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

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Marillac was taken to the castle of St. Menehould and thence to Verdun,
where a court of justice extraordinary sat upon his case. It was cleared
of any political accusation: the marshal was prosecuted for peculation
and extortion, common crimes at that time with many generals, and always
odious to the nation, which regarded their punishment with favor. "It is
a very strange thing," said Marillac, "to prosecute me as they do; my
trial is a mere question of hay, straw, wood, stones, and lime; there is
not case enough for whipping a lackey." There was case enough for
sentencing to death a marshal of France. The proceedings lasted eighteen
months; the commission was transferred from Verdun to Ruel, to the very
house of the cardinal. Marillac was found guilty by a majority of one
only. The execution took place on the 10th of May, 1632. The former
keeper of the seals, Michael de Marillac, died of decline at Chateaudun,
three months after the death of his brother.

_Dupes' Day_ was over and lost. The queen-mother's attack on Richelieu
had failed before the minister's ascendency and the king's calculating
fidelity to a servant he did not like; but Mary de' Medici's anger was
not calmed, and the struggle remained set between her and the cardinal.
The Duke of Orleans, who had lost his wife after a year's marriage, had
not hitherto joined his mother's party, but all on a sudden, excited by
his grievances, he arrived at the cardinal's, on the 30th of January,
1631, "with a strong escort, and told him that he would consider it a
strange purpose that had brought him there; that, so long as he supposed
that the cardinal would serve him, he had been quite willing to show him
amity; now, when he saw that he foiled him in everything that be had
promised, to such extent that the way in which he, Monsieur, had behaved
himself, had served no end but to make the world believe that he had
abandoned the queen his mother, he had come to take back the word he had
given him to show him affection." On leaving the cardinal's house,
Monsieur got into his carriage and went off in haste to Orleans, whilst
the king, having received notice from Richelieu, was arriving with all
despatch from Versailles to assure his minister "of his protection, well
knowing that nobody could wish him ill, save for the faithful services he
rendered him." [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. ii. p. 444.]

The queen-mother had undoubtedly been aware of the Duke of Orleans'
project, for she had given up to him Madame's jewels which he had
confided to her; she nevertheless sent her equerry to the king,
protesting "that she had been much astonished when she heard of
Monsieur's departure, that she had almost fainted on the spot, and that
Monsieur had sent her word that he was going away from court because he
could no longer tolerate the cardinal's violent proceedings against her.

"When the king signified to her that he considered this withdrawal very
strange, and let her know that he had much trouble in believing that she
knew nothing about it, she took occasion to belch forth fire and flames
against the cardinal, and made a fresh attempt to ruin him in the king's
estimation, though she had previously bound herself by oath to take no
more steps against him." [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. ii. p. 465.]

The cardinal either had not sworn at all or did not consider himself more
bound than the queen by oaths. Their Majesties set out for Compiegne;
there the minister brought the affair before the council, explaining with
a skilful appearance of indifference the different courses to be taken,
and ending by propounding the question of his own retirement or the
queen-mother's. "His Majesty, without hesitation, made his own choice,
taking the resolution of returning to Paris and of begging the
queen-mother to retire for the time being to one of his mansions,
particularly recommending Moulins, which she had formerly expressed to
the late king a wish to have; and, in order that she might be the better
contented with it, he offered her the government of it and of all the
province." Next day, February 23, 1631, before the queen-mother was up,
her royal son had taken the road back to Paris, leaving Marshal D'Estrees
at Compiegne to explain to the queen his departure and to hasten his
mother's, a task in which the marshal had but small success, for Mary de'
Medici declared that, if they, meant to make her depart, they would have
to drag her stark naked from her bed. She kept herself shut up in the
castle, refusing to go out and complaining of the injury the seclusion
did to her health; then she fled by night from Compiegne, attended by one
gentleman only, to go and take refuge in Flanders, whence she arrived
before long at Brussels.

The cardinal's game was definitively won. Mary de' Medici had lost all
empire over her son, whom she was never to see again.

The Duke of Orleans meanwhile had taken the road to Lorraine, seeking a
refuge in the dominions of a prince able, crafty, restless, and hostile
to France from inclination as well as policy. Smitten, before long, with
the duke's sister, Princess Margaret, Gaston of Orleans married her
privately, with a dispensation from the Cardinal of Lorraine, all which
did not prevent either duke or prince from barefacedly denying the
marriage when the king reproached them with having contracted this
marriage without his consent. In the month of June, 1632, the Duke of
Orleans entered France again at the head of some wretched regiments,
refuse of the Spanish army, given to him by Don Gonzalvo di Cordova. For
the first time, he raised the standard of revolt openly. For him it was
of little consequence, accustomed as he was to place himself at the head
of parties that he abandoned without shame in the hour of danger; but he
dragged along with him in his error a man worthy of another fate and of
another chief. Henry, Duke of Montmorency, marshal of France, and
governor of Languedoc, was a godson of Henry IV., who said one day to
M. de Villeroy and to President Jeannin, "Look at my son Montmorency, how
well made he is; if ever the house of Bourbon came to fail, there is no
family in Europe which would so well deserve the crown of France as, his,
whose great men have always supported it, and even added to it at the
price of their blood." Shining at court as well as in arms, kind and
charitable, beloved of everybody and adored by his servants, the Duke of
Montmorency had steadily remained faithful to the king up to the fatal
day when the Duke of Orleans entangled him in his hazardous enterprise.
Languedoc was displeased with Richelieu, who had robbed it of some of its
privileges; the duke had no difficulty in collecting adherents there; and
he fancied himself to be already wielding the constable's sword, five
times borne by a Montmorency, when Gaston of Orleans entered France and
Languedoc sooner than he had been looked for, and with a smaller
following than he had promised. The eighteen hundred men brought by the
king's brother did not suffice to re-establish him, with the queen his
mother, in the kingdom; the governor of Languedoc made an appeal to the
Estates then assembled at Pezenas; he was supported by the Bishop of Alby
and by that of Nimes; the province itself proclaimed revolt. The sums
demanded by the king were granted to the duke, whom the deputies prayed
to remain faithful to the interests of the province, just as they
promised never to abandon his. The Archbishop of Narbonne alone opposed
this rash act; he left the Estates, where he was president, and the duke
marched out to meet Monsieur as far as Lunel. "Troops were levied
throughout the province and the environs as openly as if it had been for
the king." But the regiments were slow in forming; the Duke of Orleans
wished to gain over some of the towns; Narbonne and Montpellier closed
their gates. The bishop's influence had been counted upon for making
sure of Nimes, and Montmorency everywhere tried to practise on the
Huguenots; "but the Reformed ministers of Nimes, having had advices by
letter from his Majesty, whereby he represented himself to have been
advertised that the principal design of Monsieur was to excite them of
the religion styled Reformed, considered themselves bound in their own
defence to do more than the rest for the king's service. They assembled
the consistory, resolved to die in obedience to him, went to seek the
consuls and requested them to have the town-council assembled, in order
that it might be brought to take a similar resolution; which the consuls,
gained over by M. de Montmorency, refused." [_Memoires de Richelieu,_
t. iii. p. 160.] Thereupon the ministers sent off in haste to Marshal
La Force, who had already taken position at Pont-Saint-Esprit with his
army; and, he having despatched some light horse on the 26th of July, the
people cried, "Hurrah! for the king!" the bishop was obliged to fly, and
the town was kept to its allegiance. "Beaucaire, the governor of which
had been won over," made armed resistance. "If we beat the king's army,"
said the Duke of Montmorency on returning to Pezenas after this incident,
"we shall have no lack of towns; if not, we shall have to go and make our
court at Brussels."

At the news of his brother's revolt, the king, who happened to be on the
frontiers of Lorraine, had put himself in motion, but he marched at his
ease and by short stages, "thinking that the fire Monsieur would kindle
would be only a straw fire."

He hurried his movements when he heard of Montmorency's uprising, and
left Paris after having put the seals upon the duke's house, who had
imprudently left five hundred and fifty thousand livres there; the money
was seized and lodged in the royal safe. The Princess of Guemene,
between whom and Montmorency there were very strong ties, went to see the
cardinal, who was in attendance on the king. "Sir," she said to him,
"you are going to Languedoc; remember the great marks of attachment that
M. de Montmorency showed you not long ago; you cannot forget then without
ingratitude." Indeed, when the king believed himself to be dying at
Lyons, he had recommended the cardinal to the Duke of Montmorency, who
had promised to receive him into his government. "Madam," replied
Richelieu coldly, "I have not been the first to break off."

Already the Parliament of Toulouse, remaining faithful to the king, had
annulled the resolutions of the Estates, the letters and commissions of
the governor; and the Parliament of Paris had just enregistered a
resolution against the servants and adherents of the Duke of Orleans, as
rebels guilty of high treason and disturbers of the common peace. Six
weeks were granted the king's brother to put an end to all acts of
hostility; else the king was resolved to decree against him, after that
interval of delay, "whatsoever he should consider it his duty to do for
the preservation of his kingdom, according to the laws of the realm and
the example of his predecessors."

It was against Marshal Schomberg that Montmorency was advancing. The
latter found himself isolated in his revolt, shut up within the limits of
his government, between the two armies of the king, who was marching in
person against him. Calculations had been based upon an uprising of
several provinces and the adhesion of several governors, amongst others
of the aged Duke of Epernon, who had sent to Monsieur to say, "I am his
very humble servant; let him place himself in a position to be served;"
but no one moved, the king every day received fresh protestations of
fidelity, and the Duke of Epernon had repaired to Montauban to keep that
restless city to its duty, and to prevent any attempt from being made in
the province.

At three leagues' distance from Castelnaudary, Marshal Schomberg was
besieging a castle called St. Felix-de-Carmain, which held out for the
Duke of Orleans. Montmorency advanced to the aid of the place; he had
two thousand foot and three thousand horse; and the Duke of Orleans
accompanied him with a large number of gentlemen. The marshal had won
over the defenders of St. Felix, and he was just half a league from
Castelnaudary when he encountered the rebel army. The battle began
almost at once. Count de Moret, natural son of Henry IV. and Jacqueline
de Bueil, fired the first shot. Hearing the noise, Montmorency, who
commanded the right wing, takes a squadron of cavalry, and, "urged on by
that impetuosity which takes possession of all brave men at the like
juncture, he spurs his horse forward, leaps the ditch which was across
the road, rides over the musketeers, and, the mishap of finding himself
alone causing him to feel more indignation than fear, he makes up his
mind to signalize by his resistance a death which he cannot avoid." Only
a few gentlemen had followed him, amongst others an old officer named
Count de Rieux, who had promised to die at his feet and he kept his word.
In vain had Montmorency called to him his men-at-arms and the regiment of
Ventadour; the rest of the cavalry did not budge. Count de Moret had
been killed; terror was everywhere taking possession of the men. The
duke was engaged with the king's light horse; he had just received two
bullets in his mouth. His horse, "a small barb, extremely swift," came
down with him and he fell wounded in seventeen places, alone, without a
single squire to help him. A sergeant of a company of the guards saw him
fall, and carried him into the road; some soldiers who were present burst
out crying; they seemed to be lamenting their general's rather than their
prisoner's misfortune. Montmorency alone remained as if insensible to
the blows of adversity, and testified by the grandeur of his courage that
in him it had its seat in a place higher than the heart." [_Journal du
Duc de Montmorency (Archives curieuses de l'Histoire de France),_ t. iv.]

[Illustration: Henry, Duke of Montmorency, at Castelnaudary----199]

Whilst the army of the Duke of Orleans was retiring, carrying off their
dead, nearly all of the highest rank, the king's men were bearing away
Montnmorency, mortally wounded, to Castelnaudary. His wife, Mary Felicia
des Ursins, daughter of the Duke of Bracciano, being ill in bed at
Beziers, sent him a doctor, together with her equerry, to learn the truth
about her husband's condition. "Thou'lt tell my wife," said the duke,
"the number and greatness of the wounds thou hast seen, and thou'lt
assure her that it which I have caused her spirit is incomparably more
painful, to me than all the others." On passing through the faubourgs of
the town, the duke desired that his litter should be opened, "and the
serenity that shone through the pallor of his visage moved the feelings
of all present, and forced tears from the stoutest and the most stolid."
[_Journal du Due de Montmorency (Archives curieuses de l'Histoire de
France)_, t. iv.]

The Duke of Orleans did not lack the courage of the soldier; he would
fain have rescued Montmorency and sought to rally his forces; but the
troops of Languedoc would obey none but the governor; the foreigners
mutinied, and the king's brother had no longer an army. "Next day, when
it was too late," says Richelieu, "Monsieur sent a trumpeter to demand
battle of Marshal Schomberg, who replied that he would not give it, but
that, if he met him, he would try to defend himself against him."
Monsieur considered himself absolved from seeking the combat, and
henceforth busied himself about nothing but negotiation. Alby, Beziers,
and Pezenas hastened to give in their submission. It was necessary for
the Duchess of Montmorency, ill and in despair, to quicken her departure
from Beziers, where she was no longer safe. "As she passed along the
streets she heard nothing but a confusion of voices amongst the people,
speaking insolently of those who would withdraw in apprehension." The
king was already at Lyons.

He was at Pont-Saint-Esprit when he sent a message to his brother, from
whom he had already received emissaries on the road. The first demands
of Gaston d'Orleans were still proud; he required the release of
Montmorency, the rehabilitation of all those who had served his party and
his mother's, places of surety and money. The king took no notice; and
a second envoy from the prince was put in prison. Meanwhile, the
superintendent of finance, M. de Bullion, had reached him from the king,
and "found the mind of Monsieur very penitent and well disposed, but not
that of all the rest, for Monsieur confessed that he had been ill-advised
to behave as he did at the cardinal's house, and afterwards leave the
court; acknowledging himself to be much obliged to the king for the
clemency he had shown to him in his proclamation, which had touched him
to the heart, and that he was bounden therefor to the cardinal, whom he
had always liked and esteemed, and believed that he also on his side
liked him." [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. viii. p. 196.]

The Duchess of Montmorency knew Monsieur, although she, it was said,
had pressed her husband to join him; and all ill as she was, had been
following him ever since the battle of Castelnaudary, in the fear lest he
should forget her husband in the treaty. She could not, unfortunately,
enter Beziers, and it was there that the arrangements were concluded.
Monsieur protested his repentance, cursing in particular Father
Chanteloube, confessor and confidant of the queen his mother, "whom he
wished the king would have hanged; he had given pretty counsel to the
queen, causing her to leave the kingdom; for all the great hopes he had
led her to conceive, she was reduced to relieve her weariness by praying
to God." [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. viii. p. 196.] As for Monsieur,
he was ready to give up all intelligence with Spain, Lorraine, and the
queen his mother, "who could negotiate her business herself." He bound
himself to take no interest "in him or those who had connected themselves
with him on these occasions for their own purposes, and he would not
complain should the king make them suffer what they had deserved." It is
true that he added to these base concessions many entreaties in favor of
M. de Montmorency; but M. de Bullion did not permit him to be under any
delusion. "It is for your Highness to choose," he said, "whether or not
you prefer to cling to the interests of M. de Montmorency, displease the
king and lose his good graces." The prince signed everything; then he
set out for Tours, which the king had assigned for his residence,
receiving on the way, from town to town, all the honors that would have
been paid to his Majesty himself. M. de Montmorency remained in prison.

"He awaited death with a resignation which is inconceivable," says the
author of his _Memoires;_ "never did man speak more boldly than he about
it; it seemed as if he were recounting another's perils when he described
his own to his servants and his guards, who were the only witnesses of
such lofty manliness." His sister, the Princess of Conde, had a memorial
prepared for his defence put before him. He read it carefully, then he
tore it up, "having always determined," he said, "not to (chicaner) go
pettifogging for (or, dispute) his life." "I ought by rights to answer
before the Parliament of Paris only," said he to the commission of the
Parliament of Toulouse instructed to conduct his trial, "but I give up
with all my heart this privilege and all others that might delay my

There was not long to wait for the decree. On arriving at Toulouse,
October 27, at noon, the duke had asked for a confessor. "Father," said
he to the priest, "I pray you to put me this moment in the shortest and
most certain path to heaven that you can, having nothing more to hope or
wish for but God." All his family had hurried up, but without being able
to obtain the favor of seeing the king. "His Majesty had strengthened
himself in the resolution he had taken from the first to make in the case
of the said Sieur de Montmorency a just example for all the grandees of
his kingdom in the future, as the late king his father had done in the
person of Marshal Biron," says Richelieu in his Memoires. The Princess
of Conde could not gain admittance to his Majesty, who lent no ear to
the supplications of his oldest servants, represented by the aged Duke of
Epernon, who accused himself by his own mouth of having but lately
committed the same crime as the Duke of Montmorency. "You can retire,
duke," was all that Louis XIII. deigned to reply. "I should not be a
king if I had the feelings of private persons," said he to Marshal
Chatillon, who pointed out to him the downcast looks and swollen eyes of
all his court.

It was the 30th of October, early: and the Duke of Montmorency was
sleeping peacefully. His confessor came and awoke him. "_Surgite,
eamus_ (rise, let us be going)," he said, as he awoke; and when his
surgeon would have dressed his wounds, "Now is the time to heal all my
wounds with a single one," he said, and he had himself dressed in the
clothes of white linen he had ordered to be made at Lectoure for the day
of execution. When the last questions were put to him by the judges, he
answered by a complete confession; and when the decree was made known to
him, "I thank you, gentlemen," said he to the commissioners, "and I beg
you to tell all them of your body from me, that I hold this decree of the
king's justice for a decree of God's mercy." He walked to the scaffold
with the same tranquillity, saluting right and left those whom he knew,
to take leave of them; then, having with difficulty placed himself upon
the block, so much did his wounds still cause him to suffer, he said out
loud, "_Domine Jesu, accipe spiritum meum (Lord Jesus, receive my
spirit)!_" As his head fell, the people rushed forward to catch his
blood and dip their handkerchiefs in it.

Henry de Montmorency was the last of the ducal branch of his house, and
was only thirty-seven.

It was a fine opportunity for Monsieur to once more break his
engagements. Shame and anxiety drove him equally. He was universally
reproached with Montmorency's death; and he was by no means easy on the
subject of his marriage, of which no mention had been made in the
arrangements. He quitted Tours and withdrew to Flanders, writing to the
king to complain of the duke's execution, saying that the life of the
latter had been the tacit condition of his agreement, and that, his
promise being thus not binding, he was about to seek a secure retreat out
of the kingdom. "Everybody knows in what plight you were, brother, and
whether you could have done anything else," replied the king.

"What think you, gentlemen, was it that lost the Duke of Montmorency his
head?" said Cardinal Zapata to Bautru and Barrault, envoys of France,
whom he met in the antechamber of the King of Spain. "His crimes,"
replied Bautru. "No," said the cardinal, "but the clemency of his
Majesty's predecessors." Louis XIII. and Cardinal Richelieu have
assuredly not merited that, reproach in history.

So many and such terrible examples were at last to win the all-powerful
minister some years of repose. Once only, in 1636, a new plot on the
part of Monsieur and the Count of Soissons threatened not only his power,
but his life. The king's headquarters were established at the castle of
Demuin; and the princes, urged on by Montresor and Saint-Ibal, had
resolved to compass the cardinal's death. The blow was to be struck at
the exit from the council. Richelieu conducted the king back to the
bottom of the staircase.

[Illustration: The King and the Cardinal----204]

The two gentlemen were awaiting the signal; but Monsieur did not budge,
and retired without saying a word. The Count of Soissons dared not go
any further, and the cardinal mounted quietly to his own rooms, without
dreaming of the extreme peril he had run. Richelieu was rather lofty
than proud, and too clear-sighted to mistake the king's feelings towards
him. Never did he feel any confidence in his position; and never did he
depart from his jealous and sometimes petty watchfulness. Any influence
foreign to his own disquieted him in proximity to a master whose affairs
he governed altogether, without ever having been able to get the mastery
over his melancholy and singular mind.

Women filled but a small space in the life of Louis XIII. Twice,
however, in that interval of ten years which separated the plot of
Montmorency from that of Cinq-Mars, did the minister believe himself to
be threatened by feminine influence; and twice he used artifice to win
the monarch's heart and confidence from two young girls of his court,
Louise de La Fayette and Marie d'Hautefort. Both were maids of honor to
the queen. Mdlle. d'Hautefort was fourteen years old when, in 1630, at
Lyons, in the languors of convalescence, the king first remarked her
blooming and at the same time severe beauty, and her air of nobility and
modesty; and it was not long before the whole court knew that he had
remarked her, for his first care, at the sermon, was to send the young
maid of honor the velvet cushion on which he knelt for her to sit upon.
Mdlle. d'Hautefort declined it, and remained seated, like her companions,
on the ground; but henceforth the courtiers' eyes were riveted on her
movements, on the interminable conversations in which she was detained by
the king, on his jealousies, his tiffs, and his reconciliations. After
their quarrels, the king would pass the greater part of the day in
writing out what he had said to Mdlle. d'Hautefort and what she had
replied to him. At his death, his desk was found full of these singular
reports of the most innocent, but also most stormy and most troublesome
love-affair that ever was. The king was especially jealous of Mdlle.
d'Hautefort's passionate devotion to the queen her mistress, Anne of
Austria. "You love an ingrate," he said, "and you will see how she will
repay your services." Richelieu had been unable to win Mdlle.
d'Hautefort; and he did his best to embitter the tiff which separated
her from the king in 1635. But Louis XIII. had learned the charm of
confidence and intimacy; and he turned to Louise de La Fayette, a
charming girl of seventeen, who was as virtuous as Mdlle. d'Hautefort,
but more gentle and tender than she, and who gave her heart in all
guilelessness to that king so powerful, so a-weary, and so melancholy at
the very climax of his reign. Happily for Richelieu, he had a means,
more certain than even Mdlle. d'Hautefort's pride, of separating her from
Louis XIII.; Mdlle. de La Fayette, whilst quite a child, had serious
ideas of becoming a nun; and scruples about being false to her vocation
troubled her at court, and even in those conversations in which she
reproached herself with taking too much pleasure, Father Coussin, her
confessor, who was also the king's, sought to quiet her conscience; he
hoped much from the influence she could exercise over the king; but
Mdlle. de La Fayette, feeling herself troubled and perplexed, was urgent.
When the Jesuit reported to Louis XIII. the state of his fair young
friend's feelings, the king, with tears in his eyes, replied, "Though I
am very sorry she is going away, nevertheless I have no desire to be an
obstacle to her vocation; only let her wait until I have left for the
army." She did not wait, however. Their last interview took place at
the queen's, who had no liking for Mdlle. de La Fayette; and, as the
king's carriage went out of the court-yard, the young girl, leaning
against the window, turned to one of her companions and said, "Alas! I
shall never see him again!" But she did see him again often for some
time. He went to see her in her convent, and "remained so long glued to
her grating," says Madame de Motteville, that Cardinal Richelieu, falling
a prey to fresh terrors, recommenced his intrigues to tear him from her
entirely. And he succeeded." The king's affection for Mdlle.
d'Hautefort awoke again. She had just rendered the queen an important
service. Anne of Austria was secretly corresponding with her two
brothers, King Philip IV. and the Cardinal Infante, a correspondence
which might well make the king and his minister uneasy, since it was
carried on through Madame de Chevreuse, and there was war at the time
with Spain. The queen employed for this intercourse a valet named
Laporte, who was arrested and thrown into prison. The chancellor removed
to Val-de-Grace, whither the queen frequently retired; he questioned the
nuns and rummaged Anne of Austria's cell. She was in mortal anxiety, not
knowing what Laporte might say or how to unloose his tongue, so as to
keep due pace with her own confessions to the king and the cardinal.
Mdlle. d'Hautefort disguised herself as a servant, went straight to the
Bastille, and got a letter delivered to Laporte, thanks to the agency of
Commander de Jars, her friend, then in prison. The confessions of
mistress and agent being thus set in accord, the queen obtained her
pardon, but not without having to put up with reproaches and conditions
of stern supervision. Madame de Chevreuse took fright, and went to seek
refuge in Spain. The king's inclination towards Mdlle. d'Hautefort
revived, without her having an idea of turning it to profit on her own
account. "She had so much loftiness of spirit that she could never have
brought herself to ask anything for herself and her family; and all that
could be wrung from her was to accept what the king and queen were
pleased to give her."

Richelieu had never forgotten Mdlle. d'Hautefort's airs: he feared her,
and accused her to the king of being concerned in Monsieur's continual
intrigues. Louis XIII.'s growing affection for young Cinq-Mars, son of
Marshal d'Effiat, was beginning to occupy the gloomy monarch; and he the
more easily sacrificed Mdlle. d'Hautefort. The cardinal merely asked him
to send her away for a fortnight. She insisted upon hearing the order
from the king's own mouth. "The fortnight will last all the rest of my
life," she said: "and so I take leave of your Majesty forever." She went
accompanied by the regrets and tears of Anne of Austria, and leaving the
field open to the new favorite, the king's "rattle," as the cardinal
called him.

M. de Cinq-Mars was only nineteen when he was made master of the wardrobe
and grand equerry of France. Brilliant and witty, he amused the king and
occupied the leisure which peace gave him. The passion Louis XIII. felt
for his favorite was jealous and capricious. He upbraided the young man
for his flights to Paris to see his friends and the elegant society of
the Marais, and sometimes also Mary di Gonzaga, daughter of the Duke of
Mantua, wooed but lately by the Duke of Orleans, and not indifferent, it
was said, to the vows of M. Le Grand, as Cinq-Mars was called. The
complaints were detailed to Richelieu by the king himself in a strange
correspondence, which reminds one of the "reports" of his quarrels with
Mdlle. d'Hautefort. "I am very sorry," wrote Louis XIII. on the 4th of
January, 1641, "to trouble you about the ill tempers of M. Le Grand. I
upbraided him with his heedlessness; he answered that for that matter he
could not change, and that he should do no better than he had done. I
said that, considering his obligations to me, he ought not to address me
in that manner. He answered in his usual way: that he didn't want my
kindness, that he could do very well without it, and that he would be
quite as well content to be Cinq-Mars as M. Le Grand, but, as for
changing his ways and his life, he couldn't do it. And so, he
continually knagging at me and I at him, we came as far as the
court-yard, when I said to him that, being in the temper he was in, he
would do me the pleasure of not coming to see me. I have not seen him
since. Signed, Louis." This time the cardinal reconciled the king and
the favorite, whom he had himself placed near him, but whose constant
attendance upon the king his master he was beginning to find sometimes
very troublesome. "One day he sent word to him not to be for the future
so continually at his heels, and treated him even to his face with so
much tartness and imperiousness as if he had been the lowest of his
valets." Cinq-Mars began to lend an ear to those who were egging him on
against the cardinal.

Then began a series of negotiations and intrigues; the Duke of Orleans
had come back to Paris, the king was ill and the cardinal more so than
he; thence arose conjectures and insensate hopes; the Duke of Bouillon,
being sent for by the king, who confided to him the command of the army
of Italy, was at the same time drawn into the plot which was beginning to
be woven against the minister; the Duke of Orleans and the queen were in
it; and the town of Sedan, of which Bouillon was prince-sovereign, was
wanted to serve the authors of the conspiracy as an asylum in case of
reverse. Sedan alone was not sufficient; there was need of an army.
Whence was it to come? Thoughts naturally turned towards Spain.

For so perilous a treaty a negotiator was required, and the grand equerry
proposed his friend, Viscount de Fontrailles, a man of wit, who detested
the cardinal, and who would have considered it a simpler plan to
assassinate him; he consented, however, to take charge of the
negotiation, and he set out for Madrid, where his treaty was soon
concluded, in the name of the Duke of Orleans. The Spaniards were to
furnish twelve thousand foot and five thousand horse, four hundred
thousand crowns down, twelve thousand crowns' pay a month, and three
hundred thousand livres to fortify the frontier-town which was promised
by the duke. Sedan, Cinq-Mars, and the Duke of Bouillon were only
mentioned in a separate instrument.

The king was then at Narbonne, on his way to his army, which was
besieging Perpignan. The grand equerry was with him. Fontrailles went
to call upon him. "I do not intend to be seen by anybody," said he, "but
to make speedily for England, as I do not think I am strong enough to
undergo the torture the cardinal might put me to in his own room on the
least suspicion." On the 21st of April, the cardinal was dangerously
ill, and the king left him at Narbonne a prey to violent fever, with an
abscess on the arm which prevented him from writing, whilst Cinq-Mars,
ever present and ever at work, was doing his best to insinuate into his
master's mind suspicion of the minister, and the hopes founded upon his
disgrace or death. The king listened, as he subsequently avowed, in
order to discover his favorite's wicked thoughts and make him tell all he
had in his heart. "The king was tacitly the head of this conspiracy,"
says Madame de Motteville: "the grand equerry was the soul of it; the
name made use of was that of the Duke of Orleans, the king's only
brother; and their counsel was the Duke of Bouillon, who joined with them
because, having belonged to the party of M. de Soissons, he was in very
ill odor at court. They all formed fine projects touching the change
that was to take place to the advantage of their aggrandizement and
fortunes, persuading themselves that the cardinal could not live above a
few days, during which he would not be able to set himself right with the
king." Such were their projects and their hopes when the Gazette de
France, on the 21st of June, 1642, gave these two pieces of news both
together. "The cardinal-duke, after remaining two days at Arles,
embarked on the 11th of this month for Tarascon, his health becoming
better and better. The king has ordered under arrest Marquis de Cinq-
Mars, grand equerry of France."

Great was the surprise, and still greater was the dismay, amongst the
friends of Cinq-Mars. "Your grand designs are as well known at Paris as
that the Seine flows under the Pont Neuf," wrote Mary di Gonzaga to him a
few days previously.

Those grand designs so imprudently divulged caused a presentiment of
great peril. When left alone with his young favorite, and suddenly
overwhelmed, amidst his army, with cares and business of which his
minister usually relieved him, the king had too much wit not to perceive
the frivolous insignificance of Cinq-Mars compared with the mighty
capability of the cardinal. "I love you more than ever," he wrote to
Richelieu: "we have been too long together to be ever separated, as I
wish everybody to understand. In reply, the cardinal had sent him a copy
of the treaty between Cinq-Mars and Spain.

The king could not believe his eyes; and his wrath equalled his
astonishment. Together with that of the grand equerry he ordered the
immediate arrest of M. de Thou, his intimate friend; and the order went
out to secure the Duke of Bouillon, then at the head of the army of
Italy. He, caught, like Marshal Marillac, in the midst of his troops,
had vainly attempted to conceal himself; but he was taken and conducted
to the castle of Pignerol. Fontrailles had seen the blow coming. He
went to visit the grand equerry, and, "Sir," said he, "you are a fine
figure; if you were shorter by the whole head, you would not cease to be
very tall; as for me, who am already very short, nothing could be taken
off me without inconveniencing me and making me cut the poorest figure in
the world; you will be good enough, if you please, to let me get out of
the way of edged tools." And he set out for Spain, whence he had hardly

What had become of the most guilty, if not the most dangerous, of all the
accomplices? Monsieur, "the king's only (unique) brother," as Madame de
Motteville calls him, had come as far as Moulins, and had sent to ask the
grand equerry to appoint a place of meeting, when he heard of his
accomplice's arrest, and, before long, that of the Duke of Bouillon.
Frightened to death as he was, he saw that treachery was safer than
flight, and, just as the king had joined the all but dying cardinal at
Tarascon, there arrived an emissary from the Duke of Orleans bringing
letters from him. He assured the king of his fidelity; he entreated
Chavigny, the minister's confidant, to give him "means of seeing his
Eminence before he saw the king, in which case all would go well." He
appealed to the cardinal's generosity, begging him to keep his letter as
an eternal reproach, if he were not thenceforth the most faithful and
devoted of his friends.

Abbe de La Riviere, who was charged to implore pardon for his master,
was worthy of such a commission: he confessed everything, he signed
everything, though he "all but died of terror," and, at the cardinal's
demand, he soon brought all those poltrooneries written out in the Duke
of Orleans' own hand. The prince was all but obliged to appear at the
trial and deliver up his accomplices in the face of the whole world.
The respect, however, of Chancellor Seguier for his rank spared him this
crowning disgrace. The king's orders to his brother, after being
submitted to the cardinal, bore this note in the minister's hand:
"Monsieur will have in his place of exile twelve thousand crowns a month,
the same sum that the King of Spain had promised to give him."

"Paralysis of the arm did not prevent the head from acting;" the dying
cardinal had dictated to the king, stretched on a couch at his side, in a
chamber of his house at Monfrin, near Tarascon, those last commands which
completed the dishonor of the Duke of Orleans and the ruin of the
favorite. Louis XIII. slowly took the road back to Fontainebleau in the
cardinal's litter, which the latter had lent him. The prisoners were
left in the minister's keeping, who ordered them before long to Lyons,
whither he was himself removed. The grand equerry coming from
Montpellier, M. de Thou from Tarascon, in a boat towed by that of the
cardinal, and the Duke of Bouillon from Pignerol, were all three lodged
in the castle of Pierre-Encise. Their examination was put off until the
arrival of such magistrates "as should be capable of philosophizing and
perpetually thinking of the means they must use for arriving at their
ends." That was useless, inasmuch as the grand equerry "never ceased to
say quite openly that he had done nothing to which the king had not

Louis XIII. was, no doubt, affected by such language; for, scarcely had
he arrived at Fontainebleau, whither he had been preceded by news of the
end of the queen his mother, who had died at Cologne in exile and
poverty, when he wrote to all the parliaments of his kingdom, to the
governors of the provinces, and to the ambassadors at foreign courts, to
give his own account of the arrest of the guilty and the part he himself
had played in the matter. "The notable and visible change which had for
the last year appeared in the conduct of Sieur de Cinq-Mars, our grand
equerry, made us resolve, as soon as we perceived it, to carefully keep
watch on his actions and his words, in order to fathom them and discover
what could be the cause. To this end, we resolved to let him act and
speak with us more freely than heretofore." And in a letter written
straight to the chancellor, the king exclaims in wrath, "It is true that
having seen me sometimes dissatisfied with the cardinal, whether from the
apprehension I felt lest he should hinder me from going to the siege of
Perpignan, or induce me to leave it, for fear lest my health might
suffer, or from any other like reason, the said Sieur de Cinq-Mars left
nothing undone to chafe me against my said cousin, which I put up with so
long as his evil offices were confined within the bounds of moderation.
But when he went so far as to suggest to me that the cardinal must be got
rid of, and offered to carry it out himself, I conceived a horror of his
evil thoughts, and held them in detestation. Although I have only to say
so for you to believe it, there is nobody who can deem but that it must
have been so; for, otherwise, what motive would he have had for joining
himself to Spain against me, if I had approved of what he desired?"

The trial was a foregone conclusion; the king and his brother made common
cause in order to overwhelm the accused, "an earnest of a peace which was
not such as God announced with good will to man on Christmas day," writes
Madame de Motteville, "but such as may exist at court and amongst
brothers of royal blood."

The cardinal did not think it necessary to wait for the sentence. He had
arrived at his house at Lyons, in a sort of square chamber, covered with
red damask, and borne on the shoulders of eighteen guards; there,
stretched upon his couch, a table covered with papers beside him, he
worked and chatted with whomsoever of his servants he had been pleased to
have as his companion on the road. It was in the same equipage that he
left Lyons to gain the Loire and return to Paris. On his passage, it was
necessary to pull down lumps of wall and throw bridges over the fosses to
make way for this vast litter and the indomitable man that lay dying
within it.

It was on the 12th of September, 1642, that the accused appeared before
the commission; there were now but two of them; the Duke of Bouillon had
made his private arrangement with the cardinal, confessing everything,
and requesting "to have his life spared in order that he might employ it
to preserve to the Catholic church five little children whom his death
would leave to persons of the opposite religion." In consideration of
this pardon, a demand was made upon him to give up Sedan to the king,
"though it were easy to gain possession of-it by investment." The duke
consented to all, and he awaited in his dungeon at Pierre-Bncise the
execution of his accomplices who had no town to surrender. Their death
was to be the signal of his liberation.

The two accused denied nothing. M. de Thou merely maintained that he had
not been in any way mixed up with the conspiracy, proving that he had
blamed the treaty with Spain, and that his only crime was not having
revealed it. "He believed me to be his friend, his one faithful friend,"
said he, speaking of Cinq-Mars, "and I had no mind to betray him." The
grand equerry told in detail the story of the plot, his connection with
the Duke of Orleans, who had missed no opportunity of paying court to
him, the resolutions taken in concert with the Duke of Bouillon, and the
treaty concluded with Spain, "confessing that he had erred, and had no
hope but in the clemency of the king, and of the cardinal, whose
generosity would be so much the more shown in asking pardon for him as he
was the less bound to do so." There was not long to wait for the decree;
the votes were unanimous against the grand equerry, a single one of the
judges pronouncing in favor of M. de Thou. The latter turned towards
Cinq-Mars, and said, "Ah! well, sir; humanly speaking, I might complain
of you; you have placed me in the dock, and you are the cause of my
death; but God knows how I love you. Let us die, sir, let us die
courageously, and win Paradise."

The decree against Cinq-Mars sentenced him to undergo the question in
order to get a more complete revelation of his accomplices. "It had been
resolved not to put him to it," says Tallemant des Reaux: "but it was
exhibited to him nevertheless; it gave him a turn, but it did not make
him do anything to belie himself, and he was just taking off his doublet,
when he was told to raise his hand in sign of telling the truth."

The execution was not destined to be long deferred; the very day on which
the sentence was delivered saw the execution of it. "The grand equerry
showed a never-changing and very resolute firmness to the death, together
with admirable calmness and the constancy and devoutness of a Christian,"
wrote M. du Marca, councillor of state, to the secretary of state
Brionne; and Tallemant des Reaux adds, "He died with astoundingly great
courage, and did not waste time in speechifying; he would not have his
eyes bandaged, and kept them open when the blow was struck." M. de Thou
said not a word save to God, repeating the Credo even to the very
scaffold, with a fervor of devotion that touched all present. "We have
seen," says a report of the time, "the favorite of the greatest and most
just of kings lose his head upon the scaffold at the age of twenty-two,
but with a firmness which has scarcely its parallel in our histories. We
have seen a councillor of state die like a saint after a crime which men
cannot justly pardon. There is nobody in the world who, knowing of their
conspiracy against the state, does not think them worthy of death, and
there will be few who, having knowledge of their rank and their fine
natural qualities, will not mourn their sad fate."

[Illustration: Cinq-Mars and De Thou going to Execution----215]

"Now that I make not a single step which does not lead me to death, I am
more capable than anybody else of estimating the value of the things of
the world," wrote Cinq-Mars to his mother, the wife of Marshal d'Effiat.
"Enough of this world; away to Paradise!" said M. de Thou, as he marched
to the scaffold. Chalais and Montmorency had used the same language. At
the last hour, and at the bottom of their hearts, the frivolous courtier
and the hare-brained conspirator, as well as the great soldier and the
grave magistrate, had recovered their faith in God.


The story has been told of the conspiracies at court and the repeated
checks suffered by the great lords in their attempts against Cardinal
Richelieu. With the exception of Languedoc, under the influence of its
governor the Duke of Montmorency, the provinces took no part in these
enterprises; their opposition was of another sort; and it is amongst the
parliaments chiefly that we must look for it.

"The king's cabinet and his bed-time business (_petit coucher_) cause me
more embarrassment than the whole of Europe causes me," said the cardinal
in the days of the great storms at court; he would often have had less
trouble in managing the parliaments and the Parliament of Paris in
particular, if the latter had not felt itself supported by a party at
court. For a long time past a pretension had been put forward by that
great body to give the king advice, and to replace towards him the
vanished states-general. "We hold the place in council of the princes
and barons, who from time immemorial were near the person of the kings,"
was the language used, in 1615, in the representations of the Parliament,
which had dared, without the royal order, to summon the princes, dukes,
peers, and officers of the crown to deliberate upon what was to be done
for the service of the king, the good of the state, and the relief of the

This pretension on the part of the parliaments was what Cardinal
Richelieu was continually fighting against. He would not allow the
intervention of the magistrates in the government of the state. When he
took the power into his hands, nine parliaments sat in France--Paris,
Toulouse, Grenoble, Bordeaux, Dijon, Rouen, Aix, Rennes, and Pau: he
created but one, that of Metz, in 1633, to severe in a definitive manner
the bonds which still attached the three bishoprics to the Germanic
empire. Trials at that time were carried in the last resort to Spires.

Throughout the history of France we find the Parliament of Paris bolder
and more enterprising than all the rest: and it did not belie its
character in the very teeth of Richelieu. When, after _Dupes' Day_ was
over, Louis XIII. declared all the companions of his brother's escape
guilty of high treason, the Parliament of Dijon, to which the decree was
presented by the king himself, enregistered it without making any
difficulty. All the other parliaments followed the example; that of
Paris alone resisted, and its decision on the 25th of April contained a
bitter censure upon the cardinal's administration. On the 12th of May,
the decision of that Parliament was quashed by a decree of the royal
council, and all its members were summoned to the Louvre; on their knees
they had to hear the severe reprimand delivered by Chateauneuf, keeper of
the seals; and one president and three counsellors were at the same time
dismissed. When the Parliament, still indomitable, would have had those
magistrates sit in defiance of the royal order, they were not to be found
in their houses; the soldiery had carried them off.

[Illustration: The Parliament of Paris reprimanded----217]

The trial of Marshal Marillac, before a commission, twice modified during
the course of proceedings, of the Parliament of Dijon, was the occasion
of a fresh reclamation on the part of the Parliament of Paris; and the
king's ill-humor against the magistrates burst forth on the occasion of a
commission constituted at the Arsenal to take cognizance of the crime of
coining. The Parliament made some formal objections the king, who was at
that time at Metz with his troops, summoned President Seguier and several
counsellors. He quashed the decree of the Parliament. "You are only
constituted," said he, "to judge between Master Peter and Master John
(between John Doe and Richard Roe); if you go on as at present, I will
pare your nails so close that you'll be sorry for it." Five counsellors
were interdicted, and had great trouble in obtaining authority to sit
again. So many and such frequent squabbles, whether about points of
jurisdiction or about the registration of edicts respecting finances,
which the Parliament claimed to have the right of looking into, caused
between the king, inspired by his minister, and the Parliament of Paris
an irritation which reached its height during the trial of the Duke of
La Valette, third son of the Duke of Epernon, accused, not without
grounds, of having caused the failure of the siege of Fontarabia from

jealousy towards the Prince of Conde. The affair was called on before
a commission composed of dukes and peers, some councillors of state and
some members of the Parliament, which demanded that the duke should be
removed to its jurisdiction. "I will not have it," answered the king;
"you are always making difficulties; it seems as if you wanted to keep me
in leading-strings; but I am master, and shall know how to make myself
obeyed: It is a gross error to suppose that I have not a right to bring
to judgment whom I think proper and where I please." The king himself
asked the judges for their opinion. [_Isambert, Recueil des anciennes
Lois Francaises,_ t. xvi.] "Sir," replied Counsellor Pinon, dean of the
grand chamber, "for fifty years I have been in the Parliament, and I
never saw anything of this sort; M. de La Valette had the honor of
wedding a natural sister of your Majesty, and he is, besides, a peer
of France; I implore you to remove him to the jurisdiction of the
Parliament." "Your opinion!" said the king, curtly. "I am of opinion
that the Duke of La Valette be removed to be tried before the
Parliament." "I will not have that; it is no opinion." "Sir, removal is
a legitimate opinion." "Your opinion on the case!" rejoined the king,
who was beginning to be angry; "if not, I know what I must do."
President Bellievre was even bolder. "It is a strange thing," said he to
Louis XIII.'s face, to see a king giving his vote at the criminal trial
of one of his subjects; hitherto kings have reserved to themselves the
rights of grace, and have removed to their officers' province the
sentencing of culprits. Could your Majesty bear to see in the dock a
nobleman, who might leave your presence only for the scaffold? It is
incompatible with kingly majesty." "Your opinion on the case!" bade the
king. "Sir, I have no other opinion." The Duke of La Valette had taken
refuge in England: he was condemned and executed in effigy. The
attorney-general, Matthew Mold, "did not consider it his business to
carry out an execution of that sort: "and recourse was obliged to be had
to the lieutenant-governor of convicts at the Chatelet of Paris.

The cup had overflowed, and the cardinal resolved to put an end to an
opposition which was the more irritating inasmuch as it was sometimes
legitimate. A notification of the king's, published in 1641, prohibited
the Parliament from any interference in affairs of state and
administration. The whole of Richelieu's home-policy is summed up in the
preamble to that instrument, a formal declaration of absolute power
concentrated in the hands of the king. "It seemeth that, the institution
of monarchies having its foundation in the government of a single one,
that rank is as it were the soul which animates them and inspires them
with as much force and vigor as they can have short of perfection. But
as this absolute authority raises states to the highest pinnacle of their
glory, so, when it happens to be enfeebled, they are observed, in a short
time, to fall from their high estate. There is no need to go out of
France to find instances of truth. . . . The fatal disorders and
divisions of the League, which ought to be buried in eternal oblivion,
owed their origin and growth to disregard of the kingly authority Henry
the Great, in whom God had put the most excellent virtues of a great
prince, on succeeding to the crown of Henry III., restored by his valor
the kingly authority which had been as it were cast down and trampled
under foot. France recovered her pristine vigor, and let all Europe see
that power concentrated in the person of the sovereign is the source of
the glory and greatness of monarchies, and the foundation upon which
their preservation rests. . . . We, then, have thought it necessary
to regulate the administration of justice, and to make known to our
parliaments what is the legitimate usage of the authority which the
kings, our predecessors, and we have deposited with them, in order that a
thing which was established for the good of the people may not produce
contrary effects, as would happen if the officers, instead of contenting
themselves with that power which makes them judges in matters of life and
death and touching the fortunes of our subjects, would fain meddle in the
government of the state which appertains to the prince only."

The cardinal had gained the victory. Parliament bowed the head; its
attempts at independence during the Fronde were but a flash, and the yoke
of Louis XIV. became the more heavy for it. The pretensions of the
magistrates were often foundationless, the restless and meddlesome
character of their assemblies did harm to their remonstrances; but for a
long while they maintained, in the teeth of more and more absolute kingly
power, the country's rights in the government, and they had perceived the
dangers of that sovereign monarchy which certainly sometimes raises
states to the highest pinnacle of their glory, but only to let them sink
before long to a condition of the most grievous abasement.

Though always first in the breach, the Parliament of Paris was not alone
in its opposition to the cardinal. The Parliament of Dijon protested
against the sentence of Marshal Marillac, and refused, to its shame, to
bear its share of the expenses for the defence of Burgundy against the
Duke of Lorraine, in 1636, a refusal which cost it the suspension of its
premier president.

The Parliament of Brittany, in defence of its jurisdictional privileges,
refused to enregister the decree which had for object the foundation of a
company trading with the Indies, "for the general trade between the West
and the East," a grand idea of Richelieu's, the seat of which was to be
in the roads of Morbihan; the company, already formed, was disheartened,
thanks to the delays caused by the Parliament, and the enterprise failed.
The Parliament of Grenoble, fearing a dearth of corn in Dauphiny, quashed
the treaties of supply for the army of Italy, at the time of the second
expedition to Mantua; it went so far as to have the dealers' granaries
thrown open, and the superintendent of finance, D'Emery, was obliged to
come to terms with the deputies of Dauphiny, "in order that they of the
Parliament of Grenoble, who said they had no interests but those of the
province, might have no reason to prevent for the future the transport of
corn," says Richelieu himself in his Memoires.

The Parliament of Rouen had always passed for one of the most
recalcitrant. The province of Normandy was rich, and, consequently,
overwhelmed with imposts; and several times the Parliament refused to
enregister financial edicts which still further aggravated the distress
of the people. In 1637 the king threatened to go in person to Rouen and
bring the Parliament to submission, whereat it took fright and
enregistered decrees for twenty-two millions. It was, no doubt, this
augmentation of imposts that brought about the revolt of the Nu-pieds
(Barefoots) in 1639. Before now, in 1624 and in 1637, in Perigord and
Rouergue, two popular risings of the same sort, under the name of
Croquants (Paupers), had disquieted the authorities, and the governor of
the province had found some trouble in putting them down. The Nu-pieds
were more numerous and more violent still; from Rouen to Avranches all
the country was a-blaze. At Coutances and at Vire, several monopoliers
and gabeleurs, as the fiscal officers were called, were massacred; a
great number of houses were burned, and most of the receiving-offices
were pulled down or pillaged. Everywhere the army of suffering (_armee
de souffrance_), the name given by the revolters to themselves, made,
appeal to violent passions; popular rhymes were circulated from hand to
hand, in the name of General _Nu-pieds (Barefoot),_ an imaginary
personage whom nobody ever saw. Some of these verses are fair enough.

[Illustration: The Barefoots----221]


"Dear land of mine, thou canst no more
What boots it to have served so well?
For see! thy faithful service bore
This bitter fruit--the cursed gabelle.
Is that the guerdon earned by those
Who succored France against her foes,
Who saved her kings, upheld her crown,
And raised the lilies trodden down,
In spite of all the foe could do,
In spite of Spain and England too?

"Recall thy generous blood, and show
That all posterity may know--
Duke William's breed still lives at need:
Show that thou hast a heavier hand
Than erst came forth from Northern land;
A hand so strong, a heart so high,
These tyrants all shall beaten cry,
'From Normans and the Norman race
Deliver us, O God of grace!'"

The tumult was more violent at Rouen than anywhere else, and the
Parliament energetically resisted the mob. It had sent two counsellors
as a deputation to Paris to inform the king about the state of affairs.
"You may signify to the gentlemen of the Parliament of Rouen," said
Chancellor Seguier, in answer to the delegates, "that I thank them for
the trouble they have taken on this occasion; I will let the king know
how they have behaved in this affair. I beg them to go on as they have
begun. I know that the Parliament did very good service there."

In fact, several counsellors, on foot in the street and in the very midst
of the revolters, had, at the peril of their lives, defended Le Tellier
de Tourneville, receiver-general of gabels, and his officers, whilst the
whole Parliament, in their robes, with the premier president at their
head, perambulated Rouen, amidst the angry mob, repairing at once to the
points most threatened, insomuch that the presidents and counsellors were
"in great danger and fear for their skins." [_Histoire du Parlement de
Normandy,_ by M. Floquet, t. iv.] It was this terror, born of tumults
and the sight of an infuriated populace, which, at a later period,
retarded the Parliament in dealing out justice, and brought down upon
it the wrath of the king and of the cardinal.

Meanwhile the insurrection was gaining ground, and the local authorities
were powerless to repress it. There was hesitation at the king's council
in choosing between Marshal Rantzau and M. de Gassion to command the
forces ordered to march into Normandy. "That country yields no wine,"
said the king "that will not do for Rantzau, or be good quarters for
him." And they sent Colonel Gnssion, not so heavy a drinker as Rantzau,
a good soldier and an inflexible character. First at Caen, then at
Avranches, where there was fighting to be done, at Coutances and at
Elbeuf, Gassion's soldiery everywhere left the country behind them in
subjection, in ruin, and in despair. They entered Rouen on the 31st of
December, 1639, and on the 2d of January, 1640, the chancellor himself
arrived to do justice on the rebels heaped up in the prisons, whom the
Parliament dared not bring up for judgment. "I come to Rouen," he said,
on entering the town, "not to deliberate, but to declare and execute the
matters on which my mind is made up." And he forbade all intervention on
the part of the archbishop, Francis de Harlay, who was disposed, in
accordance with his office of love as well as the parliamentary name he
bore, to implore pity for the culprits, and to excuse the backward
judges. The chancellor did not give himself the trouble to draw up
sentences. "The decree is at the tip of my staff," replied Picot, captain
of his guards, when he was asked to show his orders. The executions were
numerous in Higher and Lower Normandy, and the Parliament received the
wages of its tardiness. All the members of the body, even the most aged
and infirm, were obliged to leave Rouen. A commission of fifteen
councillors of the Parliament of Paris came to replace provisionally the
interdicted Parliament of Normandy; and, when the magistrates were
empowered at last to resume their sitting, it was only a six months'
term: that is, the Parliament henceforth found itself divided into two
fragments, perfect strangers one to the other, which were to sit
alternately for six months. "A veritable thunderbolt for that sovereign
court, for by the six months' term," says M. Floquet, "there was no
longer any Parliament, properly speaking, but two phantoms of Parliament,
making war on each other, whilst the government had the field open to
carve and cut without control."

"All obedience is now from fear," wrote Grotius to Oxenstiern, chancellor
of Sweden; "the idea is to exorcise and annihilate hatred by means of
terror." "This year," wrote an inhabitant of Rouen, "there have been no
New Year's presents [_etrennes_], no singing of 'the king's drinking-song
[_le roi boit_], in any house. Little children will be able to tell
tales of it when they have attained to man's estate; for never, these
fifty years past, so far as I can learn, has it been so." [_Journal de
l'Abbe de la Rue_.] The heaviest imposts weighed upon the whole
province, which thus expiated the crime of an insignificant portion of
its inhabitants. "The king shall not lose the value of this handkerchief
that I hold," said the superintendent Bullion, on arriving at Rouen. And
he kept his word: Rouen alone had to pay more than three millions. The
province and its Parliament were henceforth reduced to submission.

It was not only the Parliaments that resisted the efforts of Cardinal
Richelieu to concentrate all the power of the government in the hands of
the king. From the time that the sovereigns had given up convoking the
states-general, the states-provincial had alone preserved the right of
bringing to the foot of the throne the plaints and petitions of subjects.
Unhappily few provinces enjoyed this privilege; Languedoc, Brittany,
Burgundy, Provence, Dauphiny, and the countship of Pau alone were
states-districts, that is to say, allowed to tax themselves
independently and govern themselves to a certain extent. Normandy,
though an elections-district, and, as such, subject to the royal agents
in respect of finance, had states which continued to meet even in 1666.
The states-provincial were always convoked by the king, who fixed the
place and duration of assembly.

The composition of the states-provincial varied a great deal, according
to the districts. In Brittany all noblemen settled in the province had
the right of sitting, whilst the third estate were represented by only
forty deputies. In Languedoc, on the contrary, the nobility had but
twenty-three representatives, and the class of the third estate numbered
sixty-eight deputies. Hence, no doubt, the divergences of conduct to be
remarked in those two provinces between the Parliament and the
states-provincial. In Languedoc, even during Montmorency's insurrection,
the Parliament remained faithful to the king and submissive to the
cardinal, whilst the states declared in favor of the revolt: in Brittany,
the Parliament thwarted Richelieu's efforts in favor of trade, which had
been enthusiastically welcomed by the states.

In Languedoc as well as in Dauphiny the cardinal's energy was constantly
directed towards reducing the privileges which put the imposts, and,
consequently, the royal revenues, at the discretion of the states.
Montmorency's insurrection cost Languedoc a great portion of its
liberties, which had already been jeoparded, in 1629, on the occasion of
the Huguenots' rising; and those of Dauphiny were completely lost; the
states were suppressed in 1628.

The states of Burgundy ordinarily assembled every three years, but they
were accustomed, on separating, to appoint "a chamber of states-general,"
whereat the nobility, clergy, and third estate were represented, and
which was charged to watch over the interests of the province in the
interval between the sessions. When, in 1629, Richelieu proposed to
create, as in Languedoc, a body of "elect" to arrange with the fiscal
agents for the rating of imposts without the concurrence of the states,
the assembly proclaimed that "it was all over with the liberties of the
province if the edict passed," and, in the chamber of the nobility, two
gentlemen were observed to draw their swords. But, spite of the
disturbance which took place at Dijon, in 1630, on occasion of an impost
on wines, and which was called, from the title of a popular ditty, _la
Sedition de Lanturlu,_ the province preserved its liberties, and remained
a states-district.

It was the same subject that excited in Provence the revolt of the
_Cascaveous,_ or bell-bearers. Whenever there was any question of
elections or "elect," the conspirators sounded their bells as a rallying
signal, and so numerous was the body of adherents that the bells were
heard tinkling everywhere. The Prince of Conde was obliged to march
against the revolters, and the states assembled at Tarascon found
themselves forced to vote a subsidy of one million five hundred thousand
livres. At this cost the privileges of Provence were respected.

The states of Brittany, on the contrary, lent the cardinal faithful
support, when he repaired thither with the king, in 1626, at the time of
the conspiracy of Chalais; the Duke of Vendome, governor of Brittany, had
just been arrested; the states requested the king "never to give them a
governor issue of the old dukes, and to destroy the fortifications of the
towns and castles which were of no use for the defence of the country."
The petty noblemen, a majority in the states, thus delivered over the
province to the kingly power, from jealousy of the great lords. The
ordinance, dated from Nantes on the 31st of July, 1626, rendered the
measure general throughout France. The battlements of the castles fell
beneath the axe of the demolishers, and the masses of the district
welcomed enthusiastically the downfall of those old reminiscences of
feudal oppression.

As a sequel to the systematic humiliation of the great lords, even when
provincial governors, and to the gradual enfeeblement of provincial
institutions, Richelieu had to create in all parts of France, still so
diverse in organization as well as in manners, representatives of the
kingly power, of too modest and feeble a type to do without him, but
capable of applying his measures and making his wishes respected. Before
now the kings of France had several times over perceived the necessity of
keeping up a supervision over the conduct of their officers in the
provinces. The inquisitors (_enquesteurs_) of St. Louis, the ridings of
the revising-masters (_chevauehees des maitres des requetes_), the
departmental commissioners (_commissaires departis_) of Charles IX., were
so many temporary and travelling inspectors, whose duty it was to inform
the king of the state of affairs throughout the kingdom. Richelieu
substituted for these shifting commissions a fixed and regular
institution, and in 1637 he established in all the provinces overseers of
justice, police, and finance, who were chosen for the most part from
amongst the burgesses, and who before long concentrated in their hands
the whole administration, and maintained the struggle of the kingly power
against the governors, the sovereign courts, and the states-provincial.

At the time when the overseers of provinces were instituted, the battle
of pure monarchy was gained; Richelieu had no further need of allies, he
wanted mere subjects; but at the beginning of his ministry he had felt
the need of throwing himself sometimes for support on the nation, and
this great foe of the states-general had twice convoked the Assembly of
Notables. The first took place at Fontainebleau, in 1625-6. The
cardinal was at that time at loggerheads with the court of Rome: "If the
Most Christian King," said he, "is bound to watch over the interests of
the Catholic church, he has first of all to maintain his own reputation
in the world. What use would it be for a state to have power, riches,
and popular government, if it had not character enough to bring other
people to form alliance with it?" These few words summed up the great
minister's foreign policy, to protect the Catholic church whilst keeping
up Protestant alliances. The Notables understood the wisdom of this
conduct, and Richelieu received their adhesion. It was just the same the
following year, the day after the conspiracy of Chalais; the cardinal
convoked the Assembly of Notables. "We do protest before the living
God," said the letters of convocation, "that we have no other aim and
intention but His honor and the welfare of our subjects; that is why we
do conjure in His name those whom we convoke, and do most expressly
command them, without fear or desire of displeasing or pleasing any, to
give us, in all frankness and sincerity, the counsels they shall judge on
their consciences to be the most salutary and convenient for the welfare
of the commonwealth." The assembly so solemnly convoked opened its
sittings at the palace of the Tuileries on the 2d of December, 1626. The
state of the finances was what chiefly occupied those present; and the
cardinal himself pointed out the general principles of the reform he
calculated upon establishing. "It is impossible," he said, "to meddle
with the expenses necessary for the preservation of the state; it were a
crime to think of such a thing. The retrenchment, therefore, must be in
the case of useless expenses. The most stringent rules are and appear to
be, even to the most ill-regulated minds, comparatively mild, when they
have, in deed as well as in appearance, no object but the public good and
the safety of the state. To restore the state to its pristine splendor,
we need not many ordinances, but a great deal of practical performance."

The performance appertained to Richelieu, and he readily dispensed with
many ordinances. The Assembly was favorable to his measures; but amongst
those that it rejected was the proposal to substitute loss of offices and
confiscation for the penalty of death in matters of rebellion and
conspiracy. "Better a moderate but certain penalty," said the cardinal,
"than a punishment too severe to be always inflicted." It was the
notables who preserved in the hands of the inflexible minister the
terrible weapon of which he availed himself so often. The Assembly
separated on the 24th of February, 1627, the last that was convoked
before the revolution of 1789. It was in answer to its demands, as well
as to those of the states of 1614, that the keeper of the seals, Michael
Marillac, drew up, in 1629, the important administrative ordinance which
has preserved from its author's name the title of _Code Michau_.

The cardinal had propounded to the Notables a question which he had
greatly at heart--the foundation of a navy. Already, when disposing,
some weeks previously, of the government of Brittany, which had been
taken away from the Duke of Vendome, he had separated from the office
that of admiral of Brittany; already he was in a position to purchase
from M. de Montmorency his office of grand admiral of France, so as to
suppress it and substitute for it that of grand master of navigation,
which was personally conferred upon Richelieu by an edict enregistered on
the 18th of March, 1627 .

"Of the power which it has seemed agreeable to his Majesty that I should
hold," he wrote on the 20th of January, 1627, "I can say with truth, that
it is so moderate that it could not be more so to be an appreciable
service, seeing that I have desired no wage or salary so as not to be a
charge to the state, and I can add without vanity that the proposal to
take no wage came from me, and that his Majesty made a difficulty about
letting it be so."

The Notables had thanked the king, for the intention he had "of being
pleased to give the kingdom the treasures of the sea which nature had so
liberally proffered it, for without [keeping] the sea one cannot profit
by the sea nor maintain war." Harbors repaired and fortified, arsenals
established at various points on the coast, organization of marine
regiments, foundation of pilot-schools, in fact, the creation of a
powerful marine which, in 1642, numbered sixty-three vessels and
twenty-two galleys, that left the roads of Barcelona after the
rejoicings for the capture of Perpignan and arrived the same evening at
Toulon--such were the fruits of Richelieu's administration of naval
affairs. "Instead," said the bailiff of Forbin, "of having a handful of
rebels forcing us, as of late, to compose our naval forces of foreigners
and implore succor from Spain, England, Malta, and Holland, we are at
present in a condition to do as much for them if they continue in
alliance with us, or to beat them when they fall off from us."

So much progress on every point, so many efforts in all directions,
eighty-five vessels afloat, a hundred regiments of infantry, and three
hundred troops of cavalry, almost constantly on a war footing, naturally
entailed enormous expenses and terrible burdens on the people. It was
Richelieu's great fault to be more concerned about his object than
scrupulous as to the means he employed for arriving at it. His
principles were as harsh as his conduct. "Reason does not admit of
exempting the people from all burdens," said he, "because in such case,
on losing the mark of their subjection, they would also lose remembrance
of their condition, and, if they were free from tribute, would think that
they were from obedience also." Cruel words those, and singularly
destitute of regard for Christian charity and human dignity, beside
which, however, must be placed these: "If the subsidies imposed on the
people were not to be kept within moderate bounds, even when they were
needed for the service of the country, they would not cease to be
unjust." The strong common sense of this great mind did not allow him to
depart for long from a certain hard equity. Posterity has preserved the
memory of his equity less than of his hardness: men want sympathy more
than justice.


Cardinal Richelieu has often been accused of indifference towards the
Catholic church; the ultramontanes called him the Huguenots' cardinal; in
so speaking there was either a mistake or a desire to mislead; Richelieu
was all his life profoundly and sincerely Catholic; not only did no doubt
as to the fundamental doctrines of his church trouble his mind, but he
also gave his mind to her security and her aggrandizement. He was a
believer on conviction, without religious emotions and without the
mystic's zeal; he labored for Catholicism whilst securing for himself
Protestant alliances, and if the independence of his mind caused him to
feel the necessity for a reformation, it was still in the church and by
the church that he would have had it accomplished.

Spirits more fervent and minds more pious than Richelieu's felt the same
need. On emerging from the violent struggles of the religious wars, the
Catholic church had not lost her faith, but she had neglected sweetness
and light. King Henry IV.'s conversion had secured to her the victory in
France, but she was threatened with letting it escape from her hands by
her own fault. God raised up for her some great servents who preserved
her from this danger.

The oratorical and political brilliancy of the Catholic church in the
reign of Louis XIV. has caused men to forget the great religious movement
in the reign of Louis XIII. Learned and mystic in the hands of Cardinal
Berulle, humane and charitable with St. Vincent de Paul, bold and saintly
with M. de Saint Cyran, the church underwent from all quarters quickening
influences which roused her from her dangerous lethargy.

The effort was attempted at all points at once. The priests had sunk
into an ignorance as perilous as their lukewarmness. Mid all the
diplomatic negotiations which he undertook in Richelieu's name, and the
intrigues he, with the queen-mother, often hatched against him, Cardinal
Berulle founded the con gregation of the Oratory, designed to train up
well-informed and pious young priests with a capacity for devoting
themselves to the education of children as well as the edification of the
people. " It is a body," said Bossizet, " in which everybody obeys and
nobody commands." No vow fettered the members of this celebrated
congregation, which gave to the world Malebranche and Massillon. It was,
again, under the inspiration of Cardinal B6rulle, renowned for the pious
direction of souls, that the order of Carmelites, hitherto confined to
Spain, was founded in France. The convent in Rue St. Jacques soon
numbered amongst its penitents women of the highest rank.

The labors of Mgr. de Berulle tended especially to the salvation of
individual souls; those of St. Vincent de Paul embraced a vaster field,
and one offering more scope to Christian humanity. Some time before, in
1610, St. Francis de Sales had founded, under the direction of Madame de
Chantal, the order of Visitation, whose duty was the care of the sick and
poor; he had left the direction of his new institution to M. Vincent, as
was at that time the appellation of the poor priest without birth and
without fortune, who was one day to be celebrated throughout the world
under the name of St. Vincent de Paul. This direction was not enough to
satisfy his zeal for charity; children and sick, the ignorant and the
convict, all those who suffered in body or spirit, seemed to summon
M. Vincent to their aid; he founded in 1617, in a small parish of Bresse,
the charitable society of Servants of the poor, which became in 1633, at
Paris, under the direction of Madame Legras, niece of the keeper of the
seals Marillac, the sisterhood off Servants of the sick poor, and the
cradle of the Sisters of Charity. "They shall not have, as a regular
rule," said St. Vincent, "any monastery but the houses of the sick, any
chapel but their parish-church, any cloister but the streets of the town
and the rooms of the hospitals, any enclosure but obedience, any grating
but the fear of God, or any veil but the holiest and most perfect
modesty." Eighteen thousand daughters of St. Vincent de Paul, of whom
fourteen thousand are French, still testify at this day to the
far-sighted wisdom of their founder; his regulations have endured
like his work and the necessities of the poor.

It was to the daughters of Charity that M. Vincent confided the work in
connection with foundlings, when his charitable impulses led him, in
1638, to take up the cause of the poor little abandoned things who were
perishing by heaps at that time in Paris. Appealing for help, on their
account, to the women of the world, one evening when he was in want of
money, he exclaimed at the house of the Duchess of Aiguillon, Cardinal
Richelieu's niece, "Come now, ladies; compassion and charity have made
you adopt these, little creatures as your own children; you have been
their mothers according to grace, since their mothers according to nature
have abandoned them. Consider, then, whether you too will abandon them;
their life and their death are in your hands; it is time to pronounce
their sentence, and know whether you will any longer have pity upon them.
They will live if you continue to take a charitable care of them; they
will die and perish infallibly if you abandon them." St. Vincent de Paul
had confidence in human nature, and everywhere on his path sprang up good
works in response to his appeals; the foundation of Mission-priests or
Lazarists, designed originally to spread about in the rural districts the
knowledge of God, still testifies in the East, whither they carry at one
and the same time the Gospel and the name of France, to that great
awakening of Christian charity which signalized the reign of Louis XIII.
The same inspiration created the seminary of St. Sulpice, by means of
M. Olier's solicitude, the brethren of Christian Doctrine and the
Ursulines, devoted to the education of childhood, and so many other
charitable or pious establishments, noble fruits of devoutness and
Christian sacrifice.

Nowhere was this fructuating idea of the sacrifice, the immolation of man
for God and of the present in prospect of eternity, more rigorously
understood and practised than amongst the disciples of John du Vergier de
Hauranne, Abbot of St. Cyran. More bold in his conceptions than Cardinal
Berulle and St. Vincent de Paul, of a nature more austere and at the same
time more ardent, he had early devoted himself to the study of theology.
Connected in his youth with a Fleming, Jansen, known under the name of
Jansenius and afterwards created Bishop of Ypres, he adopted with fervor
the doctrines as to the grace of God which his friend had imbibed in the
school of St. Augustin, and employing in the direction of souls that
zealous ardor which makes conquerors, he set himself to work to
regenerate the church by penance, sanctity, and sacrifice; God supreme,
reigning over hearts subdued, that was his ultimate object, and he
marched towards it without troubling himself about revolts and
sufferings, certain that he would be triumphant with God and for Him.

[Illustration: The Abbot of St. Cyran----234]

Victories gained over souls are from their very nature of a silent sort:
but M. de St. Cyran was not content with them. He wrote also, and his
book "Petrus Aurelius," published under the veil of the anonymous,
excited a great stir by its defence of the rights of the bishops against
the monks, and even against the pope. The Gallican bishops welcomed at
that time with lively satisfaction, its eloquent pleadings in favor of
their cause. But, at a later period, the French clergy discovered in
St. Cyran's book free-thinking concealed under dogmatic forms. "In case
of heresy any Christian may become judge," said Petrus Aurelius. Who,
then, should be commissioned to define heresy? So M. de St. Cyran was

He had been already by an enemy more formidable than the assemblies of
the clergy of France. Cardinal Richelieu, naturally attracted towards
greatness as he was at a later period towards the infant prodigy of the
Pascals, had been desirous of attaching St. Cyran to himself.
"Gentlemen," said he one day, as he led back the simple priest into the
midst of a throng of his courtiers, "here you see the most learned man in
Europe." But the Abbot of St. Cyran would accept no yoke but God's: he
remained independent, and perhaps hostile, pursuing, without troubling
himself about the cardinal, the great task he had undertaken. Having
had, for two years past, the spiritual direction of the convent of Port
Royal, he had found in Mother Angelica Arnauld, the superior and reformer
of the monastery, in her sister, Mother Agnes, and in the nuns of their
order, souls worthy of him and capable of tolerating his austere

Before long he had seen forming, beside Port Royal and in the solitude of
the fields, a nucleus of penitents, emulous of the hermits of the desert.
M. Le Maitre, Mother Angelica's nephew, a celebrated advocate in the
Parliament of Paris, had quitted all "to have no speech but with God."
A howling (_rugissant_) penitent, he had drawn after him his brothers,
MM. de Sacy and de Sericourt, and, ere long, young Lancelot, the learned
author of Greek roots: all steeped in the rigors of penitential life, all
blindly submissive to M. de St. Cyran and his saintly requirements. The
director's power over so many eminent minds became too great. Richelieu
had comprehended better than the bishops the tendency of M. de St.
Cyran's ideas and writings. "He continued to publish many opinions, new
and leading to dangerous conclusions," says Father Joseph in his
_Memoires,_" in such sort that the king, being advertised, commanded him
to be kept a prisoner in the Bois de Vincennes." "That man is worse than
six armies," said Cardinal Richelieu; "if Luther and, Calvin had been
shut up when they began to dogmatize, states would have been spared a
great deal of trouble."

The consciences of men and the ardor of their souls are not so easily
stifled by prison or exile. The Abbot of St. Cyran, in spite of the
entreaties of his powerful friends, remained at Vincennes up to the death
of Cardinal Richelieu; the seclusionists of Port Royal were driven from
their retreat and obliged to disperse; but neither the severities of
Richelieu, nor, at a later period, those of Louis XIV., were the true
cause of the ultimate powerlessness of Jansenism to bring about that
profound reformation of the church which had been the dream of the Abbot
of St. Cyran. He had wished to immolate sinful man to God, and he
regarded sanctity as the complete sacrifice of human nature corrupt to
its innermost core. Human conscience could not accept this cruel yoke;
its liberty revolted against so narrow a prison; and the Protestant
reformation, with a doctrine as austere as that of M. de St. Cyran, but
more true and more simple in its practical application, offered strong
minds the satisfaction of direct and personal relations between God and
man; it saw the way to satisfy them without crushing them; and that is
why the kingly power in France succeeded in stifling Jansenism without
having ever been able to destroy the Protestant faith.

Cardinal Richelieu dreaded the doctrines of M. de St. Cyran, and still
more those of the reformation, which went directly to the emancipation of
souls; but he had the wit to resist ecclesiastical encroachments, and,
for all his being a cardinal, never did minister maintain more openly the
independence of the civil power. "The king, in things temporal,
recognizes no sovereign save God." That had always been the theory of
the Gallican church. "The church of France is in the kingdom, and not
the kingdom in the church," said the jurisconsult Loyseau, thus
subjecting ecclesiastics to the common law of all citizens.

The French clergy did not understand it so; they had recourse to the
liberties of the Gallican church in order to keep up a certain measure of
independence as regarded Rome, but they would not give up their ancient
privileges, and especially the right of taking an independent share in
the public necessities without being taxed as a matter of law and
obligation. Here it was that Cardinal Richelieu withstood them: he
maintained that, the ecclesiastics and the brotherhoods not having the
right to hold property in France by mortmain, the king tolerated their
possession, of his grace, but he exacted the payment of seignorial dues.
The clergy at that time possessed more than a quarter of the property in
France; the tax to be paid amounted, it is said, to eighty millions. The
subsidies further demanded reached a total of eight millions six hundred

The clergy in dismay wished to convoke an assembly to determine their
conduct; and after a great deal of difficulty it was authorized by the
cardinal. Before long he intimated to the five prelates who were most
hostile to him that they must quit the assembly and retire to their
dioceses. "There are," said the Bishop of Autun, who was entirely
devoted to Richelieu, "some who show great delicacy about agreeing to all
that the king demands, as if they had a doubt whether all the property of
the church belonged to him or not, and whether his Majesty, leaving the
ecclesiastics wherewithal to provide for their subsistence and a moderate
establishment, could not take all the surplus." That sort of doctrine
would never do for the clergy; still they consented to pay five millions
and a half, the sum to which the minister lowered his pretensions. "The
wants of the state," said Richelieu, "are real; those of the church are
fanciful and arbitrary; if the king's armies had not repulsed the enemy,
the clergy would have suffered far more."

Whilst the cardinal imposed upon the French clergy the obligations common
to all subjects, he defended the kingly power and majesty against the
Ultramoutanes, and especially against the Jesuits. Several of their
pamphlets had already been censured by his order when Father Sanctarel
published a treatise on heresy and schism, clothed with the pope's
approbation, and containing, amongst other dangerous propositions, the
following: "The pope can depose emperor and kings for their iniquities or
for personal incompetence, seeing that he has a sovereign, supreme, and
absolute power." The work was referred to the Parliament, who ordered it
to be burned in Place de Greve; there was talk of nothing less than the
banishment of the entire order.

Father Cotton, superior of the French Jesuits, was summoned to appear
before the council; he gave up Father Sanctarel unreservedly, making what
excuse he best could for the approbation of the pope and of the general
of the Jesuits. The condemnation of the work was demanded, and it was
signed by sixteen French fathers. The Parliament was disposed to push
the matter farther, when Richelieu, always as prudent as he was firm in
his relations with this celebrated order, represented to the king that
there are "certain abuses which are more easily put down by passing them
over than by resolving to destroy them openly, and that it was time to
take care lest proceedings should be carried to a point which might be as
prejudicial to his service as past action had been serviceable to it."
The Jesuits remained in France, and their college at Clermont was not
closed; but they published no more pamphlets against the cardinal. They
even defended him at need.

Richelieu's grand quarrel with the clergy was nearing its end when the
climax was reached of a disagreement with the court of Rome, dating from
some time back. The pope had never forgiven the cardinal for not having
accepted his mediation in the affair with Spain on the subject of the
Valteline; he would not accede to the desire which Richelieu manifested
to become legate of the Holy See in France, as Cardinal d'Amboise had
been; and when Marshal d'Estrees arrived as ambassador at Rome, his
resolute behavior brought the misunderstanding to a head: the pope
refused the customary funeral honors to Cardinal La Valette, who had died
in battle, without dispensation, at the head of the king's army in
Piedmont. Richelieu preserved appearances no longer; the king refused
to receive the pope's nuncio, and prohibited the bishops from any
communication with him. The quarrel was envenomed by a pamphlet called
_Optatus Gallus_. The cardinal's enemies represented him as a new Luther
ready to excite a schism and found a patriarchate in France. Father
Rabardeau, of the Jesuits' order, maintained, in reply, that the act
would not be schismatical, and that the consent of Rome would be no more
necessary to create a patriarchate in France than it had been to
establish those of Constantinople and Jerusalem.

Urban VIII. took fright; he sent to France Julius Mazarin, at that time
vice-legate, and already frequently employed in the negotiations between
the court of Rome and Cardinal Richelieu, who had taken a great fancy to
him. The French clergy had just obtained authority to vote the subsidy
in an assembly; and the pope contented himself with this feeble
concession. Mazarin put the finishing touch to the reconciliation, and
received as recompense the cardinal's hat. In fact, the victory of the
civil power was complete, and the independence of the crown clearly
established. "His Holiness," said the cardinal, "ought to commend the
zeal shown by his Majesty for the welfare of the church, and to remain
satisfied with the respect shown him by an appeal to his authority which
his Majesty might have dispensed with in this matter, having his
Parliaments to fall back upon for the chastisement of those who lived
evilly in his kingdom." In principle, the supreme question between the
court of Rome and the kingly power remained undecided, and it showed
wisdom on the part of Urban VIII., as well as of Cardinal Richelieu,
never to fix fundamentally and within their exact limits the rights and
pretensions of the church or the crown.

Cardinal Richelieu had another battle to deliver, and another victory,
which was to be more decisive, to gain. During his exile at Avignon, he
had written against the Reformers, violently attacking their doctrines
and their precepts; he was, therefore, personally engaged in the
theological strife, and more hotly than has been made out; but he was
above everything a great politician, and the rebellion of the Reformers,
their irregular political assemblies, their alliances with the foreigner,
occupied him, far more than their ministers' preaching. It was state
within state that the reformers were seeking to found, and that the
cardinal wished to upset. Seconded by the Prince of Conde, the king had
put an end to the war which cost the life of the constable De Luynes, but
the peace concluded at Montpellier on the 19th of November, 1622, had
already received many a blow; pacific counsels amongst the Reformers were
little by little dying out together with the old servants of Henry IV.;
Du Plessis-Mornay had lately died (November 11, 1623) at his castle of
Foret-sur-Sevres, and the direction of the party fell entirely into the
hands of the Duke of Rohan, a fiery temper and soured by misfortunes as
well as by continual efforts made on the part of his brother, the Duke of
Soubise, more restless and less earnest than he. Hostilities broke out
afresh at the beginning of the year 1625. The Reformers complained that,
instead of demolishing Fort Louis, which commanded La Rochelle, all haste
was being made to complete the ramparts they had hoped to see razed to
the ground: a small royal fleet mustered quietly at Le Blavet, and
threatened to close the sea against the Rochellese. The peace of
Montpellier had left the Protestants only two surety-places, Montauban
and La Rochelle; and they clung to them with desperation. On the 6th of
January, 1625, Soubise suddenly entered the harbor of Le Blavet with
twelve vessels, and seizing without a blow the royal ships, towed them
off in triumph to La Rochelle--a fatal success, which was to cost that
town dear.

The royal marine had hardly an existence; after the capture made by
Soubise, help had to be requested from England and Holland; the marriage
of Henrietta of France, daughter of Henry IV., with the Prince of Wales,
who was soon to become Charles I., was concluded; the English promised
eight ships; the treaties with the United Provinces obliged the
Hollanders to supply twenty, which they would gladly have refused to send
against their brethren, if they could; the cardinal even required that
the ships should be commanded by French captains. "One lubber may ruin a
whole fleet," said he, "and a captain of a ship, if assured by the enemy
of payment for his vessel, may undertake to burn the whole armament, and
that the more easily inasmuch as he would think he was making a grand
sacrifice to God, for the sake of his religion."

Meanwhile, Soubise had broken through the feeble obstacles opposed to
him by the Duke of Vendome, and, making himself master of all the
trading-vessels he encountered, soon took possession of the Islands of
Re and Oleron and effected descents even into Medoc, whilst the Duke of
Rohan, leaving the duchess his wife, Sully's daughter, at Castres, where
he had established the seat of his government, was scouring Lower
Languedoc and the Cevennes to rally his partisans. The insurrection was
very undecided, and the movement very irregular. Nimes, Uzes, and Alais
closed their gates; even Montauban hesitated a long while before
declaring itself. The Duke of Epernon ravaged the outskirts of that
place. "At night," writes his secretary, "might be seen a thousand
fires. Wheat, fruit trees, vines, and houses were the food that fed the
flames." Marshal Themine did the same all round Castres, defended by
the Duchess of Rohan.

There were negotiations, nevertheless, already. Rohan and Soubise
demanded to be employed against Spain in the Valteline, claiming the
destruction of Fort Louis; parleys mitigated hostilities; the Duke of
Soubise obtained a suspension of arms from the Dutch Admiral Haustein,
and then, profiting by a favorable gust of wind, approached the fleet,
set fire to the admiral's ship, and captured five vessels, which he towed
off to the Island of Re. But he paid dear for his treachery: the
Hollanders, in their fury, seconded with more zeal the efforts of the
Duke of Montmorency, who had just taken the command of the squadron; the
Island of Re was retaken and Soubise obliged to retreat in a shallop to
Oleron, leaving for "pledge his sword and his hat, which dropped off in
his flight." Nor was the naval fight more advantageous for Soubise.
"The battle was fierce, but the enemy had the worst," says Richelieu in
his Memoires: "night coming on was favorable to their designs;
nevertheless, they were so hotly pursued, that on the morrow, at
daybreak, eight of their vessels were taken." Soubise sailed away to
England with the rest of his fleet, and the Island of Oleron surrendered.

The moment seemed to have come for crushing La Rochelle, deprived of the
naval forces that protected it; but the cardinal, still at grips with
Spain in the Valteline, was not sure of his allies before La Rochelle.
In Holland all the churches echoed with reproaches hurled by the
preachers against states that gave help against their own brethren to
Catholics; at Amsterdam the mob had besieged the house of Admiral
Haustein; and the Dutch fleet had to be recalled. The English
Protestants were not less zealous; the Duke of Soubise had been welcomed
with enthusiasm, and, though Charles I., now King of England and married,
had refused to admit the fugitive to his presence, he would not restore
to Louis XIII. the vessels, captured from that king and his subjects,
which Soubise had brought over to Portsmouth.

The game was not yet safe; and Richelieu did not allow himself to be led
astray by the anger of fanatics who dubbed him State Cardinal. "The
cardinal alone, to whom God gave the blessedness of serving the king and
restoring to his kingdom its ancient lustre, and to his person the power
and authority meet for royal Majesty which is the next Majesty after the
divine, saw in his mind the means of undoing all those tangles, clearing
away all those mists, and emerging to the honor of his master from all
those confusions." [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iv. p. 2.]

Marshal Bassompierre was returning from his embassy to Switzerland,
having secured the alliance of the Thirteen Cantons in the affair of the
Valteline, when it was noised abroad that peace with Spain was signed.
Count du Fargis, it was said, had, in an excess of zeal, taken upon
himself to conclude without waiting for orders from Paris. Bassompierre
was preparing a grand speech against this unexpected peace, but during
the night he reflected that the cardinal had perhaps been not so much
astonished as he would have made out. "I gave up my speech," says he,
"and betook myself to my jubilee."

The Huguenots, on their side, yielded at the entreaties of the
ambassadors who had been sent by the English to France, "with orders to
beg the Rochellese to accept the peace which the king had offered them,
and who omitted neither arguments nor threats in order to arrive at that
conclusion; whence it came to pass that, by a course of conduct full of
unwonted dexterity, the Huguenots were brought to consent to peace for
fear of that with Spain, and the Spaniards to make peace for fear of that
with the Huguenots.

The greatest difficulty the cardinal had to surmount was in the king's
council; he was not ignorant that by getting peace made with the
Huguenots, and showing him that he was somewhat inclined to favor their
cause with the king, he might expose himself to the chance of getting
into bad odor at Rome. But in no other way could he arrive at his
Majesty's ends. His cloth made him suspected by the Huguenots; it was
necessary, therefore, to behave so that they should think him favorable
to them, for by so doing he found means of waiting more conveniently for
an opportunity of reducing them to the terms to which all subjects ought
to be reduced in a state, that is to say, inability to form any separate
body, and liability to accept their sovereign's wishes.

"It was a grievous thing for him to bear, to see himself so unjustly
suspected at the court of Rome, and by those who affected the name of
zealous Catholics; but he resolved to take patiently the rumors that were
current about him, apprehending that if he had determined to clear
himself of them effectually, he might not find that course of advantage
to his master or the public."

The cardinal, in fact, took it patiently, revising and then confirming
the treaty with Spain, and imposing on the Huguenots a peace so hard,
that they would never have accepted it but for the hope of obtaining at a
later period some assuagements, with the help of England, which refused
formally to help them to carry on the war. At the first parleys the king
had said, "I am disposed enough towards peace; I am willing to grant it
to Languedoc and the other provinces. As for La Rochelle, that is
another thing." [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iii.] It was ultimately
La Rochelle that paid the expenses of the war, biding the time when the
proud city, which had resisted eight kings in succession, would have to
succumb before Louis XIII. and his all-powerful minister. Already her
independence was threatened on all sides; the bastions and new
fortifications had to be demolished; no armed vessel of war might be
stationed in her harbor. "The way was at last open," said the cardinal,
"to the extermination of the Huguenot party, which, for a hundred years
past, had divided the kingdom." [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iii.
p. 17.]

[Illustration: Demolishing the Fortifications----244]

The peace of 1626, then, was but a preliminary to war. Richelieu was
preparing for it by land and sea; vessels of war were being built, troops
were being levied; and the temper of England furnished a pretext for
commencing the struggle. King Charles I., at the instigation of his
favorite the Duke of Buckingham, had suddenly and unfeelingly dismissed
the French servants of the queen his wife, without giving her even time
to say good by to them, insomuch that "the poor princess, hearing their
voices in the court-yard, dashed to the window, and, breaking the glass
with her head, clung with her hands to the bars to show herself to her
women and take the last look at them. The king indignantly dragged her
back with so great an effort that he tore her hands right away." Louis
XIII. had sent Marshal Bassompierre to England to complain of the insult
done to his sister; the Duke of Buckingham wished to go in person to
France to arrange the difference, but the cardinal refused. "Has
Buckingham ever undertaken any foreign commission without going away
dissatisfied and offended with the princes to whom he was sent?" said
Cardinal Richelieu to the king. So the favorite of Charles I. resolved
to go to France "in other style and with other attendants than he had as
yet done; having determined to win back the good graces of the Parliament
and the people of England by the succor he was about to carry to the
oppressed Protestant churches," he pledged his property; he sold the
trading-vessels captured on the coasts of France; and on the 17th of
July, 1627, he set sail with a hundred and twenty vessels, heading for La
Rochelle. Soubise was on board his ship; and the Duke of Rohan, notified
of the enterprise, had promised to declare himself the moment the English
set foot in France. Already he was preparing his manifesto to the
churches, avowing that he had summoned the English to his legitimate
defence, and that, since the king had but lately been justified in
employing the arms of the Hollanders to defeat them, much more reasonably
might he appeal to those of the English their brethren for protection
against him.

This time the cardinal was ready; he had concluded an alliance with Spain
against England, "declaring merely to the King of Spain that he was
already at open war with England, and that he would put in practice with
all the power of his forces against his own states all sorts of
hostilities permissible in honorable warfare, which his Majesty also
promised to do by the month of June, 1628, at the latest." The king set
out to go and take in person the command of the army intended to give the
English their reception. He had gone out ill from the Parliament, where
he had been to have some edicts enregistered. "I did nothing but tremble
all the time I was holding my bed of justice," he said to Bassompierre.
"It is there, however, that you make others tremble," replied the
marshal. Louis XIII. was obliged to halt at Villeroy, where the cardinal
remained with him, "being all day at his side, and most frequently not
leaving him at night; he, nevertheless, had his mind constantly occupied
with giving orders, taking care above everything to let it appear before
the king that he had no fear; he preferred to put himself in peril of
being blamed or ruined in well-doing, rather than, in order to secure
himself, to do anything which might be a cause of illness to his
Majesty." In point of fact, Richelieu was not without anxiety, for Sieur
de Toiras, a young favorite of the king's, to whom he had entrusted the
command in the Island of Re, had not provided for the defence of that
place so well as had been expected; Buckingham had succeeded in effecting
his descent. The French were shut up in the Fort of St. Martin, scarcely
finished as it was, and ill-provisioned. The cardinal "saw to it
directly, sending of his own money because that of the king was not to be
so quickly got at, and because he had at that time none to spare; he
despatched Abbe Marcillac, who was in his confidence, to see that
everything was done punctually and no opportunity lost. He did not
trouble himself to make reports of all the despatches that passed, and
all the orders that were within less than a fortnight given on the
subject of this business during the king's illness, in order to provide
for everything that was necessary, and to prepare all things in such wise
that the king and France might reap from them the fruit which was shortly
afterwards gathered in."

Meanwhile La Rochelle had closed her gates to the English, and the old
Duchess of Rohan had been obliged to leave the town in order to bring
Soubise in with her. "Before taking any resolution," replied the
Rochellese authorities to the entreaties of the duke, who was pressing
them to lend assistance to the English, "we must consult the whole body
of the religion of which La Rochelle is only one member." An assembly
was already convoked to that end at Uzes; and when it met, on the 11th of
September, the Duke of Rohan communicated to the deputies from the
churches the letter of the inhabitants of La Rochelle, "not such an one,"
he said, "as he could have desired, but such as he must make the best
of." The King of England had granted his aid and promised not to relax
until the Reformers had firm repose and solid contentment, provided that
they seconded his efforts. "I bid you thereto in God's name," he added,
"and for my part, were I alone, abandoned of all, I am determined to
prosecute this sacred cause even to the last drop of my blood and to the
last gasp of my life." The assembly fully approved of their chief's
behavior, accepting "with gratitude the King of England's powerful
intervention, without, however, loosing themselves from the humble and
inviolable submission which they owed to their king." The consuls of the
town of Milhau were bolder in their reservations. "We have at divers
time experienced," they wrote to the Duke of Rohan, whilst refusing to
join the movement, "that violence is no certain means of obtaining
observation of our edicts, for force extorts many promises, but the
hatred it engenders prevents them from taking effect." The duke was
obliged to force an entrance into this small place. La Rochelle had just
renounced her neutrality and taken sides with the English, "flattering
ourselves," they said in their proclamation, "that, having good men for
our witnesses and God for our judge, we shall experience the same
assistance from His goodness as our fathers had aforetime."

M. de La Milliere, the agent of the Rochellese, wrote to one of his
friends at the Duke of Rohan's quarters, "Sir, I am arrived from
Villeroy, where the English are not held as they are at Paris to be a
mere chimera. Only I am very apprehensive of the September tides, and
lest the new grapes should kill us off more English than the enemy will.
I am much vexed to hear nothing from your quarter to second the exploits
of the English, being unable to see without shame foreigners showing more
care for our welfare than we ourselves show. I know that it will not be
M. de Rohan's fault nor yours that nothing good is done.

"I forgot to tell you that the cardinal is very glad that he is no longer
a bishop, for he has put so many rings in pawn to send munitions to the
islands, that he has nothing remaining wherewith to give the episcopal
benediction. The most zealous amongst us pray God that the sea may
swallow up his person as it has swallowed his goods. As for me, I am not
of that number, for I belong to those who offer incense to the powers
that be." It was as yet a time when the religious fatherland was dearer
than the political; the French Huguenots naturally appealed for aid to
all Protestant nations. It was even now an advance in national ideas to
call the English who had come to the aid of La Rochelle foreigners.

Toiras, meanwhile, still held out in the Fort of St. Martin, and
Buckingham was beginning to "abate somewhat of the absolute confidence he
had felt about making himself master of it, having been so ill-advised as
to write to the king his master that he would answer for it." The proof
of this was that a burgess of La Rochelle, named Laleu, went to see the
king with authority from the Duke of Angouleme, who commanded the army in
his Majesty's absence, and that "he proposed that the English should
retire, provided that the king would have Fort Louis dismantled. The
Duke of Angouleme was inclined to accept this proposal, but the cardinal
forcibly represented all the reasons against it: "It will be said,
perhaps, that if the Island of Re be lost, it will be very difficult to
recover it;" this he allowed, but he put forward, to counterbalance this
consideration, another, that, if honor were lost, it would never be
recovered, and that, if the Island of Re were lost, he considered that
his Majesty was bound to stick to the blockade of Rochelle, and that he
might do so with success. Upon this, his Majesty resolved to push the
siege of Rochelle vigorously, and to give the command to Mylord his
brother; "but Monsieur was tardy as usual, not wanting to serve under the
king when the health of his Majesty might permit him to return to his
army, so that the cardinal wrote to President Le Coigneux, one of the
favorite counsellors of the Duke of Orleans, to say that if imaginary
hydras of that sort were often taking shape in the mind of Monsieur, he
had nothing more to say than that there would be neither pleasure nor
profit in being mixed up with his affairs. As for himself, he would
always do his duty." Monsieur at last made up his mind to join the army,
and it was resolved to give aid to the forts in the Island of Re.

[Illustration: The Harbor of La Rochelle---248]

It was a bold enterprise that was about to be attempted to hold La
Rochelle invested and not quit it, and, nevertheless, to send the flower
of the force to succor a citadel considered to be half lost; to make a
descent upon an island blockaded by a large naval armament; to expose the
best part of the army to the mercy of the winds and the waves of the sea,
and of the English cannons and vessels, in a place where there was no
landing in order and under arms." [_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iii.
p. 361]; but it had to be resolved upon or the Island of Re lost. Toiras
had already sent to ask the Duke of Buckingham if he would receive him to

On the 8th of October, at eight A. M., the Duke of Buckingham was
preparing to send a reply to the fort, and he was already rejoicing "to
see his felicity and the crowning of his labors," when, on nearing the
citadel, "there were exhibited to him at the ends of pikes lots of
bottles of wine, capons, turkeys, hams, ox-tongues, and other provisions,
and his vessels were saluted with lots of cannonades, they having come
too near in the belief that those inside had no more powder." During the
night, the fleet which was assembled at Oleron, and had been at sea for
two days past, had succeeded in landing close to the fort, bringing up
re-enforcements of troops, provisions, and munitions. At the same time
the king and the cardinal had just arrived at the camp before La

[Illustration: The King and Richelieu at La Rochelle----250]

Before long the English could not harbor a doubt but that the king's army
had recovered its real heads: a grand expedition was preparing to attack
them in the Island of Re, and the cardinal had gone in person to Oleron
and to Le Brouage in order to see to the embarkation of the troops. "The
nobility of the court came up in crowds to take leave of his Majesty, and
their looks were so gay that it must be allowed that to no nation but the
French is it given to march so freely to death for the service of their
king or for their own honor as to make it impossible to remark any
difference between him that inflicts it and him that receives."
[_Memoires de Richelieu,_ t. iii. p. 398.] Marshal Schomberg took the
road to Marennes, whence he sent to the cardinal for boats to carry over
all his troops. "This took him greatly by surprise, and as his judgments
are always followed by the effect he intended, he thought that this great
following of nobility might hinder the said sir marshal from executing
his design so promptly. However, by showing admirable diligence,
doubling both his vessels and his provisions, he found sufficient to
embark the whole." [_Siege de La Rochelle. Archives curieuses de
l'Histoire de France,_ t. iii. p. 76.] By this time the king's troops,
in considerable numbers, had arrived in the island without the English
being able to prevent their disembarkation; the enemy therefore took the
resolution of setting sail, in spite of the entreaties which the Duke of
Soubise sent them on the part of the Rochellese, those latter promising
great assistance in men and provisions, more than they could afford. To
satisfy them, the Duke of Buckingham determined to deliver a general
assault before he departed.

The assault was delivered on the 5th and 6th of November, and everywhere
repulsed, exhausted as the besieged were. "Those who were sick and laid
up in their huts appeared on the bastions. There were some of them so
weak that, unable to fight, they loaded their comrades' muskets; and
others, having fought beyond their strength, being able to do no more,
said to their comrades, 'Friend, here are my arms for thee; prithee, make
my grave;' and, thither retiring, there they died." The Duke of
Buckingham wrote to M. de Fiesque, who was holding Fort La Pree, that he
was going to embark, without waiting for any more men to make their
descent upon the island; but the king, who trusted not his enemies, and
least of all the English, from whom, even when friends, he had received
so many proofs of faithlessness and falsehood, besides that he knew
Buckingham for a man who, from not having the force of character to
decide on such an occasion, did not know whether to fight or to fly,
continued in his first determination to transport promptly all those who
remained, in order to encounter the enemy on land, fight them, and make
them for the future quake with fear if it were proposed to them to try
another descent upon his dominions.

Marshal Schomberg, thwarted by bad weather, had just rallied his troops
which had been cast by the winds on different parts of the coast, when it
was perceived that the enemy had sheered off. M. De Toiras, issuing from
his fortress to meet the marshal, would have pursued them at once to give
them battle; but Schomberg refused, saying, "I ought to make them a
bridge of gold rather than a barrier of iron;" and he contented himself
with following the English, who retreated to a narrow causeway which led
to the little Island of Oie. There, a furious charge of French cavalry
broke the ranks of the enemy, disorder spread amongst them, and when
night came to put an end to the combat, forty flags remained in the hands
of the king's troops, and he sent them at once to Notre-Dame, by Claude
de St. Simon, together with a quantity of prisoners, of whom the King
made a present to his sister, the Queen of England.

"Such," says the Duke of Rohan, in his Hemoires, "was the success of the
Duke of Buckingham's expedition, wherein he ruined the reputation of his
nation and his own, consumed a portion of the provisions of the
Rochellese, and reduced to despair the party for whose sake he had come
to France. The Duke of Rohan first learned this bad news by the bonfires
which all the Roman Catholics lighted for it all through the countship of
Foix, and, later on, by a despatch from the Duke of Soubise, who exhorted
him not to lose courage, saying that he hoped to come back next spring in
condition to efface the affront received." This latter prince had not
covered himself with glory in the expedition. "As recompense and
consolation for all their losses," says the cardinal, "they carried off
Soubise to England. He has not been mentioned all through this siege,
because, whenever there was any question of negotiation, no one would
apply to him, but only to Buckingham. When there was nothing for it but
to fight, he would not hear of it. On the day the English made their
descent, he was at La Rochelle; nobody knows where he was at the time of
the assault, but he was one of the first and most forward in the rout."

Soubise had already been pronounced guilty of high-treason by decree of
the Parliament of Toulouse; but the Duke of Rohan had been degraded from
his dignities, and "a title offered to those who would assassinate him,
which created an inclination in three or four wretches to undertake it,
who had but a rope or the wheel for recompense, it not being in any human
power to prolong or shorten any man's life without the permission of
God." The Prince of Conde had been commissioned to fight the valiant
chief of the Huguenots, "for that he was their sworn enemy," says the
cardinal. In the eyes of fervent Catholics the name of Conde had many
wrongs for which to obtain pardon.

The English were ignominiously defeated; the king was now confronted by
none but his revolted subjects; he resolved to blockade the place at all
points, so that it could not be entered by land or sea; and, to this end,
he claimed from Spain the fleet which had been promised him, and which
did not arrive. "The whole difficulty of this enterprise," said the
cardinal to the king, "lies in this, that the majority will only labor
therein in a perfunctory manner."

His ordinary penetration did not deceive him: the great lords intrusted
with commands saw with anxiety the increasing power of Richelieu. "You
will see," said Bassompierre, "that we shall be mad enough to take La
Rochelle." "His Majesty had just then many of his own kingdom and all
his allies sworn together against him, and so much the more dangerously
in that it was secretly. England at open war, and with all her maritime
power but lately on our coasts; the King of Spain apparently united to
his Majesty, yet, in fact, not only giving him empty words, but, under
cover of the emperor's name, making a diversion against him in the
direction of Germany. Nevertheless the king held firm to his resolve;
and then the siege of La Rochelle was undertaken with a will."

The old Duchess of Rohan (Catherine de Parthenay Larcheveque) had shut
herself up in La Rochelle with her daughter Anne de Rohan, as pious and
as courageous as her mother, and of rare erudition into the bargain; she
had hitherto refused to leave the town; but, when the blockade commenced,
she asked leave to retire with two hundred women. The town had already
been refused permission to get rid of useless mouths. "All the
Rochellese shall go out together," was the answer returned to Madame de
Rohan. She determined to undergo with her brethren in the faith all the
rigors of the siege. "Secure peace, complete victory, or honorable
death," she wrote to her son the Duke of Rohan: the old device of Jeanne
d'Albret, which had never been forgotten by the brave chief of the

At the head of the burgesses of La Rochelle, as determined as the Duchess
of Rohan to secure their liberties or perish, was the president of the
board of marine, soon afterwards mayor of the town, John Gutton, a rich
merchant, whom the misfortunes of the times had wrenched away from his
business to become a skilful admiral, an intrepid soldier, accustomed for
years past to scour the seas as a corsair. "He had at his house," says a
narrative of those days, "a great number of flags, which he used to show
one after another, indicating the princes from whom he had taken them."
When he was appointed mayor, he drew his poniard and threw it upon the
council-table. "I accept," he said, "the honor you have done me, but on
condition that yonder poniard shall serve to pierce the heart of whoever
dares to speak of surrender, mine first of all, if I were ever wretch
enough to condescend to such cowardice." Of indomitable nature, of
passionate and proud character, Guiton, in fact, rejected all proposals
of peace. "My friend, tell the cardinal that I am his very humble
servant," was his answer to insinuating speeches as well as to threats;
and he prepared with tranquil coolness for defence to the uttermost. Two
municipal councillors, two burgesses, and a clergyman were commissioned
to judge and to punish spies and traitors; attention was concentrated
upon getting provisions into the town; the country was already
devastated, but reliance was placed upon promises of help from England;
and religious exercises were everywhere multiplied. "We will hold out to
the last day," reiterated the burgesses.

[Illustration: John Guiton's Oath----254]

It was the month of December; bad weather interfered with the
siege-works; the king was having a line of circumvallation pushed
forward to close the approaches to the city on the land side; the
cardinal was having a mole of stone-work, occupying the whole breadth of
the roads, constructed; the king's little fleet, commanded by M. de
Guise, had been ordered up to protect the laborers; Spain had sent
twenty-eight vessels in such bad condition that those which were rolled
into the sea laden with stones were of more value. "They were employed
Spanish-fashion," says Richelieu, "that is, to make an appearance so as
to astound the Rochellese by the union of the two crowns." A few days
after their arrival, at the rumor of assistance coming from England, the
Spanish admiral, who had secret orders to make no effort for France,
demanded permission to withdraw his ships. "It was very shameful of
them, but it was thought good to let them go without the king's consent,

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