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

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of peace took place on the 24th of September in the garden of the
Palais-Royal; those present stuck in their hats pieces of white paper in
opposition to the Frondeurs' tufts of straw. People fought in the
streets on behalf of these tokens. For some weeks past Cardinal de Retz
had remained inactive, and his friends pressed him to move. "You see
quite well," they said, "that Mazarin is but a sort of jack-in-the-box,
out of sight to-day and popping up to-morrow; but you also see that,
whether he be in or out, the spring that sends him up or down is that of
the royal authority, the which will not, apparently, be so very soon
broken by the means taken to break it. The obligation you are under
towards Monsieur, and even towards the public, as regards Mazarin, does
not allow you to work for his restoration; he is no longer here, and,
though his absence may be nothing but a mockery and a delusion, it
nevertheless gives you an opportunity for taking certain steps which
naturally lead to that which is for your good." Retz lost no time in
going to Compiegne, where the king had installed himself after Mazarin's
departure; he took with him a deputation of the clergy, and received in
due form the cardinal's hat. He was the bearer of proposals for an
accommodation from the Duke of Orleans, but the queen cut him short. The
court perceived its strength, and the instructions of Cardinal Mazarin
were precise. The ruin of De Retz was from that moment resolved upon.

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

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

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

"Monseigneur,
"Your most humble and most obedient servant and subject,
"GASTON."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: Fouquet----404]

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

[Illustration: Colbert----405]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: Louvois----411]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Emperor Napoleon said of Turenne, "He is the only general whom
experience ever made more daring." He had been fighting for forty years,
and his fame was still increasing, without effort or ostentation on his
part. "M. de Turenne, from his youth up, possessed all good qualities,"
wrote Cardinal de Retz, who knew him well, "and the great he acquired
full early. He lacked none but those that he did not think about. He
possessed nearly all virtues as it were by nature; he never possessed the
glitter of any. He was believed to be more fitted for the head of an
army than of a party, and so I think, because he was not naturally
enterprising; but, however, who knows? He always had in everything, just
as in his speech, certain obscurities, which were never cleared up save
by circumstances, but never save to his glory." He had said, when he set
out, to this same Cardinal de Retz, then in retirement at Commercy, "Sir,
I am no _talker (diseur),_ but I beg you to believe that, if it were not
for this business in which perhaps I may be required, I would go into
retirement as you have gone, and I give you my word that, if I come back,
I, like you, will put some space between life and death." God did not
leave him time. He summoned suddenly to Him this noble, grand, and
simple soul. "I see that cannon loaded with all eternity," says Madame
de Sevigne: "I see all that leads M. de Turenne thither, and I see

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