The Memoirs of Cardinal de Retz, V3 by Jean Francois Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz

This etext was produced by David Widger MEMOIRS OF JEAN FRANCOIS PAUL de GONDI, CARDINAL DE RETZ, v3 Written by Himself Being Historic Court Memoirs of the Great Events during the Minority of Louis XIV. and the Administration of Cardinal Mazarin. BOOK III. MADAME:–Cardinal Mazarin thought of nothing else now but how to rid himself
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This etext was produced by David Widger

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MEMOIRS OF JEAN FRANCOIS PAUL de GONDI, CARDINAL DE RETZ, v3

Written by Himself

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

BOOK III.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What, I? Must I retire?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

their warder, was a very shallow fellow; besides, men of sense are sometimes outwitted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:

Buckingham had been in love with three Queens Civil war as not powerful enough to conclude a peace Insinuation is of more service than that of persuasion Man that supposed everybody had a back door Mazarin: embezzling some nine millions of the public money Passed for the author of events of which I was only the prophet The subdivision of parties is generally the ruin of all The wisest fool he ever saw in his life
Who imagine the head of a party to be their master