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Title: A Gallant of Lorraine; vol. 2 of 2 - François, Seigneur de Bassompierre, - Marquis d'Haronel, Maréchal de - France, 1579-1646
Author: Williams, H. Noel (Hugh Noel)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 Gallant of Lorraine; vol. 2 of 2 - François, Seigneur de Bassompierre, - Marquis d'Haronel, Maréchal de - France, 1579-1646" ***

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                         A GALLANT OF LORRAINE

                               VOL. II.

                 [Illustration: QUEEN HENRIETTA MARIA.

               From the picture by Van Dyck at Dresden.


                               A GALLANT

                              OF LORRAINE

                      MARQUIS D’HAROUEL, MARÉCHAL
                   :: :: DE FRANCE (1579-1646) :: ::


                           H. NOEL WILLIAMS

                  “THE BROOD OF FALSE LORRAINE,” ETC.

                           _IN TWO VOLUMES_

                        _With 16 Illustrations_

                                VOL. II

                    _LONDON: HURST & BLACKETT, LTD
                    :: PATERNOSTER HOUSE, E.C. ::_


                                VOL. II


Offer of Schomberg, Saint-Géran and Marillac to take Montauban within
twelve days--Advice of Père Arnoux--Diplomacy of Bassompierre--A
humiliating fiasco--A second attempt meets with no better
success--Bassompierre counsels the King to raise the siege, and it is
decided to follow his advice--General exasperation against Luynes--Louis
XIII begins to grow weary of his favourite--Conversation of the King
with Bassompierre--The latter warns Luynes that he “does not
sufficiently cultivate the good graces of the King”--Reply of the
Constable--Louis XIII twits Luynes with the love of the Duc de Chevreuse
for his wife--Puisieux, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Père Arnoux,
the King’s Jesuit confessor, conspire against the Constable--Disgrace of
the latter--Bassompierre, at the head of the bulk of the Royal forces,
lays siege to Monheurt--A perilous situation--Bassompierre falls ill of
fever--He leaves the army and sets out for La Réole--He is taken
seriously ill at Marmande--His three doctors--Approach of the
enemy--Refusal of the townsfolk to admit him and his suite into the
town--A terrible night--He recovers and proceeds to Bordeaux--Death of
the Constable before Monheurt.....pp. 321-339


Who will govern the King and France?--The pretenders to the royal
favour--Position of Bassompierre--The Cardinal de Retz and Schomberg
join forces and secure for their ally De Vic the office of Keeper of the
Seals--They propose to remove Bassompierre from the path of their
ambition by separating him from the King--Bassompierre is offered the
lieutenancy-general of Guienne and subsequently the government of Béarn,
but declines both offices--He inflicts a sharp reverse upon Retz and
Schomberg--Condé joins the Court--His designs--The rival parties: the
party of the Ministers and the party of the marshals--_Monsieur le
Prince_ decides to ally himself with that of the Ministers--Mortifying
rebuff administered by the King to the Ministers at the instance of
Bassompierre--Failure of an attempt of the Ministers to injure
Bassompierre and Créquy with Louis XIII--Arrival of the King in
Paris--Affectionate meeting between him and his mother--Accident to the
Queen.....pp. 340-352


Question of the Huguenot War the principal subject of contention between
the two parties--Condé and the Ministers demand its continuance--Marie
de’ Medici, prompted by Richelieu, advocates peace--Secret negotiations
of Louis XIII with the Huguenot leaders--Soubise’s offensive in the West
obliges the King to continue the war--Louis XIII advances against the
Huguenot chief, who has established himself in the Île de Rié--Condé
accuses Bassompierre of “desiring to prevent him from acquiring
glory”--Courage of the King--Passage of the Royal army from the Île du
Perrier to the Île de Rié--Total defeat of Soubise--Siege of Royan--The
King in the trenches--His remarkable coolness and intrepidity under
fire--Capitulation of Royan--The Marquis de la Force created a marshal
of France--Conversation between Louis XIII and Bassompierre--Diplomatic
speech of the latter.....pp. 353-362


Condé and his allies offer to secure for Bassompierre the position of
favourite, if he will join forces with them to bring about the fall of
Puisieux--Refusal of Bassompierre--Condé complains to Louis XIII of
Bassompierre’s hostility to him--Bassompierre informs the King of the
proposal which has been made him--Louis XIII orders _Monsieur le Prince_
to be reconciled with Bassompierre--Siege of Négrepelisse--The town is
taken by storm--Terrible fate of the garrison and the inhabitants--Fresh
differences between Condé and Bassompierre--Discomfiture of _Monsieur le
Prince_--Bassompierre, placed temporarily in command of the Royal army,
captures the towns of Carmain and Cuq-Toulza--Offer of Bassompierre to
resign his claim to the marshal’s bâton in favour of
Schomberg--Surrender of Lunel--Massacre of the garrison by disbanded
soldiers of the Royal army--Bassompierre causes eight of the latter to
be hanged--Lunel in danger of being destroyed by fire with all within
its walls--Bassompierre, by his presence of mind, saves the
situation--Schomberg and Bassompierre--The latter is promised the
marshal’s bâton.....pp. 363-376


Conditions of peace with the Huguenots decided upon--Refusal of the
citizens of Montpellier to open their gates to the King until his army
has been disbanded--Bullion advises Louis XIII to accede to their
wishes, and is supported by the majority of the Council--Bassompierre is
of the contrary opinion and urges the King to reduce Montpellier to
“entire submission and repentance”--Louis XIII decides to follow the
advice of Bassompierre, and the siege of the town is begun--A disastrous
day for the Royal army--Death of Zamet and the Italian engineer
Gamorini--Political intrigues--Bassompierre succeeds in securing the
post of Keeper of the Seals for Caumartin, although the King has already
promised it to d’Aligre, the nominee of Condé--Heavy losses sustained by
the besiegers in an attack upon one of the advanced works--Condé quits
the army and sets out for Italy--Bassompierre is created marshal of
France amidst general acclamations--Peace is signed--Death of the Abbé
Roucellaï--Bassompierre accompanies the King to Avignon, where he again
falls of petechial fever, but recovers--He assists at the entry of the
King and Queen into Lyons--He is offered the government of the Maine,
but declines it......pp. 377-393


Fall of Schomberg--La Vieuville becomes _Surintendent des Finances_--His
bitter jealousy of Bassompierre--He informs Louis XIII that the marshal
“deserves the Bastille or worse”--Semi-disgrace of Bassompierre, who,
however, succeeds in making his peace with the King--Mismanagement of
public affairs by Puisieux and his father, the Chancellor Brulart de
Sillery--La Vieuville and Richelieu intrigue against them and procure
their dismissal from office--The Earl of Holland arrives in Paris to
sound the French Court on the question of a marriage between the Prince
of Wales and Henrietta Maria--Bassompierre takes part in a grand ballet
at the Louvre--La Vieuville accuses the marshal of drawing more money
for the Swiss than he is entitled to--Foreign policy of La
Vieuville--Richelieu re-enters the Council--Bassompierre accused by La
Vieuville of being a pensioner of Spain--Serious situation of the
marshal--The Connétable Lesdiguières advises Bassompierre to leave
France, but the latter decides to remain--Differences between La
Vieuville and Richelieu over the negotiations for the English
marriage--Arrogance and presumption of La Vieuville--Intrigues of
Richelieu against him--The King informs Bassompierre that he has decided
to disgrace La Vieuville--Indiscretion of the marshal--Duplicity of
Louis XIII towards his Minister--Fall of La Vieuville--Richelieu becomes
the virtual head of the Council.....pp. 394-410


Vigorous foreign policy of Richelieu--The recovery of the
Valtellina--His projected blow at the Spanish power in Northern Italy
frustrated by a fresh Huguenot insurrection--Bassompierre sent to
Brittany--Marriage of Charles I and Henrietta Maria--Bassompierre
offered the command of a new army which is to be despatched to Italy--He
demands 7,000 men from the Army of Champagne--The Duc d’Angoulême and
Louis de Marillac, the generals commanding that army, have recourse to
the bogey of a German invasion in order to retain these
troops--Bassompierre declines the appointment--Conversation between
Bassompierre and the Spanish Ambassador Mirabello on the subject of
peace between France and Spain--The marshal is empowered to treat for
peace with Mirabello--Singular conduct of the Ambassador--News arrives
from Madrid that Philip IV has revoked the powers given to
Mirabello--Bassompierre is sent as Ambassador Extraordinary to the Swiss
Cantons to counteract the intrigues of the house of Austria and the
Papacy--His reception in Switzerland--Lavish hospitality which he
dispenses--Complete success of his negotiations.....pp. 411-425


Bassompierre goes on a mission to Charles IV of Lorraine--He returns to
France--The Venetian Ambassador Contarini informs the marshal that it is
rumoured that a secret treaty has been signed between France and
Spain--Richelieu authorises Bassompierre to deny that such a treaty
exists, but the same day the marshal learns from the King that the
French Ambassador at Madrid has signed a treaty, though unauthorised to
do so--Indignation of Bassompierre, who, however, refrains from
denouncing the treaty, which it is decided not to disavow--Explanation
of this diplomatic imbroglio--Growing strength of the aristocratic
opposition to Richelieu--The marriage of _Monsieur_--The “_Conspiration
des Dames_”--Intrigues of the Duchesse de Chevreuse--Madame de Chevreuse
and Chalais--Objects of the conspirators--Arrest of the Maréchal
d’Ornano--Indignation of _Monsieur_--Conversation of Bassompierre with
the prince--Plot against the life or liberty of Richelieu--Chalais is
forced by the Commander de Valençay to reveal it to the Cardinal--“The
quarry is no longer at home!”--Alarm of _Monsieur_--His abject
submission to the King and Richelieu--He resumes his intrigues--Chalais
is again involved in the conspiracy by Madame de Chevreuse--Arrest of
the Duc de Vendôme and his half-brother the Grand Prior.....pp. 426-445


Alarm of the conspirators at the arrest of the Vendômes--Chalais, at the
instigation of Madame de Chevreuse, urges _Monsieur_ to take flight and
throw himself into a fortress--_Monsieur_ and Chalais join the Court at
Blois--The Comte de Louvigny betrays the latter to the Cardinal--Chalais
is arrested at Nantes--Despicable conduct of _Monsieur_--Chalais,
persuaded by Richelieu that Madame de Chevreuse is unfaithful to him,
makes the gravest accusation against her, in the hope of saving his
life--He is, nevertheless, condemned to death--He withdraws his
accusations against Madame de Chevreuse--His barbarous execution--Death
of the Maréchal d’Ornano--Marriage of _Monsieur_--Bassompierre declines
the post of _Surintendant_ of _Monsieur’s_ Household--Indignation of
Louis XIII against Anne of Austria--Public humiliation inflicted upon
the Queen--Banishment of Madame de Chevreuse--Bassompierre nominated
Ambassador Extraordinary to England--Differences between Charles I and
Henrietta over the question of the young Queen’s French attendants--The
Tyburn pilgrimage--Expulsion of the French attendants from
England--Resentment of the Court of France.....pp. 446-466


Bassompierre arrives in England--His journey to London--He is visited
secretly by the Duke of Buckingham--He visits the duke in the same
manner at York House--Charles I commands him to send Père de Sancy back
to France--Singular history of this ecclesiastic--Refusal of
Bassompierre--His first audience of Charles I and Henrietta Maria at
Hampton Court--Firmness of Bassompierre on the question of Père de
Sancy--He visits the Queen at Somerset House--His private audience of
the King--He reproves the presumption of Buckingham--Admirable
qualities displayed by Bassompierre in the difficult situation in which
he is placed--He succeeds in effecting a reconciliation between the King
and Queen--His able and eloquent speech before the Council--An agreement
on the question of the Queen’s French attendants is finally arrived
at--Lord Mayor’s Day three centuries ago--Bassompierre reconciles the
Queen with Buckingham--Stormy scene between Charles I and Henrietta
Maria at Whitehall--Bassompierre speaks his mind to the Queen--Intrigues
of Père de Sancy--Peace is re-established--Magnificent fête at York
House--Departure of Bassompierre from London--He is detained at Dover by
bad weather--England and France on the verge of war--Buckingham decides
to proceed to France on a special mission and proposes to accompany
Bassompierre--Embarrassment of the latter--He visits the duke at
Canterbury and persuades him to defer his visit--A disastrous Channel
passage--Return of Bassompierre to Paris--Refusal of the Court of France
to receive Buckingham--An English historian’s appreciation of
Bassompierre.....pp. 467-501


The Assembly of the Notables--Bassompierre nominated one of the four
presidents--The “sorry Château of Versailles”--The ballet of _le Sérieux
et le Grotesque_--Execution of Montmorency-Boutteville and Des Chapelles
for duelling--Death of _Madame_--Preparations for war with
England--Louis XIII resolves to take command of the army assembled in
Poitou--The King falls ill at the Château of Villeroy--Bassompierre is
prevented by Richelieu from visiting him--Intrigue by which the Duc
d’Angoulême is appointed to the command of the army which ought to have
devolved upon Bassompierre--Descent of Buckingham upon the Île de
Ré--Blockade of the fortress of Saint-Martin--Investment of La Rochelle
by the Royal army--Bassompierre, the King, and Richelieu at the Château
of Saumery--The Cardinal assumes the practical direction of the military
operations--Provisions and reinforcements are thrown into
Saint-Martin--Refusal of the Maréchaux de Bassompierre and Schomberg to
allow Angoulême to be associated with them in the command of the Royal
army--Schomberg is persuaded to accept the duke as a
colleague--Bassompierre persists in his refusal and requests permission
of the King to leave the army--He is offered and accepts the command of
a separate army, which is to blockade La Rochelle from the north-western
side--He declines the government of Brittany--Dangerous situation of
Buckingham’s army in the Île de Ré--Unsuccessful attempt to take
Saint-Martin by assault--Disastrous retreat of the English.....pp. 502-528


Siege of La Rochelle begins--Immense difficulties of the
undertaking--Unwillingness of the great nobles to see the Huguenot party
entirely crushed--Remark of Bassompierre--Courage and energy of
Richelieu--His measures to provide for the welfare and efficiency of the
besieging army--The lines of circumvallation--Erection of the Fort of
La Fons by Bassompierre--The construction of the mole is begun and
proceeded with in the face of great difficulties--Responsibilities of
Bassompierre--The Duc d’Angoulême accuses the marshal of a gross piece
of negligence, but the latter succeeds in turning the tables upon his
accuser--Louis XIII returns to Paris, leaving Richelieu with the title
of “Lieutenant-General of the Army”--Critical state of affairs in
Italy--Unsuccessful attempts to take La Rochelle by surprise--Intrigues
of Marie de’ Medici and the High Catholic party against Richelieu--The
King rejoins the army--Guiton elected Mayor of La Rochelle.....pp. 529-541


Arrival of the English fleet under the Earl of Denbigh--Its
composition--Daring feat of an English pinnace--Retirement of the
fleet--Probable explanation of this fiasco--Indignation of Charles I,
who orders Denbigh to return to La Rochelle, but this is found to be
impossible--The Rochellois approach Bassompierre with a request for a
conference to arrange terms of surrender--The arrival of a letter from
Charles I promising to send another fleet to their succour causes the
negotiations to be broken off--La Rochelle in the grip of
famine--Refusal of Louis XIII to allow the old men, women and children
to pass through the Royal lines: their miserable fate--Movements in
favour of surrender among the citizens suppressed by the Mayor
Guiton--Terrible sufferings of La Rochelle--Bassompierre spares the life
of a Huguenot soldier who had intended to kill him--Difficulties
experienced by Charles I and Buckingham in fitting out a new
expedition--Assassination of Buckingham--The vanguard of the English
fleet, under the command of the Earl of Lindsey, appears off La
Rochelle--Narrow escape of Richelieu and Bassompierre--The King takes up
his quarters with Bassompierre at Laleu--Arrival of the rest of the
English fleet--Feeble efforts of the English to force their way into the
harbour--The Rochellois, reduced to the last extremity, sue for
peace--Bassompierre conducts deputies from the town to
Richelieu--Surrender of La Rochelle--Bassompierre returns with the King
to Paris.....pp. 542-562


The Duc de Rohan and the Huguenots of the South continue their
resistance--Opposition of Marie de’ Medici and the High Catholic party
to Richelieu’s Italian policy--The Cardinal’s memorial to Louis
XIII--_Monsieur_ appointed to the command of the army which is to enter
Italy--The King, jealous of his brother, decides to command in
person--Twelve thousand crowns for a dozen of cider--Combat of the Pass
of Susa--Treaty signed with Charles Emmanuel of Savoy--Problem of the
reception of the Genoese Ambassadors--Anger of Louis XIII at a jest of
Bassompierre--Peace with England--Campaign against the Huguenots of
Languedoc--Massacre of the garrison of Privas--“_La Paix de
Grâce_”--Surrender of Montauban--Richelieu and d’Épernon--Bassompierre
returns to Paris with the Cardinal--Their frigid reception by the
Queen-Mother--Richelieu proposes to retire from affairs and the Court,
but an accommodation is effected.....pp. 563-582


Serious situation of affairs in Italy--Trouble with
_Monsieur_--Richelieu entrusted with the command of the Army in
Italy--It is decided to send Bassompierre on a special embassy to
Switzerland--The marshal buys the Château of Chaillot--His departure for
Switzerland--Mazarin at Lyons--Bassompierre’s reception at Fribourg--He
arrives at Soleure and convenes a meeting of the Diet--His discomfiture
of the Chancellor of Alsace--Success of his mission--He receives orders
from Richelieu to mobilise 6,000 Swiss--The Cardinal as
generalissimo--Pinerolo surrenders--Bassompierre joins the King at
Lyons--Louis XIII and Mlle. de Hautefort--Successful campaign of
Bassompierre in Savoy--His mortification at having to resign his command
to the Maréchal de Châtillon--Increasing rancour of the Queen-Mother
against Richelieu--Visit of Bassompierre to Paris--An unfortunate
coincidence--Louis XIII falls dangerously ill at Lyons--Intrigues around
his sick-bed--Perilous situation of Richelieu--Recovery of the
King--Arrival of Bassompierre at Lyons--Suspicions of Richelieu
concerning the marshal--The latter endeavours to disarm them--Question
of Bassompierre’s connection with the anti-Richelieu cabal
considered--His secret marriage to the Princesse de Conti.....pp. 583-596


Peace is signed with the Emperor at Ratisbon--The Queen-Mother deprives
Richelieu’s niece Madame de Combalet of her post of _dame d’atours_ and
demands of Louis XIII the instant dismissal of the Cardinal--The
Luxembourg interview--“The Day of Dupes”--Triumph of
Richelieu--Bassompierre’s explanation of his own part in this
affair--His visit to Versailles--“He has arrived after the battle!”--He
gives offence to Richelieu by refusing an invitation to dinner--He finds
himself in semi-disgrace--_Monsieur_ quarrels with the Cardinal and
leaves the Court--The King again treats Bassompierre with
cordiality--Departure of the Court for Compiègne--Bassompierre learns
that the Queen-Mother has been placed under arrest and the Princesse de
Conti exiled, and that he himself is to be arrested--The marshal is
advised by the Duc d’Épernon to leave France--He declines and announces
his intention of going to the Court to meet his fate--He burns “more
than six thousand love-letters”--His arrival at the Court--Singular
conduct of the King towards him--The marshal is arrested by the Sieur de
Launay, lieutenant of the Gardes du Corps, and conducted to the
Bastille.....pp. 597-613


Bassompierre in the Bastille--He is informed that he has been imprisoned
“from fear lest he might be induced to do wrong”--_Monsieur_ retires to
Lorraine--The marshal’s nephew the Marquis de Bassompierre is ordered to
leave France--After a few weeks of captivity, Bassompierre solicits his
liberty, which is refused--He falls seriously ill, but recovers--Death
of his wife the Princesse de Conti--Flight of the Queen-Mother to
Brussels--Death of Bassompierre’s brother the Marquis de
Removille--Execution of the Maréchal de Marillac--Montmorency’s
revolt--Trial and execution of the duke--Hopes of liberty, which,
however, do not materialise--Arrest of Châteauneuf--Arrival of the
Chevalier de Jars in the Bastille--A grim experience--Bassompierre
disposes of his post of Colonel-General of the Swiss to the Marquis de
Coislin--The marshal’s hopes of liberty constantly flattered and as
constantly deceived--Malignity of Richelieu--The ravages committed by
the contending armies upon his estates in Lorraine reduce Bassompierre
to the verge of ruin--The marshal’s niece, Madame de Beuvron, solicits
her uncle’s liberty of Richelieu--Mocking answer of the Cardinal--Some
notes written by Bassompierre in the margin of a copy of Dupleix’s
history are published under his name, but without his authority--The
historian complains to the Cardinal--Arrest of Valbois for reciting a
sonnet attacking Richelieu for his treatment of
Bassompierre--Apprehensions of the marshal--His despair at his continued
detention--Grief occasioned him by the death of a favourite dog--The Duc
de Guise dies in exile.....pp. 614-633


Death of Richelieu--Bassompierre is offered his liberty on condition
that he shall retire to his brother-in-law Saint-Luc’s Château of
Tillières--He at first refuses to leave the Bastille, unless he is
permitted to return to Court--His friends persuade him to alter his
decision--He is authorised to reappear at Court--His answer to the
King’s question concerning his age--He recovers his post as
Colonel-General of the Swiss--His death--His funeral--His sons, Louis de
Bassompierre and François de la Tour--His nephews.....pp. 634-640

                   LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

                        VOL. II

QUEEN HENRIETTA MARIA                                      _Frontispiece_

From the picture by Van Dyck at Dresden.

                                                             FACING PAGE

LOUIS XIII, KING OF FRANCE                                           346

From an engraving by Picart.

CHARLES, MARQUIS DE LA VIEUVILLE                                     402

From a contemporary print.


From a contemporary print.

CHARLES I                                                            470

After the picture by Van Dyck at Dresden.

GEORGE VILLIERS, FIRST DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM                            518

After the picture by Gerard Honthorst in the National Portrait
Gallery. Photo by Emery Walker.

MARIE DE’ MEDICIS, QUEEN OF FRANCE                                   564

From an old print.


From an engraving by Thomas de Leu.

                         A Gallant of Lorraine


     Offer of Schomberg, Saint-Géran and Marillac to take Montauban
     within twelve days--Advice of Père Arnoux--Diplomacy of
     Bassompierre--A humiliating fiasco--A second attempt meets with no
     better success--Bassompierre counsels the King to raise the siege,
     and it is decided to follow his advice--General exasperation
     against Luynes--Louis XIII begins to grow weary of his
     favourite--Conversation of the King with Bassompierre--The latter
     warns Luynes that he “does not sufficiently cultivate the good
     graces of the King”--Reply of the Constable--Louis XIII twits
     Luynes with the love of the Duc de Chevreuse for his
     wife--Puisieux, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Père Arnoux, the
     King’s Jesuit confessor, conspire against the Constable--Disgrace
     of the latter--Bassompierre, at the head of the bulk of the Royal
     forces, lays siege to Monheurt--A perilous situation--Bassompierre
     falls ill of fever--He leaves the army and sets out for La
     Réole--He is taken seriously ill at Marmande--His three
     doctors--Approach of the enemy--Refusal of the townsfolk to admit
     him and his suite into the town--A terrible night--He recovers and
     proceeds to Bordeaux--Death of the Constable before Monheurt.

During the next few days some progress was made by the Guards at
Ville-Nouvelle; but the other two divisions seemed able to do little or
nothing; while the garrison, strengthened by the accession of several
hundred first-class fighting men, harassed them incessantly. On October
4, Louis XIII summoned another council of war at Picqueos, to which
Bassompierre went. On his arrival he was met by Père Arnoux, the King’s
Jesuit confessor, who said to him: “Well, Monsieur, Montauban is going
to be given, so they say, to him who offers the lowest price for it, as
they give the public works in France. In how many days do you offer to
take it?” Bassompierre replied that no one would be so presumptuous as
to name a day by which a place like Montauban could be taken, and that
the duration of the siege would depend on many circumstances. “We have
bidders much more determined than you are,” rejoined the Jesuit. And he
told him that the leaders of the Le Moustier division had pledged “their
heads and their honour” to take Montauban in twelve days, provided that
the Guards would hand over to them the greater part of their cannon; and
that it was with the object of deliberating upon this proposal that the
council had been summoned. He then advised Bassompierre, with whom he
was on very friendly terms, that he and colleagues “would do a thing
agreeable to the King and the Constable by not opposing it, unless they
were prepared to pledge themselves to place Montauban in the King’s
hands in an even shorter time.”

Bassompierre thanked the Jesuit, and drawing Praslin and Chaulnes aside,
told them of the proposal which the leaders of the Le Moustier
division--Schomberg, Saint-Géran and Marillac--intended to make at the
council, though he did not tell them of the source of his information,
which he allowed them to think was the King himself. He then pointed out
that these officers, who had been in anything but good odour with the
King and the rest of the army since their refusal to attack the bastion
of Le Moustier, hoped to rehabilitate their reputation for courage by
offering to accomplish a task which they must very well know to be
impossible, even with the assistance of the Guards’ cannon. They
undoubtedly believed, however, that Praslin and Chaulnes would refuse to
surrender their artillery, in which event they would gain credit with
the King for having made the offer, and, at the same time, throw the
responsibility for being unable to carry it out upon the officers of the
Guards’ division, of whom they were bitterly jealous. And he begged the
two marshals “in God’s name” not to fall into the trap prepared for them
by refusing to give up their cannon. The latter agreed to do as he
advised, and they went into the room where the council was assembling.

The Constable opened the proceedings in a lengthy speech, in which he
exhorted the marshals and generals present to “lay aside all emulations,
jealousies and envies,” and co-operate loyally together for the service
of the King. Then he turned to the leaders of the Guards’ division and
“inquired how long precisely they would require to take the town.”
Bassompierre and the two marshals, after a pretence of consulting
together, answered that they had done, and would continue to do,
everything that was humanly possible to achieve this result, but that
they were not prepared to name any definite time. The Constable then
said that the officers from Le Moustier were ready to pledge themselves
to take the town in twelve days; and Saint-Géran, turning to the King,
exclaimed: “Yes, Sire, we promise it you upon our honour and upon our

Bassompierre and his colleagues applauded their resolution to render
this great service to the King, and assured them that, as devoted
servants of his Majesty, if there were any way in which they might
contribute to the success of their enterprise, they had only to command
them. Upon which the Constable said that the King wished them to send to
Le Moustier sixteen of their siege-guns. To this they at once consented,
and added that, if men were needed, they would willingly send 1,500 or
2,000, and Bassompierre himself would command them.

The officers from Le Moustier, much embarrassed, for they had counted
with confidence on their demand for the Guards’ cannon being refused,
thanked them, and said that their artillery was all that they required.
The others then said to the Constable that, in view of the fact that
they were surrendering practically the whole of their siege-guns, they
presumed that the King would discharge them from the obligation of
taking the town; and they were given to understand that all that would
be required of them would be to divert the enemy’s attention from Le
Moustier by occasional attacks and mines.

Within the next forty-eight hours the Guards’ cannon was delivered at Le
Moustier; but when Bassompierre went there on the 10th, on the pretext
of visiting a friend of his who had been wounded, to see how matters
were progressing, he found that the batteries were very badly placed,
and that, notwithstanding the weight of gunfire, comparatively little
impression had been made on the defences.

On the previous day, Bassompierre, catching sight of La Force on the
ramparts of Ville-Nouvelle, had gone forward, under a flag of truce, to
speak to him. He found the Huguenot chief eager for some arrangement
which would put an end to this fratricidal struggle; and, at his
suggestion, he spoke to Chaulnes and urged him to persuade the Constable
to meet Rohan, who, La Force had given him to understand, would be
willing to approach Montauban for that purpose, and discuss with him
terms of peace. This Chaulnes agreed to do, and on October 13 an
interview took place between Luynes and Rohan at the Château of Regnies,
some four leagues from Picqueos. After a long consultation, terms were
agreed upon, subject to the approval of the King and the Council, which,
says Bassompierre, were “advantageous and honourable for the King and
useful for the State.” But when the Council met, Schomberg urged that a
decision should be postponed until after he and his colleagues at Le
Moustier had made their attempt to take the town, which he was confident
would be successful. In that event, he pointed out, they would be able
to impose much more severe terms on the Huguenots. And he swore “on his
honour and his life” that he would take Montauban within the time
specified. The King and the Council, impressed by such unbounded
confidence, agreed to do as he advised.

On the 17th, the Constable sent for Bassompierre to come to Le Moustier,
where he had gone to dine with Schomberg, and inquired whether a mine
which he had instructed him to prepare some days before were finished.
Bassompierre replied in the affirmative, upon which the Constable said:
“It must be exploded to-morrow so soon as you receive the order from me,
for, if it please God, to-morrow we shall be in Montauban, provided
everyone is willing to do his duty.” Bassompierre answered that he could
rely on the Guards’ division doing theirs, when Luynes told him that the
explosion of the mine must be followed by a feint against the
advanced-works of Ville-Nouvelle, in order to divert the enemy while the
Le Moustier division stormed the town. Bassompierre had heard during the
past two days a furious bombardment proceeding in that quarter, but when
he scanned the defences, he could not perceive any practicable breach
nor even the appearance of one. “Monsieur,” said he, “you speak with
great confidence. May God grant that it may be justified!” Both the
Constable and Schomberg appeared to regard the taking of the town as
already assured, and, as he took leave of them, the latter said:
“Brother, I invite you to dine with me the day after to-morrow in
Montauban.” “Brother,” answered Bassompierre, “that will be a Friday and
a fish-day. Let us postpone it until Sunday, and do not fail to be

Bassompierre transmitted the order which he had received from the
Constable to Chaulnes and Praslin, who instructed him to take charge of
the mine, and to have everything in readiness for the diversion they
were to make on the morrow.

The eventful day which, if Schomberg and his colleagues were to be
believed, was destined to atone for all the toil and bloodshed of the
past two months, arrived, and with it the King, the Constable, the
Cardinal de Retz, Père Arnoux, Puisieux, the Minister for Foreign
Affairs, and many other distinguished persons, who were conducted by
them to carefully-selected positions from which they would be able to
enjoy an uninterrupted view of the storming of the town. At the same
time, they ordered their servants to pack up their plate, linen, and so
forth, as they intended to sup and sleep in Montauban. “And many other
things they did more ridiculous than I shall condescend to write down.”

Early in the afternoon, the Guards’ division received orders “to begin
the dance,” and Bassompierre fired his mine, which blew a big hole in
the enemy’s advanced-works in that quarter and sent an unfortunate young
officer of the Guards, the Baron d’Auges, into another world. Mines, in
those days, appear to have had an unpleasant way of taking toll of both
sides. The Guards occupied the crater, but, in accordance with their
orders, did not advance any further. At the same time, the troops at
Ville-Bourbon made a similar diversion.

The great assault, however, tarried. It tarried so long that at length
the King grew impatient, and sent to Schomberg and his colleagues to
inquire the reason why they did not advance. They replied that there was
no breach that was practicable. Presently, he sent again, and was
informed that, though there was a breach, scaling-ladders would be
required, and these had not yet arrived. The scaling-ladders were
brought, and once more the King wanted to know why they did not attack.
The answer was that the delay had enabled the enemy to repair the
breach; it would have to be reopened by a fresh bombardment.

     “Finally,” says Bassompierre, “after having wasted the whole day up
     to six o’clock in the evening, and kept 600 gentlemen and a great
     number of people of note under arms all day, without doing or
     attempting to do anything, unless it were to kill a good many
     people of the town who showed themselves, they sent to tell the
     King that they had freshly reconnoitred the place where the attack
     must be delivered, and that truly it was not practicable. And upon
     that everyone went home.”

Next day, Louis XIII sent a message to Ville-Nouvelle requesting one of
the two marshals or Bassompierre to come to Picqueos; and it was decided
that Bassompierre should go. He found the King in his cabinet with the
Constable, the Cardinal de Retz, and Roucellaï, and it was plain that
his Majesty was in a very ill-humour. “Bassompierre,” said he, “you have
long been of opinion that nothing of any use would be accomplished on
the side of Le Moustier.” “Your Majesty will pardon me,” answered
Bassompierre, “but I never believed that everything that was proposed
would succeed. Nevertheless, one must judge things by the results.” The
King then told him that Schomberg and his colleagues had assured him
that in five days they would be able to establish a battery of their
heaviest guns on a knoll within a very short distance of the walls, and
open a breach which would enable them to storm the town; and inquired
what he thought about it. Bassompierre replied that, if they did succeed
in establishing a battery there, the town must fall; but he very much
doubted whether the enemy would allow them to do it. “And I,” exclaimed
the King angrily, “refuse to wait for what they wish to do. For they are
deceivers; and I will never believe anything they say again.” The
Constable here interposed, and begged his Majesty to remember that the
generals at Le Moustier were as much mortified as he was at the fiasco
of the previous day. And he asked that they might be given another
chance of redeeming their promise to take the town. To this the King
agreed, and Bassompierre was told to arrange another diversion when the
time for the assault to be delivered should arrive.

However, it never did arrive. During the next few days the knoll was
fortified without any interference from the enemy, and nothing remained
but to get the guns into position. But, on the early morning of the
25th, the garrison exploded a mine under the knoll which blew it up with
its defences, and followed this up by a murderous sally against the
Picardy Regiment, who were driven out of their trenches with heavy loss.
Three nights later, they made another sortie, this time at the expense
of the Champagne Regiment, and, breaking right through it, penetrated
to the besiegers’ battery-positions and destroyed one of their largest

After this it was obviously impossible to continue the siege with the
smallest hope of success; the winter was coming on; the army, badly paid
and badly fed, with no confidence in its leaders, and harassed
incessantly by a bold and resolute enemy, was becoming demoralised and
was dwindling every day from death, sickness and desertion. Of 30,000
men who had encamped before Montauban at the end of August, only 12,000
effective combatants remained; and the division before Ville-Bourbon was
now so weak that its leaders were obliged to ask the Guards for
assistance to enable them to hold their trenches against the perpetual
attacks to which they were exposed.

On the morrow, the Constable came to Le Moustier and summoned a council
of war to decide what was to be done. “Everyone saw plainly,” says
Bassompierre, “that we had no longer the means of continuing the siege;
but no one wished to propose that it should be abandoned.” At length,
Bassompierre took upon himself to do so and urged that they should
“reserve the King, themselves and this army for a better future and a
more convenient season.” To this the other leaders offered no
opposition, and the Constable proceeded to communicate their decision to
the King. Louis XIII, with tears in his eyes, directed Bassompierre to
supervise the raising of the siege, and afterwards to march, with the
greater part of the army, on Monheurt, a little town on the Garonne
which had just revolted, as he and the Constable desired to terminate
the campaign with a success, however unimportant it might be.

To raise the siege without the risk of incurring further losses was far
from an easy task, as, unless every precaution were taken, there was
grave danger that the garrison, flushed with success, might sally out
and fall upon the rear of the army while it was crossing the Tarn.
However, Bassompierre appears to have made his arrangements with
considerable skill, and on November 10 the last of the troops were
withdrawn, with no more serious interference than a little skirmishing.

       *       *       *       *       *

The disastrous result of the siege of Montauban caused general
exasperation against Luynes, who met with a very bad reception from the
people of Toulouse--numbers of whose relatives and friends had fallen
during the siege--when he accompanied the King thither about the middle
of November. The High Catholic party was particularly furious, and
accused the Constable, not only of incapacity, but of treason. What was
a more serious matter for him, was the fact that the King was growing
weary of his favourite.

This change in Louis XIII’s attitude towards the man whom he had raised
so high, and who had so long exercised such an absolute dominion over
him, seems to have begun some months before; but it was at first
carefully concealed from all but two or three of his intimates.

     “One morning, after the siege of Saint-Jean-d’Angély,” says
     Bassompierre, “as the Constable was returning from dinner, and was
     about to enter the King’s lodging, with his Swiss and his guards
     marching before him, and the whole Court and the chief officers of
     the army following him, the King, perceiving his approach from a
     window, said to me: ‘See, Bassompierre, it is the King who enters.’
     ‘You will pardon me, Sire,’ said I to him, ‘it is a Constable
     favoured by his master, who is showing your grandeur and displaying
     the honours you have conferred upon him to the eyes of everyone.’
     ‘You do not know him,’ said he. ‘He believes that I ought to give
     him the rest, and wants to play the King. But I will certainly
     prevent him doing that, so long as I am alive.’ Upon that I said to
     him: ‘You are very unfortunate to have taken such fancies into your
     head; he is also unfortunate, because you have conceived these
     suspicions against him; and I still more so, because you have
     revealed them to me. For, one of these days, you and he will shed a
     few tears, and then you will be appeased; and afterwards you will
     act as do husbands and wives who, when they have made up their
     quarrels, dismiss from their service the servants to whom they had
     confided their ill-will towards each other. Besides, you will tell
     him that you have not confided your dissatisfaction with him to any
     save to myself and to certain others; and we shall be the
     sufferers. And you have seen that, last year, the mere suspicion
     that he entertained that you might be inclined to favour me
     determined him to ruin me.’

     “He [the King] swore to me with great oaths that he would never
     speak of it, whatever reconciliation there might be between them,
     and that he did not intend to open his mind to anyone on this
     matter, save Père Arnoux and myself, and that on my life I must
     engage never to open mine to anyone, save Père Arnoux, and only
     after he [the King] shall have spoken to him, and should command me
     to do it. I told him that he had but to command me, and that I had
     already given this command to myself, as it was of importance to my
     future and to my life.”

A few days after this conversation, Bassompierre was sent to Paris, at
which he was much relieved, “since he found that confidences of the King
were very dangerous”; and when, some weeks later, he rejoined the army
at the beginning of the siege of Montauban, he took care never to
approach his Majesty unless he were sent for.

     “The resentment of the King against the Constable increased hourly,
     and the latter, whether it was that he felt assured of the King’s
     affection, or that the important affairs which he had upon his
     hands prevented him thinking about it, or that his grandeur blinded
     him, took less care to entertain the King than he had done
     formerly. In consequence, the displeasure of the King augmented
     greatly, and every time that he was able to speak to me in private,
     he expressed to me the most violent resentment.

     “On one occasion when I had come to see him, the Milord de Hay,
     Ambassador Extraordinary of the King of Great Britain, who had been
     sent to intervene in favour of peace between the King and the
     Huguenots, had his first audience of the King, at the conclusion of
     which he went to visit the Constable. Puisieux, according to
     custom, came to know from the King what the milord had said at the
     audience. Upon which the King called me to make a third in their
     conversation and said to me: ‘He [the Ambassador] is going to have
     audience of King Luynes!’ I was very astonished at him speaking to
     me before M. de Puisieux and pretended to misunderstand him; but he
     said to me: ‘There is no danger before Puisieux, for he is in our
     secret.’ ‘There is no danger, Sire!’ I exclaimed. ‘Now I am
     assuredly undone, for he is a timorous and cowardly man, like his
     father the Chancellor, who at the first lash of the whip will
     confess everything, and will, in consequence, ruin all his
     adherents and accomplices.’”

The King began to laugh, and told Bassompierre that he would answer for
Puisieux’s discretion. Then he began a long tirade against his
favourite, and appeared particularly indignant that the latter should,
on the death of Du Vair, the Keeper of the Seals, which had occurred at
the beginning of August, have persuaded him to give him the vacant post,
notwithstanding that it was as contrary to usage as to common sense for
a man to hold the Seals and the Constable’s sword.[1]

Bassompierre left the royal presence, feeling very uneasy. He saw
clearly that Luynes was losing his hold over the King; but he knew that
it might be some time before the young monarch would be able to summon
up sufficient resolution to shake it off entirely; and, meanwhile, if
Puisieux, whom he thoroughly distrusted, were to abuse the King’s
confidence, and lead the Constable to believe that he was endeavouring
to influence his Majesty against him, he would find himself in an even
more difficult situation than he had the previous year. He therefore
decided that his safest course was “to make some representations to him
[Luynes] on the subject, for his good,” without, however, allowing the
Constable to suspect that the King had spoken to him. They would
probably be well received, for, since his return from Spain, the
favourite’s manner towards him had been very cordial, and he appeared
most anxious that Bassompierre should identify his interests with his
own by marrying his niece.

     “Some days after this, happening to be in his cabinet with him, I
     told him that, as his very humble servant, devoted to his
     interests, I felt myself obliged to point out to him that he did
     not cultivate sufficiently the good graces of the King, and that he
     was not so assiduous in doing this as heretofore; that, as the King
     was increasing in age and in knowledge of things, and he in
     charges, honours and benefits, he ought also to increase in
     submission towards his King, his master, and his benefactor, and
     that, in God’s name, I begged him to take care and to pardon the
     liberty I had taken in speaking to him concerning it, since it
     proceeded from my zeal and passion for his very humble service.”

The favourite took Bassompierre’s warning in very good part, but made
light of it:

     “He answered that he thanked me and felt obliged for the solicitude
     which I had for the preservation of his favour, which would
     assuredly be very useful and profitable to me, and that I had begun
     to speak to him as a nephew, which he hoped I should be in a little
     while; that he wished also to answer me as an uncle, and to tell me
     that I might rest assured that he knew the King to the bottom of
     his soul; that he understood the means necessary to keep him, as he
     had known those to win him, and that he purposely gave him on
     occasion little causes for complaint, which served only to increase
     the warmth of the affection which he entertained for him. I saw
     clearly that he was of the same stamp as all other favourites, who
     believe that, once they have established their fortune, it will
     endure for ever, and do not recognise the approach of their
     disgrace until they have no longer the means to prevent it.”

During the closing weeks of the siege of Montauban, whenever the King
had an opportunity of speaking to Bassompierre privately, he “complained
incessantly of the Constable.” The love--it was of a very innocent
kind--which Louis had hitherto entertained for Luynes’s beautiful wife,
Marie de Rohan, no longer protected her husband. This love had, in fact,
changed into hatred, since his Majesty had perceived that the lady was
accepting other attentions, without doubt less platonic than his.

And he took a particularly mean way of avenging himself.

     “What made me think worse of him [the King],” writes Bassompierre,
     “was that all of a sudden the extreme passion that he entertained
     for _Madame la Connétable_ was converted into such hatred, that he
     warned her husband that the Duc de Chevreuse was in love with her.
     He told me that he had said this, upon which I said to him that he
     had done very ill, and that to make mischief between a husband and
     wife was to commit sin. ‘God will pardon me for it, if it pleases
     Him,’ he answered; ‘but I have felt great pleasure in avenging
     myself on her and of inflicting this mortification upon him.’ And
     he went on to say several things against him, and, amongst others,
     that before six months had passed, he would make him disgorge all
     that he had taken from him.”

A few days after the siege of Montauban had been raised, the King’s
other two confidants, the Jesuit Père Arnoux and Puisieux, the former of
whom suspected Luynes of desiring to make peace with the Protestants on
their own terms, joined forces to procure the downfall of the favourite.
But they had underrated the power which habit and the fear of change
exercised over the cold heart and indolent mind of Louis XIII. He
betrayed them to Luynes, or, perhaps, the pusillanimous Puisieux may
have betrayed his fellow-conspirator. Anyway, Luynes learned of the
intrigue and insisted on the Jesuit’s disgrace; and “the first news that
I had from him [the King],” says Bassompierre, “was that he had been
constrained to abandon Père Arnoux to the hatred of the Constable.” The
King added that Bassompierre “might be assured that there was nothing
against him.” Nevertheless, says that gentleman, “I did not fail to be
in great apprehension, although I could say that every time that the
King had spoken to me on the subject I had warded off his blows, and
that I had been infinitely distressed that he had ever made me the
recipient of his confidence.”

However, Bassompierre need not have been alarmed, as it was very soon to
be beyond the power of Luynes to injure anyone.

       *       *       *       *       *

On November 16 Bassompierre and his army encamped before Monheurt, and
on the 18th the trenches were opened. A day or two later he had an
exceedingly narrow escape of his life.

He was riding, followed by two aides-de-camp, from the trenches of the
Piedmont Regiment, to those of the Normandy Regiment, a journey which he
had made several times already without interference from the garrison,
although it was well within musket-shot of the town, and “dressed in
scarlet, with the cross on his cloak, and mounted on a white pony, he
was easily recognisable.” Suddenly, the advanced bastion and
counterscarp bristled with musketeers, who began firing at him and “with
such fury that he heard nothing but balls whistling about him.” One ball
struck the pommel of his saddle and another pierced his cloak, but he
managed to reach a large tree without being hit, and took shelter behind
it. Here he was in safety, though the enemy fired more than a hundred
shots at it. At length, the firing ceased and, thinking that they had
exhausted their ammunition, he mounted and galloped towards the
trenches of the Normandy Regiment. However, they had only been waiting
for him to show himself, and, so soon as he did so, they began firing at
him again as fiercely as ever. “But,” says he, “as my hour was not yet
come, God preserved me against the attempt; though I believe I was never
nearer death than I was on that occasion.”

The weather was very bad, rain falling incessantly, and the soldiers
were nearly up to their knees in mud. Nevertheless, they worked well,
and by the 22nd, on which day the siege-artillery arrived, they had
pushed their trenches close to the walls.

Meanwhile, Bassompierre had received a secret communication from the
Marquis de Mirambeau, the commander of the garrison, who offered to
surrender Monheurt, in consideration of receiving a sum of 4,000 crowns
and a formal pardon for his offence of having taken up arms against the
King. The Maréchal de Roquelaure, lieutenant-general of Guienne, had
lately arrived to take the nominal command of the siege operations. But
he left their direction entirely in Bassompierre’s hands, and, as
Mirambeau had requested that he should not be informed of his offer, it
was communicated to Louis XIII, who was still at Toulouse. This decided
the King and the Constable to come to Monheurt, “in order to have the
honour of taking it.”

On the 23rd, Bassompierre, after inspecting one of his batteries,
advanced a few paces in front of it to survey some point in the
defences. “The gunners,” he says, “not thinking that I was there,
discharged their pieces, the wind of which threw me very rudely to the
ground, and left me with a singing in my right ear, accompanied by
insupportable twinges.” Two hours later he was taken ill with fever, but
he remained on duty all that day, during which the trenches were pushed
up to the border of the moat. Next morning, however, he was so much
worse that he wrote to the King and the Constable asking to be relieved
of his command, and saying that he proposed to go to La Réole, where he
could secure skilled medical attention, for he was too prudent to trust
himself to the care of the army surgeons. He also begged them to send
him a doctor.

Next morning he received a very kind letter from the King, granting his
request and informing him that he was sending a doctor, upon which he
embarked in a boat, accompanied by his personal attendants and a guard
of Swiss halberdiers, and set off down the Garonne towards La Réole.

On arriving at Tonneins, about midway between Monheurt and Marmande, he
learned that a small force of cavalry was crossing the river to the
right bank, and that they were the Constable’s own company of

He sent for the officers in command to inquire where they were going,
and was told that they had received orders from the Maréchal de
Roquelaure to take up their quarters in a little town called Gontaud,
about half-a-league from Marmande. He expressed his surprise that
Roquelaure should send a small body of cavalry, unaccompanied by
infantry, to an open town in the midst of the enemy’s country, where
there was a great danger of their being surprised; and, aware that the
King and the Constable would certainly cancel the order if they were
informed of it, begged the officers to return, while he sent a message
to the King requesting that they should be quartered at Marmande, which
was a walled town. But the officers pointed out that the baggage had
already been sent on to Gontaud; and, on their assuring him that they
would keep a sharp look-out that night, and on the morrow ask to be
transferred to safer quarters, he allowed them to proceed, although he
felt very uneasy.

On reaching Marmande, he felt so much worse that he decided to remain
there for the night, instead of continuing his journey to La Réole, and
therefore had himself carried to an inn in the suburb, and sent for a
doctor. But the only one who could be found was a country-practitioner,
to whose tender mercies Bassompierre did not feel inclined to entrust
himself. However, shortly afterwards, a quack doctor named Duboure, whom
the Baron d’Estissac had sent after him, arrived on the scene. Duboure
was none too sober, but he possessed remedies which afforded the patient
some temporary relief, and about nine o’clock in the evening one of the
King’s own physicians, named Le Mire, whom his Majesty had sent, made
his appearance. The great man, after consulting, for form’s sake, with
his humble colleagues, “proceeded to scarify him and apply leeches to
his shoulders, in order to remove the furious tingling which he had in
the head.”

     “This was about eleven o’clock, and, at the same time, we heard
     many pistol-shots in the street of the faubourg, which is on the
     bank of the Garonne. They were fired by the Constable’s gensdarmes,
     who were being pursued by the enemy, who had attacked them at
     Gontaud the same evening they arrived there. At this news, my
     servants hurriedly placed a napkin on my shoulders, which were
     covered with blood, put on my dressing-gown, and, in this state,
     had me carried away by four of my Swiss halberdiers and five or six
     other persons whom they had contrived to pick up. They accompanied
     me nearly to the gate of the town, and then ran back to barricade
     themselves in my lodging, to try and save themselves and my horses,
     plate and equipage. They believed that I had entered the town, and
     there only remained with me the four Swiss, the two doctors, Le
     Mire and Duboure, and two _valets de chambre_. But, as I approached
     the gate, the people of Marmande saluted me with several
     musket-shots, believing (as they told me afterwards) that I was the
     petard which the enemy were bringing to fasten to their gate. My
     people cried out that it was the general who commanded the army,
     whom they had come to welcome as he disembarked from his boat, and
     that, if they did not open, they would repent it. But, for all
     that, they could get nothing out of them, except permission for me
     to be placed in a little open guard-house which was within the
     barrier. A man came to open the door and let me in, and at once
     closed it upon me, after which he threw himself upon a little
     drawbridge, which was forthwith raised. Thus, I found myself
     confined within this barrier, without being able to send any
     message to my servants, who, believing that I had entered the town,
     confined themselves to guarding my lodging; and the people of the
     town refused to open the gate until seven o’clock the next morning.
     I was stretched on a table, all covered with blood from my
     scarification, which congealed and clung to the napkin which had
     been placed over it, so that it galled me from time to time, while
     my head ached intolerably, for I was in a high fever; and I was
     covered only with a rather thin dressing-gown, in very cold
     weather, for it was the 26th of November. I can say that I was in
     the greatest torment and the most evil plight that I ever suffered
     in my life, which made me wish for death a hundred times.”

When morning dawned, the good citizens of Marmande, having satisfied
themselves that there were no Huguenots lurking in the vicinity, at
length summoned up courage to open their gates, and the unfortunate
Bassompierre was carried to an inn and put to bed. Here he lay for a
fortnight between life and death, “stricken with a purple fever,” and it
was only his iron constitution which eventually turned the scale in his
favour. The crisis once passed, however, he mended rapidly, and in a few
days was sufficiently recovered to continue his journey to La Réole, and
thence to Bordeaux, where he arrived on December 15, to await the King.

Louis XIII and the Constable had arrived at Monheurt on November 28, and
had taken up their quarters at a village called Longuetille, about a
league from the town. The place was taken on December 12; the lives of
the inhabitants were spared, but the garrison was put to the sword, and
the place pillaged and burned to the ground. Luynes, however, was not
present to witness this sorry triumph. While the flames were devouring
the conquered town, he lay at Longuetille, in the grip of the same
pestilential fever from which Bassompierre so narrowly escaped, and
which was now ravaging the Royal army. The disasters of the campaign,
and the unceasing anxiety as to the future to which he had been for some
time a prey, had told upon his strength, and three days later he died,
in his forty-fourth year. “He was little regretted by the King,” says
Bassompierre; “while his death was hailed with joy by the bulk of the
nation, with whom he had long been intensely unpopular. Even the
Ultramontane party, whose cause he had so well served, received the news
with satisfaction.” They had been infuriated by the belief that he
intended to make peace with the Huguenots, and ascribed the Montauban
fiasco to the fact that the Almighty refused to make use of so unworthy
an instrument for the destruction of the heretics.


     Who will govern the King and France?--The pretenders to the royal
     favour--Position of Bassompierre--The Cardinal de Retz and
     Schomberg join forces and secure for their ally De Vic the office
     of Keeper of the Seals--They propose to remove Bassompierre from
     the path of their ambition by separating him from the
     King--Bassompierre is offered the lieutenancy-general of Guienne
     and subsequently the government of Béarn, but declines both
     offices--He inflicts a sharp reverse upon Retz and Schomberg--Condé
     joins the Court--His designs--The rival parties: the party of the
     Ministers and the party of the marshals--_Monsieur le Prince_
     decides to ally himself with that of the Ministers--Mortifying
     rebuff administered by the King to the Ministers at the instance of
     Bassompierre--Failure of an attempt of the Ministers to injure
     Bassompierre and Créquy with Louis XIII--Arrival of the King in
     Paris--Affectionate meeting between him and his mother--Accident to
     the Queen.

Luynes dead, who would govern the King and France? Such was the question
which everyone was asking himself, for that Louis XIII, so jealous of
his royal authority, yet too indolent to exercise it himself, would
require someone to lean on was a foregone conclusion. There were many
pretenders. There was Marie de’ Medici, who, now that the man who had
estranged her son from her was no more, might hope to recover in time
much of the influence she had once exercised over the King. And Marie’s
triumph would mean that of Richelieu, who had now acquired so great an
ascendancy over her that scandal asserted that he was her lover. There
was the greedy and ambitious Condé, who had learned prudence from
adversity, but was in other respects but little changed. Luynes, in the
last months of his “reign,” had separated Condé from the King, and
tricked Richelieu out of the cardinal’s hat which had been the secret
condition of the prelate’s reconciliation with the favourite, addressing
a formal demand for it to Gregory XV, accompanied by a private request
to his Holiness not to accord it. But now the lists were again open to
them. Then there were the Ministers: the Cardinal de Retz, whom Luynes
had made the nominal chief of the Council, and his ally Schomberg,
Superintendent of Finance; the Chancellor Brulart de Sillery and his son
Puisieux, the Minister for Foreign Affairs; and old Jeannin. And all
these persons felt that they might have to reckon seriously with
Bassompierre, in whose society the King undoubtedly took more pleasure
than in that of any of them, and whom, they knew, the late Constable had
regarded as his only dangerous rival.

It is certain that, had Bassompierre been so minded, he would have stood
an excellent chance of succeeding to Luynes’s place as favourite, and
that his elevation would have been well received, as he was exceedingly
popular both at the Court and in the Army. But his epicurean wisdom
rejected the idea of a life of gilded slavery; to be obliged to forgo
the society of his “beautiful mistresses,” in order to dance attendance
upon his youthful sovereign and make up his mind for him a dozen times a
day, was not at all an attractive prospect to one who infinitely
preferred pleasure to grandeur; the royal favour, without the
responsibilities of power, was sufficient for him.

The Cardinal de Retz, Schomberg and Puisieux had the advantage of being
near the King at the time of the Constable’s death. The first two at
once joined forces against Puisieux and “aspired to become all-powerful
and to restrain the King from doing anything except on their advice.”
They secured a decided success by persuading Louis XIII to bestow the
vacant office of Keeper of the Seals upon De Vic, a counsellor of State,
who was devoted to their interests, and then put their heads together to
find a means of separating the King from Bassompierre, whom they
regarded as a serious obstacle in the path of their ambition. Louis
XIII arrived at Bordeaux on December 21, and shortly afterwards the two
Ministers proposed to him to leave Bassompierre in Guienne as
lieutenant-general of that province, in place of the Maréchal de
Roquelaure, who was to be compensated for the loss of his post by a
present of 200,000 livres and the government of Lectoure. Having
obtained his Majesty’s consent to this arrangement, they sent Roucellaï
to sound Bassompierre on the matter and “even offered to add to this
charge that of marshal of France.” But Bassompierre preferred to wait
upon events and to see into whose hands the management of affairs would
fall, foreseeing that whoever might secure it would not be strong enough
to maintain his position without support, and “being assured that he
would be very pleased to have him for a friend, and to give him a larger
share of the cake than they [Retz and Schomberg] were offering him.”

     “When the King spoke to me of the lieutenancy-general [of Guienne],
     I answered that I should esteem myself more happy to occupy the
     post of Colonel-General of the Swiss near his person than any other
     away from it; that I was only just recovering from a severe illness
     which demanded three months’ repose, and that during that time I
     desired no other employment than that of my first office of
     Colonel-General. And to this his Majesty agreed.”

Although foiled in this attempt to get Bassompierre out of the way, Retz
and Schomberg presently returned to the charge, and having persuaded the
Maréchal de Thémines to surrender the government of Béarn, in exchange
for the lieutenancy-general of Guienne, offered it to Bassompierre. The
government of Béarn, though, in the present circumstances, it could
scarcely be regarded as a bed of roses, was a very honourable and
lucrative post. But its acceptance would, of course, entail an almost
complete separation from the King, and from--what was more important in
Bassompierre’s estimation--the Court and Paris; and he therefore
returned the same answer as he had in the case of Guienne.

A day or two later, Bassompierre had the satisfaction of inflicting a
sharp reverse upon the two Ministers.

The Cardinal and Schomberg had urged the King to follow up the capture
of Monheurt by the surprise of Castillon, on the Dordogne, which, they
declared, could very easily be carried out and would have an excellent
effect. Now, Castillon belonged to the Duc de Bouillon, who, at the
outbreak of hostilities, had entered into a compact with Louis XIII,
which stipulated that this and other towns within his jurisdiction
should “remain in the service of the King, but without making war on
those of the Religion”; while the King, on his side, promised that they
should in no way be interfered with. To seize Castillon therefore would
be a direct breach of this agreement, and could only be defended on the
ground that the townsfolk had sent assistance to the Huguenots, of which
there was no evidence of any value. Nevertheless, Louis XIII allowed
himself to be persuaded by the two Ministers to consent to this being
done, provided that the rest of the Council did not oppose it. When,
however, the project was laid before the Council, Bassompierre rose and
denounced it in a vigorous speech, in which he declared that, if
executed, it would be a “great stain on the King’s honour and
reputation,” after which he proceeded to give his Majesty some very
wholesome advice on the danger of breaking his royal word.

“Sire,” said he, “it is easy for a man to deceive a person who trusts
him, but it is not easy to deceive a second time. A promise badly
observed only once deprives him who breaks it of the trust of the whole
world.” And he stigmatized the counsel which had been given the King, of
the source of which he pretended ignorance, as “interested,
evil-intentioned and rash,” which, if followed, would probably result in
driving Bouillon into rebellion, and with him numbers of Protestants
who had hitherto remained neutral, since they would feel that it was
impossible to trust the word of the King.

One or two other members of the Council signified their agreement with
the views expressed by Bassompierre, upon which the King announced that
he had come to the same conclusion, to the great discomfiture of Retz
and Schomberg, who were forced to recognise that their design of
governing the young monarch was likely to prove a much more difficult
task than they had bargained for.

       *       *       *       *       *

Louis XIII left Bordeaux on the last day of the year, and travelled by
easy stages towards Paris. At Château-neuf-sur-Charente, where he
arrived on January 6, 1622, another pretender to Luynes’s shoes appeared
upon the scene, in the person of Condé.

     “_Monsieur le Prince_,” says Bassompierre, “who was extremely
     cunning and supple, was equally courteous to everyone, without
     inclining to any side, until he had perceived the tendency of the
     market. His design was to persuade the King to continue the
     Huguenot war, for three reasons, in my opinion: first, because of
     the ardent affection which he had for his religion and his hatred
     against the Huguenot party; secondly, because he thought that he
     could govern the King better in time of war than in time of peace,
     since he would undoubtedly be lieutenant-general of his army; and,
     lastly, in order to separate him from the Queen his mother, the
     Chancellor and the old Ministers, who were his antipathy.”

In order to ascertain the state of the Court, Condé addressed himself to
the Abbé Roucellaï, an adroit and insinuating personage, who had been in
turn the protégé of Concini, the Queen-Mother and Luynes, and who, now
that the Constable was dead, had decided to seek a new patron in
_Monsieur le Prince_. The abbé told him that there were two parties at
the Court. On one side, were the three Ministers, Retz, Schomberg and
the new Keeper of the Seals, De Vic, “who desired to possess the King’s
mind to the exclusion of everyone else”; on the other, the three
marshals of France, Praslin, Chaulnes, and Créquy[2] and some others,
who were resolved not to submit to this. He added that the King
conversed frequently with Bassompierre and appeared to have a rather
high opinion of him, and that, if the latter had any ambition to succeed
to the favour of the late Constable, it might very well be realised.
That, however, did not seem to be his desire, “although he was disposed
to accept the share in the King’s good graces which his services might
merit.” Bassompierre and the Ministers, he told the prince, were “not
always of the same opinion,” and only a few days before he had spoken
very bitterly against them before his Majesty in a council. Condé then
inquired if Bassompierre were in favour of continuing the war against
the Huguenots, and Roucellaï answered that he had pressed Luynes to
enter into negotiations with Rohan, from fear that the Royal army would
be obliged to raise the siege of Montauban. As a result of this
conversation, the prince sent Roucellaï to Bassompierre to inform him
that he wished to speak to him and ascertain his views in regard to the

Before seeing Bassompierre, however, Condé had an interview with the
Ministers, whom he found in warlike mood, not because they believed that
any useful purpose could be served by a continuance of this fratricidal
strife, but for the same selfish reasons as he himself desired it,
namely, “to keep the King so far as possible from Paris, in order the
better to govern him.” He then approached Créquy, who answered that he
was in favour of peace, provided that it could be obtained on
advantageous and honourable terms. Bassompierre gave him a similar
reply, when he spoke to him on the matter, and added that he would find
Praslin and all other good servants of the King of the same opinion.
“It is singular,” said the prince; “all you men of war, who ought to
desire it, and can only make your way by means of it, want peace; and
the lawyers and statesmen demand war.” “I answered,” says Bassompierre,
“that I desired war, and that it ought to bring me fortune and
advancement, but only on condition that it was for the service of the
King and the good of the State; and that otherwise I should esteem
myself a bad servant of the King and a bad Frenchman, if, for my own
private advantage, I were to desire a thing which must cause both so
much evil and prejudice.”

After this sharp, if indirect, rebuke, Condé left him and told Roucellaï
that, after sounding Créquy and Bassompierre, he found that he was
likely to have more in common with the Ministers than with them.

During the remainder of the journey to Paris, skirmishes between the
rival parties were of frequent occurrence, each doing everything
possible to prejudice the King against the other. At Sauzé, where the
Court arrived on the 10th, Bassompierre again scored at the expense of
the Ministers.

Louis XIII was about to sit down to cards with Bassompierre and Praslin,
when the three Ministers were announced.

     “The King said to us as he saw them enter: ‘_Mon Dieu_, how
     tiresome these people are! When one is thinking of amusing oneself,
     they come to torment me, and most often they have nothing to tell
     me.’ I, who was very pleased to have the chance of giving them a
     rebuff in revenge for the ill turns they were doing me every day,
     said to the King: ‘What, Sire! Do these gentlemen come without
     being sent for by you, or without having first informed your
     Majesty that there is something of importance to deliberate upon,
     and then ask for your time?’ ‘No,’ said he, ‘they never inform me,
     and come when it pleases them, and most often when it does not
     please me, as they do now.’ ‘Jesus, Sire! is it possible?’ I
     replied. ‘That is to treat you like a scholar,


From an engraving by Picart.]

     and make themselves your tutors, who come to give you a lesson when
     it pleases them. You ought, Sire, to conduct your affairs like a
     King, and every day, on your arrival at the place where you purpose
     to spend the night, one of your Secretaries of State should come to
     tell you if there be any news of importance which requires the
     assembling of your Council, and then you should send for them to
     come to you, either at that same hour, or at one which will be most
     convenient to you. And, if they have anything to tell you, let them
     inform you of it first, and then send them word when they are to
     come to you. It was thus that the late King your father conducted
     his affairs, and your Majesty ought to do likewise; and if they
     [the Ministers] should come to you otherwise [_i.e._, without being
     sent for], to send them away, and to tell them of your intention
     firmly, once for all.’

     “The King took the representations I had made him in very good
     part, and said that, from that moment, he would put my counsel into
     practice; and he went on talking to the Maréchal de Praslin and
     myself. When our conversation had continued for some little time,
     _Monsieur le Prince_ approached the King and said: ‘Sire, these
     gentlemen [the Ministers] await you to hold the council.’ The King
     turned to _Monsieur le Prince_ with an angry countenance and
     exclaimed: ‘What council, Monsieur? I have not sent for them. I
     shall end by being their valet; they come when they please, and
     when it does not please me. Let them go away, if they wish to, and
     let them come only when I shall send for them; it is for them to
     consult my convenience and to send to inquire when that may be, and
     not for me to consult theirs. I desire that, at the end of each
     day’s journey, a Secretary of State should present himself at my
     lodging to inform me what news there is, and, if it be of
     importance, I will name a time to deliberate upon it; but I will
     never allow them to name it; for I am their master.’

     “_Monsieur le Prince_ was a little surprised at this response and
     was very curious to know from what shop it came. He went back to
     tell them [the Ministers], who requested him to inform the King
     that they were come merely to receive the honour of his commands,
     as courtiers, and not otherwise, and that if only his Majesty
     would speak a word to them, they would go away. The King did so,
     but very brusquely, and it was:--

     “‘Messieurs, I am going to play cards with this company.’ Upon
     which they made him a profound reverence and withdrew, very

The Ministers soon ascertained whom they had to thank for the very
mortifying rebuff which they had received from the King, and were more
incensed than ever against Bassompierre. The latter, who had been on
very friendly terms with the Cardinal de Retz until his Eminence’s
designs upon the King had brought their interests into collision, went
to see him the next day and assured him that, so far as he himself was
concerned, he was still his very humble servant. But he told him that he
had no love for his colleagues, Schomberg and De Vic, and wished them to
know it. The Cardinal begged him to be reconciled with them, but within
forty-eight hours two incidents occurred which removed all hope of this.

It happened that, the following evening, news arrived that the Maréchal
de Roquelaure was dangerously ill and that his recovery was considered
hopeless. “Upon which,” says Bassompierre, “these gentlemen [the three
Ministers] and _Monsieur le Prince_ went in a body to the King to demand
the charge of marshal of France, which he [Roquelaure] had, for M. de
Schomberg. The only answer which the King made them was to say: “And
Bassompierre--what shall he become?” This crude reply deeply affected M.
de Schomberg, and from that day we ceased to speak to one another.”[3]

The second incident, which followed closely upon the first, served to
embitter still further the relations between these two gentlemen.

     “It happened on the morrow that the King only travelled one
     stage,[4] at which we [Créquy and himself] were annoyed, because we
     saw that these gentlemen [the Ministers] were purposely delaying
     the King’s arrival, thinking, if time were allowed them, to usurp
     the authority before he had seen the Queen his mother and the old
     Ministers. The Maréchal de Créquy and I, while warming ourselves in
     the King’s wardrobe, complained of these short journeys, upon which
     the Comte de la Roche-guyon told us that they were made out of
     consideration for the French and Swiss Guards, who otherwise would
     be unable to follow us. We said then that this consideration ought
     not to occasion such a long delay; that we, who were respectively
     in command of the two regiments of Guards, did not complain, that
     the Guards would march so far as the King pleased, and that we
     could make them do what we wished. Out of these last words, which
     were reported to the Ministers, they proceeded to compound three
     dishes for the King, saying that we boasted of making the two
     regiments of Guards do what we wished, and that we could turn them
     in whatever direction we pleased. They attacked the King on his
     weak side, and he was angry at seeing that we were compromising his

     “The evening before he arrived at Poitiers, he told me that he
     desired to speak to me on the following morning, and said to me: ‘I
     promised to tell you all that might be said to me concerning you.
     That is why, since it has been reported to me that you were
     boasting of being able to persuade the Swiss to do all that you
     wished, and even against my service, I desired to make you
     understand that I do not approve of such discourse being held, and
     less by you than by another, seeing that I have always had entire
     confidence in you.’

     “‘God be praised, Sire,’ I answered, ‘that my enemies, seeking
     every means to injure me, are unable to find anything save what is
     easy for me to avert and bring to naught. This accusation is of
     that quality, and you can learn the truth from their own mouths,
     although it is but little accustomed to issue from them. Ask them,
     Sire, on what subject I said that I would make the Swiss do what I
     wished, and if they do not tell you that it was on that of their
     making long or short marches, about which M. de Créquy and I were
     complaining to one another, since they make arrangements for your
     Majesty to travel a shorter distance each day to return to Paris
     than a parish procession would cover, I am willing to lose my life.
     And your Majesty can judge whether that touches you or not, and
     whether you ought to regard this discourse as a boast of being able
     to employ the Swiss against your service.’”

The King did not accept Bassompierre’s proposal to confront him with his
accusers; but he sent for two valets of his wardrobe, who had been
present during the conversation between him and Créquy, and questioned
them in his presence. They confirmed what Bassompierre had just told
him, and his Majesty expressed himself satisfied that he had spoken the

This clumsy attempt to injure Bassompierre recoiled upon its authors in
a manner that was distinctly embarrassing for them. A few days later,
when the King was at Châtellerault, the Ministers proposed that he
should travel on the following day only so far as La Haye-Descartes, on
the right bank of the Creuse, a very short day’s journey. Louis,
however, announced his intention of going on to Sainte-Maure, adding
significantly that it seemed to him that, if they could have their way,
he would not reach Paris for three months.

These squabbles between the jealous and spiteful courtiers and Ministers
who surrounded Louis XIII, to all appearance so trifling, were in
reality of great political importance. For they were all manœuvres in
the struggle to dominate the indolent and fickle mind, and, with it, the
policy, of this young monarch, who, while so punctilious in exacting all
the respect which he considered due to his royal dignity, was ready to
surrender the sovereign authority to the favourite of the moment. And
upon the result of that struggle hung the destinies, not only of France,
but of Europe.

       *       *       *       *       *

On January 27, Louis XIII arrived in Paris, where Marie de’ Medici was
awaiting him. The meeting between them was most affectionate. Marie
expressed the greatest joy at seeing her son return to his capital so
well in health and now indeed the master; and the King replied that he
intended to prove to everyone that never did son love or honour his
mother more. Marie believed him too easily. Louis XIII was twenty-one
and not nearly so manageable as he had been as a lad; and he feared the
authoritative temper of Richelieu, of whom the Nuncio Corsini wrote to
Gregory XV that he was “of a character to tyrannise over both the King
and his mother.” Besides, to re-establish her influence over her son it
was necessary for the Queen-Mother to keep him near her, and
circumstances were to render this impossible.

Notwithstanding that the country was rent by civil war, and that so many
distinguished families were in mourning for relatives fallen before
Montauban, the winter in Paris seems to have been as gay as ever. “The
Court was very beautiful, and the ladies also,” says Bassompierre, “and
during the Carnival several fine comedies and grand ballets were
performed.” In the middle of March, however, a most unfortunate incident
occurred, which cast a gloom over both Court and capital.

Early in 1622, to the great joy of the nation, the Queen had been
declared pregnant. Prayers were offered up in all the churches in France
for her safe delivery, and all those about her Majesty’s person were
strictly enjoined not to allow her to exert herself, to which
instructions, however, they unfortunately appear to have paid but little
heed. One evening, Anne of Austria and a party of courtiers, amongst
whom were the widowed Duchesse de Luynes and Mlle. de Verneuil, went to
spend the evening with the Princesse de Condé, who was ill and confined
to her bed. On their way back to the Queen’s apartments, they were
passing through the _grande salle_ of the Louvre, when Madame de Luynes
and Mlle. de Verneuil seized their royal mistress by the arms and began
to run. They had not, however, gone many paces when the Queen tripped
and fell on her face. A few hours later, to the general dismay, it was
known that her Majesty had had a miscarriage.

Louis XIII was furiously indignant, as well he might be, and wrote to
the two delinquents with his own hand, ordering them to retire from
Court. It is probable that the disgrace of _Madame la Connétable_,
against whom, as we know, his Majesty already had a grievance, might
have lasted some considerable time, had not her marriage with the Duc de
Chevreuse, who stood high in the King’s favour, paved the way for her


     Question of the Huguenot War the principal subject of contention
     between the two parties--Condé and the Ministers demand its
     continuance--Marie de’ Medici, prompted by Richelieu, advocates
     peace--Secret negotiations of Louis XIII with the Huguenot
     leaders--Soubise’s offensive in the West obliges the King to
     continue the war--Louis XIII advances against the Huguenot chief,
     who has established himself in the Île de Rié--Condé accuses
     Bassompierre of “desiring to prevent him from acquiring
     glory”--Courage of the King--Passage of the Royal army from the Île
     du Perrier to the Île de Rié--Total defeat of Soubise--Siege of
     Royan--The King in the trenches--His remarkable coolness and
     intrepidity under fire--Capitulation of Royan--The Marquis de la
     Force created a marshal of France--Conversation between Louis XIII
     and Bassompierre--Diplomatic speech of the latter.

Meantime, the struggle between the two parties, which had begun on the
journey from Bordeaux to Paris, continued at the Louvre. Condé and his
allies were unable to prevent the Queen-Mother from entering the
Council, but they succeeded in excluding the man who possessed her mind.
Richelieu spoke through her mouth, however, and those who remembered her
regency were astonished at the prudence, address, and firmness which she
now displayed.

The war against the Huguenots was the principal subject of contention.
Marie de’ Medici, under the influence of Richelieu, the old Ministers
the Chancellor Sillery and Jeannin, Puisieux, and the generals, wished
for peace; Condé and the new Ministers demanded the continuance of the
war. Condé saw in the war the means of separating the King from his
mother, and commanding the army in the name of Louis XIII. A
superstitious hope made him particularly anxious to have large military
forces at his disposal. An astrologer had predicted to him that he would
become King at the age of thirty-four, and he was now in his
thirty-fourth year. He desired, therefore, to prove his devotion to the
Catholic religion, and to be in a position to seize the crown at the
date when Louis XIII and his younger brother were apparently destined to

Marie brought to the Council the arguments with which Richelieu had
furnished her on the grave situation of external affairs. The House of
Austria, she pointed out, was everywhere aggressive and everywhere
successful. In Germany, the Empire had reduced Bohemia to submission.
The unfortunate Elector Palatine, deprived of the Upper Palatinate by
Maximilian of Bavaria, and of the Lower Palatinate by Tilly, General of
the Catholic League, and Gonzalvo de Cordoba, commander of the Spanish
forces, had been obliged to take refuge in Holland. Philip IV, on the
expiration of the twelve years’ truce with Holland in 1621, had called
upon the Dutch to acknowledge his supremacy, and, on their refusal, had
attacked them. The Spaniards mocked at the Treaty of Madrid, and, so far
from evacuating the Valtellina, as they had engaged to do, had invaded
the country of the Grisons, in concert with the Archduke Leopold, and
obliged them to submit to a humiliating treaty which deprived them of
the suzerainty of the Valtellina.

Prompted by Richelieu, Marie urged upon the Council the imperative
necessity of pacifying France, in order to be in a position to intervene
in the affairs of Europe and arrest the alarming progress which the
House of Austria was making. “To enter into a civil war,” said she, “is
not the road to arrive at it, as was manifest during the siege of
Montauban, when, in place of executing the Treaty of Madrid, they [the
Spaniards] pushed their armies further and advanced by much their design
to arrive at the monarchy of Europe. Although assuredly it is better to
perish rather than abate anything of the royal dignity, it seems that it
[the dignity] is preserved, if peace and the pardon of their crimes is
given to them [the Huguenots], without restoring to them any of the
places of which they have been deprived.”

Condé and his allies pretended, on the contrary, that it was necessary
before everything, and at all costs, to subdue the internal enemy and to
check the audacity of the Huguenots, immensely encouraged by the
successful resistance of Montauban. La Force and his sons had resumed
hostilities in Guienne, and many places in that province which had
submitted to the King had revolted anew. In Lower Languedoc, masters of
Nîmes, Montpellier, Uzès, Privas, and a number of smaller towns, the
assembly of the “circle,” had ordered or, at any rate, authorised, the
most disgraceful excesses, and between thirty and forty churches,
amongst which were some of the finest monuments of the Middle Ages, had
been ruined. In the West, the Rochellois were masters of the sea;
Saint-Luc, who had vainly endeavoured to make head against them, was
blockaded in the port of Brouage; and a multitude of privateers preyed
upon the commerce of the Atlantic coast.

At the beginning of 1622, the Rochellois and the predatory nobles who
made common cause with them conceived the bold project of occupying the
mouths of the Loire and the Gironde, in order to hold all the commerce
of those two rivers to ransom. The revolt of Royan, on the right bank of
the Gironde, and the occupation of two other strong points had already
resulted in the virtual blockade of that river; while Soubise, violating
the oath which he had taken at the capitulation of Saint-Jean-d’Angély
not to bear arms again against his sovereign, charged himself with the
Loire, descended with a considerable force on Sables d’Olonne, in order
to raise the Protestants of Poitou, and overran all the country up to
the suburbs of Nantes.

Thus tricked by the Spaniards and braved by the Protestants, Louis XIII
had to choose between his enemies. For a time he appeared inclined to
listen to the advice of his mother--or rather of Richelieu--and,
unknown to Condé and his supporters, authorised Lesdiguières to
negotiate with Rohan. “And that nothing might be revealed,” says
Bassompierre, “save to M. de Puisieux and myself, whom he commanded to
keep the affair very secret, he wished that M. des Lesdiguières sent
duplicate despatches; one copy to be read and deliberated upon in the
Council; the other, which was private and addressed to M. de Puisieux,
to be communicated only to the King, who informed me of its contents.”
The negotiations progressed so far that Louis promised to receive a
deputation from the Reformed churches, and threatened the Spanish
Ambassador to go to Lyons and organise an army to march to the
assistance of the Grisons, if Spain did not forthwith withdraw from
their country and the Valtellina. But the progress of Soubise and the
disobedience of d’Épernon, who declined to send troops from his
governments of Saintonge and the Angoumois to the assistance of the
hard-pressed Royalists of Poitou, gave the victory to Condé and his
adherents; the King decided to march in person against Soubise, and, on
March 20, without waiting for the arrival of the Protestant deputies, he
left Paris for Orléans, accompanied by the Queen-Mother, who was
determined to keep within reach of him so long as she could.

From Orléans, the King, still accompanied by Marie, proceeded to Blois,
and thence by water to Nantes, where the army was to assemble, and where
on the 11th he was joined by Bassompierre, who had been summoned by
courier from Paris.

On his arrival at Nantes, Louis XIII learned that Soubise was
endeavouring to establish himself in the Île de Rié, a maritime district
of Lower Poitou, separated from the mainland by vast salt marshes and
small rivers, which at high tide the sea rendered impassable. If the
Huguenot leader were permitted to entrench himself there, it was a
position from which it would be exceedingly difficult to dislodge him;
but this the King resolved not to allow him time to do; and, leaving the
Queen-Mother, who had fallen ill, at Nantes, like a true son of Henri
IV, he marched at once upon the enemy.

The Royal army consisted of from 10,000 to 12,000 men; that of Soubise
from 6,000 to 7,000; but the latter had the advantage of position and
seven pieces of cannon; while the attacking force was, of course, unable
to transport its artillery across the marshes. The enterprise would
therefore have been a hazardous one, with a watchful and resolute enemy
to contend with. On this occasion, however, Soubise showed neither the
vigilance of a general nor the courage of a soldier. The approach of the
enemy much sooner than he had foreseen appears to have disconcerted his
plans altogether, and, instead of attempting to defend the approaches to
the Île de Rié, he thought only of re-embarking his troops in a squadron
of vessels which he had at his disposal, and making his escape with the
plunder he had collected to La Rochelle.

In the afternoon of April 14, Marillac, with a small force of infantry,
occupied the Île du Perrier, adjoining the Île de Rié, and early on the
following morning Bassompierre was ordered by Condé to follow with the
rest of the infantry. Condé then proposed that they should ford an arm
of the sea “wide as the Marne,” which separated the islands of Perrier
and Rié, and where at low tide, which would be at midday, the peasants
had told him, the water would be only waist-deep. Bassompierre, however,
protested against this, pointing out that, if the enemy offered the
least opposition to their passage, the tide would rise before half the
troops had crossed, and even if they were allowed to cross unopposed,
they would find themselves at a great disadvantage without cavalry or
cannon. He added that, apart from these considerations, he ought
certainly to await the arrival of the King. “For if you defeat M. de
Soubise,” said he, “he [the King] will take it ill that you have not
shared the honour of the victory with him; and, if some reverse befalls
you, he will blame your precipitation, and will accuse you of not having
wished or deigned to wait for him.”

_Monsieur le Prince_ took this remonstrance in very bad part, and
declared that he saw plainly that Bassompierre was “of the cabal who
desired to prevent him from acquiring glory.” But he sent him to the
King to beg him to come at once with the cavalry, and when his Majesty
arrived on the scene, it was decided to wait until midnight and to cross
to the Île de Rié at another spot, where they were informed there would
be less water.

In the course of the evening, Louis XIII displayed for the first time
that cool courage which he invariably afterwards showed in war, and
which, if it had been combined with the same degree of moral resolution,
would have made him a really remarkable man:--

     “While the King, stretched on a miserable bed,” says Bassompierre,
     “was consulting with us about the passage, a great alarm spread
     throughout the camp that the enemy was upon us; and, in an instant,
     fifty persons rushed into the King’s chamber, who declared that the
     enemy was at hand. I knew well that this was impossible, since it
     was high tide, and they could not pass. Instead, therefore, of
     being alarmed, I wished to see how the King would take it, in order
     that I might regulate the proposals which I might in future have to
     make to him, according to the firmness or agitation which he
     displayed. This young prince, who was lying down on the bed, sat up
     on hearing this rumour, and, with a countenance more animated than
     usual, said to them: ‘Gentlemen, the alarm is without, and not in
     my chamber, as you see; it is there you must go.’ And, at the same
     time, he said to me: ‘Go as quickly as you can to the Bridge of
     Avrouet, and send me your news promptly. You, Zamet, go out and
     find _Monsieur le Prince_, and M. de Praslin and Marillac will stay
     with me. I shall arm myself and place myself at the head of my
     Guards.’ I was delighted to see the confidence and judgment of a
     man of his age so mature and so perfect. The alarm was, as I
     supposed, a false one, arising from a very trifling incident.”

All the arrangements for the passage of the army had been entrusted to
Bassompierre. The troops assembled at ten o’clock, and a little before
midnight the order to advance was given. At the spot where the Guards
were to cross, however, the water was so deep that they sent to inform
Bassompierre that it was impossible to pass. He went there, and finding
that it would be a very difficult undertaking, led them to another ford,
by which he crossed himself to the Île de Rié, and saw no sign of any
enemy. He returned and reported that the ford was practicable and that
their passage would be unopposed, and the whole army passed without
mishap; though when Bassompierre crossed for the second time, at the
head of the rearguard, the tide was beginning to rise, and the water was
nearly up to his chin.[5]

On reaching the shore, the troops encamped and lighted a great number of
fires to dry their clothes. At daybreak they were formed in order of
battle, and, after a march of about two leagues, came in sight of the
enemy. Soubise and his cavalry, to the number of five or six hundred,
fled at once in the direction of La Rochelle, without striking a blow.
Part of the infantry had already embarked in the launches that had
arrived to take them off; the rest threw down their arms and demanded
quarter. But this was refused to the majority of them, and more than
1,500 were shot or cut down in cold blood; while as many more were taken
prisoners and sent to the galleys. The rest fled across the marshes, in
which some of them were drowned, while many others were slain by the
troops of La Rochefoucauld, governor of Poitou, or by the peasants,
furious at the devastation which the Huguenots had committed. Only some
four hundred succeeded in effecting their escape and making their way to
La Rochelle.

Leaving a force under the Comte de Soissons to watch La Rochelle on the
land side, while Guise was directed to blockade it by sea, Louis XIII
marched southwards, with the intention of raising the blockade of the
Gironde by the reduction of Royan. During the siege, the King gave
further proofs of that courage and presence of mind which Bassompierre
had admired before the attack on the Île de Rié.

     “That same evening I went to the King in his quarters, and he told
     me that he was coming to see our trench at five o’clock the next
     morning ... and desired me to await him at the commencement of it.
     He came, accompanied by M. d’Épernon and M. de Schomberg. It was
     the first time he had ever been in the trenches, and he did me the
     honour to say to me: ‘Bassompierre, I am a novice here; tell me
     what I must do, so that I may not make mistakes.’ In this I found
     little difficulty, for he was more prodigal of his safety than any
     of us would have been, and mounted three or four times on to the
     banquette of the trench, where he was exposed to the fire of the
     enemy, to reconnoitre. And he stayed there so long that we trembled
     at the danger he was incurring, which he braved with more coolness
     and intrepidity than an old captain would have shown, and gave
     orders for the work of the following night as though he had been an
     engineer. While he was returning, I saw him do what pleased me
     extremely. After we had remounted our horses, at a certain passage
     which the enemy knew, they fired a cannon-shot, which passed two
     feet above the head of the King, who was talking to M. d’Épernon. I
     was riding in front of him, and turned round, fearing that the shot
     might have struck him. ‘_Mon Dieu_, Sire,’ I exclaimed, ‘that ball
     was near killing you!’ ‘No, not me,’ said he, ‘but M. d’Épernon.’
     He neither started nor lowered his head, as so many others would
     have done; and afterwards, perceiving that some of those who
     accompanied him had drawn aside, he said to them: ‘What! Are you
     afraid that they will fire again? They will have to reload.’ I
     have witnessed many and various actions of the King in several
     perilous situations, and I can affirm, without flattery or
     adulation, that I have never seen a man, not to say a king, who was
     more courageous than he was. The late King, his father, though, as
     everyone knows, celebrated for his valour, did not display a like

It is not the degree, but the kind of courage, which is remarkable at
his age. Bassompierre, however, relates an instance of equal coolness in
a boy, who had not the same strong motive to self-possession as was
furnished by the consciousness of being the object of the whole army’s

     “The enemy had constructed a barricade in their fosse, on the side
     of the sea, and a palisade, which hindered us from being entirely
     masters of their fosse. I sent my volunteer, a young lad of
     sixteen, to reconnoitre it. This lad had, the previous year,
     executed with other camp-boys the most hazardous works at the siege
     of Montauban, which the soldiers refused to undertake. He had
     received several wounds, amongst others a musket-ball through the
     body, of which I got him cured. This young rogue undertook a number
     of dangerous works by the piece, and the camp-boys worked under him
     and made a great deal of money. He went to reconnoitre this
     barricade with the same bearing and as much boldness as the best
     sergeant in the army; and after getting a musket-ball through his
     breeches and another through the brim of his hat, returned to us
     and made his report, which was very judicious.”

Royan capitulated on May 11, and shortly afterwards La Force surrendered
the town of Sainte-Foy and returned to his allegiance, in return for the
bâton of Marshal of France. Louis XIII, who had been given to understand
that both Bassompierre and Schomberg were deeply mortified that a rebel
should have been created a marshal before either of them, sent for the
former and said to him: “Bassompierre, I know that you are angry that I
am making M. de La Force Marshal of France, and that you and M. de
Schomberg complain of it, and with reason; but it is not I who am the
cause of it, so much as _Monsieur le Prince_, who counselled me to do
it, for the good of my affairs, and in order to leave nothing behind me
in Guienne which might prevent me passing promptly into Languedoc.
Nevertheless, be sure that what you desire I shall do for you, whom I
love and hold as my good and faithful servant.”

Bassompierre tells us that at that time he had no particular desire for
the office of marshal, “since, in his opinion, it was that of an old
man, while he wished to play the part of a gallant of the Court for some
years longer.” He therefore assured his Majesty that he had been
entirely misinformed, and that, so far from being annoyed at La Force’s
appointment, he regarded it as a most proper one, since he was an old
man and a soldier of great experience, who had been promised the bâton
by the late King and would have received it, if Henri IV had lived
another month; that, although he had been a rebel, he was one no longer;
and that it was “a signal example of the kindness of the King to forget
the faults of his servants, in order to remember and recompense their
merits and their services.” And he added that he did not aspire to the
office of marshal or any other charge, unless his Majesty “out of pure
kindness and desire to recognise his service,” wished to confer it upon
him, and that he “very humbly besought him never to allow any
consideration for him to prevent him doing what he judged to be for the
good of his service.”

This diplomatic speech greatly pleased the King, who thanked
Bassompierre and told him that he might rely on him to advance his
interests. He then sent for Schomberg, who, much less tactful than his
colleague, pressed his Majesty to make him a marshal conjointly with La
Force, and proposed that Bassompierre should be created one also,
“though this was chiefly in order to strengthen his own request.”


     Condé and his allies offer to secure for Bassompierre the position
     of favourite, if he will join forces with them to bring about the
     fall of Puisieux--Refusal of Bassompierre--Condé complains to Louis
     XIII of Bassompierre’s hostility to him--Bassompierre informs the
     King of the proposal which has been made him--Louis XIII orders
     _Monsieur le Prince_ to be reconciled with Bassompierre--Siege of
     Négrepelisse--The town is taken by storm--Terrible fate of the
     garrison and the inhabitants--Fresh differences between Condé and
     Bassompierre--Discomfiture of _Monsieur le Prince_--Bassompierre
     placed temporarily in command of the Royal army, captures the towns
     of Carmain and Cuq-Toulza--Offer of Bassompierre to resign his
     claim to the marshal’s bâton in favour of Schomberg--Surrender of
     Lunel--Massacre of the garrison by disbanded soldiers of the Royal
     army--Bassompierre causes eight of the latter to be hanged--Lunel
     in danger of being destroyed by fire with all within its
     walls--Bassompierre, by his presence of mind, saves the
     situation--Schomberg and Bassompierre--The latter is promised the
     marshal’s bâton.

At Moissac, where Louis XIII arrived in the first week in June, Condé
approached Bassompierre and invited him to meet him “in a kind of chapel
which is in the cloister of the abbey,” as he desired to confer with him
on a matter of great importance. Thither Bassompierre repaired and found
the prince in the company of his allies, Retz and Schomberg. All three
forthwith began to inveigh against Puisieux, whose presumption, they
declared, they were no longer able to endure. Although only a Secretary
of State, he was admitted to greater intimacy with the King than
_Monsieur le Prince_ himself, sought to prejudice his Majesty against
those with whom he was not on good terms, conducted separate
negotiations, which he declined to communicate to them, and prevented
the execution of the decisions of the Council, if he had not previously
approved of them. Since the death of the late Constable, they had, they
said, endeavoured “to prevent the King from embarking in a new
affection,” and they were of opinion that it would be better for his
Majesty to have no favourite.

     “However, since they saw that his inclination was to be dominated
     by someone, they preferred that it should be by a brave man, of
     high birth and esteemed for his knowledge of the arts of peace as
     well as of those of war, rather than by a man of the pen like M. de
     Puisieux, who would turn everything upside down; and that they were
     all resolved to conspire to bring about his ruin, as they were to
     assist in the aggrandisement of my fortune, and to persuade the
     King, who was already favourably inclined towards me, to favour me
     entirely with the honour of his good graces, provided that I were
     willing to promise them two things: the one, to co-operate with
     them to ruin M. de Puisieux and to detach myself entirely from his
     friendship; the other, to associate myself entirely with them and
     combine our designs and counsels, in the first place, for the good
     of the King’s service, in the second, for our common interest and
     preservation. And they begged me to come to a prompt decision upon
     this matter and to acquaint them with it.”

Bassompierre felt quite certain that the proposal which had just been
made to him was nothing but a skilfully-baited trap, and that the
intention of Condé and his friends was “to penetrate his design and then
to reveal it to the King, and that they desired to make use of him to
ruin M. de Puisieux, and afterwards with greater facility to ruin him.”

     “I accordingly replied that I was unable to understand what
     necessity there was for the King to have a favourite, since he had
     dispensed with one so easily for eight months; that his favourites
     ought to be his mother, his brother, his relatives and his good
     servants, wherein he would be following the example of the King his
     father, and that if some fatality inclined him to have one, the
     choice and the election ought to be left to him; that I had never
     heard tell of any prince who took his favourites according to the
     decrees of his council; but that, however that might be, it would
     not be I who would occupy that place, because I did not deserve
     it; because, also, the King would not wish to honour me with it,
     and because, finally, I would not accept it; that I aspired to a
     moderate degree of favour, and a fortune of the same kind acquired
     by my virtue and by my merit, and which might be securely
     preserved; that my lavish expenditure, and the little care I had
     taken up to the present to amass wealth, were sufficient proofs
     that I aspired rather to glory than to profit; that I wished to
     seek a moderate and a secure fortune, and despised favour to such a
     degree that, if it were lying on the ground before me, I should not
     condescend to stoop and pick it up; and that such was my
     unalterable resolution, which did not allow me to take advantage of
     their good-will towards me, for which I rendered them very humble

As for their complaints about Puisieux, he said, it seemed to him that
they were really complaining of the King and questioning his Majesty’s
right to confer privately with, and demand advice from, whichever of his
Ministers he pleased. Puisieux was his [Bassompierre’s] friend, and had
always behaved as such, and, so long as he continued to do so, he
declined to be a party to any intrigue against him.

Condé then warned Bassompierre that a time might come when he would
regret having lost his friendship and that of his allies in order to
preserve that of Puisieux; to which Bassompierre replied that he would
be “extraordinarily grieved to lose their good graces, but that the
consolation would remain to him of not having lost them through any
fault of his own, and that he would never purchase those of anyone at
the price of his reputation.”

That evening, Louis XIII decided to send a body of two hundred cavalry
to scout in the direction of Montauban, and Valençay, who was lieutenant
of Condé’s company of gensdarmes, asked to be allowed to go, and to take
with him both his own men and _Monsieur le Prince’s_ company of light
horse; and to this the King consented. Condé was not at the council of
war, and did not learn of what had been done until later in the
evening, when he was extremely angry and went to the King to complain
that an affront had been put upon him by sending his two companies of
horse away without his knowledge, and that he felt quite certain that it
was Bassompierre who had suggested it. The King assured him that
Bassompierre had had nothing to do with the affair, and that Valençay
had himself asked for the commission, which he had given him, never
imagining that _Monsieur le Prince_ would take it ill. Condé, however,
insisted that Bassompierre must have been at the bottom of it, and
declared that he was hostile to him. When he had gone, the King sent for
Bassompierre and told him of what the prince had said, upon which he
deemed it advisable to inform his Majesty of the proposal which Condé
had made him that morning in the chapel. “But,” he says, “as it is very
dangerous to be in the disfavour of a person of that rank who is your
general, I begged the King very humbly either to reconcile us or to
permit me to retire, since I did not wish to draw his hatred and his
anger upon me.”

This the King promised to do, and the next evening, when the army had
encamped at Villemode, near Montauban, he came into the camp, and having
praised Bassompierre for the arrangements which he had made, he turned
to Condé and said: “Monsieur, yesterday you were angry with him without
cause, and you can learn from Valençay whether Bassompierre was in any
way responsible for his being sent away. I beg you, for love of me, to
live on good terms with him, for I assure you he is your servant; and,
if he were lost to this army, you know yourself whether it would be our
fault.” Condé promised to do as the King desired, and the same evening
offered his apologies to Bassompierre, who begged him to regard him as
his very humble servant, and that “when he happened to have any reason
to be displeased with him, to do him the honour of telling him of it,
and, if he did not give him satisfaction in the matter, to be angry
with him with all his soul, and not before.”

On the following day--June 8--the army arrived before Négrepelisse, a
little town on the left bank of the Aveyron. Louis XIII and his whole
army were bitterly incensed against the inhabitants of Négrepelisse,
who, one night during the previous winter, had revolted and massacred
four hundred men of the Vaillac Regiment who had been placed in garrison
there; while a report was current among the soldiers that, during the
siege of Montauban, the sick and wounded of the Royal army who had been
transported thither had been poisoned. However, as the town was believed
to have returned to its allegiance, provided they admitted the King,
there would not appear to have been any intention of punishing the
inhabitants. But when the quartermaster who had been charged to select
suitable quarters for his Majesty, approached the gates, he found them
closed, and was received with a volley of musket-shots.

On learning of what had occurred, the King ordered Bassompierre, who was
with the advance-guard, to invest the town, which he proceeded to do;
but, on going forward to reconnoitre the place with Praslin and
Chevreuse, he had a narrow escape of his life, being fired upon from a
distance of twenty paces by a party of the enemy, whom he had mistaken
for some of his own men.

     “There was not in Négrepelisse,” says Bassompierre, “anything
     better than a musket; no munitions of war save what each inhabitant
     might have had to go out shooting; no foreign soldier, no chief to
     command them; and the place, though it might have offered some
     resistance to a provincial force, was quite incapable of resisting
     a Royal army. Nevertheless, the inhabitants would neither consent
     to surrender nor even to parley.”

The probable explanation is that the townsfolk were convinced that the
King was bent upon their destruction, and that no terms which he might
consent to give them would be observed; and that they had therefore
determined to sell their lives for what they might be worth.

On the 9th, a battery of seven cannon was got into position close to the
walls, and, although the enemy’s musketry-fire was very effective, and
caused many casualties amongst the gunners, by the following morning a
considerable breach had been made. The besieged endeavoured to repair it
by a barricade of carts, but this was of little avail, and the town was
quickly taken by assault.

Louis XIII, infuriated by the obstinacy of the inhabitants, had given
orders that they were to be treated as they had treated his soldiers
some months before, and every man capable of bearing arms was put to the
sword, with the exception of a few who succeeded in escaping into the
château. The troops exceeded the pitiless orders of the King, and the
majority of the women were violated and many murdered, together with
their children; while the town was pillaged and burned almost to the
ground. The officers appear to have done their best to protect the women
and to save the town; but, as so often happened in those days when
places were taken by assault, the soldiers were quite out of hand, and
it was impossible to restrain them.[6] The château held out until the
following day, when it surrendered at discretion, and twelve or fifteen
of those found there were taken and hanged.

The reconciliation between Bassompierre and Condé was of very short
duration, for, a day or two later, the prince accused him in a council
of war of questioning the orders which were given him. Bassompierre
retorted that he had a right to his opinion, and that “if his mouth were
to be closed, he should retire from the Service. The King thereupon took
his part, and was very angry with _Monsieur le Prince_.” Further
differences arose between them respecting the investment of
Saint-Antonin, and, as Condé refused to be guided by his advice,
Bassompierre begged to be permitted not to serve during the siege, and
his request was granted.

Marillac was then appointed to the temporary command of Bassompierre’s
troops; but the officers of the Guards refused to take their orders from
him, as did those of the Navarre Regiment. Condé was furious and, going
to the King, accused Bassompierre of “making cabals and mutinies in his
army,” and said that he “deserved punishment and even death.” And that
gentleman happening to enter the royal presence a few moments later, he
denounced him to his face. Bassompierre denied the charge, and said that
the refusal of the officers of the Guards and of Navarre to serve under
Marillac was not due to any action on his part, but to the poor opinion
they entertained of Marillac’s military capabilities, and that if some
other officer were appointed, they would obey him readily enough. With
this explanation Louis XIII professed himself satisfied, and _Monsieur
le Prince_ retired discomfited.

If we are to believe Bassompierre, Condé would appear to have bungled
the siege of Saint-Antonin pretty badly, and an imprudent attempt to
take the place by assault was repulsed with heavy loss. However, on June
22 the town surrendered.

A few days later, Bassompierre and the prince again came into
collision. Condé had proposed in the Council to attack Carmain, a nest
of Huguenots which was a great annoyance to the people of Toulouse, who
had petitioned that its reduction should be undertaken;[7] but
Bassompierre objected that to conquer these small places was to waste
time which might be more usefully employed in besieging important
strongholds of the enemy like Nîmes and Montpellier. It was decided to
follow his advice, whereat “_Monsieur le Prince’s_ bile was stirred
against him,” and he left the Council in anger, complaining loudly that
Bassompierre had prevented Carmain from being invested. Some Huguenot
gentlemen happening to overhear him, sent to inform the authorities of
that town that the Royal army had no intention of laying siege to it, in
consequence of which a body of 500 men who were on their way from
Puylaurens to reinforce the garrison received orders to return.
Bassompierre, who had been ordered to lead the army to Castelnaudary,
while the King and Condé went to visit Toulouse, learned of the return
of this reinforcement, and aware that, deprived of its assistance, the
people of Carmain would probably consider themselves incapable of
withstanding a siege, determined to make an attempt to trick them into
surrender. He accordingly appeared before the town, with all the
paraphernalia for a siege: carts loaded with gabions, platforms for the
batteries, and so forth, although he, of course, had no intention of
undertaking it, since he had not received any orders to that effect,
and, besides, had only two siege-guns with him. He then summoned it to
surrender, vowing to make a terrible example of it in the event of a
refusal, and to treat it as Négrepelisse had been treated; and the
inhabitants, completely deceived, offered to parley forthwith, and early
on the following morning, terms of capitulation having been arranged,
the place surrendered (June 30).

The previous night part of the Piedmont Regiment, which Bassompierre had
detached against the neighbouring town of Cuq-Toulza, had carried that
place by assault, after blowing in the gate with a petard. So that
within a few hours two towns had been taken, one of them without a blow
being struck.

Not a little elated by this double success, Bassompierre placed the army
in charge of Valençay, and repaired to Toulouse to report to the King.

     “I arrived,” says he, “at the moment when the King was holding his
     council and was reprimanding _Monsieur le Prince_, because, when
     the Parlement and aldermen of Toulouse had come to do him homage,
     _Monsieur le Prince_ had said that the cowardice of M. de
     Bassompierre had prevented the King from attacking Carmain, as,
     though he had counselled him to do it, I had dissuaded him. When
     the King was informed that I was at the door, he wondered what
     could have caused me to quit the army; but, when he ordered me to
     be admitted, I told him that I wished to bring him myself the news
     of the capture of Carmain and Cuq and to receive his commands upon
     other matters which I wished to propose to him. Then _Monsieur le
     Prince_ rose and came to embrace me, telling me that he had done
     wrong to say what he had said, and that he would repair it by
     saying much good of me.... It is impossible to describe the joy
     with which the people of Toulouse received the news of this
     capture. They caused a splendid lodging to be made ready for me;
     and the aldermen came to thank me, and to invite me to dine on the
     morrow at the Hôtel-de-Ville, where they would hold a grand
     assembly for love of me, and a ball to follow. But I begged them to
     excuse me, on the ground that it was necessary for me to return
     promptly to the army.”

Bassompierre returned to the army accompanied by Praslin, who took over
the command. The following day he met with what might have been a very
severe accident, his horse stumbling and falling into a ditch on top of
him. However, he escaped with nothing worse than a badly bruised foot.
On July 2, the army reached Castelnaudary, having snapped up the little
town of Le Mas-Saintes-Puelles on the way, and on the 5th the King
joined it. His Majesty was unwell, suffering, says his physician
Hérouard, from “sore throat, a cold, and a relaxed uvula,” and he
remained for some days at Castelnaudary and kept Bassompierre with him;
while the army under Praslin continued its march into Lower Languedoc.

Meantime, Lesdiguières, to whom, after the death of Luynes, Louis XIII
had promised the office of Constable, provided he would renounce the
Reformed faith, had sent to inform the King that he was about to be
received into the Catholic Church. His elevation would entail a vacancy
among the marshals, and the King sent for Bassompierre and Schomberg,
who had also remained at Castelnaudary, and told them that, so soon as
another occurred, he would create them both marshals, but that he did
not wish to promote one before the other, as he considered that their
claims were equal. Schomberg, however, pressed the King to promote both
Bassompierre and himself forthwith, pointing out that they could render
him more useful service as marshals of France in the approaching
campaign in Lower Languedoc, and that when there was another vacancy,
his Majesty could leave it unfilled, which would come to the same thing.

Perceiving that the King seemed very reluctant to take this course,
though, at the same time, he was unwilling to refuse so pressing a
request, Bassompierre, like a true courtier, came to his aid, and
declared that, as he had “always preferred to deserve great honours than
to possess them,” he was not so eager for the bâton as Schomberg, and
would “without envy or regret” resign his claims in favour of one who
was six years his senior, and one of his Majesty’s Ministers, and
therefore entitled to the preference. “M. de Schomberg,” says he,
“feeling that my courtesy had placed him under a great obligation,
thanked me very gracefully; but the King persisted in refusing to
promote one of us without the other; and so we withdrew.”

On July 13, Louis XIII left Castelnaudary and proceeded, by way of
Carcassonne and Narbonne, to Béziers, where he remained for some little
time. Bassompierre, however, rejoined the army, which was advancing
slowly towards Montpellier, and which, on August 2, laid siege
simultaneously to the towns of Lunel and Marsillargues, situated about a
league from one another. Marsillargues surrendered almost at once, and
Lunel a few days later, the garrison of the latter place, by the terms
of the capitulation, being permitted to march out with their swords
only; their other weapons were to be placed in the carts which carried
their baggage.

Bassompierre had received orders to enter the town with the Guards the
moment the garrison evacuated it. On his way thither, he saw great
numbers of disbanded soldiers of different regiments, _landsknechts_ and
Swiss as well as French, lingering about, and felt sure that their
presence boded no good, and that they were meditating an attack upon the
baggage. He accordingly decided not to allow the garrison to leave until
he had ridden back to the Royal camp to warn Praslin, whom he advised to
take measures to prevent any such attempt. But the marshal replied that
“he was not a child, and that he understood his business, and that if he
[Bassompierre] would only give the necessary orders within the town, he
would do the same without.”

Bassompierre returned to the town and directed the garrison to march out
with their baggage, after which he entered with his troops, and gave
orders that the gates should be closed and the breach which the
besiegers’ cannon had made strongly guarded, as he thought it not
improbable that an attempt might be made to enter and pillage the

     “There was some degree of order in the departure of the enemy,” he
     says, “until the baggage came in sight; but, when that appeared,
     all the disbanded soldiers of our army rushed upon it, before it
     was possible for the marshal or Portes or Marillac to prevent them,
     and plundered these poor soldiers, 400 of whom they inhumanly

Bassompierre, however, had the satisfaction of executing rigorous
justice upon some of these ruffians:--

     “Eight soldiers, of different countries and regiments, presented
     themselves at the gates of Lunel, with more than twenty prisoners,
     whom they brought tied together, with the intention of entering the
     town. Their swords were stained with the blood of those whom they
     had massacred, and they were so laden with booty that they could
     hardly walk. Finding the gate of Lunel shut, they called to the
     sentries to go and tell me to give orders for them to be let in. I
     went to the gate in consequence of what I heard, which I found to
     be true. I let them in and then ordered these eight fine fellows to
     be bound with the same cords with which they had bound the twenty
     prisoners. After giving these men the booty of the eight soldiers,
     whom, without any form of trial, I caused to be hanged before their
     eyes on a tree near the bridge of Lunel, I had them escorted by my
     carabiniers so far as the road to Cauvisson. On the morrow,
     _Monsieur le Prince_ was very pleased with what I had done and
     thanked me.”

Two or three days after the Royal troops had taken possession of Lunel,
the town narrowly escaped being destroyed, with everyone within its

Bassompierre was at dinner with Créquy, Schomberg, and the Duc de
Montmorency when there was a violent explosion, which partially wrecked
the room in which they sat, though, happily, they were unhurt. They ran
out to ascertain the cause, and learned that one of a train of
ammunition-waggons which was entering the town had caught fire, and that
the flames had reached the powder, with the result that several houses
had been destroyed and others were blazing furiously. The utmost
consternation prevailed, for the explosion had occurred near the gate
by which the waggons had entered, and the débris of the houses barred
the approach to it, while the other gates had been blocked up by Condé’s
orders; and the fire was rapidly approaching a convent, in the vaults of
which a great quantity of powder was stored. If once it reached it, the
whole town would be consumed, with all the troops and inhabitants.

     “The confusion was extreme,” says Bassompierre, “and, as everyone
     was thinking only of himself and his own safety, no one ran to
     extinguish the fire; all the people sought only to get out of the
     town, but no one could find a way. At length, I caused one of the
     blocked-up gates to be broken open, through which everyone could
     get out, and, having by this expedient got more elbow-room, we
     removed our powder to a safe place and extinguished the fire, by
     which more than fifty persons had perished.”

The following day Bassompierre went with a body of 500 cavalry to
Villeneuve-de-Maguelonne to escort the King to Lunel, where his Majesty
arrived on August 15. On the 17th, Louis XIII went to visit Sommières,
which had just surrendered to his troops, and on the return journey
Schomberg, whose jealousy of Bassompierre was increasing daily, finding
an opportunity for private conversation with his sovereign, did not fail
to turn it to account:

     “On the road M. de Schomberg said to the King that I was his enemy,
     and he begged him to believe nothing that I might say about him.
     The King replied that he was entirely wrong, and that I had never
     spoken of him except to his advantage, nor of any other person, and
     that Schomberg knew me very little to take me for a man who did ill
     turns to people. He [Schomberg] was not a little astonished by this

Perceiving by Bassompierre’s manner that the King had told him of their
conversation, Schomberg requested Puisieux to effect a reconciliation
between them, to which Bassompierre “consented reluctantly and after he
had expressed to him his sentiments.”

Schomberg would appear to have possessed an unusual amount of assurance,
even for a German, for, immediately afterwards, he begged the man whom
he had attempted to injure to employ his good offices with the King to
obtain for him the governments which d’Épernon was about to resign in
order to accept that of Guienne. This cool request, however, proved a
little too much for Bassompierre, whose friend Praslin also aspired to
these offices; and he replied that, not only should he refuse to speak
in his favour, but should oppose him, until Praslin had been provided
for. Eventually d’Épernon’s governments were divided between the two,
Praslin receiving Saintonge and Aulnis, and Schomberg the Angoumois and
the Limousin.

On August 27, Louis XIII arrived at Laverune, a little to the west of
Montpellier, and on the following day Lesdiguières, who had been
received into the Catholic Church in the Cathedral of Grenoble on the
24th, took the oath as Constable of France; after which, to the great
mortification of Schomberg, the King informed Bassompierre that it was
his intention to confer the vacant marshal’s bâton upon him, and that he
would give orders for the necessary patent to be made out forthwith. His
Majesty’s decision to give it to Bassompierre, notwithstanding what he
had told him and Schomberg a fortnight before, was no doubt due to the
fact that he had just bestowed a lucrative government upon the latter
and considered that he ought to be content for the present with that
proof of the royal favour. However, M. de Schomberg, who was one of
those whose appetite for honours and emoluments seems only to have been
stimulated by attempts to satisfy it, did not view the matter in that
light, and felt deeply aggrieved.


     Conditions of peace with the Huguenots decided upon--Refusal of the
     citizens of Montpellier to open their gates to the King until his
     army has been disbanded--Bullion advises Louis XIII to accede to
     their wishes, and is supported by the majority of the
     Council--Bassompierre is of the contrary opinion, and urges the
     King to reduce Montpellier to “entire submission and
     repentance”--Louis XIII decides to follow the advice of
     Bassompierre, and the siege of the town is begun--A disastrous day
     for the Royal army--Death of Zamet and the Italian engineer
     Gamorini--Political intrigues--Bassompierre succeeds in securing
     the post of Keeper of the Seals for Caumartin, although the King
     has already promised it to d’Aligre, the nominee of Condé--Heavy
     losses sustained by the besiegers in an attack upon one of the
     advanced-works--Condé quits the army and sets out for
     Italy--Bassompierre is created marshal of France amidst general
     acclamations--Peace is signed--Death of the Abbé
     Roucellaï--Bassompierre accompanies the King to Avignon, where he
     again falls of petechial fever, but recovers--He assists at the
     entry of the King and Queen into Lyons--He is offered the
     government of the Maine, but declines it.

The Royal army had now invested Montpellier, which Rohan was determined
to defend to the last extremity, if he were unable to obtain a treaty
for the whole body of his co-religionists; but it seemed as though peace
would intervene to prevent further bloodshed. The Huguenots had abated
many of their pretensions, and Louis XIII, on his side, was not disposed
to press too hardly upon them. Affairs without were becoming more and
more alarming; and if the Ultramontane party, blinded by religious
hatred, desired to continue the war until the Protestants were entirely
crushed, level-headed men saw with grief France rendered impotent abroad
and a prey to civil strife to satisfy the bigotry of fanatics and the
egoistic ambition of the Prince de Condé. Lesdiguières, who desired to
terminate his career by the deliverance of Italy, resumed his
negotiations with Rohan, and in an interview between them at
Saint-Privat conditions of peace were decided upon. The King was
prepared to sign the articles and to make his entry into Montpellier;
but the inhabitants firmly refused to open their gates to him. If, said
they, the King would withdraw with his army to a distance of ten
leagues, they would admit the Constable with what forces he wished to
enter, and a week hence, when his army had been disbanded, they would
receive his Majesty with all possible magnificence.

     “The fact was,” writes Bassompierre, “that _Monsieur le Prince_,
     mortal enemy of the peace which was being negotiated, had said on
     several occasions that, if the King entered Montpellier, he would
     cause the town to be pillaged, whatever precautions might be taken
     to prevent it. This had so alarmed the people of Montpellier that
     they preferred to have recourse to any other extremity than that of
     receiving the King; and, as their final answer, which they gave
     that day to M. de Bullion,[8] they offered all obedience, provided
     the King did not enter their town, of which they considered the
     pillage assured, if they opened their gates to him.”

Louis XIII at once summoned the council to consider the answer which
Bullion had brought back, and after the latter had read it to those
present, called upon him to give his opinion.

Bullion, who seems to have been a man of sound common-sense and had been
a witness that morning of the genuine alarm with which the extravagant
boasts of Condé had inspired the people of Montpellier, strongly urged
the King to humour them and “to seek solid advantages, without allowing
himself to be stopped by little formalities which are not essential.”
“If,” said he, “the town of Montpellier were refusing you the obedience
and submission which is your due, I should say that it is necessary to
destroy and exterminate it. But it is a people alarmed and terrified by
the threats which have been launched against them to plunder and destroy
them, to violate their wives and daughters and to burn their houses, who
entreats you in the name of God to receive its obedience through your
Constable, who will enter, when you have withdrawn, with such forces as
he pleases, to make your Majesty’s authority recognised there, which is
the same thing as though you entered yourself. Why do you wish for a
mere punctilio to refuse a peace so useful and honourable for your
Majesty; and prefer to undertake a long war, of which the issue is
doubtful and the expense excessive, in a country where the heat is
immoderate, and to expose your own person to the injuries of war and of
the season, when you can escape them without loss or blame?”

The King was visibly impressed by this excellent advice, and when Condé
sprang to his feet and began angrily declaiming against Bullion and “the
cabal which had forged this peace without the knowledge of the Council
and were endeavouring to conclude it with disgrace and infamy,” he
sternly bade him resume his seat, saying that he would have an
opportunity of giving his opinion when his turn came.

Not improbably influenced by the attitude of the King, counsellor after
counsellor rose and expressed his approval of the advice given by
Bullion. When Bassompierre was called upon, Condé exclaimed impatiently:
“I know his opinion already, and we can say of it _ad idem_.” To the
general astonishment, however, Bassompierre was for once in accord with
Condé, and advised the King to break off the negotiations forthwith and
“show, by a noble and generous disdain, how deeply he was offended by
the propositions of those of Montpellier.” “If,” said he, “your Majesty
were before Strasbourg, Antwerp, or Milan, and were concluding a peace
with the princes to which those towns belong, the stipulation that you
should not enter them would be tolerable; but that a King of France,
victorious and supported by a powerful army, in place of granting peace
to a handful of his rebel subjects, without resource and reduced to
extremity, should receive it from them on the disgraceful conditions
which they have just proposed, is a proposition so insulting that it
cannot be suffered nor even listened to.... The King who accepts those
conditions must be prepared to receive terrible insults from the other
towns, who will be rendered audacious by this example and assured of
impunity by this unworthy toleration.... Sire, in the name of God, take
a firm resolution and persevere in it, and insist even upon the ruin of
this people, because it is rebellious, and because it is also insolent
and impudent; or to reduce it to entire submission and complete

He then pointed out that his own interests were opposed to the advice
which he was offering the King, and that he was actuated entirely by
regard for his Majesty’s service and honour, since he had already been
promised the marshal’s bâton and had nothing to gain at the siege of
Montpellier, “save much toil, dangerous wounds and perhaps even death.”
It was also possible that unfortunate accidents might arise which might
oblige the King to defer his promotion to the office of marshal or even
compel him [Bassompierre] to refuse the honour. “Nevertheless,” he
concluded, “I shall take these risks, and I beg your Majesty very humbly
to delay my reception [as marshal] until the town of Montpellier shall
be reduced to its obedience, and your Majesty avenged of the affront
which these rebels have desired to inflict upon you.”

     “When I had finished speaking,” says Bassompierre, “_Monsieur le
     Prince_, who had listened to me attentively, rose and said to the
     King: ‘Sire, here is an honest man, devoted servant of your
     Majesty, and jealous of your honour.’ The King rose also, which
     obliged all the others to rise, and his Majesty said to M. de
     Bullion; ‘Return to Montpellier and tell the people of the town
     that I grant conditions to my subjects, but that I do not receive
     them from them. Let them accept those which I have offered them or
     let them prepare to be forced to do so.’ And thus the council
     ended. _Monsieur le Prince_ did me the honour to approach and
     embrace me and to say aloud so many kind things of me that I was
     covered with confusion.”

There can be no doubt that Bassompierre, who was an honest man and a
devoted servant of the Crown, was actuated by what he considered to be
his duty in tendering this advice to his sovereign, which had touched
Louis XIII on his weakest spot--his exaggerated regard for his own
dignity. But it is equally certain that he had committed a disastrous
mistake, both from a political and military point of view, in
counselling the King to sacrifice the interests of his realm for what
Bullion had rightly described as “a mere punctilio.” For, not only was
an immediate peace of the most vital importance to the interests of
France, both at home and abroad, but the reduction of the people of
Montpellier to “entire submission and complete repentance” was a task
which, in the most favourable circumstances, could not be effected
except at immense expense and at the cost of hundreds of valuable lives.
It is indeed amazing that, after the terrible lesson of Montauban,
anyone could have been so rash as to embark upon another great siege for
reasons so inadequate.

       *       *       *       *       *

The siege began in anything but an auspicious manner. In the early hours
of September 2, Bassompierre and Praslin advanced against the ridge of
Saint-Denis, where the citadel now stands, and carried it without any
resistance, since there was only a guard-house there, the occupants of
which fled at their approach. Leaving Valençay there with some 1,500 men
to hold it, they returned to camp, and, after attending a meeting of
the Council, Bassompierre, who had to be up all the following night to
superintend the opening of the trenches, went to his tent to snatch a
few hours’ sleep. About midday, he was awakened by the sound of heavy
firing, and, hurrying out, he saw the troops whom he and Praslin had
left on the ridge of Saint-Denis in disorderly retreat, hotly pursued by
the enemy.

It appears that Valençay, believing that there was no possibility of his
being attacked in broad daylight, had not only neglected to entrench
himself, but had even allowed his men to pile arms and scatter about the
ridge; and, to crown all, had permitted a trumpeter from the town, who
had been sent to demand the bodies of the dead, to approach without
taking the precaution to order his eyes to be bandaged. On his return to
Montpellier, this man duly reported what he had seen to his officers;
and the garrison, sallying out in considerable force, fell upon the
astonished Valençay and utterly routed him.

Springing on a horse, Bassompierre galloped off to the quarters of the
Swiss Guards, who were the troops nearest the ridge of Saint-Denis,
called them to arms and led them against the enemy. Meantime, the Duc de
Montmorency, the young Duc de Fronsac and other nobles and gentlemen,
who happened to be in attendance on the King, who had just finished
dinner, had mounted the first horses they could find, and, with more
valour than discretion, thrown themselves into the _mêlée_, in a vain
endeavour to rally the fugitives. Montmorency’s life was saved by
d’Argencourt, the lieutenant-governor of Montpellier, who fortunately
recognised him, and he escaped with a couple of not very serious wounds;
but his companions perished almost to a man, amongst them being Fronsac,
whom Bassompierre describes as “a young prince of great promise, who, in
his opinion, would have been one day a great captain,” the Marquis de
Beuvron, d’Auctot, who commanded Condé’s company of light horse and was
a great favourite of the prince, and Luynes’s nephew Combalet, brother
of the young lady whom Bassompierre would in all probability have
married, had the late Constable lived a few months longer.[9]

However, Bassompierre had now brought up the Swiss, and before the
advance of these veterans, the enemy, who had pursued the routed troops
almost to the confines of the Royal camp, fell back into the town, and
the ridge of Saint-Denis was recovered. But it had been a most
disastrous day for the besiegers, for Valençay’s force had been terribly
cut up and his best officers killed.

Next day, the defenders of Montpellier, encouraged by this success, made
a determined attack on Montmorency’s troops, encamped to the west of the
town, who gave way before them. Zamet,[10] who had taken over the
command from the wounded duke, succeeded in rallying them and driving
the enemy back. But almost immediately afterwards he was mortally
wounded by a cannon-shot from the town, and died a few days later.

The trenches were opened without any further disasters, but very little
progress was made, for the enemy stubbornly disputed every yard of
ground. The Italian engineer Gamorini was killed on the 11th, and his
death was a severe loss to the besiegers. The same night the defenders
made a fierce sortie, which was not repulsed until the work of several
days had been destroyed. During the fighting a captain of the Navarre
Regiment named Des Champs was surrounded by the enemy and would have
been killed, had he not cried out: “I am Bassompierre; I am worth 20,000
crowns to you!” Upon which they spared his life and made him prisoner,
thinking that they had secured a valuable prize.

In the night of the 13th-14th, the besiegers attacked the advanced-works
on the north side of the town in three places simultaneously, and
carried them. This placed them in a favourable position for bringing
their cannon to bear upon the main fortifications; but, on the advice of
a young engineer named La Magne Chavannes, and notwithstanding the
opposition of Bassompierre and other officers, Condé insisted that they
should first concentrate their efforts against a ravelin situated
between the two bastions. The task of approaching this work proved a
most difficult one, as they were exposed to a heavy flanking fire from
the town which repeatedly levelled their traverses, and to
bombing-attacks, which did considerable execution; while one night the
trenches were completely flooded by a violent storm.

Meantime, the generals were devoting what time they could spare from
their military duties to political intrigue. The Cardinal de Retz had
died at the end of August, and the Keeper of the Seals, De Vic, in the
first days of September, and their deaths had greatly weakened Condé’s
party. He and Schomberg succeeded in replacing the former in the Council
by their friend the Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld, and thus contrived to
exclude Richelieu, though they could not prevent him being recommended
for the vacant cardinal’s hat, which was immediately solicited for him
by the Queen-Mother. Condé then pressed the King to confer the post of
Keeper of the Seals upon d’Aligre, a Counsellor of State who was devoted
to his interests, and would appear to have extracted a promise from his
Majesty that he should be appointed. At any rate, when retiring to rest
on the night of September 21, the King had told the courtiers who were
present that it was his intention to make d’Aligre Keeper of the Seals,
and they had informed Condé.

Next morning, flushed with success and convinced that he was on the
point of triumphing over his enemies and dominating both the King and
the State, Condé sent Roucellaï to Bassompierre with what amounted to an
ultimatum. As Bassompierre was entering the King’s quarters, with
Praslin, to attend a meeting of the Council, the abbé drew him aside
and informed him that he had a communication of great importance to make
to him on behalf of _Monsieur le Prince_, and that he desired to speak
before Praslin.

After assuring Bassompierre that he was deeply sensible of the
obligations under which he had placed him,[11] and that, in return, he
had done everything in his power to secure for him the good will of
Condé, Roucellaï declared that, despite all his efforts and those of his
friends, _Monsieur le Prince_ was as ill-satisfied with him as he could
well be, and was convinced that, not only did he prefer Puisieux’s
friendship to his, but had actually assisted that Minister to prejudice
his Majesty’s mind against him. He had therefore charged him to offer
Bassompierre once more his entire friendship, provided that he were
willing to abandon that of Puisieux; and he required an answer that very
day, as he declined to wait any longer. And the abbé entreated him to
accept his patron’s offer and so escape the disastrous consequences
which would inevitably follow a refusal.

“M. d’Aligre,” said he, “will be to-morrow Keeper of the Seals, and he
and M. de Schomberg, closely united with _Monsieur le Prince_, will not
only ruin M. de Puisieux, but also all his abettors and adherents, of
whom you are the chief. I wished to tell you this before the Maréchal de
Praslin, who loves you as a father, and who will be my witness that I
have striven to avert from your head the storm which I perceive ready to
burst upon it. For assuredly these three persons united together will
possess the State, and will exalt or abase whomsoever they please.”

     “As he concluded these words,” says Bassompierre, “the King called
     me, and since he saw me looking thoughtful, he inquired of what I
     was dreaming. ‘I am dreaming, Sire,’ I answered, ‘of an extravagant
     harangue which Roucellaï has just made me, before M. de Praslin,
     on behalf of _Monsieur le Prince_, which has astonished me both on
     my own account and yours. He declares me incapable of ever
     possessing his good graces if I do not accept them in the course of
     to-day, on condition of abandoning the friendship of M. de
     Puisieux, and says further that he, Schomberg and d’Aligre (who is
     to-morrow to become Keeper of the Seals) will be three heads in one
     hood, who will govern the State according to their whim, and,
     without any contradiction, ruining or aggrandizing their enemies or
     their partisans or servants at their pleasure. Judge, Sire, the
     condition to which you and those who desire to depend only upon you
     will be reduced!’

     “It was unnecessary to say any more to the King to exasperate him.
     ‘They are not where they think they are,’ he replied, ‘and I have a
     rod in pickle for them.’ I begged him not to detain me longer, lest
     Roucellaï should believe that I had told him of his harangue, and,
     without appearing to notice anything, to ask the Maréchal de
     Praslin whether he had not said this, and more.”

Bassompierre then went back to Roucellaï and told him that “neither
threats nor disgrace were able to make him abandon his friends, but, on
the contrary, served only to bind him more closely to them,” and that
“though he should always be _Monsieur le Prince’s_ very humble servant,
he would never do anything unworthy of himself to acquire his good

Meantime, Praslin had confirmed what Bassompierre had told the King and
contrived to anger him still more against Condé and Schomberg; and his
Majesty told Bassompierre that he would discuss the matter with him
after dinner, when he would decide what must be done.

When the Council rose, Puisieux came up to Bassompierre and said: “The
matter is decided; d’Aligre is Keeper of the Seals.” Bassompierre
replied that he would believe it when he saw it; and that, meantime, he
did not intend to worry about the matter. The Minister, however,
declined to be comforted and went away, looking very disconsolate. Louis
XIII then spoke to Bassompierre, and told him that he feared that he
would be obliged to make d’Aligre Keeper of the Seals, as there was no
one else who possessed all the necessary qualifications for so important
a post. Bassompierre replied that his Majesty was doing an injustice to
Caumartin, one of the oldest Counsellors of State, who had been
entrusted in his time with several embassies and other important
commissions, of which he had acquitted himself with credit. The King
objected that Caumartin stammered, as he did himself, and that, as it
was one of the duties of the Keeper of the Seals to prompt his sovereign
when he was making a speech, this would entail serious inconvenience.
“The man who ought to assist me when I am speaking,” said he, “will
require someone to speak for him!”

However, Bassompierre waited in the King’s chamber until his Majesty
returned from dinner, when, finding that he was much incensed at Condé’s
presumption, he skilfully fanned the flame and then again proposed
Caumartin to him, pointing out that, if at the end of three months the
King found that he was incapable of discharging the duties of his post
to his satisfaction, he could call for his resignation.

After some hesitation, the King told him that he had decided to give the
Seals to Caumartin, and would inform him of it when he came to the
Council on the following morning, but until then he should say nothing
about the matter to anyone. The battle, however, was not yet won, for
Louis was so easily influenced that if Condé were to see him in the
interval, he would probably have no more difficulty in persuading him to
break the promise he had just given Bassompierre than Bassompierre had
had to induce him to break the promise he had given Condé. Aware of
this, Bassompierre determined to get his Majesty to commit himself in
writing, and demanded permission “to send a note on his behalf to
console by this good news M. de Puisieux, who had gone to his lodging
stricken to the heart.” To this the King consented, provided that
Puisieux should be enjoined to keep the affair secret; and
Bassompierre, taking Louis’s escritoire, which was on the table, wrote
the letter and then begged the King to add a few words in his own hand.
And his Majesty wrote at the foot: “I confirm this note.”

In order to get the King to commit himself still further, Bassompierre
then asked if he would permit him to write to Caumartin, to which Louis,
after making some little difficulty, also consented.

It was well that Bassompierre had taken these precautions, for, next
morning, Condé, having learned what was in the wind, came to the King to
inquire whether there were any truth in a report that had reached him
that his Majesty intended to make Caumartin Keeper of the Seals. Louis,
greatly embarrassed, assured him that it was without foundation, and he
returned the same answer to several other persons whom the prince had
put up to question him on the matter. It is probable, indeed, that had
he not been persuaded to commit himself in regard to Caumartin, Condé’s
candidate would, after all, have got the Seals. As it was, he had gone
too far to draw back, and, to the intense mortification of _Monsieur le
Prince_, he that afternoon gave them to Caumartin.

The appointment of Caumartin in place of his own nominee,
notwithstanding the promise which Louis XIII had given him, was a
serious rebuff to the presumptuous Condé, nor did he succeed any better
in his military than in his political operations. On October 2, against
the advice of Bassompierre, he gave orders that an attempt should be
made to carry the ravelin by assault. It failed, and the besieged
retaliated by a furious sortie on the flank of the Royal troops, which
one of the latter’s own mines had laid open, and compelled them to
abandon their trenches. Through the united efforts of Bassompierre[12]
and d’Épernon, the enemy were driven back, but the losses had been
heavy, and included a number of officers. Montpellier was threatening to
become a second Montauban.

A few days later, Lesdiguières, who had returned to his government of
Dauphiné before the siege began, arrived in the Royal camp, at the head
of considerable reinforcements. The Constable came ostensibly to take
command of the operations, but his real object was to resume his
negotiations for peace, which Louis XIII had, unknown to Condé,
authorised him to do. The prince, deprived of his command and perceiving
that peace was about to be concluded, despite all his efforts to prevent
it, comprehended that his favour was at an end, and, in high dudgeon,
quitted the army and set out for Italy, on the pretext of acquitting
himself of a vow which he made during his imprisonment to perform a
pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Loretto.

The following morning (October 14), the terms of peace having been
agreed upon, Rohan was permitted to pass through the camp and enter
Montpellier, in order to persuade the citizens to accept the conditions,
which included the admission of a Royal garrison into the town.

On the morning of the 12th, Bassompierre came to the King’s quarters to
attend a meeting of the Council. It seemed to him that the King, who was
in his aviary, did not look at him as kindly as usual, nor did he
address him. Presently, his Majesty requested the members of the Council
to follow him into his chamber, and told the Cardinal de la Vallette and
Chevreuse, d’Elbeuf and Vendôme, who had come to pay him their respects,
that he desired their presence also.

     “As we entered,” says Bassompierre, “the Keeper of the Seals said
     to me: ‘It was my intention to recognise the obligations under
     which you have placed me, by sending you your letters perfumed, but
     the King pressed me so much to seal them, through Beautré, whom he
     sent to me yesterday evening, that I had not the time.’ ‘What
     letters?’ I asked. ‘Those creating you marshal of France, whose
     oath you are about to take.’ I was very astonished and rejoiced
     likewise at this unexpected news, and, at the same time, the King
     spoke these very words:--

     “‘Messieurs, it is my intention to recognise the good and great
     services which M. de Bassompierre has rendered me for several
     years, both in the wars which I have waged and on other occasions,
     by the office of marshal of France, believing that he will serve me
     worthily and usefully therein. I desire to have your opinions on
     this matter, to see whether they are in conformity with my own.’

     “Then all, with one voice, did me the honour to say more good of me
     than I deserved; upon which, without saying anything further to me,
     he [the King] took me by the hand, and being seated in his chair,
     made me kneel and take the oath. Then he placed in my hand the
     bâton, for which I rendered him the most humble thanks that I could
     think of. All present advanced to embrace and to felicitate me; and
     next every corps in the army, both of the infantry and the cavalry,
     came to offer very humble thanks to the King for the choice that he
     had made of my person, their first brigadier-general, to make him a
     marshal of France. And those of the artillery having demanded
     permission to fire a salvo of all the cannon in the army, the
     infantry did the same, to make a salvo of rejoicing. And the Sieur
     de Calonges, governor of Montpellier, sent to inquire of our
     soldiers in the trenches why this salvo was being fired, and, on
     being acquainted with the reason, he gave orders that the people of
     Montpellier should do the same as the army; and there also a
     general salvo was fired.”

It was a fitting tribute to a very brave man and a most capable officer,
who had most thoroughly earned the high honour which had just been
conferred upon him.

The same night the authorities of Montpellier sent to inform Louis XIII
of their acceptance of the terms of peace, and on the 18th the
ratification was brought to the King. The King signed the edict which
put an end to this miserable war which had cost France so dear on the
following day,[13] and Créquy and Bassompierre with the French and Swiss
Guards took possession of the town. His Majesty made his entry on the
20th, and “all was as peaceable as if there had never been a war.”

On the 22nd, Roucellaï, who had been very ill for some days with
petechial fever, sent an earnest request for Bassompierre to come to
him. He went and found the unfortunate abbé almost at his last gasp, and
he had only just time to confide his papers to Bassompierre, with
directions to burn all those which he thought advisable, then he died.
As Roucellaï had been one of the most inveterate intriguers of his time,
these papers must have furnished interesting reading, and have contained
the wherewithal to set the whole Court by the ears. It was just as well,
therefore, that Bassompierre had authority to destroy them.

On the 27th, Louis XIII left Montpellier and two or three days later
made his entry into Arles, “where for the first time,” says
Bassompierre, “I marched in my quality of marshal of France, immediately
before the King, on the left of the Maréchal de Praslin.”

From Arles Bassompierre was despatched with the greater part of the army
to reduce some small places from which the Sieur de Brison, a Huguenot
chief who had refused to make his submission, was pillaging the
surrounding country. This he successfully accomplished, and towards the
middle of November rejoined the King at Lyons. On the way thither he
spent a night at Valence, “where he found M. de Lusson (_sic_), who had
been nominated cardinal and was on his way to receive the hat from the
King.”[14] From Lyons he accompanied Louis XIII to Avignon, where the
King received a visit from Charles Emmanuel of Savoy, who came to lay
the basis of a treaty between France, Savoy and Venice, which was signed
at Paris on February 7 of the following year, and which had for its
object to compel Spain to execute the Treaty of Madrid and to restore
the Valtellina to the Grisons.

On the day following the Duke of Savoy’s arrival, the marshal was taken
ill while attending a play given in honour of the King at the Jesuit
College. His illness developed into another attack of petechial fever,
though happily not in so severe a form as the one he had had after the
siege of Montauban. However, it kept him at Avignon for a fortnight and
prevented him from accompanying the King to Grenoble, though he was well
enough to assist at their Majesties’ entry into Lyons, which took place
on December 12 and would appear to have rivalled in magnificence that of
Henri II and Catherine de’ Medici into the same city in 1548, though on
this occasion there was no Diane de Poitiers present to dispute the
honours with the Queen of France and give piquancy to the ceremony.

The entry was followed by a week of balls, banquets, theatrical
performances, and displays of fireworks, all of which festivities were
no doubt much appreciated by the marshal after so many months of war’s
alarms, capped by a severe illness, and all the more, since, he tells
us, in the course of them he was reconciled to a fair lady--her name is
not recorded--from whom he had had the misfortune to be estranged.

Louis XIII left Lyons to return to Paris on December 19. At La Charité,
where he spent Christmas, news arrived of the death of the Prince de
Guéméné, governor of the Maine, and the King offered the vacant office
to Bassompierre. The marshal, however, declined it, on the ground that
he desired “to receive his [the King’s] favours and benefits at such
intervals that the King should be praised for his kindness and he
himself for his modesty, and that, as only two months had elapsed since
he had honoured him with the office of marshal of France, if he were to
make him so soon governor of a province, people would talk about it.” We
are, however, inclined to think that the real reason of his refusal was
his disinclination to leave the Court--for the governor of a province
was obliged to reside there for several months in each year--partly
owing to the attraction which court life had for him, and partly because
he knew that to retain the favour of a king like Louis XIII it was
necessary to be with him constantly.


     Fall of Schomberg--La Vieuville becomes _Surintendant des
     Finances_--His bitter jealousy of Bassompierre--He informs Louis
     XIII that the marshal “deserves the Bastille or
     worse”--Semi-disgrace of Bassompierre, who, however, succeeds in
     making his peace with the King--Mismanagement of public affairs by
     Puisieux and his father, the Chancellor Brulart de Sillery--La
     Vieuville and Richelieu intrigue against them and procure their
     dismissal from office--The Earl of Holland arrives in Paris to
     sound the French Court on the question of a marriage between the
     Prince of Wales and Henrietta Maria--Bassompierre takes part in a
     grand ballet at the Louvre--La Vieuville accuses the marshal of
     drawing more money for the Swiss than he is entitled to--Foreign
     policy of La Vieuville--Richelieu re-enters the
     Council--Bassompierre accused by La Vieuville of being a pensioner
     of Spain--Serious situation of the marshal--The Connétable
     Lesdiguières advises Bassompierre to leave France, but the latter
     decides to remain--Differences between La Vieuville and Richelieu
     over the negotiations for the English marriage--Arrogance and
     presumption of La Vieuville--Intrigues of Richelieu against
     him--The King informs Bassompierre that he has decided to disgrace
     La Vieuville--Indiscretion of the marshal--Duplicity of Louis XIII
     towards his Minister--Fall of La Vieuville--Richelieu becomes the
     virtual head of the Council.

In the second week in January, 1623, the Court reached Paris, and Louis
XIII made “a kind of entry” into his capital. This event appears to have
given rise to a good deal of unpleasantness:--

     “_Monsieur_[15] having refused to suffer _Monsieur le Comte_[16] to
     ride with him, _Monsieur le Comte_ did the same to M. de Guise, who
     withdrew. It happened also that the Provost of the Merchants[17]
     claimed the right to march immediately before the King, on the
     ground that it was not an entry, but a joyous arrival, for which
     the marshals of France felt such contempt that they declined even
     to contest the point, and did not take part in the procession.”

A few days after the King’s return to Paris, Schomberg was deprived of
the post of _Surintendant_ of Finance and banished the Court. Since the
Treaty of Montpellier Puisieux had been busily intriguing against him,
in company with La Vieuville, a sworn enemy of Schomberg, and had
accused him of gross mismanagement of the finances, if not worse. That
he had mismanaged them was true enough, though how any other result
could have been expected, when he was required to combine the duties of
_Surintendant_ with those of Grand Master of the Artillery on active
service, it is difficult to see. However, his hands appear to have been
perfectly clean, otherwise Richelieu would scarcely have recalled him to
office so soon as he came into power, and, though he had committed a
grave error in attaching himself to Condé and the war party, he was a
more honest, as well as an abler, man than those who had brought about
his fall.

Bassompierre, who had taken no part in this intrigue, and had, indeed,
endeavoured to protect Schomberg, now proposed to the King to reappoint
Sully to the office which he had filled so ably under Henri IV, a
suggestion which did him much honour, since he and the old statesman had
never been on friendly terms. But Puisieux and his father, the
Chancellor Brulart de Sillery, objected, on the score of Sully’s
religion, and La Vieuville was made _Surintendant_.

La Vieuville was a man of some ability, but he was rash, corrupt and an
unscrupulous intriguer; and no sooner was he admitted to the King’s
Council than he began to conspire, first, to get rid of the Chancellor
and Puisieux, his benefactors, then, of all those whom the King admitted
to his intimacy, and particularly of Bassompierre, of whom he appears to
have conceived the bitterest jealousy.

Towards the end of that year a dispute of long standing between Diane de
France, the widow of the Connétable de Montmorency, and the Duchesse de
Chevreuse, was adjudicated upon by Louis XIII. It appears that Madame
de Montmorency had accepted the post of _dame d’honneur_ to the Queen on
the understanding that no _Surintendante_ of her Majesty’s Household
should be appointed over her. This condition, however, had not been
observed, and the Duchesse de Chevreuse, or the Duchesse de Luynes, as
she was at that time, had been appointed _Surintendante_. The Duc de
Montmorency, acting on behalf of his step-mother, requested the King to
appoint someone to inquire into this weighty matter and report to the
Council, and, as the Duc de Chevreuse, representing his wife, raised no
objection, her request was granted. Neither nobleman had, of course, the
least intention of compromising the interests of the lady he represented
by adopting this course; and their mortification may be imagined when,
in November, Louis XIII cut the Gordian knot by depriving both Madame de
Montmorency and Madame de Chevreuse of their charges.

In a conversation with Bassompierre, Puisieux asked him his opinion of
the King’s decision. Bassompierre frankly replied that he considered it
the worst he had ever known him give, as he had thereby offended both
parties, and that “the judge would be condemned to pay the costs of the
action.” Puisieux inquired what he meant, when he said that, in the
unsettled condition of the kingdom, and the probability of another war
with the Huguenots, who were angrily demanding the destruction of Fort
Saint-Louis at La Rochelle,[18] it was most imprudent of the King to
displease two such great Houses as those of Montmorency and Lorraine,
and that he ought to indemnify forthwith both ladies for the loss of
their charges; otherwise, in the event of war, he might not be able to
rely on the loyalty of their relatives.

Bassompierre spoke to Puisieux as one friend might speak to another,
and, of course, believed that the latter would regard it as a private
conversation. But the Minister, “to play the good valet,” reported what
the marshal had said, very possibly with some little embellishments of
his own, to Louis XIII, who, in turn, informed La Vieuville; and La
Vieuville, delighted to find an opportunity of injuring Bassompierre,
professed the utmost indignation, and “told the King that such words
were criminal, and that they deserved the Bastille or worse.” His
Majesty did not send Bassompierre to the Bastille, but he frowned
angrily whenever he saw him, and for a whole week refused to honour him
with so much as a word. At the end of that time, however, he unbosomed
himself to the Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld and his confessor Père
Seguiran, who, fortunately, happened to be on friendly terms with the
marshal, and, through their good offices, the latter succeeded in making
his peace with the King.

This affair was only the prelude to further and more determined attempts
by La Vieuville to deprive Bassompierre of the royal favour, but for the
moment he was more intent on bringing about the downfall of the
Chancellor and Puisieux, in which task he had the powerful support of

Since the dismissal of Schomberg, the Brûlarts, _père et fils_, had been
all-powerful[19] and had mismanaged matters both at home and abroad. The
treaty which had been signed between France, Savoy, and Venice in
February, 1623, had pledged the contracting parties to take vigorous
measures for the recovery of the Valtellina. But the Chancellor and his
son had no wish to embark in a war which they felt themselves incapable
of conducting, and when the Spanish Government offered to hand over the
fortresses of the Valtellina to the Pope in deposit, on condition that
his Holiness would assure the tranquillity of the country or restore
them to Philip IV, they eagerly embraced this way out of the difficulty.
Rome and Spain, however, were in accord to deceive France. The Duke of
Feria, governor of the Milanese, did not deliver all the forts to the
Papal troops, and the two most important strongholds, Ripa and
Chiavenna, remained in Spanish hands; while, on his side, Gregory XV
claimed that the Grisons should become Catholic, or that the Valtellina
should be constituted a fourth League, with the same rights as the other
Leagues of the Grisons. The Treaty of Paris had, in the words of the
disgusted Venetian Ambassador, proved itself to be “nothing but a
demonstration on paper.”

At home, the Brûlarts trafficked in offices, and allowed, as was the
custom, their relatives and friends to enrich themselves at the expense
of the State. Such practices were regarded in those days as mere
peccadilloes, but Richelieu, who was slowly but surely paving the way
for his return to office, and was aware that there was no chance of
realising his ambition so long as the Chancellor and his son remained in
power, professed to be scandalised, and there can be no doubt that more
than one of the pamphlets which appeared attacking the incapacity and
greed of the Ministers in vigorous and not too refined language were
inspired by his Eminence. At the same time, Richelieu adroitly
insinuated to the King, through Marie de’ Medici, that the Brûlarts were
turning the great project on the Valtellina announced by the League of
Paris to the shame of France, and Louis XIII, who keenly resented the
impotence of his diplomacy, became more and more incensed against them.
La Vieuville, on his part, was not idle and accused the Brûlarts,
probably with justification, of having levied toll on the subsidies
which were being sent to the Dutch. The consequence was that on New
Year’s Day, 1623, the King demanded the Seals from the Chancellor, and
at the beginning of February ordered both him and his son to retire to
one of their country-seats.

The King gave the Seals to d’Aligre, who, it will be remembered, would
have received them in the autumn of 1622 but for Bassompierre’s
intervention. In consequence, the marshal was somewhat apprehensive that
he might cherish a grudge against him, and went to offer him his
congratulations with considerable misgivings as to how they would be
received. To his surprise, however, d’Aligre greeted him with marked

     “At this,” he says, “the others who had come to felicitate him were
     dumfounded, but I said to them aloud: ‘Do not be astonished,
     gentlemen, at the cordiality with which the new Keeper of the Seals
     has received me; for I am the cause of the King having given them
     to him to-day.’ ‘I was not aware, Monsieur,’ said he, ‘that I was
     under this obligation to you; I beg you to tell me why.’
     ‘Monsieur,’ I answered, ‘but for me, you would not have had them
     to-day, but a year ago.’ Whereat he began to laugh and told me that
     it was true, but that I had done my duty; for, since I had not been
     solicited by him, with whom I was hardly acquainted, I was obliged
     to use my influence on behalf of my friend M. de Caumartin. Then he
     told me that he begged me to love him, and that he would swear
     before these gentlemen to be faithfully my servant and friend, as
     he had assuredly shown himself to be on every occasion that has

But if Bassompierre had nothing to fear from the good-natured d’Aligre,
he had everything to apprehend from the jealous and unscrupulous La

     “By this means [the disgrace of the Brûlarts] La Vieuville was in
     supreme favour, and from that time worked openly for my ruin, since
     he had not been able to compel me to abandon my friends and to bind
     myself to him in a close alliance, as he had begged me earnestly to
     do before Christmas.”

However, the marshal did not allow any fear of approaching ruin to
interfere with his enjoyment of the Fair of Saint-Germain and the other
gaieties of that winter, during which the negotiations for the marriage
of the Prince of Wales (afterwards Charles I.) with the Infanta Maria
Anna, sister of Philip IV, having been definitely broken off, the Earl
of Holland arrived in Paris to sound the French Court on the question of
an alliance between the prince and Henriette-Marie. The King and Queen
each organised a grand ballet. In his Majesty’s, which was entitled _les
Voleurs_, Louis XIII represented a Dutch captain, M. de la Roche-Guyon a
Dutch lady, and the Ducs de Chevreuse and de Luxembourg and the
Maréchaux de Créquy and de Bassompierre impersonated pirates.
Bassompierre had to recite the following verses:--

    “Enfin malgré les flots me voici de retour,
     La mer se promettait de noyer mon amour,
     Dont la constance luy fait honte;
     Mais elle est bien loin de son compte:
     Caliste, vos appas ont rompu son dessein,
     Les flots où je me perds sont dedans vostre sein.”

At the beginning of March, La Vieuville complained to the King that,
with the connivance of Puisieux, when he had been Secretary of State for
War, Bassompierre had been drawing every year for the maintenance of the
Swiss 24,000 livres more than he was entitled to. The marshal, on
learning of this, angrily denied that he had received a sol more than
was justly due, and proceeded to prove his statement in the presence of
the King, when high words passed between him and the Minister.
Nevertheless, his accounts were not passed, and the matter remained in

La Vieuville, with all his faults, showed both energy and ability; and
he was the first to reverse the disastrous Spanish policy of the Court.
He recalled the Commandeur de Sillery, the French Ambassador to Rome,
where he had shown himself as feeble and undecided as his relatives in
Paris; sent the Marquis de Cœuvres, a good soldier and a skilful
diplomatist, as Ambassador to Switzerland, to urge the Cantons, both
Protestant and Catholic, to go to the assistance of the Grisons;
concluded offensive and defensive alliances with the Dutch, which
assured to them a subsidy for the next two years; and warmly supported
the English marriage-project. But he made many enemies besides
Bassompierre, and feeling the need of conciliating the Queen-Mother, who
for some weeks had absented herself from Court, as a protest against the
treatment of Richelieu, he promised to obtain for her favourite
admission to the Council.

This was no easy task, for the mediocrities who had so long surrounded
Louis XIII had succeeded in inspiring him with their own dread of this
great man, and the King was, in consequence, very unwilling to entrust
him with office, added to which he still associated him with the
followers of Concini, all of whom he held in aversion. “There is a man
who would like to be of my Council,” he observed one day to Praslin, as
Richelieu passed by; “but I cannot bring myself to this step, after all
he has done against me.” “I know him better than you do,” he said on
another occasion to Marie de’ Medici, when she had been urging the
Cardinal’s claims upon him; “he is a man of unmeasured ambition.” Now,
however, he did not withstand the request of his Minister, reinforced by
the solicitations of the Queen-Mother, and on April 29, 1624, Richelieu
re-entered the Council.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile, La Vieuville had resumed hostilities against Bassompierre,
whose intimacy with the King he appears to have regarded as the chief
obstacle in the path of his ambition. This time he launched a far more
serious charge against the marshal than that of drawing more money on
account of the Swiss than he was entitled to, and accused him of being a
pensioner of Spain.

It is difficult to say with any degree of certainty on what grounds this
charge was based, since Bassompierre himself throws no light upon the
subject. But it would appear from a manuscript of Dupuy in the
Bibliothèque Nationale that, during the marshal’s embassy to Madrid,
the Spanish Government had proposed to him a commercial treaty between
France and Spain, and that in 1623 Bassompierre had presented a memorial
to Louis XIII in favour of this project. In the margin of his copy of
this memorial Dupuy gives his own opinion of the proposed treaty, and
while praising the ability with which Bassompierre has stated the case
in its favour, he foresees several objections, and among them, the

     “Without doubt this proposition of the King of Spain contains some
     hidden artifice, which his Majesty will not discover until after he
     has completely committed himself, and then it will be too late to
     remedy it.”

It is therefore not improbable that, at the beginning of the following
year, La Vieuville had seized the pretext of this memorial to accuse
Bassompierre of having accepted money from the Court of Madrid to
advocate a proposal which was to the disadvantage of France.

However that may be, La Vieuville was very active in the matter, and in
May caused the arrest of one Alphonso Lopez, a Spanish Moor, who had
long resided in Paris, where he carried on an extensive trade in
jewellery, tapestries, and _objets d’art_, and who, in the course of his
business, was a frequent visitor to Bassompierre’s house, “imagining
that by his means,” says the marshal, “he might discover something
against me.”

Bassompierre demanded an audience of Louis XIII, who was at Compiègne,
in order that he might have an opportunity of defending himself; but his
Majesty did not seem anxious to grant it.

     “At length, the King promised to speak to me one evening in June,
     on the rampart which is near his cabinet.... I said to him what God
     inspired me to say in favour of my innocence and against the
     calumny of La Vieuville; in such fashion that I stood very well
     with him, and he [La Vieuville] very ill. And, the better to
     conceal our game, the King desired me not to speak to him in
     public, save when I came to take the password from him, when he


From a contemporary print.]

     would be able to say a few words to me, and I to him. And he said
     that he intended to seem displeased with me, and that I must not
     show any appearance of having been reconciled with him, and that if
     I had anything to say to him, it should be through the medium of
     Toiras, Beaumont, or the Chevalier de Souvré. Finally, after I had
     spoken to the King, I had no longer any doubt that La Vieuville
     would be completely ruined.”

However, if La Vieuville was about to be ruined, it looked very much as
though he would succeed in ruining Bassompierre first, notwithstanding
that Richelieu, d’Aligre, and the Constable had all assured the marshal
that they were resolved not to allow the Minister to prejudice their
minds against him. Le Doux, a _maître des requêtes_, who had been
entrusted with the duty of examining Lopez’s ledgers and papers, had
reported to La Vieuville that he had found that a certain Spaniard named
Guadamiciles had furnished Bassompierre with a sum of 40,000 francs. The
entry upon which Le Doux based this information was as follows:--

“_Al Sr. Mal. de Bassompierre por guadamiciles, 40,000 Ms._”[20]

Now, as Bassompierre explains, Lopez had received 40,000 maravedis from
a merchant in Spain on account of some tapestries of gilded leather
(_guadamiciles_) which the marshal had commissioned him to sell for him.
But Le Doux and La Vieuville believed, or affected to believe, that
_guadamiciles_ was a proper name, and the latter pressed the King most
urgently to have Bassompierre arrested forthwith and conveyed to the

To this Louis XIII refused to consent, but he and all his Council
admitted that it was most necessary to ascertain the identity of this
mysterious Guadamiciles and to arrest him, if he were in France, and, in
the event of his proving to be a Spanish banker, Bassompierre likewise.

The marshal learned all this from Lesdiguières, who, so soon as the
Council rose, sent for him to warn him of his danger:

     “The Constable begged me to leave France for some time, in order to
     escape my disgrace, which was certain, and even offered me 10,000
     crowns, if I were in need of money. I thanked him very humbly for
     his warning and his offer, but told him that he ought to give it to
     La Vieuville, who would be ruined in a month, and not myself. This
     worthy man sought to persuade me to yield to the present violence,
     but I (who knew more about the matter than I told him), assured him
     that I was as firmly established as La Vieuville was tottering.
     Nevertheless, on the morrow, he [La Vieuville] had the power to
     cause Colonel d’Ornano to be driven away from _Monsieur_ brother of
     the King,[21] which caused the Constable to urge me anew to be
     gone; but I assured him again of my safety and of the complete ruin
     of La Vieuville.”

Bassompierre had judged the situation correctly, for the man whom La
Vieuville had introduced into the Council, in the hope of strengthening
his own position, was gradually undermining it. La Vieuville’s intention
had been to make of Richelieu a mere consulting Minister, who would give
advice only when called upon to do so, and whose sphere of activity
would be limited by the four walls of the Council-chamber. The Cardinal
resigned himself to this _rôle_, in appearance at least; nevertheless,
it was not long before he and his chief came into sharp collision.

At the beginning of June the Earls of Holland and Carlisle arrived in
France to demand the hand of Henriette-Marie for the Prince of Wales,
and La Vieuville, d’Aligre, and Richelieu were charged to discuss with
the representatives of James I the clauses of the marriage treaty. The
Cardinal, although a warm partisan of the English alliance, had declared
that “it was necessary for the men of France to seek in this alliance
all the advantages possible for religion [_i.e._, the Catholic
religion].... If not, it was greatly to be feared that they would bring
down upon themselves the wrath of God, as did Jehosaphat, who, although
a pious king, felt severely the Hand of God for having allied himself
with Ahab, King of Israel, who persecuted the servants of God.” He now
demanded that the English Government should make the Catholics of
England, in favour of the French princess, the same concessions in
regard to the public exercise of their religion as they had consented to
in the case of the Infanta. This was at once refused, and all that
Holland and Carlisle would promise was liberty of private worship, and
that, not by a formal engagement inserted in the treaty, but by a simple
verbal promise on the part of James I. Richelieu pressed for an article
in the contract, so that the engagement might be “more solemn and
public,” his object being that the English Catholics might feel
themselves under a greater obligation to France. But the Ambassadors,
perceiving his motive, remained firm, even when he declared it to be a
_sine quâ non_.

La Vieuville was incensed that Richelieu should be compromising the
English alliance for the sake of the English Catholics. “_Morbleu!_”
said he, “these priests are spoiling all my work.” He recalled from
England the French Ambassador, the Comte de Tillières, a brother-in-law
of Bassompierre, who had also shown himself too solicitous for the
interests of the Catholics, and told Holland and Carlisle that the
French demands were only made for form’s sake and to satisfy the Pope
and the Catholics of France, and that it was really a matter of
indifference to Louis XIII how their master treated his Catholic
subjects. A little later, becoming uneasy at the slow progress of the
negotiations, he caused James I to be informed that the King would be
content with a simple promise of toleration. Richelieu, warned by the
Secretary of State Brienne of the game La Vieuville was playing, vowed
to make him repent it.

La Vieuville, all unconscious of his danger, went forward boldly. He
gave Marescot, who was being sent on an embassy to Germany, instructions
differing materially from those which had been decided upon in the
Council. He tried to persuade _Monsieur_ that Richelieu had been
responsible for Ornano’s disgrace. In connivance with his father-in-law
Beaumarchais, a high official of the Treasury, he entered into important
financial transactions without consulting the King or his colleagues. He
left the pensions even of the greatest nobles unpaid and ignored their
remonstrances. He was haughty, churlish, and incautious in his language,
even when speaking of the King. Never did Minister so persistently court
his fall.

Richelieu, perceiving that the time to strike had come, launched against
him his friend Fançan, a canon of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, and the
ablest publicist of his time, whom he had already employed with effect
against the Brûlarts, and who published a pamphlet entitled _la Voix
Publique au Roi_, which appears to have had a great vogue:--

     “It is said, Sire, that La Vieuville plays the Maréchal d’Ancre,
     the Luynes and the Puisieux all together, and that so great is his
     presumption, that in your Council he takes upon himself to decide

The voice of the public had, however, nothing but praise for the
Cardinal de Richelieu, who was “refined up to twenty-two carats,”
“adroit and prudent,” and “showed no inclination to seek any other
support than in the legitimate authority of his Majesty.” It was hoped
that he would be to the King what the Cardinal Georges d’Amboise had
been to the well-loved Louis XII.

Then Richelieu revealed to the King the irregular proceedings of La
Vieuville, and experienced little difficulty in arousing Louis to a
high pitch of resentment against a Minister who was acting without his
knowledge, and who, in the matter of the English Catholics, was
misrepresenting his sentiments and compromising his conscience. Towards
the end of July the disgrace of La Vieuville was resolved upon, and the
King, who was at Germigny-l’Évêque, the summer residence of the Bishops
of Meaux, sent Toiras to Paris to inform Bassompierre of his decision.

On the way this gentleman had the misfortune to meet a certain Sieur de
Bernay, who, happening to have a grievance against him, insisted on
receiving satisfaction then and there; and, as the duel which ensued
resulted in M. de Toiras having to take to his bed, the royal message
never reached Bassompierre. However, two or three days later, he
received orders from the King to come to Saint-Germain early on the
morrow without fail. He went, accompanied by the Duc de Bellegarde, and
was very cordially received by his Majesty, who told him and the Grand
Equerry that he had decided to disgrace La Vieuville.

While they were with the King, who should arrive but La Vieuville
himself, accompanied by his brother-in-law the Maréchal de Vitry, and
the Minister could not conceal his astonishment and mortification at the
sight of Louis walking up and down between Bellegarde and Bassompierre
and apparently on the best of terms with the latter. On perceiving La
Vieuville, the King left his companions and went to speak to him, while
Bassompierre approached the Maréchal de Vitry, who told him that he had
been much distressed at seeing him on such bad terms with his
brother-in-law, and that he was most anxious to effect a reconciliation
between them. “Why should I be reconciled to him,” answered
Bassompierre, “at the moment that he is about to be disgraced, when I
refused when he was all-powerful?” “What! disgraced!” cried the
astonished Vitry. “Yes, disgraced; and never trust me again if a
fortnight hence he is still _Surintendant_.”

No sooner was the conversation between the King and La Vieuville at an
end, than Vitry drew his brother-in-law aside and informed him of what
Bassompierre had just said; upon which the Minister, in his turn,
immediately reported it to Louis XIII. The King assured him that he had
not the least intention of dispensing with his services, and that
Bassompierre was more likely to be disgraced than himself; and, so
embarrassed was the young monarch that, had La Vieuville been bold
enough to demand the immediate exile of the marshal, as Richelieu would
have done in similar circumstances, it is not improbable that the latter
would have had good reason to regret his indiscretion. However,
fortunately for Bassompierre, he did not do so.

Louis XIII afterwards reprimanded Bassompierre sharply for having placed
him in such an awkward position; but the marshal excused himself on the
ground that, after all the distress that La Vieuville had caused him for
months past, it would be letting him off far too lightly only to make
him feel the bitterness of disgrace when it arrived, and that “he had
wished him to taste it in anticipation.”

A few days later, during a meeting of the King’s Council, his Majesty
sent for Bassompierre and, to the great astonishment of La Vieuville, to
whom he had said nothing about the matter, informed the marshal that,
having carefully examined the accounts of the Swiss which were in
dispute, he had come to the conclusion that he had only claimed what was
justly due. And then, turning to La Vieuville, he curtly directed him to
see that the money was paid forthwith.

     “He [La Vieuville] answered not a word and made only the reverence
     of acquiescence. The members of the Privy Council offered me their
     congratulations in his presence, and the King spoke to me most
     graciously. Then La Vieuville saw clearly that his disgrace was at
     hand, and he began to tell the King that he wished to resign his
     office; but the King gave him fair words.”

A day or two after this, Bassompierre requested permission of Louis XIII
to bring an action against La Vieuville before the Parlement, so soon as
he should cease to be a Minister, for having falsely accused him to his
Majesty of being a pensioner of Spain, in order that he might be
punished as he deserved. But the King assured the marshal that he
intended to punish him sufficiently himself, by dismissing him with
ignominy from office and imprisoning him. However, he enjoined him to
say nothing about it to anyone.

Louis XIII seems to have played with the unfortunate La Vieuville up to
the very moment of his disgrace much as a cat would play with a mouse.
The young King was, not only deceitful, but, like most weak natures,
cruel and spiteful, and he would appear to have taken a positive
pleasure in inflicting suffering upon those who had the misfortune to
incur his resentment.

     “On the morrow,[22] the King went after dinner to visit the Queen
     his mother at Rueil; and La Vieuville, having got wind of what was
     being prepared against him, packed up his baggage and came, on his
     way back to Paris, to offer the King his resignation of the office
     of _Surintendant_ and his place in the Council, telling him that he
     did not propose to return again to Saint-Germain. The King told him
     that he must not do this, and that he was distressing himself quite
     needlessly; and he promised him also that he would give him his
     dismissal with his own lips, and that he would permit him to come
     and take leave of him when that should happen. And so he [La
     Vieuville] felt reassured and returned to Saint-Germain. But, that
     evening, as the servants were making rough music in the back court
     in honour of an officer of the Kitchen who had married a widow,
     _Monsieur_, brother of the King, sent word to them to come into the
     court of the château to see him; and all the scullions and others
     did so, bringing with them pans which they beat. When La Vieuville
     heard this uproar, he imagined that it was directed against him,
     and sent to tell the Cardinal de Richelieu that people were coming
     to assassinate him. The Cardinal mounted to his chamber and
     reassured him. But, the next morning, the King, having sent for him
     in his Council, told him that, as he had promised him, he informed
     him himself that he had no further need of his services, and that
     he would permit him to take leave of him. Then, as he [La
     Vieuville] was going out, M. de Tresmes[23] made him prisoner, and,
     a little while afterwards, a coach and the King’s mounted
     musketeers arrived, and conducted him to the Château of Amboise,
     from which he effected his escape a year afterwards.”[24]

From the day of La Vieuville’s disgrace Richelieu was the virtual head
of the Council, and for the first time since the death of Henri IV a
firm hand guided the ship of State.


     Vigorous foreign policy of Richelieu--The recovery of the
     Valtellina--His projected blow at the Spanish power in Northern
     Italy frustrated by a fresh Huguenot insurrection--Bassompierre
     sent to Brittany--Marriage of Charles I and
     Henrietta-Maria--Bassompierre offered the command of a new army
     which is to be despatched to Italy--He demands 7,000 men from the
     Army of Champagne--The Duc d’Angoulême and Louis de Marillac, the
     generals commanding that army, have recourse to the bogey of a
     German invasion in order to retain these troops--Bassompierre
     declines the appointment--Conversation between Bassompierre and the
     Spanish Ambassador Mirabello on the subject of peace between France
     and Spain--The marshal is empowered to treat for peace with
     Mirabello--Singular conduct of the Ambassador--News arrives from
     Madrid that Philip IV has revoked the powers given to
     Mirabello--Bassompierre is sent as Ambassador Extraordinary to the
     Swiss Cantons to counteract the intrigues of the house of Austria
     and the Papacy--His reception in Switzerland--Lavish hospitality
     which he dispenses--Complete success of his negotiations.

Never had France stood more in need of such guidance than at the moment
when Richelieu assumed the direction of affairs. At home, there was for
the moment peace, though it was to prove but of brief duration; but
abroad the position of affairs had become so threatening that even the
dullest minds had begun to be alarmed. Spain and Austria, in closest
harmony of religious and political aims, were trampling on the liberties
of Europe; Germany seemed prostrate at the Emperor’s feet; Spain
dominated all Italy, with the exception of Venice and Savoy. All the
provinces which owed allegiance to the two Powers had been knit
together; the subjugation of the Palatinate and the Lower Rhine secured
their connection with the Netherlands and menaced the very existence of
the Dutch; the Valtellina forts commanded the road between the Spaniards
in the Milanese and the Austrians on the Danube and in the Tyrol.

Richelieu at once resolved to assail the Austro-Spanish power at both
critical points. In the North, he did not interfere in arms, but by
subsidies and skilful negotiations he organised a Northern League, under
the leadership of Christian IV of Denmark, and arrested the progress of
the Spaniards in the United Provinces. In the Valtellina, however, he
had recourse to more vigorous measures.

The Spaniards had ended by handing over the forts which had remained in
their possession to the Papal troops, but though the period during which
the Pope[25] was to hold them in deposit had long expired and he had
received all the guarantees he could desire for the security of the
Catholic religion, the Holy Father could not bring himself to hand over
the Valtellina to the heretic Grisons. The Spaniards, on their side,
believed themselves more assured of the Valtellina in the hands of Urban
VIII than in their own, and imagined that a cardinal would never venture
to make war on the Pope. They did not yet know Richelieu.

In November, Coeuvres, who had persuaded the Protestant Cantons to arm
for the recovery of the Valtellina, transformed himself from an
ambassador into a general and marched into the Grisons, at the head of a
small army of French and Swiss. The districts held by the Austrians at
once rose in revolt; the Grisons declared themselves freed from the
treaty which had been imposed on them, and the Imperialists hastily
withdrew. Having secured the Tyrolese passes, Coeuvres descended from
the Engadine by Poschiavo and entered the Valtellina. The entry of some
Spanish troops into Chiavenna served to cover the attack directed
against the soldiers of the Pope, and in a few weeks Chiavenna and all
the forts of the Valtellina had capitulated, although the French general
had no siege-artillery with which to reduce them. The Pope’s soldiers
and their standards were respectfully sent back to his Holiness.

Loud was the outcry, not only at Rome and Madrid, but even amongst the
High Catholic party in France, against the “State Cardinal” who was
trampling the Church beneath his feet.[26] The Pope made less noise than
his partisans; he recognised that a new power had arisen in France, and
he had no desire to suffer worse things at the hands of this redoubtable
Minister. He contented himself by sending his nephew, Cardinal Francisco
Barberini,[27] as Legate to France to lodge a formal protest and
endeavour to accommodate the affair, and hastened to despatch the
dispensation for the marriage of Henriette-Marie, which had been long
awaited. Richelieu had caused a gentle hint to be conveyed to the Holy
Father that, if his consent were any longer withheld, it might be
necessary to celebrate the marriage without it.

Richelieu did not rest content with the recovery of the Valtellina. He
concerted with the Duke of Savoy a movement which, if successful, would
shake the Spanish power in Northern Italy to its foundations. A quarrel
between Charles Emmanuel and Genoa was to form the pretext for an
invasion of the territory of that republic; the Duke would attack, and
France would furnish an auxiliary army. Genoa was, not only the ally,
but the banker of Spain, and its capture would bring about a financial
panic in that country, and, at the same time, interrupt her maritime
communications with the Milanese.

At the beginning of 1625 all was in readiness; Charles Emmanuel had
mobilised his army; a considerable force under the command of
Lesdiguières was being collected on the frontier; and the Dutch had
promised to send a squadron to the Mediterranean to assist in the
blockade of Genoa. Suddenly, to the astonishment and indignation of
Richelieu, and, indeed, of all patriotic Frenchmen, came the news of a
fresh Huguenot insurrection. The Rochellois, angry and alarmed that
their repeated demands for the destruction of Fort Saint-Louis, the
bugbear of their town, had had no effect, had imagined the moment
favourable to secure by a recourse to arms what they despaired of
obtaining by any other means. They had appealed to Rohan and Soubise,
and the two brothers had been so blind to the interests both of their
country and their faith as to agree to co-operate with them. On January
17, Soubise, in command of a number of vessels fitted out by the
Rochellois, seized the Île de Ré, and captured in the harbour of Blavet,
on the Breton coast, seven royal vessels which lay there, after which he
laid siege to the fort which commanded the place.

On the news of Soubise’s proceedings, the Duc de Vendôme, governor of
Brittany, had raised all the noblesse of the province and what infantry
he could muster to oppose him; but a report reached the King that
Vendôme was actually in league with Soubise and the Rochellois, and that
they had attacked Blavet at his instigation, and with the intention of
handing it over to him. Upon this Louis XIII despatched Bassompierre to
Brittany, with full powers to take what action he considered necessary
against Vendôme, in the event of this information being correct. The
marshal left Paris on January 28 and proceeded to Angers, where he gave
orders that a regiment which was in garrison there should follow him to
Brittany so soon as possible, with four pieces of cannon. He then went
to Nantes, where he arranged with the governor to furnish him with as
many men as he could raise. On arriving at Hennebon, however, he learned
that Soubise had abandoned the siege of the fort at Blavet and sailed
away, carrying off with him six of the seven ships which he had seized;
the other he had been obliged to abandon, together with one of his own
ships, which had been damaged by collision with a jetty at the entrance
to the harbour.

The following day he proceeded to Blavet, where he found Vendôme with
the force which he had raised to oppose Soubise. The prince was greatly
distressed to learn that he was suspected of being in collusion with the
rebels, and wished to know whether Bassompierre intended to request the
Parlement of Rennes to hold an inquiry into his conduct. But the
marshal, having satisfied himself that, though “_César Monsieur_,” as he
was called, was not a person in whom much confidence could be reposed,
he was, on this occasion at any rate, innocent of the charge which had
been brought against him, assured him that he had no such intention.
About the middle of February he returned to Paris to render an account
of his journey to the King, and to assure him of the innocence of his
half-brother, at which his Majesty was doubtless much relieved. However,
before many months had passed, Louis XIII was obliged to place his
restless relative under lock and key.

After his descent upon Blavet, Soubise seized the Île d’Oléron, and by
the spring, thanks to the exertions of Rohan, the Huguenots in Upper
Languedoc, Quercy, and the Cévennes were in revolt. It is true that even
in these districts many stood aloof and refused to embarrass the
Government at a time when it was engaged in hostilities with the most
implacable enemies of their faith; but the insurrection was sufficiently
formidable to cause great uneasiness, and to necessitate the retention
at home of troops which might otherwise have been employed beyond the
Alps. In these circumstances, it was impossible for Richelieu to push
the war in Liguria with the vigour which he had intended. “It was then,”
writes Bassompierre, “that the Cardinal de Richelieu said wisely to the
King that, so long as there was a party established within his realm, it
would never be possible to undertake anything outside it; and that he
ought to think of exterminating it before meditating other designs.” On
April 9 the Duke of Savoy defeated the Genoese and Spaniards before
Voltaggio, and a fortnight later the Constable took Gavi. But, acting
doubtless in accordance with the orders of the French Government,
Lesdiguières declined to undertake the siege of Genoa without a fleet,
and Charles Emmanuel pressed him in vain.

The death of James I, which occurred on March 27, 1625, did not delay
the marriage of his son--now Charles I--and Henriette-Marie, which was
celebrated in Notre-Dame on May 11, the Duc de Chevreuse acting as proxy
for the King. On the 24th Buckingham arrived unexpectedly to escort the
bride to England, and caused, Bassompierre tells us, a great sensation,
“both by his person, which was very handsome, and by his jewels and
apparel and his great liberality.”

Buckingham tried to persuade Richelieu to sign the League of the North
and couple the restoration of the Palatinate with the Valtellina
question; but the Cardinal was disinclined to surrender France’s liberty
of action, besides which, the presumptuous and frivolous favourite did
not inspire him with any confidence.

Bassompierre was one of the nobles appointed to escort the new Queen of
England to Boulogne, where she embarked on June 22. But, unfortunately,
he preserves a discreet silence concerning certain incidents which
occurred _en route_, as it would be interesting to have his version of
the romance of “M. de Bocquinguem” and Anne of Austria, which so
profoundly irritated Louis XIII against his consort and laid the
foundations of that ill-will which for a time prevailed between England
and France.

In September the islands of Ré and Oléron were retaken, and the fleet of
the Rochellois defeated by Montmorency, who commanded the King’s ships.
But in Liguria things were going badly for France. The Swiss had allowed
more than 20,000 Austrians to pass into Italy to the assistance of the
Spanish and Genoese, who had carried the war into Piedmont and laid
siege to Verrua, while the Valtellina was also threatened.
Reinforcements were urgently demanded, and one morning, while the Privy
Council was sitting, Louis XIII sent for Bassompierre, offered him the
command of the new army which he proposed to despatch into Italy, and
asked what troops he would require. The marshal “spoke as well as God
wished to inspire him on this matter,” and answered that if his Majesty
would permit him to choose 6,000 foot and 800 horse from the Army of
Champagne, he would send at once into Switzerland to raise 4,000 men,
who would join him at Geneva, and that with these forces he would
engage, not only to force the enemy to raise the siege of Verrue, but to
capture some places in the Milanese.

To this Louis XIII agreed, and gave instructions to Michel de Marillac,
Chief of the Finances, to furnish the marshal with the funds he
required. But Marillac, not only did not execute this order, but sent in
all haste that same evening a courier to warn his brother who, with the
Duc d’Angoulême, commanded the army of Champagne, that it was intended
to break up their army and send the greater part of it into Italy. These
two nobles, who had no desire to be deprived of their command, promptly
had recourse to the bogey of a German invasion, and wrote to the King
that they had the most positive information that the Imperialists were
about to enter France at two points, from Lorraine and the Palatinate;
that, in consequence, M. d’Angoulême was about to throw himself into
Metz, which he would preserve for the King or die; while M. de Marillac
had gone to Verdun, with the intention of defending it to his last gasp;
but, as they feared that the forces at their disposal might be
insufficient to withstand the invaders, they must entreat his Majesty to
send them four regiments of foot and 500 horse with all possible

     “Upon this,” says Bassompierre, “the King and his Council, who took
     all this for Gospel truth, told me that they were unable to
     withdraw any troops from the Army of Champagne, to which, indeed,
     they were obliged to send reinforcements; and I, after having
     endeavoured to make them comprehend that it was an imposture
     invented to perpetuate the employment of these gentlemen and to
     involve the King in useless expense, excused myself and refused the
     troops which they proposed to give me to go to the relief of

Such troops as could be spared were accordingly entrusted to the Comte
de Vignolles, whom Bassompierre says did not arrive at Verrua until the
siege of that town had been raised, but this is incorrect.[28]

On the evening of the King’s birthday--September 27--the Court being
then at Fontainebleau, the Spanish Ambassador, the Marquis de Mirabello,
approached Bassompierre and invited him to come and watch the fireworks
with him. So soon as they were alone, the Ambassador, speaking in
Spanish, told the marshal that it seemed to him greatly to be regretted
that Louis XIII had not authorised him [Bassompierre] to negotiate a
settlement of the Valtellina question, as he had done in 1621. “You
would undoubtedly have accomplished it,” said he, “and, if you are
willing, you will accomplish it yet; and this I promise.” “Monsieur,”
replied Bassompierre coldly, “I am not fortunate in the making of
treaties. You see that that of Madrid, which was of my making, has
already cost the contracting parties twenty millions of gold to break it
or maintain it. And, besides, it is not pleasant to treat with people
or for people who do not keep their promises, should it not please them
to do so.” Mirabello, however, was proof against this rebuff, and
persisted that he and the marshal would soon be able to arrange terms of
peace satisfactory to all parties concerned, provided that Louis XIII
would furnish Bassompierre with the same powers with which the Catholic
King had already entrusted him. The marshal thereupon told him that he
would “esteem himself very happy to contribute to the best of his
ability to so good and holy an affair,” and that he would speak to the
King on the matter and inform his Excellency of the result.

It was not, however, to the King to whom Bassompierre first addressed
himself, but to Marie de’ Medici and Richelieu, who, when the fireworks
were over, had retired into the Queen-Mother’s cabinet. For it was these
two, in close alliance for the time being, who now directed all things,
and to venture to approach Louis XIII on a matter of State, save by
their gracious permission, would have been the height of imprudence. The
Queen-Mother and the Cardinal approved of Mirabello’s proposition, and
told Bassompierre to go and inform the King, warning him, however, not
to allow his Majesty, whose _amour-propre_ was easily wounded, to
suspect that he had spoken to them. The next morning the matter was
submitted by Louis XIII to the Council, and it was decided that the
marshal should be given full authority to treat with the Ambassador of
Spain; but Bassompierre asked that Schomberg should be associated with
him, and his request was granted.

Some days later the first conference took place at Saint-Germain,
whither the Court had removed. It lasted more than four hours, and when
it terminated they were “not without great hope of concluding a great,
good and stable pacification between the two kings.” Mirabello returned
to Saint-Germain the following day, and the negotiations progressed so
smoothly that there was every appearance that the next session would
see their task accomplished. But next morning the Ambassador sent to
excuse himself on the ground that his wife had been taken ill, and for
two days they heard nothing further from him. Meantime, a courier
arrived from Du Fargis, the French Ambassador at Madrid, with the news
that Philip IV, although it had been his intention to negotiate peace
through his Ambassador, had revoked the powers with which he had
entrusted him, without giving any reason for this sudden change. The
Council thereupon decided that Bassompierre should go to Paris, and, on
the pretext of inquiring after the health of the Ambassador’s wife,
endeavour to ascertain the reason for Mirabello’s singular conduct. This
the marshal did, when the Ambassador complained of the want of
confidence which the French Government had shown him, by negotiating
with him when they had instructed Du Fargis to treat with the Court of
Madrid. Bassompierre reported what Mirabello had said to the Council,
who all expressed great astonishment, since Du Fargis had been given no
power to treat with the Spanish Government. However, the explanation of
this apparent mystery was to be forthcoming a little later.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile, disquieting reports were arriving from the French agents in
Switzerland, who represented that the Cantons were falling away from
their old attachment to France, as was proved by the fact that they had
granted a passage to the German troops who had been sent to the
assistance of the Spaniards, and by other ominous incidents. It was
greatly to be feared, they wrote, that, unless immediate steps were
taken to counteract the persistent intrigues of the House of Austria and
the Papacy in Switzerland, and to reassure the Swiss in regard to the
discharge of France’s financial obligations towards them, the old
alliance would be practically destroyed. And they suggested that the
Maréchal de Bassompierre, who, as the much-beloved Colonel-General of
the Swiss troops in the French service, would be sure of a cordial
welcome, who spoke both French and German with equal fluency, and who
had already given proof of his diplomatic capabilities, should be sent
on a special embassy to the Cantons, when it was quite possible he might
be able to re-restablish everything. This proposal was warmly supported
by the Venetians and the Duke of Savoy, who undertook to instruct their
representatives in Switzerland to second all his negotiations; and
though Bassompierre would not appear to have been at all anxious to
undertake the mission, which would entail his absence from the winter
gaieties of the Court and Paris, “the King insisted, and he yielded out
of pure obedience.”

On November 18, taking with him 200,000 crowns “to facilitate his
negotiation,” he left Paris with an imposing suite, and travelled by way
of Sens, Dijon, and Besançon to Basle, where he arrived on December 8.
At Basle he was received with great honour; cannon fired salutes,
several thousand soldiers or armed burghers marched in front of him or
lined the streets, and so soon as he reached the house where he was to
lodge, the Senate came in a body to salute him and “to make him a
present of fish, wine, and oats, the most ample that could be made to
anyone”; after which a score of them sat down to supper with him.

On the following morning Bassompierre proceeded to the Town Hall, where
the Senators were assembled, and delivered the first of the many
harangues which he was to make during his stay in Switzerland. He then
returned to his house, to which shortly afterwards all the Senate came
to deliver the reply which they had drawn up, and to bring him another
present of fish and wine, which they assisted him to consume. After
dinner they took him to see the Arsenal, the natural history collection
of the celebrated Swiss doctor Felix Plater, and the other sights of
their town.

On the 10th, after having again entertained the Senate to dinner, he
took his departure and proceeded by way of Liestall and Balstall to
Soleure, where he was received with the same honours as at Basle.

At Soleure he had several conferences with the French Ambassador, the
Comte de Miron, and received deputations from various towns and Cantons,
whom he entertained very sumptuously.

A few days before Christmas he sent despatches to the Cantons convening
a General Diet at Soleure for January 7, which, however, at the request
of the Protestant Cantons, was postponed until the 12th. In the interval
Bassompierre and Miron lost no opportunity of ingratiating themselves
with the Swiss, and gave several banquets and balls.

     “On Tuesday, the 6th [January], the Day of the Kings, I gave a
     solemn feast to the Council of Soleure, at the Ambassador’s house,
     and after a great deal of liquor had been consumed, the ball took

A day or two before the Diet opened, the Papal Nuncio Scapi, Bishop of
Campagna, arrived at Soleure. Bassompierre had invited him to be
present, although he was aware that he would do everything in his power
to prevent the Catholic Cantons from coming to a resolution favourable
to France. But he was a pompous, irascible and bigoted ecclesiastic, who
was unlikely to make a favourable impression on the deputies, and,
anyway, the marshal would be afforded an opportunity of confuting his

The Diet assembled on the 12th, and its first business was to pass a
resolution that the deputies should go in a body, preceded by their
beadles, to salute the Maréchal de Bassompierre. This, Bassompierre
tells us, was an honour which had never been paid to anyone before. The
following day the deputies sent six of their number to escort the
Ambassadors of the King of France to the Diet, where Bassompierre laid
his proposals before them and addressed them at considerable length.

     “Then the same deputies came to escort me back, and, when the
     assembly rose, they all came to my house in a body to thank me, as
     they had done the previous day, and from there we all went to the
     banquet which I had caused to be made ready for them in the Town
     Hall, where all the deputies, ambassadors, colonels and captains,
     to the number of 120 persons, were magnificently entertained, and
     afterwards 500 other persons. Then we went to the house of the
     Ambassador-Ordinary, where a ball took place.”

On the 14th the Nuncio had an audience of the Catholic deputies, in
which he made a very bitter harangue against France, in the hope of
putting a spoke in Bassompierre’s wheel. The marshal, however, had taken
the precaution to invite the Catholic deputies to dine with him, and the
good cheer he provided would seem to have gone far to neutralise the
effect of the Nuncio’s eloquence. In the evening he entertained the
representatives of the Protestant Cantons to supper, and sent them away
equally well pleased.

Next day the Diet waited upon Bassompierre and informed him that they
had decided to follow the advice which he had given them, namely, to
demand the restoration of the Valtellina to the Grisons and “to refuse
to whomsoever declined to acquiesce in this aid succour or passage
through their country.” The marshal thanked the deputies very heartily,
and, after they had taken their departure, could not resist the
temptation of paying a visit to the Nuncio, who, having already been
informed of the resolution of the Diet, was in a very bad temper and
“quarrelled with him two or three times.”

On the 16th the marshal sent to demand audience of the Catholic
deputies, as he desired to have an opportunity of refuting the
statements which Scapi had made to them two days before, “for the honour
and interest of the King his master.” The Catholic deputies did him
“the peculiar and unusual honour” of coming to his house to hear what he
had to say to them, when he addressed them at great length and wiped the
floor, so to speak, with the unfortunate Nuncio. This speech seems to
have had a very good effect, for in the evening the Diet sent a
deputation to inform him that they were prepared to offer a levy of
15,000 men to the King of France.

Two days later the Nuncio, thoroughly discomfited, took his departure
“in great anger,” and Bassompierre celebrated his victory by giving a
sumptuous banquet to all the deputies of the Diet, during which “the
gentlemen of Soleure came to perform a war-dance before his house.”
After the banquet, a deputation from the Diet interviewed him on the
vexed question of the debts which the Very Christian King owed the
Swiss, upon which their spokesman, the _avoyer_, or chief magistrate, of
Berne, waxed very eloquent. However, as this gentleman and his
colleagues were all pretty mellow, Bassompierre succeeded in satisfying
them perhaps more easily than he would have otherwise done, and the day
concluded most harmoniously with a ballet, a ball, and “a very splendid
collation” at the house of the French Ambassador.

On the 21st the Diet dispersed, in high good-humour, since Bassompierre
had not only defrayed all the expenses of the deputies on a very liberal
scale, but liquidated a part of France’s debt to the Cantons, and a
year’s arrears of all private pensions.

A few days later Bassompierre paid a visit to Berne, into which he made
a magnificent entry, and, after being shown all the sights of the town,
was entertained to a most splendid banquet at the Hôtel de Ville. “Three
hundred persons sat down to table,” he says, “and we remained there all

On leaving Berne, the marshal returned to Soleure, where he remained
until the end of February, for there was much business still to be
transacted and many deputations to be received. On the 22nd of the
month he received a despatch from Louis XIII directing him to leave
Switzerland and proceed to Nancy on a mission to the new Duke of
Lorraine, Charles IV, that eccentric prince who was to cause France so
much trouble in years to come. On the following day, therefore, he took
leave of his many friends at Soleure and crossed the Jura to Basle,
where he was again received with great honours; and on the 25th arrived
at Mulhausen.

If we are to believe an anonymous poet of the time, the success of
Bassompierre’s mission to Switzerland was largely due to the hospitality
which he dispensed with so lavish a hand:

    “Quis Marti Bacchum, pateram quis non preferat ensi,
     Helveticæ gentis si nova pacta manent?
     Plus facit in mensa Bassumpetreus et inter
     Pocula, quam reliqui seva per arma duces.”

But if good cheer played a not unimportant part in facilitating his
negotiations, it is evident, from the despatches and speeches of the
marshal which are to be found in the account of his embassy which he has
left us,[29] that he had handled a difficult situation with rare skill
and tact. His speeches, admirably arranged, forceful, and at times even
eloquent, and brightened by amusing quips and sallies, make very
interesting reading, and his ready courtesy and imperturbable
good-humour served to surmount what might otherwise have proved serious


     Bassompierre goes on a mission to Charles IV of Lorraine--He
     returns to France--The Venetian Ambassador Contarini informs the
     marshal that it is rumoured that a secret treaty has been signed
     between France and Spain--Richelieu authorises Bassompierre to deny
     that such a treaty exists, but the same day the marshal learns from
     the King that the French Ambassador at Madrid has signed a treaty,
     though unauthorised to do so--Indignation of Bassompierre, who,
     however, refrains from denouncing the treaty, which it is decided
     not to disavow--Explanation of this diplomatic imbroglio--Growing
     strength of the aristocratic opposition to Richelieu--The marriage
     of _Monsieur_--The “_Conspiration des Dames_”--Intrigues of the
     Duchesse de Chevreuse--Madame de Chevreuse and Chalais--Objects of
     the conspirators--Arrest of the Maréchal d’Ornano--Indignation of
     _Monsieur_--Conversation of Bassompierre with the prince--Plot
     against the life or liberty of Richelieu--Chalais is forced by the
     Commandeur de Valençay to reveal it to the Cardinal--“The quarry is
     no longer at home!”--Alarm of _Monsieur_--His abject submission to
     the King and Richelieu--He resumes his intrigues--Chalais is again
     involved in the conspiracy by Madame de Chevreuse--Arrest of the
     Duc de Vendôme and his half-brother the Grand Prior.

Before proceeding to Nancy, Bassompierre paid a visit to his younger
brother, now Marquis de Removille, and his family at Mirecourt, and
spent a day at his own château of Harouel. On March 3 he made his entry
into Nancy, escorted by a great number of the nobility of Lorraine, who
were assembled there for the meeting of the Estates, and was lodged in
the Palace, where he was very hospitably entertained. Amongst those whom
he met was the Prince de Phalsbourg, a natural son of the late Cardinal
Louis de Guise, who gave a banquet in his honour, and Marguerite de
Lorraine, youngest daughter of Duke François, who in 1632 became the
second wife of _Monsieur_.

His mission, which related to the candidature of Charles IV’s younger
brother for the bishopric of Strasbourg, was soon discharged, and on
March 16 he reached Paris, after an absence of four months. Louis XIII
received him very graciously, and took him to visit the Queen-Mother,
and afterwards to the apartments of Anne of Austria, whose position
since her little escapade with Buckingham had been far from a pleasant
one, her royal husband treating her with the most marked coldness.

At the Court Bassompierre found the Prince de Piedmont, who had been
sent by his father, Charles Emmanuel, to persuade Louis XIII to
prosecute the war in Italy with the utmost vigour during the coming
spring. Créquy had been despatched to Paris by the Constable with the
same object; and they begged Bassompierre to go with them so soon as
possible to the King, when they hoped that their united solicitations
would induce his Majesty to come to a decision in accordance with their

There was certainly every indication that the French Government were
disposed to a vigorous offensive. At the beginning of February peace had
been signed with the Huguenots, and they were now free to employ all
their resources against the foreign enemy. The King had appointed the
Prince of Piedmont lieutenant-general of his armies beyond the Alps, and
had promised reinforcements of 8,000 foot and 1,000 horse to the Army of
Italy, to which he intended to send the bulk of the troops now in the
Valtellina; while Bassompierre, with the levy which the Swiss cantons
had promised, was, it was understood, to invade the Milanese. However,
the hopes of the anti-Spanish party and of France’s allies were about to
be rudely shattered.

Two or three days after Bassompierre’s return, he happened to visit the
Venetian Ambassador, Contarini, who told him that the republic’s
representative at Madrid had sent information that a secret treaty had
been signed there between France and Spain. The marshal affected to
treat the matter as a _canard_ and assured him that it was impossible;
nevertheless, he felt decidedly uneasy, and having to go and see
Richelieu that evening to give him an account of his mission to
Switzerland, he told him what Contarini had said.

     “He [Richelieu] pressed my hand and answered that I might be
     assured that there was no thought of a treaty, and that the
     Spaniards were, after their knavish fashion, spreading false
     reports to create ill feeling between us and our allies, whom I
     could reassure. And this I resolved to do and to go on the morrow
     to visit Contarini, to set his mind at rest on this matter. The
     same evening I saw the Prince of Piedmont and told him of the
     apprehensions of Contarini, of how I had acquainted the Cardinal de
     Richelieu with them, and of the answer he had given me. The Prince
     replied that the Venetians were speculative and suspicious people,
     who retailed their dreams and their imaginations as authoritative
     news; that they had spread this report from suspicion rather than
     from any information they had obtained; and that, for himself, he
     was perfectly sure that no negotiations to the prejudice of the
     League or to our present projects were in progress.”

Bassompierre left the Prince and proceeded to the Queen’s apartments,
where he found Créquy. Presently, a message came from Louis XIII
summoning the two marshals to the Queen-Mother’s cabinet, where they
found the King in company with Marie de’ Medici, Schomberg, and
d’Herbault.[30] To their astonishment, the King informed them that he
had just received a treaty which had been made with Spain, _without his
knowledge_, by Du Fargis, and ordered d’Herbault to read it to them.
This document stipulated that the sovereignty of the Valtellina was to
be restored to the Grisons, but it was to be confined to a simple right
of tribute, with a confirmation purely nominal of the magistrates whom
the Valtelliners might appoint; while the Catholic religion was alone
to be permitted in that country. The passes were to remain at the
disposal of France, but the forts were to be surrendered to the Pope to
be demolished. The Kings of France and Spain were to intervene to
re-establish peace between Savoy and Genoa.

     “We found it,” says Bassompierre, “so badly conceived, so badly
     drafted and so contrary to reason, so disgraceful for France, so
     opposed to the interests of the League, and so damaging to the
     Grisons, that, although at first we were persuaded that it had been
     made by order of the King, but that he wished, in order to appease
     his allies, to appear to know nothing about it, we finally believed
     that it had been concluded contrary to his orders. And this obliged
     us to dissuade the King from accepting and ratifying it.”

Louis XIII told the three marshals[31] and d’Herbault to go on the
following morning to the Petit-Luxembourg and confer with Richelieu, and
to return with the Cardinal in the afternoon to the Queen-Mother’s
cabinet, where a meeting of the Council was to be held. Meanwhile, they
were to say nothing about the matter to the Prince de Piedmont.

Bassompierre tells us that “never was he more provoked to speak against
anything than against this infamous treaty”, and that “his mind was so
excited, that he was more than two hours in bed without being able to
get to sleep, projecting a number of reasons which he wished to lay
before the Council on the morrow against this affair.” But, when he rose
in the morning, he reflected that perhaps, notwithstanding the King’s
protestations to the contrary, he might have given authority to Du
Fargis to sign the treaty, under the influence of the Queen-Mother, “who
wished to make peace between her children,”[32] or of the cardinal,
“who, seeing troubles increasing within the State, wished to make peace
outside it,” and that, if they intended to ratify it, he would be only
injuring himself to no purpose by denouncing it too warmly. He therefore
decided to be on his guard and to watch carefully which way the wind was
blowing; and when he went to see Richelieu, he “listened more than he
spoke.” He did wisely, for “the Cardinal was very cautious and opened
his mind but little, blaming only the levity, precipitation, and want of
judgment shown by Du Fargis, who, he said, merited capital punishment
for having concluded an affair of such consequence without instructions
from the King.” It was the same at the Council, where “he perceived that
everyone was more concerned to blame the workman than to demolish the
work, and to discuss the means by which the treaty might be amended than
to propose to disavow or break it.” This removed any doubt that he might
have had that the Government desired peace with Spain, and that Du
Fargis, though he had not obtained the terms desired, had been empowered
to treat for it. He therefore begged the King to excuse him from
expressing an opinion, and withdrew, as, being an honest man, he refused
to associate himself with a treaty whose existence Richelieu had only
the previous evening authorised him to deny.

Richelieu, both at the time and afterwards, declared positively that
this peace was not of his making. This, in a sense, is true. It was Père
Bérulle, of the Oratory, who had some time before become the _directeur_
of the Queen-Mother’s conscience, and the Spanish faction to whom the
credit--or rather discredit--of it belonged. It was they who had
instigated Du Fargis to begin negotiations with the Court of Madrid, and
it was the hope of striking a better bargain with this irresponsible
diplomatist that had caused Philip suddenly to revoke the powers which
he had given to Mirabello, his Ambassador in France. But when the
treaty, which had been signed on New Year’s Day, 1626, reached Paris in
the middle of January, Du Fargis was not recalled or disavowed. The
matter was


From a contemporary print.]

kept a profound secret, and instructions were sent to the Ambassador to
press for certain amendments. New articles were signed by Du Fargis at
the beginning of March, and it was these which were now under
discussion. The treaty, with some further modifications, was finally
signed at Monzon on May 2.

If therefore this peace, which, to all appearance, reversed Richelieu’s
whole policy, was not of the Cardinal’s making, he accepted and adopted
it, with cynical contempt for the allies of France, Venice, Savoy, and
the Grisons, who found themselves treated, not as confederates but as
vassals, whose interests might be dealt with without the necessity of
consulting them. Richelieu’s excuse was that Charles Emmanuel would
undoubtedly have insisted on the negotiations being broken off had he
been informed of them.

The astonishment and indignation in London, Venice, Turin, and among the
Grisons was extreme. The Venetians and the Grisons had too much need of
France not to accept the explanations which Richelieu offered them; but
Charles Emmanuel, deceived in his ambitious hopes at the moment when he
believed that they were about to be realised, conceived against the
Cardinal the most bitter resentment. As for Buckingham, who had brought
strong pressure to bear on the Huguenots to induce them to make peace,
and was pluming himself on having thereby deprived France of any excuse
for not vigorously prosecuting the war against Spain, he felt himself
cheated and outwitted, and his vanity was as deeply wounded as was the
Duke of Savoy’s ambition.

Imperative motives had, however, imposed peace upon Richelieu. For the
security of the Crown and the eventual liberty of Europe, it was
absolutely necessary for him to extricate himself from foreign
embarrassments with the least possible delay. He was convinced, as
Bassompierre suspected, that obstacles within the State must be overcome
before France could actively embark upon enterprises outside it. Any
really effective action against the House of Austria was, in his
judgment, impossible, so long as the Huguenots remained a great faction,
ready to profit by the embarrassments of the Government to hinder its
operations, and while the grandees, on their side, were thwarting
openly, or by secret intrigues, the royal authority.

For the conspiracies of the Court had not contributed less than the
revolt of the Huguenots to determine him to make peace. A formidable
cabal threatened his power and even his life.

       *       *       *       *       *

As the favour of Richelieu increased, so did the aristocratic opposition
to him gather strength. The grandees of the kingdom were indignant that
a Minister should presume to govern in the general interest, instead of
in their own, and made ready to draw the sword, if need be, against him
as they had against Concini and Luynes. Conspiracy and revolt were in
the air, and men and women caballed incessantly, “persuaded that the
Cardinal was not a dangerous enemy and that they had nothing to fear
from him.”

For some time past Marie de’ Medici had been anxious for the marriage of
her younger son, Gaston, Duc d’Anjou, officially styled _Monsieur_, now
in his eighteenth year, a lively, frivolous, dissipated youth, who, when
the shades of evening fell, loved nothing better than to escape from the
Louvre and scour the streets in search of adventure. Gaston presented a
striking contrast to his austere, melancholy, and parsimonious brother,
but since his vices were such as the courtiers loved and profited by, he
was as popular with them as the King was the reverse; and it was an open
secret that the majority of them looked forward with pleasurable
anticipation to the not unlikely event of his succession to the throne.

The lady whom the Queen-Mother had chosen as a wife for Gaston was Marie
de Bourbon, Mlle. de Montpensier, only daughter of the late Duc de
Bourbon-Montpensier, a lively and attractive princess and the richest
heiress in France. Richelieu, after some hesitation, decided for the
match, influenced, it would seem, by the reflection that, if _Monsieur_
were ever so ill-advised as to raise the standard of revolt, there would
be no foreign alliance for him to rely upon. Louis XIII expressed his
approval, and nothing remained but to obtain the consent of Gaston.

And then the trouble began.

For various reasons the idea of the marriage was regarded with
disapproval by quite a number of illustrious persons. The young Comte de
Soissons, who wanted Mlle. de Montpensier for himself, was furiously
indignant, declaring that Marie de’ Medici had promised him the lady’s
hand during her regency; and his mother, the ambitious and meddlesome
Anne de Montafié, supported his pretensions. The Condés naturally
desired to see _Monsieur_ remain unmarried, since he alone stood before
them in the line of succession. The younger branches of the House of
Guise viewed with jealousy the increased importance which the head of
their family, who had married the widowed Duchesse de Montpensier, would
derive from the elevation of his step-daughter. Finally, Anne of
Austria, who had no children, saw in this alliance the last blow to her
hopes, for, if her sister-in-law became a mother, she would efface her
altogether. She accordingly determined “to do everything she could to
stop the marriage,”[33] and applied to her customary confidante, the
Duchesse de Chevreuse, for her advice and co-operation. That lady, the
most inveterate and dangerous _intrigante_ of her time, responded with
all the energy of her character and forthwith began to pull the strings
in every direction. Such was the origin of an affair which began by
being merely an intrigue of the Court, and which ended by becoming,
according to the saying of Richelieu, “one of the most frightful
conspiracies of which histories have made mention.”

The object of Anne of Austria and Madame de Chevreuse was to persuade
_Monsieur_ to refuse the bride who was offered him. Well, _Monsieur_ had
all his life his favourites for masters, and to persuade him it was
necessary to gain a man who at that time was in possession of his
confidence, and almost of his person, his _gouverneur_, the
_Surintendant_ of his Household, and the chief of his Council--the
Maréchal d’Ornano. It was therefore to him that they addressed

Ornano had, as we have mentioned elsewhere, been disgraced and
imprisoned by La Vieuville, on a well-founded charge of developing
ambition in his pupil. But, when Richelieu succeeded to the control of
affairs, he was set at liberty, and restored to his offices, and at the
beginning of 1626 created a marshal of France, in the hope of inducing
him to lend his support to the Montpensier marriage. Richelieu, then,
might reasonably have expected some gratitude from Ornano; but,
unfortunately, gratitude found no place in the Corsican’s nature. Bold
and ambitious, he urged without ceasing the vain and foolish young
prince over whom he had acquired so great an ascendancy to assert his
claims to the place in the State to which his birth entitled him. When
_Monsieur_ demanded a place in the Council, he demanded to accompany
him, with the rank and title of Secretary of State; and the refusal he
received had greatly incensed him against Richelieu, and determined him
to seek some means of compassing the overthrow of the Minister who had
thwarted his ambition.

Madame de Chevreuse had long been on friendly terms with Ornano, who had
owed his fortune largely to the good offices of her first husband; and
she was aware of the grudge which he cherished against Richelieu. She
therefore anticipated little difficulty in gaining him over to the
Queen’s cause; but, in order to leave nothing to chance, she summoned to
her aid the Princesse de Condé, of whom Ornano, undaunted by the fact
that he was “the ugliest man possible to imagine,” was a _soupirant_.
The blandishments of _Madame la Princesse_ served to dissipate any
lingering scruples which the marshal might have entertained; he declared
himself a devoted servant of the Queen, and promised to do everything in
his power to dissuade _Monsieur_ from making Mlle. de Montpensier his

In this task he did not lack coadjutors, and every day the
“_Conspiration des Dames_,” as the anti-marriage cabal was called,
gathered fresh adherents. The Dowager-Comtesse de Soissons was beloved
by Alexandre de Vendôme, Grand Prior of France, the younger of Henri
IV’s two sons by Gabrielle d’Estrées, an unquiet spirit, with a positive
passion for mischievous intrigue, who nursed a grudge of his own against
Richelieu. She had no difficulty in persuading him to join the
conspiracy, and the Grand Prior, in his turn and with equal facility,
secured the adhesion of his elder brother, the Duc de Vendôme. The gay
and foolhardy young courtiers--Du Lude, La Rivière, Louvigny,
Puylaurens, Bois-d’Annemetz and others--who surrounded _Monsieur_,
espoused the same cause, either from dislike of the Cardinal, or from
the hope that a breach between their patron and the King might redound
to their advantage.

Every imaginable argument was employed to dissuade _Monsieur_ from a
marriage which threatened so many interests. They appealed in turn to
his love of pleasure, his vanity, and his ambition. They pointed out
that the joyous, irresponsible life which he had led hitherto would no
longer be possible when he had taken unto himself a wife, since the King
would then insist on his conducting himself with decorum. They deplored
the docility which gave him the air of being a child in the hands of his
mother, his brother, and the Cardinal, and urged him to assert his
independence by refusing to allow a wife to be chosen for him. They
reminded him that, although Mlle. de Montpensier was undoubtedly a great
heiress, she was one of his brother’s subjects, and that in marrying her
he would fall into greater subjection than ever to the King’s authority;
and they dangled before his eyes the prospect of a brilliant foreign
alliance, such as that with the Infanta Maria Anna, formerly the
betrothed of Charles I.

The Duchesse de Chevreuse was indefatigable in her efforts to secure
recruits for the cause, and made use of all her charms to overcome their
scruples. She was but too successful.

There was at this time in the King’s Household, and very near his
Majesty’s person, in virtue of his office as Master of the Wardrobe, a
young noble of twenty-seven, Henri de Talleyrand, Comte de Chalais, a
member of an ancient sovereign house of Périgord and, through his
mother, a grandson of the Maréchal de Montluc, author of the celebrated
_Commentaries_ to which Henri IV gave the name of “The Soldier’s Bible.”
“M. de Chalais,” writes Fontenay-Mareuil, “was young, well-made, very
adroit at all manly exercises, but, above all, very agreeable, which
rendered him a favourite with the ladies, who ruined him.” Brave to
rashness, he had distinguished himself on both the field of battle and
that of honour, and a duel he had fought with the Comte de Pontgibault,
in which the latter had been killed, was long talked of. Chalais was so
fortunate as to be a favourite of both the King and his brother, which
would make his support of peculiar value to the cabal, since he would be
able to add his persuasions to theirs to induce _Monsieur_ to refuse the
hand of Mlle. de Montpensier, and, at the same time, serve their
interests with the King by misleading him as to the intentions of the
malcontents. It was considered, however, very improbable that he could
be persuaded to follow _Monsieur’s_ fortunes, since he was known to
“ambition” the post of Colonel of the Light Cavalry, and to have an
excellent chance of securing it. But, unhappily for Chalais, there was
something that he desired still more than the command of the Light
Cavalry: he had been for some time past madly enamoured of Madame de
Chevreuse, and when that siren, who had not as yet condescended to
accept his devotion, began to show signs of relenting, it was all over
with him; and, oblivious of everything but this fatal passion, the
unfortunate young man allowed her to lead him whither she willed. The
consequence was that, before he had fully realised his position, he
found himself drawn into the very thick of the conspiracy which was to
bring him to his doom.

Madame de Chevreuse and Ornano were the soul of this league, which was
becoming extremely formidable, from the importance of the persons
implicated and the far-reaching character of their schemes. For the
coalition against the marriage of _Monsieur_ was only the starting-point
of a conspiracy which aimed at a complete change in the Government, and
whose ramifications extended far beyond the borders of France. Several
of the foreign ambassadors had entered it, and it was known and more or
less approved in England, Spain, Holland, and Savoy. The conspirators
were determined to demand for Gaston and Ornano the entry to the
Council, and afterwards to insist on the disgrace of Richelieu. If they
failed, it was their intention to persuade _Monsieur_ to retire from
Court, to take up arms and to appeal for foreign and Huguenot aid. In
the event of revolt, the most resolute proposed that the Cardinal should
be assassinated--a suggestion which was warmly supported by the Abbé
Scaglia, the ambassador of Savoy.

Richelieu, though he had eyes and ears everywhere at his service, had
not yet received more than vague warnings as to the designs of his
enemies. However, these had been sufficient for him to divine that some
plot hostile to the existing order of things was in progress, and that
_Monsieur_ was concerned in it.

Immediately after Easter the Court quitted Paris for Fontainebleau. On
the morrow of its arrival, _Monsieur_ had an interview with the King, in
which he declared that “it was a reproach and a shame to him that, being
his Majesty’s brother, he had neither share nor influence in affairs of
State.” He then demanded a seat in the Council and, at the same time,
angrily declined the hand of Mlle. de Montpensier, on the ground that “a
foreign alliance was necessary for his honour and prosperity.” The King
replied that he would consider his request and give him an answer in a
few days. The young prince waited for three or four, and then sent
Ornano to complain to Richelieu, but could get nothing more satisfactory
from his Eminence than that he was “the humble servant of _Monsieur_.”
In high indignation, Gaston sought out his mother and announced his
intention of quitting the Court. Marie soothed him by the promise that
the Council should meet to consider his demands, and he agreed to await
its decision.

Meanwhile, Louis XIII had consulted Richelieu, who did not fail to
stimulate his resentment against the pretensions that had been suggested
to his brother, and warned him that “in the matter of conspiracies, it
was almost impossible to have mathematical proofs, and that when the
circumstances were pressing, presumption ought to take their place.” The
arrest of Ornano was then decided upon.

On May 4 the King announced his intention of reviewing his Guards that
afternoon in the Cour du Cheval Blanc, “to give pleasure to the Queens
and Princesses,” who were to witness the spectacle from the Grand
Gallery of the Château. After dinner, Bassompierre, who was going to
Paris for a day or two “to stop one of his nieces de Saint-Luc from
becoming a nun,” went to take leave of the King, who suggested that he
had better wait and see the review; but the marshal, who was in a hurry
to be gone, excused himself. Early on the following morning, however, he
was awakened by the arrival of a gentleman named Bonnevaut, whom Louis
had sent to inform him that he had caused Ornano to be arrested and to
request him to return that day to Fontainebleau without fail.

With that dissimulation which he loved to display on such occasions,
Louis XIII had invited Ornano to witness the review and treated him with
unusual condescension. Afterwards, he had invited him to walk with him
in the Cour du Cheval Blanc, and, as though by chance, pointed out to
him the chamber where the Maréchal de Biron had been temporarily
confined after his arrest in 1602. That night Ornano was himself
arrested and conducted to the same apartment.

At the first news of the arrest of Ornano, which was brought to him just
after he had retired for the night _Monsieur_, beside himself with
indignation, hurriedly dressed and proceeded to the King’s apartments to
demand the immediate release of the marshal. He was told that his
Majesty could not be disturbed, and the same answer awaited him when he
went to the Queen-Mother.

On the morrow he went in search of the Ministers. The first whom he
found was the Chancellor, d’Aligre, who, intimidated by the anger of the
prince, assured him that he had nothing to do with the arrest of the
marshal. But when he addressed himself to Richelieu and inquired
furiously: “Is it you who have dared to give this counsel to the King?”
he was met with the laconic reply: “Yes, it is I.” D’Aligre was promptly
disgraced for his feebleness, and the Seals given to Marillac. Ornano
was transferred to the Château of Vincennes, and his two brothers, his
friend Chaudebonne and the Comte de Modène and Déageant were also
arrested and conveyed to the Bastille.

On his return to Fontainebleau, Bassompierre went to visit _Monsieur_,
even before seeing the King, “so much was he assured of the confidence
which his Majesty reposed in him.” He found the prince “very exasperated
and influenced by sundry evil minds,” and took the liberty of speaking
to him very frankly indeed. Gaston appeared to take the lecture in good
part, and, by the King’s wish, Bassompierre continued his visits and his
admonitions. But, after three or four days, he learned from Marie de’
Medici that _Monsieur_ suspected that it was intended to give him the
marshal as his _gouverneur_ in place of the captive Ornano, and had said
that he did not desire to have one. Upon which Bassompierre ceased his
visits, “wishing to show by keeping away from him that he by no means
aspired to that charge.” This was most unfortunate, as it left the young
prince entirely under the influence of the “evil minds” of which the
marshal speaks.

The unexpected arrest of Ornano had fallen like a thunderbolt on the
heads of the conspirators. They foresaw that if the marshal were brought
to trial, not only would their designs be discovered, but even their
persons be in danger, since he was not the kind of man who could be
trusted to prefer death to dishonour. They therefore urged _Monsieur_ to
make every endeavour to procure the release of his _gouverneur_, and, if
he failed, as they fully expected he would do, to take one of two
courses: the first was to leave the Court, retire into some fortified
place and call his supporters to arms; the second, to get rid of the

As Louis XIII and Richelieu refused to hear of the release of Ornano,
and Gaston, although the Comte de Soissons offered to furnish him with a
very large sum of money if he would retire from Court and declare war,
hesitated to take so irrevocable a step, the Grand Prieur de Vendôme,
Chalais and others, prevailed upon him to choose the second of these

Richelieu was staying at the Château of Fleury, a country-seat of his,
situated about two leagues from Fontainebleau. Gaston, feigning a desire
to be reconciled to him, was to invite himself to dinner and arrive
accompanied by a strong party of his friends. What was to follow is
disputed. Most writers, including Bassompierre,[34] assert that it was
the intention of the conspirators to demand the release of Ornano, and,
if that were refused, to assassinate their host out of hand; and
Richelieu always maintained that his own death would have been followed
by the assassination or dethronement of the King. A more sober version
of the affair attributes to the conspirators no more sinister design
than that of making the Cardinal their prisoner and subsequently
exchanging him for Ornano, though, even if this be correct, it might
well have had a tragic sequel. Whatever the object of the plot, there
can be no possible doubt that Madame de Chevreuse was privy to it, if
not its prime instigator; and it can therefore be regarded as a singular
illustration of the irony of Fate that the indiscretion of the most
devoted of her admirers should have been the means of bringing it to

Chalais had a friend, the Commandeur de Valençay, a younger brother of
that Valençay whose carelessness after the capture of the ridge of
Saint-Denis at Montpellier had entailed so much loss of life, and to
this gentleman, on the eve of the execution of the plot, he was
imprudent enough to disclose it. He believed that he would find in him a
sympathetic listener, since, though he had not yet declared himself, he
had always appeared well disposed towards the cause. But, to his
consternation, Valençay, either from the hope of gaining the Cardinal’s
favour or from genuine disgust, professed the utmost horror and
indignation; “reproached him with his treason, in that being one of his
Majesty’s own Household he dared to make an attempt upon the person of
his first Minister,” and insisted that Chalais should forthwith
accompany him to Fleury and warn Richelieu of the danger which
threatened him. Chalais, in despair, obeyed, and assured the Cardinal
that he had always abhorred the plot and resolved to denounce it.
Richelieu believed, or affected to believe, him, and when he offered to
reveal to his Eminence any further intrigues against him, accepted his
services and promised to obtain for him the coveted post of Colonel of
the Light Cavalry.

The Cardinal sent Valençay to Fontainebleau to inform Louis XIII and the
Queen-Mother; and the King at once despatched a troop of horse to Fleury
for the protection of his Minister; while Marie de’ Medici sent the
gentlemen of her Household. At dawn a number of Gaston’s officers
arrived at Fleury, ostensibly, to announce the approaching arrival of
their master and to assist in preparing for his reception; in reality,
to serve as the advance-guard of the conspirators. His Eminence received
them very courteously, expressed his sense of the honour which the
prince proposed to do him, and then, ordering his coach, set out for
Fontainebleau, accompanied by more than a hundred horse, “to escort his
Royal Highness.”

His Royal Highness was considerably astonished when the Cardinal
presented himself at his _levée_ that morning, and mildly reproached him
with not having given him longer notice of the visit with which it was
his intention to honour him. In order to avert suspicion as to his
destination, _Monsieur_ had announced his intention of hunting that day;
and, as Richelieu withdrew, after handing the prince his shirt--a duty
which was always performed by the prelate or noble of the highest rank
present--he remarked significantly: “_Monsieur_, you have not risen
early enough this morning; you will find that the quarry is no longer at
home.” Then Gaston knew that someone had betrayed him.

Thoroughly frightened, the pusillanimous prince passed from treachery
and conspiracy to base submission, “with the levity of a selfish and
thoughtless child, destitute of both moral sense and courage,”[35] and
on May 31, in the presence of the King, the Queen-Mother and the
Cardinal, he signed and swore on the Gospels to observe faithfully a
compact drawn up by Richelieu, in which he engaged that “no counsel
should ever be proposed or submitted to him by anyone whomsoever of
which he would not advise his Majesty; that he would not keep silence
concerning even the most trifling words that were spoken to him with the
object of arousing his resentment against the King and his advisers, and
that he would love and esteem those whom the King and the Queen-Mother

Gaston had sworn to and signed everything that had been put before him,
but, being as faithless as he was cowardly and selfish, he had not the
remotest intention of executing his engagement. In fact, while swearing
to inform his brother of everything contrary to his service that might
come to his knowledge, he said not a word of the great conspiracy which,
from the foot of the throne, had extended over the whole kingdom and far
beyond its borders; and, when he again found himself among his
partisans, he disclosed nothing of what had just taken place, renewed
all the promises which he had made them, and continued to preside over
their deliberations.

Chalais likewise kept his counsel, and the conspirators appear to have
entertained no suspicion that they had a traitor in their midst, and
probably attributed the Fleury fiasco to some vague warning furnished
the Cardinal by one or other of the many secret agents whom he had in
his pay. Had Chalais promptly avowed his enforced betrayal of their
designs, they would certainly have proceeded with a great deal more
caution, even if they had not decided to abandon the enterprise
altogether. But, for a while, he appears to have been of opinion that
his wisest course was to say nothing to his friends, and to keep, at
least to some extent, his promise to report any fresh developments to
the Cardinal; and when at length his secret was forced from him by the
address of Madame de Chevreuse and he was involved anew in the
conspiracy, its leaders were already hopelessly compromised.

Whether by Chalais or by one of his secret agents, Richelieu’s attention
was directed to the Duc de Vendôme, whose movements he caused to be
closely watched. Vendôme had resolved to offer _Monsieur_ an asylum in
his government of Brittany, and the Cardinal ascertained that he was
secretly preparing for war, and that he was in communication with the
authorities of La Rochelle. Recognising the importance of stifling at
its birth the insurrection in a great province so close to La Rochelle
and so exposed to an English invasion, he persuaded the King to proceed
thither in person to re-establish his threatened authority. But, since
he was doubtful if his Majesty could be brought to consent to the arrest
of his half-brothers, the duke and Grand Prior, he resolved to ascertain
how far he was prepared to support him, and accordingly requested
permission to retire, on the ground of failing health. Louis declined
his resignation in a letter which was equivalent to an oath of fidelity
from the King to his Minister, and concluded with these words: “Be
assured that I shall never change, and that, whoever may attack you, you
shall have me for second.”

Armed with this promise, Richelieu no longer hesitated to represent to
the King the necessity of arresting the natural sons of Henri IV, and
Louis at once assented. On learning of the approach of the Court, the
Duc de Vendôme, who was at Nantes, became very uneasy; but since he
could not abstain from paying his homage to his sovereign without
practically proclaiming himself a rebel, he charged his brother the
Grand Prior to obtain an assurance of safety from the King. “I give you
my word,” said Louis, “that he will come to no more harm than you.”
Deceived by this gross equivocation, the duke joined the Court at Blois,
where it had arrived on June 6, and was very graciously received. But,
two days later, both he and his brother were arrested in their beds by
Du Hallier, Captain of the Guards, and conducted to the Château of
Amboise, where they were very strictly guarded (June 12).

It would appear that, at this juncture, Richelieu was very far from
being aware of the wide range of the conspiracy or of all its chiefs;
otherwise, he would scarcely have left the Comte de Soissons behind in
Paris to command in the name of the King, or have allowed _Monsieur_ to
remain in the capital, subject to all the influences that were being
brought to bear upon him to induce him to raise the standard of revolt.
However, two or three days after the arrest of the Vendômes, the King
received warning that Soissons was meditating the abduction of Mlle. de
Montpensier, who had also remained in Paris, upon which he sent
Fontenay-Mareuil in all haste to Paris to bring the young lady to the
Court, and orders to Bassompierre, Bellegarde, and d’Effiat to accompany
them, with as many of their attendants as they could bring.
Bassompierre, who was just starting for Blois, had sent all his suite on
in advance, but the other two nobles were able to supply a
sufficiently-strong guard, under whose escort Mlle. de Montpensier left
Paris with the Duchesse de Guise.


     Alarm of the conspirators at the arrest of the Vendômes--Chalais,
     at the instigation of Madame de Chevreuse, urges _Monsieur_ to take
     flight and throw himself into a fortress--_Monsieur_ and Chalais
     join the Court at Blois--The Comte de Louvigny betrays the latter
     to the Cardinal--Chalais is arrested at Nantes--Despicable conduct
     of _Monsieur_--Chalais, persuaded by Richelieu that Madame de
     Chevreuse is unfaithful to him, makes the gravest accusation
     against her, in the hope of saving his life--He is, nevertheless,
     condemned to death--He withdraws his accusations against Madame de
     Chevreuse--His barbarous execution--Death of the Maréchal
     d’Ornano--Marriage of _Monsieur_--Bassompierre declines the post of
     _Surintendant_ of _Monsieur’s_ Household--Indignation of Louis XIII
     against Anne of Austria--Public humiliation inflicted upon the
     Queen--Banishment of Madame de Chevreuse--Bassompierre nominated
     Ambassador Extraordinary to England--Differences between Charles I
     and Henrietta over the question of the young Queen’s French
     attendants--The Tyburn pilgrimage--Expulsion of the French
     attendants from England--Resentment of the Court of France.

The news of the arrest of the Vendômes, following upon that of Ornano
and the miscarriage of the Fleury affair, had filled the conspirators
with dismay. They feared the effect of these repeated reverses upon the
timid and vacillating mind of _Monsieur_, who, deprived of both the
marshal and the Grand Prior, the two persons who had exercised the most
influence over him, would be more difficult to decide than ever; and the
less resolute began to entertain serious doubts as to the wisdom of
proceeding with the enterprise. Madame de Chevreuse, however, refused to
be discouraged. She had surprised Chalais’s secret, won him back to the
cause and compelled him to commit himself more deeply than ever, and she
believed that she had, in the influence the young man possessed over
_Monsieur_, a means which, if well employed, might re-establish
everything. She proceeded to exploit it with her usual audacity and
address, and, spurred on by his passion for the beautiful duchess,
Chalais lost no occasion of urging the prince to take flight and to
throw himself into some fortified place. Gaston, however, could not make
up his mind to this course, and, though nearly persuaded, he was still
wavering, when orders came from the King to join him at Blois.

_Monsieur_ left Paris, accompanied by Chalais and two of his young
favourites, Puylaurens and Bois d’Annemetz, the latter of whom has left
us an interesting, though not altogether reliable, account of the
conspiracy in which he was engaged.[36] They united their entreaties to
those of Chalais, and by the time the party reached Blois, _Monsieur_
would appear to have at last decided to follow the counsels which had
been so long tendered to him in vain. It was then agreed that Gaston
should write to d’Épernon inviting him to declare, in his favour, and
that Chalais should despatch one of his friends, named La Loubère, to
the Marquis de la Valette, d’Épernon’s eldest son, who commanded in
Metz, requesting him to receive the prince in that fortress.

While Chalais was labouring thus to merit the favours of Madame de
Chevreuse, whom he had the happiness of seeing again when he joined the
Court at Blois, to lull the suspicions of Richelieu he had continued to
profess the greatest devotion to his interests and gave him sometimes
useful information. It is not surprising that this double game should
have aroused the suspicion of some of his allies, and the author of the
_Mémores d’un favori_ accuses him of desiring to safeguard himself
whichever side was ultimately victorious. There can be no doubt,
however, that Madame de Chevreuse knew the secret of Chalais’s
communications with the Cardinal, and that he was acting with her full

It was a dangerous game to play for long with a person so vigilant and
penetrating as Richelieu. The reports which daily reached the Cardinal
from his secret agents all tended to show that _Monsieur_ had grossly
violated the solemn pledge that he had given at Fontainebleau, and that
want of courage alone prevented him from throwing aside the mask; and he
found it difficult to reconcile Chalais’s assurances of devotion to
himself with those midnight visits _en robe de chambre_ lasting two or
three hours which his spies informed him the count was in the habit of
paying to Gaston’s apartments. Already he was more than half-convinced
that the young man was playing him false, when an act of shameful
treachery settled the question.

On June 27 the Court left Blois for Tours, from which town Chalais
despatched La Loubère to Metz.

     “This La Loubère,” writes Bassompierre, “came to take leave of the
     Comte de Louvigny,[37] in whose service he had been, and, knowing
     him to be an intimate friend of Chalais, did not hesitate to tell
     him where he was going and with what object. From Tours the King
     journeyed along the River Loire to Saumur, and on the way Louvigny
     had some dispute with M. de Candale,[38] with whom he was not on
     good terms, owing to some _amourettes_.[39] However, this passed
     without any disturbance. On the evening we arrived at Saumur,
     Chalais and Bouteville[40] came to dine with me, and begged me to
     reprimand Louvigny, which I did in their presence; and the others
     told him that he must take care not to have any quarrel with M. de
     Candale, if he did not wish to lose their friendship, because they
     were bound to M. de Candale by particular obligations. He, on the
     contrary, while going on the morrow from Saumur to the Ponts-de-Cé,
     picked a quarrel with M. de Candale, and then all those whom he
     thought his friends left him to offer their services to M. de
     Candale. At which this malicious lad was so enraged, that on the
     morrow, when the King arrived at Ancenis,[41] he requested to speak
     to him, and informed him that La Loubère had gone to Metz by order
     of Chalais, and of several other things which he knew or which he

Other writers assert that the real cause of Louvigny’s treachery was
that he had, like Chalais, fallen violently in love with Madame de
Chevreuse and was jealous of the preference which that lady showed for
the Master of the Wardrobe; and it is therefore possible that the affair
of which Bassompierre speaks was only a pretext. Anyway, a few days
later Chalais was arrested at Nantes, where the Court had arrived on
July 3, and imprisoned in a gloomy dungeon in the basement of one of the
towers of the château.

     “_Monsieur_ was very astonished at his arrest,” says Bassompierre,
     “and his friends also, and they were on the point of taking their
     departure. But, at the same time, they received an answer from M.
     de la Valette at Metz to the effect that, if M. d’Épernon declared
     for him [_Monsieur_], he would declare for him likewise, but not
     otherwise. _Monsieur_ wrote to M. d’Épernon, who sent the letter to
     the King.”

Gaston knew that the game was up. Richelieu requested the King to send
for his brother, and succeeded in reducing that miserable prince to a
condition of such abject submission that, despicable as had been his
conduct at Fontainebleau a few weeks earlier, he, on this occasion, far
surpassed it and plunged into a veritable abyss of infamy.

Not only did he consent to the marriage against which he had so
indignantly protested, but he furnished the most damning evidence
against the leaders of the conspiracy of which he was the chief. He
revealed all the communications into which Ornano had entered with the
discontented nobles and with foreign princes, undeterred by the
knowledge that the unfortunate marshal, for whom he had professed so
much zeal, was already awaiting his trial on a capital charge. He
declared that it was the Grand Prieur de Vendôme, likewise in
Richelieu’s clutches, who had counselled him to go to Fleury and
assassinate the Cardinal, if he refused to set Ornano at liberty. He
denounced the Comte de Soissons, the Duc de Longueville, Soubise, and
many others, some of whom had but a very remote connection with the
conspiracy. And he gave so circumstantial an account of his relations
with Chalais and of the persistent efforts the latter had made to push
him into revolt, that he rendered it quite futile for that misguided
young man to attempt any defence. Finally, he confessed that Anne of
Austria had several times entreated him to refuse his consent to the
marriage proposed to him, except on the condition that Ornano should be
set at liberty, and declared that, more than two years before, Madame de
Chevreuse had advised him to remain unmarried, promising that, in the
event of the King’s death, he should marry the Queen.

It was decided to bring Chalais to trial before one of those special
commissions to which Richelieu henceforth assigned most State
prosecutions, for greater certainty of result. It assembled at Nantes,
under the presidency of the new Chancellor, Michel de Marillac, and no
one doubted that Richelieu intended to make a terrible example of the
Master of the Wardrobe.

The unfortunate young man comprehended this, and his courage failed him.
He would have led the most forlorn of hopes or faced the most
redoubtable of _bretteurs_ cheerfully enough, but he shrank in terror
from the shadow of the headsman’s axe. With the scaffold before his
eyes, he revealed himself as the most cowardly of poltroons and
rivalled in baseness even _Monsieur_ himself.

But, while denouncing his accomplices, he, to the mortification of
Richelieu, kept faith with Madame de Chevreuse, and neither before the
commission, nor in the private examinations to which he was subjected,
could anything compromising to the duchess be extracted from him. His
passion for this woman who had lured him to his destruction was as
potent as ever, and from his gloomy dungeon he addressed to her letters
filled with extravagant expressions of adoration, which the lovers of
those days were wont to employ, but which come strangely from a man
menaced by a traitor’s death.[43] Madame de Chevreuse, not unnaturally,
refused to incriminate herself in writing, and though she sent, on more
than one occasion, verbal messages to the prisoner, these do not appear
to have reached him. Anyway, Richelieu, who was particularly anxious to
secure evidence against the duchess, whom he knew to be one of his most
dangerous enemies, contrived to persuade Chalais that she had forgotten
her hapless admirer and was occupied with other love-affairs, and that
she had not scrupled to save herself at his expense. Exasperated to the
last degree against the woman who, he believed, had repaid his devotion
by such base ingratitude, and in the delusive hope that further
important revelations might induce the Cardinal to spare his life, the
wretched Chalais was gradually led to make the gravest accusations
against the duchess. It was all useless. So soon as Richelieu judged
that he had extracted from the prisoner all the information he could
hope, the proceedings were hurried on, and on August 18 the court
pronounced the inevitable sentence, and “declared Henri de Talleyrand,
Sieur de Chalais, attainted and convicted of the crime of
_lèse-majesté_”; for reparation whereof it condemned him to be taken by
the executioner of the High Justice, and conducted, with bare head, to
the Place de Bouffay of Nantes, and there, on a scaffold which should be
erected for that purpose, to have his head struck off and placed on a
pike on the Porte de Sauvetour, his body to be quartered and fastened to
gibbets at the four principal avenues of the said town, and that, before
execution, he should be subjected to torture for the revelation of his
accomplices. The court further declared all his property forfeited to
the King, his posterity ignoble and _roturière_ and deprived of all the
privileges of the nobility, and ordered his residences to be demolished
and his woods cut down to within a man’s height of the ground.

This barbarous sentence was modified by the King, who, “yielding to the
very humble prayer of the Dame de Chalais, mother of the said Chalais,
and to several of his faithful and affectionate subjects, to whom the
said Chalais was related,” remitted all that was uselessly cruel, and
directed that, after decapitation, the body should be given to his
mother for burial in holy ground. His Majesty also annulled the

Before going to execution, the condemned man withdrew all the
accusations he had made against Madame de Chevreuse, declaring that
“what he had written, he had written in the extremity of rage and by
reason of an erroneous belief which he entertained that she had deceived
him,” and, after signing the recantation, he sent for his confessor and
charged him to inform the King that everything he had said against the
Queen and Madame de Chevreuse was false.

In the hope that the intercession of _Monsieur_, who had been shamed
into making some belated efforts to induce the King to spare Chalais’s
life, and that the gain of a few days might mean his salvation, the
friends of the condemned had bribed the executioner of Nantes to leave
the town. Their intervention merely served to make the unhappy man’s end
the more cruel, for, instead of postponing the execution until the
headsman of Nantes could be fetched, Richelieu sent for a criminal then
lying under sentence of death in the prison of Nantes, who, on the
promise that he should be accorded his life, undertook to replace him.
The improvised executioner bungled the business in the most shocking
manner, and, according to one contemporary account, more than thirty
blows were required before the head at last fell. Chalais’s body was
given to his mother, who caused it to be buried beneath the high altar
in the Church of the Franciscans at Nantes.[44]

Such was the end of Chalais and of the conspiracy which is sometimes
known by his name, though it might with far more justice be called by
that of Madame de Chevreuse, since it was she who had pulled the strings
by which her luckless puppet of a lover danced to the scaffold. If it
had succeeded, it would have changed the face of the realm, but its
complete failure, which placed all its leaders, with the exception of
the Comte de Soissons who had prudently taken to flight, in the power of
Richelieu, immensely strengthened the government it was intended to
overthrow. On September 2 the Maréchal d’Ornano anticipated the
executioner by dying in prison,[45] and, two and a half years later,
the Grand Prior followed him to the grave. The Duc de Vendôme remained
in captivity until 1630, when he was set at liberty, though his
government of Brittany, which had made him so great a power for
mischief, was never restored to him.

As for _Monsieur_, he was discharged in order that he might marry Mlle.
de Montpensier. The marriage contract was signed on August 5, and the
wedding celebrated the following day by the triumphant Richelieu.

At the conclusion of the betrothal ceremony, the King, addressing
_Monsieur_ before Bassompierre, said: “Brother, I tell you before the
Maréchal de Bassompierre, who loves you well, and who is my good and
faithful servant, that I have never in my life accomplished anything
which has pleased me so much as your marriage.” _Monsieur_ then invited
Bassompierre to walk with him in the garden which is on the bastion [of
Nantes] and said to him: “Betstein,[46] you will see me now without
fear, since I stand well with the King.” He then proposed to
Bassompierre that he should enter his service as _Surintendant_ of his
Household and chief of his council, as Ornano had been, and begged him
to speak to the King and obtain his consent. The marshal, however,
begged to be excused, foreseeing that such a position, though very
honourable and lucrative, was likely to prove extremely embarrassing. “I
answered,” says he, “that if the King were to offer me 100,000 crowns a
year to enter his service, I should decline, not because I should not
deem it a great honour and that I have not an ardent desire to serve
you, but because it would be necessary for me to deceive one or the
other of you, and I am not skilful in that.”

Mlle. de Montpensier brought her husband a revenue of 350,000 livres and
immense estates, amongst which was the sovereign principality of Dombes,
and Louis XIII, on the advice of Richelieu, gave _Monsieur_, as the
price of his honour and the lives of his friends, a rich appanage. He
exchanged the duchy of Anjou for those of Orléans and Chartres and the
county of Blois, with a revenue of 100,000 livres and pensions amounting
to more than six times that sum.[47] Little wonder, then, that he should
have received the news of the unfortunate Chalais’s death with

The brother was pardoned, but the wife had transgressed beyond
forgiveness. The King, already violently irritated against the Queen by
her coquetry with Buckingham, was exasperated beyond measure at the part
which she was reported to have played in this miserable affair. His
jealous and suspicious nature easily persuaded him that there was some
intrigue between her and _Monsieur_, not perhaps to hasten his demise,
but to marry whenever that event should take place; and such remained
his settled conviction until the end of his life.[49] In the first
transports of his wrath, he summoned his consort to appear before a
special council, at which Richelieu and the Queen-Mother assisted.
Instead of being accommodated with the _fauteuil_ due to her royalty,
Anne suffered the indignity of having to sit upon a folding-seat, as
though she had been a criminal, the while the King upbraided her with
having conspired against his life, in order to have another husband.
“The Queen,” writes Madame de Motteville, “to whom innocence gave
strength, incensed by the cruelty of the accusation, spoke with firmness
and a generous boldness, and told him, as I have heard from her own
lips, that she had too little to gain by the change to blacken her soul
for so small a profit. Then, with the imperiousness of a princess of her
birth, she reproached the Queen-Mother with the persecutions which she
and the Cardinal de Richelieu were inflicting upon her.”

Anne’s boldness, and particularly the disdainful answer which she had
given him, served only to exasperate the angry monarch still further,
and he resolved to punish her by a public humiliation. Accordingly, an
order was issued, signed by Louis and countersigned by the Cardinal,
forbidding entry to the Queen’s apartments to all nobles and gentlemen
other than those attached to her Household, unless they paid their
respects to her Majesty in the King’s presence and entered and quitted
her apartments in his suite. He also forbade the Queen to grant any
private audience without informing the Queen-Mother or the Cardinal, and
naming the person whom she proposed to receive and the object of the

Madame de Chevreuse remained to be dealt with, and for a time it looked
as though matters were likely to go hardly with her. Her husband,
however, who was in high favour with Louis XIII, intervened and
persuaded the King to be content with her banishment from the Court,
promising to be answerable for her future conduct. She accordingly
retired to the duke’s château of Dampierre, near Rambouillet, where she
was kept under close surveillance, all communication with the Queen
being strictly forbidden her. She would appear, however, to have been so
imprudent as to disobey this command; anyway, six months later she
received orders to leave France. Her request that she might be
permitted to retire to England was refused, and she was obliged to seek
an asylum at Nancy, with her husband’s kinsman, Charles IV of Lorraine.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the end of September of that year, Bassompierre was despatched on
another important diplomatic mission, this time to England, where the
differences between Charles I and Henrietta Maria over the thorny
question of the Queen’s French attendants had reached a crisis.

In the marriage treaty, signed on November 24, 1624, the French
Government had succeeded in obtaining practically all that it had
demanded, though when one reads the articles of this astonishing
document, it is impossible to believe that James I, or Charles, when
after his accession he confirmed them, ever intended that they should be
carried out, or that they conceived it possible to do so.

The treaty stipulated that the free exercise of the Catholic religion
should be permitted to Henrietta, and likewise to all the children who
should be born of the marriage, who were to be brought up by their
mother until they reached the age of thirteen. The Queen was to have a
chapel in all the royal palaces, “and in every place of the King of
Great Britain’s dominions where he or she should reside.” She was to
have in her house twenty-eight priests and ecclesiastics, almoners and
chaplains included, to serve in her chapel, and if there were any
regular clergy amongst them, they should wear the habit of their Order.
Her domestic establishment was to consist exclusively of French
Catholics, chosen by the Very Christian King.

These terms, if decidedly obnoxious to British prejudice, were, with the
exception of the exclusively French composition of the Queen’s
Household--a most startling innovation and one which was bound to lead
to trouble--only what might have been expected if the King of England
chose for his wife a Catholic princess. But the treaty contained in
addition private or secret articles, which, admitting as they did the
right of a foreign power to meddle in domestic affairs, were unlikely to
be tolerated for a moment by a self-respecting people. These secret
articles stipulated:--

1. That the Catholics, as well ecclesiastical as temporal, imprisoned
since the last proclamation which followed the breach with Spain, should
all be set at liberty.

2. That the English Catholics should be no more searched after nor
molested for their religion.

3. That the goods of the Catholics, as well ecclesiastical as temporal,
that were seized since the aforementioned proclamation, should be

The insertion of these secret articles in the marriage treaty is the
more extraordinary, since, on his return from Spain, Charles had pledged
his word, in response to a petition from the Commons, that, in the event
of his marrying a Catholic princess, “no advantage to the recusants at
home” should accrue from the match. He had therefore to choose between
breaking faith either with Parliament and the nation or with France.

To aggravate the difficulty of the situation, Henrietta had been sent to
England as though she were a missionary of the Propaganda going forth to
fight her battle for God and the Church. Urban VIII had exhorted her to
prove the guardian angel of the English Catholics and told her that the
eyes of both worlds, earthly and spiritual, were upon her; while, on
taking leave of her, Marie de’ Medici had placed in her hands a lengthy
epistle, purporting to contain her own final counsels and admonitions,
though in all probability it was the work of her confessor Bérulle, in
which she was enjoined to model her conduct upon that of her ancestor
Saint-Louis, and, like him, to fight a good fight for the Christian
[_i.e._, Roman Catholic] religion, in defence of which he exposed his
life, dying faithful amongst infidels. The sequel leaves no doubt that
the child--she was but fifteen--took to heart the lessons which she had

Charles I’s dream of domestic happiness speedily vanished. On the road
to London there was a warm dispute between the royal pair on the
question of the precedence to be enjoyed by Madame de Saint-George,
Henrietta’s lady of the bedchamber, to whom the young Queen was tenderly
attached; and this affair appears to have embittered the early days of
their married life. Other troubles were not long in arriving, for
Henrietta was impetuous and indiscreet, Charles punctilious and

After a very short stay in London, their Majesties, to escape the plague
which was devastating the capital, removed to Hampton Court. A few days
later, a deputation from the Privy Council waited upon the Queen to
acquaint her with the regulations which the King desired should be
observed in his Household, which were substantially the same as those
which had been in force during the lifetime of his mother, Anne of

Henrietta took umbrage at once. “I hope,” she replied pettishly, “I
shall have leave to order my house as I list myself.” Charles attempted
to argue the point with her in private, but the answer he received was
so rude that he did not venture to transcribe it when a year later he
sent a long account of his consort’s misdoings to his ambassador in
France, with the intention that it should be submitted to Marie de’

As time went on, matters grew worse. The Queen obstinately declined to
make any attempt to learn the English language or to understand English
customs, and appeared to regard herself as in a foreign land, where
everyone was hostile to her. Even her almoner, the Bishop of Mende, a
prelate in no way inclined to be over-conciliatory, was forced to admit
that “it would be _à propos_ should the Queen show a greater degree of
courtesy towards the King and the great dignitaries of State; adding
that to none, of what rank soever, did she pay so much as a compliment.”

Unfortunate as was the attitude adopted by Henrietta, it must be allowed
that she was not without cause for complaint. She had come to England in
the full persuasion that her arrival was to inaugurate an era of
liberation for the English Catholics, but scarcely had she set foot in
the country than Charles proceeded to evade his engagements. Faced with
the alternative of breaking his promise to his subjects or to the King
of France, he attempted to find a way out of the difficulty by steering
a middle course. He pardoned and set at liberty the priests who lay in
prison, and allowed them to leave the country in the train of the French
Ambassadors Extraordinary, Chevreuse and Ville-aux-Clercs, on the
understanding that they would not attempt to return, which done, he
announced to the Parliament that henceforth the laws against the
Catholics would be put into execution.

This compromise satisfied neither party. The English, seeing so many
priests suddenly emerge from prison, not unnaturally asked themselves
whether the King was really sincere when he declared that the Penal Laws
were to be enforced; while the Queen and her ecclesiastical guides and
counsellors were indignant that he should thus attempt to evade his
pre-nuptial pledges, although, had they had the slightest acquaintance
with the state of public feeling, they would have known that to execute
them in full was impossible.

The difficulties of the religious situation were accentuated by the
lamentable want of tact and patience displayed by both sides. The
priests in Henrietta’s suite, with the Bishop of Mende at their head,
seemed to be eager for battle, nor was Charles inclined to meet them in
a conciliatory spirit. The ecclesiastics were importunate to have the
Queen’s chapel at St. James’s completed; but the King, according to a
news-letter of the time, replied that, if her Majesty’s closet were not
large enough, they could say Mass in the great chamber; that were it not
wide enough, they might use the garden; if that would not serve their
turn, then the park was the fittest place. “So,” adds the writer, “they
wished themselves at home again.” On one occasion, when their Majesties
were dining together, there was an unseemly dispute between Henrietta’s
chaplain and the King’s as to which of them should say grace. The
Frenchman stole a march on his rival, upon which Charles rose, and
taking the Queen by the hand, left the table, refusing to partake of
meat thus irregularly blessed. On another, while they were staying at a
country-house, Henrietta and some of her ladies passed, talking and
laughing, through the hall where divine service was being held, and, to
make matters worse, returned shortly afterwards and caused a fresh

As the months passed, it became daily more apparent that, so long as
Henrietta’s French attendants remained in England, there could be no
hope of a good understanding between husband and wife. The Queen’s
ladies taught her to look upon the English of both sexes with distrust
and dislike. Her priests fomented by every means in their power the
indignation with which Charles’s broken promises in regard to his
Catholic subjects had inspired her, and encouraged her to make an
ostentatious display of her devotion to the observances of her Church.
When, on February 2, 1626, Charles’s coronation took place, they
persuaded her, not only to refuse to be crowned with him, but even to
decline to assist at the ceremony, though a latticed place in the church
had been made ready for her. Her absence involved that of Blainville,
the French Ambassador, which was regarded as a serious affront to the
sovereign to whom he was accredited, and did not serve to increase the
cordiality between the two Courts.

When Henrietta was with her ladies she was as gay and light-hearted as
might have been expected from one of her age and nation. Her ill-humour
was reserved for her husband, in whose presence she gave herself the
airs of a martyr. Charles’s patience was rapidly becoming exhausted;
more than once he thought of “cashiering his Monsers,” as he expressed
it, of packing the whole company back to France; but the marriage treaty
protected them, and for a time he held his hand.

Fresh disputes soon arose. The Queen desired to nominate some of her
French attendants to take charge of her jointure, to which Charles
refused to consent. One night, after the royal pair were in bed, high
words passed between them. “Take your lands to yourself,” exclaimed the
angry wife. “If I have no power to put whom I will into those places, I
will have neither lands nor houses of you. Give me what you think fit by
way of pension.” Charles took refuge in his dignity. “Remember,” said
he, “to whom you speak. You ought not to use me so.” The Queen declared
that she was miserable; she had no power to place servants, and business
succeeded the worse for her recommendation. She would have him to know
that she was not of that quality to be used so ill. She continued in
this strain for some time, refusing to listen to her husband’s
explanations. “Then,” wrote Charles afterwards, in giving an account of
the scene to Carleton, for the information of the French Government, “I
made her both hear me and end this discourse.”

An incident which occurred at the end of June, 1626, brought matters to
a climax.

One evening, after spending the greater part of the day in devotions in
her chapel at St. James’s, the Queen, with some of her French
attendants, amongst whom appear to have been several priests, strolled
out to breathe the fresh air in St. James’s Park. From there they made
their way into Hyde Park, and, by accident or design, directed their
steps towards Tyburn,[50] where stood the gallows on which so many of
their co-religionists had died. What happened then is uncertain.
Henrietta afterwards denied that she approached within fifty paces of
the gallows-tree, but it is possible, as Bassompierre admitted in his
speech before the Royal Commissioners appointed to discuss with him the
question of the dismissal of the Queen’s French attendants, that some
words of prayer for the souls of the Catholics who had suffered there
may have risen to her lips.

A week or two passed before the story of that evening walk reached
Charles’s ears, much exaggerated, as one may suppose, in its passage,
through the mouths of men. The Queen of England, he was told, had been
conducted on a pilgrimage to offer prayers to dead traitors who had
suffered the just reward of their crimes.[51] The King’s indignation
knew no bounds, and, without apparently troubling to inquire into the
truth of the matter, he forthwith resolved that whatever the
marriage-treaty might say, those who were responsible for this scandal
should no longer remain in England.

As, however, he felt that it would be advisable to do something to
lessen the indignation with which the news of the expulsion of his
wife’s French attendants would certainly be received in France, he found
a pretext for sending Carleton on a special mission to Louis XIII, in
order that he might be at hand to explain matters; but no sooner did he
learn that his Ambassador had crossed the Channel than he proceeded to
carry out his intentions.

On July 31 the King and Queen dined together at Whitehall. When they
rose from table, Charles conducted his wife into his private apartments,
where, having locked the door, he informed her that her attendants must
return to France. Meanwhile, Lord Conway was informing the members of
the Queen’s Household that it was the King’s command that they should
remove forthwith to Somerset House--Henrietta’s dower-palace--where they
would learn his Majesty’s pleasure. The Bishop of Mende expostulated,
and the women “howled and lamented as if they had been going to
execution.” But the Yeomen of the Guard intervened, thrust them all out
and locked the doors after them.

Charles’s task was not so easy. No sooner did the Queen realise what was
being done than she rushed to the window, in order to bid farewell to
her departing attendants. The King attempted to draw her away, bidding
her “to be satisfied, since it must be so.” But Henrietta, who was in a
violent passion, broke away from him, and since he prevented her from
opening the window, contrived to dash the glass to pieces, in her
determination to make her voice heard. Charles, it is said, dragged her
back, with her hands bleeding from the energy with which she clung to
the bars.

The next day Conway went to Somerset House and informed the indignant
attendants of Henrietta that they must leave the country, with two or
three exceptions, which had been made at the Queen’s earnest entreaty.
Presents to the amount of £22,000 were offered them, and they were told
that if anything were owing to them, it should be discharged out of the
Queen’s dowry, which had not yet been paid, owing to a misunderstanding
between the two Courts. On various pretexts, however, they delayed
their departure for several days, until at last Charles, thoroughly
exasperated, wrote to Buckingham from Oaking as follows:

     “Steenie,--I have received your letter by Dick Graeme. This is my
     answer: I command you to send all the French away to-morrow out of
     the town--if you can, by fair means, but stick not long in
     disputing; otherwise, force them away, driving them away like so
     many wild beasts, until you have shipped them, and so the devil go
     with them. Let me hear of no answer, but of the performance of my

     “And so I rest your faithful, constant, loving friend,

     “C. R.”[52]

The duke proceeded to give effect to his Majesty’s orders, and next day
despatched to Somerset House a number of coaches, carts, and barges for
the conveyance of the Queen’s retinue and their baggage. But the French
with one voice declared their determination not to depart, saying that
“they had not been discharged with the proper punctilios.” Thereupon a
body of heralds and trumpeters, accompanied by a strong detachment of
the Yeomen of the Guard, were marched down to Somerset House. The
heralds and trumpeters formally proclaimed the King’s pleasure at the
gates, after which the Yeomen advanced to execute it, their orders
being, if the French continued refractory, “to thrust them all out head
and shoulders.” These drastic measures, however, were not resorted to,
as, recognising that further resistance was useless, they departed that
same tide, and were conducted to Dover, where they embarked for France
so soon as the wind served.

Charles’s high-handed action was, as might have been expected, deeply
resented by the Court of France. “The King of England,” says
Bassompierre, “sent the millord Carleton to make the King and the
Queen-Mother agree to what he had done. He was very badly received.”
Louis XIII told Carleton that his sister had been treated cruelly, and
that he proposed to send an Ambassador of his own to England, in the
person of the Maréchal de Bassompierre, to investigate the affair. When
he had received his report, he would decide what action he would take in
the matter; and from this resolution Carleton was unable to move him.

On August 24 the Court left Nantes to return to Paris. Shortly after its
arrival in the capital, Charles sent Walter Montague to France to offer
his felicitations to the Royal family on the marriage of _Monsieur_.
Louis XIII, however, refused to receive him, and sent orders to him “to
make the best of his way back,” and, at the same time, pressed
Bassompierre to set out for England with as little delay as possible.


     Bassompierre arrives in England--His journey to London--He is
     visited secretly by the Duke of Buckingham--He visits the duke in
     the same manner at York House--Charles I commands him to send Père
     de Sancy back to France--Singular history of this
     ecclesiastic--Refusal of Bassompierre--His first audience of
     Charles I and Henrietta Maria at Hampton Court--Firmness of
     Bassompierre on the question of Père de Sancy--He visits the Queen
     at Somerset House--His private audience of the King--He reproves
     the presumption of Buckingham--Admirable qualities displayed by
     Bassompierre in the difficult situation in which he is placed--He
     succeeds in effecting a reconciliation between the King and
     Queen--His able and eloquent speech before the Council--An
     agreement on the question of the Queen’s French attendants is
     finally arrived at--Lord Mayor’s Day three centuries
     ago--Bassompierre reconciles the Queen with Buckingham--Stormy
     scene between Charles I and Henrietta Maria at
     Whitehall--Bassompierre speaks his mind to the Queen--Intrigues of
     Père de Sancy--Peace is re-established--Magnificent fête at York
     House--Departure of Bassompierre from London--He is detained at
     Dover by bad weather--England and France on the verge of
     war--Buckingham decides to proceed to France on a special mission
     and proposes to accompany Bassompierre--Embarrassment of the
     latter--He visits the duke at Canterbury and persuades him to defer
     his visit--A disastrous Channel passage--Return of Bassompierre to
     Paris--Refusal of the Court of France to receive Buckingham--An
     English historian’s appreciation of Bassompierre.

On September 27 Bassompierre left Paris and proceeded to Richelieu’s
house at Pontoise, where he dined with the Cardinal and discussed with
him, Marillac, Schomberg, and d’Herbault various matters relating to his
mission. He slept that night at Beauvais and then proceeded slowly
towards Boulogne, stopping to inspect the Swiss troops who were in
garrison in the towns on his route. He reached Boulogne on October 1,
where he found his suite awaiting him, and the governor, the Duc
d’Aumont, gave a banquet in his honour; and on the following day
embarked for England, and, the wind being favourable and the sea calm,
accomplished the dreaded passage in safety and made Dover the same

     “I remained there until the morrow--the 3rd--in order to secure
     conveyances for my suite. On the next day--the 4th--I slept at
     Cantorberi [Canterbury]; the 5th at Sittimborne [Sittingbourne]; on
     Tuesday--the 6th--I went on to Rochester, where the King’s great
     ships-of-war lie, and came to sleep at Gravesinde [Gravesend]. The
     sieur Louis Lucnar, the conductor of Ambassadors,[53] came to meet
     me with the Queen’s barge, which she had sent me, and, on
     Wednesday--the 7th--I embarked on the Thames and passed by the
     warehouse of the East-India Company, and by Grennhuits [Greenwich],
     a house of the King,[54] near which the Earl of Dorset, Knight of
     the Garter, of the House of Sacfil,[55] came to receive me on the
     part of the King, and having conducted me to the King’s barge,
     brought me close to the Tower of London, where the King’s carriages
     were awaiting me. These took me to my lodging, where the said Earl
     of Dorset took leave of me. I was neither lodged nor entertained at
     the King’s expense,[56] and they had even made a difficulty about
     sending this Earl of Dorset, according to the usual custom, to
     receive me. However, this did not prevent me from being well
     lodged, furnished, and accommodated.[57] That same evening, after I
     had supped, word was brought to the Chevalier de Jars,[58] who had
     supped with me, that someone was asking for him. It was the Duke of
     Bocquinguem and Montagu, who had come alone to see me without
     torch-bearers, and begged him [Jars] to bring them into my chamber
     by some private door, which he did, and then came to fetch me. I
     was very astonished to see him [Buckingham] there, because I had
     understood that he was at Hampton Court with the King; but he had
     come from there to see me. He made at first many complaints to me
     of France, and then also on the subject of certain persons;[59] to
     which I replied the best I could, and then spoke of the grievances
     which France had against England. These he excused as well as he
     was able, and afterwards promised me all manner of assistance and
     friendship, and I also made him ample offers of my service. He
     requested me not to say that he had come to see me, because he had
     done so unknown to the King, which I did not believe.

     “On Thursday--the 8th--the Ambassador Contarini, of Venice, came to
     visit me, and at night I went to see the Duke of Buckingham in
     secret at his house called Iorchaus,[60] which was extremely fine,
     and so richly fitted up that I never saw one to equal it.[61] We
     parted very good friends.

     “_Friday, the 9th (October)._ In the morning, the sieur Louis
     Lucnar [Sir Lewis Lewkenor] came to me, on behalf of the King, to
     command me to send back to France Père Sancy, of the Oratory, whom
     I had brought with me. This I absolutely refused, saying that he
     was my confessor, and that the King had no concern with my suite;
     and that, if I were not agreeable to him, I would leave his kingdom
     and return to my master. A little while after the Duke of
     Bocquinguem and the Earls of Dorset and Salisberi[62] came to dine
     with me, and I complained to them about this. After dinner the Earl
     of Montgomery[63] Grand Chamberlain, came to visit me and to press
     me, on the part of the King, to send away Père Sancy, to whom I
     returned the same answer as I had made Lucnar.”

[Illustration: CHARLES I.

After the picture by Van Dyck at Dresden.]

This Père de Sancy, whom Charles I was so anxious to drive from his
dominions, even, as we shall see presently, going the length of
threatening to refuse to receive Bassompierre in private audience until
he had sent him away, was a most extraordinary personage. The younger
son of Nicolas Harlay de Sancy, who had been Colonel-General of the
Swiss and _Surintendant des Finances_[64] under Henri IV, he had taken
Holy Orders and been provided with three fat abbeys and the bishopric of
Lavaur. But, on the death of his elder brother, the Baron de Maule, he
abandoned the cassock for the sword and served in several campaigns in
Italy, Germany, and Flanders. About 1611 he was sent as Ambassador to
Constantinople, where he remained for seven years and amassed a
considerable fortune, by methods which were common enough amongst the
diplomatists of those days, whose official salaries were quite
insufficient to meet the heavy expenditure which such positions
entailed. Part of this fortune Sancy spent in the acquisition of rare
Oriental manuscripts, for he was a man of really remarkable learning,
speaking fluently, it is said, modern Greek, Latin, Spanish, English,
Italian, and German, reading Hebrew texts with ease, and having a wide
acquaintance with mathematics, natural history, and chemistry. However,
in 1618, some unusually scandalous abuse of his official position so
enraged the Turkish Government, that it caused him to be, not only
arrested, but sentenced to a hundred blows with the bastinado. The Court
of France accepted the excuses of the Porte--Sancy himself seems to have
been only too anxious for the matter to be hushed up--and recalled its
Ambassador, who, on his return, resumed the cassock, entered the
Congregation of the Oratoire and attached himself to the fortunes of
Richelieu. In 1625 he was amongst the ecclesiastics who accompanied
Henrietta Maria to England, where he rendered himself particularly
odious to Charles I and his people by his ill-considered zeal. The King
had insisted on his being sent back to France not long after his
arrival, but, notwithstanding this, he now reappeared as chaplain to
Bassompierre’s embassy. This appointment, which could not be regarded as
other than a direct affront to the English Court, had been made, it
would seem, at the instance of Marie de’ Medici, and against the advice
of Bassompierre, who foresaw the embarrassments to which it was bound to
give rise. However, since he had been obliged to bring Sancy to England,
the dignity of his sovereign demanded that he should protect him, even
at the risk of compromising the success of his mission.

After the Lord Chamberlain had taken his departure, Bassompierre
received visits from the Danish Ambassador and the agent of the ex-King
of Bohemia, the unfortunate Frederick V, Elector Palatine. In the
evening Walter Montague supped with him, and the following night he
entertained Edward Cecil, Viscount Wimbledon--which the marshal spells
“Houemelton”--who, the previous year, had commanded the expedition
against the coast of Spain, the failure of which had been mainly due to
the gross incapacity which he had displayed. Edward Cecil was an old
acquaintance of Bassompierre. He had met him for the first time when a
lad in Italy, and again when he visited England with Biron in 1601,
upon which occasion, he tells us, Cecil had shown him much courtesy.

On the 11th Bassompierre had his first audience of the King:

     “The Earl of Carlisle came with the King’s coaches to convey me to
     Amptoncourt [Hampton Court] to have audience of the King. At
     Amptoncourt I was conducted to a room in which a beautiful
     collation was spread. The Duke of Bouquinguem came to introduce me
     to the audience, and told me that the King desired to know
     beforehand what I intended to say to him, and that he did not wish
     me to speak about any business to him, otherwise, he would not
     grant me an audience. I told him that the King should know what I
     had to say to him from my own mouth, and that it was not the custom
     to limit an Ambassador in the representations he had to make to the
     King to whom he was sent. He swore to me that the only reason which
     obliged him [the King] to that, and which made him insist upon it,
     was that he could not help putting himself into a passion in
     discussing the matters about which I had to speak to him, which
     would not be seemly in the Chair of State, in sight of the chief
     persons of the Kingdom, both men and women; that the Queen his wife
     was close to him, who, incensed at the dismissal of her servants,
     might commit some extravagance and weep in the sight of everyone;
     that, in short, he would not compromise himself in public, and that
     he was resolved to break up this audience and grant me one in
     private sooner than treat with me concerning any business before
     everyone. He [Buckingham] swore vehemently to me that he was
     telling me the truth, and that he had not been able to persuade the
     King to see me save on this condition; and he begged of me to
     suggest some expedient, whereby I should place him under an
     obligation. I (who perceived that I was going to receive this
     affront, and that he was asking me to aid him with my counsel, in
     order to avoid the one and to insinuate myself more and more into
     his good graces by the other) told him that I could not in any
     manner whatsoever do anything but what was prescribed to me by the
     King my master; but that, since, as my friend, he asked my counsel
     as to some expedient, I told him that it depended on the King to
     give or to take away, to abridge or to lengthen, my audience in
     what manner he would, and that he might, after having permitted me
     to make my reverence, and received, with the King’s letters
     [_i.e._, his credentials], my first compliments, when I should come
     to open to him the occasion of my coming, interrupt me and say:
     ‘Sir Ambassador, you are come from London, and you have to return
     thither; it is late, and this matter requires a longer time than I
     could now give you. I shall send for you one of these days at an
     earlier hour, and we will confer about it at our leisure in a
     private audience. Meantime, I shall content myself with having seen
     you and heard news of the King my brother-in-law and the Queen my
     mother-in-law; and I will not delay longer the impatience which the
     Queen my wife has to hear of them also from you.’ Upon which I
     shall take leave of him to go and make my reverence to the Queen.”

Buckingham appeared delighted with the way out of the difficulty which
the resourceful Bassompierre had suggested:--

     “After I had said this, the duke embraced me and said: ‘You know
     more about these things than we do. I offered you my assistance in
     the affairs you are come to negotiate; but now I recall the promise
     I gave you, for you can do very well without me.’ And so left me,
     laughing, to go and acquaint the King with the expedient I had
     proposed, which he accepted and punctually observed.

     “The duke returned to introduce me to the audience, and the Earl of
     Carlisle walked behind him. I found the King on a stage raised ten
     steps, the Queen and he seated in two chairs, who rose at the first
     reverence I made on entering. The company was magnificent and the
     order exquisite. I made my compliment to the King and handed him my
     letters, and, after having said my words of civility, proceeded to
     those of business. He interrupted me in the same form as I had
     proposed to the duke. I then saw the Queen, to whom I said little,
     because she told me that the King had given her permission to go
     to London, where she could see me at leisure.[65] Then I withdrew.

     “The duke and the principal lords came to conduct me to my coach,
     and, as the duke was talking to me expressly to give the Secretary
     Convé[66] time to catch me, the said Secretary arrived and told me
     that the King informed me that, although he had promised me a
     private audience, nevertheless, he would not grant it me until I
     should have sent Père Sancy back to France, as he had already
     desired me to do three times without effect, at which his Majesty
     felt himself offended.”

However, Bassompierre was determined not to give way on the question of
Père Sancy:--

     “I replied that, if it had been consistent with my duty or with
     propriety to obey him, I should have done so at the first command,
     and that I had no other answer to give him than one in conformity
     with those which I had already given, with which I thought he ought
     to be satisfied; and that his Majesty should content himself with
     the respect I paid him, by keeping shut in my house one of my
     servants who was neither guilty nor condemned nor accused, who, I
     promised him, should neither act, nor speak, nor even show himself
     at his Court or in the town of London, but remain in my own house
     so long as I should be there, and not leave it except when I did,
     which I would do on the morrow, if he ordered me; and that, if he
     would not give me an audience, I should send to the King my master
     to know what it pleased him should become of me after this
     refusal, who would not, in my opinion, allow me to grow old in
     England, waiting until the King took a fancy or had leisure to
     listen to me.

     “These things I said loud enough, and in no wise moved, in order
     that all the bystanders might hear me, and I then expressed more
     resentment to the duke [Buckingham], whom I requested to speak to
     me no more of this matter, upon which my mind was made up, unless
     they wished to give me an order to leave London and the island
     forthwith, which I should receive with joy. And with that I left
     the company with the Earl of Carlisle and Montague, who brought me
     back to London and remained to sup with me.”

Bassompierre’s firmness was not without its effect upon the King and
Buckingham, who, realising that he was not to be browbeaten, became much
more conciliatory. The following evening Buckingham and Walter Montague
came to sup with him and he had a long and apparently amicable
conference with the former; while on the 13th, after visiting Henrietta
Maria at her “Palais de Sommerset,” he dined with the Duke at York
House. Finally, on the 14th, Montague came with a message from
Buckingham that, although he had not complied with the King’s wishes in
regard to Père Sancy, his Majesty was graciously pleased to give him
audience the following day.

On the morrow the Earl of Bridgewater arrived with the Royal coaches to
convey the Ambassador and his suite to Hampton Court. Here he was
received by Buckingham, who conducted him into a gallery, where Charles
was awaiting him. The duke then withdrew a little distance, and a long
interview took place between Charles and Bassompierre, in which there
was much heated discussion.

     “He [the King] put himself into a great passion,[67] and I,
     without failing in the respect I owed him, answered him in such
     wise that, by yielding something to him, he conceded a great deal
     to me. I witnessed an instance of the great boldness, not to say
     impudence, of the Duke of Bocquinguem, which was that, when he saw
     us the most heated in argument, he came up suddenly and placed
     himself, as a third, between the King and myself, saying: ‘I am
     come to make peace between you two (“_Je viens faire le hola entre
     vous deux_”).’ Upon which I took off my hat, and so long as he
     stayed with us, I would not put it on again, notwithstanding all
     the entreaties of the King and of himself to do so. But, so soon as
     he withdrew, I replaced it, without the King telling me. When the
     audience terminated, and he [Buckingham] could speak to me, he
     inquired why I would not cover myself while he was by, and that I
     did so readily when he was no longer there. I answered that I had
     done it to do him honour, because _he_ was not covered, and that I
     should have been, which I would not suffer. For which he was much
     pleased with me, and several times mentioned it afterwards in my
     praise. But I had also another reason for so doing, which was that
     it was no longer an audience, but a private conversation, since he
     had interrupted it, by coming in as a third.”[68]

     “After my last audience was over, the King led me through divers
     galleries to the Queen’s apartments, where he left me, and, after I
     had had a long conversation with her, I was brought back to London
     by the same Earl of Brischwater.”[69]

It is evident, from Bassompierre’s despatches, that after his audience
with Charles I, he was, for the moment, tempted to despair of the
success of his mission, believing that the King was so embittered
against his wife’s French attendants that he would never consent to
their return, and that Buckingham, notwithstanding the desire he
professed for an amicable arrangement, was not to be trusted.

     “I did not fail,” he writes to Richelieu, “to represent
     energetically to the King all the points of my commission, and to
     inform him of the things which I have seen lately, in order to urge
     him to give satisfaction to the King [Louis XIII]. But I found his
     mind so opposed to the re-establishment of the officers of the
     Queen his wife which was demanded of him, that he does not wish to
     hear of it in any fashion, and that it is waste of time to think of
     persuading him to it, as you will be able to judge from the letter
     which I have written to the King, who will acquaint you with his
     rude behaviour. I am so ill satisfied with him, that were it not
     that I had received express orders not to break or conclude
     anything without asking permission to do it, I should have taken
     leave of him in the same audience. I await the order of the King by
     the return of this courier, and the honour of your commands.”

And to his brother-in-law, the Comte de Tillières, he writes:--

     “Holland and Gorin[70] are honest men; the others, such as
     Carlisle, Pembroc,[71] and Montgomari, discreet; the duke,[72]
     flattering and deceitful, who writes me that he is in despair that
     I have not received the satisfaction that I desire. I shall be
     extremely anxious to return, and shall do so on the return of this
     courier, which I beg you to arrange to send back to me promptly;
     for I languish here without hope of effecting anything.”[73]

However, Bassompierre did not receive orders to return to France, and in
the course of the next few days the attitude of Charles I and his Court
underwent a welcome change, and every influence was brought to bear upon
the Ambassador to induce him to represent to the French Government that
the religious and domestic difficulties which had led to the expulsion
of the Queen’s attendants had been such as to exonerate, if not to
justify, that high-handed action, and to persuade Henrietta Maria to
consent to some arrangement satisfactory to all parties concerned.
Buckingham called on him several times and brought him to Somerset House
for informal discussions. All the great nobles of the Court--Pembroke,
Carlisle, Carleton, Holland--whom he visited at
“Kinsinthon”--Montgomery, Bridgewater, and Conway, appeared anxious to
make amends for the coolness of his first reception by every kind of
civility and hospitality. He was permitted to have private audiences of
the Queen both at Somerset House and “Houaithall” [Whitehall], and
Charles even condescended to discuss his domestic troubles with him in
the presence of his consort.

Bassompierre was ready enough to repay the courtesies and confidences
which were now lavished upon him by using the influence which the fact
that he had been one of her father’s most intimate friends, and had
known her since her childhood, gave him over the Queen to bring about an
amicable settlement. He recognised that there had been faults as well as
grievances on both sides, and, in his private conferences with
Henrietta, he pointed out to her that she had committed a very grave
error in surrounding herself so closely with her own people and
establishing, so to speak, a foreign camp in the midst of the English
Court. His task, however, was a far from easy one, and it was
complicated by the circumstance that Henrietta was convinced that
Buckingham was her personal enemy, and that, jealous lest she should
acquire influence with the King, he had made mischief perpetually
between them.[74] Eventually, however, by a happy combination of tact,
patience, and firmness, he brought her to take a more reasonable view of
the situation, though her Majesty’s temper was very uncertain, and more
than once, when he flattered himself that differences were
satisfactorily adjusted, fresh trouble arose, and he had to begin his
work over again. But let us turn to his journal, wherein he has noted
the progress of his negotiations from day to day:--

     “_Friday, the 16th_ [October].--The King and Queen returned to
     London. The duke [Buckingham] sent to ask me to come to Somerset
     [House], where we spent more than two hours debating our affairs.

     “_Saturday, the 17th._--I went to salute the Queen at Houaithall
     [Whitehall], and to render her an account of all that I had
     conferred with the duke about the preceding day.

     “_Sunday, the 18th._--I was visited by the Secretary Convé
     [Conway], who came to see me on behalf of the King. Then the Earl
     of Carlisle and millord Carleton came to see me.

     “_Monday, the 19th._--I went to visit the Queen at Houaithall

     “_Tuesday, the 20th._--The Viscount Houemelton [Wimbledon] and
     Goring came to dine with me. After dinner I was heard at the
     Council [Privy Council].

     “_Wednesday, the 21st._--I wrote a despatch to the King [of
     France]. I went to see the Queen and to confer with the duke at
     Somerset [House].

     “_Thursday, the 22nd._--The duke and the Earls of Carlisle and
     Holland, with Montague, came to dine with me.... Then I went to the
     Queen’s, and in the evening to the house of Madame de Strange.[75]

     “_Friday, the 23rd._--I went to see the Earl of Carlisle....

     “_Saturday, the 24th._--I went to see the Queen. The King came
     there, and she quarrelled with him. The King took me into his
     chamber, and talked to me for a long while, making many complaints
     of the Queen his wife.

     “_Sunday, the 25th._--The Earls of Pembroch and Montgomery came to
     see me. Then I went to find the duke, whom I brought to the Queen’s
     apartments, where he made his peace with her, which I effected
     after infinite difficulties. Afterwards the King arrived and was
     also reconciled with her. He bestowed many caresses upon her, and
     thanked me for having reconciled the duke with his wife. He then
     led me into his chamber and showed me his jewels, which are very

     “_Monday, the 26th._--After dinner I went to visit the Queen at
     Somerset [House], with whom I fell out.[77]

     “_Tuesday, the 27th._--The Duke, the Earls of Dorset, Holland and
     Carlisle, Montagu, Kere[78] and Gorin came to dine with me. I went
     afterwards to see Pembroch and Carleton. In the evening a courier
     from France arrived.

     “_Wednesday, the 28th._--In the morning I went to Houaithall
     [Whitehall] to speak to the duke and the Secretary Convé, because
     the King was going to Amptoncourt. After dinner I went to see the
     Queen at Somerset [House], with whom I made friends. In the evening
     the duke and the Earl of Holland took me to sup with Antonio
     Porter,[79] who feasted Don Augustine Fiesque, the Marquis de
     Piennes,[80] the Chevalier de Jars and Gobelin.[81] After supper we
     had music.

     “_Thursday, the 29th._--In the morning I received a visit from the
     Earls of Holland and Carlisle....

     “_Friday, the 30th._--I went to see the Queen at Somerset [House],
     and afterwards the duke at Valinfort.[82]

     “_Saturday, the last day of October._--The Ambassador of Denmark
     came to see me. Then I went to Madame de Strange’s house.

     “_November.--Sunday, first day of November, and of All Saints._--I
     made my devotions. Afterwards I went to visit the Duchess of
     Lennox[83] and the Secretary Convé [Conway]. On this day a council
     was held to deliberate upon my affairs.

     “_Monday, the 2nd._--In the morning I went to see the Earl of
     Holland. Then the duke having given me a rendezvous in the Queen’s
     gallery, we conferred there together for a very long time. After
     dinner I returned to see the Queen, in order to render her an
     account of my conversation with the duke, at which she was uneasy,
     because we had parted on bad terms.

     “_Tuesday, the 3rd._--The duke brought his little daughter[84] to
     my house as a pledge of reconciliation. He remained there to dine
     with Montague, Keri and Porter, and then took me to see the King,
     who was going to play tennis; and I went to visit the Queen to tell
     her of my reconciliation with the duke.

     “_Wednesday, the 4th._--I went to see the Duchess of Lennox. I
     wrote to the duke on the subject of my business, and then went to
     find the Queen to show her the copy of what I had written. In the
     evening the duke sent Montague to sup with me, and to assure me
     from him that he would arrange all my business in accordance with
     my wishes. I forthwith sent to apprise the Queen of this.”

On the Thursday, Conway arrived to request Bassompierre to come on the
following day to the Council, where he should receive an answer to
proposals which he had made. The next day Buckingham came to dine with
him, and afterwards took him to Whitehall, and left him in a room in the
King’s apartments, with Goring, Montague, and Lewkenor to entertain him,
while he himself went to the Council.

     “A little while after he came to seek me, and told me that the
     answer the Council proposed to make me was worth nothing [_i.e._, a
     mere formality], but that I should not be uneasy about it, but that
     I should reply firmly, on the spot, and that afterwards he would
     arrange everything in such a way that I should be satisfied. A
     little while after Convé [Conway] came to call me into the Council,
     where after they had placed a chair for me at the upper end, the
     gentlemen of the Council acquainted me, by the mouth of Carleton,
     of what they had resolved in reference to the proposition that I
     had made to the same Council some days before. They handed me this
     answer in writing, and then had it read to me.”[85]

The first part of this document contained a long and elaborated defence
of Charles I’s action in summarily expelling the Queen’s attendants from
the country, by which, the commissioners maintained, neither the letter
nor the spirit of the marriage-treaty had been violated, since “the said
persons had been sent back as offenders, who had by their ill-conduct
disturbed, in the first place, the affairs of the kingdom, and,
secondly, the domestic government of the house of his Majesty and of the
Queen his dearly-loved consort, whereon depended the happiness of their

       *       *       *       *       *

The Bishop of Mende and his priests (to whom the ambassador, M. de
Blainville, had also lent his hand) had endeavoured, by their intrigues,
to create factions and dissensions amongst the subjects of his Majesty,
exciting fear and mistrust in the Protestants, encouraging the Roman
Catholics, and even instigating the disaffected in Parliament against
everything connected with the service of the King and the public
tranquillity of the kingdom.

The Queen’s house they had converted into a rendezvous of Jesuits and
fugitives, and a place of security for the persons, property, and papers
of such as had violated our laws.

By subtle means they discovered what was passing in private between the
King and Queen, and laboured to create in the gentle mind of the Queen a
repugnance to all his Majesty desired or ordered, even to what he did
for the honour of his dignity, and avowedly fomented discords between
their Majesties, as a thing essential to the welfare of their Church.

They had endeavoured by all means to inspire her with a contempt for our
nation and a dislike of our usages, and had made her neglect the English
language, as if she neither had, nor wished to have, any common interest
among us, who desire nothing more than to promote the happiness of her

They introduced, by means of the priests, strange orders and
regulations, unheard of in times past, and disapproved by others of
their profession.

They had subjected the person of the Queen to the rules of a, as it
were, monastic obedience, in order to oblige her to do many base and
servile acts, which were not only unworthy of the majesty of a queen,
but also very dangerous to her health.[86] Witness what had befallen a
person of distinction amongst her attendants, who had died therefrom,
and declared at her death that they were the cause of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is perhaps needful to explain that this poor lady died from the
severities of the discipline inflicted upon herself, and not upon her
royal mistress. The commissioners are not too luminous on this point.

Finally, as the crown of all these delinquencies, came the supposed
pilgrimage to Tyburn, already referred to, which, said the
commissioners, had exhausted the sorely-tried patience of the King and
decided him to rid the country of her Majesty’s French attendants.

The latter part of the document dealt with the non-fulfilment of the
engagements respecting the English Roman Catholics, which was defended
on the ground of expediency, while it was contended that the article
promising liberty of worship had been agreed to by the English
commissioners, and accepted by the French, “simply as a matter of form
to satisfy the Roman Catholic party of France and the Pope.”

The commissioners concluded by observing that “the visit and deportment
of M. de Bassompierre had been very agreeable to his Majesty” and that
the King of France might rest assured that in all matters touching the
conscience of the Queen the treaty should be strictly observed, and that
his Majesty, “from the love he bore to his dear consort,” would show all
the indulgence to the Roman Catholics which the constitution and
security of his State would allow.

Bassompierre requested the Council’s permission to reply forthwith, and,
this being granted, “he did so with great vehemence and better to his
own liking than he had ever spoken in his life.” We can understand his
satisfaction, for it was undoubtedly a very able and eloquent speech,
and gives us a high opinion of his promptitude and address. The turn he
gives to the “Tyburn pilgrimage”--the act which the commissioners
asserted had driven Charles I to extremities--is extremely ingenious. He
admits that the Queen went with her French attendants to Tyburn, but it
was in the course of one of her customary evening walks in the park of
“St. Jemmes” and the “Hipparc,” which adjoins it--a walk such as she had
often taken in the company of the King her husband. But that she had
made it in procession, or that she had approached within fifty paces of
the gallows, or that she had offered up any prayers, public or private,
or that she had fallen on her knees, holding the hours or chaplets in
her hands, he most strenuously denies. For the rest, to have thought a
little of God at sight of the gibbet seems to him a small offence.
“Granted,” says he, “that they prayed for those who died on the gibbet,
they did well, for however wicked the men might have been who died on
it, they were condemned to death, and not to damnation. And never has
one been forbidden to pray to God for such. You tell me that is to blame
the memory of the kings who had them put to death. On the contrary, I
praise the justice of these kings, and implore the compassion of the
King of kings, in order that He may be satisfied with their bodily
death, and that He may pardon through our prayers and intercessions (if
these be sufficient) the souls upon whom neither the justice nor the
pardon of the kings of this world can have any effect. To conclude, I
deny formally that this action has been committed, and offer, at the
same time, to prove that they would have done very well to commit it.”

Bassompierre’s oration lasted an hour, “and when I came out,” says he,
“I went to find the Queen to show her the fine answer which they had
given me, and the substance of what I had replied and protested.”

In the evening Buckingham sent the Ambassador word that all of the
Council who could speak or understand French would call upon him the
following morning, and that he might hope for a favourable conclusion;
“for the King had told him that it was his intention to satisfy the King
his brother and to send him [Bassompierre] away content.”

At seven o’clock next morning, Lord Dorset came to tell him that he
should have satisfaction and that the Council would come soon afterwards
to meet him, adding that “it only depended upon himself that all should
go right.”

     “He found me,” says Bassompierre, “in a bad state for discussion,
     for either the weather, which was very foggy,[87] or my
     constitution, or the long and vehement reply that I had made the
     preceding day, had reduced me to such a condition that I had lost
     my voice, and, notwithstanding all my efforts, he could scarcely
     hear me.”

Buckingham and the rest of the Council arrived soon afterwards, and
Carleton, on behalf of his colleagues, replied to Bassompierre’s speech
of the previous day in a very conciliatory tone, pointing out the
mischief that would result from a rupture between the two countries, and
proposing that they should leave no means untried to come to some
amicable arrangement, which, he knew, was the most earnest desire of the

     “Upon this we then got to work,” says Bassompierre, “and we did not
     experience much difficulty; for they were very reasonable, and I
     moderate in my demands. The greatest difficulty was over the
     question of the re-establishment of the priests, but in the end we
     came to an agreement upon that. I then entertained them to a
     magnificent banquet, and, when they had taken their departure, I
     went to visit the Queen to inform her of the good news of our

On the following day Buckingham and Holland came to dine with him, and
he afterwards received a visit from the young Duke of Lennox. Then he
proceeded to Whitehall, where he had a private audience of Charles I,
“in which,” he says, “he confirmed and ratified all that his
commissioners had negotiated and concluded with me, of which he showed
me the draft and made me read it.”[88]

     “In the evening, the resident of the King of Bohemia came to
     congratulate me and to sup, as did also _largely_ the Ambassador of

The day which followed Charles I’s ratification of the arrangement
intended to secure his domestic peace was Lord Mayor’s Day, and it will
doubtless be very gratifying to any member of the Corporation of London
who may chance to peruse these pages to learn the respect in which that
civic festival was held three centuries ago:--

     “Monday, the 9th, which is the day of the election of the Mayor, I
     came in the morning to Somerset [House] to meet the Queen, who had
     come there to see him pass along the Thames, in the midst of a
     magnificent procession of boats, on his way to Voestminster
     [Westminster] to take the oath. Then the Queen dined, and
     afterwards placed herself in her coach and placed me at the same
     door with her.[90] The Duke of Bocquinguem, by her command,
     likewise placed himself in her coach and we went into the street of
     Schipsay [Cheapside] to see the pageant pass, which is the grandest
     which takes place at the reception of any official in the world.
     While waiting for it to pass, the Queen played primero with the
     duke, the Earl of Dorset and me. Then the duke took me to dine at
     the house of the new Mayor, who that day gave a dinner to more than
     eight hundred persons. Afterwards, the duke and the Earls of
     Montgomery and Holland, having brought me back to my house, I went
     to walk in the Morsfils.”[91]

Notwithstanding that the Queen had done Buckingham the honour to invite
him to witness the Lord Mayor’s procession with her the previous day,
her Majesty and the duke had not entirely made up their differences; for
on the following day we learn that Carlisle came to see Bassompierre “in
order to conclude the reconciliation” which the Ambassador succeeded in

“On the 11th Bassompierre went with Holland and M. Harber, who had been
Ambassador in France”[92] to dine with Lord Wimbledon at the manor from
which he took his title, which the marshal thought a very fine house.
Wimbledon’s sister-in-law, the Countess of Exeter, had come to assist in
doing the honours to the distinguished guests, who were “magnificently

Bassompierre’s belief that the Queen was satisfied with the arrangements
that had been made in regard to her Household received a rude shock a
day or two later, when a more stormy scene took place at Whitehall than
had yet occurred.

     “_Thursday, the 12th._--I went to see the Stuart Earl of
     Pembroch[93] and the Secretary Convé, and, not finding them,
     repaired to the Queen’s apartments, to which the King came. They
     fell out with one another, and I afterwards with the Queen on this

Bassompierre, out of all patience at seeing Henrietta continue to play
the vixen after her grievances had been redressed, told her his mind
plainly, without caring for her rank:--

     “I told her that I should next day take leave of the King and
     return to France, leaving the business unfinished, and should
     inform the King [Louis XIII] and the Queen her mother that it was
     all her fault. When I returned home, Père Sancy, to whom the Queen
     had written about our falling out, came to accommodate it, with
     such impertinences that I got very angry with him.”

This last sentence constitutes a full justification of Charles’s
persistent demands, when Bassompierre first arrived in England, that
Sancy should be sent back to France. It is evident that, although the
Ambassador had doubtless kept his promise that this meddlesome
ecclesiastic should not approach the Court nor even leave his house, the
latter had all along been in correspondence with the Queen, had
contributed to keep her mind in a most mischievous state of agitation,
and now, just when everything seemed to have been settled
satisfactorily, was pushing her to fresh demands, so unreasonable that
even Bassompierre could not attempt to justify them. There can be no
doubt that Sancy was acting under the instructions of the Queen-Mother
and Bérulle, and had come to England with the express purpose of
establishing secret relations with Henrietta; but it is not a little
surprising to find the English Court so early and so well apprised of
his mission as it appears to have been.

The next day, Friday the 13th, the Queen, to whom Sancy had, of course,
reported the unfavourable reception which his overtures on her behalf
had received, sent for Bassompierre to come to her; but the Ambassador,
who was determined to bring her Majesty to reason, begged to be excused.
His refusal had the desired effect, for on the Saturday “the Earl of
Carlisle came to visit him for the purpose of reconciling him with the
Queen,” and peace was re-established.

On the 15th, to celebrate the amicable termination of Bassompierre’s
mission, Buckingham gave a magnificent _fête_ in the Ambassador’s honour
at York House, which the King and Queen graced with their presence:--

     “I went to meet the King at Houaithall [Whitehall], who placed me
     in his barge and brought me to the duke at Iorchaus [York House],
     who entertained me to the most superb banquet that I ever saw in my
     life. The King supped with the Queen and myself at a table which
     was served by complete ballets at each course, and there were
     divers representations, changes of scenery, tables and music. The
     duke attended upon the King at table, the Earl of Carlisle upon the
     Queen, and the Earl of Holland upon me. After supper they conducted
     the King and us into another room, where the company assembled;
     they entered by a turnstile, as in monasteries, without any
     confusion. Here took place a superb ballet, which the duke danced,
     and afterwards we danced country-dances[94] until four hours after
     midnight. Then we were conducted into vaulted apartments,[95] where
     there were five different collations.”[96]

On the following day the King, who with the Queen had spent the night at
York House, sent to invite Bassompierre to return there to hear a
concert given by the Queen’s musicians. The concert was followed by a
ball, and the ball by a play, at the conclusion of which the Ambassador,
who had been dancing until the small hours of the morning, must have
experienced considerable difficulty in remaining awake.

During the next fortnight Bassompierre appears to have entertained, or
been entertained by, all the distinguished persons of the Court. At one
dinner-party which he gave his guests were: Buckingham, Carlisle,
Holland, Theophilus Howard, Earl of Suffolk, Carleton, Walter Montague,
Goring, Orazio Gentileschi, the celebrated painter, Thomas Cary, son of
the Earl of Monmouth, and a poet of some note in his time, and
Saint-Antoine, the King’s French equerry, who is depicted by Vandyck
holding his royal master’s helmet in the magnificent picture of Charles
I mounted on a white horse; while after dinner William Cecil, Earl of
Exeter, and Edward Montague, Lord Mandeville, afterwards Earl of
Manchester, joined the party. Seldom can a more interesting company have
been gathered round one table.

On November 29 he began to make his adieux:

     “The Earl of Carlisle and Lucnar [Lewkenor] came to fetch me with
     the King’s coaches, to bring me to take leave of their Majesties,
     who gave me public audience in the great hall of Houaithall
     [Whitehall]. I then returned with him [the King] into his
     bedchamber, into which he made me enter; and afterwards I went to
     sup in the chamber of the Earl of Carlisle, who entertained me
     superbly. Lucnar came to bring me from the King a very valuable
     present of four diamonds in the form of a lozenge, with a big pearl
     at the end. The same evening, the King sent for me to come and hear
     an excellent English play.[97]

     “_Monday, the 30th._--I went to take leave of the millord Montague,
     President of the Council, the Earls of Pembroch and Montgomery, of
     the Earl of Exeter, of the countess his wife, of the Countess of
     Oxfort, his daughter, and of the millord Carleton. Thence I went to
     have a private audience of the Queen.”

The following day was occupied in further farewell visits, and in the
evening--the last which he was to spend in London--the Countess of
Exeter gave in his honour “a magnificent banquet, followed by a ball.”

On December 2 the Ambassador took his departure:

     “The Earl of Barcher[98] came to bid me adieu, and afterwards all
     the Queen’s Household. The Earl of Suffolk sent me a horse.[99] I
     went to take leave of the Queen, who gave me a beautiful diamond.
     Next I took leave of the ladies of the bedchamber, and afterwards
     of the Earl of Carlisle, who had hurt himself very much in the head
     the previous evening.[100] Then I came to the duke’s chamber,
     where I remained for a rather long while, awaiting my despatches
     and the letters which the King had promised me abolishing the
     pursuivants of England.[101] Finally, I took leave of the duke and
     the other lords of the Court, and, accompanied only by Lucnar and
     the Chevalier de Jars, for I had sent my people on in advance, I
     took my place in one of the Queen’s coaches and proceeded to
     Gravesinde [Gravesend], where I passed the night. On Thursday, the
     3rd, I slept at Sittimbourne, the next night at Cantorberi, and on
     Saturday, the 5th, I arrived at Dover, with a retinue of 400
     persons who were to cross the sea with me, including seventy
     priests[102] whom I had delivered from the prisons of England.”

Bassompierre, it will be remembered, had encountered no difficulty in
crossing the Channel on his way to England; but now there was a very
different tale to tell. No sooner had his retinue embarked than the wind
changed and blew half-a-gale from the South; and for four days it was
impossible for the vessels to leave the harbour. This delay was the more
exasperating, since he had undertaken to defray the travelling expenses
of his whole suite, including the liberated priests, in the fond belief
that they would be able to sail within a few hours of their arrival at
Dover, and every day they lingered on English soil meant several hundred
crowns out of the unfortunate Ambassador’s pocket.

On the 8th, Tuesday, Walter Montague came riding into Dover and informed
Bassompierre that Charles I had decided to send Buckingham on a special
embassy to the Court of France, and that the duke proposed to start
immediately. The reasons which had led to this decision were as

In the many conferences which had taken place between Bassompierre and
the English Ministers, other matters besides the re-establishment of the
Queen’s French attendants and the treatment of the English Catholics had
come under discussion. The most important of these was that thorny
question which for centuries has been the cause of so much ill-feeling
whenever this country has been at war--the right of searching neutral
vessels for contraband of war--but which no naval Power in its sound
senses would dream for a moment of abandoning. It was indisputable that,
since the outbreak of hostilities with Spain, a large trade had been
carried on between Spain and Flanders under the French flag; but it was
likewise true that the English cruisers had conducted the blockade of
the Flemish coast with more zeal than discretion, and that an
unreasonably long time had been permitted to elapse between the seizure
of quite innocent French vessels and their release. Thus, in the
previous September, three ships belonging to Rouen, with extremely
valuable cargoes on board, had been seized, and, notwithstanding the
strongest protests from the French Government, were still detained in
our ports.

In the discussions on the maritime question, Bassompierre took up the
same firm yet moderate attitude which he had observed during the
negotiations on that of the marriage-treaty, admitting the
reasonableness of England’s objections to the trade which was being
carried on under the protection of the French flag, but urging that some
understanding should be arrived at by which the perpetual interference
of the English cruisers might be obviated. It is quite probable that a
treaty prescribing the conditions upon which neutral vessels should be
liable to arrest might have been the outcome of these conferences, had
not events occurred to exasperate both nations.

Towards the end of November, news arrived that d’Épernon, now Governor
of Guienne, who detested Richelieu and his policy of peace with England,
had seized a fleet of 200 English and Scottish vessels which were about
to sail from Bordeaux with a full cargo of wine, upon which duty had
already been paid. It was an open act of war; the London merchants
clamoured for letters of marque to defend their vessels and retaliate
upon the French “pirates,” and Charles I issued an Order in Council for
the seizure of all French vessels in English waters. Short of an actual
declaration of war the peace had been broken between the two countries;
but Buckingham, blinded by an extraordinary optimism, still believed
that, if he were to cross over to France with the friendly and
moderate-minded Bassompierre, who, he had learned, was detained at
Dover, the dispute might be satisfactorily arranged; and accordingly
persuaded the King to appoint him Ambassador Extraordinary to the French
Court, and sent Walter Montague to inform the marshal of the mission
which had been entrusted to him.

Bassompierre was greatly astonished and embarrassed by the news that
Montague brought. He was aware that it was the intention of Charles I to
send an ambassador to France, but had never dreamed that Buckingham,
after the very plain hint which he had received the previous year that
his presence at the French Court would not be tolerated, would have the
effrontery to take upon himself the mission. The thought of the
indignation of Louis XIII and Richelieu if he were to return to Paris
accompanied by the presumptuous favourite was a most unpleasant one; and
he therefore begged Montague to inform Buckingham that he advised him
strongly to abandon his intention of coming to France, as he very much
feared that he would not be received, and sent him back in all haste to
London. Then, in order to leave nothing to chance, at two o’clock the
next morning he embarked with his suite for Calais, notwithstanding that
it was still blowing hard.

He was not, however, to escape Buckingham so easily, for the storm
carried them towards Dieppe, and, after beating about the Channel for
some time, in a vain attempt to make the French coast, they were obliged
to return and land near Dover, to which they sadly made their way back.
The bad weather continued for several days, and on the 12th Buckingham,
who had learned that Bassompierre was still detained at Dover, sent
Montague to beg him to meet him at Canterbury, whither he proposed to
come on the following day.

The duke arrived, accompanied by Carlisle, Holland and Goring and the
Chevalier de Jars, and, says Bassompierre, “wished to show me his
splendour by entertaining me in the evening to a magnificent banquet.”
After supper the marshal had a long conference with Buckingham, in which
he endeavoured to persuade him to abandon his proposed visit to France;
but the latter appeared absolutely determined upon it, and was still in
the same mind when they adjourned to bed.

Next morning, however, Bassompierre returned to the charge, and, though
the duke refused to hear of giving up his journey, he at length
consented to postpone it until the marshal had submitted the proposed
embassy to Louis XIII. It was arranged that Balthazar Gerbier should
accompany Bassompierre to Paris and bring back word to his patron
whether the French Court were prepared to receive him. “At dinner,” says
Bassompierre, “he entertained me to as magnificent a banquet as that of
the preceding evening; and then we embraced, never to see one another

Much relieved at having extricated himself from a very awkward
situation--for had the duke insisted on accompanying him back to France,
Bassompierre would undoubtedly have got into serious trouble--the
marshal returned to Dover, to find that his suite, acting presumably on
his instructions, had taken advantage of a change in the weather and
sailed for Calais. Although it was not until several days later that
the Ambassador himself was able to cross the Channel, it would have been
infinitely cheaper for him had his attendants elected to remain at
Dover, notwithstanding the heavy expense which their maintenance there

     “They encountered such ill-fortune,” says he, “that they were
     unable to reach Calais for five days, and were obliged to cast into
     the sea my two fine coaches, in which by mischance there were
     clothes to the value of more than 40,000 francs which I had
     purchased in England for presents. I lost, further, twenty-nine
     horses, who died of thirst during those five days, because no fresh
     water had been laid in for this passage, which in fine weather does
     not occupy more than three hours.”

On the morning of the 18th, although the sea was still very rough,
Bassompierre embarked once more and about noon arrived safely on the
French shore, after no worse misadventure than a violent attack of
sea-sickness, which prostrated him to such a degree that he was unable
to continue his journey until the following day.

Seldom can anyone have had more cause to anathematise the Channel
passage than the luckless Bassompierre. The maintenance of himself and
his suite at Dover had alone cost him, he tells us, 4,000 crowns; he had
lost 40,000 francs worth of clothes, two fine coaches, which must have
been worth a large sum, and nearly thirty horses, including probably
most of those presented to him by Carlisle and other English nobles, all
of which were, of course, valuable animals. In short, in the fortnight
which had elapsed between his arrival at Dover and his landing at
Calais, he must have lost at the very lowest computation the equivalent
of half-a-million francs in money of to-day.

On the 20th he reached Amiens, whose governor, the Duc de Chaulnes,
ordered the guns of the citadel to fire a salute in his honour, and
entertained him magnificently; and two days later he arrived in Paris.
Here, as he had, of course, foreseen, he found that “the coming of the
Duke of Bocquinguem was not agreeable,” and Louis XIII ordered him to
write to the duke to that effect.

Since certain writers appear inclined to question the ability shown by
Bassompierre in his mission to England, it may be as well to cite here
the opinion of so high an authority on the period as Gardiner:--

     “He [Bassompierre] knew the world well, and he had that power of
     seizing upon the strong point of his opponent’s case which goes far
     to the making of a successful diplomatist. To the young Queen he
     gave the best possible advice; told her to make the best of her
     situation and warned her against the folly of setting herself
     against the current ideas of the country in which she lived and of
     the man to whom she was married. In the question of her household
     he was at the same time firm and conciliatory. He acknowledged that
     Charles had a genuine grievance and that the Queen would never be a
     real wife to him as long as she was taught by a circle of
     foreigners to regard herself primarily as a foreigner; while, at
     the same time, he spoke boldly of the breach of contract which had
     been committed. In the end, he gained the confidence both of the
     King and of Buckingham, and, with the consent of the King of
     France, a new arrangement was agreed to, by which a certain number
     of French persons would be admitted to attend upon the Queen,
     whilst a great part of her household was to be formed of natives of

The historian also praises the conduct of Bassompierre in the
discussions on the maritime question.


     The Assembly of the Notables--Bassompierre nominated one of the
     four presidents--The “sorry Château of Versailles”--The ballet of
     _le Sérieux et le Grotesque_--Execution of Montmorency-Boutteville
     and Des Chapelles for duelling--Death of _Madame_--Preparations for
     war with England--Louis XIII resolves to take command of the army
     assembled in Poitou--The King falls ill at the Château of
     Villeroy--Bassompierre is prevented by Richelieu from visiting
     him--Intrigue by which the Duc d’Angoulême is appointed to the
     command of the army which ought to have devolved upon
     Bassompierre--Descent of Buckingham upon the Île de Ré--Blockade of
     the fortress of Saint-Martin--Investment of La Rochelle by the
     Royal army--Bassompierre, the King, and Richelieu at the Château of
     Saumery--The Cardinal assumes the practical direction of the
     military operations--Provisions and reinforcements are thrown into
     Saint-Martin--Refusal of the Maréchaux de Bassompierre and
     Schomberg to allow Angoulême to be associated with them in the
     command of the Royal army--Schomberg is persuaded to accept the
     duke as a colleague--Bassompierre persists in his refusal and
     requests permission of the King to leave the army--He is offered
     and accepts the command of a separate army, which is to blockade La
     Rochelle from the north-western side--He declines the government of
     Brittany--Dangerous situation of Buckingham’s army in the Île de
     Ré--Unsuccessful attempt to take Saint-Martin by
     assault--Disastrous retreat of the English.

During Bassompierre’s absence in England, Louis XIII had paid him the
very high compliment of nominating him one of the four presidents of the
Assembly of the Notables, which was opened at the Tuileries by the King
on December 2, 1626, and continued sitting until February 24 of the
following year. This assembly, from which Richelieu had systematically
excluded all the makers of cabals at the Court--that is to say,
practically all the great nobles--voted in accordance with the
Cardinal’s desires and recommended the reduction of useless expenditure,
pensions, and the King’s Household, the re-organisation of the Army,
which, when on a peace footing, was not to exceed 20,000 men, the
strengthening of the Navy, the relief of the lower noblesse as a
counterpoise to the greater, and the destruction of all the
fortifications of towns and châteaux not required for the defence of the

Bassompierre, being the junior of the four presidents,[103] does not
appear to have spoken very often, but a sentence in one of his speeches
is worth recording, in the light of subsequent events. Praising Louis
XIII for the economy he had shown in not erecting any new buildings and
even suspending the completion of these commenced before he came to the
throne, he continued:--

     “This shows that he had no inclination to build, and that the
     finances of France will not be drained by sumptuous edifices
     erected by him; unless someone wishes to reproach him with having
     built _the sorry Château of Versailles_, of the construction of
     which even a simple gentleman would not wish to boast.”

It was this “sorry Château of Versailles”--then a mere
hunting-lodge--which, under Louis XIII’s successor, was to be
transformed into the most costly and magnificent royal palace in Europe.

During the winter Bassompierre took part in a ballet organised by the
King at the Louvre and the Hôtel de Ville, in which his Majesty danced
himself. In this ballet, which was entitled _le Sérieux et le
Grotesque_, what appeared to be a number of gigantic bottles entered
from one wing and a party of Swiss officers from the other. The officers
hastened eagerly towards the bottles, which, however, suddenly
transformed themselves into women, whereupon the Swiss fled in alarm.
But the ladies produced goblets brimming with wine, at the sight of
which the officers returned, and Bassompierre, representing the
Colonel-General of the Swiss, declaimed several stanzas in praise of
Cupid and Bacchus:

    “Lorsqu, Amour me faisait mourir,
     Bacchus m’est venu secourir
     Et rendre à jamais redevable;
     Et toutesfois ce petit Dieu
     Dans mon cœur qu’il rend miserable
     Prétend d’avoir le premier lieu.”

And so forth.

In the course of the spring an event occurred which created an immense
sensation and showed that Richelieu was no respecter of persons and was
resolved to enforce obedience to the royal authority, even at the
expense of the noblest blood in France.

One of the greatest social evils of the age was that of duelling, which,
bad as it had been in the troublous times of the last Valois, had become
even worse under Henri IV, during whose reign it is computed that no
less than 8,000 gentlemen lost their lives on the “field of honour.”
During the early years of Louis XIII’s reign the evil continued
unabated; duels were of almost daily occurrence; men quarrelled and
fought for the most trifling difference; they drew upon one another in
the public street; they exchanged challenges to mortal combat even in
the King’s chamber. From time to time various edicts against duelling
had been issued, but the penalties attaching to their infraction had
been seldom enforced, and it was not until Richelieu came into power
that the first serious attempt to put a stop to it was made. In March,
1626, the Cardinal persuaded the King to issue a new and severe edict
against the practice, which was to be punished by confiscation of
property, by exile, and, in aggravated cases, by death. At first,
however, the edict would not appear to have been taken very seriously,
and duels continued to be fought without any very unpleasant
consequences to the offenders. But Richelieu was only waiting for a
chance to make a terrible example.

In March, 1627, the Seigneur de Boutteville, a member of the great
House of Montmorency and one of the most notorious _bretteurs_ of the
time, had an “affair” with the Marquis de la Frette, captain of
_Monsieur’s_ guards, in which Boutteville’s second, a gentleman named
Bachoy, was killed. As this was not the first occasion on which M. de
Boutteville had defied the edict,[104] the King, in high indignation,
ordered Bassompierre to send three companies of the Swiss Guards to
invest the delinquent’s château of Précy-sur-Oise, to which he was
reported to have retired, and sent the Grand Provost with them to arrest
him. When, however, the Grand Provost and the Swiss reached Précy, they
found that their bird had flown and had taken refuge in Lorraine.

If Boutteville had had the sense to remain there until the affair had
blown over, all might have been well, as in his duel with La Frette he
had not been the aggressor. But, indignant at the sentence of exile
which had been pronounced against him, he boasted that he would fight
his next duel in the middle of the Place-Royale. This bravado he duly
accomplished some weeks later, and his second, the Comte des Chapelles,
killed Bussy d’Amboise, who was acting in the same capacity to
Boutteville’s adversary, the Marquis de Beuvron.[105] Beuvron fled to
Italy, while Boutteville and Des Chapelles made for Lorraine; but, on
their way, they stopped for a night at Vitré-le-Français, of which place
Bussy d’Amboise had been governor, and the mother of the dead man, who
had sent one of her servants after them, learning of their arrival,
informed the authorities of the town, who caused them to be arrested.

Boutteville and Des Chapelles--the latter was also a Montmorency, on
his mother’s side--were conducted to the Bastille and brought to trial
before the Parlement. The Procurator-General was instructed to demand
the extreme penalty, and they were both condemned to death. What was
more, the sentence was duly carried out, for, notwithstanding the
entreaties and remonstrances of all the great nobles in France, the
King, thanks to Richelieu’s efforts, was inexorable, and on June 22,
1627, they were beheaded in the Place de Grève.[106]

This most necessary example had, for a time, a very salutary effect,
for, however reckless men might be, few cared to face the executioner’s
axe. But after Richelieu’s death the practice was renewed, and, though
it never attained to anything like the proportions it had reached in the
early part of the seventeenth century, duels were still both numerous
and sanguinary, as will be gathered from the fact that during the eight
years of Anne of Austria’s regency more than a thousand gentlemen lost
their lives in them.

On May 29 _Madame_ gave birth to a daughter--the celebrated Mlle. de
Montpensier--“contrary to the expectation and the desire of their
Majesties and of _Monsieur_ her husband, who would have preferred a
son.” The poor lady only survived the birth of her little daughter a few
days, and her death cast a gloom over the Court, and from a political
point of view was most unfortunate, since it afforded Richelieu’s many
enemies an opportunity for fresh intrigues.

About the same time, news arrived of the formidable armament which
Buckingham was assembling at Portsmouth, and the French Government did
not doubt that the duke was meditating a descent upon the western coast
of France, and that his arrival there would be the signal for the
Rochellois and probably the bulk of the Huguenots to take up arms. No
time, therefore, was lost in assembling an army in Poitou, and Louis
XIII gave the command to _Monsieur_, and appointed Bassompierre and
Schomberg as his lieutenant-generals. The King decided also to go to the
West himself, and on June 28--the day after Buckingham’s expedition
sailed from Portsmouth--he left Paris.

On the morning of his departure, he went with Bassompierre to the
Arsenal to inspect the artillery, and then proceeded to the Parlement to
take leave of that body and to hold a Bed of Justice for the purpose of
securing the registration of the Code Michaut.[107] At the conclusion of
the ceremony Bassompierre gave him his hand to assist him to descend
from his seat, upon which the King remarked: “Marshal, I have an attack
of fever coming on, and did nothing but tremble the whole time I was on
my Bed of Justice.” “That is, nevertheless, the place where you make
others tremble,” replied the ready courtier; “but if that be the case,
Sire, why are you going into the country with a fever upon you? Remain
here for two or three days.” Louis, however, declared that it was the
crowd of persons who had come to take leave of him that day which had
caused him to feel ill, and that, so soon as he got into the country, he
would probably be better. But he told Bassompierre to send one of his
servants after him to Marolles, where he was to sleep that night, and he
would send him news of his health. Meantime, he was to hasten his
preparations for leaving Paris, as he wished him to join him so soon as

Next day, the servant whom Bassompierre had sent after the King reported
on his return that he had left his Majesty just entering his coach to go
to the Château of Villeroy, and that he had bidden him inform his master
that he was worse and desired him to come and see him on the morrow.

In the morning, accordingly, Bassompierre, accompanied by Guise,
Chevreuse, and Saint-Luc, who had asked to come with him, started for
Villeroy. On their arrival at the château they were met by Richelieu,
“with whom,” says the marshal, “I had fallen out a little”--who, after
greeting the princes, turned to Bassompierre and said: “The King would
be very pleased to see you, but he is in such a condition that the
company which has come with you would inconvenience him. He has broken
out in a great perspiration. That is why I advise you not to see him. I
will inform him that you have come, and will convey the compliments of
these princes to him.” With which he went back to the King’s chamber,
and Bassompierre and his friends returned to Paris.

As he was leaving the château, Bassompierre learned that the Duc
d’Angoulême was with the King, but he did not attach any importance to
this at the time. However, the next day, in Paris, he met that prince
riding in his coach, when Angoulême stopped, alighted and embraced the
marshal, saying: “I bid you adieu, as I am leaving in two hours’ time
for Poitou.” “For what purpose?” inquired Bassompierre. “To command the
army there,” was the reply.

Bassompierre was profoundly astonished at this news, for, if the King
were too ill to continue his journey and _Monsieur_ remained with him,
the command of the army naturally devolved upon himself, as the senior
marshal of the two lieutenant-generals who had been appointed. He felt
convinced that he had been the victim of some intrigue, and this proved
to be the case.

It appears that Bassompierre’s conduct of his mission to England had
given great dissatisfaction to the High Catholic party in France, and,
in particular, to the Bishop of Mende, who complained bitterly that the
marshal had blamed his conduct generally, and several of his actions in
particular, during the time that he had been Grand Almoner to Henrietta
Maria. This prelate, in consequence, had conceived the bitterest hatred
of Bassompierre, and, to avenge himself, was doing everything in his
power to injure him with Richelieu, whose relative and protégé he was.

In this he had succeeded, the more easily since Richelieu invariably
looked with a jaundiced eye upon those who enjoyed the personal
friendship of the King, and had apparently persuaded the Cardinal that
Bassompierre had become on such intimate terms with Buckingham and other
English statesmen during his embassy, that he ought to be regarded with
distrust. The consequence was that when, on Louis XIII being taken ill,
Angoulême, who entertained an absurdly exaggerated idea of his military
capacity, had suggested that, since _Monsieur_ would, of course, remain
with his Majesty, he should be sent to Poitou to organise the army
there, on the ground that it consisted largely of light cavalry, of
which he was Colonel, he supported this proposal, although he was well
aware that the prince hoped that his temporary command would become a
permanent one.

The King objected. “And Bassompierre,” said he, “what will he do? Is he
not my lieutenant-general?” “Yes, Sire,” answered the Cardinal; “but
since he has never been of opinion that the English would make a descent
on France, he will not be so solicitous to place your army in a fit
state to take the field; and M. d’Angoulême does not pretend to any
command--as he will tell you himself--and will retire so soon as your
Majesty arrives, knowing well that the command belongs by right to the
marshals of France.” Angoulême was then admitted, and, after some
further persuasion, the King yielded and signed an order giving him
command of the army.

In the course of the next few days Louis XIII became so ill that his
physicians were seriously alarmed, and it was deemed advisable for the
two Queens to proceed to Villeroy and establish themselves at the
château. Bassompierre, however, did not again visit the King,
“contenting himself with sending every day to learn news of his health,”
apparently because he feared that his presence at Villeroy might give
umbrage to the Cardinal. The Duc de Guise, however, was a frequent
visitor, and one day the King called him to his bedside and said: “M. du
Bois”--he often called Bassompierre by this name, though why the marshal
does not tell us--“is angry with me; but he is under a wrong impression.
I beg you to bring him with you the next time you come, and tell him
this from me.”

Accordingly, a day or two later, Bassompierre went with the duke to
Villeroy; but Richelieu accompanied him into the King’s chamber, and the
Queen-Mother came in shortly afterwards, and he had no opportunity of
speaking to his Majesty. However, while his mother and Richelieu were at
dinner, the King sent Roger, his first valet of his Wardrobe, to request
Bassompierre to return, when he told him that he did wrong to be annoyed
because he had sent Angoulême to Poitou; that he had been forced to do
so; that he had not entrusted him with any powers; and that, so soon as
his health would permit him to travel to the army, he intended to revoke
the commission which he had given the prince, and place the troops under
the marshal’s orders. Upon which Bassompierre assured him, like a true
courtier, that “he was not troubling himself about the matter; that he
could think of nothing for the moment but his Majesty’s health (for the
restoration of which he was offering up constant prayers to God), and
that, being his creature, he approved everything that he did, though it
were to his own prejudice.”

Notwithstanding these assurances, however, it is evident that the
marshal was deeply mortified at seeing himself superseded.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the afternoon of July 10, the English expedition, which consisted of
forty-two ships-of-war and thirty-four transports, with 6,000 infantry
and 100 cavalry on board, arrived off Saint-Martin-de-Ré, the principal
town of the Île de Ré, opposite La Rochelle. If Buckingham had made his
descent upon Fort Louis, as the Huguenots who accompanied him desired,
this fortress, shut in between the English and the Rochellois, must
inevitably have been captured, as Toiras, who, on the death of the
Maréchal de Praslin in the preceding year, had succeeded him as governor
of Aunis, had withdrawn the greater part of its garrison to strengthen
Saint-Martin-de-Ré, and the result of the fall of Fort-Louis would have
been disastrous to France. But the Rochellois had so far refused to
commit themselves definitely to an alliance with England; and, apart
from this, there were reasons which made Buckingham particularly anxious
to get possession of Ré. If it should fall into English hands, it would
be a veritable thorn in the side of French, and to a less degree of
Spanish, commerce, since its ports within the still waters of the
straits which divided it from the mainland would afford an admirable
lair for privateers; while its proximity to the Protestant populations
of South-Western France would open the door to a skilful use of
religious and political intrigue. Its salt marshes, moreover, would
afford a very valuable source of revenue to the English exchequer.

On the morning of the 12th a council of war was held, as a result of
which it was decided that Sir William Becher, accompanied by Soubise and
an agent of Rohan, should proceed to La Rochelle to ascertain whether
the citizens were prepared to accept the hand which his Britannic
Majesty was holding out to them, and that the troops should be landed at

Toiras had collected about 1,000 foot and 200 horse to oppose the
landing, which began about five o’clock in the afternoon, under cover of
the fire from the ships. There was a painful lack of discipline amongst
the troops, which was not surprising, considering that they were chiefly
composed of raw material; and the first boatloads which disembarked
gathered in clusters along the beaches instead of falling into line.
Buckingham, cudgel in hand, hurried up and down “beating some and
threatening others”; but when two regiments were on shore, he was
obliged to return to the fleet to do the like there, as some of the
troops showed a marked disinclination to leave the shelter of the ships.

Hardly had he reached it, when Toiras, perceiving his opportunity,
launched his cavalry upon the disorderly groups on the beach, and,
despite the efforts of their officers to rally them, drove them headlong
into the sea. Had the French cavalry been properly supported by their
infantry, the two regiments must have been destroyed or captured almost
to a man; but the infantry were far behind, and, meantime, Buckingham,
who, with all his faults, lacked neither courage nor energy, perceiving
what had happened, hurried back, and by his exertions, aided by those of
their officers, succeeded in rallying the fugitives and forming them
into line. Reinforcements were landed, and, after some fierce fighting,
numbers prevailed, and the French were obliged to retreat to
Saint-Martin. The English lost about 500 men, the French about 400,
including a number of nobles and gentlemen, amongst whom were a younger
brother of Toiras and the Baron de Chantal, father of Madame de Sévigné.

While this combat was in progress on the shore of the Île de Ré, Sir
William Becher and Soubise had arrived at La Rochelle. They found the
gates shut, however; and it was only when the dowager Duchess of Rohan,
who was immensely popular with the Rochellois, went out to meet her son
and the envoy of Buckingham and demanded that they should be admitted,
that they were allowed to enter the town, “to the great joy of the
people, but against the will of the mayor and those who governed.”
Having been conducted to the Hôtel de Ville, Becher offered the
authorities of the town, in the name of Charles I, powerful support on
land and sea against the tyranny of their own Government, provided that
they would engage to make no treaty without the advice and consent of
the King of England, “promising the same on his part.” The municipality
replied that they thanked the King of England for his sympathy with the
Protestants of France, but that La Rochelle was only one of the Reformed
Churches and could not come to a decision except in concert with the

The middle classes, in fact, not only at La Rochelle, but in the other
Huguenot towns of France, feared war. The party had now only two chiefs,
Rohan and his brother Soubise. Bouillon was dead; Sully was old and less
than ever disposed to revolt; La Force and Châtillon had accepted the
bâton of marshal of France as the price of their loyalty; La Trémoille
was about to change his religion. The nobles were deserting the cause.
The revolt was, besides, difficult to justify. Louis XIII had certainly
refused to demolish Fort Louis, but he had only promised to do so when
he should judge its maintenance to be no longer necessary; while the
fortifications recently constructed on Richelieu’s advice at Brouage,
Marans, and on the Îles de Ré and d’Oléron, might be explained as much
as by fear of the English as by hostility towards La Rochelle. The most
clear-sighted amongst the citizens felt that the Government entertained
hostile intentions, but their apprehensions were their only proofs.

The Protestants of the South were as undecided as those of La Rochelle.
Rohan, determined on war, did not venture to convene a General Assembly
of the Churches, but contented himself with summoning deputies from the
Cévennes, and those towns of Lower Languedoc upon whose support he could
rely, to meet at Uzès. This assembly, inflamed by the duke’s
exhortations, invited him to resume the post of general-in-chief of the
Protestant forces, and decreed the taking up of arms and an alliance
with England. At the same time, the deputies “solemnly protested before
God that they wished to live and die in obedience to the King, their
legitimate and natural prince.” Rohan hoped, by the example of these
towns, to draw the rest of the Reformed Churches into the struggle; but
in this he was disappointed, as most of them condemned his action and
decided to stand aloof.

Having landed the remainder of his troops, with the artillery and
stores, an operation which was conducted in so leisurely a manner that
it occupied several days, Buckingham advanced upon Saint-Martin,
occupied the town without opposition, and proceeded to reconnoitre the
citadel, a recently-constructed fortress of considerable strength
crowning a steep rock above the town. He would have well been advised
had he begun by the reduction of La. Prée, a small fortress to the
south-east of Saint-Martin, but this he neglected to do. It was an
omission which he subsequently had good reason to regret.

Buckingham and his officers at first believed that in a short time they
would be able to reduce Saint-Martin; but ere many days had passed they
were of a different opinion. The place was strongly garrisoned and
vigorously defended, while the surrounding soil was rocky and ill-suited
for siege operations. They were therefore obliged to convert the siege
into a blockade, with the object of starving the garrison out; and,
since it was recognised that it would be very difficult to effect this
in the face of the threatened succour from the French army gathering on
the mainland, unless reinforcements and stores could soon arrive from
England, Becher was sent home to explain the situation and press for
their despatch.

By the middle of August the works surrounding Saint-Martin had been
completed. On the side of the sea, the approach to the fort was guarded
by the English ships, disposed in the form of a half-moon, and by about
a score of well-armed shallops, which at night lay close under the
citadel. Buckingham had also devised an additional means of
strengthening the blockade by throwing a boom across the waterway made
of great masts, supported at the end by small boats.

For some time those about the person of Louis XIII did not venture to
break the news of Buckingham’s descent upon Ré to the sick monarch, from
fear of aggravating his malady, and, when they did so, they minimised
the importance of the affair as much as possible. _Monsieur_ was
impatient to go to the army and was bitterly incensed against Richelieu,
who declined to advise the King to let him do so, until his Majesty was
convalescent. When, however, the King grew better, he accorded
_Monsieur_ the permission he desired; but scarcely had he departed than
Louis, “jealous of the glory which his brother might acquire,” sent a
messenger after him to recall him. Finally, however, at the intercession
of the Queen-Mother, he was allowed to continue his journey.

Although a small band of ardent spirits had made their way from La
Rochelle to Ré and joined Buckingham, the authorities of the town had
not yet accepted the English alliance, and still remained nominally
loyal to their sovereign. As a precautionary measure, however,
_Monsieur_ and Angoulême had already invested La Rochelle, on its
southern side, their headquarters being at Aytré--often written Nétré by
contemporary writers--about a league from the town.

Towards the end of August, Louis XIII was sufficiently recovered to
remove to Saint-Germain. He had declared his intention of joining the
army and personally superintending the measures being taken for the
relief of Saint-Martin so soon as he was strong enough to mount his
horse, and, in the second week of September, he sent for Bassompierre
and told him to prepare to accompany him to La Rochelle in five days’
time. Bassompierre inquired “in what quality his Majesty was pleased
that he should accompany him.” The King replied that he would, of
course, do so as his lieutenant-general, upon which Bassompierre pointed
out that the Duc d’Angoulême occupied that position, and that, since the
army, when the King was present, had never yet been commanded except by
marshals of France, “he begged him very humbly not to take him there to
put an affront upon his office.” Louis declared that Angoulême’s command
was but a temporary one, and that he intended to send him an order to
retire; but Bassompierre, who knew how easily Richelieu could persuade
the King to go back on his word, asked if the King would direct the
Cardinal to give him an assurance that the prince should not continue in
the command, since his Eminence, having advised the appointment, might
wish to retain him. This Louis promised, and, a day or two later, gave
the marshal the assurance he desired.

The King left Saint-Germain on September 17 and travelled by easy stages
towards the West. Bassompierre remained in Paris until the end of the
month, when he received a message from Louis telling him to follow him
as quickly as possible. He set out at once and joined the King and the
Cardinal at the Château of Saumery, near Blois. They both received him
most cordially and told him that the King had sent orders to Angoulême
to leave the army and join his Majesty at Saumur.

Although obliged to remain near the person of the King, Richelieu had
practically assumed the direction of the military operations. All his
efforts were at present directed towards the re-victualling of
Saint-Martin-de-Ré, the situation of which was rapidly becoming
desperate. His ecclesiastical lieutenants, the Bishops of Maillezais and
Mende, the Abbé de Marsillac and Père Placide de Brémond, a Benedictine
monk, who entitled himself the “Knight of the Crusade,” hurried from one
harbour to another along the coast, assembling shallops and
flat-bottomed boats, arming them, loading them with stores, and
despatching them towards Ré. “I swear to you,” wrote the Cardinal to his
brother-in-law, the Marquis de Brézé, “that I would as lief die as see
M. de Toiras perish from want of provisions.”

At Langeais, where the King arrived on October 4, he received news from
_Monsieur_ that the garrison of Saint-Martin was reduced to such
straits[108] that it was impossible for them to hold out for more than
another week. Louis, in great distress, thereupon proceeded to the
church of Notre-Dame-des-Ardilliers, which belonged to the Oratorians,
and was held in great veneration in all the country round, to offer up
prayers for the relief of his brave soldiers.

On the following day they arrived at Saumur, where, to the great
satisfaction of Bassompierre, the King informed Angoulême, who had come
to meet him, that so soon as he (the King) reached La Rochelle, he would
have to resign his post of lieutenant-general and content himself with
that of Colonel of the Light Cavalry.

On the 8th Bassompierre left his Majesty to pay a visit to his friend
Bertrand d’Eschaux, Archbishop of Tours, at the Abbey of l’Hort de
Poitiers, but rejoined him next day at Niort, where good news awaited
him. On the night of the 7th-8th, a flotilla of thirty-five boats and
small vessels, laden with men and provisions which had been collected at
the Sables d’Olonne, had set out to make an attempt to run the blockade,
to the cry of “_Passer ou mourir_,” and, aided by the darkness of the
night and a strong north-west wind, the great majority of them had
succeeded in getting through the English fleet and in bringing to the
famished defenders of Saint-Martin-de-Ré a reinforcement of 400 men and
provisions for a month.

This success turned the tables on the besiegers, who were themselves
running short of food, while sickness was making such havoc in their
ranks that there were now only 5,000 men fit for duty. The French
forces, too, were gathering on the mainland, and an attempt to relieve
the fort might be expected at any moment. In these circumstances, it had
already been decided to raise the siege, when news arrived that an
expedition under Lord Holland, which Charles I had, after infinite
difficulties, at length succeeded in organising, was on the point of
sailing from Plymouth, while, at the same time, the Rochellois, after
two months of tergiversations, decided to throw in their lot with the
Protestants of the South and the English, and signed a treaty with

On the 11th Louis XIII reached Surgères, where he was met by his
brother, Angoulême, and Louis de Marillac. _Monsieur_ spoke to the King
in favour of Angoulême, and recommended that he should be allowed to
retain his command, and “M. d’ Angoulême recommended himself.” But the
King replied that he had appointed Bassompierre and Schomberg as
lieutenant-generals of his army and that he could not do anything to
their prejudice. However, as it was known that his Majesty


After the picture by Gerard Honthorst in the National Portrait Gallery.

(Photo by Emery Walker).]

was seldom in the same mind for two days together, except when Richelieu
had made it up for him--and they believed that the Cardinal was none too
well disposed towards Bassompierre--Angoulême’s friends continued to
press his claims.

The following day the King took up his quarters at Aytré, _Monsieur_
having removed to the Château of Dompierre, to the north-east of La
Rochelle, on the road between that town and Niort, and, to the intense
mortification of Bassompierre, who had flattered himself that the matter
was settled, his first business was to hold a council to discuss the
position of Angoulême. The Council summoned the duke before it and
called upon him to state his case, when he declared that, having served
the King faithfully as lieutenant-general for three months, he would
regard it as an affront if he were called upon to resign in favour of
the Maréchaux de Bassompierre and de Schomberg, who, while he had been
enduring all the toils and hardships of active service, had been passing
their time agreeably in Paris; that he could see no reason why he should
not be associated with them in the command, unless it were the enmity
which the Maréchal de Bassompierre bore him, because he happened to be
the half-brother of Mlle. d’Entragues, and that he did not believe that
the Maréchal de Schomberg would make any difficulty were it not that he
was instigated thereto by his colleague. And he cited various precedents
to show that marshals of France had several times served under Princes
of the Blood.

Angoulême then withdrew, and the King sent for Bassompierre and
Schomberg, who had been waiting in an adjoining room, and Richelieu
having read to them the substance of the duke’s speech, invited them to
reply. Bassompierre, as the senior of the two marshals, thereupon rose
and harangued the Council at great length--his speech occupies several
pages of his _Mémoires_--maintaining that his Majesty had repeatedly
assured him that M. Angoulême’s command was to be but a temporary one
and that he would be removed so soon as the King joined the army; that
it was contrary to all precedent for anyone but marshals of France to
command, or to be associated in the command of, an army when the
Sovereign was present, and that, though it was certainly true, as M.
d’Angoulême had stated, that marshals had served under Princes of the
Blood, they had never done so when the King had been with the army.
Finally, he declared that rather than acquiesce in so great a
degradation of his office, he would prefer to lay down the bâton which
the King had given him and return to Paris, “to live the life of a
citizen, while awaiting the honour of his Majesty’s commands to serve
him in some other capacity.”

It is a singular illustration of the morals of the time to find
Bassompierre, in the course of this speech, making the following
reference to his former relations with Marie d’Entragues:--

     “He [Angoulême] has done very wrong to say that I wish him ill on
     account of his sister. That would be, on the contrary, a reason why
     I should wish him well. I seek with too much care the affection of
     the relatives of the ladies with whom I am in love. I might have
     wished him ill if he had done to my sister what I have done to his;
     but he does not practise the same thing on others, from fear of
     having too many enemies on his hands.”

Schomberg followed in much the same strain as his colleague, after which
the two marshals withdrew and went to inspect the Fort d’Orléans, a
partially-finished work which Angoulême had erected near the point of
Coreilles, to the south-east of La Rochelle. On their return to Aytré
the King inquired of Bassompierre what he thought of Fort d’Orléans. The
marshal replied that it was “a useless work, situated in the most
unsuitable spot that could have been chosen in all Coreilles, three
times as large as was necessary, badly constructed, a great expense,
and of little profit, built not according to the rules which ought to be
observed in constructing a fort intended only to serve during a siege,
but as a permanent work, and, in short, defective as a whole and in
every part.” The King then told him that he spoke thus out of
professional jealousy, and that, if he himself had caused this fort to
be constructed, he would find as many reasons to praise it as he now
found to condemn it. Bassompierre retorted that he was not so foolish as
to condemn a work which the King could go and judge of himself, and that
he saw clearly that his Majesty had changed his mind and intended to
support the pretensions of M. d’Angoulême. The King replied that he had
not changed his mind, but that he would be very pleased if the marshal
could accommodate himself to an arrangement which would be for the good
of his service.

That night Angoulême sent two of his friends, Louis de Marillac and the
Marquis de Vignolles, to Schomberg to endeavour to persuade him to
accept the prince as his colleague in the command of the army. If we are
to believe Bassompierre, they pointed out to Schomberg that if
Bassompierre were to carry out his threat to retire, he would have all
the power in the army, since Angoulême pretended only to the rank of
lieutenant-general and would never dream of disputing his authority,
whereas, if Bassompierre, who was the second marshal of France, a
favourite of the King, and very popular with officers and soldiers
alike, were to remain, he would occupy a subordinate position; and that,
by these insidious arguments, they succeeded in so inflaming the
marshal’s ambition that, regardless alike of his honour, the dignity of
his office, and the claims of friendship, he consented to what they

However that may be, next morning Schomberg went to the King and
informed him that he was prepared to accept Angoulême as his colleague
in the lieutenancy-general of the army, since he was already established
in that post, adding that he considered that Bassompierre had been very
ill-advised to contest the point so warmly.

An hour or two later, when Bassompierre went to the King’s quarters to
accompany him to Le Plomb, some two leagues to the north of La Rochelle,
where a fine view of the English fleet and Saint-Martin-de-Ré was
obtainable, his Majesty received him very coldly and avoided speaking to
him; and he learned that Louis had complained to _Monsieur_, the
Cardinal, and others that his obstinacy was hindering the operations of
the army. Before they left Aytré, Du Hallier came up to Bassompierre and
told him that he had been sent by the King to persuade him to be
reconciled to M. d’Angoulême. This the marshal refused to hear of, and
told Du Hallier that it was his intention to retire from the army two
days later.

On the way to Le Plomb, Richelieu also spoke to the marshal on the
subject, and then Schomberg rode up, and counselled him to yield to the
King’s wishes, “like a good courtier.” Upon which Bassompierre angrily
declared that “though his King and his master might abandon him, his
friends betray him, and his colleague, united to him by the same
interest, leave him, he would not abandon or betray himself,” and that
he (Schomberg) might, if it pleased him, remain with infamy, but, for
himself, he preferred to retire with honour.

On the following day Bassompierre learned that the King had directed
_Monsieur_, the titular general of the Royal army, to inform the two
marshals that he had decided that the Duc d’Angoulême was to serve
conjointly with them. Bassompierre declared that he absolutely refused
to be associated with M. d’Angoulême, and next morning the disgruntled
veteran presented himself before the King and addressed his Majesty as

     “Sire, in order to avoid doing anything unworthy of myself, and
     which might do injury to the office of marshal of France, with
     which you have honoured me, I am obliged, with an extreme regret,
     to retire from your army and to beg your Majesty very humbly to
     permit me to leave it. I am going to Paris to wait until the honour
     of your commands summons me to some place where I may be able to
     continue the same very humble services which I have performed in
     the past, demanding meanwhile, as a special favour, that you will
     not give credence to the evil reports which my enemies will spread
     abroad concerning me, until you have proved them to be true. For
     myself, I shall assure you that I shall be in the future what I
     have been in the past, to wit, your very humble and very faithful

Louis XIII must have had some little difficulty in preserving his
gravity during this grandiloquent oration. He had, however, not the
least intention of dispensing with the marshal’s military services,
which he valued highly, and he knew that his retirement would create an
exceedingly bad impression in the army, where he enjoyed great
popularity. He was, besides, attached to Bassompierre, so far as his
cold nature permitted him to be attached to anyone, and his lively
company would contribute not a little to relieve the monotony of the
long and tedious siege upon which he was about to enter. He therefore
endeavoured to persuade him to remain and accept Angoulême as his
colleague, and then, “perceiving that he was unable to conquer him,”
bade him adieu, after having first made him promise that he would go and
see the Cardinal. He then sent one of his gentlemen to Richelieu with
instructions to induce Bassompierre to remain at any cost.

When the marshal arrived at Richelieu’s quarters, the Cardinal received
him with a great display of affection and “even shed tears,” after which
he begged him to name the terms on which he would consent to continue to
give his Majesty the benefit of his military services. Bassompierre
replied that under no consideration would he prejudice the dignity of
his office by being associated with Angoulême, but that if he were
willing to give him a separate army, quite distinct from that of the
King, with his own artillery, commissariat and so forth, to besiege La
Rochelle on the other side of the canal, he would remain. The Cardinal
embraced him, assured him that he would give him all he demanded, and
asked him to name the troops of which he desired his force to be
composed; and the same day he was appointed to the command of an army,
composed of three companies of the Swiss Guards, the Navarre Regiment,
and five other regiments, _Monsieur’s_ company of gensdarmes and six
companies of light cavalry, together with the garrison of Fort Louis.
His headquarters were to be at Laleu, a village situated about a league
and a half to the north-west of La Rochelle.

This arrangement, so far as Bassompierre was concerned, was a very
satisfactory termination to the dispute; but, by accepting a separate
command, he lost a far greater opportunity for military distinction than
had yet come his way. For the task of relieving Saint-Martin-de-Ré and
driving Buckingham from the island was entrusted by the King to
Schomberg, whereas if Bassompierre had consented to serve as
lieutenant-general, it would certainly have been given to him, as the
senior of the two marshals. It was a heavy price to pay for the
gratification of his _amour-propre_.

Bassompierre established himself at Laleu on October 23, where three
days later he held a review of his army, several hundred men from which
were subsequently detached to go with Schomberg to the Île de Ré. At the
beginning of November, while returning from a visit to the King at
Aytré, he fell into an ambuscade which the Rochellois had laid for his
benefit. His usual good fortune, however, did not desert him and he
succeeded in effecting his escape.

A day or two later news arrived of the death of the Maréchal de
Thémines, who had succeeded the imprisoned Duc de Vendôme as Governor
of Brittany. The King offered the vacant post to Bassompierre, but,
though this most important and lucrative office, which until the
disgrace of Vendôme had generally been reserved for a Prince of the
Blood, might well have tempted him, the marshal refused it. “I told
him,” he says, “that I rendered very humble thanks for the honour which
he did me in deeming me worthy of it, but that, for my part, I did not
desire these great governments, which obliged me to reside there,
because they were not suited to my disposition and would divert me from
the course of my fortune.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Meantime, the situation of Buckingham’s army in the Île de Ré was
becoming every day more difficult and perilous. It is true that since
the treaty which the duke had signed with La Rochelle, a great number of
their sick and wounded had been admitted to that town, and they were
better provided with provisions; but the weather was cold and wet, and
the troops suffered severely in consequence. What was worse was that by
October 20 more than 2,000 French troops had succeeded in getting across
to the island from the mainland, and had been received within the walls
of Fort La Prée and the entrenchments which had been thrown up in front
of it, and their numbers might be expected to increase every day.

Everything now depended upon the arrival of Holland. If he arrived
before the French in the island were sufficiently numerous to take the
offensive, and Buckingham succeeded meantime in preventing Saint-Martin
from being again revictualled, the place must fall, for by the second
week in November he calculated that the provisions of the garrison would
be exhausted. If, however, Holland’s arrival were delayed beyond the
first days of that month, he dared not, with his steadily dwindling
forces, take the risk of having to give battle to superior numbers and
would be obliged to abandon the enterprise.

Buckingham and his officers “blinded themselves with looking” for the
first signs of the coming of Holland’s fleet, but it came not. Endless
difficulties had to be surmounted before it was ready to start, for men
were hard to obtain and money still harder, and those charged with the
fitting out of the expedition were deficient in both capacity and
energy, though the King and Holland appear to have done their utmost to
spur them on. At last, on October 19, Holland, with part of the
expedition, sailed from Portsmouth, but was driven back to the coast by
a storm. For ten days the wind blew strongly from the South-West; then
on the 29th it changed, and the fleet again set sail, this time from
Plymouth. But in the night a violent westerly gale came on, and it was
again forced to return, with some of the ships severely damaged.

Before the end of the first week of November, Buckingham, obliged to
recognise that his position was fast becoming untenable, reluctantly
yielded to the counsels of those who urged him to raise the siege. He
could not, however, bring himself to abandon the prey which had been so
nearly his, without one last attempt to seize it; and learning that
Toiras had but 500 men left capable of bearing arms, he determined to
endeavour to carry the place by assault, notwithstanding that almost
from the first an assault had been regarded as a hopeless operation.

The attempt was made on the morning of November 6. The raw troops who
had landed in the island in July were by this time seasoned soldiers,
and they advanced to the attack gallantly enough. But Toiras had been
forewarned, probably owing to Buckingham’s want of reticence; and the
assailants were received with a murderous fire, while huge stones were
rained down upon them as they clambered up the rocky slope on which the
fortress stood. When they reached the walls, their scaling-ladders were
found to be too short; the troops from La Prée came out to threaten
their rear, and they were obliged to retreat with the loss of several
hundred men.

During the following night, Schomberg, who had been waiting his
opportunity for some days, sailed out of the Charente, evaded the
English fleet and disembarked at Sainte-Marie, in the south-east of Ré,
with his relieving army. Then, having been joined by the troops at La
Prée, at the head of over 6,000 men he advanced towards Saint-Martin.
Buckingham, however, had already raised the siege and retreated towards
the Île de Loix, a narrow tongue of land separated from the rest of Ré
by marshes and a canal, where he intended to re-embark.

On Schomberg’s arrival at Saint-Martin, Toiras at once proposed that he
should join him with all his men who were fit to take the field, and
that they should follow and attack the English at once, declaring that
the enemy was so demoralised and enfeebled by sickness that, in that
case, not one of them would escape. Louis de Marillac, who commanded
under Schomberg, strongly opposed this suggestion, and, though finally
it was decided to follow Toiras’s advice, so much time had been lost in
disputing that the greater part of Buckingham’s army had already gained
the Île de Loix. The rearguard, however, were still defiling across a
narrow wooden bridge which had been thrown across the marshes and the
canal which separated Ré from the Île de Loix; and the French generals
saw at a glance that, owing to the carelessness with which the
preparations for retreat had been made, these hapless troops were
entirely at their mercy.

An entrenchment had been constructed on the further side of the bridge,
but, by some blunder, the causeway which led to the bridge was quite
unguarded, except by a handful of cavalry. The French horse, who
outnumbered this detachment by nearly four to one, charged and routed
it, and the flying cavalry, galloping wildly towards the bridge, threw
the infantry into hopeless confusion. Almost simultaneously a body of
French infantry fell on the rear of the troops crossing the bridge, who
were, of course, unable to offer any effective resistance. It was a
massacre rather than a fight. Hundreds were killed, while a great
number fell from the bridge, which was unprotected by a parapet, and
were drowned. The troops who had been detached to guard the entrenchment
on the Île de Loix were at first borne away by the rout; but they soon
rallied and drove back the enemy, and when night fell were still in
possession. Next morning the bridge was destroyed, and the remnant of
Buckingham’s unfortunate army re-embarked without any interference from
the French.

The English losses in this lamentable affair have been variously stated,
but Bassompierre’s estimate of 1,200, which includes prisoners, is
probably well within the mark. What is certain is that, although on
October 20 6,884 men drew pay at Saint-Martin-de-Ré, only 2,989 were
landed at Portsmouth and Plymouth three weeks later.

More than forty English standards which had been captured were displayed
amid great rejoicings in Notre Dame on Christmas Day; and Paris saw in
it a proud victory over her rival, on that rival’s own element.


     Siege of La Rochelle begins--Immense difficulties of the
     undertaking--Unwillingness of the great nobles to see the Huguenot
     party entirely crushed--Remark of Bassompierre--Courage and energy
     of Richelieu--His measures to provide for the welfare and
     efficiency of the besieging army--The lines of
     circumvallation--Erection of the Fort of La Fons by
     Bassompierre--The construction of the mole is begun and proceeded
     with in the face of great difficulties--Responsibilities of
     Bassompierre--The Duc d’Angoulême accuses the marshal of a gross
     piece of negligence, but the latter succeeds in turning the tables
     upon his accuser--Louis XIII returns to Paris, leaving Richelieu
     with the title of “Lieutenant-General of the Army”--Critical state
     of affairs in Italy--Unsuccessful attempts to take La Rochelle by
     surprise--Intrigues of Marie de’ Medici and the High Catholic party
     against Richelieu--The King rejoins the army--Guiton elected Mayor
     of La Rochelle.

The departure of the English left Richelieu face to face with La
Rochelle, “like a lion with his prey.” But the Cardinal was well aware
that it was a prey which could not be secured without a long and
terrible struggle. With its strong walls, covered on two sides by
marshes and on a third by the harbour, and its brave and hardy
population, largely composed of seafaring men inured to perils and
hardships, La Rochelle was one of the most difficult places to subdue
which it was possible to imagine. Old men remembered how the Duc d’Anjou
(afterwards Henri III) had besieged the town for months after the St.
Bartholomew, and had had nothing to show for his trouble but the graves
of 20,000 of his soldiers, and predicted that Louis XIII and Richelieu
would meet with no better fate. In fact, so long as La Rochelle retained
command of the sea, it was deemed impregnable.

Richelieu, appreciating the immense difficulties of the enterprise,
would fain have avoided it altogether; but the alliance of the
Rochellois with the English had left him no alternative, and, once
committed to it, he was resolved to carry it through, cost what it
might. For this siege, in which, as he said, “he had to conquer three
kings, those of France, England, and Spain,” he set aside all other
work, and concentrated upon it all the resources of his genius. For this
he closed his eyes momentarily to the death-struggles in Germany, to the
Austrian menace on the eastern frontier, and to the intrigues of the
Dukes of Savoy and Lorraine, and contented himself with merely holding
Rohan’s rebellion in the South in check the while he was preparing to
strike his decisive blows elsewhere.

The Cardinal had recognised, in arriving before La Rochelle, that it
would be necessary for him to supervise everything himself, and that the
obstacles which he would have to overcome were well-nigh as formidable
in the Royal camp as in those of the enemy. The majority of the great
nobles, by whom the Cardinal was feared and disliked, did not wish to
see the Huguenot party completely crushed, foreseeing that, when this
was accomplished, Richelieu would assuredly proceed to curtail their own
power; and Bassompierre undoubtedly voiced their opinion when he
exclaimed one day, laughing: “We shall be very foolish to take La
Rochelle.” Bassompierre was too loyal a servant of the Crown not to do
his duty as a soldier, whatever opinions he might hold; but there were
others who were more logical, and already, during the siege of
Saint-Martin-de-Ré, the conduct of more than one officer and more than
one army-contractor had been distinctly suspicious. This ill-will would,
unless effective means were taken to frustrate it, undoubtedly manifest
itself on a much greater scale as time went on, and would not fail to
take advantage of the least checks and the least sufferings to spread
discouragement throughout the army.

Richelieu faced the situation boldly and resolved to attack the evil at
its root. He secured the good-will and confidence of the people of the
surrounding country, and assured the provisioning of the camp, by an
ordinance which forbade the soldiers, under pain of death, to take away
the cattle of the peasants or to interfere with the work in the fields,
and instituted a special commission to receive the complaints of the
peasants against the military. He gained, at the same time, the
affection of the soldiers by the solicitude which he showed for their
welfare, arranging with the neighbouring towns for the supply of winter
clothing for the whole army and directing that the men should receive
their pay each week from the commissaries of the Treasury, instead of
allowing the money to pass, as had hitherto been the custom, through the
hands of the captains of companies, in which a good proportion of it
invariably remained. Thus, the company-officers were no longer able to
defraud the soldier of his pay or to deceive the Ministers or the
generals as to the number of effectives who were serving under them;
and, thanks to this precaution and the rigorous surveillance exercised
over the treasurers and contractors, the army employed at the siege of
La Rochelle, though larger than that which had besieged Montauban five
years before, did not cost the State even half as much. Never had a
French army taken the field in which the soldiers were better cared for
or better disciplined; never had the country surrounding a beleaguered
town been less harried and annoyed. The camp, in fact, was a pattern of
all the military virtues, which Richelieu afterwards himself compared to
a “well-ordered convent.” The comparison seems to have been justified by
the swarm of Capuchins who descended upon the Royal army in the train of
Richelieu’s confidant, the celebrated Père Joseph--“_Son Eminence
grise_”--to catechise the soldiers, and by the group of warlike
prelates--the Bishops of Maillezais, Mende, Nîmes, and others--whom the
Cardinal gathered round him to aid him in the surveillance of the
officers and contractors.

While the welfare and efficiency of the army was thus being provided
for, the siege was being busily pressed on. Lines of circumvallation
three leagues in extent, flanked by eleven forts and eighteen redoubts,
were undertaken, with the object of cutting off all approach to La
Rochelle on the land side. One of the most important was the Fort of La
Fons, to the north of the town, which was intended to intercept the
supply of pure water. On November 18 Louis XIII sent for Bassompierre
and informed him that he and the Cardinal were most anxious that a fort
should be constructed at La Fons. So soon as possible _Monsieur_ had
charged himself with this task, but, as he had left the army and
returned to Paris, the King had requested Angoulême to undertake it.
That prince, however, was unwilling to do so, unless he could have a
force of 500 horse and 5,000 foot at his disposal, as he felt certain
that the besieged would make the most determined efforts to prevent the
construction of the fort. It would be very difficult to spare so many
troops, and the King had therefore sent for Bassompierre to ascertain
whether he would undertake the work and what reinforcements he would
require for the purpose. The marshal replied that he would not require
any, and that he would engage that the approach to La Rochelle on that
side should be effectually closed within a fortnight. The King appeared
to think that Bassompierre was jesting, and asked if three more
regiments and three companies of light cavalry would be enough. The
marshal answered that, if his Majesty insisted on reinforcing him, he
must decline to undertake the affair; that on the morrow he would survey
the ground and trace out the fort, on the following day make his
preparations, and on the next take up his quarters there and begin the
work. Louis inquired what force he proposed to employ, and, on being
told that 400 infantry and 40 horse were all that he should take, “told
him that he was making game of him and that he would not suffer him to
do it.” The marshal said that, in that case, the King had better entrust
the work to someone else, as he declined to employ another man beyond
the number he had mentioned. Finally, the King allowed him to have his
way, recommending him, however, to take every precaution.

It is probable that Bassompierre would not have been nearly so ready to
offer to undertake under the protection of a few hundred men a dangerous
and important duty, for which ordinary prudence would have enjoined the
employment of a very considerable force, had not Angoulême been present
at the Council and the temptation to humiliate that prince proved too
great to resist. He had reckoned, however, on his long experience of war
to enable him to deceive an enemy who could possess little or no
knowledge of the ruses of the battlefield, and he judged rightly. The
spot where he proposed to construct his fort was flanked by two sunken
roads, and at the head of each of these roads he erected a barricade,
which he lined with troops, while the rest of his force he disposed in
the space between them. The Rochellois sallied out to the number of
1,000 or 1,200 men, but, finding themselves confronted by several
hundred soldiers, concluded that they formed but the advance-guard of a
large force which lay concealed in the sunken roads behind the
barricades, and did not venture to attack, contenting themselves with a
cannonade, which did but little damage. Thus the resourceful
Bassompierre was able to carry out the work entrusted to him with the
loss of very few men, and was highly complimented by the King on his

The lines of circumvallation were, however, of but secondary importance,
for there was no serious attack to be feared from the Huguenots of the
South. It was not the land but the sea which it was necessary to close
at any price, for it was impossible to believe that the English, more
exasperated than dejected by the reverse they had sustained, would not
sooner or later make a vigorous effort to succour the metropolis of
French Protestantism. They were, indeed, in honour bound to come to the
assistance of the Rochellois, since it was they who had drawn them into

In 1621 an Italian engineer had conceived a project of blocking the
canal of La Rochelle; but the means which he proposed--an elaborated
floating bar, an iron chain laid across vessels and rafts, and
stretching from shore to shore--was found insufficient.

However, at the end of November, another scheme was mooted.

     “_Saturday, the 27th_ [November],” writes Bassompierre, “two master
     masons or architects of Paris, the one named Méteseau, the other
     Tiriot,[110] came to propose to construct a mole of solid stone in
     the canal of La Rochelle, in order to close it. The Cardinal sent
     them to me, and I approved their project, which had already been
     proposed to the King by Beaulieu.”[111]

It was accordingly decided to undertake the gigantic task of blocking up
the canal with solid masonry. From the point of Coreilles, which was
beyond the range of the cannon of La Rochelle, a mole was to be thrown
out some seven hundred paces towards the opposite shore, where
Bassompierre commanded; whence, to meet it, another mole of four hundred
paces was to be constructed. The whole breadth of the canal is here
seventeen hundred paces, so that there would be, after all, a distance
of some six hundred still open, for here the water was so deep as to
render it impossible to carry the mole across it. It was therefore
decided that in this opening a number of vessels should be sunk; while
others, with their bows outward, were to be lashed together, and made
fast to the ends of the mole, so as to close the passage with a kind of
floating and armed bridge. A small squadron of the Royal fleet was to be
stationed between the mole and the inner harbour, to prevent the
vessels of the Rochellois from sallying out to burn the moored ships,
while the main part of the fleet would cruise between the canal and the
islands of Ré and Oléron to watch for the coming of the English.

The construction of the mole was begun forthwith, but it was a
heartbreaking task, and it is probable that with anyone less inflexible
than Richelieu to supervise it it would soon have been abandoned. For
more than once the stormy sea destroyed in an hour the work of a week;
and, on one occasion, the result of three months’ labour was entirely
lost, through the fault of Louis de Marillac, who had caused the mole to
be made upright, instead of slanting. But the patience of man eventually
triumphed over the fury of the elements, and little by little the
gigantic work advanced towards completion, despite the winds and the

Bassompierre, although, for political reasons, he may, like most of the
great nobles, have wished to spare the great stronghold of the Huguenot
party, carried out the duties entrusted to him with his customary zeal
and efficiency. Never probably had so much responsibility rested upon
him. He had to see that the soldiers and labourers engaged upon the mole
upon his side of the canal were promptly supplied with all they
required, so that the work might not be interrupted even for an hour. He
was responsible for the construction of all the forts and redoubts on
the western and north-western side of La Rochelle, which appear to have
been made from plans which he himself drew. He had constantly to be on
the alert, by day and night, to repel the sallies which the garrison
directed against the unfinished works, and to prevent the attempts
which, until the lines of circumvallation had been completed, were
constantly being made under cover of darkness to revictual the town.

One morning in January, 1628, the marshal received a visit from the
Marquis de Grimault, who informed him that he had been sent by the
King, who had gone to spend a few days at a château near Nantes, to
express to him his Majesty’s displeasure to learn that he had been so
negligent as to allow a large herd of cattle to be driven through his
lines into the town. In great astonishment, Bassompierre inquired who
had accused him of this, and was told that it was the Duc d’Angoulême,
from whom the King had received a letter that morning. The marshal at
once despatched one of his officers, named Lisle-Rouet, who was a noted
huntsman and could be trusted to identify the track of any animal, to
investigate the affair; but Lisle-Rouet could find no sign of a herd of
cattle having passed through their lines. He then proceeded to examine
the country on the other side of La Rochelle, where the main part of the
Royal army under Angoulême and Schomberg lay, and, by good fortune, came
upon the track of the cattle near the village of Périgny, to the
south-east of the town. He returned and reported his discovery to
Bassompierre, who at once despatched him to the King, to whom, says the
marshal, “he expressed just resentment that I had been blamed for the
faults of others, and that without having heard me or had the matter
confirmed, the King should have not only judged but condemned me on the
mere statement of my enemy”; and he offered to prove, if his Majesty
would send someone who was a huntsman with him, that the cattle had
entered the town through Angoulême’s and Schomberg’s lines.

Louis thereupon sent for the two commanders, before whom Lisle-Rouet
repeated what he had told the King. They, of course, declared that the
thing was impossible, upon which his Majesty suggested that they had
better go and examine the ground over which the cattle were said to have
passed themselves, and sent with them one of his gentlemen named
Croysilles, who, like Lisle-Rouet, was an experienced huntsman.
Croysilles confirmed the opinion of the other, and Angoulême and
Schomberg were reluctantly obliged to acknowledge that it was with
themselves, and not with Bassompierre, that the blame for a particularly
gross piece of negligence lay.

It seems probable, however, that the admission of the cattle into La
Rochelle was due to something worse than negligence, at least so far as
Angoulême was concerned. Anyway, he was most severely reprimanded both
by the King and the Cardinal, the latter being furiously indignant that
the success of operations involving so much labour and such enormous
expense should be compromised in this fashion. As for Bassompierre, the
King, “satisfied him by many words of his esteem and affection for his
person”; but it must, nevertheless, have been very galling to the
marshal to find how ready his Majesty was to credit the most unfounded
accusations against even his most intimate friends.

It was this very same unfortunate trait in Louis XIII’s character which
was just then causing his great Minister the keenest anxiety. To assure
his influence with the King it was necessary to be with him constantly,
so as to be in a position to disabuse his gloomy and fickle mind of the
suspicions which the enemies of the Cardinal were perpetually
endeavouring to implant there. Well, Louis had grown weary of the
monotony of the siege and had announced his intention of returning to
Paris. The Cardinal was profoundly alarmed. To follow the King was to
renounce La Rochelle, for no other than Richelieu was capable of
finishing the work of Richelieu; to remain, to separate from the King,
was to risk his political existence, for in Paris were his most
dangerous enemies, who would not fail to take the fullest advantage of
this opportunity his absence afforded them. How could he tell whether
some malign influence might not succeed in undermining the inconstant
monarch’s trust in him, and bringing the whole fabric of his ambition,
upon which alone it was reared, crashing to the ground? For a moment he
had almost determined to go with the King; but Père Joseph is said to
have persuaded him to stay, pointing out that, if he went, the
operations would almost certainly fail, and be followed by an outcry
which would ruin him. Anyway, he decided to remain, and Louis, who
appears to have recognised that his Minister’s resolution had something
magnanimous about it, took his departure for Paris on February 10 with
the promise that he would soon return, and left him with the title of
“Lieutenant-General of the Army,” the marshals, Bassompierre and
Schomberg, themselves being directed to take their orders from him.

“It was a singular spectacle,” says Henri Martin, “this general in the
red hat, with his staff in mitre and cowl. But the Cardinal knew how to
render terrible what so nearly touched the grotesque. He had acted up to
then in the shadow of the King; he was henceforth general, admiral,
engineer, munitioner, intendant, paymaster. He communicated the fire of
his soul to all who surrounded him. The Bishop of Mende, who was
directing under him the construction of the mole, died meanwhile, giving
orders that his body was to be interred in La Rochelle. The spirit of
the soldiery and of the lesser nobility, who did not share the mental
reservations of the grandees, rose to the same pitch.”

Meantime, however, storms were gathering on various parts of the
horizon, and all the enemies of France appeared to be striving to
prevent her achieving her political unity. Threatening preparations for
the relief of La Rochelle were going forward in the English ports;
Wallenstein was carrying all before him in Germany, and the fainting
princes of the North were sending despairing appeals for assistance;
while, worst of all, the Spaniards from the Milanese and the Duke of
Savoy had invaded the duchy of Mantua and the marquisate of Montferrato,
to which Charles of Gonzaga, Duc de Nevers, had succeeded on the death
of Vincenzo I, Duke of Mantua, in 1627, and were threatening Casale, on
the Po, a fortress which it was of the most vital importance to France
to save from falling into unfriendly hands.[112]

But, until La Rochelle was taken, France could do little or nothing to
aid her hard-pressed ally, for all the troops which could be spared from
the defence of the frontiers, save those engaged to hold Rohan and the
Huguenots of the South in check, were concentrated before the Protestant
stronghold; all the money which could be raised was being thrown into
the mud of its canal. Recognising the impossibility of abandoning the
siege, but sorely troubled by the news from Italy, Richelieu determined
to make an attempt to take La Rochelle by surprise, although he was well
aware that his chance of success was of the slightest. On March 11,
accordingly, he sent for Bassompierre and informed him that that night
he was sending Marillac to endeavour to blow up the Porte des Salines,
and instructed the marshal to have 2,000 foot and 300 horse in readiness
to support him. Bassompierre assembled his troops with all due secrecy
at the place appointed, where he was joined by the Cardinal, with a
force about equal to his own. They waited there all night, expecting
every moment to hear the sound of the explosion; but nothing happened,
and it subsequently transpired that Marillac and the men who were
carrying the petard had lost their way in the darkness.

In the early morning of the 13th another attempt was made, this time on
the south-eastern side of the town; but it failed completely, and more
than forty men were killed and wounded.

After this second fiasco, Richelieu prudently abandoned the idea of
taking La Rochelle by a _coup de main_, and, feeling very uneasy as to
what was happening in Paris, wrote to the King pressing him to hasten
his return to the army, in order to discuss with him the situation.

The Cardinal did well to be uneasy at Louis’s absence, for his enemies
at the Court had been very busy indeed, more so, in fact, even than he
appears to have imagined. This time the Queen-Mother was of the plot.
Marie, as we have seen, had supported Richelieu warmly so long as she
believed him to be her creature, prepared to place France at the mercy
of her petty passions; but gradually the unpalatable truth had begun to
dawn upon her sluggish mind that the Cardinal had been using her favour
merely as a stepping-stone to that of the King, and that it was upon the
son, and not upon the mother, that he intended to lean. The discovery
exasperated the Queen-Mother, and there were not wanting persons about
her to sympathise with her complaints against the neglect and
ingratitude of the Cardinal. Chief among these was Bérulle, recently
elevated to the cardinalate, Michel de Marillac, the Keeper of the
Seals, and other members of the High Catholic party. Loudly as these
pious souls had fulminated against the stubborn heretics of La Rochelle
in the past, they were now as little anxious for the fall of the town as
were the great nobles, though for a different reason. They knew that
with Richelieu religious considerations counted for very little in
comparison with political, and foresaw that, once the Huguenot party was
overthrown, he would make no attempt to interfere with that liberty of
conscience which the _dévots_ regarded with such indignation, and would
make use of his victory, not to revoke the Edict of Nantes, but to
thwart the designs of the House of Austria to crush the Protestant
princes of Northern Europe.

Marie and her friends had recourse to all kinds of means to detain the
King in Paris, but they did not succeed; and on April 25 he rejoined the
army, which he found larger by several thousand men than when he had
quitted it at the beginning of February, while all the works were
approaching completion.

On the following day a herald was sent to summon La Rochelle to
surrender in the name of the King; but the inhabitants refused to
receive him.

The most violent party had gained the day in this unhappy town, and the
mayoralty had become a dictatorship. On March 3 the famous admiral of
the Rochellois, Jean Guiton, had been elected mayor, against his will.
“You know not what you are doing in nominating me,” said he. “Remember
that with me there must be no talk of surrender. If anyone says a word
about that, I will kill him.” And, drawing his poniard, he threw it on
to the table of the Hôtel de Ville and gave orders that it should be
left there.

The King and the Cardinal thought for a moment of converting the
blockade into a regular siege with approaches in form, and endeavouring
to take La Rochelle by assault. But the council of war which they called
to discuss the matter objected that the only part of the fortifications
which was approachable was of immense strength, and that to attempt to
storm it would only entail a useless sacrifice of life. If Richelieu had
been as sure of the officers as he was of the soldiers, he would perhaps
have disregarded this advice, but he could not expose himself to the
chance of a serious reverse. He therefore decided that there was nothing
to be done but to continue the blockade and starve the place out. As for
the Italian situation, it was recognised that it was impossible for
France to intervene directly so long as La Rochelle remained untaken,
but authority was given to raise a force of volunteers, who were to
enter Italy by way of the Valtellina and throw themselves into Casale.


     Arrival of the English fleet under the Earl of Denbigh--Its
     composition--Daring feat of an English pinnace--Retirement of the
     fleet--Probable explanation of this fiasco--Indignation of Charles
     I, who orders Denbigh to return to La Rochelle, but this is found
     to be impossible--The Rochellois approach Bassompierre with a
     request for a conference to arrange terms of surrender--The arrival
     of a letter from Charles I promising to send another fleet to their
     succour causes the negotiations to be broken off--La Rochelle in
     the grip of famine--Refusal of Louis XIII to allow the old men,
     women and children to pass through the Royal lines: their miserable
     fate--Movements in favour of surrender among the citizens
     suppressed by the Mayor Guiton--Terrible sufferings of La
     Rochelle--Bassompierre spares the life of a Huguenot soldier who
     had intended to kill him--Difficulties experienced by Charles I and
     Buckingham in fitting out a new expedition--Assassination of
     Buckingham--The vanguard of the English fleet, under the command of
     the Earl of Lindsey, appear off La Rochelle--Narrow escape of
     Richelieu and Bassompierre--The King takes up his quarters with
     Bassompierre at Laleu--Arrival of the rest of the English
     fleet--Feeble efforts of the English to force their way into the
     harbour--The Rochellois, reduced to the last extremity, sue for
     peace--Bassompierre conducts deputies from the town to
     Richelieu--Surrender of La Rochelle--Bassompierre returns with the
     King to Paris.

Bassompierre, who early in April had had an exceedingly narrow escape of
his life, a cannon-shot from the town having killed three soldiers to
whom he was speaking and covered him with earth, was busily employed
during the days which followed the King’s return to the army in erecting
a formidable battery on the Chef de Baie, a promontory at the
north-western extremity of the canal, opposite Coreilles, for the
arrival of the English fleet was now daily expected.

To the profound mortification of Charles I, who considered the
deliverance of La Rochelle a matter of personal honour, the difficulty
of obtaining both money and men had delayed the fitting out of the
expedition until the spring was well advanced; but at the end of April
it sailed from Portsmouth, under the command of the Earl of Denbigh,
Buckingham’s brother-in-law, and on May 11 appeared off the Île de Ré.

     “On Thursday the 11th,” writes Bassompierre, “M. de Mailsais (the
     new Archbishop of Bordeaux),[113] and several others, being come to
     dine with me, I brought them at noon to the battery of Chef de
     Baie, at which time the English fleet appeared off Baleines.[114]
     It was perceived by a sentinel who had been posted for that purpose
     in the belfry of Ars, in the Île de Ré, and Toiras, on being
     informed, sent in all haste to give the signal from the Fort de la
     Prée which he had arranged with me: three cannon-shots and a thick
     smoke. I caught sight of it also at the same moment, from the
     battery of the Chef de Baie, where I stood with the gentlemen of
     whom I have spoken, and ordered the signal to be given to warn our
     armies on sea and land, which was three cannon-shots from the said
     battery, and sent to warn the Cardinal (who had come to lodge on my
     side of the town, at a château called La Saussaye, half a league
     from La Fons). Then our naval armament, under the command of the
     Commandeur de Valençai, set sail, and advanced towards the
     promontory of Saint-Blanceau. At two o’clock in the afternoon, the
     advance-guard of the English appeared near Saint-Martin-de-Ré. The
     King was forthwith warned of it by the Cardinal, who came to
     Coreilles with him to witness the approach of the naval army of the
     enemy. The Cardinal went to lodge at Aytré, in order to look to
     matters on that side. The whole fleet, which was advancing in three
     lines, was composed of fifty-two vessels, to wit, four of the
     King’s great ships-of-war, seven other vessels of five hundred tons
     burden, and forty-one little vessels of one hundred tons and less,
     both fire-ships and ships laden with provisions, so far as one
     could conjecture. But what made us quite confident that they would
     be unable to effect anything, and that our fleet would be
     incomparably stronger than theirs, was that neither the King’s
     ships-of-war nor the other great vessels would find sufficient
     depth of water to enter the canal.

     “About seven o’clock in the evening the English fleet approached to
     anchor at Chef de Baie. But, to prevent them, I ordered the battery
     to fire fifty cannon-shot upon the vessels of the advance-guard, of
     which three struck the hulls of the vessels and killed a few men,
     and the others pierced their sails. This caused them to stand out
     to sea towards the Straits of Antioche,[115] where they cast

The English appear to have imagined that they had only to show
themselves to enter the harbour, as they had been informed that the
French had only a few ships and that the mole was but little advanced.
They were astonished to behold the approach barred by twenty-nine
vessels and a swarm of boats and armed shallops. The flanks of this
fleet were protected by the batteries which bristled on the two
promontories of Chef de Baie and Coreilles and on both sides of the
canal. Even supposing that they were able to force this formidable
barrier, they would find themselves confronted by the mole, now almost
completed, which was fortified by four batteries, one at each extremity,
and one on either side of a narrow opening left for the passage of the
tides. A little fort, built in the canal, covered this opening on the
side of the sea, and this fort was covered, in its turn, by twenty-four
vessels lashed together in the shape of a half-moon. On the other side
of the mole, a second floating stockade of armed boats prevented the
Rochellois from communicating with their allies.

It may be questioned, as Gardiner very justly observes, whether Drake or
Nelson, followed by crews as high-spirited and as energetic as
themselves, would have made an attack successfully. But Denbigh’s fleet
was for the most part manned by pressed men, carried off against their
will from their ordinary occupations to a service of danger, in which
the reward was but scanty pay, or, most probably, no pay at all. Many of
them were soldiers converted into sailors from sheer necessity. Such men
could have had but little stomach for the business in hand, nor was
Denbigh the kind of commander to inspire those under him with a more
daring spirit.

Denbigh would appear to have founded some hope on the superiority of his
ships-of-war over any which the French could oppose to them; but he was
assured by the Rochellois _émigrés_ who were with him that these great
vessels would undoubtedly run aground in the shallow waters of the
canal. He therefore decided to wait until the next spring tide made the
attack easier for his fire-ships; but, in any case, it would have been
impossible for him to have attempted anything of importance for nearly a
week, as during that time, Bassompierre tells us, the wind was blowing
hard off the coast.

More than one attempt, however, was made by small vessels to run the
blockade under cover of darkness; and during the night of the 14th-15th,
Bassompierre learned that an English pinnace had passed through the
opening in the mole. He sent at once to warn the vessels which lay
between the mole and the inner harbour; but the pinnace succeeded in
evading them and reached the town in safety. It was a most daring feat
and worthy of the best traditions of the Navy.

On the 15th there was an alarm that the English fleet was getting under
way, and Richelieu sent the Swiss Guards and Vaubecourt’s regiment to
reinforce Bassompierre at Chef de Baie. However, nothing happened.

On the following day the English sent a fire-ship against the French
fleet, but the boats succeeded in towing it to the shore of the canal.
It was thought probable that the enemy might attempt an attack that
night, and the King came to spend it in Bassompierre’s quarters, the
marshal sleeping in his coach.

On the 18th Louis XIII dined and held his Council at Bassompierre’s
quarters, and then went with him to Chef de Baie to watch the enemy’s
fleet in the Straits of Antioche. He then started to return to Aytré,
accompanied by the marshal; but, after they had proceeded some little
distance, happening to glance back, they observed great activity aboard
the English ships: anchors were being weighed, sailors were going aloft
hoisting sails, and it was evident that a general movement was about to
take place.

Bassompierre returned in all haste to Chef de Baie, and the French on
land and sea began hurriedly preparing to meet the expected attack.

Presently, the great ships-of-war stood in towards the canal, until they
had got within range, when they tacked, discharged their broadsides into
the French vessels, and then stood out to sea, as did the whole fleet.
The French watched them with astonishment, scarcely daring to believe
that they really intended to leave the beleaguered city to its fate
without any serious attempt to force their way into the harbour; but
they held on their course, running rapidly before the wind, and ere long
the last of their sails disappeared below the horizon. “Then,” says
Bassompierre, “we returned to our quarters to make good cheer without
fear of the enemy and with good hope of the speedy reduction of La

It is very difficult to decide who was to blame for this fiasco, for the
evidence is exceedingly conflicting. The English officers, when they
came home, threw all the blame on the Rochellois refugees who
accompanied them, while the Rochellois bitterly retorted the accusation.
The explanation given by Gardiner, who is always scrupulously fair in
his criticism of naval and military operations, is as follows:--

     “On the morning of the 8th [the 18th according to French
     chronology] a fresh apprehension seized on the commander [Denbigh].
     The wind was blowing from Rochelle, and if he could not set fire to
     the ships of the enemy, the French might possibly set fire to his.
     He therefore gave the order to weigh anchor, that the fleet might
     retire to a little distance. When the minds of men are in a state
     of despondency, the slightest retrograde movement is fatal. The
     Rochellois weighed anchor as they were told, but they understood
     the expedition had been abandoned and made all sail for England.
     Thus deserted, the whole fleet followed their example.”

When the news that the expedition which he had only succeeded in sending
out after so many difficulties and delays was on its way home, Charles
I, who, only a day or two before, had sent orders to Denbigh to hold on
at La Rochelle so long as possible and to send for reinforcements if he
required them, was furiously indignant. He at once despatched Lord
Fielding, Denbigh’s son, to Portsmouth to press into the King’s service
every vessel he found there, and to direct his father to return at all
hazards to La Rochelle and to await the reinforcements and supplies
which would be sent him. But it was impossible for Denbigh to carry out
these orders. His ships were full of sick men and very short of
provisions, while some of them were urgently in need of repairs, and to
send them to sea again before these were effected would, if bad weather
came on, entail the loss of them and their crews. Besides this, three of
his merchant-vessels laden with corn for La Rochelle had been snapped up
by Dunkirk privateers within sight of the English coast, and they and
their freights would have to be replaced. The King reluctantly
acknowledged the force of Denbigh’s representations and sent orders to
him to refit, while all the available maritime force of the country was
being got ready to accompany him.

The retreat of the English produced a profound impression both in France
and abroad. The clergy, assembled at Fontenai, in Poitou, voted a
subsidy of three millions to aid the King to finish his work. The Comte
de Soissons, who had contemplated raising the standard of revolt in
Dauphiné and joining Rohan, sued for pardon and came to the Royal camp
to make his peace with the King; while the Duc de la Trémoille, the
greatest noble of Poitou, hastened to abjure the Protestant faith, and
was received into the Catholic Church by Richelieu, who promptly
rewarded his “conversion” by the command of the light cavalry. It
appears to have been the almost general belief that the surrender of La
Rochelle was near at hand, a belief which was strengthened when, a week
after the departure of the English fleet, the Rochellois made an
unsuccessful attempt to send their “_bouches inutiles_” through the
lines of the besiegers, thus admitting that the town was already
beginning to feel the pinch of hunger.

But those who counted on the early surrender of La Rochelle understood
but little the grim tenacity of that people, so well personified by the
inflexible seaman whom it had chosen as its chief. The mayor Guiton,
ably seconded by the old Duchesse de Rohan and the eloquent minister
Salbert, exhorted their fellow-citizens to endure all things for the
sake of their faith and to choose death rather than dishonour.
Nevertheless, so great was the despondency which followed the departure
of the English that these zealots were unable to prevent negotiations
being opened with the Royal army, though it is probable that they had no
intention of allowing them to be carried through. Anyway, on May 31, a
drummer from the town came to Bassompierre’s quarters; informed him that
the citizens were debating the question of surrender, and requested that
he would send someone to arrange for a conference. Bassompierre
despatched the Comte, afterwards the Maréchal, de Grancey to La
Rochelle, and sent to inform the King and the Cardinal, who expressed
their approval; and on the following day commissioners were appointed on
both sides. On the morrow, however, the negotiations were abruptly
broken off by the Rochellois:

     “_Friday, the 2nd_ [June].--The Rochellois received a letter from
     the King of England by which he promised them to hazard his three
     kingdoms for their salvation, and that in a few days he would send
     such a fleet as would render them effectual aid. This encouraged
     the zealots to make the people resolve to suffer the last
     extremities rather than surrender. They instructed Grancey to
     inform me of this and sent me a copy of the letter.”

Alas for the unhappy Rochellois! Distracted by troubles at home and at
his wits’ end for money, many weeks were to pass before Charles was to
be in a position to redeem his promise, and long before that time the
last extremities had come upon the people whom he and his favourite had
so wantonly incited to revolt.

During the ensuing weeks an occasional attempt was made to revictual La
Rochelle on the land side, but without success, and by the end of June
the town was in the grip of famine. Half the population was already
subsisting on vegetables, roots, and shell-fish, but soon these
resources failed, and they were obliged to have recourse to all the
deplorable expedients which hunger can impose on the revolted senses.
Soon there was not a cat or dog in the town, and when these had
disappeared, parchments, skins and leather were cut into shreds, soaked
in water, boiled, and eaten, with a little syrup to season the dish.
Some endeavoured to support life on bran and chopped straw; others
declared war on rats and mice.

Several attempts were made to send the old men, women, and children out
of the town; but Louis XIII, who had none of his father’s kindly heart,
which had led him to have compassion on the fugitives at the time of the
siege of Paris, gave orders for them to be driven back. Those who
persisted in trying to pass through the Royal lines were taken and
hanged. Guiton, more inflexible even than the King, ended by refusing to
open the gates to the poor creatures whom he had expelled, and numbers
of them perished miserably between the besieging army and the walls of
the town.

About the middle of July, a rising in favour of peace broke out amongst
the least zealous inhabitants. It was, however, speedily put down by the
fanatical party, and Guiton caused several of the leaders to be
executed. Early in August, however, a more regular attempt was made in
the council of the town itself. Several of the magistrates of the
Présidial inclined to submission, and one of them declared that they
ought to surrender, provided that the King would leave them their walls
and their religious liberty, pointing out that if the English fleet had
been unable to effect anything when the canal was only partially closed,
it could not reasonably be expected to be more successful now that the
mole was completed. Guiton did not make use of the poniard which still
lay on the council-table against the speaker, but he struck him with his
fist. Another councillor then struck the mayor, and this unseemly brawl
terminated by the Council ordering the arrest of Guiton. The latter
however, raised the people against the moderate party, and the two
councillors who had offended him had to go into hiding to escape being
torn to pieces by the mob, who had been persuaded that there was no
mercy to hope for from the King, and that, if they opened their gates,
the men would be massacred and the women abandoned to the soldiers.

Day after day, from the top of the ramparts, the famished citizens
scanned the sea in the hope of catching sight of the approaching sails
of the English fleet; day after day their hopes mocked them. The
deputies of La Rochelle in England addressed to Charles I the most
touching remonstrances in the name of their perishing city, but the King
could do nothing until the necessary subsidies for the equipment of
another expedition had been voted by Parliament, and even when these had
been obtained, as the price of his surrender on the question of the
Petition of Right, fresh obstacles arose to delay the departure of the
fleet. And, meanwhile, the condition of La Rochelle was growing daily
more terrible.

The markets were deserted, the shops closed, numbers of houses were
unoccupied, every member of the families who had once occupied them
having perished. Dead bodies were constantly found in the streets--the
bodies of those who had wandered hither and thither in a vain search for
food, and at last had lain down and died, too weak to crawl back to
their homes. And there they often remained for days, since it was
difficult for the authorities to procure men with enough strength left
to carry them away and bury them.

Amid all the horrors of the famine there were numerous instances of
heroic self-devotion. For a week a father kept his child alive by
nourishing it with his own blood, and many preferred death to sharing
what little food they could get with those whom they loved. The
preachers went about amongst the people, exhorting them to faith in
Heaven, and the old Duchesse de Rohan ably seconded their efforts. As
for Guiton, he was as inflexible as ever; nothing could bend that iron
will. “One of his friends,” writes Pontis, “pointed out to him a person
of their acquaintance who was dying of hunger. ‘Are you astonished at
that?’ he answered coldly. ‘It is what you and I will assuredly have to
come to!’ And when another observed to him that the whole town was
famishing to death, he replied with the same coldness: ‘If one man
remains to close the gates, it is enough!’”

The garrison, for whom the scanty supplies of the town had been
husbanded to the utmost, fared better than the citizens; but by the
middle of August it was found necessary to reduce their rations to what
barely sufficed to enable even the strongest to carry out their duties.
Many of the soldiers, who were not sustained by the same religious zeal
as the Rochellois, attempted to surrender to the enemy; but, for the
reasons which had caused the refugees to be driven back, orders were
issued that their surrender was not to be accepted.

     “_On Monday the 14th_ [August],” writes Bassompierre, “fifty
     soldiers of the town came out towards Fort Sainte-Marie and asked
     to speak to me. They wished to surrender and to bring two hundred
     others with two captains; but I refused them.”

And on the following day:--

     “A number of soldiers from La Rochelle came again to demand to be
     allowed to leave; but it was in vain.”

A few days later a single soldier presented himself at Bassompierre’s
quarters and asked to speak to him in private. The marshal granted his
request, but took the precaution to have him searched first. It was well
that he did so, for a loaded pistol was found under the man’s doublet.
“I sent him back,” says Bassompierre, “being unwilling to do him any
harm.” Which act of forbearance does him great credit, though it is open
to question whether the poor, starving wretch would not have much
preferred to be hanged.

The following night some of the garrison, rendered desperate by their
sufferings, endeavoured to make their way through Bassompierre’s lines
and killed one of his sentries. They were all shot down.

Although the money required for the expedition to La Rochelle had been
obtained, the preparations for its departure were still far from
complete, for the Navy was in a deplorable condition, the ships badly in
need of repairs, the men without discipline, the officers without
enthusiasm. Towards the middle of August, Charles I went down to
Southwick, a country-house near Portsmouth, to supervise personally the
fitting out of the fleet, leaving Buckingham, who was to take command of
the expedition, in London to hasten the despatch of the supplies that
were needed. No man in England believed any more in the duke or his
undertakings, and it was only with the utmost difficulty that he could
get his officers to carry out his orders. “I find nothing,” he wrote to
Conway, “of more difficulty and uncertainty than the preparations for
the service of Rochelle. Every man says he has all things ready, and yet
all remain as it were at a stand.”

On August 17 Buckingham went down to Portsmouth to consult the King
concerning certain proposals to bring about peace between England and
France which he had just received from the Venetian Ambassador,
Contarini. Both he and Charles had now begun to realise their folly in
engaging in a war with France while they had so many troubles at home,
and while their hapless allies in Germany and Denmark, to whom they were
powerless to render any effective aid, were justly imputing to them
their misfortunes. They appear to have thought less of fighting, for
they could not disguise from themselves that the difficulty of relieving
La Rochelle must by this time be almost insuperable, than of obtaining
for the Rochellois, by a great display of force, tolerable terms.
Buckingham, however, was never again to see the shores of France, as on
the morning of August 23 he was assassinated by Felton.

The duke’s death did not alter the situation, but it, of course, delayed
the departure of the fleet, and it was not until more than a fortnight
later that it at last sailed, under the command of the Earl of Lindsey,
who had succeeded to Buckingham’s office of Lord High Admiral. It was an
infinitely more powerful fleet than that which Denbigh had commanded,
and consisted of some 120 vessels of various sizes, including fire-ships
and vessels loaded with bombs to blow up the stockades.

In the afternoon of the 28th the sentinel in the belfry of
Saint-Martin-de-Ré signalled to Bassompierre the approach of the
English, and towards night the advance-guard cast anchor in a bay off
the Île de Loix.

On the following morning the English ships got under way and approached
the canal, but the wind changed and they returned to their stations. The
Cardinal, who had come to Chef de Baie, offered to take Bassompierre
back to the marshal’s quarters in his coach. On the way they both had a
narrow escape, a cannon-shot from the town ploughing up the ground close
to the coach and filling it with earth.

In the afternoon Louis XIII sent to inform Bassompierre that he proposed
to do him the honour of taking up his quarters with him at Laleu, adding
that he was to make what arrangements for his reception he thought fit
and was to put himself to as little inconvenience as possible. His
Majesty arrived, accompanied by his whole entourage, and more than
twelve hundred gentlemen, to say nothing of his Household troops:
Musketeers, Light Horse, Gensdarmes and Gardes du Corps, for all of whom
Bassompierre had to find accommodation. However, he rose to the occasion
and “received and entertained the company in such fashion that everyone
marvelled.” The King remained five weeks at Laleu, and as he was
graciously pleased to regard himself as the guest of the marshal, the
latter had, of course, to defray the expenses of his stay, which
amounted to 800 crowns a day.

Another squadron of the English fleet arrived that evening, and two
more, including sixteen powerful ships-of-war, on the following day.
During the afternoon some of the King’s ships stood in towards Chef de
Baie and exchanged shots with Bassompierre’s batteries, after which they
all came to anchor in the Straits of Antioche.

On October 1 the remainder of the English fleet came in, but contrary
winds prevented any forward movement during that and the following day.
But towards morning on the 3rd the wind changed, and Bassompierre
judged, from the boats passing continually to and fro between the
vessels, that an attack was preparing. He was right, for, so soon as
morning broke, the English ships got under way and stood in towards the

The marshal at once ordered the drums to beat to quarters and sent to
warn the King and the Cardinal. They both hastened to Chef de Baie,
where Louis announced his intention of remaining, while the Cardinal
went to take up his station on the mole.

Favoured by wind and tide, the English fleet approached in three
divisions. It was an imposing spectacle. The French fleet, under the
orders of Valençay, filled the canal. The mole, which since the
departure of Denbigh’s expedition had been completed and strengthened by
the erection of a double row of gigantic _chevaux de frise_, the two
floating stockades, the forts, the cliffs, the banks of the canal,
bristled with guns and soldiers. Thousands of volunteers from all parts
of France had flocked to La Rochelle to take part in the long-expected
combat and filled the ships and the boats. Standing on the mole, in the
centre of the great scene, the Cardinal calmly contemplated the coming
of the enemy; while on the ramparts of the beleaguered town the famished
citizens awaited in silence the issue of the battle which was to decide
their fate.

Alas for the unhappy Rochellois! The sufferings which they had endured
with such heroic fortitude were all in vain. The officers and crews of
Lindsey’s fleet were no more ready to follow him into danger than those
of Denbigh’s had been to follow their commander in the spring. The
masters of the armed merchantmen, which formed the advance-guard,
complained that they were being deliberately sacrificed to save the
King’s ships, which had been ordered to follow in support. The King’s
ships drew too much water to come to close quarters, and the admiral
could only order them to stand in as far as possible without running
aground. They took good care that there should be no possibility of

The merchantmen approached just within range of the French fleet and
the batteries on the promontories, discharged a broadside, went about,
discharged another broadside and then fell back, while the King’s ships
advanced and did the same. This performance was repeated three times,
while the guns of the French fleet and of the batteries at Chef de Baie
and Coreilles[116] blazed away at them. The noise was terrific, but the
range was too long for much damage to be suffered by either side,[117]
and, after the action--if such it can be called--had lasted a couple of
hours, the tide turned, and the English ships returned to their
anchorage. No attempt had been made to close with and board any of the
French vessels, though Lindsey’s despatches show that he believed that
this operation was perfectly feasible.

At daybreak on the 4th the English renewed the attack, but with no more
effect than on the previous day. In vain orders were sent to the
captains to stand in closer to the French fleet and send in fire-ships
against it. A few fire-ships were sent drifting in, but without any
attempt to direct their course; and the French boats, braving the fire
of the enemy’s guns, advanced to meet them, towed them aside, and ran
them ashore beneath the cliffs of Chef de Baie, where they could do no
harm. Not a French ship was set on fire. Not a man on either side
killed. A more futile affair could not be imagined.

After the English ships had returned to their anchorage, the Rochellois
_émigrés_ who were with them sent to demand a parley, and Bassompierre
despatched Lisle-Rouet to bring two of them ashore, whom he took in his
coach to Richelieu’s quarters. The deputies asked that they might be
allowed to enter La Rochelle, in order to see for themselves the state
which the town was in, and make a report to their friends; but their
request was refused. That night Bassompierre had the satisfaction of
laying his hands on a famous spy from La Rochelle named Tavart, who had
already been arrested twice before, but on each occasion had contrived
to effect his escape, in consequence of which the Grand Provost, La
Trousse, who had been responsible for his safe custody, had been
disgraced. The marshal, however, took care that this bold fellow should
not be allowed a third chance, and caused him to be hanged the next
morning. He deserved a better fate.

On the 5th _Monsieur_ returned to the army, accompanied by a suite of
thirty gentlemen, and took up his quarters temporarily with
Bassompierre, who was called upon to defray the expenses of the prince
and his entourage. The siege of La Rochelle threatened to prove almost
as costly an affair for the unfortunate marshal as his embassy to

In the course of the day it came on to blow hard and the English fleet
had an unpleasant time of it. On the following morning, as the gale
showed no sign of abating, they weighed, and retired to the safer
anchorage of the Île d’Aix. Despite the pitiable results of his attacks
on the 3rd and 4th, Lindsey could not make up his mind to relinquish
hope, and had decided to wait a few days, when the spring tide would
enable him to bring his larger ships nearer to the mole. Time, however,
pressed. A message reached the fleet that La Rochelle was now reduced to
the last extremity and could hold out at furthest but a few days longer;
and as the prospect of being able to relieve the town was, at best,
exceedingly dubious, it was decided to send Walter Montague, who had
accompanied the expedition, to interview Richelieu, on the pretext of
arranging for an exchange of prisoners.

Montague came to see the Cardinal on the 14th; he returned on the
following day, and again on the 16th, when Richelieu and Bassompierre
took him to see the mole and the other defence works. “He expressed his
astonishment at our work,” says the marshal, “and declared to us that it
was impossible to force the canal.”

The Cardinal told the English envoy that the King could not tolerate the
mediation of a foreign prince between him and his revolted subjects; but
a truce of a fortnight was granted, in order to allow Lindsey to
communicate with his Government, with a view to bringing about peace
between England and France, in which La Rochelle would be included. In
the interval, however, the town surrendered.

On the 22nd the Huguenot refugees in the English fleet sent a request to
Bassompierre for a safe-conduct, as they desired to see the Cardinal.
This was granted, and on the following day six of them landed and were
driven in the marshal’s coach to the Cardinal’s quarters at La Saussaye;
while Bassompierre himself went to the Fort of La Fons to meet the
deputies from La Rochelle, who were also demanding to see Richelieu. At
the Cardinal’s request, he brought them to La Saussaye, where they were
conducted into a gallery to await his Eminence’s pleasure.

     “Then the Cardinal, with whom were M. de Schomberg, M. de
     Bouthillier[118] and myself, ordered those who had come from the
     sea to be admitted and gave them audience. They told him in
     substance that they begged him to permit them to see those of La
     Rochelle, and that they felt sure that after they had spoken to
     them they would return to their duty. Those of La Rochelle were
     next admitted, and demanded permission to communicate with their
     fellow-citizens who were in the English fleet, and said that
     afterwards they would surrender the town into the King’s hands,
     begging the Cardinal very humbly to secure for them tolerable
     conditions. Upon that the Cardinal answered that, if they would
     promise not to speak to them, he would show them the deputies from
     the fleet. This they promised, and the Cardinal went into his
     gallery and told the deputies from the ship that, if they would
     assure him that they would not speak to the Rochellois, he would
     let them see them at once. This being agreed, he brought them into
     his chamber, where the Rochellois had remained with us. They
     saluted one another with an astonishment which it was amusing to
     see, after which he made them [the deputies from the fleet] return
     to the gallery. Then they [the deputies from La Rochelle] offered
     to return to their obedience to the King, and besought the Cardinal
     to procure his pardon for them. This he promised them, telling them
     that the King had gone on an excursion for a week, but that, when
     he returned, he would speak to him about it. Upon which one of the
     deputies cried: ‘How, Monseigneur, a week? There is not food in La
     Rochelle for three days!’ Then the Cardinal spoke to them gravely,
     and pointed out to them the state to which they had reduced
     themselves, adding that, nevertheless, he would endeavour to
     incline the King to show them some mercy; and forthwith he caused
     the articles of the capitulation to be drawn up for them to carry
     back to La Rochelle; and they said that assuredly they would accept
     them. And so they went back again, and those from the ships
     likewise, who had permission to speak to their fellow-citizens, and
     they begged to be included in the amnesty with them. And to this
     the Cardinal consented, under the good pleasure of the King.”

The capitulation, drawn up in the form of letters of pardon, was signed
on the 28th. The refugees who were in the English fleet, or who had
remained in England, received their pardon also, on condition that they
returned to France within three months.

On the following day a deputation from the town came to make their
submission to the King. The _maréchaux de camp_, Marillac and Le
Hallier, met the deputies at the Porte Neuve of La Rochelle and
conducted them to the entrance to the Royal lines, where Bassompierre
was awaiting them. The marshal then conducted them to Laleu and
presented them to the Cardinal, who, in his turn, presented them to the
King, “to whom, throwing themselves on their knees, they made very
humble submission. The King then spoke a few words to them, and the
Keeper of the Seals at greater length, and finally the King pardoned

On the 30th the town was occupied by the French and Swiss Guards. The
sights they beheld were heartrending. The houses, the streets, the
squares were encumbered with dead bodies which the living had not had
the strength to bury; and as the troops passed along they were assailed
by a crowd of living spectres, who, ravenous with hunger, snatched at
the ammunition-bread suspended from the soldiers’ bandoliers. Nearly
15,000 people--that is to say, about half the population of La
Rochelle--had perished; in all the town there were not 150 men capable
of bearing arms.

The Cardinal made his entry the same day into the conquered town,
preceded by a great convoy of provisions. Although ill and weak with
fever, he had decided to make his entry on horseback, like a victorious
general. Guiton, the man who had defied him for so many months, came, in
his capacity as mayor, to receive him, escorted by six archers. The
Cardinal sternly ordered him to dismiss his escort, as the office of
Mayor of La Rochelle was henceforth abolished. Then he inquired of
Guiton what he thought of the Kings of France and England. “I think,”
was the reply, “that it is better to have for master the King who has
taken La Rochelle than the King who was unable to defend it.”[119]

On November 1 Richelieu, transformed from the general into the priest,
celebrated Mass in the Church of Sainte-Marguerite, assisted by his
faithful lieutenant, Sourdis, Archbishop of Bordeaux. Then he went to
take the keys of the town to Louis XIII, who made his entry late in the
day, the Cardinal riding “all alone before the King, as though to show
to all that he was the second person in France.”

Some days later a royal declaration was issued, the preamble of which
announced that the King had conquered by the aid of the Divine
Providence, and by the “counsel, prudence, vigilance and toil” of the
Cardinal. The mayoralty and all the other municipal offices of La
Rochelle were abolished, the privileges of its citizens suppressed, and
all its fortifications, save the three towers of La Lanterne, La Chaine
and Saint-Nicholas and the ramparts facing the sea, were to be razed to
the ground. The Pope was to be petitioned to make the town into a

On the whole, however, it is impossible to deny that La Rochelle was
treated with remarkable leniency. The town, it is true, lost its
independence, which was, indeed, incompatible with the sovereignty of
the King, but there was no vengeance taken, no victims sacrificed, no
wanton mockery or insult offered to the vanquished. The lives and
property of the inhabitants were spared, and their liberty of worship
secured to them.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the fall of La Rochelle, the Cardinal sent for Bassompierre and
proposed to him that he should continue in command of the division of
the army now serving under him, lead it to the Rhône, and there await
orders to march into Italy to the relief of Casale. But the marshal
begged his Eminence to excuse him, pointing out that though, in ordinary
circumstances, he would be only too happy to have such a command, he had
disbursed during the siege, largely in entertaining the King and other
illustrious persons, no less a sum than 120,000 crowns, and that, in
consequence, it was absolutely imperative that he should proceed to
Paris, “for the purpose of putting his affairs in order.” The Cardinal
accepted his excuses, and on November 18 Bassompierre set out with the
King for Paris, into which Louis XIII made a triumphal entry, to
celebrate his victory over the last great French town which was ever to
stand up against the Monarchy, until in 1789 Paris rose and swept that
ancient institution away.


     The Duc de Rohan and the Huguenots of the South continue their
     resistance--Opposition of Marie de’ Medici and the High Catholic
     party to Richelieu’s Italian policy--The Cardinal’s memorial to
     Louis XIII--_Monsieur_ appointed to the command of the army which
     is to enter Italy--The King, jealous of his brother, decides to
     command in person--Twelve thousand crowns for a dozen of
     cider--Combat of the Pass of Susa--Treaty signed with Charles
     Emmanuel of Savoy--Problem of the reception of the Genoese
     Ambassadors--Anger of Louis XIII at a jest of Bassompierre--Peace
     with England--Campaign against the Huguenots of Languedoc--Massacre
     of the garrison of Privas--“_La Paix de Grâce_”--Surrender of
     Montauban--Richelieu and d’Épernon--Bassompierre returns to Paris
     with the Cardinal--Their frigid reception by the
     Queen-Mother--Richelieu proposes to retire from affairs and the
     Court, but an accommodation is effected.

Although the great bulwark of Protestantism had fallen, Richelieu did
not have his hands entirely free. The obstinate Rohan, by great
exertions, prevented the Huguenot party from dissolving beneath this
staggering blow; and it was decided by a General Assembly which met at
Nîmes not to submit unless their rights were preserved to them by a
treaty guaranteed by the King of England. However, the continued
resistance of the Huguenots of the South was not a matter of urgent
importance, since the Royal troops already engaged there were well able
to hold Rohan in check, until such time as the Cardinal was at leisure
to undertake a vigorous offensive against him; and he therefore decided
to bend all his energies to the more pressing task of relieving Casale.

The duchy of Mantua had not been seriously attacked, the Spaniards and
the Piedmontese having concentrated their efforts on the conquest of
Montferrato. Charles Emmanuel had promptly seized upon his share of the
spoil; but the governor of Milan, Don Gonzalez de Cordoba, had shown
little skill and less energy in the conduct of his operations, and had
been unable to prevent Casale, gallantly defended by the French
volunteers, from being revictualled on several occasions. However, the
town was now being closely besieged, and though the garrison, ably
seconded by the citizens, could be trusted to offer a stubborn
resistance, it was imperative that help should arrive with as little
delay as possible.

Richelieu had, however, to gain a new victory at the Court before being
able to go to the succour of the allies of France beyond the Alps. The
Queen-Mother, who hated the Gonzaga family, and had an old grudge
against the Duc de Nevers, now become Duke of Mantua, strenuously
opposed the intervention of France in the affairs of Italy. Indifferent
to the fact that neither the honour nor the interest of France would
permit the sacrifice of such old allies as the Gonzagas, she urged that
the King ought to permit the aggrandisement of the House of Savoy, the
heir of which was the husband of his sister. The High Catholic party in
the Council, indignant that Richelieu, instead of devoting himself to
crushing the remnant of the Huguenots, proposed to make war on the King
of Spain, supported her warmly; and it is not improbable that their
combined efforts might have been successful, had not the astute Cardinal
had recourse to an expedient which he had already employed with success
on more than one previous occasion.

First, he presented to the King a memorial, in which he outlined the
policy, foreign and domestic, which he considered it essential that his
Majesty should follow for his own glory and the welfare of his realm.
Then, in his character of priest, he pointed out, with audacious
frankness, the grave defects in his Majesty’s character: his idleness,
his inconstancy, his neglect of even his most faithful and devoted
servants, and so forth, which it was most necessary he should endeavour
to remedy if he


From an old print.]

desired to be a great king. And, finally, he tendered his resignation,
on the pretext that his health was no longer equal to the cares of

Richelieu had little doubt what the answer would be. Louis, aware of his
personal incapacity, and unwilling to renounce the power and glory which
his great Minister had promised him, and which, as he well knew, he
alone was capable of securing for him, accepted his advice and refused
his resignation.

Marie de’ Medici, finding herself unable to prevent the Italian
expedition, demanded for _Monsieur_ the command of the army, under the
pretext of saving the King from the hardships and dangers of a winter
campaign in the Alps. Richelieu did not see his way to oppose the
Queen-Mother’s request, and Louis consented; but his jealousy of his
brother soon asserted itself, and, to the intense mortification of Marie
and _Monsieur_, the arrangement was cancelled.

     “After the King had given him [_Monsieur_] this command,” writes
     Bassompierre, “he fancied that the glory which _Monsieur_ his
     brother was going to acquire in this expedition would be
     detrimental to his own (so much power has jealousy amongst near
     relations), and his head, or more properly his heart, was so full
     of this idea that he could not rest. On the 3rd of January he came
     to Chaillot, where by chance I had come to see the Cardinal, who
     was then staying there, and, being closeted with him, began to tell
     him that he could not suffer his brother to go to command his army
     beyond the mountains. The Cardinal said that there was only one way
     of cancelling the appointment, which was for the King to go
     himself, and that, if he resolved upon this step, he must set out
     in a week at the furthest. To this he cordially assented and, at
     the same time, turned round and called me from the other end of the
     room. As I approached, he said: ‘Here is a man who will go with me
     and serve me well.’ I asked him where. ‘Into Italy,’ said he,
     ‘where I am going in a week to make them raise the siege of Casale.
     Get ready to go and to serve me as my lieutenant-general, under my
     brother, if he chooses to go.’ Upon this the King returned to Paris
     and informed the Queen-Mother, and she informed _Monsieur_, who was
     not best pleased at the arrangement. Nevertheless, he affected to
     be so and got ready to depart.”

On January 15, 1629, Louis XIII, having entrusted to Marie de’ Medici
the task of pursuing the negotiations for peace with England, left Paris
for Grenoble, where the army with which he proposed to enter Italy was

     “The evening before the King set out,” says Bassompierre, “he asked
     me for some cider, as I had been in the habit of giving him some
     very good, which my friends sent me from Normandy, knowing that I
     liked it. I sent him a dozen bottles, and in the evening when I
     went to him for the password he said: ‘Betstein, you have given me
     twelve bottles of cider, and now I give you 12,000 crowns. Go and
     find Effiat, who will give you the money.’ ‘Sire,’ said I, ‘I have
     the whole case at home, which, if it please you, I will let you
     have at the same price.’ He, however, was satisfied with the dozen
     bottles, and I with his liberality.”

This might seem an act of great munificence on the part of Louis XIII,
did we not remember that the royal donor had been the guest of the
recipient of his bounty for several weeks during the siege of La
Rochelle, and had thereby put the latter to an expense which must have
far exceeded the cost of the cider.

At Grenoble the King remained for some three weeks to negotiate with the
Duke of Savoy. Charles Emmanuel was unable to believe that Louis really
intended to cross the Alps while the Huguenots of the South were still
unsubdued, and, esteeming himself the arbiter between France and Spain,
he refused to abandon the Spaniards, unless the King would undertake to
assist him to conquer the Milanese or Genoa or sacrifice to him Geneva.

The King and the Cardinal thereupon resolved to descend into Piedmont
by way of Mont-Genèvre and Susa. The Duc de Guise, Governor of Provence,
was directed to create a diversion by way of Nice and Liguria, an
operation which he executed very slowly and inefficiently. At Grenoble,
however, the utmost activity prevailed, and though, when Richelieu
arrived there, the army was deficient in artillery, munitions, transport
and, in short, nearly everything required for a campaign, thanks to his
unwearying exertions, in a surprisingly short time it was ready to take
the field, and on February 22 the advance began. On March 1 the army
passed Mont-Genèvre, notwithstanding the severity of the weather, and on
the 3rd the advance-guard, some 10,000 to 12,000 strong, under
Bassompierre and Créquy, encamped at Chaumont, the last village on the
French side of the frontier, at the entrance to the Pass of Susa.

Two or three days were occupied in _pourparlers_ between Richelieu, who
had left the King at Oulx, and the Prince of Piedmont, who had hurried
to Susa on receiving the news that the French had crossed the mountains.
The Cardinal, however, recognised that the prince and his father sought
only to gain time to enable them to fortify the Pass of Susa and to
allow of the arrival of the Piedmontese and Spanish troops whom they had
summoned in all haste. The negotiations were accordingly broken off, and
at two o’clock in the morning of the 6th the King arrived from Oulx,
accompanied by Longueville, Soissons, the Comte de Moret, Henri IV’s son
by Jacqueline de Beuil, and Schomberg, and the army crossed the frontier
and advanced towards the head of the pass.

The Pass of Susa was a defile about a quarter of a league in length and
in places less than twenty paces wide, obstructed here and there by
fallen rocks. The enemy had not been idle and had erected three
formidable barricades, strengthened by earthworks and ditches, while the
rocky heights on either side were crowned with soldiers and protected
by small redoubts. On a neighbouring mountain stood a fort called by the
French the Fort de Gelasse, from the name of a little watercourse hard
by, and the cannon of this fort commanded the open space between
Chaumont and the entrance to the pass. It was one of those positions
which a handful of resolute men might successfully defend against an
entire army; and, as the Piedmontese had already between 3,000 and 4,000
men there, the probability of the invaders being able to force a passage
through the defile, unless at a heavy sacrifice of life, seemed very

The French troops before the pass consisted of seven companies of French
Guards, six of the Swiss, the greater part of the Regiments of Navarre,
the Baron d’Estissac and the Comte de Sault, and the Musketeers of the
Guard. The Musketeers, who had dismounted from their horses, were under
command of the Seigneur de Tréville, the erstwhile private soldier of
the French Guards who, it will be remembered, had so distinguished
himself at the siege of Montauban.[120] The Comte de Sault’s regiment
was detached from the main body, and, guided by peasants of the
neighbourhood, sent to make a _détour_ through the mountains, which
would bring it to a spot overlooking the town of Susa, whence it could
descend and take the enemy in the rear; while the rest of the troops
were drawn up just out of range of the guns of Fort de Gelasse.

At dawn the Sieur de Cominges was sent forward with a trumpeter to
demand, in the name of the King, passage for his Majesty’s person and
army from the Duke of Savoy. To his request the Count of Verrua, who
commanded the Piedmontese, replied that the French did not come as
people who desired to pass as friends; that he was fully prepared to
resist them, and that if they endeavoured to force a passage, “they
would gain nothing but blows.”

The three marshals of France, Créquy, Bassompierre, and Schomberg, had
come to an arrangement by which each in turn commanded the army for
three days at a time; and, when Cominges returned with this bellicose
answer, Bassompierre, who happened to be in command that day, approached
the King, who had taken up his position a little way behind the storm
troops, and said to him: “Sire, Sire, the company is ready; the
musicians have come in to demand permission to begin the _fête_; the
masks are at the door. When it pleases your Majesty, we will dance the
ballet.” The King replied sharply that the marshal knew very well that
they had only light guns with them, which would have no effect upon the
barricades, and that they must wait until their heavy artillery came up.

     “I said to him,” continues Bassompierre: “‘It is too late now to
     think of that. Must we abandon the ballet because one of the masks
     does not happen to be ready? Allow us to dance it, Sire, and all
     will go well.’ ‘Will you answer to me for it?’ said he. ‘It would
     be very rash for me to guarantee a thing so doubtful,’ I replied,
     ‘but I will answer to you that we shall perform it to the end with
     honour, or I shall be dead or a prisoner.’ ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘but if
     we fail, I shall reproach you.’ ‘You may call me anything if we
     fail,’ I replied, ‘except the Marquis d’Uxelles (for he had failed
     to pass at Saint-Pierre). But I shall take good care. Only allow us
     to do it, Sire.’ ‘Let us go, Sire,’ said the Cardinal to him. ‘From
     the demeanour of the marshal, I augur that all will be well. Be
     assured of it.’”

Somewhat reluctantly Louis XIII yielded, and Bassompierre forthwith gave
the order for the troops to advance. He and Créquy dismounted and, sword
in hand, led the French Guards and the regiments of Navarre and
d’Estissac against the barricades. At the same time, with irresistible
_élan_, the Musketeers, under Tréville, and the Swiss, under Valençay,
escaladed the heights on either side of the gorge, dislodged the enemy,
gained the top of the rocks, poured a withering flanking-fire into the
defenders of the barricades, and then charged down upon them. Finding
themselves attacked simultaneously in front and on both flanks, the
Piedmontese were seized with panic; the three barricades were carried
almost without resistance, and the enemy pursued almost to the gates of
Susa, being badly cut up on the way by Sault’s regiment, who fell upon
them as they were retreating. The Duke of Savoy and the Prince of
Piedmont were within an ace of being made prisoners, and only contrived
to escape through the bravery of a Spanish officer, who, with a small
body of men, threw himself between them and the Musketeers who were
about to seize them and was wounded and taken.[121] The victory only
cost the French some fifty men. Amongst the wounded were Valençay and
Schomberg. The latter received a musket-shot in the abdomen, but the
wound was not a dangerous one, and the marshal was soon convalescent.

As the pursuing French came within range of the cannon of the citadel of
Susa, they were heavily fired upon. “But,” says Bassompierre, “we were
so excited by the combat and so joyous at having obtained the victory,
that we paid no attention to these cannon-shots.”

     “I saw,” he continues, “an incident which pleased me very much with
     the French nobles who were with the army;[122] for we had M. de
     Longueville, M. de Moret, M. Aluin and the First Equerry[123] and
     more than sixty others with us. A cannon-shot struck the ground
     close to our feet, covering us with earth. My long acquaintance
     with cannon-shots had taught me that so soon as the ball struck
     the earth there was no more danger; so that I was at liberty to
     cast my eyes on the countenance of each of them in turn, to see
     what effect the shot had upon them. I did not perceive any sign of
     astonishment, nor even of surprise. Another shot killed one of M.
     de Créquy’s gentlemen, who was amongst them, and they did not
     appear to take any notice of it.”

In the course of the day the King sent to felicitate Bassompierre and
Créquy on the victory they had won, but blamed them for having charged
at the head of the troops, since, if they had been killed, not only
would he have been deprived of the services of two of his most
distinguished officers, but the army would have lost its leaders, and
the effect on its morale might have been disastrous. The marshals
replied that they had judged this to be an occasion when it was
necessary to stake everything on a single cast, and to inspire their men
to the utmost courage and resolution by placing themselves at their
head, since if the first attack had been repulsed, it was most
improbable that subsequent attempts would have succeeded.

The town of Susa surrendered the next day, and the King and the Cardinal
established themselves there; while Bassompierre and Créquy, pushing on
with the advance-guard of the army, took Bussolongo and were about to
attack Avigliana, a town situated only four leagues from Turin, when
they received orders to halt, as negotiations for peace had begun.

On the 11th Charles Emmanuel sent the Prince of Piedmont to Susa, where
he signed with the Cardinal a treaty whereby the Duke of Savoy engaged
to revictual Casale and promised, in the name of the governor of the
Milanese, to evacuate Montferrato and cease all hostile operations
against the Duke of Mantua. The ratification of Philip IV was to be
obtained within six weeks, and his Catholic Majesty was to undertake to
secure for the Duke of Mantua the Imperial investiture. In case of the
contravention of this treaty by Spain, the Duke of Savoy was to join his
forces to those of France. On March 18 the Spaniards raised the siege of
Casale; and thus at a single blow France triumphantly reasserted her
position in Italy.

Richelieu subsequently proposed a defensive league between France,
Venice, Savoy, and Mantua against the House of Austria. It was hoped to
secure the adhesion of the Papacy, as Urban VIII had been much
displeased by the invasion of Mantua and Montferrato.

Charles Emmanuel, eager to compensate himself on one side for what he
had failed to gain on the other, pressed Louis XIII to invade the
Milanese, and Venice warmly seconded his efforts. But, though the moment
certainly appeared favourable for such an enterprise, Richelieu resisted
the temptation and did not alter his plans. He was resolved to put an
end to the civil strife in France before embarking on any further
foreign enterprise.

The Duke of Savoy, irritated by this refusal, determined to violate the
new treaty so soon as he could do so without danger. On one pretext or
another, he delayed the evacuation of Montferrato by his troops, and the
Spaniards followed his example. The King and the Cardinal, however, did
not allow themselves to be tricked by the Duke; they sent Toiras with
between 3,000 and 4,000 men to relieve the Spanish garrisons of
Montferrato, and Louis XIII announced his intention of remaining at Susa
until the treaty was fully executed.

Towards the end of April the Republic of Genoa sent an Embassy
Extraordinary to Louis XIII, and the momentous question arose as to
whether the Genoese ambassadors were or were not to be permitted to
present themselves covered before his Majesty. The privilege of the hat
was accorded by the King of France to the representatives of all the
princes and republics of Italy, though until recent years those of
Ferrara, Mantua, and Urbino had been excepted. But the later Valois
kings had claimed sovereignty over Genoa, and this claim had never been
formally renounced. Consequently, if Louis XIII were to allow the
Genoese ambassadors to come into his presence covered, it would be
tantamount to an admission that France had abandoned her pretensions in
regard to the republic.

The King, much exercised in his mind over this matter, sent for
Bassompierre and demanded his advice. The marshal replied that, as his
Majesty now accorded the privilege of the hat to the ambassadors of
Ferrara, Mantua, and Urbino, he ought certainly to accord it to the
representatives of Genoa, a republic which yielded little or nothing in
importance to Venice, and that, in point of fact, an ambassador whom
Genoa had sent to his Court some years before had been covered during
his audience. At that moment, the Secretary of State Châteauneuf, whom
the King had also sent for, came in and Louis asked for his opinion.
Châteauneuf took a different view of the matter from Bassompierre, and
strongly advised the King not to admit the Genoese to his presence
covered, declaring that they were his subjects and that, by this
concession, he “would destroy the right which he had over this
republic.” Thereupon, Louis, always very tenacious of his prerogatives,
declared that he should refuse to receive the ambassadors unless they
were uncovered, and directed that they should be informed of his

Next day Bassompierre received a visit from the Nuncio, Cardinal Bagni,
who came to invoke his good offices on behalf of the Genoese
ambassadors. The Nuncio told him that he had been charged by the Pope to
take particular care that they were well received; that it was against
all equity and reason that they should be denied the privilege which had
been accorded to the last ambassador whom the republic had sent to the
King of France; that, at the Papal Court, Genoa, together with Venice,
took precedence of all the princes of Italy; and that he could assure
the marshal that he would be performing an action very pleasing to the
Holy Father if he were able to persuade the King to receive them

Bassompierre replied that he should esteem it a great honour to render
this trifling service to his Holiness and the Republic of Genoa, but
that the King had already refused to follow his advice, and that his
Majesty was very obstinate when he had once taken a thing into his head
and easily irritated against those who opposed him. However, he would go
and consult the Cardinal de Richelieu and see what could be done.

Richelieu, who was naturally very anxious to oblige the Pope, told
Bassompierre that he would propose to the King that he should take the
advice of the Council on the matter, and promised that he would warmly
support the marshal’s opinion and would arrange that the other members
should do the same, with the exception of Châteauneuf, whom he would
instruct to offer some half-hearted objections, for form’s sake.

The Council met, but the King, who had been informed that the Genoese
ambassadors had decided to return whence they came without demanding
audience of him, if they were to be refused the right of being covered,
was in a particularly obstinate mood, and after demanding Bassompierre’s
advice, he added: “I ask you for it, but I shall not follow it, for I
know beforehand that it will be in favour of their being covered, and
that what you are doing is on the recommendation of Don Augustine
Fiesco, who is staying with you.” Don Augustino Fiesco, it should be
mentioned, was a Genoese noble and an old friend of Bassompierre.
Bassompierre, indignant at such an insinuation, protested that he had no
relations with the Republic of Genoa and was under no obligations to Don
Augustine Fiesco, who, in point of fact, was under considerable
obligations to him; and that, even if such had been the case, it would
not prevent him from discharging his duty to his sovereign.

     “‘Finally, Sire,’ said I, ‘the oath which I have taken at your
     Council obliges me to give you my advice in accordance with my
     judgment and my conscience; but, since you hold so bad an opinion
     of my integrity, I will abstain, if it please you, from giving my

     “‘And I,’ said the King, in a violent passion, ‘I will force you to
     give it me, since you are one of my Counsellors and draw the salary
     of a Counsellor.’

     “The Cardinal, who sat above me, said to me: ‘Give it, in God’s
     name, and do not argue any longer.’ Upon which I said to the

     “‘Sire, since you absolutely insist on my giving my opinion, it is
     that your rights and those of your crown would be utterly destroyed
     if, by this act, you renounce the sovereignty you claim over the
     Genoese, and that you ought to receive them bareheaded as your
     subjects, and not covered as republicans.’

     “Then the King rose up in great anger and told me that I was
     laughing at him, and that he would teach me that he was my king and
     my master; and other things of the same kind. As for me, I did not
     open my mouth to utter a single word. The Cardinal pacified him and
     persuaded him to follow the general opinion, which was that the
     Genoese ambassadors should be covered at the audience. In the
     evening we went to the King’s concert; he did not say a word to the
     others, from fear of speaking to me, and did nothing but find

A day or two afterwards the King had repented of this childish display
of temper, and, by way of making his peace with Bassompierre, sent him
nine boxes of Italian sweetmeats.

       *       *       *       *       *

On April 4 peace with England was signed at Paris. Charles I had vainly
endeavoured in the negotiations which preceded it to exercise in favour
of Rohan and the Huguenots the intervention which Richelieu had refused
to permit at La Rochelle. But the French Government was inexorable, and
he was constrained to abandon the Protestants, notwithstanding their
complaints and imprecations.

On the side of Italy matters were less satisfactory. The defensive
league against Spain which Richelieu had planned did not materialise;
while Philip IV’s ratification of the treaty for the evacuation of
Mantua and Montferrato did not arrive; and it was evident that he and
Charles Emmanuel intended to evade its stipulations. The King and
Richelieu therefore determined to crush the Huguenot rebellion by a
single vigorous blow, and then to resume, if need be, the offensive in
Italy. On April 28 the King left Susa to return to France; and on May 11
the Cardinal followed, accompanied by Bassompierre, leaving Créquy at
Susa with 6,000 men. The Duke of Savoy was warned that the French would
remain in occupation until the treaty had been formally ratified by
Philip IV.

The bulk of the Royal army had already crossed the Rhône, and 50,000 men
were overrunning Languedoc and Upper Guienne. Richelieu’s plan of
campaign was to send four corps to lay waste the country around
Montauban, Castries, Nîmes and Uzès, the principal towns which the
Protestants still held, so as to render these places incapable of
sustaining a siege, while the King in person, with the rest of the army,
was to march from the Rhône to the Tarn across the Cévennes, reducing on
their way the smaller Huguenot strongholds in that part of the country.

To this powerful combined attack Rohan was only able to oppose forces
weakened by a war which had already lasted eighteen months and
disheartened by the news that England had abandoned them. Not knowing
where else to turn for assistance, the successor of Coligny applied to
the successor of Philip II, and on May 3, 1629, a treaty was signed at
Madrid by which Spain promised the Huguenots a yearly subsidy of 300,000
ducats, and Rohan undertook “to continue the war so long as it might
please his Catholic Majesty.” The duke further undertook, in the event
of his being successful in establishing a Protestant republic in the
South of France, to permit liberty of worship to all Catholics within
its boundaries. “This strange compact, however, came too late; probably,
before the first instalment of the subsidy had reached Rohan’s hands,
his dreams of a Huguenot republic had been rudely dissipated.”

On May 19 the Cardinal and Bassompierre rejoined Louis XIII in the Royal
camp before Privas, the capital of the Protestant Vivarais. On their
arrival the King proposed to hold a meeting of the Council, but as the
Duc de Montmorency, who was with the army, claimed to take precedence of
the marshals of France, and Bassompierre declared that he refused to
suffer him to do so, his Majesty was obliged to postpone it until the
dispute between these great personages could be adjudicated upon.

Privas was garrisoned by 500 picked soldiers, commanded by a brave
Huguenot noble, the Marquis de Saint-André de Montbrun, supported by a
regiment of the Vivarais militia and a population animated by fierce
religious zeal. The resistance at first was very stubborn, but by May 27
the outworks had been captured, and during the following night the
garrison and the majority of the inhabitants evacuated the town and
retired into the Fort de Toulon, situated on a hill to the south-east of
Privas. The rest of the townsfolk endeavoured to escape into the woods
and mountains, but most of them were either killed or captured. The
prisoners were hanged or sent to the galleys. While the greater part of
the Royal army was engaged in the congenial task of pillaging the town,
which they afterwards set on fire, Bassompierre, with 1,200 Swiss,
invested the fort, and at midday the garrison offered to capitulate.
Louis XIII, however, was greatly incensed against the people of Privas,
who had treated the Catholics of the surrounding country with much
cruelty, and he insisted that they should surrender at discretion.[124]
This they refused to do, but, a little later, Saint-André came out alone
and surrendered at discretion to Bassompierre.[125] At the request of
the King, Saint-André then wrote to those in the fort urging them to
follow his example; but, fearful of the fate which awaited them, they
could not bring themselves to do so. Towards evening a terrific storm
came on and continued most of the night, and had the Huguenots
endeavoured to effect their escape under cover of it, they would
probably have succeeded. Unhappily for themselves, they made no attempt.

     “On Tuesday, the 29th, our soldiers who had invested the Fort of
     Toulon cried out to the besieged that Saint-André had been hanged,
     which threw them into despair. The King sent me to show him to
     them, and they were content to surrender at discretion. But, at the
     same time, our soldiers, without orders, came from all parts to the
     assault, and took the fort, killing all whom they encountered. Some
     fifty of those who were made prisoners were hanged and two hundred
     others were sent to the galleys. The fort was also set on fire.
     Some two hundred escaped, but were met by the Swiss who were
     escorting the cannon to Vivas, by whom some of them were

The Protestants of the Vivarais, terrified by the fate of Privas, laid
down their arms. Alais offered some resistance, but Rohan’s attempt to
throw reinforcements into the town failed, and, after a siege of a week,
it capitulated. Rohan felt that his cause was lost, and endeavoured to
negotiate a peace for the whole party. But, though Richelieu authorised
the convocation of a General Assembly at Anduze, it was only to impose
his conditions. He refused to treat with the Protestants as though they
were a hostile state, as had hitherto been the custom. Peace--_la Paix
de Grâce_, as it was called--was concluded at Alais on June 29. A
general amnesty was granted, and the Edict of Nantes re-established; but
the fortifications of all the towns which had risen in rebellion were to
be razed to the ground.

The King and the Cardinal visited Nîmes, Uzès and Montpellier, where
they were well received; but Montauban refused to accept the peace,
except on condition of preserving its fortifications. Richelieu
despatched the Sieur de Guron, a gentleman with a very persuasive
tongue, to try and induce the inhabitants to reconsider their
determination, and Bassompierre, with the greater part of the Royal
army, after him, with orders to resort to force and lay siege to the
town should persuasion fail.

The marshal arrived before Montauban on August 10, and, learning that
Guron’s eloquence had so far been without effect, began to make
preparations to invest the place. But, on the following morning, Guron
came to inform him that, as the result of a great oration which he had
delivered before the council of the town the previous day, it had been
decided to ratify the peace.

A few days later all was satisfactorily arranged; and on the 20th the
Cardinal--for Louis XIII was now on his way back to Paris--made a
triumphal entry into Montauban, escorted by 600 gentlemen, with
Bassompierre riding before him, as he would have done before the King.

And so long as he was able to retain the uncertain favour of Louis XIII,
Richelieu was king, in all but the name, and the greatest nobles in
France trembled at his frown. A singular illustration of this is the way
in which the once haughty and all-powerful d’Épernon was obliged to
humble himself before him.

     “M. d’Épernon,” says Bassompierre, “who had arrived at
     Montech,[127] sent the Comte de Maillé[128] to me to request me to
     ask the Cardinal at what place he might meet him on the road to pay
     his respects to him, having heard that he was leaving on the morrow
     to return to the Court. He explained that, for a man of his age,
     the journey which he had performed that day was fatiguing, so that
     it had prevented him coming so far as Montauban, besides which it
     would have been difficult to find suitable accommodation there for
     himself and his suite. I executed this embassy to the Cardinal, who
     took it extremely ill and imagined that M. d’Épernon refused to
     humble his pride to the point of coming to visit him in his
     government of Guienne, in which the King had given the Cardinal
     absolute power. He was exceedingly angry, and told me to send him
     word that he declined to see him in the country or outside Guienne,
     and that, although it had been his intention to travel by way of
     Auvergne, he would travel by Bordeaux, for the express purpose of
     making himself recognised and obeyed in accordance with the power
     which had been conferred upon him, and that he would put matters on
     such a footing that the authority which M. d’Épernon exercised
     there would be curtailed. I softened these expressions in the
     answer I made to the Comte de Maillé, and wrote to M. d’Épernon
     begging him to come to Montauban, to avoid drawing upon himself the
     enmity of this all-powerful man. The Comte de Maillé took his
     departure, and in three hours’ time returned with an answer to the
     effect that M. d’Épernon would come to Montauban on the morrow to
     pay his respects to the Cardinal, since he had been assured that
     the Cardinal was not leaving until after dinner.... I went that
     evening to acquaint the Cardinal with M. d’Épernon’s approaching
     arrival, which appeased his anger, and he consented that I should
     go to meet him and that the infantry should be under arms when he

Bassompierre, from the above, would appear to have formed a pretty
correct idea of the danger of offending the great Minister; he lived to
know its full extent.

On August 22, Richelieu, accompanied by Bassompierre, left Montauban, to
the sound of mine and sap, which were destroying the redoubtable
fortifications of the last stronghold of French Protestantism, and
travelled by easy stages towards Fontainebleau, the Cardinal being
received in every town through which he passed with the highest honours;
in fact, his journey resembled a royal progress. At Nemours, where he
arrived on September 12, nearly all the most important personages of the
Court were awaiting him, and escorted him in triumph to Fontainebleau.

Here, however, his Eminence received an abrupt check, for when he went
to pay his respects to Marie de’ Medici, with whom were Anne of Austria
and the Princesses of the Blood, the Queen-Mother, whom the Cardinal’s
triumphs had only served to incense still more bitterly against him,
received him with studied coldness and refused to say so much as a word
to either Bassompierre or Schomberg, whom she now apparently regarded
as Richelieu’s creatures; though she spoke to Louis de Marillac, upon
whom the marshal’s bâton had recently been conferred. The King, however,
came in immediately afterwards and welcomed the Cardinal most warmly. He
then drew him into his mother’s cabinet, where Richelieu immediately
requested permission to retire from office and from the Court, on the
ground that his presence was distasteful to the Queen-Mother, and that
he did not wish to be the cause of friction between her and the King.
The King told him that he would reconcile them, and returning to Marie’s
chamber, spoke most graciously to Bassompierre, evidently with the
intention of atoning for her Majesty’s rudeness to the marshal, of which
Richelieu had, of course, informed him.

     “On Friday, the 14th, the quarrel continued, and the Cardinal sent
     for Madame de Combalet,[129] La Meilleraye[130] and other persons
     belonging to the Queen-Mother’s Household who were his creatures,
     and told them that they must prepare to retire from her service, as
     it was his intention to retire from affairs and from the Court.
     However, that evening there were so many comings and goings, and
     the King testified so earnest a desire for an accommodation, that
     it was effected on the Saturday, to the universal satisfaction of
     the whole Court.”


     Serious situation of affairs in Italy--Trouble with
     _Monsieur_--Richelieu entrusted with the command of the Army in
     Italy--It is decided to send Bassompierre on a special embassy to
     Switzerland--The marshal buys the Château of Chaillot--His
     departure for Switzerland--Mazarin at Lyons--Bassompierre’s
     reception at Fribourg--He arrives at Soleure and convenes a meeting
     of the Diet--His discomfiture of the Chancellor of Alsace--Success
     of his mission--He receives orders from Richelieu to mobilise 6,000
     Swiss--The Cardinal as generalissimo--Pinerolo
     surrenders--Bassompierre joins the King at Lyons--Louis XIII and
     Mlle. de Hautefort--Successful campaign of Bassompierre in
     Savoy--His mortification at having to resign his command to the
     Maréchal de Châtillon--Increasing rancour of the Queen-Mother
     against Richelieu--Visit of Bassompierre to Paris--An unfortunate
     coincidence--Louis XIII falls dangerously ill at Lyons--Intrigues
     around his sick-bed--Perilous situation of Richelieu--Recovery of
     the King--Arrival of Bassompierre at Lyons--Suspicions of Richelieu
     concerning the marshal--The latter endeavours to disarm
     them--Question of Bassompierre’s connection with the anti-Richelieu
     cabal considered--His secret marriage to the Princesse de Conti.

Meantime, the enemies of France had not been idle. Seeing Richelieu
engaged in what he imagined would prove a long war in Languedoc, the
Emperor, in concert with Spain, resolved to take steps to recover his
shaken influence in Italy. Towards the end of May, 1629, German troops
entered the Grisons and seized the passages of the Rhine and the town of
Coire; while Ferdinand called upon Louis XIII to evacuate the “Imperial
fiefs of Italy.” The Swiss, a prey to religious dissensions, made no
effort to expel the foreigner from the Grisons; but the Imperialists did
not advance until the autumn, the interval being spent in negotiations.
However, at the end of September they descended into Lombardy and
invaded Mantua, under the orders of the Italian general Colalto; while
Spinola, who had been sent with a Spanish force from the Netherlands to
secure the triumph of the Catholic powers in Italy and had replaced the
feeble Don Gonzalez de Cordoba as Governor of the Milanese, occupied
Montferrato and threatened Casale.

It was clear that France must intervene at once, if the fruits of the
expedition to Susa were not to be lost, and it was decided to send a
powerful army into Italy. Louis XIII would have gone in person, but his
health was unequal to the trials of another winter campaign, besides
which there was trouble with _Monsieur_, who, in the previous September,
as the result of differences with the King over the latter’s refusal to
permit his marriage with Marie de Gonzaga, daughter of the Duke of
Mantua, had retired into Lorraine and had not yet been persuaded to
return; while there was also a possibility that the Imperialists might
invade Champagne or the Three Bishoprics.

The King accordingly decided to entrust the command to Richelieu, with
Créquy and Bassompierre as his lieutenant-generals.

     “But,” says the latter, “M. de Schomberg, who aspired to my charge,
     caused pressing instances to be made by the ambassadors of Venice
     and Mantua to send me into Switzerland, for three purposes: the
     first, to ascertain what means there might be to liberate the
     Grisons and drive out the Imperial army; the second, to prevent the
     Imperialists in Italy being reinforced by troops from Switzerland;
     and the third, to raise powerful levies, if there were need of
     them. So that the Cardinal told me one morning that it was
     necessary for me to make a journey into Switzerland, which would
     not last long, and that my place and my charge would,
     notwithstanding, be preserved in the Army of Italy. I accepted this
     commission, since the King desired to charge me with it, and began
     preparations for my journey, as did the Cardinal likewise for his
     journey to Italy.”

Before his departure Richelieu gave “a superb _fête_ to the King and the
Queens, with comedies, ballets, and excellent music.” Then, on December
29, he set out for Lyons, with the proud title of “Lieutenant-General,
representing the person of the King in his army within and without the

       *       *       *       *       *

Bassompierre began the year 1630 by purchasing from the widow of
Président Jeannin her château at Chaillot, upon the enlargement and
decoration of which he, during the next few months, expended very large
sums, and converted it into one of the most sumptuous country-residences
in the neighbourhood of Paris. Unhappily for him, it was to prove a case
of sowing for others to reap. On January 16, “after having placed his
affairs in some degree of order,” he set out for Switzerland, and on the
21st arrived at Lyons, where he was to receive his final instructions
from the Cardinal. At Lyons he remained for some days and would appear
to have passed the time very pleasantly, as “M. de Montmorency and I
gave a ball on alternate evenings to the ladies of Lyons.” On January 28
he notes that “the sieur Julio Massareny [Giulio Mazzarini] came to
Lyons on behalf of the Nuncio Pensirole [Pancirolo], whom the Pope had
sent to treat for peace.” It was on the occasion of these negotiations
that the name of Mazarin makes its first appearance in French history;
and, though they were without result, for Richelieu was not to be
diverted from his aim, the high opinion which the Cardinal then
conceived of the abilities of the young Italian diplomat was the
beginning of the latter’s fortune.

On January 30 Bassompierre left Lyons and resumed his journey to
Switzerland. On February 8 he arrived at Fribourg, where he was received
with great honour, cannon firing salutes and 2,000 armed burghers lining
the streets. After entertaining the municipal authorities to a sumptuous
banquet, he proceeded to Berne, to be received with similar distinction.
On the following day he attended a meeting of the Council and harangued
them. “Afterwards they came to dine with him and remained all day at

On the 12th he arrived at Soleure, into which he made a “superb entry.”
From Soleure he sent letters to all the Cantons convening a Diet for
March 4, and during the interval he and Brulart de Léon, the permanent
French Ambassador in Switzerland, had several conferences with regard to
the Grisons and endeavoured to persuade the Canton of Zurich to send
them reinforcements. The Zurich people, however, did not wish to commit
themselves to open war with the Empire, though they promised to assist
the Grisons secretly with munitions.

The deputies began to arrive on March 2, and the representatives of each
canton came in turn to pay their respects to Bassompierre; while on the
4th, when the session opened, the whole Diet, preceded by its
mace-bearers, came in solemn procession to salute him.

That day Bassompierre learned that “the Chancellor of Alsace, Ambassador
of the whole House of Austria, had arrived at Soleure, without sending
to him to announce his coming or visiting him, contrary to the
recognised custom of ambassadors.” The marshal, highly indignant at this
breach of diplomatic amenities, at once resolved to induce the Diet to
refuse the Chancellor--who had, of course, come to Soleure in the hope
of putting a spoke in Bassompierre’s wheel--a hearing.

     “M. de Léon tried every means he could to dissuade me, telling me
     that I should not succeed, and that we should have to bear the
     mortification of failure. Nevertheless, trusting to my great
     influence in Switzerland, and to my industry in treating with these
     people, I persisted in my design and set to work.”

The marshal recounts at considerable length the various expedients to
which he had recourse, and the springs he set in motion, for the purpose
of avenging his outraged dignity. It will, however, suffice to say that
he succeeded, and that, after long deliberations, the Diet refused to
grant an audience to the Chancellor, “who returned very dissatisfied,
declaring that the Swiss would be objects of indignation to the whole
House of Austria.”

By dint of persuasive speeches and lavish hospitality, Bassompierre
experienced no difficulty in inducing the Diet to accord him permission
to raise whatever troops he might require for the service of France, and
on the 11th he was able to write to the Cardinal that his mission had
been entirely successful. Then he took to his bed and sent for a surgeon
to bleed him, as “he found himself somewhat unwell, on account of the
debauches in which he had indulged during the Diet.”

During the next fortnight Bassompierre was occupied in arranging for the
levy which the Diet had authorised, so that the troops might be ready to
take the field so soon as they were required. On March 27 a courier
arrived from the Cardinal with the news that the armistice between
France and Savoy was at an end, and that Richelieu had entered Piedmont
and was going to lay siege to Pinerolo. The Cardinal ordered
Bassompierre to mobilise 6,000 Swiss immediately, and informed him that
he had written requesting the King to send him other troops and a patent
as general for the conquest of Savoy.

Richelieu had moved his army through Savoy, crossed the Alps and
advanced to the frontier of Montferrato, when he learned, through
intercepted letters, that Charles Emmanuel was playing him false. He at
once turned about, called upon the Duke to fulfil his engagements, and,
the answer he received being unsatisfactory, marched against him. The
weather was frightful, and the soldiers, chilled to the bone by the icy
blast as they stumbled through the snow, “consigned to all the devils
the cardinal-generalissimo,” who rode at their head mounted on a
splendid charger, wearing a cuirass of blue steel, a hat with a nodding
plume on his head, a sword by his side, and pistols at his saddle-bow.
But they pushed on and presently reached Rivoli, which the Duke of Savoy
had hastily evacuated, where they found warmth and shelter and an
abundance of good wine, in which, forgetting their recent hardships,
they drank to the health of the “great cardinal.”

Charles Emmanuel had fallen back to Turin, and flattered himself that,
with the aid of Spinola and Colalto, he would be able to give battle to
the French on advantageous terms beneath the walls of his capital. But
Richelieu, instead of advancing on Turin, turned back towards the Alps
and on March 20 invested Pinerolo, which Henri III had so imprudently
restored to Savoy at the beginning of his reign. The town surrendered on
the 23rd, and the citadel a week later, and France thus secured an
invaluable base for future operations. The first attack on the citadel
cost the life of Bassompierre’s old companion-in-arms Cominges-Guitaut,
a very brave man and most capable officer, who was sincerely regretted
by the marshal.

Bassompierre remained at Soleure until April 20, when he left for
Geneva, where the troops which he had raised were to assemble. On May 4
he received a despatch from Louis XIII, informing him that he intended
to make the conquest of Savoy in person and directing him to join him at
Lyons to receive his orders. He was to send the Swiss to Grenoble,
whither the King intended to proceed so soon as possible.

Louis XIII had left Fontainebleau towards the end of February, and had
remained for some weeks at Troyes, as it was thought not improbable that
the Imperialists, who were in strong force in Alsace and on the borders
of Lorraine, might attempt an invasion of Champagne. Here, on April 18,
he was joined by his brother, whom he had not seen since Gaston had
taken himself off to Lorraine in the previous autumn.[131] The King
received him very cordially, and, on the advice of Richelieu, appointed
him “Lieutenant-General representing the King’s person in the Army of
Champagne, as well as in Paris and in the northern provinces.” It was
hoped in this way to satisfy the _amour-propre_ of this troublesome
prince, who was perpetually complaining that he was excluded from that
share in public affairs to which his rank entitled him, and to make it
to his interest to conduct himself well in future. The real commander of
the army of Champagne was, however, the Maréchal de Marillac.

The King, accompanied by the two Queens and the whole Court, then
proceeded through Burgundy to Lyons, where on May 6 Bassompierre joined
him, and was not a little astonished to find his Majesty amongst the
ladies, “gallant and amorous, which was contrary to his custom.” The
explanation is that Louis had recently fallen in love with Mlle. de
Hautefort, one of the Queen’s maids-of-honour. This affection was of a
very innocent kind, but it was skilfully exploited by the enemies of
Richelieu, and, in time to come, was to occasion the Cardinal
considerable embarrassment.

On the 8th the King left for Grenoble to confer with the Cardinal, who,
having confided the command of his army to La Force and Schomberg, had
come thither for that purpose. Although after the loss of Pinerolo
Charles Emmanuel had hastened to make overtures for peace, Richelieu had
little belief in his sincerity, and Louis XIII agreed with him on the
necessity of retaining so all-important an acquisition as Pinerolo. The
Queen-Mother and her creatures were, however, worrying the King
incessantly to spare the Duke of Savoy, and Louis, who desired peace
about him, and had vainly endeavoured to make his mother listen to
reason, sent the Cardinal to Lyons to represent to Marie more fully the
condition of affairs. This he did so ably that the Queen-Mother, though
sorely against her will, was obliged to admit the necessity of
continuing the war.

On the 14th the King, accompanied by Bassompierre, Créquy, and
Châtillon, left Grenoble with the army which had assembled there and,
passing through the Bresse, entered Savoy. The three marshals were to
command the army in turn, and the first period of command fell to
Bassompierre, who made good use of his opportunities. He took the town
and citadel of Chambéry; compelled Rumilly to surrender; and, pushing on
with the advance-guard over the difficult roads, turned the flank of the
Prince of Carignano, who commanded the main Piedmontese army, and
compelled him to beat a precipitate retreat from his strong position at
Conflans; and then, crossing the Col de la Louaz, the Col de Nave, the
Grand-Cœur and the Petit-Cœur, had occupied Moutiers and the Pas
du Ciel, when he received a despatch from the King instructing him to
resign his command to the Maréchal de Châtillon, whose turn it was to
lead the army.

     “This offended me extremely,” says the marshal, “since I did not
     think that, as the same troops would continue to form the
     advance-guard, my person alone ought to be dethroned, and that
     having started the hare, another should come to profit by my

However, of course, he had no alternative but to hand over the command
to his colleague. But when, on June 4, the King and the Cardinal arrived
at Moustier, he “complained of the outrage that had been done him.”
However, he got no satisfaction from them, as they decided that the
arrangement that had been made at the outset of the campaign must be
adhered to.

By the third week in June all Savoy had been conquered, with the
exception of the citadel of Montmélian, which was being closely
blockaded, and Louis XIII and Richelieu returned to Grenoble, whither
Bassompierre followed them. On July 10 a division of the army of
Piedmont under Montmorency and d’Effiat defeated the forces of Charles
Emmanuel at Avigliana and occupied Saluzzo, which the Duke of Savoy had
annexed during the troubles of the League and retained at the cost of
much sacrifice of territory in 1601.

These rapid successes redoubled the ill humour of Marie de’ Medici,
whose rancour against Richelieu was industriously stimulated by the
Keeper of the Seals, Michel de Marillac, who, on the death of the
Cardinal de Bérulle in October, 1629, had succeeded him as the leader of
the High Catholic and Spanish party and the chief confidant of the
Queen-Mother. The King, anxious to prevent any new trouble in the Royal
Family, begged his mother to come to Grenoble, to give the Cardinal and
himself the benefit of her counsels. But Marie excused herself, and she
and Michel de Marillac did everything possible to dissuade the King from
returning to the army, on the ground that his health would be endangered
by contagious maladies which had broken out there. The Spaniards and
Imperialists, encouraged by the knowledge of the intrigues which were
proceeding at the Court of France, pressed the sieges of Mantua and
Casale, and, though the latter place, ably defended by Toiras, held out
bravely, on July 18 the Imperialists succeeded in taking Mantua by

     In the last week in July Louis XIII, who, since the beginning of
     the month, had been very unwell, was obliged, on account of his
     health, to return to Lyons, where Bassompierre obtained leave to go
     to Paris “to set his affairs in order.”

     “I arrived in Paris,” he writes, “on the 21st day of August, where
     I found M. d’Épernon. _Monsieur_, brother of the King, came there
     on the morrow, and a few days later _M. le Comte_, M. de
     Longueville, and M. de Guise arrived. We thought only of passing
     our time pleasantly. I amused myself in building Chaillot.”

     Now, of course, it may have been merely a coincidence that the
     distinguished persons above-mentioned, all of whom were hostile to
     Richelieu, should have arrived in Paris almost at the same time as
     Bassompierre. But any way, it was an unfortunate one for the

Richelieu, although very uneasy at the thought of leaving the King
exposed to the hostile influences of the Queen-Mother and her friends,
remained in Savoy for nearly a month after Louis XIII had returned to
Lyons, although the King’s confessor, Père Suffren, wrote urging him to
rejoin the Court, “in order to disperse all the clouds which had
gathered.” At length, towards the end of August, the plague, which was
devastating Savoy, attacked his own quarters, and obliged him to return.

On September 22, Louis XIII, who had been in very poor health for some
weeks, was attacked by fever, accompanied by dysentery. By the 27th he
was so ill that his physicians felt obliged to warn him that it was time
to think of his conscience, and he demanded the Viaticum, bade farewell
to his mother, his wife, and his Minister, and prepared for death. On
the morning of the 30th no one believed that he could live through the

The two Queens and all the Court were loud in their expressions of
grief; but this did not prevent them from making their arrangements for
the morrow of the catastrophe which appeared so imminent, and, though we
may discredit the story that Anne of Austria instructed her _dame
d’atours_, the Comtesse du Fargis, to write to _Monsieur_ reminding him
of the project, more than once mooted, of a marriage between them in the
event of the King’s death, there can be no doubt that the Queen-Mother
was preparing to revenge herself upon “her ungrateful servant,” so soon
as his protector should have drawn his last breath.

As for Richelieu, his state of mind may be imagined. He saw his power
crumbling away, his liberty, and perhaps even his life, threatened, and,
what he valued more than life, his work, on the point of being undone,
and France stepping back into the chaos at home and impotence abroad
from which he had extricated her. “I know not,” he wrote to Schomberg,
“whether I am dead or alive.”

But, before the day was over, the sick monarch, to the astonishment of
all, and the mortification, it is to be feared, of not a few, took a
turn for the better, and on the morrow was out of danger. “By the grace
of God,” wrote the Cardinal to d’Effiat, “the King is out of danger,
but, to tell you the truth, I know not whether I am. I pray God that He
sends me death in His mercy sooner than the occasion of relapsing into
the state in which we have been.”

On learning that the King was ill and that his illness was “not without
danger,” Bassompierre returned in all haste to Lyons, where he arrived
on October 1, the day after the crisis. After paying his respects to the
King, he went to salute the two Queens, the Princesses of the Blood, and
the Cardinal, and then proceeded to the house of a M. d’Alaincourt, an
old friend of his, with whom he always stayed when at Lyons.

Richelieu had received Bassompierre very cordially and had “spoken to
him in great confidence.” But next day his manner changed and became
cold and distant. The marshal sought out Châteauneuf, who, until he was
so unfortunate as to succumb to the _beaux yeux_ of Madame de Chevreuse,
was one of the most faithful of the cardinal’s henchmen, and inquired
what he could possibly have done to offend his Eminence. Upon which
Châteauneuf told him that the Cardinal had been informed that
Bassompierre had “brought certain messages on behalf of _Monsieur_ to
the Queen-Mother, with a power to arrest him [Richelieu] if harm came to
the King.”

Bassompierre answered that “he dared swear that _Monsieur_ never had
such an idea, because when he [Bassompierre] left Paris, he was doubtful
whether the King was in danger.”

Châteauneuf then said that there were certain circumstances which, in
his Eminence’s opinion, appeared to confirm the rumour which had reached
him, namely, that the Maréchal de Créquy was staying at the same house
as Bassompierre; that the Duc de Guise had travelled part of the way
from Paris with the marshal and was now occupying the adjoining house,
and that Bassompierre visited the Queen-Mother every day, and the
Princesse de Conti, M. de Guise’s sister and one of her Majesty’s most
devoted adherents, every evening.

     “I told him,” says Bassompierre, “that I had not seen _Monsieur_
     the morning I left Paris, and that I had not taken leave of him the
     previous evening; that I had not yet said a word to the
     Queen-Mother, except aloud; that it was the duty of a courier, and
     not of a marshal of France, to be the bearer of such powers, which
     would have come too late, if God had not miraculously cured the
     King; that, for ten years past, I had had no other lodging at Lyons
     except the house of my old friend M. d’Alaincourt; that it was not
     just of late that M. de Créquy and I had lived as brothers, but
     since our first acquaintance, and that I had frequented the
     Princesse de Conti’s society for thirty years; that La
     Ville-aux-Clercs[132] and Guillemeau,[133] who had travelled post
     with me, could bear witness that M. de Guise had left Paris after
     me, that he had passed me the first day of my journey when I slept
     at La Chapelle-la-Reine, that I had overtaken him the following
     evening at Poully, and that at Moulins, since he was unable to
     follow me, I preceded him; and that I begged him to assure the
     Cardinal that I was not a man of faction or intrigue; that I always
     concerned myself with serving the King well and faithfully first,
     and afterwards my friends, of whom he was one of the chief, and I
     had promised him very humble service. This he promised to do, and
     having been to see him [the Cardinal], I told him in substance the
     same things, with which he professed to be satisfied.”

It is difficult to decide how far Bassompierre was sincere in these
protestations. That he had been actually charged by _Monsieur_ with such
a commission as the Cardinal suspected may be doubted, but it is
practically certain that, if not an active member of the anti-Richelieu
cabal, he was in full sympathy with its main object. Nor is this a
matter for surprise. As a great noble, he resented Richelieu’s
determination to curtail the power and privileges of the nobility and
bring them into subjection. As a marshal of France, he disliked the
interference of an ecclesiastic in military matters, and he had not
forgiven the Cardinal for having supported the pretensions of Angoulême
during the siege of La Rochelle, thereby obliging him to accept a
separate command and depriving him of the honour of driving the English
from Ré. As a courtier and a favourite of the King, he found it
difficult to reconcile himself to the sight of a Minister exercising
such unbounded authority that no one could any longer hope for
advancement except through his good offices.

And there was yet another reason why Bassompierre should have desired to
see the success of the cabal. The Guises, and in particular the duke and
his sister, the Princesse de Conti, were among its most energetic
supporters. The former was now bitterly hostile to Richelieu, who had
lately deprived him of the post of Admiral of the Levant, while his
sister, as we have said, was a devoted adherent of the Queen-Mother.
Bassompierre had been on terms of close friendship with the Guises ever
since his arrival at the French Court, and his connexion with them was
now even closer than was generally suspected. For many years he had been
the lover--or, at least, the most favoured lover--of the Princesse de
Conti, who, following the example of Marie d’Entragues, had presented
him with a pledge of her affection in the shape of a natural son, of
whom we shall have occasion to speak hereafter; and at a date which is
unknown, but was probably some time between 1624 and 1630, this intimacy
had been regularised by a secret marriage.

It was only natural that Bassompierre should have sided with the party
to which his wife and brother-in-law belonged, and we can hardly blame
Richelieu, who no doubt knew all about the secret marriage--for there
were few secrets which his army of spies did not contrive to ferret
out--if he credited the marshal with hostile intentions towards him and
placed his name on the list of those distinguished persons upon whom, in
the event of his defeating the machinations of his enemies, he intended
to take summary vengeance.

It was, however, very far from certain that he would succeed in
defeating them. During the King’s convalescence the two Queens were
unremitting in their attentions, and Marie de’ Medici took advantage of
his weakness to launch all kinds of accusations against the Cardinal,
whom she charged with deliberately fomenting dissensions in the Royal
family and prejudicing the King’s mind against his mother, wife, and
brother, in order that he might dominate it entirely, and of prolonging
the war for the purpose of rendering himself necessary, and of
sacrificing his Majesty’s health to his ambition. The danger through
which Louis had just passed, and the solicitude which Anne of Austria
showed for him, had brought about a sort of reconciliation between the
royal pair, and the young Queen profited by this to second the
admonitions and entreaties of her mother-in-law. The latter gave her
unfortunate son no rest, and, at length, to free himself from her
obsessions, the King promised her that the Cardinal should be dismissed
so soon as peace in Italy had been re-established, or, according to
another version, that he would come to a decision on the matter after
his return to Paris.


     Peace is signed with the Emperor at Ratisbon--The Queen-Mother
     deprives Richelieu’s niece Madame de Combalet of her post of _dame
     d’atours_ and demands of Louis XIII the instant dismissal of the
     Cardinal--The Luxembourg interview--“The Day of Dupes”--Triumph of
     Richelieu--Bassompierre’s explanation of his own part in this
     affair--His visit to Versailles--“He has arrived after the
     battle!”--He gives offence to Richelieu by refusing an invitation
     to dinner--He finds himself in semi-disgrace--_Monsieur_ quarrels
     with the Cardinal and leaves the Court--The King again treats
     Bassompierre with cordiality--Departure of the Court for
     Compiègne--Bassompierre learns that the Queen-Mother has been
     placed under arrest and the Princesse de Conti exiled and that he
     himself is to be arrested--The marshal is advised by the Duc
     d’Épernon to leave France--He declines and announces his intention
     of going to the Court to meet his fate--He burns “more than six
     thousand love-letters”--His arrival at the Court--Singular conduct
     of the King towards him--The marshal is arrested by the Sieur de
     Launay, lieutenant of the Gardes du Corps, and conducted to the

So soon as his health was re-established, the King is said to have
warned Richelieu of the hostile intentions of his mother, and when, on
October 19, the Court left Lyons, the Cardinal, with the object of
regaining her friendship, travelled with her in the same boat from
Roanne to Briare--“in complete privacy,” says Bassompierre, and appears
to have spared no pains to conciliate her. Marie dissembled so well that
he believed that all immediate danger was over; but scarcely had she
arrived in Paris than she called upon the King to carry out the promise
he had made her at Lyons.

Louis pleaded the interests of the State, and demanded time to settle
the troubles. But it was necessary to find other arguments. Père Joseph
and Brulart de Léon, who had been sent to Ratisbon to settle with the
Emperor the question of Casale and Mantua, had concluded with him a
general peace (October 13). Schomberg was on the march towards Casale,
which was in the utmost peril, for the Spaniards had already captured
the town and were pressing the citadel closely, when he received news of
the treaty. He paid no attention to it and continued to advance. On the
26th he came in sight of the place, and a cannonade between his forces
and those of the besiegers had actually begun, when the young Papal
agent Mazarini, at the risk of his life, rode in between the hostile
armies, waving a paper and crying: “Peace!” The proposals he brought for
the evacuation of the town by the Spaniards and of the citadel by the
French pending the acceptance of the Ratisbon treaty by Spain were
acceded to, and the great siege of Casale came suddenly to an end.

When this agreement was known in Paris, and the war regarded as over,
the Queen-Mother, refusing to listen to any remonstrance from the King,
promptly deprived Richelieu’s niece, Madame de Combalet, of her post as
_dame d’atours_, in an interview in which she is said to have heaped the
grossest abuse upon the unfortunate young woman, and demanded of her son
the instant dismissal of the Cardinal. The King demurred and, to escape
maternal importunities, withdrew to his hunting-lodge at Versailles; but
Marie was resolved to give him no rest until she had gained his consent;
and on the morning of November 10 Louis returned to Paris, and went to
visit the Queen-Mother at the Luxembourg.

On his arrival at the Luxembourg, whither he was accompanied by
Bassompierre, the King and his mother entered the latter’s cabinet, and
gave strict orders that no one should be allowed to interrupt them. They
then locked the door of the cabinet, and the Queen-Mother’s attendants
those of the ante-chamber.

Hardly, however, had the conversation begun, when a little door leading
from the chapel of the Luxembourg into the Queen’s cabinet, which their
Majesties had not thought of securing, gently opened, and the tall,
scarlet-robed figure and pale, thin face of the man whose fate they had
met to decide appeared to their astonished eyes. Richelieu, informed of
the King’s return to Paris and his arrival at the Luxembourg, had formed
a shrewd suspicion of what was in the wind, and had determined to be
present at the interview between mother and son. Finding the doors of
the ante-chamber locked, he had made his way to the cabinet along the
gallery of the palace, and, on discovering the door of the cabinet also
secured, had bethought himself of that which communicated with the

“All is lost; here he is!” exclaimed the King, looking as guilty as a
timid schoolboy detected by a stern master in some breach of discipline.
The Cardinal advanced with a smiling face. “I will wager,” said he,
“that their Majesties were speaking of me.” And then, turning to the
Queen-Mother, he added: “Confess it, Madame.” “We were,” replied Marie.
And then, beside herself with passion at the Minister’s audacity, she
broke forth into a torrent of accusations and reproaches, charging him,
amongst other things, with plotting to marry his niece to the Comte de
Soissons and set him upon the throne in place of the King. The Cardinal
appeared to quail before the tempest; he fell on his knees and protested
his innocence; he wept; he was in despair. But this pretence of
humility, instead of disarming the wrath of the Queen-Mother, served
only to inflame it. “It is for you,” she cried, turning to the King, “to
decide whether you intend to prefer a valet to your mother.” “It is more
natural,” interposed Richelieu, “that it is I who should be sacrificed.”
And he demanded pardon and permission to retire. The King remained
silent; Marie overwhelmed him with a fresh storm of reproaches, and he
quitted the room, convinced that his power was at an end.

Louis XIII, dumbfounded by the violent scene of which he had been a
witness, informed his mother that he was quite unable to come to a
decision that day, and quitted the Luxembourg.

On the following morning the King signed a despatch which his mother had
extracted from him which gave the sole command of the army of Italy to
Louis de Marillac and recalled Schomberg and La Force, who were
adherents of the Cardinal. Then he departed for Versailles, without
again seeing the Queen-Mother, but the Keeper of the Seals, Michel de
Marillac, whom Marie had designated as Prime Minister in place of
Richelieu, had orders to follow him.

This order appeared decisive; all the Court believed that the Cardinal
had fallen. A crowd of courtiers invaded the Luxembourg, where the
Queen-Mother paraded her triumph and received their felicitations,
without deigning to inconvenience herself by following the King to
Versailles, as some of the more prudent of her friends urged her to do.
She flattered herself that she held the place of Catherine de’ Medici;
but she had none of Catherine’s _finesse_ and intelligence; Catherine,
in similar circumstances, would not have allowed the King out of her
sight for a moment.

Anne of Austria, _Monsieur_, the Spanish Ambassador, the grandees were
transported with joy; and couriers started to carry the good news to
Madrid, Vienna, Brussels, and Turin. It was reported that the hated
Cardinal was busy making his preparations for departure; that he
intended to retire to the government of Le Havre, and that his mules had
been seen defiling along the Pontoise road.

It would appear, in fact, that Richelieu, believing himself ruined, had
for a moment contemplated taking refuge at Le Havre, but that two of his
friends who had remained faithful to his fortunes, Châteauneuf and the
Président Le Jay, had strongly opposed this resolution and persuaded him
to remain in Paris. Anyway, he did so, and in the course of the
afternoon he received a message from the First Equerry, Saint-Simon,
bidding him come with all speed to Versailles.

Saint-Simon and the Cardinal de la Valette, who had followed the King,
had pleaded the cause of Richelieu; but it is probable that “reasons of
State” had pleaded still more eloquently for him. For Louis, with all
his faults, did not, as we know, lack intelligence; and now that the
decision which for weeks he had postponed had to be made, he recognised
that the Cardinal’s dismissal would mean his own reduction to impotence,
disorder, corruption, and intrigue at home and the triumph of the
enemies of France abroad. His hesitation was at an end, and he
authorised Saint-Simon to send for Richelieu.

The Cardinal came; he threw himself at the feet of the King, who raised
him up and praised the zeal and fidelity which he had shown in his
service. He knelt again and offered to retire, so as not to be a subject
of discord between mother and son. Louis declined to accept his
resignation, and then gave orders that they should be left alone
together, and proceeded to discuss with the Cardinal the measures to be
adopted against the cabal. It was decided that Michel de Marillac should
be deprived of the Seals and banished the Court, and that another
despatch should be sent to the Army of Italy, cancelling the one which
was already on its way and ordering Schomberg to have the Maréchal de
Marillac arrested and sent a prisoner to France. And so, while the
Queen-Mother was triumphing at the Luxembourg, Richelieu triumphed at
Versailles. That day--November 11, 1630--has remained famous in history
as “The Day of Dupes.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“The Day of Dupes”! This name has been attributed to Bassompierre, and
no one was better able to appreciate its justice, since, whatever he may
say to the contrary--and he would fain have us believe that he was only
the innocent victim of circumstances--the marshal was undoubtedly one
of these dupes. But let us listen to his explanations.

He begins by denying most solemnly that before November 10 he had any
knowledge that the Queen-Mother and Richelieu were at variance, except
what he had gathered from “scraps of information,” and that he had no
idea until some time afterwards that Marie had actually demanded from
the King the disgrace of the Cardinal. He accompanied Louis to the
Luxembourg on the morning of the 10th, as we have mentioned, but he
assures us neither the King nor the Cardinal--whom he saw that
evening--said a word to him about the stormy scene in the Queen-Mother’s
cabinet, and that the matter was kept a profound secret between all the
parties concerned.

     “This quarrel,” says he, “was kept so secret on all sides that no
     one knew anything about it or suspected it.”

He then goes on to relate how on the evening of the 10th he accompanied
the King to the apartments of _Monsieur_, from whom Louis had extracted
a promise to be reconciled to the Cardinal.

     “The King sent to summon the Cardinal, and, after saying a few
     words to his brother, presented the Cardinal to him, and begged him
     to love him and to regard him as his servant. This _Monsieur_
     rather coldly promised the King to do, provided that he [Richelieu]
     would comport himself towards him as he ought to do. I was present
     at this agreement, and afterwards, happening to be near the
     Cardinal, he drew me aside and said to me: ‘_Monsieur_ complains
     about me, and God knows if he has reason to do so; but the beaten
     pay the forfeit.’ I said: ‘Monsieur, do not attach any importance
     to what _Monsieur_ says. He only does what Puylaurens and Le
     Coigneux counsel him to do; and when you wish to hold _Monsieur_,
     hold him by means of them, and you will stop him.’ He said nothing
     to me afterwards about his quarrel;[134] and may God confound me
     if I even suspected it! After supper I went to visit the Princesse
     de Conti. I had previously attended the King’s _coucher_, and he
     did not give me any cause to suspect it. I inquired if he were
     leaving on the morrow;[135] and he told me that he was not. I found
     the Princesse de Conti in such ignorance of this affair, that not
     only did she not speak of it, but I shall certainly dare to swear
     that she knew nothing about it.

     “On Monday, the 11th, St. Martin’s Day, I came early to the
     apartments of the King, who told me that he was returning to
     Versailles. I did not imagine for what reason. I had arranged to
     dine with the Cardinal, whom I had been unable to see at his house
     since his arrival [from Lyons], and I went there towards midday. I
     was told that he was not there, and that he was leaving that day to
     go to Pontoise. Up to then I did not suspect anything, nor did I
     even do so, when, having re-entered the Luxembourg and the Cardinal
     arriving there, I accompanied him up to the door of the Queen’s
     chamber, and he said to me: ‘You will no longer take any account of
     a disgraced man like myself.’ I imagined that he intended to refer
     to the bad reception which _Monsieur_ had given him the preceding
     day. I intended to wait to go and dine with him; but M. de
     Longueville enticed me away to go and dine with _Monsieur_ at M. de
     Créquy’s house, as he had invited me to do. While we were there, M.
     de Puylaurens said to me: ‘Well, it is certainly true this time
     that our people have quarrelled, for the Queen-Mother said openly
     to the Cardinal yesterday that she never wished to see him again.’
     I was very much astonished at this news, which was shortly
     afterwards confirmed by M. de Longueville. I sent at once to the
     Princesse de Conti to beg her very humbly to send me news; but she
     swore to my man that this was the first that she had heard of it;
     and that she begged me to furnish her with particulars concerning
     it. I knew nothing about it, save that Madame de Combalet had taken
     leave of the Queen-Mother and that the King and the Cardinal had
     left Paris. In the evening _Monsieur le Comte_ took me to the
     Queen-Mother’s, but she never spoke, except to the Queen and the

     “_Tuesday, the 12th._--I went to Chaillot, where I spent the whole
     day, and, on my return, I met Lisle, who told me that M. de
     Marillac had been deprived of the Seals and sent under an escort of
     the Guards to Touraine.

     “_Wednesday, the 13th._--M. de la Vrillière, returning at a gallop
     from Versailles; told me that M. de Châteauneuf had been appointed
     Keeper of the Seals, and, in the evening at the Queen-Mother’s, I
     saw M. de la Ville-aux-Clercs, who had come to inform her on behalf
     of the King.”

Now, Bassompierre is generally regarded as a singularly reliable
chronicler, but we must remember that his _Mémoires_ were written, or
rather arranged and revised, during his imprisonment in the Bastille,
and that there was always a by no means remote possibility that they
might be impounded and placed under the eyes of Louis XIII and
Richelieu. It was therefore manifestly to his interest to make out as
good a case for himself as he could, and to pose as the victim of
unfounded suspicions. When he declares that on the evening of the 10th
he had no suspicion of what had taken place at the Luxembourg, and that
he was positive that the Princesse de Conti knew nothing about it, he is
probably speaking the truth. For it was not until the following morning
that Louis XIII signed the despatch appointing the Maréchal de Marillac
to the command of the army of Italy, and until the King had taken what
appeared to her a decisive step against Richelieu, the Queen-Mother may
well have refrained from speaking of the matter to anyone, even to so
close a friend and confidante as the Princesse de Conti. But when he
asks us to believe that until the afternoon of the 11th, by which time
the affair must have been already known to half the Court, and, by his
own admission, _was_ known to _Monsieur’s_ favourite Puylaurens and to
the Duc de Longueville, both he and his wife were still in ignorance,
and that when the Cardinal said to him: “You will no longer take any
account of a disgraced man like myself,” he really believed that he was
referring to


From an engraving by Thomas de Leu.]

his differences with _Monsieur_, we must entirely decline to do so.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the morning of the 14th, the Spanish merchant Alphonso Lopez,[136]
who was one of Richelieu’s secret agents, came to visit Bassompierre and
“told him that he would do well to go to Versailles to see the King and
the Cardinal.” The marshal, however, learning that the new Keeper of the
Seals, Châteauneuf, with whom he was on very friendly terms, was coming
to Paris that day to pay his respects to the two Queens, thought it
advisable to defer his visit to the morrow, and, meanwhile, to go and
offer his compliments to Châteauneuf on his appointment and ascertain
from him what reception he was likely to receive.

     “He told me,” says Bassompierre, “that he had not perceived that
     there was anything against me, but that I should do well to go and
     present myself. This I did on Friday, the 15th. I entered the
     chamber of the King, who, so soon as he caught sight of me,
     observed, loud enough for me to hear: ‘He has arrived after the
     battle,’ and greeted me very coldly. I assumed a cheerful
     countenance, as though nothing had been the matter. Finally, the
     King told me that he should be at Saint-Germain on the Monday, and
     that I was to bring his Swiss Guards there. At the same time, I
     heard Saint-Simon, the First Equerry, say to _Monsieur le Comte_:
     ‘_Monsieur_, do not invite him to dinner, nor me either, and he
     will return as he came.’ The insolence of this nasty little wretch
     (_petit punais_) put me in a rage inwardly, but I concealed it, for
     the laughers were not on my side, though I knew not why.
     Nevertheless, _Monsieur le Comte_ said to me: ‘If you will dine
     with me, I have three or four dishes above for us to eat.’
     ‘Monsieur,’ I replied, ‘I have asked MM. de Créquy and de Saint-Luc
     and the Comte de Sault to dine with me to-day at Chaillot, and they
     are awaiting me; but I thank you very humbly.’ Upon that the
     Cardinal arrived. He greeted me coldly and spoke to me rather
     indifferently, and then went with the King into his cabinet. I
     began to talk to _Monsieur le Comte_, when Armaignac[137] came from
     the Cardinal to ask me to dine with him. But, as I had just refused
     _Monsieur le Comte_, before whom he spoke, I made the same excuse
     as I had done before; with which the Cardinal was offended, and
     said so to the King.”

On the 18th Bassompierre went to Saint-Germain, where the King “gave him
the worst reception in the world.” He returned two days later, and was
again received in the most frigid manner. He decided to remain there, in
the hope that his Majesty might relent, and stayed for three weeks,
during which the King never spoke to him, except to give him the
password. The two Queens were also in a sort of semi-disgrace, for
though Louis treated them with every courtesy, in public it was only on
very rare occasions that he entered their private apartments. Beringhen
and Jaquinot, two of the King’s first _valets de chambre_, who had been
mixed up in secret intrigues against Richelieu, were banished the Court,
but for the present no further steps were taken against the Cardinal’s
more prominent enemies. On the other hand, Montmorency and Toiras were
created marshals of France, in order to secure them; and, to keep
_Monsieur_ quiet, the Cardinal bought the good offices of his two
favourites, Puylaurens and Le Coigneux, the former by the promise that
he should be created a duke, and the latter by the charge of _Président
au mortier_ in the Parlement and the present of a large sum of money.

Meanwhile, efforts were made to persuade the Queen-Mother to be
reconciled to the Cardinal, and Louis XIII sent Père Suffren and the
Nuncio Bagni to Marie to offer never to oblige her to restore the
relatives of Richelieu to their posts in her Household, provided she
would consent to resume her place in the Council. This she refused to
do, so long as the Cardinal sat there.

With the New Year intrigues began again. The Président Le Coigneux,
under the impression that the new Keeper of the Seals, Châteauneuf, was
working to ruin him, persuaded _Monsieur_ to break with the Cardinal and
quit the Court. On the morning of January 30, Gaston went to Richelieu’s
hotel, informed the Cardinal, in a threatening tone, that he renounced
his friendship, since he had failed in all the promises which he had
made him; then, refusing to listen to any explanation, he added that he
was retiring to his appanage and that, “if he were molested, he should
defend himself very well.” And, the same day, he left Paris for Orléans.

On learning of the abrupt departure of _Monsieur_, Bassompierre went to
the Cardinal for his orders, as the King was still at Saint-Germain,
when Richelieu told him that he had sent in all haste to acquaint his
Majesty with what had happened and to counsel his immediate return to
Paris. Louis XIII arrived that same evening and alighted at the
Cardinal’s hotel, where Bassompierre was awaiting him. To his surprise,
the King greeted him most cordially, presented him with a wild boar
which he had killed that day, and, after visiting the Cardinal, invited
Bassompierre to enter his coach and accompany him to the Louvre.

On the way Louis informed the marshal that “he was going to scold the
Queen his mother for having persuaded his brother to leave the Court.”
Bassompierre answered that, if the Queen-Mother had done so, she would
be much to blame, but he should be greatly surprised if she had
counselled such a thing. To which the King rejoined that he was positive
she had, “on account of the hatred which she entertained for the

A few days later Louis XIII announced his intention of spending the
Carnival at Compiègne, whither the two Queens decided to follow him, for
Marie cherished the illusion that, with the aid of her daughter-in-law,
she might yet succeed in undermining the power of the Cardinal, and she
was determined not to repeat the fault she had committed on the Day of

On February 16, the day before the Court set out for Compiègne,
Bassompierre, who had been given permission to remain in Paris, went to
take leave of their Majesties. The King received him very graciously and
promised him a _gratification_ to compensate him for the heavy expenses
which he had incurred during his embassy to Switzerland. Afterwards the
marshal went to visit the Princesse de Conti, who was to accompany the
Court to Compiègne. Little did he imagine as he bade his wife farewell
that they were never to meet again!

In the afternoon of Sunday, February 23, as Bassompierre, who had been
dining with the Maréchal de Créquy, was on his way to the Place-Royale
to visit his brother-in-law Saint-Luc, his coach had to pull up, owing
to the road being blocked by a waggon on which was a sumptuous
four-poster bed. He sent one of his servants to inquire to whom the bed
belonged, and was told that it was the property of the Abbé de Foix, a
meddlesome ecclesiastic, who had been concerned somewhat prominently in
the recent intrigues against Richelieu, and that it was on its way to
the Bastille, whither its owner had been conveyed a prisoner that
morning. From the fact that Foix had been arrested Bassompierre inferred
that the Cardinal had resumed the offensive against his enemies; and
this surmise proved to be only too correct.

That evening, as Bassompierre was about to set out for the house of his
friend Saint-Géran, to witness a play, which was to be followed by a
ball, he received a message from d’Épernon begging him to come to him at
once. On his arrival, the duke informed him that the King and Court had
quitted Compiègne that morning for Senlis, leaving the Queen-Mother
under arrest at the château; that the Princesse de Conti had been exiled
to her brother’s estate at Eu, by a _lettre de cachet_; that Vautier,
the Queen-Mother’s first physician, had been arrested and conveyed to
Senlis, and, finally, that he had learned on good authority that it had
been proposed to arrest Bassompierre, Créquy, and himself. He added that
no resolution had as yet been taken against Créquy or himself, but it
had been decided to arrest Bassompierre when the King returned to Paris
on the Tuesday, and that he had sent for him to warn him of his danger.

Bassompierre asked d’Épernon what he advised him to do, and what he
proposed to do himself. The old noble replied that, if he were only
fifty years old--the age of the marshal--he would not remain in Paris a
single hour, and would make for some place of safety, from which he
would be afterwards able to make his peace; but that, since he was
nearly eighty and had no desire to play the courtier any longer at his
age, he should employ all the influence he possessed to disarm the
resentment of the King and the Cardinal, at least so far as to obtain
permission to retire to his government and spend the rest of his days
there in peace. With Bassompierre, however, the case was different. He
was still comparatively young, and could afford to wait until Fortune
smiled again; and he therefore advised him to leave France at once and
offered him the loan of 50,000 écus to enable him to live a couple of
years abroad in a style befitting his rank, which he could repay him
when his exile was at an end.

     “I thanked him very humbly,” says Bassompierre, “first for his good
     counsel and then for his offer, and told him that my modesty
     prevented me from accepting the latter and my conscience from
     following the other, since I was perfectly innocent of any offence
     and had never committed any action which was not rather deserving
     of praise and reward than of punishment; that I had always sought
     glory before profit, and that, preferring as I did my honour, not
     only to my liberty, but to life itself, I should never compromise
     it by a flight which might cause my integrity to be suspected and
     doubted; that for thirty years I had served France and applied
     myself to making my fortune there, and that I would not now, when
     I was approaching the age of fifty, seek a new country, and that
     having devoted to the King my service and my life, I might as well
     give him my liberty also, which he would soon restore to me, when
     he recollected my services and my fidelity; that, at the worst, I
     should prefer to grow old and to die in prison, judged by everyone
     innocent and my master ungrateful, than by an ill-advised flight to
     cause myself to be deemed guilty and suspected of ingratitude for
     the honours and charges which the King had bestowed upon me; that I
     could not believe that I should be thrown into prison without
     having committed any offence, nor retained there without any charge
     against me; but that, if both were to happen, I should support it
     with great firmness and moderation.”

He concluded by declaring that, instead of taking to flight, it was his
intention to go on the morrow to Senlis to present himself to the King,
in order to justify himself, if he were accused, or to go to prison, if
he were suspected, or even to die, if his ill fortune or the fury of his
enemies went to that extremity.

When he had finished speaking, d’Épernon embraced him, with tears in his
eyes, and said: “I know not what will happen to you, and I pray God with
all my heart that it may be nothing but good; but I have never known a
gentleman better born than you, nor who better deserved all good
fortune. You have enjoyed it up to the present. May God preserve it for
you! And, although I fear the resolution which you have taken,
nevertheless, after having heard and considered your reasons, I approve
of it and counsel you to follow it.”

The marshal and d’Épernon then proceeded to Saint-Géran’s house, where
they found Créquy, whom the duke informed of the warning which had
reached him and of what Bassompierre intended to do. Créquy expressed
his approval of his resolution, and said that, for his part, he should
do what he could to avert the storm, but that he should not run away
from it. After the ball was over, they all three went to sup at Madame
de Choisy’s house, where they were presently joined by the Duc de
Chevreuse, who did not appear to be much affected by the exile of his
sister, the Princesse de Conti, and was as gay as usual. As they were
leaving, the Comte du Plessis-Praslin, who had been sent by the King to
convey to Chevreuse an official notification of his sister’s disgrace,
arrived, and informed the duke that the princess had been exiled, not
from any hostility which his Majesty entertained towards the House of
Guise, but “for the good of his service.”

On the following morning Bassompierre rose before daybreak, and,
foreseeing that, if he were arrested his house would be searched, burned
“more than six thousand love-letters” which he had received from various
fair ladies during his long career of gallantry, “these being the only
papers I possessed,” says he, “which might be able to injure anyone a
little.” This task accomplished, he set out for Senlis, in company with
the Cardinal de la Valette, the Comte de Soissons, the Duc de Bouillon
and the Comte de Gramont. As they were on the point of starting,
Soissons warned Bassompierre that he had positive information that it
was intended to arrest him, and advised him to make his escape, which he
offered to facilitate. The marshal thanked him, but declined, declaring
that, “as he had nothing sinister on his conscience, he feared nothing,”
and that he proposed to have the honour of accompanying _Monsieur le
Comte_ to Senlis.

     “On our arrival,” says he, “we found the King in the Queen’s
     chamber, with her and the Princesse de Guymené. He approached us
     and said: ‘Here is good company,’ and, then having talked a little
     to _Monsieur le Comte_ and the Cardinal de la Valette, he conversed
     with me for some time, telling me that he had done what he could to
     reconcile the Queen his mother with the Cardinal, but had failed.
     He said nothing to me about the Princess de Conti. Then I told him
     that I had been warned that he intended to have me arrested, and
     that I had come to him in order that he might have no trouble in
     finding me, and that, if I knew what prison he designed for me, I
     would repair thither voluntarily, without his having to send me.
     Upon which he said these very words: ‘How, Betstein, can you have
     thought that I intended to do so? You know that I love you.’ And I
     truly believe that, at that moment, he spoke as he felt. Then they
     came to inform him that the Cardinal was in his chamber, and he
     took leave of the company, telling me to send the company which was
     on guard in advance early on the morrow, in order that it might be
     able to mount guard in Paris. Then he gave me the password.

     “We remained for some time in the Queen’s chamber, and then all
     went to sup at M. de Longueville’s, and from there returned to the
     Queen’s, whither the King came after supper. I saw plainly that
     there was something against me, for the King always kept his head
     bent down, playing on the guitar, without looking at me, and during
     the whole evening he never spoke a word to me. I spoke of this to
     M. de Gramont, as we were going together to sleep in a lodging
     which had been made ready for us.”

The next morning the anticipated blow fell:

     “On Tuesday morning, the 25th day of February, I rose at six
     o’clock, and was standing before the fire in my dressing-gown, when
     the Sieur de Launay, lieutenant of the Gardes du Corps, entered my
     chamber and said to me: ‘Monsieur, it is with tears in my eyes and
     a heart which bleeds that I, who for twenty years have been your
     soldier and have always been under your orders, am obliged to
     inform you that the King has commanded me to arrest you.’ I did not
     experience any particular emotion at these words, and said to him:
     ‘Monsieur, you will have no great difficulty about that, seeing
     that I have come here expressly for that purpose, because I had
     been warned of it. I have been all my life submissive to the wishes
     of the King, who is able to dispose of me and of my liberty as he
     wills.’ Upon which I inquired if he desired my servants to
     withdraw; but he answered that he did not, since he had no other
     orders than to arrest me and afterwards to send to inform the King
     of it, and that I could speak to my people, write, and send for
     anything that I wished for, and that everything was permitted. M.
     de Gramont then rose from his bed and approached me weeping, at
     which I began to laugh, telling him that if he were not more
     distressed at my imprisonment than I was, he would feel no
     resentment, as in truth I did not trouble myself much about it, not
     believing that I should remain there long.[138]

     “Launay did not permit any of the Guards who were with him to enter
     my chamber, and, shortly afterwards, one of the King’s coaches, his
     Musketeers and thirty of his Light Horse arrived before my lodging.
     I entered the coach with Launay only, meeting as I went out _Madame
     la Princesse_, who appeared touched by my disgrace. We preceded the
     King by two hundred paces all the way to the Porte de Saint-Martin,
     where I turned to the left, and, passing through the Place-Royale,
     was brought to the Bastille. Here I dined with the governor, M. du
     Tremblay,[139] who afterwards conducted me to the chamber in which
     _Monsieur le Prince_ had formerly been confined, where they shut me
     up with a single valet to attend on me.”


     Bassompierre in the Bastille--He is informed that he has been
     imprisoned “from fear lest he might be induced to do
     wrong”--_Monsieur_ retires to Lorraine--The marshal’s nephew the
     Marquis de Bassompierre is ordered to leave France--After a few
     weeks of captivity, Bassompierre solicits his liberty, which is
     refused--He falls seriously ill, but recovers--Death of his wife
     the Princesse de Conti--Flight of the Queen-Mother to
     Brussels--Death of Bassompierre’s brother the Marquis de
     Removille--Execution of the Maréchal de Marillac--Montmorency’s
     revolt--Trial and execution of the duke--Hopes of liberty, which,
     however, do not materialise--Arrest of Châteauneuf--Arrival of the
     Chevalier de Jars in the Bastille--A grim experience--Bassompierre
     disposes of his post of Colonel-General of the Swiss to the Marquis
     de Coislin--The marshal’s hopes of liberty constantly flattered and
     as constantly deceived--Malignity of Richelieu--The ravages
     committed by the contending armies upon his estates in Lorraine
     reduce Bassompierre to the verge of ruin--The marshal’s niece,
     Madame de Beuvron solicits her uncle’s liberty of
     Richelieu--Mocking answer of the Cardinal--Some notes written by
     Bassompierre in the margin of a copy of Dupleix’s history are
     published under his name, but without his authority--The historian
     complains to the Cardinal--Arrest of Valbois for reciting a sonnet
     attacking Richelieu for his treatment of
     Bassompierre--Apprehensions of the marshal--His despair at his
     continued detention--Grief occasioned him by the death of a
     favourite dog--The Duc de Guise dies in exile.

On the following day the Governor of the Bastille came to visit
Bassompierre, and told the marshal that he was instructed by the King to
inform him that “he had not caused him to be arrested for any fault
which he had committed, and that he regarded him as his good servant,
but from fear lest he might be induced to do wrong,” and that he should
not remain long in confinement. This assurance, Bassompierre tells us,
afforded him great consolation. Du Tremblay added that his Majesty had
given orders that the marshal was to be allowed complete liberty, save
that of leaving the fortress, and to take exercise in any part of the
Bastille, while he was also to be permitted to have with him such of
his servants as he might choose to attend him. Bassompierre, however,
contented himself with sending for two lackeys and a cook, who were
lodged in a room adjoining his own.

A day or two later Bassompierre sent to inquire of the King if his
nephew, the Marquis de Bassompierre, eldest son of the marshal’s
surviving brother, the Marquis de Removille, who was on a visit to
France, might be permitted to visit him. His Majesty replied that, not
only would he permit, but even wished, him to do so, and that he loved
him, both for himself and on account of his uncle.

In the second week in March, Louis XIII quitted Paris and marched on
Orléans, in order to compel _Monsieur_, who was threatening civil war,
to return to his obedience. The Marquis de Bassompierre requested
permission to accompany his Majesty, which was readily accorded, and his
uncle furnished him with money to defray the expenses of this journey.
On learning of the King’s approach, Gaston fled towards Burgundy,
accompanied by the Duc de Roannez, the Comte de Moret, and some troops
which he had raised. Bellegarde, Governor of Burgundy, declared in his
favour, but made no attempt to raise the province in insurrection; and
the prince proceeded to Franche-Comté and thence to Lorraine. The King
followed his brother so far as Dijon, where he launched a Declaration
against his companions (March 30), and then retraced his steps. The fact
that _Monsieur_ had again retired to Lorraine had incensed him against
Charles IV and all his subjects, and he sent to inform the Marquis de
Bassompierre that “it was not agreeable that he should follow him or
even remain in France.”

When, towards the end of April, Louis XIII returned to Paris, the
marshal solicited his liberty; but his request was refused. Soon
afterwards he fell ill “from a very dangerous swelling of the stomach,
arising perhaps from his not having taken the air,” for, for some reason
which he does not tell us, he had not left his room since he entered
the Bastille two months before. So ill did he become that he thought he
was dying, but having been persuaded to take daily exercise on the
terrace, his health soon began to improve.

About the same time, a loss more bitter even than that of his liberty
befell Bassompierre. The Princesse de Conti, to whom he was secretly
married and was undoubtedly most tenderly attached, died at the Château
of Eu on the last day of April, a victim, according to her
contemporaries, to the grief which the misfortunes which had overwhelmed
those whom she held dear had occasioned her. For, not only had the
Queen-Mother been disgraced and her husband sent to the Bastille, but
her eldest brother, the Duc de Guise, had deemed it prudent to go into
voluntary exile in Italy, to escape a worse fate.

Very discreet in general concerning the names of the ladies with whom he
had successes--“_Bassompierre fait l’amour sans dire mot_,” writes a
Court poet of the time--the marshal preserves about his relations with
the princess a scrupulous reserve, and his restrained emotion when he
announces her death is the only indication of his sentiments for her
which are to be found in his _Mémoires_:

     “I learned at the same time of the death of the Princesse de Conti,
     which occasioned me such affliction as was merited by the honour
     which, since my arrival at the Court, I had received from this
     princess, who, besides so many other perfections which have
     rendered her worthy of admiration, had that of being a very good
     and very obliging friend. I shall honour her memory and regret her
     for the rest of my days. She was so overwhelmed by grief at seeing
     herself separated from the Queen-Mother, with whom she had remained
     since the latter came to France, so afflicted at seeing her family
     persecuted and her friends and servants in disgrace, that she was
     neither willing nor able to survive, and died at Eu, on Monday, the
     last day of April, of that unhappy year 1631.”

Assured of the firm support of the King, Richelieu continued to carry
matters with a high hand. The Parlement of Paris refused to register the
Royal Declaration of March 30, which, without inculpating _Monsieur_,
stigmatised the accomplices of his flight as guilty of _lèse-majesté_.
On May 13 the magistrates were summoned in a body to the Louvre, where
Louis XIII curtly reminded them that their duty was to render justice to
his subjects, and not to concern themselves with affairs of State. And,
to give point to this rebuke, several presidents and counsellors were
banished from Paris.

The excitement which the dissensions in the Royal family had aroused,
and the fact that public opinion was distinctly hostile to the Cardinal,
rendered it essential to remove the Queen-Mother so far as possible from
the Court and Paris. Louis XIII requested her to retire to Moulins, with
the government of the Bourbonnais, as a kind of honourable exile. She
consented, but quickly altered her mind, pretending that her son had
fixed upon Moulins in order to send her from there to Florence. Then the
King offered her Angers as a residence. To this also she objected, but
agreed to go to Nevers for a time. When, however, she learned that
_Monsieur_ had quitted France, she declined to budge from Compiègne.

Early in July, the King, finding that neither his entreaties nor his
orders had any effect upon his mother, sent her a kind of ultimatum.
Instead of obeying, Marie resolved to retire to a frontier town and from
there dictate her conditions. One of her adherents, Vardes, who
commanded at La Capelle, in the name of his father, offered to deliver
the place to her; but the King, warned of his intention, sent the old
Marquis de Vardes in hot haste to La Capelle, who won over the garrison
and expelled his son and the Queen-Mother’s friends from the town. When
Marie, who had escaped from Compiègne on July 18, approached La Capelle,
she was met by the younger Vardes, who informed her of the failure of
their plans, which left her no alternative but to cross the Flemish
frontier and seek an asylum with the Spaniards at Brussels.

At the beginning of 1632 some hope of his regaining his liberty was held
out to Bassompierre. “But,” says he, “I believe that this was done
rather to redouble my sufferings by deceiving my hopes than to alleviate
my misfortunes.” Anyway, he remained a prisoner, and soon afterwards
another sorrow befell him in the death of his brother, the Marquis de
Removille, from an illness caused by the hardships he had undergone
while serving in the Imperial army during the preceding year.

Early in May Bassompierre learned of the tragic fate of his
fellow-marshal, Louis de Marillac, who, after having been kept a
prisoner at Sainte-Menehould for several months, was brought to trial
before a special commission sitting at Richelieu’s own château of Rueil,
on charges of malversation committed while in command of the Army of
Champagne, found guilty, condemned to death and executed in the Place de
Grève two days later.

A still more striking example of the danger of crossing the path of the
terrible Cardinal--for no one doubted that had not Louis de Marillac
been so ill-advised as to desert Richelieu’s cause for that of the
Queen-Mother, little or nothing would have been heard of his weakness
for enriching himself at the expense of the State--was afforded in the
following autumn.

In September _Monsieur_ and his friends, counting on Austro-Spanish aid,
which, however, failed them completely, attempted an invasion of France.
The Duc de Montmorency, Governor of Languedoc, irritated by the growing
power of Richelieu and his determination to reduce great nobles like
himself to political impotence, took up arms in Gaston’s cause. Defeated
and made prisoner by Schomberg at Castelnaudary, he was brought to trial
for high treason before the Parlement of Toulouse. Extraordinary efforts
were made to save him, but all to no purpose, and on October 29, 1632,
the head of “the noblest, wealthiest, handsomest and most pious
gentleman in the kingdom” rolled on the scaffold.[140]

Richelieu took advantage of Montmorency’s revolt to remove all hostile
or suspected governors of provinces and replace them by his own friends.
He himself had already obtained the government of Brittany and been
created duke and peer. He was triumphing everywhere, at home and abroad.

At the beginning of the following year Bassompierre had again great
hopes of recovering his liberty. Schomberg sent him word that, on the
return of the King from the South, he would be released, and he learned
that both Louis XIII and the Cardinal had said as much to several
persons. However, he was again doomed to disappointment, the fact that
_Monsieur_, after making his submission, had quitted France again, this
time for Flanders, being the pretext for his continued detention.

     “In place of liberating me,” writes the poor marshal, “they
     deprived me of that portion of my salary which had been paid me
     during the two preceding years, notwithstanding that I was a
     prisoner, amounting to one-third of what I had been accustomed to
     draw every year. This made me see plainly that it was intended to
     keep me eternally in the Bastille.”

On February 25--the same day on which two years before Bassompierre had
been sent to the Bastille--Châteauneuf, the Keeper of the Seals, who had
foolishly allowed himself to be drawn by Madame de Chevreuse, with whom
he was madly in love, into a fresh conspiracy against Richelieu, was
arrested at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and conducted to the Château of
Angoulême, where he remained in close confinement until the Cardinal’s
death, ten years later. At the same time, the gates of the Bastille
opened to admit his nephew, the Marquis de Leuville, and several other
persons who had been concerned in the affair, including Bassompierre’s
old friend, the Chevalier de Jars.

The Cardinal attached great importance to the arrest of Jars, as he
believed that he might be induced to reveal the part which Anne of
Austria had played in the conspiracy. But the chevalier, if a somewhat
feather-brained, was a brave and honourable, man, and, though he was
kept in close confinement for nearly a year and subjected to repeated
examinations by his Eminence’s myrmidons, he steadfastly refused to make
the least admission that might incriminate the Queen or any of her
friends. Finally, he was transferred to Troyes, and then brought to
trial for high treason before a special commission, at the head of which
was the notorious Laffemas, who was known as “the Cardinal’s
executioner,” and made it his boast that he could condemn any man, if he
had but two lines of his writing. Laffemas bullied and browbeat the
prisoner and “did all the mean things that the base soul is capable of
suggesting,”[141] but to no purpose, for he could wring nothing from
him. Accordingly, the judges proceeded to pass sentence of death on
Jars, who was in due course conducted to the scaffold, “where he made
his appearance with a demeanour full of courage, smiling at his enemies
and prepared to meet death without flinching.”[142] But it was only a
grim farce after all, for Richelieu had nothing to gain by the removal
of such small fry as the chevalier, and the only object of the trial had
been to intimidate him into betraying his accomplices. And so, at the
moment when the condemned man was about to lay his head on the block,
Laffemas interrupted the proceedings by producing an order from the King
which remitted the capital sentence and directed that the chevalier
should be conducted back to the Bastille.

At the beginning of 1634 Bassompierre received a promise that his salary
as Colonel-General of the Swiss, which had been suspended the previous
year, should be paid, but this promise was not kept. In the following
September, however, he learned that the King had given orders that he
was to receive it, but, pressed by his creditors, who since his
imprisonment had given him no rest, and believing that, if he ceased to
command the Swiss, one of the chief reasons for his continued detention
would be removed, he begged Richelieu, through the governor of the
Bastille, to obtain the King’s permission to sell his post. This was
granted, and he also obtained permission to offer it to the Marquis de
Rochefort, a friend of Du Tremblay. Rochefort, however, would give no
more than 400,000 livres, and the marshal, who while at liberty had
refused double that sum, declined to sell at this price. Thereupon
Rochefort endeavoured to persuade Richelieu to compel Bassompierre to
accept his offer; but though the Cardinal would not do this, the order
for the payment of the marshal’s salary was cancelled, and “he continued
his miserable imprisonment in the Bastille with great inconvenience in
his domestic affairs.”

Towards the middle of December, Du Tremblay came to visit the marshal
and told him that he was commissioned to make him an offer for his post,
which, if he accepted, his liberty was assured. The persons who had
empowered him to do this, whose names he was not at liberty to mention
at present, would not go beyond 400,000 livres, but they were people of
great influence at Court, who could powerfully assist him in obtaining
his release. Bassompierre consented, on condition that the arrears of
his salary were paid, and Du Tremblay promised that his brother Père
Joseph should go to Rueil and speak to the Cardinal about this. A day or
two later Du Tremblay informed him that Père Joseph and the two
Bouthilliers had undertaken to arrange the matter with Richelieu, and
that he thought that he would leave the Bastille before Christmas. And
he gave him to understand that the influential persons for whom he was
acting were the Baron de Pontchâteau and his son, the Marquis de
Coislin, who was married to a daughter of Pierre Séguier, Châteauneuf’s
successor in the post of Keeper of the Seals.

At the end of the year Louis XIII gave his consent to the Marquis de
Coislin succeeding Bassompierre in the command of the Swiss.

     “And then it was divulged that the said Marquis de Coislin would be
     Colonel-General of the Swiss, and the Keeper of the Seals sent me
     some compliments on the matter through M. du Tremblay; and the
     rumour of my release, which six weeks before had been very strong,
     augmented to such a degree, that a number of persons came every day
     to the Bastille to see if I were still there; and it was regarded
     as certain that I should be released at Epiphany.”

Epiphany came and went, and Bassompierre still remained in the Bastille,
the population of which was about this time increased by the arrival of
several persons who were suspected of being concerned with Puylaurens
and Du Fargis, formerly French Ambassador at Madrid, in treasonable
relations with Spain. These two were imprisoned at Vincennes, where
Puylaurens died some months later.

On February 16 Bassompierre received a visit from the younger

     “He assured me,” says he, “of the favour of the King and the
     affection of the Cardinal, as also of my liberation, but without
     specifying the time. He told me further that the King was
     nominating the Marquis de Coislin as Colonel-General of the Swiss
     in my place, who would pay me, in consideration of that, 400,000
     livres in cash, and, as to that which concerned my pay and salary
     due to me for the said charge, my friends, namely his father,
     himself and Père Joseph, did not wish to make any proposal on that
     matter, but would leave it to myself to negotiate after my release.
     And in this I had no alternative but to acquiesce.”

The 400,000 livres was duly paid, the money being brought to the
Bastille, by Lopez and Séguier’s intendant Pepin, in instalments of
40,000 to 50,000 livres at a time, the whole transaction occupying
several days, as Bassompierre had insisted on being paid in livres
instead of in pistoles, and the money had, of course, to be counted and
weighed in his presence. Finally, the business was ended, and on March 8
he gave his receipt for the sum and the resignation of his post to his
successor’s agents.

     “It was,” says he, “the same month, day and hour, that, twenty-one
     years before, I had taken oath between the hands of the King for
     the same charge of Colonel-General of the Swiss.”

A few days later the younger Bouthillier again came to see Bassompierre,
and informed him that the Cardinal had spoken to the King of his
liberation, that his Majesty had granted it, and that he was to leave
the Bastille almost immediately.

     “Nevertheless,” says the marshal, “I pressed him strongly to name
     the precise day on which I should be released, which he declined to
     do, although he told me that I should be entirely free within a

Several weeks, however, passed without Bassompierre hearing any further
news of his liberation; and it was not until the last day of April that
the Governor of the Bastille received a letter from Père Joseph,
requesting him to assure the marshal that he would receive his liberty
on the return to Paris of the younger Bouthillier, who was to bring him
the order for his release. (The Court, it should be mentioned, was then
at Compiègne.) Bouthillier arrived on May 5, but, as the marshal heard
nothing from him, he sent his niece, Madame de Beuvron, to see him,
when the Minister told her that he had actually had the order for her
uncle’s release in his hands, but that, owing to the intelligence that
had arrived that _Monsieur_ had gone to Brittany, possibly with the
intention of embarking for England, it had been decided that the marshal
could not be set at liberty so soon, and the order had been cancelled. A
few days later it was ascertained that _Monsieur_ had gone to Brittany
merely to visit some friends of his, and that he was staying with the
Duc de Retz at Machecoul, and had not the least intention of leaving the
kingdom. However, this did not hasten Bassompierre’s release, and it
began to dawn upon the poor marshal that there never had been any
immediate intention of giving him his freedom, and that the assurances
which he had received were merely a bait to induce him to sell his post
of Colonel-General of the Swiss for about half its value.

Towards the end of May, Du Bois, Bassompierre’s _maître-d’hôtel_, who
was also commissary of the French and Swiss Guards, happened to go on
some business to Château-Thiery, where the Court then was. Louis XIII,
recognising Du Bois, for he had seen him frequently when he had been the
marshal’s guest, told him to come to his lodging and inquired when he
was returning to Paris. Du Bois replied that he intended to do so on the
following day. “Stay over Sunday,” said the King--it was a Friday--“and
I will give you an order for the release of the Marshal de Bassompierre,
which I will have made ready on Monday, after I have spoken to the
Cardinal.” Du Bois, greatly delighted, for he was much attached to
Bassompierre, readily promised to remain, and lost no time in sending
off a courier to bear the joyful tidings to the Bastille.

On the Monday, the elder Bouthillier went to visit the Cardinal, who was
staying at Condé, and, before starting, told Du Bois that, on his
return, he would give him the order of release, and that he could make
arrangements to leave for Paris the following morning. But when, on the
Minister’s return, Du Bois went to receive the despatch, Bouthillier
informed him that his Eminence had been so much occupied with important
affairs that day that Bouthillier had hardly been able to mention the
matter to him. However, he was coming to Château-Thiery on Wednesday to
see the King, when no doubt the order of release would be made out.

The Cardinal did not arrive until Friday, and when, after he had
concluded his business with the King and returned to Condé, Du Bois went
to Bouthillier, fully expecting to find the precious document awaiting
him, he was told that so many pressing affairs had had to be discussed
that there had been no time to deal with that of his master’s liberty,
but that the marshal might be assured that it would be decided on the
earliest possible opportunity. And he suggested that, if Du Bois wished,
he should go to Paris and return a few days later, when very probably
the order of release would be ready for him.

     “On the Saturday,” writes Bassompierre, “_Monsieur le Comte_ sent
     me word that he had learned on very good authority that my liberty
     was resolved upon, and that in twenty-four hours I should be
     released without fail. But on the Monday I saw Du Bois, who made me
     understand that it was pure deceit; and, although the First
     President sent to tell me the same day that I should go out before
     the end of the week, I did not in the least believe that I should
     be set at liberty.”

However, assurances of his approaching liberty were not wanting. First,
the younger Bouthillier told Madame de Beuvron that the delay in setting
her uncle at liberty was due solely to the suspicious conduct of
_Monsieur_, of whom apparently the marshal was regarded as so devoted an
adherent that it would be imprudent to give him his freedom until the
King could feel sure that his brother had no intention of causing
further trouble. Then, towards the end of June, Du Tremblay came to
inform Bassompierre that he was charged by the Bouthilliers, _père et
fils_, that he might never regard them again as honest men if he were
still a prisoner in a fortnight’s time. Finally, a week later the son
wrote that the Cardinal had given him his word that the marshal was to
be set at liberty, and had authorised him to tell him so.

And so the miserable game went on month after month, year after year,
the Cardinal gratifying his malignity by wantonly sporting with the
hopes of his hapless prisoner, who was continually receiving the most
confident assurances that his freedom was at hand, only to discover that
they were worthless. It is indeed astonishing that so great a man should
have descended to such paltry exhibitions of spite, and have persuaded,
not only his colleagues in the Ministry, but his sovereign as well, to
lend themselves to them. But Richelieu was a strange character, and
combined in a singular degree qualities worthy of the most profound
admiration with others which can provoke nothing but contempt.

But the cruel disappointments inflicted upon him by the malice of the
Cardinal were far from the only mortifications which Bassompierre had to
endure. His financial affairs were not in a prosperous condition, and
his sojourn in the Bastille brought him to the verge of ruin. His
creditors, whose appetites appear only to have been whetted by the sops
which the sale of his post of Colonel-General of the Swiss had enabled
him to fling to them, grew more clamorous than ever; his men of affairs
proved unworthy of the trust he reposed in them and pilfered the
_débris_ of his fortune, and an Italian bank, by means of a forged
document, seized upon a magnificent tapestry which he would not have
parted with upon any consideration. Nor was this all. With the entry of
France as a principal into the Thirty Years’ War, Lorraine had become
the battle-ground of the hostile armies, and Frenchmen, Imperialists,
and Swedes vied with one another in pillaging the châteaux and estates
of the marshal and his family:

     “The last day of June [1635] _Monsieur le Prince_ arrived in Paris,
     returning from his post of lieutenant-general of the King’s army in
     Lorraine. On his departure, he had left orders that my château of
     Bassompierre was to be demolished, and this was subsequently

The destruction of this château, which was situated near Briey, may, of
course, have been an act of military necessity; but it was more probably
one of pure spite, since, as we know, there was little love lost between
the marshal and Condé.

     “On the 12th January [1636], I received the sad news of the death
     of my niece, the nun of Remiremont;[143] and, a few days later, I
     learned that the King’s commissaries had carried off all the corn
     from my house of Harouel, and this, not only without payment, but
     without even giving a certificate that they had taken it.

     “The month of February arrived, at the beginning of which I learned
     from Lorraine that a certain Sieur de Villarceaux[144] had a
     commission from the King to raze my house of Harouel to the ground.
     This I felt most cruelly, and I sent to entreat the Cardinal to
     avert this storm from me.”

Harouel was spared, though it is doubtful whether this was done out of
any consideration for its unfortunate owner.

In the following May Bassompierre succeeded in obtaining an ordinance
from the King for the restoration of his corn. But Gobelin, Intendant of
Justice and Finance in Lorraine, who in the days of the marshal’s
prosperity had been his intimate friend, protested against this; and it
was finally decided that he should be allowed to keep it for the use of
the army, nor was Bassompierre able to obtain any pecuniary

     “And, afterwards, when it was mentioned to the Cardinal de
     Richelieu, he observed that it was very strange that I should ask
     money of the King for my corn, seeing that I was so rich that I was
     building a sumptuous house at Chaillot; that I was having such
     splendid furniture made that the King had nothing like it, and that
     during the six years I had been in prison I still maintained such
     great state that it was impossible to equal it.[145]

     “A few days later, in the same month, the Duke of Weimar was
     authorised by the King to refresh his army in the county of
     Vaudemont and in my marquisate of Harouel, which was delivered over
     to pillage. This he executed so well, that every kind of plunder,
     cruelty, and atrocity was practised there, and my estate entirely
     destroyed, save the château, which could not be taken by this army,
     which had no artillery.

     “At the end of the month of May the troops of the said Duke of
     Bernard of Weimar attacked our château of Removille, where five or
     six hundred peasants of both sexes and of every age had taken
     refuge. They carried it by assault on the 28th, and killed the men
     and the old women who were there, carried away the young women,
     after violating them, and, having pillaged the château, burned it
     with the children who were in it.”

In July of the following year the Château of Harouel, which had been
occupied by the troops of the Duke of Lorraine, was bombarded by the
King’s troops, and, after seventy cannon-shot had been fired at it, was
surrendered to the French commander, who left a garrison of thirty
soldiers there, to be maintained at Bassompierre’s expense.

In August, 1636, Bassompierre’s niece, Madame de Beuvron, went to the
Cardinal to solicit her uncle’s liberty.

     “But he answered her, in mockery, that I had been only three years
     in the Bastille and that M. d’Angoulême had been there fourteen;
     that the duke was returning very opportunely to give some good
     advice on the subject of my liberation. I omitted to mention that,
     at the alarm of the passage of the Somme,[146] MM. d’Angoulême, de
     la Rochefoucauld, M. de Valençay and other persons who had been
     exiled were recalled; but anger and hatred continued against me in
     such fashion, that, not only had they neither consideration nor
     compassion for my long sufferings, but, on the contrary, wished to
     increase them by this derision and mockery.”

It might be supposed that if, in these circumstances, Bassompierre had
little to hope for, he had little to fear. Such, however, was not the
case. Some notes written by him in the margin of a history of the reigns
of Henri IV and Louis XIII, composed by the Historiographer Royal,
Scipion Dupleix, the proofs of which are said to have been corrected by
Richelieu himself, were published under his name, but entirely without
his authority, by a monk named Père Renaud, the confessor of his
fellow-prisoner the Abbé de Foix, to whom he had lent the copy
containing them. The marshal’s criticisms were probably pretty
stringent, but those which appeared in print were a great deal more so,
and the work aroused a considerable sensation. Dupleix complained to the
Cardinal, and, says Bassompierre, “they did not fail to report the
matter to the King and to tell him that it appeared evident from these
memoirs that I entertained an aversion to his person and State.”

About the same time, a soldier of the Light Cavalry named Valbois was
arrested and brought to the Bastille, charged with having recited a
sonnet against the Cardinal, beginning, ‘_Mettre Bassompierre en
prison_;’ and the marshal was warned by his friends outside to destroy
all his papers which might be capable of injuring him, as it was
intended to seize them, with a view to bringing him to trial.

     “I confess,” writes Bassompierre, “that this last warning, which
     followed so many unfortunate incidents, was almost sufficient to
     destroy my reason. It was the 9th of October [1637] that I received
     it. I passed six nights without closing an eye, and in an agony
     which was worse to me than death.”

Finally, however, Valbois, after being interrogated several times,
probably with the object of ascertaining whether Bassompierre had had
anything to do with the composition of the objectionable sonnet, was set
at liberty, and, as no action was taken against him, the marshal’s mind
became calmer. Nevertheless, he appears to have lived in constant
apprehension lest his papers should be impounded; and this no doubt
accounts for the fact that, in his _Mémoires_, the composition of which
were now his chief occupation, he exercises a rigorous discretion in his
comments on current events, although he was kept informed by his friends
of everything that was happening in the world outside. “I shall say
nothing,” he writes naïvely, as though to shelter himself from all
reproach, “of the quarrel between the King and the Queen ... of the
punishment of the nuns of the Val-de-Grâce ... of the dismissal of the
King’s confessor, Père Caussin ... nor, finally, of the entry of the
Chancellor into the Val-de-Grâce, where he caused the Queen’s cabinets
and caskets to be broken open, in order to seize the papers which she
had placed in them.”

Bassompierre did not confine his literary activity to his _Mémoires_; he
wrote also the history of his embassies to Spain, Switzerland, and
England, which was first published in 1668. In 1802 an octavo volume,
bearing the title of _Nouveaux Mémoires du Maréchal de Bassompierre,
recueillis par le président Hénault et imprimés sur le manuscrit de cet
académicien_, appeared; but the best authorities on the period are
agreed in regarding this work as apocryphal.

       *       *       *       *       *

The years passed, and Bassompierre still remained in the Bastille. So
far from uttering complaints, he sought rather, by his words and acts,
to disarm the enmity of the all-powerful Minister. He protested
vigorously whenever he learned that the malcontents or the enemies of
Richelieu claimed him as one of their number; he lent his house at
Chaillot to the Cardinal every time that he asked for it; and, what does
him more honour, when in 1636 France was invaded, he offered to serve as
a simple volunteer. All was useless. The most distinguished personages
solicited his liberty; the poets interested themselves in his fate and
attested by their verses a courageous gratitude for the favours which
the marshal had bestowed upon them in the days of his prosperity.
Richelieu remained deaf to all appeals.

     “A rumour ran,” writes Bassompierre in 1638, “that the King had
     said to the Cardinal that he had it on his conscience to keep me so
     long a prisoner, and that, as there was nothing to allege against
     me, he could not detain me any longer. To which the Cardinal
     replied that, since the time of my being imprisoned, so many things
     had passed through his mind, that he could not now recollect the
     causes which had led the King to imprison me or him to advise it;
     but that he had them among his papers, and would look for them and
     show them to the King. I know not if this be true, but the rumour
     was current in Paris.”

It is little wonder that, if the question of his liberty, after more
than eight years of detention, was treated in this fashion, the hapless
victim of the vindictive Minister and the cold-hearted King was
sometimes plunged into the depths of despair.

     “I know not,” he writes, “whether those who conduct the King’s
     affairs hate me or wish to overwhelm me with affliction that they
     have detained me so long in the Bastille, where I can do nothing
     but pray to God that He will put an end to my long sufferings by my
     liberty or my death. What can I write concerning my life, since I
     pass it always in the same manner, save that from time to time some
     fatal accident happens to me?--For good fortune deserted me from
     the time I was deprived of my freedom.”

In this state of depression we can well understand the bitter grief
which the death of a little dog, which was his constant companion,
appears to have occasioned him:--

     “There happened in the month of September [1639] an accident which
     is ridiculous merely to mention, and disgraceful for me to have
     taken to heart as I did, but which was much more insupportable to
     me than several others of more importance that have occurred to me
     in the course of my life. I had a little toy greyhound, called
     Médor, not more than six inches high, of a dun and white colour,
     the prettiest markings imaginable. He was the most beautiful, the
     liveliest, the most affectionate dog I have ever seen, a pup of my
     old bitch Diane, who had given birth to him about a year before her
     death, as though she had wished to leave me this consolation in my
     prison. It was certainly a very great one, for he afforded me much
     amusement and rendered my imprisonment more tolerable. I confess
     that I had conceived too great an affection for him. It happened
     that on Monday, the 12th of September, I ascended to the terrace of
     the Bastille with the Comtes de Cramail[147] and du Fargis, Madame
     de Gravelle,[148] and the Comte d’Estelan,[149] who had come to
     visit me that day, when a great, ugly black greyhound belonging to
     M. du Coudray, whom I always feared so much for my dog that I
     generally carried him in my arms when I knew that the other was on
     the terrace, started to play with him, and, in doing so, placed a
     paw on his little body in such fashion that he crushed his heart
     before my eyes. Assuredly, this accident crushed mine and
     distressed me to such a degree that I was sad for a very long
     while, and the memory of this poor beast torments my mind still.”

Bassompierre’s _Mémoires_ conclude in October, 1640, with a reference to
the death in exile of his brother-in-law Charles de Lorraine, Duc de
Guise, the news of which had just reached him and appears to have caused
him much distress.


     Death of Richelieu--Bassompierre is offered his liberty on
     condition that he shall retire to his brother-in-law Saint-Luc’s
     Château of Tillières--He at first refuses to leave the Bastille,
     unless he is permitted to return to Court--His friends persuade him
     to alter his decision--He is authorised to reappear at Court--His
     answer to the King’s question concerning his age--He recovers his
     post as Colonel-General of the Swiss--His death--His funeral--His
     sons, Louis de Bassompierre and François de la Tour--His nephews.

At length, on December 4, 1642, Richelieu succumbed to the one enemy
whom he was unable to subjugate, in full possession of all the power and
splendour for which he had laboured so unceasingly. Save to his family
and his immediate followers, his death brought little regret, for all
classes had felt his iron hand, and even the King seems to have
experienced a sense of relief at the thought that the short span of life
that remained to him would be free from that overshadowing presence.

It was not, however, without considerable difficulty that the
distinguished prisoners of the Bastille succeeded in obtaining their
freedom. Mazarin and Chavigny demanded that they should be set at
liberty; but Sublet des Noyers opposed it. The order of release was only
signed by the King on January 18, 1643, and, as the liberated captives
were not authorised to return to Court, Bassompierre refused to leave
his prison. His friends, however, persuaded him to do so, and he
retired, in accordance with the King’s orders, to the Château of
Tillières, belonging to his brother-in-law, the Comte de Tillières.

Henri d’Arnauld, Abbé of Saint-Nicolas d’Angers, in a journal addressed
to the wife of Président Barillon, describes the incidents of this
deliverance, which the invisible influence of Richelieu seemed still to
be hindering:

     “_January 4, 1643._ ... Hope is held out to the two marshals who
     are in the Bastille that they will be liberated before the end of
     this month.

     “_January 7th._ ... The prisoners of the Bastille entertain great
     hopes of an approaching liberation.

     “_January 11th._ ... I do not see that the hopes which have been
     given to these gentlemen of the Bastille are based on too sure a
     foundation. I greatly wish that I am wrong in the opinion I have

     “_January 18th._ ... Since the letter I wrote I went to the
     Bastille, to which M. de Romefort came, on behalf of M. de
     Chavigny, to inform MM. de Bassompierre, de Vitry and de Cramail
     that the King gave them back their liberty, but on condition that
     the first shall go to Tillières, M. de Vitry to Châteauvilain, and
     M. de Cramail to one of his houses. The two last received this news
     with joy; but M. de Bassompierre is up to the present very decided
     to refuse to go out on that condition, and all his friends and
     servants are quite unable to influence him in the matter. They
     ought to go out to-morrow. Perhaps, between now and then he will
     alter his decision.

     “_Wednesday, January 21, 1643._--On Monday, MM. de Bassompierre, de
     Vitry, and the Comte de Cramail left the Bastille, the last two
     with great joy. As for the first, his relatives and friends had all
     the difficulty imaginable to persuade him to accept his liberty on
     condition of going to Tillières, and a hundred times I believed
     that he would refuse to do so. I was at the Bastille from 10
     o’clock in the morning until 9 o’clock in the evening on the day on
     which they went out.... They are to remain here for three or four
     days. They have visited all the Ministers. There is some hope that
     the Maréchal de Bassompierre will not remain long where he is

     “_January 25._ ... The three persons who had come out of the
     Bastille were forbidden to visit _Monsieur_. They have taken their
     departure. The Marquis de Saint-Luc brought to the King a letter of
     thanks from the Maréchal de Bassompierre. The King, after reading
     it twice, observed: ‘I refuse to allow people to make terms with
     me, and the Maréchal de Bassompierre is one of the first who told
     me that I ought not to do it. If he had not decided to go to
     Tillières, I should have left him in the Bastille, to be maintained
     there at his own expense. I gain by the release of these persons
     45,000 livres a year.’[150] ‘Yes, Sire,’ answered Saint-Luc, ‘and
     100,000 blessings.’

     “_Tuesday, January 28._ ... The Maréchal de Bassompierre has left
     Chaillot this morning and will reach Tillières to-morrow.

     “_March 11._ ... The Maréchal de Bassompierre is so bored at
     Tillières that he declares that he repents of having left the
     Bastille and followed in that the advice of his friends.”

Some weeks later, and very shortly before his death, Louis XIII
authorised the Maréchaux de Bassompierre and de Vitry and the Comte de
Cramail to reappear at Court.

It is related that when Bassompierre went to pay his respects to the
King, his Majesty received him very graciously and inquired how old he
was. “Fifty, Sire,” was the reply. “Surely you are much older than
that?” exclaimed the King, in surprise. “I deduct the twelve years
passed in the Bastille, since they were not employed in the service of
your Majesty.” And on being presented to a beautiful young girl, he
observed: “Mademoiselle, how much do I regret my youth when I see you!”

Nevertheless, so greatly had the tone and manners of fashionable society
changed since that fatal day when he had lost his liberty, that poor
Bassompierre--Bassompierre who had formerly passed for the marvel of the
old Court!--appears, with his habits of magnificence and gallantry, to
have been regarded as a trifle antiquated, though, in the opinion of
Madame de Motteville, “the remains of the Maréchal de Bassompierre were
worth more than the youth of some of the most polished of that time.”
The young men to whom Madame de Motteville refers formed the cabal of
the “_Importants_,” whose ephemeral reign was terminated by the
imprisonment of the Duc de Beaufort (September, 1643). To this cabal
belonged the Marquis de la Châtre, who, on the death of Coislin, who had
died in 1641 from wounds received at the siege of Aire, had succeeded
him as Colonel-General of the Swiss. He was obliged to surrender this
post, of which the marshal resumed possession, on condition of paying Le
Châtre the 400,000 livres which he had received from Coislin.
Bassompierre’s resignation was considered as null and void, and the post
as not having been vacated.

Bassompierre did not long enjoy this return of favour. On October 12,
1646, his servants found him dead in his bed at Provins, where he had
stopped for the night, while returning to Paris from a visit to the
elder Bouthillier’s country-house. He had evidently passed away
peacefully in his sleep, “as he was found in his customary position, one
hand under the pillow at the place where his head rested, and his knees
a little raised.”[151] His body was brought in a coach to Chaillot; the
intestines, the tongue, and the brain were buried in the parish church
before the high altar; the heart and the rest of the body were delivered
by the curé to the Minims of Migeon, whose convent was close to the
château, and deposited in a chapel to the left of the high altar, in the
choir of their church. The Duc de Chevreuse and “other nobles and ladies
of high quality, with a great number of bourgeois and inhabitants of
Chaliot (_sic_),” assisted at the funeral ceremony.

The Maréchal de Bassompierre left two sons; one by Marie d’Entragues,
the other by the Princesse de Conti. The first, who was called Louis de
Bassompierre, took Holy Orders, and, after being provided, doubtless
through his father’s influence, with two rich abbeys, was consecrated
Bishop of Oloron, a see which he subsequently exchanged for the more
important one of Saintes. He was, in later years, appointed almoner to
_Monsieur_, brother of Louis XIV; but this post he resigned, in order
that he might reside continuously in his diocese, in which respect he
set an example which other bishops would have done well to follow.

The Bishop of Saintes was a pious and worthy man, beloved by the poor
and esteemed by everyone. During the troubles of the Fronde he laboured
to maintain in their allegiance to the Crown, or to bring back to their
duty, the population of Saintes, Brouage and the surrounding country,
and it was he who negotiated the accommodation of the Comte, afterwards
the Maréchal, du Daugnon with the Court. He died in Paris, whither he
had come on business connected with his diocese, on July 1, 1676.
“_Hélas!_” writes Madame de Sévigné, “_à propos_ of sleeping, poor M. de
Saintes has fallen asleep this night in the Lord in an eternal sleep. He
had been ill for twenty-five days, bled thirteen times, and yesterday
morning he was without fever. He talked for an hour with the Abbé Têtu
(these kind of improvements are nearly always deceptive), and on a
sudden he fell back in agony, and, in short, we have lost him. As he was
extremely lovable, he is extremely regretted.”

“The worthy prelate,” says the _Gazette de France_, “has left his
friends sensibly afflicted, the poor of his diocese in the extremity of
grief, and all those who knew him edified by the exemplary actions of
his life, and his Christian resignation at death.” By a will, made the
year before his death, he left all his property to the poor and the
churches of his diocese.

The marshal’s son by the Princesse de Conti was known as François de la
Tour. He is described by Goulas as “one of the handsomest and bravest
men of the Court”; and Tallemant des Réaux writes:

     “He [Bassompierre] had a son by the Princesse de Conti, who was
     called La Tour-Bassompierre; it is believed that he would have
     recognised him, if he had had the leisure. This La Tour was brave
     and well made. In a duel in which he took part as second, having to
     fight with a man who for some years had had a disabled right arm,
     but had accustomed himself to make use of his left, he allowed his
     right arm to be bound and, nevertheless, beat his adversary.”

François de la Tour appears to have resembled his father in other
respects besides courage and good looks, as, in September, 1639, we find
Bassompierre complaining that “a person who was very nearly related to
him, named La Tour, had been gambling and had expended in a prodigal
fashion a great deal of money, which had occasioned him much vexation.”

François de la Tour was wounded on August 10, 1648, at the taking of
Vietri, in the kingdom of Naples, and appears to have died of his
wounds. “It is,” observes the Marquis de Chantérac, “without doubt of
him that the _Gazette de France_ speaks in announcing, under date
January 27, 1648, that the Sieur de Bassompierre, naval captain, had
distinguished himself in the engagement which had taken place between
the King’s forces, commanded by the Duc de Richelieu, and those of
Spain, under the orders of Don Juan of Austria, in the Gulf of Naples.”

Of the three nephews of the marshal, the eldest, Anne-François, Marquis
de Bassompierre, was killed in a duel in May, 1646, without having
married. The second, Charles, Baron de Dommartin, married Henriette
d’Haraucourt; but his male posterity continued only to the second
generation. The third, Gaston-Jean-Baptiste, Marquis de Baudricourt and
de Bassompierre, left descendants who were attached successively to the
service of Lorraine and of France. The last male representative of this
branch was Charles-Jean-Stanislas-François, Marquis de Bassompierre, who
died in 1837. The families which to-day bear the name of Bassompierre
would not appear to be connected in any way with the House of Betstein.



       *       *       *       *       *


 [1] Condé, on hearing of this, remarked that Luynes was a good
 Constable in time of peace and a good Keeper of the Seals in time of
 war, and this jest was repeated everywhere.

 [2] Créquy had been created a marshal on December 24, 1621.

 [3] The Maréchal de Roquelaure recovered and lived until 1625, so
 neither Schomberg nor Bassompierre received the coveted bâton.
 However, shortly afterwards, the King gave Bassompierre the rank
 of first _maréchal de camp_, and with it authority over the other
 brigadier-generals and other privileges.

 [4] From Coutré to Vivonne, a distance of about two and a half leagues.

 [5] Tallemant des Réaux, little benevolent in general towards
 Bassompierre, renders him justice on this occasion. “At the Sables
 d’Olonne,” says he, “he acquired reputation, risked his life, and
 showed the way to the others; for he plunged up to his neck in the
 water.”--_Historiette de Bassompierre._

 [6] Amongst those who honoured themselves by their efforts to protect
 the women was the Keeper of the Seals, De Vic. Here is the tribute of
 a contemporary chronicler:--

 “I will tell you on this matter an act of charity on the part of
 the Keeper of the Seals, who ordered one of his people, so soon as
 the town was taken, to ransom the girls and women whom he found in
 the hands of the soldiers, in order that by this means their honour
 and their lives might be saved. This he did of those whom he met,
 and brought them to the said Keeper of the Seals, to the number of
 fifteen. They were conducted to his lodging, as to a place of refuge
 and asylum; and some were sent back under escort to the places from
 which they had fled to take refuge in Négrepelisse on the approach of
 the Royal Army of his Majesty, while others were conducted to a place
 of safety.” _Le fidelle historien des affaires de France_ (_Paris_,

 The Duc de Chevreuse and Roger, valet of the King’s wardrobe, also
 ransomed several women, and an officer named Pontis saved the honour
 of a young girl of eighteen.

 [7] Carmain, called indifferently Caraman, Carmaing, Carman, or
 Cramail, had been a Huguenot town for nearly fifty years. The
 principal inconvenience which it caused the inhabitants of Toulouse
 was the fact that it afforded the few Protestants of the capital of
 Languedoc facilities for the public exercise of their religion.

 [8] Claude de Bullion, Seigneur de Bonnelles. He was successively
 counsellor to the Parlement of Paris, Counsellor of State, and _maître
 des requêtes_ and was appointed Surintendant of Finance in 1632. He
 died in 1646.

 [9] Combalet had recently married Marie Madeleine de Vignerot,
 afterwards Duchesse d’Aiguillon, Richelieu’s favourite niece.

 [10] He was a son of Zamet the financier, and colonel of the Picardy

 [11] Bassompierre had protected Roucellaï after the death of Concini,
 whose protégé he had been, and had lately obtained for him a rich

 [12] “The Sieur de Bassompierre, since made Maréchal de France for his
 merits, ran thither, sword in hand, with some soldiers of the Piedmont
 Regiment.... In the midst of the disorder into which our men had been
 thrown, the Maréchal de Bassompierre showed his judgment and his
 courage.”--_Histoire du Maréchal de Toiras._

 [13] The Treaty of Montpellier confirmed the Edict of Nantes, and
 permitted the Protestants to hold ecclesiastical assemblies without
 the authorisation of the King; but political assemblies were
 forbidden, unless the King’s permission had been obtained. La Rochelle
 and Montauban were allowed to retain their fortifications, and it was
 promised that Fort Saint-Louis, which the Government had caused to be
 erected within a quarter of a league of the ramparts of La Rochelle,
 and which was a serious menace to that town, should be razed. But
 the fortifications of the other Huguenot towns were to be partially
 dismantled, so that they might never again be capable of defying the
 royal authority. The chiefs of the insurrection were restored to
 all their honours and charges, with the exception of those whom the
 King preferred to indemnify. Among these was Rohan, who exchanged
 his government of Poitou for that of the towns of Nîmes, Uzès, and
 Castries, which, however, he was not allowed to garrison, a large sum
 of money and a pension of 45,000 livres. La Force had already been
 indemnified for the loss of his government of Béarn.

 The Protestants’ imprudent recourse to arms had thus cost them dear.
 They had lost two important governments, their political organisation
 and all their places of surety, with the exception of La Rochelle and
 Montauban. It only remained to deprive them of these two towns to
 reduce the party to a mere sect. In the position in which they were,
 however, it was as favourable a treaty as they could have hoped for.

 [14] After long negotiations, Richelieu had at last obtained his
 promotion to the cardinalate on September 23 of that year. He was
 on his way at this moment, not to receive the hat, but to offer his
 thanks to the King. Hérouard tells us that the hat was given Richelieu
 by Louis XIII, at Lyons, on December 10, 1622.

 [15] Philip, Duc d’Orléans, the King’s brother.

 [16] The Comte de Soissons.

 [17] Nicolas de Bailleux, afterwards _Surintendant_ of Finance.

 [18] Not only had this stipulation of the Treaty of Montpellier not
 been executed, but the governor of Fort Saint-Louis was working
 incessantly to strengthen this citadel.

 [19] Caumartin had died on January 21, 1623, and the Chancellor had
 obtained the Seals, without which his office was a sinecure.

 [20] “To Seigneur Maréchal de Bassompierre, for gilded leathers,
 40,000 maravedis.”

 [21] Bassompierre appears to have got his dates mixed. He places the
 “Guadamiciles” affair in July, but the disgrace of Ornano, whose
 offence was that he had instigated _Monsieur_ to demand admission to
 the Council, occurred at the beginning of June.

 [22] August 12.

 [23] Captain of the Gardes du Corps.

 [24] There was some talk of bringing La Vieuville to trial, on a
 charge of malversation, but the real motive for imprisoning him was
 to prevent him from revenging himself for his disgrace by disclosing
 the secret of the negotiations which were in progress. When there was
 no longer anything to fear from his indiscretion, he was allowed to

 [25] Gregory XV had died on July 8, 1623, and was succeeded by
 Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, who had assumed the name of Urban VIII.

 [26] The accusation was a true one. Richelieu had proved that nothing
 would stay his arm when the interests of France were at stake.

 [27] “He [Barberini],” writes Bassompierre, “was received, lodged
 and entertained with all the honours that it was customary to render
 to Legates. But, after several conferences had been held and divers
 treaties proposed, not having got what he expected, he came to
 Fontainebleau to take leave of the King, and immediately afterwards,
 without waiting to receive the customary honour of being escorted and
 his expenses defrayed on his journey through France, he unexpectedly
 took his departure, having previously refused the King’s present.
 The King summoned the princes and officers of the Crown together
 with certain presidents of his Court of Parlement, and held a
 famous council at Fontainebleau to deliberate upon this extravagant
 departure, where nothing was resolved upon except to let him go.”

 [28] The siege of Verrua was raised on November 17, 1625, as the
 result of a defeat inflicted on the Spaniards before the walls of the
 town. Vignolles had arrived on the 9th.

 [29] _Ambassade du Maréchal de Bassompierre en Suisse, l’an 1625._
 [Amsterdam, 1668.]

 [30] Raymond Phelipeaux, Seigneur d’Herbault. He was one of the
 Secretaries of State, and shared with Potier d’Acquerre and Loménie de
 la Ville-aux-Clercs the Department of Foreign Affairs.

 [31] Schomberg had been created a marshal of France in 1625.

 [32] Between Louis XIII and her son-in-law Philip IV.

 [33] Madame de Molteville, _Mémoires_: “The Queen did me the honour
 to tell me that she did everything she could to stop the marriage of
 _Monsieur_ ... because she believed that this marriage, which the
 Queen-Mother desired, was altogether contrary to her interests, being
 assured that, if the princess were to have children, she would no
 longer enjoy any consideration.”

 [34] “A few days afterwards there was a report that a council had been
 held, which was attended by nine persons ... at which it was resolved
 to go and kill the Cardinal at Fleury.”

 [35] Henri Martin.

 [36] _Mémoires d’un favori du duc d’Orléans. Archives curieuses de
 l’histoire de France. Tome III._

 [37] Roger de Gramont, Comte de Louvigny, second son of Antoine, Comte
 de Gramont. He was killed in a duel on March 18, 1629.

 [38] The Comte de Candale was the younger son of d’Épernon and brother
 of the Marquis de la Valette.

 [39] According to Bassompierre, they were both in love with the
 Duchesse de Rohan.

 [40] François de Montmorency, Seigneur de Bouteville. He was beheaded
 in 1627. See p. 505 infra.

 [41] On July 2.

 [42] Among the things which Louvigny appears to have invented was the
 accusation that Chalais meditated the death of the King, by scratching
 him on the neck with a poisoned pin when, as Master of the Wardrobe,
 he was adjusting his ruff.

 [43] Here is a specimen: “If my complaints have moved with compassion
 the most insensible of hearts, when my sun failed to shine in the
 alleys dedicated to love, where will be those who do not share my
 tears in a prison into which the sun’s rays can never enter, and in
 which my lot is so much the harder in that I am forbidden to make
 known to her my cruel martyrdom? In this perplexity, I felicitate
 myself on having a master who makes me suffer only in body; and murmur
 against the marvels of that sun whose absence is killing the soul,
 and brings about such a metamorphosis that I am no longer myself save
 in the persistence of adoring it; and my eyes, which survive for that
 alone, are justly punished for their too great presumption by the
 shedding of more tears than ever love caused to flow.”

 [44] The horrible tortures inflicted on the condemned man are
 accounted for by the fact that the executioner of Nantes had hidden or
 taken away his axe, and that his substitute was obliged to make use of
 unsuitable weapons: “They brought from the prisons of the town two men
 destined for the gibbet, one of whom played the part of executioner,
 while the other served as his assistant. But the former was so clumsy
 that, besides two blows with a Swiss sword, which had been purchased
 on the spot, he gave him [Chalais] thirty-four with an adze such as
 carpenters use, and was obliged to turn the body round to finish the
 severing of the head, the victim exclaiming up to the twentieth blow:
 ‘_Jesus, Maria et Regina Coeli!_’”

 [45] There can be no possible doubt that, had the marshal lived
 a little longer, he would have shared the fate of Chalais. “I
 am infinitely vexed that the death of the Maréchal d’Ornano has
 forestalled the judgment of the court,” wrote Richelieu to the King.
 “The justice of God wished to anticipate yours.”

 [46] Bassompierre appears to have been addressed frequently by Louis
 XIII and _Monsieur_ by the German form of his name.

 [47] Enormous as were these revenues, the King was able to sequestrate
 them by a stroke of the pen, and Richelieu took care that _Monsieur_
 should not have in his hands a single fortified place. It was a wise
 precaution, since Gaston’s first treason was to be followed by others.

 [48] “_Monsieur_ was playing cards when the news was brought to him.
 He did not interrupt his game, but went on with it, as though, instead
 of Chalais’s death, he had heard of his deliverance.”--_Mémoires d’un
 favori du duc d’Orléans._

 [49] When Louis lay on his death-bed, the Queen swore, with tears in
 her eyes, that she had been innocent of any such intention. “In the
 state in which I am,” was the reply, “I am obliged to pardon you, but
 I am not obliged to believe you.”

 [50] Tyburn Tree would appear to have stood on the spot which is now
 the junction of the Bayswater and Edgware Roads.

 [51] “They [the Bishop of Mende and the other ecclesiastics of the
 Queen’s Household] abused the influence which they had acquired over
 the tender and religious mind of her Majesty, so far as to lead her a
 long way on foot, through a park, the gate of which had been expressly
 ordered by the Count de Tilliers [Tillières] to be kept open, to go
 in devotion to a place (Tyburn), where it has been the custom to
 execute the most infamous malefactors and criminals of all sorts,
 exposed on the entrance to a high road; an act, not only of shame
 and mockery towards the Queen, but of reproach and calumny of the
 King’s predecessors of glorious memory, as accusing them of tyranny
 on having put to death innocent persons, whom these people look upon
 as martyrs, although, on the contrary, not one of them had been
 executed on account of religion, but for high treason.”--Reply of the
 Commissioners of his Majesty the King of Great Britain, to Monsieur
 le Maréschal de Bassompierre, Ambassador Extraordinary from his Most
 Christian Majesty.

 [52] The orthography of this letter is, of course, modernised.

 [53] Sir Lewis Lewkenor, Knight. In 1603 an office had been
 instituted, or rather revived, for the more solemn reception of the
 Ambassadors by the title of Master of the Ceremonies, with a salary
 of £200 per annum. Sir Lewis Lewkenor was the first holder of the
 post. The worthy knight’s emoluments were not confined to his salary,
 for Stow tells us that when, in March, 1605, he was sent by the Lords
 of the Council to the foreign Ambassadors to contradict officially
 a report of James I’s death which had been spread, the Spanish
 Ambassador was “ravished with a soddaine joy, and gave unto Sir Lewis
 Lewkner (_sic_) a very great chaigne of gold, of a large value.”

 [54] Greenwich Palace, on the site where now stands the Naval
 Hospital, had been a favourite residence of Henry VIII and Elizabeth,
 but the Stuarts appear to have resided there but little.

 [55] Sir Edward Sackville, fourth Earl of Dorset (1591-1652). He
 was one of the handsomest men of his time, and in 1613 had become
 notorious as the hero of a duel, fought on a piece of ground specially
 purchased for the purpose near Bergen-op-Zoom, in which he had killed
 Edward Bruce, second Lord Kinloss, and been himself severely wounded.
 He had been ambassador in France for a short time in 1621 and again in

 [56] It was customary for Ambassadors Extraordinary to be lodged
 and entertained at the expense of the sovereigns to whom they were
 accredited, and we have seen how splendidly Bassompierre was treated
 at Madrid. Why this practice was departed from on the present occasion
 was no doubt due to the ill-feeling existing between the two Courts
 and to the fact that his mission was an unwelcome one, and not to any
 motive of economy, for in 1610 the Ambassador sent to announce to
 James I the accession of Louis XIII had been lodged in Lambeth Palace
 and most lavishly entertained.

 [57] It is singular that Bassompierre omits to mention where he lived
 during his stay in London. It might be supposed that it was at the
 house of the permanent Ambassador, the Marquis de Blainville, were
 it not that he states elsewhere that it was in a _maison de louage_.
 There was in those days no French Embassy in London, that is to say, a
 house purchased by the French Government for the accommodation of its
 representative, and the Ambassadors made their own arrangements. We do
 not know where Blainville lived, but his predecessor, Bassompierre’s
 brother-in-law, the Comte de Tillières, rented for a time Hunsdon
 House, in the Blackfriars. It was during his tenancy of this house,
 in October, 1623, that a most terrible accident occurred. Some three
 hundred Catholics had assembled there one evening to hear Mass, when
 the floor of the room in which the service was being held gave way,
 with the result that a great number of them were killed or severely
 injured. The bodies of nearly fifty are said to have been afterwards
 buried in the garden. This disaster was called the Fatal Vespers. “The
 Protestants,” observes Croker, “considered it as a judgment of Heaven;
 the Roman Catholics as a treachery of the Protestants, both sides
 overlooking in the blindness of bigotry the weakness of an old floor
 and the weight of the inordinate number of persons crowding upon it.”

 [58] François de Rochechouart, Knight of Malta, known also under the
 name of the Commandeur de Jars, third son of François de Rochechouart,
 Seigneur de Jars, and Anne de Monceaux. He had been exiled from the
 Court of France at the time of the arrest of Ornano, and had come to
 England, where he had been well received.

 [59] Buckingham was much incensed against the Court of France, owing
 to its refusal to receive him as Ambassador Extraordinary in the
 autumn of the previous year, though what else he could have expected
 after his audacious attempt to make love to Anne of Austria is
 difficult to understand. He had also, it appears, a personal grievance
 against Richelieu upon a point which was then considered of great
 importance--the right to the title of _Monseigneur_. The Cardinal had
 addressed letters to _Monsieur_ le Duc de Buckingham, and the omission
 of the _Monseigneur_ had given mortal offence to Buckingham.

 [60] York House. It had belonged originally to Charles Brandon,
 Duke of Suffolk; but in the reign of Mary, Heath, Archbishop of
 York, purchased it for the see. Whence the name which so perplexed
 Bassompierre. In the reign of James I, Matthews, Archbishop of York,
 disposed of it to the Crown, and after Lord Chancellors Egerton and
 Bacon had had it, probably as an official residence, it was granted to
 Buckingham, who converted it into a sumptuous palace.

 [61] “It does some credit to the taste at least of the English Court
 at that period,” observes Croker, “that Bassompierre, himself a man
 of distinguished taste in decoration and furniture (he nearly ruined
 himself by fitting up that celebrated house at Chaillot, which his
 gaoler Richelieu used to borrow), and who had seen all the courts in
 Europe, should consider this as the finest and best fitted house he
 had ever seen.”

 [62] William Cecil, second Earl of Salisbury, son of Sir Robert Cecil,
 the first earl, and grandson of the great Lord Burleigh.

 [63] Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery, afterwards fourth Earl of
 Pembroke (1584-1650), Lord Chamberlain, second son of Henry, second
 Earl of Pembroke, by his celebrated wife, Mary Sidney, sister of Sir
 Philip Sidney. It was to him and his brother William, third Earl of
 Pembroke, that Heminge and Corleton dedicated the first folio of
 Shakespeare as “to the most noted and incomparable pair of brothers,
 who having prosequted these treffles [the immortal plays] and their
 authour living with so much favour, would use a like indulgence
 towards them which they have done unto their parent.” Herbert was a
 generous patron of Massinger and Vandyck as well as of Shakespeare,
 but, in other respects, a far from estimable person, though much of
 the abuse heaped upon him by contemporary writers is no doubt due to
 his desertion of the King’s cause during the Great Rebellion. The
 charges that he was quarrelsome, dissolute, and wanting in physical
 courage would seem, however, to be only too well founded. His devotion
 to the sport of cock-fighting is recorded in the old lines:--

    “The Herberts every Cockpitt Day
     Doe carry away
     The gold and glory of the day.”

 [64] He was at one time the owner of the famous Sancy diamond, which
 afterwards figured amongst the crown jewels of France, and later
 amongst those of Russia.

 [65] The King’s fear lest his consort “might commit some extravagance
 and weep in the sight of everyone” was, after all, well justified for,
 after the audience, Bassompierre writes to d’Herbault: “The Queen
 would have come near to weeping in this great assembly, if Madame de
 la Trémouille had not led her away.”

 [66] Edward, Baron, afterwards Viscount, Conway. He had been one of
 the Secretaries of State since January, 1623. He was subsequently
 removed from that office, “for notable insufficiency,” says Clarendon,
 and in December, 1628, appointed Lord President of the Council. It is
 somewhat singular that Bassompierre, very particular as a rule to give
 the English nobles whom he met during his mission their titles, does
 not do so in the case of Conway. “But it is to be observed,” remarks
 Croker, “that the office of Secretary of State was still (both in
 England and France) considered a subordinate one, and even the peerage
 did not exempt the possessor from the plebeian appellation of ‘Mr.

 [67] In Bassompierre’s dispatches to his Court we find further details
 of the stormy interview. “I was treated,” he writes to Louis XIII,
 “with great rudeness, and found the King very little disposed to
 oblige my master.” Charles complained bitterly of the intrigues of
 the Queen’s French attendants; of their malice in seeking to wean his
 wife’s affection from him, and their insolence in prejudicing her
 against the English language and nation. The King grew at length so
 warm as to exclaim to the Ambassador: “Why do you not execute your
 commission and declare war?” “I am not a herald to declare war,” was
 the answer, “but a marshal of France, to make it when declared.”

 [68] The favourite’s presumptuous behaviour towards his sovereign was
 not always so delicately reproved as it was on this occasion by the
 well-bred and courtly Bassompierre. “On the eventful day of Dr. Lambe
 [an astrologer, who went by the name of the ‘Duke’s Devil’] being
 torn to pieces by the mob, a circumstance occurred to Buckingham,
 somewhat remarkable, to show the spirit of the times. The King and
 the duke were in the Spring Gardens, looking on the bowlers; the duke
 put on his hat; one Wilson, a Scotchman, first kissing the duke’s
 hands, snatched it off, saying: ‘Off with your hat before the king.’
 Buckingham, not apt to restrain himself, kicked the Scotchman; but
 the king interfered, saying: ‘Let him alone, George; he is either
 mad or a fool.’ ‘No, sir,’ replied the Scotchman, ‘I am a sober man,
 and, if your Majesty will give me leave, I will tell you of this man
 which many know and none dare speak.”--Disraeli, _Curiosities of
 Literature_, Vol. II.

 [69] John Egerton, Viscount Brackley, created Earl of Bridgewater in
 1617, son of Lord Chancellor Egerton.

 [70] Sir George Goring, afterwards Earl of Norwich (1583-1663). He was
 at this time vice-chamberlain to the Queen.

 [71] William Herbert, third Earl of Pembroke, elder brother of Philip
 Herbert, Earl of Montgomery.

 [72] There were at this time only two dukes, _viz._, Buckingham and
 James Stuart, Duke of Lennox and Richmond; but, as the latter was a
 lad of fourteen, it is very natural for Bassompierre to speak of the
 King’s favourite as “the duke.”

 [73] Bassompierre also expresses his dissatisfaction with his
 reception in England, and with the English generally, in a letter to
 the Bishop of Mende, formerly Grand Almoner to the Queen. “I found,”
 he writes, “condescension amongst the Spaniards and civility and
 courtesy amongst the Swiss in my embassies to those nations, but the
 English would abate nothing of their natural pride and arrogance.” So
 we see the charge of “insular pride” is nearly three centuries old, at
 any rate. The bishop replies: “I am not surprised that you found more
 courtesy and satisfaction amongst the Spaniards than in the island
 upon which the tempest has cast you. I have always found the English
 as unreasonable as the Swiss, but less faithful to their honour than
 the Spaniards.” No doubt the bishop thought it very unreasonable of
 the English government to deprive him of his post, but, unless all the
 charges brought against him by the commissioners appointed to reply to
 Bassompierre’s complaints are to be disbelieved, he had only himself
 to thank for it.

 [74] Madame de Motteville goes so far as to assert, on the authority
 of Henrietta, that, not only had Buckingham fomented the dissensions
 between husband and wife, but that he had openly avowed to the Queen
 that such was his deliberate intention. Whether or no he is to be
 credited with so perilous a candour, it can scarcely be doubted that
 his attitude towards the young Queen was a hostile one, and, on one
 occasion he is said to have told her insolently to beware how she
 behaved, since in England queens had had their heads cut off before

 [75] Charlotte de la Trémoille, daughter of Claude, Seigneur de la
 Trémoille, Duc de Thouars, and Charlotte of Nassau, daughter of
 William the Silent, Prince of Orange. She had married James Stanley,
 Viscount Strange, afterwards seventh Earl of Derby--“the loyal Earl of
 Derby”--who was beheaded in 1651. She is celebrated in history for her
 heroic defence of Latham House against the troops of the Parliament.

 [76] Presumably, these were Charles’s private jewels, for many of the
 Crown jewels had been pawned to the States-General. “Warrants are
 extant,” says Croker, “authorising Buckingham and Sackville Crow to
 pawn jewels to the amount of £300,000; _viz._: ‘a great rich jewel of
 goulde, call’d the Mirror of Great Britain, having twoe faire litle
 dyamonds, cut lozenge wise, garnish’d with small dyamonds, and a
 pendant with a faire dyamond cutt in fawcetts without foyle, etc.’”

 [77] During Bassompierre’s embassy, Henrietta Maria wrote her mother a
 letter which the marshal regarded as a proof that she distrusted him.
 On learning of this, the Queen wrote to him as follows:--

 “My Cousin, Understanding that you had been vexed respecting a letter
 I wrote to the Queen my mother, and that you think that I distrust
 you, I beg you to dismiss the idea and to believe that I am not so
 ungrateful for the services which you have rendered me as to avoid
 you. M. le Duc [probably the Duc de Chevreuse] will tell you about the
 affair as it happened; and, as for myself, I can assure you that my
 intention never was to offend you, for I should be most blameworthy to
 act thus against persons who testify affection for me, particularly
 against you, whom I honour, and to whom my obligations are so great
 that I shall ever remain,

 “Your affectionate cousin,


 It is perhaps to this episode that Bassompierre here refers.

 [78] Perhaps Robert Ker, afterwards Earl of Roxburgh.

 [79] Probably, Endymion Porter (1587-1649), groom of the bedchamber to
 Charles I, whom he had accompanied on his journey to Spain, where he
 sometimes acted as interpreter, having been educated in that country.
 He was a generous patron of literature and art, and Herrick declares
 that poets would never be wanting so long as they had a patron like

              “who doth give
    Not only subject for our art,
    But oil of maintenance to it.”

 Porter was devoted to Buckingham, to whose favour he owed his rise to
 fortune, and in his will, dated the year before his death, he “charged
 all his sons, upon his blessing, that, leaving the like charges to
 their posterity, they did all of them observe and respect the children
 and family of his Lord Duke of Buckingham, deceased, to whom he owed
 all the happiness he had in the world.”

 [80] Charles de Brouilly, Marquis de Piennes.

 [81] Pierre Gobelin, counsellor to the Parlement in 1618, was
 appointed _maître des requêtes_ in 1624.

 [82] Wallingford House. It stood near Charing Cross, upon the site of
 the Old Buildings of the Admiralty.

 [83] There were at this time two Duchesses of Lennox: Catherine
 Clifton, widow of Esmé Stuart, the first duke, and Frances Howard,
 widow of Ludovic, the second duke, whom James I had created Duke
 of Richmond, in the peerage of England. As the latter was a vain,
 ambitious, and intriguing woman, and possessed of considerable
 influence at Court, it is probable that it was to her that
 Bassompierre’s visit was paid. The duchess had been married three
 times. She began her matrimonial experiments with a merchant, a Mr.
 Prannell; continued them with an earl, Edwin, Earl of Hertford, and
 concluded with a duke of royal blood. If, however, we are to believe
 the gossip of the time, she would fain have made yet another, and
 secured a yet more exalted consort. “For, finding the King (James) a
 widower, she vowed, after so great a prince as Richmond, never to be
 blown with kisses or eat at the table of a subject; and this vow must
 be spread abroad that the King might notice the bravery of her spirit.
 But this bait would not catch the old king, and she, to make good her
 resolution, speciously observed her vow to the last.”

 [84] Mary Villiers, to whom by letters-patent of August, 1627, the
 duchy of Buckingham was granted in default of heirs male. Like the
 lady just mentioned, she was married three times: first, to Lord
 Herbert, son of Philip, Earl of Pembroke; secondly to James Stuart,
 Duke of Lennox and Richmond, and, finally, to Thomas Howard, a brother
 of the Earl of Carlisle. She had no children by any of her husbands.

 [85] Presumably, a French translation.

 [86] An indignant newsmonger thus enumerates the penances to which the
 Queen had, or was supposed to have, been subjected: “Had they not also
 made her, on St. James’s Day, dabble in the dirt, in a foul morning,
 from Somerset House to St. James’s, her Luciferian confessor riding by
 her in his coach? Yea, they have made her spin, to go barefoot, to eat
 her meat out of treen dishes [dishes made of “tree,” _i.e._, wooden
 trenchers], to wait at table and serve her servants, with many other
 ridiculous and absurd penances; and if these rogues dare thus insult
 over the daughter, sister and wife of so great Kings, what slavery
 would they not make us, the people, undergo?”--_Ellis’s Letters, Pory
 to Mead_, July 1, 1626.

 [87] The fogs of England have been in all ages a sore trial to
 foreigners. Gondomar, Spanish Ambassador in the time of James I, when
 someone who was going to Spain waited on him to ask whether he had any
 commands, replied: “Only my compliments to the sun, which I have not
 seen since I came to England.” Caraccioli, Neapolitan Ambassador to
 the Court of George II, in a conversation with that monarch, took the
 liberty of preferring the _moon_ of Naples to the _sun_ of England.

 [88] In a letter to d’Herbault, Bassompierre gives details of this
 agreement: “First, she [the Queen] has re-established--and this is
 for her conscience--a bishop and ten priests, a confessor and his
 coadjutor, and ten musicians for her chapel; that of St. Gemmes is
 to be finished with its cemetery, and another is to be built for her
 in her palace of Somerset, at the expense of the King her husband.
 In attendance on her person she will have of her own nation, two
 ladies of the bedchamber, three bedchamber-women, a sempstress, and a
 clear-starcher. In regard to her health, two physicians, an apothecary
 and a surgeon. For her household, a grand chamberlain, an equerry,
 a secretary, a gentleman usher of the privy chamber and one of the
 chamber of presence, a baxter-groom, (_i.e._, baker), a valet. All her
 officers of the mouth and goblet will be French.” This was, in all
 conscience, a sufficiently numerous foreign establishment; but it was
 scanty in comparison with the army of more or less useless persons
 located at the English Court on the strength of the first treaty,
 which, including the servants of the higher officials, amounted to
 more than four hundred.

 It was further stipulated that all the priests detained in prison
 should be set at liberty, and that the pursuivants, or officials whose
 duty it was to prosecute Catholics who offended against the Penal
 Laws, should be abolished.

 [89] The Danes, like the Germans, were at this time proverbial
 throughout Europe for their too great indulgence in the pleasures of
 the table, and it would appear that Bassompierre’s guest was, as an
 ambassador should be, a worthy representative of his country.

 [90] The royal coaches of this and, indeed, of a much later period,
 were huge structures, not unlike four-poster beds on wheels, for
 they had no glass and were sheltered by leather curtains. They were
 capable of holding eight persons, two of whom were perched on niches,
 called boots, at each door. These places were usually reserved for
 some favoured guest or friend of the King or Queen. When Philip V of
 Spain left Versailles to take possession of his kingdom, Louis XIV
 took his grandson the first stage of his journey in his own coach,
 which accommodated the whole Royal family. “The two kings and the
 Duc de Bourgogne,” says Saint Simon, “sat on one side, the Dauphin,
 the Duchesse de Bourgogne and the Duc de Berry on the other; the Duc
 and Duchesse d’Orléans at either door.” A most illustrious coachful!
 Coaches were introduced into England in the latter part of Elizabeth’s
 reign. When the Queen went to St. Paul’s to return thanks for the
 defeat of the Armada, “she did come in a chariot-throne, with four
 pillars behind to bear a canopy, on the top whereof was a crown
 imperial, and two lower pillars before, whereon stood a lion and a
 dragon, supporters of the arms of England, drawn by two white horses.”
 Two horses would appear to have been the usual number for some time.
 Buckingham was the first who ventured on six, which, we are told,
 was looked upon with strong disapproval, as a mark of the “mastering
 spirit” of the favourite.

 [91] The Moorfields were a walk planted with trees, on the north
 of the city, comprising the Moorfields property, so called, the
 Middle Moorfields and the Upper Moorfields. Until the beginning of
 the previous reign, the Moorfields were, according to Stow, “a most
 noisome offensive place, being a general laystall, loathsome to both
 sight and smell, ... but, through the pains and industry of Master
 Nicholas Leate they were reduced from their former vile condition into
 most fayre and royale walkes.”

 [92] “M. Harber” was no doubt Edward Herbert, the celebrated Lord
 Herbert of Cherbury, who had been Ambassador in France in 1619.

 [93] Pembroke was Lord Steward.

 [94] The English “country dance” was a corruption in name of the
 French _contredanse_.

 [95] “The ground on which this palace stood,” observes Croker,
 “shelved down from the Strand, where the principal entrance was to the
 river. The principal floor and state rooms were probably on the level
 with the entrance on the Strand side, but must have been a story above
 the ground on the river side; and this story was probably the vaulted
 apartments which Bassompierre mentions. It seems odd that he should
 think the _vaulting_ a peculiarity worth mentioning, as the ground
 floor of the Tuileries and the Louvre, in which he passed most of his
 life, were vaulted; but vaulted domestic apartments were probably
 then, as now [1819], extremely rare; and the singular and magnificent
 effect of vaulted rooms, furnished for the purpose, must have struck a
 person of Bassompierre’s taste.”

 [96] A newsletter preserved in the British Museum, which has been
 published by Isaac Disraeli, in his _Curiosities of Literature_, gives
 the following account of this _fête_:

     “Last Sunday, at night, the duke’s grace entertained their
     majesties and the French ambassador at York House with great
     feasting and show, when all things came down in clouds, among
     which one rare device was a representation of the French King and
     the two Queens [Anne of Austria and the Queen-Mother], with their
     chieftest attendants; and so to the life, that the Queen’s majesty
     could name them: it was four o’clock in the morning before they
     parted, and then the King and Queen, together with the French
     ambassador, lodged there. Some estimate this entertainment at five
     or six thousand pounds.”

 Sir Philip Gibbs, in his admirable biography of Buckingham, says
 that this “rare device,” was a political allegory, arranged by the
 duke himself, with the assistance of his master of the ceremonies,
 Balthazar Gerbier. “It represented Maria de’ Medici, the Queen-Mother,
 enthroned in the midst of Neptune’s court upon the sea dividing
 England and France, and welcoming Frederick and Elizabeth of the
 Palatinate, with her three daughters and their husbands, the Kings of
 Spain and England and the Prince of Piedmont. It was Buckingham’s new
 ideal of foreign policy. France as the ally of England, the Elector
 Palatine restored to his throne, and peace with Spain. Buckingham’s
 ideal, alas! was no more substantial than the pasteboard and tinsel
 and flowing draperies of his actors, and, like the masque, a mockery.”

 [97] Although Bassompierre could have been no very good judge of the
 excellence of an English play, it is to be regretted that he does not
 tell us what it was. Very probably, it was one of Shakespeare’s, as
 his patron Montgomery was Lord Chamberlain, in whose department the
 selection of the plays to be performed before their Majesties lay.

 [98] Thomas Howard, Viscount Andover, second son of Thomas Howard,
 Earl of Suffolk. The title of Earl of Berkshire had been revived in
 his favour in February, 1626.

 [99] English horses were much prized on the Continent, and
 Bassompierre had been presented with quite a number. Carlisle had
 given him six, Holland three, and Goring two, and very possibly he may
 have received others which he does not mention. Unfortunately, as we
 shall see, few, if any, of these poor animals survived to reach the
 shores of France.

 [100] As Carlisle was a convivial soul, it is not improbable that Lady
 Exeter’s hospitality may have been responsible for this mishap.

 [101] See page 489 _supra_.

 [102] “Seventeen would have been nearer the truth,” observes Croker.
 “Rymer has preserved the warrant under the sign manual, 27 November,
 1626, ‘for the release of and permitting to go abroad of sixteen
 priests at the intercession of the Maréschal de Bassompierre,
 Ambassador Extraordinary from the Most Christian King, our dear
 brother, the Ambassador engaging to carry them abroad.’ Particular
 care seems to have been taken to express that this was done in
 compliment to Bassompierre, as the deed runs: ‘to gratify the said
 Maréschal.’ Bassompierre, in his _Ambassades_, gives the same list as

 [103] _Monsieur_ was the chief president; the others were the Cardinal
 de la Valette, Archbishop of Toulouse, and the Maréchal de la Force.

 [104] He had fought a duel shortly before with Jacques de Matignon,
 Comte de Thorigny, whom he had killed. La Frette had called
 Boutteville out, through resentment that he had not accepted him as
 his second.

 [105] This duel, like the one with La Frette, had arisen from the
 Thorigny affair. Beuvron was a cousin of Thorigny, and he had vowed to
 avenge his death.

 [106] Boutteville left three children: a son, François, afterwards
 the celebrated Maréchal de Luxembourg, and two daughters, the younger
 of whom, Isabelle, who was one of the most finished coquettes of her
 time, became Duchesse de Châtillon and was for some time the mistress
 of the Great Condé. The poet Charpy celebrated her charms in verses
 wherein he drew an ingenious comparison between the destruction
 wrought by her father’s sword and the havoc created by the lady’s
 _beaux yeux_:--

    “Quand je vois de rapport de votre père à vous,
     Divinité mortelle, adorable Sylvie!
     Il tenait dans ses mains et la mort et la vie:
     Vos yeux se sont acquis les mêmes sur nous.”

 [107] So called from the Christian name--Michel--of Marillac, the
 Keeper of the Seals, who had compiled it.

 [108] The news of the condition to which the garrison was reduced had
 been brought to Fort Louis by a soldier named La Pierre, one of three
 volunteers who had offered to make an attempt to swim across to the
 mainland. Of his two companions, one was drowned and the other from
 exhaustion obliged to surrender to the English. La Pierre himself had
 a narrow escape from being captured, as he was sighted by some English
 sailors in a boat and hotly pursued; but, by repeatedly diving, he
 contrived to elude them. Louis XIII subsequently rewarded his brave
 deed by a pension of 100 crowns.

 [109] Their negotiator and admiral Guiton stipulated that the English
 should not retain the Île de Ré or any fortified place on the coast
 after the termination of hostilities. Thus La Rochelle, as Michelet
 with justice observes, remained faithful at heart to France.

 [110] Clément Métezeau, a celebrated architect, born at Dreux in 1581.
 Jean Tiriot was a master-mason of Paris.

 [111] Beaulieu Persac was captain of a ship-of-war, which had assisted
 in the defence of the Île de Ré.

 [112] The Emperor Ferdinand, who naturally did not desire to see a
 prince so closely connected with France as Charles of Gonzaga in
 possession of Mantua and Montferrato, had confiscated both the duchy
 and the marquisate. The Duke of Guastalla, whose pretensions were
 supported by Spain, claimed Mantua; while Charles Emmanuel had long
 coveted Montferrato, which, once in his hands, would bar the way from
 France into Italy. Casale, a very strong place, was the key to the
 whole difficulty, being then to Italy what Alessandria afterwards

 [113] Henri d’Escoubleau, at first, Bishop of Maillezais, in Poitou,
 and, afterwards, Archbishop of Bordeaux. He died in 1645. In 1648 the
 see of Maillezais was transferred to La Rochelle.

 [114] At the north-east point of the Île de Ré.

 [115] The passage between the islands of Ré and Oléron.

 [116] There were forty cannon in the batteries at Chef de Baie,
 “which made fine music and were very well served,” and twenty-five at

 [117] According to English reports, the whole fleet lost only six
 men on this occasion; but Bassompierre declares that it lost “nearly
 200 men,” and “that one of their best sea-captains, who was in a
 boat which was badly damaged by a shot from the French batteries,
 was amongst the slain.” According to the marshal, the French had
 twenty-seven men killed, of whom four were killed at Coreilles by a
 shot from the Tour de Saint-Nicholas at La Rochelle. This incident
 caused great astonishment, as Coreilles had always been considered out
 of range of the cannon of the town.

 [118] Claude Bouthillier, Seigneur de Pont-sur-Seine; Secretary of
 State, 1628; _Surintendant des Finances_, 1642; died 1651.

 [119] Guiton was banished for a time, when the Cardinal caused him to
 be recalled and made him captain of a ship-of-war.

 [120] See page 311 _supra_.

 [121] The Princess of Piedmont subsequently petitioned her brother for
 the release of this officer; and Louis XIII gave Tréville, to whom he
 had surrendered, a valuable diamond by way of ransom for his prisoner.

 [122] He means the nobles who served as volunteers.

 [123] Claude, afterwards Duc de Saint-Simon, father of the author of
 the famous _Mémoires_.

 [124] The intentions of his Majesty, at least so far as the garrison
 of Privas was concerned, may be gathered from a letter which he wrote
 the same day to the Queen-Mother. “They are the best men whom M. de
 Rohan has, and, in causing them to be hanged, _as I shall do_, and
 Saint André the first, I shall cut off M. de Rohan’s right arm.”

 [125] His followers had apparently obliged Saint-André to surrender

 [126] Such is the account given of this lamentable affair by
 Bassompierre, but, according to other contemporary relations, there
 would appear to have been some excuse for the barbarous conduct of the
 Royal troops. “Those who had remained in the fort,” writes Louis XIII
 to the Comte de Noailles, “seeing that they were unable to escape the
 evil which pressed them, likewise surrendered to my discretion; but,
 since it was God’s will to destroy them and avenge upon themselves
 their rebellion and disobedience, He permitted that some among them,
 inured more and more to evil, deliberately set fire to a great sack
 containing a quantity of cannon-powder, which blew up him who had set
 alight to it and some others, both of these wretches and soldiers of
 the Guards, French and Swiss, whom I had ordered thither to secure
 this fort and prevent any disorder. My Guards, excited by this evil
 action, and believing that a mine had been fired against them, were
 transported with fury, and, contrary to my intention and my orders,
 killed the greater part of those who had thrown themselves into the
 said fort.”

 But if there were extenuating circumstances in the case of the
 soldiers, there was certainly no excuse for Louis XIII following up
 the massacre by the execution of a number of the survivors. He even
 wanted to hang the brave Saint-André, and would have done so, but for
 the intervention of Richelieu. There was between the King and the
 Cardinal this great difference--that the latter was rigorous only when
 his interests or policy demanded it, whereas the former was cruel by

 [127] Now the chief town of the arrondissement of Castel-Sarrasin, in
 the Department of Tarn-et-Garonne.

 [128] Donatien de Maillé, Marquis de Kerman, Comte de Maillé. He was
 killed in a duel in 1652.

 [129] Richelieu’s niece, Madame de Combalet, afterwards Duchesse
 d’Aiguillon, was _dame d’atours_ (mistress of the robes) to Marie de’

 [130] Charles de la Porte, afterwards Duc and Maréchal de la
 Meilleraye, was Captain of the Queen-Mother’s guards.

 [131] _Monsieur_ had returned to France at the beginning of February,
 1630, after the King had granted him the duchy of Valois, as an
 addition to his appanage, the lieutenancy-general in the Orléanais,
 and a large sum of money.

 [132] Henri Auguste de Loménie, Seigneur de la Ville-aux-Clercs,
 Secretary of State.

 [133] Charles Guillemeau, physician-in-ordinary to the King.

 [134] With the Queen-Mother.

 [135] For Versailles.

 [136] See p. 402 _supra_.

 [137] Jean d’Armaignac, one of the King’s _valets de chambre_.

 [138] “On the morrow, the Maréchal de Bassompierre, who had come to
 Senlis to meet the King, was arrested in the morning by de Launay,
 lieutenant of the Gardes du Corps, and brought by the Musketeers
 and the Light Horse of the King to the Bastille. He was very much
 regretted in Paris on account of his open-heartedness and good-nature.
 He was the least distressed by it of all, and took his misfortune as
 a jest. He was imprisoned, not so much for what he had done as for
 what he might do.”--Copy of a journal of the Court in the Godefroy
 collection, cited by the Marquis de Chantérac. _Mémoires du Maréchal
 de Bassompierre_ (Édition Société de l’Histoire de France).

 [139] Charles Le Clerc, Seigneur du Tremblay, younger brother of Père

 [140] Montmorency met his death with calm resignation and Christian
 fortitude, and, after hearing his sentence, begged that the time of
 his execution might be hastened by two hours, in order that he might
 die at the same hour as his Saviour. As a proof that he died with no
 feeling of resentment against Richelieu, he bequeathed to the Cardinal
 a painting of the martyrdom of St. Sebastian, one of the finest
 pictures in his possession.

 [141] Madame de Motteville, _Mémoires_.

 [142] _Ibid._

 [143] Nicole Henriette de Bassompierre.

 [144] Anne Mangot, Seigneur de Villarceaux. He was Intendant of
 justice and Finance in the Three Bishoprics.

 [145] Not long after this, the Cardinal asked Bassompierre for the
 loan of the house with the magnificence of which he had taunted him.
 It is needless to say that the request was granted, though the marshal
 was obliged to turn out the Duchesse de Nemours, to whom he had lent

 [146] In the summer of 1636, an army of Spaniards and Netherlanders
 invaded Picardy, crossed the Somme, took Corbie and threatened Paris,
 in which for a time the greatest alarm prevailed.

 [147] The Comte de Cramail had been arrested and brought to the
 Bastille in 1638. He had been so ill-advised as to speak against the
 Cardinal in the presence of the King.

 [148] Marie Criton d’Estourmel, dame de Gravelle. Tallemant des Réaux
 asserts that she had, while in the Bastille, where she remained
 several years, an amourette with Bassompierre.

 [149] Son of Saint-Luc and the marshal’s sister, Henriette de

 [150] The Governor of the Bastille was allowed thirty-six livres a day
 for the maintenance of a marshal of France.

 [151] Tallemant des Réaux, _Historiettes, art. Bassompierre_.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Gallant of Lorraine; vol. 2 of 2 - François, Seigneur de Bassompierre, - Marquis d'Haronel, Maréchal de - France, 1579-1646" ***

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