A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times
Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

Part 3 out of 11

experience, took the measure of everything by the card; a courage rather
steady than dashing; take him for all in all, he might be called an
excellent captain. King Henry IV. had all this, save the liberality; but
to make up for that item, his rank caused expectations as to the future
to blossom, which made the hardships of the present go down. He had,
amongst his points of superiority to the Duke of Mayenne, a marvellous
gift of promptitude and vivacity, and far beyond the average. We have
seen him, a thousand times in his life, make pat replies without hearing
the purport of a request, and forestall questions without committing
himself. The Duke of Mayenne was incommoded by his great bodily bulk,
which could not support the burden either of arms or of fatigue duty.
The other, having worked all his men to a stand-still, would send for
hounds and horses for to begin a hunt; and when his horses could go no
farther, he would run down the game afoot. The former communicated his
heaviness and his maladies to his army, undertaking no enterprise that he
could not support in person; the other communicated his own liveliness to
those about him, and his captains imitated him from complaisance and from

[Illustration: GABRIELLE D'ESTREES--130]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: The Louvre----145]


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

[Illustration: RICHELIEU----180]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: Double Duel----188]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus arrested in the very midst of the army he commanded, Marshal


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