unworthy treatment.”  “Thus having given himself time to rally
as many as he could of the body, and still preserving the dignity of the
magistracy both in his words and in his movements, the premier president
returned at a slow pace to the Palais-Royal, amidst a running fire of
insults, threats, execrations, and blasphemies.”  [_Memoires de Retz._]

The whole court had assembled in the gallery: Mole spoke first.  “This
man,” says Retz, “had a sort of eloquence peculiar to himself.  He knew
nothing of apostrophes, he was not correct in his language, but he spoke
with a force which made up for all that, and he was naturally so bold
that he never spoke so well as in the midst of peril.  Monsieur made as
if he would throw himself on his knees before the queen, who remained
inflexible; four or five princesses, who were trembling with fear, did
throw themselves at her feet; the Queen of England, who had come that day
from St. Germain, represented that the troubles had never been so serious
at their commencement in England, nor the feelings so heated or united.”
 [_Histoire du Temps,_ 1647-48.  (_Archives curieuses,_ vi. p. 162.)]  At
last the cardinal made up his mind; he “had been roughly handled in the
queen’s presence by the presidents and councillors in their speeches,
some of them telling him, in mockery, that he had only to give himself
the trouble of going as far as the Pont Neuf to see for himself the state
in which things were,” and he joined with all those present in entreating
Anne of Austria; finally, the release of Broussel was extorted from her,
“not without a deep sigh, which showed what violence she did her feelings
in the struggle.”

“We returned in full court by the same road,” says Matthew Mole, “and the
people demanding, with confused clamor of voices, whether M. Broussel
were at liberty, we gave them assurances thereof, and entered by the
back-door of my lodging; before crossing the threshold, I took leave of
Presidents De Mesmes and Le Coigneux, and waited until the members had
passed, testifying my sentiments of gratitude for that they had been
unwilling to separate until they had seen to the security of my person,
which I had not at all deserved, but such was their good pleasure.  After
this business, which had lasted from six in the morning until seven
o’clock, there was need of rest, seeing that the mind had been agitated
amidst so many incidents, and not a morsel had been tasted.”  [_Memoires
de Matthieu Mole,_ t. iii.  p. 265.]

Broussel had taken his seat in the Parliament again.  The Prince of Conde
had just arrived in Paris; he did not like the cardinal, but he was angry
with the Parliament, which he considered imprudent and insolent.  “They
are going ahead,” said he:--“if I were to go ahead with them, I should
perhaps do better for my own interests, but my name is Louis de Bourbon,
and I do not wish to shake the throne; these devils of squarecaps, are
they mad about bringing me either to commence a civil war before long, or
to put a rope round their own necks, and place over their heads and over
my own an adventurer from Sicily, who will be the ruin of us all in the
end?  I will let the Parliament plainly see that they are not where they
suppose, and that it would not be a hard matter to bring them to reason.”
 The coadjutor, to whom he thus expressed himself, answered that “the
cardinal might possibly be mistaken in his measures, and that Paris would
be a hard nut to crack.”  Whereupon the prince rejoined, angrily, “It
will not be taken, like Dunkerque, by mining and assaults, but if the
bread of Gonesse were to fail them for a week .  .  .”  The coadjutor
took the rest as said.  Some days afterwards, during the night between
the 5th and 6th of January, 1649, the queen, with the little king and the
whole court, set out at four A. M. from Paris for the castle of St.
Germain, empty, unfurnished, as was then the custom in the king’s
absence, where the courtiers had great difficulty in finding a bundle of
straw.  “The queen had scarcely a bed to lie upon,” says Mdlle. de
Montpensier, “but never did I see any creature so gay as she was that
day; had she won a battle, taken Paris, and had all who had displeased
her hanged, she could not have been more so, and nevertheless she was
very far from all that.”

Paris was left to the malcontents; everybody was singing,

               “A Fronde-ly wind
                Got up to-day,
               ‘Gainst Mazarin
                It howls, they say.”

On the 8th of January the Parliament of Paris, all the chambers in
assembly, issued a decree whereby Cardinal Mazarin was declared an enemy
to the king and the state, and a disturber of the public peace, and
injunctions were laid upon all subjects of the king to hunt him down; war
was declared.

Scarcely had it begun, when the greatest lords came flocking to the
popular side.  On the departure of the court for St. Germain, the Duchess
of Longueville had remained in Paris; her husband and her brother the
Prince of Conti were not slow in coming to look after her; and already
the Duke of Elbeuf, of the house of Lorraine, had offered his services to
the Parliament.  Levies of troops were beginning in the city, and the
command of the forces was offered to the Prince of Conti; the Dukes of
Bouillon and Beaufort and Marshal de la Mothe likewise embraced the party
of revolt; the Duchesses of Longueville and Bouillon established
themselves with their children at the Hotel de Ville as hostages given by
the Fronde of princes to the Fronde of the people; the Parliaments of Aix
and Rouen made common cause with that of Paris; a decree ordered the
seizure, in all the exchequers of the kingdom, of the royal moneys, in
order that they might be employed for the general defence.  Every evening
Paris wore a festive air; there was dancing at the Hotel de Ville, and
the gentlemen who had been skirmishing during the day around the walls
came for recreation in the society of the princesses.  “This commingling
of blue scarfs, of ladies, of cuirasses, of violins in the hall, and of
trumpets in the square, offered a spectacle which is oftener seen in
romances than elsewhere.”  [_Memoires du Cardinal de Retz,_ t. i.]
Affairs of gallantry were mixed up with the most serious resolves; Madame
de Longueville was of the Fronde because she was in love with M. de
Marsillac (afterwards Duke of La Rochefoucauld), and he was on bad terms
with Cardinal Mazarin.

Meanwhile war was rumbling round Paris; the post of Charenton, fortified
by the Frondeurs, had been carried by the Prince of Conde at the head of
the king’s troops; the Parliament was beginning to perceive its mistake,
and desired to have peace again, but the great lords engaged in the
contest aspired to turn it to account; they had already caused the gates
of Paris to be closed against a herald sent by the queen to recall her
subjects to their duty; they were awaiting the army of Germany, commanded
by M. de Tnrenne, whom his brother, the Duke of Bouillon, had drawn into
his culpable enterprise; nay, more, they had begun to negotiate with
Spain, and they brought up to the Parliament a pretended envoy from
Archduke Leopold, but the court refused to receive him.  “What! sir,”
 said President de Mesmes, turning to the Prince of Conti, “is it possible
that a prince of the blood of France should propose to give a seat upon
the fleurs-de-lis to a deputy from the most cruel enemy of the
fleurs-de-lis?”

The Parliament sent a deputation to the queen, and conferences were
opened at Ruel on the 4th of March;.  the great lords of the Fronde took
no part in it; “they contented themselves with having at St. Germain
low-voiced (a basses notes)--secret agents,” says Madame de Motteville,
“commissioned to negotiate in their favor.”  Paris was beginning to lack
bread; it was festival-time, and want began to make itself felt; a
“complaint of the Carnival” was current amongst the people:--

               “In my extreme affliction, yet
               I can this consolation get,
               That, at his hands, my enemy,
               Old Lent, will fare the same as I:
               That, at the times when people eat,
               We both shall equal worship meet.
               Thus, joining with the whole of France
               In war against him _a outrance,_
               Grim Lent and festive Carnival,
               Will fight against the cardinal.”

It was against the cardinal, in fact, that all attacks were directed, but
the queen remained immovable in her fidelity.  “I should be afraid,” she
said to Madame de Motteville, “that, if I were to let him fall, the same
thing would happen to me that happened to the King of England (Charles I.
had just been executed), and that, after he had been driven out, my turn
would come.”  Grain had found its way into Paris during the truce; and
when, on the 13th of March, the premier president, Molt;, and the other
negotiators, returned to Paris, bringing the peace which they had signed
at Ruel, they were greeted with furious shouts: “None of your peace!
None of your Mazarin!  We must go to St.  Germain to seek our good king!
We must fling into the river all the Mazarins!”  A rioter had just laid
his hand on the premier president’s arm.  “When you have killed me,” said
the latter, calmly, “I shall only want six feet of earth;” and, when he
was advised to get back into his house by way of the record-offices, “The
court never hides itself,” he said; “if I were certain to perish, I would
not commit this poltroonery, which, moreover, would but serve to give
courage to the rioters.  They would, of course, come after me to my house
if they thought that I shrank from them here.”  The deputies of the
Parliament were sent back to Ruel, taking a statement of the claims of
the great lords: “according to their memorials, they demanded the whole
of France.”  [_Memoires de Madame de Motteville,_ t. iii.  p. 247.]

Whilst Paris was in disorder, and the agitation, through its example, was
spreading over almost the whole of France, M. de Turenne, obliged to fly
from his army, was taking refuge, he and five others, with the landgrave
of Hesse; his troops had refused to follow him in revolt; the last hope
of the Frondeurs was slipping from them.

They found themselves obliged to accept peace, not without obtaining some
favors from the court.

There was a general amnesty; and the Parliament preserved all its rights.
“The king will have the honor of it, and we the profit,” said Guy-Patin.
The great lords reappeared one after another at St. Germain.  “It is the
way of our nation to return to their duty with the same airiness with
which they depart from it, and to pass in a single instant from rebellion
to obedience.”  [_La Rochefoucauld._]  The return to rebellion was not to
be long delayed.  The queen had gone back to Paris, and the Prince of
Conde with her; he, proud of having beaten the parliamentary Fronde,
affected the conqueror’s airs, and the throng of his courtiers, the
“petits maitres,” as they were called, spoke very slightingly of the
cardinal.   Conde, reconciled with the Duchess of Longueville, his
sister, and his brother, the Prince of Conti, assumed to have the lion’s
share in the government, and claimed all the favors for himself or his
friends; the Fondeurs made skilful use of the ill-humor which this
conduct excited in Cardinal Mazarin; the minister responded to their
advances; the coadjutor was secretly summoned to the Louvre; the dowager
Princess of  Conde felt some apprehensions; but, “What have I to fear?”
 her son said to her; “the cardinal is my friend.”  “I doubt it,” she
answered.  “You are wrong; I rely upon him as much as upon you.”  “Please
God you may not be mistaken!” replied the princess, who was setting out
for the Palais-Royal to see the queen, said to be indisposed that day.

Anne of Austria was upon her bed; word was brought to her that the
council was waiting; this was the moment agreed upon; she dismissed the
princess, shut herself up in her oratory with the little king, to whom
she gave an account of what was going to be done for his service; then,
making him kneel down, she joined him in praying to God for the success
of this great enterprise.  As the Prince of  Conde arrived in the grand
gallery, he saw Guitaut, captain of the guards, coming towards him; at
the same instant, through a door at the bottom, out went the cardinal,
taking with him Abbe de la Riviere, who was the usual confidant of the
Duke of Orleans, but from whom his master had concealed the great secret.
The prince supppsed that Guitaut was coming to ask him some favor; the
captain of the guards said in his ear, “My lord, what I want to say is,
that I have orders to arrest you, you, the Prince of Conti your brother,
and M. de Longueville.”  “Me, M. Guitaut, arrest me?”  Then, reflecting
for a moment, “In God’s name,” he said, “go back to the queen and tell
her that I entreat her to let me have speech of her!”  Guitaut went to
her, whilst the prince, returning to those who were waiting for him,
said, “Gentlemen, the queen orders my arrest, and yours too, brother, and
yours too, M. de Longueville; I confess that I am astonished, I who have
always served the king so well, and believed myself secure of the
cardinal’s friendship.”  The chancellor, who was not in the secret,
declared that it was Guitaut’s pleasantry.  “Go and seek the queen then,”
 said the prince, “and tell her of the pleasantry that is going on; as for
me, I hold it to be very certain that I am arrested.”  The chancellor
went out, and did not return.  M. Servien, who had gone to speak to the
cardinal, likewise did not appear again.  M. de Guitaut entered alone.
“The queen cannot see you, my lord,” he said.  “Very well; I am content;
let us obey,” answered the prince: “but whither are you going to take us?
I pray you let it be to a warm place.”  “We are going to the wood of
Vincennes, my lord,” said Guitaut.  The prince turned to the company and
took his leave without uneasiness and with the calmest countenance: as he
was embracing M. de Brienne, secretary of state, he said to him, “Sir, as
I have often received from you marks of your friendship and generosity, I
flatter myself that you will some day tell the king the services I have
rendered him.”  The princes went out; and, as they descended the
staircase, Conde leaned towards Comminges, who commanded the detachment
of guards, saying, “Comminges, you are a man of honor and a gentleman;
have I anything to fear?”  Comminges assured him he had not, and that the
orders were merely to escort him to the wood of Vincennes. The carriage
upset on the way; as soon as it was righted, Comminges ordered the driver
to urge on his horses.  The prince burst out laughing.  “Don’t be afraid,
Comminges,” he said; “there is nobody to come to my assistance; I swear
to you that I had not taken any precautions against this trip.”  On
arriving at the castle of Vincennes, there were no beds to be found, and
the three princes passed the night playing at cards; the Princess of
Conde and the dowager princess received orders to retire to their
estates; the Duchess of Longueville, fearing with good cause that she
would be arrested, had taken with all speed the road to Normandy, whither
she went and took refuge at Dieppe, in her husband’s government.

The state-stroke had succeeded; Mazarin’s skill and prudence once more
check-mated all the intrigues concocted against him; when the news was
told to Chavigny, in spite of all his reasons for bearing malice against
the cardinal, who had driven him from the council and kept him for some
time in prison, he exclaimed, “That is a great misfortune for the prince
and his friends; but the truth must be told: the cardinal has done quite
right; without it he would have been ruined.”  The contest was begun
between Mazarin and the great Conde, and it was not with the prince that
the victory was to remain.

Already hostilities were commencing; Mazarin had done everything for the
Frondeurs who remained faithful to him, but the house of Conde was
rallying all its partisans; the Dukes of Bouillon and La Rochefoucauld
had thrown themselves into Bordeaux, which was in revolt against the
royal authority, represented by the Duke of Epernon.  The Princess of
Conde and her young son left Chantilly to join them; Madame de
Longueville occupied Stenay, a strong place belonging to the Prince of
Conde: she had there found Turenne; on the other hand, the queen had just
been through Normandy; all the towns had opened their gates to her; it
was just the same in Burgundy; the Princess of Conde’s able agent, Lenet,
could not obtain a declaration from the Parliament of Dijon in her favor.
Bordeaux was the focus of the insurrection; the people, passionately
devoted to “the dukes,” as the saying was, were forcing the hand of the
Parliament; riots were frequent in the town; the little king, with the
queen and the cardinal, marched in person upon Bordeaux; one of the
faubourgs was attacked, the dukes negotiated and obtained a general
amnesty, but no mention was made of the princes’ release.

The Parliament of Paris took the matter up.  The premier president spoke
in so bitter a tone of the unhappy policy of the minister, that the
little king, feeling hurt, told his mother that, if he had thought it
would not displease her, he would have made the premier president hold
his tongue, and would have dismissed him.  On the 30th of January, Anne
of Austria sent word to the Parliament that she would consent to grant
the release of the princes, “provided that the armaments of Stenay and of
M. de Turenne might be discontinued.”  But it was too late; the Duke of
Orleans had made a treaty with the princes.  England served as pretext.
Mazarin compared the Parliament to the House of Commons, and the
coadjutor to Cromwell.  Monsieur took the matter up for his friends, and
was angry.  He openly declared that he would not set foot again in the
Palais-Royal as long as he was liable to meet the cardinal there, and
joined the Parliament in demanding the removal of Mazarin.  The queen
replied that nobody had a right to interfere in the choice of ministers.
By way of answer, the Parliament laid injunctions upon all the officers
of the crown to obey none but the Duke of Orleans, lieutenant general of
the kingdom.  A meeting of the noblesse, at a tumultuous assembly in the
house of the Duke of Nemours, expressed themselves in the same sense.  It
was the 6th of February, 1651: during the night, Cardinal Mazarin set out
for St. Germain; a rumor spread in Paris that the queen was preparing to
follow him with the king; a rush was made to the Palais-Royal: the king
was in his bed.  Next day, Anne of Austria complained to the Parliament.
“The prince is at liberty,” said the premier president, “and the king,
the king our master, is a prisoner.”  “Monsieur, who felt no fear,” says
Retz, “because he had been more cheered in the streets and the hall of
the palace than he had ever been,” answered with vivacity, “The king was
a prisoner in the hands of Mazarin; but, thank God, he is not any
longer.”  The premier president was right; the king was a prisoner to the
Parisians; patrols of burgesses were moving incessantly round the Palais-
Royal; one night the queen was obliged to let the people into her
chamber; the king was asleep; and two officers of the town-guard watched
for some hours at his pillow.  The yoke of Richelieu and the omnipotence
of Mazarin were less hard for royalty to bear than the capricious and
jealous tyranny of the populace.

The cardinal saw that he was beaten; he made up his mind, and,
anticipating the queen’s officers, he hurried to Le Havre to release the
prisoners himself; he entered the castle alone, the governor having
refused entrance to the guards who attended him.  “The prince told me,”
 says Mdlle. de Montpensier, “that, when they were dining together,
Cardinal Mazarin was not so much in the humor to laugh as he himself was,
and that he was very much embarrassed.  Liberty to be gone had more
charms for the prince than the cardinal’s company.  He said that he felt
marvellous delight at finding himself outside Le Havre, with his sword at
his side; and he might well be pleased to wear it; he is a pretty good
hand at using it.  As he went out he turned to the cardinal and said,
‘Farewell, Cardinal Mazarin,’ who kissed ‘the tip of sleeve’ to him.”

The cardinal had slowly taken the road to exile, summoning to him his
nieces, Mdlles. Mancini and Martinozzi, whom he had, a short time since,
sent for to court; he crossed from Normandy into Picardy, made some stay
at Doullens, and, impelled by his enemies’ hatred, he finally crossed the
frontier on the 12th of March.  The Parliament had just issued orders for
his arrest in any part of France.  On the 6th of April, he fixed his
quarters at Bruhl, a little town belonging to the electorate of Cologne,
in the same territory which had but lately sheltered the last days of
Mary de’ Medici.

The Frondeurs, old and new, had gained the day; but even now there was
disorder in their camp.  Conde had returned to the court “like a raging
lion, seeking to devour everybody, and, in revenge for his imprisonment,
to set fire to the four corners of the realm.”  [_Memoires de Montglat._]
After a moment’s reconciliation with the queen, be began to show himself
more and more haughty towards her in his demands every day; he required
the dismissal of the ministers Le Tellier, Servien, and Lionne, all three
creatures of the cardinal and in correspondence with him at Bruhl; as
Anne of Austria refused, the prince retired to St. Maur; he was already
in negotiation with Spain, being inveigled into treason by the influence
of his sister, Madame de Longueville, who would not leave the Duke of
La Rochefoucauld or return into Normandy to her husband.  Fatal results
of a guilty passion which enlisted against his country the arms of the
hero of Rocroi!  When he returned to Paris, the queen had, in fact,
dismissed her ministers, but she had formed a fresh alliance with the
coadjutor, and, on the 17th of August, in the presence of an assembly
convoked for that purpose at the Palais-Royal, she openly denounced the
intrigues of the prince with Spain, accusing him of being in
correspondence with the archduke.  Next day Conde brought the matter
before the Parliament.  The coadjutor quite expected the struggle, and
had brought supporters; the queen had sent some soldiers; the prince
arrived with a numerous attendance.  On entering, he said to the company,
that he could not sufficiently express his astonishment at the condition
in which he found the palace, which seemed to him more like a camp than a
temple of justice, and that it was not merely that there could be found
in the kingdom people insolent enough to presume to dispute (superiority)
the pavement (disputer le pave) with him.  “I made him a deep obeisance,”
 says Retz, “and said that, I very humbly begged his Highness to pardon me
if I told him that I did not believe that there was anybody in the
kingdom insolent enough to dispute the wall (le haut du pave) with him,
but I was persuaded that there were some who could not and ought not, for
their dignity’s sake, to yield the pavement (quitter le pave) to any but
the king.  The prince replied that he would make me yield it.  I said
that that would not be easy.”  The dispute grew warm; the presidents
flung themselves between the disputants; Conde yielded to their
entreaties, and begged the Duke of La Rochefoucauld to go and tell his
friends to withdraw.  The coadjutor went out to make the same request to
his friends.  “When he would have returned into the usher’s little
court,” writes Mdlle. de Montpensier, “he met at the door the Duke of La
Rochefoucauld, who shut it in his face, just keeping it ajar to see who
accompanied the coadjutor; he, seeing the door ajar, gave it a good push,
but he could not pass quite through, and remained as it were jammed
between the two folds, unable to get in or out.  The Duke of La
Rochefoucauld had fastened the door with an iron catch, keeping it so to
prevent its opening any wider.  The coadjutor was ‘in an ugly position,
for he could not help fearing lest a dagger should pop out and take his
life from behind.  A complaint was made to the grand chamber, and
Champlatreux, son of the premier president, went out, and, by his
authority, had the door opened, in spite of the Duke of La
Rochefoucauld.”  The coadjutor protested, and the Duke of Brissac, his
relative, threatened the Duke of La Rochefoucauld; whereupon the latter
said that, if he had them outside, he would strangle them both; to which
the coadjutor replied, “My dear La Franchise (the duke’s nickname), do
not act the bully; you are a poltroon and I am a priest; we shall not do
one another much harm.”  There was no fighting, and the Parliament,
supported by the Duke of Orleans, obtained from the queen a declaration
of the innocence of the Prince of Conde, and at the same time a formal
disavowal of Mazarin’s policy, and a promise never to recall him.  Anne
of Austria yielded everything; the king’s majority was approaching, and
she flattered herself that under cover of his name she would be able to
withdraw the concessions which she felt obliged to make as regent.  Her
declaration, nevertheless, deeply wounded Mazarin, who was still taking
refuge at Bruhl, whence he wrote incessantly to the queen, who did not
neglect his counsels.  “Ten times I have taken up my pen to write to
you,” he said on the 26th of September, 1651 [_Lettres du Cardinal
Mazarin a la Reine,_ pp. 292, 293], “but could not, and I am so beside
myself at the mortal wound I have just received, that I am not sure
whether anything I could say to you would have rhyme or reason.  The king
and the queen, by an authentic deed, have declared me a traitor, a public
robber, an incapable, and an enemy to the repose of Christendom, after I
had served them with so many signs of my devotion to the advancement of
peace: it is no longer a question of property, repose, or whatever else
there may be of the sort.  I demand the honor which has been taken from
me, and that I be let alone, renouncing very heartily the cardinalate and
the benefices, whereof I send in my resignation joyfully, consenting
willingly to have given up to France twenty-three years of the best of my
life, all my pains and my little of wealth, and merely to withdraw with
the honor which I had when I began to serve her.”  The persistent hopes
of the adroit Italian appeared once more in the postscript of the letter:
“I had forgotten to tell you that it was not the way to set me right in
the eyes of the people to impress upon their mind that I am the cause of
all the evils they suffer, and of all the disorders of the realm, in such
sort that my ministry will be held in horror forever.”

Conde did not permit himself to be caught by the queen’s declarations:
of all the princes he alone was missing at the ceremony of the bed of
justice whereat the youthful Louis XIV., when entering his fourteenth
year, announced, on the 7th of September, to his people that, according
the laws of his realm, he “intended himself to assume the government,
hoping of God’s goodness that it would be with piety and justice.”  The
prince had retired to Chantilly, on the pretext that the new minister,
the president of the council, Chateauneuf, and the keeper of the seals,
Matthew Mole, were not friends of his.  The Duchess of Longueville at
last carried the day; Conde was resolved upon civil war.  “You would have
it,” he said to his sister on repelling the envoy, who had followed him
to Bourges, from the queen and the Duke of Orleans; “remember that I draw
the sword in spite of myself, but I will be the last to sheathe it.”  And
he kept his word.

A great disappointment awaited the rebels; they had counted upon the Duke
of Bouillon and M. de Turenne, but neither of them would join the
faction.  The relations between the two great generals had not been
without rubs; Turenne had, moreover, felt some remorse because he, being
a general in the king’s army, had but lately declared against the court,
“doing thereby a deed at which Le Balafro and Admiral de Coligny would
have hesitated,” says Cardinal de Retz.  The two brothers went, before
long, and offered their services to the queen.

Meanwhile Conde had arrived at Bordeaux: a part of Guienne, Saintonge,
and Porigord had declared in his favor; Count d’Harcourt, at the head of
the royal troops, marched against La Rochelle, which he took from the
revolters under the very beard of the prince, who had come from Bordeaux
to the assistance of the place, whilst the king and the queen, resolutely
quitting Paris, advanced from town to town as far as Poitiers, keeping
the centre of France to its allegiance by their mere presence.  The
treaty of the Prince of Conde with Spain was concluded: eight Spanish
vessels, having money and troops on board, entered the Gironde.  Conde
delivered over to them the castle and harbor of Talmont.  The queen had
commissioned the cardinal to raise levies in Germany, and he had already
entered the country of Liege, embodying troops and forming alliances.  On
the 17th of November, Anne of Austria finally wrote to Mazarin to return
to the king’s assistance.  In the presence of Conde’s rebellion she had
no more appearances to keep up with anybody; and it was already in the
master’s tone that Mazarin wrote to the queen, on the 30th of October, to
put her on her guard against the Duke of Orleans: “The power committed to
his Royal Highness and the neutrality permitted to him, being as he is
wholly devoted to the prince, surrounded by his partisans, and adhering
blindly to their counsels, are matters highly prejudicial to the king’s
service, and, for my part, I do not see how one can be a servant of the
king’s, with ever so little judgment and knowledge of affairs, and yet
dispute these truths.  The queen, then, must bide her time to remedy all
this.”

The cardinal’s penetration had not deceived him; the Duke of Orleans was
working away in Paris, where the queen had been obliged to leave him, on
the Prince of Conde’s side.  The Parliament had assembled to enregister
against the princes the proclamation of high treason despatched from
Bourges by the court; Gaston demanded that it should be sent back,
threatened as they were, he said, with a still greater danger than the
rebellion of the princes in the return of Mazarin, who was even now
advancing to the frontier; but the premier president took no notice, and
put the proclamation to the vote in these words “It is a great misfortune
when princes of the blood give occasion for such proclamations, but this
is a common and ordinary misfortune in the kingdom, and, for five or six
centuries past, it may be said that they have been the scourges of the
people and the enemies of the monarchy.”  The decree passed by a hundred
votes to forty.

On the 24th of December, the cardinal crossed the frontier with a large
body of troops, and was received at Sedan by Lieutenant General Fabert,
faithful to his fortunes even in exile.  The Parliament was furious,
and voted, almost unanimously, that the cardinal and his adherents were
guilty of high treason; ordering the communes to hound him down, and
promising, from the proceeds of his furniture and library which were
about to be sold, a sum of five hundred thousand livres to whoever should
take him dead or alive.  At once began the sale of the magnificent
library which the cardinal had liberally opened to the public.  The
dispersion of the books was happily stopped in time to still leave a
nucleus for the Mazarin Library.

Meanwhile Mazarin had not allowed himself to be frightened by
parliamentary decrees or by dread of assassins.  Re-entering France with
six thousand men, he forced the passage of Pontsur-Yonne, in spite of the
two councillors of the Parliaments who were commissioned to have him
arrested; the Duke of Beaufort, at the head of Monsieur’s troops, did not
even attempt to impede his march; and, on the 28th of January, the
cardinal entered Poitiers, at once resuming his place beside the king,
who had come to meet him a league from the town.  The court took
leisurely the road to Paris.

The coadjutor had received the price of his services in the royal cause;
he was a cardinal “sooner,” said he, “than Mazarias would have had him;”
 and so the new prince of the church considered himself released from any
gratitude to the court, and sought to form a third party, at the head of
which was to be placed the Duke of Orleans as nominal head.  Monsieur,
harried by intrigues in all directions, remained in a state of inaction,
and made a pretension of keeping Paris neutral; his daughter, Mdlle. de
Montpensier, who detested Anne of Austria and Mazarin, and would have
liked to marry the king, had boldly taken the side of the princes; the
court had just arrived at Blois, on the 27th of March, 1652; the keeper
of the seals, Mole, presented himself in front of Orleans to summon the
town to open its gates to the king; at that very moment arrived Mdlle.,
the great Mdlle., as she was then called; and she claimed possession of
Orleans in her father’s name.  “It was the appanage of Monsieur; but the
gates were shut and barricaded.  After they had been told that it was I,”
 writes Mdlle., “they did not open; and I was there three hours.  The
governor sent me some sweetmeats, and what appeared to me rather funny
was that he gave me to understand that he had no influence.  At the
window of the sentry-box was the Marquis d’Halluys, who watched me
walking up and down by the fosse.  The rampart was fringed with people
who shouted incessantly, ‘Hurrah for the king! hurrah for the princes!
None of your Mazarin!’  I could not help calling out to them, ‘Go to the
Hotel de Ville and get the gate opened to me!’  The captain made signs
that he had not the keys.  I said to him, ‘It must be burst open, and you
owe me more allegiance than to the gentlemen of the town, seeing that I
am your master’s daughter.’  The boatmen offered to break open for me a
gate which was close by there.  I told them to make haste, and I mounted
upon a pretty high mound of earth overlooking that gate.  I thought but
little about any nice way of getting thither; I climbed like a cat; I
held on to briers and thorns, and I leapt all the hedges without hurting
myself at all; two boats were brought up to serve me for a bridge, and in
the second was placed a ladder by which I mounted.  The gate was burst at
last.  Two planks had been forced out of the middle; signs were made to
me to advance; and as there was a great deal of mud, a footman took me
up, carried me along, and put me through this hole, through which I had
no sooner passed my head than the drums began beating.  I gave my hand to
the captain, and said to him, “You will be very glad that you can boast
of having managed to get me in.”

[Illustration: The Great Mademoiselle----373]

The keeper of the seals was obliged to return to Blois, and Mdlle. kept
Orleans, but without being able to effect an entrance for the troops of
the Dukes of Nemours and Beaufort, who had just tried a surprise against
the court.  Had it not been for the aid of Turenne, who had defended the
bridge of Jargeau, the king might have fallen into the hands of his
revolted subjects.  The queen rested at Gien whilst the princes went on
as far as Montargis, thus cutting off the communications of the court
with Paris.  Turenne was preparing to fall upon his incapable adversaries
when the situation suddenly changed: the, Prince of Conde, weary of the
bad state of his affairs in Guienne, where the veteran soldiers of the
Count of Harcourt had the advantage everywhere over the new levies, had
traversed France in disguise, and forming a junction, on the 1st of
April, with the Dukes of Nemours and Beaufort, threw himself upon the
quarters of Marshal d’Hocquincourt, defeated him, burned his camp, and
drove him back to Bldneau; a rapid march on the part of Turenne, coming
to the aid of his colleague, forced Conde to fall back upon Chatillon;
on the 11th of April he was in Paris.

The princes had relied upon the irritation caused by the return of
Mazarin to draw Paris into the revolt, but they were only half
successful; the Parliament would scarcely give Conde admittance;
President de Bailleul, who occupied the chair in the absence of Mole,
declared that the body always considered it an honor to see the prince in
their midst, but that they would have preferred not to see him there in
the state in which he was at the time, with his hands still bloody from
the defeat of the king’s troops.  Amelot, premier president of the Court
of Aids, said to the prince’s face, “that it was a matter of
astonishment, after many battles delivered or sustained against his
Majesty’s troops, to see him not only returning to Paris without having
obtained letters of amnesty, but still appearing amongst the sovereign
bodies as if he gloried in the spoils of his Majesty’s subjects, and
causing the drum to be beaten for levying troops, to be paid by money
coming from Spain, in the capital of the realm, the most loyal city
possessed by the king.”  The city of Paris resolved not to make “common
cause or furnish money to assist the princes against the king under
pretext of its being against Mazarin.”  The populace alone were favorable
to the princes’ party.

Meanwhile Turenne had easy work with the secondary generals remaining at
the head of the factious army; by his able maneeuvres he had covered the
march of the court, which established itself at St. Germain.

Conde assembled his forces encamped around Paris: he intended to fortify
himself at the confluence of the Seine and the Marne, hoping to be
supported by the little army which had just been brought up by Duke
Charles of Lorraine, as capricious and adventurous as ever.  Turenne and
the main body of his troops barred the passage.  Conde threw himself back
upon Faubourg St. Antoine, and there intrenched himself, at the outlet of
the three principal streets which abutted upon Porte St. Antoine (now
Place do la Bastille).  Turenne had meant to wait for re-enforcements and
artillery, but the whole court had flocked upon the heights of Charonne
to see the fight; pressure was put upon him, and the marshal gave the
word to attack.  The army of the Fronde fought with fury.  “I did not see
a Prince of Conde,” Turenne used to say; “I saw more than a dozen.”  The
king’s soldiers had entered the houses, thus turning the barricades;
Marshal Ferte had just arrived with the artillery, and was sweeping Rue
St. Antoine.  The princes’ army was about to be driven back to the foot
of the walls of Paris, when the cannon of the Bastille, replying all on a
sudden to the volleys of the royal troops, came like a thunderbolt on M.
de Turenne; the Porte St. Antoine opened, and the Parisians, under arms,
fringing the streets, protected the return of the rebel army.  Mdlle. de
Montpensier had taken the command of the city of Paris.

For a week past the Duke of Orleans had been ill, or pretended to be; he
refused to give any order.  When the prince began his movement, on the 2d
of July, early, he sent to beg Mdlle. not to desert him.  “I ran to the
Luxembourg,” she says, “and I found Monsieur at the top of the stairs.
‘I thought I should find you in bed,’ said I; ‘Count Fiesque told me that
you didn’t feel well.’ He answered, ‘I am not ill enough for that, but
enough not to go out.’  I begged him to ride out to the aid of the
prince, or, at any rate, to go to bed and assume to be ill; but I could
get nothing from him.  I went so far as to say, ‘Short of having a treaty
with the court in your pocket, I cannot understand how you can take
things so easily; but can you really have one to sacrifice the prince to
Cardinal Mazarin?’  He made no reply: all I said lasted quite an hour,
during which every friend we had might have been killed, and the prince
as well as another, without anybody’s caring; nay, there were people of
Monsieur’s in high spirits, hoping that the prince would perish; they
were friends of Cardinal de Retz.  At last Monsieur gave me a letter for
the gentlemen of the Hotel, leaving it to me to tell them his intention.
I was there in a moment, assuring those present that, if ill luck would
have it that the enemy should beat the prince, no more quarter would be
shown to Paris than to the men who bore arms.  Marshal de l’Hopital,
governor of Paris for the king, said to me, ‘You are aware, Mdlle., that
if your troops had not approached this city, those of the king would not
have come thither, and that they only came to drive them away.’  Madame
de Nemours did not like this, and began to argue the point.  I broke off
their altercation.  ‘Consider, sir, that, whilst time is being wasted in
discussing useless matters, the prince is in danger in your faubourgs.’”
 She carried with her the aid of the Duke of Orleans’ troops, and
immediately moved forwards, meeting everywhere on her road her friends
wounded or dying.  “When I was near the gate, I went into the house of an
exchequer-master (maitre des comptes).  As soon as I was there, the
prince came thither to see me; he was in a pitiable state; he had two
fingers’ breadth of dust on his face, and his hair all matted; his collar
and his shirt were covered with blood, although he was not wounded; his
breastplate was riddled all over; and he held his sword bare in his hand,
having lost the scabbard.  He said to me, ‘You see a man in despair; I
have lost all my friends; MM. de Nemours, de la Rochefoucauld, and
Clinchamps are wounded to death.’  I consoled him a little by telling him
that they were in better case than he supposed.  Then I went off to the
Bastille, where I made them load the cannon which was trained right upon
the city; and I gave orders to fire as soon as I had gone.  I went thence
to the Porte St. Antoine.  The soldiers shouted, ‘Let us do something
that will astonish them; our retreat is secure; here is Mdlle. at the
gate, and she will have it opened for us, if we are hard pressed.’  The
prince gave orders to march back into the city; he seemed to me quite
different from what he had been early in the day, though he had not
changed at all; he paid me a thousand compliments and thanks for the
great service he considered that I had rendered him.  I said to him,
‘I have a favor to ask of you: that is, not to say anything to Monsieur
about the laches he has displayed towards you.’  At this very moment up
came Monsieur, who embraced the prince with as gay an air as if he had
not left him at all in the lurch.  The prince confessed that he had never
been in so dangerous a position.”

The fight at Porte St. Antoine had not sufficiently compromised the
Parisians, who began to demand peace at any price.  The mob, devoted to
the princes, set themselves to insult in the street all those who did not
wear in their hats a tuft of straw, the rallying sign of the faction.  On
the 4th of July, at the general assembly of the city, when the king’s
attorney-general proposed to conjure his Majesty to return to Paris
without Cardinal Mazarin, the princes, who demanded the union of the
Parisians with themselves, rose up and went out, leaving the assembly to
the tender mercies of the crowd assembled on the Place de Greve.  “Down
on the Mazarins!” was the cry; “there are none but Mazarins any longer at
the Hotel de Ville!”  Fire was applied to the doors defended by the
archers; all the outlets were guarded by men beside themselves; more than
thirty burgesses of note were massacred; many died of their wounds, the
Hotel de Ville was pillaged, Marshal de l’Hopital escaped with great
difficulty, and the provost of tradesmen yielded up his office to
Councillor Broussel.  Terror reigned in Paris: it was necessary to drag
the magistrates to the Palace of Justice to decree, on the 19th of July,
by seventy-four votes against sixty-nine, that the Duke of Orleans should
be appointed “lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and the Prince of Conde
commandant of all the armies.”  The usurpation of the royal authority was
flagrant, the city-assembly voted subsidies, and Paris wrote to all the
good towns of France to announce to them her resolution.  Chancellor
Seguier had the poltroonery to accept the presidency of the council,
offered him by the Duke of Orleans; he thus avenged himself for the
preference the, queen had but lately shown for Mole by confiding the
seals to him.  At the same time the Spaniards were entering France; for
all the strong places were dismantled or disgarrisoned.  The king,
obliged to confront civil war, had abandoned his frontiers; Gravelines
had fallen on the 18th of May, and the arch-duke had undertaken the siege
of Dunkerque.  At Conde’s instance, he detached a body of troops, which
he sent, under the orders of Count Fuendalsagna, to join the Duke of
Lorraine, who had again approached Paris.  Everywhere the fortune of arms
appeared to be against the king.  “This year we lost Barcelona,
Catalonia, and Casale, the key of Italy,” says Cardinal de Retz.  We saw
Brisach in revolt, on the point of falling once more into the hands of
the house of Austria.  We saw the flags and standards of Spain fluttering
on the Pont Neuf, the yellow scarfs of Lorraine appeared in Paris as
freely as the isabels and the blues.”  Dissension, ambition, and
poltroonery were delivering France over to the foreigner.

The evil passions of men, under the control of God, help sometimes to
destroy and sometimes to preserve them.  The interests of the Spaniards
and of the Prince of Conde were not identical.  He desired to become the
master of France, and to command in the king’s name; the enemy were
laboring to humiliate France and to prolong the war indefinitely: The
arch-duke recalled Count Fuendalsagna to Dunkerque; and Turenne,
withstanding the terrors of the court, which would fain have fled first
into Normandy and then to Lyons, prevailed upon the queen to establish
herself at Pontoise, whilst the army occupied Compiegne.  At every point
cutting off the passage of the Duke of Lorraine, who had been re-enforced
by a body of Spaniards, Turenne held the enemy in check for three weeks,
and prevented them from marching on Paris.  All parties began to tire of
hostilities.

Cardinal Mazarin took his line, and loudly demanded of the king
permission to withdraw, in order, by his departure, to restore peace to
the kingdom.  The queen refused.  “There is no consideration shown,” she
said, “for my son’s honor and my own; we will not suffer him to go away.”
 But the cardinal insisted.  Prudent and far-sighted as he was, he knew
that to depart was the only way of remaining.  He departed on the 19th of
August, but without leaving the frontier: he took up his quarters at
Bouillon.  The queen had summoned the Parliament to her at Pontoise.  A
small number of magistrates responded to her summons, enough, however, to
give the queen the right to proclaim rebellious the Parliament remaining
at Paris.  Chancellor Srguier made his escape, in order to go and rejoin
the court.  Nobody really believed in the cardinal’s withdrawal; men are
fond of yielding to appear ances in order to excuse in their own eyes a
change in their own purposes.  Disorder went on increasing in Paris; the
great lords, in their discontent, were quarrelling one with another; the
Prince of Conde struck M. de Rieux, who returned the blow; the Duke of
Nemours was killed in a duel by M. de Beaufort; the burgesses were
growing weary of so much anarchy; a public display of feeling in favor
of peace took place on the 24th of September in the garden of the
Palais-Royal; those present stuck in their hats pieces of white paper in
opposition to the Frondeurs’ tufts of straw.  People fought in the
streets on behalf of these tokens. For some weeks past Cardinal de Retz
had remained inactive, and his friends pressed him to move.  “You see
quite well,” they said, “that Mazarin is but a sort of jack-in-the-box,
out of sight to-day and popping up to-morrow; but you also see that,
whether he be in or out, the spring that sends him up or down is that of
the royal authority, the which will not, apparently, be so very soon
broken by the means taken to break it.  The obligation you are under
towards Monsieur, and even towards the public, as regards Mazarin, does
not allow you to work for his restoration; he is no longer here, and,
though his absence may be nothing but a mockery and a delusion, it
nevertheless gives you an opportunity for taking certain steps which
naturally lead to that which is for your good.”  Retz lost no time in
going to Compiegne, where the king had installed himself after Mazarin’s
departure; he took with him a deputation of the clergy, and received in
due form the cardinal’s hat.  He was the bearer of proposals for an
accommodation from the Duke of Orleans, but the queen cut him short.  The
court perceived its strength, and the instructions of Cardinal Mazarin
were precise.  The ruin of De Retz was from that moment resolved upon.

The Prince of Conde was ill; he had left the command of his troops to M.
do Tavannes; during the night between the 5th and 6th of October, Turenne
struck his camp at Villeneuve St. Georges, crossed the Seine at Corbeil,
the Marne at Meaux, without its being in the enemy’s power to stop him,
and established himself in the neighborhood of Dammartin.  Conde was
furious.  “Tavannes and Vallon ought to wear bridles,” he said; “they are
asses;” he left his house, and placed himself once more at the head of
his army, at first following after Turenne, and soon to sever himself
completely from that Paris which was slipping away from him.  “He would
find himself more at home at the head of four squadrons in the Ardennes
than commanding a dozen millions of such fellows as we have here, without
excepting President Charton,” said the Duke of Orleans.  “The prince was
wasting away with sheer disgust; he was so weary of hearing all the talk
about Parliament, court of aids, chambers in assembly, and Hotel de
Ville, that he would often declare that his grandfather had never been
more fatigued by the parsons of La Rochelle.”  The great Conde was
athirst for the thrilling emotions of war; and the crime he committed was
to indulge at any price that boundless passion.  Ever victorious at the
head of French armies, he was about to make experience of defeat in the
service of the foreigner.

The king had proclaimed a general amnesty on the 18th of October; and on
the 21st he set out in state for Paris.  The Duke of Orleans still
wavered.  “You wanted peace,” said Madame, “when it depended but on you
to make war; you now want war when you can make neither war nor peace.
It is of no use to think any longer of anything but going with a good
grace to meet the king.”  At these words he exclaimed aloud, as if it had
been proposed to him to go and throw himself in the river.  “And where
the devil should I go?”  he answered.  He remained at the Luxembourg.  On
drawing near Paris, the king sent word to his uncle that he would have to
leave the city.  Gaston replied in the following letter:--

     “MONSEIGNEUR: Having understood from my cousin the Duke of Danville
     and from Sieur d’Aligre, the respect that your Majesty would have me
     pay you, I most humbly beseech your Majesty to allow me to assure
     you by these lines that I do not propose to remain in Paris longer
     than tillto-morrow; and that I will go my way to my house at
     Limours, having no more passionate desire than to testify by my
     perfect obedience that I am, with submission,

     “Monseigneur,
     “Your most humble and most obedient servant and subject,
     “GASTON.”

The Duke of Orleans retired before long to his castle at Blois, where he
died in 1660; deserted, towards the end of his life, by all the friends
he had successively abandoned and betrayed.  “He had, with the exception
of courage, all that was necessary to make an honorable man,” says
Cardinal de Retz, “but weakness was predominant in his heart through
fear, and in his mind through irresolution; it disfigured the whole
course of his life.  He engaged in everything because he had not strength
to resist those who drew him on, and he always came out disgracefully,
because he had not the courage to support them.”  He was a prey to fear,
fear of his friends as well as of his enemies.

The Fronde was all over, that of the gentry of the long robe as well as
that of the gentry of the sword.  The Parliament of Paris was once more
falling in the state to the rank which had been assigned to it by
Richelieu, and from which it had wanted to emerge by a supreme effort.
The attempt had been the same in France as in England, however different
had been the success.  It was the same yearnings of patriotism and
freedom, the same desire on the part of the country to take an active
part in its own government, which had inspired the opposition of the
Parliament of England to the despotism of Charles I., and the opposition
of the French Parliaments to Richelieu as well as to Mazarin.  It was
England’s good fortune to have but one Parliament of politicians, instead
of ten Parliaments of magistrates, the latter more fit for the theory
than the practice of public affairs; and the Reformation had, beforehand,
accustomed its people to discussion as well as to liberty.  Its great
lords and its gentlemen placed themselves from the first at the head of
the national movement, demanding nothing and expecting nothing for
themselves from the advantages they claimed for their country.  The
remnant of the feudal system had succumbed with the Duke of Montmorency
under Richelieu; France knew not the way to profit by the elements of
courage, disinterestedness, and patriotism offered her by her magistracy;
she had the misfortune to be delivered over to noisy factions of princes
and great lords, ambitious or envious, greedy of honors and riches, as
ready to fight the court as to be on terms with it, and thinking far more
of their own personal interests than of the public service.  Without any
unity of action or aim, and by turns excited and dismayed by the examples
that came to them from England, the Frondeurs had to guide them no
Hampden or Cromwell; they had at their backs neither people nor army; the
English had been able to accomplish a revolution; the Fronde failed
before the dexterous prudence of Mazarin and the queen’s fidelity to her
minister.  In vain did the coadjutor aspire to take his place; Anne of
Austria had not forgotten the Earl of Strafford.--Cardinal de Retz
learned before long the hollowness of his hopes.  On the 19th of
December, 1652, as he was repairing to the Louvre, he was arrested by M.
de Villequier, captain of the guards on duty, and taken the same evening
to the Bois de Vincennes; there was a great display of force in the
street and around the carriage; but nobody moved,  whether it were,” says
Retz, “that the dejection of the people was too great, or that those who
were well-inclined towards me lost courage on seeing nobody at their
head.”  People were tired of raising barricades and hounding down the
king’s soldiers.

“I was taken into a large room where there were neither hangings nor bed;
that which was brought in about eleven o’clock at night was of Chinese
taffeta, not at all the thing for winter furniture.  I slept very well,
which must not be attributed to stout-heartedness, because misfortune has
naturally that effect upon me.  I have on more than one occasion
discovered that it wakes me in the morning and sends me to sleep at
night.  I was obliged to get up the next day without a fire, because
there was no wood to make one, and the three exons who had been posted
near me had the kindness to assure me that I should not be without it the
next day.  He who remained alone on guard over me took it for himself,
and I was a whole fortnight, at Christmas, in a room as big as a church,
without warming myself.  I do not believe that there could be found under
heaven another man like this exon.  He stole my linen, my clothes, my
boots, and I was sometimes obliged to stay in bed eight or ten days for
lack of anything to put on.  I could not believe that I was subjected to
such treatment without orders from some superior, and without some mad
notion of making me die of vexation.  I fortified myself against that
notion, and I resolved at any rate not to die that kind of death.  At
last I got him into the habit of not tormenting me any more, by dint of
letting him see that I did not torment myself at all.  In point of fact I
had risen pretty nearly superior to all these ruses, for which I had a
supreme contempt; but I could not assume the same loftiness of spirit in
respect of the prison’s entity (substance), if one may use the term, and
the sight of myself, every morning when I awoke, in the hands of my
enemies made me perceive that I was anything rather than a stoic.”
 The Archbishop of Paris had just died, and the dignity passed to his
coadjutor; as the price of his release, Mazarin demanded his resignation.
The clergy of Paris were highly indignant; Cardinal de Retz was removed
to the castle of Nantes, whence he managed to make his escape in August,
1653; for nine years he lived abroad, in Spain, Italy, and Germany,
everywhere mingling in the affairs of Europe, engaged in intrigue, and
not without influence; when at last he returned to France, in 1662, he
resigned the archbishopric of Paris, and established himself in the
principality of Commercy, which belonged to him, occupied up to the day
of his death in paying his debts, doing good to his friends and servants,
writing his memoirs, and making his peace with God.  This was in those
days a solicitude which never left the most worldly: the Prince of Conti
had died very devout, and Madame de Longueville had just expired at the
Carmelites’, after twenty-five years’ penance, when Cardinal de Retz died
on the 24th of August, 1679.  At the time of his arrest, it was a common
saying of the people in the street that together with “Cardinal de Retz
it would have been a very good thing to imprison Cardinal Mazarin as
well, in order to teach them of the clergy not to meddle for the future
in the things of this world.”  Language which was unjust to the grand
government of Cardinal Richelieu, unjust even to Cardinal Mazarin.  The
latter was returning with greater power than ever at the moment when
Cardinal de Retz, losing forever the hope of supplanting him in power,
was beginning that life of imprisonment and exile which was ultimately to
give him time to put retirement and repentance between himself and death.

Cardinal Mazarin had once more entered France, but he had not returned to
Paris.  The Prince of Conde, soured by the ill-success of the Fronde and
demented by illimitable pride, had not been ashamed to accept the title
of generalissimo of the Spanish armies; Turenne had succeeded in hurling
him back into Luxembourg, and it was in front of Bar, besieged, that
Mazarin, with a body of four thousand men, joined the French army; Bar
was taken, and the campaign of 1652, disastrous at nearly every point,
had just finished with this success, when the cardinal re-entered Paris
at the end of January, 1653.  Six months later, at the end of July, the
insurrection in Guienne was becoming extinguished by a series of private
conventions; the king’s armies were entering Bordeaux; the revolted
princes received their pardon, waiting, meanwhile, for the Prince of
Conti to marry, as he did next year, Mdlle. Martinozzi, one of Mazarin’s
nieces; Madame de Longueville retired to Moulin’s into the convent where
her aunt, Madame de Montmorency, had for the last twenty years been
mourning for her husband; Conde was the only rebel left, more dangerous,
for France, than all the hostile armies he commanded. Cardinal Mazarin
was henceforth all-powerful; whatever may have been the nature of the
ties which united him to the queen, he had proved their fidelity and
strength too fully to always avoid the temptation of adopting the tone of
a master; the young king’s confidence in his minister, who had brought
him up, equalled that of his mother; the merits as well as the faults of
Mazarin were accordingly free to crop out: he was neither vindictive nor
cruel towards even his most inveterate enemies, whom he could not manage,
as Richelieu did, to confound with those of the state; the excesses of
the factions had sufficed to destroy them.  “Time is an able fellow,” the
cardinal would frequently say; if people often complained of being badly
compensated for their services, Mazarin could excuse himself on the
ground of the deplorable, condition of the finances.  He nevertheless
feathered his own nest inordinately, taking care, however, not to rob the
people, it was said.  He confined himself to selling everything at a
profit to himself, even the offices of the royal household, without
making, as Richelieu had made, any “advance out of his own money to the
state, when there was none in the treasury.”  The power had been honestly
won, if the fortune were of a doubtful kind.  M. Mignet has said with his
manly precision of language, “Amidst those unreasonable disturbances
which upset for a while the judgment of the great Turenne, which, in the
case of the great Conde, turned the sword of Rocroi against France, and
which led Cardinal Retz to make so poor a use of his talent, there was
but one firm will, and that was Anne of Austria’s; but one man of good
sense, and that was Mazarin.”  [_Introduction aux Negotiations pour la
Succession d’.Espagne._]

From 1653 to 1657, Turenne, seconded by Marshal La Ferte and sometimes by
Cardinal Mazarin in person, constantly kept the Spaniards and the Prince
of Conde in check, recovering the places but lately taken from France and
relieving the besieged towns; without ever engaging in pitched battles,
he almost always had the advantage.  Mazarin resolved to strike a
decisive blow.  It was now three years since, after long negotiations,
the cardinal had concluded with Cromwell, Protector of the Commonwealth
of England, a treaty of peace and commerce, the prelude and first fruits
of a closer alliance which the able minister of Anne of Austria had not
ceased to wish for and pave the way for.  On the 23d of March, 1657, the
parleys ended at last in a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive;
it was concluded at Paris between France and England.  Cromwell promised
that a body of six thousand English, supported by a fleet prepared to
victual and aid them along the coasts, should go and join the French
army, twenty thousand strong, to make war on the Spanish Low Countries,
and especially to besiege the three forts of Gravelines, Mardyk, and
Dunkerque, the last of which was to be placed in the hands of the English
and remain in their possession.  Six weeks after the conclusion of the
treaty, the English troops disembarked at Boulogne; they were regiments
formed and trained in the long struggles of the civil war, drilled to the
most perfect discipline, of austere manners, and of resolute and stern
courage; the king came in person to receive them on their arrival; Mardyk
was soon taken and placed as pledge in the hands of the English.
Cromwell sent two fresh regiments for the siege of Dunkerque.  In the
spring of 1658, Turenne invested the place.  Louis XIV. and Mazarin went
to Calais to be present at this great enterprise.

“At Brussels,” says M. Guizot in his _Histoire de la Republique
d’Angleterre et de Cromwell,_ “neither Don Juan nor the Marquis of
Carracena would believe that Dunkerque was in danger; being at the same
time indolent and proud, they disdained the counsel, at one time of
vigilant activity and at another of prudent reserve, which was constantly
given them by  Conde; they would not have anybody come and rouse them
during their siesta if any unforeseen incident occurred, nor allow any
doubt of their success when once they were up and on horseback.  They
hurried away to the defence of Dunkerque, leaving behind them their
artillery and a portion of their cavalry.   Conde, conjured them to
intrench themselves whilst awaiting them; Don Juan, on the contrary,
was for advancing on to the dunes and marching to meet the French army.
‘You don’t reflect,’ said Conde ‘that ground is fit only for infantry,
and that of the French is more numerous and has seen more service.’
‘I am persuaded,’ replied Don Juan, ‘that they will not ever dare to look
His Most Catholic Majesty’s army in the face.’  ‘Ah! you don’t know M. de
Turenne; no mistake is made with impunity in the presence of such a man
as that.’  Don Juan persisted, and, in fact, made his way on to the
‘dunes.’  Next day, the 13th of June, Conde, more and more convinced of
the danger, made fresh efforts to make him retire.  ‘Retire!’ cried Don
Juan: ‘if the French dare fight, this will be the finest day that ever
shone on the arms of His Most Catholic Majesty.’  ‘Very fine, certainly,’
answered Conde, ‘if you give orders to retire.’  Turenne put an end to
this disagreement in the enemy’s camp.  Having made up his mind to give
battle on the 14th, at daybreak, he sent word to the English general,
Lockhart, by one of his officers who wanted at the same time to explain
the commander-in-chief’s plan and his grounds for it.  ‘All right,’
answered Lockhart: ‘I leave it to M. de Turenne; he shall tell me his
reasons after the battle, if he likes.’  A striking contrast between the
manly discipline of English good sense and the silly blindness of Spanish
pride.  Conde was not mistaken: the issue of a battle begun under such
auspices could not be doubtful.  ‘My lord,’ said he to the young Duke of
Gloucester, who was serving in the Spanish army by the side of his
brother, the Duke of York, ‘did you ever see a battle?’  ‘No, prince.’
‘Well, then, you are going to see one lost.’  The battle of the Dunes
was, in fact, totally lost by the Spaniards, after four hours’ very hard
fighting, during which the English regiments carried bravely, and with
heavy losses, the most difficult and the best defended position; all the
officers of Lockhart’s regiment, except two, were killed or wounded
before the end of the day; the Spanish army retired in disorder, leaving
four thousand prisoners in the hands of the conqueror.  ‘The enemy came
to meet us,’ wrote Turenne, in the evening, to his wife; ‘they were
beaten, God be praised!  I have worked rather hard all day; I wish you
good night, and am going to bed.’  Ten days afterwards, on the 23d of
June, 1658, the garrison of Dunkerque was exhausted; the aged governor,
the Marquis of Leyden, had been mortally wounded in a sortie; the place
surrendered, and, the next day but one, Louis XIV. entered it, but merely
to hand it over at once to the English.  ‘Though the court and the army
are in despair at the notion of letting go what he calls a rather nice
morsel,’ wrote Lockhart, the day before, to Secretary Thurloe,
‘nevertheless the cardinal is staunch to his promises, and seems as well
satisfied at giving up this place to his Highness as I am to take it.
The king, also, is extremely polite and obliging, and he has in his soul
more honesty than I had supposed.’”

The surrender of Dunkerque was soon followed by that of Gravelines and
several other towns; the great blow against the Spanish arms had been
struck; negotiations were beginning; tranquillity reigned everywhere in
France; the Parliament had caused no talk since the 20th of March, 1655,
when, they having refused to enregister certain financial edicts, for
want of liberty of suffrage, the king, setting out from the castle of
Vincennes, “had arrived early at the Palace of Justice, in scarlet jacket
and gray hat, attended by all his court in the same costume, as if he
were going to hunt the stag, which was unwonted up to that day.  When he
was in his bed of justice, he prohibited the Parliament from assembling,
and, after having said a word or two, he rose and went out, without
listening to any address.” [_Memoires de Montglat,_ t. ii.]  The
sovereign courts had learned to improve upon the old maxim of Matthew
Mole: “I am going to court; I shall tell the truth; after which the king
must be obeyed.”  Not a tongue wagged, and obedience at length was
rendered to Cardinal Mazarin as it had but lately been to Cardinal
Richelieu.

The court was taking its diversion.  “There were plenty of fine comedies
and ballets going on.  The king, who danced very well, liked them
extremely,” says Mdlle. de Montpensier, at that time exiled from Paris;
“all this did not affect me at all; I thought that I should see enough of
it on my return; but my ladies were different, and nothing could equal
their vexation at not being in all these gayeties.”  It was still worse
when announcement was made of the arrival of Queen Christina of Sweden,
that celebrated princess, who had reigned from the time she was six years
old, and had lately abdicated, in 1654, in favor of her cousin, Charles
Gustavus, in order to regain her liberty, she said, but perhaps, also,
because she found herself confronted by the ever-increasing opposition of
the grandees of her kingdom, hostile to the foreign fashions favored by
the queen, as well as to the design that was attributed to her of
becoming converted to Catholicism.  When Christina arrived at Paris, in
1656, she had already accomplished her abjuration at Brussels, without
assigning her motives for it to anybody.  “Those who talk of them know
nothing about them,” she would say; “and she who knows something about
them has never talked of them.”  There was great curiosity at Paris to
see this queen.  The king sent the Duke of Guise to meet her, and he
wrote to one of his friends as follows:

“She is not tall, she has a good arm, a hand white and well made, but
rather a man’s than a woman’s, a high shoulder,--a defect which she
so well conceals by the singularity of her dress, her walk, and her
gestures, that you might make a bet about it.  Her face is large without
being defective, all her features are the same and strongly marked, a
pretty tolerable turn of countenance, set off by a very singular
head-dress; that is, a man’s wig, very big, and very much raised in
front; the top of the head is a tissue of hair, and the back has
something of a woman’s style of head-dress.  Sometimes she also wears a
hat; her bodice, laced behind, crosswise, is made something like our
doublets, her chemise bulging out all round her petticoat, which she
wears rather badly fastened and not over straight.  She is always very
much powdered, with a good deal of pomade, and almost never puts on
gloves.  She has, at the very least, as much swagger and haughtiness as
the great Gustavus, her father, can have had; she is mighty civil and
coaxing, speaks eight languages, and principally French, as if she had
been born in Paris.  She knows as much about it as all our Academy and
the Sorbonne put together, has an admirable knowledge of painting as well
as of everything else, and knows all the intrigues of our court better
than I.  In fact, she is quite an extraordinary person.”  “The king,
though very timid at that time,” says Madame de Motteville, “and not at
all well informed, got on so well with this bold, well-informed, and
haughty princess, that, from the first moment, they associated together
with much freedom and pleasure on both sides.  It was difficult, when you
had once had a good opportunity of seeing her, and above all of listening
to her, not to forgive all her irregularities, though some of them were
highly blamable.”  All the court and all Paris made a great fuss about
this queen, who insisted upon going everywhere, even to the French
Academy, where no woman had ever been admitted.  Patru thus relates to
one of his friends the story of her visit: “No notice was given until
about eight or nine in the morning of this princess’s purpose, so that
some of our body could not receive information in time.  M. de Gombault
came without having been advertised; but, as soon as he knew of the
queen’s purpose, he went away again, for thou must know that he is wroth
with her because, he having written some verses in which he praised the
great Gustavus, she did not write to him, she who, as thou knowest, has
written to a hundred impertinent apes.  I might complain, with far more
reason; but, so long as kings, queens, princes, and princesses do me only
that sort of harm, I shall never complain.  The chancellor [Seguier, at
whose house the Academy met] had forgotten to have the portrait of this
princess, which she had given to the society, placed in the room; which,
in my opinion, ought not to have been forgotten.  Word was brought that
the carriage was entering the court-yard.  The chancellor, followed by
the whole body, went to receive the princess.  .  .  .  As soon as she
entered the room, she went off-hand, according to her habit, and sat down
in her chair; and, at the same moment, without any order given us, we
also sat down.  The princess, seeing that we were at some little distance
from the table, told us that we could draw up close to it.  There was
some little drawing up, but not as if it were a dinner-party.  .  .  .
Several pieces were read; and then the director, who was M. de la
Chambre, told the queen that the ordinary exercise of the society was to
work at the Dictionary, and that, if it were agreeable to her Majesty, a
sheet should be read.  ‘By all means,’ said she.  M. de Mezeray,
accordingly, read the word Jeux, under which, amongst other proverbial
expressions, there was, _‘Jeux de princes, qui ne plaisent qu’a ceux qui
les font.’ (Princes’ jokes, which amuse only those who make them.)_  She
burst out laughing.  The word, which was in fair copy, was finished.  It
would have been better to read a word which had to be weeded, because
then we should all have spoken; but people were taken by surprise--the
French always are.  .  .  .  After about an hour, the princess rose, made
a courtesy to the company, and went away as she had come.  Here is really
what passed at this famous interview, which, no doubt, does great honor
to the Academy.--The Duke of Anjou talks of coming to it, and the zealous
are quite transported with this bit of glory.”  [_OEuvres diverses de
Patru,_ t. ii.  p. 512.]

Queen Christina returned the next year and passed some time at
Fontainebleau.  It was there, in a gallery that King Louis Philippe
caused to be turned into apartments, which M. Guizot at one time
occupied, that she had her first equerry, Monaldeschi, whom she accused
of having betrayed her, assassinated almost before her own eyes; and she
considered it astonishing, and very bad taste, that the court of France
should be shocked at such an execution.  “This barbarous princess,” says
Madame de Motteville, “after so cruel an action as that, remained in her
room laughing and chatting as easily as if she had done something of no
consequence or very praiseworthy.  The queen-mother, a perfect Christian,
who had met with so many enemies whom she might have punished, but who
had received from her nothing but marks of kindness, was scandalized by
it.  The king and Monsieur blamed her, and the minister, who was not a
cruel man, was astounded.”

The queen-mother had other reasons for being less satisfied than she had
been at the first trip of Queen Christina of Sweden.  The young king
testified much inclination for Mary de Mancini, Cardinal Mazarin’s niece,
a bold and impassioned creature, whose sister Olympia had already found
favor in his eyes before her marriage with the Count of Soissons.  The
eldest of all had married the Duke of Mercceur, son of the Duke of
Vendome; the other two were destined to be united, at a later period, to
the Dukes of Bouillon and La Meilleraye; the hopes of Mary went still
higher; relying on the love of young Louis XIV., she dared to dream of
the throne; and the Queen of Sweden encouraged her.  “The right thing is
to marry one’s love,” she told the king.  No time was lost in letting
Christina understand that she could not remain long in France: the
cardinal, “with a moderation for which he cannot be sufficiently
commended,” says Madame de Motteville, “himself put obstacles in the way
of his niece’s ambitious designs; he sent her to the convent of Brouage,
threatening, if that exile were not sufficient, to leave France and take
his niece with him.”

“No power,” he said to the king, “can wrest from me the free authority of
disposal which God and the laws give me over my family.”  “You are king;
you weep; and yet I am going away!” said the young girl to her royal
lover, who let her go.  Mary de Mancini was mistaken; he was not yet
King.

[Illustration: Anne of Austria and Cardinal Mazarin----394]

Cardinal Mazarin and the queen had other views regarding the marriage of
Louis XIV.; for a long time past the object of their labors had been to
terminate the war by an alliance with Spain.  The Infanta, Maria Theresa,
was no longer heiress to the crown, for King Philip at last had a son;
Spain was exhausted by long-continued efforts, and dismayed by the checks
received in the, campaign of 1658; the alliance of the Rhine, recently
concluded at Frankfurt between the two leagues, Catholic and Protestant,
confirmed immutably the advantages which the treaty of Westphalia had
secured to France.  The electors had just raised to the head of the
empire young Leopold I., on the death of his father, Ferdinand III., and
they proposed their mediation between France and Spain.  Whilst King
Philip IV. was still hesitating, Mazarin took a step in another
direction; the king set out for Lyons, accompanied by his mother and his
minister, to go and see Princess Margaret of Savoy, who had been proposed
to him a long time ago as his wife.  He was pleased with her, and
negotiations were already pretty far advanced, to the great displeasure
of the queen-mother, when the cardinal, on the 29th of November, 1659, in
the evening, entered Anne of Austria’s room.  “He found her pensive and
melancholy, but he was all smiles. ‘Good news, madam,’ said he.  ‘Ah!’
cried the queen, ‘is it to be peace?’  ‘More than that, Madame; I bring
your Majesty both peace and the Infanta.’”  The Spaniards had become
uneasy; and Don Antonio de Pimentel had arrived at Lyons at the same time
with the court of Savoy, bearing a letter from Philip IV. for the queen
his sister.  The Duchess of Savoy had to depart and take her daughter
with her, disappointed of her hopes; all the consolation she obtained was
a written promise that the king would marry Princess Margaret, if the
marriage with the Infanta were not accomplished within a year.

The year had not yet rolled away, and the Duchess of Savoy had already
lost every atom of illusion.  Since the 13th of August, Cardinal Mazarin
had been officially negotiating with Don Louis de Haro, representing
Philip IV.  The ministers had held a meeting in the middle of the
Bidassoa, on the Island of Pheasants, where a pavilion had been erected
on the boundary-line between the two states.  On the 7th of November the
peace of the Pyrenees was signed at last; it put an end to a war which
had continued for twenty-three years, often internecine, always
burdensome, and which had ruined the finances of the two countries.
France was the gainer of Artois and Roussillon, and of several places in
Flanders, Hainault, and Luxembourg; and the peace of Westphalia was
recognized by Spain, to whom France restored all that she held in
Catalonia and in Franche-Comte.  Philip IV. had refused to include
Portugal in the treaty.  The Infanta received as dowry five hundred
thousand gold crowns, and renounced all her rights to the throne of
Spain; the Prince of  Conde was taken back to favor by the king, and
declared that he would fain redeem with his blood all the hostilities he
had committed in and out of France.  The king restored him to all his
honors and dignities, gave him the government of Burgundy, and bestowed
on his son, the Duke of Enghien, the office of Grand Master of France.
The honor of the King of Spain was saved, he did not abandon his allies,
and he made a great match for his daughter.  But the eyes of Europe were
not blinded; it was France that triumphed; the policy of Cardinal
Richelieu and of Cardinal Mazarin was everywhere successful.  The work of
Henry IV. was completed, the house of Austria was humiliated and
vanquished in both its branches; the man who had concluded the peace of
Westphalia and the peace of the Pyrenees had a right to say, “I am more
French in heart than in speech.”

The Prince of Conde returned to court, “as if he had never gone away,”
 says Mdlle. de Montpensier.  [_Memoires,_ t. iii.  p. 451.]  “The king
talked familiarly with him of all that he had done both in France and in
Flanders, and that with as much gusto as if all those things had taken
place for his service.”  “The prince discovered him to be so great in
every point that, from the first moment at which he could approach him,
he comprehended, as it appeared, that the time had come to humble
himself.  That genius for sovereignty and command which God had implanted
in the king, and which was beginning to show itself, persuaded the Prince
of Conde that all which remained of the previous reign was about to be
annihilated.”  [_Memoires de Madame de Motteville,_ t. v.  p. 39.]  From
that day King Louis XIV. had no more submissive subject than the great
Conde.

The court was in the South, travelling from town to town, pending the
arrival of the dispensations from Rome.  On the 3d of June, 1660, Don
Louis de Haro, in the name of the King of France, espoused the Infanta in
the church of Fontfrabia.  Mdlle. de Montpensier made up her mind to be
present, unknown to anybody, at the ceremony.  When it was over, the new
queen, knowing that the king’s cousin was there, went up to her, saying,
“I should like to embrace this fair unknown,” and led her away to her
room, chatting about everything, but pretending not to know her.  The
queen-mother and King Philip IV. met next day, on the Island of
Pheasants, after forty-five years’ separation.  The king had come
privately to have a view of the Infanta, and he watched her, through a
door ajar, towering a whole head above the courtiers.  “May I, ask my
niece what she thinks of this unknown?” said Anne of Austria to her
brother.  “It will be time when she has passed that door,” replied the
king.  Young Monsieur, the king’s brother, leaned forward towards his
sister-in-law, and, “What does your Majesty think of this door?” he
whispered.  “I think it very nice and handsome,” answered the young
queen.  The king had thought her handsome, “despite the ugliness of her
head-dress and of her clothes, which had at first taken him by surprise.”
 King Philip IV. kept looking at M. de Turenne, who had accompanied the
king.  “That man has given me dreadful times,” he repeated twice or
thrice.  “You can judge whether M. de Turenne felt himself offended,”
 says Mdlle. de Montpensier.  The definitive marriage took place at
Saint-Jean-de-Luz on the 9th of June, and the court took the road
leisurely back to Vincennes.  Scarcely had the arrival taken place, when
all the sovereign bodies sent a solemn deputation to pay their respects
to Cardinal Mazarin and thank him for the peace he had just concluded.
It was an unprecedented honor, paid to a minister upon whose head the
Parliament had but lately set a price.  The cardinal’s triumph was as
complete at home as abroad; all foes had been reduced to submission or
silence, Paris and France rejoicing over the peace and the king’s
marriage; but, like Cardinal Richelieu, Mazarin succumbed at the very
pinnacle of his glory and power; the gout, to which he was subject, flew
to his stomach, and he suffered excruciating agonies.  One day, when the
king came to get his advice upon a certain matter, “Sir,” said the
cardinal, “you are asking counsel of a man who no longer has his reason
and who raves.”  He saw the approach of death calmly, but not
unregretfully.  Concealed, one day, behind a curtain in the new
apartments of the Mazarin Palace (now the National Library), young
Brienne heard the cardinal coming.  “He dragged his slippers along like a
man very languid and just recovering from some serious illness.  He
paused at every step, for he was very feeble; he fixed his gaze first on
one side and then on the other, and letting his eyes wander over the
magnificent objects of art he had been all his life collecting, he said,
‘All that must be left behind!’  And, turning round, he added, ‘And that
too!  What trouble I have had to obtain all these things!  I shall never
see them more where I am going.’”  He had himself removed to Vincennes,
of which he was governor.  There he continued to regulate all the affairs
of state, striving to initiate the young king in the government.
“Nobody,” Turenne used to say, “works so much as the cardinal, or
discovers so many expedients with great clearness of mind for the
terminating of much business of different sorts.”  The dying minister
recommended to the king MM. Le Tellier and de Lionne, and he added, “Sir,
to you I owe everything; but I consider that I to some extent acquit
myself of my obligation to your Majesty by giving you M. Colbert.”  The
cardinal, uneasy about the large possessions he left, had found a way of
securing them to his heirs by making, during his lifetime, a gift of the
whole of them to the king.  Louis XIV. at once returned it.  The minister
had lately placed his two nieces, the Princess of Conti and the Countess
of Soissons, at the head of the household of two queens; he had married
his niece, Hortensia Mancini, to the Duke of La Meilleraye, who took the
title of Duke of Mazarin.  The father of this duke was the relative and
protege of Cardinal Richelieu, for whom Mazarin had always preserved a
feeling of great gratitude.  It was to him and his wife that he left the
remainder of his vast possessions, after having distributed amongst all
his relatives liberal bequests to an enormous amount.  The pictures and
jewels went to the king, to Monsieur, and to the queens.  A considerable
sum was employed for the foundation and endowment of the _College des
Quatre Nations (now the Palais de l’Institut),_ intended for the
education of sixty children of the four provinces re-united to France by
the treaties of Westphalia and the Pyrenees, Alsace, Roussillon, Artois,
and Pignerol.  The cardinal’s fortune was estimated at fifty millions.

Mazarin had scarcely finished making his final dispositions when his
malady increased to a violent pitch.  “On the 5th of March, forty hours’
public prayers were ordered in all the churches of Paris, which is not
generally done except in the case of kings,” says Madame de Motteville.
The cardinal had sent for M. Jolt, parish-priest of St. Nicholas des
Champs, a man of great reputation for piety, and begged him not to leave
him.  “I have misgivings about not being sufficiently afraid of death,”
 he said to his confessor.  He felt his own pulse himself, muttering quite
low, “I shall have a great deal more to suffer.”  The king had left him
on the 7th of March, in the evening.  He did not see him again and sent
to summon the ministers.  Already the living was taking the place of the
dying, with a commencement of pomp and circumstance which excited wonder
at the changes of the world.  “On the 9th, between two and three in the
morning, Mazarin raised himself slightly in his bed, praying to God and
suffering greatly; then he said aloud, ‘Ah holy Virgin, have pity upon
me; receive my soul,’ and so he expired, showing a fair front to death up
to the last moment.”  The queen-mother had left her room for the last
two, days, because it was too near that of the dying man.  “She wept less
than the king,” says Madame de Motteville, “being more disgusted with the
creatures of his making by reason of the knowledge she had of their
imperfections, insomuch that it was soon easy to see that the defects of
the dead man would before long appear to her greater than they had yet
been in her eyes, for he did not content himself with exercising
sovereign power over the whole realm, but he exercised it over the
sovereigns themselves who had given it him, not leaving them liberty to
dispose of anything of any consequence.”  [_Memoires de Madame de
Motteville,_ t. v.  p. 103.]

[Illustration: Death of Mazarin.----399]

Louis XIV. was about to reign with a splendor and puissance without
precedent; his subjects were submissive and Europe at peace; he was
reaping the fruits of the labors of his grandfather Henry IV., of
Cardinal Richelieu, and of Cardinal Mazarin.  Whilst continuing the work
of Henry IV. Richelieu had rendered possible the government of Mazarin;
he had set the kingly authority on foundations so strong that the princes
of the blood themselves could not shake it.  Mazarin had destroyed party
and secured to France a glorious peace.  Great minister had succeeded
great king, and able man great minister; Italian prudence, dexterity, and
finesse had replaced the indomitable will, the incomparable judgment, and
the grandeur of view of the French priest and nobleman.  Richelieu and
Mazarin had accomplished their patriotic work: the king’s turn had come.



CHAPTER XLIV.----LOUIS XIV., HIS WARS AND HIS CONQUESTS. 1661-1697.

Cardinal Mazarin on his death-bed had given the young king this advice:
“Manage your affairs yourself, sir, and raise no more premier ministers
to where your bounties have placed me; I have discovered, by what I might
have done against your service, how dangerous it is for a king to put his
servants in such a position.”  Mazarin knew thoroughly the king whose
birth he had seen.  “He has in him the making of four kings and one
honest man,” he used to say.  Scarcely was the minister dead, when Louis
XIV. sent to summon his council: Chancellor Seguier, Superintendent
Fouquet, and Secretaries of State Le Tellier, de Lionne, Brienne,
Duplessis-Gueneguaud, and La Vrilliere.  Then, addressing the chancellor,
“Sir,” said he, “I have had you assembled together with my ministers and
my secretaries of state to tell you that until now I have been well
pleased to leave my affairs to be governed by the late cardinal; it is
time that I should govern them myself; you will aid me with your counsels
when I ask for them.  Beyond the general business of the seal, in which
I do not intend to make any alteration, I beg and command you,
Mr. Chancellor, to put the seal of authority to nothing without my orders
and without having spoken to me thereof, unless a secretary of state
shall bring them to you on my behalf.  .  .  .  And for you, gentlemen,”
 addressing the secretaries of state, “I warn you not to sign anything,
even a safety-warrant or passport, without my command, to report every
day to me personally, and to favor nobody in your monthly rolls.  Mr.
Superintendent, I have explained to you my intentions; I beg that you
will employ the services of M. Colbert, whom the late cardinal
recommended to me.”

The king’s councillors were men of experience; and they, all recognized
the master’s tone.  From timidity or respect, Louis XIV. had tolerated
the yoke of Mazarin, not, however, without impatience and in expectation
of his own turn.  [_Portraits de la Cour, Archives curieuses,_ t. viii.
p. 371.]  “The cardinal,” said he one day, “does just as he pleases, and
I put up with it because of the good service he has rendered me, but I
shall be master in my turn;” and he added, “the king my grandfather did
great things, and left some to do; if God gives me grace to live twenty
years longer, perhaps I may do as much or more.”  God was to grant Louis
XIV. more time and power than he asked for, but it was Henry IV.’s good
fortune to maintain his greatness at the sword’s point, without ever
having leisure to become intoxicated with it.  Absolute power is in its
nature so unwholesome and dangerous that the strongest mind cannot always
withstand it.  It was Louis XIV.’s misfortune to be king for seventy-two
years, and to reign fifty-six as sovereign master.

“Many people made up their minds,” says the king in his _Memoires_
[t. ii.  p. 392], “that my assiduity in work was but a heat which would
soon cool; but time showed them what to think of it, for they saw me
constantly going on in the same way, wishing to be informed of all that
took place, listening to the prayers and complaints of my meanest
subjects, knowing the number of my troops and the condition of my
fortresses, treating directly with foreign ministers, receiving
despatches, making in person part of the replies and giving my
secretaries the substance of the others, regulating the receipts and
expenditures of my kingdom, having reports made to myself in person
by those who were in important offices, keeping my affairs secret,
distributing graces according to my own choice, reserving to myself alone
all my authority, and confining those who served me to a modest position
very far from the elevation of premier ministers.”

The young king, from the first, regulated his life and his time: “I laid
it down as a law to myself,” he says in his _Instructions au Dauphin,_
“to work regularly twice a day.  I cannot tell you what fruit I reaped
immediately after this resolution.  I felt myself rising as it were both
in mind and courage; I found myself quite another being; I discovered in
myself what I had no idea of, and I joyfully reproached myself for having
been so long ignorant of it.  Then it dawned upon me that I was king, and
was born to be.”

A taste for order and regularity was natural to Louis XIV., and he soon
made it apparent in his councils.  “Under Cardinal Mazarin, there was
literally nothing but disorder and confusion; he had the council held
whilst he was being shaved and dressed, without ever giving anybody a
seat, not even the chancellor or Marshal Villeroy, and he was often
chattering with his linnet and his monkey all the time he was being
talked to about business.  After Mazarin’s death the king’s council
assumed a more decent form.  The king alone was seated, all the others
remained standing, the chancellor leaned against the bedrail, and M. de
Lionne upon the edge of the chimney-piece.  He who was making a report
placed himself opposite the king, and, if he had to write, sat down on a
stool which was at the end of the table where there was a writing-desk
and paper.”  [_Histoire de France,_ by Le P.  Daniel, t. xvi.  p. 89.] ”
 I will settle this matter with your Majesty’s ministers,” said the
Portuguese ambassador one day to the young king.  “I have no ministers,
Mr. Ambassador,” replied Louis XIV.; “you mean to say my men of
business.”

Long habituation to the office of king was not destined to wear out, to
exhaust, the youthful ardor of King Louis XIV.  He had been for a long
while governing, when he wrote, “You must not imagine, my son, that
affairs of state are like those obscure and thorny passages in the
sciences which you will perhaps have found fatiguing, at which the mind
strives to raise itself, by an effort, beyond itself, and which repel us
quite as much by their, at any rate apparent, uselessness as by their
difficulty.  The function of kings consists principally in leaving good
sense to act, which always acts naturally without any trouble.  All that
is most necessary in this kind of work is at the same time agreeable; for
it is, in a word, my son, to keep an open eye over all the world, to be
continually learning news from all the provinces and all nations, the
secrets of all courts, the temper and the foible of all foreign princes
and ministers, to be informed about an infinite number of things of which
we are supposed to be ignorant, to see in our own circle that which is
most carefully hidden from us, to discover the most distant views of our
own courtiers and their most darkly cherished interests which come to us
through contrary interests, and, in fact, I know not what other pleasure
we would not give up for this, even if it were curiosity alone that
caused us to feel it.”  [_Memoires de Louis XIV.,_ t. ii.  p. 428.]

At twenty-two years of age, no more than during the rest of his life, was
Louis XIV. disposed to sacrifice business to pleasure, but he did not
sacrifice pleasure to business.  It was on a taste so natural to a young
prince, for the first time free to do as he pleased, that Superintendent
Fouquet counted to increase his influence and probably his power with the
king.  “The attorney-general [Fouquet was attorney-general in the
Parliament of Paris], though a great thief, will remain master of the
others,” the queen-mother had said to Madame de Motteville at the time of
Mazarin’s death.  Fouquet’s hopes led him to think of nothing less than
to take the minister’s place.

[Illustration: Fouquet----404]

Fouquet, who was born in 1615, and had been superintendent of finance in
conjunction with Servien since 1655, had been in sole possession of that
office since the death of his colleague in 1659.  He had faithfully
served Cardinal Mazarin through the troubles of the Fronde.  The latter
had kept him in power in spite of numerous accusations of malversation
and extravagance.  Fouquet, however, was not certain of the cardinal’s
good faith; he bought Belle-Ile to secure for himself a retreat, and
prepared, for his personal defence, a mad project which was destined
subsequently to be his ruin.  From the commencement of his reign, the
counsels of Mazarin on his death-bed, the suggestions of Colbert, the
first observations made by the king himself, irrevocably ruined Fouquet
in the mind of the young monarch.  Whilst the superintendent was dreaming
of the ministry and his friends calling him _the Future,_ when he was
preparing, in his castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte, an entertainment in the
king’s honor at a cost of forty thousand crowns, Louis XIV., in concert
with Colbert, had resolved upon his ruin.  The form of trial was decided
upon.  The king did not want to have any trouble with the Parliament; and
Colbert suggested to Fouquet the idea of ridding himself of his office of
attorney-general.  Achille de Harlay bought it for fourteen hundred
thousand livres; a million in ready money was remitted to the king for
his Majesty’s urgent necessities; the superintendent was buying up
everybody, even the king.

[Illustration: Colbert----405]

On the 17th of August, 1661, the whole court thronged the gardens of
Vaux, designed by Le Netre; the king, whilst admiring the pictures of Le
Brun, the _Facheux_ of Moliere represented that day for the first time,
and the gold and silver plate which encumbered the tables, felt his
inward wrath redoubled.  “Ah!  Madame,” he said to the queen his mother,
“shall not we make all these fellows disgorge?”  He would have had the
superintendent arrested in the very midst of those festivities, the very
splendor of which was an accusation against him.  Anne of Austria,
inclined in her heart to be indulgent towards Fouquet, restrained him.
“Such a deed would scarcely be to your honor, my son,” she said;
“everybody can see that this poor man is ruining himself to give you good
cheer, and you would have him arrested in his own house!”

[Illustration: Vaux le Vicomte----405a]

“I put off the execution of my design,” says Louis XIV. in his Memoires,
“which caused me incredible pain, for I saw that during that time he was
practising new devices to rob me.  You can imagine that at the age I then
was it required my reason to make a great effort against my feelings in
order to act with so much self-control.  All France commended especially
the secrecy with which I had for three or four months kept a resolution
of that sort, particularly as it concerned a man who had such special
access to me, who had dealings with all that approached me, who received
information from within and from without the kingdom, and who, of
himself, must have been led by the voice of his own conscience to
apprehend everything.”  Fouquet apprehended and became reassured by
turns; the king, he said, had forgiven him all the disorder which the
troubles of the times and the absolute will of Mazarin had possibly
caused in the finances.  However, he was anxious when he followed Louis
XIV. to Nantes, the king being about to hold an assembly of the states of
Brittany.  “Nantes, Belle-Ile!  Nantes, Belle-Ile!” he kept repeating.
On arriving, Fouquet was ill and trembled as if he had the ague; he did
not present himself to the king.

On the 5th of September, in the evening, the king himself wrote to the
queen-mother: “My dear mother, I wrote you word this morning about the
execution of the orders I had given to have the superintendent arrested;
you know that I have had this matter for a long while on my mind, but it
was impossible to act sooner, because I wanted him first of all to have
thirty thousand crowns paid in for the marine, and because, moreover, it
was necessary to see to various matters which could not be done in a day;
and you cannot imagine the difficulty I had in merely finding means of
speaking in private to D’Artagnan.  I felt the greatest impatience in the
world to get it over, there being nothing else to detain me in this
district.

[Illustration: Louis XIV. dismissing Fouquet----407]

At last, this morning, the superintendent having come to work with me as
usual, I talked to him first of one matter and then of another, and made
a show of searching for papers, until, out of the window of my closet, I
saw D’Artagnan in the castle-yard; and then I dismissed the
superintendent, who, after chatting a little while at the bottom of the
staircase with La Feuillade, disappeared during the time he was paying
his respects to M. Le Tellier, so that poor D’Artagnan thought he had
missed him, and sent me word by Maupertuis that he suspected that
somebody had given him warning to look to his safety; but he caught him
again in the place where the great church stands, and arrested him for me
about midday.  They put the superintendent into one of my carriages,
followed by my musketeers, to escort him to the castle of Angers, whilst
his wife, by my orders, is off to Limoges.  .  .  .  I have told those
gentlemen who are here with me that I would have no more superintendents,
but myself take the work of finance in conjunction with faithful persons
who will do nothing without me, knowing that this is the true way to
place myself in affluence and relieve my people.  During the little
attention I have as yet given thereto, I observed some important matters
which I did not at all understand.  You will have no difficulty in
believing that there have been many people placed in a great fix; but I
am very glad for them to see that I am not such a dupe as they supposed,
and that the best plan is to hold to me.”

Three years were to roll by before the end of Fouquet’s trial.  In vain
had one of the superintendent’s valets, getting the start of all the
king’s couriers, shown sense enough to give timely warning to his
distracted friends; Fouquet’s papers were seized, and very compromising
they were for him as well as for a great number of court-personages, of
both sexes.  Colbert prosecuted the matter with a rigorous justice that
looked very like hate; the king’s self-esteem was personally involved in
procuring the condemnation of a minister guilty of great extravagances
and much irregularity rather than of intentional want of integrity.
Public feeling was at first so greatly against the superintendent that
the peasants shouted to the musketeers told off to escort him from Angers
to the Bastille, “No fear of his escaping; we would hang him with our own
hands.”  But the length and the harshness of the proceedings, the efforts
of Fouquet’s family and friends, the wrath of the Parliament, out of
whose hands the case had been taken in favor of carefully chosen
commissioners, brought about a great change; of the two prosecuting
counsel (_conseillers rapporteurs_), one, M. de Sainte-Helene, was
inclined towards severity; the other, Oliver d’Ormesson, a man of
integrity and courage, thought of nothing but justice, and treated with
contempt the hints that reached him from the court.  Colbert took the
trouble one day to go and call upon old M. d’Ormesson, the counsel’s
father, to complain of the delays that the son, as he said, was causing
in the trial: “It is very extraordinary,” said the minister, “that a
great king, feared throughout Europe, cannot finish a case against one of
his own subjects.”  “I am sorry,” answered the old gentleman, “that the
king is not satisfied with my son’s conduct; I know that he practises
what I have always taught him,--to fear God, serve the king, and render
justice without respect of persons.  The delay in the matter does not
depend upon him; he works at it night and day, without wasting a moment.”
 Oliver d’Ormesson lost the stewardship of Soissonness, to which he had
the titular right, but he did not allow himself to be diverted from his
scrupulous integrity.  Nay, he grew wroth at the continual attacks of
Chancellor Seguier, more of a courtier than ever in his old age, and
anxious to finish the matter to the satisfaction of the court.  “I told
many of the Chamber,” he writes, “that I did not like to have the whip
applied to me every morning, and that the chancellor was a sort of
chastiser I would not put up with.”  [_Journal d’ Oliver d’ Ormesson,_
t. ii.  p. 88.]

Fouquet, who claimed the jurisdiction of the Parliament, had at first
refused to answer the interrogatory; it was determined to conduct his
case “as if he were dumb,” but his friends had him advised not to persist
in his silence.  The courage and presence of mind of the accused more
than once embarrassed his judges.  The ridiculous scheme which had been
discovered behind a looking-glass in Fouquet’s country-house was read;
the instructions given to his friends in case of his arrest seemed to
foreshadow a rebellion; Fouquet listened, with his eyes bent upon the
crucifix.  “You cannot be ignorant that this is a state-crime,” said the
chancellor.  “I confess that it is outrageous, sir,” replied the accused;
“but it is not a state-crime.  I entreat these gentlemen,” turning to the
judges, “to kindly allow me to explain what a state-crime is.  It is when
you hold a chief office, when you are in the secrets of your prince, and
when, all at once, you range yourself on the side of his enemies, enlist
all your family in the same interest, cause the passes to be given up by
your son-in-law, and the gates to be opened to a foreign army, so as to
introduce it into the heart of the kingdom.  That, gentlemen, is what is
called a state-crime.”  The chancellor could not protest; nobody had
forgotten his conduct during the Fronde.  M. d’Ormesson summed up for
banishment, and confiscation of all the property of the accused; it was
all that the friends of Fouquet could hope for.  M. de Sainte-Helene
summed up for beheadal.  “The only proper punishment for him would be
rope and gallows,” exclaimed M. Pussort, the most violent of the whole
court against the accused; “but, in consideration of the offices he has
held, and the distinguished relatives he has, I relent so far as to
accept the opinion of M. de Sainte-Helene.”  “What say you to this
moderation?” writes Madame de Sevigne to M. de Pomponne, like herself a
faithful friend of Fouquet’s: “it is because he is Colbert’s uncle, and
was objected to, that he was inclined for such handsome treatment.  As
for me, I am beside myself when I think of such infamy.  .  .  .  You
must know that M. Colbert is in such a rage that there is apprehension
of some atrocity and injustice which will drive us all to despair.  If it
were not for that, my poor dear sir, in the position in which we now are,
we might hope to see our friend, although very unfortunate, at any rate
with his life safe, which is a great matter.”

“Pray much to your God and entreat your judges,” was the message sent to
Mesdames Fouquet by the queen-Snother, “for, so far as the king is
concerned, there is nothing to be expected.”  “If he is sentenced,
I shall leave him to die,” proclaimed Louis XIV.  Fouquet was not
sentenced; the court declared for the view of Oliver d’Ormesson.  “Praise
God, sir, and thank Him,” wrote Madame de Sevigne, on the 20th of
December, 1664, “our poor friend is saved; it was thirteen for M.
d’Ormesson’s summing-up, and nine for Sainte-He1ene’s.  It will be a long
while before I recover from my joy; it is really too overwhelming; I can
hardly restrain it.  The king changes exile into imprisonment, and
refuses him permission to see his wife, which is against all usage; but
take care not to abate one jot of your joy; mine is increased thereby,
and makes me see more clearly the greatness of our victory.”  Fouquet was
taken to Pignerol, and all his family were removed from Paris.  He died
piously in his prison, in 1680, a year before his venerable mother, Marie
Maupeou, who was so deeply concerned about her son’s soul at the very
pinnacle of greatness, that she threw herself upon her knees on hearing
of his arrest, and exclaimed, I thank thee, O God; I have always prayed
for his salvation, and here is the way to it!”  Fouquet was guilty; the
bitterness of his enemies and the severities of the king have failed to
procure his acquittal from history any more than from his judges.

Even those who, like Louis XIV. and Colbert, saw the canker in the state,
deceived themselves as to the resources at their disposal for the cure of
it; the punishment of the superintendent and the ruin of the farmers of
taxes (traitants) might put a stop for a while to extravagances; the
powerful hand of Colbert might re-establish order in the finances, found
new manufactures, restore the marine, and protect commerce; but the order
was but momentary, and the prosperity superficial, as long as the
sovereign’s will was the sole law of the state.  Master as he was over
the maintenance of peace in Europe, after so many and such long periods
of hostility, young Louis XIV.  was only waiting for an opportunity of
recommencing war.  “ The resolutions I had in my mind seemed to me very
worthy of execution,” he says: “my natural activity, the ardor of my age,
and the violent desire I felt to augment my reputation, made me very
impatient to be up and doing; but I found at this moment that love of
glory has the same niceties, and, if I may say so, the same timidities,
as the most tender passions; for, the more ardent I was to distinguish
myself, the more apprehensive I was of failing, and, regarding as a great
misfortune the shame which follows the slightest errors, I intended, in
my conduct, to take the most extreme precautions.”

The day of reverses was farther off from Louis XIV. than that of errors.
God had vouchsafed him incomparable instruments for the accomplishment of
his designs.  Whilst Colbert was replenishing the exchequer, all the
while diminishing the imposts, a younger man than the king himself, the
Marquis of Louvois, son of Michael Le Tellier, admitted to the council at
twenty years of age, was eagerly preparing the way for those wars which
were nearly always successful so long as he lived, however insufficient
were the reasons for them, however unjust was their aim.

[Illustration: Louvois----411]

Foreign affairs were in no worse hands than the administration of finance
and of war.  M. de Lionne was an able diplomatist, broken in for a long,
time past to important affairs, shrewd and sensible, more celebrated
amongst his contemporaries than in history, always falling into the
second rank, behind Mazarin or Louis XIV., “who have appropriated his
fame,” says M. Mignet.  The negotiations conducted by M. de Lionne were
of a delicate nature.  Louis XIV. had never renounced the rights of the
queen to the succession in Spain.  King Philip IV. had not paid his
daughter’s dowry, he said; the French ambassador at Madrid, the
Archbishop of Embrun, was secretly negotiating to obtain a revocation of
Maria Theresa’s renunciation, or, at the very least, a recognition of the
right of devolution over the Catholic Low Countries.  This strange
custom of Hainault secured to the children of the first marriage
succession to the paternal property, to the exclusion of the offspring of
the second marriage.  Louis XIV. claimed the application of it to the
advantage of the queen his wife, daughter of Elizabeth of France.  “It is
absolutely necessary that justice should sooner or later be done the
queen, as regards the rights that may belong to her, or that I should try
to exact it myself,” wrote Louis XIV. to the Archbishop of Embrun.  This
justice and these rights were, sooth to say, the pivot of all the
negotiations and all the wars of King Louis XIV.  “I cannot, all in a
moment, change from white to black all the ancient maxims of this crown,”
 said the king.  He obtained no encouragement from Spain, and he began to
make preparations, in anticipation, for war.

In this view and with these prospects, he needed the alliance of the
Hollanders.  Shattered as it had been by the behavior of the United
Provinces at the Congress of Munster and by their separate peace with
Spain, the friendship between the States General and France had been
re-soldered by the far-sighted policy of John Van Witt, grand pensionary
of Holland, and preponderant, with good right, in the policy of his
country.  Bold and prudent, courageous and wise, he had known better than
anybody how to estimate the true interests of Holland, and how to
maintain them everywhere, against Cromwell as well as Mazarin, with
high-spirited moderation.  His great and cool judgment had inclined him
towards France, the most useful ally Holland could have.  In spite of the
difficulties put in the way of their friendly relations by Colbert’s
commercial measures, a new treaty was concluded between Louis XIV. and
the United Provinces.  “I am informed from a good quarter,” says a letter
to John van Witt from his ambassador at Paris, Boreel, June 8, 1662,
“that his Majesty makes quite a special case of the new alliance between
him and their High Mightinesses, which he regards as his own particular
work.  He expects great advantages from it as regards the security of his
kingdom and that of the United Provinces, which, he says, he knows to
have been very affectionately looked upon by Henry the Great and he
desires that, if their High Mightinesses looked upon his ancestor as a
father, they should love him from this moment as a son, taking him for
their best friend and principal ally.”  A secret negotiation was at the
same time going on between John van Witt and Count d’Estrades, French
ambassador in Holland, for the formation and protection of a Catholic
republic in the Low Countries, according to Richelieu’s old plan, or for
partition between France and the United Provinces.  John van Witt was
anxious to act; but Louis XIV. seemed to be keeping himself hedged, in
view of the King of Spain’s death, feeling it impossible, he said, with
propriety and honor, to go contrary to the faith of the treaties which
united him to his father-in-law.  “That which can be kept secret for some
time cannot be forever, nor be concealed from posterity,” he said to
Count d’Estrades, in a private letter: “any how, there are certain things
which are good to do and bad to commit to writing.”  An understanding was
come to without any writing.  Louis XIV. well understood the noble heart
and great mind with which he had to deal, when he wrote to Count
d’Estrades, April 20, 1663, “It is clear that God caused M. de Witt to be
born [in 1632] for great things, seeing that, at his age, he has already
for many years deservedly been the most considerable person in his state;
and I believe, too, that my having obtained so good a friend in him was
not a simple result of chance, but of Divine Providence, who is thus
early arranging the instruments of which He is pleased to make use for
the glory of this crown, and for the advantage of the United Provinces.
The only complaint I make of him is, that, having so much esteem and
affection as I have for his person, he will not be kind enough to let me
have the means of giving him some substantial tokens of it, which I would
do with very great joy.”  Louis XIV. was not accustomed to meet, at
foreign courts, with the high-spirited disinterestedness of the
burgess-patrician, who, since the age of five and twenty, had been
governing the United Provinces.

Thus, then, it was a case of strict partnership between France and
Holland, and Louis XIV. had remained faithful to the policy of Henry IV.
and Richelieu when Philip IV. died, on the 17th of September, 1665.
Almost at the same time the dissension between England and Holland, after
a period of tacit hostility, broke out into action.  The United Provinces
claimed the aid of France.

Close ties at that time united France and England.  Monsieur, the king’s
only brother, had married Henrietta of England, sister of Charles II.
The King of England, poor and debauched, had scarcely been restored to
the throne when he sold Dunkerque to France for five millions of livres,
to the great scandal of Cromwell’s old friends, who had but lately helped
Turenne to wrest it from the Spaniards.  “I knew without doubt that the
aggression was on the part of England,” writes Louis XIV. in his
Memoires, “and I resolved to act with good faith towards the Hollanders,
according to the terms of my treaty: but as I purposed to terminate the
war on the first opportunity, I resolved to act towards the English as
handsomely as could be, and I begged the Queen of England, who happened
to be at that time in Paris, to signify to her son that, with the
singular regard I had for him, I could not without sorrow form the
resolution which I considered myself bound by the obligation of my
promise to take; for, at the origin of this war, I was persuaded that he
had been carried away by the wishes of his subjects farther than he would
have been by his own, insomuch that, between ourselves, I thought I had
less reason to complain of him than for him.  It is certain that this
subordination which places the sovereign under the necessity of receiving
the law from his people is the worst calamity that can happen to a man of
our rank.  I have pointed out to you elsewhere, my son, the miserable
condition of princes who commit their people and their own dignity to the
management of a premier minister; but it is little beside the misery of
those who are left to the indiscretion of a popular assembly; the more
you grant, the more they claim; the more you caress, the more they
despise; and that which is once in their possession is held by so many
arms that it cannot be wrenched away without an extreme amount of
violence.”  In his compassion for the misery of the king of a free
country, Louis XIV. contented himself with looking on at the desperate
engagements between the English and the Dutch fleets.  Twice the English
destroyed the Dutch fleet under the orders of Admiral van Tromp.  John
van Witt placed himself at the head of the squadron.  “Tromp has courage
enough to fight,” he said, “but not sufficient prudence to conduct a
great action.  The heat of battle is liable to carry officers away,
confuse them, and not leave them enough independence of judgment to bring
matters to a successful issue.  That is why I consider myself bound by
all the duties of manhood and conscience to be myself on the watch, in
order to set bounds to the impetuosity of valor when it would fain go too
far.”  The resolution of the grand pensionary and the skill of Admiral
Ruyter, who was on his return from an expedition in Africa, restored the
fortunes of the Hollanders; their vessels went and offered the English
battle at the very mouth of the Thames.  The French squadron did not
leave the Channel.  It was only against the Bishop of Munster, who had
just invaded the Dutch territory, that Louis XIV. gave his allies
effectual aid; M. de Turenne marched against the troops of the bishop,
who was forced to retire, in the month of April, 1666.  Peace was
concluded at Breda, between England and Holland, in the month of July,
1667.  Louis XIV. had not waited for that moment to enter Flanders.

Everything, in fact, was ready for this great enterprise: the regent of
Spain, Mary Anne of Austria, a feeble creature, under the thumb of one
Father Nithard, a Jesuit, had allowed herself to be sent to sleep by the
skilful manoeuvres of the Archbishop of Embrun; she had refused to make a
treaty of alliance with England and to recognize Portugal, to which Louis
XIV. had just given a French queen, by marrying Mdlle. de Nemours to King
Alphonso VI.  The league of the Rhine secured to him the neutrality, at
the least, of Germany; the emperor was not prepared for war; Europe,
divided between fear and favor, saw with astonishment Louis XIV. take the
field in the month of May, 1667.  “It is not,” said the manifesto sent by
the king to the court of Spain, “either the ambition of possessing new
states, or the desire of winning glory by arms, which inspires the Most
Christian King with the design of maintaining the rights of the queen his
wife; but would it not be shame for a king to allow all the privileges of
blood and of law to be violated in the persons of himself, his wife, and
his son?  As king, he feels himself obliged to prevent this injustice;
as master, to oppose this usurpation; and, as father, to secure the
patrimony to his son.  He has no desire to employ force to open the
gates, but he wishes to enter, as a beneficent sun, by the rays of his
love, and to scatter everywhere, in country, towns, and private houses,
the gentle influences of abundance and peace, which follow in his train.”
 To secure the gentle influences of peace, Louis XIV. had collected an
army of fifty thousand men, carefully armed and equipped under the
supervision of Turenne, to whom Louvois as yet rendered docile obedience.
There was none too much of this fine army for recovering the queen’s
rights over the duchy of Brabant, the marquisate of Antwerp, Limburg,
Hainault, the countship of Namur, and other territories.  “Heaven not
having ordained any tribunal on earth at which the Kings of France can
demand justice, the Most Christian King has only his own arms to look to
for it,” said the manifesto.  Louis XIV. set out with M. de Turenne.
Marshal Crequi had orders to observe Germany.

The Spaniards were taken unprepared: Armentieres, Charleroi, Douai, and
Tournay had but insufficient garrisons, and they fell almost without
striking a blow.  Whilst the army was busy with the siege of Courtray,
Louis XIV. returned to Compiegne to fetch the queen.  The whole court
followed him to the camp.  “All that you have read about--the
magnificence of Solomon and the grandeur of the King of Persia, is not to
be compared with the pomp that attends the king in his expedition,” says
a letter to Bussy-Rabutin from the Count of Coligny.  “You see passing
along the streets nothing but plumes, gold-laced uniforms, chariots,
mules superbly harnessed, parade-horses, housings with embroidery of fine
gold.”  “I took the queen to Flanders,” says Louis XIV., “to show her to
the peoples of that country, who received her, in point of fact, with all
the delight imaginable, testifying their sorrow at not having had more
time to make preparations for receiving her more befittingly.”  The
queen’s quarters were at Courtrai.  Marshal Turenne had moved on
Dendermonde, but the Flemings had opened their sluices; the country was
inundated; it was necessary to fall back on Audenarde; the town was taken
in two days; and the king, still attended by the court, laid siege to
Lille.  Vauban, already celebrated as an engineer, traced out the lines
of circumvallation; the army of M. de Crequi formed a junction with that
of Turenne; there was expectation of an attempt on the part of the
governor of the Low Countries to relieve the place; the Spanish force
sent for that purpose arrived too late, and was beaten on its retreat;
the burgesses of Lille had forced the garrison to capitulate; and Louis
XIV. entered it on the 27th of August, after ten days’ open trenches.  On
the 2d of September, the king took the road back to St. Germain; but
Turenne still found time to carry the town of Alost before taking up his
winter-quarters.

Louis XIV.’s first campaign had been nothing but playing at war, almost
entirely without danger or bloodshed; it had, nevertheless, been
sufficient to alarm Europe.  Scarcely had peace been concluded at Breda,
when another negotiation was secretly entered upon between England,
Holland, and Sweden.

It was in vain that King Charles II. leaned personally towards an
alliance with France; his people had their eyes “opened to the dangers”
 --incurred by Europe from the arms of Louis XIV.  “Certain persons of the
greatest influence in Parliament come sometimes to see me, without any
lights and muffled in a cloak in order not to be recognized,” says a
letter of September 26, 1669, from the Marquis of Ruvigny to M. de
Lionne; “they give me to understand that common sense and the public
security forbid them to see, without raising a finger, the whole of the
Low Countries taken, and that they are bound in good policy to oppose the
purposes of this conquest if his Majesty intend to take all for himself.”
 On the 23d of January, 1668, the celebrated treaty of the Triple Alliance
was signed at the Hague.  The three powers demanded of the King of France
that he should grant the Low Countries a truce up to the month of May, in
order to give time for treating with Spain and obtaining from her, as
France demanded, the definitive cession of the conquered places or
Franche-Comte in exchange.  At bottom, the Triple Alliance was resolved
to protect helpless Spain against France; a secret article bound the
three allies to take up arms to restrain Louis XIV., and to bring him
back, if possible, to the peace of the Pyrenees.  At the same moment,
Portugal was making peace with Spain, who recognized her independence.

The king refused the long armistice demanded of him.  “I will grant it up
to the 31st of March,” he had said, “being unwilling to miss the first
opportunity of taking the field.”  The Marquis of Castel-Rodriguo made
merry over this proposal.  “I am content,” said he, “with the suspension
of arms that winter imposes upon the King of France.”  The governor of
the Low Countries made a mistake: Louis XIV. was about to prove that his
soldiers, like those of Gustavus Adolphus, did not recognize winter.  He
had intrusted the command of his new army to the Prince of Conde,
amnestied for the last nine years, but, up to that time, a stranger to
the royal favor.  Conde expressed his gratitude with more fervor than
loftiness when he wrote to the king on the 20th of December, 1667, “My
birth binds me more than any other to your Majesty’s service, but the
kindnesses and the confidence you deign to show me after I have so little
deserved them bind me still more than my birth.  Do me the honor to
believe, sir, that I hold neither property nor life but to cheerfully
sacrifice them for your glory and for the preservation of your person,
which is a thousand times dearer to me than all the things of the world.”

“On pretence of being in Burgundy at the states,” writes Oliver
d’Ormesson, the prosecutor of Fouquet, “the prince had obtained perfect
knowledge that Franche-Comte was without troops and without apprehension,
because they had no doubt that the king would accord them neutrality as
in the last war, the inhabitants having sent to him to ask it of him.  He
kept them amused.  Meanwhile the king had set his army in motion without
disclosing his plan, and the inhabitants of Franche-Comte found
themselves attacked without having known that they were to be.  Besancon
and Salins surrendered at sight of the troops.  The king, on arriving,
went to Dole, and superintended an affair of counterscarps and some
demilunes, whereat there were killed some four or five hundred men.  The
inhabitants, astounded, and finding themselves without troops or hope of
succor, surrendered on Shrove Tuesday, February 14.  The king at the same
time marched to Gray.  The governor made some show of defending himself,
but the Marquis of Yenne, governor-general under Castel-Rodriguo, who
belongs to the district and has all his property there, came and
surrendered to the king, and then, having gone to Gray, persuaded the
governor to surrender.  Accordingly, the king entered it on Sunday,
February 19, and had a Te Deum sung there, having at his right the
governor-general, and at his left the special governor of the town; and,
the same day, he set out on his return.  And so, within twenty-two days
of the month of February, he had set out from St. Germain, been in
Franche-Comte, taken it entirely, and returned to St. Germain.  This is a
great and wonderful conquest from every point of view.  Having paid a
visit to the prince to make my compliments, I said that the glory he had
won had cost him dear, as he had lost his shoes; he replied, laughing,
that it had been said so, but the truth was, that, happening to be at the
guards’ attack, somebody came and told him that the king had pushed
forward to M. de Gadaignes’ attack, that he had ridden up full gallop to
bring back the king, who had put himself in too great peril, and that,
having dismounted at a very moist spot, his shoe had come off, and he had
been obliged to re-shoe himself in the king’s presence.”  [_Journal d’
Oliver d’ Ormesson,_ t.  ii.  p.  542.]

Louis XIV. had good reason to “push forward to the attack and put himself
in too great peril;” a rumor had circulated that, having run the same
risk at the siege of Lille, he had let a moment’s hesitation appear; the
old Duke of Charost, captain of his guards, had come up to him, and,
“Sir,” he had whispered in the young king’s ear, “the wine is drawn, and
it must be drunk.”  Louis XIV. had finished his reconnoissance, not
without a feeling of gratitude towards Charost for preferring before his
life that honor which ended by becoming his idol.

The king was back at St. Germain, preparing enormous armaments for the
month of April.  He had given the Prince of Conde the government of
Franche-Comte.  “I had always esteemed your father,” he said to the young
Duke of Enghien, “but I had never loved him; now I love him as much as I
esteem him.”  Young Louvois, already in high favor with the king, as well
as his father, Michael Le Tellier, had contributed a great deal towards
getting the prince’s services appreciated; they still smarted under the
reproaches of M. de Turenne touching the deficiency of supplies for the
troops before Lille in 1667.

War seemed to be imminent; the last days of the armistice were at hand.
“The opinion prevailing in France as to peace is a disease which is
beginning to spread very much,” wrote Louvois in the middle of March,
“but we shall soon find a cure for it, as here is the time approaching
for taking the field.  You must publish almost everywhere that it is the
Spaniards who do not want peace.”  Louvois lied brazenfacedly; the
Spaniards were without resources, but they had even less of spirit than
of resources; they consented to the abandonment of all the places won in
the Low Countries during 1667.  A congress was opened at Aix-la-Chapelle,
presided over by the nuncio of the new pope, Clement IX., as favorable to
France as his predecessor, Innocent X., had been to Spain.  “A phantom
arbiter between phantom plenipotentiaries,” says Voltaire, in the Siecle
de Louis XIV.  The real negotiations were going on at St. Germain.
“I did not look merely,” writes Louis XIV., “to profit by the present
conjuncture, but also to put myself in a position to turn to my advantage
those which might probably arrive.  In view of the great increments that
my fortune might receive, nothing seemed to me more necessary than to
establish for myself amongst my smaller neighbors such a character for
moderation and probity as might assuage in them those emotions of dread
which everybody naturally experiences at sight of too great a power.
I was bound not to lack means of breaking with Spain when I pleased;
Franche-Comte, which I gave up, might become reduced to such a condition
that I should be master of it at any moment, and my new conquests, well
secured, would open for me a surer entrance into the Low Countries.”
 Determined by these wise motives, the king gave orders to sign the peace.
“M. de Turenne appeared yesterday like a man who had received a blow from
a club,” writes Michael Le Tellier to his son: “when Don Juan arrives,
matters will change; he says that, meanwhile, all must go on just the
same, and he repeated it more than a dozen times, which made the prince
laugh.”  Don Juan did not protest, and on the 2d of May, 1668, the peace
of Aix-la-Chapelle was concluded.  Before giving up Franche-Comte, the
king issued orders for demolishing the fortifications of Dole and Gray;
he at the same time commissioned Vauban to fortify Ath, Lille, and
Tournay.  The Triple Alliance was triumphant, the Hollanders at the head.
“I cannot tell your Excellency all that these beer-brewers write to our
traders,” said a letter to M. de Lionne from one of his correspondents;
“as there is just now nothing further to hope for, in respect of they Low
Countries, I vent all my feelings upon the Hollanders, whom I hold at
this day to be our most formidable enemies, and I exhort your Excellency,
as well for your own reputation as for the public satisfaction, to omit
from your policy nothing that may tend to the discovery of means to abase
this great power, which exalts itself too much.”

Louis XIV. held the same views as M. de Lionne’s correspondent, not
merely from resentment against the Hollanders, who had stopped him in his
career of success, but because he quite saw that the key to the barrier
between the Catholic Low Countries and himself remained in the hands of
the United Provinces.  He had relied upon his traditional influence in
the Estates as well as on the influence of John van Witt; but the
latter’s position had been shaken.  “I learn from a good quarter that
there are great cabals forming against the authority of M. de Witt, and
for the purpose of ousting him from it,” writel M. de Lionne on the 30th
of March, 1668; Louis XIV. resolved to have recourse to arms in order to
humiliate this insolent republic which had dared to hamper his designs.
For four years, every effort of his diplomacy tended solely to make
Holland isolated in Europe.

It was to England that France would naturally first turn her eyes.  The
sentiments of King Charles II. and of his people, as regarded Holland,
were not the same.  Charles had not forgiven the Estates for having
driven him from their territory at the request of Cromwell; the simple
and austere manners of the republican patricians did not accord with his
taste for luxury and debauchery; the English people, on the contrary,
despite of that rivalry in, trade and on the seas which had been the
source of so much ancient and recent hostility between the two nations,
esteemed the Hollanders and leaned towards an alliance with them.  Louis
XIV., in the eyes of the English Parliament, was the representative of
Catholicism and absolute monarchy, two enemies which it had vanquished,
but still feared.  The king’s proceedings with Charles II.  had,
therefore, necessarily to be kept secret; the ministers of the King of
England were themselves divided; the Duke of Buckingham, as mad and as
prodigal as his father, was favorable to France; the Earl of Arlington
had married a Hollander, and persisted in the Triple Alliance.  Louis
XIV.  employed  in this negotiation his sister-in-law, Madame Henriette,
who was much attached to her brother, the King of England, and was
intelligent and adroit; she was on her return from a trip to London,
which she had with great difficulty snatched from the jealous
susceptibilities of Monsieur, when she died suddenly at Versailles on the
30th of June, 1670.  “It were impossible to praise sufficiently the
incredible dexterity of this princess in treating the most delicate
matters, in finding a remedy for those hidden suspicions which often keep
them in suspense, and in terminating all difficulties in such a manner as
to conciliate the most opposite interests; this was the subject of all
talk, when on a sudden resounded, like a clap of thunder, that astounding
news, Madame is dying! Madame is dead!  And there, in spite of that great
heart, is this princess, so admired and so beloved; there, as death has
made her for us!” [Bossuet, _Oraison funebre d’Henriette d’Angleterre._]

Madame’s work was nevertheless accomplished, and her death was not
destined to interrupt it.  The treaty of alliance was secretly concluded,
signed by only the Catholic councillors of Charles II.; it bore that the
King of England was resolved to publicly declare his return to the
Catholic church; the King of France was to aid him towards the execution
of this project with assistance to the amount of two millions of livres
of Tours; the two princes bound themselves to remain faithful to the
peace of Aix-la-Chapelle as regarded Spain, and to declare war together
against the United Provinces the King of France would have to supply to
his brother of England, for this war, a subsidy of three million livres
of Tours every year.  When the Protestant ministers were admitted to
share the secret, silence was kept as to the declaration of Catholicity,
which was put off till after the war in Holland; Parliament had granted
the king thirteen hundred thousand pounds sterling to pay his debts, and
eight hundred thousand pounds to “equip in the ensuing spring” a fleet of
fifty vessels, in order that he might take the part he considered most
expedient for the glory of his kingdom and the welfare of his subjects.
“The government of our country is like a great bell which you cannot stop
when it is once set going,” said King Charles II., anxious to commence
the war in order to handle the subsidies the sooner; he was,
nevertheless, obliged to wait.  Louis XIV. had succeeded in dragging him
into an enterprise contrary to the real interests of his country as well
as of his national policy; in order to arrive at his ends he had set at
work all the evil passions which divided the court of England; he had
bought up the king, his mistresses, and his ministers; he had dangled
before the fanaticism of the Duke of York the spectacle of England
converted to Catholicism; but his work was not finished in Europe; he
wished to assure himself of the neutrality of Germany in the great duel
he was meditating with the republic of the United Provinces.

As long ago as 1667 Louis XIV. had practically paved the way towards the
neutrality of the empire by a secret treaty regulating the eventual
partition of the Spanish, monarchy.  In case the little King of Spain
died without children, France was to receive the Low Countries, Franche-
Comte, Navarre, Naples, and Sicily; Austria was to keep Spain and
Milaness.  The Emperor Leopold therefore turned a deaf ear to the
entreaties of the Hollanders who would fain have bound him down to the
Triple Alliance; a new convention between France and the empire, secretly
signed on the 1st of November, 1670, made it reciprocally obligatory on
the two princes not to aid their enemies.  The German princes were more
difficult to win over; they were beginning to feel alarm at the
pretensions of France.  The electors of Treves and of Mayence had already
collected some troops on the Rhine; the Duke of Lorraine seemed disposed
to lend them assistance; Louis XIV. seized the pretext of the restoration
of certain fortifications contrary to the treaty of Marsal; on the 23d of
August, 1675, he ordered Marshal Crequi to enter Lorraine; at the
commencement of September, the whole duchy was reduced, and the duke a
fugitive.  “The king had at first been disposed to give up Lorraine to
some one of the princes of that house,” writes Louvois; “but, just now,
he no longer considers that province to be a country which he ought to
quit so soon, and it appears likely that, as he sees more and more every
day how useful that conquest will be for the unification of his kingdom,
he will seek the means of preserving it for himself.”  In point of fact,
the king, in answer to the emperor’s protests, replied that he did not
want to turn Lorraine to account for his own profit, but that he would
not give it up at the solicitations of anybody.  Brandenburg and Saxony
alone refused point blank to observe neutrality; France had renounced
Protestant alliances in Germany, and the Protestant electors comprehended
the danger that threatened them. Sweden also comprehended it, but
Gustavus Adolphus and Oxenstiern were no longer there; there remained
nothing but the remembrance of old alliances with France; the Swedish
senators gave themselves up to the buyer one after another. “When you
have made some stay at Stockholm,” wrote Courtin, the French ambassador
in Sweden, to M. do Pomponne, “and seen the vanity of the Gascons of the
North, the little honesty there is in their conduct, the cabals which
prevail in the Senate, and the feebleness and inertness of those who
compose it, you cannot be surprised at the delays and changes which take
place.  If the Senate of Rome had shown as little inclination as that of
Sweden at the present time for war, the Roman empire would not have been
of so great an extent.”  The treaty, however, was signed on the 14th of
April, 1672; in consideration of an annual subsidy of six hundred
thousand livres Sweden engaged to oppose by arms those princes of the
empire who should determine to support the United Provinces.  The gap was
forming round Holland.

In spite of the secrecy which enveloped the negotiations of Louis XIV.,
Van Witt was filled with disquietude; favorable as ever to the French
alliance, he had sought to calm the irritation of France, which set down
the Triple Alliance to the account of Holland.  “I remarked,” says a
letter in 1669, from M. de Pomponne, French ambassador at the Hague,
“that it seemed to me a strange thing that, whereas this republic had two
kings for its associates in the triple alliance, it affected in some sort
to put itself at their head so as to do all the speaking, and that it was
willing to become the seat of all the manoeuvres that were going on
against France, which was very likely to render it suspected of some
prepossession in favor of Spain.”  John Van Witt defended his country
with dignified modesty.  “I know not whether to regard as a blessing or a
curse,” said he, “the incidents which have for several years past brought
it about that the most important affairs of Europe have been transacted
in Holland.  It must no doubt be attributed to the situation and
condition of this state, which, whilst putting it after all the crowned
heads, cause it to be readily agreed to as a place without consequence;
but, as for the prepossession of which we are suspected in favor of
Spain, it cannot surely be forgotten what aversion we have as it were
sucked in with our milk towards that nation, the remnants that still
remain of a hatred fed by so much blood and such long wars, which make it
impossible, for my part, that my inclinations should ever turn towards
that crown.”

Hatred to Spain was not so general in Holland as Van Witt represented;
and internal dissensions amongst the Estates, sedulously fanned by
France, were slowly ruining the authority of the aristocratic and
republican party, only to increase the influence of those who favored the
house of Nassau.  In his far-sighted and sagacious patriotism, John van
Witt had for a long time past foreseen the defeat of his cause, and he
had carefully trained up the heir of the stadtholders, William of Nassau,
the natural head of his adversaries.  It was this young prince whom the
policy of Louis XIV. at that time opposed to Van Witt in the councils of
the United Provinces, thus strengthening in advance the indomitable foe
who was to triumph over all his greatness and vanquish him by dint of
defeats.  The despatch of an ambassador to Spain, to form there an
alliance offensive and defensive, was decided upon.  “M. de Beverninck,
who has charge of this mission, is without doubt a man of strength and
ability,” said M. de Pomponne, “and there are many who put him on a par
with M. de Witt; it is true that he is not on a par with the other the
whole day long, and that with the sobriety of morning he often loses the
desert and capacity that were his up to dinner-time.”  The Spaniards at
first gave but a cool reception to the overtures of the Hollanders.
“They look at their monarchy through the spectacles of Philip II.,” said
Beverninck, “and they take a pleasure in deceiving themselves whilst they
flatter their vanity.”  Fear of the encroachments of France carried the
day, however.  “They consider,” wrote M. de Lionne, “that, if they left
the United Provinces to ruin, they would themselves have but the favor
granted by the Cyclops, to be eaten last;” a defensive league was
concluded between Spain and Holland, and all the efforts of France
could not succeed in breaking it.

John van Witt was negotiating in every direction.  The treaty of Charles
II. with France had remained a profound secret, and the Hollanders
believed that they might calculate upon the good-will of the English
nation.  The arms of England were effaced from the Royal Charles, a
vessel taken by Van Tromp in 1667, and a curtain was put over a picture,
in the town-hall of Dordrecht, of the victory at Chatham, representing
the ruart [inspector of dikes] Cornelius van Witt leaning on a cannon.
These concessions to the pride of England were not made without a
struggle.  “Some,” says M. de Pomponne, “thought it a piece of baseness
to despoil themselves during peace, of tokens of the glory they had won
in the war; others, less sensitive on this point of delicacy, and more
affected by the danger of disobliging a crown which formed the first and
at this date the most necessary of their connections, preferred the less
spirited but safer to the honorable but more dangerous counsels.”
 Charles II. played with Boreel, ambassador of the United Provinces at the
court of London; taking advantage of the Estates’ necessity in order to
serve his nephew the Prince of Orange, he demanded for him the office of
captain-general, which had been filled by his ancestors.  Already the
prince had been recognized as premier noble of Zealand, and he had
obtained entrance to the council; John van Witt raised against him the
vote of the Estates of Holland, still preponderant in the republic.
“The grand pensionary soon appeased the murmurs and complaints that were
being raised against him,” writes M. de Pomponne.  “He prefers the
greatest dangers to the re-estab lishment of the Prince of Orange, and to
his re-establishment on the recommendation of the King of England; he
would consider that the republic accepted a double yoke, both in the
person of a chief who, from the post of captain general, might rise to
all those which his fathers had filled, and in accepting him at the
instance of a suspected crown.”  The grand pensionary did not err.  In
the spring of 1672, in spite of the loss of M. de Lionne, who died
September 1, 1671, all the negotiations of Louis XIV. had succeeded; his
armaments were completed; he was at last about to crush that little power
which had for so long a time past presented an obstacle to his designs.
“The true way of arriving at the conquest of the Spanish Low Countries is
to abase the Hollanders and annihilate them if it be possible,” said
Louvois to the Prince of Conde on the 1st of November, 1671; and the king
wrote in an unpublished memorandum, “In the midst of all my successes
during my campaign of 1667, neither England nor the empire, convinced as
they were of the justice of my cause, whatever interest they may have had
in checking the rapidity of my conquests, offered any opposition.  I
found in my path only my good, faithful, and old friends the Hollanders,
who, instead of interesting themselves in my fortune as the foundation
of their dominion, wanted to impose laws upon me and oblige me to make
peace, and even dared to use threats in case I refused to accept their
mediation.  I confess that their insolence touched me to the quick, and
that, at the risk of whatever might happen to my conquests in the Spanish
Low Countries, I was very near turning all my forces against this proud
and ungrateful nation; but, having summoned prudence to my aid, and
considered that I had neither number of troops nor quality of allies
requisite for such an enterptise, I dissimulated, I concluded peace on
honorable conditions, resolved to put off the punishment of such perfidy
to another time.”  The time had come; to the last attempt towards
conciliation, made by Van Groot, son of the celebrated Grotius, in the
name of the States General, the king replied with threatening
haughtiness.  “When I discovered that the United Provinces were trying to
debauch my allies, and were soliciting kings, my relatives, to enter into
offensive leagues against me, I made up my mind to put myself in a
position to defend myself, and I levied some troops; but I intend to have
more by the spring, and I shall make use of them at that time in the
manner I shall consider most proper for the welfare of my dominions and
for my own glory.”

“The king starts to-morrow, my dear daughter,” writes Madame de Sevigne
to Madame de Grignan on the 27th of April “there will be a hundred
thousand men out of Paris; the two armies will form a junction; the king
will command Monsieur, Monsieur the prince, the prince M. de Turenne, and
M. de Turenne the two marshals and even the army of Marshal Crequi.  The
king spoke to M. de Bellefonds and told him that his desire was that he
should obey M. de Turenne without any fuss.  The marshal, without asking
for time (that was his mistake), said that he should not be worthy of the
honor his Majesty had done him if he dishonored himself by an obedience
without precedent.  Marshal d’Humieres and Marshal Crequi said much the
same.  M. de la Rochefoucauld says that Bellefonds has spoilt everything
because he has no joints in his mind.  Marshal Crequi said to the king,
‘Sir, take from me my baton, for are you not master?  Let me serve this
campaign as Marquis of Crequi; perhaps I may deserve that your Majesty
give me back the baton at the end of the war.’  The king was touched; but
the result is, that they have all three been at their houses in the
country planting cabbages (have ceased to serve).”

“You will permit me to tell you that there is nothing for it but to obey
a master who says that he means to be obeyed,” wrote Louvois to M. de
Crequi.  The king wanted to have order and one sole command in his army:
and he was right.

The Prince of Orange, who had at last been appointed captain-general for
a single campaign, possessed neither the same forces nor the same
authority; the violence of party-struggles had blinded patriotic
sentiment and was hampering the preparations for defence.  Out of
sixty-four thousand troops inscribed on the registers of the Dutch army,
a great number neglected the summons; in the towns, the burgesses rose
up against the magistrates, refusing to allow the faubourgs to be pulled
down, and the peasants threatened to defend the dikes and close the
sluices.”  When word was sent yesterday to the peasants to come and work
on the Rhine at the redoubts and at piercing the dikes, not a man
presented himself,” says a letter of June 28, from John van Witt to his
brother Cornelius; “all is disorder and confusion here.”  “I hope that,
for the moment, we shall not lack gunpowder,” said Beverninck; “but as
for guncarriages there is no help for it; a fortnight hence we shall not
have more than seven.”  Louvois had conceived the audacious idea of
purchasing in Holland itself the supplies of powder and ball necessary
for the French army and the commercial instincts of the Hollanders had
prevailed over patriotic sentiment.  Ruyter was short of munitions in
the contest already commenced against the French and English fleet.
“Out of thirty-two battles I have been in I never saw any like it,” said
the Dutch admiral after the battle of Soultbay (Solebay) on the 7th of
June. “Ruyter is admiral, captain, pilot, sailor, and soldier all in
one,” exclaimed the English.  Cornelius van Witt in the capacity of
commissioner of the Estates had remained seated on the deck of the
admiral’s vessel during the fight, indifferent to the bullets that
rained around him.  The issue of the battle was indecisive; Count
d’Estrees, at the head of the French flotilla, had taken little part
in the action.

It was not at sea and by the agency of his lieutenants that Louis XIV.
aspired to gain the victory; he had already arrived at the banks of the
Rhine, marching straight into the very heart of Holland.  “I thought it
more advantageous for my designs, and less common on the score of glory,”
 he wrote to Colbert on the 31st of May, “to attack four places at once on
the Rhine, and to take the actual command in person at all four sieges...
.  I chose, for that purpose, Rheinberg, Wesel, Burick, and Orsoy, and I
hope that there will be no complaint of my having deceived public
expectation.”  The four places did not hold out four days.  On the 12th
of June, the king and the Prince of Conde appeared unexpectedly on the
right bank of the intermediary branch of the Rhine, between the Wahal and
the Yssel.  The Hollanders were expecting the enemy at the ford of, the
Yssel, being more easy to pass; they were taken by surprise; the king’s
cuirassier regiment dashed into the river, and crossed it partly by
fording and partly by swimming; the resistance was brief; meanwhile the
Duke of Longueville was killed, and the Prince of Conde was wounded for
the first time in his life.  “I was present at the passage, which was
bold, vigorous, full of brilliancy, and glorious for the nation,” writes
Louis XIV.  Arnheim and Deventer had just surrendered to Turenne and
Luxembourg; Duisbourg resisted the king for a few days; Monsieur was
besieging Zutphen.  John van Witt was for evacuating the Hague and
removing to Amsterdam the centre of government and resistance; the Prince
of Orange had just abandoned the province of Utrecht, which was
immediately occupied by the French; the defensive efforts were
concentrated upon the province of Holland; already Naarden, three leagues
from Amsterdam, was in the king’s hands.  “We learn the surrender of
towns before we have heard of their investment,” wrote Van Witt.  A
deputation from the States was sent on the 22d of June to the king’s
headquarters to demand peace.  Louis XIV. had just entered Utrecht,
which, finding itself abandoned, opened its gates to him.  On the same
day, John van Witt received in a street of the Hague four stabs with a
dagger from the hand of an assassin, whilst the city of Amsterdam, but
lately resolved to surrender and prepared to send its magistrates as
delegates to Louis XIV., suddenly decided upon resistance to the bitter
end.  “ If we must perish, let us at any rate be the last to fall,”
 exclaimed the town-councillor Walkernier, “and let us not submit to the
yoke it is desired to impose upon us until there remain no means of
securing ourselves against it.”  All the sluices were opened and the
dikes cut.  Amsterdam floated amidst the waters.  “I thus found myself
under the necessity of limiting my conquests, as regarded the province of
Holland, to Naarden, Utrecht, and Werden,” writes Louis XIV. in his
unpublished Memoire touching the campaign of 1672, and he adds, with rare
impartiality, “the resolution to place the whole country under water was
somewhat violent; but what would not one do to save one’s self from
foreign domination?  I cannot help admiring and commending the zeal and
stout-heartedness of those who broke off the negotiation of Amsterdam,
though their decision, salutary as it was for their country, was very
prejudicial to my service; the proposals made to me by the deputies from
the States General were very advantageous, but I could never prevail upon
myself to accept them.”

Louis XIV. was as yet ignorant what can be done amongst a proud people by
patriotism driven to despair; the States General offered him Maestricht,
the places on the Rhine, Brabant and Dutch Flanders, with a war-indemnity
of ten millions; it was an open door to the Spanish Low Countries, which
became a patch enclosed by French possessions; but the king wanted to
annihilate the Hollanders; he demanded Southern Gueldres, the Island of
Bonmel, twenty-four millions, the restoration of Catholic worship, and,
every year, an embassy commissioned to thank the king for having a second
time given peace to the United Provinces.  This was rather too much; and,
whilst the deputies were negotiating with heavy hearts, the people of
Holland had risen in wrath.

From the commencement of the war, the party of the house of Nassau had
never ceased to gain ground.  John van Witt was accused of all the
misfortunes of the state; the people demanded with loud outcries the
restoration of the stadtholderate, but lately abolished by a law voted by
the States under the presumptuous title of perpetual edict.  Dordrecht,
the native place of the Van Witts, gave the signal of insurrection.
Cornelius van Witt, who was confined to his house by illness, yielded to
the prayers of his wife and children, and signed the municipal act which
destroyed his brother’s work; the contagion spread from town to town,
from province to province; on the 4th of July the States General
appointed William of Orange stadtholder, captain-general, and admiral of
the Union; the national instinct had divined the savior of the country,
and with tumultuous acclamations placed in his hands the reins of the
state.

[Illustration: William III., Prince of Orange----434]

William of Orange was barely two and twenty when the fate of revolutions
suddenly put him at the head of a country invaded, devastated, half
conquered; but his mind as well as his spirit were up to the level of his
task.  He loftily rejected at the assembly of the Estates the proposals
brought forward in the king’s name by Peter van Groot.  “To subscribe
them would be suicide,” he said: “even to discuss them is dangerous; but,
if the majority of this assembly decide otherwise, there remains but one
course for the friends of Protestantism and liberty, and that is, to
retire to the colonies in the West Indies, and there found a new country,
where their consciences and their persons will be beyond the reach of
tyranny and despotism.”  The States General decided to “reject the hard
and intolerable conditions proposed by their lordships the Kings of
France and Great Britain, and to defend this state and its inhabitants
with all their might.”  The province of Holland in its entirety followed
the example of Amsterdam; the dikes were everywhere broken down, at the
same time that the troops of the electors of Brandenburg and Saxony were
advancing to the aid of the United Provinces, and that the emperor was
signing with those two princes a defensive alliance for the maintenance
of the treaties of Westphalia, the Pyrenees, and Aix-la-Chapelle.

Louis XIV. could no longer fly from conquest to conquest; henceforth his
troops had to remain on observation; care for his pleasures recalled him
to France; he left the command-in-chief of his army to M. de Turenne, and
set out for St.  Germain, where he arrived on the 1st of August.  Before
leaving Holland, he had sent home almost without ransom twenty thousand
prisoners of war, who before long entered the service of the States
again.  “It was an excess of clemency of which I had reason afterwards
to repent,” says the king himself.  His mistake was, that he did not
understand either Holland or the new chief she had chosen.

Dispirited and beaten, like his country, John van Witt had just given in
his resignation as councillor pensionary of Holland.  He wrote to Ruyter
on the 5th of August, as follows: “The capture of the towns on the Rhine
in so short a time, the irruption of the enemy as far as the banks of the
Yssel, and the total loss of the provinces of Gueldres, Utrecht, and
Over-Yssel, almost without resistance and through unheard-of poltroonery,
if not treason, on the part of certain people, have more and more
convinced me of the truth of what was in olden times applied to the Roman
republic: _Successes are claimed by everybody, reverses are put down to
one (Prospera omnes sibi vindicant, adversa uni imputantur)_.  That is my
own experience.  The people of Holland have not only laid at my door all
the disasters and calamities that have befallen our republic; they have
not been content to see me fall unarmed and defenceless into the hands of
four individuals whose design was to murder me; but when, by the agency
of Divine Providence, I escaped the assassins’ blows and had recovered
from my wounds, they conceived a violent hatred against such of their
magistrates as they believed to have most to do with the direction of
public affairs; it is against me chiefly that this hatred has manifested
itself, although I was nothing but a servant of the state; it is this
that has obliged me to demand my discharge from the office of
councillor-pensionary.”  He was at once succeeded by Gaspard van Fagel,
passionately devoted to the Prince of Orange.

Popular passion is as unjust as it is violent in its excesses.  Cornelius
van Witt, but lately sharing with his brother the public confidence, had
just been dragged, as a criminal, to the Hague, accused by a wretched
barber of having planned the assassination of the Prince of Orange.  In
vain did the magistrates of the town of Dordrecht claim their right of
jurisdiction over their fellow-citizen.  Cornelius van Witt was put to
the torture to make him confess his crime.  ‘You will not force me to
confess a thing I never even thought of,” he said, whilst the pulleys
were dislocating his limbs.  His baffled judges heard him repeating
Horace’s ode: _Just um et tenacem propositi virum_.  .  .  .  At the end
of three hours he was carried back to his cell, broken but indomitable.
The court condemned him to banishment; his accuser, Tichelaer, was not
satisfied.

Before long, at his instigation, the mob collected about the prison,
uttering imprecations against the judges and their clemency.  “They are
traitors!” cried Tichelaer, “but let us first take vengeance on those
whom we have.”  John van Witt had been brought to the prison by a message
supposed to have come from the ruart.  In vain had his daughter conjured
him not to respond to it.  “What are you come here for?” exclaimed
Cornelius, on seeing his brother enter.  “Did you not send for me?”
 “No, certainly not.”  Then we are lost,” said John van Witt, calmly.  The
shouts of the crowd redoubled; a body of cavalry still preserved order; a
rumor suddenly spread that the peasants from the environs were marching
on the Hague to plunder it; the States of Holland sent orders to the
Count of Tilly to move against them; the brave soldier demanded a written
order.  “I will obey,” he said, “but the two brothers are lost.”

[Illustration: The Brothers Witt----436]

The troops had scarcely withdrawn, and already the doors of the prison
were forced; the ruart, exhausted by the torture, was stretched upon his
bed, whilst his brother sat by his side reading the Bible aloud; the
madmen rushed into the chamber, crying, “Traitors, prepare yourselves;
you are going to die.”  Cornelius van Witt started up, joining his hands
in prayer; the blows aimed at him did not reach him.  John was wounded.
They were both dragged forth; they embraced one another; Cornelius,
struck from behind, rolled to the bottom of the staircase; his brother
would have defended him; as he went out into the street, he received a
pike-thrust in the face; the ruart was dead already; the murderers vented
their fury on John van Witt; he had lost nothing of his courage or his
coolness, and, lifting his arms towards heaven, he was opening his mouth
in prayer to God, when a last pistol-shot stretched him upon his back.
“There’s the perpetual edict floored!” shouted the assassins, lavishing
upon the two corpses insults and imprecations.  It was only at night, and
after having with difficulty recognized them, so disfigured had they
been, that poor Jacob van Witt was able to have his sons’ bodies removed;
he was before long to rejoin them in everlasting rest.

William of Orange arrived next day at the Hague, too late for his fame,
and for the punishment of the obscure assassins, whom he allowed to
escape.  The compassers of the plot obtained before long appointments and
rewards.  “He one day assured me,” says Gourville, “that it was quite
true he had not given any orders to have the Witts killed, but that,
having heard of their death without having contributed to it, he had
certainly felt a little relieved.”  History and the human heart have
mysteries which it is not well to probe to the bottom.

For twenty years John van Witt had, been the most noble exponent of his
country’s traditional policy.  Long faithful to the French alliance, he
had desired to arrest Louis XIV. in his dangerous career of triumph;
foreseeing the peril to come, he had forgotten the peril at hand; he had
believed too much and too long in the influence of negotiations and the
possibility of regaining the friendship of France.  He died unhappy, in
spite of his pious submission to the will of God; what he had desired for
his country was slipping from him abroad as well as at home; Holland was
crushed by France, and the aristocratic republic was vanquished by
monarchical democracy. With the weakness characteristic of human views,
he could not open his eyes to a vision of constitutional monarchy freely
chosen, preserving to his country the independence, prosperity, and order
which he had labored to secure for her.  A politician as, bold as and
more far-sighted than Admiral Coligny, twice struck down, like him, by
assassins, John van Witt remained in history the unique model of a great
republican chief, virtuous and able, proud and modest, up to the day at
which other United Provinces, fighting like Holland for their liberty,
presented a rival to the purity of his fame, when they chose for their
governor General Washington.

For all their brutal ingratitude, the instinct of the people of Holland
saw clearly into the situation.  John van Witt would have failed in the
struggle against France; William of Orange, prince, politician, and
soldier, saved his country and Europe from the yoke of Louis XIV.

On quitting his army, the king had inscribed in his notebook, “My
departure.--I do not mean to have anything more done.”  The temperature
favored his designs; it did not freeze, the country remained inundated
and the towns unapproachable; the troops of the Elector of Brandenburg,
together with a corps sent by the emperor, had put themselves in motion
towards the Rhine; Turenne kept them in check in Germany.  Conde covered
Alsace; the Duke of Luxembourg, remaining in Holland, confined himself to
burning two large villages--Bodegrave and Saammerdam.  “There was a grill
of all the Hollanders who were in those burghs,” wrote the marshal to the
Prince of Conde, “not one of whom was let out of the houses.  This
morning we were visited by two of the enemy’s drummers, who came to claim
a colonel of great note amongst them (I have him in cinders at this
moment), as well as several officers that we have not, and that are
demanded of us, who, I suppose, were killed at the approaches to the
villages, where I saw some rather pretty little heaps.”  The attempts of
the Prince of Orange on Charleroi had failed, as well as those of
Luxembourg on the Hague; the Swedes had offered their mediation, and
negotiations were beginning at Cologne; on the 10th of June, 1673, Louis
XIV. laid siege to Maestricht; Conde was commanding in Holland, with
Luxembourg under his orders; Turenne was observing Germany.  The king was
alone with Vauban.  Maestricht held out three weeks.  “M. de Vauban, in
this siege as in many others, saved a number of lives by his ingenuity,”
 wrote a young subaltern, the Count of Alligny.  “In times past it was
sheer butchery in the trenches, now he makes them in such a manner that
one is as safe as if one were at home.”  “I don’t know whether it ought
to be called swagger, vanity, or carelessness, the way we have of showing
ourselves unadvisedly and without cover,” Vauban used to say; “ but it is
an original sin of which the French will never purge themselves, if God,
who is all-powerful, do not reform the whole race.”  Maestricht taken,
the king repaired to Elsass, where skilful negotiations delivered into
his hands the towns that had remained independent: it was time to
consolidate past conquests; the coalition of Europe was forming against
France; the Hollanders held the sea against the hostile fleets; after
three desperate fights, Ruyter had prevented all landing in Holland; the
States no longer entertained the proposals they had but lately submitted
to the king at Utrecht; the Prince of Orange had recovered Naarden, and
just carried Bonn, with the aid of the Imperialists, commanded by
Montecuculli; Luxembourg had already received orders to evacuate the
province of Utrecht; at the end of the campaign of 1673, Gueldres and
Over-Yssel were likewise delivered from the enemies who had oppressed and
plundered them; Spain had come forth from her lethargy; and the emperor,
resuming the political direction of Germany, had drawn nearly all the
princes after him into the league against France.  The Protestant qualms
of the English Parliament had not yielded to the influence of the Marquis
of Ruvigny, a man of note amongst the French Reformers, and at this time
ambassador of France in London; the nation desired peace with the
Hollanders; and Charles II. yielded, in appearance at least, to the
wishes of his people.

On the 21st of February, 1674, he repaired to Parliament to announce to
the two Houses that he had concluded with the United Provinces “a prompt
peace, as they had prayed, honorable, and, as he hoped, durable.”  He at
the same time wrote to Louis XIV., to beg to be condoled with, rather
than upbraided, for a consent which had been wrung from him.  The
regiments of English and Irish auxiliaries remained quietly in the
service of France; and the king did not withdraw his subsidies from his
royal pensioner.

Thus was being undone, link by link, the chain of alliances which Louis
XIV. had but lately twisted round Holland.  France, in her turn, was
finding herself alone, with all Europe against her; scared, and,
consequently, active and resolute; the congress of Cologne had broken up;
not one of the belligerents desired peace; the Hollanders had just
settled the heredity of the stadtholderate in the house of Orange.  Louis
XIV. saw the danger.  “So many enemies,” says he in his Memoires,
“obliged me to take care of myself, and think what I must do to maintain
the reputation of my arms, the advantage of my dominions, and my personal
glory.”  It was in Franche-Comte that Louis XIV. went to seek these
advantages.  The whole province was reduced to submission in the month of
June, 1674.  Turenne had kept the Rhine against the Imperialists; the
marshal alone escaped the tyranny of the king and Louvois, and presumed
to conduct the campaign in his own way; when Louis XIV. sent him
instructions, he was by this time careful to add, “You will not bind
yourself down to what I send you hereby as to my intentions, save when
you think that the good of my service will permit you, and you will give
me of your news the oftenest you find it possible.”  (30th of March,
1674.)  Turenne did not always write, and it sometimes happened that he
did not obey.

This redounded to his honor in the campaign of 1674.  Conde had gained,
on the 11th of August, the bloody victory of Seneffe over the Prince of
Orange and the allied generals; the four squadrons of the king’s
household, posted within range of the fire, had remained for eight hours
in order of battle, without any movement but that of closing up as the
men fell.  Madame de Sdvigne, to whom her son, standard-bearer in the
dauphin’s gendarmes, had told the story, wrote to M. de BussyRabutin,
“But for the Te Deum, and some flags brought to Notre-Dame, we should
have thought we had lost the battle.”  The Prince 6f Orange, ever
indomitable in his cold courage, had attacked Audenarde on the 15th of
September; but he was not in force, and the, approach of Conde had
obliged him to raise the siege; to make up, he had taken Grave, spite of
the heroic resistance made by the Marquis of Chemilly, who had held out
ninety-three days.  Advantages remained balanced in Flanders; the result
of the campaign depended on Turenne, who commanded on the Rhine.  “If the
king had taken the most important place in Flanders,” he wrote to
Louvois, “and the emperor were master of Alsace, even without Philipsburg
or Brisach, I think the king’s affairs would be in the worst plight in
the world; we should see what armies we should have in Lorraine, in the
Bishoprics, and in Champagne.  I do assure you that, if I had the honor
of commanding in Flanders, I would speak as I do.”  On the 16th of June
he engaged in battle, at Sinzheim, with the Duke of Lorraine, who was
coming up with the advance-guard.  “I never saw a more obstinate fight,”
 said Turenne: “those old regiments of the emperor’s did mighty well.”
 He subsequently entered the Palatinate, quartering his troops upon it,
whilst the superintendents sent by Louvois were burning and plundering
the country, crushed as it was under war-contributions.  The king and
Louvois were disquieted by the movement of the enemy’s troops, and wanted
to get Turenne back into Lothringen.  “An army like that of the enemy,”
 wrote the marshal to Louvois, on the 13th of Septem ber, “and at the
season it is now, cannot have any idea but that of driving the king’s
army from Alsace, having neither provisions nor means of getting into
Lorraine, unless I be driven from the country.”  On the 20th of
September, the burgesses of the free city of Strasburg delivered up
the bridge over the Rhine to the Imperialists who were in the heart
of Elsass.  The victory of Ensheim, the fights of Mulhausen and
Turckheim, sufficed to drive them back; but it was only on the 22d
of January, 1675, that Turenne was at last enabled to leave Elsass
reconquered.  “There is no longer in France an enemy that is not a
prisoner,” he wrote to the king, whose thanks embarrassed him.
“Everybody has remarked that M. de Turenne is a little more bashful than
he was wont to be,” said Pellisson.

The coalition was proceeding slowly; the Prince of Orange was ill; the
king made himself master of the citadel of Liege and some small places.
Limburg surrendered to the Prince of Conde, without the allies having
been able to relieve it; Turenne was posted with the Rhine in his rear,
keeping Montecuculli in his front; he was preparing to hem him in, and
hurl him back upon Black Mountain.  His army was thirty thousand strong.
“I never saw so many fine fellows,” Turenne would say, “nor better
intentioned.”  Spite of his modest reserve, he felt sure of victory.
“This time I have them,” he kept saying; “they cannot escape me.”

On the 27th of June, 1675, in the morning, Turenne ordered an attack on
the village of Salzbach.  The young Count of St. Hilaire found him at the
head of his infantry, seated at the foot of a tree, into which he had
ordered an old soldier to climb, in order to have a better view of the
enemy’s manoeuvres.  The Count of Roye sent to conjure him to reconnoitre
in person the German column that was advancing.  “I shall remain where I
am,” said Turenne, “unless something important occur;” and he sent off
re-enforcements to M. de Roye; the latter repeated his entreaties; the
marshal asked for his horse, and, at a hard gallop, reached the right of
the army, along a hollow, in order to be under cover from two small
pieces of cannon, which kept up an incessant fire.  “I don’t at all want
to be killed to-day,” he kept saying.  He perceived M. do St. Hilaire,
the father, coming to meet him, and asked him what column it was on
account of which he had been sent for.  “My father was pointing it out to
him, writes young St.  Hilaire, “when, unhappily, the two little pieces
fired: a ball, passing over the quarters of my father’s horse, carried
away his left arm and the horse’s neck, and struck M. de Turenne in the
left side; he still went forward about twenty paces on his horse’s neck,
and fell dead.  I ran to my father, who was down, and raised him up.
‘No need to weep for me,’ he said; ‘it is the death of that great man;
you may, perhaps, lose your father, but neither your country nor you will
ever have a general like that again.  O, poor army, what is to become of
you?’  Tears fell from his eyes; then, suddenly recovering himself, ‘Go,
my son, and leave me,’ he said; ‘with me it will be as God pleases; time
presses; go and do your duty.’” [_Memoires du Marquis de St. Hilaire,_
t. i.  p. 205.]  They threw a cloak over the corpse of the great general,
and bore it away.  “The soldiers raised a cry that was heard two leagues
off,” writes Madame de Sevigne; “no consideration could restrain them;
they roared to be led to battle, they wanted to avenge the death of their
father, with him they had feared nothing, but they would show how to
avenge him, let it be left to them; they were frantic, let them be led to
battle.”  Montecuculli had for a moment halted.  “Today a man has fallen
who did honor to man,” said he, as he uncovered respectfully.  He threw
himself, however, on the rearguard of the French army, which was falling
back upon Elsass, and recrossed the Rhine at Altenheim.  The death of
Turenne was equivalent to a defeat.

[Illustration: Death of Turenne----443]

The Emperor Napoleon said of Turenne, “He is the only general whom
experience ever made more daring.”  He had been fighting for forty years,
and his fame was still increasing, without effort or ostentation on his
part.  “M. de Turenne, from his youth up, possessed all good qualities,”
 wrote Cardinal de Retz, who knew him well, “and the great he acquired
full early.  He lacked none but those that he did not think about.  He
possessed nearly all virtues as it were by nature; he never possessed the
glitter of any.  He was believed to be more fitted for the head of an
army than of a party, and so I think, because he was not naturally
enterprising; but, however, who knows?  He always had in everything, just
as in his speech, certain obscurities, which were never cleared up save
by circumstances, but never save to his glory.”  He had said, when he set
out, to this same Cardinal de Retz, then in retirement at Commercy, “Sir,
I am no _talker (diseur),_ but I beg you to believe that, if it were not
for this business in which perhaps I may be required, I would go into
retirement as you have gone, and I give you my word that, if I come back,
I, like you, will put some space between life and death.”  God did not
leave him time.  He summoned suddenly to Him this noble, grand, and
simple soul.  “I see that cannon loaded with all eternity,” says Madame
de Sevigne: “I see all that leads M. de Turenne thither, and I see
therein nothing gloomy for him.  What does he lack?  He dies in the
meridian of his fame.  Sometimes, by living on, the star pales.  It is
safer to cut to the quick, especially in the case of heroes whose actions
are all so watched.  M. de Turenne did not feel death: count you that for
nothing?”  Turenne was sixty-four; he had become a convert to Catholicism
in 1668, seriously and sincerely, as he did everything.  For him Bossuet
had written his Exposition of faith.  Heroic souls are rare, and those
that are heroic and modest are rarer still: that was the distinctive
feature of M. de Turenne.  “When a man boasts that he has never made
mistakes in war, he convinces me that he has not been long at it,” he
would say.  At his death, France considered herself lost.  “The premier-
president of the court of aids has an estate in Champagne, and the farmer
of it came the other day to demand to have the contract dissolved; he was
asked why: he answered that in M. de Turenne’s time one could gather in
with safety, and count upon the lands in that district, but that, since
his death, everybody was going away, believing that the enemy was about
to enter Champagne.” [_Lettres de Madame de Sevigne_.]  “I should very
much like to have only two hours’ talk with the shade of M. de Turenne,”
 said the Prince of Conde, on setting out to take command of the army of
the Rhine, after a check received by Marshal Crequi.  “I would take the
consequences of his plans if I could only get at his views, and make
myself master of the knowledge he had of the country, and of
Montecuculli’s tricks of feint.”  “God preserves you for the sake of
France, my lord,” people said to him; but the prince made no reply beyond
a shrug of the shoulders.

[Illustration: TURENNE.----444]

It was his last campaign.  The king had made eight marshals, “change for
a Turenne.”  Crequi began by getting beaten before Treves, which
surrendered to the enemy.  “Why did--the marshal give battle?” asked a
courtier.  The king turned round quickly.  “I have heard,” said he, “that
the Duke of Weimar, after the death of the great Gustavus, commanded the
Swedish allies of France; one Parabere, an old blue ribbon, said to him,
speaking of the last battle, which he had lost, ‘Sir, why did you give
it?’  ‘Sir,’ answered Weimar, ‘because I thought I should win it.’  Then,
leaning over towards somebody else, he asked, ‘Who is that fool with the
blue ribbon?’”  The Germans retired.  Conde returned to Chantilly once
more, never to go out of it again.  Montecuculli, old and ill, refused to
serve any longer.  “A man who has had the honor of fighting against
Mahomet Coprogli, against the prince, and against M. de Turenne, ought
not to compromise his glory against people who are only just beginning to
command armies,” said the, veteran general to the emperor on taking his
retirement.  The chiefs were disappearing from the scene, the heroic
period of the war was over.

Europe demanded a general peace; England and Holland desired it
passionately.  “I am as anxious as you for an end to be put to the war,”
 said the Prince of Orange to the deputies from the Estates, “provided
that I get out of it with honor.”  He refused obstinately to separate
from his allies.  “It is not astonishing that the Prince of Orange does
not at once give way even to things which he considers reasonable,” said
Charles II., “he is the son of a father and mother whose obstinacy was
carried to extremes; and he resembles them in that.”  Meanwhile, William
had just married (November 15, 1677), the Princess Mary, eldest daughter
of the Duke of York and Anne Hyde.  An alliance offensive and defensive
between England and Holland was the price of this union, which struck
Louis XIV. an unexpected blow.  He had lately made a proposal to the
Prince of Orange to marry one of his natural daughters.  “The first
notice I had of the marriage,” wrote the king, “was through the bonfires
lighted in London.”  “The loss of a decisive battle could not have scared
the King of France more,” said the English ambassador, Lord Montagu.  For
more than a year past negotiations had been going on at Nimeguen; Louis
XIV. resolved to deal one more great blow.

[Illustration: An Exploit of John Bart’s----446]

The campaign of 1676 had been insignificant, save at sea.  John Bart, a
corsair of Dunkerque, scoured the seas and made foreign commerce tremble;
he took ships by boarding, and killed with his own hands the Dutch
captain of the Neptune, who offered resistance.  Messina, in revolt
against the Spaniards, had given herself up to France; the Duke of
Vivonne, brother of Madame de Montespan, who had been sent thither as
governor, had extended his conquests; Duquesne, quite young still, had
triumphantly maintained the glory of France against the great Ruyter, who
had been mortally wounded off Catana; on the 21st of April.  But already
the possession of Sicily was becoming precarious, and these distant
successes had paled before the brilliant campaign of 1677; the capture of
Valenciennes, Cambrai, and St.  Omer, the defence of Lorraine, the
victory of Cassel, gained over the Prince of Orange, had confirmed the
king in his intentions.  “We have done all that we were able and bound to
do,” wrote William of Orange to the Estates, on the 13th of April, 1677,
“and we are very sorry to be obliged to tell your High Mightinesses that
it has not pleased God to bless on this occasion the arms of the state
under our guidance.”

[Illustration: Duquesne victorious over Ruyter---446a]

“I was all impatience,” says Louis XIV. in his Memoires, “to commence
the campaign of 1678, and greatly desirous of doing something therein as
glorious as, and more useful than, what had already been done; but it was
no easy matter to come by it, and to surpass the lustre conferred by the
capture of three large places and the winning of a battle.  I examined
what was feasible, and Ghent being the most important of all I could
attack, I fixed upon it to besiege.”  The place was invested on the 1st
of March, and capitulated on the 11th; Ypres, in its turn, succumbed on
the 25th, after a vigorous resistance.  On the 7th of April the king
returned to St. Germain, “pretty content with what I had done,” he says,
“and purposing to do better in the future, if the promise I had given not
to undertake anything for two months were not followed by the conclusion
of peace.”  Louis XIV. sent his ultimatum to Nimeguen.

Holland had weight in congress as well as in war, and her influence was
now enlisted on the side of peace.  “Not only is it desired,” said the
grand pensionary Fagel, “but it is absolutely indispensable, and I would
not answer for it that the States General, if driven to extremity by the
sluggishness of their allies, will not make a separate peace with France.
I know nobody in Holland who is not of the same opinion.”  The Prince of
Orange flew out at such language.  “Well, then, I know somebody,” said
he, “and that is myself; I will oppose it to the best of my ability;
but,” he added more slowly, upon reflection, “if I were not here, I know
quite well that peace would be concluded within twenty-four hours.”

One man alone, though it were the Prince of Orange, cannot long withstand
the wishes of a free people.  The republican party, for a while cast down
by the death of John van Witt, had taken courage again, and Louis XIV.
secretly encouraged it.  William of Orange had let out his desire of
becoming Duke of Gueldres and Count of Zutphen: these foreshadowings of
sovereignty had scared the province of Holland, which refused its
consent; the influence of the stadtholder was weakened thereby; the
Estates pronounced for peace, spite of the entreaties of the Prince of
Orange.  “I am always ready to obey the orders of the state,” said he,
“but do not require me to give my assent to a peace which appears to me
not only ruinous, but shameful as well.”  Two deputies from the United
Provinces set out for Brussels.

“It is better to throw one’s self out of the window than from the top of
the roof,” said the Spanish plenipotentiary to the nuncio, when he had
cognizance of the French proposals, and he accepted the treaty offered
him.  “The Duke of Villa Hermosa says that he will accept the conditions;
for ourselves, we will do the same,” said the Prince of Orange, bitterly,
“and so here is peace made, if France continues to desire it on this
footing, which I very much doubt.”

At one moment, in fact, Louis XIV. raised fresh pretensions.  He wished
to keep the places on the Meuse, until the Swedes, almost invariably
unfortunate in their hostilities with Denmark and Brandenburg, should
have been enabled to win back what they had lost.  This was to postpone
peace indefinitely.  The English Parliament and Holland were disgusted,
and concluded a new alliance.  The Spaniards were preparing to take up
arms again.  The king, who had returned to the army, all at once cut the
knot.  “The day I arrived at the camp,” writes Louis XIV., I received
news from London apprising mee that the King of England would bind
himself to join me in forcing my enemies to make peace, if I consented to
add something to the conditions he had already proposed.  I had a battle
over this proposal, but the public good, joined to the glory of gaining a
victory over myself, prevailed over the advantage I might have hoped for
from war.  I replied to the King of England that I was quite willing to
make the treaty he proposed to me, and, at the same time, I wrote to the
States General a letter, stronger than the first, being convinced that,
since they were wavering, they ought not to have time given them to take
counsel upon the subject of peace with their allies, who did not want
it.”  Beverninck went to visit the king at Ghent; and he showed so much
ability that the special peace concluded by his pains received, in
Holland, the name of Beverninck’s peace.  “I settled more business in an
hour with M. de Beverninck than the plenipotentiaries would have been
able to conclude in several days,” said Louis XIV.; “the care I had taken
to detach the allies one from another, overwhelmed them to such an
extent, that they were constrained to submit to the conditions of which I
had declared myself in favor at the commencement of my negotiations.  I
had resolved to make peace, but I wished to conclude one that would be
glorious for me and advantageous for my kingdom.  I wished to recompense
myself, by means of the places that were essential, for the probable
conquests I was losing, and to console myself for the conclusion of a war
which I was carrying on with pleasure and success.  Amidst such turmoil,
then, I was quite tranquil, and saw nothing but advantage for myself,
whether the war went on or peace were made.”

All difficulties were smoothed away Sweden had given up all stipulations
for her advantage; the firm will of France had triumphed over the
vacillations of Charles II.  and the allies.  “The behavior of the French
in all this was admirable,” says Sir W. Temple, an experienced
diplomatist, long versed in all the affairs of Europe, “whilst our own
counsels and behavior resembled those floating islands which winds and
tide drive from one side to the other.”

On the 10th of August, in the evening, the special peace between Holland
and France was signed after twenty-four hours’ conference.  The Prince of
Orange had concentrated all his forces near Mons, confronting Marshal
Luxembourg, who occupied the plateau of Casteau; he had no official news
as yet from Nimeguen, and on the 14th he began the engagement outside the
abbey of St. Denis.  The affair was a very murderous one, and remained
indecisive: it did more honor to the military skill of the Prince of
Orange than to his loyalty.  Holland had not lost an inch of her
territory during this war; so long, so desperate, and notoriously
undertaken in order to destroy her; she had spent much money, she had
lost many men, she had shaken the confidence of her allies by treating
alone and being the first to treat, but she had furnished a chief to the
European coalition, and she had shown an example of indomitable
resistance; the States General and the Prince of Orange alone, besides
Louis XIV., came the greater out of the struggle.  The King of England
had lost all consideration both at home and abroad, and Spain paid all
the expenses of the war.

Peace was concluded on the 17th of September, thanks to the energetic
intervention of the Hollanders.  The king restored Courtray, Audenarde,
Ath, and Charleroi, which had been given him by the treaty of Aix-la-
Chapelle, Ghent, Linmburg, and St.  Ghislain; but he kept by definitive
right St. Omer, Cassel, Aire, Ypres, Cambray, Bouchain, Valenciennes, and
all Franche-Comte; henceforth he possessed in the north of France a line
of places extending from Dunkerque to the Meuse; the Spanish monarchy was
disarmed.

It still required a successful campaign under Marshal Crequi to bring the
emperor and the German princes over to peace; exchanges of territory and
indemnities re-established the treaty of Westphalia on all essential
points.  The Duke of Lorraine refused the conditions on which the king
proposed to restore to him his duchy; so Louis XIV. kept Lorraine.

The King of France was at the pinnacle of his greatness and power.
“Singly against all,” as Louvois said, he had maintained the struggle
against Europe, and he came out of it victorious; everywhere, with good
reason, was displayed his proud device, _Nec pluribus impar_.  “My will
alone,” says Louis XIV. in his Memoires, “concluded this peace, so much
desired by those on whom it did not depend; for, as to my enemies, they
feared it as much as the public good made me desire it, and that
prevailed on this occasion over the gain and personal glory I was likely
to find in the continuation of the war.  .  .  .  I was in full enjoyment
of my good fortune and the fruits of my good conduct, which had caused me
to profit by all the occasions I had met with for extending the borders
of my kingdom at the expense of my enemies.”

“Here is peace made,” wrote Madame de Sevigne to the Count of Bussy.
“The king thought it handsomer to grant it this year to Spain and Holland
than to take the rest of Flanders; he is keeping that for another time.”

The Prince of Orange thought as Madame de Seigne: he regarded the peace
of Nimeguen as a truce, and a truce fraught with danger to Europe.  For
that reason did he soon seek to form alliances in order to secure the
repose of the world against the insatiable ambition of King Louis XIV.
Intoxicated by his successes and the adulation of his court, the King of
France no longer brooked any objections to his will or any limits to his
desires.  The poison of absolute power had done its work.  Louis XIV.
considered the “office of king” grand, noble, delightful, “for he felt
himself worthy of acquitting himself well in all matters in which he
engaged.”  “The ardor we feel for glory,” he used to say, “is not one of
those feeble passions which grow dull by possession; its favors, which
are never to be obtained without effort, never, on the other hand, cause
disgust, and whoever can do without longing for fresh ones is unworthy of
all he has received.”

Standing at the king’s side and exciting his pride and ambition, Louvois
had little by little absorbed all the functions of prime minister without
bearing the title.  Colbert alone resisted him, and he, weary of the
struggle, was about to succumb before long (1683), driven to desperation
by the burdens that the wars and the king’s luxury caused to weigh
heavily upon France.  Peace had not yet led to disarmament; an army of a
hundred and forty thousand men remained standing, ever ready to uphold
the rights of France during the long discussions over the regulation of
the frontiers.  In old papers ancient titles were found, and by degrees
the villages, Burghs, and even principalities, claimed by King Louis XIV.
were re-united quietly to France; King Charles XI. was thus alienated, in
consequence of the seizure of the countship of Deux-Ponts, to which
Sweden laid claim.  Strasburg was taken by a surprise.  This free city
had several times violated neutrality during the war; Louvois had kept up
communications inside the place; suddenly he had the approaches and the
passage over the Rhine occupied by thirty-five thousand men on the night
between the 16th and 17th of September, 1681; the burgesses sent up to
ask aid from the emperor, but the messengers were arrested; on the 30th
Strasburg capitulated, and Louis XIV. made his triumphant entry there on
the 24th of October.  “Nobody,” says a letter of the day, “can recover
from the consternation caused by the fact that the French have taken
Strasburg without firing a single shot; everybody says it is one of the
wheels of the chariot to be used for a drive into the empire, and that
the door of Elsass is shut from this moment.”

The very day of the surrender of Strasburg (September 30, 1681), Catinat,
with a corps of French troops, entered Casale, sold to Louis XIV. by the
Duke of Mantua.  The king thought to make sure of Piedmont by marrying
his niece, Monsieur’s daughter, to the Duke of Savoy, Victor-Amadeo,
quite a boy, delicate and taciturn, at loggerheads with his mother and
with her favorites.  Marie Louise d’Orleans, elder sister of the young
Duchess of Savoy, had married the King of Spain, Charles II., a sickly
creature of weak intellect.  Louis XIV. felt the necessity of forming new
alliances; the old supports of France had all gone over to the enemy.
Sweden and Holland were already allied to the empire; the German princes
joined the coalition.  The Prince of Orange, with an ever-vigilant eye on
the frequent infractions of the treaties which France permitted herself
to commit, was quietly negotiating with his allies, and ready to take up
arms to meet the common danger.  “He was,” says Massillon, “a prince
profound in his views, skilful in forming leagues and banding spirits
together, more successful in exciting wars than on the battle-field, more
to be feared in the privacy of the closet than at the head of armies, a
prince and an enemy whom hatred of the French name rendered capable of
conceiving great things and of executing them, one of those geniuses who
seem born to move at their will both peoples and sovereigns.”  French
diplomacy was not in a condition to struggle with the Prince of Orange.
M. de Pomponne had succeeded Lionne; he was disgraced in 1679.  “I order
his recall,” said the king, “because all that passes through his hands
loses the grandeur and force which ought to be shown in executing the
orders of a king who is no poor creature.”  Colbert de Croissy, the
minister’s brother, was from that time employed to manage with foreign
countries all the business which Louvois did not reserve to himself.

Duquesne had bombarded Algiers in 1682; in 1684, he destroyed several
districts of Genoa, which was accused of having failed in neutrality
between France and Spain; and at the same time Marshals Humieres and
Crequi occupied Audenarde, Courtray, and Dixmude, and made themselves
masters of Luxemburg; the king reproached Spain with its delays in the
regulation of the frontiers, and claimed to occupy the Low Countries
pacifically; the diet of Ratisbonne intervened; the emperor, with the aid
of Sobieski, King of Poland, was occupied in repelling the invasions of
the Turks; a truce was concluded for twenty-four years; the empire and
Spain acquiesced in the king’s new conquests.  “It seemed to be
established,” said the Marquis de la Fare, “that the empire of France was
an evil not to be avoided by other nations.”  Nobody was more convinced
of this than King Louis XIV.

He was himself about to deal his own kingdom a blow more fatal than all
those of foreign wars and of the European coalition.  Intoxicated by so
much success and so many victories, he fancied that consciences were to
be bent like states, and he set about bringing all his subjects back to
the Catholic faith.  Himself returning to a regular life, under the
influence of age and of Madame de Maintenon, he thought it a fine thing
to establish in his kingdom that unity of religion which Henry IV. and
Richelieu had not been able to bring about.  He set at nought all the
rights consecrated by edicts, and the long patience of those Protestants
whom Mazarin called “the faithful flock;” in vain had persecution been
tried for several years past; tyranny interfered, and the edict of Nantes
was revoked on the 13th of October, 1685.  Some years later, the
Reformers, by hundreds of thousands, carried into foreign lands their
industries, their wealth, and their bitter resentments.  Protestant
Europe, indignant, opened her doors to these martyrs to conscience,
living witnesses of the injustice and arbitrary power of Louis XIV.
All the princes felt themselves at the same time insulted and threatened
in respect of their faith as well as of their puissance.  In the early
months of 1686, the league of Augsburg united all the German princes,
Holland, and Sweden; Spain and the Duke of Savoy were not slow to join
it.  In 1687, the diet of Ratisbonne refused to convert the twenty years’
truce into a definitive peace.  By his haughty pretensions the king gave
to the coalition the support of Pope Innocent XI.; Louis XIV. was once
more single-handed against all, when he invaded the electorate of Cologne
in the month of August, 1686.  Philipsburg, lost by France in 1676, was
recovered on the 29th of October; at the end of the campaign, the king’s
armies were masters of the Palatinate.  In the month of January, 1689,
war was officially declared against Holland, the emperor, and the empire.
The commander-in-chief of the French forces was intrusted to the dauphin,
then twenty-six years of age.  “I give you an opportunity of making your
merit known,” said Louis XIV. to his son: “exhibit it to all Europe, so
that when I come to die it shall not be perceived that the king is dead.”

The dauphin was already tasting the pleasures of conquest, and the
coalition had not stirred.  They were awaiting their chief; William of
Orange was fighting for them in the very act of taking possession of the
kingdom of England.  Weary of the narrow-minded and cruel tyranny of
their king, James II., disquieted at his blind zeal for the Catholic
religion, the English nation had summoned to their aid the champion of
Protestantism; it was in the name of the political liberties and the
religious creed of England that the Prince of Orange set sail on the 11th
of November, 1688; on the flags of his vessels was inscribed the proud
device of his house, I will maintain; below were the words, _Pro
libertate et Protestante religione._  William landed without obstacle at
Torbay, on the 15th of November; on the 4th of January, King James,
abandoned by everybody, arrived in France, whither he had been preceded
by his wife, Mary of Modena, and the little Prince of Wales; the
convention of the two Houses in England proclaimed William and Mary
_kings_ (rois--?  king and queen); the Prince of Orange had declined the
modest part of mere husband of the queen.  “I will never be tied to a
woman’s apron-strings,” he had said.

By his personal qualities as well as by the defects and errors of his
mind Louis XIV. was a predestined acquisition to the cause of James II.;
he regarded the revolution in England as an insolent attack by the people
upon the kingly majesty, and William of Orange was the most dangerous
enemy of the crown of France.  The king gave the fallen monarch a
magnificent reception.  “The king acts towards these majesties of England
quite divinely,” writes Madame de Sevigne, on the 10th of January, 1689:
“for is it not to be the image of the Almighty to support a king
out-driven, betrayed, abandoned as he is?  The king’s noble soul is
delighted to play such a part as this.  He went to meet the Queen of
England with all his household and a hundred six-horse carriages; he
escorted her to St. Germain, where she found herself supplied, like the
queen, with all sorts of knick-knacks, amongst which was a very rich
casket with six thousand louis d’or.  The next day the King of England
arrived late at St. Germain; the king was there waiting for him, and went
to the end of the Guards’ hall to meet him; the King of England bent down
very low, as if he meant to embrace his knees; the king prevented him,
and embraced him three or four times over, very cordially.  At parting,
his Majesty would not be escorted back, but said to the King of England,
‘This is your house; when I come hither you shall do me the honors of it,
as I will do you when you come to Versailles.’  The king subsequently
sent the King of England ten thousand louis.  The latter looked aged and
worn, the queen thin and with eyes that have wept, but beautiful black
ones; a fine complexion, rather pale, a large mouth, fine teeth, a fine
figure and plenty of wits; all that makes up a very pleasing person.  All
she says is quite just and full of good sense.  Her husband is not the
same; he has plenty of spirit, but a common mind which relates all that
has passed in England with a want of feeling which causes the same
towards him.  It is so extraordinary to have this court here that it is
the subject of conversation incessantly.  Attempts are being made to
regulate ranks and prepare for permanently living with people so far from
their restoration.”

In his pride and his kingly illusions, Louis XIV. had undertaken a burden
which was to weigh heavily upon him to the very end of his reign.

Catholic Ireland had not acquiesced in the elevation of William of Orange
to the throne of England; she invited over King James.  Personally brave,
and blinded by his hopes, he set out from St. Germain on the 25th of
February, 1689.  “Brother,” said the king to him on taking leave, “the
best I can wish you is not to see you back.”  He took with him a corps of
French troops commanded by M. de Rosen, and the Count of Avaux as
adviser.  “It will be no easy matter to keep any secret with the King of
England,” wrote Avaux to Louis XIV.; “he has said before the sailors of
the St. Michael what he ought to have reserved for his greatest
confidants.  Another thing which may cause us trouble is his indecision,
for he has frequent changes of opinion, and does not always determine
upon the best.  He lays great stress on little things, over which he
spends all his time, and passes lightly by the most essential.  Besides,
he listens to everybody, and as much time has to be spent in destroying
the impressions which bad advice has produced upon him as in inspiring
him with good.  It is said here that the Protestants of the north will
intrench themselves in Londonderry, which is a pretty strong town for
Ireland, and that it is a business which will probably last some days.”

The siege of Londonderry lasted a hundred and five days; most of the
French officers fell there; the place had to be abandoned; the English
army had just landed at Carrickfergus (August 25), under the orders of
Marshal Schomberg.  Like their leader, a portion of Schomberg’s men were
French Protestants who had left their native country after the revocation
of the edict of Nantes; they fought to the bitter end against the French
regiments of Rosen.  The Irish Parliament was beginning to have doubts
about James II.  “Too English,” it was said, “to render full justice to
Ireland.”  There was disorder everywhere, in the government as well as in
the military operations; Schomberg held the Irish and French in check; at
last William III. appeared.

He landed on the 14th of June, and at once took the road to Belfast; the
Protestant opposition was cantoned in the province of Ulster, peopled to
a great extent by Cromwell’s Scotch colonists; three parts of Ireland
were still in the hands of the Catholics and King James.  “I haven’t come
hither to let the grass grow under my feet,” said William to those who
counselled prudence.  He had brought with him his old Dutch and German
regiments, and numbered under his orders thirty-five thousand men;
representatives from all the Protestant churches of Europe were there
in arms against the enemies of their liberties.

The forces of King James were scarcely inferior to those of his
son-in-law; Louis XIV. had sent him a re-enforcement of eight thousand
men under the orders of the Duke of Lauzun.  On the 1st of July the two
armies met on the banks of the Boyne, near the town of Drogheda.
William had been slightly wounded in the shoulder the evening before
during a reconnaissance.  “There’s no harm done,” said he at once to his
terrified friends, “but, as it was, the ball struck quite high enough.”
 He was on horseback at the head of his troops; at daybreak the whole
army plunged into the river; Marshal Schomberg commanded a division; he
saw that the Huguenot regiments were staggered by the death of their
leader, M. de Caillemotte, younger brother of the Marquis of Ruvigny.
He rushed his horse into the river, shouting, “Forward, gentlemen;
yonder are your persecutors.”  He was killed, in his turn, as he touched
the bank.  King William himself had just entered the Boyne; his horse
had taken to swimming, and he had difficulty in guiding it with his
wounded arm; a ball struck his boot, another came and hit against the
butt of his pistol; the Irish infantry, ignorant and undisciplined,
everywhere took flight.  “We were not beaten,” said a letter to Louvois
from M. de la Hoguette, a French officer, “but the enemy drove the Irish
troops, like sheep, before them, without their having attempted to fire
a single musket-shot.”  All the burden of the contest fell upon the
troops of Louis XIV. and upon the Irish gentlemen, who fought furiously;
William rallied around him the Protestants of Enniskillen, and led them
back to the charge; the Irish gave way on all sides; King James had
prudently remained at a distance, watching the battle from afar; he
turned bridle, and hastily took the road back to Dublin.  On the 3d of
July he embarked at Waterford, himself carrying to St. Germain the news
of his defeat. “Those who love the King of England must be very glad to
see him in safety,” wrote Marshal Luxembourg to Louvois; “but those who
love his glory have good reason to deplore the figure he made.”  “I was
in trouble to know what had become of the king my father,” wrote Queen
Mary to William III.; “I dared not ask anybody but Lord Nottingham, and
I had the satisfaction of learning that he was safe and sound.  I know
that I need not beg you to spare him, but to your tenderness add this,
that for my sake the world may know that you would not have any harm
happen to him. You will forgive me this.”  The rumor had spread at Paris
that King William was dead; the populace lighted bonfires in the
streets; and the governor of the Bastille fired a salute.  The anger and
hatred of a people are perspicacious.

The insensate pride of king and nation was to be put to other trials; the
campaign of 1689 had been without advantage or honor to the king’s arms.
Disembarrassed of the great Conde, of Turenne, and even of Marshal
Luxembourg, who was compromised in some distressing law proceedings,
Louvois exercised undisputed command over generals and armies; his harsh
and violent genius encountered no more obstacles.  He had planned a
defensive war which was to tire out the allies, all the while ravaging
their territories.  The Palatinate underwent all its horrors.  Manheim,
Heidelberg, Spires, Worms, Bingen, were destroyed and burned.  “I don’t
think,” wrote the Count of Tesse to Louvois, “that for a week past my
heart has been in its usual place.  I take the liberty of speaking to you
naturally, but I did not foresee that it would cost so much to personally
look to the burning of a town with a population, in proportion, like that
of Orleans.  You may rely upon it that nothing at all remains of the
superb castle of Heidelberg.  There were yesterday at noon, besides the
castle, four hundred and thirty-two houses burned; and the fire was still
going on.  I merely caused to be set apart the family pictures of the
Palatine House; that is, the fathers, mothers, grandmothers, and
relatives of Madame; intending, if you order me or advise me so, to make
her a present of them, and have them sent to her when she is somewhat
distracted from the desolation of her native country; for, except
herself, who can take any interest in them?  Of the whole lot there is
not a single copy worth a dozen livres.”  The poor Princess Palatine,
Monsieur’s second wife, was not yet distracted from her native country,
and she wrote in March, 1689, “Should it cost me my life, it is
impossible for me not to regret, not to deplore, having been, so to
speak, the pretext for the destruction of my country.  I cannot look on
in cold blood and see the ruin at a single blow, in poor Manheim, of all
that cost so much pains and trouble to the late prince-elector, my
father.  When I think of all the explosions that have taken place, I am
so full of horror that every night, the moment I begin to go to sleep, I
fancy myself at Heidelberg or Manheim, and an eye-witness of the ravages
committed.  I picture to myself how it all was in my time, and to what
condition it has been reduced now, and I cannot refrain from weeping hot
tears.  What distresses me above all is, that the king waited to reveal
his orders until the very moment of my intercession in favor of
Heidelberg and Manheim.  And yet it is thought bad taste for me to be
afflicted!”

The Elector of Bavaria, an able prince and a good soldier, had roused
Germany to avenge his wrongs; France had just been placed under the ban
of the empire; and the grand alliance was forming.  All the German
princes joined it; the United Provinces, England, and Spain combined for
the restoration of the treaties of Westphalia and of the Pyrenees.
Europe had mistaken hopes of forcing Louis XIV. to give up all his
conquests.  Twenty years of wars and reverses were not to suffice for
that.  Fortune, however, was tiring of being favorable to France;
Marshals Duras and Humieres were unable to hamper the movements of the
Duke of Lorraine, Charles V., and of the Elector of Bavaria; the French
garrisons of Mayence and of Bonn were obliged to capitulate after an
heroic defence their munitions failed.  The king recalled Marshal
Luxembourg to the head of his armies.  The able courtier had managed to
get reconciled with Louvois.  “You know, sir,” he wrote to him on the 9th
of May, 1690, “with what pleasure I shall seek after such things as will
possibly find favor with the king and give you satisfaction.  I am too
well aware how far my small authority extends to suppose that I can
withdraw any man from any place without having written to you previously.
It is with some repugnance that I resolve to put before you what comes
into my head, knowing well that all that is good can come only from you,
and looking upon anything I conceive as merely simple ideas produced by
the indolence in which we are living here.”

[Illustration: Marshal Luxembourg---461]

The wary indolence and the observations of Luxembourg were not long in
giving place to activity.  The marshal crossed the Sambre on the 29th of
June, entered Charleroi and Namur, and on the 2d of July attacked the
Prince of Waldeck near the rivulet of Fleurus.  A considerable body of
troops had made a forced march of seven leagues during the night, and
came up to take the enemy in the rear; it was a complete success, but
devoid of result, like the victory of Stafarde, gained by Catinat over
the Duke of Savoy, Victor-Amadeo, who had openly joined the coalition.
The triumphant naval battle delivered by Tourville to the English and
Dutch fleets off Beachy Head was a great humiliation for the maritime
powers.  “I cannot express to you,” wrote William III. to the grand
pensionary Heinsius, holding in his absence the government of the United
Provinces, “how distressed I am at the disasters of the fleet; I am so
much the more deeply affected as I have been informed that my ships did
not properly support those of the Estates, and left them in the lurch.”

[Illustration: Heinsius----461]

William had said, when he left Holland, “The republic must lead off the
dance.”  The moment had come when England was going to take her part in
it.

In the month of January, 1691, William III. arrived in Holland.  “I am
languishing for that moment,” he wrote six months before to Heinsius.
All the allies had sent their ambassadors thither.  “It is no longer the
time for deliberation, but for action,” said the King of England to the
congress “the King of France has made himself master of all the
fortresses which bordered on his kingdom; if he be not opposed, he will
take all the rest.  The interest of each is bound up in the general
interest of all.  It is with the sword that we must wrest from his grasp
the liberties of Europe, which he aims at stifling, or we must submit
forever to the yoke of servitude.  As for me, I will spare for that
purpose neither my influence, nor my forces, nor my person, and in the
spring I will come, at the head of my troops, to conquer or die with my
allies.”

The spring had not yet come, and already (March 15) Mons was invested by
the French army.  The secret had been carefully kept.  On the 21st, the
king arrived in person with the dauphin; William of Orange collected his
troops in all haste, but he did not come up in time: Mons capitulated on
the 8th of April; five days later, Nice, besieged by Catinat, surrendered
like Mons; Louis XIV. returned to Versailles, according to his custom
after a brilliant stroke.  Louvois was pushing on the war furiously; the
naturally fierce temper of the minister was soured by excess of work and
by his decline in the king’s favor; he felt his position towards the king
shaken by the influence of Madame de Maintenon; venting his wrath on the
enemy, he was giving orders everywhere for conflagration and bombardment,
when on the 17th of July, 1691, after working with the king, Louvois
complained of pain; Louis XIV. sent him to his rooms; on reaching his
chamber he fell down fainting; the people ran to fetch his third son, M.
de Barbezieux; Madame do Louvois was not at Versailles, and his two elder
sons were in the field; he arrived too late; his father was dead.

“So he is dead, this great minister, this man of such importance, whose
egotism (_le moi_), as M. Nicole says, was so extensive, who was the
centre of so many things!  What business, what designs, what projects,
what secrets, what interests to unfold, what wars begun, what intrigues,
what beautiful moves-in-check to make and to superintend!  Ah! my God,
grant me a little while; I would fain give check to the Duke of Savoy and
mate to the Prince of Orange!  No, no, thou shalt not have one, one
single moment!”  Thus wrote Madame do Sevigne to her daughter Madame de
Grignan.  Louis XIV., in whose service Louvois had spent his life, was
less troubled at his death.  “Tell the King of England that I have lost a
good minister,” was the answer he sent to the complimentary condolence of
King James, “but that his affairs and mine will go on none the worse.”

In his secret heart, and beneath the veil of his majestic observance of
the proprieties, the king thought that his business, as well as the
agreeableness of his life, would probably gain from being no longer
subject to the tempers and the roughnesses of Louvois.  The Grand
Monarque considered that he had trained (_instruit_) his minister, but he
felt that the pupil had got away from him.  He appointed Barbezieux
secretary for war.  “I will form you,” said he.  No human hand had formed
Louvois, not even that of his father, the able and prudent Michael le
Tellier; he had received straight from God the strong qualities,
resolution, indomitable will, ardor for work, the instinct of
organization and command, which had made of him a minister without equal
for the warlike and ambitious purposes of his master.  Power had spoiled
him, his faults had prevailed over his other qualities without destroying
them; violent, fierce, without principle and without scruple in the
execution of his designs, he had egged the king on to incessant wars,
treating with disdain the internal miseries of the kingdom as well as any
idea of pity for the vanquished; he had desired to do everything, order
everything, grasp everything, and he died at fifty-three, dreaded by all,
hated by a great many, and leaving in the government of the country a
void which the king felt, all the time that he was angrily seeking to
fill it up.

Louvois was no more; negotiations were beginning to be whispered about,
but the war continued by land and sea; the campaign of 1691 had
completely destroyed the hopes of James II. in Ireland; it was decided to
attempt a descent upon England; a plot was being hatched to support the
invasion.  Tourville was commissioned to cover the landing.  He received
orders to fight, whatever might be the numbers of the enemy.  The wind
prevented his departure from Brest; the Dutch fleet had found time to
join the English.  Tourville wanted to wait for the squadrons of Estrees
and Rochefort; Pontchartrain had been minister of finance and marine
since the death of Seignelay, Colbert’s son, in 1690; he replied from
Versailles to the experienced sailor, familiar with battle from the age
of fourteen, “It is not for you to discuss the king’s orders; it is for
you to execute them and enter the Channel; if you are not ready to do it,
the king will put in your place somebody more obedient and less discreet
than you.”  Tourville went out and encountered the enemy’s squadrons
between the headlands of La Hogue and Barfleur; he had forty-four vessels
against ninety-nine, the number of English and Dutch together.  Tourville
assembled his council of war, and all the officers were for withdrawing;
but the king’s orders were peremptory, and the admiral joined battle.
After three days’ desperate resistance, backed up by the most skilful
manoeuvres, Tourville was obliged to withdraw beneath the forts of La
Hogue in hopes of running his ships ashore; but in this King James and
Marshal Bellefonds opposed him.

[Illustration: Battle of St. Vincent  465a]

Tourville remained at sea, and lost a dozen vessels.  The consternation
in France was profound; the nation had grown accustomed to victory; on
the 20th of June the capture of Namur raised their hopes again; this time
again William III. had been unable to succor his allies; he determined
to--revenge himself on Luxembourg, whom he surprised on the 31st of
August, between Enghaep and Steinkirk; the ground was narrow and uneven,
and the King of England counted upon thus paralyzing the brilliant French
cavalry.  M. de Luxembourg, ill of fever as he was, would fain have
dismounted to lead to the charge the brigades of the French guards and of
the Swiss, but he was prevented; the Duke of Bourbon, the Prince of
Conti, the Duke of Chartres, and the Duke of Vendome, placed themselves
at the head of the infantry, and, sword in hand, led it against the
enemy; a fortunate movement on the part of Marshal Boufflers resulted in
rendering the victory decisive.  Next year at Neerwinden (29th of July,
1693) the success of the day was likewise due to the infantry.  On that
day the French guards had exhausted their ammunition; putting the bayonet
at the end of their pieces they broke the enemy’s battalions; this was
the first charge of the kind in the French armies.  The king’s household
troops had remained motionless for four hours under the fire of the
allies: William III. thought for a moment that his gunners made bad
practice; he ran up to the batteries; the French squadrons did not move
except to close up the ranks as the files were carried off; the King of
England could not help an exclamation of anger and admiration.  “Insolent
nation!” he cried.

[Illustration: The Battle of Neerwinden----465]

The victory of Neerwinden ended in nothing but the capture of Charleroi;
the successes of Catinat at Marsaglia, in Piedmont, had washed out the
shame of the Duke of Savoy’s incursion into Dauphiny in 1692.  Tourville
had remained with the advantage in several maritime engagements off Cape
St. Vincent, and burned the English vessels in the very roads of Cadiz.
On every sea the corsairs of St. Malo and Dunkerque, John Bart and
Duguay-Trouin, now enrolled in the king’s navy, towed at their sterns
numerous prizes; the king and France, for a long time carried away by a
common passion, had arrived at that point at which victories no longer
suffice in the place of solid and definitive success.  The nation was at
last tiring of its glory.  “People were dying of want to the sound of the
Te Deum,” says Voltaire in the Siecle de Louis XIV.; everywhere there was
weariness equal to the suffering.  Madame de Maintenon and some of her
friends at that time, sincerely devoted to the public good, rather
Christians than warriors, Fenelon, the Dukes of Beauvilliers and
Chevreuse, were laboring to bring, the king over to pacific views; he saw
generals as well as ministers falling one after another; Marshal
Luxembourg, exhausted by the fatigues of war and the pleasures of the
court, died on the 4th of January, 1695, at sixty-seven years of age.  An
able general, a worthy pupil of the great  Conde, a courtier of much wits
and no shame, he was more corrupt than his age, and his private life was
injurious to his fame; he died, however, as people did die in his time,
turning to God at the last day.  “I haven’t lived like M. de Luxembourg,”
 said Bourdaloue, “but I should like to die like him.”  History has
forgotten Marshal Luxembourg’s death and remembered his life.

Louis XIV. had lost  Conde and Turenne, Luxembourg, Colbert, Louvois, and
Seignelay; with the exception of Vauban, he had exhausted the first rank;
Catinat alone remained in the second; the king was about to be reduced to
the third: sad fruits of a long reign, of an incessant and devouring
activity, which had speedily used up men and was beginning to tire out
fortune; grievous result of mistakes long hidden by glory, but glaring
out at last before the eyes most blinded by prejudice!  “The whole of
France is no longer anything but one vast hospital,” wrote Fenelon to the
king under the veil of the anonymous.  “The people who so loved you are
beginning to lose affection, confidence, and even respect; the allies
prefer carrying on war with loss to concluding a peace which would not be
observed.  Even those who have not dared to declare openly against you
are nevertheless impatiently desiring your enfeeblement and your
humiliation as the only resource for liberty and for the repose of all
Christian nations.  Everybody knows it, and none dares tell you so.
Whilst you in some fierce conflict are taking the battle-field and the
cannon of the enemy, whilst you are storming strong places, you do not
reflect that you are fighting on ground which is sinking beneath your
feet, and that you are about to have a fall in spite of your victories.
It is time to humble yourself beneath the mighty hand of God; you must
ask peace, and by that shame expiate all the glory of which you have made
your idol; finally you must give up, the soonest possible, to your
enemies, in order to save the state, conquests that you cannot retain
without injustice.  For a long time past God has had His arm raised over
you; but He is slow to smite you because He has pity upon a prince who
has all his life been beset by flatterers.”  Noble and strong language,
the cruel truth of which the king did not as yet comprehend, misled as he
was by his pride, by the splendor of his successes, and by the concert of
praises which his people as well as his court had so long made to
reverberate in his ears.

Louis XIV. had led France on to the brink of a precipice, and he had in
his turn been led on by her; king and people had given themselves up
unreservedly to the passion for glory and to the intoxication of success;
the day of awakening was at hand.

Louis XIV. was not so blind as Fenelon supposed; he saw the danger at the
very moment when his kingly pride refused to admit it.  The King of
England had just retaken Namur, without Villeroi, who had succeeded
Marshal Luxembourg, having been able to relieve the place.  Louis XIV.
had already let out that he “should not pretend to avail himself of any
special conventions until the Prince of Orange was satisfied as regarded
his person and the crown of England.”  This was a great step towards that
humiliation recommended by Fenelon.

The secret negotiations with the Duke of Savoy were not less significant.
After William III., Victor-Amadeo was the most active and most devoted as
well as the most able and most stubborn of the allied princes.  In the
month of June, 1696, the treaty was officially declared.  Victor-Amadeo
would recover Savoy, Suza, the countship of Nice and Pignerol dismantled;
his eldest daughter, Princess Mary Adelaide, was to marry the Duke of
Burgundy, eldest son of the dauphin, and the ambassadors of Piedmont
henceforth took rank with those of crowned heads.  In return for so many
concessions, Victor-Amadeo guaranteed to the king the neutrality of
Italy, and promised to close the entry of his dominions against the
Protestants of Dauphiny who came thither for refuge.  If Italy refused
her neutrality, the Duke of Savoy was to unite his forces to those of the
king and command the combined army.

Victory would not have been more advantageous for Victor-Amadeo than his
constant defeats were; but, by detaching him from the coalition, Louis
XIV. had struck a fatal blow at the great alliance: the campaign of 1696
in Germany and in Flanders had resolved itself into mere observations and
insignificant engagements; Holland and England were exhausted, and their
commerce was ruined; in vain did Parliament vote fresh and enormous
supplies.  “I should want ready money,” wrote William III. to Heinsius,
“and my poverty is really incredible.”

There was no less cruel want in France.  “I calculate that in these
latter days more than a tenth part of the people,” said Vauban, “are
reduced to beggary, and in fact beg.”  Sweden had for a long time been
proffering mediation: conferences began on the 9th of May, 1697, at
Nieuburg, a castle belonging to William III., near the village of
Ryswick.  These great halls opened one into another; the French and the
plenipotentiaries of the coalition of princes occupied the two wings, the
mediators sat in the centre.  Before arriving at Ryswick, the most
important points of the treaty between France and William III. were
already settled.

Louis XIV. had at last consented to recognize the king that England had
adopted; William demanded the expulsion of James II. from France; Louis
XIV. formally refused his consent.  “I will engage not to support the
enemies of King William directly or indirectly,” said he: “it would not
comport with my honor to have the name of King James mentioned in the
treaty.”  William contented himself with the concession, and merely
desired that it should be reciprocal.  “All Europe has sufficient
confidence in the obedience and submission of my people,” said Louis
XIV., “and, when it is my pleasure to prevent my subjects from assisting
the King of England, there are no grounds for fearing lest he should find
any assistance in my kingdom.  There can be no occasion for reciprocity;
I have neither sedition nor faction to fear.”  Language too haughty for a
king who had passed his infancy in the midst of the troubles of the
Fronde, but language explained by the patience and fidelity of the nation
towards the sovereign who had so long lavished upon it the intoxicating
pleasures of success.

France offered restitution of Strasburg, Luxembourg, Mons, Charleroi, and
Dinant, restoration of the house of Lorraine, with the conditions
proposed at Nimeguen, and recognition of the King of England.  “We have
no equivalent to claim,” said the French plenipotentiaries haughtily;
“your masters have never taken anything from ours.”

On the 27th of July a preliminary deed was signed between Marshal
Boufflers and Bentinck, Earl of Portland, the intimate friend of King
William; the latter left the army and retired to his castle of Loo; there
it was that he heard of the capture of Barcelona by the Duke of Vendime;
Spain, which had hitherto refused to take part in the negotiations, lost
all courage, and loudly demanded peace; but France withdrew her
concessions on the subject of Strasburg, and proposed to give as
equivalent Friburg in Brisgau and Brisach.  William III. did not
hesitate.  Heinsius signed the peace in the name of the States General
on the 20th of September at midnight; the English and Spanish
plenipotentiaries did the same; the emperor and the empire were alone in
still holding out: the Emperor Leopold made pretensions to regulate in
advance the Spanish succession, and the Protestant princes refused to
accept the maintenance of the Catholic worship in all the places in which
Louis XIV. had restored it.

Here again the will of William III. prevailed over the irresolution of
his allies.  “The Prince of Orange is sole arbiter of Europe,” Pope
Innocent XII. had said to Lord Perth, who had a commission to him from
James II; “peoples and kings are his slaves; they will do nothing which
might displease him.”

“I ask,” said William, “where anybody can see a probability of making
France give up a succession for which she would maintain, at need, a
twenty years’ war; and God knows if we are in a position to dictate laws
to France.”  The emperor yielded, despite the ill humor of the Protestant
princes.  For the ease of their consciences they joined England and
Holland in making a move on behalf of the French Reformers.  Louis XIV.
refused to discuss the matter, saying, “It is my business, which concerns
none but me.”  Up to this day the refugees had preserved some hope,
henceforth their country was lost to them; many got themselves
naturalized in the countries which had given them asylum.

The revolution of 1789 alone was to re-open to their children the gates
of France.

For the first time since Cardinal Richelieu, France moved back her
frontiers by the signature of a treaty.  She had gained the important
place of Strasburg, but she lost nearly all she had won by the treaty of
Nimeguen in the Low Countries and in Germany; she kept Franche-Comte, but
she gave up Lothringen.  Louis XIV. had wanted to aggrandize himself at
any price and at any risk; he was now obliged to precipitately break up
the grand alliance, for King Charles II. was slowly dying at Madrid, and
the Spanish Succession was about to open.  Ignorant of the supreme evils
and sorrows which awaited him on this fatal path, the King of France
began to forget, in this distant prospect of fresh aggrandizement and
war, the checks that his glory and his policy had just met with.



CHAPTER XLV.----LOUIS XIV., HIS WARS AND HIS REVERSES. (1697-1713.)

France was breathing again after nine years of a desperate war, but she
was breathing uneasily, and as it were in expectation of fresh efforts.
Everywhere the memorials of the superintendents repeated the same
complaints.  “War, the mortality of 1693, the, constant quarterings and
movements of soldiery, military service, the heavy dues, and the
withdrawal of the Huguenots have ruined the country.”  “The people,” said
the superintendent of Rouen, “are reduced to a state of want which moves
compassion.  Out of seven hundred and fifty thousand souls of which the
public is composed, if this number remain, it may be taken for certain
that there are not fifty thousand who have bread to eat when they want
it, and anything to lie upon but straw.”  Agriculture suffered for lack
of money and hands; commerce was ruined; the manufactures established by
Colbert no longer existed; the population had diminished more than a
quarter since the palmy days of the king’s reign; Pontchartrain,
secretary of finance, was reduced to all sorts of expedients for raising
money; he was anxious to rid himself of this heavy burden, and became
chancellor in 1699; the king took for his substitute Chamillard, already
comptroller of finance, honest and hard-working, incapable and docile;
Louis XIV. counted upon the inexhaustible resources of France, and closed
his ears to the grievances of the financiers.  “What is not spoken of is
supposed to be put an end to,” said Madame de Maintenon.  The camp at
Compiegne, in 1698, surpassed in splendor all that had till then been
seen; the enemies of Louis XIV. in Europe called him “the king of
reviews.”

Meanwhile the King of Spain, Charles II., dying as he was, was regularly
besieged at Madrid by the queen, his second wife, Mary Anne of Neuburg,
sister of the empress, as well as by his minister, Cardinal
Porto-Carrero.  The competitors for the succession were numerous; the
King of France and the emperor claimed their rights in the name of their
mothers and wives, daughters of Philip III. and Philip IV.; the Elector
of Bavaria put up the claims of his son by right of his mother, Mary
Antoinette of Austria, daughter of the emperor; for a short time Charles
II. had adopted this young prince; the child died suddenly at Madrid in
1699.  For a long time past King Louis XIV.  had been secretly
negotiating for the partition of the King of Spain’s dominions, not--with
the emperor, who still hoped to obtain from Charles II. a will in favor
of his second son, the Archduke Charles, but with England and Holland,
deeply interested as they were in maintaining the equilibrium between the
two kingly houses which divided Europe.  William III. considered himself
certain to obtain the acceptance by the emperor of the conditions
subscribed by his allies.  On the 13th and 15th of May, 1700, after long
hesitation and a stubborn resistance on the part of the city of
Amsterdam, the treaty of partition was signed in London and at the Hague.
“King William is honorable in all this business,” said a letter to the
king from his ambassador, Count de Tallard; “his conduct is sincere; he
is proud--none can be more so than he; but he has a modest manner, though
none can be more jealous in all that concerns his rank.”

The treaty of partition secured to the dauphin all the possessions of
Spain in Italy, save Milaness, which was to indemnify the Duke of
Lorraine, whose duchy passed to France; Spain, the Indies, and the Low
Countries were to belong to Archduke Charles.  Great was the wrath at
Vienna when it was known that the treaty was signed.  “Happily,” said the
minister, Von Kaunitz, to the Marquis of Villars, ambassador of France,
“there is One on high who will work for us in these partitions.”  “That
One,” replied M. de Villars, “will approve of their justice.”  “It is
something new, however, for the King of England and for Holland to
partition the monarchy of Spain,” continued the count.  “Allow me,”
 replied M. de Villars, “to excuse them in your eyes; those two powers
have quite recently come out of a war which cost them a great deal, and
the emperor nothing; for, in fact, you have been at no expense but
against the Turks.  You had some troops in Italy, and in the empire two
regiments only of hussars which were not on its pay-list; England and
Holland alone bore all the burden.”  William III. was still negotiating
with the emperor and the German princes to make them accept the treaty of
partition, when it all at once became known in Europe that Charles II.
had breathed his last at Madrid on the 1st of November, 1700, and that,
by a will dated October 2, he disposed of the Spanish monarchy in favor
of the Duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV.

This will was the work of the council of Spain, at the head of which sat
Cardinal Porto-Carrero.  “The national party,” says M. Mignet in his
“Introduction aux Documents relatifs de la Succession d’Espagne,_
“detested the Austrians because they had been so long in Spain; it liked
the French because they were no longer there.  The former had been there
time enough to weary by their dominion, whilst the latter were served by
the mere fact of their removal.”  Singlehanded, Louis XIV. appeared
powerful enough to maintain the integrity of the Spanish monarchy before
the face and in the teeth of all the competitors.  “The King of Spain was
beginning to see the, things of this world by the light alone of that
awful torch which is lighted to lighten the dying.” [_Memoires de St.
Simon,_ t. iii.  p. 16]; wavering, irresolute, distracted within himself,
he asked the advice of Pope Innocent XII., who was favorable to France.
The hopes of Louis XIV. had not soared so high; on the 9th of November,
1700, he heard at one and the same time of Charles II.’s death and the
contents of his will.

It was a solemn situation.  The acceptance by France of the King of
Spain’s will meant war; the refusal did not make peace certain; in
default of a French prince the crown was to go to Archduke Charles;
neither Spain nor Austria would hear of dismemberment; could they be
forced to accept the treaty of partition which they had hitherto rejected
angrily?  The king’s council was divided; Louis XIV. listened in silence
to the arguments of the dauphin and of the ministers; for a moment the
resolution was taken of holding by the treaty of partition; next day the
king again assembled his council without as yet making known his
decision; on Tuesday, November 16, the whole court thronged into the
galleries of Versailles; it was known that several couriers had arrived
from Madrid; the king sent for the Spanish ambassador into his closet.
“The Duke of Anjou had repaired thither by the back way,” says the Duke
of St. Simon in his Memoires; the king, introducing him to him, told him
he might salute him as his king.  The instant afterwards the king,
contrary to all custom, had the folding-doors thrown open, and ordered
everybody who was there--and there was a crowd--to come in; then, casting
his eyes majestically over the numerous company, “Gentlemen,” he said,
introducing the Duke of Anjou, “here is the King of Spain.  His birth
called him to that crown; the last king gave it him by his will; the
grandees desired him, and have demanded him of me urgently; it is the
will of Heaven, and I have yielded with pleasure.”  And, turning to his
grandson, “Be a good Spaniard,” he said; “that is from this moment your
first duty; but remember that you are French born in order to keep up the
union between the two nations; that is the way to render them happy and
to preserve the peace of Europe.”  Three weeks later the young king was
on the road to Spain.  There are no longer any Pyrenees,” said Louis
XIV., as he embraced his grandson.  The rights of Philip V. to the crown
of France had been carefully reserved by a formal act of the king’s.

[Illustration: “Here is the King of Spain.”----475]

Great were the surprise and wrath in Europe; William III. felt himself
personally affronted.  “I have no doubt,” he wrote to Heinsius, “that
this unheard-of proceeding on the part of France has caused you as much
surprise as it has me; I never had much confidence in engagements
contracted with France, but I confess I never could have supposed that
that court would have gone so far as to break, in the face of Europe,
so solemn a treaty before it had even received the finishing stroke.
Granted that we have been dupes; but when, beforehand, you are resolved
to hold your word of no account, it is not very difficult to overreach
your mail.  I shall be blamed perhaps for having relied upon France, I
who ought to have known by the experience of the past that no treaty has
ever bound her!  Would to God I might be quit for the blame, but I have
only too many grounds for fearing that the fatal consequences of it will
make themselves felt shortly.  I groan in the very depths of my spirit to
see that in this country the majority rejoice to find the will preferred
by France to the maintenance of the treaty of partition, and that too on
the ground that the will is more advantageous for England and Europe.
This opinion is founded partly on the youth of the Duke of Anjou.  ‘He is
a child,’ they say; ‘he will be brought up in Spain; he will be
indoctrinated with the principles of that monarchy, and hee will be
governed by the council of Spain;’ but these are surmises which it is
impossible for me to entertain, and I fear that we shall before long find
out how erroneous they are.  Would it not seem as if this profound
indifference with which, in this country, they look upon everything that
takes place outside of this island, were a punishment from Heaven?
Meanwhile, are not our causes for apprehension and our interests the same
as those of the peoples of the continent?”

William III. was a more far-sighted politician than his subjects either
in England or Holland.  The States General took the same view as the
English.  “Public funds and shares have undergone a rise at Amsterdam,”
 wrote Heinsius to the King of Englaiid; “and although this rests on
nothing solid, your Majesty is aware how much influence such a fact has.”

Louis XIV. had lost no time in explaining to the powers the grounds of
his acceptance.  “The King of Spain’s will,” he said in his manifesto,
“establishes the peace of Europe on solid bases.”  “Tallard did not utter
a single word on handing me his sovereign’s letter, the contents of which
are the same as of that which the states have received,” wrote William to
Heinsius.  “I said to him that perhaps I had testified too eager a desire
for the preservation of peace, but that, nevertheless, my inclination in
that respect had not changed.  Whereupon he replied, ‘The king my master,
by accepting the will, considers that he gives a similar proof of his
desire to maintain peace.’  Thereupon he made me a bow and withdrew.”

William of Orange had not deceived himself in thinking that Louis XIV.
would govern Spain in his grandson’s name.  Nowhere are the old king’s
experience and judgment more strikingly displayed than in his letters to
Philip V.  “I very much wish,” he wrote to him, “that you were as sure of
your own subjects as you ought to be of mine in the posts in which they
may be employed; but do not be astounded at the disorder you find amongst
your troops, and at the little confidence you are able to place in them;
it needs a long reign and great pains to restore order and secure the
fidelity of different peoples accustomed to obey a house hostile to
yours.  If you thought it would be very easy and very pleasant to be a
king, you were very much mistaken.”  A sad confession for that powerful
monarch, who in his youth found “the vocation of king beautiful, noble,
and delightful.”

“The eighteenth century opened with a fulness of glory and unheard-of
prosperity; “but Louis XIV.  did not suffer himself to be lulled to sleep
by the apparent indifference with which Europe, the empire excepted,
received the elevation of Philip V. to the throne of Spain.  On the 6th
of February, 1701, the seven barrier towns of the Spanish Low Countries,
which were occupied by Dutch garrisons in virtue of the peace of Ryswick,
opened their gates to the French on an order from the King of Spain.
“The instructions which the Elector of Bavaria, governor of the Low
Countries, had given to the various governors of the places, were so well
executed,” says M. de Vault in his account of the campaign in Flanders,
“that we entered without any hinderance.  Some of the officers of the
Dutch troops grumbled, and would have complained, but the French general
officers who had led the troops pacified them, declaring that they did
not come as enemies, and that all they wanted was to live in good
understanding with them.”

The twenty-two Dutch battalions took the road back before long to their
own country, and became the nucleus of the army which William of Orange
was quietly getting ready in Holland as well as in England; his peoples
were beginning to open their eyes; the States General, deprived of the
barrier towns, had opened the dikes; the meadows were flooded.  On the
7th of September, 1701, England and Holland signed for the second time
with the emperor a Grand Alliance, engaging not to lay down arms until
they had reduced the possessions of King Philip V. to Spain and the
Indies, restored the barrier of Holland, and secured an indemnity to
Austria, and the definitive severance of the two crowns of France and
Spain.  In the month of June the Austrian army had entered Italy under
the orders of Prince Eugene of Savoy-Carignano, son of the Count of
Soissons and Olympia Mancini, conqueror of the Turks and revolted
Hungarians, and passionately hostile to Louis XIV., who, in his youth,
had refused to employ him.  He had already crossed the Adige and the
Mincio, driving the French back behind the Oglio.  Marshal Catinat, a man
of prudence and far-sightedness, but discouraged by the bad condition of
his troops, coldly looked upon at court, and disquieted by the aspect of
things in Italy, was acting supinely; the king sent Marshal Villeroi to
supersede him; Catinat, as modest as he was warmly devoted to the glory
of his country, finished the campaign as a simple volunteer.

The King of France and the emperor were looking up allies.  The princes
of the north were absorbed by the war which was being waged against his
neighbors of Russia and Poland by the young King of Sweden, Charles XII.,
a hero of eighteen, as irresistible as Gustavus Adolphus in his impetuous
bravery, without possessing the rare qualities of authority and judgment
which had distinguished the Lion of the North.  He joined the Grand
Alliance, as did Denmark and Poland, whose new king, the Elector of
Saxony, had been supported by the emperor in his candidature and in his
abjuration of Protestantism.  The Elector of Brandenburg, recently
recognized as King of Prussia under the name of Frederic I., and the new
Elector of Hanover were eager to serve Leopold, who had aided them in
their elevation.  In Germany, only Maximilian, Elector of Bavaria,
governor of the Low Countries, and his brother, the Elector of Cologne,
embraced the side of France.  The Duke of Savoy, generalissimo of the
king’s forces in Italy, had taken the command of the army.  “But in that
country,” wrote the Count of Tesse, “there is no reliance to be placed on
places, or troops, or officers, or people.  I have had another interview
with this incomprehensible prince, who received me with every
manifestation of kindness, of outward sincerity, and, if he were capable
of it, I would say of friendship for him of whom his Majesty made use but
lately in the work of peace in Italy.  ‘The king is master of my person,
of my dominions,’ he said to me, ‘he has only to give his commands; but I
suppose that he still desires my welfare and my aggrandizement.’  ‘As for
your aggrandizement, Monseigneur,’ said I, ‘in truth I do not see much
material for it just at present; as for your welfare, we must be allowed
to see your intentions a little more clearly first, and take the liberty
of repeating to you that my prescience does not extend so far.  I do him
the justice to believe that he really feels the greater part of all that
he expresses for your Majesty; but that horrid habit of indecision and
putting off till to-morrow what he might do to-day is not eradicated, and
never will be.’”

The Duke of Savoy was not so undecided as M. de Tess supposed; he managed
to turn to good account the mystery which hung habitually over all his
resolutions.  A year had not rolled by, and he was openly engaged in the
Grand Alliance, pursuing, against France, the cause of that
aggrandizement which he had but lately hoped to obtain from her, and
which, by the treaty of Utrecht, was worth the title of king to him.

Pending the time to declare himself he had married his second  daughter,
Princess Marie Louise Gabrielle, to the young King of Spain, Philip V.

“Never had the tranquillity of Europe been so unstable as it was at the
commencement of 1702,” says the correspondence of Chamillard, published
by General Pelet; “it was but a phantom of peace that was enjoyed, and it
was clear, from whatever side matters were regarded, that we were on the
eve of a war which could not but be of long duration, unless, by some
unforeseen accident, the houses of Bourbon and Austria should come to an
arrangement which would allow them to set themselves in accord touching
the Spanish succession; but there was no appearance of conciliation.”

Louis XIV. had just done a deed which destroyed the last faint hopes of
peace.  King James II. was dying at St. Germain, and the king went to see
him.  The sick man opened his eyes for a moment when he was told that the
king was there [_Memoires de Dangeau,_ t. viii.  p. 192], and closed them
again immediately.  The king told him that he had come to assure him that
he might die in peace as regarded the Prince of Wales, and that he would
recognize him as King of England, Ireland, and Scotland.  All the English
who were in the room fell upon their knees, and cried, “God save the
king!”  James II. expired a week later, on the 16th of September, 1701,
saying to his son, as his last advice, “I am about to leave this world,
which has been to me nothing but a sea of tempests and storms.  The
Omnipotent has thought right to visit me with great afflictions; serve
Him with all your heart, and never place the crown of England in the
balance with your eternal salvation.”  James II. was justified in giving
his son this supreme advice the solitary ray of greatness in his life and
in his soul had proceeded from his religious faith, and his unwavering
resolution to remain loyal to it at any price and at any risk.

“On returning to Marly,” says St. Simon, “the king told the whole court
what he had just done.  There was nothing but acclamations and praises.
It was a fine field for them: but reflections, too, were not less prompt,
if they were less public.  The king still flattered himself that he would
hinder Holland and England, the former of which was so completely
dependent, from breaking with him in favor of the house of Austria; he
relied upon that to terminate before long the war in Italy, as well as
the whole affair of the succession in Spain and its vast dependencies,
which the emperor could not dispute with his own forces only, or even
with those of the empire.  Nothing, therefore, could be more incompatible
with this position, and with the solemn recognition he had given, at the
peace of Ryswick, of the Prince of Orange as King of England.  It was to
hurt him personally in the most sensitive spot, all England with him and
Holland into the bargain, without giving the Prince of Wales, by
recognition, any solid support in his own case.”

[Illustration: News for William III.----481]

William III. was at table in his castle of Dieren, in Holland, when he
received this news.  He did not utter a word, but he colored, crushed his
hat over his head, and could not command his countenance.  The Earl of
Manchester, English ambassador, left Paris without taking leave of the
king, otherwise than by this note to M. de Torcy:--

“Sir:  The king my master, being informed that his Most Christian.
Majesty has recognized another King of Great Britain, does not consider
that his dignity and his service will permit him to any longer keep an
ambassador at the court of the king your master, and he has sent me
orders to withdraw at once, of which I do myself the honor to advertise
you by this note.”

“All the English,” says Torcy, in his Memoires, “unanimously regard it
as a mortal affront on the part of France, that she should pretend to
arrogate to herself the right of giving them a king, to the prejudice of
him whom they had themselves invited and recognized for many years past.”

Voltaire declares, in the “Siecle de Louis XIV.,_ that M. de Torcy
attributed the recognition of the Prince of Wales by Louis XIV. to the
influence of Madame de Maintenon, who was touched by the tears of the
queen, Mary of Modena.  “He had not,” he said, “inserted the fact in his
Memoires, because he did not think it to his master’s honor that two
women should have made him change a resolution to the contrary taken in
his council.”  Perhaps the deplorable state of William III.’s health, and
the inclination supposed to be felt by Princess Anne of Denmark to
restore the Stuarts to the throne, since she herself had lost the Duke of
Gloucester, the last survivor of her seventeen children, might have
influenced the unfortunate resolution of Louis XIV.  His kingly
magnanimity and illusions might have bound him to support James II.,
dethroned and fugitive; but no obligation of that sort existed in the
case of a prince who had left England at his nurse’s, breast, and who had
grown up in exile.  In the _Athalie_ of Racine, Joad (Jehoiada) invokes
upon the impious queen:

              “That spirit of infatuation and error
               The fatal avant-courier of the fall of kings.”

The recognition of the Prince of Wales as King of England was, in the
case of Louis XIV., the most indisputable token of that fatal blindness.

William III. had paid dear for the honor of being called to the throne
of England.  More than once he had been on the point of abandonhig the
ungrateful nation which so ill requited his great services; he had
thought of returning to live in the midst of his Hollanders,
affectionately attached to his family as well as to his person.  The
insult of the King of France restored to his already dying adversary all
the popularity he had lost.  When William returned from Holland to open a
new Parliament, on the 10th of January, 1702, manifestations of sympathy
were lavished upon him on all sides of the house.  “I have no doubt,”
 said he, “that the late proceedings of his Most Christian Majesty and the
dangers which threaten all the powers of Europe have excited your most
lively resentment.  All the world have their eyes fixed upon England;
there is still time, she may save her religion and her liberty, but let
her profit by every moment, let her arm by land and sea, let her lend her
allies all the assistance in her power, and swear to show her enemies,
the foes of her religion, her liberty, her government, and the king of
her choice, all the hatred they deserve.”

This speech, more impassioned than the utterances of William III.
generally were, met with an eager echo from his people; the houses voted
a levy of forty thousand sailors and fifty thousand soldiers; Holland had
promised ninety thousand men; but the health of the King of England went
on declining; he had fallen from his horse on the 4th of March, and
broken his collarbone; this accident hastened the progress of the malady
which was pulling him down; when his friend Keppel, whom he had made Earl
of Albemarle, returned, on the 18th of March, from Holland, William
received him with these words: “I am drawing towards my end.”

He had received the consolations of religion from the bishops, and had
communicated with great self-possession; he scarcely spoke now, and
breathed with difficulty.  “Can this last long?” he asked the physician,
who made a sign in the negative.  He had sent for the Earl of Portland,
Bentinek, his oldest and most faithful friend; when he arrived, the king
took his hand and held it between both his own, upon his heart.  Thus he
remained for a few moments; then he yielded up his great spirit to God,
on the 19th (8th) of March, 1702, at eight in the morning.  He was not
yet fifty-two.

In a greater degree perhaps than any other period, the eighteenth century
was rich in men of the first order.  But never did more of the spirit of
policy, never did loftier and broader views, never did steadier courage
animate and sustain a weaker body than in the case of William of Orange.
Savior of Holland at the age of twenty-two in the war against Louis XIV.,
protector of the liberties of England against the tyranny of James II.,
defender of the independence of the European states against the unbridled
ambition of the King of France, he became the head of Europe by the
proper and free ascendency of his genius; cold and reserved, more capable
of feeling than of testifying sympathy, often ill, always unfortunate in
war, he managed to make his will triumph, in England despite Jacobite
plots and the jealous suspicions of the English Parliaments, in Holland
despite the constant efforts of the republican and aristocratic party,
in Europe despite envy and the waverings of the allied sovereigns.
Intrepid, spite of his bad health, to the extent of being ready, if need
were, to die in the last ditch, of indomitable obstinacy in his
resolutions, and of rare ability in the manipulation of affairs, he was
one of those who are born masters of men, no matter what may at the
outset be their condition and their destiny.  In vain had Cromwell
required of Holland the abolition of the stadtholderate in the house of
Nassau, in vain had John van Witt obtained the voting of the perpetual
edict, William of Orange lived and died stadtholder of Holland and king
of that England which had wanted to close against him forever the
approaches to the throne in his own native countiy.  When God has created
a man to play a part and hold a place in this world, all efforts and all
counsels to the contrary are but so many stalks of straw under his feet.
William of Orange at his death had accomplished his work: Europe had
risen against Louis XIV.

The campaigns of 1702 and 1703 presented an alternation of successes and
reverses favorable, on the whole, to France.  Marshal Villeroi had failed
in Italy against Prince Eugene.  He was superseded by the Duke of
Vendome, grandson of Henry IV. and captor of Barcelona, indolent,
debauched, free in tone and in conduct, but able, bold, beloved by the
soldiers, and strongly supported at court.  Catinat had returned to
France, and went to Versailles at the commencement of the year 1702.
“M. de Chamillard had told him the day before, from the king, that his
Majesty had resolved to give him the command of the army in Germany; he
excused himself for some time from accepting this employment; the king
ended by saying, ‘Now we are in a position for you to explain to me, and
open your heart about all that took place in Italy during the last
campaign.’  The marshal answered, ‘Sir, those things are all past; the
details I could give you thereof would be of no good to the service of
your Majesty, and would serve merely, perhaps, to keep up eternal
heart-burnings; and so I entreat you to be pleased to let me preserve a
profound silence as to all that.  I will only justify myself, sir, by
thinking how I may serve you still better, if I can, in Germany than I
did in Italy.’”  Worn out and disgusted, Catinat failed in Germany as he
had in Italy; he took his retirement, and never left his castle of St.
Gratien any more: it was the Marquis of Villars, lately ambassador at
Vienna, who defeated the imperialists at Friedlingen, on the 14th of
August, 1702; a month later Tallard retook the town of Landau.  The
perfidious manoeuvres of the Duke of Savoy had just come to light.  The
king ordered Vendome to disarm the five thousand Piedmontese who were
serving in his army.  That operation effected, the prince sent Victor-
Amadeo this note, written by Louis XIV.’s own hand:--

“Sir:  As religion, honor, and your own signature count for nothing
between us, I send my cousin, the Duke of Vendome, to, explain to you my
wishes.  He will give you twenty-four hours to decide.”

The mind of the Duke of Savoy was made up, from this day forth the father
of the Duchess of Burgundy and of the Queen of Spain took rank amongst
the declared enemies of France and Spain.

Whilst Louis XIV. was facing Europe, in coalition against him, with
generals of the second and third order, the allies were discovering in
the Duke of Marlborough a worthy rival of Prince Eugene.  A covetous and
able courtier, openly disgraced by William III. in consequence of his
perfidious intrigues with the court of St. Germain, he had found his
fortunes suddenly retrieved by the accession of Queen Anne, over whom his
wife had for a long time held the sway of a haughty and powerful
favorite.  The campaigns of 1702 and 1703 had shown him to be a prudent
and a bold soldier, fertile in resources and novel conceptions; and those
had earned him the thanks of Parliament and the title of duke.  The
campaign of 1704 established his glory upon the misfortunes of France.
Marshals Tallard and Marsin were commanding in Germany together with the
Elector of Bavaria; the emperor, threatened with a fresh insurrection in
Hungary, recalled Prince Eugene from Italy; Marlborough effected a
junction with him by a rapid march, which Marshal Villeroi would fain
have hindered, but to no purpose; on the 13th of August, 1704, the
hostile armies met between Blenheim and Hochstett, near the Danube; the
forces were about equal, but on the French side the counsels were
divided, the various corps acted independently.  Tallard sustained
single-handed the attack of the English and the Dutch, commanded by
Marlborough; he was made prisoner, his son was killed at his side; the
cavalry, having lost their leader and being pressed by the enemy, took to
flight in the direction of the Danube; many officers and soldiers
perished in the river; the slaughter was awful.  Marsin and the elector,
who had repulsed five successive charges of Prince Eugene, succeeded in
effecting their retreat; but the electorates of Bavaria and Cologne were
lost, Landau was recovered by the allies after a siege of two months, the
French army recrossed the Rhine, Elsass was uncovered, and Germany
evacuated.  In Spain the English had just made themselves masters of
Gibraltar.  “This shows clearly, sir,” wrote Tallard to Chamillard after
the defeat, “what is the effect of such diversity of counsel, which makes
public all that one intends to do, and it is a severe lesson never to
have more than one man at the head of an army.  It is a great misfortune
to have to deal with a prince of such a temper as the Elector of
Bavaria.”  Villars was of the same opinion; it had been his fate, in the
campaign of 1703, to come to open loggerheads with the elector.  “The
king’s army will march to-morrow, as I have had the honor to tell your
Highness,” he had declared.  “At these words,” says Villars, the blood
mounted to his face; he threw his hat and wig on the table in a rage.
‘I commanded,’ said he, ‘the emperor’s army in conjunction with the Duke
of Lorraine; he was a tolerably great general, and he never treated me in
this manner.’  ‘The Duke of Lorraine,’ answered I, ‘was a great prince
and a great general; but, for myself, I am responsible to the king for
his army, and I will not expose it to destruction through the evil
counsels so obstinately persisted in.’  Thereupon I went out of the
room.”  Complete swaggerer as he was, Villars had more wits and
resolution than the majority of the generals left to Louis XIV., but in
1704 he was occupied in putting down the insurrection of the Camisards in
the south of France: neither Tallard nor Marsin had been able to impose
their will upon the elector.  In 1705 Villars succeeded in checking the
movement of Marlborough on Lothringen and Champagne.  “He flattered
himself he would swallow me like a grain of salt,” wrote the marshal.
The English fell back, hampered in their adventurous plans by the
prudence of the Hollanders, controlled from a distance by the grand
pensionary Heinsius.  The imperialists were threatening Elsass; the
weather was fearful; letters had been written to Chamillard to say that
the inundations alone would be enough to prevent the enemy from investing
Fort Louis.  “There is nothing so nice as a map,” replied Villars; “with
a little green and blue one puts under water all that one wishes but a
general who goes and examines it, as I have done, finds in divers places
distances of a mile where these little rivers, which are supposed to
inundate the country, are quite snug in their natural bed, larger than
usual, but not enough to hinder the enemy in any way in the world from
making bridges.”  Fort Louis was surrounded, and Villars found himself
obliged to retire upon Strasburg, whence he protected Elsass during the
whole campaign of 1706.

The defeat of Hochstett, in 1704, had been the first step down the
ladder; the defeat of Ramillies, on the 23d of May, 1706, was the second
and the fatal rung.  The king’s personal attachment to Marshal Villeroi
blinded him as to his military talents.  Beaten in Italy by Prince
Eugene, Villeroi, as presumptuous as he was incapable, hoped to retrieve
himself against Marlborough.  “The whole army breathed nothing but
battle; I know it was your Majesty’s own feeling,” wrote Villeroi to the
king, after the defeat: “could I help committing myself to a course which
I considered expedient?”  The marshal had deceived himself as regarded
his advantages, as well as the confidence of his troops; there had been
eight hours’ fighting at Hochstett, inflicting much damage upon the
enemy; at Ramillies, the Bavarians took to their heels at the end of an
hour; the French, who felt that they were badly commanded, followed their
example; the rout was terrible, and the disorder inexpressible.  Villeroi
kept recoiling before the enemy, Marlborough kept advancing; two thirds
of Belgium and sixteen strong places were lost, when Louis XIV. sent
Chamillard into the Low Countries; it was no longer the time when Louvois
made armies spring from the very soil, and when Vauban prepared the
defence of Dunkerque.  The king recalled Villeroi, showing him to the
last unwavering kindness.  “There is no more luck at our age, marshal,”
 was all he said to Villeroi, on his arrival at Versailles.  “He was
nothing more than an old wrinkled balloon, out of which all the gas that
inflated it has gone,” says St.  Simon: “he went off to Paris and to
Villeroi, having lost all the varnish that made him glitter, and having
nothing more to show but the under-stratum.”

The king summoned Vendome, to place him at the head of the army of
Flanders, “in hopes of restoring to it the spirit of vigor and audacity
natural to the French nation,” as he himself says.  For two years past,
amidst a great deal of ill-success, Vendome had managed to keep in check
Victor-Amadeo and Prince Eugene, in spite of the embarrassment caused him
by his brother the grand prior, the Duke of La Feuillade, Chamillard’s
son-in-law, and the orders which reached him directly from the king; he
had gained during his two campaigns the name of taker of towns, and had
just beaten the Austrians in the battle of Cascinato.  Prince Eugene had,
however, crossed the Adige and the Po when Vendome left Italy.

“Everybody here is ready to take off his hat when Marlborough’s name is
mentioned,” he wrote to Chamillard, on arriving in Flanders.  The English
and Dutch army occupied all the country from Ostend to Maestricht.

The Duke of Orleans, nephew of the king, had succeeded the Duke of
Vendome.  He found the army in great disorder, the generals divided and
insubordinate, Turin besieged according to the plans of La Feuillade,
against the advice of Vauban, who had offered “to put his marshal’s baton
behind the door, and confine himself to giving his counsels for the
direction of the siege;” the prince, in his irritation, resigned his
powers into the hands of Marshal Marsin; Prince Eugene, who had effected
his junction with Victor-Amadeo, encountered the French army between the
Rivers Doria and Stora.  The soldiers remembered the Duke of Orleans at
Steinkirk and Neerwinden; they asked him if he would grudge them his
sword.  He yielded, and was severely wounded at the battle of Turin, on
the 7th of September, 1706; Marsin was killed, discouragement spread
amongst the generals and the troops, and the siege of Turin was raised;
before the end of the year, nearly all the places were lost, and Dauphiny
was threatened.  Victor-Amadeo refused to listen to a special peace: in
the month of March, 1707, the Prince of Vaudemont, governor of Milaness
for the King of Spain, signed a capitulation, at Mantua, and led back to
France the troops which still remained to him.  The imperialists were
masters of Naples.  Spain no longer had any possessions in Italy.

Philip V. had been threatened with the loss of Spain as well as of Italy.
For two years past Archduke Charles, under the title of Charles III.,
had, with the support of England and Portugal, been disputing the crown
with the young king.  Philip V. had lost Catalonia, and had just failed
in his attempt to retake Barcelona; the road to Madrid was cut off, the
army was obliged to make its way by Roussillon and Warn to resume the
campaign; the king threw himself in person into his capital, whither he
was escorted by Marshal Berwick, a natural son of James II., a Frenchman
by choice, full of courage and resolution, “but a great stick of an
Englishman, who hadn’t a word to say,” and who was distasteful to the
young queen, Marie-Louise.  Philip V. could not remain at Madrid, which
was threatened by the enemy: he removed to Burgos; the English entered
the capital, and there proclaimed Charles III.

This was too, much; Spain could not let herself submit to have an
Austrian king imposed upon her by heretics and Portuguese; the old
military energy appeared again amongst that people besotted by priests
and ceremonials; war broke out all at once at every point; the foreign
soldiers were everywhere attacked openly or secretly murdered; the towns
rose; a few horsemen sufficed for Berwick to recover possession of
Madrid; the king entered it once more, on the 4th of October, amidst the
cheers of his people, whilst Berwick was pursuing the enemy, whom he had
cornered (_rencogne_), he says, in the mountains of Valencia.  Charles
III. had no longer anything left in Spain but Aragon and Catalonia.  The
French garrisons, set free by the evacuation of Italy, went to the aid of
the Spaniards.  “Your enemies ought not to hope for success,” wrote Louis
XIV. to his grandson, “since their progress has served only to bring out
the courage and fidelity of a nation always equally brave and firmly
attached to its masters.  I am told that your people cannot be
distinguished from regular troops.  We have not been fortunate in
Flanders, but we must submit to the judgment of God.”  He had already let
his grandson understand that a great sacrifice would be necessary to
obtain peace, which he considered himself bound to procure before long
for his people.  The Hollanders refused their mediation.  “The three men
who rule in Europe, to wit, the grand pensionary Heinsius, the Duke of
Marlborough, and Prince Eugene, desire war for their own interests,” was
the saying in France.  The campaign of 1707 was signalized in Spain by
the victory of Almanza, gained on the 13th of April by Marshal Berwick
over the Anglo-Portuguese army, and by the capture of Lerida, which
capitulated on the 11th of November into the hands of the Duke of
Orleans.  In Germany, Villars drove back the enemy from the banks of the
Rhine, advanced into Suabia, and ravaged the Palatinate, crushing the
country with requisitions, of which he openly reserved a portion for
himself.  “Marshal Villars is doing very well for himself,” said
somebody, one day, to the king.  “Yes,” answered his Majesty, “and for me
too.”  “I wrote to the king that I really must fat my calf,” said
Villars.

The inexhaustible elasticity and marvellous resources of France were
enough to restore some hope in 1707.  The invasion of Provence by Victor-
Amadeo and Prince Eugene, their check before Toulon, and their retreat,
precipitated by the rising of the peasants, had irritated the allies; the
attempts at negotiation which the king had entered upon at the Hague
remained without result; the Duke of Burgundy took the command of the
armies of Flanders, with Vendome for his second; it was hoped that the
lieutenant’s boldness, his geniality towards the troops, and his
consummate knowledge of war, would counterbalance the excessive gravity,
austerity, and inexperience of the young prince so virtuous and capable,
but reserved, cold, and unaccustomed to command; discord arose amongst
the courtiers; on the 5th of July Ghent was surprised; Vendome had
intelligence inside the place, the Belgians were weary of their new
masters.  “The States have dealt so badly with this country,” said
Marlborough, “that all the towns are ready to play us the same trick as
Ghent, the moment they have the opportunity.”  Bruges opened its gates to
the French.  Prince Eugene advanced to second Marlborough, but he was
late in starting; the troops of the Elector of Bavaria harassed his
march.  “I shouldn’t like to say a word against Prince Eugene,” said
Marlborough, “but he will arrive at the appointed spot on the Moselle ten
days too late.”  The English were by themselves when they encountered the
French army in front of Audernarde.  The engagement began.  Vendome, who
commanded the right wing, sent word to the Duke of Burgundy.  The latter
hesitated and delayed; the generals about him did not approve of
Vendome’s movement.  He fought single-handed, and was beaten.  The excess
of confidence of one leader, and the inertness of the other, caused
failure in all the operations of the campaign; Prince Eugene and the Duke
of Marlborough laid siege to Lille, which was defended by old Marshal
Boufflers, the bravest and the most respected of all the king’s servants.
Lille was not relieved, and fell on the 25th of October; the citadel held
out until the 9th of December; the king heaped rewards on Marshal
Bouffers: at the march out from Lille, Prince Eugene had ordered all his
army to pay him the same honors as to himself.  Ghent and Bruges were
abandoned to the imperialists.  “We had made blunder upon blunder in this
campaign,” says Marshal Berwick, in his Memoires, “and, in spite of all
that if somebody had not made the last in giving up Ghent and Bruges,
there would have been a fine game the year after.”  The Low Countries
were lost, and the French frontier was encroached upon by the capture of
Lille.  For the first time, in a letter addressed to Marshal Berwick,
Marlborough let a glimpse be seen of a desire to make peace; the king
still hoped for the mediation of Holland, and he neglected the overtures
of Marlborough: “the army of the allies is, without doubt, in evil
plight,” said Chamillard.

The campaign in Spain had not been successful; the Duke of Orleans, weary
of his powerlessness, and under suspicion at the court of Philip V., had
given up the command of the troops; the English admiral, Leake, had taken
possession of Sardinia, of the Island of Minorca, and of Port Mahon; the
archduke was master of the isles and of the sea.  The destitution in
France was fearful, and the winter so severe that the poor were in want
of everything; riots multiplied in the towns; the king sent his plate to
the mint, and put his jewels in pawn; he likewise took a resolution which
cost him even more; he determined to ask for peace.

“Although his courage appeared at every trial,” says the Marquis of
Torcy, “he felt within him just sorrow for a war whereof the weight
overwhelmed his subjects.  More concerned for their woes than for his own
glory, he employed, to terminate them, means which might have induced
France to submit to the hardest conditions before obtaining a peace that
had become necessary, if God, protecting the king, had not, after
humiliating him, struck his foes with blindness.”

There are regions to which superior minds alone ascend, and which are not
attained by the men, however distinguished, who succeed them.  William
III. was no longer at the head of affairs in Europe; and the triumvirate
of Heinsius, Marlborough, and Prince Eugene did not view the aggregate of
things from a sufficiently calm height to free themselves from the
hatreds and, bitternesses of the strife, when the proposals of Louis XIV.
arrived at the Hague.  “Amidst the sufferings caused to commerce by the
war, there was room to hope,” says Torcy, “that the grand pensionary,
thinking chiefly of his country’s interest, would desire the end of a war
of which he felt all the burdensomeness.  Clothed with authority in his
own republic, he had no reason to fear either secret design or cabals to
displace him from a post which he filled to the satisfaction of his
masters, and in which he conducted himself with moderation.  Up to that
time the United Provinces had borne the principal burden of the war.  The
emperor alone reaped the fruit of it.  One would have said that the
Hollanders kept the temple of peace, and that they had the keys of it in
their hands.”

The king offered the Hollanders a very extended barrier in the Low
Countries, and all the facilities they had long been asking for their
commerce.  He accepted the abandonment of Spain to the archduke, and
merely claimed to reserve to his grandson Naples, Sardinia, and Sicily.
This was what was secured to him by the second treaty of partition lately
concluded between England, tine United Provinces, and France; he did not
even demand Lothringen.  President Rouille, formerly French envoy to
Lisbon, arrived disguised in Holland; conferences were opened secretly at
Bodegraven.

The treaties of partition negotiated by William of Orange, as well as
the wars which he had sustained against Louis XIV. with such persistent
obstinacy, had but one sole end, the maintenance of the European
equilibrium between the houses of Bourbon and Austria, which were alone
powerful enough to serve as mutual counterpoise.  To despoil one to the
profit of the other, to throw, all at once, into the balance on the side
of the empire all the weight of the Spanish succession, was to destroy
the work of William III.’s far-sighted wisdom.  Heinsius did not see it;
but led on by his fidelity to the allies, distrustful and suspicious as
regarded France, burning to avenge the wrongs put upon the republic, he,
in concert with Marlborough and Prince Eugene, required conditions so
hard that the French agent scarcely dared transmit them to Versailles.
What was demanded was the abdication, pure and simple, of Philip V.:
Holland merely promised her good offices to obtain in his favor Naples
and Sicily; England claimed Dunkerque; Germany wanted Strasburg and the
renewal of the peace of Westphalia; Victor-Amadeo aspired to recover Nice
and Savoy; to the Dutch barrier stipulated for at Ryswick were to be
added Lille, Conde, and Tournay.  In vain was the matter discussed
article by article; Rouille for some time believed that he had gained
Lille.  “You misinterpreted our intentions,” said the deputies of the
States General; “we let you believe what you pleased; at the commencement
of April.  Lille was still in a bad condition; we had reason to fear that
the French had a design of taking advantage of that; it was a matter of
prudence to let you believe that it would be restored to you by the
peace.  Lille is at the present moment in a state of security; do not
count any longer on its restitution.”  “Probably,” said the States’
delegate to Marlborough, “the king will break off negotiations rather
than entertain such hard conditions.”  “So much the worse for France,”
 rejoined the English general; “for when the campaign is once begun,
things will go farther than the king thinks.  The allies will never unsay
their preliminary demands.”  And he set out for England without even
waiting for a favorable wind to cross.

Louis XIV. assembled his council, the same which, in 1700, had decided
upon acceptance of the crown of Spain.  “The king felt all these
calamities so much the more keenly,” says Torcy, “in that he had
experienced nothing of the sort ever since he had taken into his own
hands the government of a flourishing kingdom.  It was a terrible
humiliation for a monarch accustomed to conquer, belauded for his
victories, his triumphs, his moderation when he granted peace and
prescribed its laws, to see himself now obliged to ask it of his enemies,
to offer them to no purpose, in order to obtain it, the restitution of a
portion of his conquests, the monarchy of Spain, the abandonment of his
allies, and forced, in order to get such offers accepted, to apply to
that same republic whose principal provinces he had conquered in the year
1692, and whose submission he had rejected when she entreated him to
grant her peace on such terms as he should be pleased to dictate.  The
king bore so sensible a change with the firmness of a hero, and with a
Christian’s complete submission to the decrees of Providence, being less
affected by his own inward pangs than by the suffering of his people, and
being ever concerned about the means of relieving it, and terminating the
war.  It was scarcely perceived that he did himself some violence in
order to conceal his own feelings from the public; indeed; they were so
little known that it was pretty generally believed that, thinking more of
his own glory than of the woes of his kingdom, he preferred to the
blessing of peace the keeping of certain places he had taken in person.
This unjust opinion had crept in even amongst the council.”

The reading of the Dutch proposals tore away every veil; “the necessity
of obtaining peace, whatever price it might cost, was felt so much the
more.”  The king gave orders to Rouille to resume the conferences,
demanding clear and precise explanations.  “If the worst comes to the
worst,” said he, “I will give up Lille to the Holla