The Project Gutenberg eBook of Memoirs of Jean François Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz — Complete

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Title: Memoirs of Jean François Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz — Complete

Author: Jean François Paul de Gondi de Retz

Release date: August 24, 2004 [eBook #3846]
Most recently updated: January 27, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by David Widger



Written by Himself

Being Historic Court Memoirs of the Great Events
during the Minority of Louis XIV.
and the Administration of Cardinal Mazarin.

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Cardinal de Retz——Photogravure from an Old Painting

Turenne——Photogravure from an Old Painting

Richelieu——Engraving by Lubin

Anne of Austria——Original Etching by Mercier

Louis XIII——Painting in the Louvre

Conde——Painting in Versailles Gallery


Our Author, John Francis Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz, Sovereign of Commercy, Prince of Euville, second Archbishop of Paris, Abbot of Saint Denis in France, was born at Montmirail, in Brie, in October, 1614.

His father was Philippe Emanuel de Gondi, Comte, de Joigni, General of the Galleys of France and Knight of the King’s Orders; and his mother was Frances Marguerite, daughter of the Comte de Rochepot, Knight of the King’s Orders, and of Marie de Lannoy, sovereign of Commercy and Euville.

Pierre de Gondi, Duc de Retz, was his brother, whose daughter was the Duchesse de Lesdiguieres.

His grandfather was Albert de Gondi, Duc de Retz, Marquis de Belle Isle, a Peer of France, Marshal and General of the Galleys, Colonel of the French Horse, First Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and Great Chamberlain to the Kings Charles IX. and Henri III.

This history was first printed in Paris in 1705, at the expense of the Duchesse de Lesdiguieres, the last of this noble family, whose estate fell after her decease to that of Villeroy.

His preceptor was the famous Vincent de Paul, Almoner to Queen Anne of Austria.

In 1627 he was made a Canon of the Cathedral of Paris by his uncle, Jean Francois de Gondi, first archbishop of that city, and was not long after created a Doctor of the Sorbonne.

In 1643 he was appointed Coadjutor of the archbishopric of Paris, with the title of Archbishop of Corinth, during which, such was his pastoral vigilance that the most important affairs of the Church were committed to his care.

As to his general character, if we take it from his own Memoirs, he had such presence of mind, and so dexterously improved all opportunities which fortune presented to him, that it seemed as if he had foreseen or desired them. He knew how to put a good gloss upon his failings, and oftentimes verily believed he was really the man which he affected to be only in appearance. He was a man of bright parts, but no conduct, being violent and inconstant in his intrigues of love as well as those of politics, and so indiscreet as to boast of his successful amours with certain ladies whom he ought not to have named. He affected pomp and splendour, though his profession demanded simplicity and humility. He was continually shifting parties, being a loyal subject one day and the next a rebel, one time a sworn enemy to the Prime Minister, and by and by his zealous friend; always aiming to make himself formidable or necessary. As a pastor he had engrossed the love and confidence of the people, and as a statesman he artfully played them off against their sovereign. He studied characters thoroughly, and no man painted them in truer colours more to his own purpose. Sometimes he confesses his weaknesses, and at other times betrays his self-flattery.

It being his fate to be imprisoned by Mazarin, first at Vincennes and then at Nantes, he made his escape to Rome, and in 1656 retired to Franche Comte, where Cardinal Mazarin gave orders for his being arrested; upon which he posted to Switzerland, and thence to Constance, Strasburg, Ulm, Augsburg, Frankfort, and Cologne, to which latter place Mazarin sent men to take him dead or alive; whereupon he retired to Holland, and made a trip from one town to another till 1661, when, Cardinal Mazarin dying, our Cardinal went as far as Valenciennes on his way to Paris, but was not suffered to come further; for the King and Queen-mother would not be satisfied without his resignation of the archbishopric of Paris, to which he at last submitted upon advantageous terms for himself and an amnesty for all his adherents. But still the Court carried it so severely to the Cardinal that they would not let him go and pay his last devoirs to his father when on his dying bed. At length, however, after abundance of solicitation, he had leave to go and wait upon the King and Queen, who, on the death of Pope Alexander VII., sent him to Rome to assist at the election of his successor.

No wonder that King Charles II. of England promised to intercede for the Cardinal’s reestablishment; for when the royal family were starving, as it were, in their exile at Paris, De Retz did more for them than all the French Court put together; and, upon the King’s promise to take the Roman Catholics of England under his protection after his restoration, he sent an abbot to Rome to solicit the Pope to lend him money, and to dispose the English Catholics in his favour.

He would fain have returned his hat to the new Pope, but his Holiness, at the solicitation of Louis XIV., ordered him to keep it. After this he chose a total retirement, lived with exemplary piety, considerably retrenched his expenses, and hardly allowed himself common necessaries, in order to save money to pay off a debt of three millions, which he had the happiness to discharge, and to balance all accounts with the world before his death, which happened at Paris on the 24th of August, 1679, in the 65th year of his age.

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MADAME:—Though I have a natural aversion to give you the history of my own life, which has been chequered with such a variety of different adventures, yet I had rather sacrifice my reputation to the commands of a lady for whom I have so peculiar a regard than not disclose the most secret springs of my actions and the inmost recesses of my soul.

By the caprice of fortune many mistakes of mine have turned to my credit, and I very much doubt whether it would be prudent in me to remove the veil with which some of them are covered. But as I am resolved to give you a naked, impartial account of even the most minute passages of my life ever since I have been capable of reflection, so I most humbly beg you not to be surprised at the little art, or, rather, great disorder, with which I write my narrative, but to consider that, though the diversity of incidents may sometimes break the thread of the history, yet I will tell you nothing but with all that sincerity which the regard I have for you demands. And to convince you further that I will neither add to nor diminish from the plain truth, I shall set my name in the front of the work.

False glory and false modesty are the two rocks on which men who have written their own lives have generally split, but which Thuanus among the moderns and Caesar among the ancients happily escaped. I doubt not you will do me the justice to believe that I do not pretend to compare myself with those great writers in any respect but sincerity,—a virtue in which we are not only permitted, but commanded, to rival the greatest heroes.

I am descended from a family illustrious in France and ancient in Italy, and born upon a day remarkable for the taking of a monstrous sturgeon in a small river that runs through the country of Montmirail, in Brie, the place of my nativity.

I am not so vain as to be proud of having it thought that I was ushered into the world with a prodigy or a miracle, and I should never have mentioned this trifling circumstance had it not been for some libels since published by my enemies, wherein they affect to make the said sturgeon a presage of the future commotions in this kingdom, and me the chief author of them.

I beg leave to make a short reflection on the nature of the mind of man. I believe there never was a more honest soul in the world than my father’s; I might say his temper was the very essence of virtue. For though he saw I was too much inclined to duels and gallantry ever to make a figure as an ecclesiastic, yet his great love for his eldest son—not the view of the archbishopric of Paris, which was then in his family—made him resolve to devote me to the service of the Church. For he was so conscious of his reasons, that I could even swear he would have protested from the very bottom of his heart that he had no other motive than the apprehension of the dangers to which a contrary profession might expose my soul. So true it is that nothing is so subject to delusion as piety: all sorts of errors creep in and hide themselves under that veil; it gives a sanction to all the turns of imagination, and the honesty of the intention is not sufficient to guard against it. In a word, after all I have told you, I turned priest, though it would have been long enough first had it not been for the following accident.

The Duc de Retz, head of our family, broke at that time, by the King’s order, the marriage treaty concluded some years before between the Duc de Mercoeur—[Louis, Duc de Mercoeur, since Cardinal de Vendome, father of the Duc de Vendome, and Grand Prior, died 1669.]—and his daughter, and next day came to my father and agreeably surprised him by telling him he was resolved to give her to his cousin to reunite the family.

As I knew she had a sister worth above 80,000 livres a year, I, that very instant, thought of a double match. I had no hopes they would think of me, knowing how things stood, so I was resolved to provide for myself.

Having got a hint that my father did not intend to carry me to the wedding, as, foreseeing, it may be, what happened, I pretended to be better pleased with my profession, to be touched by what my father had so often laid before me on that subject, and I acted my part so well that they believed I was quite another man.

My father resolved to carry me into Brittany, for the reason that I had shown no inclination that way. We found Mademoiselle de Retz at Beaupreau, in Anjou. I looked on the eldest only as my sister, but immediately considered Mademoiselle de Scepaux (so the youngest was called) as my mistress.

I thought her very handsome, her complexion the most charming in the world, lilies and roses in abundance, admirable eyes, a very pretty mouth, and what she wanted in stature was abundantly made up by the prospect of 80,000 livres a year and of the Duchy of Beaupreau, and by a thousand chimeras which I formed on these real foundations.

I played my game nicely from the beginning, and acted the ecclesiastic and the devotee both in the journey and during my stay there; nevertheless, I paid my sighs to the fair one,—she perceived it. I spoke at last, and she heard me, but not with that complacency which I could have wished.

But observing she had a great kindness for an old chambermaid, sister to one of my monks of Buzai, I did all I could to gain her, and by the means of a hundred pistoles down, and vast promises, I succeeded. She made her mistress believe that she was designed for a nunnery, and I, for my part, told her that I was doomed to nothing less than a monastery. She could not endure her sister, because she was her father’s darling, and I was not overfond of my brother,—[Pierre de Gondi, Duc de Retz, who died in 1676.]—for the same reason. This resemblance in our fortunes contributed much to the uniting of our affections, which I persuaded myself were reciprocal, and I resolved to carry her to Holland.

Indeed, there was nothing more easy, for Machecoul, whither we were come from Beaupreau, was no more than half a league from the sea. But money was the only thing wanting, for my treasury, was so drained by the gift of the hundred pistoles above mentioned that I had not a sou left. But I found a supply by telling my father that, as the farming of my abbeys was taxed with the utmost rigour of the law, so I thought myself obliged in conscience to take the administration of them into my own hands. This proposal, though not pleasing, could not be rejected, both because it was regular and because it made him in some measure believe that I would not fail to keep my benefices, since I was willing to take care of them. I went the next day to let Buzai,—[One of his abbeys.]—which is but five leagues from Machecoul. I treated with a Nantes merchant, whose name was Jucatieres, who took advantage of my eagerness, and for 4,000 crowns ready money got a bargain that made his fortune. I thought I had 4,000,000, and was just securing one of the Dutch pinks, which are always in the road of Retz, when the following accident happened, which broke all my measures.

Mademoiselle de Retz (for she had taken that name after her sister’s marriage) had the finest eyes in the world, and they never were so beautiful as when she was languishing in love, the charms of which I never yet saw equalled. We happened to dine at a lady’s house, a league from Machecoul, where Mademoiselle de Retz, looking in the glass at an assembly of ladies, displayed all those tender, lively, moving airs which the Italians call ‘morbidezza’, or the lover’s languish. But unfortunately she was not aware that Palluau, since Marechal de Clerambaut, was behind her, who observed her airs, and being very much attached to Madame de Retz, with whom he had in her tender years been very familiar, told her faithfully what he had observed.

Madame de Retz, who mortally hated her sister, disclosed it that very night to her father, who did not fail to impart it to mine. The next morning, at the arrival of the post from Paris, all was in a hurry, my father pretending to have received very pressing news; and, after our taking a slight though public leave of the ladies, my father carried me to sleep that night at Nantes. I was, as you may imagine, under very great surprise and concern; for I could not guess the cause of this sudden departure. I had nothing to reproach myself with upon the score of my conduct; neither had I the least suspicion that Palluau had seen anything more than ordinary till I arrived at Orleans, where the matter was cleared up, for my brother, to prevent my escape, which I vainly attempted several times on my journey, seized my strong box, in which was my money, and then I understood that I was betrayed; in what grief, then, I arrived at Paris, I leave you to imagine.

I found there Equilli, Vasse’s uncle, and my first cousin, who, I daresay, was one of the most honest men of his time, and loved me from his very soul. I apprised him of my design to run away with Mademoiselle de Retz. He heartily approved of my project, not only because it would be a very advantageous match for me, but because he was persuaded that a double alliance was necessary to secure the establishment of the family.

The Cardinal de Richelieu—[Armand Jean du Plesais, Cardinal de Richelieu, was born in 1585, and died in 1642.]—(then Prime Minister) mortally hated the Princesse de Guemenee, because he was persuaded she had crossed his amours with the Queen,—[Anne of Austria, eldest daughter of Philip II., King of Spain, and wife of Louis XIII., died 1666.]—and had a hand in the trick played him by Madame du Fargis, one of the Queen’s dressing women, who showed her Majesty (Marie de Medicis) a love-letter written by his Eminence to the Queen, her daughter-in-law. The Cardinal pushed his resentment so far that he attempted to force the Marechal de Breze, his brother-in-law, and captain of the King’s Life-guards, to expose Madame de Guemenee’s letters, which were found in M. de Montmorency’s—[Henri de Montmorency was apprehended on the 1st of September, 1632, and beheaded in Toulouse in November of the same year.]—coffer when he was arrested at Chateau Naudari. But the Marechal de Breze had so much honour and generosity as to return them to Madame de Guemenee. He was, nevertheless, a very extravagant gentleman; but the Cardinal de Richelieu, perceiving he had been formerly honoured by some kind of relation to him, and dreading his angry excursions and preachments before the King, who had some consideration for his person, bore with him very patiently for the sake of settling peace in his own family, which he passionately longed to unite and establish, but which was the only thing out of his power, who could do whatever else he pleased in France. For the Marechal de Breze had conceived so strong an aversion to M. de La Meilleraye, who was then Grand Master of the Artillery, and afterwards Marechal de La Meilleraye, that he could not endure him. He did not imagine that the Cardinal would ever look upon a man who, though his first cousin, was of a mean extraction, had a most contemptible aspect, and, if fame says true, not one extraordinary good quality.

The Cardinal was of another mind, and had a great opinion—indeed, with abundance of reason—of M. de La Meilleraye’s courage; but he esteemed his military capacity infinitely too much, though in truth it was not contemptible. In a word, he designed him for that post which we have since seen so gloriously filled by M. de Turenne.

You may, by what has been said, judge of the divisions that were in Cardinal de Richelieu’s family, and how much he was concerned to appease them. He laboured at them with great application, and for this end thought he could not do better than to unite these two heads of the faction in a close confidence with himself, exclusive of all others. To this end he used them jointly and in common as the confidants of his amours, which certainly were neither suitable to the lustre of his actions nor the grandeur of his life; for Marion de Lorme, one of his mistresses, was little better than a common prostitute. Another of his concubines was Madame de Fruges, that old gentlewoman who was so often seen sauntering in the enclosure. The first used to come to his apartment in the daytime, and he went by night to visit the other, who was but the pitiful cast-off of Buckingham and Epienne. The two confidants introduced him there in coloured clothes; for they had made up a hasty peace, to which Madame de Guemenee nearly fell a sacrifice.

M. de La Meilleraye, whom they called the Grand Master, was in love with Madame de Guemenee, but she could not love him; and he being, both in his own nature and by reason of his great favour with the Cardinal, the most imperious man living, took it very ill that he was not beloved. He complained, but the lady was insensible; he huffed and bounced, but was laughed to scorn. He thought he had her in his power because the Cardinal, to whom he had declared his rage against her, had given him her letters, as above mentioned, which were written to M. de Montmorency, and, therefore, in his menaces he let fall some hints with relation to those letters to the disadvantage of Madame de Guemenee. She thereupon ridiculed him no longer, but went almost raving mad, and fell into such an inconceivable melancholy that you would not have known her, and retired to Couperai, where she would let nobody see her.

As soon as I applied my mind to study I resolved at the same time to take the Cardinal de Richelieu for my pattern, though my friends opposed it as too pedantic; but I followed my first designs, and began my course with good success. I was afterwards followed by all persons of quality of the same profession; but, as I was the first, the Cardinal was pleased with my fancy, which, together with the good offices done me by the Grand Master with the Cardinal, made him speak well of me on several occasions, wonder that I had never made my court to him, and at the same time he ordered M. de Lingendes, since Bishop of Magon, to bring me to his house.

This was the source of my first disgrace, for, instead of complying with these offers of the Cardinal and with the entreaties of the Grand Master, urging me to go and make my court to him, I returned the most trifling excuses and apologies; one time I pretended to be sick and went into the country. In short, I did enough to let them see that I did not care to be a dependent on the Cardinal de Richelieu, who was certainly a very great man, but had this particular trait in his genius,—to take notice of trifles. Of this he gave me the following instance: The history of the conspiracy of Jean Louis de Fiesque,—[Author of “The Conspiracy of Genoa.” He was drowned on the 1st of January, 1557.]—which I had written at eighteen years of age, being conveyed by Boisrobert into the Cardinal’s hands, he was heard to say, in the presence of Marechal d’Estrees and M. de Senneterre, “This is a dangerous genius.” This was told my father that very night by M. de Senneterre, and I took it as spoken to myself.

The success that I had in the acts of the Sorbonne made me fond of that sort of reputation, which I had a mind to push further, and thought I might succeed in sermons. Instead of preaching first, as I was advised, in the little convents, I preached on Ascension, Corpus Christi Day, etc., before the Queen and the whole Court, which assurance gained me a good character from the Cardinal; for, when he was told how well I had performed, he said, “There is no judging of things by the event; the man is a coxcomb.” Thus you see I had enough to do for one of two-and-twenty years of age.

M. le Comte,—[Louis de Bourbon, Comte de soissons, killed in the battle of Marfee, near Sedan, in 1641.]—who had a tender love for me, and to whose service and person I was entirely devoted, left Paris in the night, in order to get into Sedan, for fear of an arrest; and, in the meantime, entrusted me with the care of Vanbrock, the greatest confidant he had in the world. I took care, as I was ordered, that he should never stir out but at night, for in the daytime I concealed him in a private place, between the ceiling and the penthouse, where I thought it impossible for anything but a cat or the devil to find him. But he was not careful enough of himself, for one morning my door was burst open, and armed men rushed into my chamber, with the provost at their head, who cried, with a great oath, “Where is Vanbrock?” I replied, “At Sedan, monsieur, I believe.” He swore again most confoundedly, and searched the mattresses of all the beds in the house, threatening to put my domestics to the rack if they did not make a disclosure; but there was only one that knew anything of the matter, and so they went away in a rage. You may easily imagine that when this was reported the Court would highly resent it. And so it happened, for the license of the Sorbonne being expired, and the competitors striving for the best places, I had the ambition to put in for the first place, and did not think myself obliged to yield to the Abbe de La Mothe-Houdancourt, now Archbishop of Auch, over whom I had certainly some advantage in the disputations. I carried myself in this affair more wisely than might have been expected from my youth; for as soon as I heard that my rival was supported by the Cardinal, who did him the honour to own him for his kinsman, I sent the Cardinal word, by M. de Raconis, Bishop of Lavaur, that I desisted from my pretension, out of the respect I owed his Eminence, as soon as I heard that he concerned himself in the affair. The Bishop of Lavaur told me the Cardinal pretended that the Abby de La Mothe would not be obliged for the first place to my cession, but to his own merit. This answer exasperated me. I gave a smile and a low bow, pursued my point, and gained the first place by eighty-four voices. The Cardinal, who was for domineering in all places and in all affairs, fell into a passion much below his character, either as a minister or a man, threatened the deputies of the Sorbonne to raze the new buildings he had begun there, and assailed my character again with incredible bitterness.

All my friends were alarmed at this, and were for sending me in all haste to Italy. Accordingly, I went to Venice, stayed there till the middle of August, and was very near being assassinated; for I amused myself by making an intrigue with Signora Vendranina, a noble Venetian lady, and one of the most handsome I ever saw. M. de Maille, the King’s ambassador, aware of the dangerous consequences of such adventures in this country, ordered me to depart from Venice; upon which I went through Lombardy, and towards the end of September arrived at Rome, where the Marechal d’Estrees, who resided there as ambassador, gave me such instructions for my behaviour as I followed to a tittle. Though I had no design to be an ecclesiastic, yet since I wore a cassock I was resolved to acquire some reputation at the Pope’s Court. I compassed my design very happily, avoiding any appearance of gallantry and lewdness, and my dress being grave to the last degree; but for all this I was at a vast expense, having fine liveries, a very splendid equipage, and a train of seven or eight gentlemen, whereof four were Knights of Malta. I disputed in the Colleges of Sapienza (not to be compared for learning with those of the Sorbonne), and fortune continued still to raise me. For the Prince de Schomberg, the Emperor’s ambassador, sent me word one day, while I was playing at ‘balon’ at the baths of Antoninus, to leave the place clear for him. I answered that I could have refused his Excellency nothing asked in a civil manner, but since it was commanded, I would have him to know that I would obey the orders of no ambassador whatever, but that of the King, my master. Being urged a second time by one of his attendants to leave the place, I stood upon my own defence, and the Germans, more, in my opinion, out of contempt of the few people I had with me than out of any other consideration, let the affair drop. This bold carriage of so modest an abbe, to an ambassador who never went abroad without one hundred musketeers on horseback to attend him, made a great noise in Rome, and was much taken notice of by Cardinal Mazarin.

The Cardinal de Richelieu’s health declining, the archbishopric of Paris was now almost within my ken, which, together with other prospects of good benefices, made me resolve not to fling off the cassock but upon honourable terms and valuable considerations; but having nothing yet within my view that I could be sure of, I resolved to distinguish myself in my own profession by all the methods I could. I retired from the world, studied very hard, saw but very few men, and had no more correspondence with any of the female sex, except Madame de ———-.

The devil had appeared to the Princesse de Guemenee just a fortnight before this adventure happened, and was often raised by the conjurations of M. d’Andilly, to frighten his votary, I believe, into piety, for he was even more in love with her person than I myself; but he loved her in the Lord, purely and spiritually. I raised, in my turn, a demon that appeared to her in a more kind and agreeable form. In six weeks I got her away from Port Royal; I was very diligent in paying her my respects, and the satisfaction I had in her company, with some other agreeable diversions, qualified in a great measure the chagrin which attended my profession, to which I was not yet heartily reconciled. This enchantment had like to have raised such a storm as would have given a new face to the affairs of Europe if fortune had been ever so little on my side.

M. the Cardinal de Richelieu loved rallying other people, but could not bear a jest himself, and all men of this humour are always very crabbed and churlish; of which the Cardinal gave an instance, in a public assembly of ladies, to Madame de Guemenee, when he threw out a severe jest, which everybody observed was pointed at me. She was sensibly affronted, but I was enraged. For at last there was a sort of an understanding between us, which was often ill-managed, yet our interests were inseparable. At this time Madame de La Meilleraye, with whom, though she was silly, I had fallen in love, pleased the Cardinal to that degree that the Marshal perceived it before he set out for the army, and rallied his wife in such a manner that she immediately found he was even more jealous than ambitious. She was terribly afraid of him, and did not love the Cardinal, who, by marrying her to his cousin, had lessened his own family, of which he was extremely fond. Besides, the Cardinal’s infirmities made him look a great deal older than he was. And though all his other actions had no tincture of pedantry, yet in his amorous intrigues he had the most of it in the world. I had a detail of all the steps he had made therein, which were extremely ridiculous. But continuing his solicitation, and carrying her to his country seat at Ruel,—[The Cardinal de Richelieu’s seat, three leagues from Paris.]—where he kept her a considerable time, I guessed that the lady had not brains enough to resist the splendour of Court favour, and that her husband’s jealousy would soon give way to his interest, but, above all, to his blind side, which was an attachment to the Court not to be equalled. When I was in the hottest pursuit of this passion I proposed to myself the most exquisite pleasures in triumphing over the Cardinal de Richelieu in this fair field of battle; but on a sudden I had the mortification to hear the whole family was changed. The husband allowed his wife to go to Ruel as often as she pleased, and her behaviour towards me I suspected to be false and treacherous. In short, Madame de Guemenee’s anger, for a reason I hinted before, my jealousy of Madame de La Meilleraye, and an aversion to my own profession, all joined together in a fatal moment and were near producing one of the greatest and most famous events of our age.

La Rochepot, my first cousin and dear friend, was a domestic of the late Duc d’Orleans,—[Gaston Jean Baptists de France, born 1608, and died at Blois, 1660.]—and his great confidant. He mortally hated the Cardinal de Richelieu, who had persecuted his mother, and had her hung up in effigy, and kept his father still a prisoner in the Bastille, and now refused the son a regiment, though Marechal de La Meilleraye, who very highly esteemed him for his courage, interceded for the favour. You may imagine that when we came together we did not forget the Cardinal.

I being crossed in my designs, as I told you, and as full of resentment as La Rochepot was for the affronts put upon his person and family, we chimed in our thoughts and resolutions, which were, dexterously to manage the weakness of the Duc d’Orleans and to put that in execution which the boldness of his domestics had almost effected at Corbie.

The Duc d’Orleans was appointed General, and the Comte de Soissons Lieutenant-General of the King’s forces in Picardy, but neither of them stood well with the Cardinal, who gave them those posts only because the situation of affairs was such that he could not help it. L’Epinai, Montresor, and La Rochepot made use of all the arguments they could think of to raise jealousies and fears in the Duc d’Orleans, and to inspire him with resolution and courage to rid himself of the Cardinal. Others laboured to persuade the Comte de Soissons to relish the same proposal, but though resolved upon, it was never put into execution. For they had the Cardinal in their power at Amiens, but did him no harm. For this every one blamed the Count’s companion, but I could never yet learn the true cause; only this is certain, that they were no sooner come to Paris than they were all seized with a panic, and retired, some one way, some another.

The Comte de Guiche, since Marechal de Grammont, and M. de Chavigni, Secretary of State and the Cardinal’s most intimate favourite, were sent by the King to Blois. Here they frightened the Duc d’Orleans and made him return to Paris, where he was more afraid than ever; for such of his domestics as were not gained by the Court made use of his pusillanimous temper, and represented to him the necessity he was under to provide for his own, or rather their, security. La Rochepot and myself endeavoured to heighten his fears as much as possible, in order to precipitate him into our measures. The term sounds odd, but it is the most expressive I could find of a character like the Duke’s. He weighed everything, but fixed on nothing; and if by chance he was inclined to do one thing more than another, he would never execute it without being pushed or forced into it.

La Rochepot did all he could to fix him, but finding that the Duke was always for delays, and for perplexing all expedients with groundless fears of invincible difficulties, he fell upon an expedient very dangerous to all appearance, but, as it usually happens in extraordinary cases, much less so than at first view.

Cardinal de Richelieu having to stand godfather at the baptism of Mademoiselle, La Rochepot’s proposal was to continue to show the Duke the necessity he lay under still to get rid of the Cardinal, without saying much of the particulars, for fear of hazarding the secret, but only to entertain him with the general proposal of that affair, thereby to make him the better in love with the measures when proposed; and that they might, at a proper time and place, tell him they had concealed the detail to the execution from his Highness upon no other account but that they had experienced on several occasions that there was no other way of serving his Highness, as he himself had told La Rochepot several times; that nothing, therefore, remained but to get some brave fellows fit for such a resolute enterprise, and to hold post-horses ready upon the road of Sedan under some other pretext, and to so execute the design in the presence and in the name of his Royal Highness upon the day of the intended solemnity, that his Highness should cheerfully own it when it was done, and that then we would carry him off by those horses to Sedan. Meanwhile the distraction of the inferior ministers and the joy of the King to see himself delivered from a tyrant would dispose the Court rather to invite than to pursue him. This was La Rochepot’s scheme, and it seemed exceedingly plausible.

La Rochepot and I had, it may be, blamed the inactivity of the Duc d’Orleans and the Comte de Soissons in the affair of Amiens a hundred times; yet, no sooner was the scheme sufficiently matured for execution, the idea of which I had raised in the memory of La Rochepot, than my mind was seized with I know not what fear; I took it then for a scruple of conscience,—I cannot tell whether it was in truth so or not, but, in short, the thought of killing a priest and a cardinal deeply affected my mind. La Rochepot laughed at my scruples, and bantered me thus: “When you are in the field of battle I warrant you will not beat up the enemy’s quarters for fear of assassinating men in their sleep.” I was ashamed of my scruples, and again hugged the crime, which I looked upon as sanctified by the examples of great men, and justified and honoured by the mighty danger that attended its execution. We renewed our consultations, engaged some accomplices, took all the necessary precautions, and resolved upon the execution. The danger was indeed very great, but we might reasonably hope to come off well enough; for the Duke’s guard, which was within, would not have failed to come to our assistance against that of the Cardinal’s, which was without. But his fortune, and not his guards, delivered him from the snare; for either Mademoiselle or himself, I forget which, fell suddenly ill, and the ceremony was put off to another time, so that we lost our opportunity. The Duke returned to Blois, and the Marquis de Boissi protested he would never betray us, but that he would be no longer concerned, because he had just received some favour or other from the Cardinal’s own hands.

I confess that this enterprise, which, had it succeeded, would have crowned us with glory, never fully pleased me. I was not so scrupulous in the committing of two other transgressions against the rules of morality, as you may have before observed; but I wish, with all my heart, I had never been concerned in this. Ancient Rome, indeed, would have counted it honourable; but it is not in this respect that I honour the memory of old Rome.

There is commonly a great deal of folly in conspiracies; but afterwards there is nothing tends so, much to make men wise, at least for some time. For, as the danger in things of this nature continues, even after the opportunities for doing them are over, men are from that instant more prudent and circumspect.

Having thus missed our blow, the Comte de La Rochepot and the rest of them retired to their several seats in the country; but my engagements detained me at Paris, where I was so retired that I spent all my time in my study; and if ever I was seen abroad, it was with all the reserve of a pious ecclesiastic; we were all so true to one another in keeping this adventure secret, that it never got the least wind while the Cardinal lived, who was a minister that had the best intelligence in the world; but after his death it was discovered by the imprudence of Tret and Etourville. I call it imprudence, for what greater weakness can men be guilty of than to declare themselves to have been capable of what is dangerous in the first instance?

To return to the history of the Comte de Soissons, I observed before that he had retired to Sedan for safety, which he could not expect at Court. He wrote to the King, assuring his Majesty of his fidelity, and that while he stayed in that place he would undertake nothing prejudicial to his service. He was most mindful of his promise; was not to be biassed by all the offers of Spain or the Empire, but rejected with indignation the overtures of Saint-Ibal and of Bardouville, who would have persuaded him to take up arms. Campion, one of his domestics, whom he had left at Paris to mind his affairs at Court, told me these particulars by the Count’s express orders, and I still remember this passage in one of his letters to Campion: “The men you know are very urgent with me to treat with the enemy, and accuse me of weakness because I fear the examples of Charles de Bourbon and Robert d’Artois.” He was ordered to show me this letter and desire my opinion thereupon. I took my pen, and, at a little distance from the answer he had already begun, I wrote these words:

“And I do accuse them of folly.” The reasons upon which my opinion was grounded were these: The Count was courageous in the highest degree of what is commonly called valour, and had a more than ordinary share in that boldness of mind which we call resolution. The first is common and to be frequently met with among the vulgar, but the second is rarer than can be imagined, and yet abundantly more necessary for great enterprises; and is there a greater in the world than heading a party? The command of an army is without comparison of less intricacy, for there are wheels within wheels necessary for governing the State, but then they are not near so brittle and delicate. In a word, I am of opinion there are greater qualities necessary to make a good head of a party than to make an emperor who is to govern the whole world, and that resolution ought to run parallel with judgment,—I say, with heroic judgment, which is able to distinguish the extraordinary from what we call the impossible.

The Count had not one grain of this discerning faculty, which is but seldom to be met with in the sublimest genius. His character was mean to a degree, and consequently susceptible of unreasonable jealousies and distrusts, which of all characters is the most opposite to that of a good partisan, who is indispensably obliged in many cases to suppress, and in all to conceal, the best-grounded suspicions.

This was the reason I could not be of the opinion of those who were for engaging the Count in a civil war; and Varicarville, who was the man of the best sense and temper of all the persons of quality he had about him, told me since that when he saw what I wrote in Campion’s letter the day I set out for Italy, he very well knew by what motives I was, against my inclination, persuaded into this opinion.

The Count held out all this year and the next against every solicitation of the Spaniards and the importunities of his own friends, much more by the wise counsels of Varicarville than by the force of his own resolution; but nothing could secure him from the teasings of the Cardinal de Richelieu, who poured into his ears every day in the King’s name his many dismal discoveries and prognostications. For fear of being tedious I shall only tell you in one word that the Cardinal, contrary to his own interest, hurried the Count into a civil war, by such arts of chicanery as those who are fortune’s favourites never fail to play upon the unfortunate.

The minds of people began now to be more embittered than ever. I was sent for by the Count to Sedan to tell him the state of Paris. The account I gave him could not but be very agreeable; for I told him the very truth: that he was universally beloved, honoured, and adored in that city, and his enemy dreaded and abhorred. The Duc de Bouillon, who was urgent for war, be the consequence what it would, improved upon these advantages, and made them look more plausible, but Varicarville strongly opposed him.

I thought myself too young to declare my opinion; but, being pressed to do so by his Highness, I took the liberty to tell him that a Prince of the blood ought to engage himself in a civil war rather than suffer any diminution of his reputation or dignity, yet that nothing but these two cases could justly oblige him to it, because he hazards both by a commotion whenever the one or the other consideration does not make it necessary; that I thought his Highness far from being under any such necessity; that his retreat to Sedan secured him from the indignity he must have submitted to, among others, of taking the left hand, even in the Cardinal’s own house; that, in the meantime, the popular hatred of the Cardinal gained his Highness the greater share of the public favour, which is always much better secured by inaction than action, because the glory of action depends upon success, for which no one can answer; whereas inaction is sure to be commended as being founded upon the hatred which the public will always bear to the minister. That, therefore, I should think it would be more glorious for his Highness, in the view of the world, to support himself by his own weight, that is, by the merit of his virtue, against the artifices of so powerful a minister as the Cardinal de Richelieu,—I say, more glorious to support himself by a wise and regular conduct than to kindle the fire of war, the flagrant consequences whereof no man is able to foresee; that it was true that the minister was universally cursed, but that I could not yet see that the people’s minds were exasperated enough for any considerable revolution; that the Cardinal was in a declining state of health, and if he should not die this time, his Highness would have the opportunity of showing the King and the public that though, by his own personal authority and his important post at Sedan, he was in a capacity to do himself justice, he sacrificed his own resentments to the welfare and quiet of the State; and that if the Cardinal should recover his health, he would not fail, by additional acts of tyranny and oppression, to draw upon himself the redoubled execrations of the people, which would ripen, their murmurings and discontents into a universal revolution.

This is the substance of what I said to the Count, and he seemed to be somewhat affected by it. But the Duc de Bouillon was enraged, and told me, by way of banter, “Your blood is very cold for a gentleman of your age.” To which I replied in these very words: “All the Count’s servants are so much obliged to you, monsieur, that they ought to bear everything from you; but were it not for this consideration alone, I should think that your bastions would not be always strong enough to protect you.” The Duke soon came to himself, and treated me with all the civilities imaginable, such as laid a foundation for our future friendship. I stayed two days longer at Sedan, during which the Count changed his mind five different times, as I was told by M. Saint-Ibal, who said little was to be expected from a man of his humour. At last, however, the Duc de Bouillon won him over. I was charged to do all I could to convince the people of Paris, had an order to take up money and to lay it out for this purpose, and I returned from Sedan with letters more than enough to have hanged two hundred men.

As I had faithfully set the Count’s true interest before him, and dissuaded him from undertaking an affair of which he was by no means capable, I thought it high time to think of my own affairs. I hated my profession now more than ever; I was at first hurried into it by the infatuation of my kindred. My destiny had bound me down to it by the chains both of duty and pleasure, so that I could see no possibility to set myself free. I was upwards of twenty-five years of age, and I saw it was now too late to begin to carry a musket; but that which tortured me most of all was this fatal reflection, that I had spent so much of my time in too eager a pursuit of pleasure, and thereby riveted my own chains; so that it looked as if fate was resolved to fasten me to the Church, whether I would or no. You may imagine with what satisfaction such thoughts as these were accompanied, for this confusion of affairs gave me hopes of getting loose from my profession with uncommon honour and reputation. I thought of ways to distinguish myself, pursued them very diligently, and you will allow that nothing but destiny broke my measures.

The Marechaux de Vitri and Bassompierre, the Comte de Cremail, M. du Fargis, and M. du Coudrai Montpensier were then prisoners in the Bastille upon different counts. But, as length of time makes confinement less irksome, they were treated very civilly, and indulged with a great share of freedom. Their friends came to see them, and sometimes dined with them. By means of M. du Fargis, who had married my aunt, I got acquainted with the rest, and by conversing with them discovered very remarkable emotions in some of them, upon which I could not help reflecting. The Marechal de Vitri was a gentleman of mean parts, but bold, even to rashness, and his having been formerly employed to kill the Marechal d’Ancre had given him in the common vogue, though I think unjustly, the air of a man of business and expedition. He appeared to me enraged against the Cardinal, and I concluded he might do service in the present juncture, but did not address myself directly to him, and thought it the wisest way first to sift the Comte de Cremail, who was a man of sound sense, and could influence the Marechal de Vitri as he pleased. He apprehended me at half a word, and immediately asked me if I had made myself known to any of the prisoners. I answered, readily:

“No, monsieur; and I will tell you my reasons in a very few words. Bassompierre is a tattler; I expect to do nothing with the Marechal de Vitri but by your means. I suspect the honesty of Du Coudrai, and as for my uncle, Du Fargis, he is a gallant man, but has no headpiece.”

“Whom, then, do you confide in at Paris?” said the Comte de Cremail.

“I dare trust no man living,” said I, “but yourself.”

“It is very well,” said he, briskly; “you are the man for me. I am above eighty years old, and you but twenty-five; I will qualify your heat, and you my chilliness.”

We went upon business, drew up our plan, and at parting he said these very words: “Let me alone one week, and after that I will tell you more of my mind, for I hope to convince the Cardinal that I am good for something more than writing the ‘Jeu de l’Inconnu.’”

You must know that the “Jeu de l’Inconnu” was a book, indeed, very ill written, which the Comte de Cremail had formerly published, and which the Cardinal had grossly ridiculed. You will be surprised, without doubt, that I should think of prisoners for an affair of this importance, but the nature of it was such that it could not be put into better hands, as you will see by and by.

A week after, going to visit the prisoners, and Cremail and myself being accidentally left alone, we took a walk upon the terrace, where, after a thousand thanks for the confidence I had put in him, and as many protestations of his readiness to serve the Comte de Soissons, he spoke thus: “There is nothing but the thrust of a sword or the city of Paris that can rid us of the Cardinal. Had I been at the enterprise of Amiens, I think I should not have missed my blow, as those gentlemen did. I am for that of Paris; it cannot miscarry; I have considered it well. See here what additions I have made to our plan.” And thereupon he put into my hand a paper, in substance as follows: that he had conferred with the Marechal de Vitri, who was as well disposed as anybody in the world to serve the Count; that they would both answer for the Bastille, where all the garrison was in their interest; that they were likewise sure of the arsenal; and that they would also declare themselves as soon as the Count had gained a battle, on condition that I made it appear beforehand, as I had told him (the Comte de Cremail), that they should be supported by a considerable number of officers, colonels of Paris, etc. For the rest, this paper contained many particular observations on the conduct of the undertaking, and many cautions relating to the behaviour to be observed by the Count. That which surprised me most of all was to see how fully persuaded these gentlemen were of carrying their point with ease.

Though it came into my head to propose this project to the persons in the Bastille, yet nothing but the perfect knowledge I had of their disposition and inclination could have persuaded me that it was practicable. And I confess, upon perusal of the plan prepared by M. de Cremail, a man of great experience and excellent sense, I was astonished to find a few prisoners disposing of the Bastille with the same freedom as the Governor, the greatest authority in the place.

As all extraordinary circumstances are of wonderful weight in popular revolutions, I considered that this project, which was even ripe for execution, would have an admirable effect in the city. And as nothing animates and supports commotions more than the ridiculing of those against whom they are raised, I knew it would be very easy for us to expose the conduct of a minister who had tamely suffered prisoners to hamper him, as one may say, with their chains. I lost no time; afterwards I opened myself to M. d’Estampes, President of the Great Council, and to M. l’Ecuyer, President of the Chamber of Accounts, both colonels, and in great repute among the citizens, and I found them every way answering the character I had of them from the Count; that is, very zealous for his interest, and fully persuaded that the insurrection was not only practicable, but very easy. Pray observe that these two gentlemen, who made no great figure, even in their own profession, were, perhaps, two of the most peaceable persons in the kingdom. But there are some fires which burn all before them. The main thing is to know and seize the critical moment.

The Count had charged me to disclose myself to none in Paris besides these two, but I ventured to add two more: Parmentier, substitute to the Attorney-General; and his brother-in-law, Epinai, auditor of the Chamber of Accounts, who was the man of the greatest credit, though but a lieutenant, and the other a captain. Parmentier, who, both by his wit and courage, was as capable of a great action as any man I ever knew, promised me that he would answer for Brigalier, councillor in the Court of Aids, captain in his quarter, and very powerful among the people, but told me at the same time that he must not know a word of the matter, because he was a mere rattle, not to be trusted with a secret.

The Count made me a remittance of 12,000 crowns, which I carried to my aunt De Maignelai, telling her that it was a restitution made by one of my dying friends, who made me trustee of it upon condition that I should distribute it among decayed families who were ashamed to make their necessities known, and that I had taken an oath to distribute it myself, persuant to the desire of the testator, but that I was at a loss to find out fit objects for my charity; and therefore I desired her to take the care of it upon her. The good woman was perfectly transported, and said she would do it with all her heart; but because I had sworn to make the distribution myself, she insisted upon it that I must be present, not only for the sake of my promise, but to accustom myself to do acts of charity. This was the very thing I aimed at,—an opportunity of knowing all the poor of Paris. Therefore I suffered myself to be carried every day by my aunt into the outskirts, to visit the poor in their garrets, and I met very often in her house people who were very well clad, and many whom I once knew, that came for private charity. My good aunt charged them always to pray to God for her nephew, who was the hand that God had been pleased to make use of for this good work. Judge you of the influence this gave me over the populace, who are without comparison the most considerable in all public disturbances. For the rich never come into such measures unless they are forced, and beggars do more harm than good, because it is known that they aim at plunder; those, therefore, who are capable of doing most service are such as are not reduced to common beggary, yet so straitened in their circumstances as to wish for nothing more than a general change of affairs in order to repair their broken fortunes. I made myself acquainted with people of this rank for the course of four months with uncommon application, so that there was hardly a child in the chimney-corner but I gratified with some small token. I called them by their familiar names. My aunt, who always made it her business to go from house to house to relieve the poor, was a cloak for all. I also played the hypocrite, and frequented the conferences of Saint Lazarus.

Varicarville and Beauregarde, my correspondents at Sedan, assured me that the Comte de Soissons was as well inclined as one could wish, and that he had not wavered since he had formed his last resolution. Varicarville said that we had formerly done him horrible injustice, and that they were now even obliged to restrain him, because he seemed to be too fond of the counsels of Spain and the Empire. Please to observe that these two Courts, which had made incredible solicitations to him while he wavered, began, as soon as his purpose was fixed, to draw back,—a fatality due to the phlegmatic temper of the Spaniard, dignified by the name of prudence, joined to the astute politics of the house of Austria. You may observe at the same time that the Count, who had continued firm and unshaken three months together, changed his mind as soon as his enemies had granted what he asked; which exactly comes up to the character of an irresolute man, who is always most unsteady the nearer the work comes to its conclusion. I heard of this convulsion, as one may call it, by an express from Varicarville, and took post the same night for Sedan, arriving there an hour after Aretonville, an agent despatched from the Count’s brother in-law, M. de Longueville.—[Henri d’Orleans, the second of that name, died 1663.]—He came with some plausible but deceitful terms of accommodation which we all agreed to oppose. Those who had been always with the Count pressed him strongly with the remembrance of what he himself thought or said was necessary to be done ever since the war had been resolved on. Saint-Ibal, who had been negotiating for him at Brussels, pressed him with his engagements, advances, and solicitations, insisted on the steps I had, by his order, already taken in Paris, on the promises made to De Vitri and Cremail, and on the secret committed to two persons by his own command, and to four others for his service and with his consent. Our arguments, considering his engagements, were very just and clear. We carried our point with much ado after a conflict of four days. Aretonville was sent back with a very smart answer. M. de Guise, who had joined the Count, and was a well-wisher to a rupture, went to Liege to order the levies, Varicarville and I returned to Paris, but I did not care to tell my fellow conspirators of the irresolution of our principal. Some symptoms of it appeared afterwards, but they very soon vanished.

Being assured that the Spaniards had everything in readiness, I went for the last time to Sedan to take my final instructions. There I found Meternic, colonel of one of the oldest regiments of the Empire, despatched by General Lamboy, who had advanced with a gallant army under his command, composed for the most part of veteran troops. The Colonel assured the Count that he was ordered to obey his commands in everything, and to give battle to the Marechal de Chatillon, who commanded the army of France upon the Meuse. As the undertaking at Paris depended entirely on the success of such a battle, the Count thought it fitting that I should go along with Meternic to Givet, where I found the army in a very good condition. Then I returned to Paris, and gave an account of every particular to the Marechal de Pitri, who drew up the order for the enterprise. The whole city of Paris seemed so disposed for an insurrection that we thought ourselves sure of success. The secret was kept even to a miracle. The Count gave the enemy battle and won it. You now believe, without doubt, the day was our own. Far from it; for the Count was killed in the very crisis of the victory, and in the midst of his own men; but how and by whom no soul could ever tell.

You may guess what a condition I was in when I heard this news; M. de Cremail, the wisest of us all, thought of nothing else now but how to conceal the secret, which, though known to only six in all Paris, was known to too great a number; but the greatest danger of discovery was from the people of Sedan, who, being out of the kingdom, were not afraid of punishment. Nevertheless, everybody privy to it religiously kept it secret, and stood their ground, which, with another accident I shall mention hereafter, has made me often think, and say too, that secrecy is not so rare a thing as we imagine with men versed in matters of State.

The Count’s death settled me in my profession, for I saw no great things to be done, and I found myself too old to leave it for anything trifling. Besides, Cardinal de Richelieu’s health was declining, and I already began to think myself Archbishop of Paris. I resolved that for the future I would devote myself to my profession. Madame de Guemenee had retired to Port Royal, her country-seat. M. d’Andilly had got her from me. She neither powdered nor curled her hair any longer, and had dismissed me solemnly with all the formalities required from a sincere penitent. I discovered, by means of a valet de chambre, that, captain —— of the Marshal’s Guards, had as free access to Meilleraye’s lady as myself. See what it is to be a saint! The truth is, I grew much more regular,—at least affected to be thought so,—led a retired life, stuck to my profession, studied hard, and got acquainted with all who were famous either for learning or piety. I converted my house almost into an academy, but took care not to erect the academy into a rigid tribunal. I began to be pretty free with the canons and curates, whom I found of course at my uncle’s house. I did not act the devotee, because I could not be sure how long I should be able to play the counterfeit, but I had a high esteem for devout people, which with such is the main article of religion. I suited my pleasures to my practice, and, finding I could not live without some amorous intrigue, I managed an amour with Madame de Pommereux, a young coquette, who had so many sparks, not only in her house but at her devotions, that the apparent business of others was a cover for mine, which was, at least, some time afterwards, more to the purpose. When I had succeeded, I became a man in such request among those of my profession that the devotees themselves used to say of me with M. Vincent, “Though I had not piety enough, yet I was not far from the kingdom of heaven.”

Fortune favoured me more than usual at this time. I was at the house of Madame de Rambure, a notable and learned Huguenot, where I met with Mestrezat, the famous minister of Charento. To satisfy her curiosity she engaged us in a dispute; we had nine different disputations. The Marechal de la Forde and M. de Turenne were present at some of them, and a gentleman of Poitou, who was at all of them, became my proselyte. As I was then but twenty-six years of age, this made a great deal of noise, and among other effects, was productive of one that had not the least connection with its cause, which I shall mention after I have done justice to a civility I received from my antagonist in one of the conferences. I had the advantage of him in the fifth meeting, relating to the spiritual vocation; but in the sixth, treating of the Pope’s authority, I was confounded, because, to avoid embroiling myself with the Court of Rome, I answered him on principles which are not so easy to be maintained as those of the Sorbonne. My opponent perceived the concern I was under, and generously forebore to urge such passages as would have obliged me to explain myself in a manner disagreeable to the Pope’s Nuncio. I thought it extremely obliging, and as we were going out thanked him in the presence of M. de Turenne; to which he answered, very civilly, that it would have been a piece of injustice to hinder the Abbe de Retz from being made a cardinal. This was such complaisance as you are not to expect from every Geneva pedant. I told you before that this conference produced one effect very different from its cause, and it is this: Madame de Vendome, of whom you have heard, without doubt, took such a fancy to me ever after, that a mother could not have been more tender. She had been at the conference too, though I am very well assured she understood nothing of the matter; but the favourable opinion she had of me was owing to the Bishop of Lisieux, her spiritual director, who, finding I was disposed to follow my profession, which out of his great love to me he most passionately desired, made it his business to magnify the few good qualities I was master of; and I am thoroughly persuaded that what applause I had then in the world was chiefly owing to his encouragement, for there was not a man in France whose approbation could give so much honour. His sermons had advanced him from a very mean and foreign extraction (which was Flemish) to the episcopal dignity, which he adorned with solid and unaffected piety. His disinterestedness was far beyond that of the hermits or anchorites. He had the courage of Saint Ambrose, and at Court and in the presence of the King he so maintained his usual freedom that the Cardinal de Richelieu, who had been his scholar in divinity, both reverenced and feared him. This good man had that abundant kindness for me that he read me lectures thrice a week upon Saint Paul’s Epistles, and he designed also the conversion of M. de Turenne and to give me the honour of it.

M. de Turenne had a great respect for him, whereof he gave him very, distinguishing marks. The Comte de Brion, whom, I believe, you may remember under the title of Duc d’Amville, was deeply in love with Mademoiselle de Vendome, since Madame de Nemours; and, besides, he was a great favourite of M. de Turenne, who, to do him a pleasure and to give him the more opportunities to see Mademoiselle de Vendome, affected to be a great admirer of the Bishop of Lisieux and to hear his exhortations with a world of attention. The Comte de Brion, who had twice been a Capuchin, and whose life was a continual medley of sin and devotion, pretended likewise to be much interested in M. de Turenne’s conversion, and was present at all the conferences held at Mademoiselle de Vendome’s apartment. De Brion had very little wit, but was a clever talker, and had a great deal of assurance, which not very seldom supplies the room of good sense. This and the behaviour of M. de Turenne, together with the indolence of Mademoiselle de Vendome, made me think all was fair, so that I never suspected an amour at the bottom.

The Bishop of Lisieux being a great admirer of Corneille’s writings, and making no scruple to see a good comedy, provided it was in the country among a few friends, the late Madame de Choisy proposed to entertain him with one at Saint Cloud. Accordingly Madame took with her Madame and Mademoiselle de Vendome, M. de Turenne, M. de Brion, Voiture, and myself. De Brion took care of the comedy and violins, and I looked after a good collation. We went to the Archbishop’s house at Saint Cloud, where the comedians did not arrive till very late at night. M. de Lisieux admired the violins, and Madame de Vendome was hugely diverted to see her daughter dance alone. In short, we did not set out till peep of day (it being summer-time), and the days at the longest, and were got no further than the bottom of the Descent of Bonshommes, when all on a sudden the coach stopped. I, being next the door opposite to Mademoiselle de Vendome, bade the coachman drive on. He answered, as plain as he could speak for his fright, “What! would you have me drive over all these devils here?” I put my head out of the coach, but, being short-sighted from my youth, saw nothing at all. Madame de Choisy, who was at the other door with M. de Turenne, was the first in the coach who found out the cause of the coachman’s fright. I say in the coach, for five or six lackeys behind it were already crying “Jesu Maria” and quaking with fear.

Madame de Choisy cried out, upon which M. de Turenne threw himself out of the coach, and I, thinking we were beset by highwaymen, leaped out on the other side, took one of the footmen’s hangers, drew it, and went to the other aide to join M. de Turenne, whom I found with his eyes fixed on something, but what I could not see. I asked him what it was, upon which he pulled me by the sleeve, and said, with a low voice, “I will tell you, but we must not frighten the ladies,” who, by this time, screamed most fearfully. Voiture began his Oremus, and prayed heartily. You, I suppose, knew Madame de Choisy’s shrill tone; Mademoiselle de Vendome was counting her beads; Madame de Vendome would fain have confessed her sins to the Bishop of Lisieux, who said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; you are in the hands of God.” At the same instant, the Comte do Brion and all the lackeys were upon their knees very devoutly singing the Litany of the Virgin Mary.

M. de Turenne drew his sword, and said to me, with the calm and undisturbed air he commonly puts on when he calls for his dinner, or gives battle, “Come, let us go and see who they are.”

“Whom should we see?” said I, for I believed we had all lost our senses.

He answered, “I verily think they are devils.”

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When we had advanced five or six steps I began to see something which I thought looked like a long procession of black phantoms. I was frightened at first, because of the sudden reflection that I had often wished to see a spirit, and that now, perhaps, I should pay for my incredulity, or rather curiosity. M. de Turenne was all the while calm and resolute. I made two or three leaps towards the procession, upon which the company in the coach, thinking we were fighting with all the devils, cried out most terribly; yet it is a question whether our company was in a greater fright than the imaginary devils that put us into it, who, it seems, were a parcel of barefooted reformed Augustine friars, otherwise called the Black Capuchins, who, seeing two men advancing towards them with drawn swords, one of them, detached from the fraternity, cried out, “Gentlemen, we are poor, harmless friars, only come to bathe in this river for our healths.” M. de Turenne and I went back to the coach ready to die with laughing at this adventure.

Upon the whole we could not help making this reflection, that what we read in the lives of most people is false. We were both grossly mistaken, I, for supposing him to be frightened; he, for thinking me calm and undisturbed. Who, therefore, can write truth better than the man who has experienced it? The President de Thou is very just in his remark when he says that “There is no true history extant, nor can be ever expected unless written by honest men who are not afraid or ashamed to tell the truth of themselves.” I do not pretend to make any merit of my sincerity in this case, for I feel so great a satisfaction in unfolding my very heart and soul to you, that the pleasure is even more prevalent than reason with me in the religious regard I have to the exactness of my history.

Mademoiselle de Vendome had ever after an inconceivable contempt for the poor Comte de Brion, who in this ridiculous adventure had disclosed a weakness never before imagined; and as soon as we were got into the coach she bantered him, and said, particularly to me:

“I fancy I must be Henri IV.‘s granddaughter by the esteem I have for valour. There’s nothing can frighten you, since you were so undaunted on this extraordinary occasion.”

I told her I was afraid, but being not so devout as M. de Brion, my fears did not turn to litanies.

“You feared not,” said she, “and I fancy you do not believe there are devils, for M. de Turenne, who is very brave, was much surprised, and did not march on so briskly as you.”

I confess the distinction pleased me mightily and made me think of venturing some compliments. I then said to her, “One may believe there is a devil and yet not fear him; there are things in the world more terrible.”

“And what are they?” said she.

“They are so strong,” said I, “that one dare not so much as name them.”

She interpreted my meaning rightly, as she told me since, though she seemed at that time not to understand me.

Mademoiselle was not what they call a great beauty, yet she was very handsome, and I was complimented for saying of her and of Mademoiselle de Guise that they were beauties of quality who convinced the beholders at first sight that they were born Princesses. Mademoiselle de Vendome had no great share of wit, but her folly lay as yet concealed; her air was grave, tinctured with stateliness, not the effect of good sense, but the consequence of a languid constitution, which sort of gravity often covers a multitude of defects. In the main, take her altogether, she was really amiable.

Let me beseech you, madame, with all submission, to call now to mind the commands you were pleased to honour me with a little before your departure from Paris, that I should give you a precise account of every circumstance and accident of my life, and conceal nothing. You see, by what I have already related, that my ecclesiastical occupations were diversified and relieved, though not disfigured, by other employments of a more diverting nature. I observed a decorum in all my actions, and where I happened to make a false step some good fortune or other always retrieved it. All the ecclesiastics of the diocese wished to see me succeed my uncle in the archbishopric of Paris, but Cardinal de Richelieu was of another mind; he hated my family, and most of all my person, for the reasons already mentioned, and was still more exasperated for these two which follow.

I once told the late President de Mesmes what seems now to me very probable, though it is the reverse of what I told you some time ago, that I knew a person who had few or no failings but what were either the effect or cause of some good qualities. I then said, on the contrary, to M. de Mesmes, that Cardinal de Richelieu had not one great quality but what was the effect or cause of some greater imperfection. This, which was only ‘inter nos’, was carried to the Cardinal, I do not know by whom, under my name. You may judge of the consequences. Another thing that angered him was because I visited the President Barillon, then prisoner at Amboise, concerning remonstrances made to the Parliament, and that I should do it at a juncture which made my journey the more noticeable. Two miserable hermits and false coiners, who had some secret correspondence with M. de Vendome, did, upon some discontent or other, accuse him very falsely of having proposed to them to assassinate the Cardinal, and to give the more weight to their depositions they named all those they thought notorious in that country; Montresor and M. Barillon were of the number. Early notice of this being given me, the great love I had for the President Barillon made me take post that night to acquaint him with his danger and get him away from Amboise, which was very feasible; but he, insisting upon his innocence, rejected my proposals, defied both the accusers and their accusations, and was resolved to continue in prison. This journey of mine gave a handle to the Cardinal to tell the Bishop of Lisieux that I was a cordial friend to all his enemies.

“True enough,” said the Bishop; “nevertheless you ought to esteem him; you have no reason to complain of him, because those men whom you mean were all his true friends before they became your enemies.”

“If it be so,” replied the Cardinal, “then I am very much misinformed.”

The Bishop at this juncture did me all the kind offices imaginable, and if the Cardinal had lived he would undoubtedly have restored me to his favour; for his Eminence was very well disposed, especially when the Bishop assured him that, though I knew myself ruined at Court to all intents and purposes, yet I would never come into the measures of M. le Grand.—[M. de Cinq-Mars, Henri Coeffier, otherwise called Ruze d’Effial, Master of the Horse of France; he was beheaded September 12, 1642.]—I was indeed importuned by my friend M. de Thou to join in that enterprise, but I saw the weakness of their foundation, as the event has shown, and therefore rejected their proposals.

The Cardinal de Richelieu died in 1642, before the good Bishop had made my peace with him, and so I remained among those who had rendered themselves obnoxious to the Ministry. At first this character was very prejudicial to my interest. Although the King was overjoyed at his death, yet he carefully observed all the appearances of respect for his deceased minister, confirmed all his legacies, cared for his family, kept all his creatures in the Ministry, and affected to frown upon all who had not stood well with the Cardinal; but I was the only exception to this general rule. When the Archbishop of Paris presented me to the King, I was treated with such distinguishing marks of royal favour as surprised all the Court. His Majesty talked of my studies and sermons, rallied me with an obliging freedom, and bade me come to Court once every week. The reasons of these extraordinary civilities were utterly unknown to us until the night before his death, when he told them to the Queen. I passed them by in silence before as having no bearing on my history, but I am obliged to insert them here because they have been, in their consequences, more fortunate than I seemed to have any just claim to expect.

A short time after I left the college, my governor’s valet de chambre found, at a poor pin-maker’s house, a niece of hers but fourteen years old, who was surprisingly beautiful. After I had seen her he bought her for me for 150 pistoles, hired a little house for her, and placed her sister with her; when I went to see her I found her in great heaviness of mind, which I attributed to her modesty. I next day found what was yet more surprising and extraordinary than her beauty; she talked wisely and religiously to me, and yet without passion. She cried only when she could not help it. She feared her aunt to a degree that made me pity her. I admired her wit first, and then her virtue, for trial of which I pressed her as far as was necessary, until I was even ashamed of myself. I waited till night to get her into my coach, and then carried her to my aunt De Maignelai, who put her into a convent, where she died eight or ten years after, in great reputation for piety. My aunt, to whom this young creature confessed that the menaces of the pin-maker had terrified her so much that she would have done whatsoever I wished, was so affected with my behaviour that she went to tell it to the Bishop of Lisieux, who told it to the King.

This second adventure was not of the same nature, but it made as great an impression on the King’s mind. It was a duel I had with Coutenau, captain of a company of the King’s Light-horse, brave, but wild, who, riding post from Paris as I was going there, made the ostler take off my saddle and put on his. Upon my telling him I had hired the horse, he gave me a swinging box on the ear, which fetched blood. I instantly drew my sword, and so did he. While making our first thrusts his foot slipped, and his sword dropped out of his hand as he fell to the ground. I retired a little and bade him pick it up, which he did, but it was by the point, for he presented me the handle and begged a thousand pardons. He told this little story afterwards to the King, with whom he had great freedom. His Majesty was pleased with it, and remembered both time and place, as you will see hereafter.

The good reception I found at Court gave my relatives some grounds to hope that I might have the coadjutorship of Paris. At first they found a great deal of difficulty in my uncle’s narrowness of spirit, which is always attended with fears and jealousies; but at length they prevailed upon him, and would have then carried our point, if my friends had not given it out, much against my judgment, that it was done by the consent of the Archbishop of Paris, and if they had not suffered the Sorbonne, the cures, and chapter to return him their thanks. This affair made too much noise in the world for my interest. For Cardinal Mazarin, De Noyers, and De Chavigni thwarted me, and told his Majesty that the chapter should not be entrusted with the power of nominating their own archbishop. And the King was heard to say that I was yet too young.

But we met with a worse obstacle than all from M. de Noyers, Secretary of State, one of the three favourite ministers, who passed for a religious man, and was suspected by some to be a Jesuit in disguise. He had a secret longing for the archbishopric of Paris, which would shortly be vacant, and therefore thought it expedient to remove me from that city, where he saw I was extremely beloved, and provide me with some post suitable to my years. He proposed to the King by his confessor to nominate me Bishop of Agde. The King readily granted the request, which confounded me beyond all expression. I had no mind to go to Languedoc, and yet so great are the inconveniences of a refusal that not a man had courage to advise me to it. I became, therefore, my own counsellor, and having resolved with myself what course to take, I waited upon his Majesty, and thanked him for his gracious offer, but said I dreaded the weight of so remote a see, and that my years wanted advice, which it is difficult to obtain in provinces so distant. I added to this other arguments, which you may guess at. I was in this adventure also more happy than wise. The King continued to treat me very kindly. This circumstance, and the retreat of M. de Noyers, who fell into the snare that Chavigni had laid for him, renewed my hopes of the coadjutorship of Paris. The King died about this time, in 1643. M. de Beaufort, who had been always devoted to the Queen’s interest, and even passed for her gallant, pretended now to govern the kingdom, of which he was not so capable as his valet de chambre. The Bishop of Beauvais, the greatest idiot you ever knew, took upon himself the character of Prime Minister, and on the first day of his administration required the Dutch to embrace the Roman Catholic religion if they desired to continue in alliance with France. The Queen was ashamed of this ridiculous minister, and sent for me to offer my father—[Philippe Emmanuel de Gondi, Comte de Joigni; he retired to the Fathers of the Oratory, and became priest; died 1662, aged eighty-one.]—the place of Prime Minister; but he refusing peremptorily to leave his cell and the Fathers of the Oratory, the place was conferred upon Cardinal Mazarin.

You may now imagine that it was no great task for me to obtain what I desired at a time that nothing was refused, which made Feuillade say that the only words in the French tongue were “La Reine est si bonne.”

Madame de Maignelai and the Bishop of Lisieux desired the Queen to grant me the coadjutorship of Paris, but they were repulsed, the Queen assuring them that none should have it but my father, who kept from Court; and would never be seen at the Louvre, except once, when the Queen told him publicly that the King, the very night before he died, had ordered her expressly to have it solicited for me, and that he said in the presence of the Bishop of Lisieux that he had me always in his thoughts since the adventures of the pinmaker and Captain Coutenau. What relation had these trifling stories to the archbishopric of Paris? Thus we see that affairs of the greatest moment often owe their rise and success to insignificant trifles and accidents. All the companies went to thank the Queen. I sent 16,000 crowns to Rome for my bull, with orders not to desire any favour, lest it should delay the despatch and give the ministers time to oppose it. I received my bull accordingly; and now you will see me ascending the theatre of action, where you will find scenes not indeed worthy of yourself, but not altogether unworthy of your attention.


MADAME:—I lay it down as a maxim, that men who enter the service of the State should make it their chief study to set out in the world with some notable act which may strike the imagination of the people, and cause themselves to be discussed. Thus I preached first upon All Saints’ Day, before an audience which could not but be numerous in a populous city, where it is a wonder to see the Archbishop in the pulpit. I began now to think seriously upon my future conduct. I found the archbishopric sunk both in its temporals and spirituals by the sordidness, negligence, and incapacity of my uncle. I foresaw infinite obstacles to its reestablishment, but perceived that the greatest and most insuperable difficulty lay in myself. I considered that the strictest morals are necessarily required in a bishop. I felt myself the more obliged to be strictly circumspect as my uncle had been very disorderly and scandalous. I knew likewise that my own corrupt inclinations would bear down all before them, and that all the considerations drawn from honour and conscience would prove very weak defences. At last I came to a resolution to go on in my sins, and that designedly, which without doubt is the more sinful in the eyes of God, but with regard to the world is certainly the best policy, because he that acts thus always takes care beforehand to cover part of his failings, and thereby to avoid the jumbling together of sin and devotion, than which nothing can be more dangerous and ridiculous in a clergyman. This was my disposition, which was not the most pious in the world nor yet the wickedest, for I was fully determined to discharge all the duties of my profession faithfully, and exert my utmost to save other souls, though I took no care of my own.

The Archbishop, who was the weakest of mortals, was, nevertheless, by a common fatality attending such men, the most vainglorious; he yielded precedence to every petty officer of the Crown, and yet in his own house would not give the right-hand to any person of quality that came to him about business. My behaviour was the reverse of his in almost everything; I gave the right-hand to all strangers in my own house, and attended them even to their coach, for which I was commended by some for my civility and by others for my humility. I avoided appearing in public assemblies among people of quality till I had established a reputation. When I thought I had done so, I took the opportunity of the sealing of a marriage contract to dispute my rank with M. de Guise. I had carefully studied the laws of my diocese and got others to do it for me, and my right was indisputable in my own province. The precedence was adjudged in my favour by a decree of the Council, and I found, by the great number of gentlemen who then appeared for me, that to condescend to men of low degree is the surest way to equal those of the highest.

I dined almost every day with Cardinal Mazarin, who liked me the better because I refused to engage myself in the cabal called “The Importants,” though many of the members were my dearest friends. M. de Beaufort, a man of very mean parts, was so much out of temper because the Queen had put her confidence in Cardinal Mazarin, that, though her Majesty offered him favours with profusion, he would accept none, and affected to give himself the airs of an angry lover. He held aloof from the Duc d’Orleans, insulted the late Prince, and, in order to support himself against the Queen-regent, the chief minister, and all the Princes of the blood, formed a cabal of men who all died mad, and whom I never took for conjurers from the first time I knew them. Such were Beaupre, Fontrailles, Fiesque, Montresor, who had the austerity of Cato, but not his sagacity, and M. de Bethune, who obliged M. de Beaufort to make me great overtures, which I received very respectfully, but entered into none. I told Montresor that I was indebted to the Queen for the coadjutorship of Paris, and that that was enough to keep me from entering into any engagement that might be disagreeable to her Majesty. Montresor said I was not obliged for it to the Queen, it having been ordered before by the late King, and given me at a crisis when she was not in a condition to refuse it. I replied, “Permit me, monsieur, to forget everything that may diminish my gratitude, and to remember that only which may increase it.” These words were afterwards repeated to Cardinal Mazarin, who was so pleased with me that he repeated them to the Queen.

The families of Orleans and Conde, being united by interest, made a jest of that surly look from which Beaufort’s cabal were termed “The Importants,” and at the same time artfully made use of the grand appearance which Beaufort (like those who carry more sail than ballast) never failed to assume upon the most trifling occasions. His counsels were unseasonable, his meetings to no purpose, and even his hunting matches became mysterious. In short, Beaufort was arrested at the Louvre by a captain of the Queen’s Guards, and carried on the 2d of September, 1643, to Vincennes. The cabal of “The Importants” was put to flight and dispersed, and it was reported over all the kingdom that they had made an attempt against the Cardinal’s life, which I do not believe, because I never saw anything in confirmation of it, though many of the domestics of the family of Vendome were a long time in prison upon this account.

The Marquis de Nangis, who was enraged both against the Queen and Cardinal, for reasons which I shall tell you afterwards, was strongly tempted to come into this cabal a few days before Beaufort was arrested, but I dissuaded him by telling him that fashion is powerful in all the affairs of life, but more remarkably so as to a man’s being in favour or disgrace at Court. There are certain junctures when disgrace, like fire, purifies all the bad qualities, and sets a lustre on all the good ones, and also there are times when it does not become an honest man to be out of favour at Court. I applied this to the gentlemen of the aforesaid cabal.

I must confess, to the praise of Cardinal de Richelieu, that he had formed two vast designs worthy of a Caesar or an Alexander: that of suppressing the Protestants had been projected before by Cardinal de Retz, my uncle; but that of attacking the formidable house of Austria was never thought of by any before the Cardinal. He completed the first design, and had made great progress in the latter.

That the King’s death made no alteration in affairs was owing to the bravery of the Prince de Conde and the famous battle of Rocroi, in 1643, which contributed both to the peace and glory of the kingdom, and covered the cradle of the present King with laurels. Louis XIV.‘s father, who neither loved nor esteemed his Queen, provided him a Council, upon his death-bed, for limiting the authority of the Regency, and named the Cardinal Mazarin, M. Seguier, M. Bouthillier, and M. de Chavigni; but being all Richelieu’s creatures, they were so hated by the public that when the King was dead they were hissed at by all the footmen at Saint Germain, and if De Beaufort had had a grain of sense, or if De Beauvais had not been a disgraceful bishop, or if my father had but entered into the administration, these collateral Regents would have been undoubtedly expelled with ignominy, and the memory of Cardinal de Richelieu been branded by the Parliament with shouts of joy.

The Queen was adored much more for her troubles than for her merit. Her admirers had never seen her but under persecution; and in persons of her rank, suffering is one of the greatest virtues. People were apt to fancy that she was patient to a degree of indolence. In a word, they expected wonders from her; and Bautru used to say she had already worked a miracle because the most devout had forgotten her coquetry. The Duc d’Orleans, who made a show as if he would have disputed the Regency with the Queen, was contented to be Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom. The Prince de Conde was declared President of the Council, and the Parliament confirmed the Regency to the Queen without limitation. The exiles were called home, prisoners set at liberty, and criminals pardoned. They who had been turned out were replaced in their respective employments, and nothing that was asked was refused. The happiness of private families seemed to be fully secured in the prosperity of the State. The perfect union of the royal family settled the peace within doors; and the battle of Rocroi was such a blow to the Spanish infantry that they could not recover in an age. They saw at the foot of the throne, where the fierce and terrible Richelieu used to thunder rather than govern, a mild and gentle successor,—[Cardinal Julius Mazarin, Minister of State, who died at Vincennes in 1661.]—who was perfectly complacent and extremely troubled that his dignity of Cardinal did not permit him to be as humble to all men as he desired; and who, when he went abroad, had no other attendants than two footmen behind his coach. Had not I, then, reason for saying that it did not become an honest man to be on bad terms with the Court at that time of day?

You will wonder, no doubt, that nobody was then aware of the consequence of imprisoning M. de Beaufort, when the prison doors were set open to all others. This bold stroke—at a time when the Government was so mild that its authority was hardly felt—had a very great effect. Though nothing was more easy, as you have seen, yet it looked grand; and all acts of this nature are very successful because they are attended with dignity without any odium. That which generally draws an unaccountable odium upon even the most necessary actions of statesmen, is that, in order to compass them, they are commonly obliged to struggle with very great difficulties, which, when they are surmounted, are certain to render them objects both of envy and hatred. When a considerable occasion offers, where there is no victory to be gained because there is no difficulty to encounter, which is very rare, it gives a lustre to the authority of ministers which is pure, innocent, and without a shadow, and not only establishes it, but casts upon their administration the merit of actions which they have no hand in, as well as those of which they have.

When the world saw that the Cardinal had apprehended the man who had lately brought the King back to Paris with inconceivable pride, men’s imaginations were seized with an astonishing veneration. People thought themselves much obliged to the Minister that some were not sent to the Bastille every week; and the sweetness of his temper was sure to be commended whenever he had not an opportunity of doing them harm. It must be owned that he had the art of improving his good luck to the best advantage. He made use of all the outward appearances necessary to create a belief that he had been forced to take violent measures, and that the counsels of the Duc d’Orleans and the Prince de Conde had determined the Queen to reject his advice; the day following he seemed to be more moderate, civil, and frank than before; he gave free access to all; audiences were easily had, it was no more to dine with him than with a private gentleman. He had none of that grand air so common to the meaner cardinals. In short, though he was at the head of everybody, yet he managed as if he were only their companion. That which astonishes me most is that the princes and grandees of the kingdom, who, one might expect, would be more quick-sighted than the common people, were the most blinded.

The Duc d’Orleans and the Prince de Conde—the latter attached to the Court by his covetous temper—thought themselves above being rivalled; the Duke—[Henri de Bourbon, Duc d’Enghien, born 1646, died 1686. We shall often speak of him in this history.]—was old enough to take his repose under the shadow of his laurels; M. de Nemours—[Charles Amadeus of Savoy, killed in a duel by M. de Beaufort, 1650.]—was but a child; M. de Guise, lately returned from Brussels, was governed by Madame de Pons, and thought to govern the whole Court; M. de Schomberg complied all his life long with the humour of those who were at the helm; M. de Grammont was a slave to them. The Parliament, being delivered from the tyranny of Richelieu, imagined the golden age was returning, being daily assured by the Prime Minister that the Queen would not take one step without them. The clergy, who are always great examples of slavish servitude themselves, preached it to others under the plausible title of passive obedience. Thus both clergy and laity were, in an instant, become the devotees of Mazarin.

Being ordered by my Lord Archbishop of Paris to take care of his diocese in his absence, my first business was, by the Queen’s express command, to visit the Nuns of the Conception, where, knowing that there were above fourscore virgins, many of whom were very pretty and some coquettes, I was very loth to go for fear, of exposing my virtue to temptation; but I could not be excused, so I went, and preserved my virtue, to my neighbour’s edification, because for six weeks together I did not see the face of any one of the nuns, nor talked to any of them but when their veils were down, which gave me a vast reputation for chastity. I continued to perform all the necessary functions in the diocese as far as the jealousy of my uncle would give me leave, and, forasmuch as he was generally so peevish that it was a very hard matter to please him, I at length chose to sit still and do nothing. Thus I made the best use imaginable of my uncle’s ill-nature, being sure to convince him of my honest intentions upon all occasions; whereas had I been my own master, the rules of good conduct would have obliged me to confine myself to things in their own nature practicable.

The Cardinal Mazarin confessed to me, many years afterwards, that this conduct of mine in managing the affairs of the diocese, though it did him no injury, was the first thing that made him jealous of my growing greatness in Paris. Another thing alarmed him with as little reason, and that was my undertaking to examine the capacity of all the priests of my diocese, a thing of inconceivable use and importance. For this end I erected three tribunals, composed of canons, curates, and men of religious orders, who were to reduce all the priests under three different classes, whereof the first was to consist of men well qualified, who were therefore to be left in the exercise of their functions; the second was to comprehend those who were not at present, but might in time prove able men; and the third of such men as were neither now nor ever likely to become so. The two last classes, being separated from the first, were not to exercise their functions, but were lodged in separate houses; those of the second class were instructed in the doctrine, but the third only in the practice of piety. As this could not but be very expensive, the good people opened their purses and contributed liberally. The Cardinal was so disturbed when he heard of it that he got the Queen to send for my uncle upon a frivolous occasion, who, for reasons as frivolous, ordered me to desist. Though I was very well informed, by my good friend the Almoner, that the blow came from Court, I bore it with a great deal more patience than was consistent with a man of my spirit, for I did not seem to take the least notice of it, but was as gracious to the Cardinal as ever. But I was not so wary in another case which happened some time after, for honest Morangis telling me I was too extravagant, which was but too true, I answered him rashly, “I have made a calculation that Caesar, when at my age, owed six times as much.” This remark was carried, unluckily, by a doctor then present, to M. Servien, who told it maliciously to the Cardinal, who made a jest of it, as he had reason to do, but he took notice of it, for which I cannot blame him.

In 1645 I was invited, as a diocesan, to the assembly of the clergy, which, I may truly say, was the rock whereon the little share of favour I had at Court was cast away. Cardinal de Richelieu had given a cruel blow to the dignity and liberty of the clergy in the assembly of Mantes, and, with very barbarous circumstances, had banished six of his most considerable prelates. It was resolved in this assembly of 1645 to make them some amends for their firmness on that occasion by inviting them to come and take their places—though they were not deputed—among their brethren. When this was first, proposed in the assembly, nobody dreamt that the Court would take offence at it, and it falling to my turn to speak first, I proposed the said resolution, as it had been concerted betwixt us before in private conversation, and it was unanimously approved of by the assembly.

At my return home the Queen’s purse-bearer came to me with an order to attend her Majesty forthwith, which I accordingly obeyed. When I came into her presence she said she could not have believed I would ever have been wanting in my duty to that degree as to wound the memory of the late King, her lord. I had such reasons to offer as she could not herself confute, and therefore referred me to the Cardinal, but I found he understood those things no better than her Majesty. He spoke to me with the haughtiest air in the world, refused to hear my justification, and commanded me in the King’s name to retract publicly the next day in full assembly. You may imagine how difficult it was for me to resolve what to do. However, I did not break out beyond the bounds of modest respect, and, finding that my submission made no impression upon the Cardinal, I got the Bishop of Arles, a wise and moderate gentleman, to go to him along with me, and to join with me in offering our reasons. But we found his Eminence a very ignoramus in ecclesiastical polity. I only mention this to let you see that in my first misunderstanding with the Court I was not to blame, and that my respect for the Cardinal upon the Queen’s account was carried to an excess of patience.

Some months after, his profound ignorance and envenomed malice furnished me with a fresh occasion to exercise patience. The Bishop of Warmia, one of the ambassadors that came to fetch the Queen of Poland, was very desirous to celebrate the marriage in the Church of Notre-Dame. Though the archbishops of Paris never suffered solemnities of this kind to be celebrated in their churches by any but cardinals of the royal family, and though my uncle had been highly blamed by all his clergy for permitting the Cardinal de La Rochefoucault to marry the Queen of England,—[Henriette Marie of France, daughter of Henri IV., died 1669.]—nevertheless I was ordered by a ‘lettre de cachet’ to prepare the said Church of Notre Dame for the Bishop of Warmia, which order ran in the same style as that given to the ‘prevot des marchands’ when he is to prepare the Hotel de Ville for a public ball. I showed the letter to the deans and canons, and said I did not doubt but it was a stratagem of one or other of the Secretary of State’s clerks to get a gift of money.

I thereupon went to the Cardinal, pressed him with both reasons and precedents, and said that, as I was his particular humble servant, I hoped he would be pleased to lay them before her Majesty, making use of all other persuasion—which I thought would dispose him to a compliance. It was then that I learned that he only wanted an opportunity to embroil me with the Queen, for though I saw plainly that he was sorry he had given such orders before he knew their consequence, yet, after some pause, he reassumed his former obstinacy to the very last degree; and, because I spoke in the name of the Archbishop and of the whole Church of Paris, he stormed as much as if a private person upon his own authority had presumed to make a speech to him at the head of fifty malcontents. I endeavoured with all respect to show him that our case was quite different; but he was so ignorant of our manners and customs that he took everything by the wrong handle. He ended the conversation very abruptly and rudely, and referred me to the Queen. I found her Majesty in a fretful mood, and all I could get out of her was a promise to hear the chapter upon this affair, without whose consent—I had declared I could not conclude anything.

I sent for them accordingly, and having introduced them to the Queen, they spoke very discreetly and to the purpose. The Queen sent us back to the Cardinal, who entertained us only with impertinences, and as he had but a superficial knowledge of the French language, he concluded by telling me that I had talked very insolently to him the night before. You may imagine that that word was enough to vex me, but having resolved beforehand to keep my temper, I smiled, and said to the deputies, “Gentlemen, this is fine language.” He was nettled at my smile, and said to me in aloud tone, “Do you know whom you talk to? I will teach you how to behave.” Now, I confess, my blood began to boil. I told him that the Coadjutor of Paris was talking to Cardinal Mazarin, but that perhaps he thought himself the Cardinal de Lorraine, and me the Bishop of Metz, his suffragan.

Then we went away and met the Marechal d’Estrees coming up to us, who came to advise me not to break with the Court, and to tell me that things might be arranged; and when he found I was of another opinion, he told me in plain terms that he had orders from the Queen to oblige me to come to her. I went without more ado, accompanied by the deputies, and found her more gracious and better humoured than I am able to express. She told me that she had a mind to see me, not so much in relation to our affair, which might be easily accommodated, as to reprimand me for using such language to the poor Cardinal, who was as meek as a lamb, and loved me as his own son. She added all the kind things possible, and ordered the dean and deputies to go along with me to the Cardinal’s house, that we might consult together what course to take. This was so much against my inclination that I gave the Queen to understand that no person in the world but her Majesty could have persuaded me to it.

We found the Minister even milder than his mistress. He made a world of excuses for the word “insolent,” by which he said, and perhaps it may be true, that he meant no more than ‘insolito’, a word signifying “somewhat uncommon.” He showed me all the civility imaginable, but, instead of coming to any determination, put us off to another opportunity. A few days after, a letter was brought me at midnight from the Archbishop, commanding me to let the Bishop of Warmia perform the marriage without any more opposition.

Had I been wise I should have stopped there, because a man ought in prudence to make his peace with the Court upon any terms consistent with honour. But I was young, and the more provoked because I perceived that all the fair words given me at Fontainebleau were but a feint to gain time to write about the affair to my uncle, then at Angers. However, I said nothing to the messenger, more than that I was glad my uncle had so well brought me off. The chapter being likewise served with the same order, we sent the Court this answer: That the Archbishop might do what he listed in the nave of the church, but that the choir belonged to the chapter, and they would yield it to no man but himself or his coadjutor. The Cardinal knew the meaning of this, and thereupon resolved to have the marriage solemnised in the Chapel Royal, whereof he said the Great Almoner was bishop. But this being a yet more important question than the other, I laid the inconveniences of it before him in a letter. This nettled him, and he made a mere jest of my letter. I gave the Queen of Poland to understand that, if she were married in that manner, I should be forced, even against my will, to declare the marriage void; but that there remained one expedient which would effectually remove all difficulties,—that the marriage might be performed in the King’s Chapel, and should stand good provided that the Bishop of Warmia came to me for a license.

The Queen, resolving to lose no more time by awaiting new orders from Angers, and fearing the least flaw in her marriage, the Court was obliged to comply with my proposal, and the ceremony was performed accordingly.

Not long after this marriage I was unhappily embroiled with the Duc d’Orleans, upon an occasion of no greater importance than my foot-cloth in the Church of Notre-Dame, which was by mistake removed to his seat. I complained of it to him, and he ordered it to be restored. Nevertheless the Abby de la Riviere made him believe I had put an affront upon him that was too public to be pardoned. The Duke was so simple as to believe it, and, while the courtiers turned all into banter, he swore he would receive incense before me at the said church for the future. In the meantime the Queen sent for me, and told me that the Duke was in a terrible passion, for which she was very sorry, but that nevertheless she could not help being of his opinion, and therefore insisted upon it that I ought to give him satisfaction in the Church of Notre-Dame the Sunday following. Upon the whole she referred me to Cardinal Mazarin, who declared to me at first that he was very sorry to see me in so much trouble, blamed the Abby for having incensed the Duke to such a degree, and used all the arguments he could to wheedle me to give my consent to being degraded. And when he saw I was not to be led, he endeavoured to drive me into the snare. He stormed with an air of authority, and would fain have bullied me into compliance, telling me that hitherto he had spoken as a friend, but that I had forced him henceforth to speak as a minister. He also began to threaten, and the conversation growing warm, he sought to pick a quarrel by insinuating that if I would do as Saint Ambrose did, I ought to lead a life like him. As he spoke this loud enough to be heard by some bishops at the other end of the room, I likewise raised my voice, and told him I would endeavour to make the best use of his advice, but he might assure himself I was fully resolved so to imitate Saint Ambrose in this affair that I might, through his means, obtain grace to be able to imitate him in all others.

I had not been long gone home when the Marechal d’Estrees and M. Senneterre came, furnished with all the flowers of rhetoric, to persuade me that degradation was honourable; and finding me immovable, they insinuated that my obstinacy might oblige his Highness to use force, and order his guards to carry me, in spite of myself, to Notre-Dame, and place me there on a seat below his. I thought this suggestion too ridiculous to mind it at first, but being forewarned of it that very evening by the Duke’s Chancellor, I put myself upon the defensive, which I think is the most ridiculous piece of folly I was ever guilty of, considering it was against a son of France, and when there was a profound tranquillity in the State, without the least appearance of any commotion. The Duke, to whom I had the honour of being related, was pleased with my boldness. He remembered the Abby de la Riviere for his insolence in complaining that the Prince de Conti was marked down for a cardinal before him; besides, the Duke knew I was in the right, having made it very evident in a statement I had published upon this head. He acquainted the Cardinal with it, said he would not suffer the least violence to be offered to me; that I was both his kinsman and devoted servant, and that he would not set out for the army till he saw the affair at an end.

All the Court was in consternation for fear of a rupture, especially when the Prince de Conde had been informed by the Queen of what his son had said; and when he came to my house and found there sixty or eighty gentlemen, this made him believe that a league was already made with the Duke, but there was nothing in it. He swore, he threatened, he begged, he flattered, and in his transports he let fall some expressions which showed that the Duke was much more concerned for my interest than he ever yet owned to me. I submitted that very instant, and told the Prince that I would do anything rather than the royal family should be divided on my account. The Prince, who hitherto found me immovable, was so touched at my sudden surrender in complaisance to his son, at the very time, too, when he himself had just assured me I was to expect a powerful protection from him, that he suddenly changed his temper, so that, instead of thinking as he did at first, that there was no satisfaction great enough for the Duc d’Orleans, he now determined plainly in favour of the expedient I had so often proposed,—that I should go and declare to him, in the presence of the whole Court, that I never designed to be wanting in the respect I owed him, and that the orders of the Church had obliged me to act as I did at Notre-Dame. The Cardinal and the Abby de la Riviere were enraged to the last degree, but the Prince put them into such fear of the Duke that they were fain to submit. The Prince took me to the Duc d’Orleans’s house, where I gave them satisfaction before the whole Court, precisely in the words above mentioned. His Highness was quite satisfied with my reasons, carried me to see his medals, and thus ended the controversy.

As this affair and the marriage of the Queen of Poland had embroiled me with the Court, you may easily conceive what turn the courtiers gave to it. But here I found by experience that all the powers upon earth cannot hurt the reputation of a man who preserves it established and unspotted in the society whereof he is a member. All the learned clergy took my part, and I soon perceived that many of those who had before blamed my conduct now retracted. I made this observation upon a thousand other occasions. I even obliged the Court, some time after, to commend my proceedings, and took an opportunity to convince the Queen that it was my dignity, and not any want of respect and gratitude, that made me resist the Court in the two former cases. The Cardinal was very well pleased with me, and said in public that he found me as much concerned for the King’s service as I was before for the honour of my character.

It falling to my turn to make the speech at the breaking up of the assembly of the clergy at Paris, I had the good luck to please both the clergy and the Court. Cardinal Mazarin took me to supper with him alone, seemed to be clear of all prejudices against me, and I verily believe was fully persuaded that he had been imposed upon. But I was too much beloved in Paris to continue long in favour at Court. This was a crime that rendered me disagreeable in the eyes of a refined Italian statesman, and which was the more dangerous from the fact that I lost no opportunity of aggravating it by a natural and unaffected expense, to which my air of negligence gave a lustre, and by my great alms and bounty, which, though very often secret, had the louder echo; whereas, in truth, I had acted thus at first only in compliance with inclination and out of a sense of duty. But the necessity I was under of supporting myself against the Court obliged me to be yet more liberal. I do but just mention it here to show you that the Court was jealous of me, when I never thought myself capable of giving them the least occasion, which made me reflect that a man is oftener deceived by distrusting than by being overcredulous.

Cardinal Mazarin, who was born and bred in the Pope’s dominions, where papal authority has no limits, took the impetus given to the regal power by his tutor, the Cardinal de Richelieu, to be natural to the body politic, which mistake of his occasioned the civil war, though we must look much higher for its prime cause.

It is above 1,200 years that France has been governed by kings, but they were not as absolute at first as they are now. Indeed, their authority was never limited by written laws as are the Kings of England and Castile, but only moderated by received customs, deposited, as I may say, at first in the hands of the States of the kingdom, and afterwards in those of the Parliament. The registering of treaties with other Crowns and the ratifications of edicts for raising money are almost obliterated images of that wise medium between the exorbitant power of the Kings and the licentiousness of the people instituted by our ancestors. Wise and good Princes found that this medium was such a seasoning to their power as made it delightful to their people. On the other hand, weak and vicious Kings always hated it as an obstacle to all their extravagances. The history of the Sire de Joinville makes it evident that Saint Louis was an admirer of this scheme of government, and the writings of Oresme, Bishop of Lisieux, and of the famous Juvenal des Ursins, convince us that Charles V., who merited the surname of Wise, never thought his power to be superior to the laws and to his duty. Louis XI., more cunning than truly wise, broke his faith upon this head as well as all others. Louis XII. would have restored this balance of power to its ancient lustre if the ambition of Cardinal Amboise,—[George d’Amboise, the first of the name, in 1498 Minister to Louis XII., deceased 1510.]—who governed him absolutely, had not opposed it.

The insatiable avarice of Constable Montmorency—[Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France in 1538, died 1567.]—tended rather to enlarge than restrain the authority of Francois I. The extended views and vast designs of M. de Guise would not permit them to think of placing bounds to the prerogative under Francois II. In the reigns of Charles IX. and Henri III. the Court was so fatigued with civil broils that they took everything for rebellion which was not submission. Henri IV., who was not afraid of the laws, because he trusted in himself, showed he had a high esteem for them. The Duc de Rohan used to say that Louis XIII. was jealous of his own authority because he was ignorant of its full extent, for the Marechal d’Ancrel and M. de Luynes were mere dunces, incapable of informing him. Cardinal de Richelieu, who succeeded them, collected all the wicked designs and blunders of the two last centuries to serve his grand purpose. He laid them down as proper maxims for establishing the King’s authority, and, fortune seconding his designs by the disarming of the Protestants in France, by the victories of the Swedes, by the weakness of the Empire and of Spain, he established the most scandalous and dangerous tyranny that perhaps ever enslaved a State in the best constituted monarchy under the sun.

Custom, which has in some countries inured men even to broil as it were in the heat of the sun, has made things familiar to us which our forefathers dreaded more than fire itself. We no longer feel the slavery which they abhorred more for the interest of their King than for their own. Cardinal de Richelieu counted those things crimes which before him were looked upon as virtues. The Mirons, Harlays, Marillacs, Pibracs, and the Fayes, those martyrs of the State who dispelled more factions by their wholesome maxims than were raised in France by Spanish or British gold, were defenders of the doctrine for which the Cardinal de Richelieu confined President Barillon in the prison of Amboise. And the Cardinal began to punish magistrates for advancing those truths which they were obliged by their oaths to defend at the hazard of their lives.

Our wise Kings, who understood their true interest, made the Parliament the depositary of their ordinances, to the end that they might exempt themselves from part of the odium that sometimes attends the execution of the most just and necessary decrees. They thought it no disparagement to their royalty to be bound by them,—like unto God, who himself obeys the laws he has preordained. [‘A good government: where the people obey their king and the king obeys the law’—Solon. D.W.] Ministers of State, who are generally so blinded by the splendour of their fortune as never to be content with what the laws allow, make it their business to overturn them; and Cardinal de Richelieu laboured at it more constantly than any other, and with equal application and imprudence.

God only is self-existent and independent; the most rightful monarchs and established monarchies in the world cannot possibly be supported but by the conjunction of arms and laws,—a union so necessary that the one cannot subsist without the other. Laws without the protection of arms sink into contempt, and arms which are not tempered by laws quickly turn a State into anarchy. The Roman commonwealth being set aside by Julius Caesar, the supreme power which was devolved upon his successors by force of arms subsisted no longer than they were able to maintain the authority of the laws; for as soon as the laws lost their force, the power of the Roman Emperors vanished, and the very men that were their favourites, having got possession of their seals and their arms, converted their masters’ substance into their own, and, as it were, sucked them dry under the shelter of those repealed laws. The Roman Empire, formerly sold by auction to the highest bidder, and the Turkish emperors, whose necks are exposed every day to the bowstring, show us in very bloody characters the blindness of those men that make authority to consist only in force.

But why need we go abroad for examples when we have so many at home? Pepin, in dethroning the Merovingian family, and Capet, in dispossessing the Carlovingians, made use of nothing else but the same power which the ministers, their predecessors, had acquired under the authority of their masters; and it is observable that the mayors of the Palace and the counts of Paris placed themselves on the thrones of kings exactly by the same methods that gained them their masters’ favours,—that is, by weakening and changing the laws of the land, which at first always pleases weak princes, who fancy it aggrandises their power; but in its consequence it gives a power to the great men and motives to the common people to rebel against their authority. Cardinal de Richelieu was cunning enough to have all these views, but he sacrificed everything to his interest. He would govern according to his own fancy, which scorned to be tied to rules, even in cases where it would have cost him nothing to observe them. And he acted his part so well that, if his successor had been a man of his abilities, I doubt not that the title of Prime Minister, which he was the first to assume, would have been as odious in France in a little time as were those of the Maire du Palais and the Comte de Paris. But by the providence of God, Cardinal Mazarin, who succeeded him, was not capable of giving the State any jealousy of his usurpation. As these two ministers contributed chiefly, though in a different way, to the civil war, I judge it highly necessary to give you the particular character of each, and to draw a parallel between them.

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Cardinal de Richelieu was well descended; his merit sparkled even in his youth. He was taken notice of at the Sorbonne, and it was very soon observed that he had a strong genius and a lively fancy. He was commonly happy in the choice of his parties. He was a man of his word, unless great interests swayed him to the contrary, and in such a case he was very artful to preserve all the appearances of probity. He was not liberal, yet he gave more than he promised, and knew admirably well how to season all his favours. He was more ambitious than was consistent with the rules of morality, although it must be owned that, whenever he dispensed with them in favour of his extravagant ambition, his great merit made it almost excusable. He neither feared dangers nor yet despised them, and prevented more by his sagacity than he surmounted by his resolution. He was a hearty friend, and even wished to be beloved by the people; but though he had civility, a good aspect, and all the other qualifications to gain that love, yet he still wanted something—I know not what to call it—which is absolutely necessary in this case. By his power and royal state he debased and swallowed up the personal majesty of the King. He distinguished more judiciously than any man in the world between bad and worse, good and better, which is a great qualification in a minister. He was too apt to be impatient at mere trifles when they had relation to things of moment; but those blemishes, owing to his lofty spirit, were always accompanied with the necessary talent of knowledge to make amends for those imperfections. He had religion enough for this world. His own good sense, or else his inclination, always led him to the practice of virtue if his self-interest did not bias him to evil, which, whenever he committed it, he did so knowingly. He extended his concern for the State no further than his own life, though no minister ever did more than he to make the world believe he had the same regard for the future. In a word, all his vices were such that they received a lustre from his great fortune, because they were such as could have no other instruments to work with but great virtues. You will easily conceive that a man who possessed such excellent qualities, and appeared to have as many more,—which he had not,—found it no hard task to preserve that respect among mankind which freed him from contempt, though not from hatred.

Cardinal Mazarin’s character was the reverse of the former; his birth was mean, and his youth scandalous. He was thrashed by one Moretto, a goldsmith of Rome, as he was going out of the amphitheatre, for having played the sharper. He was a captain in a foot regiment, and Bagni, his general, told me that while he was under his command, which was but three months, he was only looked upon as a cheat. By the interest of Cardinal Antonio Barberini, he was sent as Nuncio Extraordinary to France, which office was not obtained in those days by fair means. He so tickled Chavigni by his loose Italian stories that he was shortly after introduced to Cardinal de Richelieu, who made him Cardinal with the same view which, it is thought, determined the Emperor Augustus to leave the succession of the Empire to Tiberius. He was still Richelieu’s obsequious, humble servant, notwithstanding the purple. The Queen making choice of him, for want of another, his pedigree was immediately derived from a princely family. The rays of fortune having dazzled him and everybody about him, he rose, and they glorified him for a second Richelieu, whom he had the impudence to ape, though he had nothing of him; for what his predecessor counted honourable he esteemed scandalous. He made a mere jest of religion. He promised everything without scruple; at the same time he intended to perform nothing. He was neither good-natured nor cruel, for he never remembered either good offices or bad ones. He loved himself too well, which is natural to a sordid soul; and feared himself too little, the true characteristic of those that have no regard for their reputation. He foresaw an evil well enough, because he was usually timid, but never applied a suitable remedy, because he had more fear than wisdom. He had wit, indeed, together with a most insinuating address and a gay, courtly behaviour; but a villainous heart appeared constantly through all, to such a degree as betrayed him to be a fool in adversity and a knave in prosperity. In short, he was the first minister that could be called a complete trickster, for which reason his administration, though successful and absolute, never sat well upon him, for contempt—the most dangerous disease of any State—crept insensibly into the Ministry and easily diffused its poison from the head to the members.

You will not wonder, therefore, that there were so many unlucky cross rubs in an administration which so soon followed that of Cardinal de Richelieu and was so different from it. It is certain that the imprisonment of M. de Beaufort impressed the people with a respect for Mazarin, which the lustre of his purple would never have procured from private men. Ondedei (since Bishop of Frejus) told me that the Cardinal jested with him upon the levity of the French nation on this point, and that at the end of four months the Cardinal had set himself up in his own opinion for a Richelieu, and even thought he had greater abilities. It would take up volumes to record all his faults, the least of which were very important in one respect which deserves a particular remark. As he trod in the steps of Cardinal de Richelieu, who had completely abolished all the ancient maxims of government, he went in a path surrounded with precipices, which Richelieu was aware of and took care to avoid. But Cardinal Mazarin made no use of those props by which Richelieu kept his footing. For instance, though Cardinal de Richelieu affected to humble whole bodies and societies, yet he studied to oblige individuals, which is sufficient to give you an idea of all the rest. He had indeed some unaccountable illusions, which he pushed to the utmost extremity. The most dangerous kind of illusion in State affairs is a sort of lethargy that never happens without showing pronounced symptoms. The abolishing of ancient laws, the destruction of that golden medium which was established between the Prince and the people, and the setting up a power purely and absolutely despotic, were the original causes of those political convulsions which shook France in the days of our forefathers.

Cardinal de Richelieu managed the kingdom as mountebanks do their patients, with violent remedies which put strength into it; but it was only a convulsive strength, which exhausted its vital organs. Cardinal Mazarin, like a very unskilful physician, did not observe that the vital organs were decayed, nor had he the skill to support them by the chemical preparations of his predecessor; his only remedy was to let blood, which he drew so plentifully that the patient fell into a lethargy, and our medicaster was yet so stupid as to mistake this lethargy for a real state of health. The provinces, abandoned to the rapine of the superintendents, were stifled, as it were, under the pressure of their heavy misfortunes, and the efforts they made to shake them off in the time of Richelieu added only to their weight and bitterness. The Parliaments, which had so lately groaned under tyranny, were in a manner insensible to present miseries by a too fresh and lively remembrance of their past troubles. The grandees, who had for the most part been banished from the kingdom, were glad to have returned, and therefore took their fill of ease and pleasure. If our quack had but humoured this universal indolence with soporifics, the general drowsiness might have continued much longer, but thinking it to be nothing but natural sleep, he applied no remedy at all. The disease gained strength, grew worse and worse, the patient awakened, Paris became sensible of her condition; she groaned, but nobody minded it, so that she fell into a frenzy, whereupon the patient became raving mad.

But now to come to particulars. Emeri, Superintendent of the Finances, and in my opinion the most corrupt man of the age, multiplied edicts as fast as he could find names to call them by. I cannot give you a better idea of the man than by repeating what I heard him say in full Council,—that faith was for tradesmen only, and that the Masters of Requests who urged faith to be observed in the King’s affairs deserved to be punished. This man, who had in his youth been condemned to be hanged at Lyons, absolutely governed Mazarin in all the domestic affairs of the kingdom. I mention this, among many other instances which I could produce of the same nature, to let you see that a nation does not feel the extremity of misery till its governors have lost all shame, because that is the instant when the subjects throw off all respect and awake convulsively out of their lethargy.

The Swiss seemed, as it were, crushed under the weight of their chains, when three of their powerful cantons revolted and formed themselves into a league. The Dutch thought of nothing but an entire subjection to the tyrant Duke of Alva, when the Prince of Orange, by the peculiar destiny of great geniuses, who see further into the future than all the world besides, conceived a plan and restored their liberty. The reason of all this is plain: that which causes a supineness in suffering States is the duration of the evil, which inclines the sufferers to believe it will never have an end; as soon as they have hopes of getting out of it, which never fails when the evil has arrived at a certain pitch, they are so surprised, so glad, and so transported, that they run all of a sudden into the other extreme, and are so far from thinking revolutions impossible that they suppose them easy, and such a disposition alone is sometimes able to bring them about; witness the late revolution in France. Who could have imagined, three months before the critical period of our disorders, that such a revolution could have happened in a kingdom where all the branches of the royal family were strictly united, where the Court was a slave to the Prime Minister, where the capital city and all the provinces were in subjection to him, where the armies were victorious, and where the corporations and societies seemed to have no power?—whoever, I say, had said this would have been thought a madman, not only in the judgment of the vulgar, but in the opinion of a D’Estrees or a Senneterre.

In August, 1647, there was a mighty clamour against the tariff edict imposing a general tax upon all provisions that came into Paris, which the people were resolved to bear no longer. But the gentlemen of the Council being determined to support it, the Queen consulted the members deputed from Parliament, when Cardinal Mazarin, a mere ignoramus in these affairs, said he wondered that so considerable a body as they were should mind such trifles,—an expression truly worthy of Mazarin. However, the Council at length imagining the Parliament would do it, thought fit to suppress the tariff themselves by a declaration, in order to save the King’s credit. Nevertheless, a few days after, they presented five edicts even more oppressive than the tariff, not with any hopes of having them received, but to force the Parliament to restore the tariff. Rather than admit the new ones, the Parliament consented to restore the old one, but with so many qualifications that the Court, despairing to find their account in it, published a decree of the Supreme Council annulling that of the Parliament with all its modifications. But the Chamber of Vacations answered it by another, enjoining the decree of Parliament to be put in execution. The Council, seeing they could get no money by this method, acquainted the Parliament that, since they would receive no new edicts, they could do no less than encourage the execution of such edicts as they had formerly ratified; and thereupon they trumped up a declaration which had been registered two years before for the establishment of the Chamber of Domain, which was a terrible charge upon the people, had very pernicious consequences, and which the Parliament had passed, either through a surprise or want of better judgment. The people mutinied, went in crowds to the Palace, and used very abusive language to the President de Thore, Emeri’s son. The Parliament was obliged to pass a decree against the mutineers.

The Court, overjoyed to see the Parliament and the people together by the ears, supported the decree by a regiment of French and Swiss Guards. The Parisians were alarmed, and got into the belfries of three churches in the street of Saint Denis, where the guards were posted. The Provost ran to acquaint the Court that the city was just taking arms. Upon which they ordered the troops to retire, and pretended they were posted there for no other end than to attend the King as he went to the Church of Notre Dame; and the better to cover their design, the King went next day in great pomp to the said church, and the day after he went to Parliament, without giving notice of his coming till very late the night before, and carried with him five or six edicts more destructive than the former. The First President spoke very boldly against bringing the King into the House after this manner, to surprise the members and infringe upon their liberty of voting. Next day the Masters of Requests, to whom one of these edicts, confirmed in the King’s presence, had added twelve colleagues, met and took a firm resolution not to admit of this new creation. The Queen sent for them, told them they were very pretty gentlemen to oppose the King’s will, and forbade them to come to Council. Instead of being frightened, they were the more provoked, and, going into the Great Hall, demanded that they might have leave to enter their protest against the edict for creating new members, which was granted.

The Chambers being assembled the same day to examine the edicts which the King had caused to be ratified in his presence, the Queen commanded them to attend her by their deputies in the Palais Royal, and told them she was surprised that they pretended to meddle with what had been consecrated by the presence of the King. These were the very words of the Chancellor. The First President answered that it was the custom of Parliament, and showed the necessity of it for preserving the liberty of voting. The Queen seemed to be satisfied; but, finding some days after that the Parliament was consulting as to qualifying those edicts, and so render them of little or no use, she ordered the King’s Council to forbid the Parliament meddling with the King’s edicts till they had declared formally whether they intended to limit the King’s authority. Those members that were in the Court interest artfully took advantage of the dilemma the Parliament was in to answer the question, and, in order to mollify them, tacked a clause to the decrees which specified the restrictions, namely, that all should be executed according to the good pleasure of the King. This clause pleased the Queen for a while, but when she perceived that it did not prevent the rejecting of almost any other edict by the common suffrage of the Parliament, she flew into a passion, and told them plainly that she would have all the edicts, without exception, fully executed, without any modifications whatsoever.

Not long after this, the Court of Aids, the Chamber of Accounts, the Grand Council, and the Parliament formed a union which was pretended to be for the reformation of the State, but was more probably calculated for the private interest of the officers, whose salaries were lessened by one of the said edicts. And the Court, being alarmed and utterly perplexed by the decree for the said union, endeavoured, as much as in them lay, to give it this turn, to make the people have a mean opinion of it. The Queen acquainted the Parliament by some of the King’s Council that, seeing this union was entered into for the particular interest of the companies, and not for the reformation of the State, as they endeavoured to persuade her, she had nothing to say to it, as everybody is at liberty to represent his case to the King, but never to intermeddle with the government of the State.

The Parliament did not relish this ensnaring discourse, and because they were exasperated by the Court’s apprehending some of the members of the Grand Council, they thought of nothing but justifying and supporting their decree of union by finding out precedents, which they accordingly met with in the registers, and were going to consider how to put it in execution when one of the Secretaries of State came to the bar of the house, and put into the hands of the King’s Council a decree of the Supreme Council which, in very truculent terms, annulled that of the union. Upon this the Parliament desired a meeting with the deputies of the other three bodies, at which the Court was enraged, and had recourse to the mean expedient of getting the very original decree of union out of the hands of the chief registrar; for that end they sent the Secretary of State and a lieutenant of the Guards, who put him into a coach to drive him to the office, but the people perceiving it, were up in arms immediately, and both the secretary and lieutenant were glad to get off.

After this there was a great division in the Council, and some said the Queen was disposed to arrest the Parliament; but none but herself was of that opinion, which, indeed, was not likely to be acted upon, considering how the people then stood affected. Therefore a more moderate course was taken. The Chancellor reprimanded the Parliament in the presence of the King and Court, and ordered a second decree of Council to be read and registered instead of the union decree, forbidding them to assemble under pain of being treated as rebels. They met, nevertheless, in defiance of the said decree, and had several days’ consultation, upon which the Duc d’Orleans, who was very sensible they would never comply, proposed an accommodation. Accordingly Cardinal Mazarin and the Chancellor made some proposals, which were rejected with indignation. The Parliament affected to be altogether concerned for the good of the public, and issued a decree obliging themselves to continue their session and to make humble remonstrances to the King for annulling the decrees of the Council.

The King’s Council having obtained audience of the Queen for the Parliament, the First President strenuously urged the great necessity of inviolably preferring that golden mean between the King and the subject; proved that the Parliament had been for many ages in possession of full authority to unite and assemble; complained against the annulling of their decree of union, and concluded with a very earnest motion for suppressing decrees of the Supreme Council made in opposition to theirs. The Court, being moved more by the disposition of the people than by the remonstrances of the Parliament, complied immediately, and ordered the King’s Council to acquaint the Parliament that the King would permit the act of union to be executed, and that they might assemble and act in concert with the other bodies for the good of the State.

You may judge how the Cabinet was mortified, but the vulgar were much mistaken in thinking that the weakness of Mazarin upon this occasion gave the least blow to the royal authority. In that conjuncture it was impossible for him to act otherwise, for if he had continued inflexible on this occasion he would certainly have been reckoned a madman and surrounded with barricades. He only yielded to the torrent, and yet most people accused him of weakness. It is certain this affair brought him into great contempt, and though he endeavoured to appease the people by the banishment of Emeri, yet the Parliament, perceiving what ascendancy they had over the Court, left no stone unturned to demolish the power of this overgrown favourite.

The Cardinal, made desperate by the failure of his stratagems to create jealousy among the four bodies, and alarmed at a proposition which they were going to make for cancelling all the loans made to the King upon excessive interest,—the Cardinal, I say, being quite mad with rage and grief at these disappointments, and set on by courtiers who had most of their stocks in these loans, made the King go on horseback to the Parliament House in great pomp, and carry a wheedling declaration with him, which contained some articles very advantageous to the public, and a great many others very ambiguous. But the people were so jealous of the Court that he went without the usual acclamations. The declaration was soon after censured by the Parliament and the other bodies, though the Duc d’Orleans exhorted and prayed that they would not meddle with it, and threatened them if they did.

The Parliament also passed a decree declaring that no money should be raised without verified declarations, which so provoked the Court that they resolved to proceed to extremities, and to make use of the signal victory which was obtained at Lens on the 24th of August, 1648, to dazzle the eyes of the people and gain their consent to oppressing the Parliament.

All the humours of the State were so disturbed by the great troubles at Paris, the fountainhead, that I foresaw a fever would be the certain consequence, because the physician had not the skill to prevent it. As I owed the coadjutorship of the archbishopric to the Queen, I thought it my duty in every circumstance to sacrifice my resentment, and even the probability of glory, to gratitude; and notwithstanding all the solicitations of Montresor and Laigues, I made a firm resolution to stick close to my own business and not to engage in anything that was either said or done against the Court at that time. Montresor had been brought up from his youth in the faction of the Duc d’Orleans, and, having more wit than courage, was so much the more dangerous an adviser in great affairs; men of this cast only suggest measures and leave them to be executed by others. Laigues, on the other hand, who was entirely governed by Montresor, had not much brains, but was all bravery and feared nothing; men of this character dare do anything they are set upon by those who confide in them.

Finding that my innocence and integrity gained me no friends at Court, and that I had nothing to expect from the Minister, who mortally hated me, I resolved to be upon my guard, by acting in respect to the Court with as much freedom as zeal and sincerity; and in respect to the city, by carefully preserving my friends, and doing everything necessary to get, or, rather, to keep, the love of the people. To maintain my interest in the city, I laid out 36,000 crowns in alms and other bounties, from the 26th of March to the 25th of August, 1648; and to please the Court I told the Queen and Cardinal how the Parisians then stood affected, which they never knew before, through flattery and prejudice. I also complained to the Queen of the Cardinal’s cunning and dissimulation, and made use of the same intimations which I had given to the Court to show the Parliament that I had done all in my power to clearly inform the Ministry of everything and to disperse the clouds always cast over their understandings by the interest of inferior officers and the flattery of courtiers. This made the Cardinal break with me and thwart me openly at every opportunity, insomuch that when I was telling the Queen in his presence that the people in general were so soured that nothing but lenitives could abate their rancour, he answered me with the Italian fable of the wolf who swore to a flock of sheep that he would protect them against all his comrades provided one of them would come every morning and lick a wound he had received from a dog. He entertained me with the like witticisms three or four months together, of which this was one of the most favourable, whereupon I made these reflections that it was more unbecoming a Minister of State to say silly things than to do them, and that any advice given him was criminal.

The Cardinal pretended that the success of the King’s arms at Lens had so mortified the Court that the Parliament and the other bodies, who expected they would take a sharp revenge on them for their late conduct, would have the great satisfaction of being disappointed. I own I was fool enough to believe him, and was perfectly transported at the thought; but with what sincerity the Cardinal spoke will appear by and by.

On the 26th of August, 1648, the worthy Broussel, councillor of the Grand Chamber, and Rene Potier, Sieur de Blancmenil, President of the Inquests, were both arrested by the Queen’s officers. It is impossible to express the sudden consternation of all men, women, and children in Paris at this proceeding. The people stared at one another for awhile without saying a word. But this profound silence was suddenly attended with a confused noise of running, crying, and shutting up of shops, upon which I thought it my duty to go and wait upon the Queen, though I was sorely vexed to see how my credulity had been abused but the night before at Court, when I was desired to tell all my friends in Parliament that the victory of Lens had only disposed the Court more and more to leniency and moderation. When I came to the New Market, on my way to Court, I was surrounded with swarms of people making a frightful outcry, and had great difficulty in getting through the crowd till I had told them the Queen would certainly do them justice. The very boys hissed the soldiers of the Guard and pelted them with stones. Their commander, the Marechal de La Meilleraye, perceiving the clouds began to thicken on all sides, was overjoyed to see me, and would go with me to Court and tell the whole truth of the matter to the Queen. The people followed us in vast numbers, calling out, “Broussel, Broussel!”

The Queen, whom we found in her Cabinet Council with Mazarin and others, received me neither well nor ill, was too proud and too much out of temper to confess any shame for what she had told me the night before, and the Cardinal had not modesty enough to blush. Nevertheless he seemed very much confused, and gave some obscure hints by which I could perceive he would have me to believe that there were very sudden and extraordinary reasons which had obliged the Queen to take such measures. I simulated approval of what he said, but all the answer I returned was that I had come thither, as in duty bound, to receive the Queen’s orders and to contribute all in my power to restore the public peace and tranquillity. The Queen gave a gracious nod, but I understood afterwards that she put a sinister interpretation upon my last speech, which was nevertheless very inoffensive and perfectly consonant to my character as Coadjutor of Paris; but it is a true saying that in the Courts of princes a capacity of doing good is as dangerous and almost as criminal as a will to do mischief.

The Marechal de La Meilleraye, finding that the Abbe de la Riviere and others made mere jest and banter of the insurrection, fell into a great passion, spoke very sharply, and appealed to me. I freely gave my testimony, confirmed his account of the insurrection, and seconded him in his reflections upon the future consequences. We had no other return from the Cardinal than a malicious sneer, but the Queen lifted up her shrill voice to the highest note of indignation, and expressed herself to this effect: “It is a sign of disaffection to imagine that the people are capable of revolting. These are ridiculous stories that come from persons who talk as they would have it; the King’s authority will set matters right.”

The Cardinal, perceiving that I was a little nettled, endeavoured to soothe me by this address to the Queen: “Would to God, madame, that all men did but talk with the same sincerity as the Coadjutor of Paris. He is greatly concerned for his flock, for the city, and for your Majesty’s authority, and though I am persuaded that the danger is not so great as he imagines, yet his scruples in this case are to be commended in him as laudable and religious.” The Queen understood the meaning of this cant, recovered herself all of a sudden, and spoke to me very civilly; to which I answered with profound respect and so innocent a countenance that La Riviere said, whispering to Beautru, “See what it is not to be always at Court! The Coadjutor knows the world and is a man of sense, yet takes all the Queen has said to be in earnest.”

The truth is, the Cabinet seemed to consist of persons acting the several parts of a comedy. I played the innocent, but was not so, at least in that affair. The Cardinal acted the part of one who thought himself secure, but was much less confident than he appeared. The Queen affected to be good-humoured, and yet was never more ill-tempered. M. de Longueville put on the marks of sorrow and sadness while his heart leaped for joy, for no man living took a greater pleasure than he to promote all broils. The Duc d’Orleans personated hurry and, passion in speaking to the Queen, yet would whistle half an hour together with the utmost indolence. The Marechal de Villeroy put on gaiety, the better to make his court to the Prime Minister, though he privately owned to me, with tears in his eyes, that he saw the State was upon the brink of ruin. Beautru and Nogent acted the part of buffoons, and to please the Queen, personated old Broussel’s nurse (for he was eighty years of age), stirring up the people to sedition, though both of them knew well enough that their farce might perhaps soon end in a real tragedy.

The Abby de la Riviere was the only man who pretended to be fully persuaded that the insurrection of the people was but vapour, and he maintained it to the Queen, who was willing to believe him, though she had been satisfied to the contrary; and the conduct of the Queen, who had the courage of a heroine, and the temper of La Riviere, who was the most notorious poltroon of his time, furnished me with this remark: That a blind rashness and an extravagant fear produce the same effects while the danger is unknown.

The Marechal de La Meilleraye assumed the style and bravado of a captain when a lieutenant-colonel of the Guards suddenly came to tell the Queen that the citizens threatened to force the Guards, and, being naturally hasty and choleric, was transported even with fury and madness. He cried out that he would perish rather than suffer such insolence, and asked leave to take the Guards, the officers of the Household, and even all the courtiers he could find in the antechambers, with whom he would engage to rout the whole mob. The Queen was greatly in favour of it, but nobody else, and events proved that it was well they did not come into it. At the same time entered the Chancellor, a man who had never spoken a word of truth in his whole life; but now, his complaisance yielding to his fear, he spoke directly according to what he had seen in the streets. I observed that the Cardinal was startled at the boldness of a man in whom he had never seen anything like it before. But Senneterre, coming in just after him, removed all their apprehensions in a trice by assuring them that the fury of the people began to cool, that they did not take arms, and that with a little patience all would be well again.

There is nothing so dangerous as flattery at a juncture where he that is flattered is in fear, because the desire he has not to be terrified inclines him to believe anything that hinders him from applying any remedy to what he is afraid of. The news that was brought every moment made them trifle away that time which should have been employed for the preservation of the State. Old Guitaut, a man of no great sense, but heartily well affected, was more impatient than all the rest, and said that he did not conceive how it was possible for people to be asleep in the present state of affairs; he muttered something more which I could not well hear, but it seemed to bear very hard upon the Cardinal, who owed him no goodwill.

The Cardinal answered, “Well, M. Guitaut, what would you have us do?”

Guitaut said, very bluntly, “Let the old rogue Broussel be restored to the people, either dead or alive.”

I said that to restore him dead was inconsistent with the Queen’s piety and prudence, but to restore him alive would probably put a stop to the tumult.

At these words the Queen reddened, and cried aloud, “I understand you, M. le Coadjutor. You would have me set Broussel at liberty; but I will strangle him sooner with these hands,”—throwing her head as it were into my face at the last word, “and those who—”

The Cardinal, believing that she was going to say all to me that rage could inspire, advanced and whispered in her ear, upon which she became composed to such a degree that, had I not known her too well, I should have thought her at her ease. The lieutenant de police came that instant into the Cabinet with a deadly pale aspect. I never saw fear so well and ridiculously represented in any Italian comedy as the fright which he appeared in before the Queen. How admirable is the sympathy of fearful souls! Neither the Cardinal nor the Queen were much moved at what M. de La Meilleraye had strongly urged on them, but the fears of the lieutenant seized them like an infection, so that they were all on a sudden metamorphosed. They ridiculed me no longer, and suffered it to be debated whether or no it was expedient to restore Broussel to the people before they took arms, as they had threatened to do. Here I reflected that it is more natural to the passion of fear to consult than to determine.

The Cardinal proposed that I, as the fittest person, should go and assure the people that the Queen would consent to the restoration of Broussel, provided they would disperse. I saw the snare, but could not get away from it, the rather because Meilleraye dragged me, as it were, to go along with him,—telling her Majesty that he would dare to appear in the streets in my company, and that he did not question but we should do wonders. I said that I did not doubt it either, provided the Queen would order a promise to be drawn in due form for restoring the prisoners, because I had not credit enough with the people to be believed upon my bare word. They praised my modesty, Meilleraye was assured of success, and they said the Queen’s word was better than all writings whatsoever. In a word, I was made the catspaw, and found myself under the necessity of acting the most ridiculous part that perhaps ever fell to any man’s share. I endeavoured to reply; but the Duc d’Orleans pushed me out gently with both hands, saying, “Go and restore peace to the State;” and the Marshal hurried me away, the Life-guards carrying me along in their arms, and telling me that none but myself could remedy this evil. I went out in my rochet and camail, dealing out benedictions to the people on my right and left, preaching obedience, exerting all my endeavours to appease the tumult, and telling them the Queen had assured me that, provided they would disperse, she would restore Broussel.

The violence of the Marshal hardly gave me time to express myself, for he instantly put himself at the head of the Horse-guards, and, advancing sword in hand, cried aloud, “God bless the King, and liberty to Broussel!” but being seen more than he was heard, his drawn sword did more harm than his proclaiming liberty to Broussel did good. The people took to their arms and had an encounter with the Marshal, upon which I threw myself into the crowd, and expecting that both sides would have some regard to my robes and dignity, the Marshal ordered the Light-horse to fire no more, and the citizens with whom he was engaged held their hands; but others of them continued firing and throwing stones, by one of which I was knocked down, and had no sooner got up than a citizen was going to knock me down with a musket. Though I did not know his name, yet I had the presence of mind to cry out, “Forbear, wretch; if thy father did but see thee—” He thereupon concluded I knew his father very well, though I had never seen him; and I believe that made him the more curious to survey me, when, taking particular notice of my robes, he asked me if I was the Coadjutor. Upon which I was presently made known to the whole body, followed by the multitude which way soever I went, and met with a body of ruffians all in arms, whom, with abundance of flattery, caresses, entreaties, and menaces, I prevailed on to lay down their weapons; and it was this which saved the city, for had they continued in arms till night, the city had certainly been plundered.

I went accompanied by 30,000 or 40,000 men without arms, and met the Marechal de La Meilleraye, who I thought would have stifled me with embraces, and who said these very words: “I am foolhardy and brutal; I had like to have ruined the State, and you have saved it; come, let us go to the Queen and talk to her like true, honest Frenchmen; and let us set down the day of the month, that when the King comes of age our testimony may be the means of hanging up those pests of the State, those infamous flatterers, who pretended to the Queen that this affair was but a trifle.” To the Queen he presently hurried me, and said to her, “Here is a man that has not only saved my life, but your Guards and the whole Court.”

The Queen gave an odd smile which I did not very well like, but I would not seem to take any notice of it, and to stop Meilleraye in his encomium upon me, I assumed the discourse myself, and said, “Madame, we are not come upon my account, but to tell you that the city of Paris, disarmed and submissive, throws herself at your Majesty’s feet.”

“Not so submissive as guilty,” replied the Queen, with a face full of fire; “if the people were so raging as I was made to believe, how came they to be so soon subdued?”

The Marshal fell into a passion, and said, with an oath, “Madame, an honest man cannot flatter you when things are come to such an extremity. If you do not set Broussel at liberty this very day, there will not be left one stone upon another in Paris by tomorrow morning.”

I was going to support what the Marshal had said, but the Queen stopped my mouth by telling me, with an air of banter, “Go to rest, sir; you have done a mighty piece of work.”

When I returned home, I found an incredible number of people expecting me, who forced me to get upon the top of my coach to give them an account of what success I had had at Court. I told them that the Queen had declared her satisfaction in their submission, and that she told me it was the only method they could have taken for the deliverance of the prisoners. I added other persuasives to pacify the commonalty, and they dispersed the sooner because it was supper-time; for you must know that the people of Paris, even those that are the busiest in all such commotions, do not care to lose their meals.

I began to perceive that I had engaged my reputation too far in giving the people any grounds to hope for the liberation of Broussel, though I had particularly avoided giving them my word of honour, and I apprehended that the Court would lay hold of this occasion to destroy me effectually in the opinion of the people by making them believe that I acted in concert with the Court only, to amuse and deceive them.

While I was making these and the like reflections, Montresor came and told me that I was quite mistaken if I thought to be a great gainer by the late expedition; that the Queen was not pleased with my proceedings, and that the Court was persuaded that I did what lay in my power to promote the insurrection. I confess I gave no credit to what Montresor said, for though I saw they made a jest of me in the Queen’s Cabinet, I hoped that their malice did not go so far as to diminish the merit of the service I had rendered, and never imagined that they could be capable of turning it into a crime. Laigues, too, came from Court and told me that I was publicly laughed at, and charged with having fomented the insurrection instead of appeasing it; that I had been ridiculed two whole hours and exposed to the smart raillery of Beautru, to the buffoonery of Nogent, to the pleasantries of La Riviere, to the false compassion of the Cardinal, and to the loud laughter of the Queen.

You may guess that I was not a little moved at this, but I rather felt a slight annoyance than any transport of passion. All sorts of notions came into my mind, and all as suddenly passed away. I sacrificed with little or no scruple all the sweetest and brightest images which the memory of past conspiracies presented in crowds to my mind as soon as the ill-treatment I now publicly met with gave me reason to think that I might with honour engage myself in new ones. The obligations I had to her Majesty made me reject all these thoughts, though I must confess I was brought up in them from my infancy, and Laigues and Montresor could have never shaken my resolution either by insinuating motives or making reproaches, if Argenteuil, a gentleman firmly attached to my interest, had not come into my room that moment with a frightened countenance and said:

“You are undone; the Marechal de La Meilleraye has charged me to tell you that he verily thinks the devil is in the courtiers, who has put it into their heads that you have done all in your power to stir up the sedition. The Marechal de La Meilleraye has laboured earnestly to inform the Queen and Cardinal of the truth of the whole matter, but both have ridiculed him for his attempt. The Marshal said he could not excuse the injury they did you, but could not sufficiently admire the contempt they always had for the tumult, of which they foretold the consequence as if they had the gift of prophecy, always affirming that it would vanish in a night, as it really has, for he hardly met a soul in the streets.”

He added that fires so quickly extinguished as this were not likely to break out again; that he conjured me to provide for my own safety; that the King’s authority would shine out the next day with all the lustre imaginable; that the Court seemed resolved not to let slip this fatal conjuncture, and that I was to be made the first public example.

Argenteuil said: “Villeroy did not tell me so much, because he durst not; but he so squeezed my hand ‘en passant’ that I am apt to think he knows a great deal more, and I must tell you that they have very good reason for their apprehensions, because there is not a soul to be seen in the streets, and to-morrow they may take up whom they list.”

Montresor, who would be thought to know all things beforehand, said that he was assured it would be so and that he had foretold it. Laigues bewailed my conduct, which he said had raised the compassion of all my friends, although it had been their ruin. Upon this I desired to be left about a quarter of an hour to myself, during which, reflecting how I had been provoked and the public threatened, my scruples vanished; I gave rein to all my thoughts, recollected that all the glorious ideas which have ever entered my imagination were most concerned with vast designs, and suffered my mind to be regaled with the pleasing hopes of being the head of a party, a position which I had always admired in Plutarch’s “Lives.” The inconsistency of my scheme with my character made me tremble. A world of incidents may happen when the virtues in the leader of a party may be vices in an archbishop. I had this view a thousand times, and it always gave place to the duty I thought I owed to her Majesty, but the remembrance of what had passed at the Queen’s table, and the resolution there taken to ruin me with the public, having banished all scruples, I joyfully determined to abandon my destiny to all the impulses of glory. I said to my friends that the whole Court was witness of the harsh treatment I had met with for above a year in the King’s palace, and I added: “The public is engaged to defend my honour, but the public being now about to be sacrificed, I am obliged to defend it against oppression. Our circumstances are not so bad as you imagine, gentlemen, and before twelve o’clock to-morrow I shall be master of Paris.”

My two friends thought I was mad, and began to counsel moderation, whereas before they always incited me to action; but I did not give them hearing. I immediately sent for Miron, Accountant-General, one of the city colonels, a man of probity and courage, and having great interest with the people. I consulted with him, and he executed his commission with so much discretion and bravery that above four hundred considerable citizens were posted up and down in platoons with no more noise and stir than if so many Carthusian novices had been assembled for contemplation. After having given orders for securing certain gates and bars of the city, I went to sleep, and was told next morning that no soldiers had appeared all night, except a few troopers, who just took a view of the platoons of the citizens and then galloped off. Hence it was inferred that our precautions had prevented the execution of the design formed against particular persons, but it was believed there was some mischief hatching at the Chancellor’s against the public, because sergeants were running backwards and forwards, and Ondedei went thither four times in two hours.

Being informed soon after that the Chancellor was going to the Palace with all the pomp of magistracy, and that two companies of Swiss Guards approached the suburbs, I gave my orders in two words, which were executed in two minutes. Miron ordered the citizens to take arms, and Argenteuil, disguised as a mason, with a rule in his hand, charged the Swiss in flank, killed twenty or thirty, dispersed the rest, and took one of their colours. The Chancellor, hemmed in on every side, narrowly escaped with his life to the Hotel d’O, which the people broke open, rushed in with fury, and, as God would have it, fell immediately to plundering, so that they forgot to force open a little chamber where both the Chancellor and his brother, the Bishop of Meaux, to whom he was confessing, lay concealed. The news of this occurrence ran like wild-fire through the whole city. Men and women were immediately up in arms, and mothers even put daggers into the hands of their children. In less than two hours there were erected above two hundred barricades, adorned with all the standards and colours that the League had left entire. All the cry was, “God bless the King!” sometimes, “God bless the Coadjutor!” and the echo was, “No Mazarin!”

The Queen sent her commands to me to use my interest to appease the tumult. I answered the messenger, very coolly, that I had forfeited my credit with the people on account of yesterday’s transactions, and that I did not dare to go abroad. The messenger had heard the cry of “God bless the Coadjutor!” and would fain have persuaded me that I was the favourite of the people, but I strove as much to convince him of the contrary.

The Court minions of the two last centuries knew not what they did when they reduced that effectual regard which kings ought to have for their subjects into mere style and form; for there are, as you see, certain conjunctures in which, by a necessary consequence, subjects make a mere form also of the real obedience which they owe to their sovereigns.

The Parliament hearing the cries of the people for Broussel, after having ordered a decree against Cominges, lieutenant of the Queen’s Guards, who had arrested him, made it death for all who took the like commissions for the future, and decreed that an information should be drawn up against those who had given that advice, as disturbers of the public peace. Then the Parliament went in a body, in their robes, to the Queen, with the First President at their head, and amid the acclamations of the people, who opened all their barricades to let them pass. The First President represented to the Queen, with becoming freedom, that the royal word had been prostituted a thousand times over by scandalous and even childish evasions, defeating resolutions most useful and necessary for the State. He strongly exaggerated the mighty danger of the State from the city being all in arms; but the Queen, who feared nothing because she knew little, flew into a passion and raved like a fury, saying, “I know too well that there is an uproar in the city, but you Parliamentarians, together with your wives and children, shall be answerable for it all;” and with that she retired into another chamber and shut the door after her with violence. The members, who numbered about one hundred and sixty, were going down-stairs; but the First President persuaded them to go up and try the Queen once more, and meeting with the Duc d’Orleans, he, with a great deal of persuasion, introduced twenty of them into the presence-chamber, where the First President made another effort with the Queen, by setting forth the terrors of the enraged metropolis up in arms, but she would hear nothing, and went into the little gallery.

Upon this the Cardinal advanced and proposed to surrender the prisoner, provided the Parliament would promise to hold no more assemblies. They were going to consider this proposal upon the spot, but, thinking that the people would be inclined to believe that the Parliament had been forced if they gave their votes at the Palais Royal, they resolved to adjourn to their own House.

The Parliament, returning and saying nothing about the liberation of Broussel, were received by the people with angry murmurs instead of with loud acclamations. They appeased those at the first two barricades by telling them that the Queen had promised them satisfaction; but those at the third barricade would not be paid in that coin, for a journeyman cook, advancing with two hundred men, pressed his halberd against the First President, saying, “Go back, traitor, and if thou hast a mind to save thy life, bring us Broussel, or else Mazarin and the Chancellor as hostages.”

Upon this five presidents ‘au mortier’ and about twenty councillors fell back into the crowd to make their escape; the First President only, the most undaunted man of the age, continued firm and intrepid. He rallied the members as well as he could, maintaining still the authority of a magistrate, both in his words and behaviour, and went leisurely back to the King’s palace, through volleys of abuse, menaces, curses, and blasphemies. He had a kind of eloquence peculiar to himself, knew nothing of interjections, was not very exact in his speech, but the force of it made amends for that; and being naturally bold, never spoke so well as when he was in danger, insomuch that when he returned to the Palace he even outdid himself, for it is certain that he moved the hearts of all present except the Queen, who continued inflexible. The Duc d’Orleans was going to throw himself at her feet, which four or five Princesses, trembling with fear, actually did. The Cardinal, whom a young councillor jestingly advised to go out into the streets and see how the people stood affected, did at last join with the bulk of the Court, and with much ado the Queen condescended to bid the members go and consult what was fitting to be done, agreed to set the prisoners at liberty, restored Broussel to the people, who carried him upon their heads with loud acclamations, broke down their barricades, opened their shops, and in two hours Paris was more quiet than ever I saw it upon a Good Friday.

As to the primum mobile of this revolution, it was owing to no other cause than a deviation from the laws, which so alters the opinions of the people that many times a faction is formed before the change is so much as perceived.

This little reflection, with what has been said, may serve to confute those who pretend that a faction without a head is never to be feared. It grows up sometimes in a night. The commotion I have been speaking of, which was so violent and lasting, did not appear to have any leader for a whole year; but at last there rose up in one moment a much greater number than was necessary for the party.

The morning after the barricades were removed, the Queen sent for me, treated me with all the marks of kindness and confidence, said that if she had hearkened to me she would not have experienced the late disquietness; that the Cardinal was not to blame for it, but that Chavigni had been the sole cause of her misfortunes, to whose pernicious counsels she had paid more deference than to the Cardinal. “But; good God!” she suddenly exclaimed, “will you not get that rogue Beautru soundly thrashed, who has paid so little respect to your character? The poor Cardinal was very near having it done the other night.” I received all this with more respect than credulity. She commanded me to go to the poor Cardinal, to comfort him, and to advise him as to the best means of quieting the populace.

I went without any scruple. He embraced me with a tenderness I am not able to express, said there was not an honest man in France but myself, and that all the rest were infamous flatterers, who had misled the Queen in spite of all his and my good counsels. He protested that he would do nothing for the future without my advice, showed me the foreign despatches, and, in short, was so affable, that honest Broussel, who was likewise present upon his invitation, for all his harmless simplicity, laughed heartily as we were going out, and said that it was all mere buffoonery.

There being a report that the King was to be removed by the Court from Paris, the Queen assured the ‘prevot des marchands’ that it was false, and yet the very next day carried him to Ruel. From there I doubted not that she designed to surprise the city, which seemed really astonished at the King’s departure, and I found the hottest members of the Parliament in great consternation, and the more so because news arrived at the same time that General Erlac—[He was Governor of Brisac, and commanded the forces of the Duke of Weimar after the Duke’s death]—had passed the Somme with 4,000 Germans. Now, as in general disturbances one piece of bad news seldom comes singly, five or six stories of this kind were published at the same time, which made me think I should find it as difficult a task to raise the spirits of the people as I had before to restrain them. I was never so nonplussed in all my life. I saw the full extent of the danger, and everything looked terrible. Yet the greatest perils have their charms if never so little glory is discovered in the prospect of ill-success, while the least dangers have nothing but horror when defeat is attended with loss of reputation.

I used all the arguments I could to dissuade the Parliament from making the Court desperate, at least till they had thought of some expedients to defend themselves from its insults, to which they would inevitably have been exposed if the Court had taken time by the forelock, in which, perhaps, they were prevented by the unexpected return of the Prince de Conti. I hereupon formed a resolution which gave me a great deal of uneasiness, but which was firm, because it was the only resolution I had to take. Extremities are always disagreeable, but are the wisest means when absolutely necessary; the best of it is that they admit of no middle course, and if peradventure they are good, they are always decisive.

Fortune favoured my design. The Queen ordered Chavigni to be sent prisoner to Havre-de-Grace. I embraced this opportunity to stir up the natural fears of his dear friend Viole, by telling him that he was a ruined man for doing what he had done at the instigation of Chavigni; that it was plain the King left Paris with a view to attack it, and that he saw as well as I how much the people were dejected; that if their spirits should be quite sunk they could never be raised; that they must be supported; that I would influence the people; and that he should do what he could with the Parliament, who, in my opinion, ought not to be supine, but to be awakened at a juncture when the King’s departure had perfectly drowned their senses, adding that a word in season would infallibly produce this good effect.

Accordingly Viole struck one of the boldest strokes that has perhaps been heard of. He told the Parliament that it was reported Paris was to be besieged; that troops were marching for that end, and the most faithful servants of his late Majesty, who, it was suspected, would oppose designs so pernicious, would be put in chains; that it was necessary for them to address the Queen to bring the King back to Paris; and forasmuch as the author of all these mischiefs was well known, he moved further that the Duc d’Orleans and the officers of the Crown should be desired to come to Parliament to deliberate upon the decree issued in 1617, on account of Marechal d’Ancre, forbidding foreigners to intermeddle in the Government. We thought ourselves that we had touched too high a key, but a lower note would not have awakened or kept awake men whom fear had perfectly stupefied. I have observed that this passion of fear has seldom that influence upon individuals that it generally has upon the mass.

Viole’s proposition at first startled, then rejoiced, and afterwards animated those that heard it. Blancmenil, who before seemed to have no life left in him, had now the courage to point at the Cardinal by name, who hitherto had been described only by the designation of Minister; and the Parliament cheerfully agreed to remonstrate with the Queen, according to Viole’s proposition, not forgetting to pray her Majesty to remove the troops further from Paris, and not to send for the magistrates to take orders for the security of the city.

The President Coigneux whispered to me, saying, “I have no hopes but in you; we shall be undone if you do not work underground.” I sat up accordingly all night to prepare instructions for Saint-Ibal to treat with the Count Fuensaldagne, and oblige him to march with the Spanish army, in case of need, to our assistance, and was just going to send him away to Brussels when M. de Chatillon, my friend and kinsman, who mortally hated the Cardinal, came to tell me that the Prince de Conde would be the next day at Ruel; that the Prince was enraged against the Cardinal, and was sure he would ruin the State if he were let alone, and that the Cardinal held a correspondence in cipher with a fellow in the Prince’s army whom he had corrupted, to be informed of everything done there to his prejudice. By all this I learnt that the Prince had no great understanding with the Court, and upon his arrival at Ruel I ventured to go thither.

Both the Queen and the Cardinal were extremely civil, and the latter took particular notice of the Prince’s behaviour to me, who embraced me ‘en passant’ in the garden, and spoke very low to me, saying that he would be at my house next day. He kept his word, and desired me to give him an account of the state of affairs, and when I had done so we agreed that I should continue to push the Cardinal by means of the Parliament; that I should take his Highness by night incognito to Longueil and Broussel, to assure them they should not want assistance; that the Prince de Conde should give the Queen all the marks of his respect for and attachment to her, and make all possible reparation for the dissatisfaction he had shown with regard to the Cardinal, that he might thereby insinuate himself into the Queen’s favour, and gradually dispose her to receive and fallow his counsels and hear truths against which she had always stopped her ears, and that by thus letting the Cardinal drop insensibly, rather than fall suddenly, the Prince would find himself master of the Cabinet with the Queer’s approbation, and, with the assistance of his humble servants in Council, arbiter of the national welfare.

The Queen, who went away from Paris to give her troops an opportunity to starve and attack the city, told the deputies sent by Parliament to entreat her to restore the King to Paris that she was extremely surprised and astonished; that the King used every year at that season to take the air, and that his health was much more to be regarded than the imaginary fears of the people. The Prince de Conde, coming in at this juncture, told the President and councillors, who invited him to take his seat in Parliament, that he would not come, but obey the Queen though it should prove his ruin. The Duc d’Orleans said that he would not be there either, because the Parliament had made such proposals as were too bold to be endured, and the Prince de Conti spoke after the same manner.

The next day the King’s Council carried an order of Council to Parliament to put a stop to their debates against foreigners being in the Ministry. This so excited the Parliament that they made a remonstrance in writing, instructed the ‘prevot des marchands’ to provide for the safety of the city, ordered all other governors to keep the passages free, and resolved next day to continue the debate against foreign ministers. I laboured all night to ward off the fatal blow, which I was afraid would hurry the Prince, against his will, into the arms of the Court. But when next day came, the members inflamed one another before they sat, through the cursed spirit of formality, and the very men who two days ago were all fear and trembling were suddenly transported, they knew not why, from a well-grounded fear to a blind rage, so that without reflecting that the General had arrived whose very name made them tremble, because they suspected him to be in the interest of the Court, they issued the said decree, which obliged the Queen to send the Duc d’Anjou,—[Philippe of France, only brother to King Louis XIV., afterwards Duc d’Orleans, died suddenly at St. Cloud, in 1701.]—but just recovered from the smallpox, and the Duchesse d’Orleans, much indisposed, out of town.

This would have begun a civil war next day had not the Prince de Conde taken the wisest measures imaginable, though he had a very bad opinion of the Cardinal, both upon the public account and his own, and was as little pleased with the conduct of the Parliament, with whom there was no dealing, either as a body or as private persons. The Prince kept an even pace between the Court and country factions, and he said these words to me, which I can never forget:

“Mazarin does not know what he is doing, and will ruin the State if care be not taken; the Parliament really goes on too fast, as you said they would; if they did but manage according to our scheme, we should be able to settle our own business and that of the public, too; they act with precipitation, and were I to do so, it is probable I should gain more by it than they. But I am Louis de Bourbon, and will not endanger the State. Are those devils in square caps mad to force me either to begin a civil war tomorrow or to ruin every man of them, and set over our heads a Sicilian vagabond who will destroy us all at last?”

In fine, the Prince proposed to set out immediately for Ruel to divert the Court from their project of attacking Paris, and to propose to the Queen that the Duc d’Orleans and himself should write to the Parliament to send deputies to confer about means to relieve the necessities of the State. The Prince saw that I was so overcome at this proposal that he said to me with tenderness, “How different you are from the man you are represented to be at Court! Would to God that all those rogues in the Ministry were but as well inclined as you!”

I told the Prince that, considering how the minds of the Parliament were embittered, I doubted whether they would care to confer with the Cardinal; that his Highness would gain a considerable point if he could prevail with the Court not to insist upon the necessity of the Cardinal’s presence, because then all the honour of the arrangement, in which the Duc d’Orleans, as usual, would only be as a cipher, would redound to him, and that such exclusion of the Cardinal would disgrace his Ministry to the last degree, and be a very proper preface to the blow which the Prince designed to give him in the Cabinet.

The Prince profited by the hint, so that the Parliament returned answer that they would send deputies to confer with the Princes only, which last words the Prince artfully laid hold of and advised Mazarin not to expose himself by coming to the conference against the Parliament’s consent, but rather, like a wise man, to make a virtue of the present necessity. This was a cruel blow to the Cardinal, who ever since the decease of the late King had been recognised as Prime Minister of France; and the consequences were equally disastrous.

The deputies being accordingly admitted to a conference with the Duc d’Orleans, the Princes de Conde and Conti and M. de Longueville, the First President, Viole, who had moved in Parliament that the decree might be renewed for excluding foreigners from the Ministry, inveighed against the imprisonment of M. de Chavigni; who was no member, yet the President insisted upon his being set at liberty, because, according to the laws of the realm, no person ought to be detained in custody above twenty-four hours without examination. This occasioned a considerable debate, and the Duc d’Orldans, provoked at this expression, said that the President’s aim was to cramp the royal authority. Nevertheless the latter vigorously maintained his argument, and was unanimously seconded by all the deputies, for which they were next day applauded in Parliament. In short, the thing was pushed so far that the Queen was obliged to consent to a declaration that for the future no man whatever should be detained in prison above three days without being examined. By this means Chavigni was set at liberty. Several other conferences were held, in which the Chancellor treated the First President of the Parliament with a sort of contempt that was almost brutal. Nevertheless the Parliament carried all before them.

In October, 1648, the Parliament adjourned, and the Queen soon after returned to Paris with the King.

The Cardinal, who aimed at nothing more than to ruin my credit with the people, sent me 4,000 crowns as a present from the Queen, for the services which she said I intended her on the day of the barricade; and who, think you, should be the messenger to bring it but my friend the Marechal de La Meilleraye, the man who before warned me of the sinister intentions of the Court, and who now was so credulous as to believe that I was their favourite, because the Cardinal was pleased to say how much he was concerned for the injustice he had done me; which I only mention to remark that those people over whom the Court has once got an ascendency cannot help believing whatever they would have them believe, and the ministers only are to blame if they do not deceive them. But I would not be persuaded by the Marshal as he had been by the Cardinal, and therefore I refused the said sum very civilly, and, I am sure, with as much sincerity as the Court offered it.

But the Cardinal laid another trap for me that I was not aware of,—by tempting me with the proffer of the Government of Paris; and when I had shown a willingness to accept it, he found means to break off the treaty I was making for that purpose with the Prince de Guemende, who had the reversion of it, and then represented me to the people as one who only sought my own interest. Instead of profiting by this blunder, which I might have done to my own advantage, I added another to it, and said all that rage could prompt me against the Cardinal to one who told it to him again.

To return now to public affairs. About the feast of Saint Martin the people were so excited that they seemed as if they had been all intoxicated with gathering in the vintage; and you are now going to be entertained with scenes in comparison to which the past are but trifles.

There is no affair but has its critical minute, which a bold statesmanship knows how to lay hold of, and which, if missed, especially in the revolution of kingdoms, you run the great risk of losing altogether.

Every one now found their advantage in the declaration,—that is, if they understood their own interest. The Parliament had the honour of reestablishing public order. The Princes, too, had their share in this honour, and the first-fruits of it, which were respect and security. The people had a considerable comfort in it, by being eased of a load of above sixty millions; and if the Cardinal had had but the sense to make a virtue of necessity, which is one of the most necessary qualifications of a minister of State, he might, by an advantage always inseparable from favourites, have appropriated to himself the greatest part of the merit, even of those things he had most opposed.

But these advantages were all lost through the most trivial considerations. The people, upon the discontinuation of the Parliamentary assemblies, resumed their savage temper, and were scared by the approach of a few troops at which it was ridiculous to take the least umbrage. The Parliament was too apt to give ear to every groundless tale of the non-execution of their declarations. The Duc d’Orleans saw all the good he was capable of doing and part of the evil he had power to prevent, but neither was strong enough to influence his fearful temper; he was unconscious of the coming and fatal blow. The Prince de Conde, who saw the evil to its full extent, was too courageous by nature to fear the consequences; he was inclined to do good, but would do it only in his own way. His age, his humour, and his victories hindered him from associating patience with activity, nor was he acquainted, unfortunately, with this maxim so necessary for princes,—“always to sacrifice the little affairs to the greater;” and the Cardinal, being ignorant of our ways, daily confounded the most weighty with the most trifling.

The Parliament, who met on the 2d of January, 1649, resolved to enforce the execution of the declaration, which, they pretended, had been infringed in all its articles; and the Queen was resolved to retire from Paris with the King and the whole Court. The Queen was guided by the Cardinal, and the Duc d’Orleans by La Riviere, the most sordid and self-interested man of the age in which he lived. As for the Prince de Conde, he began to be disgusted with the unseasonable proceedings of the Parliament almost as soon as he had concerted measures with Broussel and Longueil, which distaste, joined to the kindly attentions of the Queen, the apparent submission of the Cardinal, and an hereditary inclination received from his parents to keep well with the Court, cramped the resolutions of his great soul. I bewailed this change in his behaviour both for my own and the public account, but much more for his sake. I loved him as much as I honoured him, and clearly saw the precipice.

I had divers conferences with him, in which I found that his disgust was turned into wrath and indignation. He swore there was no bearing with the insolence and impertinence of those citizens who struck at the royal authority; that as long as he thought they aimed only at Mazarin he was on their side; that I myself had often confessed that no certain measures could be concerted with men who changed their opinions every quarter of an hour; that he could never condescend to be General of an army of fools, with whom no wise man would entrust himself; besides that, he was a Prince of the blood, and would not be instrumental in giving a shock to the Throne; and that the Parliament might thank themselves if they were ruined through not observing the measures agreed on.

This was the substance of my answer: “No men are more bound by interest than the Parliament to maintain the royal authority, so that they cannot be thought to have a design to ruin the State, though their proceedings may have a tendency that way. It must be owned, therefore, that if the sovereign people do evil, it is only when they are not able to act as well as they would. A skilful minister, who knows how to manage large bodies of men as well as individuals, keeps up such a due balance between the Prince’s authority and the people’s obedience as to make all things succeed and prosper. But the present Prime Minister has neither judgment nor strength to adjust the pendulum of this State clock, the springs of which are out of order. His business is to make it go slower, which, I own, he attempts to do, but very awkwardly, because he has not the brains for it. In this lies the fault of our machine. Your Highness is in the right to set about the mending of it, because nobody else is capable of doing it; but in order to do this must you join with those that would knock it in pieces?

“You are convinced of the Cardinal’s extravagances, and that his only view is to establish in France a form of government known nowhere but in Italy. If he should succeed, will the State be a gainer by it, according to its only true maxims? Would it be an advantage to the Princes of the blood in any sense? But, besides, has he any likelihood of succeeding? Is he not loaded with the odium and contempt of the public? and is not the Parliament the idol they revere? I know you despise them because the Court is so well armed, but let me tell you that they are so confident of their power that they feel their importance. They are come to that pass that they do not value your forces, and though the evil is that at present their strength consists only in their imagination, yet a time may come when they may be able to do whatever they now think it in their power to do.

“Your Highness lately told me that this disposition of the people was only smoke; but be assured that smoke so dark and thick proceeds from a brisk fire, which the Parliament blows, and, though they mean well, may blaze up into such a flame as may consume themselves and again hazard the destruction of the State, which has been the case more than once. Bodies of men, when once exasperated by a Ministry, always aggravate their failures, and scarcely ever show them any favour, which, in some cases, is enough to ruin a kingdom.

“If, when the proposition was formerly made to the Parliament by the Cardinal to declare whether they intended to set bounds to the royal authority, if, I say, they had not wisely eluded the ridiculous and dangerous question, France would have run a great risk, in my opinion, of being entirely ruined; for had they answered in the affirmative, as they were on the point of doing, they would have rent the veil that covers the mysteries of State. Every monarchy has its peculiar veil; that of France consists in a kind of religious and sacred silence, which, by the subjects generally paying a blind obedience to their Kings, muffles up that right which they think they have to dispense with their obedience in cases where a complaisance to their Kings would be a prejudice to themselves. It is a wonder that the Parliament did not strip off this veil by a formal decree. This has had much worse consequences since the people have taken the liberty to look through it.

“Your Highness cannot by the force of arms prevent these dangerous consequences, which, perhaps, are already too near at hand. You see that even the Parliament can hardly restrain the people whom they have roused; that the contagion is spread into the provinces, and you know that Guienne and Provence are entirely governed by the example of Paris. Every thing shakes and totters, and it is your Highness only that can set us right, because of the splendour of your birth and reputation, and the generally received opinion that none but you can do it.

“The Queen shares with the Cardinal in the common hatred, and the Duc d’Orleans with La Riviere in the universal contempt of the people. If, out of mere complaisance, you abet their measures, you will share in the hatred of the public. It is true that you are above their contempt; but then their dread of you will be so great that it will grievously embitter the hatred they will then bear to you, and the contempt they have already for the others, so that what is at present only a serious wound in the State will perhaps become incurable and mortal. I am sensible you have grounds to be diffident of the behaviour of a body consisting of above two hundred persons, who are neither capable of governing nor being governed. I own the thought is perplexing; but such favourable circumstances seem to offer themselves at this juncture that matters are much simplified.

“Supposing that manifestoes were published, and your Highness declared General of the Parliamentary Army, would you, monseigneur, meet with greater difficulties than your grandfather and great-grandfather did, in accommodating themselves to the caprice of the ministers of Rochelle and the mayors of Nimes and Montauban? And would your Highness find it a greater task to manage the Parliament of Paris than M. de Mayenne did in the time of the League, when there was a factious opposition made to all the measures of the Parliament? Your birth and merit raise you as far above M. de Mayenne as the cause in hand is above that of the League; and the circumstances of both are no less different. The head of the League declared war by an open and public alliance with Spain against the Crown, and against one of the best and bravest kings that France ever had. And this head of the League, though descended from a foreign and suspected family, kept, notwithstanding, that same Parliament in his interest for a considerable time.

“You have consulted but two members of the whole Parliament, and them only upon their promise to disclose your intentions to no man living. How then can your Highness think it possible that your sentiments, locked up so closely in the breasts of two members, can have any influence upon the whole body of the Parliament? I dare answer for it, monseigneur, that if you will but declare yourself openly the protector of the public and of the sovereign companies, you might govern them—at least, for a considerable time—with an absolute and almost sovereign authority. But this, it seems, is not what you have in view; you are not willing to embroil yourself with the Court. You had rather be of the Cabinet than of a party. Do not take it ill, then, that men who consider you only in this light do not conduct themselves as you would like. You ought to conform your measures to theirs, because theirs are moderate; and you may safely do it, for the Cardinal can hardly stand under the heavy weight of the public hatred, and is too weak to oblige you against your will to any sudden and precipitate rupture. La Riviere, who governs the Duc d’Orleans, is a most dangerous man. Continue, then, to introduce moderate measures, and let them take their course, according to your first plan. Is a little more or less heat in Parliamentary proceedings sufficient reason to make you alter it? For whatever be the consequence, the worst that can happen is that the Queen may believe you not zealous enough for her interest; but are there not remedies enough for that? Are there not excuses and appearances ready at hand, and such as cannot fail?

“And now, I pray your Highness to give me leave to add that there never was so excellent, so innocent, so sacred, and so necessary a project as this formed by your Highness, and, in my humble opinion, there never were such weak reasons as those you have now urged to hinder its execution; for I take this to be the weakest of all, which, perhaps, you think a very strong one, namely, that if Mazarin miscarries in his designs you may be ruined along with him; and if he does succeed he will destroy you by the very means which you took to raise him.”

It had not the intended effect on the Prince, who was already prepossessed, and who only answered me in general terms. But heroes have their faults as well as other men, and so had his Highness, who had one of the finest geniuses in the world, but little or no forethought. He did not seek to aggravate matters in order to render himself necessary at Court, or with a view to do what he afterwards did for the Cardinal, nor was he biassed by the mean interests of pension, government, and establishment. He had most certainly great hopes of being arbiter of the Cabinet. The glory of being restorer of the public peace was his first end in view, and being the conservator of the royal authority the second. Those who labour under such an imperfection, though they see clearly the advantages and disadvantages of both parties, know not which to choose, because they do not weigh them in the same balance, so that the same thing appears lightest today which they will think heaviest to-morrow. This was the case of the Prince, who, it must be owned, if he had carried on his good design with prudence, certainly would have reestablished the Government upon a lasting foundation.

He told me more than once, in an angry mood, that if the Parliament went on at the old rate he would teach them that it would be no great task to reduce them to reason. I perceived by his talk that the Court had resumed the design of besieging Paris; and to be the more satisfied of it I told him that the Cardinal might easily be disappointed in his measures, and that he would find Paris to be a very tough morsel.

“It shall not be taken,” he said, “like Dunkirk, by mines and storming; but suppose its bread from Gonesse should be cut off for eight days only?”

I took this statement then for granted, and replied that the stopping of that passage would be attended with difficulties.

“What difficulties?” asked the Prince, very briskly. “The citizens? Will they come out to give battle?”

“If it were only citizens, monseigneur,” I said, “the battle would not be very sharp.”

“Who will be with them?” he replied; “will you be there yourself?”

“That would be a very bad omen,” I said; “it would look too much like the proceedings of the League.”

After a little pause, he said, “But now, to be serious, would you be so foolish as to embark with those men?”

“You know, monseigneur,” I said, “that I am engaged already; and that, moreover, as Coadjutor of Paris, I am concerned both by honour and interest in its preservation. I shall be your Highness’s humble servant as long as I live, except in this one point.”

I saw he was touched to the quick, but he kept his temper, and said these very words: “When you engage in a bad cause I will pity you, but shall have no reason to complain of you. Nor do you complain of me; but do me that justice you owe me, namely, to own that all I promised to Longueil and Broussel is since annulled by the conduct of the Parliament.”

He afterwards showed me many personal favours, and offered to make my peace with the Court. I assured him of my obedience and zeal for his service in everything that did not interfere with the engagements I had entered into, which, as he himself owned, I could not possibly avoid.

After we parted I paid a visit to Madame de Longueville, who seemed enraged both against the Court and the Prince de Conde. I was pleased to think, moreover, that she could do what she would with the Prince de Conti, who was little better than a child; but then I considered that this child was a Prince of the blood, and it was only a name we wanted to give life to that which, without one, was a mere embryo. I could answer for M. de Longueville, who loved to be the first man in any public revolution, and I was as well assured of Marechal de La Mothe,—[Philippe de La Mothe-Houdancourt, deceased 1657.]—who was madly opposed to the Court, and had been inviolably attached to M. de Longueville for twenty years together. I saw that the Duc de Bouillon, through the injustice done him by the Court and the unfortunate state of his domestic affairs, was very much annoyed and almost desperate. I had an eye upon all these gentlemen at a distance, but thought neither of them fit to open the drama. M. de Longueville was only fit for the second act; the Marechal de La Mothe was a good soldier, but had no headpiece, and was therefore not qualified for the first act. M. de Bouillon was my man, had not his honesty been more problematic than his talents. You will not wonder that I was so wavering in my choice, and that I fixed at last upon the Prince de Conti, of the blood of France.

As soon as I gave Madame de Longueville a hint of what part she was to act in the intended revolution, she was perfectly transported, and I took care to make M. de Longueville as great a malcontent as herself. She had wit and beauty, though smallpox had taken away the bloom of her pretty face, in which there sat charms so powerful that they rendered her one of the most amiable persons in France. I could have placed her in my heart between Mesdames de Gudmenee and Pommereux, and it was not the despair of succeeding that palled my passion, but the consideration that the benefice was not yet vacant, though not well served,—M. de La Rochefoucault was in possession, yet absent in Poitou. I sent her three or four billets-doux every day, and received as many. I went very often to her levee to be more at liberty to talk of affairs, got extraordinary advantages by it, and I knew that it was the only way to be sure of the Prince de Conti.

Having settled a regular correspondence with Madame de Longueville, she made me better acquainted with M. de La Rochefoucault, who made the Prince de Conti believe that he spoke a good word for him to the lady, his sister, with whom he was in, love. And the two so blinded the Prince that he did not suspect anything till four years after.

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When I saw that the Court would act upon their own initiative, I resolved to declare war against them and attack Mazarin in person, because otherwise we could not escape being first attacked by him.

It is certain that he gave his enemies such an advantage over him as no other Prime Minister ever did. Power commonly keeps above ridicule, but everybody laughed at the Cardinal because of his silly sayings and doings, which those in his position are seldom guilty of. It was said that he had lately asked Bougeval, deputy of the Grand Council, whether he did not think himself obliged to have no buttons to the collar of his doublet, if the King should command it,—a grave argument to convince the deputies of an important company of the obedience due to kings, for which he was severely lampooned both in prose and verse.

The Court having attempted to legalise excessive usury,—I mean with respect to the affair of loans,—my dignity would not permit me to tolerate so public and scandalous an evil. Therefore I held an assembly of the clergy, where, without so much as mentioning the Cardinal’s name in the conferences, in which I rather affected to spare him, yet in a week’s time I made him pass for one of the most obstinate Jews in Europe.

At this very time I was sent for, by a civil letter under the Queen’s own hand, to repair to Saint Germain, the messenger telling me the King was just gone thither and that the army was commanded to advance. I made him believe I would obey the summons, but I did not intend to do so.

I was pestered for five hours with a parcel of idle rumours of ruin and destruction, which rather diverted than alarmed me, for though the Prince de Conde, distrusting his brother the Prince de Conti, had surprised him in bed and carried him off with him to Saint Germain, yet I did not question but that, as long as Madame de Longueville stayed in Paris, we should see him again, the rather because his brother neither feared nor valued him sufficiently to put him under arrest, and I was assured that M. de Longueville would be in Paris that evening by having received a letter from himself.

The King was no sooner gone than the Parliament met, frightened out of their senses, and I know not what they could have done if we had not found a way to change their fears into a resolution to make a bold stand. I have observed a thousand times that there are some kinds of fear only to be removed by higher degrees of terror. I caused it to be signified to the Parliament that there was in the Hotel de Ville a letter from his Majesty to the magistrates, containing the reasons that had obliged him to leave his good city of Paris, which were in effect that some of the officers of the House held a correspondence with the enemies of the Government, and had conspired to seize his person.

The Parliament, considering this letter and that the President le Feron, ‘prevot des marchands’, was a creature of the Court, ordered the citizens to arms, the gates to be secured, and the ‘prevot des marchands’ and the ‘lieutenant de police’ to keep open the necessary passages for provisions.

Having thought it good policy that the first public step of resistance should be taken by the Parliament to justify the disobedience of private persons, I then invented this stratagem to render me the more excusable to the Queen for not going to Saint Germain. Having taken leave of all friends and rejected all their entreaties for my stay in Paris, I took coach as if I were driving to Court, but, by good luck, met with an eminent timber-merchant, a very good friend of mine, at the end of Notre-Dame Street, who was very much out of humour, set upon my postilion, and threatened my coachman. The people came and overturned my coach, and the women, shrieking, carried me back to my own house.

I wrote to the Queen and Prince, signifying how sorry I was that I had met with such a stoppage; but the Queen treated the messenger with scorn and contempt. The Prince, at the same time that he pitied me, could not help showing his anger. La Riviere attacked me with railleries and invectives, and the messenger thought they were sure of putting the rope about all our necks on the morrow.

I was not so much alarmed at their menaces as at the news I heard the same day that M. de Longueville, returning from Rouen, had turned off to Saint Germain. Marechal de La Mothe told me twenty times that he would do everything to the letter that M. de Longueville would have him do for or against the Court. M. de Bouillon quarrelled with me for confiding in men who acted so contrary to the repeated assurances I had given him of their good behaviour. And besides all this, Madame de Longueville protested to me that she had received no news from M. de La Rochefoucault, who went soon after the King, with a design to fortify the Prince de Conti in his resolution and to bring him back to Paris. Upon this I sent the Marquis de Noirmoutier to Saint Germain to learn what we had to trust to.

On the 7th of January, 1649, an order was sent from the King to the Parliament to remove to Montargis, to the Chamber of Accounts to adjourn to Orleans and to the Grand Council to retire to Mantes. A packet was also sent to the Parliament, which they would not open, because they guessed at the contents and were resolved beforehand not to obey. Therefore they returned it sealed up as it came, and agreed to send assurances of their obedience to the Queen, and to beg she would give them leave to clear themselves from the aspersion thrown upon them in the letter above mentioned sent to the chief magistrate of the city. And to support the dignity of Parliament it was further resolved that her Majesty should be petitioned in a most humble manner to name the calumniators, that they might be proceeded against according to law. At the same time Broussel, Viole, Amelot, and seven others moved that it might be demanded in form that Cardinal Mazarin should be removed; but they were not supported by anybody else, so that they were treated as enthusiasts. Although this was a juncture in which it was more necessary than ever to act with vigour, yet I do not remember the time when I have beheld so much faintheartedness.

The Chamber of Accounts immediately set about making remonstrances; but the Grand Council would have obeyed the King’s orders, only the city refused them passports. I think this was one of the most gloomy days I had as yet seen. I found the Parliament had almost lost all their spirit, and that I should be obliged to bow my neck under the most shameful and dangerous yoke of slavery, or be reduced to the dire necessity of setting up for tribune of the people, which is the most uncertain and meanest of all posts when it is not vested with sufficient power.

The weakness of the Prince de Conti, who was led like a child by his brother, the cowardice of M. de Longueville, who had been to offer his service to the Queen, and the declaration of MM. de Bouillon and de La Mothe had mightily disfigured my tribuneship. But the folly of Mazarin raised its reputation, for he made the Queen refuse audience to the King’s Council, who returned that night to Paris, fully convinced that the Court was resolved to push things to extremity.

I was informed from Saint Germain that the Prince had assured the Queen he would take Paris in a fortnight, and they hoped that the discontinuance of two markets only would starve the city into a surrender. I carried this news to my friends, who began to see that there was no possibility, of accommodation.

The Parliament was no sooner acquainted that the King’s Council had been denied audience than with one voice—Bernai excepted, who was fitter for a cook than a councillor—they passed that famous decree of January 8th, 1649, whereby Cardinal Mazarin was declared an enemy to the King and Government, a disturber of the public peace, and all the King’s subjects were enjoined to attack him without mercy.

In the afternoon there was a general council of the deputies of Parliament, of the Chamber of Accounts, of the Court of Aids, the chief magistrates of Paris, and the six trading companies, wherein it was resolved that the magistrates should issue commissions for raising 4,000 horse and 10,000 foot. The same day the Chamber of Accounts, the Court of Aids, and the city sent their deputies to the Queen, to beseech her Majesty to bring the King back to Paris, but the Court was obdurate. The Prince de Conde flew out against the Parliament in the Queen’s presence; and her Majesty told them all that neither the King nor herself would ever come again within the walls of the city till the Parliament was gone out of it.

The next day the city received a letter from the King commanding them to oblige the Parliament to remove to Montargis. The governor, one of the sheriffs, and four councillors of the city carried the letter to Parliament, protesting at the same time that they would obey no other orders than those of the Parliament, who that very morning settled the necessary funds for raising troops. In the afternoon there was a general council, wherein all the corporations of the city and all the colonels and captains of the several quarters entered into an association, confirmed by an oath, for their mutual defence. In the meantime I was informed by the Marquis de Noirmoutier that the Prince de Conti and M. de Longueville were very well disposed, and that they stayed at Court the longer to have a safer opportunity of coming away. M. de La Rochefoucault wrote to the same purpose to Madame de Longueville.

The same day I had a visit from the Duc d’Elbeuf,—[Charles de Lorraine, the second of that name, who died 1657.]—who, as they said, having missed a dinner at Court, came to Paris for a supper. He addressed me with all the cajoling flattery of the House of Guise, and had three children with him, who were not so eloquent, but seemed to be quite as cunning as himself. He told me that he was going to offer his service to the Hotel de Ville; but I advised him to wait upon the Parliament. He was fixed in his first resolution, yet he came to assure me he would follow my advice in everything. I was afraid that the Parisians, to whom the very name of a Prince of Lorraine is dear, would have given him the command of the troops. Therefore I ordered the clergy over whom I had influence to insinuate to the people that he was too influential with the Abbe de La Riviere, and I showed the Parliament what respect he had for them by addressing himself to the Hotel de Ville in the first place, and that he had not honour enough to be trusted. I was shown a letter which he wrote to his friend as he came into town, in which were these words: “I must go and do homage to the Coadjutor now, but in three days’ time he shall return it to me.” And I knew from other instances that his affection for me was of the feeblest.

While I was reflecting what to do, news was brought to me before daylight that the Prince de Conti and M. de Longueville were at the gate of Saint Honord and denied entrance by the people, who feared they came to betray the city. I immediately fetched honest Broussel, and, taking some torches to light us, we posted to the said gate through a prodigious crowd of people; it was broad daylight before we could persuade the people that they might safely let them in.

The great difficulty now was how to manage so as to remove the general distrust of the Prince de Conti that existed among the people. That which was practicable the night before was rendered impossible and even ruinous the next day, and this same Duc d’Elbeuf, whom I thought to have driven out of Paris on the 9th, was in a fair way to have compelled me to leave on the 10th if he had played his game well, so suspected was the name of Conde by the people. As there wanted a little time to reconcile them, I thought it was our only way to keep fair with M. d’Elbeuf and to convince him that it would be to his interest to join with the Prince de Conti and M. de Longueville. I accordingly sent to acquaint him that I intended him a visit, but when I arrived he was gone to the Parliament, where the First President, who was against removing to Montargis and at the same time very averse to a civil war, embraced him, and, without giving the members time to consider what was urged by Broussel, Viole, and others to the contrary, caused him to be declared General, with a design merely to divide and weaken the party.

Upon this I made haste to the Palace of Longueville to persuade the Prince de Conti and M. de Longueville to go that very instant to the Parliament House. The latter was never in haste, and the Prince having gone tired to bed, it was with much ado I prevailed on him to rise. In short, he was so long in setting out that the Parliament was up and M. d’Elbeuf was marching to the Hotel de Ville to be sworn and to take care of the commissions that were to be issued. I thereupon persuaded the Prince de Conti to go to the Parliament in the afternoon and to offer them his service, while I stayed without in the hall to observe the disposition of the people.

He went thither accordingly in my coach and with my grand livery, by which he made it appear that he reposed his confidence entirely in the people, whom there is a necessity of managing with a world of precaution because of their natural diffidence and instability. When we came to the House we were saluted upon the stairs with “God bless the Coadjutor!” but, except those posted there on purpose, not a soul cried, “God bless the Prince de Conti!” from which I concluded that the bulk of the people were not yet cured of their diffidence, and therefore I was very glad when I had got the Prince into the Grand Chamber. The moment after, M. d’Elbeuf came in with the city guards, who attended him as general, and with all the people crying out, “God bless his Highness M. d’Elbeuf!” But as they cried at the same time “God save the Coadjutor!” I addressed myself to him with a smile and said, “This is an echo, monsieur, which does me a great deal of honour.”—“It is very kind of you,” said he, and, turning to the guards, bade them stay at the door of the Grand Chamber. I took the order as given to myself, and stayed there likewise, with a great number of my friends. As soon as the House was formed, the Prince de Conti stood up and said that, having been made acquainted at Saint Germain with the pernicious counsels given to the Queen, he thought himself obliged, as Prince of the blood, to oppose them. M. d’Elbeuf, who was proud and insolent, like all weak men, because he thought he had the strongest party, said he knew the respect due to the Prince de Conti, but that he could not forbear telling them that it was himself who first broke the ice and offered his service to the Parliament, who, having conferred the General’s baton upon him, he would never part with it but with his life.

The generality of the members, who were as distrustful of the Prince de Conti as the people, applauded this declaration, and the Parliament passed a decree forbidding the troops on pain of high treason to advance within twenty miles of Paris. I saw that all I could do that day was to reconduct the Prince de Conti in safety to the palace of Longueville, for the crowd was so great that I was fain to carry him, as it were, in my arms out of the Grand Chamber.

M. d’Elbeuf, who thought the day was all his own, hearing my name joined with his in the huzzas of the people, said to me by way of reprisal, “This, monsieur, is an echo which does me a great deal of honour,” to which I replied, as he did to me before, “Monsieur, it is very kind of you.” Meantime he was not wise enough to improve the opportunity, and I foresaw that things would soon take another turn, for reputation of long standing among the people never fails to blast the tender blossoms of public good-will which are forced out of due season.

I had news sent to me from Madame de Lesdiguieres at Saint Germain, that M. d’Elbeuf, an hour after he heard of the arrival of the Prince de Conti and M. de Longueville at Paris, wrote a letter to the Abbe de la Riviere with these words: “Tell the Queen and the Duc d’Orleans that this diabolical Coadjutor is the ruin of everything here, and that in two days I shall have no power at all, but that if they will be kind to me I will make them sensible. I am not come hither with so bad a design as they imagine.” I made a very good use of this advice, and, knowing that the people are generally fond of everything that seems mysterious, I imparted the secret to four or five hundred persons. I had the pleasure to hear that the confidence which the Prince had reposed in the people by going about all alone in my coach, without any attendance, had won their hearts.

At midnight M. de Longueville, Marechal de La Mothe, and myself went to M. de Bouillon, whom we found as wavering as the state of affairs, but when we showed him our plan, and how easily it might be executed, he joined us immediately. We concerted measures, and I gave out orders to all the colonels and captains of my acquaintance.

The most dangerous blow that I gave to M. d’Elbeuf was by making the people believe that he held correspondence with the King’s troops, who on the 9th, at night, surprised Charenton. I met him on the first report of it, when he said, “Would you think there are people so wicked as to say that I had a hand in the capture of Charenton?” I said in answer, “Would you think there are people vile enough to report that the Prince de Conti is come hither by concert with the Prince de Conde?”

When I saw the people pretty well cured of their diffidence, and not so zealous as they were for M. d’Elbeuf, I was for mincing the matter no longer, and thought that ostentation would be as proper to-day as reserve was yesterday. The Prince de Conti took M. de Longueville to the Parliament House, where he offered them his services, together with all Normandy, and desired they would accept of his wife, son, and daughter, and keep them in the Hotel de Ville as pledges of his sincerity. He was seconded by M. de Bouillon, who said he was exceedingly glad to serve the Parliament under the command of so great a Prince as the Prince de Conti. M. d’Elbeuf was nettled at this expression, and repeated what he had said before, that he would not part with the General’s staff, and he showed more warmth than judgment in the whole debate. He spoke nothing to the purpose. It was too late to dispute, and he was obliged to yield, but I have observed that fools yield only when they cannot help it. We tried his patience a third time by the appearance of Marechal de La Mothe, who passed the same compliment upon the company as De Bouillon had done. We had concerted beforehand that these personages should make their appearance upon the theatre one after the other, for we had remarked that nothing so much affects the people, and even the Parliament, among whom the people are a majority, as a variety of scenes.

I took Madame de Longueville and Madame de Bouillon in a coach by way of triumph to the Hotel de Ville. They were both of rare beauty, and appeared the more charming because of a careless air, the more becoming to both because it was unaffected. Each held one of her children, beautiful as the mother, in her arms. The place was so full of people that the very tops of the houses were crowded; all the men shouted and the women wept for joy and affection. I threw five hundred pistoles out of the window of the Hotel de Ville, and went again to the Parliament House, accompanied by a vast number of people, some with arms and others without. M. d’Elbeuf’s captain of the guards told his master that he was ruined to all intents and purposes if he did not accommodate himself to the present position of affairs, which was the reason that I found him much perplexed and dejected, especially when M. de Bellievre, who had amused him hitherto designedly, came in and asked what meant the beating of the drums. I answered that he would hear more very soon, and that all honest men were quite out of patience with those that sowed divisions among the people. I saw then that wisdom in affairs of moment is nothing without courage. M. d’Elbeuf had little courage at this juncture, made a ridiculous explanation of what he had said before, and granted more than he was desired to do, and it was owing to the civility and good sense of M. de Bouillon that he retained the title of General and the precedence of M. de Bouillon and M. de La Mothe, who were equally Generals with himself under the Prince de Conti, who was from that instant declared Generalissimo of the King’s forces under the direction of the Parliament.

There happened at this time a comical scene in the Hotel de Ville, which I mention more particularly because of its consequence. De Noirmoutier, who the night before was made lieutenant-general, returning by the Hotel de Ville from a sally which he had made into the suburbs to drive away Mazarin’s skirmishers, as they were called, entered with three officers in armour into the chamber of Madame de Longueville, which was full of ladies; the mixture of blue scarfs, ladies, cuirassiers, fiddlers, and trumpeters in and about the hall was such a sight as is seldom met with but in romances. De Noirmoutier, who was a great admirer of Astrea, said he imagined that we were besieged in Marcilli. “Well you may,” said I; “Madame de Longueville is as fair as Galatea, but Marsillac (son of M. de La Rochefoucault) is not a man of so much honour as Lindamore.” I fancy I was overheard by one in a neighbouring window, who might have told M. de La Rochefoucault, for otherwise I cannot guess at the first cause of the hatred which he afterwards bore me.

Before I proceed to give you the detail of the civil war, suffer me to lead you into the gallery where you, who are an admirer of fine painting, will be entertained with the figures of the chief actors, drawn all at length in their proper colours, and you will be able to judge by the history whether they are painted to the life. Let us begin, as it is but just, with her Majesty.

Character of the Queen.

The Queen excelled in that kind of wit which was becoming her circle, to the end that she might not appear silly before strangers; she was more ill-natured than proud, had more pride than real grandeur, and more show than substance; she loved money too well to be liberal, and her own interest too well to be impartial; she was more constant than passionate as a lover, more implacable than cruel, and more mindful of injuries than of good offices. She had more of the pious intention than of real piety, more obstinacy than well-grounded resolution, and a greater measure of incapacity than of all the rest.

Character of the Duc d’ Orleans.

The Duc d’Orleans possessed all the good qualities requisite for a man of honour except courage, but having not one quality eminent enough to make him notable, he had nothing in him to supply or support the weakness which was so predominant in his heart through fear, and in his mind through irresolution, that it tarnished the whole course of his life. He engaged in all affairs, because he had not power to resist the importunities of those who drew him in for their own advantage, and came off always with shame for want of courage to go on. His suspicious temper, even from his childhood, deadened those lively, gay colours which would have shone out naturally with the advantages of a fine, bright genius, an amiable gracefulness, a very honest disposition, a perfect disinterestedness, and an incredible easiness of behaviour.

Character of the Prince de Conde.

The Prince de Conde was born a general, an honour none could ever boast of before but Caesar and Spinola; he was equal to the first, but superior to the second. Intrepidity was one of the least parts of his character. Nature gave him a genius as great as his heart. It was his fortune to be born in an age of war, which gave him an opportunity to display his courage to its full extent; but his birth, or rather education, in a family submissively attached to the Cabinet, restrained his noble genius within too narrow bounds. There was no care taken betimes to inspire him with those great and general maxims which form and improve a man of parts. He had not time to acquire them by his own application, because he was prevented from his youth by the unexpected revolution, and by a constant series of successes. This one imperfection, though he had as pure a soul as any in the world, was the reason that he did things which were not to be justified, that though he had the heart of Alexander so he had his infirmities, that he was guilty of unaccountable follies, that having all the talents of Francois de Guise, he did not serve the State upon some occasions as well as he ought, and that having the parts of Henri de Conde, his namesake, he did not push the faction as far as he might have done, nor did he discharge all the duties his extraordinary merit demanded from him.

Character of the Duc de Longueville.

M. de Longueville, though he had the grand name of Orleans, together with vivacity, an agreeable appearance, generosity, liberality, justice, valour, and grandeur, yet never made any extraordinary figure in life, because his ideas were infinitely above his capacity. If a man has abilities and great designs, he is sure to be looked upon as a man of some importance; but if he does not carry them out, he is not much esteemed, which was the case with De Longueville.

Character of the Duc de Beaufort.

M. de Beaufort knew little of affairs of moment but by hearsay and by what he had learned in the cabal of “The Importants,” of whose jargon he had retained some smattering, which, together with some expressions he had perfectly acquired from Madame de Vendome, formed a language that would have puzzled a Cato. His speech was short and stupidly dull, and the more so because he obscured it by affectation. He thought himself very sufficient, and pretended to a great deal more wit than came to his share. He was brave enough in his person, and outdid the common Hectors by being so upon all occasions, but never more ‘mal a propos’ than in gallantry. And he talked and thought just as the people did whose idol he was for some time.

Character of the Dice d’Elbeuf.

M. d’Elbeuf could not fail of courage, as he was a Prince of the house of Lorraine. He had all the wit that a man of abundantly more cunning and good sense could pretend to. He was a medley of incoherent flourishes. He was the first Prince debased by poverty; and, perhaps, never man was more at a loss than he to raise the pity of the people in misery. A comfortable subsistence did not raise his spirits; and if he had been master of riches he would have been envied as a leader of a party. Poverty so well became him that it seemed as if he had been cut out for a beggar.

Character of the Duc de Bouillon.

The Duc de Bouillon was a man of experienced valour and profound sense. I am fully persuaded, by what I have seen of his conduct, that those who cry it down wrong his character; and it may be that others had too favourable notions of his merit, who thought him capable of all the great things which he never did.

Character of M. de Turenne.

M. de Turenne had all the good qualities in his very nature, and acquired all the great ones very early, those only excepted that he never thought of. Though almost all the virtues were in a manner natural to him, yet he shone out in none. He was looked upon as more proper to be at the head of an army than of a faction, for he was not naturally enterprising. He had in all his conduct, as well as in his way of talking, certain obscurities which he never explained but on particular occasions, and then only for his own honour.

Character of Marechal de La Mothe.

The Marechal de La Mothe was a captain of the second rank, full of mettle, but not a man of much sense. He was affable and courteous in civil life, and a very useful man in a faction because of his wonderful complacency.

Character of the Prince de Conti.

The Prince de Conti was a second Zeno as much as he was a Prince of the blood. That is his character with regard to the public; and as to his private capacity, wickedness had the same effect on him as weakness had on M. d’Elbeuf, and drowned his other qualities, which were all mean and tinctured with folly.

Character of M. de La Rochefoucault.

M. de La Rochefoucault had something so odd in all his conduct that I know not what name to give it. He loved to be engaged in intrigues from a child. He was never capable of conducting any affair, for what reasons I could not conceive; for he had endowments which, in another, would have made amends for imperfections . . . . He had not a long view of what was beyond his reach, nor a quick apprehension of what was within it; but his sound sense, very good in speculation, his good-nature, his engaging and wonderfully easy behaviour, were enough to have made amends more than they did for his want of penetration. He was constantly wavering in his resolution, but what to attribute it to I know not, for it could not come from his fertile imagination, which was lively. Nor can I say it came from his barrenness of thought, for though he did not excel as a man of affairs, yet he had a good fund of sense. The effect of this irresolution is very visible, though we do not know its cause. He never was a warrior, though a true soldier. He never was a courtier, though he had always a good mind to be one. He never was a good party man, though his whole life was engaged in partisanship. He was very timorous and bashful in conversation, and thought he always stood in need of apologies, which, considering that his “Maxims” showed not great regard for virtue, and that his practice was always to get out of affairs with the same hurry as he got into them, makes me conclude that he would have done much better if he had contented himself to have passed, as he might have done, for the politest courtier and the most cultivated gentlemen of his age.

Character of Madame de Longueville.

Madame de Longueville had naturally a great fund of wit, and was, moreover, a woman of parts; but her indolent temper kept her from making any use of her talents, either in gallantries or in her hatred against the Prince de Conde. Her languishing air had more charms in it than the most exquisite beauty. She had few or no faults besides what she contracted in her gallantry. As her passion of love influenced her conduct more than politics, she who was the Amazon of a great party degenerated into the character of a fortune-hunter. But the grace of God brought her back to her former self, which all the world was not able to do.

Character of Madame de Chevreuse.

Madame de Chevreuse had not so much as the remains of beauty when I knew her; she was the only person I ever saw whose vivacity supplied the want of judgment; her wit was so brilliant and so full of wisdom that the greatest men of the age would not have been ashamed of it, while, in truth, it was owing to some lucky opportunity. If she had been born in time of peace she would never have imagined there could have been such a thing as war. If the Prior of the Carthusians had but pleased her, she would have been a nun all her lifetime. M. de Lorraine was the first that engaged her in State affairs. The Duke of Buckingham—[George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, assassinated when preparing to succour Rochelle.]—and the Earl of Holland (an English lord, of the family of Rich, and younger son of the Earl of Warwick, then ambassador in France) kept her to themselves; M. de Chateauneuf continued the amusement, till at last she abandoned herself to the pleasing of a person whom she loved, without any choice, but purely because it was impossible for her to live without being in love with somebody. It was no hard task to give her one to serve the turn of the faction, but as soon as she accepted him she loved him with all her heart and soul, and she confessed that, by the caprice of fortune, she never loved best where she esteemed most, except in the case of the poor Duke of Buckingham. Notwithstanding her attachment in love, which we may, properly call her everlasting passion, notwithstanding the frequent change of objects, she was peevish and touchy almost to distraction, but when herself again, her transports were very agreeable; never was anybody less fearful of real danger, and never had woman more contempt for scruples and ceremonies.

Character of Mademoiselle de Chevreuse.

Mademoiselle de Chevreuse was more beautiful in her person than charming in her carriage, and by nature extremely silly; her amorous passion made her seem witty, serious, and agreeable only to him whom she was in love with, but she soon treated him as she did her petticoat, which to-day she took into her bed, and to-morrow cast into the fire out of pure aversion.

Character of the Princess Palatine.

The Princess Palatine’ had just as much gallantry as gravity. I believe she had as great a talent for State affairs as Elizabeth, Queen of England. I have seen her in the faction, I have seen her in the Cabinet, and found her everywhere equally sincere.

Character of Madame de Montbazon.

Madame de Montbazon was a very great beauty, only modesty was visibly wanting in her air; her grand air and her way of talking sometimes supplied her want of sense. She loved nothing more than her pleasures, unless it was her private interest, and I never knew a vicious person that had so little respect for virtue.

Character of the First President.

If it were not a sort of blasphemy to say that any mortal of our times had more courage than the great Gustavus Adolphus and the Prince de Conde, I would venture to affirm it of M. Mole, the First President, but his wit was far inferior to his courage. It is true that his enunciation was not agreeable, but his eloquence was such that, though it shocked the ear, it seized the imagination. He sought the interest of the public preferably to all things, not excepting the interest of his own family, which yet he loved too much for a magistrate. He had not a genius to see at times the good he was capable of doing, presumed too much upon his authority, and imagined that he could moderate both the Court and Parliament; but he failed in both, made himself suspected by both, and thus, with a design to do good, he did evil. Prejudices contributed not a little to this, for I observed he was prejudiced to such a degree that he always judged of actions by men, and scarcely ever of men by their actions.

To return to our history. All the companies having united and settled the necessary funds, a complete army was raised in Paris in a week’s time. The Bastille surrendered after five or six cannon shots, and it was a pretty sight to see the women carry their chairs into the garden, where the guns were stationed, for the sake of seeing the siege, just as if about to hear a sermon.

M. de Beaufort, having escaped from his confinement, arrived this very day in Paris. I found that his imprisonment had not made him one jot the wiser. Indeed, it had got him a reputation, because he bore it with constancy and made his escape with courage. It was also his merit not to have abandoned the banks of the Loire at a time when it absolutely required abundance of skill and courage to stay there. It is an easy matter for those who are disgraced at Court to make the best of their own merit in the beginning of a civil war. He had a mind to form an alliance with me, and knowing how to employ him advantageously, I prepossessed the people in his favour, and exaggerated the conspiracy which the Cardinal had formed against him by means of Du Hamel.

As my friendship was necessary to him, so his was necessary to me; for my profession on many occasions being a restraint upon me, I wanted a man sometimes to stand before me. M. de La Mothe was so dependent on M. de Longueville that I could not rely on him; and M. de Bouillon was not a man to be governed.

We went together to wait on the Prince de Conti; we stopped the coach in the streets, where I proclaimed the name of M. de Beaufort, praised him and showed him to the people; upon which the people were suddenly fired with enthusiasm, the women kissed him, and the crowd was so great that we had much ado to get to the Hotel de Ville. The next day he offered a petition to the Parliament desiring he might have leave to justify himself against the accusation of his having formed a design against the life of the Cardinal, which was granted; and he was accordingly cleared next day, and the Parliament issued that famous decree for seizing all the cash of the Crown in all the public and private receipt offices of the kingdom and employing it in the common defence.

The Prince de Conde was enraged at the declaration published by the Prince de Conti and M. de Longueville, which cast the Court, then at Saint Germain, into such a despair that the Cardinal was upon the point of retiring. I was abused there without mercy, as appeared by a letter sent to Madame de Longueville from the Princess, her mother, in which I read this sentence: “They rail here plentifully against the Coadjutor, whom yet I cannot forbear thanking for what he has done for the poor Queen of England.” This circumstance is very curious. You must know that a few days before the King left Paris I visited the Queen of England, whom I found in the apartment of her daughter, since Madame d’Orleans. “You see, monsieur,” said the Queen, “I come here to keep Henriette company; the poor child has lain in bed all day for want of a fire.” The truth is, the Cardinal having stopped the Queen’s pension six months, tradesmen were unwilling to give her credit, and there was not a chip of wood in the house. You may be sure I took care that a Princess of Great Britain should not be confined to her bed next day, for want of a fagot; and a few days after I exaggerated the scandal of this desertion, and the Parliament sent the Queen a present of 40,000 livres. Posterity will hardly believe that the Queen of England, granddaughter of Henri the Great, wanted a fagot to light a fire in the month of January, in the Louvre, and at the Court of France.

There are many passages in history less monstrous than this which make us shudder, and this mean action of the Court made so little impression upon the minds of the generality of the people at that time that I have reflected a thousand times since that we are far more moved at the hearing of old stories than of those of the present time; we are not shocked at what we see with our own eyes, and I question whether our surprise would be as great as we imagine at the story of Caligula’s promoting his horse to the dignity of a consul were he and his horse now living.

To return to the war. A cornet of my regiment being taken prisoner and carried to Saint Germain, the Queen immediately ordered his head to be cut off, but I sent a trumpeter to acquaint the Court that I would make reprisals upon my prisoners, so that my cornet was exchanged and a cartel settled.

As soon as Paris declared itself, all the kingdom was in a quandary, for the Parliament of Paris sent circular letters to all the Parliaments and cities in the kingdom exhorting them to join against the common enemy; upon which the Parliaments of Aix and Rouen joined with that of Paris. The Prince d’Harcourt, now Duc d’Elbeuf, and the cities of Rheims, Tours, and Potiers, took up arms in its favour. The Duc de La Tremouille raised men for them publicly. The Duc de Retz offered his service to the Parliament, together with Belle Isle. Le Mans expelled its bishop and all the Lavardin family, who were in the interest of the Court.

On the 18th of January, 1649, I was admitted to a seat and vote in Parliament, and signed an alliance with the chief leaders of the party: MM. de Beaufort, de Bouillon, de La Mothe, de Noirmoutier, de Vitri, de Brissac, de Maure, de Matha, de Cugnac, de Barnire, de Sillery, de La Rochefoucault, de Laigues, de Sevigny, de Bethune, de Luynes, de Chaumont, de Saint-Germain, d’Action, and de Fiesque.

On the 9th of February the Prince de Conde attacked and took Charenton. All this time the country people were flocking to Paris with provisions, not only because there was plenty of money, but to enable the citizens to hold out against the siege, which was begun on the 9th of January.

On the 12th of February a herald came with two trumpeters from the Court to one of the city gates, bringing three packets of letters, one for the Parliament, one for the Prince de Conti, and the third for the Hotel de Ville. It was but the night before that a person was caught in the halls dropping libels against the Parliament and me; upon which the Parliament, Princes, and city supposed that this State visit was nothing but an amusement of Cardinal Mazarin to cover a worse design, and therefore resolved not to receive the message nor give the herald audience, but to send the King’s Council to the Queen to represent to her that their refusal was out of pure obedience and respect, because heralds are never sent but to sovereign Princes or public enemies, and that the Parliament, the Prince de Conti, and the city were neither the one nor the other. At the same time the Chevalier de Lavalette, who distributed the libels, had formed a design to kill me and M. de Beaufort upon the Parliament stairs in the great crowd which they expected would attend the appearance of the herald. The Court, indeed, always denied his having any other commission than to drop the libels, but I am certain that the Bishop of Dole told the Bishop of Aire, but a night or two before, that Beaufort and I should not be among the living three days hence.

The King’s councillors returned with a report how kindly they had been received at Saint Germain. They said the Queen highly approved of the reasons offered by the Parliament for refusing entrance to the herald, and that she had assured them that, though she could not side with the Parliament in the present state of affairs, yet she received with joy the assurances they had given her of their respect and submission, and that she would distinguish them in general and in particular by special marks of her good-will. Talon, Attorney-General, who always spoke with dignity and force, embellished this answer of the Queen with all the ornaments he could give it, assuring the Parliament in very pathetic terms that, if they should be pleased to send a deputation to Saint Germain, it would be very kindly received, and might, perhaps, be a great step towards a peace.

When I saw that we were besieged, that the Cardinal had sent a person into Flanders to treat with the Spaniards, and that our party was now so well formed that there was no danger that I alone should be charged with courting the alliance of the enemies of the State, I hesitated no longer, but judged that, as affairs stood, I might with honour hear what proposals the Spaniards would make to me for the relief of Paris; but I took care not to have my name mentioned, and that the first overtures should be made to M. d’Elbeuf, who was the fittest person, because during the ministry of Cardinal de Richelieu he was twelve or fifteen years in Flanders a pensioner of Spain. Accordingly Arnolfi, a Bernardin friar, was sent from the Archduke Leopold, Governor of the Spanish Netherlands for the King of Spain, to the Duc d’Elbeuf, who, upon sight of his credentials, thought himself the most considerable man of the party, invited most of us to dinner, and told us he had a very important matter to lay before us, but that such was his tenderness for the French name that he could not open so much as a small letter from a suspected quarter, which, after some scrupulous and mysterious circumlocutions, he ventured to name, and we agreed one and all not to refuse the succours from Spain, but the great difficulty was, which way to get them. Fuensaldagne, the general, was inclined to join us if he could have been sure that we would engage with him; but as there was no possibility of the Parliaments treating with him, nor any dependence to be placed upon the generals, some of whom were wavering and whimsical, Madame de Bouillon pressed me not to hesitate any longer, but to join with her husband, adding that if he and I united, we should so far overmatch the others that it would not be in their power to injure us.

M. de Bouillon and I agreed to use our interest to oblige the Parliament to hear what the envoy had to say. I proposed it to the Parliament, but the first motion of it was hissed, in a manner, by all the company as much as if it had been heretical. The old President Le Coigneux, a man of quick apprehension, observing that I sometimes mentioned a letter from the Archduke of which there had been no talk, declared himself suddenly to be of my opinion. He had a secret persuasion that I had seen some writings which they knew nothing of, and therefore, while both sides were in the heat of debate, he said to me:

“Why do you not disclose yourself to your friends? They would come into your measures. I see very well you know more of the matter than the person who thinks himself your informant.” I vow I was terribly ashamed of my indiscretion. I squeezed him by the hand and winked at MM. de Beaufort and de La Mothe. At length two other Presidents came over to my opinion, being thoroughly convinced that succours from Spain at this time were a remedy absolutely necessary to our disease, but a dangerous and empirical medicine, and infallibly mortal to particular persons if it did not pass first through the Parliament’s alembic.

The Bernardin, being tutored by us beforehand what to say when he came before the Parliament, behaved like a man of good sense.

When he desired audience, or rather when the Prince de Conti desired it for him, the President de Mesmes, a man of great capacity, but by fear and ambition most slavishly attached to the Court, made an eloquent and pathetic harangue, preferable to anything I ever met with of the kind in all the monuments of antiquity, and, turning about to the Prince de Conti, “Is it possible, monsieur,” said he, “that a Prince of the blood of France should propose to let a person deputed from the most bitter enemy of the fleurs-de-lis have a seat upon those flowers?” Then turning to me, he said, “What, monsieur, will you refuse entrance to your sovereign’s herald upon the most trifling pretexts?” I knew what was coming, and therefore I endeavoured to stop his mouth by this answer: “Monsieur, you will excuse me from calling those reasons frivolous which have had the sanction of a decree.” The bulk of the Parliament was provoked at the President’s unguarded expression, baited him very fiercely, and then I made some pretence to go out, leaving Quatresous, a young man of the warmest temper, in the House to skirmish with him in my stead, as having experienced more than once that the only way to get anything of moment passed in Parliamentary or other assemblies is to exasperate the young men against the old ones.

In short, after many debates, it was carried that the envoy should be admitted to audience. Being accordingly admitted, and bidden to be covered and sit down, he presented the Archduke’s credentials, and then made a speech, which was in substance that his master had ordered him to acquaint the company with a proposal made him by Cardinal Mazarin since the blockade of Paris, which his Catholic Majesty did not think consistent with his safety or honour to accept, when he saw that, on the one hand, it was made with a view to oppress the Parliament, which was held in veneration by all the kingdoms in the world, and, on the other, that all treaties made with a condemned minister would be null and void, forasmuch as they were made without the concurrence of the Parliament, to whom only it belonged to register and verify treaties of peace in order to make them authoritative; that the Catholic King, who proposed to take no advantage from the present state of affairs, had ordered the Archduke to assure the Parliament, whom he knew to be in the true interest of the most Christian King, that he heartily acknowledged them to be the arbiters of peace, that he submitted to their judgment, and that if they thought proper to be judges, he left it to their choice to send a deputation out of their own body to what place they pleased. Paris itself not excepted, and that his Catholic Majesty would also, without delay, send his deputies thither to meet and treat with them; that, meanwhile, he had ordered 18,000 men to march towards their frontiers to relieve them in case of need, with orders nevertheless to commit no hostilities upon the towns, etc., of the most Christian King, though they were for the most part abandoned; and it being his resolution at this juncture to show his sincere inclination for peace, he gave them his word of honour that his armies should not stir during the treaty; but that in case his troops might be serviceable to the Parliament, they were at their disposal, to be commanded by French officers; and that to obviate all the reasonable jealousies generally, attending the conduct of foreigners, they, were at liberty to take all other precautions they should think proper.

Before his admission the Prdsident de Mesmes had loaded me with invectives, for secretly corresponding with the enemies of the State, for favouring his admission, and for opposing that of my sovereign’s herald.

I had observed that when the objections against a man are capable of making greater impression than his answers, it is his best course to say but little, and that he may talk as much as he pleases when he thinks his answers of greater force than the objections. I kept strictly to this rule, for though the said President artfully pointed his satire at me, I sat unconcerned till I found the Parliament was charmed with what the envoy had said, and then, in my turn, I was even with the President by telling him in short that my respect for the Parliament had obliged me to put up with his sarcasms, which I had hitherto endured; and that I did not suppose he meant that his sentiments should always be a law to the Parliament; that nobody there had a greater esteem for him, with which I hoped that the innocent freedom I had taken to speak my mind was not inconsistent; that as to the non-admission of the herald, had it not been for the motion made by M. Broussel, I should have fallen into the snare through overcredulity, and have given my vote for that which might perhaps have ended in the destruction of the city, and involved myself in what has since fully proved to be a crime by the Queen’s late solemn approbation of the contrary conduct; and that, as to the envoy, I was silent till I saw most of them were for giving him audience, when I thought it better to vote the same way than vainly to contest it.

This modest and submissive answer of mine to all the scurrilities heaped upon me for a fortnight together by the First President and the President de Mesmes had an excellent effect upon the members, and obliterated for a long time the suspicion that I aimed to govern them by my cabals. The President de Mesmes would have replied, but his words were drowned in the general clamour. The clock struck five; none had dined, and many had not broken their fast, which the Presidents had, and therefore had the advantage in disputation.

The decree ordering the admission of the Spanish envoy to audience directed that a copy of what he said in Parliament, signed with his own hand, should be demanded of him, to the end that it might be registered, and that, by a solemn deputation, it should be sent to the Queen, with an assurance of the fidelity of the Parliament, beseeching her at the same time to withdraw her troops from the neighbourhood of Paris and restore peace to her people. It being now very late, and the members very hungry,—circumstances that have greater influence than can be imagined in debates, they were upon the point of letting this clause pass for want of due attention. The President Le Coigneux was the first that discovered the grand mistake, and, addressing himself to a great many councillors, who were rising up, said, “Gentlemen, pray take your places again, for I have something to offer to the House which is of the highest importance to all Europe.” When they had taken their places he spoke as follows:

“The King of Spain takes us for arbiters of the general peace; it may be he is not in earnest, but yet it is a compliment to tell us so. He offers us troops to march to our relief, and it is certain he does not deceive us in this respect, but highly obliges us. We have heard his envoy, and considering the circumstances we are in, we think it right so to do. We have resolved to give an account of this matter to the King, which is but reasonable; some imagine that we propose to send the original decree, but here lies the snake in the grass. I protest, monsieur,” added he, turning to the First President, “that the members did not understand it so, but that the copy only should be carried to Court, and the original be kept in the register. I could wish there had been no occasion for explanation, because there are some occasions when it is not prudent to speak all that one thinks, but since I am forced to it, I must say it without further hesitation, that in case we deliver up the original the Spaniards will conclude that we expose their proposals for a general peace and our own safety to the caprice of Cardinal Mazarin; whereas, by delivering only a copy, accompanied with humble entreaties for a general peace, as the Parliament has wisely ordered, all Europe will see that we maintain ourselves in a condition capable of doing real service both to our King and country, if the Cardinal is so blind as not to take a right advantage of this opportunity.”

This discourse was received with the approbation of all the members, who cried out from all corners of the House that this was the meaning of the House. The gentlemen of the Court of Inquests did not spare the Presidents. M. Martineau said publicly that the tenor of this decree was that the envoy of Spain should be made much of till they received an answer from Saint Germain, which would prove to be another taunt of the Cardinal’s. Pontcarre said he was not so much afraid of a Spaniard as of a Mazarin. In short, the generals had the satisfaction to see that the Parliament would not be sorry for any advances they should make towards an alliance with Spain.

We sent a courier to Brussels, who was guarded ten leagues out of Paris by 500 horse, with an account of everything done in Parliament, of the conditions which the Prince de Conti and the other generals desired for entering into a treaty with Spain, and of what engagement I could make in my own private capacity.

After he had gone I had a conference with M. de Bouillon and his lady about the present state of affairs, which I observed was very ticklish; that if we were favoured by the general inclination of the people we should carry all before us, but that the Parliament, which was our chief strength in one sense, was in other respects our main weakness; that they were very apt to go backward; that in the very last debate they were on the point of twisting a rope for their own necks, and that the First President would show Mazarin his true interests, and be glad to amuse us by stipulating with the Court for our security without putting us in possession of it, and by ending the civil war in the confirmation of our slavery. “The Parliament,” I said, “inclines to an insecure and scandalous peace. We can make the people rise to-morrow if we please; but ought we to attempt it? And if we divest the Parliament of its authority, into what an abyss of disorders shall we not precipitate Paris? But, on the other hand, if we do not raise the people, will the Parliament ever believe we can? Will they be hindered from taking any further step in favour of the Court, destructive indeed to their own interest, but infallibly ruinous to us first?”

M. de Bouillon, who did not believe our affairs to be in so critical a situation, was, together with his lady, in a state of surprise. The mild and honourable answer which the Queen returned to the King’s councillors in relation to the herald, her protestations that she sincerely forgave all the world, and the brilliant gloss of Talon upon her said answer, in an instant overturned the former resolutions of the Parliament; and if they regained sometimes their wonted vigour, either by some intervening accidents or by the skilful management of those who took care to bring them back to the right way, they had still an inclination to recede. M. de Bouillon being the wisest man of the party, I told him what I thought, and with him I concerted proper measures. To the rest, I put on a cheerful air, and magnified every little circumstance of affairs to our own advantage.

M. de Bouillon proposed that we should let the Parliament and the Hotel de Ville go on in their own way, and endeavour all we could clandestinely to make them odious to the people, and that we should take the first opportunity to secure, by banishment or imprisonment, such persons as we could not depend upon. He added that Longueville, too, was of opinion that there was no remedy left but to purge the Houses. This was exactly like him, for never was there a man so positive and violent in his opinion, and yet no man living could palliate it with smoother language. Though I thought of this expedient before M. de Bouillon, and perhaps could have said more for it, because I saw the possibility of it much clearer than he, yet I would not give him to understand that I had thought of it, because I knew he had the vanity to love to be esteemed the first author of things, which was the only weakness I observed in his managing State affairs. I left him an answer in writing, in substance as follows:

“I confess the scheme is very feasible, but attended with pernicious consequences both to the public and to private persons, for the same people whom you employ to humble the magistracy will refuse you obedience when you demand from them the same homage they paid to the magistrates. This people adored the Parliament till the beginning of the war; they are still for continuing the war, and yet abate their friendship for the Parliament. The Parliament imagines that this applies only to some particular members who are Mazarined, but they are deceived, for their prejudice extends to the whole company, and their hatred towards Mazarin’s party supports and screens their indifference towards all the rest. We cheer up their spirits by pasquinades and ballads and the martial sound of trumpets and kettle-drums, but, after all, do they pay their taxes as punctually as they did the first few weeks? Are there many that have done as you and I, monsieur, who sent our plate to the mint? Do you not observe that they who would be thought zealous for the common cause plead in favour of some acts committed by those men who are, in short, its enemies? If the people are so tired already, what will they be long before they come to their journey’s end?

“After we have established our own authority upon the ruin of the Parliament’s, we shall certainly fall into the same inconveniences and be obliged to act just as they do now. We shall impose taxes, raise moneys, and differ from the Parliament only in this, that the hatred and envy they have contracted by various ways from one-third part of the people,—I mean the wealthy citizens,—in the space of six weeks will devolve upon us, with that of the other two-thirds of the inhabitants, and will complete our ruin in one week. May not the Court to-morrow put an end to the civil war by the expulsion of Mazarin and by raising the siege of Paris? The provinces are not yet sufficiently inflamed, and therefore we must double our application to make the most of Paris. Besides the necessity of treating with Spain and managing the people, there is another expedient come into my head capable of rendering us as considerable in Parliament as our affairs require.

“We have an army in Paris which will be looked upon as the people so long as it continues within its walls. Every councillor of inquest is inclined to believe his authority among the soldiers to be equal to that of the generals. But the leaders of the people are not believed to be very powerful until they make their power known by its execution. Pray do but consider the conduct of the Court upon this occasion. Was there any minister or courtier but ridiculed all that could be said of the disposition of the people in favour of the Parliament even to the day of the barricades? And yet it is as true that every man at Court saw infallible marks of the revolution beforehand. One would have thought that the barricades should have convinced them; but have they been convinced? Have they been hindered from besieging Paris on the slight supposition that, though the caprice of the people might run them into a mutiny, yet it would not break out into a civil war? What we are now doing might undeceive them effectually; but are they yet cured of their infatuation? Is not the Queen told every day that none are for the Parliament but hired mobs, and that all the wealthy burghers are in her Majesty’s interests?

“The Parliament is now as much infatuated as the Court was then. This present disturbance among the people carries in it all the marks of power which, in a little time, they will feel the effects of, and which, as they cannot but foresee, they ought to prevent in time, because of the murmurs of the people against them and their redoubled affection for M. de Beaufort and me. But far from it, the Parliament will never open its eyes until all its authority is quashed by a sudden blow. If they see we have a design against them they will, perhaps, have so inconsiderable an opinion of it that they will take courage, and if we should but flinch, they will bear harder still upon us, till we shall be forced to crush them; but this would not turn to our account; on the contrary, it is our true interest to do them all the good we can, lest we divide our own party, and to behave in such a manner as may convince them that our interest and theirs are inseparable. And the best way is to draw our army out of Paris, and to post it so as it may be ready to secure our convoys and be safe from the insults of the enemy; and I am for having this done at the request of the Parliament, to prevent their taking umbrage, till such time at least as we may find our account in it. Such precautions will insensibly, as it were, necessitate the Parliament to act in concert with us, and our favour among the people, which is the only thing that can fix us in that situation, will appear to them no longer contemptible when they see it backed by an army which is no longer at their discretion.”

M. de Bouillon told me that M. de Turenne was upon the point of declaring for us, and that there were but two colonels in all his army who gave him any uneasiness, but that in a week’s time he would find some way or other to manage them, and that then he would march directly to our assistance. “What do you think of that?” said the Duke. “Are we not now masters both of the Court and Parliament?”

I told the Duke that I had just seen a letter written by Hoquincourt to Madame de Montbazon, wherein were only these words: “O fairest of all beauties, Peronne is in your power.” I added that I had received another letter that morning which assured me of Mazieres. Madame de Bouillon threw herself on my neck; we were sure the day was our own, and in a quarter of an hour agreed upon all the preliminary precautions.

M. de Bouillon, perceiving that I was so overjoyed at this news that I, as well as his lady, gave little attention to the methods he was proposing for drawing the army out of Paris without alarming the Parliament, turned to me and spoke thus, very hastily: “I pardon my wife, but I cannot forgive you this inadvertence. The old Prince of Orange used to say that the moment one received good news should be employed in providing against bad.”

The 24th of February, 1649, the Parliament’s deputies waited on the Queen with an account of the audience granted to the envoy of the Archduke. The Queen told them that they should not have given audience to the envoy, but that, seeing they had done it, it was absolutely necessary to think of a good peace,—that she was entirely well disposed; and the Duc d’Orleans and the Prince de Conde promised the deputies to throw open all the passages as soon as the Parliament should name commissioners for the treaty.

Flamarin being sent at the same time into the city from the Duc d’Orleans to condole with the Queen of England on the death of her husband (King Charles I.), went, at La Riviere’s solicitation, to M. de La Rochefoucault, whom he found in his bed on account of his wounds and quite wearied with the civil war, and persuaded him to come over to the Court interest. He told Flamarin that he had been drawn into this war much against his inclinations, and that, had he returned from Poitou two months before the siege of Paris, he would have prevented Madame de Longueville engaging in so vile a cause, but that I had taken the opportunity of his absence to engage both her and the Prince de Conti, that he found the engagements too far advanced to be possibly dissolved, that the diabolical Coadjutor would not bear of any terms of peace, and also stopped the ears of the Prince de Conti and Madame de Longueville, and that he himself could not act as he would because of his bad state of health. I was informed of Flamarin’s negotiations for the Court interest, and, as the term of his passport had expired, ordered the ‘prevot des marchands’ to command him to depart from the city.

On the 27th the First President reported to the Parliament what had occurred at Saint Germain. M. de Beaufort and I had to hinder the people from entering the Great Chamber, for they threatened to throw the deputies into the river, and said they had betrayed them and had held conferences with Mazarin. It was as much as we could do to allay the fury of the people, though at the same time the Parliament believed the tumult was of our own raising. This shows one inconvenience of popularity, namely, that what is committed by the rabble, in spite of all your endeavours to the contrary, will still be laid to your charge.

Meanwhile we met at the Duc de Bouillon’s to consider what was best to be done at this critical juncture between a people mad for war, a Parliament for peace, and the Spaniards either for peace or war at our expense and for their own advantage. The Prince de Conti, instructed beforehand by M. de La Rochefoucault, spoke for carrying on the war, but acted as if he were for peace, and upon the whole I did not doubt but that he waited for some answer from Saint Germain. M. d’Elbeuf made a silly proposal to send the Parliament in a body to the Bastille. M. de Beaufort, whom we could not entrust with any important secret because of Madame de Montbazon, who was very false, wondered that his and my credit with the people was not made use of on this occasion.

It being very evident that the Parliament would greedily catch at the treaty of peace proposed by the Court, it was in a manner impossible to answer those who urged that the only way to prevent it was to hinder their debates by raising tumults among the people. M. de Beaufort held up both his hands for it. M. d’Elbeuf, who had lately received a letter from La Riviere full of contempt, talked like an officer of the army. When I considered the great risk I ran if I did not prevent a tumult, which would certainly be laid at my door, and that, on the other hand, I did not dare to say all I could to stop such commotion, I was at a loss what to do. But considering the temper of the populace, who might have been up in arms with a word from a person of any credit among us, I declared publicly that I was not for altering our measures till we knew what we were to expect from the Spaniards.

I experienced on this occasion that civil wars are attended with this great inconvenience, that there is more need of caution in what we say to our friends than in what we do against our enemies. I did not fail to bring the company to my mind, especially when supported by M. de Bouillon, who was convinced that the confusion which would happen in such a juncture would turn with vengeance upon the authors. But when the company was gone he told me he was resolved to free himself from the tyranny, or, rather, pedantry of the Parliament as soon as the treaty with Spain was concluded, and M. de Turenne had declared himself publicly, and as soon as our army was without the walls of Paris. I answered that upon M. de Turenne’s declaration I would promise him my concurrence, but that till then I could not separate from the Parliament, much less oppose them, without the danger of being banished to Brussels; that as for his own part, he might come off better because of his knowledge of military affairs, and of the assurances which Spain was able to give him, but, nevertheless, I desired him to remember M. d’Aumale, who fell into the depth of poverty as soon as he had lost all protection but that of Spain, and, consequently, that it was his interest as well as mine to side with the Parliament till we ourselves had secured some position in the kingdom; till the Spanish army, was actually on the march and our troops were encamped without the city; and till the declaration of M. de Turenne was carried out, which would be the decisive blow, because it would strengthen our party with a body of troops altogether independent of strangers, or rather it would form a party perfectly French, capable by its own strength to carry on our cause.

This last consideration overjoyed Madame de Bouillon, who, however, when she found that the company was gone without resolving to make themselves masters of the Parliament, became very angry, and said to the Duke:

“I told you beforehand that you would be swayed by the Coadjutor.”

The Duke replied: “What! madame, would you have the Coadjutor, for our sakes only, run the risk of being no more than chaplain to Fuensaldagne? Is it possible that you cannot comprehend what he has been preaching to you for these last three days?”

I replied to her with a great deal of temper, and said, “Don’t you think that we shall act more securely when our troops are out of Paris, when we receive the Archduke’s answer, and when Turenne has made a public declaration?”

“Yes, I do,” she said, “but the Parliament will take one step to-morrow which will render all your preliminaries of no use.”

“Never fear, madame,” said I, “I will undertake that, if our measures succeed, we shall be in a condition to despise all that the Parliament can do.”

“Will you promise it?” she asked.

“Yes,” said I, “and, more than that, I am ready to seal it with my blood.”

She took me at my word, and though the Duke used all the arguments with her which he could think of, she bound my thumb with silk, and with a needle drew blood, with which she obliged me to sign a promissory note as follows: “I promise to Madame la Duchesse de Bouillon to continue united with the Duke her husband against the Parliament in case M. de Turenne approaches with the army under his command within twenty leagues of Paris and declares for the city.” M. de Bouillon threw it into the fire, and endeavoured to convince the Duchess of what I had said, that if our preliminaries should succeed we should still stand upon our own bottom, notwithstanding all that the Parliament could do, and that if they did miscarry we should still have the satisfaction of not being the authors of a confusion which would infallibly cover me with shame and ruin, and be an uncertain advantage to the family of De Bouillon.

During this discussion a captain in M. d’Elbeuf’s regiment of Guards was seen to throw money to the crowd to encourage them to go to the Parliament House and cry out, “No peace!” upon which M. de Bouillon and I agreed to send the Duke these words upon the back of a card: “It will be dangerous for you to be at the Parliament House to-morrow.” M. d’Elbeuf came in all haste to the Palace of Bouillon to know the meaning of this short caution. M. de Bouillon told him he had heard that the people had got a notion that both the Duke and himself held a correspondence with Mazarin, and that therefore it was their best way not to go to the House for fear of the mob, which might be expected there next day.

M. d’Elbeuf, knowing that the people did not care for him, and that he was no safer in his own house than elsewhere, said that he feared his absence on such an occasion might be interpreted to his disadvantage. M. de Bouillon, having no other design but to alarm him with imaginary fears of a public disturbance, at once made himself sure of him another way, by telling him it was most advisable for him to be at the Parliament, but that he need not expose himself, and therefore had best go along with me.

I went with him accordingly, and found a multitude of people in the Great Hall, crying, “God bless the Coadjutor! no peace! no Mazarin!” and M. de Beaufort entering another way at the same time, the echoes of our names spread everywhere, so that the people mistook it for a concerted design to disturb the proceedings of Parliament, and as in a commotion everything that confirms us in the belief of it augments likewise the number of mutineers, we were very near bringing about in one moment what we had been a whole week labouring to prevent.

The First President and President de Mesmes having, in concert with the other deputies, suppressed the answer the Queen made them in writing, lest some harsh expressions contained therein should give offence, put the best colour they could upon the obliging terms in which the Queen had spoken to them; and then the House appointed commissioners for the treaty, leaving it to the Queen to name the place, and agreed to send the King’s Council next day to demand the opening of the passages, in pursuance of the Queen’s promise. The President de Mesmes, surprised to meet with no opposition, either from the generals or myself, said to the First President, “Here is a wonderful harmony! but I fear the consequences of this dissembled moderation.” I believe he was much more surprised when the sergeants came to acquaint the House that the mob threatened to murder all that were for the conference before Mazarin was sent out of the kingdom. But M. de Beaufort and I went out and soon dispersed them, so that the members retired without the least danger, which inspired the Parliament with such a degree of boldness afterwards that it nearly proved their ruin.

On the 2d of March, 1649, letters were brought to the Parliament from the Duc d’Orleans and the Prince de Conde, expressing a great deal of joy at what the Parliament had done, but denying that the Queen had promised to throw open the passages, upon which the Parliament fell into such a rage as I cannot describe to you. They sent orders to the King’s Council, who were gone that morning to Saint Germain to fetch the passports for the deputies, to declare that the Parliament was resolved to hold no conference with the Court till the Queen had performed her promise made to the First President. I thought it a very proper time to let the Court see that the Parliament had not lost all its vigour, and made a motion, by Broussel, that, considering the insincerity of the Court, the levies might be continued and new commissions given out. The proposition was received with applause, and the Prince de Conti was desired to issue commissions accordingly.

M. de Beaufort, in concert with M. de Bouillon, M. de La Mothe and myself, exclaimed against this contravention, and offered, in the name of his colleagues and his own, to open all the passages themselves if the Parliament would but take a firm resolution and be no more beguiled by deceitful proposals, which had only served to keep the whole nation in suspense, who would otherwise have declared by this time in favour of its capital. It is inconceivable what influence these few words had upon the audience, everybody concluded that the treaty was already broken off; but a moment after they thought the contrary, for the King’s Council returned with the passports for the deputies, and instead of an order for opening the passages, a grant—such a one as it was—of 500 quarters of corn per diem was made for the subsistence of the city. However, the Parliament took all in good part; all that had been said and done a quarter of an hour before was buried in oblivion, and they made preparations to go next day to Ruel, the place named by the Queen for the conference.

The Prince de Conti, M. de Beaufort, M. d’Elbeuf, Marechal de La Mothe, M. de Brissac, President Bellievre, and myself met that night at M. de Bouillon’s house, where a motion was made for the generals of the army to send a deputation likewise to the place of conference; but it was quashed, and indeed nothing would have been more absurd than such a proceeding when we were upon the point of concluding a treaty with Spain; and, considering that we told the envoy that we should never have consented to hold any conference with the Court were we not assured that it was in our power to break it off at pleasure by means of the people.

The Parliament having lately reproached both the generals and troops with being afraid to venture without the gates, M. de Bouillon, seeing the danger was over, proposed at this meeting, for the satisfaction of the citizens, to carry them to a camp betwixt the Marne and the Seine, where they might be as safe as at Paris. The motion was agreed to without consulting the Parliament, and, accordingly, on the 4th of March, the troops marched out and the deputies of Parliament went to Ruel.

The Court party flattered themselves that, upon the marching of the militia out of Paris, the citizens, being left to themselves, would become more tractable, and the President de Mesmes made his boast of what he said to the generals, to persuade them to encamp their army. But Senneterre, one of the ablest men at Court, soon penetrated our designs and undeceived the Court. He told the First President and De Mesmes that they were beguiled and that they would see it in a little time. The First President, who could never see two different things at one view, was so overjoyed when he heard the forces had gone out of Paris that he cried out:

“Now the Coadjutor will have no more mercenary brawlers at the Parliament House.”

“Nor,” said the President de Mesmes, “so many cutthroats.”

Senneterre, like a wise man, said to them both:

“It is not the Coadjutor’s interest to murder you, but to bring you under. The people would serve his turn for the first if he aimed at it, and the army is admirably well encamped for the latter. If he is not a more honest man than he is looked upon to be here, we are likely to have a tedious civil war.”

The Cardinal confessed that Senneterre was in the right, for, on the one hand, the Prince de Conde perceived that our army, being so advantageously posted as not to be attacked, would be capable of giving him more trouble than if they were still within the walls of the city, and, on the other hand, we began to talk with more courage in Parliament than usual.

The afternoon of the 4th of March gave us a just occasion to show it. The deputies arriving at Ruel understood that Cardinal Mazarin was one of the commissioners named by the Queen to assist at the conference. The Parliamentary deputies pretended that they could not confer with a person actually condemned by Parliament. M. de Tellier told them in the name of the Duc d’Orleans that the Queen thought it strange that they were not contented to treat upon an equality with their sovereign, but that they should presume to limit his authority by excluding his deputies. The First President and the Court seeming to be immovable, we sent orders to our deputies not to comply, and to communicate, as a great secret, to President de Mesmes and M. Menardeau, both creatures of the Court, the following postscript of a letter I wrote to Longueville:

“P.S.—We have concerted our measures, and are now capable to speak more to the purpose than we have been hitherto, and since I finished this letter I have received a piece of news which obliges me to tell you that if the Parliament do not behave very prudently, they will certainly be ruined.”

Upon this the deputies were resolved to insist upon excluding the Cardinal from the conference, a determination which was so odious to the people that, had we permitted it, we should certainly have lost all our credit with them, and been obliged to shut the gates against our deputies upon their return.

When the Court saw that the deputies desired a convoy to conduct them home, they found out an expedient, which was received with great joy; namely, to appoint two deputies on the part of the Parliament, and two on the part of the King, to confer at the house of the Duc d’Orleans, exclusive of the Cardinal, who was thereupon obliged to return to Saint Germain with mortification.

On the 5th of March, Don Francisco Pisarro, a second envoy from the Archduke, arrived in Paris, with his and Count Fuensaldagne’s answer to our former despatches by Don Jose d’Illescas, and full powers for a treaty; instructions for M. de Bouillon, an obliging letter from the Archduke to the Prince de Conti, and another to myself, from Count Fuensaldagne, importing that the King, his master, would not take my word, but would depend upon whatever I promised Madame de Bouillon.

The Prince de Conti and Madame de Longueville, prompted by M. de La Rochefoucault, were for an alliance with Spain, in a manner without restriction. M. d’Elbeuf aimed at nothing but getting money. M. de Beaufort, at the persuasion of Madame de Montbazon, who was resolved to sell him dear to the Spaniards, was very scrupulous to enter into a treaty with the enemies of the State; Marechal de La Mothe declared he could not come to any resolution till he saw M. de Longueville, and Madame de Longueville questioned whether her husband would come into it; and yet these very persons but a fortnight before unanimously wrote to the Archduke for full powers to treat with him.

M. de Bouillon told them that he thought they were absolutely obliged to treat with Spain, considering the advances they had already made to the Archduke to that end, and desired them to recollect how they had told his envoy that they waited only for these full powers and instructions to treat with him; that the Archduke had now sent his full powers in the most obliging manner; and that, moreover, he had already gone out of Brussels, to lead his army himself to their assistance, without staying for their engagement. He begged them to consider that if they took the least step backwards, after such advances, it might provoke Spain to take such measures as would be both contrary to our security and to our honour; that the ill-concerted proceedings of the Parliament gave us just grounds to fear being left to shift for ourselves; that indeed our army was now more useful than it had been before, but—yet not strong enough to give us relief in proportion to our necessities, especially if it were not, at least in the beginning, supported by a powerful force; and that, consequently, a treaty was necessary to be entered into and concluded with the Archduke, but not upon any mean conditions; that his envoys had brought carte blanche, but that we ought to consider how to fill it up; that he promised us everything, but though in treaties the strongest may safely promise to the weaker what he thinks fit, it is certain he cannot perform everything, and therefore the weakest should be very wary.

The Duke added that the Spaniards, of all people, expected honourable usage at the beginning of treaties, and he conjured them to leave the management of the Spanish envoys to himself and the Coadjutor, “who,” said he, “has declared all along that he expects no advantage either from the present troubles or from any arrangement, and is therefore altogether to be depended upon.”

This discourse was relished by all the company, who accordingly engaged us to compare notes with the envoys of Spain, and make our report to the Prince de Conti and the other generals.

M. de Bouillon assured me that the Spaniards would not enter upon French ground till we engaged ourselves not to lay down our arms except in conjunction with them; that is, in a treaty for a general peace; but our difficulty was how to enter into an engagement of that nature at a time when we could not be sure but that the Parliament might conclude a particular peace the next moment. In the meantime a courier came in from M. de Turenne, crying, “Good news!” as he entered into the court. He brought letters for Madame and Mademoiselle de Bouillon and myself, by which we were assured that M. de Turenne and his army, which was without dispute the finest at that time in all Europe, had declared for us; that Erlach, Governor of Brisac, had with him 1,000 or 1,200 men, who were all he had been able to seduce; that my dear friend and kinsman, the Vicomte de Lamet, was marching directly to our assistance with 2,000 horse; and that M. de Turenne was to follow on such a day with the larger part of the army. You will be surprised, without doubt, to hear that M. de Turenne, General of the King’s troops, one who was never a party man, and would never hear talk of party intrigues, should now declare against the Court and perform an action which, I am sure, Le Balafre and Amiral de Coligny would not have undertaken without hesitation.

[Henri de Lorraine, first of that name, Duc de Guise, surnamed Le Balafre, because of a wound he received in the left cheek at the battle of Dormans, the scar of which he carried to his grave. He formed the League, and was stabbed at an assembly of the States of Blois in 1588.]

Your wonder will increase yet more when I tell you that the motive of this surprising conduct of his is a secret to this day. His behaviour also during his declaration, which he supported but five days, is equally surprising and mysterious. This shows that it is possible for some extraordinary characters to be raised above the malice and envy of vulgar souls; for the merit of any person inferior to the Marshal must have been totally eclipsed by such an unaccountable event.

Upon the arrival of this express from Turenne I told M. de Bouillon it was my opinion that, if the Spaniards would engage to advance as far as Pont-a-Verre and act on this side of it in concert only with us, we should make no scruple of pledging ourselves not to lay down our arms till the conclusion of a general peace, provided they kept their promise given to the Parliament of referring themselves to its arbitration. “The true interest of the public,” said I, “is a general peace, that of the Parliament and other bodies is the reestablishment of good order, and that of your Grace and others, with myself, is to contribute to the before-mentioned blessings in such manner that we may be esteemed the authors of them; all other advantages are necessarily attached to this, and the only way to acquire them is to show that we do not value them. You know that I have frequently vowed I had no private interest to serve in this affair, and I will keep my vow to the end. Your circumstances are different from mine; you aim at Sedan, and you are in the right. M. de Beaufort wants to be admiral, and I cannot blame him. M. de Longueville has other demands—with all my heart. The Prince de Conti and Madame de Longueville would be, for the future, independent of the Prince de Conde; that independence they shall have.

“Now, in order to attain to these ends, the only means is to look another way, to turn all our thoughts to bring about a general peace, and to sign to-morrow the most solemn and positive engagement with the enemy, and, the better to please the public, to insert in the articles the expulsion of Cardinal Mazarin as their mortal enemy, to cause the Spanish forces to come up immediately to Pont-a-Verre, and those of M. de Turenne to advance into Champagne, and to go without any loss of time to propose to the Parliament what Don Josh d’Illescas has offered them already in relation to a general peace, to dispose them to vote as we would have them, which they will not fail to do considering the circumstances we are now in, and to send orders to our deputies at Ruel either to get the Queen to nominate a place to confer about a general peace or to return the next day to their seats in Parliament. I am willing to think that the Court, seeing to what an extremity they are reduced, will comply, than which what can be more for our honour?

“And if the Court should refuse this proposition at present, will they not be of another mind before two months are at an end? Will not the provinces, which are already hesitating, then declare in our favour? And is the army of the Prince de Conde in a condition to engage that of Spain and ours in conjunction with that of M. de Turenne? These two last, when joined, will put us above all the apprehensions from foreign forces which have hitherto made us uneasy; they will depend much more on us than we on them; we shall continue masters of Paris by our own strength, and the more securely because the intervening authority of Parliament will the more firmly unite us to the people. The declaration of M. de Turenne is the only means to unite Spain with the Parliament for our defence, which we could not have as much as hoped for otherwise; it gives us an opportunity to engage with Parliament, in concert with whom we cannot act amiss, and this is the only moment when such an engagement is both possible and profitable. The First President and De Mesmes are now out of the way, and it will be much easier for us to obtain what we want in Parliament than if they were present, and if what is commanded in the Parliamentary decree is faithfully executed, we shall gain our point, and unite the Chambers for that great work of a general peace. If the Court still rejects our proposals, and those of the deputies who are for the Court refuse to follow our motion or to share in our fortune, we shall gain as much in another respect; we shall keep ourselves still attached to the body of the Parliament, from which they will be deemed deserters, and we shall have much greater weight in the House than now.

“This is my opinion, which I am willing to sign and to offer to the Parliament if you seize this, the only opportunity. For if M. de Turenne should alter his mind before it be done, I should then oppose this scheme with as much warmth as I now recommend it.”

The Duke said in answer: “Nothing can have a more promising aspect than what you have now proposed; it is very practicable, but equally pernicious for all private persons. Spain will promise all, but perform nothing after we have once promised to enter into no treaty, with the Court but for a general peace. This being the only thing the Spaniards have in view, they will abandon us as soon as they, can obtain it, and if we urge on this great scheme at once, as you would have us, they would undoubtedly obtain it in a fortnight’s time, for France would certainly make it with precipitation, and I know the Spaniards would be glad to purchase it on any terms. This being the case, in what a condition shall we be the next day after we have made and procured this general peace? We should indeed have the honour of it, but would this honour screen us against the hatred and curses of the Court? Would the house of Austria take up arms again to rescue you and me from a prison? You will say, perhaps, we may stipulate some conditions with Spain which may secure us from all insults of this kind; but I think I shall have answered this objection when I assure you that Spain is so pressed with home troubles that she would not hesitate, for the sake of peace, to break the most solemn promises made to us; and this is an inconvenience for which I see no remedy.

“If Spain should be worse than her word with respect to the expulsion of Mazarin, what will become of us? And will the honour of our contributing to the general peace atone for the preservation of a minister to get rid of whom they took up arms? You know how they abhor the Cardinal; and, suppose the Cardinal be excluded from the Ministry, according to promise, shall we not still be exposed to the hatred of the Queen, to the resentment of the Prince de Conde, and to all the evil consequences that may be expected from an enraged Court for such an action? There is no true glory but what is durable; transitory honour is mere smoke. Of this sort is that which we shall acquire by this peace, if we do not support it by such alliances as will gain us the reputation of wisdom as well as of honesty. I admire your disinterestedness above all, and esteem it, but I am very well assured that if mine went the length of yours you would not, approve of it. Your family is settled; consider mine, and cast your eyes on the condition of this lady and on that of both the father and children.”

I answered: “The Spaniards must needs have great regard for us, seeing us absolute masters of Paris, with eight thousand foot and three thousand horse at its gates, and the best disciplined troops in the world marching to our assistance.” I did all I could to bring him over to my opinion, and he strove as much to persuade me to enter into his measures; namely, to pretend to the envoys that we were absolutely resolved to act in concert with them for a general peace, but to tell them at the same time that we thought it more proper that the Parliament should likewise be consulted; and, as that would require some time, we might in the meanwhile occupy the envoys by signing a treaty with them, previous to coming to terms with. The Parliament, which by its tenor would not tie us up to conclude anything positively in relation to the general peace; “yet this,” said he, “would be a sufficient motive to cause them to advance with their army, and that of my brother will come up at the same time, which will astonish the Court and incline them to an arrangement. And forasmuch as in our treaty with Spain we leave a back door open by the clause which relates to the Parliament, we shall be sure to make good use of it for the advantage of the public and of ourselves in case of the Court’s noncompliance.”

These considerations, though profoundly wise, did not convince me, because I thought his inference was not well-grounded. I saw he might well enough engage the attention of the envoys, but I could not imagine how he could beguile the Parliament, who were actually treating with the Court by their deputies sent to Ruel, and who would certainly run madly into a peace, notwithstanding all their late performances. I foresaw that without a public declaration to restrain the Parliament from going their own lengths we should fall again, if one of our strings chanced to break, into the necessity of courting the assistance of the people, which I looked upon as the most dangerous proceeding of all.

M. de Bouillon asked me what I meant by saying, “if one of our strings chanced to break.” I replied, “For example, if M. de Turenne should be dead at this juncture, or if his army has revolted, as it was likely to do under the influence of M. d’Erlach, pray what would become of us if we should not engage the Parliament? We should be tribunes of the people one day, and the next valets de chambre to Count Fuensaldagne. Everything with the Parliament and nothing without them is the burden of my song.”

After several hours’ dispute neither of us was convinced, and I went away very much perplexed, the rather because M. de Bouillon, being the great confidant of the Spaniards, I doubted not but he could make their envoys believe what he pleased.

I was still more puzzled when I came home and found a letter from Madame de Lesdiguieres, offering me extraordinary advantages in the Queen’s name the payment of my debts, the grant of certain abbeys, and a nomination to the dignity of cardinal. Another note I found with these words: “The declaration of the army of Germany has put us all into consternation.” I concluded they would not fail to try experiments with others as well as myself, and since M. de Bouillon began to think of a back door when all things smiled upon us, I guessed the rest of our party would not neglect to enter the great door now flung open to receive them by the declaration of M. de Turenne. That which afflicted me most of all was to see that M. de Bouillon was not a man of that judgment and penetration I took him for in this critical and decisive juncture, when the question was the engaging or not engaging the Parliament. He had urged me more than twenty times to do what I now offered, and the reason why I now urged what I before rejected was the declaration of M. de Turenne, his own brother, which should have made him bolder than I; but, instead of this, it slackened his courage, and he flattered himself that Cardinal Mazarin would let him have Sedan. This was the centre of all his views, and he preferred these petty advantages to what he might have gained by procuring peace to Europe. This false step made me pass this judgment upon the Duke: that, though he was a person of very great parts, yet I questioned his capacity for the mighty things which he has not done, and of which some men thought him very capable. It is the greatest remissness on the part of a great man to neglect the moment that is to make his reputation, and this negligence, indeed, scarcely ever happens but when a man expects another moment as favourable to make his fortune; and so people are commonly deceived both ways.

The Duke was more nice than wise at this juncture, which is very often the case. I found afterwards that the Prince de Conti was of his opinion, and I guessed, by some circumstances, that he was engaged in some private negotiation. M. d’Elbeuf was as meek as a lamb, and seemed, as far as he dared, to improve what had been advanced already by M. de Bouillon. A servant of his told me also that he believed his master had made his peace with the Court. M. de Beaufort showed by his behaviour that Madame de Montbazon had done what she could to cool his courage, but his irresolution did not embarrass me very much, because I knew I had her in my power, and his vote, added to that of MM. de Brissac, de La Mothe, de Noirmoutier and de Bellievre, who all fell in with my sentiments, would have turned the balance on my side if the regard for M. de Turenne, who was now the life and soul of the party, and the Spaniards’ confidence in M. de Bouillon, had not obliged me to make a virtue of necessity.

I found both the Archduke’s envoys quite of an other mind; indeed, they were still desirous of an agreement for a general peace, but they would have it after the manner of M. de Bouillon, at two separate times, which he had made them believe would be more for their advantage, because thereby we should bring the Parliament into it. I saw who was at the bottom of it, and, considering the orders they had to follow his advice in everything, all I could allege to the contrary would be of no use. I laid the state of affairs before the President de Bellievre, who was of my opinion, and considered that a contrary course would infallibly prove our ruin, thinking, nevertheless, that compliance would be highly convenient at this time, because we depended absolutely on the Spaniards and on M. de Turenne, who had hitherto made no proposals but such as were dictated by M. de Bouillon.

When I found that all M. de Bellievre and I said could not persuade M. de Bouillon, I feigned to come round to his opinion, and to submit to the authority of the Prince de Conti, our Generalissimo. We agreed to treat with the Archduke upon the plan of M. de Bouillon; that is, that he should advance his army as far as Pont-A-Verre, and further, if the generals desired it; who, on their part, would omit nothing to oblige the Parliament to enter into this treaty, or rather, to make a new one for a general peace; that is to say, to oblige the King to treat upon reasonable conditions, the particulars whereof his Catholic Majesty would refer to the arbitration of the Parliament. M. de Bouillon engaged to have this treaty ‘in totidem verbis’ signed by the Spanish ministers, and did not so much as ask me whether I would sign it or no. All the company rejoiced at having the Spaniards’ assistance upon such easy terms, and at being at full liberty to receive the propositions of the Court, which now, upon the declaration of M. de Turenne, could not fail to be very advantageous.

The treaty was accordingly signed in the Prince de Conti’s room at the Hotel de Ville, but I forbore to set my hand to it, though solicited by M. de Bouillon, unless they would come to some final resolution; yet I gave them my word that, if the Parliament would be contented, I had such expedients in my power as would give them all the time necessary to withdraw their troops. I had two reasons for what I said: first, I knew Fuensaldagne to be a wise man, that he would be of a different opinion from his envoys, and that he would never venture his army into the heart of the kingdom with so little assurance from the generals and none at all from me; secondly, because I was willing to show to our generals that I would not, as far as it lay in my power, suffer the Spaniards to be treacherously surprised or insulted in case of an arrangement between the Court and the Parliament; though I had protested twenty times in the same conference that I would not separate myself from the Parliament.

M. d’Elbeuf said, “You cannot find the expedients you talk of but in having recourse to the people.”

“M. de Bouillon will answer for me,” said I, “that it is not there that I am to find my expedients.”

M. de Bouillon, being desirous that I should sign, said, “I know that it is not your intent, but I am fully persuaded that you mean well, that you do not act as you would propose, and that we retain more respect for the Parliament by signing than you do by refusing to sign; for,” speaking very low, that he might not be heard by the Spanish ministers, “we keep a back door open to get off handsomely with the Parliament.”

“They will open that door,” said I, “when you could wish it shut, as is but too apparent already, and you will be glad to shut it when you cannot; the Parliament is not a body to be jested with.”

After the signing of the treaty, I was told that the envoys had given 2,000 pistoles to Madame de Montbazon and as much to M. d’Elbeuf.

De Bellievre, who waited for me at home, whither I returned full of vexation, used an expression which has been since verified by the event: “We failed, this day,” said he, “to induce the Parliament, which if we had done, all had been safe and right. Pray God that everything goes well, for if but one of our strings fails us we are undone.”

As for the conferences for a peace with the Court at Ruel, it was proposed on the Queen’s part that the Parliament should adjourn their session to Saint Germain, just to ratify the articles of the peace, and not to meet afterwards for two or three years; but the deputies of Parliament insisted that it was their privilege to assemble when and where they pleased. When these and the like stories came to the ears of the Parisians they were so incensed that the only talk of the Great Chamber was to recall the deputies, and the generals seeing themselves now respected by the Court, who had little regard for them before the declaration of M. de Turenne, thought that the more the Court was embarrassed the better, and therefore incited the Parliament and people to clamour, that the Cardinal might see that things did not altogether depend upon the conference at Ruel. I, likewise, contributed what lay in my power to moderate the precipitation of the First President and President de Mesmes towards anything that looked like an agreement.

On the 8th of March the Prince de Conti told the Parliament that M. de Turenne offered them his services and person against Cardinal Mazarin, the enemy of the State. I said that I was informed a declaration had been issued the night before at Saint Germain against M. de Turenne, as guilty of high treason. The Parliament unanimously passed a decree to annul it, to authorise his taking arms, to enjoin all the King’s subjects to give him free passage and support, and to raise the necessary funds for the payment of his troops, lest the 800,000 livres sent from Court to General d’Erlach should corrupt the officers and soldiers. A severe edict was issued against Courcelles, Lavardin, and Amilly, who had levied troops for the King in the province of Maine, and the commonalty were permitted to meet at the sound of the alarm-bell and to fall foul of all those who had held assemblies without order of Parliament.

On the 9th a decree was passed to suspend the conference till all the promises made by the Court to allow the entry of provisions were punctually executed.

The Prince de Conti informed the House the same day that he was desired by M. de Longueville to assure them that he would set out from Rouen on the 15th with 7,000 foot and 3,000 horse, and march directly to Saint Germain; the Parliament was incredibly overjoyed, and desired the Prince de Conti to press him to hasten his march as much as possible.

On the 10th the member for Normandy told the House that the Parliament of Rennes only stayed for the Duc de la Tremouille to join against the common enemy.

On the 11th an envoy from M. de la Tremouille offered the Parliament, in his master’s name, 8,000 foot and 2,000 horse, who were in a condition to march in two days, provided the House would permit his master to seize on all the public money at Poitiers, Niort, and other places whereof he was already master. The Parliament thanked him, passed a decree with full powers accordingly, and desired him to hasten his levies with all expedition.

Posterity will hardly believe that, notwithstanding all this heat in the party, which one would have thought could not have immediately evaporated, a peace was made and signed the same day; but of this more by and by.

While the Court, as has been before hinted, was tampering with the generals, Madame de Montbazon promised M. de Beaufort’s support to the Queen; but her Majesty understood that it was not to be done if I were not at the market to approve of the sale. La Riviere despised M. d’Elbeuf no longer. M. de Bouillon, since his brother’s declaration, seemed more inclined than before to come to an arrangement with the Court, but his pretentions ran very high, and both the brothers were in such a situation that a little assistance would not suffice, and as to the offers made to myself by Madame de Lesdiguieres, I returned such an answer as convinced the Court that I was not so easily to be moved.

In short, Cardinal Mazarin found all the avenues to a negotiation either shut or impassable. This despair of success in the Court was eventually more to the advantage of the Court than the most refined politics, for it did not hinder them from negotiating, the Cardinal’s natural temper not permitting him to do otherwise; but, however, he could not trust to the carrying out of negotiations, and therefore beguiled our generals with fair promises, while he remitted 800,000 livres to buy off the army of M. de Turenne, and obliged the deputies at Ruel to sign a peace against the orders of the Parliament that sent them. The President de Mesmes assured me several times since that this peace was purely the result of a conversation he had with the Cardinal on the 8th of March at night, when his Eminence told him he saw plainly that M. de Bouillon would not treat till he had the Spaniards and M. de Turenne at the gates of Paris; that is, till he saw himself in the position to seize one-half of the kingdom. The President made him this answer:

“There is no hope of any security but in making the Coadjutor a cardinal.”

To which Mazarin answered: “He is worse than the other, who at least seemed once inclined to treat, but he is still for a general peace, or for none at all.”

President de Mesmes replied: “If things are come to this pass we must be the victims to save the State from perishing—we must sign the peace. For after what the Parliament has done to-day there is no remedy, and perhaps tomorrow we shall be recalled; if we are disowned in what we do we are ruined, the gates of Paris will be shut against us, and we shall be prosecuted and treated as prevaricators and traitors. It is our business and concern to procure such conditions as will give us good ground to justify our proceedings, and if the terms are but reasonable, we know how to improve them against the factions; but make them as you please yourself, I will sign them all, and will go this moment to acquaint the First President that this is the only expedient to save the State. If it takes effect we have peace, if we are disowned by the Parliament we still weaken the faction, and the danger will fall upon none but ourselves.” He added that with much difficulty he had persuaded the First President.

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The peace was signed by Cardinal Mazarin, as well as by the other deputies, on the part of the King. The substance of the articles was that Parliament should just go to Saint Germain to proclaim the peace, and then return to Paris, but hold no assembly that year; that all their public decrees since the 6th of January should be made void, as likewise all ordinances of Council, declarations and ‘lettres de cachet’; that as soon as the King had withdrawn his troops from Paris, all the forces raised for the defence of the city should be disbanded, and the inhabitants lay down their arms and not take them up again without the King’s order; that the Archduke’s deputy should be dismissed without an answer, that there should be a general amnesty, and that the King should also give a general discharge for all the public money made use of, as also for the movables sold and for all the arms and ammunition taken out of the arsenal and elsewhere.

M. and Madame de Bouillon were extremely surprised when they heard that the peace was signed. I did not expect the Parliament would make it so soon, but I said frequently that it would be a very shameful one if we should let them alone to make it. M. de Bouillon owned that I had foretold it often enough. “I confess,” said he, “that we are entirely to blame,” which expression made me respect him more than ever, for I think it a greater virtue for a man to confess a fault than not to commit one. The Prince de Conti, MM. d’Elbeuf, de Beaufort, and de La Mothe were very much surprised, too, at the signing of the peace, especially because their agent at Saint Germain had assured them that the Court was fully persuaded that the Parliament was but a cipher, and that the generals were the men with whom they must negotiate. I confess that Cardinal Mazarin acted a very wily part in this juncture, and he is the more to be commended because he was obliged to defend himself, not only against the monstrous impertinences of La Riviere, but against the violent passion of the Prince de Conde.

We held a council at the Duc de Bouillon’s, where I persuaded them that as our deputies were recalled by an order despatched from Parliament before the treaty was signed, it was therefore void, and that we ought to take no notice of it, the rather because it had not been communicated to Parliament in form; and, finally, that the deputies should be charged to insist on a general treaty of peace and on the expulsion of Mazarin; and, if they did not succeed, to return forthwith to their seats in Parliament. But I added that if the deputies should have time to return and make their report, we should be under the necessity of protesting, which would so incense the people against them that we should not be able to keep them from butchering the First President and the President de Mesmes, so that we should be reputed the authors of the tragedy, and, though formidable one day, should be every whit as odious the next. I concluded with offering to sacrifice my coadjutorship of Paris to the anger of the Queen and the hatred of the Cardinal, and that very cheerfully, if they would but come into my measures.

M. de Bouillon, after having opposed my reasons, concluded thus: “I know that my brother’s declaration and my urging the necessity of his advancing with the army before we come to a positive resolution may give ground to a belief that I have great views for our family. I do not deny but that I hope for some advantages, and am persuaded it is lawful for me to do so, but I will be content to forfeit my reputation if I ever agree with the Court till you all say you are satisfied; and if I do not keep my word I desire the Coadjutor to disgrace me.”

After all I thought it best to submit to the Prince de Conti and the voice of the majority, who resolved very wisely not to explain themselves in detail next morning in Parliament, but that the Prince de Conti should only say, in general, that it being the common report that the peace was signed at Ruel, he was resolved to send deputies thither to take care of his and the other generals’ interests.

The Prince agreed at once with our decision. Meantime the people rose at the report I had spread concerning Mazarin’s signing the treaty, which, though we all considered it a necessary stratagem, I now repented of. This shows that a civil war is one of those complicated diseases wherein the remedy you prescribe for obviating one dangerous symptom sometimes inflames three or four others.

On the 13th the deputies of Ruel entering the Parliament House, which was in great tumult, M. d’Elbeuf, contrary to the resolution taken at M. de Bouillon’s, asked the deputies whether they had taken care of the interest of the generals in the treaty.

The First President was going to make his report, but was almost stunned with the clamour of the whole company, crying, “There is no peace! there is no peace!” that the deputies had scandalously deserted the generals and all others whom the Parliament had joined by the decree of union, and, besides, that they had concluded a peace after the revocation of the powers given them to treat. The Prince de Conti said very calmly that he wondered they had concluded a treaty without the generals; to which the First President answered that the generals had always protested that they had no separate interests from those of the Parliament, and it was their own fault that they had not sent their deputies. M. de Bouillon said that, since Cardinal Mazarin was to continue Prime Minister, he desired that Parliament should obtain a passport for him to retire out of the kingdom. The First President replied that his interest had been taken care of, and that he would have satisfaction for Sedan. But M. de Bouillon told him that he might as well have said nothing, and that he would never separate from the other generals. The clamour redoubled with such fury that President de Mesmes trembled like an aspen leaf. M. de Beaufort, laying his hand upon his sword, said, “Gentlemen, this shall never be drawn for Mazarin.”

The Presidents de Coigneux and de Bellievre proposed that the deputies might be sent back to treat about the interests of the generals and to reform the articles which the Parliament did not like; but they were soon silenced by a sudden noise in the Great Hall, and the usher came in trembling and said that the people called for M. de Beaufort. He went out immediately, and quieted them for the time, but no sooner had he got inside the House than the disturbance began afresh, and an infinite number of people, armed with daggers, called out for the original treaty, that they might have Mazarin’s sign-manual burnt by the hangman, adding that if the deputies had signed the peace of their own accord they ought to be hanged, and if against their will they ought to be disowned. They were told that the sign-manual of the Cardinal could not be burnt without burning at the same time that of the Duc d’Orleans, but that the deputies were to be sent back again to get the articles amended. The people still cried out, “No peace! no Mazarin! You must go! We will have our good King fetched from Saint Germain, and all Mazarins thrown into the river!”

The people were ready to break open the great door of the House, yet the First President was so far from being terrified that, when he was advised to pass through the registry into his own house that he might not be seen, he replied, “If I was sure to perish I would never be guilty of such cowardice, which would only serve to make the mob more insolent, who would be ready to come to my house if they thought I was afraid of them here.” And when I begged him not to expose himself till I had pacified the people he passed it off with a joke, by which I found he took me for the author of the disturbance, though very unjustly. However, I did not resent it, but went into the Great Hall, and, mounting the solicitors’ bench, waved my hands to the people, who thereupon cried, “Silence!” I said all I could think of to make them easy. They asked if I would promise that the Peace of Ruel should not be kept. I answered, “Yes, provided the people will be quiet, for otherwise their best friends will be obliged to take other methods to prevent such disturbances.” I acted in a quarter of an hour above thirty different parts. I threatened, I commanded, I entreated them; and, finding I was sure of a calm, at least for a moment, I returned to the House, and, embracing the First President, placed him before me; M. de Beaufort did the same with President de Mesmes, and thus we went out with the Parliament, all in a body, the officers of the House marching in front. The people made a great noise, and we heard some crying, “A republic!” but no injury was offered to us, only M. de Bouillon received a blow in his face from a ragamuffin, who took him for Cardinal Mazarin.

On the 16th the deputies were sent again to Ruel by the Parliament to amend some of the articles, particularly those for adjourning the Parliament to Saint Germain and prohibiting their future assemblies; with an order to take care of the interest of the generals and of the companies, joined together by the decree of union.

The late disturbances obliged the Parliament to post the city trained-bands at their gates, who were even more enraged against the “Mazarin peace,” as they called it, than the mob, and who were far less dreaded, because they consisted of citizens who were not for plunder; yet this select militia was ten times on the point of insulting the Parliament, and did actually insult the members of the Council and Presidents, threatening to throw the President de Thore into the river; and when the First President and his friends saw that they were afraid of putting their threats into execution, they took an advantage of us, and had the boldness even to reproach the generals, as if the troops had not done their duty; though if the generals had but spoken loud enough to be heard by the people, they would not have been able to hinder them from tearing the members to pieces.

The Duc de Bouillon came to the Hotel de Ville and made a speech there to Prince de Conti and the other generals, in substance as follows:

“I could never have believed what I now see of this Parliament. On the 13th they would not hear the Peace of Ruel mentioned, but on the 15th they approved of it, some few articles excepted; on the 16th they despatched the same deputies who had concluded a peace against their orders with full and unlimited powers, and, not content with all this, they load us with reproaches because we complain that they have treated for a peace without us, and have abandoned M. de Longueville and M. de Turenne; and yet it is owing only to us that the people do not massacre them. We must save their lives at the hazard of our own, and I own that it is wisdom so to do; but we shall all of us certainly perish with the Parliament if we let them go on at this rate.” Then, addressing himself to the Prince de Conti, he said, “I am for closing with the Coadjutor’s late advice at my house, and if your Highness does not put it into execution before two days are at an end, we shall have a peace less secure and more scandalous than the former.”

The company became unanimously of his opinion, and resolved to meet next day at M. de Bouillon’s to consider how to bring the affair into Parliament. In the meantime, Don Gabriel de Toledo arrived with the Archduke’s ratification of the treaty signed by the generals, and with a present from his master of 10,000 pistoles; but I was resolved to let the Spaniards see that I had not the intention of taking their money, though at his request Madame de Bouillon did all she could to persuade me. Accordingly, I declined it with all possible respect; nevertheless, this denial cost me dear afterwards, because I contracted a habit of refusing presents at other times when it would have been good policy to have accepted them, even if I had thrown them into the river. It is sometimes very dangerous to refuse presents from one’s superiors.

While we were in conference at M. de Bouillon’s the sad news was brought to us that M. de Turenne’s forces, all except two or three regiments, had been bribed with money from Court to abandon him, and, finding himself likely to be arrested, he had retired to the house of his friend and kinswoman, the Landgravine of Hesse. M. de Bouillon, was, as it were, thunderstruck; his lady burst out into tears, saying, “We are all undone,” and I was almost as much cast down as they were, because it overturned our last scheme.

M. de Bouillon was now for pushing matters to extremes, but I convinced him that there was nothing more dangerous.

Don Gabriel de Toledo, who was ordered to be very frank with me, was very reserved when he saw how I was mortified about the news of M. de Turenne, and caballed with the generals in such a manner as made me very uneasy. Upon this sudden turn of affairs I made these remarks: That every company has so much in it of the unstable temper of the vulgar that all depends upon joining issue with opportunity; and that the best proposals prove often fading flowers, which are fragrant to-day and offensive to-morrow.

I could not sleep that night for thinking about our circumstances. I saw that the Parliament was less inclined than ever to engage in a war, by reason of the desertion of the army of M. de Turenne; I saw the deputies at Ruel emboldened by the success of their prevarication; I saw the people of Paris as ready to admit the Archduke as ever they could be to receive the Duc d’Orleans; I saw that in a week’s time this Prince, with beads in his hand, and Fuensaldagne with his money, would have greater power than ourselves; that M. de Bouillon was relapsing into his former proposal of using extremities, and that the other generals would be precipitated into the same violent measures by the scornful behaviour of the Court, who now despised all because they were sure of the Parliament. I saw that all these circumstances paved the way for a popular sedition to massacre the Parliament and put the Spaniards in possession of the Louvre, which might overturn the State.

These gloomy thoughts I resolved to communicate to my father, who had for the last twenty years retired to the Oratory, and who would never hear of my State intrigues. My father told me of some advantageous offers made to me indirectly by the Court, but advised me not to trust to them.

Next day, M. de Bouillon was for shutting the gates against the deputies of Ruel, for expelling the Parliament, for making ourselves masters of the Hotel de Ville, and for bringing the Spanish army without delay into our suburbs. As for M. de Beaufort, Don Gabriel de Toledo told me that he offered Madame de Montbazon 20,000 crowns down and 6,000 crowns a year if she could persuade him into the Archduke’s measures. He did not forget the other generals. M. d’Elbeuf was gained at an easy rate, and Marechal de La Mothe was buoyed up with the hopes of being accommodated with the Duchy of Cardonne. I soon saw the Catholicon of Spain (Spanish gold) was the chief ingredient. Everybody saw that our only remedy was to make ourselves masters of the Hotel de Ville by means of the people, but I opposed it with arguments too tedious to mention. M. de Bouillon was for engaging entirely with Spain, but I convinced Marechal de La Mothe and M. de Beaufort that such measures would in a fortnight reduce them to a precarious dependence on the counsels of Spain.

Being pressed to give my opinion in brief, I delivered it thus: “We cannot hinder the peace without ruining the Parliament by the help of the people, and we cannot maintain the war by the means of the same people without a dependence upon Spain. We cannot have any peace with Saint Germain but by consenting to continue Mazarin in the Ministry.”

M. de Bouillon, with the head of an ox, and the penetration of an eagle, interrupted me thus: “I take it, monsieur,” said he, “you are for suffering the peace to come to a conclusion, but not for appearing in it.”

I replied that I was willing to oppose it, but that it should be only with my own voice and the voices of those who were ready to run the same hazard with me.

“I understand you again,” replied M. de Bouillon; “a very fine thought indeed, suitable to yourself and to M. de Beaufort, but to nobody else.”

“If it suited us only,” said I, “before I would propose it I would cut out my tongue. The part we act would suit you as well as either of us, because you may accommodate matters when you think it for your interest. For my part, I am fully persuaded that they who insist upon the exclusion of Mazarin as a condition of the intended arrangement will continue masters of the affections of the people long enough to take their advantage of an opportunity which fortune never fails to furnish in cloudy and unsettled times. Pray, monsieur, considering your reputation and capacity, who can pretend to act this part with more dignity, than yourself? M. de Beaufort and I are already the favourites of the people, and if you declare for the exclusion of the Cardinal, you will be tomorrow as popular as either of us, and we shall be looked upon as the only centre of their hopes. All the blunders of the ministers will turn to our advantage, the Spaniards will caress us, and the Cardinal, considering how fond he is of a treaty, will be under the necessity to court us. I own this scheme may be attended with inconveniences, but, on the other side of the question, we are sure of certain ruin if we have a peace and an enraged minister at the helm, who cannot hope for reestablishment but upon our destruction. Therefore, I cannot but think the expedient is as proper for you to engage in as for me, but if, for argument’s sake, it were not, I am sure it is for your interest that I should embrace it, for you will by that means have more time to make your own terms with the Court before the peace is concluded, and after the peace Mazarin will in such case be obliged to have more regard for all those gentlemen whose reunion with me it will be to his interest to prevent.”

M. de Bouillon was so convinced of the justice of my reasoning that he told me, when we were by ourselves, that he had, as well as myself, thought of my expedient as soon as he received the news of the army deserting M. de Turenne, that he could still improve it, as the Spaniards would not fail to relish it, and that he had been on the point several times one day to confer about it with me; but that his wife had conjured him with prayers and tears to speak no more of the matter, but to come to terms with the Court, or else to engage himself with the Spaniards. “I know,” said he, “you are not for the second arrangement; pray lend me your good offices to compass the first.” I assured him that all my best offices and interests were entirely at his service to facilitate his agreement with the Court, and that he might freely make use of my name and reputation for that purpose.

In fine, we agreed on every point. M. de Bouillon undertook to make the proposition palatable to the Spaniards, provided we would promise never to let them know that it was concerted among ourselves beforehand, and we never questioned but that we could persuade M. de Longueville to accept it, for men of irresolution are apt to catch at all overtures which lead them two ways, and consequently press them to no choice.

I had almost forgotten to tell you what M. de Bouillon said to me in private as we were going from the conference. “I am sure,” said he, “that you will not blame me for not exposing a wife whom I dearly love and eight children whom she loves more than herself to the hazards which you run, and which I could run with you were I a single man.”

I was very much affected by the tender sentiments of M. de Bouillon and the confidence he placed in me, and assured him I was so far from blaming him that I esteemed him the more, and that his tenderness for his lady, which he was pleased to call his weakness, was indeed what politics condemned but ethics highly justified, because it betokened an honest heart, which is much superior both to interest and politics. M. de Bouillon communicated the proposal both to the Spanish envoys and to the generals, who were easily persuaded to relish it.

Thus he made, as it were, a golden bridge for the Spaniards to withdraw their troops with decency. I told him as soon as they were gone that he was an excellent man to persuade people that a “quartan ague was good for them.”

The Parliamentary deputies, repairing to Saint Germain on the 17th of March, 1649, first took care to settle the interests of the generals, upon which every officer of the army thought he had a right to exhibit his pretensions. M. de Vendome sent his son a formal curse if he did not procure for him at least the post of Superintendent of the Seas, which was created first in favour of Cardinal de Richelieu in place of that of High Admiral, but Louis XIV. abolished it, and restored that of High Admiral.

Upon this we held a conference, the result of which was that on the 20th the Prince de Conti told the Parliament that himself and the other generals entered their claims solely for the purpose of providing for their safety in case Mazarin should continue in the Ministry, and that he protested, both for himself and for all the gentlemen engaged in the same party, that they would immediately renounce all pretensions whatsoever upon the exclusion of Cardinal Mazarin.

We also prevailed on the Prince de Conti, though almost against his will, to move the Parliament to direct their deputies to join with the Comte de Maure for the expulsion of Cardinal Mazarin. I had almost lost all my credit with the people, because I hindered them on the 13th of March from massacring the Parliament, and because on the 23d and 24th I opposed the public sale of the Cardinal’s library. But I reestablished my reputation in the Great Hall among the crowd, in the opinion of the firebrands of Parliament, by haranguing against the Comte de Grancei, who had the insolence to pillage the house of M. Coulon; by insisting on the 24th that the Prince d’Harcourt should be allowed to seize all the public money in the province of Picardy; by insisting on the 25th against a truce which it would have been ridiculous to refuse during a conference; and by opposing on the 30th what was transacted there, though at the same time I knew that peace was made.

I now return to the conference at Saint Germain.

The Court declared they would never consent to the removal of the Cardinal; and that as to the pretensions of the generals, which were either to justice or favour, those of justice should be confirmed, and those of favour left to his Majesty’s disposal to reward merit. They declared their willingness to accept the Archduke’s proposal for a general peace.

An amnesty was granted in the most ample manner, comprehending expressly the Prince de Conti, MM. de Longueville, de Beaufort, d’Harcourt, de Rieug, de Lillebonne, de Bouillon, de Turenne, de Brissac, de Duras, de Matignon, de Beuron, de Noirmoutier, de Sdvigny, de Tremouille, de La Rochefoucault, de Retz, d’Estissac, de Montresor, de Matta, de Saint Germain, d’Apchon, de Sauvebeuf, de Saint Ibal, de Lauretat, de Laigues, de Chavagnac, de Chaumont, de Caumesnil, de Cugnac, de Creci, d’Allici, and de Barriere; but I was left out, which contributed to preserve my reputation with the public more than you would expect from such a trifle.

On the 31st the deputies, being returned, made their report to the Parliament, who on the 1st of April verified the declaration of peace.

As I went to the House I found the streets crowded with people crying “No peace! no Mazarin!” but I dispersed them by saying that it was one of Mazarin’s stratagems to separate the people from the Parliament, who without doubt had reasons for what they had done; that they should be cautious of falling into the snare; that they had no cause to fear Mazarin; and that they might depend on it that I would never agree with him. When I reached the House I found the guards as excited as the people, and bent on murdering every one they knew to be of Mazarin’s party; but I pacified them as I had done the others. The First President, seeing me coming in, said that “I had been consecrating oil mixed, undoubtedly, with saltpetre.” I heard the words, but made as if I did not, for had I taken them up, and had the people known it in the Great Hall, it would not have been in my power to have saved the life of one single member.

Soon after the peace the Prince de Conti, Madame de Longueville and M. de Bouillon went to Saint Germain to the Court, which had by some means or other gained M. d’Elbeuf. But MM. de Brissac, de Retz, de Vitri, de Fiesque, de Fontrailles, de Montresor, de Noirmoutier, de Matta, de la Boulaie, de Caumesnil, de Moreul, de Laigues, and d’Annery remained in a body with us, which was not contemptible, considering the people were on our side; but the Cardinal despised us to that degree that when MM. de Beaufort, de Brissac, de La Mothe, and myself desired one of our friends to assure the Queen of our most humble obedience, she answered that she should not regard our assurances till we had paid our devoirs to the Cardinal.

Madame de Chevreuse having come from Brussels without the Queen’s leave, her Majesty sent her orders to quit Paris in twenty-four hours upon which I went to her house and found the lovely creature at her toilet bathed in tears. My heart yearned towards her, but I bid her not obey till I had the honour of seeing her again. I consulted with M. de Beaufort to get the order revoked, upon which he said, “I see you are against her going; she shall stay. She has very fine eyes!”

I returned to the Palace de Chevreuse, where I was made very welcome, and found the lovely Mademoiselle de Chevreuse. I got a very intimate acquaintance with Madame de Rhodes, natural daughter of Cardinal de Guise, who was her great confidant. I entirely demolished the good opinion she had of the Duke of Brunswick-Zell, with whom she had almost struck a bargain. De Laigues hindered me at first, but the forwardness of the daughter and the good-nature of the mother soon removed all obstacles. I saw her every day at her own house and very often at Madame de Rhodes’s, who allowed us all the liberty we could wish for, and we did not fail to make good use of our time. I did love her, or rather I thought I loved her, for I still had to do with Madame de Pommereux.

Fronde (sling) being the name given to the faction, I will give you the etymology of it, which I omitted in the first book.

When Parliament met upon State affairs, the Duc d’Orleans and the Prince de Conde came very frequently, and tempered the heat of the contending parties; but the coolness was not lasting, for every other day their fury returned upon them.

Bachoumont once said, in jest, that the Parliament acted like the schoolboys in the Paris ditches, who fling stones, and run away when they see the constable, but meet again as soon as he turns his back. This was thought a very pretty comparison. It came to be a subject for ballads, and, upon the peace between the King and Parliament, it was revived and applied to those who were not agreed with the Court; and we studied to give it all possible currency, because we observed that it excited the wrath of the people. We therefore resolved that night to wear hatbands made in the form of a sling, and had a great number of them made ready to be distributed among a parcel of rough fellows, and we wore them ourselves last of all, for it would have looked much like affectation and have spoilt all had we been the first in the mode.

It is inexpressible what influence this trifle had upon the people; their bread, hats, gloves, handkerchiefs, fans, ornaments were all ‘a la mode de la Fronde’, and we ourselves were more in the fashion by this trifle than in reality. And the truth is we had need of all our shifts to support us against the whole royal family. For although I had spoken to the Prince de Conde at Madame de Longueville’s, I could not suppose myself thoroughly reconciled. He treated me, indeed, civilly, but with an air of coldness, and I know that he was fully persuaded that I had complained of his breach of a promise which he made by me to some members of Parliament; but, as I had complained to nobody upon this head, I began to suspect that some persona studied to set us at variance. I imagined it came from the Prince de Conti, who was naturally very malicious, and hated me, he knew not why. Madame de Longueville loved me no better. I always suspected Madame de Montbazon, who had not nearly so much influence over M. de Beaufort as I had, yet was very artful in robbing him of all his secrets. She did not love me either, because I deprived her of what might have made her a most considerable person at Court.

Count Fuensaldagne was not obliged to help me if he could. He was not pleased with the conduct of M. de Bouillon, who, in truth, had neglected the decisive point for a general peace, and he was much less satisfied with his own ministers, whom he used to call his blind moles; but he was pleased with me for insisting always on the peace between the two Crowns, without any view to a separate one. He therefore sent me Don Antonio Pimentel, to offer me anything that was in the power of the King his master, and to tell me that, as I could not but want assistance, considering how I stood with the Ministry, 100,000 crowns was at my service, which was accordingly brought me in bills of exchange. He added that he did not desire any engagement from me for it, nor did the King his master propose any other advantage than the pleasure of protecting me. But I thought fit to refuse the money, for the present, telling Don Antonio that I should think myself unworthy, of the protection of his Catholic Majesty if I took any, gratuity, while I was in no capacity, of serving him; that I was born a Frenchman, and, by virtue of my post, more particularly attached than another to the metropolis of the kingdom; that it was my misfortune to be embroiled with the Prime Minister of my King, but that my resentment should never carry me to solicit assistance among his enemies till I was forced to do so for self-preservation; that Divine Providence had cast my lot in Paris, where God, who knew the purity of my intentions, would enable me in all probability to maintain myself by my own interest. But in case I wanted protection I was fully persuaded I could nowhere find any so powerful and glorious as that of his Catholic Majesty, to whom I would always think it an honour to have recourse. Fuensaldagne was satisfied with my answer, and sent back Don Antonio Pimentel with a letter from the Archduke, assuring me that upon a line from my hand he would march with all the forces of the King his master to my assistance.


MADAME:—Cardinal Mazarin thought of nothing else now but how to rid himself of the obligations he lay under to the Prince de Conde, who had actually saved him from the gallows. And his principal view was an alliance with the House of Vendome, who had on some occasions opposed the interest of the family of Conde.

In Paris the people libelled not only the Cardinal, but the Queen. Indeed it was not our interest to discourage libels and ballads against the Cardinal, but it concerned us to suppress such as were levelled against the Queen and Government. It is not to be imagined what uneasiness the wrath of the people gave us upon that head. Two criminals, one of whom was a printer, being condemned to be hanged for publishing some things fit to be burnt and for libelling the Queen, cried out, when they were upon the scaffold, that they were to be put to death for publishing verses against Mazarin, upon which the people rescued them from justice.

On the other hand, some gay young gentlemen of the Court, who were in Mazarin’s interest, had a mind to make his name familiar to the Parisians, and for that end made a famous display in the public walks of the Tuileries, where they had grand suppers, with music, and drank the Cardinal’s health publicly. We took little notice of this, till they boasted at Saint Germain that the Frondeurs were glad to give them the wall. And then we thought it high time to correct them, lest the common people should think they did it by authority. For this end M. de Beaufort and a hundred other gentlemen went one night to the house where they supped, overturned the table, and broke the musicians’ violins over their heads.

Being informed that the Prince de Conde intended to oblige the King to return to Paris, I was resolved to have all the merit of an action which would be so acceptable to the citizens. I therefore resolved to go to the Court at Compiegne, which my friends very much opposed, for fear of the danger to which I might be exposed, but I told them that what is absolutely necessary is not dangerous.

I went accordingly, and as I was going up-stairs to the Queen’s apartments, a man, whom I never saw before or since, put a note into my hand with these words: “If you enter the King’s domicile, you are a dead man.” But I was in already, and it was too late to go back. Being past the guard-chamber, I thought myself secure. I told the Queen that I was come to assure her Majesty of my most humble obedience, and of the disposition of the Church of Paris to perform all the services it owed to their Majesties. The Queen seemed highly pleased, and was very kind to me; but when we mentioned the Cardinal, though she urged me to it, I excused myself from going to see him, assuring her Majesty that such a visit would put it out of my power to do her service. It was impossible for her to contain herself any longer; she blushed, and it was with much restraint that she forbore using harsh language, as she herself confessed afterwards.

Servien said one day that there was a design to assassinate me at his table by the Abbe Fouquet; and M. de Vendome, who had just come from his table, pressed me to be gone, saying that there were wicked designs hatching against me.

I returned to Paris, having accomplished everything I wanted, for I had removed the suspicion of the Court that the Frondeurs were against the King’s return. I threw upon the Cardinal all the odium attending his Majesty’s delay. I braved Mazarin, as it were, upon his throne, and secured to myself the chief honour of the King’s return.

The Court was received at Paris as kings always were and ever will be, namely, with acclamations, which only please such as like to be flattered. A group of old women were posted at the entrance of the suburbs to cry out, “God save his Eminence!” who sat in the King’s coach and thought himself Lord of Paris; but at the end of three or four days he found himself much mistaken. Ballads and libels still flew about. The Frondeurs appeared bolder than ever. M. de Beaufort and I rode sometimes alone, with one lackey only behind our coach, and at other times we went with a retinue of fifty men in livery and a hundred gentlemen. We diversified the scene as we thought it would be most acceptable to the spectators. The Court party, who blamed us from morning to night, nevertheless imitated us in their way. Everybody took an advantage of the Ministry from our continual pelting of his Eminence. The Prince, who always made too much or too little of the Cardinal, continued to treat him with contempt; and, being disgusted at being refused the post of Superintendent of the Seas, the Cardinal endeavoured to soothe him with the vain hopes of other advantages.

The Prince, being one day at Court, and seeing the Cardinal give himself extraordinary airs, said, as he was going out of the Queen’s cabinet, “Adieu, Mars.” This was told all over the city in a quarter of an hour. I and Noirmoutier went by appointment to his house at four o’clock in the morning, when he seemed to be greatly troubled. He said that he could not determine to begin a civil war, which, though the only means to separate the Queen from the Cardinal, to whom she was so strongly attached, yet it was both against his conscience and honour. He added that he should never forget his obligations to us, and that if he should come to any terms with the Court, he would, if we thought proper, settle our affairs also, and that if we had not a mind to be reconciled to the Court, he would, in case it did attack us, publicly undertake our protection. We answered that we had no other design in our proposals than the honour of being his humble servants, and that we should be very sorry if he had retarded his reconciliation with the Queen upon our account, praying that we might be permitted to continue in the same disposition towards the Cardinal as we were then, which we declared should not hinder us from paying all the respect and duty which we professed for his Highness.

I must not forget to acquaint you that Madame de Guemenee, who ran away from Paris in a fright the moment it was besieged, no sooner heard that I had paid a visit to Mademoiselle de Chevreuse than she returned to town in a rage. I was in such a passion with her for having cowardly deserted me that I took her by the throat, and she was so enraged at my familiarity with Mademoiselle de Chevreuse that she threw a candlestick at my head, but in a quarter of an hour we were very good friends.

The Prince de Conde was no sooner reconciled with the Court than he was publicly reproached in the city for breaking his word with the Frondeurs; but I convinced him that he could not think such treatment strange in a city so justly exasperated against Mazarin, and that, nevertheless, he might depend on my best services, for which he assured me of his constant friendship.

Moissans, now Marechal d’Albret, who was at the head of the King’s gendarmes, accustomed himself and others to threaten the chief minister, who augmented the public odium against himself by reestablishing Emeri, a man detested by all the kingdom. We were not a little alarmed at his reestablishment, because this man, who knew Paris better than the Cardinal, distributed money among the people to a very good purpose. This is a singular science, which is either very beneficial or hurtful in its consequences, according to the wisdom or folly of the distributor.

These donations, laid out with discretion and secrecy, obliged us to yield ourselves more and more unto the bulk of the people, and, finding a fit opportunity for this performance, we took care not to let it slip, which, if they had been ruled by me, we should not have done so soon, for we were not yet forced to make use of such expedients. It is not safe in a faction where you are only upon the defensive to do what you are not pressed to do, but the uneasiness of the subalterns on such occasions is troublesome, because they believe that as soon as you seem to be inactive all is lost. I preached every day that the way was yet rough, and therefore must be made plain, and that patience in the present case was productive of greater effects than activity; but nobody comprehended the truth of what I said.

An unlucky expression, dropped on this occasion by the Princesse de Guemenee, had an incredible influence upon the people. She called to mind a ballad formerly made upon the regiment of Brulon, which was said to consist of only two dragoons and four drummers, and, inasmuch as she hated the Fronde, she told me very pleasantly that our party, being reduced to fourteen, might be justly compared to that regiment of Brulon. Noirmoutier and Laigues were offended at this expression to that degree that they continually murmured because I neither settled affairs nor pushed them to the last extremity. Upon which I observed that heads of factions are no longer their masters when they are unable either to prevent or allay the murmurs of the people.

The revenues of the Hotel de Ville, which are, as it were, the patrimony of the bourgeois, and which, if well managed, might be of special service to the King in securing to his interest an infinite number of those people who are always the most formidable in revolutions—this sacred fund, I say, suffered much by the licentiousness of the times, the ignorance of Mazarin, and the prevarication of the officers of the Hotel de Ville, who were his dependents, so that the poor annuitants met in great numbers at the Hotel de Ville; but as such assemblies without the Prince’s authority are reckoned illegal, the Parliament passed a decree to suppress them. They were privately countenanced by M. de Beaufort and me, to whom they sent a solemn deputation, and they made choice of twelve syndics to be a check upon the ‘prevot des marchands’.

On the 11th of December a pistol, as had been concerted beforehand, was fired into the coach of Joly, one of the syndics, which President Charton, another of the syndics, thinking was aimed at himself, the Marquis de la Boulaie ran as if possessed with a devil, while the Parliament was sitting, into the middle of the Great Hall, with fifteen or twenty worthless fellows crying out “To Arms!” He did the like in the streets, but in vain, and came to Broussel and me; but the former reprimanded him after his way, and I threatened to throw him out at the window, for I had reason to believe that he acted in concert with the Cardinal, though he pretended to be a Frondeur.

This artifice of Servien united the Prince to the Cardinal, because he found himself obliged to defend himself against the Frondeurs, who, as he believed, sought to assassinate him. All those that were his own creatures thought they were not zealous enough for his service if they did not exaggerate the imminent danger he had escaped, and the Court parasites confounded the morning adventure with that at night; and upon this coarse canvas they daubed all that the basest flattery, blackest imposture, and the most ridiculous credulity was capable of imagining; and we were informed the next morning that it was the common rumour over all the city that we had formed a design of seizing the King’s person and carrying him to the Hotel de Ville, and to assassinate the Prince.

M. de Beaufort and I agreed to go out and show ourselves to the people, whom we found in such a consternation that I believed the Court might then have attacked us with success. Madame de Montbazon advised us to take post-horses and ride off, saying that there was nothing more easy than to destroy us, because we had put ourselves into the hands of our sworn enemies. I said that we had better hazard our lives than our honour. To which she replied, “It is not that, but your nymphs, I believe, which keep you here” (meaning Mesdames de Chevreuse and Guemenee). “I expect,” she said, “to be befriended for my own sake, and don’t I deserve it? I cannot conceive how you can be amused by a wicked old hag and a girl, if possible, still more foolish. We are continually disputing about that silly wretch” (pointing to M. de Beaufort, who was playing chess); “let us take him with us and go to Peronne.”

You are not to wonder that she talked thus contemptibly of M. de Beaufort, whom she always taxed with impotency, for it is certain that his love was purely Platonic, as he never asked any favour of her, and seemed very uneasy with her for eating flesh on Fridays. She was so sweet upon me, and withal such a charming beauty, that, being naturally indisposed to let such opportunities slip, I was melted into tenderness for her, notwithstanding my suspicions of her, considering the then situation of affairs, and would have had her go with me into the cabinet, but she was determined first to go to Peronne, which put an end to our amours.

Beaufort waited on the Prince and was well received, but I could not gain admittance.

On the 14th the Prince de Conde went to Parliament and demanded that a committee might be appointed to inquire into the attempt made on his life.

The Frondeurs were not asleep in the meantime, yet most of our friends were dispirited, and all very weak.

The cures of Paris were my most hearty friends; they laboured with incredible zeal among the people. And the cure of Saint Gervais sent me this message: “Do but rally again and get off the assassination, and in a week you will be stronger than your enemies.”

I was informed that the Queen had written to my uncle, the Archbishop of Paris, to be sure to go to the Parliament on the 23d, the day that Beaufort, Broussel, and I were to be impeached, because I had no right to sit in the House if he were present. I begged of him not to go, but my uncle being a man of little sense, and that much out of order, and being, moreover, fearful and ridiculously jealous of me, had promised the Queen to go; and all that we could get out of him was that he would defend me in Parliament better than I could defend myself. It is to be observed that though he chattered to us like a magpie in private, yet in public he was as mute as a fish. A surgeon who was in the Archbishop’s service, going to visit him, commended him for his courage in resisting the importunities of his nephew, who, said he, had a mind to bury him alive, and encouraged him to rise with all haste and go to the Parliament House; but he was no sooner out of his bed than the surgeon asked him in a fright how he felt. “Very well,” said my Lord. “But that is impossible,” said the surgeon; “you look like death,” and feeling his pulse, he told him he was in a high fever; upon which my Lord Archbishop went to bed again, and all the kings and queens in Christendom could not get him out for a fortnight.

We went to the Parliament, and found there the Princes with nearly a thousand gentlemen and, I may say, the whole Court. I had few salutes in the Hall, because it was generally thought I was an undone man. When I had entered the Great Chamber I heard a hum like that at the end of a pleasing period in a sermon. When I had taken my place I said that, hearing we were taxed with a seditious conspiracy, we were come to offer our heads to the Parliament if guilty, and if innocent, to demand justice upon our accusers; and that though I knew not what right the Court had to call me to account, yet I would renounce all privileges to make my innocence apparent to a body for whom I always had the greatest attachment and veneration.

Then the informations were read against what they called “the public conspiracy from which it had pleased Almighty God to deliver the State and the royal family,” after which I made a speech, in substance as follows:

“I do not believe, gentlemen, that in any of the past ages persons of our quality had ever received any personal summons grounded merely upon hearsay. Neither can I think that posterity will ever believe that this hearsay evidence was admitted from the mouths of the most infamous miscreants that ever got out of a gaol. Canto was condemned to the gallows at Pau, Pichon to the wheel at Mans, Sociande is a rogue upon record. Pray, gentlemen, judge of their evidence by their character and profession. But this is not all. They have the distinguishing character of being informers by authority. I am sorely grieved that the defence of our honour, which is enjoined us by the laws of God and man, should oblige me to expose to light, under the most innocent of Kings, such abominations as were detested in the most corrupt ages of antiquity and under the worst of tyrants. But I must tell you that Canto, Sociande, and Gorgibus are authorised to inform against us by a commission signed by that august name which should never be employed but for the preservation of the most sacred laws, and which Cardinal Mazarin, who knows no law but that of revenge, which he meditates against the defenders of the public liberty, has forced M. Tellier, Secretary of State, to countersign.

“We demand justice, gentlemen, but we do not demand it of you till we have first most humbly implored this House to execute the strictest justice that the laws have provided against rebels, if it appears that we have been concerned directly or indirectly in raising this last disturbance. Is it possible, gentlemen, that a grandchild of Henri the Great, that a senator of M. Broussel’s age and probity, and that the Coadjutor of Paris should be so much as suspected of being concerned in a sedition raised by a hot-brained fool, at the head of fifteen of the vilest of the mob? I am fully persuaded it would be scandalous for me to insist longer on this subject. This is all I know, gentlemen, of the modern conspiracy.”

The applause that came from the Court of Inquiry was deafening; many voices were heard exclaiming against spies and informers. Honest Doujat, who was one of the persons appointed by the Attorney-General Talon, his kinsman, to make the report, and who had acquainted me with the facts, acknowledged it publicly by pretending to make the thing appear less odious. He got up, therefore, as if he were in a passion, and spoke very artfully to this purpose:

“These witnesses, monsieur, are not to accuse you, as you are pleased to say, but only to discover what passed in the meeting of the annuitants at the Hotel de Ville. If the King did not promise impunity to such as will give him information necessary for his service, and which sometimes cannot be come at without involving evidence in a crime, how should the King be informed at all? There is a great deal of difference between patents of this nature and commissions granted on purpose to accuse you.”

You might have seen fire in ‘the face of every member. The First President called out “Order!” and said, “MM. de Beaufort, le Coadjuteur, and Broussel, you are accused, and you must withdraw.”

As Beaufort and I were leaving our seats, Broussel stopped us, saying, “Neither you, gentlemen, nor I are bound to depart till we are ordered to do so by the Court. The First President, whom all the world knows to be our adversary, should go out if we must.”

I added, “And M. le Prince,” who thereupon said, with a scornful air:

“What, I? Must I retire?”

“Yes, yes, monsieur,” said I, “justice is no respecter of persons.”

The President de Mesmes said, “No, monseigneur, you must not go out unless the Court orders you. If the Coadjutor insists that your Highness retire, he must demand it by a petition. As for himself, he is accused, and therefore must go out; but, seeing he raises difficulties and objections to the contrary, we must put it to the vote.” And it was passed that we should withdraw.

Meanwhile, most of the members passed encomiums upon us, satires upon the Ministry, and anathemas upon the witnesses for the Crown. Nor were the cures and the parishioners wanting in their duty on this occasion. The people came in shoals from all parts of Paris to the Parliament House. Nevertheless, no disrespect was shown either to the King’s brother or to M. le Prince; only some in their presence cried out, “God bless M. de Beaufort! God bless the Coadjutor!”

M. de Beaufort told the First President next day that, the State and royal family being in danger, every moment was precious, and that the offenders ought to receive condign punishment, and that therefore the Chambers ought to be assembled without loss of time. Broussel attacked the First President with a great deal of warmth. Eight or ten councillors entered immediately into the Great Chamber to testify their astonishment at the indolence and indifference of the House after such a furious conspiracy, and that so little zeal was shown to prosecute the criminals. MM. de Bignon and Talon, counsel for the Crown, alarmed the people by declaring that as for themselves they had no hand in the conclusions, which were ridiculous. The First President returned very calm answers, knowing well that we should have been glad to have put him into a passion in order to catch at some expression that might bear an exception in law.

On Christmas Day I preached such a sermon on Christian charity, without mentioning the present affairs, that the women even wept for the unjust persecution of an archbishop who had so great a tenderness for his very enemies.

On the 29th M. de Beaufort and I went to the Parliament House, accompanied by a body of three hundred gentlemen, to make it appear that we were more than tribunes of the people, and to screen ourselves from the insults of the Court party. We posted ourselves in the Fourth Chamber of the Inquests, among the courtiers, with whom we conversed very frankly, yet upon the least noise, when the debates ran high in the Great Chamber, we were ready to cut one another’s throats eight or ten times every morning. We were all distrustful of one another, and I may venture to say there were not twenty persons in the House but were armed with daggers. As for myself, I had resolved to take none of those weapons inconsistent with my character, till one day, when it was expected the House would be more excited than usual, and then M. de Beaufort, seeing one end of the weapon peeping out of my pocket, exposed it to M. le Prince’s captain of the guards and others, saying, “See, gentlemen, the Coadjutor’s prayer-book.” I understood the jest, but really I could not well digest it. We petitioned the Parliament that the First President, being our sworn enemy, might be expelled the House, but it was put to the vote and carried by a majority of thirty-six that he should retain his station of judge.

Paris narrowly escaped a commotion at the time of the imprisonment of Belot, one of the syndics of the Hotel de Ville annuitants, who, being arrested without a decree, President de la Grange made it appear that there was nothing more contrary to the declaration for which they had formerly so exerted themselves. The First President maintaining the legality of his imprisonment, Daurat, a councillor of the Third Chamber, told him that he was amazed that a gentleman who was so lately near being expelled could be so resolute in violating the laws so flagrantly. Whereupon the First President rose in a passion, saying that there was neither order nor discipline in the House, and that he would resign his place to another for whom they had more respect. This motion put the Great Chamber all in a ferment, which was felt in the Fourth, where the gentlemen of both parties hastened to support their respective sides, and if the most insignificant lackey had then but drawn a sword, Paris would have been all in an uproar.

We solicited very earnestly for our trial, which they delayed as much as it was in their power, because they could not choose but acquit us and condemn the Crown witnesses. Various were the pretences for putting it off, and though the informations were not of sufficient weight to hang a dog, yet they were read over and over at every turn to prolong the time.

The public began to be persuaded of our innocence, as also the Prince de Conde, and M. de Bouillon told me that he very much suspected it to be a trick of the Cardinal’s.

On the 1st of January, 1650, Madame de Chevreuse, having a mind to visit the Queen, with whom she had carried on in all her disgrace an unaccountable correspondence, went to the King’s Palace. The Cardinal, taking her aside in the Queen’s little cabinet, said to her:

“You love the Queen. Is it not possible for you to make your friends love her?”

“How can that be?” said she; “the Queen is no more a Queen, but a humble servant to M. le Prince.”

“Good God!” replied the Cardinal; “we might do great things if we could get some men into our interest. But M. de Beaufort is at the service of Madame de Montbazon, and she is devoted to Vigneul and the Coadjutor;” at the mention of which he smiled. “I take you, monsieur,” said Madame de Chevreuse; “I will answer for him and for her.”

Thus the conversation began, and the Cardinal making a sign to the Queen, Madame de Chevreuse had a long conference that night with her Majesty, who gave her this billet for me, written and signed with her own hand:

Notwithstanding what has passed and what is now doing, I cannot but persuade myself that M. le Coadjuteur is in my interest. I desire to see him, and that nobody may know it but Madame and Mademoiselle de Chevreuse. This name shall be your security.

Being convinced that the Queen was downright angry with the Prince de Conde on account of a rumour spread abroad that he had some intriguing gallantries with her Majesty, I weighed all circumstances and returned the answer to the Queen:

Never was there one moment of my life wherein I was not devoted to your Majesty. I am so far from consulting my own safety that I would gladly die for your service . . . I will go to any place your Majesty shall order me.

My answer, with the Queen’s letter enclosed, was carried back by Madame de Chevreuse and well received. I went immediately to Court, and was taken up the back staircase by the Queen’s train-bearer to the petit oratoire, where her Majesty was shut up all alone. She showed me as much kindness as she could, considering her hatred against M. le Prince and her friendship for the Cardinal, though the latter seemed the more to prevail, because in speaking of the civil wars and of the Cardinal’s friendship for me she called him “the poor Cardinal” twenty times over. Half an hour after, the Cardinal came in, who begged the Queen to dispense with the respect he owed her Majesty while he embraced me in her presence. He was pleased to say he was very sorry that he could not give me that very moment his own cardinal’s cap. He talked so much of favours, gratifications, and rewards that I was obliged to explain myself, knowing that nothing is more destructive of new reconciliations than a seeming unwillingness to be obliged to those to whom you are reconciled. I answered that the greatest recompense I could expect, though I had saved the Crown, was to have the honour of serving her Majesty, and I humbly prayed the Queen to give me no other recompense, that at least I might have the satisfaction to make her Majesty sensible that this was the only reward I valued.

The Cardinal desired the Queen to command me to accept of the nomination to the cardinalate, “which,” said he, “La Riviere has snatched with insolence and acknowledged with treachery.” I excused myself by saying that I had taken a resolution never to accept of the cardinalship by any means which seemed to have relation to the civil wars, to the end that I might convince the Queen that it was the most rigid necessity which had separated me from her service. I rejected upon the same account all the other advantageous propositions he made me, and, he still insisting that the Queen could do no less than confer upon me something that was very considerable for the signal service I was likely to do her Majesty, I answered:

“There is one point wherein the Queen can do me more good than if she gave me a triple crown. Her Majesty told me just now that she will cause M. le Prince to be apprehended. A person of his high rank and merit neither can nor ought to be always shut up in prison, for when he comes abroad he will be full of resentment against me, though I hope my dignity will be my protection. There are a great many gentlemen engaged with me who, in such a juncture, would be ready to serve the Queen. And if it seemed good to your Majesty to entrust one of them with some important employment, I should be more pleased than with ten cardinals’ hats.”

The Cardinal told the Queen that nothing was more just, and the affair should be considered between him and me.

We had several conferences, at which we agreed on gratifications for some of our friends and to arrest the Prince de Conde, the Prince de Conti, and the Duc de Longueville.

The Cardinal took occasion to speak of the treachery of La Riviere. “This man,” said he, “takes me to be the most stupid creature living, and thinks he shall be to-morrow a cardinal. I diverted myself to-day with letting him try on some scarlet cloth I lately received from Italy, and I put it near his face to know whether a scarlet colour or carnation became him best.”

I heard from Rome that his Eminence was not behindhand with La Riviere upon the score of treachery. For on the very day he got him nominated by the King, he wrote a letter to Cardinal Sachelli more fit to recommend him to a yellow cap than to a red one. This letter, nevertheless, was full of tenderness for La Riviere, which Mazarin knew was the only way to ruin him with Pope Innocent, who hated Mazarin and all his adherents.

Madame de Chevreuse undertook to see how the Duc d’Orleans would relish the design of imprisoning the Princes. She told him that, though the Queen was not satisfied with M. le Prince, yet she could not form a resolution of apprehending him without the concurrence of his Royal Highness. She magnified the advantages of bringing over to the King’s service the powerful faction of the Fronde, and the daily dangers Paris was exposed to, both by fire and sword. This last reason touched him as much or more than all, for he trembled every time he came to the Parliament; M. le Prince very often could not prevail upon him to go at all, and a fit of colic was generally assigned as the reason of his absence. At length he consented, and on the 18th of January the three Princes were put under arrest by three officers of the Queen’s Guards.

The people having a notion that M. de Beaufort was apprehended, ran to their arms, which I caused to be laid down immediately, by marching through the streets with flambeaux before me. M. de Beaufort did the like, and the night concluded with bonfires.

The Queen sent a letter from the King to the Parliament with the reasons, which were neither strong nor well set out, why the Prince de Conde was confined. However, we obtained a decree for our absolution.

The Princesses were ordered to retire to Chantilly. Madame de Longueville went towards Normandy, but found no sanctuary there, for the Parliament of Rouen sent her a message to desire her to depart from the city. The Duc de Richelieu would not receive her into Havre, and from there she retired to Dieppe.

M. de Bouillon, who after the peace was strongly attached to the Prince de Conde, went in great haste to Turenne; M. de Turenne got into Stenai; M. de La Rochefoucault, then Prince de Marsillac, returned home to Poitou; and Marechal de Breze, father-in-law to the Prince de Conde, went to Saumur.

There was a declaration published and registered in Parliament against them, whereby they were ordered to wait on the King within fifteen days, upon pain of being proceeded against as disturbers of the public peace and guilty of high treason.

The Court carried all before them. Madame de Longueville, upon the King going into Normandy, escaped by sea into Holland, whence she went afterwards to Arras, to try La Tour, one of her husband’s pensioners, who offered her his person, but refused her the place. She repaired at last to Stenai, whither M. de Turenne went to meet her, with all the friends and servants of the confined Princes that he could muster. The King went from Normandy to Burgundy, and returned to Paris crowned with laurels of victory.

The Princess-dowager, who had been ordered to retire to Bourges, came with a petition to Parliament, praying for their protection to stay in Paris, and that she might have justice done her for the illegal confinement of the Princes her children. She fell at the feet of the Duc d’Orleans, begged the protection of the Duc de Beaufort, and said to me that she had the honour to be my kinswoman. M. de Beaufort was very much perplexed what to do, and I was nearly ready to die for shame; but we could do nothing for her, and she was obliged to go to Valery.

Several private annuitants, who had made a noise in the assemblies at the Hotel de Ville, were afraid of being called to account, and therefore, after M. le Prince was arrested, they desired me to procure a general amnesty. I spoke about it to the Cardinal, who seemed very pliable, and, showing me his hatband, which was ‘a la mode de la Fronde’, said he hoped himself to be comprised in that amnesty; but he shuffled it off so long that it was not published and registered in Parliament till the 12th of May, and it would not have been obtained then had not I threatened vigorously to prosecute the Crown witnesses, of which they were mightily apprehensive, being so conscious of the heinousness of their crime that two of them had already made their escape.

The present calm hardly deserved that name, for the storm of war began to rise again in several places at once.

Madame de Longueville and M. de Turenne made a treaty with the Spaniards, and the latter joined their army, which entered Picardy and besieged Guise, after having taken Catelet; but for want of provisions the Archduke was obliged to raise the siege. M. de Turenne levied troops with Spanish money, and was joined by the greater part of the officers commanding the soldiers that went under the name of the Prince’s troops.

The wretched conduct of M. d’Epernon had so confounded the affairs of Guienne that nothing but his removal could retrieve them.

One of the greatest mischiefs which the despotic authority of ministers has occasioned in the world in these later times is a practice, occasioned by their own private mistaken interests, of always supporting superiors against their inferiors. It is a maxim borrowed from Machiavelli, whom few understand, and whom too many cry up for an able man because he was always wicked. He was very far from being a complete statesman, and was frequently out in his politics, but I think never more grossly mistaken than in this maxim, which I observed as a great weakness in Mazarin, who was therefore the less qualified to settle the affairs of Guienne, which were in so much confusion that I believe if the good sense of Jeannin and Villeroi had been infused into the brains of Cardinal de Richelieu, it would not have been sufficient to set them right.

Senneterre, perceiving that Cardinal Mazarin and I were not cordial friends, undertook to reconcile us, and for that end took me to the Cardinal, who embraced me very tenderly, said he laid his heart upon the table, that was one of his usual phrases,—and protested he would talk as freely to me as if I were his own son. I did not believe a word of what he said, but I assured his Eminence that I would speak to him as if he were my father, and I was as good as my word. I told him I had no personal interest in view but to disengage myself from the public disturbances without any private advantage, and that for the same reason I thought myself obliged to come off with reputation and honour. I desired him to consider that my age and want of skill in public affairs could not give him any jealousy that I aimed to be the First Minister. I conjured him to consider also that the influence I had over the people of Paris, supported by mere necessity, did rather reflect disgrace than honour upon my dignity, and that he ought to believe that this one reason was enough to make me impatient to be rid of all these public broils, besides a thousand other inconveniences arising every moment, which disgusted me with faction. And as for the dignity of cardinal, which might peradventure give him some umbrage, I could tell him very sincerely what had been and what was still my notion of this dignity, which I once foolishly imagined would be more honourable for me to despise than to enjoy. I mentioned this circumstance to let him see that in my tender years I was no admirer of the purple, and not very fond of it now, because I was persuaded that an Archbishop of Paris could hardly miss obtaining that dignity some time or other, according to form, by actions purely ecclesiastical; and that he should be loth to use any other means to procure it.

I said that I should be extremely sorry if my purple were stained with the least drop of blood spilt in the civil wars; that I was resolved to clear my hands of everything that savoured of intrigue before I would make or suffer any step which had any tendency that way; that he knew that for the same reason I would neither accept money nor abbeys, and that, consequently, I was engaged by the public declarations I had made upon all those heads to serve the Queen without any interest; that the only end I had in view, and in which I never wavered, was to come off with honour, so that I might resume the spiritual functions belonging to my profession with safety; that I desired nothing from him but the accomplishment of an affair which would be more for the King’s service than for my particular interest; that he knew that the day after the arrest of the Prince he sent me with his promise to the annuitants of the Hotel de Ville, and that for want of performance those men were persuaded that I was in concert with the Court to deceive them. Lastly, I told him that the access I had to the Duc d’Orleans might perhaps give him umbrage, but I desired him to consider that I never sought that honour, and that I was very sensible of the inconveniences attending it. I enlarged upon this head, which is the most difficult point to be understood by Prime Ministers, who are so fond of being freely admitted into a Prince’s presence that, notwithstanding all the experience in the world, they cannot help thinking that therein consists the essence of happiness.

When truth has come to a certain point, it darts such powerful rays of light as are irresistible, but I never knew a man who had so little regard for truth as Mazarin. He seemed, however, more regardful of it than usual, and I laid hold of the occasion to tell him of the dangerous consequences of the disturbances of Guienne, and that if he continued to support M. d’Epernon, the Prince’s faction would not let this opportunity slip; that if the Parliament of Bordeaux should engage in their party, it would not be long before that of Paris would do the same; that, after the late conflagration in this metropolis, he could not suppose but that there was still some fire hidden under the ashes; and that the factious party had reason to fear the heavy punishment to which the whole body of them was liable, as we ourselves were two or three months ago. The Cardinal began to yield, especially when he was told that M. de Bouillon began to make a disturbance in the Limousin, where M. de La Rochefoucault had joined him with some troops.

To confirm our reconciliation, a marriage was proposed between my niece and his nephew, to which he, gave his consent; but I was much averse to it, being not yet resolved to bury my family in that of Mazarin, nor did I set so great a value on grandeur as to purchase it with the public odium. However, it produced no animosity on either side, and his friends knew that I should be very glad to be employed in making a general peace; they acted their parts so well that the Cardinal, whose love-fit for me lasted about a fortnight, promised me, as it were of his own accord, that I should be gratified.

News came about this time from Guienne that the Ducs de Bouillon and de La Rochefoucault had taken Madame la Princesse into Bordeaux, together with M. le Duc, her son. The Parliament was not displeased with the people for receiving into their city M. le Duc, yet they observed more decorum than could be expected from the inhabitants of Gascogne, so irritated as they were against M. d’Epernon. They ordered that Madame la Princesse, M. le Duc, MM. de Bouillon and de La Rochefoucault should have liberty to stay in Bordeaux, provided they would promise to undertake nothing against the King’s service, and that the petition of Madame la Princesse should be sent to the King with a most humble remonstrance from the Parliament against the confinement of the Princes.

At the same time, one of the Presidents sent word to Senneterre that the Parliament was not so far enraged but that they would still remember their loyalty to the King, provided he did but remove M. d’Epernon. But in case of any further delay he would not answer for the Parliament, and much less for the people, who, being now managed and supported by the Prince’s party, would in a little time make themselves masters of the Parliament. Senneterre did what he could to induce the Cardinal to make good use of this advice, and M. de Chateauneuf, who was now Chancellor, talked wonderfully well upon the point, but seeing the Cardinal gave no return to his reasons but by exclaiming against the Parliament of Bordeaux for sheltering men condemned by the King’s declaration, he said to him very plainly, “Set out to-morrow, monsieur, if you do not arrange matters to-day; you should have been by this time upon the Garonne.”

The event proved that Chateauneuf was in the right, for though the Parliament was very excited, they stood out a long time against the madness of the people, spurred on by M. de Bouillon, and issued a decree ordering an envoy of Spain, who was sent thither to commence a treaty with the Duc de Bouillon, to depart the city, and forbade any of their body to visit such as had correspondence with Spain, the Princess herself not excepted. Moreover, the mob having undertaken to force the Parliament to unite with the Princes, the Parliament armed the magistracy, who fired upon the people and made them retire.

A little time before the King departed for Guienne, which was in the beginning of July, word came that the Parliament of Bordeaux had consented to a union with the Princes, and had sent a deputy to the Parliament of Paris, who had orders to see neither the King nor the ministers, and that the whole province was disposed for a revolt. The Cardinal was in extreme consternation, and commended himself to the favour of the meanest man of the Fronde with the greatest suppleness imaginable.

As soon as the King came to the neighbourhood of Bordeaux the deputies of Parliament, who went to meet the Court at Lebourne, were peremptorily commanded to open the gates of the city to the King and to all his troops. They answered that one of their privileges was to guard the King themselves while he was in any of their towns. Upon this, Marechal de La Meilleraye seized the castle of Vaire, in the command of Pichon, whom the Cardinal ordered to be hanged; and M. de Bouillon hanged an officer in Meilleraye’s army by way of reprisal.

After that the Marshal besieged the city in form, which, despairing of succour from Spain, was forced to capitulate upon the following terms:

That a general pardon should be granted to all who had taken up arms and treated with Spain, that all the soldiers should be disbanded except those whom the King had a mind to keep in his pay, that Madame la Princesse and the Duke should be at liberty to reside either in Anjou or at Mouzon, with no more than two hundred foot and sixty horse, and that M. d’Epernon should be recalled from the government of Guienne.

The Princess had an interview with both the King and Queen, at which there were great conferences between the Cardinal and the Ducs de Bouillon and de La Rochefoucault.

The deputy from Bordeaux, arriving at Paris soon after the King’s departure, went immediately, to Parliament, and, after an eloquent harangue, presented a letter from the Parliament of Bordeaux, together with their decrees, and demanded a union between the two Parliaments. After some debates it was resolved that the deputy should deliver his credentials in writing, which should be presented to his Majesty by the deputies of the Parliament of Paris, who would, at the same time, most humbly beseech the Queen to restore peace to Guienne.

The Duc d’Orleans was against debating about the petition to the Queen for the liberation of the Priuces and the banishment of Cardinal Mazarin; nevertheless, many of the members voted for it, upon a motion made by the President Viole, who was a warm partisan of the Prince de Conde, not because he had hopes of carrying it, but on purpose to embarrass M. de Beaufort and myself upon a subject of which we did not care to speak, and yet did not dare to be altogether silent about, without passing in some measure for Mazarinists. President Viole did the Prince a great deal of service on this occasion, for Bourdet a brave soldier, who had been captain of the Guards and was attached to the interest of the Prince—performed an action which emboldened the party very much, though it had no success. He dressed himself and fourscore other officers of his troops in mason’s clothes, and having assembled many of the dregs of the people, to whom he had distributed money, came directly to the Duc d’Orleans as he was going out, and cried, “No Mazarin! God bless the Princes!” His Royal Highness, at this apparition and the firing of a brace of pistols at the same time by Bourdet, ran to the Great Chamber; but M. de Beaufort stood his ground so well with the Duke’s guards and our men, that Bourdet was repulsed and thrown down the Parliament stairs.

But the confusion in the Great Chamber was still worse. There were daily assemblies, wherein the Cardinal was severely attacked, and the Prince’s party had the pleasure of exposing us as his accomplices. What is very strange is that at the same time the Cardinal and his friends accused us of corresponding with the Parliament of Bordeaux, because we maintained, in case the Court did not adjust affairs there, we would infallibly bring the Parliament of Paris into the interest of the Prince. If I were at the point of death I should have no need to be confessed on account of my behaviour on this occasion. I acted with as much sincerity in this juncture as if I had been the Cardinal’s nephew, though really it was not out of any love to him, but because I thought myself obliged in prudence to oppose the progress of the Prince’s faction, owing to the foolish conduct of his enemies; and to this end I was obliged to oppose the flattery of the Cardinal’s tools as much as the efforts made by those who were in the service of the Prince.

On the 3d of September President Bailleul returned with the other deputies, and made a report in Parliament of his journey to Court; it was, in brief, that the Queen thanked the Parliament for their good intentions, and had commanded them to assure the Parliament in her name that she was ready to restore peace to Guienne, and that it would have been done before now had not M. de Bouillon, who had treated with the Spaniards, made himself master of Bordeaux, and thereby cut off the effects of his Majesty’s goodness.

The Duc d’Orleans informed the House that he had received a letter from the Archduke, signifying that the King of Spain having sent him full powers to treat for a general peace, he desired earnestly to negotiate it with him. But his Royal Highness added that he did not think it proper to return him any answer till he had the opinion of the Parliament. The trumpeter who brought the letter gathered a party at Tiroir cross, and spoke very seditious words to the people. The next day they found libels posted up and down the city in the name of M. de Turenne, setting forth that the Archduke was coming with no other disposition than to make peace, and in one of them were these words: “It is your business, Parisians, to solicit your false tribunes, who have turned at last pensioners and protectors of Mazarin, who have for so long a time sported with your fortunes and repose, and spurred you on, kept you back, and made you hot or cold, according to the caprices and different progress of their ambition.”

You see the state and condition the Frondeurs were in at this juncture, when they could not move one step but to their own disadvantage. The Duc d’Orleans spoke to me that night with a great deal of bitterness against the Cardinal, which he had never done before, and said he had been tricked by him twice, and that he was ruining himself, the State, and all of us, and would, by so doing, place the Prince de Conde upon the throne. In short, Monsieur owned that it was not yet time to humble the Cardinal. “Therefore,” said M. Bellievre, “let us be upon our guard; this man can give us the slip any moment.”

Next day a letter was sent from the Prince de Conde, by the Baron de Verderonne, to the Archduke, desiring him to name the time, place and persons for a treaty. The Baron returned with a letter from the Archduke to his Royal Highness, desiring that the conferences might be held between Rheims and Rhetel, and that they might meet there personally, with such others as they should think fit to bring with them. The Court was surprised, but, however, did not think fit to delay sending full powers to his Royal Highness to treat for peace on such terms as he thought reasonable and advantageous for the King’s service; and there were joined with him, though in subordination, MM. Mole, the First President, d’Avaux, and myself, with the title of Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiaries. M. d’Avaux obliged me to assure Don Gabriel de Toledo, in private, that if the Spaniards would but come to reasonable terms, we would conclude a peace with them in two days’ time. And his Royal Highness said that Don Gabriel being a lover of money, I should promise him for his part 100,000 crowns if the conference that was proposed ended in a peace, and bid him tell the Archduke that, if the Spaniards proposed reasonable terms, he would sign and have them registered in Parliament before Mazarin should know anything of the matter.

Don Gabriel received the overture with joy; he had some particular fancies, but Fuensaldagne, who had a particular kindness for him, said that he was the wisest fool he ever saw in his life. I have remarked more than once that this sort of man cannot persuade, but can insinuate perfectly well, and that the talent of insinuation is of more service than that of persuasion, because one may insinuate to a hundred where one can hardly persuade five.

The King of England, after having lost the battle of Worcester, arrived in Paris the day that Don Gabriel set out, the 13th of September, 1651. My Lord Taff was his great chamberlain, valet de chambre, clerk of the kitchen, cup-bearer, and all,—an equipage answerable to his Court, for his Majesty had not changed his shirt all the way from England. Upon his arrival at Paris, indeed, he had one lent him by my Lord Jermyn; but the Queen, his mother, had not money to buy him another for the next day. The Duc d’Orleans went to compliment his Majesty upon his arrival, but it was not in my power to persuade his Royal Highness to give his nephew one penny, because, said he, “a little would not be worth his acceptance, and a great deal would engage me to do as much hereafter.” This leads me to make the following digression: that there is nothing so wretched as to be a minister to a Prince, and, at the same time, not his favourite; for it is his favour only that gives one a power over the more minute concerns of the family, for which the public does, nevertheless, think a minister accountable when they, see he has power over affairs of far greater consequence.

Therefore I was not in a condition to oblige his Royal Highness by assisting the King of England with a thousand pistoles, for which I was horridly, ashamed, both upon his account anal my own; but I borrowed fifteen hundred for him from M. Morangis, and carried them to my Lord Taff.—[Lord Clarendon extols the civilities of Cardinal de Retz to King Charles II., and has reported a curious conversation which the Cardinal had with that Prince.]—It is remarkable that the same night, as I was going home, I met one Tilney, an Englishman whom I had formerly known at Rome, who told me that Vere, a great Parliamentarian and a favourite of Cromwell, had arrived in Paris and had orders to see me. I was a little puzzled; however, I judged it would be improper to refuse him an interview. Vere gave me a brief letter from Cromwell in the nature of credentials, importing that the sentiments I had enunciated in the “Defence of Public Liberty” added to my reputation, and had induced Cromwell to desire to enter with me into the strictest friendship. The letter was in the main wonderfully civil and complaisant. I answered it with a great deal of respect, but in such a manner as became a true Catholic and an honest Frenchman. Vere appeared to be a man of surprising abilities.

I now return to our own affairs. I was told as a mighty secret that Tellier had orders from the Cardinal to remove the Princes from the Bois de Vincennes if the enemy were likely to come near the place, and that he should endeavour by all means to procure the consent of the Duc d’Orleans for that end; but that, in case of refusal, these orders should be executed notwithstanding, and that he should endeavour to gain me to these measures by the means of Madame de Chevreuse. When Tellier came to me I assured him that it was all one, both to me and the Duc d’Orleans, whether the Princes were removed or not, but since my opinion was desired, I must declare that I think nothing can be more contrary to the true interest of the King; “for,” said I, “the Spaniards must gain a battle before they can come to Vincennes, and when there they must have a flying camp to invest the place before they can deliver the Princes from confinement, and therefore I am convinced that there is no necessity for their removal, and I do affirm that all unnecessary changes in matters which are in themselves disagreeable are pernicious, because odious. I will maintain, further, that there is less reason to fear the Duc d’Orleans and the Frondeurs than to dread the Spaniards. Suppose that his Royal Highness is more disaffected towards the Court than anybody; suppose further that M. de Beaufort and I have a mind to relieve the Princes, in what way could we do it? Is not the whole garrison in that castle in the King’s service? Has his Royal Highness any regular troops to besiege Vincennes? And, granting the Frondeurs to be the greatest fools imaginable, will they expose the people of Paris at a siege which two thousand of the King’s troops might raise in a quarter of an hour though it consist of a hundred thousand citizens? I therefore conclude that the removal would be altogether impolitic. Does it not look rather as if the Cardinal feigns apprehension of the Spaniards only as a pretence to make himself master of the Princes, and to dispose of their persons at pleasure? The generality of the people, being Frondeurs, will conclude you take the Prince de Conde out of their hands,—whom they look upon to be safe while they see him walking upon the battlements of his prison,—and that you will give him his liberty when you please, and thus enable him to besiege Paris a second time. On the other hand, the Prince’s party will improve this removal very much to their own advantage by the compassion such a spectacle will raise in the people when they see three Princes dragged in chains from one prison to another. I was really mistaken just now when I said the case was all one to me, for I see that I am nearly concerned, because the people—in which word I include the Parliament will cry out against it; I must be then obliged, for my own safety, to say I did not approve of the resolution. Then the Court will be informed that I find fault with it, and not only that, but that I do it in order to raise the mob and discredit the Cardinal, which, though ever so false; yet in consequence the people will firmly believe it, and thus I shall meet with the same treatment I met with in the beginning of the late troubles, and what I even now experience in relation to the affairs of Guienne. I am said to be the cause of these troubles because I foretold them, and I was said to encourage the revolt at Bordeaux because I was against the conduct that occasioned it.”

Tellier, in the Queen’s name, thanked me for my unresisting disposition, and made the same proposal to his Royal Highness; upon which I spoke, not to second Tellier, who pleaded for the necessity of the removal, to which I could by no means be reconciled, but to make it evident to his Royal Highness that he was not in any way concerned in it in his own private capacity, and that, in case the Queen did command it positively, it was his duty to obey. M. de Beaufort opposed it so furiously as to offer the Duc d’Orleans to attack the guards which were to remove him. I had solid reasons to dissuade him from it, to the last of which he submitted, it being an argument which I had from the Queen’s own mouth when she set out for Guienne, that Bar offered to assassinate the Princes if it should happen that he was not in a condition to hinder their escape. I was astonished when her Majesty trusted me with this secret, and imagined that the Cardinal had possessed her with a fear that the Frondeurs had a design to seize the person of the Prince de Conde. For my part, I never dreamed of such a thing in my life. The Ducs d’Orleans and de Beaufort were both shocked at the thought of it, and, in short, it was agreed that his Royal Highness should give his consent for the removal, and that M. de Beaufort and myself should not give it out among the people that we approved of it.

The day that the Princes were removed to Marcoussi, President Bellievre told the Keeper of the Seals in plain terms, that if he continued to treat me as he had done hitherto, he should be obliged in honour to give his testimony to the truth. To which the Keeper of the Seals returned this blunt answer: “The Princes are no longer in sight of Paris; the Coadjutor must not therefore talk so loud.”

I return now to the Parliament, which was so moderate at this time that the Cardinal was hardly mentioned, and they agreed, ‘nemine contradicente’, that the Parliament should send deputies to Bordeaux to know once for all if that Parliament was for peace or not.

Soon after this the Parliament of Toulouse wrote to that of Paris concerning the disturbances in Guienne, part whereof belonged to their jurisdiction, and expressly demanded a decree of union. But the Duc d’Orleans warded off the blow very dexterously, which was of great consequence, and, more by his address than by his authority, brought the Parliament to dismiss the deputies with civil answers and insignificant expressions, upon which President Bellievre said to me, “What pleasure should we not take in acting as we do if it were for persons that had but the sense to appreciate it!”

The Parliament did not continue long in that calm. They passed a decree to interrogate the State prisoners in the Bastille, broke out sometimes like a whirlwind, with thunder and lightning, against Cardinal Mazarin; at other times they complained of the misapplication of the public funds. We had much ado to ward off the blows, and should not have been able to hold out long against the fury of the waves but for the news of the Peace of Bordeaux, which was registered there on October the 1st, 1650, and put the Prince de Conde’s party into consternation.

One mean artifice of Cardinal Mazarin’s polity was always to entertain some men of our own party, with whom, half reconciled, he played fast and loose before our eyes, and was eternally negotiating with them, deceiving and being deceived in his turn. The consequence of all this was a great, thick cloud, wherein the Frondeurs themselves were at last involved; but which they burst with a thunderclap.

The Cardinal, being puffed up with his success in settling the troubles of Guienne, thought of nothing else than crowning his triumph by chastising the Frondeurs, who, he said, had made use of the King’s absence to alienate the Duc d’Orleans from his service, to encourage the revolt at Bordeaux, and to make themselves masters of the persons of the Princes. At the same time, he told the Princess Palatine that he detested the cruel hatred I bore to the Prince de Conde, and that the propositions I made daily to him on that score were altogether unworthy of a Christian. Yet he suggested to the Duc d’Orleans that I made great overtures to him to be reconciled to the Court, but that he could not trust me, because I was from morning to night negotiating with the friends of the Prince de Conde. Thus the Cardinal rewarded me for what I did with incredible application and, I must say, uncommon sincerity for the Queen’s service during the Court’s absence. I do not mention the dangers I was in twice or thrice a day, surpassing even those of soldiers in battles. For imagine, I beseech you, what pain and anguish I must have been in at hearing myself called a Mazarinist, and at having to bear all the odium annexed to that hateful appellation in a city where he made it his business to destroy me in the opinion of a Prince whose nature it was to be always in fear and to trust none but such as hoped to rise by my fall.

The Cardinal gave himself such airs after the peace at Bordeaux that some said my best way would be to retire before the King’s return.

Cardinal Mazarin had been formerly secretary to Pancirole, the Pope’s nuncio for the peace of Italy, whom he betrayed, and it was proved that he had a secret correspondence with the Governor of Milan. Pancirole, being created cardinal and Secretary of State to the Church, did not forget the perfidiousness of his secretary, now created cardinal by Pope Urban, at the request of Cardinal de Richelieu, and did not at all endeavour to qualify the anger which Pope Innocent had conceived against Mazarin after the assassination of one of his nephews, in conjunction with Cardinal Anthony.

[Anthony Barberini, nephew to Urban VIII., created Cardinal 1628, made Protector of the Crown of France 1633, and Great Almoner of the Kingdom 1653. He was afterwards Bishop of Poitiers, and, lastly, Archbishop of Rheims in 1657. Died 1671.]

Pancirole, who thought he could not affront Mazarin more than by contributing to make me cardinal, did me all the kind offices with Pope Innocent, who gave him leave to treat with me in that affair.

Madame de Chevreuse told the Queen all that she had observed in my conduct in the King’s absence, and what she had seen was certainly one continued series of considerable services done to the Queen.

She recounted at last all the injustice done me, the contempt put upon me, and the just grounds of my diffidence, which, she said, of necessity ought to be removed, and that the only means of removing it was the hat. The Queen was in a passion at this. The Cardinal defended himself, not by an open denial, for he had offered it me several times, but by recommending patience, intimating that a great monarch should be forced to nothing. Monsieur, seconding Madame de Chevreuse in her attack, assailed the Cardinal, who, at least in appearance, gave way, out of respect for his Royal Highness. Madame de Chevreuse, having brought them to parley, did not doubt that she should also bring them to capitulate, especially when she saw the Queen was appeased, and had told his Royal Highness that she was infinitely obliged to him, and would do what her Council judged most proper and reasonable. This Council, which was only a specious name, consisted only of the Cardinal, the Keeper of the Seals, Tellier, and Servien.

The matter was proposed to the Council by the Cardinal with much importunity, concluding with a most submissive petition to the Queen to condescend to the demand of the Duc d’Orleans, and to what the services and merits of the Coadjutor demanded. The proposition was rejected with such resolution and contempt as is very unusual in Council in opposition to a Prime Minister. Tellier and Servien thought it sufficient not to applaud him; but the Keeper of the Seals quite forgot his respect for the Cardinal, accused him of prevarication and weakness, and threw himself at her Majesty’s feet, conjuring her in the name of the King her son, not to authorise, by an example which he called fatal, the insolence of a subject who was for wresting favours from his sovereign, sword in hand. The Queen was moved at this, and the poor Cardinal owned he had been too easy and pliant.

I had myself given a very natural handle to my adversaries to expose me so egregiously. I have been guilty of many blunders, but I think this is the grossest that I ever was guilty of in all my life. I have frequently made this observation, that when men have, through fear of miscarriage, hesitated a long time about any undertaking of consequence, the remaining impressions of their fear commonly push them afterwards with too much precipitancy upon the execution of their design. And this was my case. It was with the greatest reluctance that I determined to accept the dignity of a cardinal, because I thought it too mean to form a pretension to it without certainty of success; and no sooner was I engaged in the pursuit of it but the impression of the former fearful ideas hurried me on, as it were, to the end, that I might get as soon as possible out of the disagreeable state of uncertainty.

The Cardinal would have paid my debts, given me the place of Grand Almoner, etc.; but if he had added twelve cardinals’ hats into the bargain, I should have begged his excuse. I was now engaged with Monsieur, who had, meanwhile, resolved upon the release of the Princes from their confinement.

Cardinal Mazarin, after his return to Paris, made it his chief study to divide the Fronde. He thought to materially weaken my interest with Monsieur by detaching from me Madame de Chevreuse, for whom he had a natural tenderness, and to give me a mortal blow by embroiling me with Mademoiselle her daughter. To do this effectually he found a rival, who, he hoped, would please her better, namely, M. d’Aumale, handsome as Apollo, and one who was very likely to suit the temper of Mademoiselle de Chevreuse. He had entirely devoted himself to the Cardinal’s interest, looked upon himself as very much honoured by this commission, and haunted the Palace of Chevreuse so diligently that I did not doubt but that he was sent thither to act the second part of the comedy which had miscarried so shamefully in the hands of M. de Candale. I watched all his movements, and complained to Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, but she gave me indirect answers. I began to be out of humour, and was soon appeased. I grew peevish again; and Mademoiselle de Chevreuse saying in his presence, to please me and to sting him, that she could not imagine how it was possible to bear a silly fellow, “Pardon me, mademoiselle,” replied I, “we suffer fops sometimes very patiently for the sake of their extravagances.” This man was notoriously foppish and extravagant. My answer pleased, and we soon got rid of him at the Palace of Chevreuse. But he thought to have despatched me, for he hired one Grandmaison, a ruffian, to assassinate me, who apprised me of his design. The first time I met M. d’Aumale, which was at the Duc d’Orleans’s house, I did not fail to let him know it; but I told it him in a whisper, saying that I had too much respect for the House of Savoy to publish it to the world. He denied the fact, but in such a manner as to make it more evident, because he conjured me to keep it secret. I gave him my word, and I kept it.

Madame de Guemenee, with whom I had several quarrels, proposed to the Queen likewise to despatch me, by shutting me up in a greenhouse in her garden, which she might easily have done, because I often went to her alone by night; but the Cardinal, fearing that the people would have suspected him as the author of my sudden disappearance, would not enter into the project, so it was dropped.

To return to our negotiations for the freedom of the Princes. The Duc d’Orleans was with much difficulty induced to sign the treaty by which a marriage was stipulated between Mademoiselle de Chevreuse and the Prince de Conti, and to promise not to oppose my promotion to the dignity of a cardinal. The Princes were as active in the whole course of these negotiations as if they had been at liberty. We wrote to them, and they to us, and a regular correspondence between Paris and Lyons was never better established than ours. Bar, their warder, was a very shallow fellow; besides, men of sense are sometimes outwitted.

[Bar was, according to M. Joly, an unsociable man, who was for raising his fortune by using the Princes badly, and who, on this account, was often the dupe of Montreuil, secretary to the Prince de Conti.—See JOLY’S “Memoirs,” vol. i., p. 88.]

Cardinal Mazarin, upon his return with the King from Guienne, was greatly pleased with the acclamations of the mob, but he soon grew weary of them, for the Frondeurs still kept the wall.

The Cardinal being continually provoked at Paris by the Abbe Fouquet, who sought to make himself necessary, and being so vain as to think himself qualified to command an army, marched abruptly out of Paris for Champagne, with a design to retake Rhetel and Chateau-Portien, of which the enemy were possessed, and where M. de Turenne proposed to winter.

On the feast of Saint Martin, the First President and the Attorney-General Talon exhorted the Parliament to be peaceable, that the enemies of the State might have no advantage. A petition was read from Madame la Princesse, desiring that the Princes should be brought to the Louvre and remain in the custody, of one of the King’s officers, and that the Solicitor-General be sent for to say what he had to allege against their innocence, and that in case he should have nothing solid to offer they be set at liberty.

The Chambers, being assembled on the 7th of December, to take the affair into consideration, Talon, the Attorney-General, informed the House that the Queen had sent for the King’s Council, and ordered them to let the Parliament know that it was her pleasure that the House should not take any cognisance of the Princess’s petition, because everything that had relation to the confinement of the Princes belonged to the royal authority. Talon made a motion that the Parliament should depute some members to carry the petition to the Queen, and to beseech her Majesty to take it into her consideration. At the same time another petition was presented from Mademoiselle de Longueville, for the liberty of the Duke her father, and that she might have leave to stay in Paris to solicit it.

No sooner was this petition read than a letter from the three Princes was presented and read, praying that they might be brought to trial or set at liberty.

On the 9th day of the month an order was brought to the Parliament from the King, commanding the House to suspend all deliberations on this subject till they had first sent their deputies to Court to know his Majesty’s pleasure.

Deputies were sent immediately, to whom, accordingly, the Queen gave audience in bed, telling them that she was very much indisposed. The Keeper of the Seals added that it was the King’s pleasure that the Parliament should not meet at all until such time as the Queen his mother had recovered her health.

On the 10th the House resolved to adjourn only to the 14th, and on that day a general procession was proposed to the Archbishop by the Dean of Parliament, to beg that God would inspire them with such counsels only as might be for the good of the public.

On the 14th they received the King’s letter, forbidding their debates, and informing them that the Queen would satisfy them very speedily about the affair of the Princes; but this letter was disregarded. They sent a deputation to invite the Duc d’Orleans to come to the House, but, after consulting with the Queen, he told the deputies that he did not care to go, that the Assembly was too noisy, that he could not divine what they would be at, that the affairs in debate were never known to fall under their cognisance, and that they had nothing else to do but to refer the said petitions to the Queen.

On the 18th news came that Marechal du Plessis had gained a signal victory over M. de Turenne, who was coming to succour Rhetel, but found it already surrendered to Marechal du Plessis; and the Spanish garrison, endeavouring to retreat, was forced to an engagement on the plains of Saumepuis; that about 2,000 men were killed upon the spot, among the rest a brother of the Elector Palatine, and six colonels, and that there were nearly 4,000 prisoners, the most considerable of whom were several persons of note, and all the colonels, besides twenty colours and eighty-four standards. You may easily guess at the consternation of the Princes’ party; my house was all night filled with the lamentations of despairing mourners, and I found the Duc d’Orleans, as it were, struck dumb.

On the 19th, as I went to the Parliament House, the people looked melancholy, dejected, and frightened out of their wits. The members were afraid to open their mouths, and nobody would mention the name of Mazarin except Menardeau Champre, who spoke of him with encomiums, by giving him the honour of the victory of Rhetel, and then he moved the House to entreat the Queen to put the Princes into the hands of that good and wise Minister, who would be as careful of them as he had been hitherto of the State. I wondered most of all that this man was not hissed in the House, and especially as he passed through the Great Hall. This circumstance, together with what I saw that afternoon in every street, convinced me how much our friends were dispirited, and I therefore resolved next day to raise their courage. I knew the First President to be purblind, and such men greedily swallow every new fact which confirms them in their first impression. I knew likewise the Cardinal to be a man that supposed everybody had a back door. The only way of dealing with men of that stamp is to make them believe that you design to deceive those whom you earnestly endeavour to serve.

For this reason, on the 20th, I declaimed against the disorders of the State, and showed that it having pleased Almighty God to bless his Majesty’s arms and to remove the public enemy from our frontiers by the victory gained over them by Marechal du Plessis, we ought now to apply ourselves seriously to the healing of internal wounds of the State, which are the more dangerous because they are less obvious. To this I thought fit to add that I was obliged to mention the general oppression of the subjects at a time when we had nothing more to fear from the lately routed Spaniards; that, as one of the props of the public safety was the preservation of the royal family, I could not without the utmost concern see the Princes breathe the unwholesome air of Havre-de-Grace, and that I was of opinion that the House should humbly entreat the King to remove them, at least to some place more healthy. At this speech everybody regained their courage and concluded that all was not yet lost. It was observed that the people’s countenances were altered. Those in the Great Hall resumed their former zeal, made the usual acclamations as we went out, and I had that day three hundred carriages of visitors.

On the 22d the debate was continued, and it was more and more observed that the Parliament did not follow the triumphant chariot of Cardinal Mazarin, whose imprudence in hazarding the fate of the whole kingdom in the last battle was set off with all the disadvantages that could be invented to tarnish the victory.

The 30th crowned the work, and produced a decree for making most humble remonstrances to the Queen for the liberty of the Princes and for Mademoiselle de Longueville staying in Paris.

It was further resolved to send a deputation to the Duc d’Orleans, to desire his Royal Highness to use his interest on this occasion in favour of the said Princes.

The King’s Council having waited on her Majesty with the remonstrances aforesaid, she pretended to be under medical treatment, and put off the matter a week longer. The Duc d’Orleans also gave an ambiguous answer. The Queen’s course of treatment continued eight or ten days longer than she imagined, or, rather, than she said, and consequently the remonstrances of the Parliament were not made till the 20th of January, 1651.

On the 28th the First President made his report, and said the Queen had promised to return an answer in a few days.

It happened very luckily for us at this time that the imprudence of the Cardinal was greater than the inconstancy of the Duc d’Orleans, for a little before the Queen returned an answer to the remonstrances, he talked very roughly to the Duke in the Queen’s presence, charging him with putting too much confidence in me. The very day that the Queen made the aforesaid answer he spoke yet more arrogantly to the Duke in her Majesty’s apartment, comparing M. de Beaufort and myself to Cromwell and Fairfax in the House of Commons in England, and exclaimed furiously in the King’s presence, so that he frightened the Duke, who was glad he got out of the King’s Palace with a whole skin, and who said that he would never put himself again in the power of that furious woman, meaning the Queen, because she had improved on what the Cardinal had said to the King. I resolved to strike the iron while it was hot, and joined with M. de Beaufort to persuade his Royal Highness to declare himself the next day in Parliament. We showed him that, after what had lately passed, there was no safety for his person, and if the King should go out of Paris, as the Cardinal designed, we should be engaged in a civil war, whereof he alone, with the city of Paris, must bear the heavy load; that it would be equally scandalous and dangerous for his Royal Highness either to leave the Princes in chains, after having treated with them, or, by his dilatory proceedings, suffer Mazarin to have all the honour of setting them at liberty, and that he ought by all means to go to the Parliament House.

The Duchess, too, seconded us, and upon his Highness saying that if he went to the House to declare against the Court the Cardinal would be sure to take his Majesty out of Paris, the Duchess replied, “What, monsieur, are you not Lieutenant-General of France? Do not you command the army? Are you not master of the people? I myself will undertake that the King shall not go out of Paris.” The Duke nevertheless remained inflexible, and all we could get out of him was that he would consent to my telling the Parliament, in his name, what we desired he should say himself. In a word, he would have me make the experiment, the success of which he looked upon to be very uncertain, because he thought the Parliament would have nothing to say against the Queen’s answer, and that if I succeeded he should reap the honour of the proposition. I readily accepted the commission, because all was at stake, and if I had not executed it the next morning I am sure the Cardinal would have eluded setting the Princes at liberty a great while longer, and the affair have ended in a negotiation with them against the Duke.

The Duchess, who saw that I exposed myself for the public good, pitied me very much. She did all she could to persuade the Duke to command me to mention to the Parliament what the Cardinal had told the King with relation to Cromwell, Fairfax and the English Parliament, which, if declared in the Duke’s name, she thought would excite the House the more against Mazarin; and she was certainly in the right. But he forbade me expressly.

I ran about all night to incite the members at their first meeting to murmur at the Queen’s answer, which in the main was very plausible, importing that, though this affair did not fall within the cognisance of Parliament, the Queen would, however, out of her abundant goodness, have regard to their supplications and restore the Princes to liberty. Besides, it promised a general amnesty to all who had borne arms in their favour, on condition only that M. de Turenne should lay down his arms, that Madame de Longueville should renounce her treaty with Spain, and that Stenai and Murzon should be evacuated.

At first the Parliament seemed to be dazzled with it, but next day, the 1st of February, the whole House was undeceived, and wondered how it had been so deluded. The Court of Inquests began to murmur; Viole stood up and said that the Queen’s answer was but a snare laid for the Parliament to beguile them; that the 12th of March, the time fixed for the King’s coronation, was just at hand; and that as soon as the Court was out of Paris they, would laugh at the Parliament. At this discourse the old and new Fronde stood up, and when I saw they, were greatly excited I waved my cap and said that the Duke had commanded me to inform the House that the regard he had for their sentiments having confirmed him in those he always naturally, entertained of his cousins, he was resolved to concur with them for procuring their liberty, and to contribute everything in his power to effect it; and it is incredible what influence these few words had upon the whole assembly. I was astonished at it myself. The wisest senators seemed as mad as the common people, and the people madder than ever. Their acclamations exceeded anything you can imagine, and, indeed, nothing less was sufficient to give heart to the Duke, who had all night been bringing forth new projects with more sorrowful pangs and throes (as the Duchess expressed it) than ever she had felt when in labour with all her children.

When he was fully informed of the good success of his declaration, he embraced me several times before all the company, and M. Tellier going to wait upon him from the Queen, to know if he acknowledged what I had said in his name in the House, “Yes,” replied he, “I own, and always will own, all that he shall say or act in my name.” We thought that after a solemn declaration of this nature the Duke would not scruple to take all the necessary precautions to prevent the Cardinal carrying away the King, and to that end the Duchess did propose to have all the gates of the city well guarded, under pretence of some popular tumults. But he was deaf to all she said, pretending that he was loth to make his King a prisoner.

On the 2d of February, 1651, the Duke, urged very importunately by the Princes’ party informing him that their liberty depended on it, told them that he was going to perform an action which would remove all their diffidence. He sent immediately for the Keeper of the Seals, Marechal Villeroi; and Tellier, and bade them tell the Queen that he would never come to the Palais Royal as long as Mazarin was there, and that he could no longer treat with a man that ruined the State. And, then, turning towards Marechal Villeroi, “I charge you,” said he, “with the King’s person; you shall be answerable for him to me.” I was sadly afraid this would be a means to hasten the King’s departure, which was what we dreaded most of all, and I wondered that the Cardinal did not remove after such a declaration. I thought his head was turned, and indeed I was told that he was beside himself for a fortnight together.

The Duke having openly declared against Mazarin, and being resolved to attack and drive him out of the kingdom, bade me inform the House next day, in his name, how the Cardinal had compared their body to the Rump Parliament in England, and some of their members to Cromwell and Fairfax. I improved upon this as much as possible, and I daresay that so much heat and ferment was never seen in any society before. Some were for sending the Cardinal a personal summons to appear on the spot, to give an account of his administration; but the most moderate were for making most humble remonstrances to the Queen for his removal. You may easily guess what a thunderclap this must have been to the Court. The Queen asked the Duke whether she might bring the Cardinal to his Royal Highness. His answer was that he did not think it good for the safety of his own person. She offered to come alone to confer with his Highness at the Palais d’Orleans, but he excused himself with a great deal of respect.

He sent orders an hour after to the Marshals of France to obey him only, as Lieutenant-General of the State, and likewise to the ‘prevots des marchands’ not to take up arms except by his authority. You will wonder, without doubt, that after all this noise no care was taken of the gates of Paris to prevent the King’s departure. The Duchess, who trembled at the thoughts of it, daily redoubled her endeavours to induce the Duke to secure the gates of the city, but all to no purpose; for weak minds are generally deficient in some respect or other.

On the 4th the Duke came to the Parliament and assured the assembly of his concurrence in everything to reform the State and to procure the liberty of the Princes and the Cardinal’s removal. As soon as his Royal Highness had done speaking, the Master of the Ceremonies was admitted with a letter from the King, which was read, and which required the House to separate, and to send as many deputies as they could to the Palais Royal to hear the King’s will and pleasure. Deputies were accordingly sent immediately, for whose return the bulk of the members stayed in the Great Chamber. I was informed that this was one trick among others concerted to ruin me, and, telling the Duc d’Orleans of it, he said that if the old buffoon, the Keeper of the Seals, was concerned in such a complication of folly and knavery, he deserved to be hanged by the side of Mazarin. But the sequel showed that I was not out in my information.

As soon as the deputies were come to the Palais Royal, the First President told the Queen that the Parliament was extremely concerned that the Princes were still confined, notwithstanding her royal promise for setting them at liberty. The Queen replied that Marchal de Grammont was sent to release them and to see to their necessary security for the public tranquillity, but that she had sent for them in relation to another affair, which the Keeper of the Seals would explain to them, and which he couched in a sanguinary manifesto, in substance as follows:

“All the reports made by the Coadjutor in Parliament are false, and invented by him. He lies!” (This is the only word the Queen added to what was already written). “He is a very wicked, dangerous man, and gives the Duke very pernicious advice; he wants to ruin the State because we have refused to make him cardinal, and has publicly boasted that he will set fire to the four corners of the kingdom, and that he will have 100,000 men in readiness to dash out the brains of those that shall attempt to put it out.” These expressions were very harsh, and I am sure that I never said anything like that; but it was of no use at this time to make the cloud which was gathering over the head of Mazarin fall in a storm upon mine. The Court saw that Parliament was assembled to pass a decree for setting the Princes at liberty, and that the Duke in person was declaring against Mazarin in the Grand Chamber, and therefore they believed that a diversion would be as practicable as it was necessary, namely, to bring me upon my trial in such a manner that the Parliament could not refuse nor secure me from the railleries of the most inconsiderable member. Everything that tended to render the attack plausible was made use of, as well as everything that might weaken my defence. The writing was signed by the four Secretaries of State, and, the better to defeat all that I could say in my justification, the Comte de Brienne was sent at the heels of the deputies with an order to desire the Duc d’Orleans to come to a conference with the Queen in relation to some few difficulties that remained concerning the liberty of the Princes.

When the deputies had returned to Parliament, the First President began with reading the paper which had been delivered to him against me, upon which you might have read astonishment in every face. Menardeau, who was to open the trenches against me, was afraid of a salvo from the Great Hall, where he found such a crowd of people, and heard so many acclamations to the Fronde, and so many imprecations against Mazarin, that he durst not open his mouth against me, but contented himself with a pathetic lamentation of the division that was in the State, and especially in the royal family. The councillors were so divided that some of them were for appointing public prayers for two days; others proposed to desire his Royal Highness to take care of the public safety. I resolved to treat the writing drawn up against me by the Cardinal as a satire and a libel, and, by some ingenious, short passage, to arouse the minds of my hearers. As my memory did not furnish me with anything in ancient authors that had any relation to my subject, I made a small discourse in the best Latin I was capable of, and then spoke thus:

“Were it not for the profound respect I bear to the persons who have spoken before me, I could not forbear complaining of their not crying out against such a scurrilous, satirical paper, which was just now read, contrary to all forms of proceeding, and written in the same style as lately profaned the sacred name of the King, to encourage false witnesses by letters-patent. I believe that those persons thought this paper, which is but a sally of the furious Mazarin, to be much beneath themselves and me. And that I may conform my opinion to theirs, I will answer only by repeating a passage from an ancient author: ‘In the worst of times I did not forsake the city, in the most prosperous I had no particular views, and in the most desperate times of all I feared nothing.’ I desire to be excused for running into this digression. I move that you would make humble remonstrances to the King, to desire him to despatch an order immediately for setting the Princes at liberty, to make a declaration in their favour, and to remove Cardinal Mazarin from his person and Councils.”

My opinion was applauded both by the Frondeurs and the Prince’s party, and carried almost ‘nemine contradicente’.

Talon, the Attorney-General, did wonders. I never heard or read anything more eloquent or nervous. He invoked the names of Henri the Great, and upon his knees recommended the kingdom of France in general to the protection of Saint Louis.

Brienne, who had been sent by the Queen to desire an interview with the Duc d’Orleans, was dismissed with no other answer than that the Duke would come to pay his humble duty to the Queen as soon as the Princes were at liberty, and Cardinal Mazarin removed from the King’s person and Councils.

On the 5th of February there was an assembly of the nobility at Nemours for recovering their privileges. I opposed it to the utmost of my power, for I had experienced more than once that nothing can be more pernicious to a party than to engage without any necessity in such affairs as have the bare appearance of faction, but I was obliged to comply. This assembly, however, was so terrifying to the Court that six companies of the Guards were ordered to mount, with which the Duc d’Orleans was so offended that he sent word to the officers, in his capacity of Lieutenant-General of the State, to receive no orders but from himself. They answered very respectfully, but as men devoted to the Queen’s interest.

On the 6th, the Duke having taken his place in the Parliament, the King’s Council acquainted the House that, having been sent to wait on her Majesty with the remonstrances, her Majesty’s answer was that no person living wished more for the liberty of the Princes than herself, but that it was reasonable at the same time to consult the safety of the State; that as for Cardinal Mazarin, she was resolved to retain him in her Council as long as she found his assistance necessary for the King’s service; and that it did not belong to the Parliament to concern themselves with any of her ministers.

The First President was shrewdly attacked in the House for not being more resolute in speaking to the Queen. Some were for sending him back to demand another audience in the afternoon; and the Duc d’Orleans having said that the Marshals of France were dependent on Mazarin, it was resolved immediately that they should obey none but his Royal Highness.

I was informed that very evening that the Cardinal had made his escape out of Paris in disguise, and that the Court was in a very great consternation.

The Cardinal’s escape was the common topic of conversation, and different reasons were assigned to it, according to the various interests of different parties. As for my part, I am very well persuaded that fear was the only reason of his flight, and that nothing else hindered him from taking the King and the Queen along with him. You will see in the sequel of this history that he endeavoured to get their Majesties out of Paris soon after he had made his escape, and that it was concerted in all probability before he left the Court; but I could never understand why he did not put it into execution at a time when he had no reason to fear the least opposition.

On the 17th the Parliament ordered the thanks of the House to be returned to the Queen for removing the Cardinal, and that she should be humbly asked to issue an order for setting the Princes at liberty, and a declaration for excluding all foreigners forever from the King’s Council. The First President being deputed with the message, the Queen told him that she could return him no answer till she had conferred with the Duc d’Orleans, to whom she immediately deputed the Keeper of the Seals, Marechal Villeroi, and Tellier; but he told them that he could not go to the Palais Royal till the Princes were set at liberty and the Cardinal removed further from the Court. For he observed to the House that the Cardinal was no further off than at Saint Germain, where he governed all the kingdom as before, that his nephew and his nieces were yet at Court; and the Duke proposed that the Parliament should humbly beseech the Queen to explain whether the Cardinal’s removal was for good and all. If I had not seen it, I could not have imagined what a heat the House was in that day. Some were for an order that there should be no favourites in France for the future. They became at length of the opinion of his Royal Highness, namely, to address the Queen to ask her to explain herself with relation to the removal of Cardinal Mazarin and to solicit orders for the liberty, of the Princes.

On the same day the Queen sent again to desire the Duc d’Orleans to come and take his place in the Council, and to tell him that, in case he did not think it convenient, she would send the Keeper of the Seals to concert necessary measures with him for setting the Princes at liberty. His Royal Highness accepted the second, but rejected the first proposal, and treated M. d’Elbeuf roughly, because he was very pressing with his Royal Highness to go to the King’s Palace. The messengers likewise acquainted the Duke that they were ordered to assure him that the removal of the Cardinal was forever. You will see presently that, in all probability, had his Royal Highness gone that day to Court, the Queen would have left Paris and carried the Duke along with her.

On the 19th the Parliament decreed that, in pursuance of the Queen’s declaration, the Cardinal should, within the space of fifteen days, depart from his Majesty’s dominions, with all his relations and foreign servants; otherwise, they should be proceeded against as outlaws, and it should be lawful for anybody to despatch them out of the way.

I suspected that the King would leave Paris that very day, and I was almost asleep when I was sent for to go to the Duc d’Orleans, whom Mademoiselle de Chevreuse went to awaken in the meantime; and, while I was dressing, one of her pages brought me a note from her, containing only these few words:

“Make haste to Luxembourg, and be upon your guard on the way.” I found Mademoiselle de Chevreuse in his chamber, who acquainted me that the King was out of bed, and had his boots on ready for a journey from Paris.

I waited on the Duke, and said, “There is but one remedy, which is, to secure the gates of Paris.” Yet all that we could obtain of him was to send the captain of the Swiss Guards to wait on the Queen and desire her Majesty to weigh the consequences of an action of that nature. His Duchess, perceiving that this expedient, if not supported effectually, would ruin all, and that his Royal Highness was still as irresolute as ever, called for pen and ink that lay upon the table in her cabinet, and wrote these words on a large sheet of paper:

M. le Coadjuteur is ordered to take arms to hinder the adherents of Cardinal Mazarin, condemned by the Parliament, from carrying the King out of Paris. MARGUERITE DE LORRAINE.

Des Touches, who found the Queen bathed in tears, was charged by her Majesty to assure the Duc d’Orleans that she never thought of carrying away the King, and that it was one of my tricks.

The Duc d’Orleans saying at the House next day that orders for the Princes’ liberty would be despatched in two hours’ time, the First President said, with a deep sigh, “The Prince de Conde is at liberty, but our King, our sovereign Lord and King, is a prisoner.” The Duc d’Orleans, being now not near so timorous as before, because he had received more acclamations in the streets than ever, replied, “Truly the King has been Mazarin’s prisoner, but, God be praised, he is now in better hands.”

The Cardinal, who hovered about Paris till he heard the city had taken up arms, posted to Havre-de-Grace, where he fawned upon the Prince de Conde with a meanness of spirit that is hardly to be imagined; for he wept, and even fell down on his knees to the Prince, who treated him with the utmost contempt, giving him no thanks for his release.

On the 16th of February the Princes, being set at liberty, arrived in Paris, and, after waiting on the Queen, supped with M. de Beaufort and myself at the Duc d’Orleans’s house, where we drank the King’s health and “No Mazarin!”

On the 17th his Royal Highness carried them to the Parliament House, and it is remarkable that the same people who but thirteen months before made bonfires for their confinement did the same now for their release.

On the 20th the declaration demanded of the King against the Cardinal, being brought to be registered in Parliament, was sent back with indignation because the reason of his removal was coloured over with so many encomiums that it was a perfect panegyric. Honest Broussel, who always went greater lengths than anybody, was for excluding all cardinals from the Ministry, as well as foreigners in general, because they swear allegiance to the Pope. The First President, thinking to mortify me, lauded Broussel for a man of admirable good sense, and espoused his opinion; and the Prince de Conde, too, seemed to be overjoyed, saying, “It is a charming echo.” Indeed, I might well be troubled to think that the very day after a treaty wherein the Duc d’Orleans declared that he was resolved to make me a cardinal, the Prince should second a proposition so derogatory to that dignity. But the truth is, the Prince had no hand in it, for it came naturally, and was supported for no other reason but because nothing that was brought as an argument against Mazarin could then fail of being approved at the same time. I had some reason to think that the motion was concerted beforehand by my enemies, to keep me out of the Ministry. Nevertheless, I was not offended with the Parliament, the bulk of whom I knew to be my friends, whose sole aim was to effectually demolish Mazarin, and I acquiesced in the solid satisfaction which I had in being considered in the world as the expeller of Mazarin, whom everybody hated, and the deliverer of the Princes, who were as much their darlings.

The continual chicanery of the Court provoked the Parliament of Paris to write to all the Parliaments of France to issue decrees against Cardinal Mazarin, which they did accordingly. The Parliament obliged the Court to issue a declaration setting forth the innocence of the Princes, and another for the exclusion of cardinals—French as well as foreigners—from the King’s Council, and the Parliament had no rest till the Cardinal retired from Sedan to Breule, a house belonging to the Elector of Cologne.

I had advice sent me from the Duchesse d’Orleans to be upon my guard, and that she was on the point of dying with fear lest the Duke should be forced by the daily menaces of the Court to abandon me. I thereupon waited on the Duke, and told him that, having had the honour and satisfaction of serving his Royal Highness in the two affairs which he had most at heart,—namely, the expelling of Mazarin and the releasing of the Princes his cousins,—I found myself now obliged to reassume the functions of my profession; that the present opportunity seemed both to favour and invite my retreat, and if I neglected it I should be the most imprudent man living, because my presence for the future would not only be useless but even prejudicial to his Royal Highness, whom I knew to be daily importuned and irritated by the Court party merely upon my account; and therefore I conjured him to make himself easy, and give me leave to retire to my cloister. The Duke spared no kind words to retain me in his service, promised never to forsake me, confessed that he had been urged to it by the Queen, and that, though his reunion with her Majesty and the Princes obliged him to put on the mask of friendship, yet he could never forget the great affronts and injuries which he had received from the Court. But all this could not dissuade me, and the Duke at last gave his approbation, with repeated assurances to allow me a place next his heart and to correspond with me in secret.

Having taken my leave of the Princes, I retired accordingly to my cloister of Notre-Dame, where I did not trust Providence so far as to omit the use of human means for defending myself against the insults of my enemies.

Except the visits which I paid in the night-time to the Hotel de Chevreuse, I conversed with none but canons and cures. I was the object of raillery both at Court and at the Palace of Conde; and because I had set up a bird-cage at a window, it became a common jest that “the Coadjutor whistled to the linnets.” The disposition of Paris, however, made amends for the raillery of the Court. I found myself very secure, while other people were very uneasy. The cures, parish priests, and even the mendicants, informed themselves with diligence of the negotiations of the Prince de Conde. I gave M. de Beaufort a thrust now and then, which he knew not how to parry with all his cunning, and the Duc d’Orleans, who in his heart was enraged against the Court, continued his correspondence with me very faithfully.

Soon after, the Marechal du Plessis came to me at midnight and embraced me, saying, “I greet you as our Prime Minister.” When he saw that I smiled, he added, “I do not jest; you may be so if you please. The Queen has ordered me to tell you that she puts the King and Crown into your hands.” He showed me a letter written in the Cardinal’s own hand to the Queen, which concluded thus:

“You know, madame, that the greatest enemy I have in the world is the Coadjutor. Make use of him rather than treat with the Prince upon those conditions he demands. Make him a cardinal, give him my place, and lodge him in my apartments. Perhaps he will be still more attached to the Duc d’Orleans than to your Majesty; but the Duke is not for the ruin of the State. His intentions in the main are not bad. In a word, madame, do anything rather than grant the Prince his demand to have the government of Provence added to that of Guienne.”

I told the Marshal that I could not but be highly obliged to his Eminence, and that I was under infinite obligations to the Queen; and to show my gratitude, I humbly begged her Majesty to permit me to serve her without any private interest of my own; said that I was very incapable for the place of Prime Minister upon many accounts, and that it was not consistent with her Majesty’s dignity to raise a man to that high post who was still reeking, as it were, with the fumes of faction.

“But,” said the Marshal, “the place must be filled by somebody, and as long as it is vacant the Prince will be always urging that Cardinal Mazarin is to have it again.”

“You have,” said I, “persons much fitter for it than I.” Then he showed me a letter signed by the Queen, promising me all manner of security if I would come to Court. I went thither at midnight, according to agreement, and the Marshal, who introduced me to the Queen by the back stairs, having withdrawn, her Majesty used all the arguments she could to persuade me to accept the place of Prime Minister, which I was determined to refuse, because I found that she had the Cardinal at heart more than ever; for, as soon as she saw I would not accept the post of Prime Minister, she offered me the cardinal’s hat, but with this proviso, that I would use my utmost endeavours towards the restoration of Cardinal Mazarin. Then I judged it high time for me to speak my mind, which I did as follows:

“It is a great affliction to me, madame, that public affairs are reduced to such a pass as not only warrants, but even commands a subject to speak to his sovereign in the style in which I am now about to address your Majesty. It is well known to you that one of my worst crimes in the Cardinal’s opinion is that I foretold all these things, and that I have passed for the author of events of which I was only the prophet. Your Majesty would fain extricate yourself with honour, and you are in the right; but permit me to tell you, as my opinion, that it can never be effected so long as your Majesty entertains any thoughts of reestablishing Mazarin. I should fail in the respect I owe to your Majesty if I pretended to thwart your Majesty’s opinion with regard to the Cardinal in any other way than with my most humble remonstrances; but I humbly conceive I do but discharge my bounden duty while I respectfully represent to your Majesty wherein I may be serviceable or useless to you at this critical juncture. Your Majesty has the Prince to cope with, who, indeed, is for the restoration of the Cardinal, but upon condition that you give him such powers beforehand as will enable him to ruin him at pleasure. To resist the Prince you want the Duc d’Orleans, who is absolutely against the Cardinal’s reestablishment, and who, provided he be excluded, will do what your Majesty pleases to command him. You will neither satisfy the Prince nor the Duke. I am extremely desirous to serve your Majesty against the one and with the other, but I can do neither the one nor the other without making use of proper means for obtaining those two different ends.”

“Come over to me,” said she, “and I shall not care a straw for all the Duke can do.”

I answered, “Should I do so, and should it appear never so little that I was on terms of reconciliation with the Cardinal, I could serve your Majesty with neither the Duke nor the people, for both would hate me mortally, and I should be as useless to your Majesty as the Bishop of Dole.”

At this the Queen was very angry, and said, “Heaven bless my son the King, for he is deserted by all the world! I do all I can for you, I offer you a place in my Council, I offer you the cardinalship; pray what will you do for me?”

I said that I did not come to receive favours, but to try to merit them.

At this the Queen’s countenance began to brighten, and she said, very softly, “What is it, then, that you will do?”

“Madame,” said I, “I will oblige the Prince, before a week is at an end, to leave Paris; and I will detach the Duke from his interest to-morrow.”

The Queen, overjoyed, held out her hand and said, “Give me yours, and I promise you that you shall be cardinal the next day, and the second man in my friendship.” She desired also that Mazarin and I might be good friends; but I answered that the least touch upon that string would put me out of tune and render me incapable of doing her any service; therefore I conjured her to let me still enjoy the character of being his enemy.

“Was anything,” said the Queen, “ever so strange and unaccountable? Can you not possibly serve me without being the enemy of him in whom I most confide?”

I told her it must needs be so. “Madame,” I said, “I humbly beseech your Majesty to let me tell you that, as long as the place of Prime Minister is not filled up, the Prince will increase in power on pretence that it is kept vacant to receive the Cardinal by a speedy restoration.”

“You see,” said her Majesty, “how the Prince treats me; he has insulted me ever since I disowned my two traitors,—Servien and Lionne.” I took the opportunity while she was flushed with anger to make my court to her by saying that before two days were at an end the Prince should affront her no longer. But the tenderness she had for her beloved Cardinal made her unwilling to consent that I should continue to exclaim against his Eminence in Parliament, where one was obliged to handle him very roughly almost every quarter of an hour. She bade me remember that it was the Cardinal who had solicited my nomination. I answered that I was highly obliged to his Eminence upon that score, and that I was ready to give him proofs of my acknowledgment in anything wherein my honour was not concerned, but that I should be a double-dealer if I promised to contribute to his reestablishment. Then she said, “Go! you are a very devil. See Madame Palatine, and let me hear from you the night before you go to the Parliament.”

I do not think I was in the wrong to refuse her offer. We must never jest with proffered service; for if it be real, we can never embrace it too much; but if false, we can never keep at too great a distance. I lamented to the public the sad condition of our affairs, which had obliged me to leave my dear retirement, where, after so much disturbance and confusion, I hoped to enjoy comfortable rest; that we were falling into a worse condition than we were in before, because the State suffered more by the daily negotiations carried on with Mazarin than it had done by his administrations; and that the Queen was still buoyed up with hopes of his reestablishment.

The Prince de Conde having inflamed the Parliament, to make himself more formidable to the Queen and Court, some new scenes were opened every day. At one time they sent to the provinces to inform against the Cardinal; at another time they made search after his effects at Paris.

I went one day with four hundred men in my company to the Parliament House, where the Prince de Conde inveighed against the exportation of money out of the kingdom by the Cardinal’s banker. But afterwards I absented myself for awhile from Parliament, which made me suspected of being less an enemy to the Cardinal, and I was pelted with a dozen or fifteen libels in the space of a fortnight, by a fellow whose nose had been slit for writing a lampoon against a lady of quality. I composed a short but general answer to all, entitled “An Apology for the Ancient and True Fronde.” There was a strong paper war between the old and new Fronde for three or four months, but afterwards they united in the attack on Mazarin. There were about sixty volumes of tracts written during the civil war, but I am sure that there are not a hundred sheets worth reading.

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I was sent for again to another private conference with the Queen, who, dreading an arrangement with the Prince de Conde, was for his being arrested, and advised me to consider how it might be done. It seems that M. Hoquincourt had offered to kill him in the street, as the shortest way to be rid of him, for she desired me to confer about it with Hoquincourt, “who will,” said she, “show you a much surer way.” The Queen, nevertheless, would not own she had ever such a thought, though she was heard to say, “The Coadjutor is not a man of so much courage as I took him for.”

The next day I was informed that the Queen could endure the Prince no longer, and that she had advices that he had formed a design to seize the King; that he had despatched orders to Flanders to treat with the Spaniards, and that either he or she must be ruined; that she was not for shedding blood, and that what Hoquincourt proposed was far from it, because he promised to secure the Prince without striking a blow if I would answer for the people.

The Parliament continued to prosecute Mazarin, who was convicted of embezzling some nine millions of the public money. The Prince assembled the Chambers, and persuaded them to issue a new decree against all those of the Court party who held correspondence with the said Cardinal.

The Prince de Conde, being uneasy at seeing Mazarin’s creatures still at Court, retired to Saint Maur on the 6th of July, 1651. On the 7th the Prince de Conti acquainted the Parliament with the reasons for his departure, and talked in general of the warnings he had received from different hands of a design the Court had formed against his life, adding that his brother could not be safe at Court as long as Tellier, Servien, and Lionne were not removed. There was a very hot debate in the ensuing session between the Prince de Conti and the First President. The latter talked very warmly against his retreat to Saint Maur, and called it a melancholy prelude to a civil war. He hinted also that the said Prince was the author of the late disturbances, upon which the Prince de Conti threatened that had he been in any other place he would have taught him to observe the respect due to Princes of the blood. The First President said that he did not fear his threats, and that he had reason to complain of his Royal Highness for presuming to interrupt him in a place where he represented the King’s person. Both parties were now in hot blood, and the Duke, who was very glad to see it, did not interpose till he could not avoid it, and then he told them both that they should endeavour to keep their temper.

On the 14th of July a decree was passed, upon a motion made by the Duc d’Orleans, that the thanks of the Parliament should be presented to her Majesty for her gracious promise that the Cardinal should never return; that she should be most humbly entreated to send a declaration to Parliament, and likewise to give the Prince de Conde all the necessary securities for his return; and that those persons who kept up correspondence with Mazarin should be immediately prosecuted.

On the 18th the First President carried the remonstrances of the Parliament to the Queen, and though he took care to keep within the terms of the decree, by not naming the under ministers, yet he pointed them out in such a manner that the Queen complained bitterly, saying that the First President was “an unaccountable man, and more vexatious than any of the malcontents.”

When I took the liberty to show her that the representative of an assembly could not, without prevarication, but deliver the thoughts of the whole body, though they might be different from his own, she replied, very angrily, “These are mere republican maxims.”

I will give you an account of the success of the remonstrances after I have related an adventure to you which happened at the Parliament House during these debates.

The importance of the subject drew thither a large number of ladies who were curious to hear what passed. Madame and Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, with many other ladies, were there the evening before the decree was passed; but they were singled out from the rest by one Maillard, a brawling fellow, hired by the Prince’s party. As ladies are commonly afraid of a crowd, they stayed till the Duc d’Orleans and the rest were gone out, but when they came into the hall they were hooted by twenty or thirty ragamuffins of the same quality as their leader, who was a cobbler. I knew nothing of it till I came to the Palace of Chevreuse, where I found Madame de Chevreuse in a rage and her daughter in tears. I endeavoured to comfort them by the assurance that I would take care to get the scoundrels punished in an exemplary manner that very day. But these were too inconsiderable victims to atone for such an affront, and were therefore rejected with indignation. The blood of Bourbon only could make amends for the injury done to that of Lorraine. These were the very words of Madame de Chevreuse. They resolved at last upon this expedition,—to go again next morning to the House, but so well accompanied as to be in a condition of making themselves respected, and of giving the Prince de Conti to understand that it was to his interest to keep his party for the future from committing the like insolence. Montresor, who happened to be with us, did all he could to convince the ladies how dangerous it was to make a private quarrel of a public one, especially at a time when a Prince of the blood might possibly lose his life in the fray. When he found that he could not prevail upon them, he used all means to persuade me to put off my resentment, for which end he drew me aside to tell me what joy and triumph it would be to my enemies to suffer myself to be captivated or led away by the violence of the ladies’ passion. I made him the following answer: “I am certainly to blame, both with regard to my profession and on account of my having my hands full, to be so far engaged with Mademoiselle de Chevreuse; but, considering the obligation I am under to her, and that it is too late to recede from it, I am in the right in demanding satisfaction in this present juncture. I will not by any means assassinate the Prince de Conti; but she may command me to do anything except poisoning or assassinating, and therefore speak no more to me on this head.”

The ladies went again, therefore, next day, being accompanied by four hundred gentlemen and above four thousand of the most substantial burghers. The rabble that was hired to make a clamour in the Great Hall sneaked out of sight, and the Prince de Conti, who had not been apprised of this assembly, which was formed with great secrecy, was fain to pass by Madame and Mademoiselle de Chevreuse with demonstrations of the profoundest respect, and to suffer Maillard, who was caught on the stairs of the chapel, to be soundly cudgelled.

I return to the issue of the remonstrances. The Queen told the deputies that she would next morning send to the House a declaration against Cardinal Mazarin.

On the 21st the Prince de Conde came to Parliament accompanied by M. de La Rochefoucault and fifty or sixty gentlemen, and congratulated them upon the removal of the ministers, but said that it could not be effectual without inserting an article in the declaration which the Queen had promised to send to the Parliament. The First President said that it would be both unjust and inconsistent with the respect due to the Queen to demand new conditions of her every day; that her Majesty’s promise, of which she had made the Parliament a depositary, was a sufficient security; that it was to be wished that the Prince had shown a due confidence therein by repairing to the Palais Royal rather than to a court of justice; and that the post he was in obliged him to express his surprise at such conduct. The Prince replied that the First President had no reason to wonder at his great precautions, since he (the Prince) knew by recent woeful experience what it was to live in a prison; and that it was notorious that the Cardinal ruled now in the Cabinet more absolutely than ever he did before.

The Duc d’Orleans, who was gone to Limours on pretence of taking the air, though on purpose to be absent from Parliament, being informed that the very women cried at the King’s coach “No Mazarin!” and that the Prince de Conde, as well attended as his Majesty, had met the King in the park, was so frightened that he returned to Paris, and on the 2d of August went to Parliament, where I appeared with all my friends and a great number of wealthy citizens. The First President mightily extolled the Queen’s goodness in making the Parliament the depositary of her promise for the security of the Prince, who, being there present, was asked by the First President if he had waited on the King? The Prince said he had not, because he knew there would be danger in it, having been well informed that secret conferences had been held to arrest him, and that in a proper time and place he would name the authors. The Prince added that messengers were continually going and coming betwixt the Court and Mazarin at Breule, and that Marechal d’Aumont had orders to cut to pieces the regiments of Conde, Conti, and Enghien, which was the only reason that had hindered them from joining the King’s army.

The First President told him that he was sorry to see him there before he had waited on the King, and that it seemed as if he were for setting up altar against altar. This nettled the Prince to that degree that he said that those who talked against him had only self-interests in view. The First President denied that he had any such aim, and said that he was accountable to the King only for his actions. Then he exaggerated the danger of the State from the unhappy division of the royal family.

Finally it was resolved, ‘nemine contradicente’, that the Solicitor-General should be commissioned to prosecute those who had advised the arrest of the Prince de Conde; that the Queen’s promise for the safety of the Prince should be registered; that his Royal Highness should be desired by the whole assembly to go and wait on the King; and that the decrees passed against the servitors of Mazarin should be put into execution. The Prince, who seemed very well satisfied, said that nothing less than this could assure him of his safety. The Duc d’Orleans carried him to the King and the Queen, from whom he met with but a cold reception.

At the close of this session the declaration against the Cardinal was read and sent back to the Chancellor, because it was not inserted that the Cardinal had hindered the Peace of Munster, and advised the King to undertake the journey and siege of Bordeaux, contrary to the opinion of the Duc d’Orleans.

The Queen, provoked by the conduct of the Prince de Conde, who rode through the streets of Paris better attended than the King, and also by that of the Duke, whom she found continually given to change, resolved, in a fit of despair, to hazard all at once. M. de Chateauneuf flattered her inclination on that point, and she was confirmed in it by a fiery despatch from Mazarin at Bruele. She told the Duc d’Orleans plainly that she could no longer continue in her present condition, demanded his express declaration for or against her, and charged me, in his presence, to keep the promise I had made her, to declare openly against the Prince if he continued to go on as he had begun.

Her Majesty was convinced that I acted sincerely for her service, and that I made no scruple to keep my promise; and she condescended to make apologies for the distrust she had entertained of my conduct, and for the injustice she owned she had done me.

On the 19th, the Prince de Conde having taxed me with being the author of a paper against him, which was read that day in the House, said he had a paper, signed by the Duc d’Orleans, which contained his justification, and that he should be much obliged to the Parliament if they would be pleased to desire her Majesty to name his accusers, against whom he demanded justice. As to the paper of which he charged me with being the author, he said it was a composition worthy of a man who had advised the arming of the Parisians and the wresting of the seals from him with whom the Queen had entrusted them.

The Prince de Conti was observed to press his brother to resent what I said in my defence, but he kept his temper; for though I was very well accompanied, yet he was considerably superior to me in numbers, so that if the sword had been drawn he must have had the advantage. But I resolved to appear there the next day with a greater retinue. The Queen was transported with joy to hear that there were men who had the resolution to dispute the wall with the Prince.

[“The Queen,” says M. de La Rochefoucault in his Memoirs, “was overjoyed to see two men at variance whom in her heart she hated almost equally.... Nevertheless, she seemed to protect the Coadjutor.”]

She ordered thirty gendarmes and as many Light-horse to be posted where I pleased; I had forty men sent me, picked out of the sergeants and bravest soldiers of one of the regiments of Guards, and some of the officers of the city companies, and assembled a great number of substantial burghers, all of whom had pistols and daggers under their cloaks. I also sent many of my men to the eating-houses thereabouts, so that the Great Hall was, as it were, invested on every side with my friends. I posted thirty gentlemen as a reserve in a convenient chamber, who, in case of an attack, were to assault the party of the Prince in flank and rear. I had also laid up a store of grenades. In a word, my measures were so nicely concerted, both within and without the Parliament House, that Pont Notre-Dame and Pont Saint Michel, who were passionately in my interest, only waited for the signal; so that in all likelihood I could not fail of being conqueror.

On the morning of the 21st all the Prince de Conde’s humble servants repaired to his house, and my friends did the like to mine, particularly the Marquises of Rouillac and Camillac, famous both for their courage and extravagances. As soon as the latter saw Rouillac, he made me a low bow in a withdrawing posture, saying, “Monsieur, I came to offer you my service, but it is not reasonable that the two greatest fools in the kingdom should be of the same side.” The Prince came to the House with a numerous attendance, and though I believe he had not so many as I, he had more persons of quality, for I had only the Fronde nobility on my side, except three or four who, though in the Queen’s interest, were nevertheless my particular friends; this disadvantage, however, was abundantly made up by the great interest I had among the people and the advantageous posts I was possessed of. After the Prince had taken his place, he said that he was surprised to see the Parliament House look more like a camp than a temple of justice; that there were posts taken, and men under command; and that he hoped there were not men in the kingdom so insolent as to dispute the precedence with him. Whereupon I humbly begged his pardon, and told him that I believed there was not a man in France so insolent as to do it; but that there were some who could not, nor indeed ought not, on account of their dignity, yield the precedence to any man but the King. The Prince replied that he would make me yield it to him. I told him he would find it no easy matter. Upon this there was a great outcry, and the young councillors of both parties interested themselves in the contest, which, you see, began pretty warmly. The Presidents interposed between us, conjuring him to have some regard to the temple of justice and the safety of the city, and desiring that all the nobility and others in the hall that were armed might be turned out. He approved of it, and bade M. de La Rochefoucault go and tell his friends so from him. Upon which I said, “I will order my friends to withdraw also.” Young D’Avaux, now President de Mesmes, then in the Prince’s interest, said, “What! monsieur, are you armed?”—“Without doubt,” I said; though I had better have held my tongue, because an inferior ought to be respectful in words to his superior, though he may equal him in actions. Neither is it allowable in a Churchman when armed to confess it. There are some things wherein men are willing to be deceived. Actions very often vindicate men’s reputations in what they do against the dignity of their profession, but nothing can justify words that are inconsistent with their character.

As I had desired my friends to withdraw, and was entering into the Court of Judicature, I heard an uproar in the hall of people crying out “To arms!” I had a mind to go back to see what was the matter; but I had not time to do it, for I found myself caught by the neck between the folding doors, which M. de La Rochefoucault had shut on me, crying out to MM. Coligny and Ricousse to kill me.

[This action is very much disguised and softened in the Memoirs of Rochefoucault. M. Joly, in his Memoirs, vol. i., p. 155, tells it almost in... the same manner as the Cardinal de Retz.]

The first thought he was not in earnest, and the other told him he had no such order from the Prince. M. Champlatreux, running into the hall and seeing me in that condition, vigorously pushed back M. de La Rochefoucault, telling him that a murder of that nature was horrible and scandalous. He opened the door and let me in. But this was not the greatest danger I was in, as you will see after I have told you the beginning and end of it.

Two or three of the Prince de Conde’s mob cried out, as soon as they saw me, “A Mazarin!” Two of the Prince’s soldiers drew their swords, those next to them cried out, “To your arms!” and in a trice all were in a fighting posture. My friends drew their swords, daggers, and pistols, and yet, as it were by a miracle, they stopped their hands on a sudden from action; for in that very instant of time, Crenan, one of my old friends, who commanded a company of the Prince de Conti’s gendarmes, said to Laigues, “What are we doing? Must we let the Prince de Conde and the Coadjutor be murdered? Whoever does not put up his sword is a rascal!” This expression coming from a man of great courage and reputation, every one did as he bade them. Nor is Argenteuil’s courage and presence of mind to be less admired. He being near me when I was caught by the neck between the folding doors, and observing one Peche,—[Joly calls him “The great clamourer of the Prince.” See his Memoirs, p. 157.]—a brawling fellow of the Prince’s party, looking for me with a dagger in his hand, screened me with his cloak, and thereby saved my life, which was in the more danger because my friends, who supposed I was gone into the Great Chamber, stayed behind to engage with the Prince de Conde’s party. The Prince told me since that it was well I kept on the defensive, and that had the noise in the hall continued but a minute longer, he would himself have taken me by the throat and made me pay for all; but I am fully persuaded that the consequences would have been fatal to both parties, and that he himself had had a narrow escape.

As soon as I reentered the Great Chamber I told the First President that I owed my life to his son, who on that occasion did the most generous action that a man of honour was capable of, because he was passionately attached to the Prince de Conde, and was persuaded, though without a cause, that I was concerned in above twenty editions against his father during the siege of Paris. There are few actions more heroic than this, the memory of which I shall carry to my grave. I also added that M. de La Rochefoucault had done all he could to murder me.’

[The Duke answered, as he says himself in his Memoirs, that fear had disturbed his judgment, etc. See in the Memoirs of M. de La Rochefoucault, the relation of what passed after the confinement of the Princes.]

He answered me these very words: “Thou traitor, I don’t care what becomes of thee.” I replied, “Very well, Friend Franchise” (we gave him that nickname in our party); “you are a coward” (I told a lie, for he was certainly a brave man), “and I am a priest; but dueling is not allowed us.” M. de Brissac threatened to cudgel him, and he to kick Brissac. The President, fearing these words would end in blows, got between us. The First President conjured the Prince pathetically, by the blood of Saint Louis, not to defile with blood that temple which he had given for the preservation of peace and the protection of justice; and exhorted me, by my sacred character, not to contribute to the massacre of the people whom God had committed to my charge. Both the Prince and I sent out two gentlemen to order our friends and servants to retire by different ways. The clock struck ten, the House rose, and thus ended that morning’s work, which was likely to have ruined Paris.

You may easily guess what a commotion Paris was in all that morning. Tradesmen worked in their shops with their muskets by them, and the women were at prayers in the churches. Sadness sat on the brows of all who were not actually engaged in either party. The Prince, if we may believe the Comte de Fiesque, told him that Paris narrowly escaped being burnt that day. “What a fine bonfire this would have been for the Cardinal,” said he; “especially to see it lighted by the two greatest enemies he had!”

The Duc d’Orleans, quite tired out with the cries of the people, who ran affrighted to his palace, and fearing that the commotion would not stop at the Parliament House, made the Prince promise that he would not go next day to the Parliament with above five in company, provided I would engage to carry no more. I begged his Royal Highness to excuse me if I did not comply, because I should be wanting in my respect to the Prince, with whom I ought not to make any comparison, and because I should be still exposed to a pack of seditious brawlers, who cried out against me, having no laws nor owning any chief. I added that it was only against this sort of people that I armed; that there was so little comparison between a private gentleman and his Highness that five hundred men were less to the Prince than a single lackey to me. The Duke, who owned I was in the right, went to the Queen to represent to her the evil consequences that would inevitably attend such measures.

The Queen, who neither feared nor foresaw dangers, made no account of his remonstrances, for she was glad in the main of the dangers which seemed to be so near at hand. When Bertet and Brachet, who crept up to the garrets of the Palais Royal for fear of having their throats cut in the general commotion, had made her sensible that if the Prince and myself should perish in such a juncture it would occasion such a confusion that the very name of Mazarin might become fatal to the royal family, she yielded rather to her fears than to her convictions, and consented to send an order in the King’s name to forbid both the Prince and me to go to the House. The First President, who was well assured that the Prince would not obey an order of that nature, which could not be forced upon him with justice, because his presence was necessary in the Parliament, went to the Queen and made her sensible that it would be against all justice and equity to forbid the Prince to be present in an assembly where he went only to clear himself from a crime laid to his charge. He showed her the difference between the first Prince of the blood, whose presence would be necessary in that conjuncture, and a Coadjutor of Paris, who never had a seat in the Parliament but by courtesy.

The Queen yielded at last to these reasons and to the entreaties of all the Court ladies, who dreaded the noise and confusion which was likely to occur next day in the Parliament House.

The Parliament met next day, and resolved that all the papers, both of the Queen, the Duc d’Orleans, and the Prince de Conde, should be carried to the King and Queen, that her Majesty should be humbly entreated to terminate the affair, and that the Duc d’Orleans should be desired to make overtures towards a reconciliation.

As the Prince was coming out of the Parliament House, attended by a multitude of his friends, I met him in his coach as I was at the head of a procession of thirty or forty cures of Paris, followed by a great number of people. Upon my approach, three or four of the mob following the Prince cried out, “A Mazarin!” but the Prince alighted and silenced them.

[M. de La Rochefoucault, in his Memoirs, says that the people abused the Coadjutor with scurrilous language, and would have torn him in pieces if the prince had not ordered his men to appease the tumult.]

He then fell on his knees to receive my blessing, which I gave him with my hat on, and then pulled it off in obeisance.

The Queen was so well pleased with my prudent conduct that I can truly say I was a favourite for some days. Madame de Carignan was telling her one day that I was very homely, to which the Queen replied, “He has a very fine set of teeth, and a man cannot be called homely who has this ornament.” Madame de Chevreuse remembered that she had often heard the Queen say that the beauty of a man consisted chiefly in his teeth, because it was the only beauty which was of any use. Therefore she advised me to act my part well, and she should not despair of success. “When you are with the Queen,” said she, “be serious; look continually on her hands, storm against the Cardinal, and I will take care of the rest” I asked two or three audiences of the Queen upon very trifling occasions, followed Madame de Chevreuse’s plan very closely, and carried my resentment and passion against the Cardinal even to extravagance. The Queen, who was naturally a coquette, understood those airs, and acquainted Madame de Chevreuse therewith, who pretended to be surprised, saying, “Indeed, I have heard the Coadjutor talk of your Majesty whole days with delight; but if the conversation happened to touch upon the Cardinal, he was no longer the same man, and even raved against your Majesty, but immediately relented towards you, though never towards the Cardinal.”

Madame de Chevreuse, who was the Queen’s confidante in her youth, gave me such a history of her early days as I cannot omit giving you, though I should have done it sooner. She told me that the Queen was neither in body nor mind truly Spanish; that she had neither the temperament nor the vivacity of her nation, but only the coquetry of it, which she retained in perfection; that M. Bellegarde, a gallant old gentleman, after the fashion of the Court of Henri III., pleased her till he was going to the army, when he begged for one favour before his departure, which was only to put her hand to the hilt of his sword, a compliment so insipid that her Majesty was out of conceit with him ever after. She approved the gallant manner of M. de Montmorency much more than she loved his person. The aversion she had to the pedantic behaviour of Cardinal de Richelieu, who in his amours was as ridiculous as he was in other things excellent, made her irreconcilable to his addresses. She had observed from the beginning of the Regency a great inclination in the Queen for Mazarin, but that she had not been able to discover how far that inclination went, because she (Madame de Chevreuse) had been banished from the Court very soon after; and that upon her return to France, after the siege of Paris, the Queen was so reserved at first with her that it was impossible for her to dive into her secrets. That since she regained her Majesty’s favour she had sometimes observed the same airs in her with regard to Cardinal Mazarin as she used to display formerly in favour of the Duke of Buckingham; but at other times she thought that there was no more between them than a league of friendship. The chief ground for her conjecture was the impolite and almost rude way in which the Cardinal conversed with her Majesty. “But, however,” said Madame de Chevreuse, “when I reflect on the Queen’s humour, all this may admit of another interpretation. Buckingham used to tell me that he had been in love with three Queens, and was obliged to curb all the three; therefore I cannot tell what to think of the matter.”

To resume the history of more public affairs. I did not so far please myself with the figure I made against the Prince (though I thought it very much for my honour), but I saw clearly that I stood on a dangerous precipice.

“Whither are we going?” I said to M. Bellievre, who seemed to be overjoyed that the Prince had not been able to devour me; “for whom do we labour? I know that we are obliged to act as we do; I know, too, that we cannot do better; but should we rejoice at the fatal necessity which pushes us on to exert an action comparatively good and which will unavoidably end in a superlative evil?”

“I understand you,” said the President, “and will interrupt you for one moment to tell you what I learned of Cromwell” (whom he had known in England). “He told me one day that it is then we are mounting highest when we ourselves do not know whither we are going.”

“You know, monsieur,” said I to Bellievre, “that I abhor Cromwell; and whatever is commonly reported of his great parts, if he is of this opinion, I must pronounce him a fool.”

I mentioned this dialogue for no other purpose than to observe how dangerous it is to talk disrespectfully of men in high positions; for it was carried to Cromwell, who remembered it with a great deal of resentment on an occasion which I shall mention hereafter, and said to M. de Bourdeaux, Ambassador of France, then in England, “I know but one man in the world who despises me, and that is Cardinal de Retz.” This opinion of him was likely to have cost me very dear. I return from this digression.

On the 31st, Melayer, valet de chambre to the Cardinal, arrived with a despatch to the Queen, in which were these words: “Give the Prince de Conde all the declarations of his innocence that he can desire, provided you can but amuse him and hinder him from giving you the slip.”

On the 4th the Prince de Conde insisted in Parliament on a formal decree for declaring his innocence, which was granted, but deferred to be published till the 7th of September (the day that the King came of age), on pretence of rendering it more authentic and solemn by the King’s presence, but really to gain time, and see what influence the splendour of royalty, which was to be clothed that day with all the advantages of pomp, would have upon the minds of the people.

But the Prince de Conde, who had reason to distrust both the Fronde and the Court, did not appear at the ceremony, and sent the Prince de Conti to the King to desire to be excused, because the calumnies and treacheries of his enemies would not suffer him to come to the Palace; adding that he kept away out of pure respect to his Majesty. This last expression, which seemed to intimate that otherwise he might have gone thither without danger, provoked the Queen to that degree that she said, “The Prince or I must perish.”

The Prince de Conde retired to Bourges,—further from Court. He was naturally averse to a civil war, nor would his adherents have been more forward than himself if they had found their interests in his reconciliation to the Court; but this seemed impracticable, and therefore they agreed upon a civil war, because none of them believed themselves powerful enough to conclude a peace. They know nothing of the nature of faction who imagine the head of a party to be their master. His true interest is most commonly thwarted by the imaginary interests even of his subalterns, and the worst of it is that his own honour sometimes, and generally prudence, joins with them against himself. The passions and discontent which reigned then among the friends of the Prince de Conde ran so high that they were obliged to abandon him and form a third party, under the authority of the Prince de Conti, in case the Prince accomplished his reconciliation to the Court, according to a proposition then made to him in the name of the Duc d’Orleans. The subdivision of parties is generally the ruin of all, especially when it is introduced by cunning views, directly contrary to prudence; and this is what the Italians call, in comedy, a “plot within a plot,” or a “wheel within a wheel.”


In December, 1651, the Parliament agreed to the following resolution: To send a deputation to the King to inform him of the rumours of Mazarin’s return, and to beseech him to confirm the royal promise which he had made to his people upon that head; to forbid all governors to give the Cardinal passage; to desire the King to acquaint the Pope and other Princes with the reasons that had obliged him to remove the Cardinal; and to send to all the Parliaments of the kingdom to make the like decree.

Somebody making a motion that a price might be set upon the Cardinal’s head, I and the rest of the spiritual councillors retired, because clergymen are forbidden by the canon law to give their vote in cases of life and death.

They agreed also to send deputies to the King to entreat him to write to the Elector of Cologne to send the Cardinal out of his country, and to forbid the magistrates of all cities to entertain any troops sent to favour his return or any of his kindred or domestics. A certain councillor who said, very judiciously, that the soldiers assembling for Mazarin upon the frontiers would laugh at all the decrees of Parliament unless they were proclaimed to them by good musketeers and pikemen, was run down as if he had talked nonsense, and all the clamour was that it belonged only to the King to disband soldiers.

The Duc d’Orleans acquainted the House, on the 29th, that Cardinal Mazarin had arrived at Sedan; that Marechals de Hoquincourt and de la Ferte were gone to join him with their army to bring him to Court; and that it was high time to oppose his designs. Upon this it was immediately resolved that deputies should be despatched forthwith to the King; that the Cardinal and all his adherents should be declared guilty of high treason; that the common people should be commanded to treat them as such wherever they met them; that his library and all his household goods should be sold, and that 150,000 livres premium should be given to any man who should deliver up the said Cardinal, either dead or alive. Upon this expression all the ecclesiastics retired, for the reason above mentioned.

A new decree was passed on the 2d of January, 1652, wherein it was decided that all the Parliaments of France should be invited to issue their decrees against Mazarin, conformable to the last; that two more councillors should be added to the four sent to guard the rivers and to arm the common people; and that the troops of the Duc d’Orleans should oppose the march of Mazarin.

On the 24th the deputies who had been to Poitiers to remonstrate with the King against the return of the Cardinal, made their report in Parliament, to the effect that his Majesty, after having consulted with the Queen and her Council, returned for answer, that without doubt, when the Parliament issued their late decrees, they did not know that Cardinal Mazarin had made no levy of soldiers but by his Majesty’s express orders; that it was he who commanded him to enter France with his troops, and that therefore the King did not resent what the company had done; but that, on the other hand, he did not doubt that when they had heard the circumstances he had just mentioned, and knew, moreover, that Cardinal Mazarin only desired an opportunity to justify himself, they would not fail to give all his subjects an exemplary proof of the obedience they owed to him. The Parliament was highly provoked, and next day resolved to admit no more dukes, peers, nor marshals of France till the Cardinal had left the kingdom.

Mazarin, arriving at Court again, persuaded the King to go to Saumur, though others advised him to march to Guienne against the Prince de Conde, with whom the Duc d’Orleans was now resolved to join forces. The King went from Saumur to Tours, where the Archbishop of Rouen carried complaints to the King, in the name of the bishops there, against the decrees of Parliament relating to the Cardinal.

The Duc d’Orleans complained in Parliament against the inconsistency of their proceedings, and said the King had sent him carte blanche in order to oblige him to consent to the restoration of the Cardinal, but that nothing would ever cause him to do it, nor to act apart from the Parliament. Yet their unaccountable proceedings perplexed him beyond expression, so that he commanded, or rather permitted, M. de Beaufort to put his troops in action. And because I told him that, considering the declarations he had so often repeated against Mazarin, I thought his conduct in setting his troops in motion against him did not add so much to the measure of the disgust he had already given to the Court that he need to apprehend much from it, he gave me for answer these memorable words which I have reflected upon a thousand times: “If you,” said he, “had been born a Son of France, an Infante of Spain, a King of Hungary, or a Prince of Pales, you would not talk as you do. You must know that, with us Princes, words go for nothing, but that we never forget actions. By to-morrow noon the Queen would not remember my declarations against the Cardinal if I would admit him tomorrow morning; but if my troops were to fire a musket she would not forgive me though we were to live two thousand years hence.”

In February, 1652, I was made a cardinal, and was to receive the hat, as all French cardinals do, from the King. My enemies, who thought to ruin my credit with the Duc d’Orleans, gave out that I had been obliged to the Court for my dignity, attacked me in form as a secret favourer of Mazarin, and, while their emissaries gained over such of the dregs of the people as they could corrupt by money, they were supported by all the intrigues of the Cabinet. But the Duke, who knew better, only laughed at them; so that they confirmed me in his good opinion, instead of supplanting me, because in cases of slander every reflection that does not hurt the person attacked does him service. I said to the Duke that I wondered he was not wearied out with the silly stories that were told him every day against me, since they all harped upon one string; but he said, “Do you take no account of the pleasure one takes every morning in hearing how wicked men are under the cloak of religious zeal, and every night how silly they are under the mask of politicians?”

The servants of the Prince de Conde gave out such stories against me among the populace as were likely to have done me much more mischief. They had a pack of brawling fellows in their pay who were more troublesome to me now than formerly, when they did not dare to appear before the numerous retinue of gentlemen and liverymen that accompanied me, for as I had not yet had the hat, I was obliged, wherever I went, to go incognito, according to the rules of the ceremonial. Those fellows said that I had betrayed the Duc d’Orleans, and that they would be the death of me. I told the Duke, who was afraid they would murder me, that he should soon see how little those hired mobs ought to be regarded. He offered me his guards, but though Marechal d’Estampes fell on his knees in my way to stop me, I went down-stairs with only two persons in company, and made directly towards the ruffians, demanding who was their leader. Upon which a beggarly fellow, with an old yellow feather in his hat, answered me, insolently, “I am.” Then I called out to the guards at the gate, saying, “Let me have this rascal hanged up at these grates.” Thereupon he made me a very low bow, and said that he did not mean to affront me; that he only came with his comrades to tell me of the report that I designed to carry the Duc d’Orleans to Court, and reconcile him with Mazarin; that they did not believe it; that they were at my service, and ready to venture their lives for me, provided I would but promise them to be always an honest Frondeur.

The Duc d’Orleans took such delight in conversing with me that, on De Goulas, one of his secretaries, telling him that all the foreign officers took mighty umbrage at it, he pulled him up very sharply, and said, “Go to the devil, you and your foreign officers. If they were as good Frondeurs as Cardinal de Retz, they would be at their posts, and not tippling in the taverns of Paris.” There was such a strong faction in the city of Orleans for the Court that his presence there was very necessary; but as it was much more so at Paris, the Duke was prevailed upon by his Duchess to let her go thither. M. Patru was pleased to say that as the gates of Jericho fell at the sound of trumpets, those of Orleans would open at the sound of fiddles, of which M. de Rohan was a very great admirer. But, in fact, though the King was just at hand with the troops, and though M. Mold, Keeper of the Seals, was at the gate demanding entrance for the King, the Duchess crossed the river in a barge, made the watermen break down a little postern, which had been walled up for a long time, and marched, with the acclamations of multitudes of the people, directly to the Hotel de Ville, where the magistrates were assembled to consider if they should admit the Keeper of the Seals. By this means she turned the scale, and MM. de Beaufort and de Nemours joined her.

The Prince de Conde arriving at Paris from Guienne on the 11th of April, the magistrates had a meeting in the Hotel de Ville, in which they resolved that the Governor should wait on his Royal Highness, and tell him that the company thought it contrary to order to receive him into the city before he had cleared himself from the King’s declaration, which had been verified in Parliament against him.

The Duc d’Orleans, who was overjoyed at this speech, said that the Prince had only come to discourse with him about private affairs, and that he would stay but twenty-four hours at Paris. M. de Chavigni informed the Duke that the Prince was able to stand his ground as long as he pleased, without being obliged to anybody; and he gathered together a mob of scoundrels upon the Pont-Neuf, whose fingers itched to be plundering the house of M. du Plessis Guenegaut, and by whom the Duke was frightened to a great degree.

The reflections I had leisure to make upon my new dignity obliged me to take great care of my hat, whose dazzling flame of colour turns the heads of many that are honoured with it. The most palpable of those delusions is the claiming precedence of Princes of the blood, who may become our masters the next moment, and who at the same time are generally the masters of all our kindred. I have a veneration for the cardinals of my family, who made me suck in humility after their example with my mother’s milk, and I found a very happy opportunity to practise it on the very day that I received the news of my promotion. Chateaubriant said to me, before a vast number of people at my levee, “Now we will pay our respects no more to the best of them,” which he said because, though I was upon ill terms with the Prince de Conde, and though I always went well attended, I yet saluted him wherever I met him with all the respect due to him on the score of so many titles. I said to him:

“Pray pardon me, monsieur; we shall pay our respects to the great men with greater complaisance than ever. God forbid that the red hat should turn my head to that degree as to make me dispute precedence with the Princes of the blood. It is honour enough for a gentleman to walk side by side with them.” This expression, I verily believe, afterwards secured the rank of precedence to the hat in the kingdom of France, by the courtesy of the Prince de Conde, and his friendship for me.

Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, the most fantastical lady upon earth, suspecting that I held a secret correspondence with the Queen, could not forbear murmuring and threatening what she would do. She said I had declared to her a thousand times that I could not imagine how it was possible for anybody to be in love with that Swiss woman. In short, she said this so often that the Queen had a notion from somebody or other that I had called her by that name. She never forgave me for it, as you will perceive in the sequel. You may easily conceive that this circumstance, which gave me no encouragement to hope for a very gracious reception at Court for the time to come, did not weaken those resolutions which I had already taken to retire from public business. The place of my retreat was agreeable enough: the shadow of the towers of Notre-Dame was a refreshment to it; and, moreover, the Cardinal’s hat sheltered it from bad weather. I had fine ideas of the sweetness of such a retirement, and I would gladly have laid hold of it, but my stars would not have it so. I return to my narrative.

On the 12th of April the Duc d’Orleans took the Prince de Conde with him to the Parliament, assuring them that he had not, nor ever would have, any other intention than to serve his King and country; that he would always follow the sentiments of the Parliament; and that he was willing to lay down his arms as soon as the decrees against Cardinal Mazarin were put into execution.

The President Bailleul said that the members always thought it an honour to see the Prince de Conde in his place, but that they could not dissemble their real concern to see his hands stained with the blood of the King’s soldiers who were killed at Bleneau. Upon this a storm arose from the benches, which fell with such fury upon the poor President that he had scarcely room to put in a word for himself, for fifty or sixty voices disowned him at one volley.

On the 13th the Parliament agreed that the declaration made by the Duc d’Orleans and the Prince should be carried to the King; that the remonstrances they had sent to the King should likewise be sent to all the sovereign companies of Paris, and to all the Parliaments of the kingdom, to invite them also to send a deputation on their own behalf; and that a general assembly should be immediately held at the Hotel de Ville, to which the Duc d’Orleans and the Prince should be invited to make the same declarations as they made to the Parliament; and that, in the meantime, the King’s declaration against Cardinal Mazarin, and all the decrees passed against him, should be put into execution.

On the 13th of May a councillor of Parliament and captain of his ward, having brought his company to the Palace to act as ordinary guard, was abandoned by all the burghers that composed it, who said they were not created to guard Mazarins.

The mob, who at the same time appeared ready enough to murder some of the magistrates in the streets, had nothing in their mouths but the names and services of the Princes, who next day disowned their humble servants in the assemblies of the several courts. Though this conduct gave occasion to severe decrees, which the Parliament issued at every turn against the seditious, it did not hinder the same Parliament from believing that those who disowned the sedition were the authors of it, and consequently did not lessen the hatred which many private men conceived against them. Such were the various and complicated views every one had concerning the then position of affairs, that I wrapped myself up, as one may say, in my great dignities, to which I abandoned the hopes of my fortune; and I remember one day the President Bellievre telling me that I ought not to be so indolent. I answered him: “We are in a great storm, where, methinks, we all row against the wind. I have two good oars in my hand, one of which is the Cardinal’s dignity, and the other the Archiepiscopal. I am not willing to break them; and all I have to do now is to support myself.”

At the same time I had other disquietings of a more private nature. Mademoiselle de Chevreuse fell in love with my rival, the Abbe Fouquet. Little De Roye, who was a very, pretty German lass at her house, informed me of it, and made me amends for the infidelity of the mistress, whose choice, to tell you the truth, did not mortify me much, because she had nothing but beauty, which cloys when it comes alone. She cared for nobody besides him she loved; but as she was never long in love, so neither was it long that she was in good temper. She used her cast-off lovers as she did her old clothes, which other women lay aside, but she burnt, so that her daughters had much ado to save a petticoat, head-dress, gloves, or Venice point. And I verily believe that if she could have committed her lovers to the flames when she left them off, she would have done it with all her heart. Madame her mother, who endeavoured to set her at variance with me when she was resolved to unite herself entirely with the Court, could not succeed, though she went so far that Madame de Guemenee caused a letter to be read to her in my handwriting, whereby I devoted myself body and soul to her, as witches give themselves to the devil.

It was at that time that Madame de Chevreuse, seeing herself neglected at Paris, resolved to retire to Dampierre, where, depending upon what had been told her from Court, she hoped to be well received. I gave vent to my passion, which, in truth, was not very great, to Mademoiselle de Chevreuse, and I took care to have both the mother and daughter accompanied out of Paris, quite to Dampierre, by all the nobility and gentlemen I had with me.

I cannot finish this slight sketch of the condition I was in at Paris without acknowledging the debt I owe to the generosity of the Prince de Conde, who, finding that a person was come from the Prince de Conti, at Bordeaux, with a design to attack me, told him that he would have him hanged if he did not go back to his master in two hours’ time.

Marigny told me, almost at the same time, that, observing the Prince de Conde to be very intent upon reading a book, he took the liberty to tell him that it must needs be a very choice one, because he took such delight in it; and that the Prince answered him, “It is true I am very fond of it, for it shows me my faults, which nobody has the courage to tell me.” This book was entitled “The Right and False Steps of the Prince de Conde and of the Cardinal de Retz.”

There were divers negotiations between the parties, during which Mazarin gave himself the pleasure of letting the public see MM. de Rohan, de Chavigni, and de Goulas conferring with him, before the King as well as in private, at that very instant when the Duc d’Orleans and the Prince de Conde said publicly, in the assembly of the Chambers, that it ought to be the preliminary of all treaties to have nothing to do with Mazarin. He acted a perfect comedy in their presence, pretending to be forcibly detained by the King, whom he begged with folded hands to let him return to Italy.

On the 30th of April there was so great a murmuring in Parliament that the Duc d’Orleans said they should never see him there again until the Cardinal was gone.

On the 6th of May the remonstrances of the Parliament and the Chamber of Accounts were carried to the King by a large deputation, as were, on the 7th, those of the Court of Aids and the city. The King’s answer to both was that he would cause his troops to retire when those of the Princes were gone.

On the 10th it was resolved that the King’s Council should be sent to Saint Germain for a further answer touching the removal of Cardinal Mazarin from the Court and kingdom, and the armies from the neighbourhood of Paris.

On the 14th there was a great uproar again in the Parliament, where there was a confused clamour for taking into consideration the best means for hindering the riots and disorders daily committed in the city and in the hall of the Palace; upon which the Duc d’Orleans, who was afraid that under this pretence the Mazarinists should make the House take some steps contrary to their interests, came to the Palace on a sudden, and proposed that they should grant him full power.

The 29th being the day that the deputies of the Court of Inquiry desired the Parliament to consider the ways and means for raising the 150,000 livres promised to him who should bring Cardinal Mazarin to justice, and the Archbishop’s Grand Vicar coming up at that moment to the bar of the King’s Council to confer about the descent of the shrine of Sainte Genevieve, a member said, very pleasantly, “We are this day engaged in devotion for a double festival: we are appointing processions, and contriving how to murder a Cardinal.”

On the 20th of June the King’s answer to the Parliament’s remonstrances was reported in substance as follows: That though his Majesty was sensible that the demand for the removal of Cardinal Mazarin was but a pretence, yet, he was willing to grant it after justice was done to the Cardinal’s honour by such reparations as were due to his innocence, provided the Princes would give him good security for the performance of their proposals upon the removal of the said Cardinal. That therefore his Majesty, desired to know: 1. Whether, in this case, they will renounce all leagues and associations with foreign princes? 2. Whether they will not form new pretensions? 3. Whether they will come to Court? 4. Whether they will dismiss all the foreigners that are in the kingdom? 5. Whether they will disband their forces? 6. Whether Bordeaux will return to its duty, as well as the Prince de Conti and Madame de Longueville? 7. Whether the places which the Prince de Conde has fortified shall be put into the condition they were in before the breach?

The Duc d’Orleans, provoked at these propositions, said that a Son of France and a Prince of the blood were never known to have been treated like common criminals, and that the declaration which both had made was more than sufficient to satisfy the Court.

On the 21st it was moved in Parliament that an inventory should be taken of what remained of Mazarin’s furniture. There having been in the morning a great commotion at the Palace, when the President and some others had run a risk of being killed by the mob, M. de Beaufort invited his friends to meet him in the afternoon in the Palais Royal, and having got together four or five thousand beggars, he harangued them as to the obedience which they owed to the Parliament. But two or three days after this fine sermon of his, the sedition was more violent than ever.

On the 25th the Princes declared in Parliament that, as soon as the Cardinal had departed the kingdom, they would faithfully execute all the articles contained in the King’s answer, and immediately send deputies to complete the rest.

On the 4th of July a mob assembled, who forced all that went by to put a handful of straw in their hats, upon which the Duc d’Orleans and the Prince de Conde went to the Hotel de Ville and convinced the assembly of the necessity they were under of defending themselves against Mazarin. Upon a trumpeter arriving from his Majesty with orders to adjourn the assembly for a week, the people were much incensed, and called out to the citizens to unite strictly with the Princes. They fell upon the first thing they met in their way, threw stones into the windows of the Hotel de Ville, set fire to its gates, and, entering with drawn swords, murdered M. Le Gras, the Master of Requests, and the Master of Accounts, and twenty or thirty citizens perished in the tumult. There was a general consternation all over the city; all the shops were shut in an instant, and in some parts they set up barricades to stop the rioters, who had almost overrun the whole town. It was observed that the appearance of the Duchesse de Beaufort prevailed more with the mob in causing them to disperse than the exposing of the Host by the cure of St. John’s.

The late riot had such an effect on the Parliament that the President Mortier and many of the councillors kept away from the public assemblies for fear, notwithstanding they were enjoined, by a special decree, to come and take their places. The magistrates, for the same reason, did not go to the Hotel de Ville.

On the 18th the deputies of Parliament being ordered to follow the King to Pontoise, the House passed a decree for their immediate return to Parliament, and the Prince de Conde and the Duke de Beaufort brought them into town with twelve hundred horse.

The Court in the meantime passed decrees of Council, annulling those of the Parliament and the transactions of the assembly at the Hotel de Ville.

On the 20th the Parliament declared by a decree that, the King being prisoner to Cardinal Mazarin, the Duc d’Orleans should be desired to take upon him the office of Lieutenant-General of his Majesty, and the Prince to take upon him the command of the army as long as Mazarin should continue in the kingdom, and that a copy of the said decree should be sent to all the Parliaments of the kingdom, who should be desired to publish the like; but not one complied, except that of Bordeaux. Nor was the Duke better obeyed by the several governors of the provinces, for but one vouchsafed him an answer when he acquainted them with his new dignity, the Court having put them in mind of their duty by an order of Council, published to annul that of the Parliament for establishing the said lieutenancy; and in Paris itself the Duke’s authority was despised, for two wretches having been condemned for setting fire to the Hotel de Ville, the citizens who were ordered to take charge of the execution refused to obey.

On the 24th it was ordered that a general assembly should be held at the Hotel de Ville, to consider the ways and means to raise money for supporting the troops, and that the statues at Mazarin’s palace should be sold to make up the sum set upon the Cardinal’s head.

On the 29th it was resolved in the Hotel de Ville to raise 800,000 livres for augmenting his Royal Highness’s troops, and to exhort all the great towns of the kingdom to unite with the metropolis.

On the 6th of August the King sent a declaration signifying the removal of the Parliament to Pontoise. There was a great commotion in the House, who agreed not to register it till the Cardinal had left the kingdom. As for the Parliament of Pontoise, which consisted of but fourteen officers, with three Presidents at their head, who had a little before retired in disguise from Paris, they made remonstrances likewise to the King for removing Cardinal Mazarin. The King granted what was desired of him, and that upon the solicitations of that honest, disinterested minister, who withdrew from Court to Bouillon. This comedy, so unworthy the dignity of a king, was accompanied with circumstances that rendered it still more ridiculous:—The two Parliaments fulminated severe decrees against one another, and that of Paris made an order that whosoever sat in the assembly at Pontoise should be struck off the register.

At the same time that of Pontoise registered the King’s declaration, which contained an injunction to the Parliament of Paris, the Chamber of Accounts, and the Court of Aids, that, since Cardinal Mazarin was removed, they should now lay down their arms on condition that his Majesty would grant an amnesty, remove his troops from about Paris, withdraw those that were in Guienne, allow a free and safe passage to the Spanish troops, and give the Princes permission to send to his Majesty persons to confer with his ministers concerning what remained to be adjusted. This same Parliament resolved to return their thanks to his Majesty for removing Cardinal Mazarin, and most humbly to entreat the King to return to his good city of Paris.

On the 26th they also registered the King’s amnesty, or royal pardon, granted to all that had taken up arms against him, but with such restrictions that very few could think themselves safe by it.

The King acquainted the Duc d’Orleans that he wondered that, since Mazarin was removed, he should delay, according to his own declaration and promise, to lay down his arms, to renounce all associations and treaties, and to cause the foreign troops to withdraw; and that when this was done, those deputies that should come to his Majesty from him should be very welcome.

On the 3d of September the Parliament resolved that their deputies should wait upon the King with their thanks for removing Cardinal Mazarin, and to beseech his Majesty to return to Paris; that the Duc d’Orleans and the Prince de Conde should be desired to write to the King and assure him they would lay down their arms as soon as his Majesty would be pleased to send the passports for the safe retreat of the foreigners, together with an amnesty in due form, registered in all the Parliaments of the kingdom; and that his Majesty should be petitioned to receive the deputies of the Princes.

Pray indulge me with a short pause here to consider the scandalous arts which ministers palliate with the name and sacred word of a great King, and with which the most august Parliament of the kingdom—the Court of Peers—expose themselves to ridicule by such manifest inconsistencies as are more becoming the levity of a college than the majesty of a senate. In short, persons are not sensible of what they do in these State paroxysms, which savour somewhat of frenzy. I knew in those days some very honest men, who were so fully satisfied of the justice of the cause of the Princes that, upon occasion, they would have laid down their lives for it; and I also knew some eminently virtuous and disinterested men who would as gladly have been martyrs for the Court. The ambition of great men manages such dispositions just as it suits their own interests; they help to blind the rest of mankind, and they even become blinder themselves than other people.

Honest M. de Fontenay, who had been twice ambassador at Rome, a man of great experience and good sense and a hearty well-wisher to his country, daily condoled with me on the lethargy into which the intestine divisions had lulled the best citizens and patriots. We saw the Spanish colours and standards displayed upon the Pont-Neuf; the yellow sashes of Lorraine appeared at Paris with the same liberty as the Isabelles and blue ones. People were so accustomed to these spectacles and to the news of provinces, towns, and battles lost, that they were become insolent and stupid. Several of my friends blamed my inactivity, and desired me to bestir myself. They bid me save the kingdom, save the city, or else I should fall from the greatest love to the greatest hatred of the people. The Frondeurs suspected me of favouring Mazarin’s party, and the Mazarins thought I was too partial to the Frondeurs.

I was touched to the quick with a pathetic speech made to me by M. de Fontenay. “You see,” said he, “that Mazarin, like a Jack-in-the-bog, plays at Bo-peep; but you see that, whether he appears or disappears, the wire by which the puppet is drawn on or off the stage is the royal authority, which is not likely to be broken by the measures now on foot. Abundance of those that appear to be his greatest opponents would be very sorry to see him crushed; many others would be very glad to see him get off; not one endeavours to ruin him entirely. You may get clear of the difficulty that embarrasses you by a door which opens into a field of honour and liberty. Paris, whose archbishop you are, groans under a heavy load. The Parliament there is but a mere phantom, and the Hotel de Ville a desert. The Duc d’Orleans and the Prince have no more authority than what the rascally mob is pleased to allow them. The Spaniards, Germans, and Lorrainers are in the suburbs laying waste the very gardens. You that have rescued them more than once, and are their pastor, have been forced to keep guards in your own house for three weeks. And you know that at this day your friends are under great apprehension if they see you in the streets without arms. Do you count it a slight thing to put an end to all these miseries? And will you neglect the only opportunity Providence puts a into your hands to obtain the honour of it? Take your clergy with you to Compiegne, thank the King for removing Mazarin, and beg his Majesty to return to Paris. Keep up a good correspondence with those bodies who have no other design but the common good, who are already almost all your particular friends, and who look upon you as their head by reason of your dignity. And if the King actually returns to the city, the people of Paris will be obliged to you for it; if you meet with a refusal, you will have still their acknowledgments for your good intention. If you can get the Duc d’Orleans to join with you, you will save the realm; for I am persuaded that if he knew how to act his part in this juncture it would be in his power to bring the King back to Paris and to prevent Mazarin ever returning again. You are a cardinal; you are Archbishop of Paris; you have the good-will of the public, and are but thirty-seven years old: Save the city, save the kingdom.”

In short, the Duc d’Orleans approved of my scheme, and ordered me to convene a general assembly of the ecclesiastical communities, and to get deputies chosen out of them all, and go with them to Court, there to present the deputation, which should request the King to give peace to his people and return to his good city of Paris. I was also to endeavour by the aid of my friends to induce the other corporate bodies of the city to do likewise. I was to tell the Queen that she could not but be sensible that the Duke was in good earnest for peace, which the public engagements he was under to oppose Mazarin had not suffered him to conclude, or even to propose, while the Cardinal continued at Court; that he renounced all private views and interests with relation to himself or friends; that he desired nothing but the security of the public; and that after he had the satisfaction of seeing the King at the Louvre he would then with joy retire to Blois, fully resolved to live in peace and prepare for eternity.

I set out immediately with the deputies of all the ecclesiastical bodies of Paris, nearly two hundred gentlemen, accompanied by fifty men of the Duke’s Guards. The number of my attendants gave such umbrage at Court, where it was ridiculously exaggerated, that the Queen sent me word I should only have accommodation for eighty horses, whereas I had no less than one hundred and twelve for the coaches alone. If I had known as much when I went as I heard after I returned, I should have hesitated about going, for I was told that some moved for arresting me, and others for killing me. However, the Queen received me very well; the King gave me the cardinal’s hat and a public audience.

I told the Queen, in a private audience, that I was not come only as a deputy from the Church of Paris, but that I had another commission which I valued much more, because I took it to be more for her service than the other,—that of an envoy from the Duc d’Orleans, who had charged me to assure her Majesty that he was resolved to serve her effectually and without delay, as he had promised by a note under his own hand, which I then pulled out of my pocket. The Queen expressed a great deal of joy, and said, “I knew very well, M. le Cardinal, that you would at last give some particular marks of your affection for me.”

The Queen told me that she thanked the Duke, and was very much obliged to him; that she hoped and desired he would contribute towards making the necessary dispositions for the King’s return to Paris, and that she would not take one step but in concert with him. At the same time I heard that the Queen spoke disdainfully of me, whom she dreaded, to my enemies at Court; pretended that I had owned Mazarin was an honest man, and ridiculed me for the expense I had put myself to on the journey, which, indeed, was immense for so short a time, because I kept seven open tables, and spent 800 crowns a day.

When I returned to Paris I was received with incredible applause. The King also came thither on the 21st of October, and was welcomed by the acclamations of the people. The Queen received me with wonderful respect, and bade the King embrace me, as one to whom he chiefly owed his return to Paris; but orders were sent to the Duc d’Orleans to retire next morning to Limours.

When I went to see him, he was panic-struck, and imagined it was only a feint to try his temper. He was in an inconceivable agony, and fancied that every musket which was let off by way of rejoicing for his Majesty’s return was fired by the soldiers coming to invest his palace. Every messenger that he sent out brought him word that all was quiet, but he would believe nobody, and looked continually out of the window to hear if the drums were beating the march. At last he took courage to ask me if I was firm to him, and after I had assured him of my fidelity he desired that, as a proof of my attachment and affection for him, I would be reconciled to M. de Beaufort. “With all my heart,” said I. Whereupon he embraced me, then opened the gallery door by his bedchamber, and out came M. de Beaufort, who threw himself about my neck, and said, “Pray ask his Royal Highness what I have been saying to him concerning you. I know who are honest men. Come on, monsieur, let us drive all the Mazarins away for good and all.” He endeavoured to show both the necessity and the possibility of it, and advised the raising of barricades next morning, by break of day, in the market-places.

The Duc d’Orleans turned to me and said, as they do in Parliament, “Your opinion, M. Dean.” I replied: “If I must give it as Dean, there never was more occasion for the forty hours’ prayers than now. I myself stand in need of them more than anybody, because I can give no advice but what must appear very cruel and be attended with horrid inconveniences. If I should advise you to put up with the injurious treatment you undergo, will not the public, who always make the worst of everything, have a handle to say I betray your interest, and that my advice was but a necessary consequence of all those obstacles I threw in the Princes’ way? And if I give it as my opinion that your Royal Highness should follow the measures which M. de Beaufort proposes, shall I not be accounted one who blows hot and cold in a breath?—who is for peace when he thinks to gain his advantages by the treaty, but for war when he is not permitted to negotiate?—one who is for destroying Paris with fire and sword, and for carrying the flames to the gates of the Louvre by attacking the very person of the King? If you obey, you will be responsible to the public for all it may suffer afterwards. I am no competent judge of what it may suffer in particular; for who can foresee events depending on the caprices of a cardinal, on the stormings of Ondedei, the impertinence of the Abbe Fouquet, and the violence of Servien? But you will have to answer for all, because the public will be persuaded that you might have prevented it. If you do not obey, you may go near to overturn the realm.”

Here the Duke interrupted me eagerly, and said, “This is not to the purpose; the question is whether I am in a condition, that is, if it is in my power, to disobey.”

“I believe so,” I said; “for I do not see how the Court can oblige you to obey, unless the King himself should march to Luxembourg, which would be a matter of great importance.”

“Nay,” said M. de Beaufort, “it would be impossible.”

I then perceived that the Duke began to think so too, for it fitted his humour, as he could not endure taking any pains, and, upon this supposition, resolved to stay at home with his arms folded. I said:

“You are able to do anything to-night and tomorrow morning, but I cannot answer how it may be in the evening.”

M. de Beaufort, who thought that I was going to argue for the offensive, fell in roundly with me to second me; but I stopped him short by telling him he mistook my meaning.

“I shall never presume,” said I, “to give advice in the condition things are now in. The Duke himself must decide, and even propose, too, and it is our business to perform his commands.”

Then he said, “If I should resolve to brave it out, will you declare for me?”

“Yes,” I said, “it is what I ought in duty to do. I am attached to your service, in which I shall certainly not be wanting, and you need only to command me. But I am very much grieved that, considering the present state of affairs, an honest man cannot act the honest part, do what he may.”

The Duke, who was by nature good, but not very tender, could not help being moved at what I said; the tears came into his eyes, he embraced me, and asked me if I thought he could secure the King’s person. I told him that nothing was more impossible. I found at length that he was inclined to obey, but he bade us keep our friends together in readiness, and to be with him at break of day. However, he set out for Limours an hour sooner than he had told us, and left word that he had his reasons for so doing, which we should know another day, advising us, if possible, to make our peace with the Court.

On the 22d the King held his Bed of Justice, at the Louvre, where he published the amnesty, as also an order for reestablishing the Parliament at Paris, in which there was a clause forbidding them to meddle with State affairs. At the same time he caused a declaration to be published ordering MM. de Beaufort, Rohan, Viole, de Thou, Broussel, Portail, Bitaud, Croissi, Machaut, Fleury, Martineau, and Perraut to depart the city.

The Court now began to offer me terms of reconciliation. I was desirous that as many of my friends as possible should be included; but Caumartin, who was in the secret of affairs, told me there were no hopes of procuring any advantages for particular persons; that all that could be done was to save the ship for another voyage, and that this ship, which was myself, could be saved in no other way, in the condition into which our affairs were fallen by the Duc d’Orleans’s want of resolution, but by launching out into the main, and steering towards Rome. “You stand,” said he, “as it were, on the point of a needle, and if the Court knew their strength they would rout you as they do the rest; your courage gives you an air that both deceives and disquiets them. Make use of the present opportunity for obtaining what may be serviceable to you in your employ at Rome, for the Court will deny you nothing.”

Montresor, hearing of it, said to me afterwards, with an oath, “He is a villain who says your Eminence can make your peace honourably without making terms for your friends; he who affirms the contrary does it for his own private ends.” Therefore I refused the offers made me by Servien, which were that the King would resign his affairs in Italy to my care, and allow me a pension of 50,000 crowns; that I should have 100,000 crowns towards paying off my debts, and 50,000 in hand towards furniture; that I should continue three years at Rome, and then return to resume my functions at Paris.

The Princess Palatine told me I ought either to accept or else treat with the Cardinal, since all the subalterns were against me. Madame de Lesdiguieres advised me to preserve my equanimity and keep within doors, adding that the Cardinal, who was impatient to return to Paris, but durst not as long as I stayed, would make me a bridge of gold to go out and agree to whatever I demanded. Accordingly, I sent my proposals to the Cardinal, who was then lurking in Turenne’s army upon the frontiers, and desired such and such posts for my friends. Meantime Servien and the Abbe Fouquet endeavoured to exasperate the Queen by telling her that I was continually caballing with the annuitants and officers of the militia; and because I refused to go to Parliament, in obedience to the King’s orders, when he held his Court of Justice there to register the declaration of high treason against the Prince de Conde, the Queen was made to believe that I was intriguing for the Prince, and therefore resolved to ruin me, cost what it would. One officer posted men in a house near Madame de Pommereux’s, to attack me; another was employed to get intelligence at what time of night I was in the habit of visiting her; a third had an order, signed by the King, to attack me in the street and bring me off dead or alive. An unknown person advised me not to go that day to Rambouillet; but I went with two hundred gentlemen, and found a great many officers of the Guards, who, whatever were their orders, were in no condition to attack me, and received me with reverence; but I blamed myself for it afterwards, because it only tended to incense the Court the more against me.

Upon All Saints’ Day I preached at Saint Germain, which is the King’s parish, where their Majesties did me the honour to be present, for which I went next day to return them thanks; but finding that the cautions sent me from all quarters multiplied very fast, I did not go to the Louvre till the 19th of December, when I was arrested in the Queen’s antechamber by the captain of the Guards then in waiting, who carried me into an apartment where the officers of the kitchen brought me dinner, of which I ate heartily, to the mortification of the base courtiers, though I did not take it kindly to see my pockets turned inside out as if I had been a cutpurse. This ceremony, which is not common, was performed by the captain; but he found nothing except a letter from the King of England, desiring me to try if the Court of Rome would assist him with money. When this letter came to be talked of, it was maliciously reported that it came from the Protector. I was carried in one of the King’s coaches, under guard, to Vincennes. As we passed we found at several of the gates a battalion of Swiss with their pikes presented towards the city, where everybody was quiet, though their sorrow and consternation were visible enough. I was afterwards informed, however, that all the butchers in the veal market were going to take up arms, and that they might have made barricades there with all the ease in the world, only they were restrained for fear that I should have paid for their tumult with the loss of my life; so that the women remained in tears, and the men stood stock-still in a fright. I was confined at Vincennes for a fortnight together, in a room as big as a church, without any firing. My guards pilfered my linen, apparel, shoes, etc., so that sometimes I was forced to lie in bed for a week or ten days together for want of clothes to dress myself. I could not but think that such treatment had been ordered by the higher powers on purpose to break my heart; but I resolved not to die that way, and though my guard said all he could to vex me, I affected to take no notice.

The influence of the clergy of Paris obliged the Court to explain itself concerning the causes of my imprisonment, by the mouth of the Chancellor, who, in the presence of the King and Queen, acquainted them that his Majesty had caused me to be arrested for my own good, and to prevent me from putting something that I designed into execution. The chapter of Notre-Dame had an anthem sung every day for my deliverance. The Sorbonne and many of the a religious orders distinguished themselves by declaring for me. This general stir obliged the Court to treat me somewhat better than at first. They let me have a limited number of books, but no ink and paper, and they allowed me a ‘valet de chambre’ and a physician.

During my confinement at Vincennes, which lasted fifteen months, I studied both day and night, especially the Latin tongue, on which I perceive one cannot bestow too much pains, since it takes in all other studies. I dived into the Greek also, and read again the ninth decade of Livy, which I had formerly delighted in, and found as pleasant as ever. I composed, in imitation of Boetius, a treatise, which I entitled “Consolation de la Theologie,” in which I proved that every prisoner ought to endeavour to be ‘vinctus in Christo’ (in the bonds of Christ), mentioned by Saint Paul. I also compiled “Partus Vincennarum,” which was a collection of the Acts of the Church of Milan for the use of the Church of Paris.

My guard omitted nothing he could invent to make my life uneasy and disturb my studies. One day he came and told me that he had received orders from the King to give me an airing on the top of the donjon; and when he perceived that I took a pleasure in walking there, he informed me, with joy in his looks, that he had orders to the contrary. I told him that they were come in good time, for the air, which was too sharp there, had made my head ache. Afterwards he offered to take me down into the tennis-court to see my guards at play. I desired him to excuse me, because I thought the air would be too piercing for me; but he made me go, telling me that the King, who took more care of my health than I fancied, had ordered that he should give me some exercise. Soon after he desired me to excuse him for not bringing me down again, “for reasons,” said he, “which I must not tell.” The truth was, I was so much above these chicaneries that I despised them; but I must own that I used to think within myself that, in the main, to be a prisoner of State was of all others the most afflicting. All the relaxation I had from my studies was to divert myself with some rabbits on the top of the donjon, and some pigeons in the turrets, for which I was indebted to the continual solicitations of the Church of Paris. I had not been a prisoner above nine days when one of my guards, while his comrade who watched me was asleep, came and slipped a note into my hand from Madame de Pommereux, in which were only these words: “Let me have your answer; you may safely trust the bearer.” The bearer gave me a pencil and a piece of paper, on which I wrote that I had received her letter.

Notwithstanding that three sergeants and twenty-four Life-guards relieved one another every day, our correspondence was not interrupted. Madame de Pommereux, M. de Caumartin, and M. de Raqueville wrote me letters twice a week constantly about the means to effect my escape, which I attempted twice, but in vain.

The Abbe Charier, who set out for Rome the day after I was arrested, found Pope Innocent incensed to the highest degree, and ready to throw his thunder upon the heads of the authors of it. He spoke of it to the French Ambassador with great resentment, and sent the Archbishop of Avignon, with the title of Nuncio Extraordinary, on purpose to solicit my release. The King was in a fury, and forebade the Nuncio to pass Lyons. The Pope told the Abbe Charier that he was afraid to expose his and the Church’s authority to the fury of a madman, and said, “Give me but an army, and I will furnish you with a legate.” It was a difficult matter indeed to get him that army, but not impossible, if those that should have stood my friends had not left me in the lurch.

In the meantime Noirmoutier and Bussi Lamet wrote a letter to Mazarin, declaring they could not help proceeding to extremities if I were detained any longer in prison. The Prince de Conde declared he would do anything, without exception, which my friends desired, for my liberty, and offered to march all the Spanish forces to their assistance; but the misfortune was that there was nobody to form the proper schemes; and Noirmoutier, who was the most enterprising man of them all, was hindered from action by Madame de Chevreuse and De Laigues, who, the Cardinal said, would be accountable for the actions of their friends, and that if they fired one pistol-shot they must expect what would follow. Therefore Noirmoutier was glad to elude all the propositions of the Prince de Conde, and to be content with only writing and speaking in my favour, and firing the cannon at the drinking of my health.

M. de Pradello, who commanded the French and Swiss Guards in the castle, came one day to tell me of the happy return of Cardinal Mazarin to Paris, and of his magnificent reception at the Hotel de Ville; and he informed me that the Cardinal had sent him to assure me of his most humble services, and to beg of me to be persuaded that he would forget nothing that might be for my service. I made as if I did not heed the compliment, and was for talking of something else; but as he pressed me for a direct answer, I told him that I should have been ready at the first word to show him my acknowledgments were I not persuaded that the duty of a prisoner to the King did not permit him to explain himself in anything relating to his release, till his Majesty had been graciously pleased to grant it him. He understood my meaning, and endeavoured to persuade me to return a more civil answer to the Cardinal, which I declined to do.

The Cardinal was so pestered with complaints from Rome, and so disturbed with the discontent which prevailed in Poitou and Paris, on account of my imprisonment, that he sent me an offer of my liberty and great advantages, on condition that I would resign the coadjutorship of Paris.

The solicitations of the chapter of Notre-Dame prevailed on the Court to consent that one of their body might be always with me, who, though he came gladly for my sake, fell into a deep melancholy. He could not, however, be prevailed upon to go out; and being soon after seized with a fever, he cut his own throat. My uncle dying soon after, possession was taken of the archbishopric in my name by my proxy, and Tellier, who was sent to Notre-Dame Church to oppose it on the part of the King, was mortified with the thunder of my bulls from Rome. The people were surprised to see all the formalities observed to a nicety, at a juncture when they thought there was no possibility of observing one. The cures waxed warmer than ever, and my friends fanned the flame. The Nuncio, thinking himself slighted by the Court, spoke in dignified terms, and threatened his censures. A little book was published, showing the necessity of shutting up the churches, which aroused the Cardinal’s apprehensions, and his apprehensions naturally led him into negotiation. He amused me with hundreds of fine prospects of church livings, governments, etc., and of being restored to the good graces of the King and to the strictest friendship with his Prime Minister.

I had more liberty than before. They always carried me up to the top of the donjon whenever it was fair overhead; but my friends, who did not doubt that all the Court wanted was to get some expression from me of my inclination to resign, in order to discredit me with the public, charged me to guard warily my words, which advice I followed; so that when a captain of the Guards came from the King to discourse with me upon this head, who, by Mazarin’s direction, talked to me more like a captain of the Janissaries than like an officer of the most Christian King, I desired leave to give him my answer in writing, expressing my contempt for all threats and promises, and an inviolable resolution not to give up the archbishopric of Paris.

Next day President Bellievre came to me on the part of the King, with an offer of seven abbeys, provided I would quit my archbishopric; but he opened his mind to me with entire freedom, and said he could not but think what a fool the Sicilian was to send him on such an errand. “Most of your friends,” said Bellievre, “think that you need only to stand out resolutely, and that the Court will be glad to set you at liberty and send you to Rome; but it is a horrid mistake, for the Court will be satisfied with nothing but your resignation. When I say the Court, I mean Mazarin; for the Queen will not bear the thought of giving you your liberty. The chief thing that determines Mazarin to think of your liberty is his fear of the Nuncio, the chapter, the cures, and the people. But I dare affirm that the Nuncio will threaten mightily, but do nothing; the chapter may perhaps make remonstrances, but to no purpose; the cures will preach, and that is all; the people will clamour, but take up no arms. The consequence will be your removal to Brest or Havre-de-Grace, and leaving you in the hands of your enemies, who will use you as they please. I know that Mazarin is not bloodthirsty, but I tremble to think of what Noailles has told you, that they are resolved to make haste and take such methods as other States have furnished examples of. You may, perhaps, infer from my remarks that I would have you resign. By no means. I have come to tell you that if you resign you will do a dishonourable thing, and that it behooves you on this occasion to answer the great expectation the world is now in on your account, even to the hazarding of your life, and of your liberty, which I am persuaded you value more than life itself. Now is the time for you to put forward more than ever those maxims for which we have so much combated you: ‘I dread no poison nor sword! Nothing can hurt me but what is within me! It matters not where one dies!’ Thus you ought to answer those who speak to you about your resignation.”

I was carried from Vincennes, under guard, to Nantes, where I had numerous visits and diversions, and was entertained with a comedy almost every night, and the company of the ladies, particularly the charming Mademoiselle de La Vergne, who in good truth did not approve of me, either because she had no inclination for me, or else because her friends had set her against me by telling her of my inconstancy and different amours. I endured her cruelty with my natural indifference, and the full liberty Marechal de La Meilleraye allowed me with the city ladies gave me abundance of comfort; nevertheless I was kept under a very strict guard. As I had stipulated with Mazarin that I should have my liberty on condition that I would resign my archbishopric at Vincennes, which I knew would not be valid, I was surprised to hear that the Pope refused to ratify it; because, though it would not have made my resignation a jot more binding, yet it would have procured my liberty. I proposed expedients to the Holy See by which the Court might do it with honour, but the Pope was inflexible. He thought it would damage his reputation to consent to a violence so injurious to the whole Church, and said to my friends, who begged his consent with tears in their eyes, that he could never consent to a resignation extorted from a prisoner by force.

After several consultations with my friends how to make my escape, I effected it on August the 8th, at five o’clock in the evening. I let myself down to the bottom of the bastion, which was forty feet high, with a rope, while my valet de chambre treated the guards with as much liquor as they could drink. Their attention, was, moreover, taken up with looking at a Jacobin friar who happened to be drowned as he was bathing. A sentinel, seeing me, was taking up his musket to fire, but dropped it upon my threatening to have him hanged; and he said, upon examination, that he believed Marechal de La Meilleraye was in concert with me. Two pages who were washing themselves, saw me also, and called out, but were not heard. My four gentlemen waited for me at the bottom of the ravelin, on pretence of watering their horses, so that I was on horseback before the least notice was taken; and, having forty fresh horses planted on the road, I might have reached Paris very soon if my horse had not fallen and caused me to break my shoulder bone, the pain of which was so extreme that I nearly fainted several times. Not being able to continue my journey, I was lodged, with only one of my gentlemen, in a great haystack, while MM. de Brissac and Joly went straight to Beaupreau, to assemble the nobility, there, in order to rescue me. I lay hid there for over seven hours in inexpressible misery, for the pain from my injury threw me into a fever, during which my thirst was much augmented by the smell of the new hay; but, though we were by a riverside, we durst not venture out for water, because there was nobody to put the stack in order again, which would very probably have occasioned suspicion and a search in consequence. We heard nothing but horsemen riding by, who, we were afterwards informed, were Marechal de La Meilleraye’s scouts. About two o’clock in the morning I was fetched out of the stack by a Parisian of quality sent by my friend De Brissac, and carried on a hand-barrow to a barn, where I was again buried alive, as it were, in hay for seven or eight hours, when M. de Brisac and his lady came, with fifteen or twenty horse, and carried me to Beaupreau. From thence we proceeded, almost in eight of Nantes, to Machecoul, in the country of Retz, after having had an encounter with some of Marechal de La Meilleraye’s guards, when we repulsed them to the very barrier.

Marechal de La Meilleraye was so amazed at my escape that he threatened to destroy the whole country with fire and sword, for which reason I was an unwelcome guest to Madame de Retz and her father, who rallied me very uncharitably on my disobedience to the King. We therefore thought fit to leave the country, and went aboard a ship for Belle Isle, whence, after a very short stay there, we escaped to San Sebastian.

Upon my arrival there I sent a letter to the King of Spain requesting leave to pass through his dominions to Rome. The messenger was received at Court with civilities beyond expression, and sent back next day with the present of a gold chain worth 800 crowns. I had also one of the King’s litters sent me, and an invitation to go to Madrid, but I desired to be excused; and though I also refused immense offers if I would but go to Flanders and treat with the Prince de Conde, etc., for the service of Spain, yet I had a velvet coffer sent me with 40,000 crowns in it, which I likewise thought fit to refuse. As I had neither linen nor apparel, either for myself or servants, and as the 400 crowns which we got by the sale of pilchards on board the barque in which we came from Belle Isle were almost all spent, I borrowed 400 crowns of the Baron de Vateville, who commanded for the King of Spain in Guipuzcoa, and faithfully repaid him.

From San Sebastian I travelled incognito to Tudela, where I was met by the King’s mule drivers and waited on by the alcade, who left his wand at my chamber door and at his, entrance knelt and kissed the hem of my garment. From thence I was conducted to Comes by fifty musketeers riding upon asses, who were sent me by the Governor of Navarre. At Saragossa I was taken for the King of England, and a large number of ladies, in over two hundred carriages, came to pay me their respects. Thence I proceeded to Vivaros, where I had rich presents from the Governor of Valencia. And thence I sailed to Majorca, whose Governor met me with above one hundred coaches of the Spanish nobility, and carried me to mass at the Cathedral, where I saw thirty or forty ladies of quality of more than common charms; and, to speak the truth, the women there in general are of rare beauty, having a graceful tincture both of the lily and the rose, and wear a head-dress which is exceedingly pretty. The Governor, after having treated me with a magnificent dinner under a tent of gold brocade near the seaside, carried me to a concert of music in a convent, where I found the nuns not inferior in beauty to the ladies of the town. The Governor carried me to see his lady, who was as ugly as a witch, and was seated under a great canopy sparkling with precious stones, which gave a wonderful lustre to about sixty ladies with her, who were the handsomest in the whole town. I was reconducted on board my galley with music and a discharge of the artillery, and sailed to Port Mahon, and thence through the Gulf of Lyons to the canal between Corsica and Sardinia, where our ship was very nearly cast away upon a sandbank; but with great difficulty we got her off and reached Porto Longone. There we quitted the galley, and went by land to Piombino.


I travelled from Piombino to Florence, where I had great honours and vast offers from the Grand Duke, though Mazarin had threatened him, in the King’s name, with a rupture if he granted me passage through his dominions; but the Grand Duke sent to desire the Cardinal to let him know whether there was any possibility of refusing it without disobliging the Pope and the Sacred College. As I was travelling through the Duke’s country, my mules, being frightened by a clap of thunder, ran with my litter into a brook, where I narrowly escaped being drowned.

As soon as I arrived at Rome the Pope sent me 4,000 crowns in gold. I was immediately informed that a strong faction was formed there against me by the Court of France; that the Cardinal d’Est, representative of that nation, had terrible orders from the King; and that they were resolved to send me packing from Rome, cost what it would. I had my old scruples upon me, and said I would die a thousand deaths rather than make resistance; but I thought it would be too disrespectful in a cardinal to come so near the Pope and to go away without kissing his feet, and I resolved to leave the rest to the providence of God.

The Pope having ordered his guards to be ready, in case the French faction should offer to rise, the Cardinal d’Est was so good as to let me alone. His Holiness gave me an audience of four hours, condescended to beg my forgiveness for not having acted with more vigour for my liberty; and said, with tears in his eyes: “God forgive those who delayed to give me timely notice of your imprisonment, and who made us believe that you had been guilty, of an attempt upon the King’s person. The Sacred College took fire at the news; but the French Ambassador being at liberty, to give out what he chose, because nobody, appeared here on your part to contradict him, Mazarin extinguished it, and half the Sacred College thought you were abandoned by the whole kingdom.” In short, the Pope was so well disposed to me that he thought of adopting me as his nephew, but he sickened soon after and died.

The conclave chose Cardinal Chigi (who was called Alexander VIII.) for his successor, in whose election I had such a share that when it came to my turn, at the adoration of the cardinals, to kiss his feet, he embraced me, saying, “Signor Cardinal de Retz, ‘ecce opus manuum tuarum’” (“Behold the work of your own hands”). I went home accompanied with one hundred and twenty coaches of gentlemen, who did not doubt that I should govern the Pontificate.

My friends in France, who commonly judge of other nations by their own, imagined that a persecuted cardinal might, nay, ought to live like a private man even at Rome, and advised me not to spend much money, because my revenues in France were all seized, and said that such exemplary modesty would have an admirable effect upon the clergy of Paris. But Cardinal Chigi talked after another manner: “When you are reestablished in your see you may live as you please, because you will be in a country where everybody will know what you are or are not able to do. You are now at Rome, where your enemies say every day that you have lost your credit in France, and you are under a necessity to make it appear that what they say is false. You are not a hermit, but a cardinal, and a cardinal, too, of the better rank. At Rome there are many people who love to tread upon men when they are down. Dear sir, take care you do not fall, and do but consider what a figure you will make in the streets with six vergers attending you; otherwise every pitiful citizen of Paris that meets you will be apt to jostle you, in order to make his court to the Cardinal d’Est. You ought not to have come to Rome if you had not had resolution and the means to support your dignity. I presume you do not make it a point of Christian humility to debase yourself. And let me tell you that I, the poor Cardinal Chigi, who have but 5,000 crowns revenue, and am one of the poorest in the College, and though I am sure to meet nobody in the streets who will be wanting in the respect due to the purple, yet I cannot go to my functions without four coaches in livery to attend me.”

Therefore I hired a palace, kept a great table, and entertained fourscore persons in liveries. The Cardinal d’Est, the very day after the creation of the new Pope, forbade all Frenchmen to give me the way in the streets, and charged the superiors of the French churches not to admit me. M. de Lionne, who resided here as a sort of private secretary to Mazarin, was so nettled because the new Pope had granted me the pallium for my archbishopric that he told him the King would never own me, insinuated that there would be a schism among the clergy of France, and that the Pope must expect to be excluded from the congress for a general peace. This so frightened his Holiness that he made a million of mean excuses, and said, with tears in his eyes, that I had imposed upon him, and that he would take the first opportunity to do the King justice. Upon this M. de Lionne sent word to the Cardinal that he hoped very shortly to acquaint him of my being prisoner in the Castle of Saint Angelo, and that the Cardinal would be no better off for his Majesty’s amnesty, because the Pope said none but he could absolve or condemn cardinals. Meantime all my domestics who were subjects of the King of France were ordered to quit my service, on pain of being treated as rebels and traitors. I could have little hope of protection from the Pope, for he was become quite another man, never spoke one word of truth, and continually amused himself with mere trifles, insomuch that one day he proposed a reward for whoever found out a Latin word for “calash,” and spent seven or eight days in examining whether “mosco” came from “muses,” or “musts” from “mosco.” All his piety consisted in assuming a serious air at church, in which, nevertheless, there was a great mixture of pride, for he was vain to the last degree, and envious of everybody. The work entitled “Sindicato di Alexandro VII.” gives an account of his luxury and of several pasquinades against the said Pope, particularly that one day Marforio asking Pasquin what he had said to the cardinals upon his death-bed, Pasquin answered, “Maxima de aeipso, plurima de parentibus, parva de principibus, turpia de cardinalibus, pauca de Ecclesia, de Deo nihil.” (“He said fine things of himself, a great many things of his kindred, some things of princes, nothing good of the cardinals, but little of the Church, and nothing at all of God”). His Holiness, in a consistory, laid claim to the merit of the conversion of Christina, Queen of Sweden, though everybody knew to the contrary, and that she had abjured heresy a year and a half before she came to Rome.

Having heard that Bussiere, who is Chamberlain to the Ambassadors at Rome, had declared I should not have a place in Saint Louis’s church on the festival of that saint, I was not discouraged from going thither. At my entrance he snatched the holy water stick from the cure just as he was going to sprinkle me; nevertheless, I took my place, and was resolved to keep up the status and dignity of a French cardinal. This was my condition at Rome, where it was my fate to be a refugee, persecuted by my King and abused by the Pope. All my revenues were seized, and the French bankers forbidden to serve me; nay, those who had an inclination to assist me were forced to promise they would not. Two of the Abbe Fouquet’s bastards were publicly maintained out of my revenues, and no means were left untried to hinder the farmers from relieving me, or my creditors from harassing me with vexatious and expensive lawsuits.


Always judged of actions by men, and never men by their actions
Always to sacrifice the little affairs to the greater
Arms which are not tempered by laws quickly become anarchy
Associating patience with activity
Assurrance often supplies the room of good sense
Blindness that make authority to consist only in force
Bounty, which, though very often secret, had the louder echo
Buckingham had been in love with three Queens
By the means of a hundred pistoles down, and vast promises
Civil war as not powerful enough to conclude a peace
Civil war is one of those complicated diseases
Clergy always great examples of slavish servitude
Confounded the most weighty with the most trifling
Contempt—the most dangerous disease of any State
Dangerous to refuse presents from one’s superiors
Distinguished between bad and worse, good and better
Fading flowers, which are fragrant to-day and offensive tomorrow
False glory and false modesty
Fool in adversity and a knave in prosperity
Fools yield only when they cannot help it
Good news should be employed in providing against bad
He weighed everything, but fixed on nothing
He knew how to put a good gloss upon his failings
He had not a long view of what was beyond his reach
Help to blind the rest of mankind, and they even become blinder
His ideas were infinitely above his capacity
His wit was far inferior to his courage
Impossible for her to live without being in love with somebody
Inconvenience of popularity
Insinuation is of more service than that of persuasion
Is there a greater in the world than heading a party?
Kinds of fear only to be removed by higher degrees of terror
Laws without the protection of arms sink into contempt
Man that supposed everybody had a back door
Maxims showed not great regard for virtue
Mazarin: embezzling some nine millions of the public money
Men of irresolution are apt to catch at all overtures
More ambitious than was consistent with morality
My utmost to save other souls, though I took no care of my own
Need of caution in what we say to our friends
Neither capable of governing nor being governed
Never had woman more contempt for scruples and ceremonies
Nothing is so subject to delusion as piety
Oftener deceived by distrusting than by being overcredulous
One piece of bad news seldom comes singly
Only way to acquire them is to show that we do not value them
Passed for the author of events of which I was only the prophet
Poverty so well became him
Power commonly keeps above ridicule
Pretended to a great deal more wit than came to his share
Queen was adored much more for her troubles than for her merit
She had nothing but beauty, which cloys when it comes alone
So indiscreet as to boast of his successful amours
Strongest may safely promise to the weaker what he thinks fit
The subdivision of parties is generally the ruin of all
The wisest fool he ever saw in his life
Those who carry more sail than ballast
Thought he always stood in need of apologies
Transitory honour is mere smoke
Treated him as she did her petticoat
Useful man in a faction because of his wonderful complacency
Vanity to love to be esteemed the first author of things
Verily believed he was really the man which he affected to be
Virtue for a man to confess a fault than not to commit one
We are far more moved at the hearing of old stories
Weakening and changing the laws of the land
Who imagine the head of a party to be their master
Whose vivacity supplied the want of judgment
Wisdom in affairs of moment is nothing without courage
With a design to do good, he did evil
Yet he gave more than he promised
You must know that, with us Princes, words go for nothing