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The Life of Marie de Medicis, Vol. 2 (of 3) by Julia Pardoe

Part 2 out of 7

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Conde, believing that the support of one who was all-powerful for the
moment might be of essential service in counteracting the ambitious
views of so formidable a rival; and, moreover, advantageous in assisting
him to accomplish the marriage of his son Louis de Bourbon with
Mademoiselle de Montpensier, an alliance which was the great object of
his ambition.[48]

Thus the Duc d'Epernon was not only powerful in himself, but found his
pretensions recognized and sanctioned by a Prince of the Blood, an
advantage of which he was not slow to appreciate the value; and he
consequently listened to the expostulations which were addressed to him
by those who dreaded the effects of his interference in state affairs
with a quiet indifference that satisfied them of their utter inutility.

But while the Queen was bewildered by these conflicting claims, her
ministers, who were anxious to retain the power in their own hands, were
not displeased to see the number of candidates for place daily increase.
They were aware that on the arrival of the Prince de Conde he must
necessarily take his seat in the council, while it would be equally
impossible to exclude the Comte de Soissons, the Duc de Montmorency, or
the Cardinal de Joyeuse; and they felt that nothing could more
effectually limit the power of these great dignitaries than the
admission of so large a number as must tend to diminish their influence
over the Queen, and to create a confusion in the management of public
affairs which would necessarily render her more dependent upon their own
wisdom and experience. Under this persuasion they consequently impressed
upon her the absolute necessity of satisfying every claimant; and a
council was accordingly formed which was more noisy than efficient; and
where, although each was free to deliver his opinion, the ministers were
careful, in their secret audiences of the Queen, during which they
exposed their own views and sentiments, to carry out their preconceived

The struggle which the late King had foretold between the Regent and her
son had, meanwhile, already commenced. The character of Louis XIII was,
from his earliest boyhood, at once saturnine and obstinate; and thus,
aware of the importance which the Queen attached to the exercises of
religion, he commenced his predetermined opposition to her will by
refusing to observe them. Remonstrances and arguments were alike
unavailing; the boy-King declined to listen to either; and Marie
ultimately commanded that he should undergo the chastisement of the
rod. The order was given, but no one volunteered obedience; the
vengeance of the man might hereafter compensate for the mortification of
the child; and the son of Marie de Medicis, stolid and gloomy though he
was, had already imbibed a full sense of the respect due to his
sovereign rank.

"How now, M. de Souvre!" [50] exclaimed the Queen; "is the frown of a
wayward boy more dangerous than the displeasure of a mother? I insist
that the King shall undergo the chastisement which he has so
richly merited."

Thus urged, the unwilling governor was compelled not only to lay his
hands upon the sacred person of royalty, but also to prepare to execute
the peremptory command of his irritated mistress; and the young Louis no
sooner perceived the impossibility of escape than he coldly submitted to
the infliction, merely saying, "I suppose it must be so, M. de Souvre,
since it is the will of the Queen; but be careful not to strike
too hard."

An hour or two afterwards, when he paid his usual visit to the Regent,
her Majesty rose on his entrance, according to the established
etiquette, and made him a profound curtsey. "I should prefer, Madame,"
said the young Prince, "fewer curtseys and fewer floggings." [51]

At the commencement of June intelligence reached the Court of the death
of the Archbishop of Rouen, the natural brother of the late King, and
it was no sooner authenticated than the Regent hastened to bestow his
abbey of St. Florent upon M. de Souvre, and that of Marmoutier, one of
the most wealthy and beautiful in France, upon the brother of her
favourite Leonora,[52] an unhappy being who was not only deformed in
person, but so wholly deficient in intellect that every effort even to
teach him to read had proved ineffectual. So abject was he, indeed, that
Concini had been careful never to allow him to come into contact with
Henri IV lest he should be banished from the Court; and this ill-advised
donation consequently excited great disapprobation, and elicited fresh
murmurs against the Italian followers of the Queen.

These were, moreover, augmented by another circumstance which
immediately supervened. A report was spread of the decease of M. de
Boece, the Governor of Bourg-en-Bresse, a brave and faithful soldier,
who had rendered good service to his country; and the Queen, urged by
her favourite, was imprudent enough, without awaiting proper
confirmation of the rumour, to confer the government upon Concini, whose
arrogance, fostered as it was by the indulgence of his royal mistress,
was already becoming intolerable to the native nobility. This fact was,
however, no sooner made known to M. de Boece, who had not, as it
subsequently appeared, even laboured under indisposition, than he
addressed a letter of respectful expostulation to the Regent, in which
he expressed his concern at the necessity of interfering with the
pleasure of her Majesty in the rapid disposal of his government, and
assured her that he was still able and anxious to discharge the duties
of the trust confided to him by the late King; informing her, moreover,
that he had in his possession a grant from her royal husband, bestowing
the survivorship of his appointment upon his son, of which he solicited
the confirmation by herself, feeling convinced that she could never be
served by a more zealous or able subject.[53]

Concini was accordingly divested of his government as abruptly as he had
acquired it; reluctantly resigning the coveted dignity amid the laughter
and epigrams of the whole Court.

In addition to these extraordinary instances of imprudence, Marie de
Medicis had also compromised herself with the people by the reluctance
which she evinced to investigate the circumstances connected with the
murder of her husband. Ravaillac had suffered, as we have shown, and
that too in the most frightful manner, the consequences of his crime;
persisting to the last in his assertion that he had acted independently
and had no accomplices; but his testimony, although signed in blood and
torture, had failed to convince the nation which had been so suddenly
and cruelly bereft of its monarch; and among all classes sullen rumours
were rife which involved some of the highest and proudest in the
land.[54] Among these the Duc d'Epernon, as already stated, stood out so
prominently that he had been compelled to justify himself, while the
favour which he had so suddenly acquired turned the public attention
towards the Queen herself.

Suspicions of her complicity, however ill-founded, had, indeed, existed
even previously to this period, for Rambure, when speaking of the visit
of Sully to the Louvre on the day after the assassination, a visit in
which he professes to have accompanied him, says without any attempt at
disguise, "The Queen received us with great affability, and even mingled
her tears and sobs with ours, although we were both aware of the
satisfaction that she felt in being thus delivered from the King, _of
whose death she was not considered to be wholly guiltless_, and of
becoming her own absolute mistress.... She then addressed several other
observations to the Duke, during which time he wept bitterly, while she
occasionally shed a few tears of a very different description." [55]

These assertions, vague as they are, and utterly baseless as they must
be considered by all unprejudiced minds, nevertheless suffice to prove
that the finger of blame had already been pointed towards the
unfortunate Marie; an unhappy circumstance which doubled the
difficulties of her position, and should have tended to arouse her
caution; but the haughty and impetuous nature of the Tuscan Princess
could not bend to any compromise, and thus she recklessly augmented the
amount of dislike which was growing up against her.

On the 8th of July the ex-Queen Marguerite gave a magnificent
entertainment to the Court at her beautiful estate of Issy; on her
return from whence to the capital, the Regent mounted a Spanish jennet,
and, surrounded by her guards, galloped at full speed to the faubourg,
where she dismounted and entered her coach, still environed by armed
men. As she had her foot upon the step of the carriage, a poor woman who
stood among the crowd exclaimed with an earnestness which elicited
general attention, "Would to God, Madame, that as much care had been
taken of our poor King; we should not then be where we are!"

The Queen paused for a moment, and turned pale; but immediately
recovering her self-possession, she took her seat, and bowed affably to
the people. The greeting on their part was, however, cold and reluctant.
They were still weeping over the bier of their murdered sovereign, and
they could not brook the apparent levity with which his widow had
already entered into the idle gaieties of the Court.[56]

"Only five months after Henry's assassination," says Rambure, "such of
the nobles as were devoted to his memory expressed among themselves
their indignation at the bearing of the Queen; who, although compelled
at intervals to assume some semblance of grief, was more frequently to
be seen with a smiling countenance, and constantly followed the hunt on
horseback, attended by a suite of four or five hundred princes and
nobles." [57]

In order to avert all discontent among the people, the ministers had
induced the Regent not only to diminish the duty upon salt, a boon for
which they were always grateful, but also to delay the enforcement of
several obnoxious commissions, and to revoke no less than fifty-four
edicts which had been issued for the imposition of new taxes; while
presents in money were made to the most influential of the Protestant
party, and the Edict of Nantes was confirmed.

Such was the state of the French Court on the return of the Prince de
Conde, whose arrival had been anxiously anticipated by his personal
friends and adherents, and strongly urged by the Regent herself; but
when she ascertained that a large body of nobles had gone as far as
Senlis to receive him, and that among these were all the Princes of
Lorraine, the Marechal de Bouillon, and the Duc de Sully, she became
apprehensive that a cabal was about to be formed against her authority;
a suspicion which was augmented by the regal state in which he entered
the capital, attended and followed by more than fifteen hundred
individuals of rank.

Her fears were, moreover, eagerly fostered by the Comte de Soissons, the
Duc d'Epernon, and the Cardinal de Joyeuse, who, desirous of retaining
the influence which they had already acquired, neglected no method of
arousing her jealousy against the first Prince of the Blood. In
pursuance of this purpose M. d'Epernon, to whom the safety of the city
had been confided during the first alarm created by the murder of the
King, no sooner learnt the approach of the Prince than he doubled the
guards at the different gates, and even proposed to form garrisons in
the avenues leading to them; a circumstance which was immediately made
known to M. de Conde, who expressed great indignation at such an
imputation upon his loyalty. This affront was, however, remedied by the
able courtier, who, being anxious to conciliate both parties, had no
sooner convinced the Queen of his zeal for her interests than he
proceeded, accompanied by a hundred mounted followers, to welcome the
Prince before he could reach the city.

M. de Conde dined at Le Bourget, where he expressed his acknowledgments
to the several nobles by whom he was surrounded, and declared his
intention of upholding by every means in his power the dignity and
authority of the Regent. At the close of the repast he once more ordered
his horses, and retraced his steps as far as St. Denis, where he caused
a mass to be said for the soul of the deceased King, and aspersed the
royal coffin; after which he proceeded direct to Paris, receiving upon
his way perpetual warnings not to trust himself within the gates of the
capital. He, however, destroyed these anonymous communications one
after the other, and was rewarded by a note hastily written by the
President de Thou,[58] in which he was entreated to disregard the
efforts which were made to dissuade him from entering Paris, where the
Queen was prepared to receive him with all possible honour and welcome.

Thus assured, M. de Conde, mounted upon a pied charger, which had been
presented to him by the Archduke, and habited in the deepest mourning,
continued his journey, having his brother-in-law the Prince of Orange on
his right hand and the Comte de Beaumont on his left, with whom he
occasionally conversed; but it was remarked that as he drew near the
capital he became absent and ill at ease; and his discomposure was
destined to be increased by the circumstance that on his arrival at the
Louvre the gates were closed upon the greater number of his followers,
and only a slender retinue permitted to enter with him. On ascending the
great staircase, in order to pay his respects to the King, he was
informed that his Majesty was in the Queen's apartment, towards which he
immediately proceeded. His reception was gracious and affectionate, and
he had no sooner knelt and kissed hands than the Regent assured him of
the joy that she felt at his return, and the confidence with which she
looked forward to his advice and assistance. On quitting the royal
presence, after a prolonged interview, the Prince warmly expressed his
gratification at the welcome which had been accorded to him, declaring
that he should for ever hold himself indebted to the Queen for an amount
of affability which he could not have anticipated.

From the palace M. de Conde proceeded to his residence at the Hotel de
Lyon, accompanied by the Duc de Guise, and followed by the same suite
with which he had entered the capital; and thence he hastened to the
residence of the Comtesse d'Auvergne to greet the Princess. Their
meeting was warm and affectionate; both were anxious to forget the past,
and to profit by the future; while the sincerity of the reconciliation
on the part of Madame de Conde was fully proved by her subsequent
devotion to his interests and happiness. Their interview was a long and
affecting one, and the Prince spent the remainder of the day in her
society, returning, however, in the evening to the Louvre to be present
at the _coucher_ of the King, whom he assisted to undress; after which
he waited upon the Queen, with whom he remained until a late hour.[59]

During the ensuing week Conde was entirely occupied in receiving the
visits of the nobility, who unanimously hastened to pay their respects,
and to solicit his protection. He held, in fact, a species of court,
upon which the favourites of the Regent did not fail to comment with an
emphatic bitterness that once more awakened the suspicions of Marie;
who, aware of the popularity of the Prince, was easily persuaded to
believe that these demonstrations were pregnant with danger to the
interests of her son; and, aware of the instability of her own position,
the prejudices which were entertained against her person, and the
ambition of the great nobles, she listened with avidity to the
suggestions of MM. de Soissons, d'Epernon, and de Joyeuse, that she
should effect the arrest of Conde before he had time to organize a
faction in his favour. In addition to the public homage of which he was
the object, they pointed out to her that frequent councils were held,
which were attended by all the chiefs of his party, both at the Hotel de
Mayenne and at the Arsenal, where the treasure amassed by the late King
still remained under the guardianship, and at the discretion of, the Duc
de Sully. They reminded her also of the manner in which the Prince had
quitted the capital, and the vehemence with which he had expressed his
indignation at the treatment he had received, not only to his personal
friends, but also at the foreign courts which he had visited during his
absence; and they besought her to take proper precautions before it
became too late.[60]

These arguments were also warmly advocated by Concini and his wife, the
Papal Nuncio, the Spanish Ambassador, the Chancellor Sillery, Villeroy,
Jeannin, Arnaud,[61] and the celebrated Pere Cotton,[62] who had fully
possessed himself of the confidence of the Queen, and who was admitted
to all her private councils.[63] Fortunately, however, Marie hesitated
to hazard so extreme a step; and day after day went by without any
hostile manifestation on the part of the Prince, who openly declared
himself resolved to support her authority. As her alarm on this subject
diminished, the private friends of the Queen turned their attention to
other matters of political interest; and according to the testimony of
Sully, zealously employed themselves in contravening all the wishes, and
disappointing all the views, of Henri IV. "There can be no difficulty,"
he says with a bitterness which shows how deeply he felt his own
exclusion, "in deciding upon the subject of their deliberations. The
union of the crowns of France and Spain, the abolition of ancient
alliances with foreign powers, the abolition of all the edicts of
pacification, the destruction of the Protestants, the exclusion of those
of the reformed religion from places of trust, the disgrace of all who
will not submit to the yoke of the new favourites, the dissipation of
the treasures amassed by the late King, in order to secure the services
of the greedy and the ambitious, and to load with wealth and power such
as are destined to rise to the highest dignities in the realm--that is
to say, a thousand projects as pernicious to the King and to the state
as they were advantageous to our most mortal enemies,--such were the
great objects of the deliberations of these new counsellors." [64]

Be this as it may, it is certain that as regarded the Prince de Conde,
the Queen was better served by accident than she would have been by the
dangerous advice of her friends. The wise precaution which she had taken
of arming the citizens of Paris, and of placing them under the command
of individuals chosen by herself, and who had taken an oath of fidelity
to her service in the Hotel de Ville, secured the loyalty of the
populace; while the jealousy of the Guises, who, even while professing
the most ardent attachment to M. de Conde, were gradually becoming
cooler in his cause and quarrelling among themselves, gave no
encouragement to an attempt at revolt on his part, even should he have
been inclined to hazard it.

The Duc de Bouillon alone laboured incessantly to undermine the power of
the Regent; and he at length suggested to the Prince that in order to
counterbalance the authority of the Court, and to maintain his own
rightful dignity, he would do well to return to his original religion,
and to place himself at the head of the Protestants, who would form a
very important and powerful party. M. de Conde, however, declined to
follow this advice, protesting that he had no desire to involve the
kingdom in intestine commotion, and was content to await the progress of
events.[65] It is probable that he was the more readily induced to exert
this forbearance from the extreme generosity of the Queen, who,
remembering the abruptness with which he had been deprived, on the
occasion of his marriage, of the many lucrative appointments bestowed
upon him, hastened to present him with a pension of two hundred thousand
livres; to which she added the Hotel de Conti in the Faubourg St.
Germain, which she purchased for that purpose at a similar sum, the
county of Clermont, and other munificent donations.[66]

Nor was M. de Conde the only recipient of her uncalculating generosity,
as may be gathered from the following document from the pen of

"The good management of the savings fund of the late King left us, when
he was taken away, five millions in the Bastille; and in the hands of
the treasurer of the fund from seven to eight millions more, with which
he had intended to pay the army that he had raised in order to extend
the limits of his glory, which would admit no others than those of the
universe itself. The uncertainty in which we were left by that fatal
event rendering it necessary that we should secure the safety of the
state by the counterpoise of a certain body of troops, we found
ourselves constrained to employ a portion of the finances in maintaining
during a few months a large military force which had already been
raised; so that this outlay, the funeral of the King, and the coronation
of the Queen, of which the expenses were not paid, reduced these savings
very considerably. After the death of that great Prince, who was the
actual ruler of the state, it was impossible to prevent a certain
disorder, which even went so far as to induce several individuals, who
measured their deserts by their ambition, shamefully to seek, and
pertinaciously to persist in demanding, benefits which they could never
have hoped to secure during his lifetime. They profit by the
difficulties of the period, offer to serve the state, declare how they
have it in their power to injure the national interests, and, in short,
make it clearly understood that they will only do their duty upon the
most advantageous terms; and so conduct themselves that even those who
had assisted the King in amassing his treasure advise the Queen to yield
to the exigences of the time, to open her hands, and to give largely to
every one.

"In accordance with these counsels she increases the pensions and
establishments of the Princes, the nobles, and the old servants of the
Crown; she grants new ones; she augments the garrisons of her
fortresses, as much to satisfy those who hold them as for the safety of
the country, and maintains a greater number of troops than formerly; the
increase of these pensions amounting on an average to three millions
annually. The expense of the light horse and infantry is at present
(1617) three millions three hundred thousand livres; while in 1610 it
amounted only to fifteen hundred thousand francs. She makes numerous
presents, and this under advice, without increasing her receipts, as
well as reducing them annually two millions five hundred thousand livres
by the diminution of the duty on salt; and so augments her expenses
that, upon mature consideration, we shall rather be applauded for being
in the state we still are after so many necessary outlays, than blamed
for having incurred them. M. le Prince (Conde) received during six years
three millions six hundred and sixty thousand livres; the Prince and
Princesse de Conti above one million four hundred thousand; the Duc de
Guise nearly one million seven hundred thousand; M. de Nevers one
million six hundred thousand; M. de Longueville[67] one million two
hundred thousand; MM. de Mayenne, father and son, two millions and
several thousands; M. de Vendome near six hundred thousand; M. d'Epernon
and his children near seven hundred thousand; and M. de Bouillon near
a million.

"All the Marshals of France, of which the number was increased one half,
received four times as much as formerly, their pensions being augmented
twenty-four thousand livres, which, in six years, allowing to each one
hundred and forty-four thousand livres, and calculating them at eight in
number, as they have always been, make, one with the other, one million
one hundred and fifty-two thousand livres.

"Six other dukes, or officers of the Crown, received the same allowance,
augmenting the outlay in six years by eighty-six thousand four hundred
livres. Hence it is easy to see how the treasury of France was
exhausted, since eleven or twelve articles in favour of the great nobles
of the state carry off nearly seventeen millions, without including all
that was paid to them in the shape of salaries and appointments, the
_deniers du talion_[68] for their companies of men-at-arms, grants for
the maintenance of the garrisons of their fortresses, and finally,
without calculating the troubles occasioned by several among them;
troubles which, having compelled us on three several occasions to take
up arms, have cost us, upon a strict computation, more than twenty
millions of additional outlay." [69]

We have copied this document at full length, and in this place, in
order, in so far as we are enabled so to do, to exonerate Marie de
Medicis from the charge of reckless extravagance unsparingly brought
against her by the Duc de Sully. Richelieu himself, at the period at
which this report was furnished to the ministers, was little disposed to
extenuate the errors of the Regent; and cannot, consequently, be
supposed to have volunteered any palliative circumstances. Moreover, it
is worthy of notice that the enormous sums registered above were not
lavished upon the personal favourites of the Queen, but were literally
the price paid by the nation to purchase the loyalty of its Princes and
nobles; a frightful state of things, which exhibits more forcibly than
any argument the utter powerlessness of Marie to restrain the excessive
expenditure by which the kingdom was so soon reduced to the brink of

The Regent having renewed all the alliances of France with the several
European powers, they at this period accredited extraordinary
ambassadors to the French capital, to offer the condolences and
congratulations of their respective sovereigns to the young King and his
mother. Among these the most interesting to the personal feelings of
Marie was Lord Wharton; who, in addition to the merely verbal
compliments common on such occasions, presented to Louis XIII, in the
name of his royal master, James I, the Order of the Garter, accompanied
by his affectionate assurances that he had not forgotten the promise
exchanged between himself and the late monarch, that whichever of the
two survived would be as a father to the children of the other; a
pledge which he declared himself to be both ready and anxious to ratify.
Nor was this the first proof of sympathy which the English monarch had
evinced towards Marie and her son, the Court of London having
immediately put on mourning on learning the death of Henri IV, and a
suspension of all public amusements having taken place throughout the
capital. Gratified by so signal a demonstration of respect and regard,
the Regent accordingly no sooner ascertained that the British envoy was
approaching Paris than she despatched a party of four hundred mounted
nobles to meet him outside the gates, and herself took her station at a
window in order to see him pass; a condescension which was considered to
be a signal honour at that period.

The most important of these missions, politically considered, was,
however, that of the Duque de Feria,[70] who arrived in France with a
brilliant suite, charged with the most specious and high-sounding
professions and promises of Philip of Spain, who pledged himself to
support the Regency under all circumstances, and to place at the
disposal of the Queen whatever assistance she might require against both
external and internal enemies. These magnificent assurances were coldly
received by most of his hearers, who distrusted alike the Spanish
monarch and his envoy; and who had not yet forgotten that only a few
months had elapsed since Philip had himself endeavoured, not merely to
dispossess Marie of her authority, but also to incite M. de Conde to
dispute the throne itself with her young son. Upon the Queen and her
immediate friends they, however, produced a contrary effect; her leaning
towards the Court of Spain inducing her to welcome every symptom of a
desire on the part of that Cabinet to maintain a good understanding with
her own Government. Her reception of the Duque de Feria was consequently
so gracious that he immediately proceeded to renew the negotiation
already mooted for the double alliance between the two nations, which
must, should it ever be effected, render their interests, at least for a
time, inseparable. No proposition could be more acceptable to Marie de
Medicis, who, harassed and dispirited, gladly welcomed any prospect of
support by which she might hope to keep her turbulent nobility in check;
while Philip on his side was anxious to effect so desirable an alliance,
as it would enable him, irrespectively of its contingent advantages, to
gain time, and thus secure the means of settling the affairs of Germany,
which were embroiled by the misunderstanding between the Emperor and
his brothers.

The Spanish Cabinet was, moreover, desirous of widening the breach
between the Catholics and Protestants of France, an attempt in which it
was zealously seconded by the Pope, who was readily persuaded that no
measure could be so desirable for the accomplishment of such a purpose
as a union between the two crowns. Thus the objections which had
appeared insuperable to Henri IV lost all their weight in the mutual
anxiety of Marie and Philip to secure the advantages which each sought
to gain; and, as the youth of Louis XIII forbade the immediate
celebration of the marriage, a private pledge was exchanged between the
ministers of France and the Spanish envoy, that the Regent should not
interfere with the measures of the House of Austria in Germany, while
Spain should refuse all support to the malcontents in her own kingdom;
and this mutual understanding once established, the double alliance was

In the midst of the important interests by which the mind of Marie de
Medicis was at this period occupied, a fresh demand upon her attention
was made by Madame de Verneuil, who on the 15th of September laid before
the Comte de Soissons, the Cardinal de Joyeuse, and the Duc d'Epernon,
the written engagement which she had received from the Duc de Guise, and
urged its enforcement. Her claim was warmly espoused by M. de Soissons,
who at once declared the document to be valid and unanswerable; while it
was admitted by all by whom it was examined to be strictly legal in
form, and to authorize her in demanding its ratification. Unlike that
which she had previously extorted from Henri IV, the promise which the
Marquise now produced was not only signed by M. de Guise himself, but
also by two notaries, a priest, and several witnesses. Unfortunately,
however, whether by accident, or intention on the part of the Duke, both
the notaries by whom it had been attested were aged men, one of whom had
subsequently died; while the other had become so imbecile that when
interrogated upon the subject, he first doubted, and subsequently
denied, all knowledge of the transaction; but as these contingencies did
not affect the signature of M. de Guise himself, his position was
sufficiently embarrassing; and the rather that, his passion for the
Marquise having been long extinguished, he had become the acknowledged
suitor of the Dowager Duchess of Montpensier.

There can be little doubt that had Henri IV still lived Madame de
Verneuil would have been enabled to enforce her claim, as that monarch
would not have suffered so admirable an opportunity of mortifying the
Guises to have escaped him; and thus individual imprudence would have
afforded him a triumph which the fortune of arms had hitherto denied,
and the most jealous watchfulness failed to secure; but his death had
changed the position of all the parties interested in the affair, and
Marie de Medicis looked upon it with very different feelings. Her old
and still existing hatred of the Marquise was renewed by an exhibition
of arrogance which recalled to memory some of the most bitter moments of
her existence; and her pride as a sovereign was revolted at the prospect
of seeing the woman by whom her peace had been destroyed elevated to the
rank of a Princess of the Blood, and placed beside the very steps of
her throne.

She was, moreover, anxious to limit the power of the Comte de Soissons,
and to prevent the proposed marriage of his son Louis de Bourbon with
the heiress of Montpensier, which would have opened up a still wider
field for his ambition. She accordingly espoused the cause of the Duc de
Guise, who, having no other alternative by which to rid himself of the
Marquise, did not scruple to deny the authenticity of the signature
ascribed to him; and he had no sooner resolutely done this, than the
Regent placed the affair in the hands of the President Jeannin, who with
his usual ability at length succeeded in inducing Madame de Verneuil to
withdraw her claims. Aware that he could hope nothing either from her
generosity or her dread of ridicule, the astute lawyer represented to
her the inequality of the contest in which she was about to engage
without any ulterior support; whereas the Duc de Guise was not only
powerful in himself, but would necessarily be supported by all the
members of his family, as well as protected by the Queen.

The Marquise for a time affected to believe that the legality of the
document in her possession must enable her to triumph even over these
obstacles, formidable as they were; but Jeannin reminded her of the
death of one of her witnesses, the denial of another, and the solemn
declaration of the Duke that his own signature was feigned; assuring
her that these circumstances must prove more than sufficient to prevent
the recognition of the deed in any court of law. When he found that this
argument had produced the desired impression, he next proceeded to
expatiate upon the benefit which she could not fail to derive from the
gratitude of the Guises, should she voluntarily withdraw her claim
without subjecting the Duke to the annoyance of a public lawsuit; during
which, moreover, her former _liaison_ with his brother, the Prince de
Joinville, could not fail to be made matter of comment and curiosity. He
urged upon her the desirability of avoiding a publicity which must tend
to dishonour both herself and her children; and, finally, he pointed out
the propriety and policy of seizing so favourable an opportunity to
secure the goodwill of the Regent, who would as a natural consequence be
gratified by such a concession, and be thus induced to bury the past
in oblivion.

Madame de Verneuil wept and argued in vain. Jeannin was indeed too
subtle an antagonist to afford her one inch of vantage-ground; and he so
thoroughly undermined the reasonings which she advanced, that, wearied
and discouraged, she at length consented to forego her claim.

Deprived of the position which she had formerly held at the Court, she
never re-appeared there, but spent the remainder of her life either on
her estate at Verneuil, or in her hotel at Paris, in such complete
retirement that nothing more is known of her save the period of her
death, which took place on the 9th of February 1633, when she had
reached her fifty-fourth year.[72]


[26] Madame de Sully, the second wife of the Duke, was Rachel de
Gochefilet, the daughter of Jacques, Seigneur de Vaucelas, and of Marie
d'Arbalete. She was first married to Francois Hurault, Sieur de
Chateaupers et du Marais, who died in 1590. She survived the Duc de
Sully, and died in 1659, at the age of ninety-three years. The arrogance
of this lady was so notorious that it became the subject of one of those
biting epigrams for which Henri IV had rendered himself famous; for it
is on record that upon an occasion when he was a guest at the table of
the finance minister, he drank her health, accompanied by the following

"Je bois a _toi_, Sully;
Mais j'ai failli;
Je devois dire a _vous_, adorable Duchesse,
Pour boire a vos appas
Faut mettre chapeau bas."

_Dictionnaire des Hommes Illustres_.

[27] Bassompierre, _Mem_. p. 72.

[28] Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. p. 55.

[29] Extracted from the Parliamentary Registers in the Memoirs of
Phelipeaux de Pontchartrain, Secretary of the Orders of Marie
de Medicis.

[30] L'Etoile, vol. iv. p. 49.

[31] _Mem. pour l'Hist. de France_, vol. ii. p. 359.

[32] _Mercure Francais_, 1611, p. 17.

[33] Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. p. 56.

[34] Charles de Cosse, Comte de Brissac, Governor of Paris, in the year
1594 delivered up that city to Henri IV, by whom he was on that occasion
raised to the dignity of Marshal of France. In 1626 Louis XIII erected
his estate into a duchy-peerage, and in the following year he died Duc
de Brissac.

[35] Urbain de Laval, Marquis de Bois-Dauphin, was one of the four
Marshals of France created by the Duc de Mayenne whose rank was
subsequently confirmed by Henri IV. He was one of the original chiefs of
the League.

[36] Matthieu, _Hist. des Derniers Troubles_, 1610, pp. 446-453.

[37] Bassompierre, _Mem._ p. 72.

[38] Sully, _Mem._ vol. viii. p. 30.

[39] Bassompierre, _Mem._ p. 72.

[40] Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. pp. 57-59.

[41] Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. pp. 83, 84.

[42] L'Etoile, vol. iv. p. 155.

[43] _Mercure Francais_, 1610, vol. i. p. 492.

[44] Matthieu, _Hist. des Derniers Troubles_, book iii. p. 454.

[45] _Mem. de Henri, Duc de Rohan_, edit. Petitot.

[46] The Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio, born in 1579, was descended from an
illustrious Bolognese family, who had formerly been the sovereigns of
that state, and had produced alike great warriors, renowned poets, and
celebrated prelates. He was himself a distinguished diplomatist and an
able writer. Literature is indebted to his pen for the _History of the
Civil Wars of Flanders_, sundry _Memoirs_, and a _Narrative of
Flanders_. He died in 1644.

[47] _Mem. de la Regence de Marie de Medicis_, pp. 5-14. D'Estrees,
_Mem_., edition Michaud, pp. 375, 376.

[48] _Hist. de la Vie du Duc d'Epernon_, pp. 248, 249.

[49] _Mem. de la Regence_, pp. 6-8. Mezeray, vol. xi. pp. 7, 8.
D'Estrees, _Mem_. p. 376.

[50] M. de Souvre was the governor of Louis XIII.

[51] L'Etoile, vol. iv. pp. 97, 98.

[52] Stefano Galigai, known from his extreme ugliness as "the baboon of
the Court." When he went to take possession of his abbey the monks
refused to receive him as their abbot, alleging that they had been
accustomed to be governed by princes, and not by carpenters like
himself, who had been seen to handle the plane and the saw. Stefano
Galigai withdrew into Italy after the execution of his relatives.

[53] L'Etoile, vol. iv. pp. 143, 144.

[54] Mezeray, vol. xi. p. 5.

[55] Rambure, unpublished _Mem_. vol. vi. pp. 44, 45.

[56] L'Etoile, vol. iv. p. 157.

[57] Rambure, MS. _Mem_. vol. vi, p. 79.

[58] Jacques Auguste de Thou was the representative of an ancient family
of Champagne, celebrated alike in the magistracy and the Church. One of
his ancestors, Nicolas de Thou, clerk of the parliamentary council, and
Bishop of Chartres, performed the coronation service of Henri IV in
1594, and died in 1598. Christophe de Thou, the brother of Nicolas, was
first president of the Parliament of Paris, chancellor to the Ducs
d'Anjou and d'Alencon, and a faithful servant of Henri II, Charles IX,
and Henri III, whom he served with untiring zeal during the intestine
troubles of the kingdom. He died in 1582. His son, the subject of the
present note, embraced the legal profession, and became, from
parliamentary councillor, president _a mortier_. In 1586, after the day
of the Barricades, he left Paris, and entered the service of Henri III,
who confided to him several missions in England and Italy. On the
accession of Henri IV, De Thou eagerly embraced his interests, and by
this sovereign he was also employed in negotiations of importance. At
the death of Amyot he was appointed grand master of the King's library.
During the regency of Marie de Medicis he became director-general of
finance, and was deputed, in conjunction with Cardinal Duperron, to
reform the University of Paris, and to aid in the construction of the
Royal College. Posterity is indebted to De Thou for a _History_ of his
time, in one hundred and thirty-eight books, embracing sixty years, from
1545 to 1607. His style is terse, elevated, and elegant, and the work is
full of elaborate and most minute detail. De Thou died in 1617.

[59] L'Etoile, vol. iv. pp. 164-169.

[60] Mezeray, vol. xi. pp. 9, 10.

[61] Antoine Arnaud was the elder son of Antoine Arnaud, captain of the
light horse, and subsequently attorney and advocate-general of Catherine
de Medicis. The younger Arnaud embraced the legal profession, and became
an advocate of the Parliament of Paris, where he distinguished himself
by his probity and eloquence. Henri IV rewarded his merit by the brevet
of councillor of state, and Marie de Medicis appointed him
advocate-general. When offered the dignity of secretary of state, he
resolutely refused to accept it, representing to the Regent that he
could more effectually serve her as advocate-general to the King than in
the secretaryship. His able and erudite speech in the celebrated Jesuit
cause tried at Paris in 1594, in the presence of Henri IV and the Duke
of Savoy, and his work entitled _The Plain and True Discourse against
the Recall of the Order to France_, are well known. At the conclusion of
the trial named above the University offered him a handsome present;
which, however, he declined, declaring that he required no recompense,
and had given his services gratuitously; whereupon that learned body
passed a solemn act pledging itself to eternal gratitude alike towards
him and his posterity; an obligation which it would, however, appear to
have forgotten in 1656, in the case of his son. His great talents and
high character procured for him an alliance with the first president,
who bestowed upon him the hand of his daughter Catherine, by whom he
became the father of twenty children. Although adverse to the League,
Arnaud was a member of the Romish Church.

[62] Pierre Cotton, subsequently so famous as the confessor of Henri IV,
was born at Neronde, in the department of the Loire, in 1564, and was
received into the Order of the Jesuits in 1585 at Arona, in the
Milanese, whence he was sent to Milan to study philosophy. Thence he was
removed to Rome, where he remained twelve months engaged in the same
pursuit; and finally he proceeded to Lyons, where he completed his
education, and began to preach. During a sojourn at Grenoble he was
presented to the Duc de Lesdiguieres, in whom he inspired so much
confidence that it was to his good offices that he was indebted for his
selection as confessor to the King. The Duke having represented him as a
sound and eloquent preacher, he was instructed to proceed to Paris,
where his sermons having realized the report of his patron, Henri IV at
once adopted him as his director. After the death of that monarch, he
was for some time the confessor of Louis XIII. In 1617 he abandoned the
Court, and travelled through the southern provinces as a
missionary-apostle. He was the author of several controversial and
religious works, and died in 1626.

[63] Sully, _Mem_. vol. viii. pp. 36, 37.

[64] Sully, _Mem_. vol. viii. p. 37.

[65] Mezeray, vol. xi. p. 10.

[66] Sully, _Mem_. vol. viii. p. 81 _note_.

[67] Henri II, Duc de Longueville, was still a mere youth, having been
born in 1595. Appointed plenipotentiary at the Congress of Muenster in
1648, as well as Governor of Normandy, he threw himself into the party
of the Fronde, on the pretext of mortification at being refused the
government of Havre, but in reality in compliance with the entreaties of
his wife. As the result of this concession he, in 1650, shared the
imprisonment of the Princes de Conde and de Conti; but having recovered
his liberty during the following year, he renounced all partisanship,
and died peaceably in 1663.

[68] Fines paid for the commutation of offences.

[69] Instruction de M. de Schomberg, Comte de Monteuil, conseillier du
Roi en son conseil d'etat, lieutenant-general de sa Majeste es pays de
Limosin, haute et basse Marche, pour son voyage d'Allemagne, 1617.
_Pieces Justificatives;_ signed by Richelieu.

[70] Lorenzo Balthazar de Figueroa y Cordova, Duque de Feria, who in
1618 was appointed Governor of the Milanese.

[71] Mezeray, vol. xi. p. 17. Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_,
vol. xi. pp. 106, 107. D'Estrees, _Mem_. p. 379.

[72] Dreux du Radier, vol. vi. pp. 105-107.



A temporary calm--Louis XIII--Marie de Medicis purchases the Marquisate
of Ancre for Concini--Rapid rise of his fortunes--His profusion--He
intrigues to create dissension among the Princes of the Blood--His
personal endowments--The Duc de Bouillon endeavours to induce M. de
Conde to revolt--He fails--He disposes of his office at Court to the
Marquis d'Ancre--Marie de Medicis continues the public edifices
commenced and projected by Henri IV--Zeal of the Duc de
Mayenne--Cupidity of the Court--M. de Conde and his advisers--The Prince
and the Minister--Forebodings of Sully--He determines to resign
office--His unpopularity--The Regent refuses to accept his
resignation--The war in Germany--The Regent resolves to despatch an army
to Cleves--The Duc de Bouillon demands the command of the troops--Is
refused by the Council--Retires in disgust to Sedan--The command is
conferred on the Marechal de la Chatre--A bootless campaign--The French
troops return home--New dissensions at Court--The Duc d'Epernon becomes
the declared enemy of the Protestants--Apprehensions of the reformed
party--Quarrel of Sully and Villeroy--The Regent endeavours to effect a
reconciliation with the Prince de Conti--Princely wages--M. de Conti
returns to Court--The Princes of the Blood attend the Parliament--The
Marquis d'Ancre is admitted to the State Council--Sully and Bouillon
retire from the capital--Sully resolves to withdraw from the Government,
but is again induced to retain office--The King and Pere Cotton--The
Court leave Paris for Rheims--Coronation of Louis XIII--His public entry
into the capital--The Prince de Conde and the Comte de Soissons are
reconciled--Quarrel between the Marquis d'Ancre and the Duc de
Bellegarde--Cabal against Sully--The Huguenots petition for a General
Assembly--Reluctance of the Regent to concede their demand--She finds
herself compelled to comply--M. de Villeroy garrisons Lyons--Sully
retires from the Ministry--Demands of the Princes--Sully's last official
act--His parting interview with Louis XIII--The Minister and the

For a short time Marie began to hope that the conciliatory measures she
had adopted would ensure the tranquillity of the country over which she
had been called to govern. All the cities and provinces had sworn
fidelity to the King, and obedience to herself; all the governors of
fortresses had followed their example; and the great nobles, whose plans
were not yet matured, and whose cupidity was for the moment satisfied,
testified no inclination to disturb, or to trammel the measures of the
Government. The relief afforded to the middle and lower classes by the
diminution of some of the national imposts, and the abolition of others,
began to produce its effect upon the popular mind; and the young King
was received whenever he appeared in public with warm and enthusiastic
greetings. All the members of the House of Guise, traditionally the most
dangerous enemies of the Crown, affected a respectful deference towards
the Regent, and an earnest desire to uphold her authority; while the Duc
d'Epernon, who had, in her first hour of trial, at once declared himself
her devoted adherent, appeared to exist only to fulfil her wishes. The
ministers deferred to her opinions with a respect which caused their
occasional opposition to be rather matter of argument than
mortification; and, finally, Concini and his wife seemed to have
forgotten their own interests in those of their royal mistress.[73]

Meanwhile, the bearing of the young sovereign, ably prompted by the
wisdom of M. de Souvre, was admirable. Gifted with an intellect beyond
his years, and with an agreeable person, he soon engaged the affections
of the people; who, eager to love the son of Henri IV, and to
anticipate under his rule the same glory and greatness which had
characterized the reign of his father, drew the happiest auguries from
his slightest actions; while the modesty of his demeanour towards the
princes and nobles equally tended to establish a feeling of interest and
sympathy towards his person which promised a favourable result. When he
received the homage of his Court on his accession he said sadly:
"Gentlemen, these honours have devolved upon me too soon; I am not yet
old enough to govern; be faithful, and obey the commands of the Queen my
mother." [74]

Unfortunately, the ambition of Concini was more powerful than his
devotion to his benefactress; and his influence continued unabated.
Moreover, his vanity was mortified, as he could not conceal from himself
that he was indebted for his position at Court, indefinite as it was, to
the affection of the Regent for his wife; and he consequently urged
Leonora to induce the Queen to purchase for him the town of Ancre in
Picardy, whose possession would invest him with the title of marquis,
and assure to him the consideration due to that rank. Madame de Concini
accordingly proffered her request, which was conceded without
difficulty; for Marie was at that moment, to adopt the expression of
Richelieu, keeping her hands open; and this purchase formed a
comparatively unimportant item in her lavish grants. Encouraged by so
facile a success, the Italian adventurer was, however, by no means
disposed to permit even this coveted dignity to satisfy his ambition,
and through the same agency he ere long became Governor of Peronne,
Roye, and Montdidier, which he purchased from M. de Crequy for the sum
of forty thousand crowns. The Queen had been induced to furnish an order
upon the royal treasury for this amount, which was presented without any
misgiving by the exulting favourite; but M. de Villeroy, who considered
himself to have been slighted on some occasion by her Majesty, refused
to countersign the document, an opposition which so enraged Concini that
he hastened to pour out his complaints to Marie; who, overcome by the
wrath of the husband and the tears of the wife, summoned the Duc de
Sully, of whom she inquired if it were not possible to procure the
requisite amount by having recourse to the money lodged at the Arsenal.
Sully replied in the negative, declaring that the sums therein deposited
were not available for such a purpose, and reminding her that seven
millions of livres had already been withdrawn since the death of the
King.[75] It was, consequently, necessary to raise the desired
purchase-money by other means, which having been at length effected,
Concini found himself not only placed by his court-appointment on a par
with the peers of the realm, but also enabled, by the munificence of the
Regent, and the revenues of his new government, to rival them in

Then it was that his talent for intrigue boldly developed itself. In
vain did his wife warn him of the danger of further forcing his
fortunes, and thus drawing down upon himself the hatred and envy of the
native nobility; in vain did she represent that by indulging his passion
for power and display he must eventually create enemies who were certain
to prove fatal to his prosperity; Concini, as weak and vain as he was
greedy and ambitious, disregarded her advice, and strenuously turned his
attention to fomenting a misunderstanding among the most influential of
the nobles, in order to prevent a coalition which threatened to diminish
his own importance. He was well aware of his unpopularity with the
Princes of the Blood, who could not without indignation see themselves
compelled to treat with him almost upon equal terms, protected as he was
by the favour of the Queen; and he consequently lived in perpetual
apprehension of their forming a cabal to effect his ruin. Skilfully,
therefore, with a smiling countenance, but an anxious heart, he availed
himself of every opportunity to foment the jealousies and hatreds which
policy had for a brief while laid to rest. To each and all he appeared
zealous in their several interests, but to each and all he was alike
a traitor.

Nature had been lavish to Concini; his person was well-formed and
graceful, while his countenance beamed with intelligence, and gave
promise of far greater intellect than he in reality possessed. It was
this handsomeness which had inspired Leonora Galigai with a passion
that was destined to be her destruction, for no doubt can be entertained
that had she never become his wife her career might have been one of
happiness and honour; but while Concini, absorbed in his wild schemes of
self-aggrandizement, trampled upon every consideration of honour and
honesty in order to attain his object, Leonora, conscious of her own
want of personal attractions, and loving her husband with a devotion
made up of gratitude and admiration, suffered herself to be overruled by
his vanity and arrogance, and sacrificed her reason and her judgment to
her affection.

The Marechal de Bouillon having failed in his attempt to induce M. de
Conde to revolt against the authority of the Regent, by one of those
sudden transitions of feeling which formed so strange a feature in his
character, next sought to reconcile that Prince and the Duc de Guise,
who were already at feud upon the prerogatives of their rank; and he
began to anticipate a successful issue to his enterprise, when the
ministers, being apprehensive that a good understanding among the
Princes of the Blood would tend to weaken their own influence over the
Regent, gave him to understand that should M. de Conde and the Due de
Guise become firm friends, his personal importance in the country would
be greatly lessened, if not entirely overthrown. This argument was
all-sufficient with the ambitious and intriguing Bouillon, who forthwith
began to slacken in his exertions to restore peace. But these had
already proceeded so far as to render his position extremely
embarrassing; and between his apprehension of sacrificing his own
interest on the one hand, and of incurring suspicion upon the other, he
was somewhat at a loss how to proceed, when the adroit interference of
Concini, who deprecated the coalition of the Princes as much as the
ministers themselves, furnished fresh fuel to the expiring flame, and
widened the chasm between them more hopelessly than ever; and that,
moreover, with such dexterity, that M. de Bouillon never suspected what
friendly hand had come to his aid; although the Italian favourite did
not fail to propitiate the haughty Duke by every means in his power, and
so thoroughly succeeded in flattering his vanity, and encouraging his
ambitious aspirations, that, anxious to secure the interest and
assistance of so influential a person as the husband of the Queen's
foster-sister and confidential friend, M. de Bouillon was induced to
sell to him his office of First Lord of the Bedchamber; a circumstance
which at once secured a permanent footing at Court to Concini, and
opened before him a long vista of prosperity.[76]

One of the first decisions arrived at by the Regent was the completion
of all the public edifices commenced by the late King, and the erection
of such as he had resolved upon, but had not lived to commence; an
admirable act of policy by which she at once evinced her respect for the
memory of her husband, and procured employment for hundreds of workmen,
who must otherwise have been severe sufferers from want of occupation.
Those which were originated under her auspices were the castle of
Vincennes and the Royal College, the latter of which she caused to be
built strictly according to the design executed by Henry himself; and
the first stone was laid on the 28th of August by the young King,
assisted by his whole Court. It bore the arms of France and Medicis, and
beneath them was inscribed in deeply-chiselled characters: "In the first
year of the reign of Louis XIII, King of France and Navarre, aged nine
years, and of the regency of the Queen Marie de Medicis his mother,
1610." Four medals, bearing the same inscription, two of gold, and two
of silver gilt, having been placed at the corners of the stone, which
was then lowered, the Due de Sully presented the silver trowel, while
two of the attendant nobles alternately offered the hammer and the
silver trough containing the mortar.

During the following month the Queen herself performed the same ceremony
at Vincennes, respecting the fortress, and the magnificent tower built
by Charles VII, but erecting beneath its shadow a commodious residence
on the space which had heretofore been cumbered with a mass of unsightly
buildings, totally unsuitable for the reception of a Court.[77]

The Due de Mayenne, although suffering from severe indisposition, had
hastened to offer his services to the Regent; who, recognizing his
ability, and grateful for the zeal which he evinced in her interests,
expressed all the gratification that she felt at his prompt and earnest
offers of aid; which he moreover followed up with such untiring
perseverance that he caused himself to be conveyed every day to the
Louvre in his chair, in order to discuss with her Majesty the various
measures necessary to the peace and welfare of the state. Above all he
exhorted her to restrain her munificence, by which not only the Treasury
fund, but also the revenues of the country could not fail ere long to be
dangerously affected; representing to her the indecency of those who,
profiting by the calamity with which France had so suddenly been
stricken, were endeavouring to build up their own fortunes upon the
misfortune of the nation, and who were aspiring to honours suited only
to such as by their high birth and princely rank were imperatively
called upon to uphold the dignity of the Crown. This argument was warmly
seconded by Sully, Villeroy, and Jeannin; but Marie had already suffered
so deeply from the arrogance and presumption of the nobles that she was
anxious to purchase their support, and her own consequent tranquillity,
however exorbitant might be the demands of those about her; and,
accordingly, scarcely a day passed in which fresh claimants did not
present themselves, while the original recipients remained still

It was not long ere the parties most interested in these donations
became aware of the attempt made to limit the liberality of the Queen,
and they did not affect to disguise their indignation at what they
designated as an interference with their just claims. It appeared to
have grown into an admitted opinion that all who had not revolted
against her authority should be recompensed for their forbearance, as
though it had been some signal service rendered to the state; and
immediate deliberations were held as to the best measures to be adopted
in order to silence the prudent counsels to which she could not finally
fail to yield. As regarded the Duc de Mayenne, he was beyond the reach
of the cabal; while Jeannin and Villeroy could oppose nothing save
words; with Sully, however, the case was widely different; he was not
only finance minister, but also keeper of the royal treasury, and his
fearless and sturdy nature was so well understood and appreciated, that
none who knew him doubted for an instant that should the Regent
persevere in her generosity in opposition to his advice, he would not
hesitate to adopt the most extreme measures to limit her power in the
disposal of the public funds.

Sully, meanwhile, like a generous adversary, had not only endeavoured to
restrain the liberality of the Queen, but had even ventured to
expostulate with many of the applicants upon the ruinous extravagance of
their demands; a proceeding which was resented by several of the great
nobles, and by none more deeply than the Prince de Conde, who was upheld
in his pretensions by his adherents, all of whom alleged that as the
royal treasury was daily suffering diminution, and must soon become
entirely exhausted, he had a right to claim, as first Prince of the
Blood, the largest portion of its contents after their Majesties. They
also reminded him of the offices and honours of which he had been
despoiled by the late King, when he would not consent to retain them as
the price of his disgrace; and, finally, they bade him not to lose sight
of the fact that liberal as the Queen-Regent might have appeared on his
return to France, he did not yet possess the revenues necessary to
maintain his dignity as the first subject in the realm. M. de Conde was
haughty and ambitious, and he consequently lent a willing ear to these
representations; nor was it long ere he became equally convinced that
his power was balanced by that of Sully; that a Bourbon was measured
with a Bethune; a Prince of the Blood with a _parvenu_ minister; and
that such must continue to be the case so long as he permitted money to
be poised against influence.

The effect of these insidious counsels soon made itself apparent in the
altered manner of the Prince towards the man whom he had thus been
taught to consider as the enemy of his greatness; for although he
endeavoured to conceal his growing dislike, his nature was too frank,
and moreover too impetuous, to second his policy; and Sully, on his
side, was far too quick-sighted to be easily duped on so important a
matter. The resolution of the Duke was therefore instantly formed; eager
as he had been for office under the late King, he had, at the death of
that monarch, ceased to feel or to exhibit the same energy. He already
saw many of the favourite projects of Henry negatived; much of his
advice disregarded; and as he looked into the future he taught himself
to believe that he contemplated only a long vista of national decline
and personal disappointment. While he had preserved the confidence and
affection of his sovereign, he had held popularity lightly, too lightly
it may be, for he was conscious of his strength, and scorned to seek for
support where he believed that he ought only to afford it; but the knife
of Ravaillac had changed the whole tenor of his existence: he saw that
he was regarded with suspicion and distrust by those who envied the
greatness which he had achieved; that however the Queen might veil her
real feelings in the garb of esteem and kindness, she shrank from the
uncompromising frankness of his disapproval, and the resolute
straightforwardness of his remonstrances; that his desire to economize
the resources of the country rendered him obnoxious to the greedy
courtiers; and that his past favour tended to inspire jealousy and
misgiving in those with whom he was now called upon to act. He was,
moreover, no longer young; his children were honourably established;
and, whatever it may have accorded with the policy of his enemies to
assume, there can be no doubt that M. de Sully was perfectly sincere in
the desire which he at this period expressed to retire from the cares
and responsibilities of office to the comfort and tranquillity of
private life. That such a resolution was most unpalatable to the Duchess
is equally certain; but Sully nevertheless persisted in his intention,
and even announced his proposed resignation to the Regent, entreating at
the same time that she would not oppose the measure.

The moment was one of extreme difficulty for Marie. On all sides she was
pursued by complaints of the finance minister, whose want of deference
wounded the pride of the Princes, while the ministers reproached him
with an undue assertion of authority, and the nobles murmured at his
interference in matters unconnected with his official character. The
Marquis d'Ancre and his wife were, moreover, among the most bitter of
his enemies, and at this precise period their influence was
all-sufficient with the Queen, who had so accustomed herself to be
guided by their advice, and led by their prejudices, that they had
obtained a predominance over her mind which invested them with a
factitious power against which few ventured to contend. She endeavoured,
nevertheless, to temporize, for she was aware of the absolute necessity
of securing the services of Sully until he could be satisfactorily
replaced; and although there were not wanting many about her who would
readily have undertaken to supersede him in his ministry, Marie herself
doubted that, wherever her selection of a successor might be made, its
duties would be as efficiently fulfilled. She was, moreover, at that
particular time earnestly occupied with the preparations necessary for
the coronation of her son, and the retirement of Sully could not fail to
involve her in embarrassment and difficulty; she consequently sought to
conciliate the veteran minister, expressed her resentment at the
annoyances of which he complained, declared her perfect satisfaction
with everything that he had done since the recognition of her regency,
and finally entreated him to take time and to reflect calmly upon the
subject before he pressed her to accede to his request.

Sully complied with her wishes, but he did so without the slightest
feeling of exultation. He was convinced that his favour was undermined
and his removal from office already determined, and he accordingly
experienced no sensation of self-gratulation at the expressed reluctance
of the Queen to deprive herself of the oldest and ablest servant of her
late consort. He was, perhaps, proud of being so acknowledged, but he
was also aware that what he had been to the murdered King he could never
hope to become to the Regent, who had already suffered herself to be
governed by greedy sycophants and ambitious favourites.

The most important subject which occupied the Council at the
commencement of the Regency was the question of the expediency or
non-expediency of pursuing the design of the late King relative to the
duchies of Juliers and Cleves. During the time which had elapsed since
the levy of the French troops the several pretenders to the succession
had not been idle, and hostile measures had already been adopted. The
Catholic Princes of Germany were opposed to the claims of the Protestant
party, the Dutch and the Spaniards siding with the former and the
English with the latter; several towns had already been taken by each
faction, and the virulence displayed on both sides threatened the
infraction of the truce with Flanders, if not a universal war throughout
Christendom. Nevertheless, the general voice was against any
interference on the part of France, the ministers being anxious to avoid
an outlay which under the then circumstances of the kingdom they deemed
alike useless and impolitic, while the nobles, fearing to lose the
advantages which each promised himself by confining the attention of the
Queen to the internal economy of the state, came to the same decision.
Sillery alone combated this resolution, declaring that as the protection
of the Princes who had appealed to him for aid had been one of the last
projects of the late King, his will should be held sacred and his
intentions fully carried out.

To this declaration, which produced an evident effect upon the Regent,
Sully replied by asserting that in order to have done this effectually,
and with the dignity worthy of a great nation, the French troops should
long ago have taken the field; whereas they had been suffered to remain
so long inactive that their interference was no longer required, and
could only be regarded by all parties as superfluous, the Prince of
Orange having so skilfully invested the city of Juliers that it would be
impossible for the enemy to make any effectual resistance; while
Austria remained perfectly inactive, evidently considering the struggle
at an end.[79] The argument of the Chancellor had, however, decided the
Queen, who exclaimed vehemently: "Say no more; I will never abandon the
allies of the French Crown; and you have now, gentlemen, only to decide
upon what general it will be expedient to confer the command of the
campaign." [80]

The Duc de Bouillon, on ascertaining the decision of the Regent,
immediately advanced his claim. He had already become weary of the
Court, and he was, moreover, anxious to obtain some employment which
might form an honourable pretext for his departure before the
approaching coronation of the King, at which he could not assist owing
to his religious principles. This difference of faith, however,
determined the Council to decline his services, his ambition and spirit
of intrigue being so notorious as to render it inexpedient to entrust
him with a command of so much importance, and one which must, moreover,
bring him into constant contact with his co-religionists; a refusal by
which he was so much mortified that he made immediate preparations for
retiring to Sedan.[81] The choice of the Council ultimately fell upon
the Marechal de la Chatre,[82] who was appointed chief and
lieutenant-general of the King's army, consisting of twelve thousand
infantry and two thousand horse.

The brave old soldier was not, however, fated on this occasion to add to
his well-earned laurels, the words of Sully having been verified to the
letter. Juliers was invested in the beginning of August, and on the 18th
of the same month, when the French troops arrived before the city, the
Prince of Orange had already made himself master of the fortress; and
although the Imperial general gallantly persisted in his defence, he
found himself at its close compelled to capitulate, being no longer able
to resist the cannonade of the enemy, who had effected an irreparable
breach in one of the walls, by which they poured an unceasing fire into
the streets of the town.

The capitulation was signed on the 1st of September, and executed on the
morrow, after which M. de la Chatre and his forces returned to France,
and the different Princes who had been engaged in the campaign retired
to their several states.[83]

Meanwhile the Court of Paris was rapidly becoming a scene of anarchy and
confusion. The Prince de Conti and the Comte de Soissons were alike
candidates for the government of Normandy, which the Regent, from its
importance and the physical disqualifications of the Prince, conferred,
despite the solicitations of Madame de Conti, upon M. de Soissons; and
she had no sooner come to this decision than the two Princes were at
open feud, supported by their several partisans, and the streets of the
capital were the theatre of constant violence and uproar. The Duc
d'Epernon, who was the open ally of the Count, on his side supported M.
de Soissons in order to counterbalance the influence of the Prince de
Conti and the Guises; an unfortunate circumstance for Marie, who had so
unguardedly betrayed her gratitude for his prompt and zealous services
at the first moment of her affliction, that the vain and ambitious Duke
had profited by the circumstance to influence her opinions and measures
so seriously as to draw down the most malicious suspicions of their
mutual position, suspicions to which the antecedents of M. d'Epernon
unhappily lent only too much probability.[84]

In addition to this open and threatening misunderstanding between two of
the first Princes of the Blood, a new danger was created by the
imprudence of the same noble, who, presuming upon his newly-acquired
importance, uttered the most violent and menacing expressions against
the Protestants, declaring that they had been tolerated too long, and
that it would soon become necessary to reduce them to a proper sense of
their insignificance; an opinion which he had no sooner uttered than the
Marquis d'Ancre in his turn assured the Regent that if she desired to
secure a happy and prosperous reign to her son, she had no alternative
but to forbid the exercise of the reformed religion, to whose adherents
the late King had owed his death.[85]

Conscious of the cabal which was organizing against them, and having
been apprised that M. d'Epernon had doubled the number of his guards,
the Ducs de Bouillon, de Guise, and de Sully adopted similar
precautions, and even kept horses ready saddled in their stables in
order to escape upon the instant should they be threatened with
violence. The minor nobility followed the example of their superiors,
and soon every hotel inhabited by men of rank resembled a fortress,
while the streets resounded with the clashing of arms and the trampling
of horses, to the perpetual terror of the citizens.

Coupled with these purely personal feuds others were generated of an
official nature, no less subversive of public tranquillity. M. de
Villeroy had purchased the government of Lyons from the Duc de Vendome,
for his son the Comte d'Alincourt, having at the same time disposed of
the appointment of Lieutenant of the King previously held by the Count,
and this arrangement was no sooner concluded than he resolved to solicit
from the Queen a force of three hundred Swiss Guards to garrison the
city; a demand in which he succeeded in interesting Concini, and to
which he consequently anticipated no opposition on her part. He was
correct in his conclusion, but the sole consent of the Regent did not
suffice upon so important a question, which it was necessary to submit
to the consideration of the Council, where it was accordingly mooted.
Sully, although previously solicited by the Queen to support the
proposal, resolutely refused to do so, alleging that he would never
consent to see the King subjected to an outlay of twelve hundred
thousand livres in order to enable M. d'Alincourt to pocket one hundred
thousand, and that Lyons, by the treaty concluded with the Duke of
Savoy, had ceased to be a frontier town, and consequently required no
garrison. This reply, which made considerable impression upon Marie, she
repeated to M. de Villeroy, who retorted, loud enough to be heard by a
friend of Sully, that he was aware the Spaniards and Savoyards were no
longer to be feared, and that it was consequently not against them that
he was anxious to secure the city of Lyons, but that the real enemies
whom she had to fear were the Huguenots, who were at that moment better
situated, more prepared, and probably also more inclined to oppose her
authority than they had ever before been. This intemperate and
ill-judged speech was instantly reported to Sully, who, rising
indignantly from his seat, approached the Queen and audibly informed her
that he considered it his duty to remark that, as in order to render her
favourable to the demand of his son, M. de Villeroy had not scrupled to
malign the Protestants, but had designated them as more dangerous
enemies to herself and to the state than those who were labouring to
further the interests of Spain, he only entreated her to afford to his
denial the same weight as that which she attached to the assertion of
the State Secretary, and by placing both upon the same footing exclude
them equally from the Council, to which neither could any longer advance
a claim for admittance. To this bold and public accusation M. de
Villeroy attempted no reply, but thenceforward the two ministers no
longer maintained even a semblance of amity.[86]

Hitherto M. de Conde had taken no part in the dissensions which were
going on about him, but on the night of the 10th of July he in his turn
received a warning to be upon his guard, and in consequence he caused a
strong patrol to keep watch on all sides of his palace. Not an hour
passed in which the gallop of a party of horsemen was not heard
clattering over the rough and ill-paved streets. At midnight the Marquis
d'Ancre waited upon the Prince to convey to him an invitation from the
Regent to take up his abode in the Louvre should he not consider himself
safe in his own house, but M. de Conde coldly declined to avail himself
of the offer, alleging that the manner in which her Majesty had replied
on the previous day, when he had informed her of his having been assured
of her intention to cause his arrest, had given him no encouragement to
become her guest; an answer which by no means tended to relieve the
increasing apprehensions of the Queen, who felt the necessity of
appeasing at any sacrifice the discontent of the Princes. She
accordingly desired the presence of M. de Conde at the Louvre, a summons
which he reluctantly obeyed; and it was long before the urbanity of her
welcome assured him of the sincerity with which she entreated him to
endeavour in her name to conciliate the Prince de Conti, who, on the
refusal of the coveted government, had quitted Paris in disgust, and to
induce his return to the Court.

It was not the fashion of that period even for Princes of the Blood to
make concessions whence they derived no personal benefit, and it was
accordingly without any compunction that M. de Conde declared the terms
upon which he would undertake the proposed mission. He was to receive as
recompense for his condescension the sum of fifty thousand crowns, with
the first government which should become vacant, and was authorized to
promise two hundred thousand crowns to the Duc de Guise for the payment
of his debts, as well as several lesser sums to others of the Princes,
on condition that they should return to their allegiance and forego
their personal animosities.

These preliminary arrangements concluded, M. de Conde hastened to
represent to his uncle the necessity of his immediate return to Paris
before the departure of the King for Rheims, whither he was about to
proceed for his coronation; and the Prince de Conti having with
considerable difficulty been induced to comply with his request, the
princely relatives entered the capital with so numerous a retinue of
nobles and gentlemen that it excited general remark.

On the following day the two Princes, similarly attended, and
accompanied by the Duc de Guise and M. de Joinville, proceeded to the
Parliament, where they took their accustomed seats; but neither M. de
Soissons nor the Duc d'Epernon were present, the first pretexting
indisposition and the second declining to adduce any reason for his

On the 27th the Marquis d'Ancre was admitted into the Council of State,
and took the customary oaths at the Louvre; but he received few
congratulations on this new honour, the arrogance in which he indulged
tending to disgust the higher nobles, and to alarm those who had reason
to deprecate his daily-increasing influence.

Both M. de Bouillon and the Duc de Sully, professing the reformed
religion, were ineligible to officiate at the coronation of the
sovereign, and they accordingly received the royal permission to absent
themselves, by which both hastened to profit, but from very different
motives. Sully, who was well aware that he must either voluntarily
resign his governmental dignities or submit to see them wrenched from
him, proceeded to his estate at Montrond with the firm intention of
never returning to the capital; a resolve which he was, however,
subsequently induced to forego by the entreaty of the Queen that he
would continue to afford to her son the same good service as he had done
to the late King his father, coupled with assurances of her firm
confidence in his zeal and fidelity; while Bouillon prepared to resume
his attempts to reconcile the Princes, by which means he hoped to
overthrow the Regency and to secure to himself a prominent position in
the government of the kingdom. This effort was, however, destined to
fail, too many interests adverse to any such coalition being involved in
the question to enable him to carry out his project; and he accordingly
departed for Sedan, where he forthwith began to excite the Huguenots to
discontent, representing that they would never have a more favourable
opportunity for enforcing their rights than at a moment when the nation
was shaken to its centre by the assassination of the King, and during
the minority of his successor. This argument produced, as he had
anticipated, a powerful effect upon the minds of his co-religionists, to
whom he also expatiated on the repugnance with which the Regent
conferred place or power upon a Protestant, whatever might be his
personal merit. In conclusion he urged them to demand a general
assembly, a proposition to which they readily acceded, and with the
greater willingness that the time allowed to them for this purpose by
the edict of 1597 would expire at the close of the year.[88]

Thus the weight of government pressed heavily upon Marie both from
within and without; and meanwhile the young King began to betray
symptoms of that suspicious and saturnine temper by which he was
afterwards so unhappily distinguished. On one occasion when all the
efforts of Pere Cotton, his confessor, had failed to overcome his gloom
and reserve, the priest inquired in a tone of interest the nature of the
annoyance by which he was thus oppressed. "I shall not tell you," was
the resolute reply; "for you will immediately write to Spain to
inform them."

The confessor, whose intimate connection with the ministers of Philip
had rendered him obnoxious to the French people, was startled by this
unexpected answer, and immediately complained to the Queen of the
affront that had been offered to him; upon which Marie summoned the
offender, and insisted upon his immediately informing her who had dared
to suggest such an idea, when with considerable reluctance the boy-King
stated that his nurse had warned him to be cautious because the reverend
father was in correspondence with that country.

"Since she permits herself to play the politician," said the Queen, "she
shall be dismissed."

"Be it so," retorted the young Prince; "but," turning towards the
Jesuit, "I shall remember that it was his work, and I shall not always
be a child."

A short time subsequently, while playing with a favourite fawn, he hid
himself among the shrubs in the gardens of the Tuileries, and remained
so long in his concealment that his attendants became alarmed and were
compelled to inform the Queen that although they had sought the King
everywhere, to entreat him to return, they could not ascertain where he
had gone. Marie in great alarm caused all around her to join in the
search, while she remained at one of the windows in a state of agonizing
anxiety. At length the retreat of the fugitive was found, and M. de
Souvre threatened him with the rod.

"As you please," he said sullenly; "but if, in order to satisfy the
Queen, you lay a hand upon me to-day, I will keep up appearances with
you, but I will never forget it." [89]

Only a few days subsequently (2nd of October) Louis XIII, attended by
his Court, proceeded to Rheims for his coronation, the royal ornaments
used upon such occasions having been removed from St. Denis to that
city. The Cardinal de Joyeuse performed the ceremony, the archiepiscopal
chair being vacant at the time; and the Princes de Conde and de Conti,
the Comte de Soissons, the Ducs de Nevers, d'Elboeuf,[90] and d'Epernon
represented the ancient Dukes of Burgundy, Normandy, and Aquitaine, and
the Counts of Toulouse, Flanders, and Champagne.


On the morrow the young sovereign was invested with the Order of the
Holy Ghost, which he immediately afterwards conferred upon the Prince de
Conde, and on Tuesday the 19th he stood sponsor for the child of the
Baron de Tour; after which he proceeded to St. Marcou, where he touched
a number of persons suffering under the loathsome disease which it was
the superstition of the age to believe could be removed by contact with
the royal hand.

On the 30th of the month the Court returned to Paris, and was met at the
Porte St. Antoine by the civic authorities, at the head of two hundred
mounted citizens, amid a cannonade from the Bastille, and ceaseless
flourishes of trumpets and hautboys. The Regent had, however, preceded
her son to the city, and stood in a balcony at the house of Zamet to see
him pass, where he no sooner perceived her than he withdrew his plumed
cap, which he did not resume until having halted beneath the window he
had saluted her with a profound bow. He then proceeded by torchlight to
the Louvre, accompanied throughout his progress by the same acclamations
of loyalty and enthusiasm as had greeted the ears of his dead father
only a few months previously.

It had been a great relief to Marie de Medicis that before the departure
of the Court for Rheims a reconciliation had been effected between the
Prince de Conde and the Comte de Soissons; but her tranquillity was not
destined to last, the attendants of the Cardinal de Joyeuse and those of
the Marquis d'Ancre having had a violent altercation during the journey
on the subject of the accommodation provided for their respective
employers; and this quarrel was no sooner appeased than the new-made
Marquis originated another with the Duc de Bellegarde, alleging that as
First Lord of the Bedchamber he had a right to take precedence of the
Duke, who was Grand Equerry of France. M. de Bellegarde, irritated by
this presumption, complained loudly of the affront, and was supported in
his indignation by the Duc d'Epernon and by the Comte de Soissons, who
was becoming weary of the Italian adventurer.

Even the Queen herself could neither support nor justify such undue
pretensions; and M. d'Ancre, reluctantly convinced that he had on this
occasion swooped at too high a quarry, swallowed his mortification as
best he might, and endeavoured to redeem his error; an attempt in which
he was seconded by the Queen, in obedience to whose wishes M. le Grand
somewhat contemptuously consented to forego any further demonstration of
his resentment; while the Duc d'Epernon agreed, with even more facility,
to follow his example. The Comte de Soissons was not, however, so easily
to be appeased; and he accordingly, with the ever-wakeful policy for
which he was proverbial, made his reconciliation with the mortified
Marquis conditional upon his promise of assistance in his two darling
projects of obtaining the hand of the heiress of Montpensier for his son
the Comte d'Enghien, and of accomplishing the ruin of the Duc de Sully.

At this crisis the finance minister could ill afford to see a new
antagonist enter the lists against him, surrounded as he already was by
enemies eager for his overthrow. The Prince de Conde had neither
forgotten nor forgiven his advice to Henri IV to order his arrest when
he fled to Flanders to protect the honour of his wife; the Duc de
Bouillon was jealous of his interest with the Huguenot party; while the
Chancellor, Villeroy, and Jeannin were leagued against him, in order to
support their own authority. To Concini, moreover, his very name was
odious, and consequently the new adversary who had thus been evoked
against him was the most dangerous of all, inasmuch as he was the most
subtle and vindictive, and also because he possessed the ear of the
Queen, who had so long accustomed herself to support him against what he
saw fit to entitle the oppression of the French nobles, that she had
ceased to question the validity of his accusations. The religion of
Sully also tended to indispose the Queen towards him. Herself a firm
adherent of the Church of Rome, she looked with an eye of suspicion upon
a minister whose faith differed from her own; and this circumstance
operated powerfully in adding weight to the accusations of his enemies.
The Prince de Conde alone for a time refused to sanction the efforts
which were made to ensure his political ruin, but he was in his turn
eventually enlisted in the cause by the prospect which was held out to
him of sharing in the profits resulting from the confiscation of the
minister's public property; his retirement from office necessarily
involving his resignation of all the lucrative appointments which he
held under the Government.[91]

It was at this precise moment that the Huguenots petitioned the Regent
for the general assembly, as advised by the Due de Bouillon; a
circumstance which could not have failed to prove fatal to the interests
of Sully had he still desired to retain office, as the comments of the
anti-Protestant party by which she was surrounded, seconded by her own
personal feelings, tended to exasperate Marie against all who professed
the reformed faith. She consequently received the appeal with
considerable asperity, declaring that it was impossible to calculate the
demands which would be made upon the indulgence of the Crown, although
there was no doubt that they would prove both unjust and extravagant;
but being unable to refuse to confirm the provisions of the edict, she
finally instructed the ministers to suggest delay as the best means of
delivering herself for a time from the consequences of compliance.

In this attempt she, however, failed; the Duc de Bouillon being well
aware that should the prescribed period be suffered to elapse without
some pledge upon the part of the Government, the demand would be evaded
by a declaration that the allotted time was past; and accordingly the
Protestants persisted in their claim with so much pertinacity that the
Regent found herself compelled to authorize their meeting at Saumur in
the course of the ensuing year.

Under these circumstances it is scarcely matter of surprise that despite
the opposition of the finance minister, M. de Villeroy succeeded in
effecting the establishment of a garrison at Lyons; and the
misunderstanding was shortly afterwards renewed between the two
functionaries by a demand on the part of the State Secretary that the
maintenance of the troops should be defrayed from the general receipts
of the city. The Orientals have a proverb which says, "it is the last
fig that breaks the camel's back," and thus it was with Sully.
Exasperated by this new invasion of his authority, he lost his temper;
and after declaring that the citizens of Lyons were at that moment as
competent to protect themselves as they had ever been, and that it was
consequently unreasonable to inflict so useless an outlay upon the King,
he accused the Chancellor, who had favoured the pretensions of Villeroy,
of leaguing with him to ruin the Crown; a denunciation which, as it
equally affected all the other ministers who had espoused the same
cause, sealed his own overthrow.[92]

Satisfied of a fact so self-evident, Sully resolved no longer to breast
the torrent of jealousy and hatred against which he found himself called
upon to contend, but without further delay to resign at once the cares
and dignities of office; a design which was vehemently opposed not only
by his own family, but also by his co-religionists, the whole of whom,
save only such of their leaders as had private reasons for seeking his
dismissal, were keenly sensible of the loss which their cause must
necessarily sustain from the want of his support. The Duke, however,
firmly withstood all their expostulations; wearied and disgusted by the
inefficiency of his endeavours to protect the interests of the sovereign
against the encroachments of extortionate nobles, and the machinations
of interested ministers, he felt no inclination to afford a new triumph
to his enemies by awaiting a formal dismissal; and he accordingly took
the necessary measures for disposing of his superintendence of the
finances, and his government of the Bastille (the most coveted because
the most profitable of his public offices), in order that he might be
permitted in his retirement to retain the other dignities which he had
purchased by a long life of labour and loyalty.[93]

While this important affair was in progress, the Duke paid a visit to M.
de Rambure, during which he said with evident uneasiness: "The Bishop of
Fenouillet was with me yesterday, and assured me that in the morning a
secret council had been held at the residence of the Papal Nuncio, at
which were present the Chancellor, the Marquis d'Ancre, Villeroy, the
Bishop of Beziers, and the Duc d'Epernon; and that after a great deal
of unseemly discourse, in which the memory of the late King was treated
with disrespect and derision, it was decided that everything should be
changed, that new alliances should be formed, new friendships
encouraged, and new opinions promulgated. It was, moreover, arranged
that a letter should be forthwith sent to the Pope, informing him that
it was the intention of France to be guided in all things by his advice,
while every guarantee should be given to the Duke of Savoy until the
conclusion of a proposed alliance with Spain; and finally, that all
persons adverse to this line of policy should be compelled to resign
their places, especially those who professed the Protestant faith. Thus
then, my good De Rambure," he added bitterly, "if I am wise I shall
quietly dispose of my places under Government, making as much money of
them as I can, purchase a fine estate, and retain the surplus, in order
to meet such exigencies as may arise; for I foresee that all the
faithful servants of the late King who may refuse to defer to the
authority of the Marquis d'Ancre, will have enough upon their hands. As
for me," he pursued vehemently, "I would rather die than degrade myself
by the slightest concession to this wretched, low-born Italian, who is
the greatest rascal of all those concerned in the murder of the King."
"Which," adds Rambure for himself, "he truly is." [94]

Every circumstance, moreover, conspired to strengthen the Duc de Sully
in his resolution. He had, as we have shown, returned to the capital at
the express invitation of the Regent; but he had no sooner arrived there
than he discovered how little his tenure of office was really desired.
As, however, both his public and private interests required his presence
in Paris for a time, he considered it expedient to suppress his
indignation, and to hasten his arrangements, in order to be at liberty
to withdraw whenever he should be prepared to do so; and he had
accordingly no sooner recovered from the fatigue of his journey than he
proceeded to pay his respects to the King and his august mother.

On reaching the Louvre he was informed that Louis was at the Tuileries,
where he would spend the morning, and that the Regent dined at the Hotel
de Zamet; upon which the Duke determined to proceed thither, where he
found her attended by the Duc de Villeroy, Bassompierre, M. and Madame
d'Ancre, and the principal members of her household. As Sully was
announced Marie uttered a gracious welcome, and ungloving her hand,
presented it to him to kiss; which he had no sooner done than she
assured him of her continued regard and requested that he would talk no
more of retiring from the service of the King, whose youth and
helplessness rendered the good offices of those who had enjoyed the
confidence of his royal father doubly necessary to himself; and finally,
despite all that had previously occurred, the Duke took his leave almost
shaken in his belief that Marie had been induced to sanction his

This illusion was, moreover, encouraged by the conduct of the
courtiers, who had no sooner ascertained the nature of his reception by
the Queen, than they flocked to the Arsenal to compliment him upon his
return to Court; and Zamet took an opportunity of impressing upon him
that he was indebted for the undisguised favour of Marie to the
influence of the Marquis d'Ancre; who subsequently visited him in his
turn, but so visibly with the intention of inducing him to uphold the
extravagant pretensions which he was about to advance, that Sully did
not disguise his disgust, and they separated mutually dissatisfied.

On the morrow the Duke proceeded, according to appointment, to the
Louvre, where he was immediately admitted to the private closet of
Marie; but he had scarcely crossed the threshold ere he became aware
that his contention with Concini had induced a coldness on the part of
the Regent, which she strove in vain to conceal. She, however, made no
allusion to their interview, confining her complaints to the
extortionate importunities of the great nobles, which she declared her
resolution to resist; and, by referring them to the Council, cause them
to be subjected to so rigorous an examination as must tend to their
diminution. She then placed in the hands of the finance minister a list
of the demands which had been made upon her, entreating him to assist
her in opposing claims that would end, if satisfied, by ruining the
interests alike of the King and of the nation; and she concluded by
pledging her royal word that she would uphold the Duke in his
opposition, as resolutely as ever he had been supported in his former
measures by the deceased monarch. More and more bewildered by this
apparent inconsistency, Sully respectfully took possession of the
document, declaring his perfect willingness to serve both her Majesty
and the state by every means in his power; and he then awaited her
pleasure upon other matters of more public importance; but on all else
Marie was silent, and the disappointed minister at length withdrew to
examine the paper which had been delivered to him, and of which we will
transcribe the principal contents as singularly illustrative of the
venal state of the Court at that period.

The Prince de Conde demanded the captaincy of the fortress of
Chateau-Trompette, the government of Blaye, and the principality of
Orange as far as the bank of the Rhone; the Comte de Soissons solicited
the captaincy of the old palace of Rouen, and the fortress of Caen, with
the tax upon cloth, flax, and hemp, which he had previously endeavoured,
as elsewhere stated, to obtain from Henri IV; the Duc de Lorraine
requested payment in full of the whole sum specified in his treaty,
although he had previously consented to accept two-thirds of the amount;
the Duc de Guise demanded the royal assent to his marriage with Madame
de Montpensier, the revocation of all the patent taxes in Provence and
the port of Marseilles, and the liquidation of his debts; the Duc de
Mayenne, who had warned the Regent to resist the extravagant
pretensions of the Princes, also came forward with a demand for large
sums independently of those insured to him by his treaty; the Duc
d'Aiguillon[95] sought to obtain a donation of thirty thousand crowns,
the governments of Bresse and the city of Bourg, together with the
embassy to Spain, and enormous emoluments; the Prince de Joinville, so
lately an exile from the Court, requested the government of Auvergne, or
failing this, that of the first province which should become vacant; the
Duc de Nevers asked for the entire proceeds of the tax upon salt
produced in the Rethelois, with the governments of Mezieres and
Sainte-Menehould; the Duc d'Epernon demanded the command of a corps of
infantry, to be constantly kept in an efficient state, the survivorship
of his governments for his son, and that fortifications should be formed
at Angouleme and Saintes, with three or four other equally important
concessions; the Duc de Bouillon sought the liquidation of some alleged
debts, the proceeds of the excise, and salt duties, and all other
imposts levied in the viscounty of Turenne, the arrears of pay due to
his garrisons, the liquidation of all pensions which had been
discontinued during his exile, with the royal assent to a general
assembly of the Protestants; the Chancellor followed with a demand of
all the fees appertaining to the lesser seals, that the salary of his
office should be doubled, and that he should have letters of nobility
in Normandy. All the officers of the Crown sought an increase of
twenty-four thousand livres to their several pensions; members of the
Council, augmented emoluments; governors of provinces, the revenues of
these provinces which had hitherto reverted to the Crown; municipal
companies, exemptions and privileges previously unthought of; and
finally, Concini, who had arrived in the French capital only a few years
previously comparatively destitute, set forth his requirements to be
these--the _baton_ of Marshal of France, the governments of Bourg,
Dieppe, and Pont-de-l'Arche, the proceeds of the salt duties of
Languedoc, and those of the reduction accorded at Moissets and Feydant.

Such, and much more of the same description, were the contents of the
documents upon which the wrath of Sully scarcely permitted him to dwell
with patience. It was a chaos whence he dreaded even to attempt to draw
the elements of order, feeling as he did that every concession made to
one of the parties must necessarily evoke the jealousy and indignation
of another, while it was utterly impossible, and would, moreover, be
dangerously impolitic in any case, to satisfy the pretensions of all.
The enormous sums produced by the imposts, whose transfer from the Crown
to individuals was thus unblushingly demanded, would have rendered the
Princes to whom they might be granted more wealthy than many of the
petty sovereigns of Europe; while the governments and provinces sought
to be obtained by others must inevitably make them independent of the
King, and thus place the subjects who should have been the support of
the throne in direct rivalry with their sovereign. The finance minister
was aghast; and the more earnestly he considered the subject, the more
he became convinced that there was no alternative save to negative all
these egregious claims _en masse_; a conviction which satisfied him that
by fearlessly adopting this course, his tenure of office would, had he
still desired to contend with the cabal which had already been formed
against him, become utterly impossible.

Nevertheless Sully did not shrink from what he considered an imperative
duty; and accordingly he resolved no longer to trust the lip-deep
assurances by which he had been beguiled since his return to Court, but
immediately to declare his resignation of office, and to follow it up by
the most resolute and determined opposition.[96]

He had no sooner, therefore, irrevocably arrived at this decision, than
he addressed a letter to the Regent, in which he requested her
permission to retire from the Government; and, satisfied that his suit
must prove successful, he calmly awaited her reply. Meanwhile, resolved
that no reproach should be cast upon him after his departure, he
demanded an audience of the King, in order to explain to him the exact
state of the royal treasury, and the manner in which its contents had
been diminished since the demise of his royal father; but as a private
interview with a mere child would not have satisfactorily sufficed to
accomplish this object, Sully produced his papers before all the members
of the royal household; and while engaged in the necessary explanation,
he remarked that the antiquated fashion of his costume, which he had not
changed for years, had excited the hilarity of the younger courtiers. He
suddenly paused, and after glancing coldly round the giddy circle,
looked fixedly at the young monarch, and said with a dignity which
chased in an instant every inclination to mirth in the bystanders:
"Sire, I am too old to change my habits with every passing wind. When
the late King, your father of glorious memory, did me the honour of
conferring with me upon state affairs, he was in the habit of previously
clearing the apartment of all buffoons and mountebanks." [97]

To the Princes of the Blood, the ministers of state, and the nobles of
the Court, Sully that day added to the list of his enemies the
boy-courtiers of the royal circle.

Thus in heart-burning and uncertainty closed the year which had
commenced with the assassination of the King. An arrogant and unruly
aristocracy, a divided and jealous ministry, and a harassed and
discontented population were its bitter fruits.


[73] Richelieu, _La Mere et le Fils_, vol. i. p. 91.

[74] _Mercure Francais_, 1610, p. 505.

[75] L'Etoile, vol. iv. pp. 191, 192.

[76] Mezeray, vol. xi. pp. 10, 11. D'Estrees, _Mem_. p. 379.

[77] _Mercure Francais_, 1610, pp. 510, 511.

[78] Matthieu, _Hist, des Derniers Troubles_, book iii. p. 455.

[79] Sully, _Mem_. vol. viii. pp. 81-84.

[80] _Mercure Francais_, 1610, p. 505.

[81] Mezeray, vol. xi. p. 11. L'Etoile, on the contrary (vol. iv. p.
132), asserts that the command was offered to Bouillon, but that he
wisely declined it.

[82] Claude de la Chatre was originally one of the pages of the Duc de
Montmorency, who continued to protect him throughout his whole career.
He distinguished himself in several battles and sieges, and having
embraced the party of the League possessed himself of Berry, which he
subsequently surrendered to Henri IV. At the period of his death, which
occurred on the 18th of December 1614, at the advanced age of
seventy-eight years, he was Marshal of France, Knight of the King's
Orders, and Governor of Berry and Orleans.

[83] Mezeray, vol. xi. p. 13.

[84] L'Etoile, vol. iv. p. 146.

[85] L'Etoile, vol. iv. p. 147.

[86] Sully, _Mem_. vol. viii. pp. 121-124.

[87] L'Etoile, vol. iv. pp. 183, 184.

[88] Richelieu, _Hist, de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. p. 109.

[89] L'Etoile, vol. iv. pp. 192, 193.

[90] Charles de Lorraine, Duc d'Elboeuf, was the grandson of Rene,
Marquis d'Elboeuf, the seventh son of Claude, Duc de Guise. He married
Catherine Henriette, the daughter of Henri IV and _La belle Gabrielle_,
and was involved in the intrigues of the Court during the ministries
both of Richelieu and Mazarin. His posterity terminated in his grandson,
Emmanuel-Maurice, who died in 1763, after having served the Emperor in
Naples. During his sojourn in Italy the Duc Emmanuel built a superb
palace at Portici; and it is worthy of remark that it was while
searching for ancient marbles to decorate that edifice that the ruins of
Herculaneum were discovered. The subject of the note died in 1657.

[91] It may not be uninteresting to our readers to learn the honours and
offices to which Sully had attained at the death of Henri IV. Here
follow his titles: Maximilien de Bethune, Knight, Duc de Henrichemont
and Boisbelle; Marquis de Rosny; Comte de Dourdan; Sire d'Orval,
Montrond, and St. Amand; Baron d'Espineuil, Bruyeres, le Chatel,
Villebon, la Chapelle, Novion, Bagny, and Boutin; King's Counsel in all
the royal councils; Captain-Lieutenant of two hundred ordnance men-at
arms; Grand Master and Captain-General of the Artillery; Grand Overseer
of the highways of France; Superintendent of Finance, and of the royal
fortifications and buildings; Governor and Lieutenant-General of his
Majesty in Poitou, Chateleraudois, and Loudunois; Governor of Mantes and
Gergeau; and Captain of the Bastille.

[92] Richelieu, _Hist. de la Mere et du Fils_, vol. i. pp. 109-113.

[93] Sully, _Mem_, vol. viii. pp. 125-129.

[94] Rambure, MS. _Memoires_, vol. vi. pp. 78, 79.

[95] Henri de Lorraine, Duc d'Aiguillon, peer of France, elder son of
the Duc de Mayenne.

[96] Sully, _Mem_, vol. viii. pp. 109-118.

[97] Bonnechose, vol. i. p. 450.



A cold correspondence--Increasing influence of the Marquis d'Ancre--
Animosity between the Duc d'Epernon and Concini--Disunion of the Princes
de Guise and de Lorraine--Renewed dissensions between M. de Bellegarde
and the Marquis d'Ancre--They are reconciled by the Comte de
Soissons--Marriage of the Duc de Guise--Jealousy of M. de Soissons
--Quarrel between the Prince de Conti and the Comte de Soissons--
Mission of the Duc de Guise--A new rupture--Intervention of the Duc de
Mayenne--Alarm of the Regent--Sully leaves Paris--Madame de
Sully--Retirement of M. de Thou--Unpopularity of the Duc d'Epernon
--Marie de Medicis endeavours to reconcile the Princes--The royal
closet--The Protestants prepare for the General Assembly--The Prince de
Conde retires to Guienne--The Duc d'Epernon is charged to watch his
movements--Arrogance of Concini--Concini seeks to marry his daughter to
a son of the Comte de Soissons--Indignation of the Prince--Cunning of
Concini--Bouillon returns to Court--He offers his services to the Regent
at the General Assembly--He proceeds to Saumur--He desires to be
appointed President of the Assembly--He is rejected in favour of M. du
Plessis-Mornay--He attributes his defeat to Sully--He resolves to
conciliate the ex-Minister of Finance--Meeting of the Assembly--The
Court determines to dissolve the meeting--Prudence of Du Plessis-Mornay
--Death of M. de Crequy--The Marquis d'Ancre succeeds to the government
of Amiens--His insolent disregard of the royal prerogative--Indignation
of the ministers--The Regent resents his impertinence--She refuses to
receive Madame d'Ancre--Intrigues of the Princesse de Conti--The
favourites forgiven--Marie de Medicis issues several salutary
edicts--Court festivities--The Duchesse de Lorraine arrives at
Fontainebleau--Death of the Duc de Mayenne--Death of the Queen of
Spain--The Duchesse de Lorraine claims the hand of Louis XIII for her
daughter--Death of the Duc d'Orleans--Departure of the Duchesse de
Lorraine--Rival claims--M. de Breves appointed preceptor to the Duc
d'Anjou--The Comte de Soissons applies for the duchy of Alencon--Rebuke
of the Regent--A hunting-party--A new cabal--Recall of the Marechal de
Lesdiguieres--Marie de Medicis purchases the Hotel de Luxembourg.

The first political event worthy of record which occurred in France at
the commencement of the year 1611 was the retirement of the Duc de
Sully; who, on the 24th of January, received the reply of the Regent to
the letter in which he had solicited her permission to withdraw from the
Government. It contained a faintly-expressed regret at the resolution he
had taken; "but that," as he himself says, "was merely for form's sake;"
[98] and the accuracy of his judgment is evidenced by the fact that only
two days after he had again written to declare that his determination
was unalterable, the Duc de Bouillon delivered to him the official
warrants by which he was discharged from his duties of Superintendent of
Finance, and Captain of the Bastille. These were worded in the most
flattering terms; and he was guaranteed against all inquiry or annoyance
upon either subject from the day in which he resigned his tenure of
office. A third warrant was, moreover, added, by which, in consideration
of his past services, the Queen bestowed upon him the sum of three
hundred thousand livres; and a few days subsequently he received letters
from the King and the Regent authorizing him to transfer the command of
the Bastille to M. de Chateauvieux;[99] which he had no sooner done than
he turned all his attention to the final arrangement of his public
accounts, in order that he might, with as little delay as possible, be
enabled to quit the capital.[100]

The transfer of the Bastille was shortly afterwards followed by that
of the ministry of finance, which was placed under the joint
direction of M. de Chateauneuf[101] and the Presidents de Thou and
de Jeannin; the latter of whom was, however, invested with the rank of
Comptroller-General, which gave him the entire management of the public
funds, to the exclusion of his colleagues, who were in consequence only
eligible to assist in the official distribution of the public monies.
The charge of Grand Master of the Artillery, which was resigned with the
command of the Bastille by Sully, the Regent retained in her own

From that time the Marquis d'Ancre became pre-eminent at Court; and not
only the ministers, but even the Princes of the Blood themselves, looked
with distrust upon his power over the Queen. Between the Italian
favourite and the Duc d'Epernon especially, a feeling of hatred had
grown up, which, although as yet veiled by the policy for which each was
so distinguished, only awaited a fitting opportunity to reveal itself on
both sides; and the struggle for power was not the less resolute because
it was carried on amid smiles and courtesies. Meanwhile, also, the
Princes de Guise and de Lorraine evinced symptoms of disunion, which
threatened the most serious consequences; and amid all this chaos of
conflicting interests and passions the royal authority was treated with
contempt, and Marie began to tremble for the stability of her

Early in the month Concini entered upon his duties as First Lord of the
Bedchamber, and had a serious misunderstanding with the Duc de
Bellegarde, who refused to allow him to take possession of the
apartments in the Louvre set aside for the person holding that rank
during the year in which he was on duty, on the pretext that the
Marquise his wife being already lodged in the palace, he had no right to
claim any further accommodation. Concini insisted on the privilege of
his office, upon which M. le Grand, to whom he had become hateful from
his arrogance and pretension, retorted in a manner which excited his
temper; and high and bitter words were exchanged that threatened the
most serious results, when the Italian, suddenly recollecting that he
was exasperating by his violence an enemy too powerful for him to
contend against without support, declared that he would pursue the
quarrel no further in person, but would place his honour in the hands of
the Comte de Soissons, and abide by his decision. Against such a
determination M. de Bellegarde had, of course, nothing to urge; and the
Italian forthwith requested the Marquis de Coeuvres, in whom M. de
Soissons had great confidence, to represent the affair to that Prince,
and to assure him that he would be entirely governed by his advice.

The Duc d'Epernon, delighted to find that Concini had made a new enemy,
strenuously exerted himself to induce M. le Grand to maintain his
ground, a counsel which the latter was well disposed to follow; but the
Comte de Soissons, who was anxious to secure the influence of the
Italian Marquis that he might the more readily effect the marriage of
his son, eagerly embraced so favourable an opportunity of purchasing his
good offices; and consequently represented in stringent terms to his
opponent the utter impracticability of refusing to concede to M. d'Ancre
the same consideration and indulgence which had been enjoyed by his
predecessors in office, together with the danger that he personally
incurred by so gratuitously offending an individual protected by the
Regent. Whatever additional arguments he may have advanced, it is
impossible to decide; suffice it that the Duke yielded, the quarrel was
terminated, and Concini established in the coveted apartments; at which
his gratification was so unmeasured that he pledged himself to M. de
Soissons to induce the ministers to consent to the union of the Comte
d'Enghien with the heiress of Montpensier, as well as to exert himself
in preventing the marriage of the Duc de Guise and the Duchess her

On the 5th of January the marriage of the Duc de Guise and the Duchesse
de Montpensier was, however, celebrated by the Cardinal de Joyeuse at
the early hour of four in the morning, in the chapel attached to the
hotel of the lady; an arrangement which was in all probability caused by
the opposition made to this alliance by the Comte de Soissons, who,
still anticipating a union between his son and the daughter of the
Duchess, was apprehensive that Madame de Montpensier might be induced to
enrich the family of which she thus became a member with no
inconsiderable portion of the wealth which must otherwise form part of
the property of the young heiress.

Only three days subsequently, while the Court were still occupied with
the festivities which took place on the occasion, the Prince de Conti
and his brother M. de Soissons, who was on his way to the Louvre,
unfortunately met in a narrow street leading to the Cross of Trahoir,
when it had become so dark that it was impossible to distinguish the
appointments or liveries of either equipage; and the carriages were no
sooner entangled than the coachman of the Comte, ignorant of the rank of
his opponent, compelled the servants of the Prince to make way, an
insult which he resented with a bitterness that induced him to refuse
the apology subsequently proffered by his brother.[105]

Alarmed by this new feud, the Queen requested the Duc de Guise to see
the Prince de Conti, and to beseech him to effect a reconciliation with
his turbulent brother, a mission which the young Duke cheerfully
undertook; but it unfortunately happened that in order to reach the
Abbey of St. Germain, where M. de Conti was then residing, it was
necessary for him to pass beside the Hotel de Soissons, which he
accordingly did, followed by a retinue of thirty horsemen. This
circumstance was construed into a premeditated insult by the Count, who
immediately assembled his friends, and informed them that he had been
braved in his own house by the Duc de Guise; whose adherents had no
sooner ascertained that there was an assemblage hostile to his interests
forming at the Hotel de Soissons, than they in their turn flocked in
such numbers to afford him their support that in a short time more than
a thousand nobles were collected under his roof.

When this fact was communicated to M. de Soissons he sent to request
that the Prince de Conde would accompany him to the Louvre, to demand
from the Regent that she should afford them satisfaction for the
insolence of the Duc de Guise; who, when summoned to explain his motives
for inflicting an affront upon the Count, simply and calmly replied that
he had never sought to insult M. de Soissons; but had, in obedience to
the command of her Majesty, been compelled to pass an angle of his
hotel, which he had moreover done without a demonstration of any
description, and accompanied only by the escort suitable to his rank.
That his sincere anxiety had been to second the wishes of her Majesty;
and that so far from seeking to envenom an unfortunate misunderstanding
which could only tend to involve the Court in new disorder, he had from
the first moment resolved not to offer an opinion upon the merits of the
feud; a determination to which he still meant to adhere.

This manly declaration in no degree softened the ire of the Count; who,
enchanted at having discovered an opportunity of annoying and harassing
M. de Guise during the first week of his marriage, retorted in a manner
which impelled the Queen to request that each would retire to his hotel;
and to express at the same time her earnest hope that a little calm
reflection would induce the disputants to become reconciled.

The quarrel was nevertheless sustained throughout the whole of that and
the following day; and so great was the commotion which it excited in
the capital that the Regent, apprehending its result, considered it
necessary to order that chains should be in readiness to be stretched
across the streets, and that the citizens should be prepared to take up
arms at a moment's notice. On the morrow new efforts were made to pacify
the irritated parties, but all having alike failed, a detachment of the
royal guard was stationed near the person of each of the Princes in
order to ensure his safety.[106]

Meanwhile the Queen requested of M. de Guise, by a confidential
messenger, that he would wait upon the Comte de Soissons, and apologize
for having inadvertently given him offence; a proposition to which he
readily consented; feeling that such was in reality the case, and that
the rank of the Count as a Prince of the Blood demanded this concession.
Previously, however, to putting his design into execution, he informed
the Duc de Mayenne of the promise which he had made to comply with the
desire of the Regent, when he was instantly and vehemently dissuaded
from his purpose; M. de Mayenne representing that being himself the
party aggrieved by the groundless accusation brought against him, he

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