The Memoirs of Cardinal de Retz, v2 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, v2 Written by Himself Being Historic Court Memoirs of the Great Events during the Minority of Louis XIV. and the Administration of Cardinal Mazarin. BOOK II. MADAME:–I lay it down as a maxim, that men who enter the
This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1669-1679
FREE Audible 30 days

This etext was produced by David Widger

[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the file for those who may wish to sample the author’s ideas before making an entire meal of them. D.W.]


Written by Himself

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But why need we go abroad for examples when we have so many at home? Pepin, in dethroning the Merovingian family, and Capet, in dispossessing the Carlovingians, made use of nothing else but the same power which the ministers, their predecessors, had acquired under the authority of their masters; and it is observable that the mayors of the Palace and the counts of Paris placed themselves on the thrones of kings exactly by the same methods that gained them their masters’ favours,–that is, by weakening and changing the laws of the land, which at first always pleases weak princes, who fancy it aggrandises their power; but in its consequence it gives a power to the great men and motives to the common people to rebel against their authority. Cardinal de Richelieu was cunning enough to have all these views, but he sacrificed everything to his interest. He would govern according to his own fancy, which scorned to be tied to rules, even in cases where it would have cost him nothing to observe them. And he acted his part so well that, if his successor had been a man of his abilities, I doubt not that the title of Prime Minister, which he was the first to assume, would have been as odious in France in a little time as were those of the Maire du Palais and the Comte de Paris. But by the providence of God, Cardinal Mazarin, who succeeded him, was not capable of giving the State any jealousy of his usurpation. As these two ministers contributed chiefly, though in a different way, to the civil war, I judge it highly necessary to give you the particular character of each, and to draw a parallel between them. Cardinal de Richelieu was well descended; his merit sparkled even in his youth. He was taken notice of at the Sorbonne, and it was very soon observed that he had a strong genius and a lively fancy. He was commonly happy in the choice of his parties. He was a man of his word, unless great interests swayed him to the contrary, and in such a case he was very artful to preserve all the appearances of probity. He was not liberal, yet he gave more than he promised, and knew admirably well how to season all his favours. He was more ambitious than was consistent with the rules of morality, although it must be owned that, whenever he dispensed with them in favour of his extravagant ambition, his great merit made it almost excusable. He neither feared dangers nor yet despised them, and prevented more by his sagacity than he surmounted by his resolution. He was a hearty friend, and even wished to be beloved by the people; but though he had civility, a good aspect, and all the other qualifications to gain that love, yet he still wanted something–I know not what to call it–which is absolutely necessary in this case. By his power and royal state he debased and swallowed up the personal majesty of the King. He distinguished more judiciously than any man in the world between bad and worse, good and better, which is a great qualification in a minister. He was too apt to be impatient at mere trifles when they had relation to things of moment; but those blemishes, owing to his lofty spirit, were always accompanied with the necessary talent of knowledge to make amends for those imperfections. He had religion enough for this world. His own good sense, or else his inclination, always led him to the practice of virtue if his self-interest did not bias him to evil, which, whenever he committed it, he did so knowingly. He extended his concern for the State no further than his own life, though no minister ever did more than he to make the world believe he had the same regard for the future. In a word, all his vices were such that they received a lustre from his great fortune, because they were such as could have no other instruments to work with but great virtues. You will easily conceive that a man who possessed such excellent qualities, and appeared to have as many more,–which he had not,–found it no hard task to preserve that respect among mankind which freed him from contempt, though not from hatred.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is certain that he gave his enemies such an advantage over him as no other Prime Minister ever did. Power commonly keeps above ridicule, but