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" II est dans rhistoire de grandes et ^nigmatiques figures 
sur lesquelles le ' dernier mot ' ne sera peut-etre jamais dit. 
. . . Telle est, assurement, celle du Cardinal de Richelieu " 

Baron A. de Maricourt. 






EMERARIOUS indeed must he appear who 
attempts to comprehend in so small a space the 
admirable actions of a Hero who filled the whole 
earth with the fame of his glory, and who, by the wonders 
he worked in our own days, effaced the most lofty and 
astounding deeds of Pagan demigods and illustrious 
Personages of Antiquity. But what encourages me to 
attempt a thing so daring is the preciousness of the 
material with which I have to deal; being such that it 
needs neither the workman nor his art for the heightening 
of its value. So that, however little I may say of the 
incomparable and inimitable actions of the great Armand 
de Richelieu, I shall yet say much ; knowing also that 
if I were to fill large volumes, I should still say very 

Although the courtly language of the Sieur de la 
Colombiere, Gentleman-in-Ordinary to Louis XIV., who 
wrote a Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu some years 
after his death, may appear extravagant to modern minds, 
there is no denying that he is justified on one point — the 
marvellous interest of his subject. 

Few harder tasks could be attempted than a complete 
biography of Richelieu. It would mean the history of 
France for more than fifty years, the history of Europe 
for more than twenty : even a fully equipped student 


might hesitate before undertaking it. At the same time, 
Richelieu's personahty and the times in which he lived 
are so rich in varied interest that even a passing glance 
at both may be found not unwelcome. If excuse is 
needed, there is that of Monsieur de la Colombiere : 
" Pour peu que j'en parle, j'en dirai beaucoup." 

There are many good authorities for the life of 
Cardinal de Richelieu and for the details of his time, 
among which the well-known and invaluable works of 
M. Avenel and of the Vicomte G. d'Avenel should 
especially be mentioned. But any modern writer on the 
subject must, first and foremost, acknowledge a deep 
obligation to M. Hanotaux, concerning whose unfinished 
Histoire du Cardinal de Richelieu, extending down to 
the year 1624, one can only express the hope that its 
gifted author may some day find leisure and inclination 
to complete it. 

E. C. P. 


List of Authorities Pages xiii, xiv 



The birth of Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu— The position of his 
family — His great-uncles — His grandfather and grandmother— His father, 
Frangois de Richelieu, Grand Provost of Henry HI. — His mother and her 
family— His godfathers— The death of his father . . . Pages 1-9 


Friends and relations— The household at Richelieu — Country life in 
Poitou Pages 10-15 


The University of Paris— The College of Navarre— The Marquis du 
Chillou— A change of prospect — A student of theology — The Abbe de 
Richelieu at Rome — His consecration .... Pages 16-25 



A Bishop at the Sorbonne— State of France under Henry IV. — 
Henry IV., his Queen and his Court — The Nobles and Princes — The un- 
healthiness of Paris — The Bishop's departure . . . Pages 26-37 


Richelieu arrives at Lu9on — His palace and household — His work in 
the diocese — His friends and neighbours .... Pages 38-47 



" Instructions et Maximes " — The death of Henry IV. — The difficult 
road to favour— P6re Joseph and the Abbey of Fontevrault Pages 48-62 


Waiting for an opportunity — Political unrest — The States-General of 
1614 — The Bishop of Lugon speaks Pages 63-71 


Richelieu appointed Chaplain to Queen Anne— Discontent of the 
Parliament and the Princes — The royal progress to the south — Treaty of 
Loudun — Return to Paris — Marie de Medicis and her favourites — The 
young King and Queen — The Due de Luynes — Richelieu as negotiator 
and adviser — The death of Madame de Richelieu. . Pages 72-87 


A contemporary view of the state of France— Barbin, Mangot, and 
Richelieu — A new rebellion — Richelieu as Foreign Secretary — The Ahb6 
de Marolles — Concini in danger— The death of Concini — The fall of the 
Ministry — Horrible scenes in Paris — Richelieu follows the Queen-mother 
into exile Pages 88-100 


Richelieu at Blois — He is ordered back to his diocese — He writes a 
book in defence of the Faith — Marriage of Mademoiselle de Richelieu — 
The Bishop exiled to Avignon — Escape of the Queen-mother from Blois — 
Richelieu is recalled to her service Pages 101-115 


The Treaty of Angouleme— The death of Henry de Richelieu— The 
meeting at Couzieres — The Queen-mother at Angers — Richelieu's influence 
for peace — The battle of the Ponts-de-Ce — Intrigues of the Due de Luynes 
— Marriage of Richelieu's niece — The campaigns in Beam and Languedoc — 
The death of Luynes — The Bishop of Lu(^on becomes a Cardinal 

Pages 1 16-130 




Cardinal de Richelieu— Personal descriptions— A patron of the arts — 
Court intrigues— Fancan and the pamphlets — The fall of the Ministers — 
Cardinal de Richelieu First Minister of France . . Pages 131-142 


Richelieu's aims — The English alliance — The affair of the Valtelline — 
The Huguenot revolt — The marriage of Madame Henriette — The Duke 
of Buckingham Pages 1 43-1 57 


Peace with Spain — The making of the army' and navy — The question 
of Monsieur's marriage — The first great conspiracy — Triumph of Richelieu 
and death of Chalais Pages 158-175 


Two famous edicts — The tragedy of Bouteville and Des Chapelles — 
The death of Madame and its consequences— War with England— The 
siege of La Rochelle Pages 176-192 


The Due de Nevers and the war of the Mantuan succession — The 
rebellion in Languedoc — A new Italian campaign — Richelieu as Com- 
mander-in-Chief . , Pages 193-206 


Illness of Louis XIII.— ".Le Grand Orage de la Cour."— The "Day of 
Dupes" Pages 207-216 


Flight from France of the Queen-mother and Monsieur— New honours 
for Cardinal de Richelieu — The fall of the Marillac brothers — The Due de 
Montmorency and Monsieur's ride to Languedoc— Castelnaudary — The 
death of Montmorency— Illness and recovery of the Cardinal 

Pages 217-233 



The Cardinal and his palaces — The chiteau and town of Richelieu — 
The Palais-Cardinal — Richelieu's household, daily life, and friends — The 
Hotel de Rambouillet — Mademoiselle de Gournay — Boisrobert and the 
first Academicians — Entertainments at the Palais-Cardinal — Mirame 

Pages 234-248 


Conquests in Lorraine— The return of Monsieur— The fate of Puy- 
laurens — France involved in the Thirty Years' War — Last adventures of 
the Due de Rohan — Defeat, invasion, and panic— The turn of the tide — 
Narrow escape of the Cardinal — The flight of the Princes . Pages 249-262 


Palace intrigues — Mademoiselle de Hautefort — Mademoiselle de la 
Fayette— The affair of the Val-de- Grace— The birth of the Dauphin— 
The death of P6re Joseph— Difficulties in the Church . Pages 263-275 


Victories abroad — The death of the Comte de Soissons — Social tri- 
umphs — Marriage of the Due d'Enghien— The revolt against the taxes — 
The conspiracy of Cinq-Mars— The Cardinal's dangerous illness — He makes 
his will — The ruin of his enemies — His return to Paris . Pages 276-290 


The Cardinal's last days — Renewed illness — His death and funeral — 
His legacies— The feehng in France — The Church of the Sorbonne 

Pages 291-298 

INDEX Pages 299-306 


Cardinal de Richelieu. Triple Portrait by Philippe de Cham- 

paigne (National Gallery) Frontispiece 


Henry IV. From an engraving after the picture by Frangois 

Porbus 26 

Cloister at Champigny 34 

From a photo by A. Pascal, Thouars. 

The Majority of Louis XIII. (Louis XIII. and Marie de M^dicis). 

From the picture by Rubens in the Louvre 68 

From a photo by Neurdein, Paris. 

Cardinal de Richelieu. Portrait by Philippe de Champaigne . 132 

From a photo by A. Giraudon, Paris. 

Gaston de France, Due d'Orleans. From a contemporary 

portrait 162 

From a photo by Neurdein, Paris. 

Louis XIII. From a contemporary portrait 188 

From a photo by Neurdein, Paris. 

The Chateau de Richelieu. From an old print . . . .234 

The Town of Richelieu. From an old print . . . . 238 

Anne of Austria. From a miniature in the Victoria and Albert 

Museum 268 

Porte de Chatellerault, Richelieu 280 

From a photo by Imprimerie Photo-Mecanique, Paris. 

Tomb of Cardinal de Richelieu, by Girardon, in the Church of 

the Sorbonne 294 

From a photo by Neurdein, Paris. 




Lettres^ Instructions Diplomatiques et Papiers (TJitat du Cardinal de 

Richelieu. Recueillis et publics par M. Avenel. 
Mimoires du Cardinal de Richelieu, ^^dition Petitot et Monmerqud. 
Memoires du Cardinal de Richelieu. New Edition. With Notes, etc. 

(Societe de I'Histoire de France.) Not completed. 
Memoires sur la Regence de Marie de Mtdicis^ par Pontchartrain. 

Edition Petitot et Monmerqu^. 
Memoires de Bassompierre. ^Edition Petitot et Monmerque. 
Journal de Pierre de rEstoile. Edition Petitot et Monmerque. 
Mimoires du Marquis de Montglat^ Edition Petitot et Monmerqu^. 
Memoires de Madame de Motteville. Edition Riaux. 
LHistoire du Cardinal- Due de Richelieu. L. Aubery. 
Testament Politique du Cardinal-Due de Richelieu. 
Journal de M. le Cardinal- Due de Richelieu y 1630, 1631. 
Portraits des Hommes Illustres Francis. M. de Vulson, Sieur de la 

Le Vkritable Plre Joseph^ Capucin. 1704. 
Histoire du Roy Henry le Grand. Hardouin de Perefixe. 
Memoire d'Arfnand du Plessis de Richelieu^ Ev^que de Lufon^ 1607 ou 

161 o. Edition Armand Baschet. 
Description de la Ville de Paris. Germain Brice. 
Les Historiettes de Tallemant des Reaux. 

Etc., etc. 



Histoire du Cardinal de Richelieu. G. Hanotaux. 

Histoire de France. H. Martin. Vol. xi. 

Histoire de France. Michelet. Vols. xiii. and xiv. 

Vie Intime d'une Reine de France^ Marie de Medicis. L. Batiffol. 

Le Roi Louis XIII. i Vingt Ans. L. Batiffol. 

Louis XIII. et Richelieu. Marius Topin. 

Richelieu et les Ministres de Louis XIII. B. Zeller. 

La Noblesse Franfaise sous Richelieu. Vicomte G. d'Avenel. 

PrStres, Soldats etjuges sous Richelieu. Vicomte G. d'Avenel. 

Le Cardinal de Berulle et le Cardinal de Richelieu. M. TAbbe M. 

Gentilshommes Campagnards de PA?icienne France. Pierre de Vaissiere. 
Le Phe Joseph et Richelieu. G. Fagniez. 
Madame de Hautefort. Victor Cousin. 
Madame de Chevreuse. Victor Cousin. 
Le Rlgne de Richelieu, i^mile Roca. 

Le Cardinal de Richelieu : Etude Biographique. L. Dussieux. 
Le Plaisant Abbi de Boisrobert. 6mile Magne. 

Etc., etc. 








The birth of Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu — The position of 
his family — His great-uncles— His grandfather and grandmother — His 
father, Francois de Richelieu, Grand Provost of Henry III. — His mother 
and her family— His godfathers— The death of his father. 

IN the year 1585, when EHzabeth of England was at 
the height of her power, when Mary of Scotland 
lay in prison within two years of her death, when 
Philip of Spain was beginning to dream of the Invincible 
Armada, when Henry of Guise and the League were 
triumphing in France, the future dominator of European 
politics was born. 

Armand Jean du Plessis, third and youngest son of 
Francois du Plessis, Seigneur de Richelieu, was an infant 
of no great importance. Even his birthplace, for a long 
time, was not known with any certainty. 

His family was noble, but not of the higher nobility 
which governed provinces, commanded armies, and glittered 
at Court. He belonged to that race of French country 
gentlemen which led a strenuous life in the sixteenth 
century, either for good or evil— perhaps mostly for evil. 
They were generally poor, proud, and greedy. If, by fair 


means or foul, they could capture a rich wife of their 
own station, so much the better ; if not, they readily sacri- 
ficed birth for money, and bestowed an old name, coat 
and sword, rough manners and ruinous walls, on some 
heiress of the bourgeoisie. When the resource of marriage 
failed, such a gentleman would turn himself into a mer- 
cenary soldier. Catholic or Huguenot, or creep into Court 
employment in the shadow of some great noble of his 
province ; or failing such honest means, he might clap on 
a mask and take to highway robbery, rich travellers being 
better worth pillaging than the peasants who hid in their 
hovels as his horse's heavy hoofs clanked by. Sometimes 
Religion herself, or the false Duessa who personified her 
in those days, might help a needy gentleman to a liveli- 
hood. There was many an abbot who had never been a 
monk ; and there were lucky families — that of Du Plessis, 
for instance — who possessed a bishopric as provision for 
a younger son. 

The Du Plessis were an old family of Poitou. In that 
ancient and famous province they had held several fiefs 
so far back as the early thirteenth century ; but they were 
a wandering, fighting race, without strong attachment, it 
seems, to their native soil. One of them is said to have 
gone to England in the suite of Guy de Lusignan, and 
to have married a noble English wife. Another journeyed 
to Cyprus with the same distinguished patron. In the 
Hundred Years War, two Du Plessis brothers were found 
fighting on opposite sides, French and English. Pierre, 
the elder, head of the less distinguished branch of the 
family, was a robber of Church property as well as a 
traitor to the national cause ; but in the way of morals 
there was not much to choose between him and his brother 
Sauvage, the patriot, in favour of whom their father threat- 
ened to disinherit him. 

Sauvage was a man of strong, acquisitive character, 
and everything prospered in his hands, though he began 
his career by carrying off a younger brother's wife. It 
was his son, Geoffroy, who laid the real foundation of 
future greatness by his marriage with Perrine Clerem- 


bault, of a good old family, whose brother was Seigneur 
of Richelieu. Louis de Clerembault, who held a post in 
the Court of Charles VII, left his fortune and estates to 
Frangois du Plessis, his sister's son. The young man 
not only succeeded to the fortified chateau of Richelieu 
and a good position in his native province, but also to a 
connexion with the Court which lasted into the reign of 
Louis XI, and which helped him to lift his family a step 
higher by marrying his own son, Frangois, to the daughter 
of Guyon Le Roy, of Chavigny, in the Forest of Fontevrault, 
a distinguished courtier, and Vice-Admiral of France under 
Frangois I. This Frangois du Plessis de Richelieu was 
great-grandfather to the famous Cardinal. 

An ecclesiastical turn — for the sake of gain rather than 
of godliness — was given to the family by its relationship 
with that "true prelate of the Renaissance," Jacques Le 
Roy, uncle of Madame de Richelieu. He was successively 
Abbot of Villeloing, Cluny, and St. Florent-de-Saumur, 
and Archbishop of Bourges, and in him the bad sixteenth- 
century alliance between the Church and the world, the 
consequence of royal nomination to benefices, might be 
seen at its most flourishing point. 

He chose three out of his five Richelieu great-nephews 
to follow in his footsteps. Two of them rose to be abbot 
and bishop ; the other, Antoine, took the vows as a monk 
at Saumur against his will, and after a short religious life 
varied by floggings and other punishments for rebellion, 
unfrocked himself and ran away to the wars. Known 
throughout his military life as " the Monk," he was a cruel 
and ferocious soldier. With his brother Frangois, a man 
of very difl*erent type, he first saw service in the Italian 
campaigns under the Marechal de Montluc. Both brothers 
returned to Poitou towards 1560, and both took the Catholic 
side in the religious civil war which raged for years 
in the miserable western provinces of France, where 
Protestantism, from various causes, had taken a firm hold. 
Attached to the Guise faction, the brothers became special 
partisans of the Due de Montpensier, the King's lieutenant 
in Poitou and their own near neighbour at the Ch^eau de 



Champigny. His army swept the province with fire and 
sword, and among his many fierce and adventurous 
followers Francois and Antoine du Plessis-Richelieu led 
the way. 

The former, however, seems to have been an honest 
soldier rather than a bloodthirsty demon. He, nicknamed 
*' le Sage" and regretted as " un fort brave gentilhomme," 
lost his life in an expedition against the English, who had 
occupied Le Havre. Le Moine survived his brother some 
years, and his fame as a fighter became worth a post at 
Court and a knightly order. With an ever-growing 
reputation for vice and violence, he was killed in a street 
brawl in Paris — "mort symbolisante a sa vie," says the 
chronicler I'Estoile. His most characteristic exploit, and 
the most startling among many, was the single-handed 
massacre of a hundred Huguenots who had taken refuge 
in a church near Poitiers. Antoine de Richelieu ** amused 
himself" by shooting down these poor defenceless creatures 
in cold blood. 

So much for the Cardinal's great-uncles. His grand- 
father, Louis du Plessis, Seigneur de Richelieu, the eldest 
of the family, died a young man, but not before he had 
helped on its fortunes by a marriage profitable in dignity, 
if not in coin. The heir of Richelieu was of a quieter 
spirit than his brothers. He entered the household of 
a fine old noble — Antoine de Rochechouart, seneschal 
of Toulouse, distinguished for valour in the reigns of 
Louis XII and Francois I — as lieutenant of his body- 
guard ; and very shortly married his master's daughter, 
thus distantly connecting his famous grandson with one 
of the noblest old ducal families in France, from which 
sprang Madame de Montespan and her brilliant brothers 
and sisters, the Due de Vivonne, Madame de Thianges, 
and the learned Abbess of Fontevrault. His Rochechouart 
grandmother was the one precious link between Cardinal 
de Richelieu and the higher nobility. 

M. de Rochechouart was poor, probably extravagant, 
and his daughter Frangoise, whom tradition makes neither 
young, pretty, nor amiable, seems to have lived in a sort 


of dependence on the great Dame Anne de Polignac, 
dowager of La Rochefoucauld, at Verteuil, where Charles V 
was royally entertained in 1539. These circumstances may 
account for the mesalliance which Mademoiselle de Roche- 
chouart certainly made in marrying Louis du Plessis. 
Her interest gained him the Court appointment oi echanson^ 
or chief butler, to Henry H. But he was neither clever 
nor prudent, and his widow was left with five young 
children, very little money, a sharp, proud temper, and a 
deep discontent with her lot in life. 

She settled herself at Richelieu, then only a small castle 
on an island in the river Mable, in the heart of a country 
terribly disturbed by civil war, and commanded, from the 
neighbouring hills, by the strongholds of unfriendly neigh- 
bours. Here she brought up her children, of whom the 
second son, Francois, was the father of Cardinal de 

The story goes that a tragic event made Fran<^ois lord 
of Richelieu. There was a feud, centuries old, between 
the Du Plessis in their moated castle and the family of 
Mausson, perched upon the hill. The quarrel had been 
in abeyance during the peaceable, absentee life of Louis 
du Plessis, but when his proud widow, with her haughty, 
passionate boys, took up her abode at Richelieu, it broke 
out again furiously. Louis, the eldest son, was just 
growing into manhood, an officer in the Due de Mont- 
pensier's guards, when he fell out with the Sieur de 
Mausson over that ancient bone of contention, a seat in 

Both families attended the village church of Braye, 
on the forest slope close by. In those days, and long 
afterwards, the chief gentleman in the parish had rights 
over the church quite as jealously guarded as any other 
of his feudal privileges. He sat with his family high up 
in the choir. He ordered the hour of mass, and the cure 
did not venture to begin before he arrived. The congre- 
gation followed his lead throughout. When he was absent, 
his servants sat in his place and insolently demanded the 
honours due to him. His coat of arms was hung up for 


all to see. If he died, the bells chimed unceasingly for 
forty days, and the church was hung with black velvet 
for a year and a day. 

It appears that the Sieur de Mausson and the young 
Seigneur de Richelieu both demanded honours which 
could not be paid to both. The young man, pushed on 
by his mother, made an angry resistance to the Mausson 
claims. His neighbour, by way of settling the question, 
lay in wait for Louis and murdered him. 

Madame de Richelieu thought of nothing but revenge. 
Her younger son, Frangois, was page to King Charles IX. : 
she sent for him, and he lived at Richelieu, mother and 
son with one object, one intention, till the watched-for 
time came. Then one day, when Mausson was fording 
the river, Frangois and his men rushed out from the 
shadow of the willows. They had set a cunning trap for 
the enemy, a cart-wheel hidden under water, and while 
his restive horse was plunging, they fell upon him and 
killed him. So ended the feud between Mausson and 
Richelieu, still a lingering tradition in the valley of the 

There was not much justice in those days, but it 
appears that Frangois was obliged to fly the country. 
He wandered as far as Poland, where Henry of Anjou 
was playing at being King, and shared in the adventures 
of that most worthless of the Valois when he ran away 
with the Polish crown jewels and travelled round by 
Austria and Venice to succeed Charles IX on the throne 
of France. 

Frangois de Richelieu became Henry's trusted servant. 
Certainly there was nothing of the mignon about him. 
Very tall, thin, solemn and dismal, his looks were suitable 
to his dreary but necessary office — first Provost of the 
King's house, then Grand Provost of France, charged with 
arresting malefactors and presiding over their punish- 
ment. He was known at Court as "Tristan I'Hermite," 
so that he must have struck his contemporaries as re- 
sembling, not in his office alone, the famous Provost of 
I^ouis XI, 


Francois de Richelieu was affianced in early youth, 
before the Mausson affair drove him abroad, to Suzanne 
de la Porte, who belonged by birth to the higher bourgeoisie 
of his native province. Circumstances brought about 
this marriage, to which one cannot imagine that the 
proud Frangoise de Rochechouart gave a very willing 

The family of La Porte, highly respectable, and clever 
with all the Poitevin shrewdness, possessed estates in 
Poitou and elsewhere. Frangois de la Porte, the Cardinal's 
maternal grandfather, was a brilliant scholar at the 
University of Poitiers, only second in fame to that of 
Paris, and first in Europe for the study of Roman law 
in the original spirit ; keen, solid, logical, practical. 

Frangois de la Porte became a learned and distinguished 
advocate in the law-courts of Paris, but did not lose 
interest in his own province and his neighbours there. 
He appears to have been specially concerned with the 
affairs of Louis de Richelieu, who, according to Tallemant, 
was not only very poor, but "embrouilla furieusement 
sa maison," and left his family in real distress. M. de la 
Porte made himself very useful to Dame Fran(;:oise de 
Richelieu, no doubt partly as to the management of her 
more distant property, difficult enough in those desperate 
times, and satisfied the vanity with which his contempo- 
raries credit him by marrying his daughter to her son. 
The exact date of the marriage does not seem to be 

As Grand Provost, Francois de Richelieu had a house 
in Paris, in the Rue du Bouloy, and all probabilities point 
to the fact of his son Armand having been born there. 
He was certainly baptized in Paris, though not till eight 
months after his birth, the delay being caused partly by 
his extreme delicacy, partly by the long and dangerous 
journey from Poitou which had to be made by his grand- 
mother, who was present at the church of Saint-Eustache 
as one of his sponsors. 

The others were two Marshals of France, Armand de 
Gontaut-Biron and Jean d'Aumont ; each of whom gave 


the child a name. Both these gallant soldiers are celebrated 
by Voltaire in the Henriade : 

" D'Aumont, qui sous cinq Rois avoit portd les armes ; 
Biron, dont le seul nom repandoit les alarmes. . . ." 

Both were intimate friends of the Grand Provost, and 
joined him later in placing their swords at the command 
of Henry IV. 

The name of Frangois de Richelieu is frequently to 
be met with in the documents of Henry III.'s reign. 
He received the highest honour Royalty could bestow, 
the Order of the Holy Spirit. The King's personal safety 
depended largely on him, and allowing for the general 
corruption of the time, he seems to have performed his 
duties, often secret and mysterious, with honesty, loyalty, 
and courage. On that wild day in 1588, when the Due 
de Guise had been welcomed by Paris with mad enthusiasm, 
when the streets were chained and barricaded against the 
King's troops, and Henry was escaping from his " ungrate- 
ful city," it was the Grand Provost who checked the 
pursuers at the Porte de la Conference. Old writers say 
that the gate took its name from that circumstance, and 
tell how " Frangois de Richelieu, Grand Prev6t de France, 
p^re du Cardinal de m6me nom, arr^ta les Parisiens qui 
vouloient suivre le Roi, pour tocher de le surprendre." 

Luckily for his own fame, this "wise officer" was not 
an active agent in the murder of the Due de Guise at Blois, 
a few months later. But he was sent to the Hotel de 
Ville to arrest those dignified citizens whom the King 
suspected of being concerned in the Guise conspiracy. 
And in the following summer he performed his last duty 
towards Henry III. by arresting the miserable monk, 
Jacques Clement, whom the Duchesse de Montpensier, 
sister of Guise, had persuaded to earn his salvation by 
murdering the King, " enemy of the Catholic religion." 

In the confusion that followed Henry's death, the wise 
" Tristan " did not trust himself to the faction of the 
Guises. With other Catholic nobles, and in spite of 
family traditions, he turned to the one man in whose 


hands he saw safety for France and himself, the Protestant 
Henry of Navarre. That clever Prince received him 
cordially and confirmed him in his appointments. So it 
came to pass that the nephew of '* the Monk " reddened 
his sword with Catholic blood at Arques and at Ivry, 
and followed his new King, still as Grand Provost of 
France, to the camp before Paris. There his career was 
cut short by a fever in the summer of 1590, at the age 
of forty-two. 



Friends and relations — The household at Richelieu — Country life 

in Poitou. 

WHETHER the widow of Frangois de Richelieu was 
in famine-stricken Paris during the siege — one of 
those afflicted ladies to whom the good-natured 
and politic Henry sent provisions first, passports later, 
that they might escape from the city — or whether she had 
already, her husband being so strongly in opposition to 
the ruling powers there, removed herself and her five 
children into the country it seems impossible to know. 

She was not without influential friends in Paris ; the 
more useful, perhaps, because they were not in the fighting 
line. Her father lived in the Rue Hautefeuille, near the 
Church of St. Andr6-des-Arcs, in the heart of the Latin 
quarter; the old turrets of his house still remain. He 
was divided from the Rue du Bouloy, on the north side 
of the river beyond the Louvre, by two bridges, the 
Island, and a labyrinth of dirty, narrow, dangerous streets. 
There may well have been a gulf fixed, during those 
horrible months of the siege, between the old advocate 
and his daughter. 

But Amador de la Porte, his younger son, and Denys 
Bouthillier, his head clerk and future successor, were not 
likely to let Suzanne and her children suffer any un- 
necessary privation. Both were strong and brilliant men, 
worthy members of that bourgeoisie which was the pride 
and life of Paris. Amador, some years younger than his 



sister, was apparently too restless to settle down in his 
father's profession. But Frangois de la Porte had been 
very useful, as advocate, to the Order of Malta. They 
rewarded him by receiving Amador as a Knight of the 
Order, without a too close inquiry into his proofs of 
nobility. His foot once on the ladder, Amador rose to 
be Commander, then Grand Prior of France, and by his 
nephew's favour held several important governments. 

These two men, Amador de la Porte and Denys 
BouthiUier, were constant friends and guardians of the 
Richelieu children. BouthiUier and his sons were devoted 
to the Cardinal throughout his career, to their very great 
advantage. Claude, the eldest, made an enormous fortune 
as surintendant des finances under Louis XIII., and his son 
Leon, Comte de Chavigny, was a minister under both 
Richelieu and Mazarin. Sebastien and Victor rose high 
in the Church. Denys became private secretary to Queen 
Marie de Medicis, and was created Baron de Ranee; he 
was the father of Armand Jean de Ranee, the famous Abbot 
of La Trappe. 

Through the Cardinal's other La Porte uncle, of whom, 
personally, not much is known, the old advocate's family 
stepped up into something like equality with the highest 
in the kingdom. His son, Charles, a bold, eccentric 
creature, attached himself from the first to the fortunes 
of his cousin, Armand de Richelieu, and by this means 
became a Marshal of France and Due de la Meilleraye. 
He was one of the Cardinal's most trusted aides-de-camp, 
and later on, a conspicuous figure in Paris during the 
troubles of the Fronde. 

In the autumn of 1590, if not sooner, a family of women 
and children was established at the Chateau de Richeheu. 
There were Dame Frangoise de Rochechouart, widow of 
the Seigneur Louis, and her daughter, also a widow, 
Frangoise du Plessis, Madame de Marconnay. There were 
Suzanne de la Porte, widow of the Grand Provost, and 
her five children ; Frangoise, a girl of twelve — who married 
first the Seigneur de Beauvau, secondly, Rene de Vignerot, 
Seigneur du Pont-de-Courlay, and was the mother of the 


Cardinal's favourite niece, Madame de Combalet, after- 
wards created Duchesse d' Aiguillon ; Henry, a well-known 
courtier of Louis XIII. 's young days; Alphonse, at this 
time intended for the Bishopric of Lugon ; Armand Jean, 
the political genius, now a delicate, feverish atom of five 
years old ; Nicole, who married the Marquis de Maille- 
Breze, and whose daughter, Claire Cl6mence, became the 
wife of the great Conde. 

The head of this household, according to immemorial 
French custom, was the grandmother, Frangoise de Roche- 
chouart. Her rule, no doubt, was severe, and there are 
evidences that her daughter-in-law, a woman of gentler 
type, suffered under it. The hard old aristocrat who had 
condescended in her marriage with Louis du Plessis was 
scornful of the bourgeoise mother of her grandchildren. 
She was soured too by the losses and troubles of her 
life. Probably Suzanne brought from Paris the habits 
of a civilisation that did not suit that rough old home, 
that " ancient house of stone, roofed with slates," strongly 
fortified with walls and moats as useful now as in the 
time of the English wars, when they were new. In 1590, 
the civil wars were by no means at an end. The province, 
devastated for years by Catholics and Huguenots flying at 
each other's throats, now suffered equally in the struggle 
between Henry IV. and the League. Poitiers took the 
latter side, and for three years, from 1591 to 1594, the 
King's army besieged it in vain. All the neighbouring 
country, including the valley of the Mable, was ruined 
and unsafe. A band of ruffian soldiers sacked the small 
town of Faye-la-Vineuse, on the hills overlooking Richelieu. 
No wonder if the gentle Suzanne, " loyal lady " and tender 
mother, was kept sleepless by burning horizons as often as 
by her little Armand, shivering with fever in the unwhole- 
some mists of that river valley. 

Her anxieties indeed were many ; for though Dame 
Frangoise might be mistress of the house, all the business 
connected with her children and her inheritance devolved 
on her. And the Richelieu affairs were in an embarrassed 
state. The Grand Provost had left heavy debts behind 


him. There was the management of various small estates 
and chateaux in Poitou, which by some means or other 
had become possessions of the family : one of these was 
Mausson, name of ill-omen, which had been taken in 
exchange for an estate in Picardy, part of the dowry of 
Suzanne de la Porte. 

She was an excellent woman of business, with hereditary 
instincts of law and order. All her tact and capacity, 
directed by strong affection, were devoted to the interests 
of her children. The words she wrote to Armand, years 
later, when he was Bishop of Lugon, seem to have been 
the key-note of her life : 

'* L'inquietude que j'ai me tue et je vols bien que je 
n'aurai jamais de joie que lorsque, vous sachant tous 
heureux, je serai en paradis." 

With such a mother, and with an indulgent aunt in 
Madame de Marconnay — in spite of a fierce grandmother, 
barred gates and alarms of war — the children's life at 
Richelieu need not have been unhappy. Indeed it was not 
so, if one may judge by the Cardinal's recollections of it, 
and his constant devotion to the old place where most of 
his childhood was spent. After all, the family was on 
the winning side. France was growing tired of the 
League, attracted by the sunny, accommodating patriotism 
of Henry IV. If the harvests of Poitou were destroyed, 
woods cut down, villages burnt and pillaged, it was often, 
odd as this may sound, the work of friends, and in' the 
intervals of these stormy visits of robber bands, country 
life went on cheerfully. 

The strong old manor nestled snugly on the islet in 
the river-bed, something after the fashion of Chenonceaux 
in Touraine or Bazouges in Anjou. On the border of 
these two provinces and of Poitou, the country round 
Richelieu had something of the character of all three. 
The rich fertility of Touraine, the vineyards and gardens, 
though not unknown here, soon gave way to the forests 
and marshes of the wilder provinces. But Richelieu had 
its park and its avenues, leading from the high road which 
ran south from Chinon and Champigny into Poitou. By 


this road came all the travellers, all the visitors : Amador 
de la Porte, the beloved uncle, with news from Paris; 
Jacques du Plessis, the great-uncle, the non-resident Bishop 
of Lugon, with his eye on a young successor ; or, less 
welcome to the heads of the family, the Due de Montpen- 
sier, the feudal neighbour, with his pack of wolf-hounds 
and swaggering troop of guards and followers. One may 
fancy, even then, that the dark eyes of Armand watched 
the owner of Champigny, scarred from the wars, without 
much friendliness. 

There are signs that the family at Richelieu was on 
kindly terms with its neighbours of lower estate. The 
cure of Braye, M. Yver, who said mass often in the chapel 
of the chateau, was an intimate friend. There was no 
oppression of the peasants, who lived round about in their 
low, mud-floored, one-roomed cottages, and eked out their 
poor harvest by catching game in the forest or fishing in 
the river. All through the western provinces, indeed, 
then and for long afterwards, seigneur and peasant lived 
w^ell together; the contrary was the exception. And the 
contrary came to pass, in great measure, through the 
action of the founder of absolute monarchy, the boy who 
ran about hand in hand with his mother at Richelieu. 

In the meanwhile, Dame Suzanne befriended and 
doctored the people, knew them all by name, visited them, 
gossiped with them. She and her children witnessed their 
marriages, were sponsors at the baptism of their babes ; 
a few years later, in 1618, the old registers of Braye bear 
witness that the infant son of young Henry du Plessis 
was named at the font, in the chapel at Richelieu, by two 
"poor orphans," assisted by ''ten other poor persons." The 
gates of the chateau were open to any humble neighbours 
who suffered in the wars ; the kitchen supplied them with 
food, sometimes not too plentiful even there; and holy- 
days found the courtyard full of peasants playing their 
bagpipes, dancing their quaint provincial dances, singing 
the songs of Poitou. Thus masters and servants alike 
managed to forget the hardships and terrors of the time. 

Among scenes like these the Cardinal's early childhood 


was spent, and to his dying day, with all France at his 
feet, he loved that corner of Poitou. It must be added 
that the traditions of Richelieu itself, supported by many 
writers of the seventeenth century, declare that he was born 
there. When Mademoiselle de Montpensier, in 1637, paid 
her visit to Madame d'Aiguillon at the magnificent palace 
into which the Cardinal had transformed the little strong- 
hold of his fathers, and found some of the rooms incon- 
ceivably small and mean, compared with the stately 
exterior, it was explained to her that the Cardinal had 
ordered Le Mercier, his architect, to preserve unaltered 
that part of the old building where his parents had lived 
and where he was born. The witnesses on the same 
side are too many to quote. On the other hand, Richelieu 
himself declared on more than one occasion that he was 
born in Paris, a Parisian, a native of the city which always 
had his heart ; and his enemies dwelt strongly on the 
same fact, treating the Poitevin theory as an outcome of 
that immense pride and vanity which encouraged the 
Cardinal's worshippers to represent his family and their 
possessions as older and greater than they really were ; 
feudal magnates of centuries, instead of country gentlemen 
with their fortune to seek. 



The University of Paris — The College of Navarre— The Marquis du 
Chillou— A change of prospect — A student of theology— The Abb^ de 
Richelieu at Rome — His consecration 

BEFORE Armand de Richelieu was eleven years old, 
his uncle Amador, who was among the first to 
recognize the boy's brilliant gifts, carried him off 
to Paris and placed him at the University. It was the 
family intention that Armand should carve out his living 
in a career of arms. The eldest brother, Henry, the 
seigneur of Richelieu, was to marry, and to cut a figure 
at Court. Being a charming and agreeable young fellow, 
he was likely to succeed in this line. Alphonse was a 
saint, and a born ecclesiastic; his future needed no 
arrangement; the see of Lugon was waiting for him. 
After the death of the great-uncle, Jacques du Plessis, in 
1592, the revenues of the diocese were taken over by 
a titular bishop— no other than M. Yver, cure of Braye 
and chaplain at Richelieu — a worthy warming-pan who 
paid the largest portion to Madame de Richelieu, and 
wasted as little as possible on the cathedral and the 
diocese. The canons rebelled and complained most un- 
reasonably, we are told ; but Henry IV. had confirmed 
Henry III.'s grant of the bishopric to the Richelieu family, 
and the Chapter could obtain no redress. They had to 
wait till Alphonse was of age to be consecrated. 

It was the right thing for every young Frenchman, of 
every rank, whatever his future walk in life might be, to 
go through his course at one of the universities. A king's 



son might be found on the Paris benches, listening to the 
same lecture with the clever son of a tradesman or even 
a peasant from a remote province. The poor students 
were quite as numerous as the rich ; they filled the high 
houses and crowded the narrow streets of the famous 
Pays Latin; they "lived as they could," and their 
character as a community did not alter much in the course 
of centuries. 

When Armand de Richelieu was first entered at the 
College of Navarre, where "the great Henry" had 
studied before him, the University was at a low ebb, both 
as to professors and students. The wars of the League, 
the fighting in the streets, the horrors of the siege, had 
driven most decent people away from Paris, while armies 
of vagabonds and fugitives took possession of the city, 
even of that "city within a city," which the University 
had been ever since the time when Philippe Auguste 
built its enclosing wall. 

That wall still existed long after the young days of 
Richelieu. Its broad ditches, its battlements and frequent 
towers, its seven or eight formidable gateways, two of 
which defended a bridge and a ferry over the Seine, while 
the Tour de Nesle, at the western corner, frowned across 
at the Louvre — all enclosed with mediaeval strength that 
Latin quarter, a half-moon in shape, which sloped up, 
a mass of lanes, colleges, convents, churches, to the old 
royal abbey and Church of Ste. Genevieve, where her 
shrine, the chief religious treasure of Paris, was kept ; 
destroyed in the eighteenth century and replaced by the 
Pantheon with Voltaire's bones and Soufflot's ugly dome. 

The University existed before the colleges. They were 
founded, one by one, by charitable men and women, mostly 
for the benefit of the poor scholars of different special 
towns or countries. Often their names told their story ; 
but sometimes they were called by the name of the 
founder, such as the " College du Cardinal Lemoine." 

The College of Navarre was one of the best known 
and highest in reputation. It was founded in 1304 by 
Jeanne, wife of Philippe le Bel and Queen of Navarre in 


her own right, in memory of the victory of Mons-en-Puelle 
in Flanders. It was thus nearly three hundred years 
old when Armand de Richelieu entered it, and had already 
that royal and military reputation which lasted through 
three or four centuries more. An old writer on Paris 
says that the sons of the greatest nobles in the kingdom 
boarded in this college, and in order that they might not 
be distracted by intercourse with outside students — a real 
danger, one would think, and of worse things than dis- 
traction — no other scholars were received. " Navarre " 
did not always remain so exclusive. But this was 
probably its character in Richelieu's time, though we do 
not positively know whether the young gentleman, with 
his private tutor and his footmen — all of whom remained 
many years in his service — lodged in the college or at 
his grandfather's house in the Rue Hautefeuille. 

The College of Navarre had had famous men among 
its tutors and professors. Nicolas Oresme, one of its 
early head masters, was tutor to King Charles V., who 
owed to him his surname of " The Wise." He was a 
translator of Aristotle, and is supposed to have made the 
first French version of the Bible. Somewhat later, the 
celebrated mystic, Jean Gerson, believed by many to be 
the real author of the Imitatio Christie was a teacher in 
the college and became Chancellor of the University. A 
famous Principal, also Chancellor, was Cardinal d'Ailly, 
Archbishop of Cambray, a theologian of tremendous 
strength, known at the Council of Constance as the 
" Eagle of France," and '* the Hammer of the Heretics." 

The traditions of " Navarre " were inspiring and severe. 
At the end of the sixteenth century, when young Richelieu 
was going through its courses of ** grammar " and " philo- 
sophy," the college was ruled by Jean Yon, a lover of 
Cicero, of discipline, and of Church ceremonies. Long 
after the days of dry study and compulsory Latin were 
over, the Cardinal kept a friendly recollection of his old 
master, and declared that he could never see him without 
*' a feeling of respect and fear." Probably, therefore, Jean 
Yon was wisely careful to hide his admiration of the boy, 


who, according to one of his biographers, " avala comme 
d'un trait toute la grammaire," knew by instinct how to 
baffle his examiners by puzzling counter-questions, and 
dazzled both teachers and comrades by the bold and 
sparkling flashes of his genius. 

But Master Yon was not always the stern pedagogue. 
The Cardinal ever remembered with peculiar pleasure 
taking part, as a singing boy, in the great procession which 
marched from Ste. Genevieve on her hill, right across 
Paris, to visit the tomb of St. Denis. The whole Univer- 
sity joined in the procession, and on this occasion it was 
led by Jean Yon and a chanting choir from the College of 

Once upon a time, they say, that procession was so 
long that when the head was entering the Church of 
St. Denis, far away in the northern outskirts of the city, 
the tail, of great dignity, had not yet come forth from 
the Church of the Mathurins, where the general rendez- 
vous had been fixed. This was in the time of Charles VI., 
when all Paris was praying and making processions that 
his lost senses might be restored to him. In those days, 
we are told, the University of Paris was the centre of 
learning for all the nations of Europe and the mother of 
all their universities, including " Oxfort en Angleterre." 
Her European fame and the number of her students had 
dwindled a good deal before the day when Armand de 
Richelieu, the slim, keen, black-haired boy of twelve, 
marched in her procession as an enfant de choeur. 

Down the hill they wound, threading the dark labyrinth 
of high college walls, then perhaps following the Rue 
St. Jacques, the old Roman road, down to the Petit 
Chatelet, guarding with its tunnelled gateway the entrance 
to the Petit Pont; or, more likely, keeping to their own 
Latin-speaking quarter as far west as the Pont St. Michel 
—the Pont Neuf was not yet finished — and there crossing 
to the Island and passing in front of the Palais de Justice, 
through crowds of men of law, red-robed councillors, 
officials and hangers-on of the Parliament, quite as busy 
and as noisy as the ecclesiastical throng they had left 


behind them. The Pont-au-Change, haunt of money- 
changers and bird-catchers, carried them on to the farther 
shore ; one of those steep and ancient bridges, chiefly 
built of wood and blocked with houses, shops and stalls, 
which were difficult to cross at all times and were 
constantly in danger from flood or fire. Then the 
procession's way was almost blocked by the great round 
towers and frowning prison walls of the Grand Chatelet. 
Then through dark and narrow ways it passed out into 
the wider spaces, the gayer air, of the Paris of the north 
bank, of kings and their palaces, and leaving the Louvre to 
the left, the Hotel de Ville, Bastille, and Temple far to 
the right, went on by the Rue St. Denis towards the 
gate of that name, and so out into the frequented road 
leading to the old towers that sheltered the shrine of the 

All the way there was a constant carillon of bells from 
a hundred steeples ; the red and gold of vestments and 
banners glowed in the sunshine ; trumpets brayed ; and 
with loud chanting the procession paced along. To a boy 
fresh from his lessons, who was to live on into more 
colourless times, such a holiday glimpse of the Middle 
Ages may very well have been a pleasant recollection. 

At this time young Richelieu was looking forward to 
nothing but the life of a soldier, and of course a mercenary 
one, for his family was likely to endow him with little 
means of living. The world was his oyster, which he 
with sword must open. It was nothing new : he would 
walk in the footsteps of his father and his great-uncles, 
with the advantage of serving a King whom he heartily 
admired ; of this his Memoirs give proof enough. 

When the usual University course was over, M. de la 
Porte proceeded to make a man and a soldier of his 
nephew. He placed him at the famous Academy of 
M. de Pluvinel, a former companion-in-arms of the Grand 
Provost, who had made a career for himself as a trainer 
of young gentlemen. He taught them fencing, riding, 
dancing, music, mathematics, various manly games. He 
was an authority on fashion and style, wit and manners, 


the ways of foreign nations ; in short, he turned boys fresh 
from college into men of the world, courtiers, soldiers, 
diplomatists. There was scarcely a leading man in France 
in the early seventeenth century who had not passed 
through the " manege royal " of M. de Pluvinel. 

A title was necessary, in order to swagger successfully 
among the gay cadets of the Academy. Armand became 
Marquis du Chillou, taking the name from a small estate 
in Poitou brought into the family by his great-grand- 

His years of study at the Academy seem to have been 
among the happiest of his life. Made mentally of steel and 
flame as he was, ancestral hardness and strength of will 
joined with a passionate ambition all his own, the fighting 
career of a successful soldier was likely to attract him 
irresistibly. When he was young, it seemed indeed the 
one chance of shining in the world, of commanding men. 
And he never lost his love for the profession he had to 
renounce, though it became clear that for a daring spirit 
such as his, the red robe was as practical a garment as the 
buff coat. '* Sous le pretre, on retrouve toujours en lui le 
soldat," says M. Hanotaux. 

There was one drawback to the military prospects of 
Armand de Richelieu. The delicate, aguish boy had not 
grown into a strong youth. His keen spirit was now, as 
ever, a sword too sharp for its frail sheath. Hard study 
and lack of fresh air during his college days had had 
their likely effect on his weak constitution and slight frame. 
For his sake, his mother did not mourn over the family 
circumstances that forbade him, after all, to be a soldier. 
** Mon malade," as she called him, was not of those who 
could sleep on open field or fell, in mud or mire, as 
soundly as within stone walls with curtains round his 

For the family, it was a question of losing the revenues 
of the see of Lugon. Alphonse de Richelieu, its intended 
Bishop, at the age of nineteen or twenty, turned away in 
disgust from the worldly-wise arrangement, and decided 
to become a Carthusian monk. It may not be unfair to 


describe him as " devot et bizarre " ; but one seems to see 
in this singular resolution an outcome of the reaction 
against the dead and conscienceless state into which the 
sixteenth century had brought the French Church ; the 
reaction which was already living and moving in such men 
as Frangois de Sales, Vincent de Paul, Pierre de Berulle, 
though leading them, as to their religious life, into reforming 
action rather than lonely contemplation. 

Armand's choice was soon made. No doubt the change 
was to him inevitable. There could not be two young 
men more different than himself and Alphonse ; yet he 
too had a conscience of his own, of the truly Latin kind 
which demands any and every sacrifice for the sake of 
the family. He is said to have written to his uncle, who, 
one may well believe, was sincerely sorry for him : " The 
will of God be done : I accept all, for the good of the 
Church and the glory of our name." The latter aspiration, 
at least, was fulfilled. 

At seventeen, in the year 1602, the Marquis du Chillou 
laid down his sword and his title, left M. de Pluvinel's 
Academy and returned to the University. A year or 
two later, there was no more eager student of philosophy 
and theology than the Abb6 de Richelieu. There are 
merry stories of the time which suggest that he and his 
private tutor M. Mulot, afterwards his chaplain, were 
concerned in wild pranks, such as robbing gardens and 
orchards, which would have been impossible under the 
strict discipline of old Master Yon. There is a pretty 
legend which tells that the Cardinal, in his last days, 
sent for an old college gardener whose peaches he had 
stolen — the good man's name was Rabelais, and he came 
from Chinon — and paid him a large sum of money as 
compensation for being both robbed and frightened : at 
that time, an unlucky wretch who was summoned before 
the Eminentissime went in very reasonable fear of his life. 

The sober University, in its clock-work course, hardly 
knew what to make of Armand de Richelieu. He swallowed 
theology as he had swallowed grammar, and the ordinary 
progress of learning was far too slow for him. After 


studying independently with several learned masters, especi- 
ally with Richard Smith, an Englishman, of the University 
of Louvain, afterwards Vicar Apostolic in England, he was 
ambitious to hold a public disputation at the Sorbonne. 

The doctors of that reverend foundation refused the 
unusual request; but Richelieu, who ardently desired to 
become an adept in controversy, persuaded his old College 
of Navarre to be less timidly narrow and conservative. 
Here the lad of nineteen, worn to a shadow by studying 
hard eight hours a day, set forth his thesis and defended 
it against all comers. The listeners were slightly uneasy, 
for his argument was based rather on philosophy than 
on strictly theological grounds, and was indeed flavoured 
by the influence of Jansenius, who came to Paris about 
this time. But the long struggle between Gallicans and 
Ultramontanes, Bishops and Jesuits, was only at its 
beginning, and Jansenism proper was not born ; the 
sixteenth century had known little more than the fiercer, 
simpler quarrel between Catholics and Protestants, the 
heretic and the faithful. As a fact, in his own original 
way, Richelieu held all the doctrines approved and taught 
by the Sorbonne. 

There was every reason why the future Bishop should 
hurry on his theological studies. The Chapter of Lugon 
had completely lost its patience ; and this is not surprising, 
for both the cathedral and the episcopal palace were fall- 
ing into ruins, while no money could be extracted from 
M. Yver and Madame de Richelieu, until, at last, a decree 
of the Parliament forced them to provide for the necessary 
repairs. If the bishopric was to remain in the Richelieu 
family, Armand must be consecrated with as little delay 
as possible. 

He was not yet near the canonical age of a bishop. 
He had, however, been ordained deacon in 1606, and early 
in that year, while he was still hurrying through his last 
examinations. King Henry wrote to his Ambassador at 
Rome, recommending the Abbe Armand Jean du Plessis, 
royally nominated to the bishopric of Lugon, to the favour 
of His Holiness Paul V., and praying for an early con- 


secration on the ground of the young man's " merite et 
suffisance," which were such as to make the legal delays 
morally quite unnecessary. 

Such dispensations were common enough, but this one 
was slow in coming. Paul V., the Borghese Pope, had 
not long been elected, but was already known for his 
determined will and strong sense of duty. He was not 
a man who would lightly break through any laws or 
customs of the Church, and certainly not to please King 
Henry IV., whose conversion he distrusted and whose 
way of life he condemned. The Abbe de Richelieu, 
hearing nothing from Rome, resolved to wait no longer. 
In the autumn of 1606 he left Paris and travelled hard 
to Rome, very impatient, and quite sure that if he could 
once gain the Pope's ear and plead his own cause, it 
would speedily be won. 

He was not mistaken, though Paul V. received him 
coldly on his first introduction by the Ambassador : a 
self-confident, presumptuous boy who expected to be 
ordained priest and consecrated bishop at twenty-one, was 
not likely to meet with instant favour from an elderly, 
legal-minded martinet. Various tales are told, by friends 
and enemies, as to the means by which Richelieu quickly 
gained his ends at the Papal Court. Some say that he 
added a year to his age, or falsified the date of his 
baptism, and that the Pope, hearing too late of the trick, 
observed, "This young man will be a great knave." On 
the other hand, it is said that, struck with admira- 
tion of Richelieu's genius, the Pope made no difficulty, 
saying, " It is just that one whose wisdom is above his 
age should be ordained under age," On the whole, the 
latter story seems the more probable ; but neither has 
any real foundation. 

It is certain, at any rate, that the Abbe de Richelieu 
made the best use of the months he spent at Rome, and 
convinced Paul V., himself a clever man, that King Henry's 
praise was not undeserved. He preached before the Pope, 
and his ready learning and splendour of diction were con- 
sidered miraculous. He carried on arguments with His 


Holiness on the morals of Henry and other subjects, so 
firmly yet so respectfully that Paul was altogether charmed. 
He studied the spirit of Rome, that mysterious city which 
was at once " the capital of the Catholic world and the 
centre of the civilized, world." As the centre of an older 
world still, of ancient history and pagan art, Rome had 
not the same attraction for him. All that was to come 
later, when the Cardinal attempted, without great success, 
to pose as one of the chief art patrons in Europe. 

At this time, his whole mind was given to present 
advancement, and his intuition as to his own interest was 
faultless. He learned Italian and Spanish, he courted the 
Cardinals and other dignitaries, and while dazzling his 
company with all the light French brilliancy of his young 
wit, he pleased them by the gentleness and modesty he 
knew well how to assume. Thus he saved himself from 
much envy and jealousy which might have nipped his 
career at the outset. 

On April 17, 1607, Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, 
aged twenty-two years and seven months, was ordained 
priest and consecrated bishop by the Cardinal de Givry, 
who had always been his friend. The suffering diocese 
of Lugon was no longer without a head, and the Roman 
Easter bells rang in one of the greatest figures in French 






A Bishop at the Sorbonne— State of France under Henry IV. — Henry IV., 
his Queen and his Court — The Nobles and Princes — The unhealthiness of 
Paris— The Bishop's departure. 

THE diocese of Lu^on— in itself one of the least desir- 
able in France — had to endure some months more 
of neglect before its new Bishop came into residence. 
Richelieu's return to France, in the early summer of 
1607, was a return to Paris and the University, which 
now saw the unusual sight of a bishop among its students. 
There were still examinations to pass and distinctions to 
gain : the theological honours of the Sorbonne were not 
lightly bestowed, even on a dignitary of the Church. But 
Richelieu, once more, triumphantly satisfied his examiners, 
and in the autumn of 1607 he was admitted to the degree 
of Doctor of the Sorbonne. One may say that the old 
institution was his mother and his child. She trained the 
brain that transformed France and directed Europe ; she was 
made illustrious by his munificent care, and his feverish 
life at last found rest in the shadow of her walls. 

In the winter of 1607-8, Henry IV. was at the height 
of his power and popularity, although certain dreamers, 
prophets of evil, necromancers, and such-like creatures 
of the darkness, suggested that his useful reign was near 




its end. For whatever the immoralities of his life may 
have been — and they had a fatal influence on society — 
his political ends and means were excellent. His favourite 
dream was of a general European peace with religious 
toleration : and one need only realize the state of France 
a hundred years later — populations crushed by cruel 
taxation and dying of famine by thousands — to see what 
the difference might have been if Henry and Sully could 
have worked their will for twenty years more, keeping 
the nobles in check, insisting on justice, studying and 
carrying into practical effect the means of making the 
country prosperous by useful public works, by careful 
training in agriculture and other industries. Under Henry 
and his minister — who did not, however, share his master's 
popularity — farming was encouraged, rivers were made 
navigable, bridges were built, waste lands were reclaimed, 
new roads were made, new crops, such as potato and 
beet-root, were introduced, a labourer's tools were safe 
from seizure for debt. France was beginning to breathe 
after long horrors of civil war : feudal oppression was 
passing away, and the country generally was on the eve 
of better things, under the eye of a King who, absolute 
as he certainly meant to be, loved his people and wished 
them well. All was doomed to fall to pieces with the 
death of Henry, followed by the regency of a stupid 
woman and the new policy of Richelieu. 

Henry was himself the centre point of Paris, the be- 
loved city, which he made his home, only leaving the 
Louvre for visits to Saint-Germain and Fontainebleau, or 
for hunting excursions in the country. Small, active, care- 
lessly dressed, ever on the move, the Parisians saw their 
King among them at all seasons, all hours, riding or driving 
in the streets, equally eager after business and amusement ; 
gambling at the famous Fair of Saint-Germain — held during 
the early months of the year on the left bank of the Seine — 
or planning with Sully, within the walls of the Arsenal, 
those economies and financial rearrangements which 
gained him the reputation of being a miser. Henry was 
a curious character, half a hero, made of gold and ol 


clay ; but his Parisians, as a rule, saw little but the gold. 
He was a familiar sight among them, the frank, good- 
natured man, with his rosy cheeks, long nose, and whiten- 
ing beard and hair. They loved him because he was affable, 
kind, easy-going, polite, and yet could be stern and royal 
enough when any one displeased him. They loved his keen 
interest in the city, shown by plans for rebuilding and 
improving, some of which were already carried out when 
he died, while some lingered on into the days of Richelieu. 
His favourite works were the Grande Galerie of the Louvre, 
the Pont Neuf, the Hotel de Ville, burnt by the Commune, 
and the Place Royale, now known as Place des Vosges. 

The Court at the Louvre, under a King impatient of 
etiquette — except when Parliament or Protestants had to 
be awed, or foreign ambassadors received — seems to have 
been lacking in dignity. It had not the splendour, the 
mystery, the romance and cultivation, however evil, of the 
Valois; nor had it the stiff magnificence of an absolute 
Louis XIV. The tone of the Court, in fact, was bourgeois \ 
and it is curious enough that the early seventeenth century 
in England, as well as in France, had this intimate flavour 
of something like vulgarity. James I. cracked coarse jokes 
with his courtiers and slapped them on the back. Henry IV., 
though a far more intelligent man, encouraged the same 
kind of manners among his jovial companions at the Louvre. 

The King and Queen quarrelled perpetually, and in 
public. The young Bishop of Lugon, admitted at Court 
not only by the means of his elder brother, a popular 
courtier, but through the King's personal liking for him, 
saw with his own eyes scenes to which the Cardinal de 
Richelieu alluded in his Memoirs, dictated many years 
later. With all his enmity towards Marie de Medicis, he 
had to acknowledge that the King's love-affairs, result 
of the besetting weakness of a great prince, might justly 
have irritated a woman less naturally jealous, proud and 
unforgiving. As one intrigue succeeded another during 
the whole of Henry's later life, and as the Queen could 
never be brought to take these things meekly, it follows 
that peace seldom reigned at the Louvre. Henry, on his 


side, turned the tables on his wife by injurious suspicions 
almost certainly without foundation, and the Due de Sully 
himself told Richelieu that he had never known a week 
pass without a quarrel. On one occasion, in passionate 
anger, Marie raised her hand to box Henry's ears ! " M. de 
Sully stopped her so roughly that her arm was bruised, 
crying out with an oath : * Are you mad, Madame ? He 
could have your head off in half an hour. Have you lost 
your senses, not to remember what the King can do ? ' 
The King went out ; and after much coming and going 
he (Sully) appeased them both. Afterwards, the Queen 
complained that the Due de Sully had struck her." 

Sometimes these quarrels had a comic side. The Queen 
would refuse to dine as usual with the King, and would 
order a small table to be brought into her cabinet. On 
these occasions the good-tempered Henry, who never 
could be angry long, and who preferred living at peace 
with a wife he did not really dislike, would send her 
choice morsels from his table, even from his plate. If 
Marie's temper had not reached the level of accepting^ a 
peace-offering, she would coldly return the dainties. Court^ 
gossip declared that she was afraid of poison. 

In his book on Marie de Medicis, M. Batiffol gives a 
curious description, drawn from old records, of the royal 
dinner at the Louvre when the King and Queen dined 

No one sat at the table with them, but a privileged 
public, including the whole Court, crowded the room. 
The Swiss guards stood round the table, bearded, fierce, 
German-speaking warriors, " old servants of the Crown," 
leaning on their halberds, dressed in velvet, white, blue, 
and red. Six gentlemen served their Majesties, taking 
the dishes from the " officers of the kitchen," who brought 
them into the room. The menu^ a very considerable one, 
was drawn up by the Queen's maitred' hotel and counter- 
signed by herself Sometimes, generally on Sundays only, 
the King's musicians gave a concert during dinner. As 
a rule, there was a good deal of conversation. The King 
and Queen talked to the courtiers who stood in ranks 


behind the Swiss Guard ; not of '* affairs," but of any 
light and interesting subject that might occur. 

On such an occasion the King may well have shown 
special favour to a young man in episcopal purple, of 
middle height, very thin, with black hair, a delicate, pointed 
face, keen dark eyes, under a broad brow full of intelligence, 
quick to catch and respond to every slightest glance from 
Royalty. Young Richelieu—" My Bishop," Henry called 
him — may have had stories to tell of his Roman experiences, 
stories pleasing to the King, who had taken the trouble 
to push his fortunes ; and the wit, the memory, the 
reasoning power, which amazed the Sorbonne, may also 
have been noticeable at the Louvre. 

Sometimes the talk led on to thin ice, and Richelieu 
knew it : for instance, when the King reminded him of 
certain things he had written about the Mar6chal de Biron, 
his godfather's son, beheaded for conspiracy in 1602. It 
was a lesson as to giving a handle to jealous enemies, 
which Richelieu did not soon forget. 

Dinner over, the Queen returned to her dogs and 
monkeys and parrots, her gaming, card-tricks and music, 
or walked in the garden, or drove in the city, perhaps 
visiting her divorced predecessor, Queen Marguerite de 
Valois — large, self-indulgent, with a flaxen wig — who led 
an extravagantly immoral but literary and charitable life 
in Paris, the adopted sister and aunt of the Royal family ; 
perhaps driving out to Saint-Germain to see the children, 
who lived there, a large household, legitimate and other- 
wise, under the care of the Baronne — afterwards Marquise — 
de Montglat. 

The King too, though never forgetful of public business, 
had his amusements of many kinds — gambling, hunting, 
building, making love. Sometimes he and the Queen 
dined out together in Paris, frequently with M. Zamet, 
banker and money-lender and Henry's very faithful servant, 
at his palatial hotel in the Marais. Sometimes they 
delighted the Parisians by sharing their amusements in 
the streets and on the bridges— jousts, sham fights in 
masquerade, running at the ring. Then were to be seen 


the young nobles of France, infected with Henry's own 
dash and daring recklessness, flinging themselves so 
desperately into these mock battles that real wounds 
were given and lives were lost. The famous Baron de 
Bassompierre, chief of the " dix-sept seigneurs," leaders 
of fashion, to whose exclusive ranks Henry de Richelieu 
also belonged, was nearly killed in one of these encounters 
in the paved court of the Louvre. 

Hardouin de P^refixe, tutor to Louis XIV. and after- 
wards Archbishop of Paris, wrote for his pupil's instruction 
a history of his royal grandfather, Henry the Great. 
Drawing on his own memory, or something very near it, 
he sketched the state of society at the beginning of the 
century. While the King and his ministers were working 
hard in lifting their country out of the slough of war and 
abject misery, most of the nobles were finding mischief 
for their idle hands to do. The Memoirs of Bassompierre 
and others prove that P^refixe told less than the truth : 
he was too courtier-like, too careful of offending young 
royal ears, to give much idea of the brutality of manners 
which existed in the society of Henry IV. and Marie de 
Medicis ; but he describes vividly the temper of the men 
among whom Armand de Richelieu, clever, poor, observant, 
shielded by his elder brother's popularity, was growing 
into manhood. 

" The French noblesse," says Perefixe, ** being at peace, 
could not be doing nothing ; some spent their time in 
hunting ; some in the company of ladies ; some studied 
belles lettres and mathematics ; others travelled in foreign 
lands ; others kept up the exercise of war under Prince 
Maurice in Holland. But many, with itching hands, eager 
to show off their courage without leaving home, became 
punctilious, and at the least word, or at crossing glances, 
had their swords in their hands. Thus a mania for duels 
seized on the minds of gentlemen. And these encounters 
were so frequent that the nobles shed nearly as much blood 
between themselves as their enemies had made them lose 
in battle." 

Royal edicts, one after another, had little effect in 


cooling these hot spirits ; especially as Henry usually 
forgave a crime which his laws threatened with forfeiture 
of life and goods. In the following reign such laws were 
less of a mockery, as the nobles found to their cost. 
Louis XIII. was made of harder stuff; and Richelieu had 
learnt by personal experience — his brother's death in a 
duel with the Marquis de Themines — the need of a strong 

There was not much personal distinction, at this time, 
among the grandees of France. Henry de Bourbon, Prince 
de Conde, nearest in blood to the throne, was a shy, 
gloomy youth, mean in looks and character, and though 
really clever and ambitious, eccentric to the verge of mad- 
ness. " Monsieur le Prince," says Brunet, " pere du grand 
Conde, s'imaginoit etre quelque fois oiseau et d'autres 
fois sanglier, et se cachoit sous les lits et sous les tables 
comme s'il avoit ete dans les forets." It was not till 1609, 
after Richelieu had retired to his diocese, that King 
Henry, for his own ends, married this young man to the 
marvellously beautiful Mademoiselle de Montmorency. 
Then, to the King's rage and disgust, Conde proved that 
he had some individuality, and ran away with his wife to 
Flanders. But for the dagger of Ravaillac, a European 
war might have followed on this elopement. 

Francois de Bourbon, Prince de Conti, the King's first 
cousin, uncle of Conde, brother of Henry's old companion- 
in-arms and once himself a fighter, was elderly, deaf, and 
incapable. He appeared little at Court, but lived in Paris 
on the revenues of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des- 
Pres. His wife, Louise Marguerite de Lorraine, a brilliant 
mischief-maker, with her mother, the lively old Duchesse 
de Guise, widow of Henry le Balafre, was among the 
few really intimate friends of Queen Marie de Medicis. 
Henry IV., who had once thought of marrying her, ended 
by disliking her, resenting her ini ^nce over his wife. 
But she kept her place at Court, and after the Prince de 
Conti's death she is said to have secretly married Bassom- 
pierre, first of courtiers and her lover of many years. 

Charles de Bourbon, Comte de Soissons, usually known 


as Monsieur le Comte, was the Prince de Conti's half- 
brother, his mother, Frangoise d'Orleans-Longueville, 
having been the second wife of Louis I., Prince de Conde. 
Though outwardly loyal to Henry IV., he was perhaps 
the most dangerous enemy the King had in his own 
immediate circle. Ambitious, proud and violent, he never 
forgave Henry for breaking an early promise of marrying 
him to his sister, Catherine of Navarre. Jealous of his 
own position, he resented every mark of favour shown by 
the King, especially the honours showered on the young 
Due de Vendome, Henry's eldest legitimised son. If a 
fit of the sulks had not kept Monsieur le Comte out of 
Paris at the time of Henry's death, he would have disputed 
the regency with the Queen. Not being on the spot, he 
was neither clever, strong, nor popular enough to disturb 
the appointed order of things. 

Henry de Bourbon, Due de Montpensier — familiar to 
the Richelieu family as lord of Champigny — was of no 
account at all, in court or camp, during his later years. 
But he had been an heroic soldier. Son of that Mont- 
pensier, the leader and patron of " the Monk " Richelieu 
and his brother, who swept Poitou with fire and sword 
in the religious wars, and of his furious Duchess, the soul 
of the League, the sister of Henry le Balafre, who brought 
about the murder of Henry III., he, with so many other 
Catholic princes and nobles, fought his uncles and the 
League under the banner of Henry of Navarre, A terrible 
wound in the face received at Dreux, where he commanded 
a regiment of cavalry, brought Henry de Montpensier's 
public career to an end at twenty-seven. His life, after 
this, was one of more or less suffering. He fell out of 
favour for some time with the King, being suspected of sym- 
pathy with the Biron conspiracy. He married, in middle 
life, his cousin Henriette Catherine de Joyeuse, another of 
the Queen's intimate friends, and they had one daughter, 
born in 1605, the heiress of all the immense Montpensier 
possessions ; by her marriage with Gaston of France the 
mother of the famous Anne Marie d'Orl^ans, Duchesse de 
Montpensier, commonly known as La Grande Mademoiselle. 


M. de Montpensier appears to have lived a great deal 
at Champigny, a favourite among his many chateaux. 
Thirty years after his death, on her v^^ay to visit the new 
splendours of Richelieu, his granddaughter found that he 
was still beloved there, although the almighty Cardinal, 
levelling his house with the ground, would gladly have 
destroyed his memory. 

The Duke died at his hotel in Paris on the last day 
of February 1608, wasted by a long decline, and devotedly 
nursed to the end by his eccentric Capuchin father-in-law, 
P^re Ange, in the world Due de Joyeuse. " Bon prince," 
I'Estoile says of Montpensier, " and as such regretted and 
mourned by the King, the nobility and all the people." 
The usual amusements of the Carnival were stopped ; even 
the little Dauphin was not allowed to dance his ballet 
before the King, Three weeks later a funeral service was 
held at Notre Dame, with an oration by the popular 
preacher M. Fenouillet, Bishop of Montpellier. The 
ceremony, which was simple, derived dignity from the 
presence of one hundred and twenty poor men in long 
robes, carrying torches. Another and grander service was 
held in April. Between these two occasions, the last male 
descendant of Robert, son of Saint Louis, was conveyed 
with an escort of three hundred horse to Champigny, and 
was buried in the chapel which still exists there. 

The Due de Montpensier's widow married Charles, 
Due de Guise, who, with his brothers, represented the 
princely House of Lorraine at the French Court. By birth 
and position, of course, he was one of the first men in 
France; personally he was of little account, and hardly 
a worthy descendant of the great Dukes of the sixteenth 
century. He had not even their looks, being short and 
snub-nosed. He was witty, agreeable and generous, 
very frivolous and a great flirt. Richelieu, in the first 
volume of his Memoirs^ gives Henry IV.'s own estimate 
of this head of the Guise family : " Plus de montre que 
d'efiet"; rather brilliant in company, and judged capable 
of great things by those who did not know him; but 
so slothful and lazy that he cared for nothing but 



pleasure, " et qu'en effet son esprit n'etait pas plus grand 
que son nez." 

Among the more conspicuous nobles, the Due de 
Bouillon, the malcontent leader of the Protestants, was 
a constant thorn in the King's side. The Due d'fipernon, 
an ambitious, adventurous courtier of Gascon origin, had 
been a favourite of Henry HI., and was not much loved 
by Henry IV., who did not trust him. His son, Bernard, 
married Gabrielle-Angelique de Bourbon, the King's 
daughter by the Marquise de Verneuil. This alliance 
was roughly dechned by the old Due de Montmorency, 
Constable of France, to whom Henry proposed it for his 
splendid young son, that Henry de Montmorency, last of 
the direct line, whose high head was among those to be 
mown down, at a future day, by the implacable Cardinal. 

Among left-hand Royalties, the oldest was Charles de 
Valois, Comte d'Auvergne, afterwards Due d'Angouleme, 
a man of a certain courage and humorous charm, but 
foolish, dishonest, and unlucky. He was the son of 
Charles IX. and Marie Touchet, who married the Comte 
d'Entraigues after the King's death, and became the 
mother of Henriette d'Entraigues, Marquise de Verneuil, 
Henry IV.'s passion and the special abhorrence of Marie 
de Medicis. In a fit of jealous fury, and in the supposed 
interest of her children, Madame de Verneuil intrigued 
with Spain against Henry. It was only the King's en- 
during infatuation which saved her half-brother, the Comte 
d'Auvergne, from losing his head. As it was, he spent 
ten of his best years, from 1606 to 1616, shut up in the 

Henry's own son by Gabrielle d'Estrees, Duchesse de 
Beaufort, the legitimised prince who was first known as 
Cesar-Monsieur, then created Due de Vendome, was the 
spoilt favourite among his children. No more odious 
young fellow was to be found in France. Spiteful, of 
vicious tendencies, "c'est un mauvais drOle, violent, 
moqueur, brutal." There was every probability that Cesar, 
whom the King openly preferred to his little lawful son, 
the future Louis XHL, would one day be the most power- 


ful of all the princes. Henry had already arranged a 
marriage for him with a rich heiress of royal blood, 
Frangoise de Lorraine, only daughter of the Due de 

Such were the bearers of some of the grandest old 
names in France, during the last years of Henry IV.'s 
reign. Hardly one of these men had any influence on 
affairs, either of the court or the nation. Concini and his 
wife, the Queen's Italian favourites, were powerful at the 
Louvre and lived splendidly, though they worked chiefly 
behind the scenes as long as Henry lived. The Due de 
Sully, with his royal friend and master, governed the 
kingdom. His wise white beard, his strict and careful 
management of the finances, demanded and obtained re- 
spect. This clever and obstinate Huguenot was certainly 
the best-feared man in France. He was also cordially hated 
for his grim, uncompromising manners, his impatient scorn 
of all courtly weaknesses and extravagances. But he was 
the one great statesman in France, beside whom the other 
ministers were of no account, and he would have laughed 
aloud, in the year 1608, if any one had prophesied coming 
disgrace in his ears : an honourable disgrace, it is true, 
but never to be retrieved; while, equally incredible, the 
young bishop of an obscure diocese was to wield a power 
beyond his own most ambitious dreams. 

Paris was an unpleasant place of abode in the winter 
of 1607-8, when Armand de Richelieu was engaged in 
making his way at Court. According to L'Estoile, the 
weather was extremely indisposed, ** nebulous, damp and 
unhealthy." Great and small alike suffered from '* force 
cathairres, avec force petites veroles, rougeoles, et pourpre:" 
from which many died, among others the Due de Bouillon's 
daughter. People died suddenly of suffocation on the 
chest, the season being "tellement desreigl6e " that it 
rained perpetually day and night. The terrible gloom was 
made responsible for horrid crimes of all sorts. The new 
year brought so severe a frost that men, women, cattle 
and birds died of cold in the fields about the city, or 
were partially frozen and maimed for life. 


Evidently the Bishop of Lugon was among the sufferers 
from this abnormal season. He was obliged to excuse 
himself, on account of illness, from obeying the King's 
command to preach before the Court at Easter. After this 
disappointment, he was ill in bed for about four months, as 
we know from his letters to M. d'Alincourt, son of the Due 
de Villeroy, Henry's Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had 
actively befriended him as ambassador in Rome. Richelieu 
was not ungrateful, and there is something more than 
worldly politeness in these graceful, sincere letters, written 
from his sick room to welcome M. and Mme. d'Alincourt 
back to Paris and to lament that his " fascheuse maladie " 
hinders him from hastening to kiss their hands. 

In the late autumn of the same year the claims and 
grumblings of Richelieu's far-off diocese at last made 
themselves effectively heard. There may have been other 
reasons for his rather hasty departure in dark December 
days. The doctors may have advised country air as 
a help towards shaking off an almost chronic state of 
fever. Or possibly, after so long an absence from Court, 
his place in the royal favour may have seemed less secure, 
and he was not rich enough to buy influential friends. 
Or Henry, who liked men to do their duty, may have 
given a hint too plain to be neglected. 

In any case, having borrowed four horses and a coach- 
man, the Bishop of Lugon left Paris behind him, and 
started on his long unpleasant journey to the dreary 
marshes of Lower Poitou. 



Richelieu arrives at Lu^on — His palace and household — His work 
in the diocese — His friends and neighbours, 

WHILE his coach rumbled and jolted through miry 
ways towards the south-west, Armand de 
Richelieu had time to consider what he had done 
and hoped to do. The objects of his ambition were always 
the same : political power and the command of men. His 
career might seem to have met with a sharp check in 
these long months of illness, followed by banishment to 
remote wilds, so far from the sources of light and of 
favour, Paris and the King. But if he felt this, he was 
not the man to be seriously disheartened. 

A diocese, after all, is not a bad school for governing 
one's fellow-creatures. Some of Richelieu's biographers 
think that he deliberately took up the work of a resident 
bishop v.lai the idea of gaining experience for the larger 
career on which his heart was set : some, that in his state 
of chronic poverty he found the provinces a more honourable 
abode than the capital. In any case, he threw himself with 
eager energy into work which was difficult enough ; the 
province of Poitou, and especially Lower Poitou, being 
desolated and devoured by war and by taxes, torn to 
pieces by schism, unhealthy, dismal, neglected, its old 
traditions, both of Church and State, fallen into ruin and 
forgetfulness. And Lugon itself, with its fine old cathedral 
lifted proudly and sadly above the mouldy roofs of the 
bourg^ neither town nor village, seemed to lie at the other 
end of the world, near upon the sea, beyond leagues of 



wide wet marsh scattered with miserable little farms and 
cottages and crossed by half-drained roads and stagnant 
canals, the few wretched peasants shivering with fever. 

The occasional visits of Jacques du Plessis de Richelieu, 
who had now been dead sixteen years, were Luzon's latest 
experience of episcopal care. Certainly the diocese owed 
nothing to the Richelieu family, which had swallowed 
its revenues and let its cathedral tumble down ; but with 
a touching faith in the future not unjustified, it offered 
a hearty welcome to young Armand de Richelieu. He 
entered his territory at Fontenay-le-Comte, a cheerful 
little town which prided itself, like the rest of Poitou, on 
having produced many great men. The Bishop was 
received here, not only by the inhabitants, but by a 
deputation from the Chapter of Lugon, and they harangued 
each other with various flattering remarks. But through 
the formalities of the time there pierces that clear decided 
meaning which is never absent from any utterance of 
Richelieu's, even as a young man of three-and-twenty. 
His speeches were never written for him. There were 
anger and injury in the minds of the Lugon Chapter, and 
he knew it. " I am not happy enough," he said, " to have 
all your hearts." But now that he and they were to live 
together, things would be very different. They would 
learn to know him, and to wish him well. For his part, 
he was ready to forget the past, highly esteeming the 
law which the ancients called "amnistie d'oubliance." 
Possibly there was a wry face here and there among the 
old canons at this touch of generosity, and it was not 
very long, in fact, before they began to quarrel with their 
new Bishop ; but he had brought with him from Paris 
the fame of a preacher and a theologian, and the dull 
little town was en fete on that saint's day in December 
when Richelieu first said mass and preached in his own 

All, indeed, seemed peace and harmony. Even the 
Protestants, who were rather numerous in the diocese 
and in all that part of France, had a friendly word from 
the new Bishop on his arrival. One of the speeches which 


has been preserved was addressed to the crowd in the 
street. After telling them how much he valued their 
joyful faces and cries of welcome, he added, " I know there 
are those in this company who are divided from us as to 
belief; in spite of which, I hope we may be united in 
affection, and I will do all that is possible to bring this, 
to pass." 

Here one seems to see the germ of that idea of religious 
toleration which influenced Richelieu's policy in later years. 
If he could persuade the Huguenots to be "Frenchmen 
first and Protestants afterwards," he was always willing 
to give them liberty of worship. If he crushed them, it 
was because they were a fighting faction which endangered, 
in his view, the unity of France and the power of the 

From his dilapidated palace, the heavy old buildings 
of which leaned up against cathedral walls battered by 
wars and by weather, Richelieu wrote in the spring of 
1609 to a certain Madame de Bourges, who lived in Paris, 
in the Rue des Blanc-manteaux, near the newly fashionable 
Place Royale. This lady seems to have been a friend of 
his mother's family, and to have been married to one 
of a succession of distinguished physicians who practised 
in Paris during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
She was certainly an obliging person. Possibly her 
husband or son had attended the young Bishop in his 
four months' illness. 

He begins his letter by thanking Madame de Bourges 
for a million kindnesses, and especially for some ecclesi- 
astical vestments she had sent him. He found himself 
badly off for many necessary ornaments, former bishops 
of Lu^on having left little behind them. And no wonder : 
they had not made it their residence for sixty years, we 
are told, and fighting Huguenots had stormed and 
devastated the place. 

"... I am now in my barony," he writes, " beloved of 
everybody, so they tell me, and I can only repeat it ; but 
you know all beginnings are good. I shall have no lack 
of occupation here, I assure you, for everything is in such 


ruins that repairing will be hard work. I am extremely 
ill-lodged, for I have no fire anywhere, because of the 
smoke ... no remedy but patience. I assure you that 
I have the most horrid bishopric in France, the most 
muddy and the most disagreeable. . . . There is no place 
to walk, no garden, no alley, no anything, so that I am 
imprisoned in my house. . . ." 

He is immensely interested in his furniture and his 
household, showing in these young days all the taste 
for careful detail, all the love of magnificence and show, 
which was to characterise the great Minister, the man 
with millions to spend where a poor little Bishop of Lugon 
had only hundreds. 

He tells Madame de Bourges, of whose kind and active 
interest he seems very sure, that he has bought the velvet 
bed belonging to his aunt, Madame de Marconnay. He 
has also come into possession of a stately bed with hang- 
ings of silk and gold, which belonged to his great-uncle, 
"deffunct M. de Lugon." This style is out of fashion, 
apparently, for he asks advice and help as to arranging 
the episcopal bed with Bergamesque tapestry. A little 
later, he concludes that even a beggar like himself must 
entertain his neighbours with a noble air, so that the 
country may esteem him " un grand monsieur." He will 
therefore be obliged to Madame de Bourges if she will let 
him know the cost of two dozen silver plates "de belle 
grandeur." He hopes to get them for five hundred crowns, 
but seems pretty sure that his kind friend will make up 
any deficiency : " I know that for the sake of a hundred 
crowns you would not let me have anything mean." 

In return for all these services the Bishop was expected 
to interest himself in finding a husband for Madame de 
Bourges' daughter Magdeleine. The task was not easy: 
he assures his correspondent that there is not a gentleman 
in the country possessing either money or goods. ** Nous 
sommes tous gueux en ce pays, et moi le premier," he 
says with a light-hearted air. 

From the first he was very fortunate in his servants, 
several of whom came to him at this time and stayed with 


him all his life. One of these was his maitre dhotely a 
young man named La Brosse, who had been in the service 
of the late Due de Montpensier. La Brosse ordered every- 
thing in the household, knew how the Bishop's guests 
should be entertained, and troubled him with nothing 
but accounts. This was well, for the work of the diocese, 
once undertaken, was enough to occupy both thought and 

The destitution of the flock was twofold — bodily and 
spiritual. Richelieu's first care was to get his poor people 
relieved of some of the heavy burden of taxes which weighed 
them down. Under the system of those days, France was 
divided into pays detats and pays d election. The pays deiats — 
chiefly provinces which had been originally independent of 
the crown of France— were taxed by their own representative 
Estates, sitting at the principal town. The pays delection 
were assessed by crown officials, who farmed out the 
taxes to local companies ; and among the provinces thus 
farmed was that of Poitou. 

The system meant local greed, dishonesty and oppres- 
sion; the small townspeople of such a place as Lu^on 
and the country-folk of its poverty-stricken neighbourhood 
had no^ redress from the tax-gatherers of Poitiers. The 
worst burden of all was the direct tax known as la taille. 
A man paid this on all his possessions in money and kind, 
and it always amounted to a quarter of his property, some- 
times to a great deal more. The clergy and nobles were 
exempt from la taille, which crushed the poor peasants 
and the smaller people to the earth. 

In later years, Louis XIII.'s Minister was ready enough 
to tax these suffering millions for the sake of absolutism 
and glory; but the young Bishop of Lugon, not yet 
hardened by power, touched by the piteous sight of thin 
hands worn by toil, the bread snatched from them by 
those who made an unfair living out of the taxes, wrote 
to head-quarters at Poitiers more than one letter of strong 
remonstrance, letters in which a warm indignation pierces 
through the studied courtesy of the words. 

He writes of *' the misery of the place, the poverty of 


the people, the excessive tax of the taille which they have 
paid till now. . . ." He begs that the load they have to 
bear may be lightened. He reminds the officials that their 
own town pays much less than it ought, and hints very 
plainly that unless things are voluntarily set right, he 
will call the higher powers of justice to his aid. 

As one would naturally expect, the traitants of Poitiers, 
worthy forerunners of the farmers-general of a later century, 
took very little notice of the appeal or the veiled threat 
of M. de Lugon— a young fellow, a "new broom," who 
might as well mind his own ecclesiastical business and 
let the King's taxes .alone. But he was as good as his 
word. Two months later he wrote to the Minister of 
Finance, the all-powerful Sully, to lay the grievances of 
his flock before him; the appeal being seconded by his 
courtier brother, Henry de Richelieu. Thus the Poitevin 
tax-gatherers had a taste of Richelieu's quality. 

The spiritual needs of the diocese were quite as crying 
and as serious. Religious matters all over France were in 
a terrible state, and nowhere worse than in Bas-Poitou. 
" Error and vice were rampant," says a writer of the time. 
Where the Church was concerned, Christianity seemed 
extinct; and Huguenot zeal had died down into political 
discontent. Church property was misused, wasted on 
pensions to princes and courtiers; the bishops were 
worldly and non-resident, the monasteries were scandalously 
corrupt, and their revenues often in lay hands ; the parish 
clergy were ignorant and poor, and the long civil wars 
had made havoc with the churches ; many had been 
desecrated, put to profane uses, if not destroyed altogether. 
It was only forty or fifty years since the " Monk " Richelieu 
and men like him had stormed over Poitou, and the 
memory of his exploits was still green. 

The consequence of all this was a state of morals and 
civiUsation which has been described by Michelet — not 
without exaggeration, possibly— in his terrible chapters 
on witchcraft in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
Dark and cruel superstitions haunting the God-forsaken 
villages ; horrible Mumbo-Jumbo rites, relics of heathenism, 


performed on lonely heaths or in the shadow of the forests ; 
families in which black magic and sorcery were handed 
down from father to son, from mother to daughter — such 
were the discoveries lying in wait for any active bishop 
who visited his diocese in the year 1609. 

Armand de Richelieu was such a bishop; and the 
horror of these early experiences may partly explain 
the Minister's terrible severity, many years later, towards 
Urbain Grandier, the unworthy priest who was accused 
of bewitching the Ursuline nuns of Loudun. 

During his residence, from 1609, with intervals, to 1614, 
Richelieu threw all his young strength into the labour of 
civilising and christianising Bas-Poitou. Travelling into 
every corner of the province, he preached, confirmed, 
scolded, advised, converted. Great and small had to 
listen to his admonitions. His passion for order and 
discipline brought new and amazing experiences to a 
parish clergy which had lived as it listed, idle, drunken, 
immoral, in the happy delusion that no one would ever 
interfere. Richelieu interfered to some purpose. 

One of his chief objects was to get the appointment 
of the cures into his own hands. Many livings — if they 
could be called so — were in the gift of private persons, 
subject to an episcopal consent which was never refused : 
others belonged to abbeys, and this often meant, in the 
end, the patronage of some prince or noble to whom the 
monastic revenues were paid. For instance, a hundred 
benefices in the diocese of Lu(^on alone, and many more 
elsewhere, belonged to the great Benedictine abbey of 
Saint-Michel-en-l'Ermitage, of which the Comte de Soissons, 
the King's cousin, was the titular abbot. There is little to 
be said in that prince's favour; he was a man of "moeurs 
infames " ; but Richelieu, in later years his son's bitter 
and powerful enemy, had occasion to write M. le Comte 
a quite grovelling letter of thanks in 1609. He had made 
the Bishop his " vicar " with regard to all the clergy in 
the diocese of Lugon who depended on the Abbey of 

Richelieu dealt with private patrons in a more plain- 


spoken way. "One called Andre" having been preferred 
to a benefice by a great lady, Madame de Sainte-Croix, 
the Bishop flatly declined to allow so incapable a man 
" to lead a flock dear to Jesus Christ." Yet, with all his 
firmness, he was kind. If the patroness would set a good 
example to the diocese by placing her living among those 
to which, after careful examination, the Bishop undertook 
to appoint the best men, he was willing that Andr6 should 
try his powers with the rest. So strong, so wise and 
religious, are the arguments of the letter, that its result 
is not surprising. Madame de Sainte-Croix sent her 
presentation to the Bishop en hlanc. Nobody knows what 
became of the unlucky Andre. 

Richelieu was not satisfied with appointing his cures; 
he was determined to educate them. Here he was moved 
by the new spirit of the time, working so actively in the 
Jesuits, led by the King's confessor, P^re Cotton, and no 
less in Pierre de B6rulle, the evangelist, who had just 
introduced into France the Congregation of the Oratory. 
His second house in France, for the express purpose of 
training men for the ministry, was established at Lugon 
during these years of Richelieu's residence. B^rulle, a man 
of old family and of most lovable character, was at this 
time an intimate friend and associate of the Bishop of 
Lu9on. There came a day of estrangement and political 

Richelieu's provincial life was by no means solitary. 
The young and sturdy Bishop of Poitiers, M. de la Roche- 
posay, son of a bold fighter of the League and worthy 
of his name, was a neighbour and friend of Poitevin 
origin; and attached to both cathedrals there were men 
of distinction, of theological science, burning with zeal 
not only for the advance of religion and the conversion 
of heretics, but for the honour and glory of the bishops 
they loyally served. One of the grand vicars of M. de 
Poitiers was no less a personage than Duvergier de 
Hauranne, afterwards known as the Jansenist Abbe 
de St. Cyran, the famous director of Port- Royal. One 
of the canons, afterwards dean, of LuQon was Sebastien 


Bouthillier, Abbe de la Cochere, to whose devotion and 
cleverness, now and in later years, Richelieu owed much. 
These young men, with others like-minded, fought hard 
for the Catholic religion in their province of Poitou ; 
preaching, teaching, holding disputations with Protestant 
ministers — a work in which the Bishop of Lugon, with his 
learning fresh from the Sorbonne, distinguished himself 
highly. They also had their ** diversions " in common, 
which consisted in hard study, keen argument, and 
preparation for further spiritual conquests. As for real 
spirituality of mind, there is no doubt that Saint-Cyran, 
mystic, Augustinian, uncompromising, outstripped his 
companions as far on that path as Richelieu did on another 
— the path of political genius. 

Lu^on in its fever-haunted marshes did not keep the 
Bishop long. He lived much at Coussay, a priory and 
small chateau belonging to his family, in a more hilly 
and healthy part of his diocese not so far from Poitiers. 
He seems to have been happy here, away from his 
quarrelsome Chapter and near his friends : the traditions 
of Coussay, we are told, still preserve his memory ; not 
as the great Cardinal, but as " prieur et chatelain " of that 
little village and domain. He was also a good deal at 
Les Roches, another priory he possessed between Chinon 
and Saumur, close to Fontevrault, in the north-west corner 
of his diocese. Here he was very near his old home, 
Richelieu, where his mother, aunt, and younger sister 
were still living, the fierce old Rochechouart grandmother 
having been some years dead. 

At Les Roches, it seems, began the famous and life- 
long friendship between Armand de Richelieu and Francois 
Le Clerc, Marquis du Tremblay, now a man of two-and- 
thirty, thin, red-haired, deeply marked with the small-pox, 
who had already made his name as P^re Joseph, a 
Capuchin monk of extraordinary talent and energy. The 
future imminence grise was Angevin by birth, had been a 
soldier, but at twenty-two had thrown himself passionately 
into "religion." Before Richelieu came to Lugon, P^re 
Joseph was carrying on a valiant conflict of eloquence, 


persuasion and violence combined, with the Protestants 
throughout these western quarters, many of whom were 
considerable by descent and actual power. Pere Joseph 
was attracted by difficulty. Whatever the truth about 
his after life may be — history tells contrary tales — there 
is no doubt that at this time he was an ardent reformer 
in his own sense of the word and a man of deep personal 
religion. It was owing to him, and to his friend the 
Abbess of Fontevrault, Eleonore de Bourbon, aunt of 
Henry IV., that a Capuchin convent was established at 
Saumur in the teeth of the Protestant governor, Du Plessis- 
Mornay. From this convent and others, notably Fontenay, 
in the diocese of Lugon, Lent preachers were sent out 
into all parts. Richelieu welcomed them with "extreme 
joy." But it was not till a year or two later, after King 
Henry's death, when his views and hopes were fast 
extending beyond diocesan limits, that he and P^re Joseph 
found themselves working together in the difficult and 
complicated affairs of the Abbey of Fontevrault. 



" Instructions et Maximes "—The death of Henry IV.— The difficuh 
road to favour — P^re Joseph and the Abbey of Fontevrault. 

IF some of those who were privileged to watch, with 
short-sighted eyes, Richelieu's apostolic work in the 
diocese of Lu^on, could have read his thoughts and 
sometimes looked over his shoulder, they might have been 
somewhat startled. Probably his contemporaries knew 
nothing of certain rapidly scrawled sheets in the Cardinal's 
familiar writing, which were discovered by M. Armand 
Baschet among the old manuscripts of the Bibliotheque 
Nationale, about thirty years ago. The sheets are headed, 
*' Instructions et Maximes que je me suis donne pour me 
conduire a la Cour." At first the date was a little disputed; 
but internal evidence seems to show that Richelieu wrote 
these pages of notes in the winter of 1609, or early in 1610, 
when at the background of his thoughts, apparently all 
busy with evangelising Bas-Poitou, the desire for public 
life and power was waxing stronger every day. It was 
not likely indeed that such a young race-horse, keen, 
nervous, swift and delicate in body and brain, would long 
be contented to plough the heavy wastes of the muddiest 
diocese in France. 

In his hours of solitude he dreamed of King and Court, 
and planned every detail of behaviour that might please 
the great Henry. From an eastern window, one may 
fancy, he gazed over the wide plains towards Paris, his 
Jerusalem, the real centre of his worship, the goal of that 
flaming ambition which, with him, largely usurped the 



place of all other passions. Then he wrote down his 
dreams, so clear, so businesslike, so full of prudence and 
self-control, that they could hardly fail to come true. 
It would have been amazing if the genius that so vividly 
pointed him the way had not led him to the height of his 

It seems worth while to give a few extracts from this 
curious Memoire for the sake of the light it throws on 
Richelieu's mind. He changed very little until absolute 
power made careful personal observation and dissimulation 

Through all his pages there is only one mention of 
God or of religion ; with this his first paragraph abruptly 

" There is so much licence and there are so many kinds 
of diversions, that if one does not give to God the first 
thoughts and the first hours of the day, it is hard, amid 
company and business, to serve Him at all ... I will 
therefore choose a lodging which is not far either from 
God or from the King." 

He thinks it is hardly advisable to make a point of 
waiting on the King every day. That is all very well for 
courtiers who have nothing else to do. 

'' . . . But in the first days after my arrival at Court, I 
shall present myself every day until he has been pleased to 
speak or to listen to me . . . after which it will be enough 
to appear in Paris once a week and at Fontainebleau every 
third day. ... If one presents one's self merely to see the 
King, one must stand within sight when he is at table ; if 
to speak to him, one must draw near to his chair. Take 
care to stay discourse when the King drinks. 

" The words most agreeable to the King are those which 
exalt his royal virtues. He likes keen points and sudden 
repartees. He prefers those who speak boldly — but with 
respect. It is well to fall back constantly on the cadence 
that by ill luck one has been able to do him service only 
in small matters, and that there is nothing too great or 
impossible to be done, with good will, for so good a master 
and so great a king. 


** It is important to notice which way the wind blows, 
and not to take him in a humour when he cares to speak to 
no one and kicks against everybody. 

"As to other great men, one must visit them . . . 
remembering that sacrifices are paid both to the harmful 
and the favourable gods. . . . The best time is the morning, 
in order to accompany them when they go out, and I think 
this the most honourable. Some choose the time when 
they return for dinner, and run the risk of being sent off 
without a word." 

He speaks scornfully of the "strange servitude" endured 
by those who " follow tables " day by day, wasting hours 
in search of a dinner. 

"... At table, if one must talk, one should take care 
that the discourse is of indifferent matters ; history ; 
descriptions of countries ; towns ; powerful families ; laws 
and customs. Questions of State, commerce, astrology, 
fortification, music and other science . . . without pedantry, 
and without showing too curiously what one knows. 

"And because in these conversations one learns more 
than by reading the best books . . . they should be care- 
fully noted down in a book, of which every page should be 
marked with some significant word or name." 

M. Baschet, and other students of Richelieu's manu- 
scripts, have noticed how curiously these words foreshadow 
the habit of his whole life — to write everything down, 
" maxims, reflexions, facts," for correct remembrance and 
future use. 

He dwells much on the need of discretion in dealing 
with the great, their sayings and doings, and on the serious 
peril that lies in pleading for one's friends, so often mal- 
content and unreasonable. But he will not, he says, follow 
in the path of those who promise and do not perform. 

As to more personal caution : " Turn away the ear from 
those who would tell of other people's business, and never 
repeat what they say, still less what they do." 

This was hardly the favourite maxim in after life of 
the man who employed more spies than any one else in 


Letters to friends he finds perilous, having had experience 
of the same. 

" In letters written to friends one must take care that 
there is nothing to injure either him who writes or him 
who receives, for these are occasions much spied upon 
and desired by enemies, and which bring about repentance 
and confusion. As to that, 1 remember what I wrote on 
the execution of the Mar^chal de Biron, whereof the King 
spoke to me, and after His Majesty Monsieur de Villeroy. . . 

" In letters of compliment which may be shown, I shall 
write no new thing and no opinion except as to common 
things which may be published without peril. ... I shall 
keep a copy of important letters. . . . Writing to the same 
person several letters in one packet, I shall mark by number 
those first to be read. ... I shall reply to all those who 
write to me, and shall forget nothing which should be 
considered either in their quality or their discourse. No 
one, not even a Knight of the Order, should be dispensed 
from answering a letter from one greatly his inferior. . . . 
One should read letters more than once before answering 
them. . . . Letters of importance, carefully kept, serve 
more purposes than one thinks when one receives them. 
. . . The fire should keep those which the casket cannot 
keep with safety. ... I shall carefully cultivate the 
acquaintance and friendship of one or two Commissioners 
of the Post, in order that letters may be more faithfully 
delivered and forwarded with care and diligence. . . ." 

So much for correspondence. The later notes deal with 
a courtier's most difficult study, dissimulation, and here, 
as elsewhere, it strikes one how large a part of Richelieu's 
commanding genius lay in " an infinite capacity for taking 
pains." His advice to himself is mostly — " Silence." 

"Not to publish abroad what has been said in con- 
fidence : Not to divulge any affair that may cause scandal : 
Not to discover one's own plans, which being discovered 
may fail : Not to show that we are aware of the faults and 
the bad actions of others, because men with these faults 
hate those who know them : Not to show that we perceive 
the ill-will men bear to ourselves or to those whom we 


love: Not to show that we know any harm men have 
done us, or that we feel ourselves offended : Not to run 
any risk of brawls and quarrels. . . . To all these ends, 
silence is necessary and is not reprehensible. And though 
it may be very hard to live with one's friends in this manner 
and to be silent as to their affairs, nevertheless reason 
teaches us to fix our eyes on what signifies most, and to 
do no harm or prejudice to ourselves." 

Here, a thought of sinning against truth and sincerity 
seems to have troubled the Bishop a little, for he ends 
by trying to explain how a man may with difificulty steer 
between two risks, " the reproach of lying and the peril of 
truth." His counsel is, "Make a timely and cautious retreat 
without downright falsehood, saying nothing that ought 
not to be said." Finally, " Be very reserved in words 
and in writing, and neither say nor write what is not 
absolutely necessary." 

Altogether a severe set of rules to be followed by a 
fiery, proud and impatient nature. 

Imagination, of course, should not be allowed to play 
with history: but considering that the exact date of 
Richelieu's " Instructions et Maximes " is not and never 
can be known, one may venture to fancy that he laid down 
his pen on a certain day in May 1610, just as the post from 
Paris had clattered into his courtyard, bringing crushing 
news for France and for himself. Henry, "un si bon maitre 
et si grand Roy," had been stabbed to death by the fanatic 
hand of Ravaillac, leaving his country in the hands of a 
weak woman just crowned, a melancholy little boy, and 
a group of princes and great nobles, greedy of money 
and power. 

We have the very letter in which this news came to 
Richelieu. His faithful Sebastien Bouthillier was in Paris 
at the time, and wrote to him immediately after the tragic 
event. He had intended, he said, to send him an account 
of the Queen's coronation ; but had been interrupted by 
** the most strange and fatal accident." 

''On Friday, the 14th, His Majesty had gone to the 
Rue Saint-Denis to see the preparations for the Queen's 


entry, and, returning, was in the street called de la 
Ferronnerie, when a wicked man, or rather the most 
execrable monster on earth, climbed on the hinder part of 
the coach inside which His Majesty was, and, unrestrained 
by the respect and fear due to the Lord's anointed and 
the greatest prince in the world, attacking him from behind 
whose face brought terror to his enemies and assurance 
to all his subjects, gave him two blows with a knife, of 
which the first was not mortal, although both went 
through the body. When the report ran through Paris 
that the King was dead, you cannot imagine. Sir, the 
grief of all the people, the amazement of the nobles, every 
one sad and cast down ; and yet, in the midst of this general 
sadness, it was courageously resolved to establish the 
Queen as regent, so that, three hours after the catas- 
trophe, the King having expired, the Court of Parliament 
assembled at the Augustins, M. le Prince de Conti, MM. de 
Guise, d'fipernon, de Montbazon and many others being 
present, and verified the letters patent of the Regency 
which the late King had caused to be made out." 

The Abbe goes on jto describe the sorrowful and loyal 
reception of the young Louis XHL, on Saturday, at the 
Palais de Justice, and then adds what he knows will 
interest his Bishop more than any other Parisian news 
he can send him at the moment. 

" I must tell you that M. le Cardinal du Perron shows 
on all occasions the esteem in which he holds you ; for 
I hear that when there was talk a few months ago, in 
his presence, of the young prelates of France, and when 
some one spoke of you in terms of praise, according to 
the reputation you have gained, M. le Cardinal said that 
you should not be counted among the young prelates, 
that the oldest ought to give way to you, and that for 
his own part he was ready to be an example to the rest. 
M. de Richelieu, to whom this was said, repeated it to 
me in so many words." 

This penetrating Cardinal du Perron, Archbishop of 
Sens, was one of the loftiest ecclesiastical figures of the 
time. Theologian and politician, he had been Richelieu's 


chief patron in Paris, and his words, as Sebastien 
Bouthillier very well knew, were not a mere piece of 
flattery addressed to Richelieu's brother. 

Though the terror and excitement in Paris were much 
greater than Bouthillier reported, France, as a whole, 
seems to have kept its head at this tragical time, the 
provinces remaining quiet. This may have been due to 
the fact that the news, as it travelled down with rolling 
wheels, galloping hoofs, running feet, into the depths of 
the country, caused more grief than surprise. It had long 
been prophesied that Henry would die a violent death, 
and such prophecies, no doubt, sometimes bring their own 
fulfilment. For the last four or five years, every natural 
marvel or disaster had been counted as an evil omen for 
the King. " Heaven and earth," says Per^fixe, " had given 
only too many prognostications of what happened to him. 
A very great eclipse of the sun, which came to pass in 
the year 1608; a terrible comet, which appeared in the 
preceding year ; quakings of the earth ; monstrous births 
in divers parts of France; a rain of blood, which fell in 
several places ; a great plague, which afflicted Paris in 
the year 1606; apparitions of phantoms, and many other 
prodigies, held men in dread of some horrible event." 

The King's death was actually reported in Italy, Spain, 
and even Flanders, some time before it took place ; written 
predictions were found in churches, and bells tolled of 
themselves ; women, especially nuns, had frightful dreams 
and visions of murder ; it was even known that Ravaillac, 
the melancholy madman of the Angoumois, was consulting 
his conscience as to whether a King who contemplated 
war with Catholic Spain ought to live or die. This tale 
reached the Queen, through an unlucky woman, the Dame 
d'Escoman, whose reward for having meddled in the 
matter was imprisonment for life. That Marie de Medicis, 
supported by her Concini favourites, secretly wished 
and plotted for Henry's death, is probably one of the 
most cruel slanders ever invented by the enemies of a 

The prophecies and portents were not unknown to 


the King, and although he was certainly neither timid 
nor credulous, they depressed his gay spirit. During those 
last months he appeared, says Perefixe, '' as if he were con- 
demned to death." A heavy presentiment weighed upon 
him. He dreaded the Queen's coronation — *'ce maudit 
sacre"— and told Sully that he knew he would die in a 
coach. Indeed he, so daring in war, had long been curiously 
nervous when driving in the Paris streets; and on the 
fatal day, though he wished to visit the Arsenal, where his 
friend and Minister lay ill, he doubted and hesitated before 
leaving the Louvre. "Shall I go ? Shall I not go?" he 
said several times to the Queen. Alarmed at his strange 
dejection, Marie begged him to stay ; but he kissed her 
affectionately, bade her adieu, and went straight to his 
death in the Rue de la Ferronnerie. 

Thus the Bishop ©f Lugon was deprived of the royal 
patron from whom he had hoped so much. But he seems 
to have wasted very little time in mourning his own and 
the country's loss. His first thought was to bring himself 
before the Queen, to gain a footing in the new Court, 
different in many ways from the old. And this did not 
appear to be a difficult task for a young and quick-witted 
man. The day of old men, old soldiers, old courtiers 
and friends of ** le Bearnais," was over. 

The Bishop of Lugon had already friends and supporters 
in the Regent's intimate circle. His brother and brother- 
in-law, Henry de Richelieu and Rene de Vignerot, Seigneur 
du Pont-de-Courlay, were among her most favoured 
courtiers. The Marquise de Guercheville, her lady of 
honour, accustomed to courts since the days of Catherine 
de Medicis, was a connection on the Du Plessis side ; and 
two at least of the young maids of honour bore familiar 
family names — Pont-de-Courlay, Meilleraye. At this time, 
too, the Pere de Berulle, Richelieu's personal friend, had 
great influence with the Queen, and the same might be 
said of the Pere Cotton, the late King's confessor. The 
Jesuits did not yet regard Richelieu as an enemy. 

It was not till after long delays, however, that the 
Bishop of Lugon reached the Queen-Regent's distinguished 


favour and the front of affairs. His first step was a hurried 
and an unlucky one. On the 22nd of May he wrote out 
a curious document, a kind of oath of allegiance and 
declaration of loyalty to the young King and his mother, 
from himself as Bishop and Baron, his dean, canons, and 
clergy. He sent this paper to his brother in Paris, begging 
him to deliver it into the Queen's own hands. Henry de 
Richelieu's worldly wisdom at once refused this favour. 
Such zeal was quite out of place, he said : Cela ne se fait 
pas : nobody else in the kingdom had done anything of 
the sort, and he, an experienced courtier, would not allow 
his forward brother to push himself by such means. 
Bouthillier was employed to send this discouraging reply 
to the Bishop, whose restless eagerness it hardly served to 

It convinced him, indeed, that nothing was to be done 
from a distance, and that the best of relations and friends 
would not help a man who was not on the spot to help 
himself. Early in June we find him writing to Madame 
de Bourges about a permanent lodging in Paris. As he 
intends to spend some time there every year, he wants 
advice as to situation and cost, also as to furniture, tapestry, 
plate, wine, etc. Poor as ever in purse, he is no less 
determined to make a good show in the capital : " C'est 
grande pitie que de pauvre noblesse, mais il n'y a remede : 
contre fortune bon coeur." 

He went to Paris, and remained there for some months ; 
but it was an unhappy and a disappointing visit. During 
these early days of her regency, Marie de Medicis had 
neither power nor leisure to make new friends. Concini, 
Mar6chal d'Ancre, and his wife Leonora, reigned at the 
Louvre, though hardly yet outside it. The peace of the 
kingdom, according to Richelieu's own Memoirs, depended 
on the princes — Conde, Soissons, d'fipernon. Guise, and 
their like. In these first months they kept it unbroken, 
and all, Parliament, nobles, statesmen, churchmen, munici- 
palities, governors of provinces, were ready " to serve the 
King under the guidance of the Queen." The Huguenots 
were pacified, for the moment, by the renewal of the Edict 


of Nantes. But the " grands de la cour " did not give their 
allegiance for nothing. Henry's old Ministers, holding on 
to power with many searchings of heart, were forced to 
consent to the enormous bribes demanded by everybody. 
These " gratifications extraordinaires " were scattered with 
open hand among greedy nobles and courtiers, and, added 
to the Queen's own personal extravagance, were likely 
soon to empty Henry's precious coffers, so painfully filled. 
As to the Due de Sully, whose rough temper, bad manners 
and comparative honesty had long made him unpopular 
at Court, a conspiracy among the nobles forced on his 
retirement in the winter of 1610. All these warring 
interests and anxieties, with visits from special foreign 
embassies, with the young King's coronation at Rheims, 
with the question of war or peace beyond the frontiers, 
made a social whirlpool of Paris and the Court. 

The young provincial Bishop, without money or claims, 
whose few personal friends were naturally more interested 
in their own affairs than in his, found himself left behind 
in the race for power and fortune. His old enemy, fever, 
seized on him again and laid him low : Paris proved more 
unhealthy than even the marshes of Lugon. Terribly 
depressed by illness, he was irritated and annoyed by 
letters from his Cathedral chapter, complaining of disorders 
in the diocese, and he wrote sharply in answer, following 
his letters early in the year 161 1. There was no advantage 
to be gained by staying in Paris, neglected and obscure. 

Through all the first half of this year, Richelieu was 
in a Slough of Despond both mental and physical, brooding 
over difficulties and disappointments, and constantly ill 
with fever. It seems that in these dark days Pere Joseph 
was his good angel. 

The clever Capuchin had a troublesome affair on hand : 
the management of a woman who, though "illustre 
religieuse et grande servante de Dieu," was resolved to 
follow her own way and not that which director. Pope 
and King had marked out for her. Pere Joseph was a 
crusader by nature, and a reformer to the backbone, with 
a fiery obstinacy and positive, autocratic will. He had 


already reformed several convents in Poitou, in which the 
civil war, the invasion of an outside world, had strangely 
travestied the religious life. Some of these convents 
belonged to the great Benedictine Order of Fontevrault; 
and even in the Mother House itself, under the gentle and 
charitable guidance of Madame Eleonore de Bourbon, the 
strictness of the old Rule was half forgotten. 

Madame Antoinette d' Orleans, of the Longueville 
family, the young widow of the Marquis de Belle-Isle, 
had become a nun at Toulouse, at a convent of the 
Feuillantines, and asked nothing better than to spend 
her remaining days there. But she was known to P^re 
Joseph as a woman like-minded with himself, an enthusiast 
and a saint; and when, in 1604, a bull of Pope Paul V. 
appointed her Coadjutrix of her aunt the Abbess of 
Fontevrault, the young reformer welcomed her as an 
ally in his work. And as far as outside convents were 
concerned, she did not disappoint him. But though she 
loyally helped and supported the old Abbess in the govern- 
ment of the Order, her heart was never at Fontevrault. 
Her religious ideals were totally different from those of 
the two hundred or more Sisters who marched with such 
stately dignity through the venerable cloisters and took 
their high place in the choir where Plantagenets slept. 
Their rich possessions, their amusements — innocent enotlgh, 
for Fontevrault, owing to the character of its long and 
regal line of abbesses, was never seriously touched by 
scandal; their little parties and cabals and gossip — good 
women, simple in faith and practice, but not lofty-minded 
or mystical : all this fell far below the standard of Madame 
d'Orleans, and her one desire was to escape from her 
dignity, to return to her "dear solitude." As she had 
never formally accepted the office of Coadjutrix, with the 
prospect of succession, this did not seem impossible. 

The difficulty was that Pere Joseph would not let 
her go. In her authority and influence he saw the only 
means by which the reform of the great Abbey might be 
carried through. There were divisions in the community ; 
some of the nuns being ready to welcome a change, others 


strongly opposed to it. Pere Joseph and Madame de 
Bourbon both saw that no unanimity was to be hoped 
for, as long as the future was known to be uncertain. 

P^re Joseph took the matter into his own hands, and 
settled it by a coup d'etat, secret and sudden. After a 
private consultation with the King in Council, he wrote 
to the Pope ; and Paul V., convinced by his arguments, 
commanded Madame d'Orleans, under pain of excommuni- 
cation, to accept her office immediately with all the duties 
it involved, and to assume the government of the Order, 
with the certainty of succeeding her aunt as Abbess of 

The command fell on Madame d'Orleans like a thunder- 
bolt, but she could only obey. The consequence was what 
P^re Joseph had desired and foreseen. The new ruler, 
once forced to rule, advanced " a pas de g6ant " in the 
appointed way. In one short week Fontevrault was 
reformed ; every one of the nuns accepting the inevitable, 
all giving up their worldly indulgences, and returning to 
the old strict regulation of work and prayer. 

This happy state of things went on for two years, and 
Pere Joseph, seeing his reformation well at work, was 
occupied with his other duties as a director of souls — 
especially of that of the Duchesse de Montpensier, living 
retired at Champigny and mourning both her husband 
and her father, the Capuchin Due de Joyeuse, who did 
not long survive his son-in-law — when Madame d'Orleans 
played him the same trick he had played her. She wrote 
secretly to the Pope, imploring him to have compassion 
on her trouble of mind, explaining how seriously her 
" tumultuous occupations " interfered with her personal 
sanctification, and praying him to withdraw his command 
that she should succeed Madame de Bourbon and to 
allow her, on her aunt's death, to return to her beloved 
Feuillantines of Toulouse. She begged His Holiness to 
inquire into the matter through commissaries of his own, 
without consulting P^re Joseph. The Pope did as she 
wished, and she received full liberty to go where she 
pleased. Then she sent for Pere Joseph and told him all, 


on condition that nothing should be said to Madame de 
Bourbon. The old Abbess was to die in peace, imagining 
that her Coadjutrix would succeed her. 

Pere Joseph needed all his prudence and self-control, 
says his biographer, to hide his vexation at being thus 
"jou6 par une Princesse." 

But the thing was done, and he made the best of it, 
secretly hoping that, ** women being naturally inconstant," 
the joy of supreme authority might yet induce Madame 
d'Orl^ans to change her mind. 

On March 26, 161 1, at the age of seventy-eight, Madame 
Eleonore de Bourbon died. To all appearance, her Coadju- 
trix was ready to accept the succession. She even seemed 
to listen with favour to the persuasions of Pere Joseph, who 
pointed out in glowing terms her duty to the Order. It 
was near the end of Lent, and Madame d'Orleans held 
her peace until after the Festival of Easter. On Low 
Sunday, having assembled the Community, she announced 
to them that she was about to write to the King and 
the Queen Regent, praying them to nominate an abbess 
in her stead. 

This was a heavy blow to Pere Joseph, and the affair 
was complicated by his knowledge of the fact that Madame 
d'Orleans did not now wish to return to Toulouse, but 
dreamed of founding a new convent in the province of 
Poitou, where the religious life, as she understood it, would 
be lived in all devotion and austerity. 

Pere Joseph, who with all his cleverness and strength 
had an attractive modesty, felt himself unequal to dealing 
alone with this reverend lady, and with the discord and 
confusion she had caused at Fontevrault. This, at least, 
was the reason he gave for his appeal to the Bishop of 
Lugon, "whose superior and transcendent genius had 
enchanted him," and who happened to be residing very 
near Fontevrault, at his Priory of Les Roches. 

The Abbey of Fontevrault was quite independent of 
episcopal authority, and it was only as representing the 
Pope or the King that any bishop had the right to enter 
it. Pere Joseph appealed to Richelieu as a friend; and, 


judging from his lifelong devotion, it may be imagined 
that he joyfully seized this opportunity of rousing the 
Bishop from the state of fever-stricken depression in which 
he had returned from Paris. Here, if ever, was a case of 
a man's " sharpening the countenance of his friend." The 
dying flame was blown into life ; hope took suddenly 
the place of something very like despair. The Capuchin 
discussed his difficulties with the Bishop, and they agreed 
that the whole question must be laid before the Queen 
Regent. Therefore they travelled together to Fontaine- 
bleau, where the Court was staying, amid all the enchant- 
ment of its exquisite spring. 

Marie de Medicis, at this time, was far from happy. A 
year had passed since Henry's death ; and to a woman 
both lazy and power-loving, the quarrels, ambitions, 
jealousies, of the princes and courtiers, each day harder 
to satisfy, were a constant torment; matters not being 
improved by the insolent pride of Concini, who posed as 
the equal of them all. The envoys from Poitou, asking 
nothing for themselves — no one dreamed that these two 
men, one ugly, grave, humble in appearance, the other 
delicate, worn, exhausted, would one day rule France and 
influence Europe — were graciously received by the Queen ; 
and it appears that Pere Joseph, in a few moments of 
private conversation after the Fontevrault business had 
been explained, spoke to her of his companion in terms 
of enthusiastic praise, as " a man of sublime genius and 
extraordinary merit, capable of the highest employments." 
The words remained in the Queen's mind and bore fruit, 
though not immediately. 

The Bishop and the friar returned to Fontevrault, 
bearing the royal permission for the community to choose 
an abbess among themselves; but in the presence and 
with the consent of the Bishop of Lugon and P^re Joseph. 
The solemn election took place in the summer, when the 
Grand Prioress, Madame Louise de Lavedan de Bourbon, 
was naturally chosen. 

Madame Antoinette d'Orleans retired to Lencloitre, a 
half-ruined convent of the Order near Poitiers, and was 


there joined by many nuns from all parts of France, and 
even from Fontevrault itself, who desired to lead a stricter 
life under her guidance. It was not long before she founded, 
with the help and approval of Pere Joseph and the Bishops 
of Lugon and Poitiers, a congregation known as Les Filles 
du CalvairCy independent of Fontevrault, the object of which 
was the practice of the Rule of St. Benedict in all its 
austere purity. 

Pushed constantly to the front by Pere Joseph, and 
with no unwillingness on his own part, the Bishop of 
Lugon added much to his reputation by his conduct of 
these affairs ; State affairs, they might almost be called, 
considering the rank of those concerned and the wealth 
and political importance of the great Order of Fontevrault. 



Waiting for an opportunity — Political unrest — The States-General 
of 1614 — The Bishop of Lugon speaks. 

RICHELIEU worked hard in his diocese for the next 
three years, struggling all the while with ill-health 
and impatience. He went to Paris once during 
this time and offered his services to the powerful Concini, 
who received him graciously; but nothing more came 
of it. And the Queen was for the present inaccessible. 
Another disappointment was his failure to be elected as 
representative of his ecclesiastical province, Bordeaux, 
at a convocation of the clergy which was held in Paris in 
the early days of the Regency. On this occasion the 
Archbishop of Bordeaux, Cardinal de Sourdis — nicknamed 
Sordtdo—showed himself an enemy to the aspiring young 

But no envious Metropolitan could keep Richelieu long 
in the background. He was becoming a very popular 
figure in the west country, of which Poitou and its learned 
capital were the centre. His private life appears to have 
been blameless. He kept up an affectionate intercourse 
with his own family. For his mother he was still " mon 
maladCj" from childhood a sickly, brilliant creature, a 
subject of uneasiness and pride. His sister, Madame du 
Pont-de-Courlay, turned to him for sympathy in a money 
loss or the death of a little child. He never lost sight of 
his brother Alphonse, the Carthusian, whose refusal had 
made him a bishop, and whom, in later years of power, 
he dragged from his cloister to be Archbishop and Cardinal, 



He was a favourite with most of his neighbours, 
clerical and lay. His correspondence bears witness to 
the wideness of his acquaintance and interests, both 
public and private; people appealed to him as a friend, 
an arbitrator, and he never disappointed them. He was 
courteous, kind, even tender in his language : " episcopal 
and benign." He was on the politest terms with such 
of the great men as occasionally crossed his path : the 
Due de Sully, governor of Poitou, now no longer a 
courtier and an absentee ; the Due de Villeroy, still in 
office, father of his friend M. d'Alincourt, and others of 
high rank and importance. His letters to such men as 
these, as well as to his more intimate friends, might have 
foreshadowed his coming greatness for those who had 
eyes to see. To the general company, however, the writer 
whose well-turned assurances and compliments had such 
a background of passionate ambition for his own and for 
his country's glory, was nothing but a clever phrase- 
maker, a young man of seven-and-twenty who could 
talk and argue, convert a few Protestants, deal discreetly 
with the wrangles of religious women. And outside 
a limited circle the name of Richelieu was probably 
unknown, except as that of a pensioned courtier of the 

While the Bishop of Lugon waited for his opportunity, 
political and religious unrest was deepening in France. 
Henry IV.'s policy of opposition to the House of Austria 
and alliance with Savoy, Holland, and the German 
Protestants, had been set aside very early in the new 
reign, and two royal marriages were arranged to bind 
France closer to the Holy See and Catholic Europe. 
Louis Xni. was to be married to the Infanta Anna of 
Spain — known to history as Anne of Austria — and his 
eldest sister, filisabeth, to the Infant of Spain, afterwards 
Philip IV. These marriages seem to have pleased nobody 
in France except the Regent, her immediate Court circle 
and her Ministers, whose only hope of keeping their place 
lay in her favour. The Foreign Secretary, Villeroy, the 
Chancellor, BrUlart de Sillery, the Conn^table de Mont- 


morency, were among the Queen's advisers in this affair. 
Most of the nobles, and especially the princes, were more 
or less in opposition ; the strengthening of the Crown by 
so close an alliance with Spain did not suit their interests. 
Henry IV. himself, when the project was first laid before 
him by the Spanish Ambassador in 1610, had not listened 

The Huguenot party was both displeased and alarmed. 
Assemblies were held at Nimes, at Saumur, at La Rochelle ; 
but the leaders, such as the Dues de Bouillon and de 
Rohan — Sully's son-in-law — were not ready to proceed to 
civil war. Conde, at first throwing in his lot with them, 
soon went farther. He gathered troops in the west and 
threatened Poitiers, after publishing, with the other princes, 
a fierce manifesto against the Regent and her advisers. 
The young Bishop of Poitiers, Richelieu's friend, took 
matters with a high hand, closed the gates in the Queen's 
name, and prepared to defend the town against Conde, 
with the high approval of the future Abb6 de St. Cyran, 
a worthy member, like himself, of the Church Militant. 
The Prince's bands overran Poitou, annoying the peaceable 
inhabitants, Madame de Richelieu among them, exacting 
large sums and quartering themselves in the villages. 

In a fiery letter to M. de Neufbourg, an officer of 
Conde's ally, the Due de Mayenne, the Bishop of Lugon 
expresses his amazement that his mother has been thought 
♦ worthy of so little courtesy. " Be good enough," he says, 
" to exempt the parish of Saulnes, which belongs to 
Madame de Richelieu, from the lodging of troops and the 
contributions they demand. I would have written direct 
to him (M. de Mayenne) had not his treatment of my 
mother made me aware that he either believes me to be 
no longer of this world or that he deems me now and 
for ever incapable of doing him any service. Therefore 
I address myself to you. . . ." 

Like his episcopal brother of Poitiers, Richelieu took 

his stand openly on the side of Royalty and against the 

horde of greedy nobles who caught at any pretext to add 

to their own possessions and power. It was not only 



the political necessities of his later life that made him 
their enemy. 

The flame of civil war soon died down. In May 1614 
the Queen signed the treaty of St. Menehould, which 
pacified the princes, after some delay, by granting most 
of their desires. Conde, Nevers, Vendome, Mayenne, 
Longueville, Bouillon and others received enormous 
pensions, as well as fortresses and governments ; last, not 
least, the States-General were summoned, as the manifesto 
had demanded, to discuss the grievances of the three 
estates of the realm. The Huguenot party had already 
obtained some satisfaction. For the time, the Regent and 
her ministers had bought victory : the arrangements for 
the Spanish marriages went steadily on. 

The Bishop of Lugon was directed by Sully, governor 
of Poitou, to supervise " with gentleness " the election in 
his diocese of deputies for the States-General. He did his 
duty, no doubt, in the matter; but the election that 
interested him was that of the diocese of Poitiers. There 
his friends were working for him. La Rocheposay, the 
warlike Bishop, his lieutenant Saint-Cyran, and Richelieu's 
faithful Bouthillier, smoothed the way for his uncontested 
election as one of the two deputies of the clergy of 
Poitiers. The old city, so lately in a stage of siege, 
rang joy-bells on August 10, the appointed day. All over 
Poitou, all over France, the bells were ringing, for every 
estate in the kingdom hoped much from the States-General. 
It may at once be said that rich and poor, great and 
small, were disappointed. What the bells rang in was 
not liberty, release from taxes, confirmation of rights, but 
the reign of Richelieu. And in consequence of that reign 
the voice of France in her States-General was not heard 
again for one hundred and seventy-five years — not until, 
in 1789, *' the whirligig of Time brought in his revenges." 

The States-General of 161 4 were formally opened in 
Paris on Monday, October 27. On Sunday took place 
the customary procession from the great Convent of the 
Augustins on the left bank, along the quay, winding 
through narrow streets crowded with spectators and hung 


with tapestry, to the bridge over the Seine which led 
most directly to the Cathedral of Notre Dame, where a 
solemn high mass was to be celebrated. It was a pro- 
cession gay with colour and variety, although most of 
the clergy and all the Third Estate were in sober black. 
But the way was kept throughout by the royal guards, 
Swiss and French, in their varied liveries. Archers 
marched alongside, bearing immense tapers, faint flames 
quivering in the chilly air of the early autumn morning. 
Many of the deputies shivered, and complained of the 

It was a representative procession. The religious 
Orders, parish clergy, and trade corporations of Paris, 
the canons of Notre Dame, the doctors of the University — 
these led the way. Then came the hundred and ninety- 
two deputies of the Tiers £tat^ walking four by four, with 
their distinguished President, Robert Miron, provost of 
the merchants. Then a hundred and thirty-two nobles 
in Court dress with swords. Then the clerical deputies, 
a hundred and forty, followed by the bishops and arch- 
bishops in purple and the cardinals in red. Then the 
Archbishop of Paris, bearing the sacred Host under a 
gorgeous canopy. Then the boy-King, walking in white, 
his mother in deep black, her young children, her attendant 
ladies and gentlemen ; Queen Marguerite de Valois, the 
" aunt " of the Royal Family, and various other great 
ladies, princes, and nobles attached to the Court. After 
these followed the whole Parliament and the Municipality 
of Paris, with many officials and guards. 

Like a wave of noise, colour and light, with its tramp- 
ing feet and flickering candles, under the heavy clangour 
of the great bells, the procession rolls into Notre Dame, 
and the Cardinal-Archbishop of Bordeaux, Richelieu's hated 
Metropolitan, thunders out his sermon to the Estates of 
France : " Fear God. Honour the King." 

The three Estates held their sittings in three of the 
vast rooms of the Convent of the Augustins, but the 
opening ceremony took place in the hall of the old Hotel 
de Bourbon, east of the Louvre. There the little King, a 


dark, solemn boy, whose majority, on entering his fourteenth 
year, had lately been celebrated, sat enthroned " on violet 
velvet, powdered with golden lilies." On his right were 
the two Queens, Marie and Marguerite, and the young 
Princess EUsabeth, the future Queen of Spain. His brother 
Gaston, a lively, pretty child of five, his little sisters 
Christine and Henriette Marie, sat on his left ; a gorgeous 
ring of princes, courtiers and great ladies surrounded them. 
In theory, the body of the hall was kept for deputies; 
in fact, it was inconveniently crowded by Parisians, chiefly 
hangers-on of the Court. " Tout etait plein de dames et 
de damoiselles, de gentilshommes et autre peuple," says 
Florimond Rapine, the chronicler. The deputies were 
indignant, and it was long before all could find places. 
Then the wild, ill-assorted assembly listened kindly to a 
few stammering words from Louis XIII., and impatiently to 
a long harangue from Chancellor Sillery, which committed 
the Government to nothing. 

The ceremonies of opening and closing were very much 
the same. Three months of arguing and quarrelling, during 
which Paris was frequently in an uproar, the Prince de 
Cond^ claiming homage that nobody would pay, the 
Due d'fepernon insulting the Parliament, gentlemen fight- 
ing in the streets, the Estates themselves divided into 
violent parties for and against the Pope and Spain, the 
Third Estate demanding the abolition of pensions and 
privileges, the nobles and clergy angrily defending their 
rights, brought the assembly once more together at the 
Hotel de Bourbon, in the presence of the Court. 

Manners had not improved. Two thousand of the 
baser sort of courtiers, men and women, with numbers 
of people of all kinds, had crowded into the best places. 
Rapine saw ** cardinals, bishops, priors, abbots, the 
nobility and all the Third Estate, crowded and pushed 
without order, respect, or consideration, among the pike- 
men and halberdiers." 

In the midst of this babel, the spokesmen of the three 
Orders had to present to the King their cahiers^ containing 
the result of their stormy deliberations. First it was the 




turn of the clergy ; and their orator, chosen, like his fellows, 
by the influence of the Queen-Regent, was the Bishop of 

He had already gained much credit, during the debates 
of the last three months, for eloquence and judgment; 
he was one of the group of young and brilliant bishops 
who supported Cardinal du Perron, always his friend, 
in his efforts to bring the Tiers £tat into harmony with 
the views of the clergy. The burning question was an 
article resolved on by the Tiers^ demanding that the King's 
complete independence of every power, spiritual or 
temporal, except God alone, should be made "a funda- 
mental law of the State." It was the old Gallican, anti- 
Roman doctrine, which, as far as the middle classes of 
France were concerned, had been growing in strength 
for some years. It had fought the League; it opposed 
the Jesuits ; it defied the authority of the Pope. It rose 
up in anger against the courtly politicians who now, with 
their Spanish alliances, were contradicting and nullifying 
the poHcy of Henry IV. 

There were Gallicans among the clergy, but the majority 
were Ultramontane, equally loyal to the Pope and to the 
Queen-Regent's government. Cardinal du Perron and 
his distinguished phalanx wasted hours of eloquence — 
and the Cardinal was both a great orator and an attractive 
man — in persuading the Tiers to withdraw their obnoxious 
article. Matters were made worse by the Parliament of 
Paris, Gallican and anti-Spanish to the core, which openly 
supported the Tiers, as also did Conde and his followers 
and the Huguenot party under Bouillon. 

Forty years later, Louis XIV. 's whip was to teach both 
nobles and Parliament the meaning of that divine right 
and absolute power which they were now eager to claim 
for their kings. On this occasion the article was referred 
to Louis XIII., and by his authority was expunged from 
the cahier of the Tiers £tat. 

It was in a spirit of triumphant loyalty, therefore, both 
to his Order and to the King — or rather, to the Queen and 
her councillors — that Armand de Richejieu made the oration 


which gained him his first real fame. He stood before the 
whole of France — all France that signified, for even the 
humble millions were represented, though mostly by men 
of law — slight and delicate, with a pleasant voice, an easy, 
graceful manner, eyes bright and clear, yet thoughtful, a 
mouth both strong and smiling under the thin moustache 
brushed sharply upwards, which always gave him the look 
of a soldier. 

His discourse lasted an hour, and gave great satisfaction 
to all his hearers, who were struck by the discretion with 
which he touched on many difficult subjects "without 
offending anybody." It was indeed a delicate task, to 
complain of the treatment bestowed on the Church and 
her clergy by the chief authorities in the kingdom ; to 
praise the clergy, their learning, probity and self-denial, 
and to claim for them a larger share in the management 
of State affairs; to point out the many abuses of lay 
patronage; to condemn the excesses of some Huguenots 
while declaring that no weapons but example, instruction 
and prayer should be used against those who, "if blinded 
by error," yet lived peaceably under the royal authority; 
to remonstrate against unfair taxation, corruption and 
bribery in high places ; to demand the reduction of pen- 
sions and the abolition of duels, according to the laws 
of " the great Henry " : — and in the same breath to praise 
the Queen-Regent for the great things she had already 
done in preserving " peace, repose and pubUc tranquillity," 
chief of which was that "sacred bond of a double marriage" 
which was soon to unite " the greatest kingdoms of the 
world." In short, while performing the full duty pre- 
scribed by his Order, to make himself persona ^rata to 
Marie de Medicis, was a task worthy of Armand de 

The Baron de Senece, spokesman of the nobles, followed 
the Bishop of Lugon, but had little to say. On the other 
hand Robert Miron, who spoke— on his knees— for the 
Tiers £tat, had a great deal. He drew a frightful picture 
of the "wounds and sorrows" of the poor people of 
France, their constant labour and heavy burdens. He 


complained bitterly of the abuses in the Church, the 
privileges, oppressions, public and private violence of the 
nobles, the delays and the corruption of justice, the ravages 
of armed men. 

" Without the labour of the poor people," he cried, 
" where were the tithes of the Church — the vast possessions 
of the nobility, their wide lands, their great fiefs — the 
houses, the incomes, the heritages of the Third Estate ? 
And further, who gives your Majesty the means of keep- 
ing up the royal dignity, of providing for the necessary 
expenses of the State, within and without the kingdom ? 
who gives the means of raising men for the wars, if not 
the labourer and the taxes he pays ? " And he added those 
remarkable words : ** It is to be feared that despair may 
teach the poor people that the soldier is but a peasant 
bearing arms, and that when the vinedresser takes up an 
arquebus, he may become hammer instead of anvil." 

But Miron, like the other speakers, professed devoted 
loyalty to the King, only begging that the royal authority 
might interfere to protect the poor people. And Miron's 
harangue, like the others, had no real consequence what- 
ever. Richelieu observes in his Memoirs that the States- 
General ended without advantage to anybody. 

The deputies were dismissed, contumelious and dis- 
contented, and returned to the provinces freshly burdened 
by their expenses. 

The Bishop of Lu^on went back to his diocese; but 
his speech was printed by the famous Cramoisy. The 
Court consoled itself for a very tiresome winter by one of 
the most magnificent Mid-Lent ballets that Paris had ever 



Richelieu appointed Chaplain to Queen Anne — Discontent of the 
Parliament and the Princes — The Royal progress to the South — Treaty of 
Loudun — Return to Paris — Marie de Medicis and her favourites — The 
young King and Queen— The Due de Luynes — Richelieu as negotiator and 
adviser — The death of Madame de Richelieu. 

IN the autumn of the year 1615 Richelieu was appointed 
chaplain to the new young Queen of France, Anne 
of Austria. He owed this appointment partly to 
the impression made by his good looks and talent on 
Marie de Medicis, partly to the friendly intrigues of the 
Bishop of Bayonne — afterwards Archbishop of Tours, and 
an adorer of the beautiful Duchesse de Chevreuse. Owing 
to the troubled state of France and the long delay of the 
royal entry into Paris, he did not enter upon his duties 
till the late spring of 1616. 

The easy triumph of the Court party over the rebel 
elements in the nation had not lasted long. When the 
Parliament of Paris saw that the States-General and all 
their talk had ended in nothing — no reform of abuses, no 
strengthening of the law, while Concini, the foreign 
favourite, now a Marshal of France and Lieutenant-General 
of Picardy, was fast becoming the most powerful person 
in the kingdom — it raised its voice in angry remonstrance. 
And the men of law did not stand alone. ** Derriere le 
parlement," says M. Henri Martin, " il y avait les princes, 
et a cOte des princes, les huguenots." In fact, a strong 
party was making a new and final struggle against the 
Spanish marriages. The voice of the English ambassador, 
Sir Thomas Edmunds, chimed in with those of Cond^, 



Bouillon and the Parliament, begging at least for delay: 
in the present state of Europe, James I. found these 
marriages " inopportune." His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, 
had lately married the Protestant Elector Palatine, nephew 
of the Due de Bouillon and brought up by him. England 
was thus strongly linked with the Protestant cause, both 
in France and Germany. 

But neither foreign opinion. Parliament, princes, nor 
cowardly counsels in her own household — for her favourite 
Leonora, Concini's wife, was against her in this matter — 
could turn Marie de Medicis from her intention. The 
King and the Ministers, under her orders, haughtily denied 
that the Parliament had any right to interfere in affairs 
of State. She tried, but in vain, to win over Conde and 
his friends. When her failure was plain — Conde retiring 
into the country, publishing a manifesto which demanded 
the delay of the marriages and the disgrace of Concini and 
the^ old Ministers, and following up his words by raising 
an armed force — she replied by arresting his friend Nicolas 
Le Jay, a president of the Parliament and leader of the 
opposition there. The guards seized him at five o'clock in 
the morning of August 17 and hurried him into a coach. 
On that same morning the whole Court, conducted by 
the Dues de Guise and d'£pernon with a strong body of 
troops, set out on the long journey to the south. President 
Le Jay, sorely against his will, followed the King as far 
as Amboise, where he was left behind as a prisoner. 

Concini — formerly Marquis, now also Marechal d'Ancre 
— remained to oppose the princes in Picardy, of which the 
young Due de Longueville was governor. The Marechal 
de Bois-Dauphin (Montmorency-Laval, Marquis de Sable) 
was left with a royal army of 12,000 men to protect 
and overawe Paris, already commanded by the guns of 
the Chateau de Vincennes, and to keep a check on the 
Prince de Conde. 

The royal progress to the south was slow and 
dangerous, with many delays and annoyances. Travelling 
was not easy even in summer weather. The long train 
of coaches, baggage-waggons and pack-mules, horsemen, 


running footmen, with the large military escort, took three 
days to travel the good road between Paris and Orleans, 
and then for some unknown reason, perhaps the uncertainty 
of Conde's movements, did not arrive at Tours for ten 
days more. Here the Court was met by three deputies 
from the Huguenot assembly at Grenoble, who had just 
missed His Majesty at Paris, and who, " with more 
insolence than formerly," says Richelieu, pressed again 
upon him the demands of the Tiers ^tat and requested 
him to proceed no further on his journey, ** in which they 
were interested, not only as being of la Religion pretendue 
reformee^ but as good Frenchmen." 

In consequence of this and other disloyal proceedings, 
the King publicly declared the Prince de Conde and all 
his adherents guilty of high treason unless they laid down 
their arms within a month, and sent his declaration to 
be registered by the Parliament of Paris. 

The Court arrived at Poitiers on September 4, and 
was detained there, to the Queen-mother's great vexation, 
till the 27th. The little Madame of thirteen, on her way 
to be married to the Prince of Spain, had an attack of 
small-pox, and Marie herself suffered from an inflamed 
arm. As Conde was already fighting his way across 
country with the object of blocking the road to Spain, 
while the Due de Rohan, with a small Huguenot army, 
was preparing to second him by occupying Guienne and 
the Bordelais, it appeared at one moment as if the royal 
marriages might be effectually stopped. 

Two persons profited by the delay. One was the 
Marechale d'Ancre. That mysterious Leonora, accused, 
probably falsely, of witchcraft and so many other crimes, 
seized this opportunity to creep back into the favour of 
her royal mistress and foster-sister, whom she, in concert 
with the Minister Villeroy and others, had seriously 
annoyed by advising her against pressing on the marriages. 
By devoted nursing of the royal invalids, and by the help 
of her Jewish doctor, Montalto, Leonora soon regained 
Marie's selfish affection, to lose it once more, and finally, 
before the end of her tragic life. 


The other person who profited by the royal visit to 
Poitiers was the Bishop of Lugon. On returning from 
Paris in the spring, feverish and irritable, he had plunged 
deep in theological studies at his favourite Coussay. It 
seems to have been a grievance that even his friends 
should disturb him at his books. But when the Court 
arrived at Poitiers and was detained there, all loyal 
persons of any distinction in the province were bound 
to wait upon their Majesties. The Bishop of Lugon was 
among the foremost in paying his duty. Certain vague 
talk of the chaplaincy to Queen Anne now took solid 
shape, and he received the promise of his appointment, 
which was definitely made in November, when the Court 
was at Bordeaux. During the interval, it is evident that 
Richelieu considered himself bound to the Queen-mother's 
service. He made it his business to send a report of the 
health of Madame, who was left behind at Poitiers for 
a few days when the Court hurried forward; and his 
letters to Marie de Medicis are full of grateful devotion. 

The little French princess v/as conveyed to the Spanish 
frontier, and the little Spanish princess was received in 
exchange. Under the escort of the Due de Guise and six 
thousand men — for the Huguenots, under Rohan, made 
the journey perilous — she was brought to Bordeaux, where 
the King and his mother awaited her. There the marriage 
was finally blessed — it had already, in the case of both 
princesses, been celebrated by proxy — and there the Court 
lingered on till the middle of December, when it began its 
slow northward journey, not reaching Tours till January 25, 

The country through which the Court travelled was 
in a terrible state, trampled and devastated by armies — 
"chose pitoyable et horrible," says Pontchartrain. In spite 
of the Marechal de Bois-Dauphin, Conde had crossed the 
Loire at Neuvy and was storming westward through 
Berry, Touraine and Poitou, " pillant et saccageant," says 
Richelieu, " tous les lieux ou il passoit." Again Madame 
de Richelieu had her share in the sufferings of the poor 
province, which seemed to her even worse off than in 


the Wars of the League. Forty years she had lived at 
Richelieu, and never had she seen such men or such 
ravages. " If these armies believe in God," she said, " it 
is as the devils do." The army of Bois-Dauphin was also 
marching south-westward, to protect the progress of the 
Court. Friend or foe, royalist or rebel, it made no 
difference in the wholesale robbery and cruelty which 
desolated the villages, utterly destroying any lingering 
peaceful fruit of Henry's administration. Even Sully had 
now taken sides with Conde; and the Dues de Soubise 
and de la Tremoille had raised a fresh army of Huguenots 
in Poitou. The wintry weather made everything worse. 
If the armies caused the wretched peasants to suffer, they 
suffered themselves. An icy rain was followed by hard 
frosts, snow, and ** a great furious wind " ; thousands of 
men, on both sides, died of the wet and the bitter cold. In 
Paris, boats and bridges were wrecked by the masses of 
broken ice in the Seine. 

The Bishop of Lugon, writing strong remonstrances on 
his mother's and his own behalf to the commanders, was 
also painfully interested in the negotiations which began 
after the Court had reached Verteuil. He would have 
been glad to be actively employed, but his time was not 
quite come, and he could only look on, trusting to his 
friends — especially Claude Barbin, an old acquaintance, the 
trusted financial secretary of Marie de Medicis — to push his 
name and fortunes. 

Both parties were tired of the struggle. The Court did 
not wish for eternal war : the princes and their followers 
saw that, the Spanish marriages once carried through, 
their wisest line of action was to make a good bargain 
for themselves while posing as disappointed patriots. The 
treaty of Loudun satisfied them for the time. Several 
of the King's older Ministers were sacrificed, notably 
Chancellor Sillery. The Marechal d'Ancre had to give 
up his command in Picardy, with the strong city of Amiens, 
to the Due de Longueville, but was consoled with the 
military government of Normandy. A general amnesty 
was published : President Le Jay was set at liberty, and 


the Conite d'Auvergne was freed from his long confine- 
ment in the Bastille; the rights already granted to the 
Huguenots were confirmed; Condi's war expenses were 
paid, amounting to 1,500,000 livres. Decidedly a good 
bargain ; the best he had ever made. " This time, it is 
true," says M. Henri Martin, " Condi's soldiers had well 
earned their money : they had pillaged, burnt, ravaged 
France with great zeal, from the banks of the Somme to 
those of the Garonne." 

The other princes were also magnificently paid : their 
rebellion cost the country, " according to Richelieu, more 
than twenty miUions " ; and in the matter of places and 
governments, they had what they chose to demand. In 
addition, Cond6 claimed the right of signing the decrees 
of the Royal Council. The Due de Villeroy, a clever old 
politician, advised the Queen to grant this also. It was 
better, he said, to bind Monsieur le Prince to the Court 
than to let him fortify himself in the provinces. ** Do not 
fear," he said, ** to put a pen in a man's hand while you are 
holding his arm." 

So ended the demonstration against the Spanish 
marriages. Marie de M6dicis gained her point : the 
princes found effectual consolation; and the poor people 
of France, as usual, paid the bill. The salt tax, which had 
been reduced, was raised to its former level, and new river 
tolls were established. 

The Court lingered at Tours and at Blois until the 
whole business of the treaty was concluded, and made its 
triumphal entry into Paris on May 16, 1616 — an unlucky 
conjunction of numbers, according to astrologers. The 
young Queen, a pretty and attractive girl in her indolent 
Spanish way — somewhat petulant, and no wonder, con- 
sidering the miseries of the journey not to be escaped 
even by queens, and the cool neglect of her boy-husband — 
sat in an open litter carried by mules, for the better view 
of the citizens of Paris. The noise in the streets was so 
great — bells, drums and trumpets, the clatter of arms (for 
the city bands were all on foot and firing off their muskets) — 
that Her Majesty's mules pranced with terror, and she was 


obliged to take refuge in her coach. But the welcome ot 
Paris was undoubtedly hearty, and il the Spanish marriage 
still caused discontent, it did not appear openly. Indeed 
the Spanish embassy and their young Princess had only 
to complain of the fact that the opposite party had gained 
most of its ends in the treaty of Loudun, and that their 
enemy, the Prince de Conde, with certain Huguenot 
magnates, his allies, appeared for the moment to rule both 
Court and Council. 

The Bishop of Lugon had preceded the Court to Paris. 
He had taken a house in the Rue des Mauvaises-Paroles, 
in the quarter of the markets; an old street which still 
existed in the early nineteenth century, but has since been 
swept away. Here he was within easy reach of his Court 
duties at the Louvre. 

Under the high roofs of the palace, in the old round 
towers and new pavilions and galleries, crowded in a 
labyrinth of rooms and staircases, walled courts and 
gardens, surrounded by a confused noise of building, 
especially towards the river, where the long gallery, join- 
ing the Louvre to the Tuileries, was not yet finished, 
blocked to the west, on the site of the Place du Carrousel, 
by narrow streets of great hotels and mean houses, 
churches, chapels, hospitals — lived the young King and 
Queen with their households, and the Queen-Mother, 
herself lodged in a low, dark, but richly furnished entresol, 
with as many of her ladies, attendants, favourites, servants, 
as could find room in the old rabbit-warren of so many 
and such ghostly memories. 

At the moment, though her personal rule was not to 
last long, Marie de Medicis, the Florentine, the "fat 
banker," as Madame de Verneuil disrespectfully called her, 
was the centre of power and the fountain of promotion. 
It was therefore especially to her that the courtiers, 
Richelieu among them, paid their devoted duty. 

Marie de Medicis was at this time a handsome, heavy- 
looking woman of forty-three ; cold of temperament, grave 
and haughty in manner, yet without real dignity ; obstinate, 
yet weak; nervous, irritable, subject to fits of violent 


anger with floods of tears ; never affectionate or caressing, 
even to her own children ; fond of amusement, of animals, 
dwarfs, freaks of nature ; passionately eager for power 
and magnificence; a lover of beautiful things, a generous 
but ignorant patron of art ; especially curious of precious 
metals and stones, jewellery, bric-a-brac of all kinds ; inter- 
ested in architecture, building and gardening. She laid 
the first stone of her palace of "Luxembourg" in 161 5, 
and in this very year 16 16 she planted the stately avenue 
of elms, known as the Cours-la-Reine, along the river- 
bank beyond the gardens of the Tuileries. Splendid in her 
gifts, she was wildly extravagant, as soon as it became 
possible, with the money of the State. She was super- 
stitious and religious, even devote^ after her fashion, and 
the Church in France owed her much : if not refined by 
nature or training, she was yet always on the side of 
decency and moral reform. This is something to say for 
a woman who was forced for years to live in a Court and 
a society so openly and coarsely immoral, and to treat 
La Reine Margot as a friend and a sister. 

At the time when Richelieu became attached to the 
Court, that eccentric princess was no longer living in her 
palace opposite the Louvre. She died in the spring of 
161 5, shortly after the closing of the States-General. In 
his memoirs the Cardinal devotes several pages to that 
" greatest princess of her time," her talents and her 

At the Louvre, next to the Queen-Mother, the most 
profitable objects of a courtier's devotion were the Marechal 
and the Marechale d'Ancre. They were Marie's most 
intimate and inseparable friends. Unworthy of such a 
position, no doubt : but the wife of Henry IV. was hardly 
happy enough willingly to dispense with those who had 
followed her from Florence. Leonora Galigai, her nurse's 
daughter, first the companion of her childhood, had been 
appointed head of her maids : of low birth, but extremely 
clever, and only too capable of managing her mistress; 
though her own supposed account of her influence, " that 
of a clever woman over a dull fool," seems to have been 


one of the many inventions of her enemies. A small, 
dark, ugly, keen-faced creature, Leonora had fallen in love 
with the handsome adventurer Concini, who had followed 
the Queen to France in search of fortune. They were 
married, and together they climbed the heights they 
desired. Concini swaggered among nobles and princes, 
the very type of a royal favourite. He was an insolent, 
magnificent bully, with whom the greatest in the land had 
to reckon. Yet, though envied and slandered, he was not 
entirely unpopular, even at Court. Bassompierre observed 
that he was neither perfection nor a fool. He had the 
daring courage which came of belief in his own lucky 
star. He was good-natured and kind, except to his wife ; 
with her, in spite of their mutual interests, he quarrelled 
incessantly, and they lived mostly apart. But the many 
scandalous jokes, songs and stories which dealt with the 
supposed love-affairs of Concini and the Queen are pro- 
nounced by modern historians to be without foundation. 

For some years the husband and wife concerned them- 
selves little with politics. Money and position, especially 
money, of which Leonora was excessively greedy, were 
their favourite objects. They bought a palace in the Rue de 
Tournon, near the old H6tel de Luxembourg, and furnished 
it splendidly. But Concini lived chiefly in a house near 
the river, at the south-east corner of the small garden of 
the Louvre, between it and the old Hotel de Bourbon. By 
a bridge from the house to the garden he could com- 
municate with his wife's apartments, above those of the 

Leonora left her rooms seldom and unwillingly, except 
for necessary attendance on her mistress. She was a 
nervous invalid, and depended much on Jewish doctors, 
quack remedies, and — according to her enemies — the black 
art. We are also told, however, that she confessed 
regularly and caused the Bible to be read to her. M. 
Batiffol, in his picturesque study of the time, describes 
how she sat all day threading beads or playing the guitar — 
she was a fine musician — in the midst of rich hoards of 
every description : tapestry, embroidery, mirrors, cabinets, 


carpets, cushions, counterpanes, of the most splendid 
materials; endless quantities ol gold and silver plate; 
wardrobes and chests full of beautiful garments that she 
seldom wore. Beyond these treasures, she cared for little 
but money: when she meddled with politics, it was for 
the sake of money, or for her husband's advancement; 
and this last matter interested her keenly in the exciting 
changes of that winter, which had carried her, sorely 
against her will, on a most trying journey. 

The return from that journey found the Marechal d'Ancre, 
now Lieutenant-General of Normandy, at the height of his 
power, though a quarrel with the people of the markets 
lost him some popularity. The reconstruction of the 
Ministry, the fall of Sillery, the temporary superseding 
of Jeannin, President of the Council, and later of the 
Due de Villeroy, left the way open for clever men such 
as Barbin and Mangot, both followers of Concini. Both 
admirers, too, of the Bishop of Lugon, who very soon, 
by their means, was to become a Minister of State. 

From the point of view of a courtier or a politician, the 
inmates of the Louvre least worth considering were the 
young King and ^Queen. Both were born in 1601, and 
in that summer were not quite fifteen years old : two 
children, with the minds and tastes of children, on whom 
etiquette weighed heavily, who were shy of each other, and 
cared only for their own chosen companions and sports. 

The little Queen seems to have been singularly childish, 
for a princess brought up in the stately Court of Spain. 
Surrounded at first by her Spanish ladies, who adored 
and petted her, she made grave ambassadors anxious, 
though her coquettish beauty attracted the French. But 
there was a lack of majesty, a love of jokes and games, 
an impatience of everything serious, a quick and wilful 
temper, an amazingly short memory, combined with a 
frank regret for her old life—" bien souvent I'Espagne me 
manque," she wrote home in the early days— hardly suit- 
able to a Queen of France. Her new subjects did not 
complain ; in truth, after the first rejoicings of her arrival, 
they saw little of her. Sometimes she appeared at Court 


balls, ballets and carrousels, brilliant in her fresh youth, 
with her dazzlingly white skin, large eyes, chestnut hair, 
and the exquisite hands which were her crowning beauty. 
Sometimes she drove out in a coach to Saint-Germain, 
and spent the day hunting and hawking with the King, 
who hardly cared for her company at any other time. Her 
chaplain, the Bishop of Lugon, attended on her at the 
Louvre as a most formal duty. Personally, Anne never 
liked him. Though not yet too terrible, he was always 
too serious for her. But the Spanish ambassador wrote 
of him to Philip III. : "There are not two men in France 
so zealous for the service of God, of our Crown, and of 
the public weal." 

Time was to show whether his Excellency was right on 
all or any of these points. 

Louis XIII. had been an attractive little child, and was 
now a handsome, simple, straightforward boy, whose health 
and temper, unluckily, had been ruined by mismanagement. 
The diary of his physician, Herouard — curious if unpleasant 
reading — shows us a child brought up on pills and potions 
quite as much as on food. Add constant and severe whip- 
pings for every small fault, and we have the training that 
Henry IV. and Marie de Medicis, here in entire agreement, 
thought fitting for their eldest son. Long after Louis was 
King of France the floggings continued, enraging inter- 
ludes to Court etiquette and ceremonies. '* Give me less 
manners and less whipping ! " the poor boy cried one 
day, when his mother and her ladies r3se and curtseyed 
on His Majesty's entrance. 

No wonder that the face he turned to the outside world 
— including, for him, his mother and his wife — was sulky 
and misanthropic. He had affection to give ; but it was 
all for the one or two special friends who understood 
him, and who made it their business to help and indulge 
him in the sports he cared about; hunting and hawking 
three or four days a week in the forests and the open 
country near Paris; while in the intervals there were 
rabbits and small birds to be caught in the precincts of 
the Louvre and the Tuileries, and on wet days various 


indoor amusements— cooking, carpentering, turning, teach- 
ing his little dogs tricks, building card castles, and so on. 
He was passionately fond of music. Court functions bored 
him terribly; and though forced, after his majority, to 
attend the Council that ruled in his name, and behaving 
there with sufficient dignity and intelligence, he took very 
little active interest in affairs of State. This carelessness, 
though more apparent than real, exactly suited his mother, 
her favourites and her ministers. France was given to 
understand that the young King was too delicate, too 
incapable, to act for himself in any public way. 

It was not unnatural that all who had political or social 
ends to gain should have thought it safe to ignore the King 
and Queen as children of no account. But Louis XIII. 
had one trusted friend ; and the Bishop of Lugon, with 
many others, was bitterly to repent a too low estimation 
of the powers of the Sieur de Luynes. 

Charles d' Albert de Luynes was now a man of eight- 
and-thirty. He was the eldest son of a small land-owner 
in Provence, and took his territorial name from a fief near 
Aix, which was his mother's dowry. His two younger 
brothers, Honore and Leon, who shared his marvellous 
fortunes — one becoming Due de Chaulnes, the other Due 
de Piney-Luxembourg — were known in their earlier days as 
Seigneurs de Cadenet and de Brantes ; Cadenet being a 
small island in the Rhone, Brantes a farm and vineyard 
on a hill at Mornas. The three brothers, all clever and 
amiable, caring for each other with an unselfish affection 
rare in those days, began life as pages to Francois de 
Daillon, Comte du Lude, a very great man in his own 
province of Anjou, and a witty and audacious courtier. 
He and his friend M. de la Varenne advanced the three 
young southerners to the service of King Henry IV., 
who gave them appointments in the Dauphin's house- 
hold. Even then the three, generally liked and esteemed, 
says Richelieu, had but one pony and one good coat 
amongst them. 

It was not only his skill in falconry and all other kinds 
of,, sport which endeared Luynes to his young master. 


From the first he made himself his friend. He was a 
really good-natured man, as well as a fine sportsman and 
an ambitious courtier, and he laid himself out to give 
freedom and happiness to the oppressed, stammering boy. 
Louis learned, from a child, to fly to Luynes in all his 
troubles. He was his constant companion through the 
day, his chief playmate, the organiser of his leisure time. 
At night in his dreams, often restless and feverish, the 
boy would cry out for Luynes. 

This high favour did not pass unnoticed, of course, by 
the Queen-mother and Concini. They might have crushed 
Luynes in the early days, but they took the line of 
propitiating him — a very great and fatal mistake, according 
to Richelieu. Marie gave him the government of Amboise, 
resigned by the Prince de Conde in 1615. She thought 
thus to make Luynes her creature ; and the Marechal 
d'Ancre, who had watched him anxiously for a short time, 
was deceived by his retiring manners into thinking him 
a man of no real account except among birds, but probably 
a useful friend, having the ear of the King. 

Through this summer of 1616, the Bishop of Lugon was 
steadily advancing in favour. Marie de Medicis appointed 
him her private secretary, with a handsome pension, and 
employed him on several political missions. One of these 
was of real importance and led to striking results. 

In spite of the treaty of Loudun and all its advantages, 
the Prince de Conde and his friends were still in a sulky 
frame of mind. Instead of coming at once to Paris, the 
Prince lingered in his new province of Berry, where 
the discontented showed signs of gathering round him 
once more. This temper of his caused much anxiety to 
Marie, her new Ministers, and the Marechal d'Ancre. It 
seemed to them necessary that the Prince should come 
to Paris. Avty fresh disloyalty would be less formidable 
there, and his support of the present government, if he 
chose to give it, would be more valuable. 

The Bishop of Lugon was sent to negotiate with the 
Prince at Bourges. "The Queen sent me to him," he 
says, " believing that I should have sufficient fidelity and 


skill to dissipate the clouds of suspicion which evil minds 
had falsely raised against her." Her belief was justified. 
Her envoy not only made the most of the promises with 
which he was laden — promises from herself, from the 
Marechal d'Ancre, and last, not least, from Leonora— but 
he worked on the Prince's mind by his own clever and 
flattering persuasions, assisted probably by the influence 
of Pere Joseph and his brother, M. du Tremblay, who 
were partisans of Conde. 

The Prince came to Paris, and was honourably received 
by their Majesties at the Louvre. Immediately all Paris 
was at his feet. " The Louvre was a solitude," says 
Richelieu ; " his house was the old Louvre " — on the site 
of part of the fortress of Philippe Auguste — " and one 
could not approach the door for the multitude of people 
crowding there. All who had any affair on hand addressed 
themselves to him ; he never entered the Council but his 
hands were full of petitions and memoirs which had been 
presented to him, and which were granted at his will." 

At first Conde enjoyed his new popularity and used 
his power with moderation. Had he been a wise man, 
he might have kept it long ; but he was weak, dissipated, 
and fiercely ambitious, saying openly that he had as 
much right to the throne as the King himself The other 
princes, especially the restless and intriguing Due de 
Bouillon, worked upon his discontent. Naturally, their 
first object was the ruin of the Marechal d'Ancre. Each 
of them had grievances of his own. Even the Dues de 
Guise and d'Epernon, loyal to the Crown, were ready to 
draw their swords on the favourite. The former Ministers, 
the Parliament, the people of Paris, were all on the same 
side, and Concini's life, darkly plotted against in high 
places, was openly threatened in the street. One day, 
going alone to visit the Prince, who was entertaining 
the English ambassador. Lord Hay, he had a narrow 
escape of being killed by the servants. 

Concini was a brave man, but he realised his danger, 
and both he and his wife were on the eve of escaping 
from France. Suddenly, however, the whole face of things 


changed. The Queen-mother, solemnly warned by the 
Due de Sully, saw that some bold step was necessary if 
she was to save herself, her friends, even the young King, 
from serious peril. For there were again grumblings of 
civil war in the provinces, where the Due de Longueville 
was attacking the last fortress in Picardy which remained 
in Concini's hands. 

The Ministers Barbin and Mangot, with the Bishop 
of Lugon, advised a coup d'etat, and it was carried out with 
extraordinary ease. The Prince de Conde was arrested 
and imprisoned in the Bastille. The other princes fled, 
and Concini triumphed once more ; but the people of 
Paris showed their hatred by sacking his palace in the 
Rue de Tournon, full of treasures worth 200,000 crowns. 

On November 14, according to the registers of the 
parish of Braye, " s'en est allee de vie a trepas noble 
dame Suzanne de la Porte, dame de Richelieu." The 
Bishop of Lugon writes to his brother Alphonse : 

"My dear Brother, — I regret much that you must 
learn by this letter our common loss of our poor mother, 
although I know that for you it will be the more bearable 
in that, having yourself renounced the world to gain 
heaven, her life and her death give you certain assurance 
of meeting her again there ; since in the latter God gave 
her as much grace, consolation, and sweetness as in the 
former she had suffered contradiction, affliction and 
bitterness. . . . For myself, I pray God that in future her 
good example and yours may so profit me that I may 
amend my life." 

M. Avenel gives a letter from Henry de Richelieu, the 
head of the family, to his sister Nicole (afterwards Madame 
de Maille-Breze), begging her to lay their mother's body, 
as honourably as possible, in the chapel of the chateau, 
there to await himself and the Bishop, " that we may 
all together bear her to the grave." 

It was not till December 8 that *' noble dame Suzanne 
de la Porte " was laid in the family vault under the church 


of Braye. But it appears that her son Armand was waited 
for in vain. There was question of a special embassy to 
Spain on the affairs of the Duke of Savoy; there was 
the immediate prospect of becoming a Minister of France. 
Indeed, he was already one of a triumvirate— Barbin, 
Mangot, Richelieu — on whom, under Concini, depended 
all affairs of State. Between his mother's death and her 
funeral, he was writing letters vowing eternal gratitude 
both to the Marechal and to Leonora, through whose 
favour and consideration alone, he declared, their Majesties 
had been pleased to appoint him Secretary for Foreign 



A contemporary view of the state of France— Barbin, Mangot, and 
Richelieu— A new rebellion — Richelieu as Foreign Secretary— The Abbe 
de Marolles— Concini in danger— The death of Concini— The fall of the 
Ministry— Horrible scenes in Paris— Richelieu follows the Queen-mother 
into exile. 

THE Sieur de Pontchartrain, in his Memoirs^ gives a 
vivid account of the state of France in the winter of 
1616-17. He was not exactly an impartial judge, 
since he had himself been a Minister of State under the 
Due de Villeroy, and he saw things from his patron's point 
of view. But he was an honest man. 

Like Sully, he entirely failed to realise the political 
genius of the Bishop of Lu(;:on, treating him and his 
colleagues as contemptible creatures of Concini. He 
writes of " the bad management of affairs, the small regard 
shown by the Queen-mother for the King, from whom all 
affairs are concealed, the unjust detention of M. le Prince 
de Conde and the alienation of all the other princes and 
great men, the ambitious designs, hurtful to France, of 
the Marechal d'Ancre and of his wife, the banishment 
from affairs of all the old Ministers of State, and the 
establishment of two or three who have neither merit 
nor experience, except as ministering to the passions of 
the Marechal and his wife (these were M. Mangot, Barbin, 
and Richelieu-Lugon). . . . Thus all things were embroiled; 
and in order to fortify herself against evil designs, the 
Queen-mother, assisted by the counsel of the said Marechal 
d'Ancre and of the said sieurs Barbin, Mangot, and Riche- 
lieu, Bishop of Lu9on, resolved to prepare openly for war." 


Pontchartrain concludes that the sole motive of this 
worthless and tyrannical council was to maintain the 
Marechal in absolute power : also that under the confusion 
of war expenditure might be concealed the "great gifts, 
pensions and appointments " which he took from the 
national finances. 

That the Queen-mother was wrong-headed and foolish, 
that Concini's haughty swagger and Leonora's avarice and 
secret intrigues were hateful and degrading elements in 
both Court and government, no one can deny. But those 
who stand farther off than Pontchartrain may see what 
was hidden from him, and probably from many worthy 
persons of his day — that Barbin, Mangot and Richelieu 
were not unpatriotic in advising war against the rebel 
princes and nobles, whose motives, after all, were no purer 
than those of Concini. 

As to themselves, Barbin was a man of clean hands, 
a rare attribute in those days ; clear-headed and wise. 
Mangot, if not brilliant, had the merit of being loyal to his 
colleagues. Richelieu, in this first short ministry, gave 
every sign of future greatness, and in a way which makes 
not only Pontchartrain, but Sully, seem unnaturally blind. 
Henry's old Minister was one of those who spoke most 
slightingly of the man who, more than any other, was to 
carry on Henry's foreign policy. 

He was amazingly eager and young. He sprang into 
office like a soldier into the saddle, his whole mind and 
body devoted at once to the service of his country. The 
administration of his poor little diocese had taught him 
to command men. That those who worked with him felt 
his superiority, not only in position but in talent, is shown 
by the fact that he was at once given precedence over the 
other Ministers. The Comte de Brienne resented this, 
observing in an unfriendly manner that a Bishop should 
reside in his diocese. The Marechal d'Ancre, on the other 
hand, pressed Richelieu to resign his see. His motive was 
plain, and had nothing to do with the welfare of the people 
of Lu^on : being thus deprived of his chief means of living, 
the young Minister would be entirely dependent on his 


patron's will. Richelieu was far too clever to yield, and 
the advice of his friend Barbin strengthened his refusal. 
" Considering the changes which might come about, either 
through the changeable humours of that personage or by 
accidents to his fortune, I would never consent, which 
made him unreasonably angry." 

He resigned his post of chaplain to the reigning Queen, in 
which he was succeeded by the young Bishop of Langres, 
Sebastien Zamet, second son of the great financier, and after- 
wards a conspicuous figure in the history of Port-Royal. 

The first duty of the new Ministers was to crush a 
new rebellion, for the Dues de Bouillon and de Nevers, 
demanding the release of Conde and the fall of Concini, 
had set the east ol France in a blaze. Three armies had 
to be raised and sent to meet them. The commanders 
were chosen — the Comte d'Auvergne, the Due de Guise, 
the Marechal de Montigny ; a harder matter was to find 
the men and the money. By means of a new tax, Richelieu 
and Barbin were able to hire a few thousand mercenaries 
from Flanders, Germany, Holland and Switzerland ; the 
rest were recruited in France by gentlemen who took a 
heavy commission on their loyal work: indeed, as usual, 
the soldiers saw little of their promised pay, and were 
driven, as usual, to extract a living from the wretched 
people of the provinces. Champagne, the lie de France, 
the Nivernais, suffered in this winter of 1616 as Berry, 
Touraine and Poitou had done twelve months before. 

One of the complaints of the malcontent princes against 
the government was the state of the national finances ; in 
truth, the half-dozen years since Henry's death had reduced 
France from relative prosperity to something very like 
bankruptcy. But Richelieu retorted on the princes by 
a published statement, meant to enlighten the country as 
to the fate of some of its funds. The Prince de Conde 
had received 3,665,990 //Vr^s ; the late Comte de Soissons, 
his wife and son (Charles de Bourbon died in 161 2, and 
his family were even more restless and greedy than him- 
self), 1,600,000 livres'y the old Prince de Conti, now also 
dead, and his worldly widow, 1,400,000 livres; the Due 


de Longueville, 1,200,000 livres ) the Due de Mayenne, 
2,000,000 livres ; the Due de Vendome, 600,000 livres ; the 
Due d'fipernon, 700,000 livres ; the Due de Bouillon, 
1,000,000 livres \ all, says M. Martin, without eounting 
** salaries, pensions, and gifts to their friends and servants." 
As a livre was about the same as a frane, and then worth 
five times as mueh as now, the smallest of these " gratifiea- 
tions " was equal to ^120,000, and the largest to nearly 
^800,000 sterling. It must be added that the eight Marshals 
of France and six other great offieers of the Crown received 
four times as mueh as in the days of Henry. 

The royal armies were successful; they drove the 
princes before them, destroying their strongholds, and 
besieged them in the fortified towns to which they retreated. 
* They were in despair," says Pontchartrain. Henry de 
Richelieu, a keen and good soldier, served as aide-de-camp 
to the Marechal de Montigny. 

It was at this time that Richelieu, as Secretary of State, 
gave the Powers of Europe the first intimation that French 
policy was not for ever to be bound up with the interests of 
Spain — a great change, after nearly seven years of Marie 
de Medicis' rule, and a striking forecast of the future 
England, Holland, and Germany were assured of the friend- 
ship of France, on the understanding that no assistance 
was given to the rebel princes. The Spanish marriages, 
Richelieu's ambassadors assured the Protestant Powers, 
did not bind Louis XIII. either to Rome or to Spain "to 
the prejudice of our ancient allies." The King would give 
equal treatment to his subjects of either religion. " No 
Catholic is so blind as to esteem a Spaniard, in matters of 
State, more highly than a French Huguenot." 

Independence of Spain had already been practically 
shown by Richelieu in not forbidding the Due de Les- 
diguieres, governor of Dauphine, himself a distinguished 
Huguenot, to lead an army of his own across the Alps in 
order to support Duke Charles Emmanuel of Savoy in his 
quarrel with the Spanish Viceroy of Milan. 

Thus Richelieu was already giving Europe a taste of his 
strength, and advancing, fast and fearlessly, beyond the 


narrow lines of the Bishop of Luzon's courtly speech before 
the States-General. He was no longer "the man of the 
clergy," but *' the man of France." Naturally he was losing 
the confidence of his empty-headed patron, who scolded 
the Ministers like schoolboys and was violently jealous of 
Richelieu's growing influence with the Queen. 

" By God, sir," he wrote to him on some small matter of 
discontent, " I complain of you : you treat me too ill ; you 
treat for peace without me ; you make the Queen write to 
me that for the love of her I am to cease my pursuit of 
M. de Montbazon for the money he owes me. In the name 
of all the devils, what do you and the Queen expect me to 
do ? Rage gnaws me to the bones." 

A Ministry that depended on such a favourite was on 
a slippery slope indeed. The difficulties, at home and 
abroad, were enormous, and the wonder is that Richelieu 
and his colleagues, during their few months of uncertain 
power, were able to do so much. 

Just at this time, when he was fighting the princes and 
parleying with Europe, the Abbe de Marolles gives a snap- 
shot of him worth many formal portraits. The Abbe was 
then a young scholar at the university. His father, Claude 
de Marolles, a well-known soldier and courtier, once com- 
manding the Swiss Guard, had joined the rebel princes and 
was attempting to negotiate between the Due de Nevers 
and the commanders of the royal army. 

M. Mangot, the Keeper of the Seals, sent for young 
Michel de Marolles and inquired of him whether he had 
received letters from his father or had had news from any 
of his father's people. He warned him to hide nothing of 
the truth — " parce qu'il y alloit du service du roi." 

" There was M. de Lugon, in black, flung back {renverse) 
in a leathern chair, while M. le Garde des Sceaux stood up 
while speaking to me. . . ." Presently, " M. de Lugon, who 
knew my father pretty well and esteemed him, rose up in 
his chair and said that in truth he did not believe that 
M. de Marolles had turned against the King's service of his 
own free will, but that he was sorry he should have found 
himself engaged in so bad a cause. Then he added very 


low that I might retire, and that he did not advise me to 
remain in Paris." 

Such a warning, in those days, was not to be despised, 
and the young scholar was sent to his home in Touraine. 

In spite of the political and military successes of the 
Ministers he was supposed to rule, the storm which over- 
whelmed the unlucky Concini was gathering all through 
that winter at the Louvre. Paris was careless and gay : 
after letting out her rage by sacking his house, she was 
content to enjoy the scurrilous songs and pamphlets, her 
favourite food, which rang through the streets and were 
sold by hundreds on the Pont Neuf. 

" The year began joyously," writes Bassompierre, a 
lighter-hearted witness than Pontchartrain, and a loyal 
courtier of Marie de Medicis. " Many fine assemblies, at 
which, besides gambling, feasting, and comedy, there was 
also good music. Time passed pleasantly at the Fair of 

The Marechal and Leonora shared little in these amuse- 
ments. He, at least, was troubled with a heavy presenti- 
ment of misfortune to come, and a present grief, the illness 
and death of their little daughter, caused them both '* un 
cruel deplaisir." The friendly soul Bassompierre, who had 
known him in his Florentine days, visited them in their 
sorrow on the very day of the child's death. He found 
them together, " fort affliges," in the little house close to 
the Louvre. 

" I tried as well as I could to console or divert him, but 
the more I spoke the more he grieved, and weeping 
answered me nothing, except '' Seignor^ je suis perdu ; 
setgnor, je suis ruine ; setgnor, je suis miserable." 

Bassompierre begged him to consider that he was a 
Marshal of France, and therefore that such lamentations, 
though worthy of his wife, were unworthy of him ; adding 
in the candid fashion of the time that although he had lost 
an amiable daughter he had yet four nieces, by whose 
means he might ally himself with any four great French 
houses that he might choose — " and many other things 
which God inspired me to say." 


"Ah, monsieur," replied Concini, "I truly mourn my 
daughter, and shall mourn her as long as I live. Never- 
theless, I am a man able to endure with constancy a grief 
such as this ; but the ruin of myself and my wife, my 
son and my house, which I see before my eyes, and 
which my wife's obstinacy makes inevitable, causes me 
to lament and to lose patience." 

He went on to tell Bassompierre the familiar story of 
his life, curious enough from his own point of view. 
According to him, he had been perfectly happy and 
prosperous till within the last few months — since, in fact, 
to outward view, he had possessed almost sovereign power. 
His excitable southern nature was not made to stand firm 
against the assaults of fortune, party hatred, popular fury 
and insult ; in all this he saw warnings from heaven of 
coming ruin, terrible and complete. On his knees, he 
said, he had implored his wife to retire with him to 
Italy, where with their immense fortune they could 
establish themselves magnificently and leave a fine heritage 
to their son. But the Marechale, with more courage, if 
also with a more greedy, unsatisfied ambition, absolutely 
refused to leave France. It was cowardly and ungrateful, 
she said, to think of forsaking the Queen, to whom they 
owed their honours and their wealth. " If it were not 
for my obligations to my wife," he said, " I would leave 
her, and go where neither nobles of France nor common 
people would follow and find me." 

Bassompierre went away reflecting how men uplifted 
by fortune are often inspired to foresee a coming fall ; but 
also how seldom they have resolution enough to avoid it. 

If Concini was sincere in his wish to leave his dangerous 
eminence, this episode throws a tragic light on his conduct 
during the first three months of 1617. His insolent bravado 
at Court and elsewhere seems now the desperation of 
an adventurer fighting hopelessly for his life. It was 
hardly necessary for M. de Luynes to poison the King's 
mind against the Marechal d'Ancre ; he did it himself. A 
day seldom passed without some new insult, some fresh 
mark of disrespect shown to Royalty. The Marechal 


laughed at the boy, teased him, did not uncover in his 
presence. Standing with one or two attendants at a 
window in the Louvre, Louis looked down with proud 
and gloomy eyes on the Marechal's splendid suite as it 
pranced in the courtyard without a salute to spare for 
him. When the King wanted money— which frequently 
happened, for his mother did not indulge him in that 
way or any other— the Marechal asked him, with an air 
of dashing liberality which deeply offended the boy, why 
he had not appHed to him. 

Luynes was an ambitious man, of course ; but any 
loyal servant of the King would have done well to be 
angry, and Concini, by refusing him one of his nieces 
in marriage, had made a personal enemy of him. While 
Louis, sad and bored from childhood, went his melancholy 
way, catching little birds, wheeling barrows of turf to 
make banks in the Tuileries gardens, his handsome falconer 
was always there, whispering a deeper discontent into 
ears by no means dull. The removal of Concini, his wife 
and his parasites, would mean the Queen-mother's fall 
from the height of power she had usurped ever since 
the King was declared major, thus ending her regency. 
It would mean the submission of the rebel princes and 
nobles, who were even now declaring themselves, by 
secret letters and messages, faithful servants of the King. 
It would seat Louis XIII. on his father's throne. 

There was only one way. Louis was at first unwilling 
that the Marechal should be killed. He discussed other 
plans with Luynes and two or three confidants. He might 
escape from Paris to Amboise, where a brother of Luynes 
was in command and where his friends might gather round 
him ; or he might join the princes, taking the command of 
their forces, which would thus become his own. These 
ideas reached the Queen-mother, and his guards were 
changed for others whom she could trust. Escape was 
made impossible, and from that time Concini was doomed. 

Luynes and his fellows, with the King's full consent, 
plotted the affair with M. de Vitry, captain of the guard, 
a bold, resolute man. On the morning of Monday, April 24, 


this officer with a few companions met Concini at the 
entrance of the Louvre on his way to pay his daily visit 
to the Queen. 

** Sir," said Vitry, " I arrest you, by order of the King." 

" A moi ! " cried Concini, laying his hand on his sword ; 
but before his train of startled courtiers knew what was 
happening, three of Vitry's men had fired their pistols 
in his face ; he fell dead, shot through the brain. 

Not a sword was drawn to avenge him ; the words '* By 
order of the King," had suddenly recovered their old magic 
power, and the whole palace echoed with " Vive le Roi ! " 

On that fatal morning, the Bishop of Lugon was paying 
an early visit to a distinguished doctor of the Sorbonne, 
one of the rectors of the University. The news reached 
the two theologians by means of a third, who brought 
it from the Palais de Justice. M. d'Ornano, one of the 
conspirators, had been sent there direct from the Louvre 
to inform the Parliament of what had happened : such a 
precaution was necessary, for Paris was already in an 
uproar. Rumour cried in the streets that the young King 
had been wounded, and by the hand of the Marechal. 
The shops were hastily shut and crowds were pouring 
towards the Louvre, to meet the news that the King was 
well and the Marechal dead. Then Paris burst into 
acclamations of joy. 

For the Bishop of Lugon the event was of the most 
serious consequence, but he wasted neither time nor words 
in lamenting his patron. 

'* I was the more surprised," he says, ** as I had never 
foreseen that those who were near the King would be 
strong enough to design such an enterprise. I immediately 
quitted the company of that doctor, famous both for his 
teaching and his virtue, who did not forget to say quite 
a propos what I might have expected from a man of his 
learning — as to the inconstancy of fortune and the uncer- 
tainty of all that may seem most settled in human life." 

On the Pont Neuf, as he drove home, the Bishop met 
his friend M. du Tremblay, full of the news, who told him 
that the King was inquiring for him. Before presenting 


himself at the Louvre, he sought out his terrified colleagues, 
Mangot and Barbin, who feared the worst for themselves 
and for him. It was agreed that they should go one by 
one, the Bishop first, to receive His Majesty's commands. 

It was the first really alarming crisis in Richelieu's life. 
There is no doubt that so clever a man must have expected 
something of the kind, must have known that the favourite's 
tyranny could not last for ever. It was only a few days 
indeed since he and Barbin, having discovered that Concini 
meant to get rid of them and to replace them with more 
submissive Ministers, had privately offered their resignation 
to the Queen, who refused to receive it. Also, it seems, 
with a view to his own safety, Richelieu had made some 
advances towards friendship with M. de Luynes. But, for 
all that, the moment was dangerous. Both Court and 
populace were likely to turn against those who had owed 
their power to the dead Marechal; various threats and 
warnings had already reached the ears of Barbin. For 
Richelieu himself, as he mounted the grand staircase of the 
Louvre, the signs were not exactly favourable. " I saw 
many faces of those who had caressed me two hours 
before, and who now did not recognise me." 

In the great gallery, crowded with courtiers and armed 
men, young Louis XIII. was standing on a billiard table, to 
be seen by all. There is a picturesque story that he cried 
out, on seeing the Bishop approach, *' Eh bien, Lugon ! 
me voila hors de votre tyrannic ! " Whatever the boy may 
have thought or said, M. de Luynes was not so impolitic as 
to make a mortal enemy of the most brilliant man in the 
kingdom. Mangot might be scornfully neglected, Barbin 
might be imprisoned — as they were— but Lugon seemed 
worth winning, or at least keeping in the balance till the 
King and his mother had arranged their differences. 

According to Richelieu's own account, the King spoke 
to him kindly — ** saying that he knew I had always loved 
him (he used those words) and had taken his part on various 
occasions, in consideration of which he would treat me 
well." M. de Luynes joined in, with protestations of friend- 
ship. But this was merely personal. When Richelieu 



tried to plead for his colleagues, who deserved the royal 
favour neither more nor less than himself, Luynes would 
not listen. He also replied very coldly to the Bishop's 
request to see the Queen-mother, now strictly guarded in 
her own rooms. 

He gave him to understand, however, that he was still 
of the royal Council, and advised him to present himself 
in the Council-chamber. Richelieu did so ; but only to be 
treated as an intruder. The old Ministers, Villeroy, Jeannin 
and the rest, were already in their former places, and were 
deeply engaged in the business of reversing Richelieu's 
policy ; while sending despatches to all the provinces, to 
the armies, to the rebel princes and to foreign courts with 
the news that the King of France had at length come to 
his own. 

It was a curious position for the late Secretary of State. 
After standing for a few minutes inside the door, speaking 
to one or two councillors, he thought it best to retire 
quietly, and went home to his house. 

At the Louvre, shut up in her apartments, but still 
surrounded by her ladies, the Queen-mother lamented with 
hard, tearless passion — not the death of her favourite, 
which troubled her little, but the loss of her own authority. 
Fear of the future and of her son's vengeance filled her 
mind, to the exclusion of every other human feeling. She 
had no pity to spare even for the miserable Leonora, her 
lifelong friend, who was seized by the guards immediately 
after her husband's death, plundered of all her treasures 
and imprisoned, first in the Louvre, then in the Bastille, 
her son Henry Concini, a boy of thirteen, having been torn 
from her. The little Comte de la Pena, as they called him, 
was a pretty boy and a famous dancer. The Comte de 
Fiesque, the young Queen's equerry, took him under his 
protection and brought him to her. Anne made him dance, 
fed him with sweetmeats, and kept him in her household 
till his fatal name condemned him also to prison. Some 
time later, he was set free and sent back to Italy. 

The murderers of Concini robbed his dead body of 
money and jewellery and left it lying under a staircase 


in the court of the Louvre, near the gate through which 
crowds of Parisians of every rank, who had trembled 
before the Marechal, came crowding to pay their homage 
to the King. During the day his house near the Louvre 
and his wife's apartments were completely sacked and 
pillaged, their flying servants chased in all directions. In 
the evening his body was carried secretly across the way 
to the Church of Saint-Germain TAuxerrois and buried, 
with no funeral rites, behind the organ. 

But the fury and rage of the mob were far from being 
satisfied. The Parisians of 16 17 were the ancestors of 
those of 1793. " The next morning," says Pontchartrain, 
" the 25th of the said month of April, day of Saint Mark, 
about ten o'clock, a few women and children, in the Church 
of Saint-Germain of the Auxerrois, began to say one to 
another, standing over the place where he had been in- 
terred : ' See where they have buried that tyrant : is it 
right that he, who did so much evil, should lie in holy 
ground and in a church ? No, no ; out with him ; throw 
him on a dunghill ! ' And exciting each other with such 
words, they began with sticks to break up the stone under 
which the body lay ; the women using knives and scissors, 
until strong men began to lend a hand. In less than half 
an hour two or three hundred persons were assembled ; 
they raise the stone, take out the body, tie cords round the 
neck, drag it out of the church and thence through the 
streets, with horrible shouts and yells, some saying it 
should be thrown into the river, others that it should be 
burnt, others that it should be hanged on a gibbet ; each 
one worse than the last. Thus they found themselves at 
the end of the Pont Neuf, where there were two or three 
gibbets set up." 

Gibbets had been planted here and there in the city by 
Concini's orders, " to frighten those who dared speak ill 
of him." To cut the horrible story short, they hanged his 
dead body on one of these and then tore it to pieces with 
the savagery of wild beasts, burning part and throwing 
part into the river. 

Richelieu was an eye-witness of these horrors. He was 


on his way to visit the Pope's Nuncio, and his coach drove 
on to the bridge, a favourite thoroughfare, to find it a mass 
of people absorbed in their dreadful v^ork and " so drunk 
with fury that there was no means of getting them to make 
way for the passage of coaches." 

The Bishop's coachman was indiscreet enough to take 
matters with the usual high hand and to attempt to force 
his way. One of the men who was roughly hustled made 
a loud complaint. 

" At that instant," Richelieu writes, '* I saw my peril, in 
case any one should cry out that I was a partisan of 
the Mar^chal d'Ancre. To save myself, after violently 
threatening my coachman, I asked them what they were 
doing, and when they had answered me according to their 
fury against the Marechal, I said to them, ' You are men 
who would die to serve the King : shout, all of you, Vive 
le Roi ! ' I led them off, and thus I gained free passage, 
and I took good care not to return the same way ; I 
recrossed by the Pont Notre Dame." 

A few days later, after a painful interview with her son 
— at which her stony calm broke down and she wept 
bitterly— and after formal farewells from court and city, 
Marie de M^dicis quitted Paris for an honourable captivity 
at the Chateau de Blois. Her younger children took leave 
of her at the gate of the city. She was accompanied by a 
train of faithful servants, French and Italian, among whom 
the most distinguished was the Bishop of Lugon ; it was 
largely owing to his influence with Luynes that the Queen 
had not been treated with greater severity. 

Two months later, after an unfair and absurd trial, the 
Mar^chale d'Ancre was beheaded in the Place de Gr^ve and 
her remains burnt to ashes. Most of the money, property, 
and possessions which she and her husband had accumulated 
during their years of power was bestowed upon the King's 
friend and favourite, now Due de Luynes and Lieutenant- 
General of Normandy. For his own not very considerable 
share in the ruin and death of Concini and his wife, 
Louis XIII. was rewarded by the French people with the 
title of '' Le Juste." 



Richelieu at Blois — He Is ordered back to his diocese — He writes a 
book in defence of the faith— Marriage of Mademoiselle de Richelieu — 
The Bishop exiled to Avignon— Escape of the Queen-mother from Blois 
— Richelieu is recalled to her service. 

IN this swift and sudden way Richelieu fell from power. 
The position in which he now found himself was 
difficult enough. He was the Queen-mother's chief 
friend and confidant in the early days of her exile at Blois, 
and the head of her council, but he was surrounded by 
mischievous rivals, some Italian, some French, who played 
him false and undermined his influence. The Queen's 
household, following its royal mistress's lead, was all plot 
and intrigue, delusion and fury. Almost the only wise 
person, besides Richelieu himself, was his old friend 
Madame de Guercheville, Marie's lady of honour. She, at 
least, saw good cause for the Bishop of Luzon's endeavour 
to keep the little captive Court at Blois in favour with the 
Court of the Louvre by a constant and civil correspondence 
with the almighty Luynes. She saw the force of the 
Bishop's reasoning — that the actual state of things must be 
accepted — that the King was the King, and his subjects, 
including his mother, might as well rebel against Heaven. 
Therefore Richelieu was doing his best for Her Majesty — 
and incidentally for himself too — by representing her and 
her servants as absolutely devoted to the service of the 

It is natural enough that Luynes, listening to Richelieu's 
enemies, was not inclined to trust him, either as to the 



Queen-mother's peaceable loyalty or his own. But he 
made no mistake as to the Bishop's political genius; and 
therefore, it seems, he decided to deprive the Queen-mother 
of his services. 

The intrigue is not very clear, even to this day. Riche- 
lieu had a letter from his brother, the Marquis, warning 
him that the King was displeased with him and that he 
would shortly be ordered to retire to his diocese. After- 
wards it appeared that the information, conveyed by friends 
at Court to Henry de Richelieu, was false, or at least 
premature. But the Bishop acted on it without delay. 
Knowing that Marie would not willingly part with him, he 
asked for a fortnight's leave of absence and went to the 
Chateau de Richelieu. From thence he wrote to the King 
and to Luynes, protesting his loyalty and complaining of 
the calumnies of his enemies. The King sent a cold reply, 
advising him to attend to the duties of his diocese and 
to remain within its bounds till further orders. 

Marie de Medicis was passionately angry, and wrote 
furious letters to her son and the favourite. It was treating 
her not like a mother, but like a slave, she said, thus to 
affront her by removing her most capable servant. But 
her bitter complaints were of no avail. 

Richelieu resigned himself in a more dignified fashion. 
Every action of his life must be considered in view of the 
fact that he was a politician of extraordinary cleverness, 
with clear eyes fixed unchangeably on the future of power 
which he always meant to attain. For five months, under 
most troublesome circumstances, he had practically ruled 
France. He had built his castle eagerly, swiftly, success- 
fully ; and then a far less clever man, by whispering into 
the ready ear of a boy, had shaken it to the ground. It 
had been built, of course, on the wrong foundation : the 
Bishop of Lugon had plenty of time to reflect, as he sat 
among his books at Coussay, on the too late realised truth 
that divinity hedged a king, that Louis XIII. was the 

It is doing Richelieu no injustice to suggest that if he 
had been well received in the King's Council-chamber on 


that tragic April 24, he might never have followed the 
Queen-mother to Blois. His sincere admirer, M. Avenel, 
says, " His first thoughts were given to the Court and 
the Ministry ; only his second to exile and the Queen : 
ambitious by temperament, generous from necessity, the 
seeming heroism of his fidelity in misfortune reduces 
itself to this." 

And that very semblance of heroic fidelity was probably 
based on the calculation that Marie de Medicis, being the 
King's mother and a person not easily crushed or ignored, 
would be reconciled to her son before many months had 
passed by. That Richelieu had any real feeling for her 
beyond the banal devotion of a courtier seems exceedingly 
doubtful. He was a hard creature, made of steel and 
flame, and Marie, a dozen years older than himself, was 
not an attractive woman. The hasty retreat from Blois 
was no personal grief to him. 

In short, Richelieu now set himself to please — or rather, 
not to displease — Louis XHL, on whose favour his fortunes 
so clearly depended. His faith in the future never really . 
deserted him, though for seven years, like Jacob, he served 
and waited in the wilderness. 

During that first summer, at his pleasant priory of 
Coussay, he wrote a book. 

The worthy P^re Cotton, the Jesuit confessor of 
Henry IV. and Louis XIII., had been dismissed by Luynes. 
His successor, the Pere Arnoux, a much less discreet 
personage, preached a violent sermon before the King 
against the Protestants, accusing them of misunderstanding 
and misinterpreting the Bible. Four ministers of Charen- 
ton, learned men, published a spirited reply, which was 
suppressed by royal order, after discussions in the Sorbonne 
and the Parliament. But the Huguenots boasted loudly 
that the CathoHcs could not defend themselves, and it 
appeared to the Bishop of Lugon that indeed the Church 
had supplied no remedy to save souls from the evil effects 
of reading " that pernicious book." 

" Therefore," he says, " I employed the leisure of my 
solitude in answering it ; and owing fto the length of 


time during which I had been diverted from the exercise 
of my profession, I laboured with such ardour that in six 
weeks I finished the work." 

This Defence of the CathoHc Faith was a book of 250 
pages, full of theological learning, and written with 
moderation, tact, and practical good sense. The Bishop 
here preached again those doctrines of toleration, of con- 
version by reasoning, not by force, with which he had 
met the Huguenots of his diocese ten years before. It 
was the book of a statesman as much as of a theologian. 
He marshalled an army of arguments to prove the ministers 
in the wrong; enjoined on the schismatics loyalty and 
obedience to the laws; but for the King he advised 
gentleness and patience ; the object to be sought by all 
being national unity and peace. The book was printed 
at Poitiers, and pubHshed within three months of its 
beginning. It was greatly admired, and added much to 
its author's reputation ; but also, as he notes rather sadly, 
"it burdened me with envy." His enemies saw that they 
had not silenced the Bishop of Lugon by banishing him 
to his diocese. 

There, during these months of enforced residence, he 
seems to have worked with all the freshness and " ardour " 
consequent on absence and change of thoughts. He writes 
in August to the Nuncio : '* I am here in my diocese, 
where I try to make known by all my actions that I have 
and shall have no other passion than doing all I can for 
the glory of God." A word of personal complaint in his 
letters is rare. He was surrounded by his friends, living 
in a pleasant and healthy little chateau where the people 
loved him. Sebastien Bouthillier was now Dean of Lu^on 
and his constant companion. He had his books, collected 
in the days when he. La Rocheposay, Saint-Cyran and 
the rest found their diversion in study; and if all these 
things were not the passion of his life, yet he loved them 
still. He might have been far more of a bookworm than 
he really was, from the tone of his letters at this time. 
" I live at a little hermitage among books " ..." I am 
living quietly here in the enjoyment of my books "... 


" Serving God and my friends, I am resolved to spend 
the time quietly among my books and my neighbours;" 
and much more of the same kind. Now and then, it is 
true, when news from the great outside world comes to 
him, sitting helpless in his hermitage, he is seized with 
restless impatience and confesses himself malheureux. But 
this is only in letters to his own family and to his friend 
P^re Joseph : the face turned to the King and to all 
public personages is dignified, grave and serene. 

Richelieu watched, from distance and obscurity, the 
still rising fortunes of the Due de Luynes. The lucky 
Provencal, of doubtful nobility, was able to choose a wife 
among the noblest, richest and most beautiful women in 
France. He refused Mademoiselle de Vend6me, Henry IV.'s 
daughter — who afterwards married the Due d'Elbeuf— 
probably from fear and dislike of her odious brother. He 
would have nothing to say to Mademoiselle d'Ailly and 
her enormous fortune, but arranged a marriage for her 
with his younger brother Cadenet, a dashing soldier, who 
took the title of Due de Chaulnes from one of her estates. 
His own choice fell on Marie de Rohan, daughter of the 
Due de Montbazon, then a lovely wild girl of seventeen. 
After his death she married the Due de Chevreuse, a 
younger brother of the Due de Guise, and was for years 
the most admired beauty and most mischievous woman 
in Europe. 

Another piece of news was the removal of the Prince de 
Cond6, " ce petit brouillon," whom Luynes had not dared 
to set free, from the Bastille to the Chateau de Vincennes. 
His wife, Charlotte de Montmorency, was now allowed to 
share his imprisonment, and the consequence was the birth 
of Princess Anne-Genevi^ve de Bourbon, afterwards the 
famous Madame de Longueville. Louis de Bourbon, the 
great Cond6, was not born till after his father's release. 

Later in the year, the Due de Villeroy died at seventy- 
four. He was one of the best of those old Ministers of 
State whom Henry IV. left to his widow, the Regent. The 
Pope's Nuncio, Bentivoglio, had a high opinion of him. 
" Great was his experience, great his integrity ; . . . a 


good Frenchman and a good Catholic," says the Italian 
diplomat. Richelieu describes him as a sincere man of 
good judgment, but narrow-minded and jealous, and adds 
that he died after fifty-one years' service with clean hands, 
possessing little more than he had inherited from his fore- 
fathers. It was a fine testimonial to Villeroy from the 
young rival who, if only for a few months, had thrown him 
into the shade. 

Richelieu was less generous with regard to Jacques- 
Auguste de Thou, the " faithful and austere," " light of 
France" and " prince of historians," as Camden called him, 
who died in that same year. Richelieu observes of him 
that his piety was not equal to his learning, that knowledge 
and action are different things, and that the speculative 
science of government needs certain qualities of mind not 
always found to match it. The inwardness of this criticism 
lies in the fact that de Thou, in his Latin History of the six- 
teenth century, made certain scornful and severe remarks on 
Richelieu's ancestors and the part they took in the Wars of 
Religion. Richelieu, exceedingly sensitive as to the honour 
of his family, never forgave this, and when in 1642 Frangois- 
Auguste de Thou lost his head in the Cinq-Mars catas- 
trophe, it was currently believed that the Cardinal might 
have spared him but for those paragraphs in his father's 

In November 161 7 Nicole du Plessis-Richelieu, the 
Bishop's younger sister, was married quietly in Paris to 
a distinguished but eccentric Angevin noble, the Marquis 
de Maille-Breze. Nicole was now a woman of thirty. She 
had lived at Richelieu until her mother's death ; her portion 
cannot have been large ; of her brothers, one was a more 
or less struggling courtier, one a monk, one a politician out 
of office. She possessed little beyond a singular beauty 
and charm ; the Marquis de Breze, who married her for 
love, cannot have foreknown the brilliant thing he was 
doing. Brother-in-law to the most powerful man in Europe, 
father-in-law of the great Conde, Marshal of France, 
governor of Anjou, Viceroy of Catalonia, the Marquis 
had everything ; and, " extravagant " as he was, cared most 


of all for a good dog and a new book. But the marriage 
turned out unhappily. Nicole de Richelieu went out of her 
mind — one of her mad fancies being that she was made of 
glass — and died shut up in the castle of Saumur. M. de 
Breze was a bad husband, though a clever and accomplished 
man. According to the stories of the time, it was his un- 
kindness and brutal infidelity that upset poor Nicole's weak 

The Bishop, of course, was not present at his sister's 
marriage; but he appears to have made all the necessary 
arrangements with M. de Breze, leaving the actual cere- 
mony to be managed by Henry de Richelieu and his young 

The Due de Luynes was nervous on his lonely pinnacle 
of power. The presence of the Queen-mother at Blois was 
a constant anxiety to him ; she was not only, in his eyes, an 
enemy to the State, but his own personal and unforgiving 
enemy. And more than the Queen-mother he feared her 
friends ; certain of the great nobles, who were already 
beginning to resent his exaltation, and those former minis- 
ters who had been the real strength of her rule. Barbin 
was still in the Bastille. With an appearance of leniency, 
Luynes made his imprisonment easier and winked at a 
correspondence between him and the Queen. Copies of 
every letter came into the hands of Luynes. Marie's 
messengers boasted of their mistress's new freedom and 
speedy return to the Court. 

These intrigues, dangerous from Luynes' point of view, 
came to a sudden end. Barbin, strictly imprisoned, nearly 
lost his head ; many arrests were made ; two or three poor 
creatures who had written pamphlets on the Queen's side 
were cruelly put to death ; Marie's own imprisonment was 
made much more rigorous, royal guards and royal spies 
with new and strict orders being set to watch the Chateau 
de Blois. 

Thus setting himself to terrorise the Queen-mother and 
her friends, Luynes did not forget the Bishop of Lugon. 
On Wednesday in Holy Week, 161 8, Richelieu received a 
letter from the King full of vague accusations of "goings 


and comings and secret proceedings which caused umbrage 
and suspicion, affecting the King's service and the tran- 
quillity of his subjects," ordering him to retire immediately 
to Avignon, there to remain till further commands. 

" I was not surprised at receiving this despatch," he says 
in his Memoirs, " having always expected unjust, barbarous 
and unreasonable treatment from the cowards who governed 
us. . . . But as I was accused of acting against His Majesty's 
service, I humbly begged him to send some dispassionate 
person to examine the facts on the spot, being sure that 
by such means His Majesty would be convinced of my 

It does not appear indeed that Richelieu had been 
much concerned, if at all, in the recent intrigues between 
Blois and Paris. But Luynes was afraid of him; and 
he was forced to depart instantly for that exile which 
was the saddest experience of his younger life — proving 
once more the old truth that the night is darkest before 
the dawn. 

He left Lugon on Good Friday, for the royal commands 
admitted of no delay, and started on the long, difficult, 
cross-country journey from Poitou to the Venaissin. In 
wind-swept Avignon, still a half-Italian city belonging to 
the Pope, he hired a house and settled himself to endure 
the cruel idleness of banishment. He was not alone. His 
brother and brother-in-law, M. de Richelieu and M. du 
Pont-de-Courlay, shared his exile, for they too were old 
adherents of the Queen-mother, and Luynes feared them 
all. He shut up his captive birds in the same cage — " a 
great consolation to us," says the Bishop, " though it was 
not done for that end, but in order to keep us in sight 

Once more he flung himself into hard study. He wrote 
or dictated a large collection of fragmentary notes, which 
took the form of a kind of apology or explanation of 
his political views and doings. He wrote a religious 
book, Llnstrudion du Chretien^ planned long before. He 
seeems to have led a solitary and studious life, seeing few 
people, writing few letters except to his diocese, medi- 


tating much and suffering much, for he was ill in body as 
in mind. 

And in the autumn the gloom of exile was deepened by 
severe family sorrows. The young Marquise de Richelieu, 
Marguerite Guiot des Charmeaux, whom her husband had 
been obliged to leave behind, died at Richelieu after the 
birth of her first child. The little boy, Frangois Louis, 
only lived a few weeks, and was then laid in the vault 
at Braye with his mother and his ancestors. It was not 
long before Henry de Richelieu himself joined that com- 

He was terribly grieved and desolate. Every glimpse 
that we have of his wife shows her good and charming, 
and the blows of fortune may well have seemed to both 
brothers too heavy to bear. The child's death meant the 
extinction of the direct male line of du Plessis-Richelieu. 

After some weeks, by the intervention of their old friend 
Bassompierre, the Marquis and his brother-in-law M. du 
Pont-de-Courlay were allowed to go to Richelieu and to 
Paris on their family business. The Bishop remained alone 
at Avignon. 

His solitude there was of his own choice, for the Vice- 
Legate and other dignitaries were ready to make much of 
him, and a letter to his brother, written in February 1619, 
shows him very sensible of some special kindness. He 
commissions M. de Richelieu to buy and to send him the 
most beautiful hackney he can find — " mais belle tout-a- 
fait " — probably such a gentle, ambling creature as a Vice- 
Legate would ride — as well as pieces of choice goldsmith's 
work to hang on watches. His anxiety is that the presents 
should be " something conformable to his condition," for 
it is better to give nothing at all than "un maigre present." 
The Bishop of Lugon, in poverty and exile, had already 
the splendid tastes of the fiminentissime. 

But in actual fact he was very solitary and intensely sad. 
For once in his life he seems to have lost faith in his star, 
and as the conviction that he would die in exile gained 
strength, he thought a good deal of the poor little diocese 
he might never see again. He wrote a curious document. 


a kind of last will, dated February 8, and addressed to the 
Chapter of Lugon. After some expressions of sincere 
affection, he leaves his body to the Cathedral, " that I may 
repose when dead in the same place where, living, I desire 
to be. ..." 

"... The place of my sepulture shall be, if you please, 
immediately above the singers' desk, leaving the higher 
part of the choir, as more honourable, for those who shall 
come after me. . . . 

" I leave you also all the silver plate of my chapel, 
my ornaments, and hangings of Flemish tapestry, to adorn 
the choir, without any condition whatever, trusting to be 
helped by your prayers. . . . 

" If I could leave you anything more, I would very 
willingly do so ; my will surpassing my power, my wishes 
for you must supply the defect. 

" The first benefit I wish you is to live in clear con- 
sciousness of your condition, keeping before your eyes that 
this world is but illusion, and that there is no profit or 
contentment except in the service of God, who never for- 
sakes them who serve Him. 

** I desire for you a bishop who, equalling me in affec- 
tion, may surpass me in all other qualities. ... I conjure 
him, whoever he may be, to reside with you, to visit his 
diocese, to encourage in their duty, by his example and 
his teaching, those who have the care of souls under 
him, to maintain and augment the seminary founded at 
Lu9on, to which 1 leave a thousand livres and my whole 
library. . . ." 

To this seminary for priests, a favourite foundation 
of his, Richelieu had already given the revenues of an 
abbey in Poitou. He ends his testament by beseeching the 
Chapter to live in the closest union with his successor. 

" After this, Sirs, it only remains to conjure you to love 
my memory as that of a person who tenderly loves you 
and passionately desires your salvation." 

Richelieu's final farewell to the Lugon Chapter was 
written four years later, in less affectionate and more 
businesslike terms. He was about to be plunged in the 


political whirlpool which swallowed the rest of his life, 
when he resigned, the see in favour of M. de Bragelogne, 
receiving in exchange the Abbey of Notre Dame du Wast 
in the diocese of Le Mans, a canonry and prebend at 
St. Martin of Tours, and a retiring pension of 6,000 livres. 

The town of Blois was asleep in the dark small hours 
of February 23, when Queen Marie de Medicis got out 
of her window in the Chateau, climbed or sHd down a 
hundred and twenty feet of ladders — a really wonderful 
feat in a woman of her size and indolence— hurried 
through the silent streets to the bridge over the Loire, 
got into a coach with two or three attendants and some 
boxes of money and jewels, and drove off, first to Loches, 
then to Angouleme. When Blois, castle and town, awoke 
in the morning, the captive royal bird had flown. 

The affair had been arranged, with extraordinary 
cleverness and secrecy, by the Abbe Rucellai, one of 
those Italians in Marie's household whose intrigues had 
brought about the disgrace of Richelieu. The active 
agent was the old Due d'fipernon. 

He had been a courtier of Henry III. and Henry IV., 
and had not yet taken up arms in actual rebellion. It 
was he who stood by Marie de Medicis after the death 
of Henry, and faced the Parliament with a fierce declara- 
tion of her right to the Regency. She had not been 
grateful : the Marechal d'Ancre took the place in her 
court which d'l^pernon considered his due. Too proud 
for a lower position, he retired to his estates and govern- 
ments, which were many, including the town of Metz, 
Saintonge, and the Angoumois. The rule of Luynes 
was quite as offensive to him as that of Concini had 
been, and the plot for the Queen's escape was welcomed 
by one of the boldest, most romantic and adventurous 
characters of the century. 

When the time drew near, the Duke was at Metz. It 

■/as necessary to gain the Angoumois by a secret dash 
cross France, beset with so many dangers that the 
chroniclers called that ride *' le voyage d'Amadis." His 
province successfully reached, the Duke sent two active 



young men to Blois to manage the actual escape, and 
himself waited for the Queen at Loches, then conveying 
her to a place of greater safety. She was now free to 
make terms with her son or to set France on fire against 

The Due de Luynes heard of Her Majesty's "sortie" 
with amazement and alarm. He had long watched her 
uneasily; and his brother afterwards told Richelieu that 
he had resolved to take the King to Blois on the pretext 
of a friendly visit, but really to convey the Queen-mother 
"politely" to Amboise, his own stronghold, where "she 
would remain for the future under good and sure guard." 
He knew well that her quarrel with him grew more bitter 
with every month of her captivity. During that very 
winter he had married her second daughter, Madame 
Christine, to the Prince of Piedmont, the Duke of Savoy's 
son, with scarcely the formal courtesy of asking her 
consent. Such an insult Marie was not likely to forget. 

Once at liberty, she might become the rallying centre 
for all the discontented in the kingdom, and Luynes knew 
that they were many. He had offended the nobles by 
withdrawing various pensions, and had set the great 
Protestant party against him by royal decrees, especially 
one which aimed at restoring Catholic worship in the 
little kingdom of B^arn. 

For a few days civil war seemed imminent. The King 
and Luynes, both furiously angry, began to raise troops, 
and talked of riding ofT to the west. But Luynes was 
not Concini. He was prudent au fond^ some say timid, 
and no soldier. He began to ask advice from wiser men 
in Paris and elsewhere, even from the Due de Bouillon, 
head of the Protestants, and they all with one voice 
counselled peace. Besides, the nobles showed no great 
eagerness to rebel suddenly against the King by joining 
the Queen-mother and d'fipernon, while Marie's letters 
to her son gave a kind of basis for negotiations. It 
was resolved to throw the actual blame of the affair on 
d'lSpernon, and a royal edict at once deprived him of all 
his appointments and governments, while ambassadors, 


carefully chosen to please the Queen, were sent to her 
at Angouleme. It seemed possible that such persuasive 
tongues as those of her old favourite the Pere de BeruUe 
and of the Comte de Bethune, Sully's more courtly 
brother and a devoted servant of Henry IV., might 
induce her to accept the terms offered by her son, 
to renounce the company of rebels against his authority, 
and to choose a peaceable residence in some other part 
of the kingdom. 

There were those in Paris at the moment who did not 
wait for the failure of these negotiations to suggest an 
even wiser plan. One man in France could manage the 
Queen-mother : he was in exile at Avignon. Restore 
him to her council ; give him authority to mediate between 
her and the King; his cleverness and moderation would 
soon bring her to a less violent frame of mind, and so 
arrange matters to the King's satisfaction. 

The originators of this idea were Richelieu's two 
faithful friends, the Dean of Lugon and Pere Joseph. 

The wonderful friar had been much away from France 
during Richelieu's exile. He had been to Rome and to 
Spain, travelling mostly on foot, as the rule of his Order 
required. He had been working hard on the details of 
a new crusade against the Turks, with the object not 
only of rescuing the Holy Places, but of driving Islam 
out of Europe. It was the favourite dream of Joseph's 
life. He worked at its realisation in concert with the 
Due de Nevers, Charles de Gonzague, who was descended, 
through his mother, from the Christian emperors of the 
East. These two, with the Pope's sanction, founded a 
crusading order of chivalry, " La Milice Chretienne," and 
before the Thirty Years War broke out their scheme 
had become popular throughout Catholic Europe. But 
it was an anachronism, a mediaeval romance, and as 
such it soon died away. The two camps of Christendom 
had each other to fight. The revolt of the Bohemian 
Protestants sealed the fate of Constantinople and Palestine. 

P^re Joseph's crusading ardour was equalled by his 
devotion to Richelieu. He and Bouthillier worked so 


well on the minds of Luynes and of the King that it 
was decided to recall the Bishop from his exile and to 
send him to join the Queen-mother at Angouleme, with 
the understanding that while faithfully serving Her 
Majesty he would counsel nothing against the King's 
interest and the nation's welfare. The letter of recall 
was written by Louis XIII. 's own hand, and was con- 
veyed to Avignon by M. du Tremblay, Pere Joseph's 
brother. Riding post-haste, he arrived there on March 7, 

Here Richelieu may tell his own story. 

** As soon as I had received His Majesty's despatch, 
though the weather was extraordinarily bad, the snow deep 
and the cold extreme, I posted away from Avignon to obey 
my orders, led both by inclination and duty. But my haste 
was soon interrupted, for in a little wood near Vienne I fell 
in with a troop of thirty men of the Sieur d'Alincourt's 
guards, commanded by his captain of the guard, who met 
me with arms lowered, saying that they had orders to 
arrest me. I begged the captain to show me his powers, 
but he was provided with none. He replied to me that he 
was executing the orders of the Sieur d'Alincourt, who had 
his orders from the King. . . ." 

The Bishop's impatient rage may be imagined. He was 
also greatly alarmed, for it was only too possible that the 
King might have changed his mind. Resistance was out of 
the question. M. du Tremblay rode off to Lyons, where 
M. d'Alincourt was governor — he was the son of the Due 
de Villeroy, and had befriended Richelieu in his young 
days — in order to find out which of the royal commands 
was the latest in date. The Bishop and his servants were 
conveyed by the soldiers to Vienne, the stupid captain 
treating his prisoner " like a criminal." A sleepless night 
at the inn was made more hideous by bands of men fighting 
in the streets ; a sham rescue, it seems, was devised by the 
captain for the greater credit of himself and his men. No 
wonder that the Bishop was exceedingly angry. " I 
thought you were ignorant," said he, " but I now see you 
are malicious." 


In the meanwhile, M. du Tremblay had laid the King's 
letter before the governor of Lyons, who perceived that he 
had made a mistake. It had arisen from a morsel of gossip 
sent him by his son, who was at court when the news of 
the Queen's escape arrived, and to whom the Due de 
Luynes had hurriedly said — " If your father could arrest 
the Bishop of Lugon, he would do us a great pleasure." 
Luynes probably forgot the words, spoken before the idea 
of making use of the Bishop as a mediator had even been 
suggested; but M. d'Alincourt made haste to act upon 
them, sending spies to Avignon and cleverly arranging the 
enterprise, " which was not a very difficult one," observes 
Richelieu, " there being question only of stopping a man 
travelling alone." 

The governor did his best to ''change his rigour into 
civility." He sent his coach to meet the Bishop on his way 
to Lyons, with a letter to his captain, who was much 
astonished and ashamed. RicheUeu showed no resentment. 
He easily forgave the captain, dined with M. d'Alincourt 
at Lyons, and then pursued his journey. Its risks were 
not over, for the snow lay deep in the high wild country 
between Lyons and Limoges, and the King's troops, who 
were abroad in those parts, pursued the Bishop for some 
distance, supposing him to be the Due d'Epernon's son, 
the Archbishop of Toulouse. 

Richelieu arrived at Angouleme on March 27, after a 
journey of more than three weeks. It was again Wednes- 
day in Holy Week. According to his own account he was 
not made welcome, except by Madame de Guercheville, 
The Due d'jfipernon and his party looked on him with 
doubt and suspicion as an emissary of the King. Marie de 
Medicis, surrounded by them, hardly dared to show her 
feelings of relief and joy. 



The Treaty of Angoul^me— The death of Henry de Richelieu— The 
meeting at Couzi^res— The Queen-mother at Angers— Richelieu's influence 
for peace — The Battle of the Ponts-de-C^— Intrigues of the Due de Luynes 
— Marriage of Richelieu's niece— The campaigns in Bdarn and Languedoc — 
The death of Luynes— The Bishop of Lugon becomes a Cardinal. 

NEITHER the Due d'fipernon's haughty reserve nor 
the Abbe Rucellai's malignant dislike and envy 
could long affect Richelieu's place among the 
Queen-mother's counsellors. The Treaty of Angouleme 
was his work, in concert with the King's ambassadors, 
BeruUe, Bethune, the Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld, and 
last, not least, Pere Joseph. On both sides the past was 
to be forgotten ; Marie was to live where she chose and 
to dispose freely of her revenues ; all her partisans were 
restored to the places and honours of which royal edicts 
had deprived them. On the other hand, she gave up 
the government of Normandy for the smaller one of Anjou, 
with 600,000 crowns in money, and the Due d'fipernon was 
obliged to renounce Boulogne, for which he received an 
indemnity of 50,000 crowns. It was thought that the 
Queen and her party had the best of the bargain, and 
every one, even the Due d'JEpernon, gave the Bishop of 
Lugon credit for the compromise. He had still bitter 
enemies among the Queen's entourage, but he had also 
firm friends, and the best of these was his brother Henry, 
distinguished alike as soldier and courtier, on whom the 
Queen immediately bestowed the military government of 
her chief town and castle of Angers. She thus gravely 
displeased her more greedy and restless servants, men 
who preferred active rebellion with its chances to peace 



and loyalty. The Abbe Rucellai was leader among them, 
and the Marquis de Themines, captain of the Queen's 
guard, was one of the most ambitious. Various insulting 
remarks made by him came to the ears of the Marquis de 
Richelieu ; the consequence was a duel, in which Henry 
de Richelieu fell, stabbed to the heart. 

" Death took him," writes his brother, " but not so 
suddenly but that the Sieur de Berulle, who chanced to 
be passing by, had time to give him absolution." 

It was the sharpest grief that ever touched Richelieu. 
The two had been much drawn together of late years, 
and they seemed at this very time to be starting together 
on a fresh and brilliant career. 

The Marquis de Themines disappeared in disgrace 
from the Queen's circle, but others of his party were ready 
to snatch at the government of Angers and the command 
of the guards. They were disappointed. Marie de Medicis 
replaced the dead Richelieu by his uncle, Amador de la 
Porte, Commander of the Order of Malta, the worthy 
and gallant man to whom young Armand de Richelieu 
owed his early education as collegian and cadet. The 
captaincy of the guard was given to the Marquis de Breze, 
whose son Armand, afterwards Due de Fronsac, was born 
about this time. 

Rucellai and his partisans, seeing themselves out- 
generalled, vanished one by one and left a clear field to 
the Bishop of Lugon, whose commanding influence grew 
every day stronger with the Queen. 

A meeting and formal reconciliation between herself 
and her son became now the question of the moment. In 
preparation either for this or for the chance of civil war 
the Court had already moved from Paris, with a strong 
escort of troops, to the Loire. The first stopping-place 
was Amboise, where the King received news that the 
treaty had been concluded. At Angouleme bonfires blazed 
and a Te Deum was sung ; at Tours, where the Court 
proceeded to establish itself for the summer, things were 
taken more quietly, perhaps more cynically, for the royal 
interview was put off from month to month, and Luynes 


found that he had a formidable person to deal with in 
the Queen's chief counsellor. Though the treaty might 
be signed, there were further arrangements to be made 
before Richelieu would allow his royal mistress to meet 
her son. 

In the meanwhile there was going and coming between 
Tours and Angouleme, where the Prince of Piedmont 
and his young wife, with his brother, Prince Thomas of 
Savoy, visited the Queen-mother and were magnificently 
received by her loyal friend the Due d'fipernon. 

The long hot summer dragged slowly on. The young 
King and Queen, Monsieur (Gaston, Due d'Orleans, a boy 
of eleven), the little Princess Henriette, the Due de Luynes 
and the whole Court, passed the ijme as best they could 
among the woods and rivers of Touraine and Anjou. 
They visited La Fleche, where the heart of Henry IV. 
lay in the chapel of the Jesuit College founded by him — 
and where its ashes are still preserved, the embalmed 
heart itself having been burnt by patriots in the Revolution. 
They made a progress among stately sun-baked chateaux, 
lingering at Le Lude, the owner of which, formerly the 
patron of Luynes and his brothers, now held the important 
post of governor to Monsieur. Some of the courtiers, 
such as Bassompierre, found reasons for riding backwards 
and forwards, post-haste, between Tours and Paris. The 
Ministers there needed watching, being apt to sell rich 
military appointments on their own authority. 

At length Richelieu could delay no longer. He had 
gained for the Queen-mother some additional advantages 
beyond the April treaty, and he had extracted from Luynes 
a kind of vague promise, or at least an understanding, that 
he should be recommended to the Pope for a Cardinal's 
Hat. At present this was his chief object and desire. 

At the end of August Marie de Medicis left Angouleme 
to rejoin her son. She was accompanied to the frontier 
of the Angoumois by the Due d'fipernon, from whom she 
parted with tears, and she was escorted on her journey 
by Hercule de Rohan, Due de Montbazon, father-in-law 
of Luynes, whose chateau of Couzieres, near Tours, had 


been chosen for the royal meeting. It was not large or 
important, being rather a country-house than a castle ; but 
its woods and gardens were beautiful, and never, in a 
history not lacking in romance, was Couzieres the scene 
of so much splendour. 

The Queen-mother arrived there in the evening, with 
her train of ladies and gentlemen, among whom were the 
Archbishop of Toulouse and the Bishop of Lugon. The 
King left Tours the next morning on horseback, attended 
by five hundred princes, lords and gentlemen. 

" He arrived at the said Couzieres before the Queen- 
mother had ordered her dinner; he entered by the park 
gate, and the Queen at once came forth to receive him. 
She met him in the garden, and there they saluted and 
embraced each other with a great appearance of content- 
ment on both sides ; the Queen-mother wept for joy." 

According to tradition, they found little to say to each 
other. '' My son has grown taller since I saw him," said 
Marie. " For your service, Madame," said Louis. 

They walked together, surrounded by crowds, to the 
house, and then, while the Queen dined, Louis strolled in 
the garden. Later on, another splendid cavalcade arrived 
from Tours — that of the reigning Queen, who " made her 
compliments with many demonstrations of joy" and accom- 
panied the Queen-mother in her coach to Tours, the King 
flying his hawks in the open country by the way. 

Marie's visit to the Court at Tours was not a success. 
The precedence taken by Anne of Austria offended her. 
And Luynes was playing a double game. He wanted the 
reconciliation, which would rid him of an independent 
adversary ; he wanted to work a separation between Marie 
and the nobles of her party, especially the powerful Due 
d'fipernon ; but he watched with a jealous eye any appear- 
ance of a real understanding between her and the King. 
As to her friends and servants, he gave them fair words 
and played them false at every turn. His conduct, dis- 
honest or diplomatic, may be judged by the fact that while 
the King was writing to the Pope to request that the Arch- 
bishop of Toulouse and the Bishop of Lu9on should be 


promoted to be cardinals, Luynes was giving the Court of 
Rome to understand, by a secret despatch, that only the 
first name mentioned by the King need be taken in earnest. 
These " sourdes et deloyales pratiques," as M. Avenel calls 
them, continued for many months, and Richelieu had few 
powerful advocates. Cardinal du Perron was dead ; and 
Cardinal Bentivoglio, the Nuncio, remarked coldly on the 
extravagance of the Queen-mother's demand and " la 
sfrenata ambizione di Lusson." 

The Court left Tours on its return to Paris towards the 
end of September. The King wished his mother to accom- 
pany him, but she refused, choosing first to take formal 
possession of her government of Anjou. Travelling by 
way of Chinon, and lingering a few days at the stately 
castle on the Vienne, which had been made over to her by 
treaty, and was commanded by the Seigneur de Chanteloube, 
one of her most violent partisans, she received news which 
deepened her displeasure and suspicion with regard to the 
Due de Luynes. Her younger son's governor, the Comte 
du Lude, had died of fever at Tours, and now, without a 
word to her. Colonel d'Ornano, a creature of Luynes and 
a quite unfit man for the charge, was appointed in his stead. 
Another piece of news, sprung upon the Queen-mother 
without consultation or formal announcement, was that of 
the release of the Prince of Conde, her own and Richelieu's 
enemy, from Vincennes, and his reception by the King, 
with a royal declaration blaming those who had brought 
about his captivity. This may have been aimed at the 
Marechal d'Ancre, but it struck the Queen. Marie under- 
stood that the first prince of the blood was now to be 
played off against herself in Luynes' game. 

She was magnificently received at Angers. The citizens 
of that noble old town were as warlike, independent and 
keenly political now as in the days of King John, and quite 
as unwilling to " open wide their gates " to any unpopular 
sovereign. They had been amusing themselves during that 
summer by rioting against their excellent bishop, Fouquet 
de la Varenne, on some matter of ecclesiastical discipline. 
Commander de la Porte, with all his courage and loyalty, 



was not quite the man to manage " this peevish town." He 
was a good-tempered chatterbox. Before the Queen's 
entrance into the city, Richelieu wrote a long letter to " my 
dear Uncle," in which, after a number of practical details 
as to arms and provisions, he recommended gravity and 
dignity in dealing with the bourgeoisie. 

All went well on October 16, when Marie took formal 
possession of her city of Angers. Thousands of people 
received her with immense rejoicings. There was a grand 
military display, martial music and ringing of bells, as the 
Queen approached, having crossed the long arches and 
causeways of the Ponts-de-Ce. She did not lodge in the 
gloomy old castle, where Henry H. of England once held 
his court, but in the most beautiful house in the town, the 
Logis Barrault, now known to travellers as the Museum of 
Angers. There a Court soon gathered round her, increasing 
in numbers from day to day. 

This state of things continued through the winter and 
the spring. Over and over again the King invited his 
mother to Paris ; but she and her intimate counsellors 
found little satisfaction in the assurances sent by Luynes 
of the royal good-will. The promises went hand in hand 
with too many slights and affronts ; and though Richelieu, 
according to his own account, believed the Queen-mother's 
right place to be at her son's Court, and though he felt that 
his own future lay there, he hesitated to press his opinion 
against that of the majority of her friends. He could not 
fail to see, as they did, that " there was much to be feared 
in the power of the favourites." 

Luynes and his brothers were the first men in France. 
As to personal character, though spoilt by success, these 
three Provengal adventurers were good fellows enough • 
but as to greediness and ambition, Concini himself had not 
gone further. In order to be independent of the King's 
favour, Luynes had contrived to get most of the strong 
frontier towns of France into his hands. His brothers, one 
of them a Marshal of France, married two of the richest 
heiresses in the kingdom and took their place among the 
highest nobility. 



" You would say," writes Richelieu in his Memoirs^ 
" that France exists for them alone ; that for them she 
abounds in all kinds of riches. . . . The governments and 
places that they hold seem in small proportion to those 
they consider their due ; . . . what is not to be had for 
money they take by violence ; ... for their private bargains 
they make use of the money raised from the people for the 
public good. In a word, if the whole of France were to be 
sold. Us acheteroient la France de la France memer 

Add to all this the insolent, boasting speeches which 
came to the Queen-mother's ears, the complaints of the 
King's own Ministers and of the Parliament of Paris, who 
liked the new favourites no better than the old, and the 
anger of the nobles who found their pensions unpaid and 
the best appointments snatched from their teeth ; — it was 
not amazing either that Marie hesitated as to leaving her 
town and Court in the west to place herself, personally, 
in the power of Messieurs de Luynes, or that Richelieu was 
slow in advising her to do so. 

In May and June 1620 the governors of provinces were 
openly showing their discontent. The Due de Vendome 
could dispose of Brittany, the Due de Longueville of 
Normandy, the Due de Mayenne of Guyenne; and these 
three, with many others, left the Court and retired to their 
governments, where they began to prepare for civil war. 
The Due de Rohan, in the name of the Protestant party, 
went so far as to advise the Queen-mother to leave Angers 
for Bordeaux and to assemble an army in the South. One 
of the chief malcontents, the Comtesse de Soissons, furious 
at the release of her cousin and enemy, the Prince de 
Conde, left Paris with her young son and came to Angers. 
As the summer advanced, the Queen having decided to 
hold her own in the west, many of les grands followed 
Madame la Comtesse, and Marie was surrounded by a 
crowd of restless, warlike nobles and princes, who were 
held back with difficulty from declaring open and instant 
war upon the King. Half France, apparently, was on her 
side — princes, populations. Catholics, Huguenots, and men 
of law : at one moment a successful campaign against the 


King and Luynes seemed a certainty, and Angers was the 
centre of enthusiastic military preparations. 

But Richelieu was there — a power behind all the dis- 
contented swaggerers of Her Majesty's Court. A small, 
strong party, including the Queen herself, believed in him. 
He had taken care that his friends should hold the places 
nearest to her : Claude Bouthillier, brother of his faithful 
Sebastien, was at this time her secretary. The clergy, who 
always influenced Marie de Medicis, were with him to a 

He did not intend that the misunderstandings between 
the Queen-mother and the King, hardly mended by the 
passing reconciliation at Couzieres, should come to actual 
war. It was he who prevented the move to the South ; 
he who, through all these months at Angers, carried on 
negotiations with Luynes. Now, as always, he resented 
the domination of the princes and nobles, remaining con- 
vinced that the King must, in the last resort, be the chief 
authority in the kingdom. He deeply distrusted Luynes, 
and not altogether for personal reasons of disappointed 
ambition. In a sense he stood between the two parties ; 
he did not cease to be something of a mediator ; his advice 
to Marie de Medicis was never that of a political firebrand. 
Still, surrounded by firebrands — Vendome and his like— it 
was difificult for the wisest counsels to prevail, and Riche- 
lieu seems to have accepted the inevitable, hoping that the 
warlike show made by the Queen's friends might so far 
impress the King as to incline him to listen to the serious 
complaints poured into his ears by her and by them. 

The effect was not precisely this, but Richelieu was in 
one way content : it was not the Queen-mother who de- 
clared war. Louis XIII. himself, egged on, not by Luynes, 
who doubted and hesitated, but by the Prince de Conde, 
decided suddenly to march into Normandy and to crush 
his enemies by armed force. 

" I will not stay in Paris," he said, " to see my kingdom 
made a prey and my faithful servants oppressed. . . . My 
conscience accuses me of no want of piety with regard to 
the Queen my mother, justice with regard to my people. 


kind deeds with regard to the nobles of my kingdom. 
Therefore, allons ! " 

The words had a ring of Henry IV., and they were 
justified by the event. With a small army the King swept 
Normandy. Rouen and Caen made no resistance ; the 
Due de Longueville and the Grand Prieur de Vendome 
fled before their royal master. The first week in August 
found the King on Angevin soil ; on the 7th he was within 
two miles of Angers, on high ground commanding the road 
between the city and the Loire. Angers was to his right ; 
the village and bridges of the Ponts-de-Ce to his left. 

For a month, ever since the King left Paris, confusion 
had reigned at Angers. Negotiations had gone on 
furiously, for neither Louis XIII. nor Luynes wished to 
come to actual blows with the Queen-mother. Richelieu, 
in public and private, had done his best ; in July, preaching 
before the Queen and her Court, he warned her that no 
faithful subject could advise her to rebel against her son, 
and begged her to consider that no arms could triumph 
over an angel-guarded King. But all this was of no avail. 
With hurry and rashness inconceivable, considering that 
neither d'fipernon, Rohan, nor Mayenne had marched to join 
them, the warlike party at Angers prepared for resistance. 

Marie had a poor set of officers. The Comte de 
Soissons, supposed to be in command, was a boy of 
eighteen ; he had courage in plenty, but no experience. 
The Due de Vendome was a clever, blustering coward ; 
the Due de Nemours a courageous fool ; the Marechal de 
Bois-Dauphin was too old for fighting. Louis de Marillac, 
afterwards a Marshal of France with a tragic history, did 
more than any of them ; but he also talked more, and his 
plan for the defence was a foolish one. He and Vendome 
attempted to fortify the whole length of the road, about 
two miles, between Angers and the Ponts-de-Ce, by an 
entrenchment which, according to Richelieu, would have 
needed twenty thousand men to defend it. He gave his 
opinion freely, but soldiers were not going to be advised 
by a churchman, and "nothing could divert them from 
their enterprise." 


The sketchy fortification was not even finished, when 
the King's troops swooped down to the attack. His 
infantry fought in the flat meadows, under cover of the 
lines of hedgerow trees ; his cavalry plunged into the 
Loire, a shorter way of reaching the bridges and the little 
old castle that defended them. Once the passage of the 
Loire was in the King's hands, the Queen-mother's retreat 
would be cut ofT and she would be separated from her 
partisans in the south country : this was why the King, 
advised by Conde, did not make a direct attack on the town. 

The battle had hardly begun when the Due de Retz, 
one of the Queen's commanders, seized with the idea that 
some treacherous negotiations were going on in the back- 
ground, threw up her cause and rode off the field with 
1500 men. The rest of the little army, about 2500 men 
against 14,000, kept up an uncertain struggle along the 
road and the bridges through some sweltering hours of the 
August day. A few hundred lives were lost, and it was not 
till evening that the royal army found itself in possession 
of the river branches and the little town of Ponts-de-Ce. 
Even then the wounded governor of the castle, M. de 
Bethancourt, held out there till the next, morning with a 
garrison of ten men. 

Few of the Queen's officers showed such a spirit. 
Long before the battle or rout was over, Cesar, Due de 
Vendome, son of Henry IV., came galloping back into 
Angers with the news that all was lost. 

"He entered her presence," says Richelieu, ^^ avec un 
epouvantement epouvantable^ saying, * Madame, I wish I were 
dead.' On which one of her ladies, who did not lack wit 
replied, fori a propos, ' If that be really your wish you 
should have stayed where you were. . . .' The Due de 
Vendome was promptly followed by all the other chiefs, 
except the Comte de Saint-Aignan, who was taken 

So ended " la drolerie des Ponts-de-Ce," as the wags 
called it. Now was the time for the peacemakers. After 
a few distracted hours, during which, says Richelieu, ** fear 
was absolutely mistress of all hearts and reason had no 


place," a treaty, quite amazingly favourable to the Queen- 
mother, was drawn up by himself and the King's envoys. 

He must have wondered at the success of his own 
diplomacy. At first, looking round on his terrified party, 
on the helpless city with a royal army at her gates, he had 
advised Marie de Medicis to pack up her jewels and ride 
off by night with a few hundred light horse, fording the 
Loire and gaining the free country beyond, where she 
might make her own terms with her enemies. But the 
unexpected moderation of the King and Luynes made 
everything easy. The treaty of Angouleme was confirmed ; 
the Queen's partisans were amnestied ; the Ponts-de-Ce 
with their defences were restored to her ; her debts were 
paid ; she had full liberty to live where she pleased, so long 
as she remained in good understanding with the King and 
his Ministers. 

All this was the work of Richelieu, in concert with 
Luynes. The truth was, that the rivalry of these two had 
reached a point where it became plain that they were 
necessary to each other. Luynes knew, or fancied, that the 
King was getting beyond his authority : the dismal boy 
had grown into a man and a soldier. The clever and 
reckless Prince de Conde made him feel what Luynes never 
felt or taught — the charm of war. And he was ready, more 
ready than Luynes wished, for a really cordial reconcilia- 
tion with his mother. This took place at the old Marechal 
de Cosse's magnificent Chateau de Brissac, south of the 
Loire, five days after the battle. Marie again wept tears 
of joy. " I have you now," said Louis, " and you shall 
never escape me again." 

Detested as he was by the nobles and princes, shadowed 
by Conde, threatened by the Queen-mother's newly rising 
influence, Luynes thought it politic to place Richelieu, 
as far as possible, definitely on his side. " With great 
caresses," he renewed the promise of a Cardinal's Hat. 
A messenger was sent to Rome with a letter from the 
King ; and this letter was soon followed by the despatch of 
Sebastien Bouthillier, ever faithful — not, as some writers 
have represented him, a private envoy from Richelieu* 


himself, but authorised by Louis, ready at this moment 
to gratify his mother in every way. 

But a thousand intrigues, volumes of letters, promises 
made and broken in France and in Italy, still lay between 
the Bishop of Lu9on and his ambition's crown. Bouthillier 
remained at Rome two years, working hard in the dark. 
He was made Bishop of Aire before his patron became 
Cardinal, but nothing checked his devoted labour. Old 
Paul V. was difficult and obstinate. He had enough 
French cardinals : the young Bishop, to whose early con- 
secration he had half unwillingly consented, had not repaid 
him well : as Secretary of State, his attitude towards the 
Holy See had been doubtful : he had shown some inclina- 
tion of late to ally the Queen-mother with the Huguenots. 
And besides all this it was well understood at Rome that 
whatever letters, whatever ambassadors, might be sent by 
Louis XIII., M. de Luynes was in no hurry. 

While continuing his sourdes et deloyales pratiques — no 
secret to Richelieu, who endured them with sphinx-like 
patience — Luynes did his best to let all men believe him on 
the best of terms with the Queen-mother's chief counsellor. 
He suggested the union of their families by a marriage 
between his nephew, Antoine de Beauvoir du Roure, 
Seigneur de Combalet, and Richelieu's niece, Marie Magde- 
leine Vignerot du Pont-de-Courlay. She was a very 
pretty girl of sixteen ; he was a coarse, red-faced, awkward 
soldier. She was not a willing sacrifice ; neither was her 
uncle particularly eager; he hesitated long indeed for 
several reasons, but the Queen-mother advised him, for 
fear of Luynes, to consent, and the marriage was celebrated 
in Paris in November, during the Court festivities that 
followed the triumphant return of Louis XIII. from his 
short campaign against the Protestants of Beam. 

Madame de Combalet's unwelcome husband did not 
annoy her long ; he was killed at the siege of Montpellier 
in September 1622. The young widow, a girl of inde- 
pendent spirit, worthy of her mother's family, at once 
resolved that she would not be sacrificed again. She made 
a vow~" un peu brusquement," says Tallemant — that she 


would become a Carmelite nun. ..." She dressed as 
modestly as a devote of fifty. . . She wore a gown of 
woollen stufif, and never lifted her eyes. With all this she 
was a lady-in-waiting to the Queen-mother and never 
stirred from the Court. She was then in the full bloom 
of her beauty. This sort of thing lasted a long time." 

It lasted till the supreme power of the Cardinal made 
his niece equal to the greatest ladies in France and a 
probable match for princes. But Madame de Combalet — 
better known as Madame d'Aiguillon — kept her vow so far 
as that she never married again. 

The campaign against the Protestants of Beam, under- 
taken by Louis XIII. immediately after the battle of the 
Ponts-de-Ce, was successful in its object of enforcing the 
royal edict of 1617 and restoring Church property, now 
held by the Huguenots, to the use of the Catholic clergy. 
At the same time, Henry IV.'s independent little kingdom 
of B^arn was formally united to the kingdom of France. 
All this was done with much noise and little bloodshed. It 
amused the King immensely. One game for another, fight- 
ing was better than falconry. Through the darkening days 
he galloped back to Paris, and had the additional joy of 
arriving before he was expected. 

" Louis XIII. arrived on November 7, early in the 
morning, accompanied by fifty-four young nobles, riding at 
full speed, preceded by four post-masters sounding the 
horn. He rode through the city, where he was not ex- 
pected. The noise made by his troop woke the citizens, 
they ran to the windows, and as soon as the monarch was 
recognised there were cries of Vive le Roi. The guard at 
the Louvre, seeing an armed troop approach, stood on the 
defence. They soon learned that it was the King; the 
palace rang with transports of joy ; Louis XIII. flew to 
embrace his mother and his wife. The day was for him 
one of triumph. The shops were shut ; they feasted in the 
streets and lighted bonfires in the evening." 

But the Huguenot party did not rejoice. "As soon," 
says Richelieu, '* as His Majesty had brought Beam back 
to its duty, there was talk of the assembling of Huguenots 


in many parts of the kingdom." And very swiftly the 
matter advanced beyond talk. From the central assembly 
at La Rochelle orders went out for the Protestants to rise 
in all quarters. In May 1621 Louis XIII. started on a 
campaign against them which, first under the influence of 
Luynes, then under that of Conde, lasted through the 
greater part of two years — a campaign rather of long sieges 
than of pitched battles, but costing many distinguished 
lives, among them that of the Due de Mayenne. 

At the opening of this campaign, Luynes made himself 
Constable of France. He was hardly qualified for the 
highest military office in the kingdom, being not only timid 
as a soldier, but absolutely ignorant of the science of war. 
His career, however, was now nearly at an end. His star 
had been for some time waning, and Saint-Simon might 
well say that he died at the right moment, for Louis, 
** whose eyes were opening," was beginning to turn against 
the man whom he had so heartily admired. " II fut enfin 
frappe des dimensions de ce colosse forme tout-a-coup," 
grown to supreme power in the very moment of Concini's 
fall. He made perilous confidences, from which wise 
courtiers fled, calling the Constable "King Luynes," and 
complaining violently of him and his brothers. Luynes 
did not, as he believed, know his young King through and 

The favourite fell as suddenly as he had risen. Three 
days of fever, in a village near the castle of Monheurt, 
which the royal army was besieging, carried off the richest 
and most powerful man in France. A few days later, the 
servants who conveyed him to his own estates for burial 
were playing at dice on his coffin while they rested their 

It is not fair to judge Luynes entirely from the point of 
view of enemies and rivals, even if one cannot accept the 
high praise bestowed on him by his admirers— M. Victor 
Cousin for example. From many of the vices of a favourite, 
Luynes was free ; on the whole, his influence over Louis XIII. 
was rather good than bad. He was good-tempered and 
affectionate, though spoilt by power and terribly greedy. 


Clever, if not courageous, and something of a statesman, 
it has been said that he " anticipated in some respects 
the future policy of Richelieu." He certainly saved 
the King from being dominated by ambitious princes, 
and he did his best to make obedient subjects of the 
Huguenots. But while he carried on war in France 
against them, their defeats in Germany were aggrandising 
Spain and the Empire and destroying that balance of 
power which Richelieu was to restore. If Luynes had 
been Richelieu, the Thirty Years War might have been 
stopped at its beginning. 

Richelieu behaved with extraordinary discretion, even 
after the favourite had been removed from his path. 
Effacing himself in public life, he spent his time in assiduous 
attendance on Marie de Medicis, both at Court and in her 
excursions into the provinces, during one of which she 
paid him a visit at Coussay. To please her, they say, he 
learned to play the lute ; and scandalous gossips found 
pasture in whispered tales as to the relations between the 
Queen and her handsome Bishop. All falsehoods, pro- 
bably ; but in any case, at this date his influence with her 
was unbounded, and as far as politics went he used it well 
and wisely. 

In the winter of 162 1-2, when Louis XIII, after the 
death of Luynes, turned to his mother with unusual affec- 
tion, Richelieu advised the King, through her, to cease 
fighting his own Protestant subjects and rather, with arms 
or diplomacy, to check the rising, preponderating power of 
the House of Hapsburg. The advice was not taken. The 
King's mind was now ruled by the restless Conde and by 
the cunning old Chancellor Brulart de Sillery and his son, 
Brulart de Puisieux. For more than two years longer, the 
cowardly policy and the selfish intrigues of men like these 
were able to keep Richelieu helpless in the background. 
And it was not till eight months after the death of Luynes 
that a new Pope, Gregory XV., consented to place the 
Bishop of Lu9on upon the roll of Cardinals. 






Cardinal de Richelieu— Personal descriptions— A patron of the arts — 
Court intrigues— Fancan and the pamphlets— The fall of the Ministers- 
Cardinal de Richelieu First Minister of France. 

ON September 5, 1622 — Richelieu's thirty-seventh 
birthday — the faithful Sebastien Bouthillier sang 
his Nunc Dimittis. Writing from Rome to his 
brother, he said : ** It seems to me that I now have nothing 
more to desire in this world, since M. de Lugon is Cardinal . 
. . . Indeed, God must destine him for the continuing of 
the great works in which he has already been employed, 
since He has raised him to this deserved dignity in spite of 
the most powerful impediments." 

The news arrived in France when Louis XI 1 1, was at 
Avignon, his troops being engaged in that unlucky siege of 
Montpellier which closed his second campaign against the 
Protestants. A letter was immediately sent to the Queen- 
mother, who had spent the summer at Pougues-les-Eaux 
and was on her way to Lyons with her favourite Bishop in 
attendance. It reached her at a village on the road called 
La Pacaudiere ; there, she herself announced the news to 
Richelieu. From Lyons he started for Avignon, travelling 
down the Rhone, to thank the King in person. Three 
months later, the whole Court being at Lyons, his cardinal's 
biretta was presented to him by His Majesty with solemn 




ceremony at the Archbishop's palace. The first thing he 
did with the red cap so long desired was to lay it at the 
feet of Marie de Medicis. It would always remind him, he 
said, that he had vowed to shed his blood in her service. 

And now — if one may venture on a quotation from 
M. Hanotaux' vivid pages — " he moves to his right place, 
among the great and nobly born. His dignity is but the 
finishing touch. He is thirty-seven years old ; thin, slender, 
hair and beard black, eye clear and piercing, he still has 
beauty, if beauty is compatible with an evident, intimidating 
superiority. He has the colourless complexion of a man 
worn by watching and suffering, gnawed by his own 
thoughts. It may with truth be said of him that the blade 
wears out the sheath ; and indeed, long, slight and flexible, 
he is like a sword. He places the cardinal's red cap on his 
triangular head. He wraps himself in flowing folds of 
purple. Thus, all red, he enters history, realising the most 
complete and powerful image of a 'cardinal' that imagi- 
nation and art have ever dreamed." 

After this striking picture, it is interesting to read the 
impressions of Michelet, whose prejudices, historical and 
religious, hardly permitted him to be fair to Richelieu's 
genius, not to mention his character. 

Philippe de Champagne's well-known portrait, painted 
at a much later date than 1622, but breathing all the stateli- 
ness, the sense of innate power, which M. Hanotaux so 
finely suggests, is the text for Michelet's famous discourse. 
Philippe's art is so true and so penetrating, he says, that it 
answers alike to historical knowledge and to popular 

** In that grey-bearded, dull-eyed phantom with the 
delicate thin hands, history recognises the grandson of 
Henry the Third's provost who shot Guise." [N.B. — 
Richelieu was the Provost's son, and the Provost did not 
shoot Guise.] 

" He comes towards you. You are not reassured. The 
personage has an air of life. But is it really a man? A 
spirit ? Yes, certainly an intelligence, firm, clear, luminous 
shall I say, or of sinister brilliancy? If he made a few 




steps forward, we should be face to face. I have no wish 
for it. I fear that strong head means nothing within— no 
heart, no bowels. I have seen too much, in my studies of 
sorcery, of those evil spirits who will not remain below, 
but return, and once again move the world. 

*' What contrasts in him ! So hard, so supple, so entire, 
so broken ! By what tortures must he have been ground 
down, made and unmade, or let us say, desarticule, to have 
become this eminently artificial thing which walks and does 
not walk, which advances without apparent sight or sound, 
as if gliding over a noiseless carpet . . . then, arrived, 
overturns all. 

"He gazes on you from the depth of his mystery, the 
sphinx in the red robe. I dare not say, from the depth of 
his knavery. For, contrary to the ancient Sphinx, who 
dies if divined, this man seems to say : * Quiconque me 
devine en mourra.' " 

Richelieu was now a Prince of the Church, equal to the 
greatest in the land. One of the ends of his " sfrenata 
ambizione " was gained, but he still had to wait till the 
incapacity of the Ministers of France compelled Louis XIIL, 
half willingly, half unwillingly, for he admired the Cardinal's 
talents while he feared his dominating character, to summon 
him to supreme political power. 

During the twenty months of waiting, Richelieu indulged 
the natural tastes for building and collecting which had 
been, no doubt, trained and encouraged by Marie de 
Medicis, herself so great a lover of art in its more splendid 
forms. At this time and a little later he bought several 
chateaux at no great distance from Paris — Fleury, near 
Fontainebleau ; Bois-le-Vicomte, which he afterwards ex- 
changed with Gaston d'Orleans for Champigny, the 
hereditary property of his eldest daughter, the heiress of 
Montpensier ; Limours, which he sold, after spending large 
sums on beautifying it ; and Rueil, near Saint-Germain. 
This last, when bought by the Cardinal, was merely a 
small country-house. He made a magnificent place of it, 
with moats and terraces, a beautiful park, and gardens in 


the Italian style which were among the most famous of 
the century ; cascades, fountains, arches, grottos, and a 
population of statues. He was a great buyer of statuary, 
with which all his houses and gardens were largely adorned. 
He posed as a very considerable patron of art, but his pur- 
chases were not made without economy ; the sale of various 
ecclesiastical charges did not bring in an unlimited fortune. 
Nor was his taste always faultless, even by the pseudo- 
classical standard of the time. 

In August 1623 he wrote a long letter to his private 
secretary, Michel Le Masle, Prior of Les Roches — formerly 
his servant at the College de Navarre — who had been 
sent to Italy on confidential business connected partly 
with the Queen-mother's Florentine affairs, partly with 
the election of a new Pope, Urban VIH. Having treated 
of these subjects, the Cardinal goes on to private matters 
of his own. 

" The Sieur Franchine advises me to ask if you can 
send me some marble statues and a marble basin; for 
he says that, not being real antiques, one can have them 
very cheap. I particularly want a statue about three 
feet high, and a handsome basin a foot and a half in 
diameter, to put on his head. If you have this made to 
order the statue must hold it with both hands above his 
head. You will remember that, being for a fountain, the 
statue and the basin must be pierced. . . . M. d'Alincourt 
five or six months ago had five very cheap statues brought 
from Rome. You will inquire into the price of marble, 
the charges of sculptors, in order that we may judge, on 
your return, whether the work may better be done there 
or in France." 

M. des Roches is then directed to find out the cost of 
" the following statues, in bronze " : 

"A Jupiter six feet high, with the face of the late King, 
a crown on his head and a sceptre in his hand, dressed 
as Jupiter a V antique. 

" A Juno of the same size, with the face of the Queen, 
the eyes slightly turned towards heaven, to which she will 
point with one hand. 


'' A god Terminus, nine feet high, made after the 
sculptor's fancy, to be set on a column in the midst of 
the garden. 

"A Hercules eight or nine feet high, holding up his 
club in the air, pierced so that it may throw out water." 

And so forth. In his reply, M. des Roches was bold 
enough to question his patron's taste on several points; 
remarking, for instance, that though water might spring 
forth from Samson's jawbone of an ass, it could hardly 
do so from the club of Hercules. 

Water played a great part in the garden decoration 
of those days. Canals, cascades, lakes, fountains glittered 
and splashed everywhere ; and keen amusement was found 
in the various tricks played by unexpected jets d'eau. At 
Rueil the Cardinal had a wonderful grotto with a cavern 
into which he used to beguile his unlucky guests. 

" An infinity of little jets d'eau spring out of the 
ground ; figures of animals, of every kind, spurt water 
on every side ; and when one tries to hurry out to escape 
all this water, the doors are blockaded by heavy water- 
falls; and outside the grotto other spouting figures com- 
plete the soaking of those who have passed through all 
this water." 

Such was the delightful humour of the time. And it 
was not only ladies and gentlemen, finely dressed, who 
were subjected to these little " surprises." Walls were 
painted with marvellous perspectives which deceived the 
very birds of the air. They met their death while flying, 
as they thought, in the blue firmament of heaven. 

Rueil was the Cardinal's favourite residence outside Paris. 
His town house at this time was in the fashionable Place 
Royale ; two or three years later he moved to the Petit- 
Luxembourg, a charming hotel in the Rue Vaugirard, 
close to Marie de Medicis' new palace. While high in 
her favour he had much to do with the artistic decoration 
of the Luxembourg. He superintended her financial 
aff'airs, and her builders, painters, furnishers worked to 
some extent under his orders. De Brosse, her architect, 
was supplied with money by his authority. Rubens, 


who was now painting the magnificent series of pictures 
in her honour; Poussin and PhiHppe de Champagne, 
young artists not yet famous, employed in smaller work 
about the palace, were dependent on him. We find him 
inquiring through M. des Roches if Guido Reni of Bologna, 
then at the height of his glory, will come to France for 
a couple of years to paint the late King's battles in a 
gallery of the Queen's new palace. But the Pope and 
all the Italian princes were struggling for Guido, and 
he did not care at this time to leave his own country. 

While Richelieu and the Queen-mother waited and 
looked on, se menageant, as a French writer says, and 
amusing themselves with matters of art, the confusion in 
State affairs went on deepening. The weakness and 
irresolution of the Ministers were destroying, day by day, 
French influence in Europe, while the power of Spain 
and Austria went on growing. Old allies of France were 
biting the dust. The progress of the war in Germany 
was against the Protestants; the Elector Palatine, King 
of Bohemia, had been driven from his dominions, and 
James I., his father-in-law, saw no wiser course than to 
bid for the help of Spain by marrying his heir to the 
Infanta ; it was in this very year 1623 that Prince Charles 
and the Duke of Buckingham visited Paris on their way 
to Madrid. Such an alliance might have sealed the fate 
of France and almost made her a vassal of Spain; she 
was indeed approaching that state, in the helpless hands 
of Sillery and Puisieux. 

At home the Court was full of quarrels and intrigues : 
the King, uneasy, discontented, and wilful enough, had 
not the wisdom or the character needed to dismiss his 
useless Ministers and to put a strong man in their place. 
He hunted more desperately than ever, and after a year 
or two of rapprochement was again becoming estranged 
from Queen Anne, who for her part fell completely under 
the influence of the beautiful young widow of Luynes, 
appointed by him superintendent of her household. After 
the death of Luynes, this appointment was violently dis- 
puted by Madame de Montmorency, widow of the old 


Constable, who had formerly held it. Madame de Luynes* 
chance of keeping it lay in her second marriage with the 
Due de Chevreuse, which ranged the great House of Guise 
on her side. The whole Court, men and women, flung 
themselves into this quarrel ; duels were fought and bribes 
exacted. Finally, the King and the Ministers decided to 
suppress the office altogether, to the bitter disappoint- 
ment of both parties and the wrath of the young Queen. 
The Queen-mother, with her favourite counsellor, and the 
Prince de Conde, fallen into disfavour at Court and with- 
drawn in his government of Berry, were the persons of 
chief importance who stood aloof from the fray, each 
watching for some change which might throw political 
power into the hands of the Prince or the Cardinal. 

Richelieu, for his part, was neither patient nor idle, 
and while outwardly absorbed by palaces, pictures, statues, 
was working underground with an energy hardly realised 
by the men of his own day. He had few confidants. P^re 
Joseph, as always, knew and understood him best and 
admired him most loyally; but Pere Joseph was hardly 
in sympathy with the instrument chiefly used by Richelieu 
at this time — Fancan, the famous pamphleteer. 

This strange and clever being was a canon of Saint- 
Germain-l'Auxerrois. His family, Langlois by name, had 
long been attached to the fortunes of the house of Richelieu, 
and his brother was the Cardinal's own man of business. 
The Sieur de Fancan had had a wider experience in the 
employment of the Due de Longueville and of the Comtesse 
de Soissons. He had done some diplomatic work, and 
had developed bold opinions of his own in matters of 
politics and religion, posing as *' bon frangais " in opposition 
to Luynes and the Spanish ultra-Catholic trend of affairs. 
His Protestant leanings carried him far, according to 
the correspondence with Germany and England discovered 
after his death. 

For several years Fancan was high in Richelieu's 
favour. Unknown, anonymous, brilliant, unscrupulous, 
he and one or two others made public opinion in France. 
His pamphlets or libelleSy in their blue covers, were sold 


by hundreds on the bridges and in the book-shops of Paris. 
They attacked the Ministers of the moment in verse or 
prose full of ironical fury, personal violence and political 
wisdom, coarse, impudent and strong. Either in a direct 
or roundabout v^ay they were addressed to the King. 
Sometimes France, on her dying bed, held converse with 
her ancient heroes ; sometimes Henry the Great talked 
with the leaders of his time ; sometimes unworthy favourites 
were gibbeted ; sometimes the people cried to their sovereign 
in bitter complaint of religious tyranny and civil war, and 
boldly offered the counsel for which nobody asked them. 

The King, the Ministers, the nobles, the literary men, 
the citizens, all read these pamphlets, talked of them, and 
did not forget them. Louis was much influenced by them ; 
they touched his conscience and sense of truth, if they 
deepened the gloom in which he followed his hounds in 
the Forest of Saint-Germain. In the days of the Brularts 
and their successor, the Marquis de la Vieuville, while the 
affairs of the kingdom were slipping from bad to worse, 
the pamphlets not only complained more loudly than ever, 
they advised more strongly than ever, and the King knew 
well that their advice was good, however unwilling he 
might be to take it. They told him that there was one 
man in France whose hand ought to be on the helm, a man 
who would serve his own country and his own King, not 
the interests of a foreign power ; a man of high courage, 
prudence and incomparable dexterity, as wise as he was 
brilliant, ready, like a burning torch, to consume himself 
in giving light to the State. This man would be the 
saviour of France, renewing the great days of Henry. It 
was hardly necessary to name the Cardinal de Richelieu. 

Fancan only expressed the minds of all thinking men, 
French or foreign, private or public, who were independent 
of the Ministers and above political jealousy. But while 
thus serving France and the Cardinal, he was too careful 
to serve himself. He was in fact a secret agent, receiving 
pay from both Catholic and Protestant powers, and 
successfully cheating them all. The independent game 
became dangerous when Richelieu was supreme. In the 


year 1627 it is noted in the Memoirs that " un nomme 
Fancan," a spy whose business was to betray and ruin 
the State, was imprisoned in the Bastille. " All his ends 
were evil," says Richelieu, " and the means he used to 
attain them were detestable and wicked. His ordinary 
work was the making of libelles in order to decry the 
government " (!). 

A year later, Fancan died in prison. The whole story 
is mysterious ; but Richelieu was as quick to rid himself 
of a suspected friend as of an open enemy. 

In the winter of 1623-4 the Ministry of Sillery and 
Puisieux came suddenly to an end. These two men were 
followed into retirement by the scorn and hatred of a 
public which knew that they had used their power not 
only to weaken France in Europe, but to pile up large 
fortunes for themselves. The Chancellor was succeeded 
immediately by his colleague, M. de la Vieuville, a man 
of a bolder spirit and more patriotic views, but too 
nervous, irresolute and indiscreet to guide France through 
her present difficulties. Fancan, the ill-rewarded, attacked 
the new Minister with new pamphlets, accusing him and 
his family of appropriating public funds. To do La Vieuville 
justice, he began his rule by a very unpopular but necessary 
move towards economy in the system of universal pensions- 
It must also be remembered in his favour that he advised 
Louis XIII. to listen to the general voice and at this 
critical time to demand the services of Richelieu. 

But neither he nor the King intended to give that 
formidable personage any real authority. Louis shrank 
in terror from " cet esprit altier et dominateur," replying 
to his mother, when she pressed him to admit her favourite 
to the royal Council, in such prophetic words as these — 
" Madame, I know him better than you do : he is a man 
of immeasurable ambition." With the idea of utilising 
the Cardinal's talents while keeping him outside power. 
La Vieuville invented a new subordinate Council for the 
management of foreign affairs, and offered him the presidency. 
This did not mean a seat] on the King's Council, or any 
independent decision, for, as Richelieu pointed out in his 


dry and courteous letter of refusal, any resolution passed 
by this new body was liable to be negatived by the King 
and his Council. He excused himself on the ground of 
ill-health and of lack of recent experience in foreign affairs, 
declaring that he preferred a private life to " un si grand 

It was not difficult to understand these excuses. What 
was to be done with him ? The King and La Vieuville 
tried to send him as ambassador to Spain, then to Rome ; 
but he would not go. The Queen-mother obstinately 
pressed his claim to be admitted to the Council; she 
spared neither her son nor his Minister ; she even held 
aloof from the Court in her discontent, and it seems that 
the fear of another serious breach with her had much 
influence with the Kmg. 

Towards the end of April, 1624, the complications in 
home and foreign affairs increasing every day, the pam- 
phlets stinging more sharply, public and private voices 
waxing louder. La Vieuville found himself forced to advise 
the King to admit Richelieu to his Council — and this in 
the full consciousness that the Cardinal's rise must mean 
his own fall. Even now he tried, in self-defence, to limit 
his new colleague's power for mischief. He was to sit on 
the Council for the purpose of giving his opinion, but 
nothing more ; he might use the influence, but not the 
authority, of a Minister of the Crown. Richelieu swept 
this fragile barrier easily away ; indeed, from his own 
account, he ignored it altogether, and history would have 
forgotten it, but for some detailed reports sent from Paris 
to his masters by the Florentine ambassador. 

The Cardinal's Memoirs, with his letter to the King, 
show him by no means eager to accept the offered place 
which had been for so long " his one thought by day, his 
one dream by night." All the intrigues of the affair were 
open to him, and if he despised and distrusted La Vieuville 
and the rest of the Council, he had little confidence in the 
jealous, uncertain temper of the King. Writing to Louis, 
he began by frankly acknowledging that God had given 
him " some enlightenment and strength of mind." These 


qualities, however, were rendered unserviceable by extreme 
bodily weakness — so much so that he had lately besought 
the Queen-mother to relieve him from his Hght duties as 
superintendent of her household. Such indeed were his 
infirmities that he could not live without frequent excur- 
sions into the country. He added that he had many 
enemies, especially those of the Queen-mother, who would 
certainly, on his account, do their best to make mischief 
between their Majesties ; while he assured the King that 
he would rather die than do anything against the welfare 
of the State, for which he would shed the last drop of his 

These same enemies would take advantage of the fact 
that the Cardinal's opinion might frequently differ from 
that of His Majesty's other Ministers ; for, once on the 
Council, he would go his own way as to what he thought 
best for the King's service. He would not be merely an 
ornamental figure, set up " to please the public imagination 
and to dazzle the eyes of the world," but an honest states- 
man who would advise plainly and act boldly. All this 
he wished the King to understand, and underlying all this 
was the question — would Louis, as a loyal master, stand 
between a faithful servant and those enemies ? 

If, in spite of all considerations, the King remained in 
the same mind, the Cardinal said that he could only obey. 
The one condition was that, while working regularly with 
the rest of the Council, he must ask to be spared " the 
visits and solicitations of private persons," which, besides 
occupying his time uselessly, would complete the ruin of 
his health. 

It was a proud, straightforward letter. In it Louis XIII. 
felt the first strong grasp of the hand which was to hold 
and lead him almost to his life's end. 

Richelieu entered the Council on April 26, 1624. His 
first act was to demand precedence, as Cardinal, of all the 
other Ministers, and this was granted after long arguments ; 
but he did not reach supreme power till the following 
autumn, when La Vieuville's incapable government ended 
in sudden disgrace. Those were dishonest times; and 


it seems most probable that Richelieu, while outwardly 
friendly to La Vieuville, was not only opposing his uncer- 
tain policy but hastening his fall by the underground work 
of Fancan and other paid pamphleteers. 

On August 13 the Marquis de la Vieuville carried his 
forced resignation to the King at Saint-Germain, was 
arrested by the captain of the guard and driven off to 
be imprisoned in the castle of Amboise. The government 
of France was already in the hands of Cardinal de Riche- 
lieu, and Louis XIII. had accepted the list of Ministers 
presented by him. The eighteen years' career had begun 
which changed France, making absolutism possible, bring- 
ing in the Age of Louis XIV. and as a consequence, the 

Richelieu wrote to Pere Joseph, who had lately been 
made Provincial of the Capuchin Order : 

" You," he said, " have been God's chief agent in bring- 
ing me to this place of honour. ... I pray you to hasten 
your journey, and to come to me as soon as possible, to 
share with me the management of affairs. There are 
pressing matters that I can confide to no one else, nor 
decide without your opinion. Come then quickly to re- 
ceive these proofs of my esteem." 

From this time down to Pere Joseph's death, in 1638, 
the two Eminences, the Red and the Grey, were seldom 



Richelieu's aims— The English alliance— The affair of the Valtelline— 
The Huguenot revolt— The marriage of Madame Henriette— The Duke of 

IN the brilliant first chapter of Richelieu's Testament 
Politique, '' Succincte Narration de toutes les grandes 
Actions du Roi," written not long before his death, he 
reminds Louis XIII. of the circumstances under which he 
took office in 1624; when "the Huguenots shared the State 
with your Majesty, the great nobles behaved as if they were 
not your subjects, and the powerful governors of provinces 
as if they were independent sovereigns. . . . Foreign 
alliances were despised, private interests preferred to the 
public good ; in a word, the dignity of the Royal Majesty 
was lowered to such a degree, through the fault of those 
who had then the chief management of your affairs, that 
it had almost ceased to exist." 

"I promised your Majesty," he continues, "to use all 
my endeavours and all the authority that you might be 
pleased to give me, to ruin the Huguenot party, to abase 
the pride of the nobles, to bring all your subjects back to 
their duty, and to exalt your name to its proper place 
among Foreign Nations. I represented that for the attain- 
ment of these happy ends, your entire confidence was 
necessary to me." 

The Cardinal had that confidence, without which indeed 
he could have done nothing. Experience had taught him 
that however low " the Royal Majesty " might have fallen, 
it was and would remain the centre of power, the incar 
nation of France. He was therefore resolved that his 



influence with the King should be personal, as well as 
political. He had long and thoroughly studied the strange, 
shy, gloomy, conscientious young man of four-and-twenty, 
on whom his own fate and that of the nation depended. 
He knew that Louis was quite capable of thinking and 
judging for himself, and he made full use not only of his 
personal magnetism, but of all the clever political argu- 
ment which his genius suggested. Louis was convinced — 
and the conviction went on deepening with years— that his 
own honour and the well-being of his kingdom were safe 
in the hands of the new Minister, so frail, keen, brilliant, 
and superbly sure of himself. That the King ever came to 
love Richelieu is hard to believe, considering all the past, 
in spite of affectionate letters ; but he certainly admired 
and trusted him. 

The acceptance of the English marriage for Madame 
Henriette Marie of France was Richelieu's first step in the 
way of return to Henry IV.'s foreign policy. The idea of 
an English alliance, of course, was not originally his. Long 
before Henry's youngest child was born, a marriage had 
been suggested between one of her elder sisters and 
Henry, Prince of Wales. At the same time, Louis the 
Dauphin was to have been betrothed to Princess Elizabeth, 
James the First's eldest daughter — a strange destiny for the 
Protestant heroine, the " Queen of Hearts," " th'Eclipse 
and Glory of her kind ! " But Henry's liking for England 
seems to have cooled considerably as time went on, and 
his latest political turn, doubtfully and unwillingly made, 
was in the direction of the Spanish marriages brought 
about by Marie de Medicis. As for Henriette Marie, only 
six months old when her father died, he had carelessly 
promised her hand to the young son of his cousin the 
Comte de Soissons. He would probably have broken this 
promise. The Queen-Regent had no scruples in doing so, 
to the rage and disappointment of Monsieur le Comte. 

The present negotiations in their earlier stages were not 
Richelieu's work. He was not in power in 1620, when 
Luynes, a poor diplomatist, tried to turn the mind of the 
English King towards an alliance with France rather than 


with Spain ; nor in 1623, when the Prince of Wales and 
the Duke of Buckingham, those two " venturous knights " 
lingering incognito in Paris on their way to Madrid, wit- 
nessed a ballet at the Louvre in which Princess Henriette, 
now thirteen years old, was dancing. It was afterwards 
said that Charles fell in love with the graceful little lady on 
that occasion, so that his failure to capture the Infanta of 
Spain troubled him little personally. As to Buckingham, 
who with all his faults and frivolities had some of the ideas of 
a statesman, he was already inclined to the French alliance, 
seeing in it the one means of defending the foreign 
Protestants and balancing the power of Spain. Through 
the winter of 1623-4, envoys of more or less dignity were 
passing between London and Paris, and the marriage was 
talked of openly. All this time, no doubt, Richelieu was 
in favour of it, and his influence, as the Queen-mother's 
chief adviser, set that way; but long delays dragged 
out the affair, even after the coming of the English 
Ambassadors Extraordinary, Lord Holland and Lord 
Carlisle. The chief difficulty, as with Spain, was the 
religious question. La Vieuville's weakness as to this, in 
Richelieu's opinion, nearly wrecked the negotiations. After 
he himself became a Minister in April, there was no more 
danger that France would, in Carlisle's words, " be ridden 
with a discreet high hand." The delays were of Richelieu's 
causing, and the " high hand " was that of France. He 
meant to oppose Spain and the Empire and to assist — with 
discretion— the German and Dutch Protestants; but he 
also meant the Catholic Church to be honoured and pro- 
tected in England and triumphant in France. In August, 
when he had arrived at supreme power, the English 
ambassadors found that there was no more dallying 
and giving way. If they wanted the alliance, they must 
accept the conditions, and very stringent these were. By 
the treaty of November 1624, subject to the Pope's most 
unwillingly granted dispensation, Madame Henriette was 
to go to England with an establishment of French Catholics, 
including a bishop and twenty-eight priests, and was to 
have a " large chapel " in every one of her residences ; while 


all imprisoned English Catholics were to be released, all 
confiscations of their property reversed, and safety and 
toleration assured them for the future. Louis XIII. and 
Richelieu had to consent that these last articles should be 
secret, since the King of England declared it impossible to 
present them to his Parliament. 

Another difficult affair that called for Richelieu's man- 
agement was that of the Valtelline. 

The Val TeUina, rich in vineyards, through which the 
river Adda, descending from its mountain source near 
Bormio, runs down its stony bed to fall into the Lake of 
Como, had long been a bone of contention for the Powers. 
It belonged to the Grison Leagues, old allies of France, 
and the first difficulties arose when its Catholic inhabitants 
rebelled against the oppressions of their Protestant masters. 
This was in 1620. On a Sunday long remembered the 
Protestants of the valley were massacred. Then a Spanish 
army came up from Milan to stand by the Catholics in their 
struggle with the enraged Grisons. The Thirty Years 
War was already two years old, and the Val Tellina was 
of European importance as the best and almost the only 
passage for armies between the Milanese and the Tyrol. 
Here the Emperor and the King of Spain could join hands, 
much to the disadvantage of the Protestant powers and of 
France. Naturally therefore the Spaniards took possession 
of the valley and its strongholds, and the Grison Leagues 
resisted them in vain. 

France interfered, but only in the way of diplomacy. 
By the Treaty of Madrid, in 1621, the new Spanish forts 
were to be razed and the valley restored to the Grisons, 
who promised amnesty and toleration. But this treaty 
was not carried into effect. Louis XIII. was too deeply 
engaged in fighting his own Protestants to undertake the 
defence of Protestants in Switzerland, and France held 
aloof under her weak Ministers while the Archduke 
Leopold swooped down upon the Grisons and once more 
deprived them of the Val Tellina, besides forcing them to 
surrender to Austria the Engadine and other districts. 

Still France hesitated, and it was only the strong 


remonstrances of the Duke of Savoy, the Venetian ambas- 
sador, and the Constable de Lesdiguieres — himself a 
converted Huguenot — who saw the valley made an armed 
highway for the enemies of France, Venice, and Savoy, 
that brought Louis to insist on the carrying out of the 
Treaty of Madrid. In the winter of 1622-3 — Richelieu 
being in the background, and advising the King through 
Marie de M^dicis, to the displeasure of the Brillarts — the 
three Powers made a league to this end, agreeing to raise 
an army of forty thousand men. 

The valley was too precious to be easily renounced by 
Spain, and yet she did not wish to fight France and Savoy. 
Philip IV. and his Ministers found a way out by calling 
Pope Gregory XV. to the rescue, and the warlike ardour 
of France was easily cooled. The Treaty of Madrid was 
laid aside, and Louis XIII. consented that the fortresses of 
the Valtelline should be placed in the hands of the Pope, 
pending their demolition and a new arrangement of the 
whole affair. It was understood that the Spaniards and 
Austrians would no longer pretend to any rights over the 
valley, and that all foreign occupation would cease in three 
months' time. 

Nothing of the sort happened. Gregory XV. was 
succeeded by Urban VIIL in the summer of 1623. When, 
after a long delay, the new Pope invited Spain to fulfil 
her engagements, she declined absolutely. The free 
passage of the Valtelline for her troops was a military 
advantage not to be given up. The Pope did not insist : 
the action of surrendering the Valtelline, with its Catholic 
population, to the tender mercies of the Protestant Grisons, 
seemed to him wicked and impious. 

This was the state of things in the autumn of 1624, 
when Cardinal de Richelieu came into his own. There 
were surprises in store both for the Pope and for Spain. 
Philip IV. and his Ministers had little fear of France ; the 
policy of his royal brother-in-law had as yet been anything 
but energetic. Urban VIIL and the rest of the Catholic 
world found it hard to believe that a Cardinal would fight 
against Rome. 



The Pope was asked, in a polite but peremptory fashion, 
either to destroy the fortresses or to deliver them back 
to Spain, with whom France would then deal direct ; and in 
any case to withdraw his troops at once from the valley. 
He temporised and negotiated in Spain's favour. Riche- 
lieu's patience was soon exhausted. The early winter saw 
Switzerland overrun by French troops under the Marquis 
de Coeuvres, who drove the Austrians back into the Tyrol, 
swooped down by Poschiavo on Tirano, and in a few 
weeks' time had taken all the forts and driven the papal 
troops out of the Valtelline. 

In the course of the same winter Richelieu took ad- 
vantage of a quarrel between the Duke of Savoy and the 
Republic of Genoa to support the Duke with an army 
under Lesdiguieres, aided by a Dutch fleet, in an attack 
on Genoese territory. Richelieu had indeed no intention 
of conquering Genoa or of strengthening Savoy ; but the 
Republic was Spain's richest and most useful ally, and such 
an attack could not fail to harass her terribly while she 
was losing her position in the Valtelline, and to weaken 
her power in Italy. 

At this crisis in foreign affairs discontent at home rose 
furious, and might have wrecked a smaller man. Richelieu 
found himself suddenly beset with a swarm of enemies, 
private and public. The campaign in favour of the Swiss 
Protestants, the strong opposition to Rome and to Spain, 
enraged society and the Church ; and while this storm was 
only beginning to grumble, the French Huguenots broke 
out into sudden, most untimely rebellion. 

The Treaty of Montpellier had left them discontented. 
Their last war had ended, in the autumn of 1622, with 
submissions and renunciations hard to be borne by so 
proud and independent a party. If the King was bound 
to observe the Edict of Nantes, which assured them 
toleration, they, on their ,side, were forced to dismantle 
their fortifications, and to cease from all assemblies not 
strictly religious. Two strong places only, La Rochelle 
and Montauban, were left in their hands. The Due de 
Rohan, now their chief leader — the old Due de Bouillon 


died in 1623 — was deprived of his provincial governments, 
though indemnified by smaller posts and large sums of 
money. Also the King promised the destruction of Fort 
Louis, built by him to command the entrance to the harbour 
of La Rochelle. This last article of the treaty was not 
carried out : hence great displeasure in the Protestant camp. 

In the eyes of some politicians, notably the Pope's 
Nuncio, the Peace of Montpellier, with its concessions to 
rebel subjects, was somewhat disgraceful to the King of 
France. Richelieu was of the same opinion, to judge by 
his own words. But he was too wise not to let the sleeping 
dogs of the kingdom lie. Civil war was at all times the 
last thing he desired ; and at this moment, with two foreign 
campaigns on his hands, — campaigns against the great 
enemies of Protestantism — the active disloyalty of the Due 
de Rohan moved him to high indignation. 

Writing on January 12, 1625, to M. de la Ville-aux- 
Clercs, Ambassador Extraordinary in London — employed, 
with the Marquis d'Effiat, in the final arrangements for the 
royal marriage — Richelieu says : 

" You know how the Huguenots have cut out work for 
us, sending ships to sea and seizing the Isle of Re. . . . 
Never was so bad an action as this of the Antichrist brothers, 
who, seeing the King at war for the interests and dignity of 
the Crown, take up arms to trouble the feast." 

To the French ambassador at Rome— M. de Marque- 
mont. Archbishop of Lyons and afterwards Cardinal- 
Richelieu writes on January 27 : 

" The news you have heard of the Huguenots is only 
too true : incited by the devil or others equally bad, they 
have shown their evil will by a surprise entry into the Port 
of Blavet, landing with cannon, with which they battered 
the fort for two days. . . . The King has news that, the 
whole province hurrying against them, they have already 
re-embarked in order to escape, and are carrying ofif two or 
three ships of M. de Nevers, which were in the harbour." 

The ^'freres antichrist were Henry Due de Rohan and 
his brother Benjamin, Due de Soubise. They were the 
two actively distinguished leaders who remained to the 


Huguenot party: Le Plessis-Mornay was dead; the Due 
de Lesdigui^res had changed his reHgion and become 
Constable of France ; the Marquis de la Force, a brave and 
very provincial old soldier, and Gaspard de Coligny, Due de 
Ch^tillon, held loyally to the Peace of Montpellier, and each 
accepted a Marshal's baton from the King; the new Due 
de Bouillon was content to watch events from his north- 
eastern citadel of Sedan. 

Thus the interior peace of France was largely in the 
hands of the brothers Rohan, of whom the younger was a 
firebrand, an adventurer, never happy unless employed in 
some foolhardy enterprise, though capable, on occasion, of 
running away; one ofthose restless spirits to whom religion 
meant opposition to law and authority; the very type of 
the fighting Huguenot, robber on land and pirate by sea. 
Such men, to whom nothing was sacred, were indeed to 
be found under both religious banners, one and all the 
opponents of royalty and of Richelieu. 

Henry, first Due de Rohan, was a different kind of 
person. A sincere Protestant, he carried out in his life the 
stern morality of his creed. He had a genius for war, wrote 
brilliantly on tactics, but was a diplomat as well as a soldier, 
and those who knew him best saw in that thoughtful 
character as much personal ambition as religious conscience. 
Both brothers were influenced by their ancestry. They 
were descended from the old Kings of Navarre through 
Isabeau, daughter of Jean d'Albret ; and if the sons of 
Henry IV. died childless, which seemed not unlikely, Henry 
de Rohan was the next heir to the kingdom of Navarre. 
He had been acknowledged as such, in his youth, by 
Henry IV. What the Spaniards had left of that kingdom 
was now united to the crown of France. Thus the Duke 
may very well have seen in himself a possible pretender, 
a rival to Cond6 and the Bourbons, at a dreamed-of moment 
when the strongest would win. 

And his mother, Catherine de Parthenay-Soubise, was 
not the woman to discourage such lifelong fancies in her 
sons. Fairy blood, that of the Lusignans, ran in her veins ; 
" grande r^veuse," her absence of mind and many oddities 


were the talk of Paris ; her favourite vision was that of 
the Due de Nevers and P^re Joseph, a crusade against 
the Turks. We are told that she was not pleased when 
Henry IV., whom she disliked, made her eldest son a Duke, 
her husband being the eleventh Viscount of his name. 
According to the proud old family motto, that name alone 
made its bearer a King's equal. 

Madame de Rohan had more reason to be discontented 
at her son's marriage, arranged by Henry, with Marguerite 
de Bethune, daughter of the Due de Sully, then a mere 
child. They were married in the Protestant temple at 
Charenton, and the story goes that the famous and waggish 
minister Du Moulin asked aloud, when the little girl in her 
white frock was led up to him — " Do you present this child 
to be baptised?" The white robe of innocence did not 
long suit the Duchesse de Rohan, and never had a good 
man a worse wife. Very pretty, attractive and clever, she 
led a life worthier of the Valois Court than of the fine old 
Huguenot houses of Sully and Rohan. Not even Madame 
de Chevreuse, herself a Rohan by birth, was more free of 
moral restraint. The Due de Rohan, concerned with greater 
matters, seemed superbly unconscious of his wife's love- 
afifairs, and turned away coolly from the shocked pastors 
who tried to enlighten him. In a political sense, they were 
one. Whenever her husband needed her help, Madame 
de Rohan sent her lovers to the right-about, plotted for 
him, followed him in his campaigns. In the winter of 1625, 
when the Due de Rohan was trying to support his brother's 
naval raid by a revolt in Languedoc, Aubery describes how 
" the Duchesse de Rohan his wife acted with no less vigour, 
and, as if it were her design to throw terror into vulgar 
minds, travelled often by night with torches, in a mourning 
coach drawn by eight black horses." 

"Suscites par le diable ou quelques autres qui ne valent 
pas mieux." No doubt the Cardinal had accurate know- 
ledge of the influences, diabolical or other, which had 
brought about the Huguenot rising at this awkward 
moment. It was partly the work of the angry people of 
La Rochelle, who saw their town perpetually threatened 


by royal forts on land and their harbour watched by royal 
ships at sea. They counted on the help of the Protestant 
powers, England and Holland, to make a favourable 
bargain with the King's government, already entangled 
in the Swiss and Genoese campaigns. And they were 
backed up in a quarter which might well have been 
unexpected. The money that provided Soubise with 
ships came from Spain. Rohan and he, more than once 
treating secretly with the enemies of France, may not 
have deserved Richeheu's epithet of " Antichristi," but 
were certainly anti-patriotic. 

As the Cardinal wrote to the ambassadors, the Due 
de Soubise, not content with seizing the Isle of Re and 
thus commanding La Rochelle, had sailed north and 
pounced on the harbour of Blavet, on the Brittany coast, 
at the mouth of the river below Hennebon. The harbour 
had been fortified by Louis XI IL in the former civil wars, 
and was known as Port Louis. Six battleships were now 
lying there, five of which did not belong to the King, 
but had been lent him by the Due de Nevers. Soubise 
took the town and the ships — including the famous great 
Vierge^ of eighty guns — and attacked the castle, which held 
out long enough for the Due de Vendome, governor of 
Brittany, to come to the rescue. Soubise then escaped 
to sea, but with difficulty, carrying four of his prizes 
with him ; and sailing like a bold pirate southward, taking 
the island of Oleron as a base for his operations, became 
a terror to vessels of war or merchandise all along the 
coast. Later on he stormed up the Gironde in support 
of the Due de Rohan, who had already set Guienne and 
Languedoc in a blaze. 

All this trouble, arising at such an unwelcome moment, 
caused terrible agitation among the King's councillors. 
Most of them, says Richelieu, were " si eperdus," that they 
saw no choice but between immediate peace with Spain 
and submission to all the Huguenot demands. He him- 
self would have no such craven yielding to the storm. 
With little slackening of energy in the Swiss and Genoese 
campaigns, he set to work to crush the revolt at home, 



acting on the medical maxim that a small internal injury 
is more to be feared than one greater and more painful, 
but external only. 

His understanding with England and Holland now 
bore some fruit. Their statesmen, less consistent than 
their populations, did not refuse to support him against 
his rebels, in spite of their religion. England, already 
on the edge of war with Spain, sent eight ships to the 
help of the French Government ; the Dutch fleet was 
diverted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, and 
twenty French ships made up a fleet of fifty or sixty 
sail, commanded in chief by Duke Henry de Montmorency, 
High Admiral of France. Richelieu had not much faith 
in this young man, the late Constable's only son and 
the Princesse de Conde's brother— one of the hand- 
somest and boldest of the fierce order that the Cardinal 
meant to subdue. But as far as Montmorency was con- 
cerned the time of vengeance was not yet. He and the 
Dutch Admiral, after a long fight with Soubise on the 
sea, scattered his fleet, took the islands of Re and Oleron, 
and came very near to capture La Rochelle itself 

Here Richelieu held his hand. He was not yet ready 
for that great siege, or for the final crushing of the 
Protestant power in France. 

On May 11, when the Huguenot revolt was in full 
swing. Princess Henriette, low of stature, with lovely 
black eyes and obstinate mouth, was married by proxy 
at Notre Dame to the new King of England. A high stage 
was set up outside the west doors of the cathedral, and 
on this the ceremony was performed, after the pattern 
of the wedding of Henry IV. and Marguerite de Valois : 
a Protestant prince could not be married within the walls. 
Here may have lain some foretaste of sadness for her who 
was to be known as la Reine Malheureuse^ though she 
was ready, with strong religious faith, to accept the almost 
missionary character of Queen of a heretic country, an 
Esther for her own people. But the tones of warning 
were silent that day. She had not even received the 
letter in which Marie de M^dicis, inspired by the Pere 


de B6rulle — not by Richelieu, though he claims that credit 
in his Memoirs — laid down in eloquent sentences the 
duties of her new life. For the bride of fifteen all was 
joy and festival. King Charles's proxy was Claude, Due 
de Chevreuse, of royal blood, a younger son of Henry 
le Balafre and brother of Charles, Due de Guise. He was 
one of the handsomest and most splendid of Louis XIIL's 
courtiers, and his famous wife, the widow of Luynes, 
Queen Anne's favourite lady, possessed all the magnificent 
confiscated jewellery of the unlucky Marechale d'Ancre. 
This gorgeous pair were to escort the young Queen to 

After the ceremony, at which the Due de Chevreuse 
acted his part of a Protestant prince to admiration, a royal 
banquet was held in the hall of the Archbishop's palace, 
then close to the cathedral. \ 

"There were bonfires in all the streets of Paris," writes 
Richelieu, " and lights in the windows, which turned 
night into brilliant day. The Cardinal, who with such 
pains and prudence had brought this alliance to a happy 
end, feeling obliged to show his contentment, which 
exceeded that of all others, presented their Majesties and 
the Court with a supper and fireworks which were worthy 
of the magnificence of France." 

The Cardinal's high contentment did not last long. At 
the moment there were reasons for it : slight hopes, which 
soon faded, of a swift end to the revolt ; the arrival of the 
Pope's nephew and legate, Cardinal Barberini, to negotiate 
a peaceful settlement of the Valtelline affair. Then all 
was upset, in Richelieu's view, by the descent on Paris 
of the Duke of Buckingham. 

Ostensibly, that great personage came as his master's 
special representative, to fetch home Charles's Queen. 
In Paris "his Person and Presence was wonderfully 
admired and esteemed " ..." he out-shined," as Lord 
Clarendon tells us, "all the bravery that Court could 
dress itself in, and over-acted the whole Nation in their 
own most peculiar Vanities." 

Cardinal de Richelieu's " pains and prudence " had not 


been in order to the satisfying of this gentleman, who 
unluckily ruled both fashion and politics in England, and 
he was by no means disposed to make peace or war at 
Buckingham's bidding. For the Duke's visit was far from 
being one of mere courtesy. He had two political ends 
in view: first, to defeat the Pope's legate and to keep 
France at war with Spain ; second, to make so close an 
alliance with France that she would be bound to fight for 
the restoration of the Elector Palatine to his dominions. 
Richelieu would have none of this state of bondage. 
Louis XIIL, led by him, stood firm and independent. He 
would accept peace with Spain when he judged it advisable, 
and he would not throw himself into the war in Germany, 
except by allowing Count Mansfeldt, on the Protestant 
side, to be reinforced by a couple of thousand French 
horse at the expense of those who employed them. This 
concession, which does not sound great, was made with 
the view of keeping England in a good temper, at least 
so long as the King of France had his Huguenot rebels 
to contend with. 

Buckingham pressed for peace in that direction, but 
was answered, with sufficient haughtiness, that in the 
interest of the King his master he ought to be silent. 
*' For no prince," said Richelieu, " should assist, even by 
words, the rebellious subjects of another." 

Buckingham promised, swaggered, threatened a little. 
He would send a hundred ships to ravage the coast of 
Spain, and would land an army of 15,000 men in Flanders, 
if King Louis would supply 6000 cavalry. He would 
conquer Artois and make a present of it to France. But 
if the French received these offers coldly, England would 
seek the friendship of Spain and recover the Palatinate 
by treaty. 

To which Richelieu replied that it was for the English 
to consider whether it would be for their advantage to 
send a fleet to Spain and an army to Flanders; that his 
King advised them to think well beforehand whether 
these would be the best means of recovering the Palatinate. 
If the same result could be gained by treaty, he advised 


them to prefer the latter course. As to the polite offer 
of Artois, the King of France had no wish for conquests, 
and in marrying his sister to the King of England desired 
no acquisition but his friendship. 

Between the lines of the Memoirs it is easy to read 
Richeheu's scornful dislike of the splendid upstart who 
ruled England and tried to play the game of politics 
with him; a dislike which deepened into distrust and 
uneasiness later, when Buckingham's cause for quarrel 
with the French government had become that of a pas- 
sionate, disappointed man rather than that of a politician, 
however foolhardy. 

The story of Henrietta's progress to Calais has often 
been told ; a story in which the interest quite leaves 
Charles's little bride to centre itself round the beautiful 
young Queen of France and the love-affair in which 
Buckingham, at least, was desperately in earnest. Her 
husband's unkind neglect might have given the Queen 
every excuse, even if her dearest friend, Madame de 
Chevreuse, had not been a standing example of the morals 
favoured by society. It is certain that Anne was strongly 
attracted by the great charmer of his age; but religion 
and Spanish dignity, not to mention the care of her elder 
ladies and the watchfulness of the Court, were a sufficient 
protection. Only the most notorious scandal-mongers 
dared to hint otherwise. 

Lord Clarendon's very discreet account of the affair 
sets forth plainly the political result of Buckingham's 

" In his Embassy in France ... he had the Ambition 
to fix his Eyes upon, and to dedicate his most violent 
Affection to, a Lady of a very sublime Quality ; Insomuch 
as when the King had brought the Queen his Sister as 
far as he meant to do, and delivered her into the hands 
of the Duke to be by him conducted into England ; the 
Duke, in his Journey, after the departure of that Court, 
took a resolution once more to make a visit to that great 
Lady, which he believ'd he might do with much privacy. 
But it was so easily discover'd, that provision was made 


for his Reception ; and if he had pursued his Attempt, 
he had been without doubt Assassinated; of which he 
had only so much notice, as serv'd him to decline the 
Danger. But he swore, in the instant, ' that he would See 
and Speak with that Lady, in Spight of the Strength 
and Power of France.' And from the time that the Queen 
arriv'd in England, he took all the ways he could to 
Undervalue and Exasperate that Court and Nation, by 
causing all those who fled into England from the justice 
and displeasure of that King, to be received and entertain'd 
here, not only with ceremony and security, but with 
bounty and magnificence ; and the more extraordinary 
the Persons were, and the more notorious their King's 
displeasure was towards them (as at that time there were 
very many Lords and Ladies in those circumstances) the 
more respectfully they were receiv'd, and esteem'd. He 
omitted no opportunity to Incense the King against France, 
and to dispose him to assist the Hugonots, whom he 
likewise encourag'd to give their King some trouble. . . ." 

Among these "extraordinary Persons" was the Due 
de Soubise, who fled to the English coast after his defeat 
at sea and remained in England, welcome alike to lords 
and commons ; doing his best the while to shake down 
the already tottering friendship between Charles L and 
his royal French brother-in-law. 



Peace with Spain — The making of the army and navy — The question of 
Monsieur's marriage— The first great conspiracy— Triumph of Richelieu 
and death of Chalais. 

THE Duke of Buckingham had to do with a mind 
immeasurably superior to his own ; and if he, in the 
autumn of 1625, was pushing on a quarrel with 
France, Cardinal de Richelieu's game, for the present, was 
to disappoint him. The English fleet, playing at piracy, 
carried off French merchant ships : English influence led 
the Dutch to recall the fleet they had lent to France; a 
serious annoyance to Richelieu, who had not yet had time 
to make a navy. He had other reasons for being angry 
with King Charles, who, from Henrietta's first arrival in 
England, had frankly shown his dislike of the " Monsers" 
she brought with her and seemed ready to treat all his 
marriage promises, open or secret, as waste paper. But 
Richelieu intended England to be the powerful mediator 
between Louis XHI. and the Huguenots; to this end, he 
ignored a whole series of pin-pricks, invited English 
ambassadors to Paris, and let it be understood that France, 
once at peace internally, would be ready to give active help 
in Germany. 

That bleeding wound of civil war had so weakened the 
campaign in North Italy as to make it ineff'ectual. An 
Austrian force, pouring down over the Saint-Gothard, had 
reinforced Genoa, and Lesdiguieres, with no fleet to sup- 
port him, had been obliged to retire. But the Spaniards 
had failed to recover the Valtelline. It remained for the 



present in the hands of the French ; a difficult question to 
be settled with the Pope, and Cardinal Barberini's mission 
to that end resulted in nothing but words. He went back 
to Rome, in high discontent, at the end of September, and 
Richelieu, so far from slackening his hold, sent the Mar^chal 
de Bassompierre to reinforce the Marquis de Coeuvres in 
Switzerland. It seemed that there was nothing to be done 
in the Catholic interest with " le Roy du Roy," the man 
people already called atheist, Huguenot, " le Cardinal de la 

This was not quite the case, however. Though Riche- 
lieu would not treat with Cardinal Barberini, he had already 
entrusted his other self, Pere Joseph, with powers for 
negotiating with Urban VHI. at Rome. At the moment, 
the mission of Barberini made this impossible, but it seems 
that the Capuchin — never publicly mentioned in State 
affairs, but always to be found pulling the strings for 
Richelieu in the background — passed on his instructions to 
the Comte du Fargis, French ambassador at Madrid, who 
set to work on the hard task of framing a treaty to please 
everybody — Spain, Austria, the Pope, the Grison Leagues 
and France — but notably that secret party in France, 
headed by the Queen-mother, M. de Marillac, afterwards 
Chancellor, and Pere de B6rulle, among whom Richelieu's 
opponents were now to be found. M. du Fargis, in his 
communications with the Spanish Minister, Count Olivarez, 
considered rather the wishes of this French ultra-Catholic 
party, reported to him by his brilliant and mischievous 
wife, now in Paris, than the intentions of Richelieu. The 
consequence was, that several attempts at a treaty were 
scornfully repudiated by the French government, and it 
was not till May 1626 that any agreement was arrived at. 
A nominal sovereignty over the Valtelline was restored 
to the Grisons, and Spain renounced any right of passage. 
The Catholic religion was established in the valley, and 
the forts were restored to the Pope, to be demolished by 
his troops. All parties were fairly satisfied, except the 
Duke of Savoy, whose quarrel with Genoa was coolly set 
aside without any reference to him. And the English 


government, which had almost forced the French Hugue- 
nots to accept an unprofitable peace from Louis XIII. 
in February, saw with immense irritation the conclusion of 
peace between France and Spain. This was not the end 
they had worked for ; and the secret diplomacy of Richelieu 
was regarded in England as a dishonourable trick. 

He cared not at all. Peace was necessary to him at 
this time : how necessary, a glance at his home projects 
is enough to prove. He now set to work upon them in 
earnest; backed up by public opinion, both in 1625 and 
1626, in the shape of assemblies of the Notables — princes, 
dukes, and peers of France, archbishops and bishops, 
crown officers, presidents of courts of law, and the provost 
of the merchants of Paris. At these assemblies the chief 
personages of the kingdom were invited to advise the King. 
Richelieu took care that their advice should accord with 
his own, for his day of absolute power was only dawning. 
He had his way with them : as a body, they gave their 
consent to his policy at home and abroad. 

The creation of a navy was his most popular measure. 
No longer should the King of France be forced to borrow 
ships where he could, to protect French coasts and French 
merchant vessels against "pirates of all nations." Michel 
de Marillac, if he had secretly opposed Richelieu in the 
affair of the Spanish treaty, was heartily with him here, 
and he was one of those whose eloquence led the Notables 
to vote with enthusiasm the building or purchase of forty- 
five battle-ships. The sea-going trade of France, its enor- 
mous losses and dangers under the present system, was the 
text which inspired Marillac. 

" We have everything we need," he cried, " to make us 
strong at sea. We have wood and iron for ship-building, 
linen and flax for sails and cordage ; sailors in abundance, 
who will serve our neighbours if not employed at home ; 
the best ports in Europe . . . and yet our neighbours rob 
us of our fishing . . . pirates ravage our coasts and carry 
off the King's subjects captive to Barbary." 

It was time, he said, that France should wake from 
her lethargy of many years. 


The words of Marillac on this occasion were the 
thoughts of Richelieu, and he set about carrying them out 
in his own way. He had already taken to himself supreme 
power over naval affairs, by buying out the Due de Mont- 
morency and presenting himself with letters patent which 
conferred the new office of Grand Master and Superinten- 
dent-General of Navigation and Commerce. 

Authority over the army — which he made almost en- 
tirely from small and chaotic beginnings till it became the 
force that conquered at Rocroy — was gained by Richelieu 
through the abolition of the old office of Constable of 
France. The Due de Lesdiguieres, its last holder, died in 
1626, and military supremacy under the King passed into 
the hands of a War Minister — that is to say, into those of 
RicheHeu himself. 

Equally difficult with the creation of army and navy 
were the necessary reforms in the Church, in finance, in 
local government, and the establishment throughout France 
of order and the royal authority. The Cardinal shrank 
from nothing. Many of the details of his projected work 
were never carried out, and it has been well said that he 
was a more successful statesman abroad than at home, 
where a mass of privileges and vested interests, with the 
growing necessity for heavy taxes, were millstones hung 
round a financial reformer's neck. Richelieu's success in 
crushing the great nobles brought no benefit to the common 
people ; it was all for the advantage of the King. Among 
his early dreams were those of encouraging agriculture 
and manufactures after the example of Henry IV. and 
Sully ; but he did little good of this kind, except in the 
way of colonisation. Under his protection new French 
commercial companies, after a long struggle with England, 
gained a more secure footing in Canada and the West 

For the first few years of Richelieu's ministry he was 
working against tremendous odds. His health was terribly 
bad. All through the winter of 1625-6 he suffered from 
fever and constant headaches, so that he was often forced 
to leave Paris in the midst of his work and to fly for rest 


and change to one of his country-houses. Once at least, 
when summoned back on pubHc affairs to the Petit- 
Luxembourg, he writes to Claude Bouthillier : " I am so 
persecuted by my head . . . my pain is excessive. ... I 
am so persecuted by my head, I know not what to say. 
But even were I worse, I would rather die than not drag 
these important affairs to a conclusion." 

At this very time, in the spring of 1626, the discontent 
he had already caused in high quarters began to show its 
teeth, and the first of many conspiracies was formed 
against him. 

He had very few sincere friends except in his own 
family, and among the men who worked with him, and 
whom he entirely trusted. Marie de Medicis, indeed, had 
not yet actually broken with him ; they were apparently 
on the same terms as before. But in actual fact the 
distance between them was widening every day. In- 
fluenced by B^rulle, the Queen-mother had become more 
devote ; she disapproved of the long delay in making peace 
with Rome and Spain, and of the treaty with the Hugue- 
nots, helped on by the intervention of heretic England. 
She was angry with England for other reasons : the pre- 
sumption of Buckingham, the treatment of the young 
Queen's French household. All these things were turning 
her mind against Richelieu's policy. And he was not very 
diplomatic with regard to his patroness. He showed too 
plainly perhaps that her friendship was no longer of the 
highest importance to him. He had gained what he 
wanted ; he was the first man in France, indispensable to 
the King. Ill, impatient, overworked, straining every nerve 
to keep his hold on affairs and his influence with his royal 
master, it was hardly strange that he should fail a little 
in grateful attention to a stupid elderly woman, even 
though he owed her everything. 

But Marie de Medicis was not responsible for this first 
great " storm," as the Cardinal calls it in his Memoirs. 
The clouds rolled up round the King's young brother. 
Monsieur, Due d'Anjou, and were brought to a head by 
Richelieu's decision that he should marry Mademoiselle de 



Montpensier, the only child of the last lord of Champigny 
and the present possessor of his enormous wealth. 

The plan of this match was nothing new. Henry IV. 
and Marie de Medicis had betrothed the heiress to their 
son Nicolas, Due d'Orleans, when both were infants. After 
the boy's early death it was proposed that he should be 
replaced by his younger brother, Gaston, but there was no 
formal contract. The Queen had never renounced the idea, 
specially welcome to her because of her friendship with the 
girl's mother, the Duchesse de Montpensier, afterwards 
Duchesse de Guise, and of the warm affection she had 
always felt for Mademoiselle de Montpensier herself, who 
was now twenty-one, three years older than Gaston, and 
of a singularly sweet character. 

As to Monsieur, he has been described often enough. 
Handsome, intelligent, weak, fooUsh, restless, impression- 
able, gay and agreeable, false and cowardly, he inherited 
little of Henry IV. but his vices and frivolities. He had 
been ill-trained by his governor, Colonel — now Mar6chal — 
d'Ornano, the Corsican officer who had won his post by 
devotion to Luynes at the time of Concini's death. Since 
those days d'Ornano had owed some gratitude to Cardinal 
de Richelieu, and he was now superintendent of his former 
pupil's household. The Cardinal had lately displeased him 
by refusing to admit him, with Monsieur, to the royal 
Council ; and disappointed personal ambition was the chief 
cause of his throwing in his lot with those who were bent 
on making Monsieur the head of an opposing party in the 
State. On the whole, d'Ornano was probably more foolish 
thkn dangerous. Great ladies did what they pleased with 
him ; and he seems to have confided his dreams of power, 
both for his young master and for himself, to no less a 
person than P^re Joseph, the actual ear of Richelieu. 

But the centre of the cyclone was not in Monsieur's 
own household : it was in the heart of the young childless 
Queen. Long afterwards Anne of Austria told Madame 
de Motteville that she had done all she could to prevent 
Monsieur's marriage with Mademoiselle de Montpensier, 
believing that marriage to be entirely against her own 


interests. Already she was neglected enough, unhappy 
enough. Louis XIII., if not the worst of husbands, was 
sulky, suspicious, resentful. The Queen and her intimate 
friends lived in an atmosphere of gloom, almost of per- 
secution, under the shadow of the King and his Minister. 
Louis hated Madame de Chevreuse, and with some reason 
if it is true that her wild spirits had led Anne into romping 
games which more than once cost France a Dauphin. 

But it seemed to the Queen that Gaston's proposed 
marriage made her position hopeless. If he had children, 
heirs to the crown, his wife would certainly be regarded as 
the first woman in France, and the prospect filled Anne 
with jealous misery. Personally, of course, she could do 
little in opposition, and the extent of her share in the great 
conspiracy was much exaggerated by scandalous tongues 
and pens. But Madame de Chevreuse threw herself into her 
mistress's cause with all the more energy because she hated 
both Richelieu and the King. The Marechal d'Ornano's 
discontent found a hearty ally in her, loveliest and most 
daring of intrigantes^ and also in the Princesse de Conde, 
who had her own reasons for disliking the Montpensier 
marriage. That younger branch of the Bourbons would 
thus be exalted above the branch of Bourbon-Conde, 
now next in succession to the crown. If Monsieur must 
marry — a troublesome necessity — the Condes wished for 
a match between him and their daughter Anne-Genevieve, 
now seven years old. The delay would please the Queen ; 
in the meantime the Prince de Conde was ready to back 
Marechal d'Ornano in demanding honours and appanages 
for Monsieur and even a share in the government. The 
alternative to the Conde marriage was one with a foreign 
princess ; in either case the young prince would be inde- 
pendent of his brother, his mother and Cardinal de Richelieu. 
He was as popular, lively and good-natured as the King 
was unsociable and forbidding; and under the circum- 
stances such a **cabale," as Richelieu calls it, was likely 
to spread far. 

The Cardinal saw his danger. The greater among the 
conspirators were rather scornful of caution and secrecy. 


If Richelieu's knowledge of their objects was at first vague, 
hardly a rebel name escaped him. From the Prince de 
Conde, still holding aloof from the Court, and the young 
Comte de Soissons, who intended himself to marry Made- 
moiselle de Montpensier, to Cesar, Due de Vendome, 
governor of Brittany, who was prepared to make his 
province the head-quarters of an insurrection, and his 
brother Alexandre, the Grand Prior, with many others of 
less high descent but yet among les grands — Richelieu 
knew them all. Behind them loomed shadows of foreign 
Powers : the Dutch, indignant at the coldness of their ally 
and at her treaty with Spain ; the English, " from faithless- 
ness alone " ; the Spaniards, from natural enmity and 
interested ambition ; the Duke of Savoy, to avenge his 
wounded pride ; and then, of course, the Huguenot party 
in France — past experience teaching them, Richelieu says 
bitterly, that they always profited by the troubles of the 

The ends of the conspiracy revealed themselves with a 
certain slowness, reaching the Cardinal through one spy 
and another. All through the spring of 1626 the air was 
full of dark and threatening rumours. Opposition to the 
Montpensier marriage was a mere starting-point. Monsieur 
was little but the figure-head of a faction opposed to the 
whole of Richelieu's policy and bent on forcing his fall. 
The refusal of Monsieur's demands was to be the signal 
for open revolt, in which the Huguenots would make 
common cause with the princes and half the great nobles 
of the kingdom. The boldest conspirators talked of kiUing 
the Cardinal, " the dragon who watched unceasingly over 
his master's safety " ; of throwing the King into prison, and 
in case of his death of marrying Monsieur to the Queen. 
It seems certain that Anne herself was unjustly accused of 
being even aware of such desperate schemes as these ; but 
she was never quite cleared from the injurious suspicion. 

Early in May, when the Court was at Fontainebleau, 
Richelieu decided to strike ; he had evidence enough to 
convince the King that his brother's attitude was danger- 
ous. M. d'Ornano came to wait on His Majesty. Louis 


received him graciously. The same night he was arrested, 
and the next night found him a prisoner at the castle of 
Vincennes. His brothers and intimate friends were thrown 
into the Bastille. " My husband is dead," said Madame 
d'Ornano when she heard of his capture; and the words 
were spoken but a few months too soon. 

Monsieur was furiously angry. He remonstrated loudly 
with the King, who merely answered that he had acted 
on the advice of his Council. The Prince then attacked 
M. d'Aligre, the Chancellor, a timid personage, who humbly 
excused himself, declaring that he had given no advice of 
the kind. Gaston went blustering to Richelieu, from whom 
he met with a different reception and a different reply. 
The Cardinal not only acknowledged that the King had 
asked his advice ; he added that he had given it strongly 
in favour of the arrest of M. d'Ornano, which he considered 
absolutely necessary for the good of the State and of 
Monsieur himself. Gaston replied with insulting language 
and flung away. 

" The Cardinal hated Monsieur," says a writer of the 
time, and we can well believe it — with the scornful hatred 
of a proud and brilliant man bearing the whole burden of 
the State on his shoulders, and finding himself constantly 
thwarted and threatened by an insolent, privileged boy. 
He hated him more because of the reconciHations he had 
to arrange, the flatteries he had to use, the fatherly yet 
respectful manner in which the King's brother must be 
treated by the King's First Minister— conscious, for the 
next dozen years, that his sickly master might die childless 
and be succeeded by this young fellow whose will and 
power for mischief were only balanced by his weakness 
of character. Until the birth of a Dauphin, in 1638, de- 
stroyed Gaston's political importance, he was to be the 
chief obstacle in Richelieu's career, the chief thorn in his 

The arrest of the Marechal d'Ornano had all the effect 
that Richelieu intended ; but if it warned and terrified the 
more prudent conspirators, it infuriated the bolder, younger 
spirits of Monsieur's faction. Madame de Chevreuse and 


a few young men, led by the Grand Prieur de Vend6me 
and Henry de Talleyrand-Perigord, Comte de Chalais, 
decided that Richelieu must die. They planned that 
Monsieur should invite himself and a party of his friends 
to dine with the Cardinal at Fleury, his country-house 
near Fontainebleau. This gracious act might be supposed 
to mean that the Prince forgave his friend's arrest. But 
the real intention was that the Cardinal's guests should 
murder him. In the confusion that would follow, Mon- 
sieur's party meant to do as they pleased with the King 
and the government. 

Richelieu was saved by the weakness of one of the 
chief conspirators. The Comte de Chalais, Keeper of 
the King's Wardrobe, a young man of twenty-eight, was 
at this time the favoured lover of Madame de Chevreuse. 
He would have killed a dozen cardinals to please her, 
and he was ready to stab her enemy with his own hand. 
For all that, he ruined the enterprise. On the eve of the 
great day he confided the plan to Commander de Valengay, 
a loyal courtier, though a friend of his own. 

M. de Bassompierre may tell the story, for he was at 
Fontainebleau at the time. 

" The said Commander reproached him for his treachery, 
that being the King's servant he should dare to under- 
take this against his First Minister ; saying that he must 
give him warning, and that in case he refused to do this 
he would do it himself: to which Chalais, being intimi- 
dated, consented; and they both went in that same hour 
to Fleury, in order to warn M. le Cardinal, who thanked 
them, and begged them to go and inform the King of 
the same : which they did ; and the King, at eleven o'clock 
in the evening, sent to order thirty of his gendarmes and 
thirty light horse to go immediately to Fleury. The Queen- 
mother also dispatched thither the nobles of her household. 
It happened as Chalais had said : towards three o'clock in 
the morning Monsieur's officers arrived at Fleury, sent 
to prepare his dinner. M. le Cardinal left them in the 
house, came to Fontainebleau, and went straight to the 
bed-chamber of Monsieur, who was getting up, and was 


sufficiently amazed to see him. He reproached Monsieur 
for not having honoured him with his commands to 
provide dinner, which he would have done as best he 
could, and said that he had left the house in possession 
of his people. After this, having handed Monsieur his 
shirt, he went away to the King, and afterwards to the 
Queen-mother" . . . leaving Gaston effectually frightened 
by his terrible coolness. 

So ended the Fleury plot. The friends of M. de 
Chalais were completely puzzled as to how the informa- 
tion could have reached Richelieu, until, the Court having 
returned to Paris, he made his confession to Madame 
de Chevreuse, promising more faithfulness in future. 

For a moment a kind of paralysis seems to have seized 
both parties in the game. Ill in body and troubled in 
mind, realising that his public life must be one long 
struggle against deadly foes at home and abroad, Richelieu 
actually offered his resignation to the King. It was plain, 
he said, that he alone was the cause of divisions in the 
State. His enemies were so many that he lived at Court 
in continual peril of assassination. If it were the King's 
will that in spite of danger he should continue to serve 
him, he was ready to do so, but he knew that his departure 
would be for the peace of the realm. Writing also to 
the Queen-mother, he begged her to take his part with 
the King, adding that unless he could be more careful 
of his health in future his career as a statesman would 
of necessity be short. 

Such fits of depression were nothing new. It is likely 
enough that Richelieu was in earnest, for the moment 
at least. But if his object was to measure the confidence 
and loyalty he might expect from his master through 
the difficult times he foresaw, the experiment succeeded. 
In a long and kind letter, Louis refused to let his 
Minister go. 

" Mon Cousin," he wrote, ** . . .1 have every confidence 
in you, and never has any one served me as well as you. 
... I desire and beg you not to retire, for my affairs would 
go ill. ... I pray you to have no fear of the calumnies 


which in my Court no one can escape. ... Be assured that 
I will protect you against every one, and that I will never 
abandon you. The Queen, my mother, promises you as 
much. ... Be assured that I shall never change, and that, 
by whomsoever you may be attacked, you will have me 
for your second." 

As to the Cardinal's health, the King promised to spare 
him as much as possible, to dispense him from all visits, 
and to give him frequent rest and relaxation. Following 
on these favours, he ordered him for his greater security 
a guard of a hundred men. 

After the Fleury affair, Richelieu retired for some days 
to his house at Limours. Here, at the end of May, he 
received two important visits. One was from the Prince 
de Conde, tired of his isolation, alarmed by the fate of 
d'Ornano, and convinced at length that the man at the 
head of affairs would be safer as a friend than as an enemy. 
He was well received, for Richelieu had already given 
Louis XHL the counsel which he now acted upon— the 
wise counsel given long ago by the Duke of Milan to 
Louis XL — that the princes leagued against the King should 
be divided amongst themselves. 

Monsieur le Prince slept at Limours, and remained the 
next day to dinner. He talked — Conde always talked 
much and plausibly — and the Cardinal, by his own account, 
listened respectfully and answered frankly. They discussed 
the affairs of Monsieur. It was Conde's opinion that he 
should be kindly treated, but kept in his place : as to 
the Marechal d'Ornano, his arrest had been "a master- 
stroke" and should be followed up by his trial. He 
recommended to the Cardinal more caution in dealing 
with powerful m.en, but would not hear of his retirement 
from the head of affairs. It would be the ruin of the 
State, he said. He told him that he had long desired his 
friendship ; that France had never before seen so great or 
so disinterested a Minister, whose glorious deeds could 
not be denied, even by his enemies. All this and much 
more flattery ended in an alliance between the Prince and 
the Cardinal, which actually lasted their lives. Conde 


became a loyal subject of the King and a devoted adherent 
and admirer of Richelieu. 

The other visit w^as from Monsieur himself. The 
consequences of this interview were not so lasting, though 
for the moment satisfactory. The royal boy was in a 
chastened frame of mind. He was ready to make his 
formal submission to the King, without any condition, 
even as to the safety of M. d'Ornano, who had thus a 
foretaste of the destiny of all Monsieur's friends. Richelieu's 
fatherly admonitions had their full effect. The next day, 
in Paris — Pentecost, May 31 — the Prince vowed on the 
Gospels eternal love and loyalty to the King and to the 
Queen his mother. A solemn family compact was drawn 
up and signed : Louis^ Marie, Gaston. 

The Cardinal's next step was the disgrace of M. d'Aligre, 
the Chancellor, who had failed to face Monsieur in the 
matter of d'Ornano's arrest. The seals were transferred 
to Michel de Marillac. Then the Vendome princes had 
their turn. 

If the Due de Venddme— the ** Cesar-Monsieur " flattered 
and feared by Henry IV.'s Court — had been a man of 
character to match his position, no one of the great nobles 
could have equalled him in power and popularity. Even 
as a vain and vicious coward, few men in the kingdom 
were more dangerous to Richelieu's plans and Louis XIII. 's 
government. From his province of Brittany, the Duke 
had watched the failure of the great conspiracy in which 
he and his brother were deeply engaged. They feared, 
and with reason, that their own ruin would follow that 
of the Marechal d'Ornano. As the month of May passed, 
and nothing was done, Cesar proceeded to fortify himself 
at Nantes, while Alexandre, a bolder man, watched events 
in Paris and sought, not without success, to discover the 
real mind of his half-brother the King. 

Early in June came the startling news that Louis and 
the Court were setting out for Brittany. They were 
already on the road, and the Cardinal, lingering a few 
days at Limours for his health's sake, was about to follow, 
when he was unexpectedly visited by Alexandre de 


Vend6me, hurrying post-haste to fetch his brother from 
Nantes to meet the displeased King. 

From Richelieu's own account, it was a characteristic 
interview. He had long distrusted these two young men, 
whom Henry IV. had indulged and exalted with the 
short-sighted idea that they would be Louis XHL's most 
loyal subjects. On the contrary, says Richelieu, both 
contributed to every effort that was made to shake the 
royal authority, and both — had they been able — would 
have done the kingdom irreparable harm. With grim 
satisfaction the Cardinal saw these royal birds now 
struggling in the net he had spread for them. It was not 
necessary to spare them as Gaston, legitimate prince and 
heir-presumptive, had been spared. 

Richelieu has_ been accused of deceiving the Grand 
Prior with false hopes of favour and clemency, thus 
encouraging him to place his brother and himself in the 
King's hands. He might have thought himself justified 
in doing so, if necessary. On the contrary, if he is to 
be believed, he tried to guard against any accusation of 
the kind. He pretended to be aware neither of the 
anxious terror that had brought the young man to Limours, 
nor of the " fausse hardiesse " which led him to play this 
game of bluff for himself and for his brother, acting 
innocence and a frank readiness to face the King. 

" When the Grand Prior told the Cardinal that he was 
going to fetch his brother, he did not answer him that 
he was doing either well or ill, because he saw that they 
could not save themselves, or resist the King's power, 
if they remained in Brittany, and he thought it better 
that His Majesty should take the trouble to fetch them 
thence, or even take them on their road, than give them 
a pretext to say " (what they did say) " that they had 
been attracted by fine words, deceived and caught by 
false hopes." 

Finding that the Cardinal would give him no clear 
lead, Alexandre de Vend6me hastened on his way. A 
few days later, he and his brother, " making a virtue of 
necessity," met the King at Blois. The next day, both 


were arrested and conveyed to the castle of Amboise, 
from which they were transferred to Vincennes. The 
Due de Vendome's question — ''What about Monsieur? 
Has he been arrested or no?" — was hardly needed to 
warn Richelieu, who arrived at Blois that same evening, 
that the conspiracy was still alive and dangerous. 

The Comte de Chalais, unimaginably rash and foolish, 
was playing a game he could only lose. His escape after 
the Fleury affair had been narrow enough, and he had 
then solemnly promised loyalty to the Cardinal, even 
undertaking to act as his spy, informing him of any evil 
counsels that might reach Monsieur. But Chalais was 
not his own master. Madame de Chevreuse drove him 
into a path where there was no more turning back, and 
after the arrest of the Vendome princes he became the 
active agent and cat's-paw of a new combination of old 
rebel forces which swiftly dragged Monsieur into its 
centre, his vows of loyalty hardly spoken and the ink 
of his signature not yet dry. 

While the King continued his slow progress into 
Brittany to assure himself of the loyalty of the province, 
he was actually enveloped in a cloud of conspiracy. Every 
night, according to Bassompierre, the Comte de Chalais 
visited Monsieur in his room, and for two or three hours 
talked and plotted treason : an easy adventure for the 
Master of the King's Wardrobe, who had his lodging close 
to royalty. The plan was that Monsieur should leave the 
Court and fly either south-west or north-east ; either to the 
Huguenots at La Rochelle, prepared to receive him by 
the influence of Madame de Chevreuse and Madame de 
Rohan, or to the Due d'fipernon and his son at Metz. The 
Comte de Soissons, whom the King had left behind as 
governor of Paris, furious at the arrest of his friends the 
Vendome princes, was eager not only to help with arms 
and men towards a civil war, but to seize his own advantage 
by carrying off Mademoiselle de Montpensier. 

This last detail of the plot, it seems, was the first 
to reach the King's ears, and he defeated it by sending 
for the heiress and her mother, the Duchesse de Guise, 


who immediately followed the Court on its westward 

This piece of ill-luck was swiftly followed by others. 
Monsieur himself was undecided, timid, difficult to move 
to instant action. Disliking the Huguenot leaders, he was 
unwilling to place himself in their hands. Metz was his 
favourite idea ; but the Marquis de la Valette would not act 
independently of his father, and the old Due d'fipernon, 
it seems, had had enough of quarrels with the King, for he 
went so far as to send him the letter that Monsieur had 

Richelieu seems to have felt a certain scornful pity for 
the unfortunate Chalais, whose evil report was brought to 
him by other spies. More than once he had him warned 
that he was on the road to ruin ; yet *' the poor gentleman " 
went on with his desperate schemes. And even the spies 
had not discovered the extent of these. Chalais was 
betrayed to his destruction by a friend, the Comte de 
Louvigny, who quarrelled with him because he would not 
take his side in some trivial dispute with the Comte de 
Candale, another son of the Due d'fipernon. Chalais made 
it clear that neither he nor his friends could afford to be on 
ill terms with that family. 

This quarrel took place between Saumur and Nantes, 
as the Court travelled down the Loire in all the fresh 
beauty of early summer. M. de Bassompierre, who was 
present, a courtier of long experience, thought nothing of 
it — a mere matter of an amourette — and it is pretty certain 
that public opinion was with him in denouncing Louvigny 
as " ce mechant gargon " for the revenge he took. Having 
been known as " parfait ami de Chalais," the confidant of 
his secrets, he straightway poured them all into the ears of 
the Cardinal and the King. Bassompierre hints that in his 
rage and spite he told even more than the truth ; but that 
alone was enough to condemn Chalais. 

He was arrested at Nantes on July 8. On the nth, the 
Estates of Brittany were opened by the King amid loyal 
rejoicings, a new governor, the Marechal de Themines, taking 
the place of the Due de VendOme. By this appointment 


Richelieu showed a certain magnanimity ; forgetting his 
own brother's death at the hands of the Marechal's son, he 
remembered and rewarded the old soldier's faithfulness in 
i6i6, when by the arrest of Conde he had checked the 
rebel party and lightened the task of the Richelieu-Barbin 

While Chalais lay in prison through those summer days, 
his fate, if ever doubtful, was decided by the poltroonery 
of the prince for whom he had conspired. To assure his 
own safety and to gain some of his ends, if not all. 
Monsieur made a full confession to the Cardinal first, then 
to the King in Council. In his long and confused declara- 
tions, preserved in the French Archives, a few points stand 
out clearly : that he described all his plans against the 
State, especially against the Cardinal; treason, revolt, 
murder, and civil war : that he denounced all his friends, 
not only d'Ornano and Chalais, but his Vendome half- 
brothers, the Comte de Soissons and many more. He did 
not quite spare Madame de Chevreuse or even the Queen. 
On the other hand, he once again promised obedience to 
the King and consented to marry Mademoiselle de Mont- 
pensier ; but the reward he asked for his submission was 
not, as it might well have been, the pardon of his friends, 
but the great appanage that he had long demanded. Riche- 
lieu found it politic to satisfy him so far, and Gaston 
became Duke of Orleans and of Chartres and Count of 
Blois ; but his actual income, in the form of pensions, still 
depended largely on the pleasure of the King. 

" After which," says Richelieu, " the marriage was made 
without further difficulty on Monsieur's side. The Cardinal 
married them on August 5, in the Chapel of the Fathers of 
the Oratory at Nantes, in whose house the Queen-mother 
was lodged." 

In the last days, when the formalities of the trial of 
Chalais were already begun, Monsieur made some weak 
attempt to save him ; but the victim was marked for death. 
His own prayers, entreaties, and despairing confessions, 
his mother's agonised letter to the King, the efforts of 
some of his friends — more courageous than Madame de 


Chevreuse, who dared not even answer his last adoring 
letters — were all of no avail. He was condemned to the 
frightful death of a traitor. 

The King commuted its worst horrors. Chalais was 
beheaded at Nantes on August 19. At the end he bore his 
fate like a soldier ; and if his agony was unusually long 
and terrible, the cause lay in the mistaken kindness of his 
friends, who had managed to kidnap the public executioner. 
His place was taken by a condemned wretch from the 
prison who thus earned his own pardon. They say that at 
the twentieth blow from that unskilful arm young Chalais 
still groaned — "J6sus Maria!" and a shudder of pity ran 
through the staring crowd. 



Two famous edicts — The tragedy of Bouteville and Des Chapelles — 
The death of Madame and its consequences — War with England— The 
Siege of La Rochelle. 

RICHELIEU had triumphed. Monsieur was safely 
married ; for the moment contented and range. The 
restless, foolish, unhappy Chalais was dead; the 
Marechal d'Ornano had died in prison, not without a 
suspicion of poison which seems unjustified ; the VendOme 
brothers were securely bolted into the damp dungeons of 
Vincennes ; the Comte de Soissons had fled to Savoy ; 
Madame de Chevreuse, banished from the Court, had taken 
refuge with Duke Charles of Lorraine ; Queen Anne was 
in disgrace. Conspiracy was scotched, if not killed ; the 
storm had blown over, and the highest in France, it seemed, 
lay at the Cardinal's mercy. 

By two popular edicts he pursued his plan of crushing 
the nobles and making the King supreme. One destroyed, 
first in Brittany, then all over France, every feudal strong- 
hold that was not needed for the defence of province or 
kingdom. Such a measure was something of a revolution, 
for it struck sharply at the local strength and independent 
authority of the nobles, great and small. Peasants and 
townspeople were delighted to help the royal officials in 
smashing gates and tearing down tall watch-towers and 
walls six feet thick, which had threatened their liberty for 
so many centuries. As is usual in revolutions, a good 
deal of injustice was done ; many proprietors suffered for 



the sins of a few ; promised indemnities were not paid. 
And after all, Richelieu or no Richelieu, civilisation was 
in fact advancing. Manners were changing. Every year 
widened the difference between the centuries, left Henry IV. 
farther behind and brought Louis XIV. nearer. Richelieu, 
in his dealing with the great men, their fortresses and 
their governments, only hurried the inevitable march. But 
he also gained his own immediate ends. 

The other famous edict forbade duels. They had long 
been forbidden, under the severest penalties ; but the 
passions of men and the usages of society had been too 
strong for the law, which had become almost a dead letter. 
The nobles of France fought each other " by day and night, 
by moonlight, by torchlight, in the public streets and 
squares," and on the slightest quarrel. The Church pro- 
tested, the law threatened, without avail. Richelieu once 
more brought forward the royal authority, forbidding duels 
on pain of death, with the firm intention of making an 
example of any man who should dare to disobey. 

The occasion was not long in coming. Francois de 
Montmorency, Comte de Bouteville, was one of the best- 
known duellists in France— or in Europe, for that matter. 
At twenty-seven he had already fought twenty-two duels. 
Fighting was his passion. " If you want to fight," said the 
President de Chevry to a punctilious gentleman, " go and 
pull a hair out of Bouteville's beard ; // vous /era passer 
voire envie'' 

In the spring of 1627 Bouteville was in Flanders, having 
made France too hot to hold him. The Archduchess 
Isabel, from her Court at Brussels, wrote to ask his 
pardon of Louis XIII., who refused it, adding, however, 
that he might return to France safe from justice, on 
condition that he appeared neither in Paris nor at Court. 
This answer touched Bouteville's pride. He had a quarrel 
with the Baron de Beuvron ; he resolved to fight it out 
in Paris in the teeth of King, Cardinal, and edicts new 
and old. Each man had two seconds : it was a triple duel 
with swords, three against three; and it was fought in 
broad daylight in the Place Royale, the most fashionable 


square in Paris. The windows of the high red houses 
were crowded with spectators. 

Both principals escaped unhurt ; but the Comte des 
Chapelles, Bouteville's second, killed his adversary, M. de 
Bussy d'Amboise, governor of Vitry. Honour being satis- 
fied, the survivors fled for their lives. M. de Beuvron and 
two other men got away safely to England. M. de Boute- 
ville and M. des Chapelles, on their way to Lorraine, were 
foolhardy enough to sleep at Vitry, where the fatal news 
had outrun them, and "the dead man's mother," says 
Bassompierre, " arrested them." 

They were brought back to Paris, imprisoned in the 
Bastille, and after a short trial sentenced to death. Then 
the whole opinion of society rose passionately in their 
favour. Such edicts were useless ; human nature could 
not obey them. Men must quarrel, and there was one 
honourable, approved way of settling their quarrels : they 
must fight. If they did not they were scorned as cowards ; 
the King himself sneered at their prudence, their obedience 
to his own edicts. Thus cried every gentleman in France, 
and the Cardinal's heart must have echoed the cry. Though 
he would not save the victims, saying that it was a question 
which throat should be cut — that of the duel or that of 
the law; though he listened unmoved to the prayers of 
their friends and relations— the Princesse de Cond6 and 
the Due de Montmorency were Bouteville's cousins, for the 
best blood of France ran in his veins — yet the words with 
which, in his Memoirs^ he mourns the two young men, 
have a ring of sincerity. Famous for courage in their 
lives, it did not fail them, he says, at the approach of a 
disgraceful death. 

" There was nothing feeble in their speech, nothing low 
in their actions. They received the news of death as if it 
had been that of pardon. . . . They were well prepared 
to die. . . . There was one difference between them : 
Bouteville appeared sad in those last hours, and the Comte 
des Chapelles joyful ; Bouteville sad for the faults he had 
committed, and the other joyful for the hope he had of 


The two were beheaded in the Place de Greve on 
June 21, 1627. Their deaths, following on his signal 
triumphs of the preceding year, made the name of Richelieu 
hateful and terrible to the nobles of France. They began 
to feel that he might be as almighty in power as he was 
relentless in action. But they did not cease to fight 

Another tragic event in the early summer of that year 
was the death of Monsieur's young wife, a few days after 
the birth of her child — not the prince whose arrival had 
been anxiously expected all the winter, the suspense adding 
pride and importance to Monsieur and Madame, gloom and 
jealousy to the King and Queen — but a princess, afterwards 
known as the Grande Mademoiselle, the greatest heiress in 
Europe, whose distinguished, eccentric presence was to be 
familiar to the French Court for more than sixty years. 

" That death," says Bassompierre, " changed the face of 
the Court, gave rise to new designs, and in short was the 
cause of many evils which have since come to pass." 

The Duchess had no more sincere mourner than Car- 
dinal de Richelieu. " Deplorable . _^ . prejudicial to the 
welfare of the State," he writes of the death of Madame, 
"... who in ten months was wife of a great prince, 
sister-in-law of the three first and greatest kings of 
Christendom, a mother, and a corpse." 

The Cardinal had good reasons for his regret. Monsieur, 
who since his marriage had lived peaceably, content with 
his own trifling amusements, influenced by his wife's gentle 
attraction rather than by a set of ambitious favourites, now 
became once more a centre of varied intrigue. And it was 
not only his ready disloyalty, but the constant scandal of 
his private life, which induced Louis XIIL and Richelieu 
to do their best to satisfy his restless spirit. The foolish 
and vicious boy, a widower at nineteen, was after all the 
only hope of the direct royal line. 

By way of consoling the Prince and occupying his mind, 
" the King," says a memoir-writer of that century, " pro- 
posed to him all kinds of honest exercise, principally that 
of the chase : there being hardly a day on which His Majesty 


did not so divert himself, he imagined that Monsieur 
would take the same pleasure in it " — which he did not, 
being a Parisian and a gambler. ** And since Monsieur 
possessed no house near Paris where he could sometimes 
take the air, His Majesty thought well to give him that of 
Limours, belonging to the Cardinal de Richelieu ; thus 
gratifying His Highness in the belief that he would take 
pleasure in beautifying it. It was purchased at the same 
price for which it had been acquired, which amounted to 
400,000 livres, including the domain of Montlhery ; and with 
a further payment of 300,000 livres to the Cardinal de 
Richelieu, as well for the furniture as for his expenditure 
and the improvements he had made." 

The writer goes on to explain that the Cardinal gladly 
seized this opportunity of getting rid of Limours. 

** The Cardinal was disgusted with that house, finding 
it unpleasant and unhealthy; both because of its low 
situation, yet without fountains or other waters, and because 
of many other things that were lacking ; and he was happy 
to seize a good chance of getting rid of it, and greatly to his 
advantage ; which he could not have expected in any other 
quarter. For the Queen-mother's persuasion decided the 
King to gratify the Cardinal her creature, in whom she had 
then every confidence." 

The last sentence hardly bears the stamp of truth. In 
the year 1627 and later, Richelieu could not be described 
as the creature of Marie de Medicis, and her confidence in 
him had almost ceased to exist. 

In the spring of that year the discontent between France 
and England flashed out into war. This had been imminent 
since the early autumn of 1626, when Charles I. roughly 
drove out his wife's French household ; and Bassompierre's 
embassy of remonstrance had only smoothed matters over 
for the time. Richelieu did not desire war with England ; 
it meant a new struggle with the Huguenots. He intended 
to fix his own date for that, and to make it final. He was 
not yet ready. But this time Buckingham's jealous anger 
and restless ambition were strong enough to force his hand. 
Louis XIII. had refused to receive the Duke again at the 


French Court. This, according to contemporaries, be they 
right or wrong, was the chief and secret cause of the war. 
Outwardly, it was brought about by quarrels and piracies 
on both sides at sea, as well as by Charles I.'s sympathy 
with the oppressed Huguenots ; but every enemy of 
Richelieu's government, Protestant or Catholic, was more 
or less drawn into a coalition against him. Not only the 
Due de Soubise and his friends in England, and the Due 
de Rohan in Languedoc, but Duke Charles of Lorraine, 
influenced by Madame de Chevreuse, the Duke of Savoy 
and his guest the Comte de Soissons, and the Archduchess 
Isabel, ruler of the Low Countries, who did her best to 
draw Spain to England's side, were concerned in this great 
enterprise of crushing Cardinal de Richelieu. As a fact, at 
this very time, Spain and France were allied by treaty 
against England; but Richelieu differed from the Queen- 
mother and the rest of the Catholic party in profoundly 
distrusting Olivarez ; and he knew, quite as well as his 
many enemies did, that an English victory would leave 
France, divided in herself, standing alone against Europe. 

From mid-winter onward, the English fleet was pre- 
paring; through what enormous difficulties, readers of 
English history know. From week to week, all through 
the spring, more and more alarming reports crossed the 
Channel : the English were coming ; any day might see 
their sails in the north-west, bearing down on the coast of 
France. La Rochelle was their destination ; but they could 
not reach the Huguenot city without first seizing one or 
both of the islands, Re and Oleron, which guard it from 
the sea. Of these, Re was now the strongest, new royal 
forts having been built there since the last Huguenot revolt, 
to overawe the town. Convinced that the English " could 
do nothing there," Richelieu threw himself with fiery energy 
into the task of strengthening Oleron and the forts on the 
mainland. His letters, written during those months to the 
governors of towns and castles on the coast, especially to 
M. de Guron, governor of Marans, M. de Launay-Razilly, 
commanding in Oleron, M. de Toiras and others^ including 
his brother-in-law the Marquis de Breze, and his friend 


and lieutenant M. de Sourdis, Bishop of Maillezais, after- 
wards Archbishop of Bordeaux — kinsman and successor of 
his enemy Cardinal Sordido — are a really wonderful study. 
Few great statesmen have shown such a genius for detail. 
As the danger approached his letters flew to all parts of 
the coast, and in reading them one may almost hear the 
heavy strokes of the axe in Breton forests, the hammering 
of ship'builders, the creaking of cordage, the clank of arms 
and the rolling of cannon-balls, the rumbhng of waggons 
laden with tools, powder, provisions for the islands. M. de 
Guron, through those months of March, April and May, can 
have slept but little He had to understand "at half a word." 
He had to cope with the angry tempers of the men who 
worked under him ; he had to consider the poor people of 
the islands and to take care that the soldiers did not oppress 
them. Over and over again Richelieu writes in the interest 
of the peasants ; they must not be taxed or tormented. In 
fact, they were neighbours of his old Lu^on days ; a very 
few miles to the north, the spire of his cathedral rose over 
the marshes ; almost every letter shows his familiarity with 
every inch of that coast. 

Another characteristic point is the gentle tone in which 
Richelieu writes of the Huguenots, grimly watching from 
the walls of La Rochelle the strengthening of the islands, 
the gathering of armies, the hurrying to their coast of a 
crowd of young Catholic nobles, the desperate energy of 
equipment with which ships and boats were being collected 
from north and south to meet the coming storm. The 
people of La Rochelle were anxious, and with reason. 
Their minds were divided, not altogether rejoicing in the 
English descent, as they proved a little later — for when 
the Due de Soubise, coming from England, presented 
himself at the gates, they were shut against him until his 
mother, old Madame de Rohan of the dreams and visions, 
went down herself to the harbour, commanded that the 
gates should be opened, took his hand and led him in. 
The citizens of La Rochelle might resist the rulers of their 
own country, but they were not unanimously ready to 
welcome a foreign invader, and it was Richelieu's policy to 



encourage this doubtfulness. Writing to M. de Navailles, 
commander of the cavalry in the island of R6, he more than 
once enjoins him to assure Messieurs de la Rochelle, who 
might be disquieted by the warlike preparations going on 
at their very gates, of the excellent intentions of His 
Majesty. They need fear nothing, as long as they paid 
him the respect and obedience they owed. These military 
works were not for their harm, but for his own security. 
Again, writing to his uncle the Commander de la Porte, 
governor of Angers, Richelieu says: "Let the Huguenots 
spread what reports they will : provided they continue in 
obedience, they will always be well treated. We intend 
no harm to them, but only to prevent their doing any." 

The alarms and the frenzied preparations went on 
through the spring and far into the summer, and were 
at their height while the Bouteville affair and the death 
of Madame occupied the mind of Paris. On the day of 
the royal obsequies at Saint-Denis, the English fleet had 
already sailed from ** Porsemus," as Richelieu spells it, 
and ten or twelve days later it appeared off La Rochelle. 
Louis XHL had already left Paris for the west coast. 
Monsieur was appointed lieutenant-general of the royal 
armies in Poitou, which were actually commanded by the 
King's old cousin, the Due d'Angoul^me, with Louis de 
Marillac, brother of the Chancellor, as second in command, 
and by the Marshals de Schomberg and de Bassompierre. 
Later in the year, the Prince de Conde and the Due de 
Montmorency were charged with checking the Due de 
Rohan in Languedoc. By that time, Toiras being block- 
aded by the English in the Isle of R6, and the attitude 
of La Rochelle being no longer doubtful, Richelieu had 
ceased to show patience and toleration of the King's rebels. 
The day he had long foreseen had at last arrived. " Faut 
ruiner les Huguenots. Si Re se sauve, facile. S'il se 
perd, plus difficile, mais faisable et necessaire comme 
['unique remede de la perte de Re. Autrement les Anglois 
et Rochelois seroyent unis et puissans." 

These notes form part of a report drawn up by the 
Cardinal's secretaries of an interview between himself and 


Cond6, which took place at Richelieu in the early autumn. 
The words may probably have been Conde's : that foolish 
firebrand was in favour of setting the whole kingdom in 
a blaze of religious war, of persecuting the Protestants 
and pulling down their houses, in hopes that they might 
make such reprisals as would infuriate the country against 
them and lead to something like their extermination. 
These mad ideas were far enough from Richelieu ; but 
he, equally with Conde, was now resolved to crush the 
rebel power, and to bring all Frenchmen under the King's 

But a long and difficult struggle lay before him. 
The King was ill when he left Paris, and after one day's 
journey fever seized him so violently that he could go 
no farther. For weeks he lay between life and death at 
Villeroy, on the road to Orleans. He was there in the 
middle of July, when a courier arrived from the Marquis 
de Breze, bringing news that the English had landed in 
Re, and after sharp fighting, many precious lives being 
lost on both sides, had forced M. de Toiras to retire into 
the fort of Saint-Martin, where he was closely besieged. 
No one disputed the desperate courage of Toiras ; but he 
earned great blame from the Cardinal for his rashness 
and want of foresight ; the citadel being hardly in a state 
of defence, and provisioned for seven or eight weeks only. 
Boasting that he could drive off the English with one arm, 
he had indeed never faced the possibility of being shut 
up in Saint-Martin. The despised enemy was to teach him 
a sharp lesson. 

The situation was serious to the last degree, and 
Richelieu had to meet it alone. The King was far too 
ill to hear such news, and his life was more valuable to 
France than any forts and islands: the Cardinal had to 
accept a responsibility never yet openly his. Walking 
gingerly in a crowd of enemies, he had till now sheltered 
himself under the authority of the King. Now he rose 
supreme, to give those " prompt and powerful orders " 
which, as he says, were the only way to face the storm. 
" A thousand cares tormented and agitated his mind ; but 


the greatest of all, which troubled him most, was to show 
no anxiety before the King. . . . All the day he was with 
him ; at night he seldom left him ; and yet his mind was 
always busy with the orders which secretly, from hour 
to hour, he had to send out for the succour of the island 
and the hindering of the English. . . . For he heard that 
there was scarcity in the forts of Re, and that, if not 
promptly relieved, they were lost." 

From the gates of Villeroy rode couriers, agents, envoys, 
carrying orders and money to all parts. The State funds 
were so low that Richelieu was compelled to use his own 
money and credit : he ventured all without hesitation. He 
sent a large sum to Le Havre, for the equipment of five 
ships ; to Saint-Malo, for eight ships and eleven great guns ; 
to Brouage and Les Sables d'Olonne, that any quantity 
of provisions of all kinds, wine, meat, flour, biscuit, might 
be ready to be thrown into the besieged citadel. For that 
purpose he ordered a number of pinnaces from Bayonne 
and the river-mouths on the Bay of Biscay, which could 
approach the islands, sailing or rowing, when the weather 
made large ships useless. Three bold sea-captains, Beaulieu, 
Courcelles, and Canteleu, promised to carry victuals into 
Re or to die in the attempt. Richelieu invited help from 
Spain, in accordance with treaties; but that cautious 
government waited to send ships till Buckingham 4iad 
sailed away for England and something like a French 
navy, created by Richelieu's marvellous practical energy 
and commanded by the Due de Guise, was cruising in the 
waters of La Rochelle. 

This did not happen till December. No relief of Saint- 
Martin became possible till the first days of October, when 
on a stormy night a number of small boats slipped through 
the English fleet and brought in a supply of provisions 
and a reinforcement of four hundred men to M. de Toiras 
and his starving, exhausted garrison. By this time the 
King had recovered, and he and the Cardinal had joined 
the army before La Rochelle. 

With their arrival the luck turned, and the English 
attack began to fail, though the people of La Rochelle 


were now ready to give Buckingham everything he wanted, 
except — for after all, they were French — a permanent 
foothold in their islands. The commanders on the coast, 
under Richelieu's immediate orders, worked with double 
activity. Schomberg landed in Re, Saint-Martin was 
relieved, and after some hard fighting the English were 
driven back with serious loss to their ships. A few days 
later Buckingham sailed away to England, leaving behind 
him the best part of his army, colours, horses, guns, and 
baggage. He never saw France again. The English flags 
taken in Re were carried in triumph through Paris and 
hung up in Notre Dame. 

And now the fight, one of the sternest in history, the 
details of which would fill a volume, was between Cardinal 
de Richelieu and the proud old city of La Rochelle, the 
stronghold which for two hundred years, either in politics 
or religion, had repeatedly and successfully braved the kings 
of France. ** The Cardinal had to expect," says M. Martin, 
" a terrible resistance. The population of La Rochelle, 
swelled by the zealous Huguenots of the surrounding 
country, numbered at least thirty thousand souls — a race of 
fierce and intrepid corsairs, hardened to fatigue and danger, 
accustomed, for sixty years past, to live with restless 
vigilance in the perpetual state of siege which they had 
imposed on themselves in order to preserve their stormy 

These liberties Richelieu was resolved that they should 
no longer enjoy. And except for the support of the King 
and of his few trusted lieutenants, he was almost alone 
in that resolution. The nobles of France, even the com- 
manders of the army, saw very well that the entire con- 
quest of the Huguenots was a long step towards their own 
impotence under an absolute King and a strong Minister. 
Even the gay soldier Bassompierre said half seriously, 
"We shall be fools enough to take La Rochelle!" Such 
opinions, of which he was well aware, did not give the 
Cardinal a moment's pause. He made some attempt to 
disarm his enemies by civilities to the Queen-mother, 
by obtaining a Cardinal's Hat for her saintly and dis- 


tinguished friend Pere de Berulle — his own friend in 
his Lugon days; but he was too clever to expect much 
result, and he probably cared little at this moment, when 
all his instincts of a soldier, a born general, were flaming 
up within him at the sight of camps to be ruled, armies 
to be moved, great towering walls to be laid low. Ruin 
might follow, if it must : the Huguenots should have 
their lesson. 

He had summoned P^re Joseph, his chief counsellor, to 
join him before La Rochelle. The Capuchin walked from 
Paris in leisurely fashion, visiting convents in Poitou 
and preaching by the way. He reached the camp on 
one of those days in October when the Cardinal, lately 
arrived, was absent on the coast directing the despatch 
of fresh troops and stores to the islands. He was 
lodged in the Cardinal's quarters, a small moated house 
called Pont-la-Pierre, on the sand-hills, only a hundred 
paces from the flat sea-shore at Angoulins, just south of 
La Rochelle. That very night there was an alarm that 
five hundred men were coming in boats from the town, 
to blow up the house and kill or capture the Cardinal. 
Though two regiments, according to Bassompierre, were 
quartered at Angoulins, the house was outside immediate 
help, and on a dark and windy night might well be sur- 
prised. P^re Joseph had scarcely arrived when he was 
invaded by M. de Marillac and two hundred musketeers. 
A whole army indeed was on foot to receive the adven- 
turers. Regiments were lying flat among the dunes; the 
King himself was on horseback all night in heavy rain, 
watching behind Pont-la-Pierre with a troop of cavalry. 
All these precautions seemed absurd to Bassompierre 
and his brother officers, who did not love the Cardinal 
or appreciate the King's anxious care for his safety. 
After all, the expected attack did not come off. Either 
the men of La Rochelle were warned, or, as P^re Joseph 
thought, the weather was too much for them. He himself 
was praised by the King for his intrepidity; for when 
he might have retired to the royal quarters he preferred to 
remain at Pont-la-Pierre in charge of the Cardinal's papers. 


The character of Louis XIII. never shows so well as 
in time of war. The gloomy, nervous, irresolute young 
man was a daring soldier. In spite of his weak health 
he shunned no hardship ; the outdoor endurance learnt 
in the hunting-field proved itself of real value in battle 
and siege. Early in December of that year, when the 
regular blockade of La Rochelle had begun, Cardinal 
de Richelieu wrote to the Queen-mother with a report 
of the King's health : 

"... Although the country is most evil, tempest, wind 
and rain being the usual course, and the soil constantly 
a quagmire, His Majesty does not cease to dwell here 
with as much gaiety as if he were in the most beautiful 
place in the world. . . . He is constantly at work ... he 
has regulated his army, reformed his regiments ... he 
reviews his army, visits his works. . . . The day before 
yesterday he spent three hours on the dyke that he is 
making, to bar the harbour. Not only did he overlook 
the work, but set an example by working with his own 
hands. His Majesty alone does much more to advance 
his affairs than all those who have the honour to be 
employed under his command. The men of La Rochelle 
make little sorties, but are always beaten back." 

The Cardinal was wise enough to give the King the 
credit of all his own marvellous doings at this time. It 
was practicable to blockade La Rochelle by land ; but 
as long as the harbour and channel were open, it was 
impossible to hinder the city from receiving supplies by 
sea. At the same time, the difficulties connected with 
the land siege were considerable enough ; and the army 
regulations carried out by Richelieu, mentioned in his 
letter to Marie de Medicis, were as stern as they were 
necessary. Three leagues of circumvallation, strengthened 
by forts and redoubts, had to be held by a host of 
more or less undisciplined men, whose careless com- 
manders thought more of their own interests and their 
own quarrels than of the service of the King. Before 
Louis and the Cardinal arrived on the scene, the Due 
d'Angouleme had been negligent or humane enough to 





allow the Rochellois to come out into their fields and 
gather in their harvest; and after the siege had really 
begun, he allowed a hundred and twenty oxen to be 
smuggled one night into the city. It might have cost a 
lesser man his head. 

Richelieu once in full authority, no more such weakness 
was shown ; but if implacably stern towards the besieged, 
he showed himself just and benevolent towards both the 
King's soldiers and the poor peasants of that unhappy 
land, who had dragged on miserable lives through 
generations of religious wars. The soldiers were forbidden 
to rob the peasants, or to interfere with their field work. 
The army was regularly paid and provided with food 
and clothing, while the officers found themselves reinforced 
and overshadowed by a crowd of warlike ecclesiastics, 
the Bishops of Maillezais, of Mende, of Nimes, and others, 
not to mention Pere Joseph and his train of friars, who 
fought and fortified, preached and prayed, besieging the 
heretics in the spirit of crusaders and waging a holy war 
for Richelieu's political ends. 

The Due d'Angouleme, with his fellow generals Schom- 
berg and Bassompierre — Monsieur having quickly with- 
drawn from the uncomfortable siege to find amusement 
and mischief in Paris — commanding an army from which 
blasphemy and crime were banished, were charged with 
the land blockade and with such outside work as pulling 
down the castles of rebel Huguenot nobles in the neigh- 
bouring country — among them that of the Due de Soubise. 
Warned by such severities, and impressed by the failure 
of the Enghsh to succour La Rochelle, several of the 
Huguenot gentlemen of Poitou came into the camp to 
assure the King of their loyalty. The most distinguished 
among them, the Due de la Tremoille, listened to the 
persuasive voice of Pere Joseph and became a Catholic, 
and certain of his friends followed his example — a signal 
triumph for Richelieu which was not encouraging to the 
starving heroes of La Rochelle. Towards the same time 
the young Comte de Soissons returned from Savoy, and 
instead of supporting the Due de Rohan, as he had 


threatened, in Languedoc, asked the King's pardon and 
joined the royal army. 

In February 1628 the King's cheerful interest in the 
siege suddenly failed. The monotony of camp life, the 
slow advance of the necessary works, and the horrible 
weather, bored him unbearably : " son ennui vint jusqu'a 
tel point," writes Richelieu, " qu'il estimoit sa vie etre en 
p6ril s'il ne faisoit un tour k Paris." He may probably 
have been right, for the damp marshes on which the 
army lived were hardly healthy for a man subject to 
low fever ; Richelieu himself was prostrated by it several 
times in that spring. All the same, he was angry and 
scornful at the King's desertion. He was also uneasy 
on his own account, for Paris seethed with the intrigues 
of his deadly enemies, and political clouds were gathering 
in the south. For a moment it seemed possible that La 
Rochelle would escape : the departure of both King and 
Cardinal would have brought the siege to an end. In 
remaining alone, Richelieu made a bold venture which 
was justified. The King returned from Paris in April ; 
in the meanwhile, he made the Cardinal his lieutenant- 
general, with supreme authority over his forces by land 
and sea. 

Richelieu's first care was to finish the great dyke or 
mole by means of which alone the harbour of La Rochelle 
could be barred against all entrance from the sea. Two 
famous workmen from Paris, Metezeau and Tiriot, engineer 
and master-mason, undertook this tremendous piece of 
work, at which the regiments laboured in turn. Several 
times, in the early winter, the great beams and blocks of 
stone were swept away by furious seas, but Richelieu only 
began again : the two arms of the mole were well advanced 
in spring, and the Rochellois could watch from their ram- 
parts the growing of those cruel prison walls against which 
Atlantic waves tumbled in vain. The narrow passage in 
the centre was blocked by sunken ships laden with stones, 
and then the doomed city was in the hands of her 
enemies : they had only to wait for her surrender. 

We may see Cardinal de Richelieu as artists have 


fancied him, standing on the wet rugged stones of the great 
mole, green water washing and foaming almost round his 
feet. Immense hulls of English ships loom in the offing, and 
small boats full of armed men are dancing on the waves. 
The gigantic beams of the chevaux de frise protecting the 
mole are splintered by cannon-balls. A fresh breeze is 
blowing : the Cardinal's scarlet cloak falls back from his 
slight steel-clad shoulders ; he wears a sword ; he is bare- 
headed, except for a skull-cap. He stands in his high boots, 
with folded arms, looking out to sea, unmoved, confident 
in his defences ; while a group of soldiers and ecclesiastics, 
some yards behind him, talk and stare excitedly. 

The Cardinal's mole and his other fortifications were too 
much for the English fleet when it returned in May : it 
hardly even attempted an attack, but sailed away in a week, 
leaving La Rochelle a prey to famine, though not yet to 

The story of that terrible summer has often been told : 
how fresh English promises, with the desperate heroism of 
Guiton, the famous mayor, encouraged the town to hold 
out to the last ; how the weak died by thousands, and the 
strong lived on grass, shell-fish, stewed hides and leather 
and worse food still ; how old men, women and children, 
driven out of the city as useless mouths, were not allowed, 
even at the request of Madame de Rohan, to pass through 
the royal lines, but were forced to turn back, so that many, 
the gates being shut upon them, died miserably between 
the walls and the camp. 

It was the end of September, three weeks after the 
murder of Buckingham, when an English fleet and army 
arrived at last, too late : a French fleet awaited them, 
French batteries were in full force. The harbour was not 
to be entered, even by means of fire-ships, and after two 
days' hard fighting the winds of heaven declared themselves 
against the luckless city ; a gale forced the Enghsh to run 
for shelter, and the prayers of La Rochelle could not induce 
them to renew the battle. A week later the city sur- 
rendered to the King : quite half her population were dead ; 
less than two hundred remained of her heroic fighting men. 


On October 30 Cardinal de Richelieu entered the city 
on horseback. It was a fearful sight. " On trouva la ville 
pleine de morts, dans les chambres, dans les maisons, et 
dans les rues et places publiques ; " for the wretched 
survivors had lacked strength to bury their dead. On the 
morning of All Saints' Day the victorious commander said 
mass in the reconsecrated Church of Sainte-Marguerite, 
assisted by his lieutenant, M. de Sourdis, now Archbishop 
of Bordeaux. He then carried the keys of the city to meet 
the King, who made his state entry on the same day, the 
Cardinal riding alone before His Majesty, preceded by 
the three commanders of the army. An enormous convoy 
of provisions was a more welcome sight to the wolfish 
creatures crowding in their streets full of tragedy and 
falling on skeleton knees at Louis XIII.'s feet. 

The city, once submissive, was treated severely, but not 
barbarously. Richelieu would crush rebels with his whole 
strength, but he left men free to practise their own religioui 
provided it did not interfere with their obedience to the 
State. In this he was consistent : a wiser man than 
Louis XIV., he would never have revoked the great Henry's 
edict and deprived France of a multitude of her most 
capable citizens. The walls and towers of La Rochelle 
were razed to the ground ; the city lost her proud self- 
governing independence, and became subject to the royal 
authority. But an amnesty was offered to the leading 
Huguenots, and the Cardinal placed the gallant Guiton, 
corsair by nature, in command of one of His Majesty's 



The Due de Nevers and the war of the Mantuan Succession— The 
rebellion in Languedoc— A new Italian campaign — Richelieu as Com- 

A FEW days after the submission of La Rochelle a 
great storm destroyed the mole which had been the 
city's destruction. Winds and floods devastated the 
west of France, and the Cardinal and the Chancellor were 
nearly drowned in crossing the Loire on their journey with 
the Court back to Paris. 

There was no time for delay. France was on the eve 
of a new war ; and, though the Huguenot question was not 
really settled as long as the Due de Rohan kept rebellion 
stirring in Languedoc, Richelieu felt himself safe in laying 
it aside for the moment. Spain and Savoy had attacked 
the Duke of Mantua ; his fortress of Casale in Montferrat 
had been blockaded by Spanish troops for some months 
before the fall of La Rochelle, but had held out gallantly 
in the hope of relief from France ; indeed, a body of 
French volunteers had already forced their way in, led by 
the Cardinal's trusted agent, M. de Guron, whom he had 
sent from La Rochelle to manage matters with Savoy until 
the French were free to act openly. 

The difficulty now was that French opinion found itself 
deeply divided on the question of Mantua. The new Duke 
was Charles de Gonzague, Due de Nevers, who had 
succeeded Vincenzo di Gonzaga as a lineal descendant of 
the old family. His succession to Mantua and Montferrat 
13 ^93 


was disputed in various quarters and for various reasons. 
The Duke of Savoy claimed Montferrat, the Duke of 
Guastalla claimed Mantua ; Spain would not have a French 
prince ruling in Italy, and the Emperor Ferdinand II. 
insisted on his right as suzerain to hold the provinces and 
to decide the matter. 

The Due de Nevers was one of the greatest nobles in 
France. And not only that : he was the head of the house 
of Paleologus, and the natural heir, had it still existed, 
to the throne of Constantinople. He was a high-minded, 
magnificent personage, brave, chivalrous, romantic — P^re 
Joseph's intimate friend and fellow-crusader. Under the 
regency he had been a disturbing element, and Marie de 
M6dicis hated him for reasons of her own. In those 
days her rage against him had led her to speak scornfully 
of his birth and his race. 

" Which coming to the Duke's knowledge," says M. de 
Montglat, " he said that he knew well the respect he owed 
her as the mother of his King ; but that, on the other hand, 
every one was aware that the Gonzagas were princes 
before the Medici were gentlemen. These words so piqued 
the Queen that she never forgave him." 

Therefore there was a private motive of revenge behind 
the strong opposition offered by the Queen-mother and her 
friends — the Chancellor Marillac, on this occasion, joining 
his voice once more with those of the Cardinal de Berulle, 
the Princesse de Conti and her lover Bassompierre, and all 
those of the Court who hated and envied Richelieu — to the 
plan of marching at once, with the victorious army of 
La Rochelle, to the succour of the Duke of Mantua. The}^ 
argued that the troops needed rest after their eighteen 
months of hardship ; that the Huguenot party was not yet 
really crushed and would have time to rise again ; that the 
Duke of Mantua's difficulties mattered little in comparison 
with a peaceful settlement at home. To these zealous 
Catholics it appeared horribly inconsistent that the Pope 
should send congratulations and command Te Deums^ and 
that a Cardinal's Hat should be bestowed on Alphonse de 
Richelieu, now Archbishop of Lyons — a striking departure 


from the precedent which forbade that honour to two 
brothers — all this to glorify the conquest of La Rochelle ; 
while the hero of that conquest was ready and eager to 
plunge into war with the Catholic powers, Austria and 

This was the keenest trial of strength that had yet 
taken place between the Queen-mother and her former 
protege. To all her arguments she added those of family 
affections and old alliance : the Queen of Spain and the 
future Duchess of Savoy were the King's sisters ; peace 
with Spain and the Empire had been the chief object of 
her own policy as Regent. In reply, Richelieu maintained 
his views : the honour of France was concerned in the 
Mantuan affair; the Duke's legitimate right could not be 
disputed ; and if France were to suffer the pretensions of 
Spain, Savoy, and the Empire, she would be acting a part 
both cowardly and foohsh. Never would Louis XIIL's 
Minister consent thus to degrade his King. The Cardinal 
went on to make a statement of his policy and his inten- 
tions, promising that by the month of May Casale would 
be relieved and the royal army free to deal with the 
Huguenots in Languedoc. " So that your Majesty will, I 
hope, return victorious to Paris in the month of August." 
In a more personal strain he reproached the King for want 
of confidence, and frankly pointed out, in Marie's presence, 
the faults of character which made him a difficult master 
to serve. Then once more he alluded to his own weak 
health, and offered to lay down the burden of office, too 
heavy, he said, for him to bear. 

Marie de Medicis listened, and perhaps, with her eyes 
fixed on her gloomy and worried son, hoped for an instant 
that the Cardinal's career was ended. Nothing of the kind. 
*' When the King had heard all this with as much patience 
as the humours of the great generally bestow on the most 
important affairs, he told the Cardinal that he was resolved 
to profit by what had been said, but would hear no more 
of his retirement." 

From this conference, says M. Martin, " Richelieu sortit 
roiy Our point of view shows this as a fact ; but neither 


the Cardinal himself nor his enemies saw it at the time. 
The Queen-mother's hostility was only now becoming open 
and active ; the " Day of Dupes," when Richelieu ran his 
greatest risk and reached his zenith of power, was still 
almost two years distant. 

The King left Paris for the south on January 15, 1629, 
travelling through eastern France, while the army of La 
Rochelle, under Marshals Schomberg, Bassompierre, and 
de Crequy, having " refreshed itself" among the mountains 
of Auvergne, marched to join His Majesty in Dauphine. 
Cardinal de Richelieu travelled with the King from Chalons. 
On his way from Paris he stopped at Les Caves, near 
Nogent-sur-Seine, a country house belonging to his old 
friend Claude Bouthillier, then a Secretary of State, after- 
wards Surintendant des Finances, the father of young Leon 
Bouthillier, Comte de Chavigny, who became Richelieu's 
right hand and was loved by him as a son. At Les Caves 
the Cardinal met the Prince de Cond6, and conferred with 
him as to the crushing of the Huguenots in Languedoc. 
But he had room for other thoughts. A letter to M. Bou- 
thillier, written on leaving Les Caves, is attractive in its 
detachment from the whirlpool of politics and war. 

" I cannot leave your house to pursue my way," he 
writes, " without thanking you for the good cheer 
Madame Bouthillier has bestowed on us ; which was such, 
that if you had yourself been here you could have added 
nothing to it. . . . Also I must tell you that whereas you 
described this house as a farm, it may be called a very 
fine and pretty house, leaving nothing to be desired but 
the building of a gallery on the left hand of the entrance, 
in order to match the right wing. . . ." In a postscript, 
the Cardinal advises M. Bouthillier as to the purchase of 
a chateau at Pont-sur-Yonne, where in later years, rich 
and beneficent, M. le Surintendant and his wife often 
entertained royalty. 

A month later found Louis XIII. and his army at the 
foot of the Alps, on the frontiers of France and Piedmont. 
Some negotiations between Richelieu and the Prince of 
Piedmont, the King's brother-in-law, having ended in 


nothing, the French proceeded to invade Savoyard territory. 
It was not an easy matter, in the first days of March, over 
mountain paths buried in snow, to reach and to storm 
the rocky and barricaded gorge which, beyond Mont 
Gen^vre on the French side, led to the fortified town of 
Susa, the gateway of Piedmont. The whole gorge was 
commanded by Spanish and Piedmontese troops, firing 
down on the invaders ; the Duke of Savoy himself was in 
the field. 

In the dark hours of early morning, Louis XIII. led 
his regiments to the attack. Plunging on foot through 
the snow, "freely hazarding his person," says Aubery, 
''and running the same risk as the least soldier in his 
army," the story goes that the victory was largely owing 
to his own resolute courage. The marshals in command, 
they say, and even the Cardinal, were inclined to hesitate 
at an adventure that looked so dangerous. The King 
climbed the mountain and met a goatherd, who showed 
him a path by which the barricades and their defenders 
could be out-flanked. While the main body, under the 
marshals, rushed furiously on the barricades and cleared 
the gorge at the point of the sword, the royal musketeers 
scaled the rocks and drove down the enemy, first to the 
barricades, then along the road to Susa. In the helpless 
rout of his troops the Duke of Savoy narrowly escaped 
being taken prisoner. 

A few days were enough to reduce the romantic moun- 
tain town of Susa, and the relief of Casale followed at 
once ; for the furious energy of the Frencfi, acting as one 
man under the inspiring force of Richelieu, was too much 
for Charles Emmanuel of Savoy. He sent his daughter- 
in-law in great magnificence to visit her royal brother 
at Susa, and hastily made a treaty with France, of which 
he was not long in repenting; but the immediate and 
necessary consequence was the retirement from Montferrat 
of the Spanish general, Don Gonzalez de Cordova. A 
half-promise that Philip IV. of Spain would induce the 
Emperor to grant the new Duke of Mantua his desired 
investiture was not so easy of fulfilment. 


There were diplomatic wheels within wheels. While 
Richelieu's negotiations with Savoy and Spain were still 
in progress, Spain was turning a favourable ear to the 
Due de Rohan, who proposed to " keep France in a state 
of war as long as His Catholic Majesty pleased " ; under- 
taking that his party, if successful in establishing a 
Protestant republic in the south, should assure liberty 
of conscience and the free exercise of their religion to 
Catholics, on the condition of a handsome subsidy and 
pensions for himself and his brother. This agreement was 
actually signed at Madrid on May 3, when Richelieu was 
still at Susa, the King and the larger part of the army 
having already re-crossed the Alps and marched through 
Dauphine to the Rhone. So far the prophecy had been 
fulfilled : the month of May had found the royal forces free 
to join Conde, Montmorency and d'fipernon, and thus to 
deal with the rebels in Languedoc. 

They were not capable of much resistance. The 
brothers Rohan and Soubise, with their friends, had no 
regular army to oppose the King of France and his fifty 
thousand men. A recent treaty between France and 
England had deprived them of Charles L's possible help, 
and Richelieu's movements were far too quick for Spain. 
By the middle of May the royal armies had poured like 
a devastating torrent over Languedoc and part of Guienne, 
destroying the green crops, the growing corn, all the year's 
food of the strong little towns and villages, and driving 
the scattered people to the mountains. Every detail of 
the campaign was planned by Richelieu, and it was he 
who arranged that the King himself should escape the 
early summer heats by crossing the Cevennes to the 
Tarn country and carrying out there the general scheme 
of destruction. 

The first step in the campaign was the decisive one, and 
cost more to both sides than all the rest. Privas on its 
high ridge, the gallant little stronghold of the Vivarais, 
seventeen years earlier the seat of a general Protestant 
Synod, was now called upon literally to give its life for the 
cause. After a fortnight's fighting siege, during which 


many lives were lost, the inhabitants and the garrison 
insisted that their brave commander, St. Andre de 
Montbrun, should make terms with the King. These were 
refused, and the surrender had to be unconditional. Town 
and people were treated with terrible severity. Both 
besiegers and besieged have been blamed for a furious fire 
which broke out as the royal troops were entering the 
fortress ; in the awful night of confusion and massacre that 
followed, Privas was sacked and burnt to the ground with 
every circumstance of savagery. 

At such times Louis XI IL was hard and inflexible. He 
would have hanged St. Andre, had not the Cardinal inter- 
vened to save him. Indeed, on this occasion and others, 
Richelieu showed a humanity for which most writers have 
given him little credit. Towards political offenders he was 
indeed '* the Iron Cardinal " — no mercy for those who came 
in the way of his great designs; but he had pity on the 
helpless fugitives of Privas. 

He was ill in bed on the fatal night of May 29. "But 
in spite of his illness," writes Aubery, " having mounted 
his horse with two hundred gentlemen, he went himself 
to meet the crowd of inhabitants who had forsaken 
their homes and their goods ; and among others he saved 
twelve young girls from sixteen to eighteen years old, 
caused them to be led in safety to the Chateau d'Autremont, 
and recommended them with much charity to the Lady of 
that place, who took great care of them. Afterwards one 
brought to him an infant of seven months, found in the 
arms of his dead mother ; and having praised and rewarded 
the soldier for saving from among the dead him who had 
but begun to live, he gave the child a nurse, and commanded 
that he should be well brought up and should be called 
Fortunat de Privas. . . ." 

That such actions should be remembered as exceptional, 
only proves what was then the usual fate of wretched non- 
combatants. The well-known horrors of the Thirty Years 
War, then raging in Germany, soon to be shared in by 
France, are witness enough. Compared with Tilly and 
Mansfeldt in their campaigns of mercenary ravage and 


slaughter, Richelieu's dealings with the Huguenot faction 
appear, considering all things, actually gentle. 

After the taking of Privas, the royal armies swept the 
south with little difficulty. One after another the towns 
and fortified villages opened their gates and laid down their 
arms, and when the King made his triumphal entry into 
Nimes, early in July, Richelieu had attained the first great 
end of his policy; the Huguenot " state within the State" 
had practically ceased to exist. 

The Due de Rohan and the Protestants of the south, 
once conquered, were treated with moderation. A general 
amnesty was offered : Rohan retired to Venice, a free man. 
Liberty of conscience was assured by the confirmation of 
the Edict of Nantes. The one severe condition was the 
razing of all the Huguenot fortifications throughout the 
provinces. This had to be accepted and carried out, sorely 
against the will of the many proud little towns and village 
strongholds scattered through the mountains and valleys 
of that stern country, which now found themselves tame 
and defenceless under the power of the Crown. Only one 
town, Montauban of fighting memory, stood out and refused 
to destroy the walls and towers that were her glory and 
pride. She refused so obstinately that the King, tired of 
his hot campaign, began his journey back to Paris on 
July 15, leaving the Cardinal, himself ill of fever, to bring 
her to reason. 

This he did with such success, after two or three weeks 
of argument, the Montauban deputies following him from 
town to town, that they at last consented to swallow the 
bitter pill of complete submission. In the middle of August 
he entered Montauban peaceably with a strong force, and 
was received with almost royal honours and specially 
harangued by the Protestant ministers. After lingering 
a few days to see the destruction of the ramparts well 
begun, " il retourna triomphant k Paris, au grand cr^ve- 
coeur de ses ennemis." 

But those enemies were increasing in number, strength, 
and confidence. The chances seemed far more even to 
lookers-on of that day than to us, who possess the balances 


of history. The reigning Queen, the Queen-mother, Mon- 
sieur, all the princes of the blood except Cond6 — Alexandre 
de Vend6me had died at Vincennes in the early spring of 
1629, and his family held Richelieu responsible — most of 
the great nobles and ladies of the Court ; statesmen such 
as Michel de Marillac ; Marshals of France such as his 
brother Louis, lately promoted to that rank, Bassompierre, 
and others ; ecclesiastics such as the Cardinal de Berulle — 
all these, openly or secretly, for personal or political reasons, 
were opposed to Richelieu. He had his hearty adherents, 
the followers of his star, but they were few and rather 
clever than powerful. His only real support was the King. 
And Louis XII L showed considerable strength of character 
in standing by his Minister against such odds, social and 

Arriving victorious at Fontainebleau, Richelieu was 
received with angry coldness by Marie de Medicis. He 
had not only carried out the policy she hated as to Mantua, 
Spain, and Savoy, but he had shown the rebel Huguenots 
what seemed to her a scandalous toleration. A furious 
jealousy of his influence with the King was so evident a 
motive of her rage, that the Cardinal found it politic to bow 
before the storm. 

Once more he solemnly offered his resignation to the 
King; once more Louis, torn between the claims of his 
mother and his Minister, having spent a day in tears, refused 
to receive it. On the contrary, he heaped fresh honours on 
the Cardinal. By letters patent he became " chief Minister 
of State," the first time in French history that such an 
appointment had been formally made. A kind of peace 
was patched up with the Queen-mother. She and her 
friends only bided their time ; the death of Cardinal de 
Berulle, a few days after Richelieu's return from the south, 
removed one of the best of her counsellors and left her 
more completely in the hands of a violent faction. 

Now, in the autumn, the Duke of Mantua found him- 
self again in a desperate plight. The Emperor Ferdinand, 
victorious over the Protestants of the north, turned to 
revenge the check that France had given to his feudal 


authority and to the armies of Spain. The unlucky 
Grisons found their country once more overrun, this 
time by an imperial army under Marshal Colalto, which 
descended the Val Tellina and stormed across the Lombard 
plain to the siege of Mantua, very slightly hindered by 
a Venetian force v^hich had come to the Duke's aid. At 
the same time the valiant old Marquis Spinola, the Spanish 
governor of Milan, invaded Montferrat and again besieged 
Casale, where M. de Toiras, the hero of the Isle of Re, 
was now in command. 

It looked as if the French were to lose all advantages 
gained by their brilliant spring campaign. The whole 
aspect of affairs was alarming, for the danger was not 
only that which the Duke of Mantua's imploring letters 
pressed upon the King. Imperial armies were massing 
on the eastern frontier of France, threatening Champagne, 
and it was necessary that a French force should be sent 
to watch them. The Duke of Lorraine's loyalty was 
uncertain. It cannot have been without misgivings that 
Richelieu placed that gate of the kingdom in charge of 
his suspected enemy Louis de Marillac, with Monsieur, 
the light and treacherous, in nominal chief command. 

As to himself, he left Court intrigues behind him, left 
his master to the persuasions of men and women who 
hated him, and accepted the royal commission of " Lieu- 
tenant-General de la les Monts," which not only gave 
him the supreme command of the new Italian campaign, 
but made him the actual representative of Royalty in all 
matters political and military. No Constable of France 
had ever reached such a height of delegated power. 

At ten o'clock in the morning of December 29 he took 
leave, says Aubery, of the King and the Queens at the 
Louvre. " He then dined in the chamber of Madame 
de Combalet, his niece, then lady-in-waiting to the 
Queen-mother, and towards three o'clock in the after- 
noon he mounted into his coach, having with him the 
Cardinal de la Valette and the Due de Montmorency, 
who were both at one portiere^ and the Marechaux de 
Bassompierre and de Schomberg at the other. Outside 


the gates of the Louvre he was joined by a troop of a 
hundred cavaliers, all men of rank, who accompanied him 
for half a league outside the city, where his train and his 
guards awaited him. . . . Thus he took his way, in the 
depth of winter, to carry succour to Montferrat, leaving 
the Court and Paris in a season whose rigour is particularly 
felt in the open country." 

Letters written by the Cardinal from Lyons show how 
his thoughts lingered behind at Paris, among the enemies 
and friends he had left there. Having obtained a piece 
of the True Cross from the Celestins at Avignon, he sent 
it, with a letter, to Marie de Medicis, by the hands of his 
niece, her lady-in-waiting. Enclosed with the treasure 
was a confidential letter to Madame de Combalet — one of 
his three friends in Marie's household, the other two being 
his cousin Charles de la Meilleraye, captain of the guard, 
and Denys Bouthillier de Ranee, private secretary— asking 
her to beg from Her Majesty the favour of three lines 
in her own hand, to be shown to those who made it 
their business to inquire if she had written to him. Such 
lines would be of more value, he says, than whole sheets 
from the secretary, "qui est bon pour d'autres, mais non 
pour une antienne creature." 

The odd touch of something like sentiment, appealing to 
the Queen's memory, seems to justify what has been said 
of the great Cardinal — that he did not understand women. 
It looks as if he had persuaded himself that the recent 
reconciliation would be lasting, that Marie had forgotten 
her grudges and might be expected, in his interest, to 
silence the curious and the impertinent. 

A campaign against Germany and Spain sounded 
formidable, but in fact it resolved itself into a duel between 
Cardinal de Richelieu and the Duke of Savoy. That 
cunning old prince did not at once break through the 
Treaty of Susa, which bound him to take the French 
side in case the Duke of Mantua was again attacked by 
Spain ; but he did his best, by every device in his power, 
to hinder the march of the French army. The danger did 
indeed become less immediate; plague, fever, and floods 


forced Marshal Colalto to retire from Mantua, and M. de 
Toiras held his own in Casale. Even before Richelieu 
had crossed the mountains, the Pope's intervention brought 
about some talk of peace, while Charles Emmanuel made 
endless difficulties as to the terms on which the French, 
to gain Montferrat, should pass through the territories 
of Savoy. 

But all these delays only made Richelieu more resolute 
and more impatient. He descended into Dauphine, swept 
an army over the Alps in terrible weather, and took up 
his quarters at Susa, still in French hands. Charles 
Emmanuel continued the game he was playing with both 
sides ; the Cardinal soon knew that while negotiating 
with him as to joint action against Spain the Duke was 
in communication with the Spanish and imperial com- 
manders, was trying to make sure of the passes behind 
the French army, and was delaying the supplies purchased 
with French gold for Casale. The Duke seemed, in fact, 
to hold the key of the situation. 

This state of things did not la^t long. It may be said 
that when the Marquis du Chillou exchanged sword for 
crosier France lost a great field-marshal ; yet it is only 
partly true. Over and over again Richelieu the soldier 
proved himself the match in genius, will, and spirit of 
Richelieu the cardinal and statesman. The conqueror of 
La Rochelle was now fully equal to the difficult campaign 
forced upon him by the disloyal movements of the Duke 
of Savoy. 

Instead of crossing the frontier into Montferrat, to the 
immediate relief of Casale, Richelieu marched his 22,000 
men on Rivoli, where his false ally, with his sons and the 
armed forces of Savoy, lay in wait to command the French 
rear. At the news of this advance, Duke and princes, 
Savoyards and Piedmontese, fled back pell-mell to Turin. 

It was one of the picturesque moments in Richelieu's 
life. At the dawn of a March day, under torrents of rain 
and hail, he forded the swollen river Dora at the head of 
his cavalry. The infantry crossed by a narrow bridge. 
Horse and foot were alike in a bad humour, after many 


days of forced marches in terrible weather by mountain 
and plain. They cursed their leader freely enough as he 
splashed through the ford and caracoled on the farther 
bank, armed to the teeth and escorted by pages and guards. 
Little trace of the ecclesiastic in that handsome general 
officer, his worn face under a feathered hat, a steel cuirass 
on his body, ready to share in all the hardships of his 
discontented men. In his Memoirs Richelieu has nothing 
but good to say of the soldiers, whose insolence, according 
to others, vexed him at the time. '' The poor soldiers did 
their duty gaily," he writes. But the next day all griev- 
ances were forgotten. In snug quarters at Rivoli, drinking 
the Duke of Savoy's good wine and devouring his stores, 
the men were shouting merrily, " Vive le grand Cardinal de 

He was too wise to advance against Spain and Austria, 
leaving Savoy and Piedmont to attack him in the rear. His 
next move really decided the war. He swept back towards 
the mountains, took Pinerolo after a short siege, and seized 
on several strong frontier places, the gateways of the Alps 
between Dauphine and Piedmont. Once more, as in earlier 
centuries, " France held the keys of Italy." 

The war dragged on through the summer ; its history 
must be read elsewhere. The Court moved to Lyons, and 
Richelieu met the King at Grenoble early in May. To- 
gether, in a short and easy campaign, they conquered 
Savoy. Chambery opened its gates on May 15. 

The extreme unhealthiness of the season— plague rag- 
ing in Northern Italy — prevented Louis from personally 
taking the command of his Italian army. From St. Jean 
de Maurienne he and the Cardinal watched the course of 
events, while sending the Due de Montmorency across 
Mont Cenis with troops to reinforce the marshals in 
command at Pinerolo. The combined armies made fresh 
conquests and behaved magnificently; but the great heat 
and the ravages of disease were enemies as formidable as 
Spaniards and Imperialists, who on their side held doggedly 
to their objects and gained at least one tremendous success. 
The storming of Mantua by the Emperor's troops on the 


night of July 17 was a crime against civilisation. Art 
treasures never to be replaced v^ere lost and destroyed in 
the sack of the old Gonzaga palace on its gleaming lake, 
a shrine of Renaissance beauty since the days of Isabella 

Immediately after this catastrophe Charles Emmanuel 
of Savoy died of despair at the loss of his tow^ns and 
provinces. His son, the husband of Madame Christine of 
France, was more alive to the wisdom of an alliance with 
Louis XIII. An obstacle was thus removed from the path 
of the peace negotiations, which went on in spite of active 
war all through the summer and the early autumn ; the 
chief agents in them being Pere Joseph, at the Diet of 
Ratisbon, and a young Italian diplomat in the service of 
the Pope, named Giulio Mazarini. 

When, late in October, the war ended with the retire- 
ment of the Austrians and Spaniards, the relief of Casale, 
and the restoration of Mantua to Duke Charles, it seemed 
as if Richelieu's triumphs abroad and at home were signal 
and complete. And yet, at this very time, he was on the 
edge of destruction. 



Illness of Louis XIII.—" Le Grand Orage de la Cour"— The "Day 
of Dupes." 

LOUIS XIII., always weak in health, suffered seriously 
from the pestilential air of that summer. In August 
he rejoined the Court at Lyons, where he fell ill 
of fever and dysentery, and the Cardinal, hurrying back 
from Savoy, found his royal master almost in extremity. 
By the end of September, after seven bleedings in one 
week, the case was given up as hopeless. Louis received 
the last Sacraments, the whole Court believed him dying, 
and a swift courier summoned Gaston d'Orleans from 
Paris. That " bUnd and frivolous instrument of the enemies 
of the State" became suddenly a personage of the very 
highest importance. 

Richelieu, as he watched his dying master, was probably 
the most deeply troubled man in all the distracted Court. 
" He saw," writes M. Martin, ** his power crumbhng, his 
life threatened, his work, even dearer to him than life— his 
work, hardly sketched out, on the brink of destruction, 
his country faUing back into the abyss from which he 
had raised her." 

He was indeed in imminent danger. His enemies, the 
Queen-mother in chief, flattered themselves that his fate 
was at last in their hands. The King's death was to be 
the signal for his arrest. In the meanwhile, Marie held 
counsel with her friends as to what should be done with 
him. All, according to tradition, held different opinions. 
Some condemned him to death, and among these, to his 



own undoing, was the Mar6chal de Marillac. Some were 
for lifelong imprisonment ; the mildest talked of perpetual 
exile. The story goes that Richelieu, the omniscient, 
always well served by spies and himself ready to play 
the part on occasion, listened to the debate through a 
chink hidden by tapestry. Further, that there came a 
day when each of his enemies met the fate he had recom- 
mended for the Cardinal. 

Louis XIII. was well aware of the danger in which his 
death would leave his most distinguished servant. He 
respected Richelieu, even if he had not, in his own queer 
way, a kind of affection for him. At this crisis he sent 
for the Due de Montmorency — with all his faults, one 
of the most generous and chivalrous of Frenchmen — and 
commended the Cardinal to his protection. It seems that 
Montmorency had already offered it, with a safe refuge 
in his government of Languedoc. These facts added 
bitterness to the terrible events of two years later. 

Montmorency's kindness was not needed. An internal 
abscess broke, and the King began to recover. But the 
Cardinal's position was far from safe. During days of 
weary convalescence, the tender nursing of Louis' mother 
and his wife gained for them a new and strong influence 
over his mind. Perhaps Queen Anne's hatred of the 
Cardinal was even more thorough-going than that of her 
mother-in-law ; and she had more power to injure him, 
if the malicious Court gossip of the day is at all based 
on facts. Had he really made love to her, in his awkward 
and pedantic fashion ? It is only fair to say that M. Avenel, 
his most thorough and careful student, could find not one 
line of certain evidence for any of the stories of this kind 
that were told against him. 

However, the voices of the two women prevailed so 
far that Louis, weak and exhausted, made them a kind 
of conditional promise. He could not dispense with his 
Minister while the war in Italy still went on. Let that 
be successfully ended— and then, possibly, he might see 
his way towards ending Richelieu's career. 

With this prospect in view, the Queen-mother waited 


patiently. When the news of peace arrived, the Court 
had just accompHshed its journey, made chiefly by river, 
from Lyons to Paris, and it was noticed by the way 
that Her Majesty accepted the Cardinal's company and 
respectful attention, treating him, apparently, with all 
her former confidence. It seemed to ignorant spectators 
only natural that she should celebrate the relief of Casale, 
the end of the war, with bonfires and fireworks : the 
Princesse de Conti hardly needed her frank explanation : 
" It is not at the Duke of Mantua's good luck, but at 
the Cardinal's ruin, that I rejoice." 

But the feux de joie blazed too soon. Marie found that 
her son, restored to health and victorious, was not quite 
ready to dismiss the genius to whom his kingdom owed 
so much. It was a bitter disappointment. Marie held 
her more violent feelings in check, listened perforce to 
the King's assurances of Richelieu's loyalty, and consented 
to meet him on the royal Council as usual. She was 
even prepared for a formal reconciliation with her " antienne 
creature," to be sealed by receiving back Madame de 
Combalet into the service and favour from which she 
had been dismissed some months before. 

But here Marie's dissembling ended; and on November 9, 
1630, with a burst of feminine fury, began that " grand 
orage de la Cour " which threatened to break Armand 
de Richelieu in full upward flight : the man already feared 
by Catholic Europe and the hope of the northern Pro- 
testants, with whose new leader, Gustavus Adolphus of 
Sweden, his diplomacy was even now allying France. 
' Madame de Combalet appeared that morning at the 
Luxembourg, and was received by the Queen-mother and 
the King in all the splendour of the new palace, with 
its silver-framed windows, its walls and ceilings decorated 
by great artists, already the admiration of Europe. Madame 
de Combalet herself was made for Courts, though she 
disliked and despised them. Still young and very hand- 
some, her quiet dignity was at home anywhere : in the 
Carmelite convent from which all her uncle's persuasion 
and authority had hardly withdrawn her; at the head of 


his house ; or, as now, at the feet of frowning Royalty. 
On her knees she made the Queen a polite and respectful 
speech, begging to be restored to favour. At first Marie 
was stiff and cold ; then she became angry ; then, as rage 
got the better of her ponderous temperament, she forgot 
all her promises and poured out on the unlucky lady 
such a torrent of abuse and insult that Louis himself 
stepped forward, gave his hand to Madame de Combalet, 
and asked her to retire. A nervous, sensitive woman, it 
was no wonder that she left the presence in floods of tears. 

The Cardinal, arriving by appointment for his own 
audience of reconciliation, met his niece at the door. The 
sight of her face was so sharp a warning that he hesitated, 
we are told, before passing on. In the meanwhile the 
Queen-mother was assuring her son that she had not 
changed her mind : her reception of the Cardinal would 
be all he could desire. This was an affair of State ; the 
disgrace of a useless creature like la Combalet could 
signify to no one. 

If Marie believed in her own intention, she reckoned 
without her passionate temper. It is true that she received 
the Cardinal with tolerable graciousness, but many minutes 
had not passed before her tone changed for the worse. 
" Peu a peu, la maree monte " : the rising tide of anger. 
Richelieu heard himself called an ungrateful, perfidious 
knave, a traitor to his King and country. The Queen- 
mother refused to sit with him any more on the Council. 
Along with Madame de Combalet, La Meilleraye, and 
Denys BouthiUier, he was roughly dismissed from her 
service — he still held his old charge of superintendent of 
her household. He might go, she said at last, and never 
willingly would she look upon his face again. 

Richelieu listened quietly, He attempted no useless 
prayer or argument, but bowed, and went. 

There was something of a scene between Louis XIH. 
and his mother. Marie justified herself with success, as it 
seemed to her, solemnly assuring the King that Richelieu 
was in every way false to him ; that his secret ambition 
was '* to marry his niece to the Comte de Soissons and to 


make the Comte King." These and many more accusations 
she poured into the sullen ears of her son. Let him be 
rid of this evil man, this terrible Minister, the ruin of 
France ! Let him put his trust in faithful servants such 
as the brothers Marillac. With Michel as First Minister 
and Louis as Commander-in-chief, the safety and honour 
of France would be assured. But before all things let 
him keep his promise and be rid of Richelieu. 

A stronger man than Louis XI IL would have found 
the position a difficult one. He had to choose between 
his mother — on whose side were his wife, his brother, 
nearly all the Court and half the kingdom — and the 
Minister whose personal influence over him was con- 
siderable, and on whom, as reason told him, the greatness 
of France, both within and without, now very largely 
depended. Duty to his mother, duty to his country — 
Louis XIII. had a conscience, and it was torn in two. 

He was lodging at the Hotel des Ambassadeurs, in the 
Rue de Tournon — once Concini's house, sacked by the 
mob in 161 6 — for he had come up from Versailles to visit 
the Queen-mother, and the Louvre was under repair. He 
walked back from the Luxembourg, shut himself into his 
room with his gentleman-in-waiting, Saint-Simon— a wise 
young man whom Richelieu, luckily for himself, had 
appointed to the post — tore the buttons off his coat in 
a violent fit of nerves, and flung himself on the bed. 

Presently he poured out his worried soul to Saint- 
Simon. What did he think of the Queen-mother's conduct, 
and of the whole affair ? The young man was very dis- 
creet; but he reminded the King that he was a king, as 
well as a son, and ventured to give his opinion that " the 
Cardinal was necessary to France." " Enfin, sire, vous 
etes le maitre." " Yes, I am," said Louis, " and they shall 
feel it." 

The next day— Sunday, November 10, St. Martin's Eve — 
Louis went again to the Luxembourg. He was resolved, 
it seems, to have his way, and to persuade or command 
his mother to change her mind. Bassompierre attended 
him to the palace, and gives some vivid details of the 


interview in the Queen's cabinet, although neither he nor 
any other courtier was present. He says that while the 
King and his mother were talking, all the doors being 
carefully shut, " Monsieur le Cardinal arrived ; who, finding 
the door of the ante-chamber fastened, entered the gallery 
and knocked at the door of the cabinet, but no one replied. 
At length, impatient of waiting, knowing the ways of the 
house, he passed through the little chapel, the door of 
which had not been closed : thus M. le Cardinal entered 
the cabinet. The King was somewhat astonished, and 
said to the Queen with dismay : * Here he is.* M. le 
Cardinal, who perceived their astonishment, said to them : 
• I am sure you were talking of me.' The Queen answered 
him : * We were not.' On which he having replied to her, 
'Confess it, madame,' she said it was so, and upon that 
spoke against him with great sharpness, declaring that 
she would have no more to do with him, and many other 

Richelieu preserved his sphinx-like patience. To Marie's 
insults and reproaches he answered not a word; but he 
realized that he was in danger, and he did his best to 
soften the angry woman by pleading for himself, even 
wuth tears — which, says an enemy, he had at command — 
declaring his innocence and his entire devotion to Her 

The Queen, on her side, wept passionately, crying out 
that all he said and did was knavery and mummery. Then, 
turning -to her son, she asked him if he preferred " un 
valet" to his mother; for he must choose between them 

"Then it is only natural that I should be sacrificed," 
said the Cardinal ; and immediately, once more, he offered 
his resignation to the troubled King, begging to be allowed 
to retire to some place where he might end his days in 

To all appearance Louis accepted his resignation and 
granted his request, even advising him to retire to Pontoise. 
Cardinal de Richelieu left the palace and went back to his 
hotel, the Petit-Luxembourg — the Palais-Cardinal, though 


in progress, was not yet finished — with every reason to 
believe himself a disgraced and ruined man. 

It is not likely that Louis really intended to part with 
his Minister. But it was touch-and-go. He had gained 
time by pacifying his mother for the moment, and had 
thought to do wisely by removing the hated object from 
her sight. His next step was to send envoys to reason 
and negotiate at the Luxembourg. Pere Sufifren, the royal 
confessor, and Cardinal Bagni, the Pope's Nuncio, both did 
their best, but absolutely in vain. At the moment of her 
suddenly snatched triumph, Marie de Medicis was not 
likely to listen to them. Early the next morning the King 
hurried back to his hunting-lodge at Versailles. It looked 
as though his promises of four years ago had been mere 
waste of breath and of paper, for he had not seen Riche- 
lieu again. With regard to the two Marillacs, he had 
seemingly obeyed his mother. Michel, as Minister, was 
summoned to follow His Majesty to Versailles, and a courier 
rode off post-haste for Italy, carrying despatches which 
appointed Louis to the chief command of the army. 

This was St. Martin's Day, Monday, November 11, the 
" Journee des Dupes." 

News of the Cardinal's fall spread swiftly through Paris. 
The Parisians did not love him : his good work in im- 
proving the city, carrying on the additions to the Louvre, 
building a new bridge, rebuilding the Sorbonne at his own 
cost, was counterbalanced by acts of tyranny. Citizens 
had been more or less forced to sell their houses, vegetable 
gardens had been seized, a part of the old wall of Charles V. 
had been destroyed, all to make room for the Palais- 
Cardinal. On that Monday morning all Paris, high and 
low, courtiers and canaille, ran in crowds to the Luxem- 
bourg to congratulate the Queen-mother on her victory. 
In and round the palace the crush of the dupes was so 
great that there was no room to move. Marie, the centre 
of it, saw herself once more a ruler in France, her son 
submissive, her faithful friends rewarded, her enemy 
ruined and exiled. Some wise man advised her to make 
assurance sure by following the King to Versailles; she 


laughed the counsellor away. Why hide in the woods 
when there was so much to be done in the city? — am- 
bassadors sending couriers half over Europe ; joyful 
meetings with Queen Anne, with Monsieur ; audiences of 
great lords and ladies, one by one ; all the happy, noisy, 
popular confusion of a sudden return to power. 

Close by, at the Petit-Luxembourg, Richelieu had his 
moment of despair. To fall from so great a height meant 
death, at least to all his ambitions ; perhaps literally, for 
his enemies, so many and so strong, would hardly be 
satisfied with exile. And he knew the nature of the 
King. Held by his own strong influence, all was well, 
but Louis was too nervous to endure such scenes as those 
of the last few days, if by any possible sacrifice he could 
end them. Richelieu might be the victim of the King's 
hatred of worry as much as of the Queen-mother's hatred 
of himself. 

Several far-seeing men had the courage to separate 
themselves from the crowd pressing to the greater Luxem- 
bourg. One of these was the Cardinal de la Valette, the 
ugly, generous, soldierly second son of the Due d'fipernon ; 
another, the Marquis de Chateauneuf, a distinguished 
Councillor of State, afterwards ruined by his passion for 
Madame de Chevreuse ; another, that worthy man the 
Marquis de Rambouillet, whose wife had for some years 
reigned over half society from her hotel near the Louvre. 
These good friends, with a few others, would not allow 
Richelieu to despair. Though his papers were packed and 
his coach was ordered for the journey to Pontoise, they 
entreated him not to go. Cardinal de la Valette reminded 
him of the old proverb, " Qui quitte la partie la perd," and 
gave the advice — to wiser ears than the Queen's — that he 
should follow his royal master to Versailles, on the pretext 
of bidding him farewell. In the midst of their discussion 
some one arrived from Versailles with a verbal message 
from Saint-Simon, advising the same course. This strong 
and direct encouragement had a marvellous effect on 
Richelieu's depressed spirits. " Transported with joy, he 
kissed the messenger on both cheeks." 


No time was lost, we may well believe. The Cardinal's 
coach rumbled out of Paris, but his horses' heads were 
turned to the south-west, not to the north. In a long 
private interview with the King he regained all he had 
seemed to lose, and took a final and solid hold on power. 
The courtiers, being admitted, heard from the King's own 
lips that he ordered the Cardinal to remain with him, 
serving him well as before ; " that he would find means to 
appease his mother and to gain her consent to what he 
did, while removing from her those persons who gave her 
pernicious counsel." 

The Cardinal was treated in a princely manner and 
lodged in the chateau, a special mark of favour in days 
when Versailles was only a small country-house in the 
midst of immense forests. From his lodging, the next day, 
he wrote several letters. One was to the King, expressing 
his extreme satisfaction and extraordinary gratitude, assur- 
ing him that never was servant so devoted to his master's 
glory, declaring to His Majesty " que je suis la plus fidele 
creature, le plus passionne sujet, et le plus zele serviteur 
que jamais roy et maitre ait eu au monde. Je vivray et 
finiray en cet estat, comme estant cent fois plus a Vostre 
Majeste qu'a moy-mesme. . . ." 

He also wrote to his sister, the Marquise de Breze, and 
to his uncle, Amador de la Porte. Knowing that '' common 
report often represents things as other than they are," he 
first tells the news of his disgrace with the Queen-mother, 
who finds his own services, those of his niece de Combalet 
and of his cousin La Meilleraye, no longer agreeable to her. 
But he begs his sister and his uncle not to be amazed or 
afflicted by this misfortune, since it arose from no fault ; 
and also because he has the consolation of the King's 
presence and favour. To the old Commander, irritable and 
garrulous, he adds a word of discreet counsel. "As I am 
not capable of any other desire than to live and die the 
Queen's servant, I pray you always to speak conformably 
to this. I warn you, knowing your freedom of speech, and 
that you might be carried away by the affection you bear 
me. It would not be reasonable that all my obligations to 


so good a princess should be forgotten because personally 
I now disgust her." 

He could afford to appear magnanimous. Even as he 
wrote the news was flying to Paris, not only of his triumph, 
but of the utter discomfiture of the Queen-mother's party 
and the ruin of her friends. Michel de Marillac, the Chan- 
cellor, had been arrested and deprived of the seals, which 
were given to the Marquis de Chateauneuf The courier 
who conveyed the news of his high appointment to the 
Marechal de Marillac was followed at once by another, 
bearing the King's command that the Marechal de Schom- 
berg should arrest him. On the very evening of St. Martin's 
Day, well named " Day of Dupes," Richelieu's swift ven- 
geance was already overtaking his enemies. A few hours 
later Marie de Medicis was alone in her deserted Luxem- 
bourg. Courtiers and canaille were rushing to meet the 
King's coach as he drove into Paris, with Cardinal de 
Richelieu at his portiere. 



Flight from France of the Queen-mother and Monsieur — New honours 
for Cardinal de Richelieu — The fall of the Marillac brothers— The Due de 
Montmorency and Monsieur's ride to Languedoc — Castelnaudary — The 
death of Montmorency — Illness and recovery of the Cardinal. 

A FEW months were enough to rid Cardinal de 
Richeheu of his most active enemies. One after 
another, in the first half of the year 163 1, they 
disappeared from the scene by exile or imprisonment, in 
some cases ending in death. 

After the crushing disappointment of the " Day of Dupes," 
Marie de Medicis submitted to a kind of reconciliation with 
her "former creature" who had so convincingly proved 
his strength. Gaston d'Orl^ans too, led by his favourites, 
M. de Puylaurens and President Le Coigneux, whom 
Richelieu thought it worth while to bribe heavily, visited 
the Cardinal and promised him his friendship. But it was 
not to be expected that either mother or son should be in 
earnest. Gaston hardly needed the discontent of his favour- 
rites — eager for places and honours which the Cardinal was 
not in a hurry to give — to throw him once more into violent 

On January 30, attended by a dozen gentlemen, the 
young Prince appeared at the Petit-Luxembourg. He told 
the Cardinal " that he had come to retract the promise of 
friendship which he had given him a few days before ; on 
the contrary, to declare his resentment that a man of his 
sort should so far have forgotten himself as to set the royal 
family in a blaze. That, owing his whole fortune and 



elevation to the Queen his benefactress, instead of proving 
his gratitude, as a good man and a faithful servant would 
have done, he had become her chief persecutor, by his 
artifices continually blackening her in the eyes of the King; 
and that as to himself, he had treated him not only without 
respect, but with insolence ! And that he would have 
reproved him sooner, had he not been restrained by his 
quality as a priest ; but that this would not save him in the 
future from the quite extraordinary treatment deserved 
by the gravity of his offences against personages of such 

" This discourse," continues the chronicler, " was made 
with so much heat and such threatening gestures of hands 
and eyes, that the Cardinal made no answer, not knowing 
whether it was all in earnest or only meant to frighten 

The moment was alarming enough, for Monsieur's 
people, so fierce were their looks, seemed to be waiting 
their moment to fall upon their prey. The Prince went 
down to his coach in a terrible humour, swearing and 
threatening all the way, while the Cardinal attended him 
bare-headed and prudently silent. It was not till the 
blustering company had driven off that he regained his 
usual composure. None the less, we are assured, he was 
extremely glad to see the King, who came dashing '' a toute 
bride" to the door, as his champion and protector, not 
many minutes later. 

Monsieur left Paris immediately for Orleans, where he 
swaggered for some weeks and tried to rouse a civil war by 
posing as a friend to the populace and a resister of taxation. 
Since he refused to submit to his brother and to return to 
Court, Richelieu was prepared to bring him to his senses 
by armed force. But he preferred self-banishment. In the 
middle of March he rode across country to Besangon, and 
then took refuge with the Duke of Lorraine. He was 
followed into exile by a number of persons of quality, 
notably his half-brother the Comte de Moret, the Due 
d'Elbeuf, brother-in-law of the Due de Vendome, the Due 
de Bellegarde, governor of Burgundy, and M. and Madame 


du Fargis, in disgrace at Court because of their intimate 
friendship with the brothers Marillac. 

Each day of that winter and spring brought fresh and 
painful experience to Marie de Medicis. She saw herself 
checked in every direction by an enemy who worked with 
extraordinary prudence, keeping all the outward forms of 
due respect while he lured her gradually to ruin. No 
doubt her presence in Paris, her atmosphere of plot and 
intrigue, was dangerous to him, if not to the State. The 
question was, how to remove her from the centre of things 
without a public scandal. 

In February the Court went to Compiegne for hunting, 
and to spend the Carnival. As Richelieu had foreseen, 
the Queen-mother was not deterred by " the incommodity 
of the season " from following the King : she would not 
repeat her mistake of St. Martin's Day. At Compiegne 
the King made a last unsuccessful attempt to soften her 
heart towards the Cardinal. As she firmly refused to 
listen to any arguments, it was decided that she must 
be separated from a Court in which her presence was 
a centre for the factious and the ill-intentioned. 

The Chateau of Compiegne was roused early on the 
morning of February 23. The King had announced that 
he would go hunting at dawn; and in fact he and the 
Cardinal, with a large attendance, rode out of the gates 
before either of the Queens was awake. Instead of turning 
into the dim glades of the forest, the royal party rode hard 
for Paris. 

P^re Suffren, the Marechal d'Estrees— formerly known 
as Marquis de Coenores — and a Secretary of State, M. de la 
Ville-aux-Clercs, were left behind with the King's apologies 
and farewells to his mother, whom he never saw again. 
They were also entrusted with a letter, begging Her Majesty 
to retire to Moulins, where she might live in all honour and 
liberty as governor of the Bourbonnais ; it being understood 
that in her present mind she was no longer welcome at 
Court. This very unpleasant news was broken to Marie 
before she left her bed, not by the appointed messengers, 
but by Queen Anne, her daughter-in-law, who paid her a 


hurried visit before following the King, and parted from her 
with embraces and tears. " Both," says Madame de Motte- 
ville, " were deeply moved at finding themselves the victims 
of the Cardinal de Richelieu, their common enemy. It was 
the last time they saw each other." 

As to Moulins, Marie would have none of it. She could 
not openly refuse to obey the King, but her excuses 
dragged on from day to day : bad roads and wintry 
weather; an epidemic in the Bourbonnais; the ruinous 
state of the Chateau de Moulins ; a severe cold which kept 
her in her room. All the spring royal messengers were 
galloping between Compi^gne and Paris. Sometimes they 
carried persuasion, sometimfes threats. If the Queen- 
mother disliked the Bourbonnais, would she accept her 
old abode of Angers, with the government of Anjou ? Let 
her remember that no law in Holy Scripture obliged a son 
to live always with his mother when of age to govern 
himself, whereas we are enjoined in divers places to obey 
the King, as God's lieutenant on earth. And many more 
arguments ; but in short, her disobedience was insupport- 
able, and would in the end force the King to treat her more 

It appeared that of her own free will she would never 
leave Compi^gne. In spite of the great courtesy shown 
her by M. d'Estrees, in command of the guard — every 
morning he came to her for the pass-word, and every 
night offered her the keys of the town — she treated herself 
as a prisoner. As the season advanced, though free of all 
the country round, she never went beyond the castle walls, 
hoping thus, says Aubery, to excite general hatred against 
the Cardinal. 

In the meanwhile her friends disappeared one by one. 
Her physician, Vautier, was flung into the Bastille ; the 
same fate befell the unlucky Bassompierre. The Due 
de Guise, intriguing for Monsieur, his stepson-in-law, in 
his government of Provence, was forced to fly to Italy, 
a lifelong exile as it proved. The Princesse de Conti, 
the Duchesse d'Elbeuf (Henriette de Vend6me), the 
Duchesse de Roannez, the Marechale d'Ornano, and other 


great ladies, were ordered to retire to their country 
houses; and the brilliant Princesse de Conti, sister of 
Guise, the Queen-mother's constant friend, adored by 
Bassompierre, to whom they say she was secretly married, 
died at Eu of a broken heart on the last day of April. 

In June a report reached the Queen-mother at Com- 
piegne that a royal army was to be sent to remove her 
by force. If this story was invented with the object of 
driving her out of the kingdom, it served its end. On 
July 18, at ten o'clock at night, she left Compiegne on 
foot and almost alone — an easier escape than that from 
the Chateau de Blois. A coach and six, with outriders, 
was waiting in the shadow of the forest. The Queen 
intended to stop at La Capelle, a small strong place in 
Picardy, close to the frontier of the Low Countries : the 
governor, M. de Vardes, had promised to receive her. But 
this coming to Richelieu's ears, the father of M. de Vardes, 
who had formerly commanded at La Capelle, was sent 
post-haste from Paris to supersede his son, and the gates 
were shut against the fugitive Queen. She was thus 
obliged to cross the frontier, which she did, never to 
return; and was received with great honour at Avesnes 
in Artois, by the officers of the Archduchess Isabel. 

So the great Henry's Florentine widow removed herself 
from the path of Cardinal de Richelieu ; to his advantage 
and her own loss and ruin. 

This political triumph was followed by new honours and 
personal dignities. For a year past he had borne, with 
other Cardinals, the new titles of Eminentissime and 
Eminence^ decreed by Pope Urban VIII., and shared only 
by the ecclesiastical Electors of the Empire and the Grand 
Master of Malta. He had added to his worldly goods and 
to his spiritual power by becoming Coadjutor of the Abbot 
of Cluny, and the strength of his resolute will for reform 
was felt by the great religious orders as well as by the 
secular clergy. 

In September 163 1 letters patent from the King created 
him Due de Richelieu and a peer of France, and he took his 
seat in Parliament with great state, escorted by the Prince 


de Conde, the Due de Montmoreney, and a erowd of the 
first men in France. From that time he bore the singular 
title of " Cardinal-Due." He also became governor of 
Brittany ; and one fortified town after another, throughout 
the north of France, fell into his hands and were garrisoned 
by friends of his own. He rewarded the Prince de Conde 
and the Cardinal de la Valette with the governments of 
Burgundy and Anjou. 

One foreign Power, at least, was not behindhand in 
paying homage to the man whom the King of France 
delighted to honour. The Republic of Venice sent him 
letters of Venetian nobility, to descend to any one of his 
relations he might choose. ''And she sent them with 
ceremony by an express Gentleman, to whom His Eminence 
did not forget to present a very fine chain of gold." 

It seemed that Richelieu had little now to fear from 
open enemies at home, though the secret dread of assassina- 
tion clung about him with reason to his life's end. He had 
already shown a certain sense of security by acts of indul- 
gence or of conciliation : the Due de Vendome had been 
set at liberty and the Duchesse de Chevreuse had been 
allowed to return to the Court, while her husband was 
made governor of Picardy. Champagne, the important 
frontier province, was given as a mark of royal confidence 
to the Comte de Soissons. 

But there were those, not more guilty, but more dan- 
gerous from their very worth and mental distinction, who 
felt the weight of Richelieu's vengeance. Michel de Marillac, 
counted in his own time among "martyrs of the State," 
after languishing for many months in his prison at Chateau- 
dun, died of grief at the tragic death of his soldier brother. 
The trial and death of Marillac ''I'Epee" are generally 
allowed to be dark stains on the Cardinal's career. Politic- 
ally, there was no case against him, and the Parliament, 
when first approached by Richelieu's tool, the notorious 
Laffemas, refused to commit him for trial. Richelieu then 
appointed a Royal Commission, which sat at Verdun, the 
charge against the Marshal being one of peculation and 
oppression when governor there. Even now the Cardinal 


failed to secure a condemnation. The Commissioners 
shrank from enforcing the extreme of the law against a 
distinguished soldier whose sins were common to his 
time and his trade, and the trial dragged on very slowly, 
till Richelieu brought matters to a point by summoning the 
Commission, strengthened by members of his own choosing 
and presided over by the new Chancellor, M. de Chateau- 
neuf, to meet at his country-house of Rueil. Louis de 
Marillac was brought from the fortress of Ste. Menehould, 
where he had been imprisoned since his sudden arrest 
some fifteen months before. He was condemned to death, 
but only by a small majority of his judges. Threatening 
letters from the Queen-mother and Monsieur did him no 
good, but yet the Cardinal, in his own house and with a 
packed jury, could not secure unanimity. All France 
agreed with the prisoner's own cry : " Condemned to die 
for hay and straw! Not reason enough to whip a lackey!" 

He was beheaded in the Place de Greve on May 2, 1632, 
and buried in the Church of the Feuillants, long since 
swept away to make room for the Rue Castiglione. There 
might be read, for less than two hundred years, the simple 
and dignified epitaph in which his heirs handed down to 
posterity the high virtues of " this illustrious victim of a 
powerful and vindictive Minister." Madame de Marillac, 
who bore the familiar name of Catherine de Medicis, died 
of grief within a few months of her husband. 

A dozen years later, when Cardinal de Richelieu was 
dead, the Parliament of Paris registered a decree acquitting 
Louis de Marillac of the crimes for which he ostensibly 

In that same year 1632 a still nobler head was to fall. 
The story of Henry de Montmorency's ruin tangles itself 
with the treasonable adventures of Gaston d'Orleans. 

Duke Charles of Lorraine, nominally a vassal of the 
Empire, had reasons of his own for giving trouble to 
France. For nearly a century she had held part of the old 
province of Lorraine, including the " Three Bishoprics," 
Metz, Toul, and Verdun. In giving armed support to the 
exiled French prince, Charles IV. had the Empire at his 


back, and a successful invasion of France, with the con- 
sequent fall of Cardinal de Richelieu, was likely not only 
to restore his territory but to be a decisive incident in the 
Thirty Years' War. At this moment of happy expectation, 
Monsieur fell in love with the young Princess Marguerite 
of Lorraine, the Duke's sister. A year or two before he 
had been desperately in love with Princess Marie de 
Gonzague, daughter of the Duke of Mantua, and the 
Queen-mother had imprisoned her at Vincennes to be out 
of his way. This was a more serious affair. A secret, 
hurried marriage at Nancy united Gaston to the one 
woman who kept her hold on him through the rest of his 
frivolous life. 

But even before the marriage, the Duke of Lorraine's 
plans of conquest had fallen through. French armies had 
crossed his frontier, driving before them the small force 
which the Emperor had sent to his aid. From the stronghold 
of Metz, Louis XIII. and Cardinal de Richelieu were able 
to dictate their own terms. The^ Duke of Lorraine was 
to become a faithful ally of France, and all her enemies 
were to be expelled from his territory. In consequence of 
this treaty. Monsieur joined his mother at Brussels. Left 
to himself, he might have been reconciled with the King, 
and Richelieu did his best to that end ; but his own friends 
and favourites found it to their interest to keep him in 

It was not till after the signature of the treaty that 
Louis XIII. was made aware of his brother's marriage, 
to which he had definitely refused his consent. In this 
and other ways the Duke of Lorraine had played Richelieu 
false. The consequence was that a French army once 
more swept over the province, seizing towns and fortresses 
and bringing Richelieu's favourite dream — that of extending 
the French frontier to the Rhine — perceptibly nearer. 

At this moment, having taught the Duke a second severe 
lesson, Richelieu held his hand. The victories of Gustavus 
Adolphus in Germany were an effectual check on the 
house of Hapsburg, and hindered the advance of the 
Spanish and Imperial troops on the Rhine. A French 


army was needed at home. Monsieur had left Brussels 
with a small army of German, Walloon, and Spanish 
mercenaries, and had made a dash through Lorraine, Bur- 
gundy, and Auvergne on his way to Languedoc, with the 
encouragement of the Due de Montmorency. Leaving 
Mar^chal d'Effiat in command on the German frontier, 
Richelieu despatched Schomberg and La Force by different 
routes to the south. 

Henry de Montmorency, by every title the flower of 
the French nobility, was now thirty-seven years old. He 
was descended in the direct line, through nineteen genera- 
tions, from an ancestor who was baptized with Clovis. 
Ever since then the heads of the family had borne the 
proud legend of " Premier Chrestien que Roy en France ; 
premier Seigneur de Montmorency que Roy en France ; 
premier Baron de France." Their war-cry was " Dieu 
ayde au premier Chrestien " ; their motto, ** Sans tache." 
Montmorency's father, his grandfather, and several of his 
ancestors had borne the title of Constable of France, and 
he was himself High Admiral, till Richelieu purchased the 
charge and assumed the duties under another name. He 
had succeeded to the government of Languedoc at his 
father's death in 1614, before he was twenty. A popular 
governor of a very difficult province constantly torn by 
civil war, he spent the greater part of his time in the 
south. When not engaged in keeping down his turbulent 
Protestants or in managing his provincial Estates, always 
discontented, he was to be found in the front rank of 
Louis XHI.'s campaigns. He did not care greatly for Hfe 
at Court, though, as a boy, he had been a special favourite 
with Henry IV., who gave him his name, and though, by 
the marriages of his half-sister and sister — one with the 
Due d'Angoul^me, the other with the Prince de Conde — 
he was nearly connected with the royal family. But he 
lived magnificently, when in Paris, at the Hotel de Mont- 
morency, and in the country at his chateaux of ficouen or 
Chantilly. He was the admiration of society— handsome, 
a bold rider, a fine dancer, and a very great flirt, in spite 
of the constant love between him and his young Roman 



wife, the best and most devoted of women, Maria Felice 
Orsini. Their story is among the most touching romances 
of the century. 

In many ways the Due de Montmorency stood above 
the ordinary ranks of the noblesse, and a little apart from 
them. As proud and sensitive as any, a certain high touch 
of generous chivalry kept him free of their vindictive 
prejudices — as Cardinal de Richelieu had proved in the 
day when Louis XIII. lay ill at Lyons. His loyalty to 
the King had always been unimpeachable. 

But as early as 1629 the storm which was to sweep 
Montmorency into rebellion and ruin had begun to growl 
in the south. The governor of Languedoc felt a dangerous 
sympathy with his province, one of the old independent 
pays d'EtatSy which saw itself deprived of power and 
autonomy in the matter of taxation by a centraHzing 
edict. In the view of the provincial Estates, their " most 
sacred rights" were thus invaded and torn away. And 
there were not wanting enemies of Richelieu to fan the 

At first it seemed as if the Cardinal would yield to the 
remonstrances of Languedoc. During the winter of 163 1-2 
Montmorency was able to announce to his Estates that 
the hated edict would be withdrawn. However, months 
dragged on in useless argument with the Cardinal's com- 
missioners, who, in Montmorency's own view, were merely 
amusing the Estates while they led them on to a deeper 
ruin ; while his friends whispered that he himself, as well 
as his province, was on the brink of destruction. Some 
slight coldness at Court, consequent on a quarrel of his 
with the Due de Chevreuse, was made to signify that 
his political opposition to Richelieu, frank and reasonable 
as it might be, would bring about sharp and terrible 

In this temper the proudest noble and most chivalrous 
man in France read a manifesto published by Gaston 
d'0rl6ans in June 1632, in which he summoned the French 
to rise on behalf of himself and the exiled Queen-mother, 
not against the King, but against the *' tyrant" who had 


usurped his authority ; while at the same time it was 
proposed to make Languedoc, already known to be dis- 
affected, the scene of the new civil war. 

There were circumstances which attached Montmorency 
to the Queen-mother's cause. His wife was related to her, 
and had always been treated by her with the utmost 
kindness. If he had shown a friendliness to Richelieu 
which may have justified the Cardinal in being amazed at 
the present turn of events, it was yet most natural that 
he should feel resentment at the Queen's forced exile. 
Richelieu and many historians following him have thrown 
the whole blame of the Duke's rising on Madame de Mont- 
morency and her affection for the Queen. Recent re- 
searches have shown this view to be most unfair. Through 
the spring and early summer of 1632 the Duchess was 
lying ill of fever and knew little of public events. It was 
not till the latest moment, too late for any drawing back, 
that she heard from her husband of Monsieur's advance 
with his consent to Languedoc. With useless tears she 
learned that he, who had fought so loyally for the King, 
was now arming against him. When the Prince himself 
visited her on his arrival she said to him: "Sir, if M. de 
Montmorency could have deferred to the counsel of a 
woman, he would never have given you entrance into his 

The fatal step was taken with the full concurrence of 
the Estates of Languedoc, in session at Pezenas. D'Elb^ne, 
Bishop of Albi, who has been described as Montmorency's 
evil genius, induced them formally to disregard the royal 
edict and to sign a solemn declaration in which they 
called on the Duke to make their interests his, as they 
would make his theirs, that all might act together for 
His Majesty's service and the good of their country. Thus 
** the Estates signed their final abdication ; and the Duke 
his death-warrant." 

Monsieur's ride through France, with a group of wild 
companions, at the head of two thousand undisciplined 
horse, was not likely to do his cause good in the country. 
Clamouring constantly for pay and receiving nothing but 


fair words and promises, it was to be expected that 
the soldiers should provide for themselves. All along 
Monsieur's route, his biographer tells us, at the earhest 
news of his approach, people fled from the villages and 
open country into the towns, which one and all shut 
their gates. But it was the season of fruit and crops, 
" so that the army had not much to suffer." " Nous 
entrames dans la Limagne, qu'il faisoit beau voir en cette 
saison des fruits, si la licence des gens de guerre ne lui 
eut un moment fait changer de face." And the fate of 
the Limagne — the most fertile district of Auvergne — was 
a sample of the rest. 

Monsieur and his precious army entered Languedoc 
in the first week of August, two months before the 
Due de Montmorency was ready for him. The session 
of the Estates was only just over; there had been no 
time to raise money, to collect troops, or to make sure 
of several strong places whose loyalty to the governor 
was doubtful. The King had still a powerful party in 
Languedoc, and the people generally, with a bitter 
experience, dreaded civil war. Meanwhile, with swift 
decision, directed from Paris by Richelieu, Marshals de 
Schomberg and de la Force were advancing from the 
east and the west, hemming in Languedoc and its unlucky 

The armies met at Castelnaudary — spelt by Aubery 
Castelnau-d'Arry — and the result of the fight was never 
doubtful. Though Monsieur had had some small successes 
since entering Languedoc, his friends and officers spoiled 
all by quarrels among themselves. Puylaurens, the Due 
d'Elbeuf, and the Comte de Moret, each claimed the 
leadership under him, and all refused to give precedence 
to the Due de Montmorency. He was bitterly reproached 
for the unreadiness which was no fault of his; and he, 
at least, dashed forward in a spirit of reckless despair 
to the encounter with the Marechal de Schomberg and 
the Marquis de Breze, whose army, though small, was 
perfectly disciplined, while that of Monsieur fell almost 
at once into panic and confusion. 


Castelnaudary was rather a rout than a battle. Many 
of the mercenaries fled without striking a blow, and those 
who died fighting were mostly among the unfortunate 
** gens de qualite " who had thrown in their lot with 
Monsieur. Among these victims the most distinguished 
was young Antoine de Bourbon, Comte de Moret, son 
of Henry IV. by Jacqueline de Bueil: she long survived 
as Comtesse de Vardes, a devout and eccentric lady. 
Many persons believed that her son, who had taken 
orders and held, with other rich preferments, the Abbey 
of St. fitienne at Caen, was carried off aHve into Italy 
after Castelnaudary, and ended his days, sixty years 
later, as a pious hermit in Anjou. The tradition is not 
without probability. 

No such uncertainty hangs round the fate of Henry 
de Montmorency. He fell wounded in a desperate charge 
along a hollow lane, made in support of the Comte de 
Moret, whose men were in full flight before the enemy. 
The lane was commanded by royal musketeers, who 
shot down all the Duke's followers except a few who 
dashed forward with him into the ranks of the "cardi- 
nalistes." " I have sacrificed myself for cowards ! " Henry 
cried to the officer who took him prisoner — the Comte 
de Saint-Preuil, himself one day to be condemned by 

The King and the Cardinal were on their way to 
Languedoc when the short campaign thus suddenly ended. 
To make peace with Monsieur was their first care, and 
this was easily brought about. At first his demands were 
haughty and considerable, including a large sum of money, 
the return of the Queen-mother, a fortress or two, and 
a free pardon for the Due de Montmorency. All these 
conditions were bluntly rejected. Richelieu was not 
impressed by the Prince's solemn promise to love and 
esteem him in future. 

Gaston's first thought was to escape to Spain, but the 
way was blocked by the royal troops, and a very few 
days saw him in abject submission to the King. He even 
promised — surely an unnecessary baseness — to take no 


further interest in certain persons who had been united 
with him, and to make no complaint should the King 
punish them as they deserved. Having thus delivered 
up Montmorency and all those who had fought in his 
cause and the Queen-mother's, Gaston rode off for Touraine 
with the Due d'Elbeuf and a few others whom the King 
pardoned, while the remnant of his army straggled across 
the mountains into Spain. 

Then the King and the Cardinal, from their head- 
quarters at B^ziers, set about arranging the affairs of 
Languedoc; and seldom, in his political career, did 
Richelieu show a greater wisdom. While tremendous 
severity was shown to bishops, barons, all the feudal 
magnates who had encouraged or joined in the re- 
bellion—death, confiscation, tearing down of castles and 
fortresses — the provincial Estates were very differently 
treated. They were convoked at B^ziers, and most of 
their just demands were granted by the King. On pay- 
ment of a heavy fine they kept to some extent their 
ancient liberties. 

But a terrible example was made. After Castelnaudary 
the wounded governor had been taken to the castle of 
Lectoure, and at the end of October, nearly two months 
later, he was brought to Toulouse to be tried for his life. 
The King and the Cardinal were already there, and all 
the prayers of province and kingdom, of high and low, 
had for six weeks been prayed in vain. The fact that 
M. de Montmorency was one of the very greatest men in 
France, that his pardon was humbly begged for not only 
by his miserable wife, but by the Princesse de Conde, the 
Due d'Epernon and his sons, the Dues d'Angouleme, 
de Chatillon, de Chevreuse, and many others, only made 
his condemnation more sure. Richelieu was bent on 
teaching France, once for all, the lesson she had been 
slow in learning, that no head was high enough to escape 
the vengeance of the King. He listened, not untouched 
certainly, but unmoved, even to the crying in the streets — 
" Grace, grace ! Misericorde ! "—with which, night and day, 
the people of Toulouse tried to soften the hearts of King 


and Minister. And if we are to believe the biographer 
of P^re Joseph, any leanings towards mercy in either 
were checked by the fiery zeal of the " Eminence grise," 
who pressed upon them both, in secret council of three, 
that "to pardon this criminal would encourage all the 
rebels in the kingdom, who would not fail to invite 
Monsieur to place himself once more at their head, 
since they would be sure of impunity . . . whereas, a 
chief of this rank and quality being put to death, no 
one would henceforth dare to declare himself for the 
King's brother." 

The trial, presided over by Richelieu's Chancellor, 
Chateauneuf, was short and decisive : there was no 
doubt of the result; but we are told that the judges 
wept when they pronounced the sentence, and the 
courtiers wept when they heard it. Henry de Mont- 
morency died that same day, October 30, 1632, on the 
scaffold at Toulouse, patiently and bravely, as became the 
** premier Chrestien." In his will, made the day before, 
he left a valuable picture, a St. Sebastian, to Cardinal 
de Richelieu. The mourning throughout France was such 
as had not been seen since the death of King Henry IV. 

Terrified by so sharp an object-lesson, Gaston d'0rl6ans 
made one more dash across France and again took refuge 
at Brussels. This was a consequence not at all intended 
by Cardinal de Richelieu. 

Worry and strain, poUtical anxieties constantly fresh, 
the knowledge that he was furiously hated by society, that 
dozens of desperate men had vowed to kill him, and were 
watching for their opportunity — a strong man would have 
felt the burden, and Richelieu, whatever the power of his 
spirit, was always delicate and frail of body. One of the 
worst illnesses of his life came upon him immediately after 
the death of the Due de Montmorency. 

The King hurried back to his hunting near Paris, and 
it had been arranged that the Cardinal should escort Queen 
Anne from Toulouse to Bordeaux, and then to La Rochelle, 
after which she was to honour him with a visit at his 
hardly finished, magnificent chateau and new town of 


Richelieu. It was a bad time of year for travelling, and 
the Queen and her ladies, one may believe, thought the 
whole thing a bore ; but the Eminentissime had his reasons 
for insisting, and could not be refused. 

He was ill when they left Toulouse. At Bordeaux he 
became worse, and was forced to take to his bed ; a few 
days more saw him in apparent extremity. A weight of 
bad news fell upon him. The loyal Marechal de Schom- 
berg died in Languedoc, where he had succeeded Mont- 
morency as governor. The death of Gustavus Adolphus 
seemed at first a mortal blow to the Protestant cause 
and the allies of France in Germany. 

The Queen and her Court did not remain at Bordeaux 
throughout the Cardinal's illness, but passed on to make 
their tour of the western provinces, his place as their 
entertainer being taken by the Commander de la Porte 
and the Marquis de la Meilleraye. The position was 
curious enough. At any moment news of the Cardinal's 
death might have overtaken them. All France believed 
that he was dying; rumours flew through the provinces 
that he was already dead. People held their breath an 
instant, then forgot prudence and rejoiced, ten years too 
soon, as though the report must be true. M. de Chateau- 
neuf and Madame de Chevreuse behaved with a rashness 
that seems amazing, whatever his passion for her and 
whatever her hatred of Richelieu. Even before the Queen 
left Bordeaux, while the Cardinal's few devoted friends 
were watching by his sick bed, they, with the rest of the 
lively Court party, were dancing in pubUc and private 
without even any outward show of anxiety, and it was 
they, in wild spirits, who made the dark and wintry 
journey to La Rochelle a voyage de plaisir. M. de Chateau- 
neuf already imagined himself First Minister, and Madame 
de Chevreuse, ruling the Queen and him, saw France at 
her feet. 

And then the Cardinal recovered. " From the gates 
of the tomb," says M. Martin, " he rose terrible and struck 
down those imprudent persons who had dared to reach 
out with a too hasty hand towards his spoils." The King 



travelled many leagues from Paris to meet him, and 
received him in his arms ; the courtiers crowded to con- 
gratulate him, weeping for joy ! A few weeks later, the 
one disgraced and in prison, the other an exile from Court, 
M. de Chateauneuf and Madame de Chevreuse had time 
to reflect on their own foolishness and the amazing fortunes 
of Cardinal de Richelieu. 


The Cardinal and his palaces — The chiteau and town of Richelieu — The 
Palais-Cardinal— Richelieu's household, daily life, and friends— The H6tel 
de Rambouillet — Mademoiselle de Gournay — Boisrobert and the first 
Academicians— Entertainments at the Palais- Cardinal — Mirame. 

THE restless, ambitious energy and the passion for 
detail which made Cardinal de Richelieu the hardest 
worker of his time in politics, were thrown equally 
into his characteristic amusements. His love of building 
and furnishing splendidly carried him far beyond such 
pleasant country-houses as Rueil, Limours, or Bois-le- 
Vicomte, luxurious as they were. The Palais-Cardinal 
itself, in the heart of Paris and almost royal, had certain 
limitations, the architect being blamed for a lack of height 
and dignity. Le Mercier excused himself, we are told, by 
the Cardinal's own orders : he desired to give no cause 
for jealousy to the great ones of the kingdom who did 
not love him " because of the extreme hauteur with which 
he treated them, and to show moderation, even in the 
disposing of his palace, in the sight of those powerful 
persons who were envious of such prodigious credit and 

No scruples interfered in the lonely valley of the Mable, 
where for miles around the name of Richelieu now had 
no rival. Even Champigny, the once dreaded house of the 
Montpensiers, had come into the Cardinal's possession by 
a more or less forced exchange with Gaston d'Orl^ans, his 
little daughter's untrustworthy guardian. The fine old 
chateau was pulled down ; its former outbuildings make 
the chateau of to-day; and the chapel, with its precious 





windows, its tombs and picturesque cloister, was only 
saved by the Pope's refusal to consent to its destruction. 
The Cardinal-Due, though First Minister of France and 
head of her army and navy, could not flatly disobey the 
Church in a private matter. 

There is more actually left of the old Montpensier 
buildings than of the magnificent palace, foreshadowing 
the splendour of Versailles, into which Cardinal de 
Richelieu transformed the river-fortress of his ancestors. 
Wide lawns, stiff alleys and avenues, still moats with 
water-lilies, one small pavilion looking sadly over the trees 
towards a high gateway where no one seems to enter ; 
this is all that remains of the far-famed Chateau de 

It was in the year 1625, soon after he came to power, 
that the Cardinal visited Richelieu with Madame de 
Combalet, and resolved on the transformation. After this 
the work went on for years, and was hardly finished when 
he died, though long before that the palace was the 
admiration of Europe, only surpassed in France by 
Fontainebleau. It was approached by an avenue a mile 
and a quarter long, ending in an immense demi-lune on 
which the first court opened by a stately gateway with 
flanking pavilions. This court led to a second; a bridge 
over the moat which, as in old days, surrounded the actual 
chateau, gave admittance to another gateway under a dome, 
guarded by a figure of Renown and other mythological 
statues. Within this was the cour dhonneur^ a square of 
great buildings, with high pavilions at the four corners 
and in the centre opposite the gateway. Here was the 
grand staircase of variegated marble ; and here, after the 
ruin of the House of Montmorency, stood the famous 
Slaves of Michel Angelo, brought from the Duke's Chateau 
of Ecouen. Statues and busts were everywhere. 

The further front, beyond another bridge, looked upon 
square gardens ** embroidered with flowers," where pea- 
cocks strutted, and through which flowed the imprisoned 
Mable in a broad canal full of fish. Beyond this again was 
another vast half-moon space of garden and parterre, with 


statues, fountains, grottoes, an orangery, and a "chapel ; 
and all was surrounded by the great deer-park and the 
woods in ordered beauty, long alleys striking into them, 
lost in the shade. 

The decoration, in and out, of this wonderful place 
shared the Cardinal's thoughts with the keenest interests 
of his political life ; and the collection of works of art, for 
Richelieu and the Palais-Cardinal, meant in itself a large 
correspondence. Besides all this, he had undertaken to 
create a town outside the gates of his new palace, its main 
street to be of hotels on one dignified plan, after the model 
of the Place Royale, built tfor themselves by his chief 
officers and the nobles whom he meant to attend his Court 
at Richelieu. That Court was never held, but the town 
rose out of the earth, " as if by enchantment," with all 
kinds of privileges and immunities granted by the King, 
and its symmetrical buildings have long survived their 
raison detre^ the chateau. There is indeed more life now 
in that seventeenth-century street than when La Fontaine 
wrote of its admired but monotonous rows of houses : 

" La plupart sont inhabites ; 
Je ne vis personne en la rue ; 
II m'en d^plait ; j'aime aux citds 
Un peu de bruit et de cohue." 

The Cardinal's devoted friend, the Archbishop of 
Bordeaux, acted as surveyor of the works at Richelieu, 
and in a letter to him in June 1632, between the execution 
of Marillac and Monsieur's invasion of Languedoc, we have 
evidence of the way in which every exterior and interior 
detail was thought out by an unresting brain. The 
painting of the rooms was now in full swing, being mostly 
designed by Simon Vouet, the King's favourite painter, and 
carried out by him and other artists. 

After giving orders as to the decoration of a large room 
above the entrance, the Cardinal proceeds : 

" The vaulted cabinet at the side should be painted in 
grisaille on the stone vaulting, partly by the painter from 
Lyons, and partly by other painters, who will enrich the 


grisaille with gold. M. de Bordeaux, being on the spot, 
will make them agree together as to what each shall do. 
In this cabinet there must be a wainscot six feet high 
with a recess to hold rarities, and the said wainscot shall 
be painted in grisaille of one tint and gilded to match the 
vaulting. M. Vouet can very well design the paintings." 

Architectural details regarding the level of different 
rooms, their respective heights, their flat or vaulted ceilings, 
fill a good part of the letter. Everywhere there are six- 
foot wainscotings with shelves or recesses for " rarities " ; 
for His Eminence's collection of objets dart was already 
famous in Europe. 

Then he goes on to the gardens. 

" My uncle tells me that the canal at Richelieu is full 
of weeds. At the end of the summer, when the lawns are 
levelled and the masons are no longer working on the 
banks of the said canal, it must be entirely drained and all 
the weeds must be rooted up and burnt in its bed ; and 
when it is clean and dry let it be filled again, and put a boat 
on it, and make a bargain with a strong and vigorous man 
who has nothing else to do, that he will not suffer a weed in 
it but will tear them up as they grow, which may be done 
with tools of iron made for the purpose. In that country it 
suffices a man if he have enough to live on, so that I think 
a hundred francs or forty crowns will acquit me." 

With quite as eager an interest, both now and again 
later, even when Monsieur is " drawing towards Languedoc " 
and political storms are darkening all the horizon, he writes 
of pictures from Mantua that he is sending to Richelieu, of 
the preservation, with new floors and beams, of his father's 
old rooms — a fancy which, in Mademoiselle de Montpensier's 
opinion, spoiled the grandeur of the house— of building a 
park wall ; and last, not least, of the new town and the 
houses that his friends are building there. A little hurry, 
he thinks, would not be out of place, for he is bent on 
making Richelieu, his own town, a centre of trade, of justice, 
of enlightenment, to all the western country. 

Though almost incredible, it appears to be a fact that 
the Cardinal died in 1642 without ever having visited his 


new palace and little city of Richelieu. Various royal and 
distinguished guests, however, were entertained there in 
his lifetime by his niece or other representatives. 

But Paris knew the Cardinal intimately well. His last 
eight years of life and work were chiefly spent at the 
Palais-Cardinal. From its completion, in the winter of 
1633-4, he Uved there in almost royal splendour. Though 
the exterior may have suffered from jealousy in high places, 
the apartments were far more gorgeous, more heavily 
luxurious, than those at Richelieu — which must have 
possessed, from descriptions, a kind of cool beauty and 
delicate grace suited to the tender lines and colouring of 
Poitou. At the Palais-Cardinal, the windows were glazed 
with " large squares of crystal mounted in silver." Rooms, 
halls, staircases, galleries, cabinets, were a blaze of colour ; 
there were ceilings all gold, with allegorical pictures in 
mosaic, to the Cardinal's glory. The walls were hung 
with pictures by the greatest artists, French and Italian ; 
there was a gallery of famous men, some of the portraits 
painted by Philippe de Champagne, others by Simon Vouet. 
The furniture throughout was magnificent, and the art 
treasures of every kind represented the work of collectors 
all over Europe. The gardens, in those early days, were 
charming in their formal beauty ; lawns and clipped box 
hedges, a mosaic of flowers, long alleys of trees, and a high 
terrace with a famous iron-work balustrade which was 
destroyed in 1786 by the bad taste of the Due de Chartres, 
then possessor of the palace. 

The Cardinal's household was large, and devoted to him ; 
whatever his character at Court and abroad, at home he 
was neither an ogre nor a sphinx, but a hard-working, 
autocratic, fiery, not ungenerous gentleman. His chaplains 
and almoners could bear witness to his widespread charity, 
ranging from the sick and poor in the streets of Paris to 
peasants ruined by war, and from colleges and hospitals to 
small forgotten convents which found themselves supplied, 
by his orders, with bread and meat they had no money 
to buy. 

The Cardinal's household included at least five-and- 


O a 
2 o 


twenty pages of noble birth, who received the same training 
in arms, horsemanship, mathematics, and dancing as if they 
had belonged to Royalty. A number of " gentlemen of 
condition " waited on him constantly and dined at his second 
table ; the first was reserved for himself— when well enough 
to be there — and for his intimate friends, relations, and 
special guests. He had five hard-worked private secretaries, 
clerical and lay : the Prieur des Roches, Charpentier, Ch6r6, 
Mulot, Rossignol ; his private physician, M. Citoys, often 
served him in the same way. Among his State secretaries 
and special agents, who directed, as we know, an army of 
spies at home and abroad, Pere Joseph and his Capuchin 
clerks held the first place. " Ez6chi6li," as the Cardinal 
called him, had his offices in the palace, and visited His 
Eminence by day and by night. 

The Bouthilliers, father and son, with M. de Noyers, 
were among his most confidential counsellors and fellow- 
workers ; and in more private fashion Laffemas, head of 
the Paris police and known as " le bourreau du Cardinal," 
brought him the evil report of his enemies. In later years 
Mazarin became his trusted diplomatic agent and chosen 
successor. The Cardinal de la Valette, the Archbishop of 
Bordeaux, the Marquis de Br€z6, the Marquis de la Meille- 
raye — these two being created by him Marshals of France 
— may be described as his aides-de-camp ; and beyond all 
these buzzed a crowd of political pamphleteers and other 
writers in the Cardinal's pay; conspicuous among them 
Renaudot — founder under him of the Gazette de France^ the 
first approach to a modern newspaper — Corneille the poet, 
and various members of the young Academy. 

The Cardinal was fond of music, and his band of twelve 
instruments attended him everywhere. But what really 
made his train " august and majestic," says Aubery, was 
the strong force of guards always present for his defence. 
The King had added two hundred musketeers and a 
company of gendarmes to the hundred horse originally 
granted him, and these troops were quartered in and 
around his palace, being on duty by turns, as if attending 
on Royalty. 


The officers of the guard were not always lucky enough 
to please His Eminence. This is a characteristic story : 

" He had said one day to Saint-Georges, his captain of 
the guard, that he wished to walk after dinner in his gallery 
at the Palais-Cardinal and would see no one there ; never- 
theless, entering with M. de Noyers, he found two Capu- 
chins. After giving them a favourable audience, and finish- 
ing his business with M. de Noyers, he scolded his captain 
of the guard for disobeying his orders, and treated him to 
hard words, telling him plainly that he would be obeyed, 
and that if he ever committed such a fault again, he would 
not come off so cheaply. 

" The gentleman, furious at such disgrace, and believing 
that he could not remain in the service with honour, took 
leave to retire, without farewell, to some inn in the Rue 
St. Honore. So that M. le Cardinal, seeing him no more, 
asked for news of him ; and learning what had happened, 
begged the Commander de la Porte to go and find him and 
bring him back. But the Commander failing to do so, 
His Eminence charged M. de la Meilleraye to go in his 
turn, and to bring him back by any means in his power. 
Which at last he did, after trouble enough in persuading 
him. So that His Eminence, seeing him enter the room, 
went five or six steps to meet him, and embracing him with 
much kindness, said : ' Saint-Georges, we were both very 
hasty ; but if you are like me, you will never think of it 
again. God forbid that my hastiness should ruin the for- 
tunes of a gentleman such as you : on the contrary, I will 
do you all the good I can.* " 

After which one does not wonder that the Cardinal's 
own people liked him. 

His constant ill-health, with the weight of State affairs, 
made a regular life necessary to him. He went to bed at 
eleven, but after three or four hours of restless sleep he was 
generally to be found sitting up in his room, his worn face 
bent over portfolio or writing-table, his thin hand and 
active brain guiding the politics of Europe. Thus he 
would work from candlelight to dawn, writing and dic- 
tating, till fatigue obliged him to lie down and sleep again. 


But he was up before eight and working with his secretaries ; 
then, when dressed, he received the King's other Ministers; 
then heard mass, which he celebrated himself on great 
festivals; and then, before the mid-day dinner, gave 
audience in the garden to any one who wished to see him. 
After dinner he talked with his friends and guests till it 
was necessary to visit the King, to receive ambassadors and 
great men, to attend in public to important affairs of State. 
It was not till evening that he allowed himself any real 
quiet and recreation. Then we may see him strolling again 
in the garden, playing with his favourite cats, listening to 
music, laughing with the few familiars, such as the lively 
Abbe de Boisrobert, whose privilege it was to amuse him ; 
and so, with private prayers that lasted half an hour, ended 
his days at the Palais-Cardinal. 

He was always, of course, unpopular at Court and in 
society; not only because he was feared and mistrusted, 
but owing to an air of pedantry and affectation which was 
unpleasing to everybody and especially so to women ; yet 
he particularly liked to make himself agreeable to them. 
When all the fables of his love-affairs are cleared away, 
this characteristic trait remains. He despised women, but 
he was ready to bid pretty high, sometimes, for their 
confidence and admiration. Several times, for instance, 
Madame de Chevreuse escaped with the punishment of 
temporary exile for plots and treasons which would have 
cost a man his head. The Cardinal would have been glad 
to stand high in her favour, as well as in that of her royal 
mistress. As their hatred grew with years, so did his hard- 
ness and severity, till the Duchess, leaving Queen Anne in 
danger and disgrace, fled finally to Spain. 

His niece, with whom he was on the most intimate, 
affectionate terms, seems to have been the only woman 
who really cared for Cardinal de Richelieu. For her he 
planned various great marriages in France and Lorraine, 
all of which came to nothing. He gave her the Petit- 
Luxembourg when he moved to his new palace, but she 
still overlooked his housekeeping and was the leading 
figure in his entertainments. Society realized her power, 


and treated her with considerable reverence, though it 
laughed behind her back and told many malicious stories. 
As a fact, Madame de Combalet — created Duchesse d'Ai- 
guillon in i638--filled a difficult position well ; strengthen- 
ing it by friendships with distinguished women such as 
the Princesse de Cond6 and Mademoiselle d'Angennes, the 
famous Julie of the poets, the star of her mother's salon at 
the Hotel de Rambouillet. 

The Marquis de Rambouillet has been already mentioned 
as a steady friend of Cardinal de Richelieu, and though 
His Eminence was not to be seen at Madame de Ram- 
bouillet's assemblies — the centre of civilising influence long 
before his noonday of power — he took a keen and partly 
sympathetic interest in all that went on there. His brilliant 
intelligence could not fail to recognise the great work done 
for society by *' the divine Arthenice " in her blue drawing- 
room, where savage manners were softened and refined, 
military roughness was smoothed, coarse gossip discour- 
aged ; some touch of culture and literary taste being made 
a passport to the hostess's favour. It seems certain that 
political intrigue found no place at the Hotel de Ram- 
bouillet ; but it is characteristic of Richelieu's nervous, sus- 
picious mind that he was not convinced of this. The long 
flirtation carried on by his friend the Cardinal de la Valette 
with the Princesse de Conde, both of them constant guests 
there, caused him some anxiety, and the story goes that he 
sent Pere Joseph to Madame de Rambouillet with promises 
of advancement for her husband if she would keep him 
informed of the " intrigues " of these two. The Marquise 
replied : "I do not believe, Father, that Madame la 
Princesse and M. le Cardinal de la Valette have any 
intrigues ; but if they have, I should not be the person 
to act as a spy ! " It seems that Cardinal de la Valette, 
who was clever and witty, did indulge in the dangerous 
pleasure of laughing at Richelieu's pedantries, and with 
Madame de Rambouillet herself, ** in whom he had entire 
confidence," and who enjoyed the joke. 

Richelieu's keenness of intellect and political intuition 
were not matched by the delicate wit and lightness of 


touch that are usually a Frenchman's birthright. He was 
rather fond of making jokes, but they were often heavy, 
if not grim, and better calculated to amuse himself than 
his hearers. Mademoiselle de Gournay had experience of 
this. She was a clever literary woman in a time when 
such women were rare. Montaigne adopted her as a 
daughter, and by his wish she published an edition of his 
works after his death, with a preface of her own. This 
was in 1595. At the height of Richelieu's fame she was 
an old and eccentric woman, living in Paris, known as 
the author of LOmhre^ a poetical work full of ancient 
and far-fetched words and high-flown sentiments. The 
fashionable young poets and literary men of Paris found 
pleasure in teasing and ridiculing Mademoiselle de 

In 1635 she edited a new edition of Montaigne, which 
she dedicated to Cardinal de Richelieu. She was invited 
to an audience at the Palais-Cardinal. Richelieu paid her 
the necessary compliments, but in obsolete words which 
he had carefully chosen out of LOmhre. He was highly 
pleased with himself, and his attendants were choking with 
laughter. But Mademoiselle de Gournay was an aristo- 
crat. Not for nothing was she bien demoiselle^ as Tallemant 
says. " Elle avoit vu le beau monde." 

" * You are laughing at the poor old woman,' she said. 
* Laugh, great genius, laugh : it is right that every one 
should contribute to your diversion.'" 

The Eminentissime was ashamed of himself, and asked 
her pardon. Afterwards he pensioned her handsomely, 
and not only her, but her old servant Mademoiselle Jamyn 
and her favourite cat Piaillon, not forgetting Piaillon's 
kittens. The Abb6 de Boisrobert, Mademoiselle de 
Gournay's good friend, brought these claims irresistibly 
before a lover of cats. 

At the height of favour as jester, verse-maker and 
confidential gossip, Boisrobert was a fount of honours 
and pensions at the Palais-Cardinal. Poor poets and other 
literary men were the special objects of his care. He was 
a clever busybody who went everywhere and knew every 


one of the scribblers in verse and prose, social, political, 
theological, classical, dramatic, or of more trifling kind, 
who had drifted up mostly from the provinces into 
Parisian garrets and hung about the hotels of the great, 
depending on patronage for their daily bread. It was 
among these scattered units of varied birth and talent, 
all belonging to " the republic of letters," that the French 
Academy began to exist, and Boisrobert has the right to 
be called one of its founders. 

His character of favourite and of universal patron, as 
well as his literary skill, admitted him to weekly meetings 
of a few chosen spirits in the Marais, at the house of 
Valentin Conrart, bourgeois^ Protestant, and man of letters. 
Boisrobert's position at the Palais-Cardinal made it natural 
that he should carry the report of these meetings direct 
to Richelieu. The Minister was not altogether pleased. 
He disliked private assemblies; too often, in his expe- 
rience, they meant conspiracy, and he would gladly have 
made them illegal. 

The arguments of Boisrobert, if they did not quite 
reassure the Cardinal, suggested to him a means of utilis- 
ing these literary meetings to the advantage of the State 
and of the French language. He proposed to Conrart and 
his friends, through Boisrobert, that they should become 
a public body with letters-patent, bound by its own 
statutes and holding its assemblies under royal authority, 
with the object of purifying and regularising the language 
and literature of France. The men of letters struggled a 
little, for liberty was sweet. But they soon submitted, 
and the Forty Immortals took their place among those 
French institutions which have survived the old world in 
which they were born. 

As long as Richelieu lived the Academy worked under 
his presiding authority. He encouraged no frivolity, no 
discussion of trifles, but insisted on hard, steady work. 
The great Dictionary, first planned by the poet Chapelain, 
was seriously begun in 1634 and carried on by the most 
methodical among the new academicians, some of whom 
were considerably laughed at by the free literary world 


outside. They were, in fact, slaves to a Minister who, 
besides having an unfounded faith in his own taste, was 
a critic swayed by reasons extra-literary : one need hardly 
mention that the Academy, under Richelieu, snubbed 
Corneille and condemned Le Cidy too Spanish and too 
independent to please His Eminence. 

The slavery was profitable : places and pensions made 
life liveable for the wiser academicians of Richelieu's 
day — whose survivors were described by La Bruy^re as 
"vieux corbeaux," croaking as their master had taught 
them. And they grew to love their chains, while pouring 
flattery at the great man's feet. Guillaume CoUetet, more 
drunkard than poet, composed a rondeau which was 
presented by Boisrobert to the Cardinal: 

" Au grand Armand je vous invite k boire ! 
Trinquer pour lui, c'est oeuvre meritoire. 
C'est le support du Parnasse frangois ; 
C'est I'Appollon qui verse quelquefois 
Ses rayons d'or jusque dans nostre armoire. 

Si sa vertu veut qu'on chante sa gloire, ' 
Sa sante veut qu'on en fasse m^moire 
Et que Ton crie, k table, a haute voix : 
Au grand Armand ! 

N'y boire pas, c'est avoir I'ame noire. 
Done, pour blanchir la nostre comme yvoire, 
Roys des esprits, beuvez comme des Roys ! 
Bacchus viendra couronner vos exploits 
Et Boisrobert en contera I'histoire 

Au grand Armand ! " 

It is to the honour of Pierre Corneille that he did not, 
till many years later, find a place among these ''roys des 
esprits." The Cardinal had been disappointed in him. 
Before the Academy existed he was one of five poetical 
secretaries who were employed by His Eminence to 
arrange his own original ideas in poetry and drama. The 
other four were Boisrobert, I'Estoile, Colletet, and Rotrou. 
It seems that Corneille was too honest for his place ; his 
criticism too frank and his opinion too positive. He was 
soon dismissed, the Cardinal finding that he lacked " esprit 


de suite " ; which may be translated as the gift of following 
blindly wherever his patron chose to lead. 

Richelieu had a passion for plays and ballets, and 
employed a troup of actors of his own. They were the 
third company in Paris, the others belonging to the Theatre 
des Marais and the Hotel de Bourgogne. There were 
two theatres at the Palais-Cardinal, and the smaller was 
generally used for the comedies, dances, and other enter- 
tainments constantly attended by their Majesties and the 
Court. Here were performed pieces arranged by the 
Cardinal's own authors : Les Tuileries and LAveugle de 
Smyrne, dull comedies magnificently staged ; livelier pieces 
such as Clorise^ by Baro, a very popular play-writer ; other 
fashionable plays ; ballets in which young Royalties danced 
— Mademoiselle, Gaston's daughter, Mademoiselle de Bour- 
bon, Mademoiselle de Longueville, Mademoiselle de Ven- 
d6me, the Due d'Enghien ; his future wife Mademoiselle 
de Maill6-Br6z6, and other nieces and cousins of the 
Cardinal. These gay fantastic ballets, even more than 
regular plays, were the delight of society, young and 
old. All the courtiers and great ladies joined in them ; 
Louis XIII. himself often composed both the words 
and the music of lutes, spinets, violins, and forgot his 
gloomy stiffness in dancing. 

In the intervals of the performances the Cardinal's 
guests enjoyed rare fruits and dainty sweetmeats, handed 
round by his pages in baskets tied with English ribbons 
of gold and silver tissue. When comedy and dance were 
over the company was offered a gorgeous supper on the 
great service of plate which the Cardinal left to the King. 

The entertainments at the Palais-Cardinal reached their 
zenith in January 1641, with the representation of Mirame. 
Richelieu, to quote a contemporary, *' temoigna des ten- 
dresses de pere pour cette pi^ce " ; and it seems actually 
to have been in great part his work, in collaboration with 
the academician Desmarets. The larger of his two 
theatres, holding three thousand persons, was used for 
the first time and decorated with special magnificence. It 
was rather a vast saloon than a theatre, with gilded 


galleries for the most distinguished guests; the ordinary 
admiring crowd finding place on the floor. His Eminence, 
happy and triumphant, was near the Queen : the Abbe de 
Marolles, once a timid student, now a critical spectator, 
describes him as dressed in a long mantle of flame-coloured 
tafleta over a black soutane, with collar and facings of 

The scenery of the play, with the new machinery 
which astonished all eyes, had been ordered from Italy 
by Cardinal Mazarin, now a familiar figure in Paris and 
Richelieu's right hand. There was a long perspective of 
palaces and gardens, with terraces, grottos, fountains, 
statues, all looking out over the sea, ** with agitations," 
says the Gazette^ "which seemed natural to the waves of 
that vast element, and two large fleets, one appearing two 
leagues distant, both of which passed in sight of the 

Over this lovely scene night gradually fell, and all was 
lit up by the moon. Then, just as naturally, day dawned 
and the sun rose, taking his turn in this " agr^able 

The majority of the guests were amazed and transported 
beyond measure. A few critics, among whom was the 
Abb6 de Marolles, did not particularly care for all this 
''fine machinery and grand perspective." He found it 
fatiguing to the eyes and the mind : in his opinion a 
comedy should depend for success on story, poetry, and 
fine acting. " Le reste n'est qu'un embarras inutile." 

There were other more malicious critics who saw in the 
story of the play — the love of Princess Mirame, daughter 
of the King of Bithynia, for the daring sailor Arimant, 
commanding the fleet of Colchos, with all the tragical 
events which at last brought about a happy ending — a 
veiled allusion to the old romance of Queen Anne and the 
Duke of Buckingham. It is very improbable, to say the 
least, that Richelieu, who had at this time ceased to per- 
secute the Queen, should choose to offend her afresh by 
stirring up grievances fifteen years old. His object, never 
indeed attained, was to live at peace among princes and 


nobles who had learnt their lesson. What really annoyed 
him in connection with this performance of Mirame was 
the discovery by his watchful enemies of various disre- 
putable persons among the invited guests. The King 
was displeased ; Monsieur enjoyed the incident ; and the 
Cardinal could only revenge himself on an unlucky official 
who had been too free with his cards of admittance. 

In spite of fault-finders Mirame was a triumph. Stand- 
ing up in his place, the Cardinal joyfully acknowledged 
the constant thunders of applause, then waving his hand 
for silence, that none of his fine lines might be missed. 
When the play was over, and the Queen had passed on a 
golden bridge drawn by peacocks to a silver throne pre- 
pared for her beyond the lifted curtain of the stage, to 
preside over a grand ball that ended the evening, there 
was no prouder man in Europe than her host — the weary, 
sickly statesman who had already given provinces to 
France and made her paramount in Italy and Spain. 



Conquests in Lorraine— The return of Monsieur — The fate of Puy- 
laurens — France involved in the Thirty Years' War — Last adventures 
of the Due de Rohan — Defeat, invasion, and panic — The turn of the 
tide — Narrow escape of the Cardinal— The flight of the Princes. 

FROM the year 1630, Richelieu had employed historians 
and antiquaries in hunting up documents to justify 
his plans for the greater glory of France. Amazing 
were the pretensions that these learned persons encouraged 
him to make for his King. According to them, Louis XIII. 
might claim sovereign rights over England, Spain, Milan, 
Naples, and Sicily, not to mention Flanders, Artois, 
Franche-Comte, Lorraine, and other frontier provinces. 
How far Richelieu's dreams of conquest really extended, 
it is difficult to say. But the year 1633 found him resolved 
at least, in his own words, to " re-establish the monarchy 
in its original greatness" by asserting **the ancient rights 
of the Crown " ; and Duke Charles of Lorraine soon gave 
him his desired opportunity of annexing a large part of 
the old Austrasian province. 

Relying on imperial support and on his sister's 
marriage with the heir-presumptive of France, the Duke 
had broken treaties and had neglected to pay homage 
for his French fief, the duchy of Bar. In the summer 
of 1633 the Parliament of Paris was directed by Richelieu 
to declare that duchy confiscated to France. In August 
a French army, led by the King and the Cardinal, marched 
once more upon the frontier of Lorraine. 

The Duke tried to gain time, hoping for the help of 



a Spanish army under the Duke of Feria, which was 
advancing from Italy. He sent his brother, Cardinal 
Nicolas-Frangois, to negotiate with the French, offering 
not only to consent to the dissolution of his sister's 
marriage, but that the Cardinal, who had taken only 
minor orders, should ally himself with Richelieu by 
marrying Madame de Combalet. This proposal was 
coolly put aside by Richelieu, who observed that he 
had not advised the King to enter Lorraine with a 
powerful army for his private family ends. He insisted 
that Nancy, the capital, with Princess Marguerite in 
person, should be placed in the King's hands as a pledge 
of submission. 

As to his sister, Duke Charles was willing enough, 
being painfully aware that the alliance with Gaston was 
a mistake which might ruin him ; but he would not consent 
to surrender his capital, protesting, with oaths, that he 
would rather burn it down. Nevertheless, the city did 
not stand a long siege ; but when Louis XIII. and Richelieu 
made their entry, their promised captive had escaped. 
By the help of her brother the Cardinal, and with great 
spirit and courage on her own part, Madame Marguerite 
had slipped out of Nancy at the beginning of the blockade, 
and in a page's disguise had joined her husband at 
Brussels. There she was formally received as Duchess 
of Orleans by the Queen-mother and the Infanta, and 
the marriage was confirmed by the Archbishop of Malines. 

Richelieu was not altogether displeased. Well con- 
vinced of his power to separate Monsieur from his new wife 
as soon as the Prince himself should return to France and 
his duty, he was not sorry to have an honourable excuse for 
going to extremes with the Duke of Lorraine. No hostage, 
no capital. Duke Charles was helpless ; his sister was no 
longer in his hands; his Spanish allies, checked on their 
way by a Protestant army, failed to come to his aid. He 
had to see a parliament established in Metz and almost 
the whole of his province garrisoned by French troops. 
When the King returned to Paris the lilies of France were 
flying over Lorraine. Town after town submitted, fortress 


after fortress. In January 1634 Charles abdicated for the 
time in favour of his brother the Cardinal, and with the 
small remains of his army took service under the Emperor. 

Then Cardinal de Richelieu bent all his energies to 
forcing on Gaston's return to France and reconciliation 
with his brother. He regarded this as a necessity of 
State, and he was equally resolved that the Queen-mother, 
who had made some overtures on her own account, should 
never again set foot in France. Both Marie and Gaston, 
while quarrelling between themselves, played the Minister's 
game by their own foolishness. A murderer, caught at 
Metz, was suspected with reason of being sent from 
Brussels by Chanteloube, Marie's unwise counsellor, 
to attempt the life of Richelieu : he lost his own. The 
same fate befell others, in Lorraine and elsewhere, charged 
with the same designs ; and while this secret campaign 
went on, Gaston and his favourite Puylaurens made an 
independent treaty with Spain, promising to invade France 
with a foreign army to be supplied by the Imperial generals 
in the Low Countries. 

Well served by spies, Richelieu knew all this. He 
replied to Monsieur's treason by representing to the 
King that such a prince, who could promise French 
fortresses to the enemy, was not fit to wear the crown; 
and with a bold decision before which, at such a crisis, 
not even the hereditary monarchy was sacred, he proposed 
a league of nobles and princes of the blood who should 
pledge themselves, in case of Louis' death, against the 
unconditional succession of his brother. France after all, 
in the eyes of Richelieu, was greater than her kings. 

By the autumn of 1634 Puylaurens and his master 
knew that they had made a huge mistake in allying 
themselves with Spain. No troops were forthcoming, 
and it began to be evident that the prospect was not 
one of triumph and revenge, but of ruin and perpetual 
exile. All through September M. de Puylaurens was 
negotiating secretly with Cardinal de Richelieu, promising 
for Monsieur, among other things, the renunciation of his 
marriage, and also making a good bargain for himself 


Gaston left Brussels one day in October, and galloped 
hard to the frontier. He had been an exile for two years, 
and was enchanted to see France again. His little daughter, 
Mademoiselle, now seven years old, met him at Limours, 
and flew joyfully into the arms of a gay and fascinating 

As to Madame, left behind in Flanders, her marriage 
was solemnly declared null and void by an assembly of 
French clergy, as having been contracted against the civil 
law. In this decision, however, the clergy acted on Galilean 
lines, independently of the Pope, who was of a different 
opinion ; and although, after long resistance, Monsieur 
formally submitted, he had protected himself in advance by 
a letter to Urban VIII. refusing to be bound by any extorted 
promise. The consequence was, that Richelieu's apparent 
triumph in this affair of the Lorraine marriage only lasted 
his life. Gaston and Marguerite remained faithful to each 
other ; and the stiff Madame who reigned in after years at 
Blois and at the Luxembourg was the same Princess, the 
heroine, in her adventurous girlhood, of a secret marriage 
and a romantic escape. 

It was that private letter of Gaston's to the Pope which 
brought about the ruin of the unlucky Puylaurens. He 
had gained high favour with Richelieu, who had purchased 
his faithful service, as he thought, by making him a duke 
and a peer of France and by marrying him to his own first 
cousin. Mademoiselle Philippe de Pontchateau, younger 
daughter of his aunt, Louise du Plessis, his father's sister. 
The marriage took place in Paris at the end of November 
1634, and on the same day the Due de la Valette, son of 
the Due d'fipernon and widower of Henry IV.'s daughter, 
Mademoiselle de Verneuil, was married to the elder sister, 
Marie de Pontchateau, and the Comte, afterwards Marechal, 
de Guiche to another cousin. Mademoiselle du Plessis de 
Chivray. The Cardinal celebrated the triple wedding by 
a magnificent fete. At this time the first nobles in France 
found it politic to quarrel for the honour of his alliance, and 
it was matter of general talk in society that he meant to 
marry Monsieur to Madame de Combalet, the Lorraine 


marriage being set aside. This report even reached the 
ears of Monsieur's little daughter, and filled her with just 

A few weeks after the wedding the Cardinal's spies 
brought him not only the secret, well kept by Puylaurens, 
of Monsieur's letter to Rome, but proofs of a fresh treason- 
able correspondence carried on by the new Duke with 
Spain. Swiftly fell RicheHeu's vengeance. Puylaurens, 
with several of his friends, was arrested at the Louvre on 
February 14, and carried off by royal order to Vincennes. 
The entreaties of Monsieur, newly reconciled at Court, 
delayed his trial, but he died after four months of prison. 
" His good fortune," says Richelieu, '* withdrew him from 
this world, and saved him from the infamy of a shameful 
death, which he could not have escaped." 

Whether the fatal atmosphere of the dungeons of 
Vincennes was assisted by poison of a more active kind, 
will never be known. That suspicion hung about the deaths 
of many of the Cardinal's prisoners. Richelieu consoled 
the young widow of Puylaurens by marrying her to the 
Comte d'Harcourt, of the House of Lorraine, younger 
brother of the Due d'Elbeuf, a queer personage, but a fine 
soldier. He had fought a successful duel with Bouteville, 
in itself a distinction. He proved himself worthy of the 
Cardinal's favour by serving His Eminence faithfully for 
the rest of his life. 

But for Richelieu, the Thirty Years' War might have 
ended with the death of Wallenstein and the imperial 
victories which followed it. Even the Protestant princes 
of Germany were ready for a compromise with the Emperor. 
But Richelieu had no intention of accepting a general peace 
which would leave his Swedish friends weak and dissatisfied, 
his own conquests incomplete, Spain and Austria easily 
predominant in Italy and the Low Countries. He resolved 
that France, as an ally of Sweden, Holland, and the German 
Protestants, should now take an active part in the war, 
and he prepared for the actual declaration by a treaty 
with the Dutch for the partition of the Spanish Nether- 
lands, to be followed by one with the Dukes of Savoy, 


Parma, and Mantua, for the conquest and division of the 

In May 1635, after some military provocation on the 
part of Spain, Louis XIII. sent his herald-at-arms to 
Brussels — a noble Gascon, Jean Gratiollet, Captain of 
Abbeville — and solemnly declared war against his brother- 
in-lav^, Philip IV., v^hile publicly inviting the Low Countries 
to rebel against Spain. ** Europe was amazed," says a 
modern French writer, " to see Richelieu suddenly take up 
arms for those same Huguenots whom he had crushed with 
such good will at La Rochelle." 

Europe was amazed : and what of the French nation, 
flung unconsulted into the struggle with Catholic Europe 
which might easily have become a fight for its own exist- 
ence? The three Estates of the realm had each its own 
separate point of view. The princes and nobles loved war ; 
but the majority. Catholic and hating Richelieu, were rebels 
at heart. However, each man had his orders : content or 
malcontent, each governor found himself dispatched to his 
own province, each commander to his post, while generals 
dashed hither and thither in pursuit of armies which had 
to be hired, recruited, disciplined, poured in half-a-dozen 
directions over the frontier — Germany, Flanders, Lorraine, 
Switzerland, Italy. Richelieu, the directing brain, at this 
moment of high energy, moved the members even against 
their will. 

To most of the clergy, again, the war was of the nature 
of sacrilege ; and still more so, later on, the demand of an 
enormous payment of arrears for lands held under the 
Crown, which had been suffered to go free for nearly a 
hundred years. But at a time when the taxes of France 
had rolled up to more than a hundred million francs a year, 
a gigantic and as yet unheard-of sum, Richelieu could no 
longer grant the clergy the privilege of paying no tax but 
their prayers, which he had himself claimed for them at the 
States-General of 161 3. 

"The people give their goods, the nobles their blood, 
the clergy their prayers." As ever, the patience of the most 
heavily taxed seemed almost inexhaustible ; and it was not 


till France was deeply engaged in the war, her middle class 
and her peasantry crushed by Richelieu's intendants and 
financiers under burdens every week more enormous, that 
in the south and the north populations made some effort 
to save themselves ; made it by rioting, their only resource, 
and found themseWes—Croquants in Guienne, Va-nu-pieds 
in Normandy — in a last state worse than the first. 

In spite of all these discontents there were ways in 
which Frenchmen now realized the national unity which 
was Richelieu's dream. The famous leader, Duke Henry 
de Rohan, was again in arms, not now as a Huguenot 
chief, but commanding an army against the Duke of 
Lorraine, fighting for his duchy with imperial troops 
behind him. In the spring of 1635, it was to Rohan that 
Richelieu committed the task of preparing for his designs 
on Milan by a new occupation of the Valtelline, thus once 
more playing the old game of blocking the chief military 
road between Austria and Spain. All went well at first, 
the Duke proving himself a loyal subject and a good 
general. The cause that finally discomfited him and drove 
him at last to throw up his command and to retire to 
Geneva was the failure of Richelieu's government to pay a 
promised indemnity to the Grisons, rightful possessors of 
the valley, who after two years' French occupation, secretly 
encouraged by Spain, rebelled suddenly against Rohan and 
insisted on the evacuation of their territory. Blamed by 
Richelieu for a failure which was no fault of his, and 
broken by severe illness, the Huguenot hero was still 
ready to bear arms for France. In the spring of 1638 he 
volunteered to serve under Duke Bernard of Saxe- Weimar 
— the great soldier who, if actually fighting for his own 
hand, nevertheless gave Alsace to France — and died of his 
wounds after the siege of Rheinfeld, having lived long 
enough to know with what swift brilliance Bernard had 
turned defeat into victory. 

For many months, as readers of history know, the 
fortune of war went against Richelieu. The ravages of 
the French and the Dutch armies in the Netherlands, under 
the Prince of Orange and the Marshals de Chatillon and 


de Br6z6, did not incline the population to change masters. 
In Germany, one town after another fell into imperialist 
hands, and it was only with difficulty that the French held 
their own in Lorraine. The invasion of the Milanese 
failed ; and later on the deaths of the Dukes of Savoy 
and of Mantua deprived France of two important allies. 

The French fleet, though making a fine show for 
those days — forty-seven men-of-war — wasted its strength 
in vainly flourishing about the coast; and owing to the 
quarrels of its commanders, the Comte d'Harcourt and 
the Archbishop of Bordeaux, with M. de Vitry, governor 
of Provence — the slayer of Concini— did not for a long 
time succeed in even recovering the Isles of Lerins, seized 
by Spain at the opening of the war. 

And then, in July 1636, a terrible disaster threatened 
France. Imperial troops crossed the frontier, and had taken 
two strong places in Picardy, La Capelle and Le Catelet, 
before the French commanders were ready to oppose them. 
Imperial cavalry crossed the Somme and advanced to the 
Oise, the Comte de Soissons retreating before them, and 
spread a very natural terror throughout the country. 
They were mostly Croats and Hungarians, fierce and 
savage men, whose road was marked by robbery, fire, and 
slaughter. Their leader was the Bavarian, John of Werth, 
a name of fear in the campaigns of his day. 

Paris was in a state of terror and fury. The black 
shadows of the streets, in the sweltering heat of late July 
and early August, were loud with raging men and women, 
whose voices taught the Cardinal-Due his unpopularity. 
Paris was ill fortified, ill defended, and part of her strong 
old walls had been destroyed by him for the sake of his 
Palais-Cardinal. They cried against him because of that ; 
because of his ingratitude to the Queen-mother, his failure, 
so far, in the war he had undertaken, his alliance with 
heretics. And Richelieu knew that their fear, if not their 
hatred, was too well justified. The Comte de Soissons, 
whose army, camping in the forests and holding the fords 
of the Oise, protected Paris, was not above suspicion as 
to his loyalty ; the Due de Chaulnes, governor of Picardy, 


was lazy and negligent; money and men were lacking 
for the defence of a divided, discontented, panic-stricken 

The first news of the invasion found the King and the 
Cardinal absent from Paris as usual in the heat of summer. 
They returned at once to the stifling, frantic city. 

Then " the great Armand " showed the stuff he was 
made of. ** Remember, I pray you," he wrote to the Comte 
de Soissons, ** on such occasions as these, moments are 
worth years." Paris being always and before all things 
a Catholic city, he appealed to her religion. All the 
bishops in the kingdom were commanded to hold pro- 
cessions within and without their cathedrals, with the 
special devotions of the Forty Hours. From every church 
in Paris and in the whole of France, with every chapel 
of convent or monastery, the bells clanged out, calling the 
faithful to pray for their country. In his own person, 
the Cardinal vowed to the Paris convent of the Filles du 
Calvaire, in the Marais, Pere Joseph's favourite foundation, 
a large sum of money and a silver lamp to burn perpetually 
before Our Lady's altar. 

Whatever his own personal faith may have been, he 
knew the spiritual needs of the people. That he did not 
fear their angry voices he proved by driving alone, "at 
a foot's pace, without suite and without guards," through 
the wild crowds in the streets, from the Palais-Cardinal 
to the Hotel de Ville, bearing the royal order that the 
city trades and companies should assemble for the purpose 
of giving their help to the King. His courage triumphed. 
The people, says Montglat, " dared not say a word to 

Royal decrees followed thick and fast ; their succession 
was like the sending round of the Fiery Cross, summoning 
men to serve their country. Those Parisians who had 
planned to escape John of Werth and his pillaging horde 
by flying with all their movable goods to Orleans or some 
other city of the west, found the gates of Paris shut against 
them. AH privileges and exemptions were abolished in the 
city. All men capable of bearing arms were ordered to 


present themselves for enrolment, either at the Hotel de 
Ville, where the old Marechal de la Force sat on the steps 
to receive them, or mounted and armed at Saint-Denis. 
All the workshops of Paris were closed ; all building 
stopped ; no master of a trade, excepting bakers, butchers, 
armourers, gun-makers, saddlers, and the like, might keep 
more than one apprentice; the rest, with masons, stone- 
cutters, carpenters, artisans of every sort, must serve the 
King. From each owner of a coach, a horse was demanded ; 
and every house in Paris was expected to furnish a man 
with belt and sword. The peasants of the surrounding 
villages were set to work on new fortifications at Saint- 

A day sufficed to change terror into enthusiasm. On 
August 5 representatives of all the trade guilds and syndi- 
cates were received by Louis XIII. in the great gallery of 
the Louvre, *' and offered him their persons and their goods 
with so great gaiety and affection, that most of them 
embraced and kissed his knees." Louis rose to the occasion 
and kissed them all, not excepting the chief of the cobblers, 
whose guild made the noble gift of 5,000 francs. The 
Parliament — not without grudging conditions — the muni- 
cipality, the colleges, monasteries, and other bodies, poured 
money at the King's feet : there was enough to pay and 
keep, for three months at least, twelve thousand foot and 
three thousand horse. 

In the meanwhile, the news that the enemy had taken 
Corbie on the Somme, thus drawing alarmingly near to 
Amiens, on the direct road to Paris, fanned the flame so 
fiercely that "tout le jeune bourgeois," says Montglat, "a 
toute force, vouloit aller a la guerre." Not many days later, 
the King and the Cardinal advanced to Amiens, and a strong 
army, commanded by Monsieur and the Comte de Soissons, 
held the enemy in effectual check along the banks of the 
Somme. By the middle of September, all the actual danger 
of invasion was past, though the Imperiahsts still held 
Corbie. John of Werth and his merry men, loaded with 
booty, had galloped back across the frontier of Artois. 

Corbie was not retaken till November, but the Cardinal 


Infant, his aunt's successor as ruler of the Netherlands, 
with the other Spanish and Imperialist generals, discour- 
aged by the advance of the French army, had already with- 
drawn from French territory ; and it seemed, as the autumn 
advanced, as if the fortune of war was changing in Riche- 
lieu's favour. The enemy was repulsed everywhere : in 
Burgundy, by Weimar, Conde, and the Cardinal de la 
Valette ; on the Spanish frontier, where St. Jean de Luz 
was taken, but further advance was resisted by the old 
Due d'lipernon and the Comte de Grammont, governors of 
Guyenne and of Beam ; on the Morbihan coast, where a 
Spanish force, disembarking near Vannes, attacked the 
Abbey of Prieres. The sturdy monks defended themselves 
so gallantly that the country-side had time to rise against 
the invaders, who fled back in disorder to their ships. 

At this moment of danger, the two young men whom 
Richelieu had called to the command of the King's armies 
were busily plotting his destruction. To them and their 
like the death of the Minister and the anarchy that must 
follow were not only desirable for their own ends, but the 
best medicines for the ills of France. 

Monsieur and the Comte de Soissons were seldom 
friends, except when they joined hands against Richelieu, 
and it happened that at this time each was nursing special 
grievances : Monsieur, as to his forbidden marriage and the 
death of Pu^^laurens ; Soissons, because the Cardinal had 
dared to offer him his niece in marriage, had refused him 
the command of the army in Alsace, and more recently had 
shown distrust by setting Monsieur over him as Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the army on the Oise. There were not 
wanting faithful friends who pointed out to both princes 
that now was the moment to revenge themselves. The 
army was theirs ; the Cardinal was at Amiens ; the King, 
staying at the Chateau de Demuin, a few miles away, rode 
constantly into the city to hold council with his Ministers. 
It was natural that the princes in command of the army 
should attend the council. The rest was easily thought 
out, with the help of M. de Montresor, a follower of 
Monsieur, M. de Saint-Ibal, in M. le Comte's confidence, 


and two " solid men," Varicarville and Bardouville. These 
six conspirators fixed a day on which the Cardinal should 
be stabbed to death after the King had left the council. 

All went well for their purpose. On the appointed day, 
*' the council being ended, the King went away with all his 
guards, and the Cardinal remained alone in the courtyard 
with Monsieur and the Comte de Soissons. Immediately," 
writes the Marquis de Montglat, ** Varicarville, who knew 
the secret, stationed himself behind the Cardinal, expecting 
the signal which Monsieur was to give, while Saint-Ibal 
and Bardouville took their stand, one on the right, the 
other on the left. But instead of commanding that the 
projected deed should be done. Monsieur, seized with fear, 
remounted the staircase without a word ; while Montr^sor, 
surprised at the change, followed him, telling him that his 
enemy was in his power, and that he had only to speak." 

It was not the first time that Richelieu had owed his 
life to Gaston's temperament. So eperdu was the Prince, so 
utterly had his nerve failed him, that he could only mutter 
something about " another time," and escaped as quickly as 
possible, leaving the Comte de Soissons, " dans la derni^re 
confusion," face to face with Richelieu. Unaware of his 
danger, and the King's brother having disappeared, the 
Cardinal bade his other enemy farewell and retired to his 
lodging. The fingers of Saint-Ibal, Varicarville, Bardou- 
ville, relaxed on their dagger-hilts, and one may imagine 
that these three gentlemen stared rather blankly on each 
other as their doomed victim walked away. 

When the story became known, which was not im- 
mediately, many persons blamed the Comte de Soissons 
that he had not made up for Monsieur's weakness by 
finishing the affair. " He excused himself," says Montglat, 
" by the respect he owed Monsieur, so that he dared 
undertake nothing in his presence without his command." 
He was too wise to act alone in such a matter : the position 
of Gaston's cat's-paw, to be disclaimed and forsaken and 
left to the King's justice, was not attractive. The army 
might rally round the heir to the throne in sudden rebellion ; 
the Comte de Soissons was not equally secure. 


Three days later there was another chance, for Richelieu 
visited the camp ; but he was attended by his own guards, 
and the assassination was ** judged impossible." On this 
occasion a whisper of the plot reached his ears, and with 
his usual fearlessness he spoke of it to the Comte de Soissons, 
haughtily reprimanding him. 

The princes were frightened, for their plots had gone 
beyond the death of Richelieu. They had disloyally done 
their best to delay the relief of Corbie ; they had attempted 
to draw the Due d'jfipernon into the project of a rising, 
already favoured by the Due de Bouillon and others, 
the object of which was to lay hold on the government, 
to reinstate the Queen-mother, and to make peace with 
Spain. They failed ; the various successes of the autumn 
were against them ; the Due d'l^pernon, though two of 
his sons were on their side, refused to listen to them. 
After the re-taking of Corbie, having returned from the 
army to Paris, they were seized with a great fear of 
the Cardinal. He was certain to know all ; he was of 
a temper that never forgave ; the Court, they felt assured, 
was not a safe place for them. They took counsel with 
each other and resolved to fly, at once, on a dark November 
night, while Paris was singing and rejoicing over the 
good news of victory. 

Both princes, before leaving Paris, paid a separate 
visit to the Tuileries. There, under the care of M. de 
Montglat's mother, Madame de Saint-Georges, lived 
Mademoiselle de Montpensier, Gaston's daughter, now 
nine years old, a person of decided character, and one 
of Richelieu's most hearty haters. The Comte de Soissons 
paid great court to this little lady, the richest heiress in 
France if not in Europe. Though four years older than 
her father and twenty-three years older than herself, and 
having failed ten years earlier to run away with her 
mother, he proposed to marry her, and Gaston was ready 
to consent. This plan was one of the links that now united 
them. Mademoiselle herself liked Monsieur le Comte, and 
accepted his compliments and sugar-plums with satisfaction : 
but at this time she did not understand his object. 


It is doubtful if the royal consent would ever have been 
given to this marriage. But a curious little passage in the 
Cardinal's own Memoirs shows how keenly he noticed 
every detail in the lives of the princes, and on what slight 
if sure grounds he accused them of conspiracy. 

"The next day at evening, which was the night of the 
19th to the 20th, Monsieur and he (M. le Comte) left Paris; 
and that it was plotted between them is shown by this : 
Monsieur having arrived in Paris, and visiting Mademoiselle 
his daughter, Madame de Saint-Georges told him that M. le 
Comte had but just gone out. He leaned his head against 
a chimney-piece, remained long thoughtful, then said, and 
repeated several times, ' What ! Monsieur le Comte is here ? 
What ! He has not gone to Champagne ! ' Which showed 
plainly that there was a plot between them." 

Disguised and almost alone, the princes retired in 
different directions : Monsieur to his castle of Blois, the 
Comte de Soissons to neutral ground at Sedan, held by 
its sovereigns of the House of Bouillon for more than 
a hundred years. From these retreats they sent their 
demands and remonstrances to Louis XIII., while on the 
other hand they corresponded with the Queen-mother and 
with Spain. 

Richelieu seems to have treated the discontents of 
the Comte de Soissons with some scorn. He allowed 
negotiations with him to drag on for some months, and 
then advised the King not only to forgive him, but to 
allow him to remain four years at Sedan unless he chose 
to return to the Court : a leniency for which the Cardinal 
has been blamed ; dangerous to the State and fatal to 
Soissons himself. 

As to Monsieur, a mixture of threats and entreaties, 
the advance of royal troops to Orleans, the clever manage- 
ment of M. de Chavigny, the Cardinal's most trusted agent, 
soon brought about a change in his weathercock mind. 
He met the King at Orleans in February 1637, "with 
many demonstrations of friendship." Indeed, " dissimula- 
tion went so far, that there appeared to be a sincere 
reconciliation between Monsieur and the Cardinal." 



Palace intrigues— Mademoiselle de Hautefort — Mademoiselle de la 
Fayette— The affair of the Val-de-Grace— The birth of the Dauphin— The 
death of P6re Joseph — Difficulties in the Church. 

IN Richelieu's own mind his worst enemies were to be 
found among his nearest neighbours. " Les intrigues 
de cabinet," says M. de Montglat, 'Monn^rent plus 
de peine au Cardinal de Richelieu que toute la guerre 
etrangere." Not only mischievous great ladies like the 
Duchesse de Chevreuse, but every man or woman who had 
anything to do with the Court, were objects of his watchful 
suspicion, and to most of them, while they begged his 
favour and flocked to his entertainments, he seemed the 
cruel ogre, the mysterious sphinx, so long represented in 

He never really trusted the King. Louis was fond of 
gossip, easily amused by small things, and often attracted 
by persons undesirable from Richelieu's point of view. 
And even at his height of power he found it impossible 
to carry out the ideal arrangement which would have 
hindered any one not bound to his own service from 
approaching the King at times such as the petit coucher^ 
when intimate talk was allowed, and men might even dare 
to tell a story against the Eminentissime himself. They 
would probably repent ; for though Louis might laugh 
and enjoy such jokes, he had a way of repeating them to 
the Cardinal, if only with a half-childish notion of teasing 
him. The consequences to a chattering courtier might be 



The influence of these gentlemen with the King was 
seldom really dangerous, and yet the Cardinal was justified 
in his distrust, for the majority hated him, and he went 
about always with his life in his hand, not because of 
ambitious princes alone. Men's consciences were no pro- 
tection to him. For instance, the Abbe de Retz, afterwards 
Cardinal and Coadjutor of the Archbishop of Paris, felt 
little doubt that he would have done a right action, socially 
and politically, had he carried out a plan for killing 
Richelieu in the chapel of the Tuileries, at the long-deferred 
christening of Mademoiselle de Montpensier. 

Over and over again Richelieu tried to confine the 
King's special favour to persons chosen by himself, and 
over and over again he failed. It was not so much that 
people played him false, as that he found them — men and 
women — too proud, too independent, and too faithful to 
their order for the place he meant them to fill — that of the 
King's favourites and his own spies. There was Made- 
moiselle de Hautefort, with whom Louis fell in love when 
she was a beautiful girl of fifteen, brought to Court from 
her native province by her grandmother, Madame de la 
Flotte, and appointed one of the Queen-mother's maids-of- 
honour. After the " Day of Dupes," when Marie de Medicis 
left France and her household was broken up, Madame 
de la Flotte became lady-in-waiting to the young Queen 
in the place of Madame du Fargis, whom Richelieu sent 
into exile ; and Mademoiselle de Hautefort, transferred at 
the same time, was specially recommended by Louis to his 
wife's favour. 

At first, very naturally. Queen Anne was not pleased. 
Marie de Hautefort was in every way a dazzling person. 
Madame de Motteville declares that she made a greater 
effect at Court than any other beauty. " Her eyes were 
blue, large, and full of fire ; her teeth white and even ; 
her complexion had the white and red suitable to a fair 
beauty." Added to this, she had a sharp tongue ; she was 
high-spirited, " railleuse," and by no means soft-hearted. 

Louis XIII. 's love-aff*airs contrast curiously with those 
of his father. Nothing could be more innocent, more purely 


plafonic, than his devotion to Mademoiselle de Hautefort. 
He hardly dared approach her ; his talk was of dogs and 
of birds ; and yet he showed the stormy jealousy and the 
sulks and humours of a passionate lover, and spent hours 
in writing songs and music for his lady. She disputed 
with him freely and laughed at him unmercifully. 

At the beginning Richelieu encouraged this singular 
affection. But after about three years he saw reason to 
change his mind. Mademoiselle de Hautefort was not 
inclined to act as his political agent, and she had soon 
given the loyalty of a warm and generous nature to her 
mistress, the Queen, whom she saw neglected by Louis 
and subject to the tyranny of the Cardinal. This is to say 
that the woman most admired by the King had joined 
the Spanish party at Court and was rightly counted by 
Richelieu among his enemies. 

It cost him little trouble to drive Mademoiselle de 
Hautefort out of favour — at least for a time. When Louis 
had become slightly tired of his quarrels with the fair 
beauty and slightly chilled by her friendship with the 
Queen, it was made easy for him to find consolation in 
the dark eyes of Louise de la Fayette, a cousin of Pere 
Joseph, whose family was supposed to be devoted to the 

Mademoiselle de la Fayette was as good and gentle as 
she was lovely ; in the varied records of the French Court 
there exists no sweeter figure. During two years she and 
the eccentric King adored each other with a tender affection 
and mutual confidence quite absent from the Hautefort 
affair; yet this, like the other, never passed the bounds 
of friendship. It went so far, however, that the girl's 
conscience was alarmed, and she began to think of taking 
refuge in a convent. 

The idea was not unwelcome to Cardinal de Richelieu. 
The Court was full of his spies, who warned him that 
Mademoiselle de la Fayette's intimate talk with the King 
was not to his advantage ; that she was inspired by P^re 
Caussin, the royal confessor, to speak to Louis in favour 
of his mother, his wife, his brother, and all the other 


victims of a warlike, heretical policy ; that she was en- 
couraged by her uncle the Bishop of Limoges and her 
brother the Chevalier de la Fayette, to set him against 
the Cardinal ; that the Bishop had even been heard to say, 
" When the Cardinal is ruined, we will do this and that. 
As for me, I shall inhabit the Hotel de Richelieu." 

The Court was buzzing with intrigues all through 1636, 
the '* year of Corbie," while the King still enjoyed, as far 
as possible, the society of the only woman who had ever 
loved him for his own sake. Mademoiselle de'la Fayette, 
torn between conscience and affection, was dragged one 
way and the other by two sets of advisers, each headed 
by a dignified ecclesiastic moved by reasons beyond mere 
anxiety for her welfare and that of the King. The Pere 
Carre, Superior of the Dominicans in Paris and a favourite 
director of Court ladies, was one of Richelieu's chief spies 
and most devoted servants. Mademoiselle de la Fayette 
came to him for counsel. He encouraged her scruples 
and blessed her vocation : " II faisait parler Dieu," says 
M. Cousin, " selon I'interet et au commandement de 

On the other hand Pere Caussin, a Jesuit, and appar- 
ently an honest man, took advantage of his place as the 
King's confessor to advise Mademoiselle de la Fayette to 
remain at Court. He saw no reason why Louis should 
be deprived of a perfectly innocent friendship for the sake 
of foolish scruples and a half-imaginary vocation. Such 
an opinion, if disinterested, would have been worthy of 
all respect; but at the French Court, divided between 
Richelieu's spies and Richelieu's enemies, this was almost 
impossible. The reasons that had moved Cardinal de 
BeruUe and the brothers Marillac, the grievances of the 
Queen-mother, of the Pope and of the princes, all found 
voice in Pere Caussin. He was closely allied, too, with 
another distinguished Jesuit, Pere Monot, the confessor 
of Christine, Duchess of Savoy, who was at this very time 
in Paris working against Richelieu in the interests of Spain. 
Considering all this, it is no great wonder that Pere Caussin 
presently found himself disgraced and banished to Brit- 


tany, a harmless Jesuit of eighty years old being appointed 
royal confessor in his place. It seems that Richelieu did 
not wish to break the tradition which gave the care of 
the King's conscience to that Order. 

Tired of intrigue, pushed on by Pere Carre and her 
own doubts, Louise de la Fayette entered the Convent of 
the Visitation in the Rue Saint-Antoine, in May 1637. 
For some months the King continued to visit her there, 
until Richelieu, whose influence had been a good deal 
shaken by her arguments, had regained his personal 
power, and Mademoiselle de Hautefort, still at Court, her 
old dominion. 

The tragi-comedy known as " the Affair of the Val-de- 
Grace," which played itself out in the summer of 1637, 
proved that Richelieu's star was still in the ascendant. 
The war with Spain had added fresh distress to Queen 
Anne's position, so long a false and lonely one. The secret 
sympathy of half the Court and of all the malcontents in 
the kingdom did not compensate the Queen for the loss 
of her friends, exiled one by one as Richelieu came to 
suspect them, or for the entire separation from her own 
family and its allies in Austria, the Netherlands, and 
Lorraine. The Queen did not easily resign herself. In 
spite of espionnage^ she wrote and sent letters to her 
brothers, the King of Spain and the Cardinal-Infant, as 
well as to Madame de Chevreuse, living in banishment at 
Tours. These letters were written in a refuge to which 
spies did not penetrate : the Benedictine Abbey of the 
Val-de-Grace in the Faubourg St. Jacques. The Abbess, 
of Spanish origin, was a devoted servant of the Queen. 

It is no insult to Richelieu's patriotism to believe that 
he had never pounced on smaller game with equal satis- 
faction. The famous letters themselves, if we may believe 
Madame de Motteville, contained no actual treason against 
the King or the State ; but they did contain '' railleries " 
against the Cardinal, and in any case they were written 
to the enemies of France, and belonged to the political 
opposition so long irreconcilable, which he crushed more 
sternly every year he lived. We may think what we 


please about his more personal motives of spite and 
revenge: that he had made love to the Queen and that 
she had laughed at him seemed to the gossips of the time 
a sufficient explanation of everything. The Cardinal, they 
said, wished to send her back to Spain, to divorce her from 
the King, to marry him to Madame de Combalet ! In the 
follow^ing year that much-talked-of lady was consoled for 
the loss of so many great matches by being created 
Duchesse d'Aiguillon in her own right. Her uncle paid 
an enormous sum of money for the title and the estates 
belonging to it. 

The Queen's troubles in the summer of 1637 began with 
the intercepting, by Richelieu's people, of a letter in cypher 
which she had written to Madame de Chevreuse. The 
bearer. La Porte, her valet-de-chambre, was the person 
to whom she trusted all her secret correspondence. 
Suddenly thrown into the Bastille, examined first by 
Richelieu's terrible agents and then by the Cardinal 
himself, threatened with torture and death, the faithful 
man refused to say one word that could incriminate his 
royal mistress. Even the Cardinal admired his fidelity. 

It was in August, and the Court was at Chantilly. The 
Queen in her alarm first denied everything, solemnly and 
on oath ; then thought it prudent to make some kind of 
confession. She sent for the Cardinal, who came accom- 
panied by his two chief secretaries, M. de Chavigny and 
M. de Noyers. Madame de Senec6, the mistress of her 
household, was in attendance on the Queen. 

The Cardinal, according to himself, was respectful, 
fatherly, but severe. When the Queen began to assure 
him of the harmlessness of her letters, he said at once 
that he did not believe her, but promised her his own 
faithful service and the King's forgiveness if she would 
confess everything. On this, Anne sent the witnesses out 
of the room and remained alone with Richelieu. We have 
only his word for what passed : that the Queen, speaking 
"with much displeasure and confusion," confessed to a 
correspondence with Spain and with Flanders, carried on 
by secret means and in terms which might justly displease 




the King; that she exclaimed several times, "Quelle bonte 
faut-il que vous ayez, Monsieur le Cardinal ! " ; that she 
protested her eternal gratitude, saying, "Give me your 
hand," while holding out her own, famous for its beauty ; 
which the Cardinal respectfully refused to touch. 

He made her write and sign her confession, and then 
caused the King to bestow a formal forgiveness, not 
sweetened by a list of requirements as to her future 
conduct. She was to visit no convents and to write no 
letters without the King's permission, her maids and her 
ladies-in-waiting, especially " Fillandre, premiere femme de 
chambre," who had charge of her writing-desk, being set 
as spies and gaolers over her. Not much wonder that the 
lively little niece. Mademoiselle de Montpensier, visiting 
Chantilly in that disturbed month of August, found the 
Queen in bed, ill with fear and worry. 

For this was not the end of it. The Cardinal was dis- 
satisfied, still suspecting concealment. La Porte in his 
prison was once more threatened with torture. A spy was 
sent to him — one of the Queen's officers, gained over by 
Richelieu and Laffemas. He brought a supposed message 
from the Queen to La Porte, commanding him to tell all he 
knew. But if Anne's enemies were clever and resource- 
ful, so also were her friends. The romantic courage of 
Mademoiselle de Hautefort and of the Chevalier de Jars, 
himself confined in the Bastille, had found a way of convey- 
ing a letter to La Porte, warning him of the extent of the 
Queen's confessions. He was thus prepared to tell the same 
story — all of which seems to justify Richelieu's suspicion. 

Madame de Motteville says that the remembrance of 
those summer weeks at Chantilly "faisoit horreur a la 
Reine." She was within an ace of following her mother-in- 
law's example in a flight from France. Mademoiselle de 
Hautefort and the Prince de Marcillac— afterwards Due de 
la Rochefoucauld — were ready to ride off with her to 
Brussels. Her life at the Court had become unendurable. 
Richelieu brought forward the terrors of the law in the 
person of Chancellor Siguier, who not only examined the 
Queen " like a criminal," but made a thorough search at 


the Abbey of the Val-de-Grace, where her letters and papers 
were supposed to be hidden. Either because the Abbess 
was fearless and loyal, or because there was nothing to find, 
the Chancellor found no papers of a later date than 1630. 

So the storm passed over. Richelieu could prove 
nothing ; the King and Queen were reconciled ; and the 
only consequence was a fresh exile for Madame de Chevreuse, 
who rode for her life from Tours and crossed the Pyrenees 
into Spain. 

Mademoiselle de Hautefort remained in favour for two 
more years ; the Queen valued her friendship, and the King, 
after his final parting with Mademoiselle de la Fayette, had 
returned to his old love ; she became a lady-in-waiting, with 
the title of Madame and other privileges. But Richelieu 
was still afraid of her. Rather cautiously and slowly, from 
1637 till the end of 1639, he was working for her ruin. In 
the Queen's very household he had a spy, long unsuspected 
and exceedingly clever at her odious trade, Mademoiselle 
de Chemerault, a young maid-of-honour, an intimate friend 
of Madame de Hautefort. From the most private interior 
of the Court, this girl reported every word and deed to a 
Madame Maline, who conveyed the information direct to 
Richelieu in letters which still exist, a mine of ancient 
gossip written in the curious jargon used by him in his 
secret notes. Everybody has a nickname : the Cardinal 
himself, in these notes, is sometimes Amadeo, sometimes 
V Oracle ; the King and Queen are Cephale and Procris ; 
Madame de Hautefort is PAurore^ Madame d'Aiguillon 
VenuSy Mademoiselle de la Fayette, la Delaissee, Made- 
moiselle de Chemerault herself, le bon Ange. These letters 
warned the Cardinal of all the loves and hatreds, the private 
and public discontents and desires, which moved the Queen 
and her friends, and kept him in touch with every detail of 
the stormy yet affectionate intercourse between Madame de 
Hautefort and the King. Her empire, if only intermittent, 
was dangerous ; the more so, because she was known to be 
on friendly terms with the Comte de Soissons and with 

Richelieu believed in " the expulsive power of a new 


affection." Young Henry d'Effiat, Marquis de Cinq-Mars, 
was brought to Court by him with the definite object of 
distracting the King from the society of Madame de Haute- 
fort. This plan being on the way to succeed, the Cardinal 
took advantage of one of the King's journeys, when the 
lady was not there to plead her own cause, to accuse her of 
being as dangerous an intrigante as Madame de Chevreuse, 
adding that he could no longer endure this fighting in the 
dark, and that Louis must choose between Madame de 
Hautefort and himself. With some show of regret, the 
King yielded. Madame de Hautefort was banished from 
Court, and retired to her grandmother's country estates. 
Four years later, when Richelieu and Louis XHL were 
dead, she was recalled and honoured among the old friends 
who had been faithful to the Regent in adversity. 

The Queen's own troubles and humihations came to an 
end in September 1638. On the 5th — Richelieu's birthday 
and also the date on which he became Cardinal, Duke, and 
Peer — the long-wished-for Dauphin was born at Saint- 
Germain. All France rejoiced ; the towns, especially Paris, 
held high festival, with singing of Te Deum^ firing of cannon, 
ringing of bells, keeping open house for all comers. The 
Cardinal, who was in Picardy, wrote rapturous letters to 
the King and Queen. 

" I hope and believe that God has given Monseigneur 
le Dauphin to Christendom to appease its troubles, and 
to bring to it the blessing of peace. I vow to him, from 
his birth, the same passionate devotion I have always had 
for the King and for your Majesty, whose faithful servant I 
am and shall be eternally. . . ." 

The Cardinal's rejoicing was sincere. In the birth of 
the future Louis XIV. he rightly saw the triumph of his 
own policy as well as the saving of France from the 
danger, which the King's weak health made imminent, of 
falling into the hands of Gaston d'Orleans and his crew. 
Two years later, in 1640, the birth of Philippe was an 
additional security. 

But the joy of September 1638 was soon followed by 
one of the most real sorrows of Richelieu's life. In 


December he lost Pere Joseph, his adviser and shadow, 
the intimate friend of thirty years. Through all difficulties 
and changes the two men had worked together. Both 
were hard and pitiless politicians, driving at the same ends 
in Church and State. Frangois du Tremblay, the monk, 
was the more imaginative, the more enthusiastic, and the 
less human of the two. He was not, like Richelieu, 
personally ambitious, and he lived the simple life of a friar, 
while his keen cleverness and ready, fearless resource 
made him the first of diplomatists. If he was eager for the 
Cardinal's Hat steadily refused by Pope Urban VIII. , it was 
because of the advantages this honour would have brought 
to his beloved Capuchin Order. 

Pere Joseph had been ill for some time at his convent 
in Paris when the Cardinal wrote to beg him to come 
to Rueil, offering to send his own litter that he might 
travel comfortably. This offer he accepted. Richelieu 
received him with much affection, and at first he seemed 
to rally : he dictated a circular letter to his congregation 
of the Filles du Calvaire, answered letters from missionaries 
in the East, and listened with pleasure to a book describing 
the exploits of Godefory de Bouillon in the Holy Land ; 
the spirit of a crusader was in him to the last. Another 
seizure brought him very near death, but he lingered 
till December i8, while Richelieu tried to cheer his 
" Ez6chi6li's " failing ears with news of the victories by 
which France was now reaping the fruit of so much effort 
and suffering. 

With great funeral pomp the Capuchin was borne back 
to Paris and buried in his convent church in the Rue St. 
Honord, where for nearly a hundred and seventy years 
his stately Latin epitaph, composed by Cardinal de 
Richelieu, told the world how he had lived in the midst 
of splendour and riches, austere and poor. His bones 
lay beside those of the famous Pere Ange, Due de Joyeuse 
and Marshal of France. In 1804, when the already 
profaned church was pulled down and the Rue Mont- 
Thabor built over its site, their remains were removed 
to the cemetery of Montmartre. 


Paris of the streets made her own epitaph for Pere 
Joseph : 

" Cy git au choeur de cette Eglise 
Sa petite Eminence grise, 
Et quand au Seigneur il plaira 
Son Eminence rouge y gira." 

The Cardinal's Hat desired by RicheHeu for his old 
friend was eventually given to Jules Mazarin, the clever 
Italian statesman who, originally an agent of the Vatican 
but now naturalised in France, had risen so high in 
Richelieu's opinion that he appointed him in P^re Joseph's 
place one of his principal Secretaries of State. 

Mazarin was in fact a peacemaker between Richelieu 
and the Pope, and his promotion to be Cardinal was 
really a sign of their reconciliation. The Church of France 
had been supported by Rome in resistance to the new 
laws and revived taxes and the many complicated exactions 
made upon her great possessions in aid of the war. The 
cry of sacrilege rose high ; the archbishops and bishops 
were divided, the majority eager to resist a Minister whom 
they called " tyrant," " apostate," and other hard names, 
the minority ready to hail Cardinal de Richelieu as "the 
Head of the Gallican Church." There was actually a talk 
of appointing him Patriarch. Why not ? said the Jesuits, 
wisely respectful of the civil power. Books and violent 
pamphlets were written on both sides of the question. 

The Pope refused to issue bulls for the appointment 
of French bishops so long as the French Government held 
on its present course. Richelieu was prepared to do 
without them. The King refused to receive the Nuncio, 
or to recognize his authority. The Pope absolutely 
refused to confirm Richelieu's own election as Abbot- 
General of the Orders of Citeaux and Premontre, or to 
countenance his project of advanced reform in his own 
Order of Cluny. A private quarrel in Rome made matters 
worse; one of the French Ambassador's gentlemen was 
killed, and the ambassador's wrath irritated the Pope into 
forbidding any funeral honours to be paid in Rome to 
Richelieu's lieutenant, the soldier-Cardinal de la Valette, 


who died at Rivoli in the midst of his Savoyard campaign 
of 1639. 

The quarrel was at last made up : for the French 
Church, as for the government, it was really a question 
of money, and both agreed to a compromise. Richelieu's 
Finance Secretaries withdrew some part of their im- 
mense demands ; the clergy, very unwillingly, granted the 
rest; Urban VIII. was appeased, and Mazarin became a 

If Richelieu opposed the Pope, the friend of the Haps- 
burgs, and asserted the liberty of the Galilean Church in 
such matters, for instance, as the annulling of Monsieur's 
marriage, he was neither unorthodox, nor unfriendly to 
different forms of religious effort. The great charities of 
the seventeenth century grew and flourished under his 
shadow. The spirit of St. Frangois de Sales lived on in 
the Order of the Visitation, devoted to the sick and the 
poor. Vincent de Paul, with his Mission of Lazarist 
Fathers and his Sisters of Charity, bringing light into dark 
places and helping the miserable, both in Paris and in 
the deserts of the country, was a familiar and beautiful 
figure through most of Richelieu's reign. Monsieur 
Vincent's great Mission work, the training of the younger 
clergy, also nobly carried on by the congregations of 
the Oratory, of St. Nicolas du Chardonnet and of Saint- 
Sulpice, had lain very near Richelieu's own heart in his 
young days. 

The Cardinal extended his powerful protection to the 
teaching Orders, Jesuits, Ursulines, and others; and the 
reformed Benedictines of Saint-Maur, so famous for 
ecclesiastical and historical learning, owed their distinc- 
tion largely to him. He did very much, indeed, towards 
the reform and discipline of the regular clergy, and with 
a longer life he might have removed many of the abuses 
which spoiled their religious ideal. But his chief and 
immediate object was to nationalize the Orders, and to 
bring them under the same authority with France as a 

** A central and supreme authority " ; absolutism ; obedi- 


ence : these were the root-principles of Richelieu's rule. 
He hated original, independent thought or action, in Church 
or State ; it was of the nature of rebellion. Personal quite 
as much as political, this imperious, dominating temper was 
the chief secret of his triumph in matters where reason 
and equity have in the long run decided against him ; for 
instance, the many cases in which he appointed his own 
judges and tribunals to try his prisoners, the slower and 
often fairer proceedings of the parliamentary law-courts 
being found unbearable by his impatient and positive 

The same dominating spirit explains Richelieu's treat- 
ment of his old friend the Abbe de Saint-Cyran. He could 
be tolerant of Protestants : their private heresies mattered 
little, as long as their public conduct was loyal. But the 
advance of Jansenist opinions within the French Church 
was another thing. In the case of M. de Saint-Cyran, as 
strong-willed a personage as the Cardinal himself, it meant 
a very powerful spiritual influence not quite strictly ortho- 
dox, with a stiff morality and an independence of mind 
which judged and condemned much of the Cardinal's own 
theory and practice. He did his best to win Saint-Cyran, 
whose learning and high character were of European fame. 
But bishoprics would not tempt the man who did not 
choose to range himself among the Cardinal's slaves, who, 
though none too loyal to the Pope, declared openly that 
the Church could not annul Monsieur's marriage, and who 
agreed with Jansenius in denouncing the alliance of France 
with heretics. 

The great director and glory of Port-Royal was im- 
prisoned at Vincennes in 1638, and remained there till after 
the death of Richelieu. The Eminentissime could not 
afford to tolerate a man the watchwords of whose spirit 
were independence, boldness, and truth. " He is more 
dangerous," he said, ** than half a dozen armies." 



Victories abroad — The death of the Comte de Soissons — Social triumphs 
— Marriage of the Due d'Enghien— The revolt against the taxes — The 
conspiracy of Cinq-Mars— The Cardinal's dangerous illness — He makes his 
will — The ruin of his enemies — His return to Paris. 

FOR the last three or four years of Cardinal de Riche- 
lieu's life his figure stands out against a horizon 
glowing with the fires of victory. 

After the death of Bernard of Saxe- Weimar in 1639, 
Richelieu's diplomacy transferred his army and his lieu- 
tenants to Louis XIII. 's service, and the conquest of Alsace 
for France was the consequence. The Comte de Guebriant, 
the brilliant soldier who succeeded Weimar in the com- 
mand, carried the war into Germany, and by a series of 
victories, in conjunction with the Swedes, " made the 
Emperor tremble in Ratisbon." 

In the Spanish Netherlands, the Marechal de la Meil- 
leraye took Arras after a two months' siege, and gave back 
to France the ancient province of Artois. In northern Italy 
the campaign was more troublesome. The princes of 
Savoy, the new Duke being a child, disputed the regency 
with their sister-in-law Christine of France, and allied 
themselves with Spain, Christine herself, influenced by 
Pere Monot, had leanings towards the imperial side, and it 
was not till the Spaniards had swept over Piedmont and 
taken Turin and besieged Casale that she brought herself 
to turn for help to Richelieu. Even then, jealous for her 
son's independence and her own, she would not consent to 



send him to ^France for education, much less to hand over 
his whole dominions to be occupied by her brother's armies. 
Her obstinacy triumphed, for Richelieu withdrew his con- 
ditions and sent the Comte d'Harcourt to relieve Casale 
and retake Turin; operations which were brilliantly carried 
out. The Spaniards were driven out of the country ; the 
Savoyard princes, finding the fortunes of war against them, 
submitted to the Duchess-regent, who returned victorious 
to her capital. France gained, besides a firm alliance with 
Savoy, a paramount position in North Italy. 

Spain was in trouble by land and by sea. Her fleets 
were defeated and half destroyed by the French in the 
Mediterranean and the Bay of Biscay, and by the Dutch, 
Richelieu's allies, in the English Channel. The old province 
of Catalonia, with the frontier counties of Roussillon and 
Cerdagne, revolted against the burdens heaped on them by 
Olivarez and offered their allegiance to the King of France. 
French armies overran Roussillon, besieged Perpignan, and 
driving on over the mountains, fought side by side with the 
rebels in Catalonia. Before the death of Richelieu almost 
all the province was in French hands, and his brother-in- 
law, the Marquis de Breze, had reigned for some months as 
Viceroy at Barcelona. It looked as though the south- 
eastern frontier of France would be extended, as in the 
days of Charlemagne, to the Ebro. The power of Spain 
was furthered handicapped by the revolt of Portugal. 
Encouraged by France, she claimed and seized her inde- 
pendence, recalled her old royal family of Braganza to 
the throne, and added one more to the active allies of 

The tragic end of the Comte de Soissons was a more 
personal triumph for the Cardinal. Monsieur le Comte 
had spent his time at Sedan in weaving plots with the 
Due de Bouillon and the wild Archbishop of Rheims, now 
Due de Guise, while waiting for some turn of events that 
might restore his fortunes. In the summer of 164 1 Riche- 
lieu decided to break up this nest of conspirators. He 
required the Due de Bouillon to withdraw his hospitality, 
and ordered the Comte de Soissons to banish himself to 


Venice. Both refused. It was now open war between 
them and Richelieu. They tried, but failed, to draw 
Gaston d'Orleans into their quarrel ; for once he was 
prudent in time. They published a manifesto, as usual 
declaring themselves loyal subjects of Louis XIIL, moved 
solely by a patriotic desire to get rid of the tyrant Minister. 
" Pour le Roy, contre le Cardinal," was the device on their 

They prepared to invade France with a small army of 
imperial troops, supported by Duke Charles of Lorraine, 
who was now prepared to break his last treaty with 
Richelieu. They were met by a royal army commanded 
by the brave but lethargic Coligny, Marechal de Chatillon. 
He was rather seriously beaten by the rebels in the first 
and only engagement of the little campaign. But this 
news, which cost Richelieu a few hours of great wrath 
and anxiety, was followed immediately by other news 
which made it of no importance : " the bitter and the 
sweet," His Eminence wrote to M. Bouthillier — " the 
sweet " being the death of Soissons, who was shot by an 
unknown hand in the confusion of that victorious skirmish 
through the woods of La Marfee, on the left bank of the 

RicheHeu had a right to rejoice, for one of his trusted 
spies wrote to him : " If M. le Comte had not been killed, 
he would have been welcomed by the half of Paris . . . 
so says every one . . . and that all France would have 
joined him, because of the sol au livre and the other 
vexations laid upon the people, who are very malcontent." 

The revolt died with Soissons, for neither Bouillon nor 
Guise bore a name to be followed far. Bouillon submitted 
and was pardoned ; Guise fled to Brussels, and did not 
return till the days of the " bonne Regence." The Cardinal 
persuaded Louis — with difficulty, they say— not to wreak 
his vengeance on the Prince's dead body, but to restore 
him to his mother. Some time afterwards His Eminence 
paid a visit of condolence to Madame la Comtesse. " Ella 
etoit sur son lict, et ne respondit aux complimens que par 
§es larmes." 


The death of Louis de Bourbon freed Richelieu not 
only from a political and personal enemy, but from one 
of the proudest of the princes who scorned the lofty social 
claims of himself and his family. These reached their 
highest point in 1641. His uncle, Amador de la Porte, 
was Grand Prior of France, and enjoyed several rich 
governments. His pious and eccentric brother, Alphonse, 
was Archbishop of Lyons, Primate of Gaul, and Cardinal. 
Richelieu could not make a statesman of this worthy 
ecclesiastic, but those who failed to treat him with the 
honour due to a great prince of the Church found them- 
selves in disgrace. The Cardinal's first cousin, Charles 
de la Porte, Marquis de la Meilleraye, was a Marshal of 
France, Grand Master of the Artillery with his residence 
at the Arsenal, and a Knight of the Order. One of the 
Cardinal's favourite commanders, he distinguished him- 
self in many campaigns, and, though a good man in the 
main, was said to have enriched himself from the pubHc 
finances. He afterwards succeeded Richelieu as Governor 
of Brittany. 

The Cardinal did his best to pour honours on the 
families of his two sisters, Frangoise and Nicole. Madame 
de Combalet, now Duchesse d'Aiguillon and all-powerful 
with her uncle, had one brother, Frangois de Vignerot, 
Marquis du Pont-de-Courlay, who ruined himself in spite 
of splendid appointments and earned terrible scoldings 
from the Cardinal, who paid his debts and as far as 
possible disinherited him. It was his eldest son, Armand 
Jean, born in 1629, whom the Cardinal adopted as heir to 
his name, arms, and titles, and the greater part of his 
possessions. This boy took the name of Du Plessis, and 
succeeded to the duchy, peerage, and estates of Richelieu. 
The title of Marquis de Richelieu passed to the younger 
brother, Jean Baptiste Amador de Vignerot, and his de- 
scendants succeeded in time to the duchy of Aiguillon, left 
by Madame d'Aiguillon to her niece, her brother's only 
daughter. Mademoiselle d'Agenois. 

The Marquis de Maille-Breze, whose unhappy wife died 
in 1635, accepted enormous benefits from his brother-in- 


law without much show of thanks. In Richelieu's last 
years he held some of the highest military commands in 
the kingdom, and was too clever and capable not to acquit 
himself well, though with airs of ennui and fits of temper. 
His children did not inherit his intelligence. His son, 
Armand Jean, Due de Fronsac, failed to distinguish himself 
in the navy; his daughter, Claire Clemence, a dull little 
girl with a touch of the heroic, hardly seemed equal to 
her fate— that of linking the family of Richelieu with the 
blood royal of France. 

The brilliant matches made by the Cardinal's cousins, 
Mesdemoiselles de Pontchateau and others, had already 
proved that, as Montglat says, " the greatest were happy 
and honoured to be allied with him." Among these 
" greatest " was the first prince of the blood, the Prince 
de Conde. He had been Richeheu's faithful and rather 
servile follower ever since their reconciliation in 1626, 
being shrewd enough to see that this was the path to 
wealth and power. So early as 1633, when Mademoiselle 
de Breze was only five years old, he had proposed a 
marriage between her and his son Louis, Due d'Enghien, 
and the Cardinal had accepted the offer. In 1641 the 
marriage was celebrated in Paris with great magnificence. 
The bridegroom was sulky and unwilling : already, at 
twenty, he was a fighting hero, a man of the world, and 
desperately in love with Mademoiselle du Vigean. To him 
his childish little wife was profoundly uninteresting. But 
the match gave keen pleasure to Cardinal de Richelieu ; 
and the Prince de Conde proved his satisfaction by offering 
to marry his daughter. Mademoiselle de Bourbon (the 
famous Duchesse de Longueville), to young Armand de 
Maille-Breze. The Cardinal replied, according to Made- 
moiselle de Montpensier, with dignity and good sense : 
" Qu'il vouloit bien donner des demoiselles a des princes, et 
non pas des gentilhommes a des princesses." 

But there was the other side of the shield. There 
were dark shadows behind the victories and social 
triumphs which lifted France and her great Minister so 
high in Europe. During Richelieu's last years his armies 


were sometimes forced to other work than that of fighting 
Imperialists. The provincial government of France had 
become, in many quarters, little but a hard and ex- 
tortionate system of tax-collecting, and the richest districts 
naturally fared the worst. When Bullion, Bouthillier's 
colleague in the management of the finances, wrote 
despairingly in the autumn of 1639 to Chavigny, " Nous 
sommes maintenant au fond du pot," and added his fear 
that foreign war might bring about civil war, the great 
fertile province of Normandy, ruined by injustice, tyranny, 
and enormous taxation, was actually in open rebellion ; 
the " Va-nu-pieds " were marching in bands over the 
country, murdering tax-gatherers, destroying Govern- 
ment property, while even the tradespeople of Rouen 
and Caen rose and burned the houses and bureaux of 
the royal officers and killed them and their servants in 
the streets. 

Richelieu wrote very sharply to his financiers on their 
mismanagement and ill-judged severity. As to the 
Normandy affair, they must remedy that " by prudence 
and skill," as best they could : no troops could be spared 
to help them. However, His Eminence had to yield 
to necessity, and Colonel de Gassion, with 6,000 men, 
marched into Normandy, occupied Caen and Rouen, put 
hundreds of peasants to the sword, hanged or sent to 
the galleys hundreds more, while those who escaped fled 
the country. The whole population was disarmed ; the 
Norman Parliament ceased for the time to exist, and 
the province had to pay a heavy indemnity besides all 
the arrears of the taxes it had refused, which were 
reimposed in the fullest rigour. The towns were deprived 
of all their liberties and privileges, their municipal courts 
being suspended ; for two years Normandy was governed 
by a Royal Commission, and lay in deep disgrace under 
a kind of martial law. All this was an example— extreme, 
certainly — of Richelieu's domestic government, the wrong 
side of his glory. 

The Norman revolt worried him terribly ; the more 
so as he knew that it was instigated by his enemies; 


not Spain alone, but England, hindered by internal 
troubles from taking an open part in the war. Richelieu 
had indeed earned little gratitude from Charles I. His 
creation of a navy, his colonising and trading policy, had 
for years made France a dangerous rival to England in 
home and foreign seas, and of late his far-seeing states- 
manship, by encouraging the rebel party in Scotland, 
had helped to bias the King in favour of his mother-in- 
law's quarrel. Marie de Medicis was an honoured guest 
at the English Court for nearly three years, from 1638 
to 1641. 

This old friend and enemy of the Cardinal did not 
survive him. She died, poor and miserable, at Cologne, 
in the summer of 1642 : her children reigning in all 
Christendom, she had not an inch of earth to call her 
own. The Cardinal, lying ill at Tarascon, caused a solemn 
service to be held in her memory. 

Another deepening shadow on his last years was the 
state of his health. In addition to the old ills of frequent 
fever and headache, he now suffered from painful and 
distressing complaints which kept him constantly in the 
hands of physician or surgeon ; and the consequences 
were much depression, irritability, and suspiciousness, 
with increased hardness and severity to those who 
offended him, so that great and small feared him more 
than ever and loved him less. In this condition of mind 
and body he entered on the year 1642, during which he 
was to encounter his last conspiracy, to suffer his last 
doubts of the King's trust and favour, and triumphantly 
to end his career. 

Already, in the autumn and winter of 1641, there was 
mortal enmity between Richelieu and the young favourite 
he had given to Louis XIII. The success of Cinq-Mars 
was complete : the King could not pass a day without 
him ; he was Grand Equerry, cut a splendid figure at 
Court, was popular and gay, made love to great ladies, 
dreamed of marrying Princess Marie de Gonzague and 
climbing to the highest rank in the kingdom. If the 
friendship of the King had stormy episodes which might 


have warned a less vain and confident courtier against 
putting his trust in princes, there were also times when 
Louis was ready to listen with grim enjoyment and even 
with sympathy to the young man's rash talk against the 
Cardinal. Richelieu had not found in Cinq-Mars the tool 
he expected, and revenged himself sharply by word and 
deed. He treated " M. le Grand " with scornful anger 
as an impertinent boy, laughed at his social ambitions 
and barred his access to the royal Council. 

Cinq-Mars swore vengeance ; his talk was of '' poniards 
and pistols." He had been a secret ally of the Sedan 
conspirators ; now, with a few confederates, among whom 
were his intimate friends M. de Fontrailles and M. de Thou, 
he began seriously to plot the destruction of the Cardinal. 
The first idea was simply assassination ; but the dangers 
were obvious, 'and Francois de Thou had a troublesome 
conscience. They widened their plan into a political 
conspiracy, including Monsieur, the lately pardoned Due 
de Bouillon, and the Spanish government. De Thou 
shrank also from high treason, but he was not the man 
to betray his friends; he had been injured in his career 
by Richelieu, and also, private reasons apart, regarded 
him as " the oppressor of France and the perturbator of 
Europe." His hope seems to have been that Louis him- 
self might be induced by his favourite's strong influence 
to dismiss his Minister. 

If this ever seemed probable, it was in the early days of 
1642. The King and the Cardinal were both ill when they 
left Paris for Roussillon, the Spanish campaign being in 
full swing. They travelled separately, the royal party a 
day in advance ; the Cardinal's suite was so large that the 
same night's lodging was seldom enough for both, and the 
progress was slow. Leaving Paris in January, they reached 
Narbonne in the second week of March. 

Cinq-Mars had not wasted his time. He had gone so 
far, they say, with the bored, discontented King, as to 
suggest not only the Cardinal's disgrace, but his murder. 
Louis listened, says Aubery, with horror; yet he neither 
warned the Cardinal nor took any steps to defend him 


He wrote to him indeed in the first days of March, when 
the weary journey was nearly over, "songes seulement 
k vostre persone " ; but this might naturally refer to 
Richelieu's health, which was growing worse every day. 
The King saw no real danger, probably, in the irresponsible 
chatter of M. le Grand. He was half amused ; he was often 
very impatient of his Minister's domineering temper, and 
not unwilling to use his favourite as a safety-valve. In 
that there was nothing new; but all the history shows 
that the King leaned on the Cardinal's genius, trusted 
him, if he did not love him, and had too much good 
sense ever seriously to think of depriving the kingdom 
of his services. 

Cinq-Mars was discouraged, at least as to the violent 
death he proposed for the Cardinal. Not only was the 
King a little cold, for his favour was beginning to wane, 
but Monsieur and the Due de Bouillon, on whose presence 
and help he had counted, were prudently careful to keep at 
a distance. He placed all his hopes, therefore, on the secret 
treaty with Spain, which was actually brought to him at 
Narbonne. Fontrailles, disguised as a Capuchin friar, had 
carried it to Madrid for the signature of Olivarez. In it 
the King of Spain promised an army of 17,000 men and a 
large sum of money to Monsieur, the Due de Bouillon, and 
Cinq-Mars, who were to command this force under the 
Emperor and to hold Sedan in his name while Spain invaded 
France. All the French conquests of the last four years 
were to be restored, and the work of Richelieu entirely 
undone. The precious document was sent to Monsieur for 
his signature, which he, with newly developed caution, was 
in no hurry to give. Richelieu had offered the command 
in North Italy to the third chief conspirator. Bouillon. His 
brother, the Vicomte de Turenne, always of stainless 
loyalty, was fighting in Roussillon with the Marechal de 
la Meilleraye and the young Due d'Enghien. 

The King passed on to the siege of Perpignan, leaving 
the Cardinal seriously ill at Narbonne. His sufferings at 
this time, both of mind and body, were very great, and may 
be traced through the letters which, day by day, he dictated 


and sent to M. de Noyers, his Secretary for War, in attend- 
ance on the King. Louis was himself far from well, but 
the Cardinal's constant, eager inquiries, during this enforced 
separation, betray anxieties beyond the matter of health ; 
for Cinq-Mars was always at his post, and if Richelieu 
knew nothing yet of the Spanish treaty, he suspected every- 
thing as to his enemy's personal designs. The thought of 
these, and the agony of clinging to that power which, in the 
last resort, depended on the favour of the King, were worse 
to the strong spirit than days and nights of pain caused by 
cruel sores and barbarous remedies. 

Early in May he writes from Narbonne : " Unluckily, 
though the surgeons say I am better, they cannot lift me 
from one bed to another without extraordinary pain " ; and 
three days later : '* As I thought to be entering the haven, 
a new tempest has driven me far away." A fresh abscess 
had appeared on his already crippled right arm. " To 
console me, they talk of playing with knives again, on 
which I shall find it hard to resolve, having neither strength 
nor courage enough. I pray God to grant me these, that 
I may conform to His will." Two days later : " I suffered 
extraordinary pain last night. . . . They have decided to 
make an opening in the bend of the arm. But they fear 
they may cut the vein. I am in the hand of God. I would 
I had finished my testament, but I cannot do it without 
you, and you cannot move till Perpignan is taken." 

The slight ease given by the operation lasted only a 
few days, more abscesses forming ; and it seems that the 
Cardinal thought himself a dying man. M. de Noyers 
having arrived at his pressing summons, Pierre Falconis, 
notary-royal of the town of Narbonne, was employed to 
write out that remarkable will of seventeen sheets which 
shows his mind at its clearest and strongest. Madame 
d'Aiguillon and M. de Noyers were his executors, and 
among the witnesses were Cardinal Mazarin and Hardouin 
de Perefixe, his chamberlain, afterwards Archbishop of 
Paris. Falconis attested that " mondit seigneur le Cardinal- 
Due" was unable, owing to the state of his right arm, 
himself to sign his testament. 


The end was not yet. The doctors advised a move 
from the marshes and stagnant lakes of Narbonne to the 
healthier air of Provence and the Rhone. Any ordinary 
conveyance was impossible for the Cardinal's pain-racked 
body. He travelled in his bed, carried by eighteen men in 
an immense litter hung with crimson and gold. So large, 
we are told, was the " machine," that gateways had to be 
widened, doors and windows taken out, walls pulled down, 
at the many stopping-places on His Eminence's journey. 
He was overtaken by bad news : the Marechal de Guiche 
had been defeated by the Spaniards near Cambray, and for 
a few days there was great alarm in the north of France, 
with new outcries against the Cardinal ; his enemies were 
even mad enough to accuse him of having arranged the 
defeat in order to prove himself still necessary to France. 
If this absurd report reached him, his already troubled 
mind was soothed by a letter from the King, brought to 
him at Aries by M. de Chavigny : " Je finiroy en vous 
asseurant que quelque faux bruit qu'on fasse courre je vous 
ayme plus que jamais et qu'il y a trop longtemps que nous 
sommes ensemble pour nous jamais separer ce que je veux 
bien que tout le monde sache." 

Richelieu's reply to that letter was to send the King, 
by the hand of Chavigny, a copy or rough sketch of his 
brother's secret treaty with Spain. 

By what means that copy reached him has been one 
of the secrets of history. Among many guesses, Michelet 
favours the story that Queen Anne, aware of the treaty, 
took this means of making her peace with the Cardinal. 
But it seems more likely, on the whole, that Richelieu's 
own spies at the Court of Madrid had made the discovery. 
In any case it meant for him a final triumph. 

At first the King was irresolute. Ill from the heat, 
he had returned to Narbonne from the camp at Perpignan, 
leaving the siege to his officers. Though he knew Cinq- 
Mars to be a traitor, he did not at once arrest him, half 
hoping, perhaps, that the " pauvre diable " might save his 
life by escaping over the frontier. Fontrailles had already 
done so, but Cinq-Mars, proud, foolhardy, confident in his 


master's affection, followed him to Narbonne. Urgent 
letters to the King from the Cardinal decided his fate. 
When too late he hid himself in a house at Narbonne; 
the mistress had pity on his curly head, but her hard- 
hearted husband denounced him ; the royal guards seized 
him and conveyed him to the castle of Montpellier. De 
Thou, the least guilty of all and the first to be taken, 
was sent to Tarascon, where Richelieu had already arrived. 
The Due de Bouillon, arrested at Casale, was brought 
back to France and imprisoned at Lyons in the old 
castle of Pierre-Encise, which in those days still dominated 
the city. 

The King's illness disinclined him to linger in the 
south, either for the conquest of Roussillon or for the 
trial of traitors. On the very day of his favourite's arrest 
he left Narbonne for Fontainebleau, and stopped at 
Tarascon for an interview with the Cardinal. Both were 
so ill that Louis was carried on a bed into his Minister's 
room, and there, side by side, the rulers of France, neither 
of whom had a year to live, discussed the Spanish treaty 
and its authors. Louis gave them up, without conditions, 
to the vengeance of Richelieu. He, assured of the King's 
eternal faith and affection, forgot bodily pain in mental 
triumph, and was ready to take up, with all his old energy, 
the full regal power and authority with which he found 
himself suddenly invested. This extended not only to the 
punishment of State criminals, but to the Spanish campaign 
and the whole government of the south. 

It seems that Bouillon and Cinq-Mars had a legal 
loophole of escape. They appeared in the actual treaty 
only as " deux seigneurs de qualite," their names, with that 
of Sedan, being added in a secret memorandum ; Monsieur 
and His Catholic Majesty of Spain were the only two per- 
sons openly mentioned. The fate of his fellow-conspirators 
therefore depended largely on Monsieur ; and they, knowing 
this, may well have despaired. 

He was at Blois, "faisant le malade," when the news 
of the arrest of Cinq-Mars reached him. As a first pre- 
caution, he burned the original treaty. Then, finding that 


all was known, he sent the Abbe de la Riviere to Richelieu 
with letters of confession and grovelling entreaties for 
pardon. Richelieu told the messenger that his master 
deserved death, and might think himself fortunate if he 
escaped with confiscation and banishment. He had no 
longer the saving quahty of being heir to the throne 
of France. He was terribly frightened. The Cardinal, 
with great show of severity, insisted that he should 
renounce for ever all "charges and administrations" in 
the kingdom, and should retire for the present, on a 
pension, to Annecy in Savoy, after being confronted at 
Lyons with his captive confederates. This trial the King 
spared him ; but he had to save himself by signing a 
declaration that Messieurs de Bouillon and de Cinq-Mars 
were in fact the two "seigneurs de qualite" to whom the 
Spanish treaty referred. 

Cinq-Mars and de Thou were brought to their trial at 
Lyons. Rumour and gossip seem to have coloured too 
highly the dramatic situation so often painted and de- 
scribed. According to the story believed by Madame 
de Motteville, M. de Montglat, and society generally, both 
prisoners were conveyed by river, the boat in which they 
travelled being towed by the great barge on which the 
Cardinal had embarked in his gorgeous litter. As a fact, 
it was de Thou alone who made part of this spectacle 
of vindictive triumph, Cinq-Mars being fetched by a troop 
of horse from Montpellier. The voyage against the swift 
waters of the Rhone was long and slow. On each bank 
a squadron of the Cardinal's guards kept pace with the 
boats. They left Tarascon on August 17, and did not 
reach Lyons till September 3, when de Thou, with Cinq- 
Mars, joined the Due de Bouillon in the castle of Pierre- 

Their trial began immediately; and for Cinq-Mars the 
verdict was certain, even had not the jury been partly 
composed of Richelieu's own commissioners, notably that 
Laubardemont who had for years been a name of terror 
to his enemies. Chancellor Seguier, with a touch of 
humanity, tried to save Francois de Thou: this gallant 


gentleman was plainly guiltless of any active conspiracy. 
But there were old private grudges in his case, and 
Richeheu's state of mind and body made any hope of 
mercy vain. Laubardemont, acting for him, brought up 
an old law of Louis XL which punished with death those 
who knew of a plot without revealing it. This law had 
seldom been carried out in full severity, but its existence 
was enough to condemn the man who had been a too 
faithful friend, and de Thou shared Cinq-Mars' sentence. 
The Due de Bouillon saved his head by resigning his 
strong fortress of Sedan to the King — ** who much desired 
it," says Montglat, " because it was situated on the river 
Meuse, and served as a retreat for all the malcontent." 

The sentence, pronounced on September 12, was carried 
out that same day in the square of the Hotel de Ville at 
Lyons. Many writers have described the heroic calmness 
with which the two young men met their death and the 
universal pity and mourning throughout society. M. de 
Montglat expresses the feeling of his order. " Thus died 
M. le Grand, aged twenty-two years, handsome, well-made, 
generous, liberal, and having all the parts of an honnete 
homme^ had he not been ungrateful to his benefactor, and 
had he shown more judgment in his conduct. As to M. de 
Thou, he was beloved of every one : he was indeed a man 
of great merit, regretted by the whole Court, where many 
believed that he was condemned without reason." 

Three days before the execution Perpignan opened its 
gates to the French, and Cardinal de Richelieu, who left 
Lyons for Paris as soon as the trial was over, wrote from 
his first stage to M. de Chavigny : " These three words are 
to tell you that Perpignan is in the King's hands and that 
M. le Grand and M. de Thou are in the other world, where 
I pray God they may be happy." 

Louis XIII., we are told, received the news of his old 
favourite's death with equal heartlessness — " remembering 
no more the friendship he had borne him and without any 
feeling of compassion." 

Travelling in his great " machine," the Cardinal made 
his slow journey chiefly by canals and rivers. U October 


was advanced when he slept the last night at Fontainebleau, 
embarked on the Seine, landed in Paris, and was borne on 
to his retreat at Rueil, the Court being at Saint-Germain. 

It was a triumphal return ; his enemies were fallen ; 
and from every side news of fresh victories came to greet 
the dying Minister who had given France her new place 
among the nations. 



The Cardinal's last days— Renewed illness— His death and funeral— His 
legacies — The feeling in France — The Church of the Sorbonne. 

IN the first days after Cardinal de Richelieu's return 
from the south, few persons, certainly not himself, 
realized that his career was so near its end. The 
doctors, however, knew what they were doing when they 
healed the wounds in his arm ; his chief surgeon remon- 
strated, but to no purpose, for the Cardinal would have it 
done. " He has dealt himself a mortal blow," the surgeon 
said to a friend. 

For the moment, infirm as he was, he took a new hold 
on life. During those autumn weeks at Rueil he was 
eager, imperious, restless, suspicious, ever planning for the 
future, in case he should survive the King; strangely 
haughty, irritable, and nervous, insisting that his armed 
guards should attend him everywhere, even in the royal 
presence. Louis XIII., himself too ill and depressed to 
enjoy his hunting as usual, was pestered by Chavigny and 
de Noyers with messages from the Eminentissime, insisting 
on the disgrace of four of his best-liked officers — among 
whom was M. de Troisville, or Treville, the famous captain 
of musketeers — whose only crime was that they had 
formerly been friends of Cinq-Mars, and that Richelieu 
feared their hatred and their influence. The King resisted 
long, but at last, by sheer angry obstinacy, the Cardinal 
gained his point, and the four gentlemen were dismissed 
from the Court, though not from the army; the King 
showing " great displeasure, even to shedding of tears." 



In November His Eminence moved from Rueil to the 
Palais-Cardinal, and there, still magnificent though gloomy 
of spirit and too ill to be actually present, he entertained 
the Court with the performance of an *' heroic comedy " 
called Europe^ partly his own, partly the work of Desmarets. 
Here were celebrated the victories of France over Germany, 
Spain, and her own internal disloyalties, as well as her 
triumphs in art, commerce, and luxury. In truth, the 
piece was a glorification of the ministry of Armand de 

It was not long before Nature took her revenge and 
justified the doctors. " On Friday, November 28, 1642, in 
the night," says Aubery, " the Cardinal-Due was attacked 
by a great pain in his side with fever. On Sunday, the 
pain and fever having much augmented, it was found 
necessary to bleed him twice, and the Duchesse d'Aiguillon 
and the Marechaux de Breze and de la Meilleraye decided 
to sleep at the Palais-Cardinal." On Monday morning the 
Cardinal was better; but in the afternoon and night he 
became so much worse, with difficulty of breathing, that 
the doctors bled him again. On Tuesday the King ordered 
special prayers in all the Paris churches, and came himself 
from Saint-Germain to visit his dying Minister. Whether 
sorry or glad, who knows ! At this supreme hour, as all 
through Richelieu's career, there are contradictory accounts 
of the relations between the two men. Aubery's dignified 
narrative shows us a gracious and sympathetic King, hand- 
ing nourishment to the invalid, listening with sorrowful 
attention to the last counsels of the statesman who had led 
him and France so far, and who now, while reminding 
His Majesty of his past services and recommending his 
family and friends to his care, was chiefly concerned that 
Monsieur should have no share, now or ever, in the 
government, and that Cardinal Mazarin, the fittest of all 
the present Ministers, should take up the burden which 
must be laid down. For it was plain to Richelieu himself, 
as well as to King, friends, and physicians, that he had not 
many hours to live. 

Louis did more than listen to the Cardinal's dying 


prayers and counsels ; he respected them. But gossips 
and memoir-writers agree that he left the Palais-Cardinal 
"fort gai," laughing and joking with the Cardinal's rela- 
tions and admiring the splendours of the great house which 
now, by his will, was to become royal property. 

When the King was gone, Richelieu asked his physicians 
how long he had to live. They replied evasively — they 
could not tell ; there was no cause to despair, and so forth. 
Then he called for M. Chicot, the King's physician, and 
told him to answer truly, not as doctor, but as friend. 
Chicot gave him twenty-four hours. *' C'est parler, cela !" 
said Richelieu, and sent for the Cure of Saint-Eustache, 
his parish church, to receive his confession and to ad- 
minister the last Sacraments. 

"Treat me as the meanest of your parishioners," he 
said to the priest ; and the crowd in his room could hear, 
through their own sobs, the voice of their master repeating 
Pater and Credo ^ joining in prayers, declaring his faith in 
God and the Church, answering to the question whether 
he forgave his enemies : " I have had no enemies but those 
of the State." It was a bold assertion from the lips of such 
a man, and the Bishop of Lisieux, standing by, was startled 
by the confident words. But one may very well imagine 
that Armand de Richelieu believed it of himself. 

On Wednesday the doctors, having bled him again, the 
pain and fever growing steadily worse, made their bows 
and retired ; they could do no more. A country quack 
was then allowed to try his skill : many such, probably, 
haunted the gates of the palace ; but this man, Le F^vre 
by name, had some friend at Court who admitted him to 
the sick-room, and the Cardinal did not refuse his reme- 
dies. At first they seemed successful. Soothing draughts 
and opium pills lulled the sharp pain, and when the King, 
who had remained at the Louvre, paid his second visit in 
the afternoon, the Cardinal appeared slightly better. The 
gossips say that Louis departed " less joyful." 

A quiet night brought so calm a morning — Thursday, 
December 4, 1642— that the Cardinal's own people began 
to rejoice in the hope of his recovery ; and if the doctors. 


knowing better, shook their heads, M. Le Fevre had his 
moment of triumph. But the patient himself was not 

Those to whom he gave audience in the course of that 
morning — gentlemen sent by the Queen and Monsieur — 
listened to the words of a dying man. Only on his 
death-bed assuredly would Richelieu have humbly begged 
Anne's pardon for any causes of grievance which, '' in the 
course of our lives," she might have had against him. 

"A little before noon," says Aubery, "he felt extra- 
ordinarily weak, and perceiving thus that his end infallibly 
drew near, he said, with a tranquil countenance, to the 
Duchesse d'Aiguillon : * My niece, I am very ill ; I am 
going to die ; I pray you to leave me. Your tenderness 
affects me. Do not suffer the pain of seeing me die.' " 

She, the person he had loved best, left him unwillingly 
and in tears, and his confessor was instantly called to say 
the prayers for the dying. A few minutes of unconscious- 
ness, then two heavy sighs, and Cardinal de Richelieu was 

He was only fifty-seven ; but the worn face, wasted 
body and whitened hair were those of a much older man. 
The Parisians came in immense crowds to look on him 
as he lay in state at the Palais-Cardinal, where the royal 
guards, even before he was dead, had replaced his own. 
He lay on a bed of brocade in his magnificent Cardinal's 
robes and cap, with the ducal coronet and mantle at his 
feet. The captain of his guards, M. de Bar, sat in deep 
mourning at his right hand ; and on either side, by the 
light of many tall wax tapers in great silver candlesticks, 
a double choir of monks intoned psalms perpetually. 

On the evening of December 13 *' the body of the 
Cardinal-Due was transported from his palace to the 
Church of the Sorbonne on a magnificent car, covered with 
a great pall of black velvet crossed with white satin and 
enriched with the arms of His Eminence, embroidered in 
gold and silver — the six horses which drew it entirely 
covered with drapery of the same — surrounded by his 


pages, each holding a large candle of white wax, preceded 
and followed by so great a quantity of the same lights, 
which were carried and borne before the relations, con- 
nexions, friends, servants, and officers of the deceased, who 
were present in coaches, on horseback, and on foot, that 
the evening of the day on which that funeral took place 
was brighter than the noon : the wide streets of this city 
being found too narrow for the innumerable crowds of 
people by which they were lined, as in the greatest and 
most august ceremonies." 

So far the Gazette de France. With every mark, as it 
seems, of outward respect, the gleaming cavalcade made 
its way through the darkness of the city. They carried 
him over the Pont Neuf, where Henry's statue commanded 
Paris and the Seine, and up the hill, through the old 
University quarter for which he had done so much, and 
laid him in the vault he had prepared for himself and his 
family under the stately new Church of the Sorbonne. 
His funeral ceremonies extended for weeks, far into the 
following year, with grand state services at Notre Dame 
and solemn requiems in all the churches of Paris. A long 
and flattering epitaph, engraved on copper and fastened 
to the wall of the crypt where he lay, was meant to keep 
his fame alive till France herself should be no more. It 
began : " Icy repose le grand Armand-Jean du Plessis, 
Cardinal de Richelieu, Due et Pair de France : Grand en 
naissance, grand en esprit, grand en sagesse, grand en 
science, grand en courage, grand en fortune, mais plus 
grand encore en piete. . . ." After describing the hero's 
fine deeds and wonderful qualities, his genius, grace, and 
majesty, the epitaph— said to have been composed by 
Georges de Scudery — went on to announce that ''il est 
mort comme il a vecu, grand, invincible, glorieux et pour 
dernier honneur, pleure de son Roi ; et pour son eternel 
bonheur, il est mort humblement, chretiennement et 
saintement. ..." 

It was not till towards the end of the century that the 
marble tomb by Girardon was placed above the vault in 
the Church of the Sorbonne. 


By his will, made at Narbonne, the Cardinal confirmed 
the promised gift he had made to the Crown in 1636 of the 
Palais-Cardinal, most of his magnificent gold and silver 
plate, diamonds, and a large sum of money. He divided 
his lands, chateaux, and other property between his nephew 
and great-nephews and Madame d'Aiguillon, leaving the 
lion's share with his name and title, as has been said, to 
Armand de Vignerot, who was also entrusted with his 
precious library. Many of his artistic treasures and all his 
remaining jewellery went to Madame d'Aiguillon. With 
the most particular care and in the strongest words he 
guarded against any future dismemberment of the estates 
he left to his family. Fortunate for him that his fame and 
honour did not depend on the chateaux, the gardens, the 
forests, the collections and possessions of every kind, 
which had so long shared his thoughts with France and 
her glory. 

The legacies to his servants and humbler friends showed 
the Cardinal in his pleasantest light, as a just and generous 
master. Not one was forgotten, from his chaplains, officers 
and gentlemen, his secretaries and le petit Mulot, secretary's 
clerk, to cooks, grooms, muleteers, and footmen. The 
smallest legacy was six years' wages. That he did not 
forget past benefits was shown by a legacy to a M. de 
Broye, the necessitous nephew of that Claude Barbin 
who had helped him to his place in the Ministry in the 
days of the Marechal d'Ancre. 

" He was extremely regretted," says Montglat, " by his 
relations, friends, and servants, who were numerous ; for he 
was the best master, relation, or friend that ever was ; and 
provided that he was convinced a man loved him, his 
fortune was made ; for he never forsook those who attached 
themselves to him." At the same time, he was personally 
solitary and inaccessible, and after the death of Pere Joseph, 
though surrounded by those whom loyalty or interest kept 
faithful to him, no man could call himself his intimate 

" II est mort un grand politique " — a great politician 
is dead : these were the short cold words with which 


Louis XIIL honoured the memory of the man who had 
" raised France to her highest point since Charlemagne ; 
crushed the Huguenot party, which had rebelled against 
five kings ; humbled the House of Austria, which claimed 
to be the law-giver of Christendom ; and established the 
King's power so firmly, by subduing the princes, that 
nothing in the kingdom could resist him any more." 

As a King, there is no doubt that Louis regretted his 
great Minister ; he had proved over and over again that he 
knew how to value the statesman who had given him new 
authority and France new prestige ; he had proved it to the 
bitter cost of those who reckoned on his personal impatience, 
as a man, of the yoke laid upon him by a tyrannical and 
worrying tutor. That yoke was now removed ; and though 
the King appeared to be Richelieu's chief mourner, while 
following his last counsels and carrying out his policy, 
contemporaries were very sure that in the depths of his 
soul he was glad to be rid of him. 

France, as a whole, drew a long breath of relief and joy. 
It was not only " les grands du royaume," soon to be flock- 
ing back from prison and from exile. Monsieur, appearing 
once more at Court, the Due de Vendome, leaving his refuge 
in England, who welcomed their freedom from the political 
terror which had weighed down their gay lives ; it was also 
the people of lower degree, citizens, peasants, who had felt 
the oppression of Richeheu's heavy taxes. They had paid 
for his wars by pinching and starvation ; for his objects 
they cared little, the vision of most of them being naturally 
bounded by their own parish. All through the provinces, 
in the villages, in the towns, large and small, even in Paris 
itself, blazing bonfires lit up the winter nights when the 
Eminentissime lay dead. 

" II est passe, il a pli6 bagage 
Ce Cardinal .... 

II est en plomb I'^minent personnage 
Qui de nos maux a ri plus de vingt ans . . . 
II est passe . . . ." 

That well-known rondeau was one of the mildest among 
the satirical poems full of hatred, violence, and indecency 


which circulated in society after the death of him whom 
they called " le ministre des enfers." And if his country- 
men had listened for an echo of their rejoicing, they might 
have heard it in the " great contentment " of the enemies of 

Cardinal de Richelieu's noblest monument in Paris is 
his stately building of the Sorbonne. His resting-place in 
the crypt of its Church was disturbed in the Revolution, 
and his bones were scattered, but his embalmed face-mask 
was preserved by reverent hands and ultimately replaced 
in his tomb. The Church is no longer used for worship ; 
but Armand de Richelieu still reclines there in marble 
peace. His eyes are raised to the heaven in which he 
certainly believed. He is supported in his mortal weakness 
by Religion, holding the book he wrote, when Bishop of 
Lugon, in defence of the Catholic Faith ; and Science — in 
the likeness of his beloved niece, Madame d'Aiguillon — lies 
mourning at his feet. 


Agenois, Mademoiselle d' (Marie 
Therese de Vignerot), 279. 

Aiguillon, Duchesse d' (see Com- 
balet), 12, 15, 128, 242, 268, 279, 
285, 292, 294, 296, 298 

Ailly, Mademoiselle d' (Duchesse de 
Chaulnes), 105 

Ailly, Cardinal d', 18 

Albi, D'Elbene, Bishop of, 227 

Albret, Isabeau d', 150 

Albret, Jean d', 150 

Aligre, Etienne d' (Chancellor), 166, 

Alincourt, Charles de Neufville, Mar- 
quis d', 37, 64, Ii4-i5» 134 

Alincourt, Marquise d', 37 

Ancre, Concino Concini, Marechal d' 
(see Concini), 56, 73, ']6, 79, 81, 
84-5* 87-9, 93-100, III, 120, 296 

Ancre, Leonora Galigai, Marechale 
d', 56, 73-4, 79-81, 87, 93-4, 98, 
100, 154 

Angennes, Julie d', 242 

Angouldme, Charles de Valois, Comte 
d'Auvergne, Due d', 35, 'jyy 90, 
183, 188-9, 225, 230 

Anjou, Due d', (see Gaston) 

Anne of Austria, Queen, 64, 72, 'jy^ 
81, 82, 98, 119, 136, 156, 163-5, 
176, 179, 201, 208, 214, 219, 231-2, 
241, 247-8, 264-5, 267-71, 286, 


Arnoux, P6re, 103 
ubery, le Sieur, 151, 197, I99, 202, 
220, 228, 239, 283, 292, 294 

Aumont, Jean, Mar6chal d', 7, 8 

Auvergne (see Angoul6me) 

Avenel, M., 86, 103, 120,208 

Bagni, Cardinal, 213 
Bar, M. de, 294 
Barberini, Cardinal, 154, 159 
Barbin, Claude, 76, 81, 86-90, 97, 
107, 296 

Bardouville, 260 

Baro, 246 

Baschet, M. Armand, 48, 50 

Bassompierre, Baron de, 31, 32, 80, 

93, 118, 159, 167, 172-3, 178-80, 

183, 186-7, 189, 194, 196, 201-2, 

211, 220-21 
Batiffol, M. Louis, 29, 80 
Beaufort, Gabrielle d'Estrees, Du- 
chesse de, 35 
Beaulieu, 185 
Beauvau, Seigneur de, 1 1 
Bellegarde, Roger de Saint-Lary, 

Due de, 218 
Belle-Isle, Marquis de, 58 
Bentivoglio, Cardinal, 105, 120 
Berulle, Pierre, Cardinal de, 22, 45, 

55, 113, 116-17, 153, 159, 162, 187, 

194, 201, 266 
Bethancourt, Seigneur de, 125 
Bethune, Philippe, Comte de, 113, 

Beuvron, Baron de, 177-8 
Biron, Armand, Marechal de Gon- 

taut-, 7, 8 
Biron, Charles, Marechal de Gon- 

taut-, 30, 51 
Bois-Dauphin, Mar6chal de, 73, 75, 

76, 124 
Boisrobert, Fran9ois, Abbe de, 239, 

Bouillon, Frederic Maurice de la 

Tour d'Auvergne, Due de, 150, 

261, 277-8, 283-4, 287-9 
Bouillon, Godefroy de, 272 
Bouillon, Henry de la Tour d'Au- 
vergne, Due de, 35, 36, 65, 66, 69, 

73, 85, 90, 91, 112 
Bourbon, Madame Eleonore de 

(Abbess of Fontevrault), 47, 58-60 
Bourbon, Gabrielle Angehque de (see 

Verneuil, Mademoiselle de) 
Bourbon, Madame Louise de Lave- 

dan de (Abbess of Fontevrault) ,61 




Bourbon, Mademoiselle de (see 

Longueville, Duchesse de) 
Bourges, Madame de, 40, 41, 56 
Bouteville, Frangois de Montmo- 
rency, Comte de, 177-8, 253 
Bouthillier, Claude, 11, 123, 162, 196, 

239, 278, 281 
Bouthillier, Denys, 10, 11 
Bouthillier, Denys (see Ranee) 
Bouthillier, Leon (see Chavigny) 
Bouthillier, Sebastien (Dean of Lu- 

9on), II, 45, 52, 54, 56, ^6, 104, 113, 

126-7, 131 
Bouthillier, Madame, 196 
Bouthillier, Victor, 11 
Bragelogne, Emery de (Bishop of 

Lu9on), III 
Brantes, Seigneur de (see Piney- 

Breze, Mar^chal de (see Maille- 

Brienne, Henry Auguste de Lo- 

menie, Comte de, 89 
Brosse, Jacques de, 135 
Broye, M. de, 296 
Buckingham, George Villiers, Duke 

of, 136, 145, 154-6, 158, 180, 185-6, 

191, 247 
Bueil, Jacqueline de (Comtesse de 

Vardes), 229 
BuUion, Claude de, 281 
Bussy d'Amboise, M. de, 178 

Cadenet, Seigneur de (see Chaulnes) 
Candale, Louis Charles de Nogaret, 

Comte de, 173 
Canteleu, 185 

Carlisle, James, Earl of, 145 
Carre, Pere, 266-7 
Caussin, Pere, 265-6 
Chalais, Henry de Talleyrand-Peri- 

gord, Comte de, 167-8, 172-6 
Champagne, Philippe de, 132, 136, 

Chanteloube, Jacques, Seigneur de, 

120, 251 
Chapelain, Jean, 244 
Chapelles, Comte des, 178 
Charlemagne, 277, 297 
Charles I., King (of England), 136, 

145-6, 156-8, 180-81, 198, 282 
Charles V., Emperor, 5 
Charles V., King, 18, 213 
Charles VI., King, 19 
Charles VII., King, 3 
Charles IX., King, 6, 35 
Charpentier, 239 
Chartres, Due de, 238 
Chateauneuf, Charles de I'Aubepine, 

Marquis de, 214, 216, 223, 232-3 

Chatillon, Gaspard de Coligny, Due 

et Marechal de, 150, 230, 255, 278 
Chaulnes, Honor6 d'Albert, Due de, 

83, 105, 256 
Chavigny, L6on BouthilHer, Comte 

de, II, 196, 239, 262, 268, 281, 286, 

289, 291 
Chemerault, Mademoiselle de, 270 
Chere, 239 
Chevreuse, Claude de Lorraine, Due 

de, 105, 154, 226, 230 
Chevreuse, Marie de Rohan, Duch- 
esse de, 72, 105, 137, 151, 156, 164, 

166-8, 172, 174-6, 181, 214, 222, 

232-3, 241, 263, 267-8, 270-71 
Chevry, President de, 177 
Chicot, M., 293 
Chillou, Marquis du (see Richelieu, 

Cardinal de) 
Chivray, Mademoiselle du Plessis de 

(Comtesse de Guiche), 252 
Christine de France (Duchess of 

Savoy), 68, 112, 195, 206,266,276-7 
Cinq-Mars, Henry Coiffier d'Effiat, 

Marquis de, 106, 271, 282-9, 291 
Citoys, Fran9ois, 239 
Clarendon, Edward Hyde, Earl of, 

154, 156 
Clement, Jacques, 8 
Clerembault, Louis de, 3 
Clerembault, Perrine de, 2 
Coeuvres, Francois Annibal d'Estrees, 

Marquis de (see Estrees, Marechal 

d'), 148, 159 
Coigneux, President Le, 217 
Colalto, Marechal, 202-4 
Colletet, Guillaume, 245 
Combalet, Antoine de Beauvoir du 

Roure, Seigneur de, 127 
Combalet, Madame de (see d'Aiguil- 

lon), 12, 127, 202-3, 209-10, 215, 

235, 242, 250, 252, 268 
Concini, Concino (see Ancre, Mare- 
chal d'), 36, 63, 72, 80, 86, 211, 

Concini, Henry (see Comte de la 

Cond6, Charlotte de Montmorency, 

Princesse de, 32, 105, 153, 178, 

230, 242 
Cond6, Fran^oise d'Orl6ans-Longue- 

ville, Princesse de, 33 
Cond6, Henry de Bourbon, Prince de, 

32, 56, 65, 66, 68, 69, 72-8, 84-6, 

90, 105, 120, 122-3, 126, 129-30, 

137, 1:164-5, 169, 183-4, 196, 198, 

201, 222, 225, 259, 280 
Conde, Louis I. de Bourbon, Prince 

de, 33 
Cond6, Louis II. de Bourbon, Due 



d'Enghien, Prince de, 12, 105-6, 

246, 280, 284 
Conrart, Valentin, 244 
Conti, Fran9ois de Bourbon, Prince 

de, 32, 53, 90 
Conti, Louise de Lorraine, Princesse 

de, 32, 194, 209, 220-21 
Cordova, Don Gonzalez de, 197 
Corneille, Pierre, 239, 245 
Cosse-Brissac, Due et Marechal de, 

Cotton, P6re, 45, 55, 103 
Courcelles, 185 
Cousin, M. Victor, 129, 266 
Cramoisy, 71 
Crequy, Charles, Marechal de, 196 

Desmarets, Jean, 246, 292 
Du Moulin, 151 

Edmunds, Sir Thomas, 72 

Efifiat, Antoine Coiffier, Marechal d', 
149, 225 

Elbeuf, Charles de Lorraine, Due d', 
105, 218, 228, 230, 253 

Elbeuf, Duchesse d' (see Vendome) 

Elector Palatine (Frederic, King of 
Bohemia), 73, 136, 155 

Elizabeth (Electress Palatine), 144 

EUzabeth, Queen (of England), i 

Elizabeth, Queen (of Spain), 64, 
68, 195 

Enghien, Due d' (see Cond6, Louis II., 
Prince de) 

Epernon, Jean Louis de Nogaret de 
la Valette, Due d', 35, 53, 56, 
68, 73, 85, 91, 111-12, 115, 116, 
H8-19, 124, 172-3, 198, 214, 230, 
252, 259, 261 

Escoman, Dame d', 54 

Este, Isabella d' (Duchess of Man- 
tua), 206 

Estoile, Claude de 1', 245 

Estoile, Pierre de 1', 34, 36 

Estrees,Fran9oisAnnibal,Mar6chal d' 
(see Coeuvres), 219-20 

Falconis, Pierre, 285 

Fancan, Langlois, Sieur de, 137-9, 

Fargis, Charles d'Angennes, Comte 

du, 159, 219 
Fargis, Magdeleine de Silly, Com- 

tesse du, 159, 219, 264 
Fayette, ChevaUer de la, 266 
Fayette, Mademoiselle Louise de la, 

265-7, 270 
Fenouillet (Bishop of Montpellier), 34 
Ferdinand II., Emperor, 146, 201, 

251, 276, 284 

Ferdinand of Spain, Cardinal-Infant, 

259, 267 
Feria, Duke of, 250 
Fiesque, Comte de, 98 
Flotte, Madame de la, 264 
Fontaine, Jean de la, 236 
Fontrailles, Vicomte de, 283-4, 286 
Force, Jacques Nompar de Caumont, 

Marechal de la, 150, 228, 258 
Franchine, le Sieur, 134 
Fran90is I., King, 3, 4 
Fronsac, Due de (see Maill6-Breze) 

Gassion, Colonel de, 281 

Gaston de France (Monsieur), 68, 
118, 133, 162-70, 172-4, 179-80, 
183, 189, 201-2, 207, 214, 217-18. 
220, 223-31, 234, 236-7, 248, 
250-53, 258-62, 270-71, 274-5, 
278, 283-4, 287, 292, 294, 297 

Gerson, Jean, 18 

Girardon, Frangois, 295 

Givry, Cardinal de, 25 

Gontaut-Biron (see Biron) 

Gonzague, Princesse Marie de, 224, 

Gournay, Mademoiselle de, 243 

Grammont, Comte de, 259 

G randier, Urbain, 44 

Gratiollet, Jean, 254 

Gregory XV., Pope (Ludovisi), 130, 

Guastalla, Duke of, 194 
Gu6briant, Comte de, 276 
Guercheville, Marquise de, 55, 10 1, 

Guiche, Antoine de Grammont, 

Comte et Marechal de, 252, 286 
Guise, Duchesse de (Catherine de 

Cleves), 32 
Guise, Charles, Due de, 34, 53, 56, 

73, 75, 85, 90, 105, 154, 185, 220 
Guise, Henry, Due de (Le Balafre), 

I, 8, 32, 33, 132, 154 
Guise, Henry, Due de (Archbishop of 

Rheims), 277-8 
Guise, Duchesse de, Henriette Cathe- 
rine de Joyeuse (see Montpensier) 
Guiton, 1 9 1-2 

Guron, Jean, Seigneur de, 181-2, 193 
Gustavus Adolphus (King of Sweden), 

209, 224, 232 

Hanotaux, M. Gabriel, 21, 132 
Harcourt, Henry de Lorraine, Comte 

d', 253, 277 
Hautefort, Mademoiselle (afterwards 

Madame) de, 264-5, 267, 269-71 
Hay, James, Lord (see Carlisle), 85 
Henriette Marie de France (Queen of 



England), 68, ii8, i44-5> 153-4, 

Henry II., King (of England), 121 

Henry II., King, 5 

Henry III., King, 6, 8, 16, 132 

Henry IV., King, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16, 
23, 24, 26-37, 47, 48, 52-55, 64, 
65, 69, 70, 79, 83, 103, 105, 113, 118, 
124, 128, 138, 144, 151, 153, 161, 
163, 170-71, 177, 221, 225, 229, 
252, 295 

Henry, Prince of Wales, 144 

Herouard, Jean, 82 

Holland, Henry Rich, Earl of, 145 

Isabel, Archduchess, 177, 181, 221 

James I., King (of England), 28, 136, 

Jamyn, Mademoiselle, 243 

Jansenius, 23, 275 

Jars, Chevalier de, 269 

Jeanne, Queen, 17 

Jeannin, President, 81, 98 

John, King (of England), 120 

Joseph, Pere (Fran9ois du Tremblay), 
46, 57-62, 85, 105, 1 13-14, 116, 
137, 142, 151, 159, 163, 187, 189, 
206, 231, 239, 242, 257, 265, 272-3, 

Joyeuse, Due de (P^re Ange), 34, 59, 

La Brosse, 42 

La Bruyere, Jean de, 245 

Laffemas, Isaac, 222, 239, 269 

La Porte, Amador de, 10, 11, 14, 16, 

20, 117, 120, 183, 215, 232, 279 
La Porte, Charles de (see Meilleraye) 
La Porte, Fran9ois de, 7, 11 
La Porte, Suzanne de (Madame de 

Richelieu), 7, 11-14, 23, 65, 75, 86 
La Porte (the Queen's valet), 268-9 
Laubardemont, Baron de, 288-9 
Launay-Razilly, Claude, Seigneur de, 

Le Fevre, 293-4 
Le Jay, Nicolas, 73, 76 
Le Mercier, 15, 234 
Lemoine, Cardinal, 17 
Leopold, Archduke, 146 
Le Roy, Guyon, 3 
Le Roy, Jacques, 3 
Lesdiguieres, Fran9ois de Bonne, Due 

et Marechalde, 91, 147, 150, 158, 

Limoges, Fran9ois de la Fayette, 

Bishop of, 266 
Lisieux, Bishop of, 293 
Longueville, Anne Genevieve de 

Bourbon, Duchesse de, 105, 164, 

246, 280 
Longueville, Henry d'Orleans, Due 

de, 66, 76, 86, 91, 122, 124, 137 
Longueville, Mademoiselle de, 246 
Lorraine, Charles, Duke of, 176, 181, 

202, 218, 223-4, 249-51, 255, 278 
Lorraine, Princesse Marguerite de 

(Duchesse d'Orleans), 224, 250 
Lorraine, Nicolas Fran9ois, Cardinal 

de, 250-51 
Louis XI., King, 6, 169, 289 
Louis XII., King, 4 
Louis XIII., King, 32, 42, 53, 64, 

68, 82-5, 94-105, 1 14-15, 119- 

31, 133, 136-44, 146-50, 152-8, 

160-80, 183-92, 194-202, 205-16, 

218-22 224-32, 236, 239, 241, 

246-51, 254, 257-60, 262-71, 273, 

276-8, 282-9, 291-3, 297 
Louis XIV., King, 28, 69, 142, 177, 

192, 271 
Louis, Saint, 34 
Louvigny, Comte de, 173 
Lude, Fran9ois de Daillon, Comte du, 

83, 120 
Lusignan, Guy de, 2 
Luynes, Charles d'Albert, Due de, 

83, 84, 94-8, 100-102, 105, 107-8, 

112, 1 14-15, 117-24, 126-7, 129-30 
Luynes, Marie de Rohan, Duchesse 

de (see Chevreuse) 

Maille-Brez6, Armand Jean de (Due 

de Fronsac), 117, 280 
Maille-Breze, Claire Clemence de, 

12, 246, 280 
Maille-Breze, Mar6chal et Marquis 

de, 12, 106-7, 117, 181, 184, 228, 

239, 256, 277, 279, 292 
Maille-Breze, Marquise de (see Ni- 
cole de Richelieu) 
Maline, Madame, 270 
Mangot, Claude, 81, 86-9, 92, 97 
Mansfeldt, Count, 155, 199 
Mantua, Charles de Gonzague, Duke 

of (see Nevers) 
Mantua, Vincenzo di Gonzaga, Duke 

of, 193 
Marcillac, Prince de (Due de la 

Rochefoucauld), 269 
Marconnay, Madame de (Fran9oise 

du Plessis), 11, 13, 41 
Marillac, Madame de (Catherine de 

Medicis), 223 
Marillac, Louis, Marechal de, 124, 

183, 189, 201-2, 208, 211, 213, 216, 

222-3, 236, 266 
Marillac, Michel de, 159-61, 170, 

194, 201, 211, 213, 216, 222, 266 



MaroUes, Claude de, 92 
Marolles, Abbe Michel de, 92, 247 
Marquemont, Cardinal de, 149 
Martin, M. Henri, 72, Tj, 91, 185, 

i95> 207, 232 
Mary, Queen (of Scotland), 1 
Maurice, Prince, 31 
Mausson, Sieur de, 5, 6 
Mayenne, Charles de Lorraine, Due 

de, 65, 66, 91, 122, 124, 129 
Mazarin, Jules (Cardinal), 11, 206, 

239, 247, 273, 285, 292 
Medicis, Queen Catherine de, 55 
Medicis, Queen Marie de, 28-30, 32, 
33, 35, 54-7, 61, 68-70, 72-9, 
82-6, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94-103, 107, 
111-15, 116-28, 130-37, 139-41, 
144-7, 153, 159, 162-4, 167-70, 
180, 186-8, 194-6, 201-3, 207-21, 
223-4, 227, 229-30, 250-51, 256, 
261-2, 264, 266, 282 
Meilleraye, Charles de la Porte, 
Marechal et Due de la, 11, 203, 
210, 215, 232, 239-40, 276, 279, 284, 
Mercoeur, Due de, 36 
Metezeau, 190 

Michelet, Jules, 43, 132, 286 
Miron, Robert, 67, 70, 71 
Monot, Pere, 266, 276 
Montaigne, Michel de, 243 
Montalto, Philoth6e, 74 
Montbazon, Hercule de Rohan, Due 

de, 53, 92, 105, 118 
Montbrun, St. Andre de, 199 
Montespan, Madame de, 4 
Montglat, Baronne de, 30 
Montglat, Fran9ois de Clermont, 
Marquis de, 194, 257-8, 260-61, 
263, 280, 288-9, 296 
Montigny, Fran9ois de la Grange, 

Marechal de, 90, 91 
Montluc, Marechal de, 3 
Montmorency, Henry I., Connetable 

et Due de, 35, 64, 153 
Montmorency, Henry II. Due de, 
35, 153, 161, 178, 183, 202, 205, 
208, 222-3, 225-32 
Montmorency, Duchesse de (Laur- 
ence de Montoison), 136 
Montmorency, Duchesse de (Maria 

Felice Orsini), 226-7 
Montmorency, Mademoiselle de (see 

Conde, Princesse de) 
Montpensier, Due de, 3, 33 
Montpensier, Duchesse de (Catherine 

Marie de Lorraine), 8, 33 
Montpensier, Henry de Bourbon, Duo 

de, 14, 33, 34, 42 
Montpensier, Duchesse de (Henri 

ette Catherine de Joyeuse), 33, 
59, 163, 172 
Montpensier, Duchesse de (la Grande 
MademoiseUe) 15, 33, 133, 179, 
237, 246, 252, 261-2, 264, 269, 
Montpensier, Mademoiselle de (Du- 
chesse d' Orleans), 33, 162-4, 172-4, 
Montresor, Comte de, 259-60 
Moret, Antoine de Bourbon, Comte 

de, 218, 228-9 
Mornay, Philippe du Plessis-, 47, 150 
Motteville, Madame de, 163,220, 264, 

267, 269, 288 
Mulot (chaplain), 22 
Mulot (secretary), 239 
Mulot (/e petit) ^ 296 

Navailles, Seigneur de, 183 
Navarre, Princesse Catherine de, 33 
Nemours, Henry, Due de, 124 
Neufbourg, M. de, 65 
Nevers, Charles de Gonzague, Due de 
(see Mantua), 66, 90, 113, 151-2, 
193-4, 201-3, 206, 209, 224, 256 
Noyers, le Sieur Sublet de, 239-40, 

268, 285, 291 

Olivarez, Count, 159, 181, 277, 284 
Orange, Prince of, 255 
Oresme, Nicolas, 18 
Orleans, Due d' (see Gaston) 
Orleans, Duchesse d' (see Lorraine) 
Orleans, Nicolas, Due d', 163 
Orleans, Due d' (see Philippede 

Orleans-Longueville, Madame An- 
toinette d', 58-61 
Omano, Marechal d', 96, 120, 163-6, 

169-70, 174, 176 
Omano, Marechale d', 166, 220 

Paul v.. Pope (Borghese), 23, 24, 

58-60, 127 
Paul, Vincent de, 22, 274 
Pena, Henry Concini, Comte de la, 98 
Perefixe, Hardouin de, 31, 54, 55, 

Perron, Cardinal du, 53, 69, 120 
Philip II., King (of Spain), i 
Philip III., King (of Spain), 82 
Philip IV., King (of Spain), 64, 146-7, 

197, 267, 284 
Philippe Auguste, King, 17, 85 
Philippe le Bel, King, 17 
Philippe de France (Due d'Orleans), 

Piedmont, Victor Amedee, Prince of 

(see Savoy) 



Piney-Luxembourg, L6011 d'Albert, 

Due de, 83 
Plessis, Fran9ois du, 3 
Plessis, Fran9oise du (see Marconnay) 
Plessis, Geoffroy du, 2 
Plessis, Jacques du, 14, 16, 39 
Plessis, Louise du (Madame de 

Pontchdteau) , 252 
Plessis, Pierre du, 2 
Plessis- Richelieu (see Richelieu) 
Plessis, Sauvage du, 2 
Pluvinel, M. de, 20-22 
Polignac, Dame Anne de, 5 
Pontchartrain, Paul Phelypeaux, 

Seigneur de, 88, 89, 91, 93 
Pontchateau, Mademoiselle Philippe 

de (Duchesse de Puylaurens), 252-3, 

Pontchateau, Mademoiselle Marie de 

(Duchesse de la Valette), 252, 280 
Pont-de-Courlay, Fran9ois de Vigne- 

rot. Marquis du, 279 
Pont-de-Courlay, Marie Magdeleine 

Vignerot du (see Aiguillon) 
Pont-de-Courlay, Rene de Vignerot, 

Seigneur de, 11, 55, 108-9 
Poussin, Nicolas, 136 
Puisieux, Pierre Brulart de, 130, 

136, 139 
Puylaurens, Antoine de I^dge, Due 

de, 217, 228, 251-3 

Rabelais, 22 

Rambouillet, Catherine de Vivonne, 

Marquise de, 242 
Rambouillet, Charles d'Angennes, 

Marquis de, 214, 242 
Ranee, Armand Jean de, 11 
Ranee, Denys Bouthillier, Baron de, 

II, 203, 210 
Rapine, Florimond, 68 
Ravaillac, Frangois, 32, 52, 54 
Renaudot, Th6ophraste, 239 
Reni, Guido, 136 
Retz, Abb6 de (afterwards Cardinal), 

Retz, Due de, 125 
Richelieu, Alphonse de (Archbishop 

of Lyons and Cardinal), 12, 16, 21, 

22, 63, 86, 194, 279 
Richelieu, Antoine du Plessis de 

{le Maine), 3, 4, 33, 43 
Richelieu, Armand Jean du Plessis 

de (see Cardinal-Due de Richelieu) 
Richelieu, Cardinal -Due de: his 

birth, family and childhood, 1-15 ; 

education at the University, 16- 

20; training as a soldier, 21-2; 

second University course, 23 ; 

consecration as Bishop of Lu9on, 

24-5 ; Doctor of the Sorbonne, 
26 ; at the Court of Henry IV., 
27-30 ; Ufe and work in the dio- 
cese of Lu9on, 38-46 ; friendship 
with Pere Joseph, 46-7 ; Instruc- 
tions et Maximes, 48-52 ; visit to 
Paris, 55-6 ; affair of Fontev- 
rault, 57-62 ; political troubles, 
64-6 ; speech at States-General, 
69-70 ; Chaplain to Queen Anne, 
72-5 ; Private Secretary to Marie 
de Medicis, 84 ; death of his 
mother, 86 ; appointed Foreign 
Secretary, 87 ; First Ministry, 
88-92 ; fall from power, 97-8 ; 
exile with the Queen-mother, 
100-2 ; retirement in his diocese, 
103-7 ; banishment to Avignon, 
108-10 ; recalled to the Queen- 
mother's service, 114-15 - death 
of his brother Henry, 117; in- 
fluence with Marie de Medicis, 
123 ; diplomatic success, 126 ; 
marriage of his niece, 127 ; stories 
and intrigues, 130 ; receives the 
Cardinal's Hat, 131 ; personal 
descriptions, 132-3 ; purchase and 
decoration of country-houses, 133- 
6 ; employment of Fancan, 137-8 ; 
admitted to -the Royal Council, 
140 ; First Minister of France, 
142 ; political aims, 143 ; the 
English marriage, 144-6 ; affair of 
the Valtelline, 146-8 ; Huguenot 
RebeUion, 148-53 ; negotiations 
with Buckingham, 155 ; peace 
with Spain, 159 ; Army and Navy, 
etc., 160-61 ; ill health and suffer- 
ing, 162 ; defeat of Chalais con- 
spiracy, 163-75 '> edict against 
feudal strongholds, 176 ; edict 
against duels, 177-9 ; war with 
England, 180 ; Siege of La Ro- 
chelle, 181-92 ; War of Mantuan 
Succession, 193-7 '» fiii^il defeat 
of Huguenots, 198-200 ; offers 
his resignation to Louis XIII., 
201 ; Italian campaign, 202-6 ; 
The King's illness, 207-8 ; the 
Cardinal in imminent danger, 
209-14; his triumph, 215-16; 
victory over his enemies, 217-20; 
new honours, 221-2 ; political 
vengeance, 222-3 ; triumph over 
the Due de Montmorency, 225- 
31 ; illness and recovery, 232-3 ; 
palaces and chateaux, 234-8 ; 
his household and friends, 
239-42 ; the Academy founded 
by him, 244-5 ; the performance 



of Mirame, 246-8 ; dreams of 
conquest realised, 249-51 ; family 
alliances, 252 ; France joins in 
the Thirty Years' War, 254 ; 
defeat and panic, 255-6 ; high 
courage of the Cardinal, 257 ; 
danger of assassination, 259-60 ; 
Court intrigues, 263-7; Richelieu's 
persecution of Queen Anne, 267-70 ; 
death of Pere Joseph, 271-2 ; 
reforms in the Church, 274-5 ; 
disappearance of enemies, 277 ; 
family honours, 279-80 ; internal 
worries, 281 ; ill health, 282 ; 
enmity with Cinq-Mars, 283-4 ; 
terrible sufferings and last will, 
285 ; final triumphs, 286-9 ; jour- 
ney back to Paris, 290 ; last illness, 
292-3 ; death at the Palais-Car- 
dinal, 294 ; funeral at the Sor- 
bonne, 295 ; general feeling in 
France, 296-7 ; the tomb in the 
Church of the Sorbonne, 298 

Richelieu, Franfois du Plessis de 
{le Sage), 3, 4, 33 

Richelieu, Fran9ois du Plessis de 
(Grand Provost), i, 6-9, 10, 12, 20, 

Richelieu, Fran9ois Louis de, 109 

Richelieu, Fran9oise de (Madame du 
Pont-de-Courlay), 11, 63, 279 

Richelieu, Henry, Marquis de, 12, 
14, 16, 31, 43, 55, 56, 86, 91, 102, 
107-g, 1 16-17 

Richelieu, Louis du Plessis de 
(grandfather), 4, 7, 11, 12 

Richelieu, Louis du Plessis de 
(uncle), 6 

Richelieu, Marquise de (Marguerite 
Guiot des Charmeaux), 109 

Richelieu, Nicole de (Madame de 
Maille-Breze), 12, 86, 106-7, 215 

Rividre, Abbe de la, 288 

Roannez, Duchesse de, 220 

Rochechouart, Antoine de, 4 

Rochechouart, Fran9oise de (Dame 
de Richelieu), 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 

Rochefoucauld, Fran9ois, Cardinal 
de la, 116 

Rocheposay, M. de la (Bishop of 
Poitiers), 45, 65, 66, 104 

Roches, Michel Le Masle, Prieur des, 
134-6, 239 

Rohan, Henry, Due de, 65, 74, y$, 
122, 124, 148-52, 181, '189, 193, 
198, 200, 255 

Rohan, Duchesse de (Marguerite de 
Bethune), 151 

Rohan, Vicomtesse de (Catherine de 


Parthenay-Soubise), 150-51, 172, 

182, 191 
Rossignol, Antoine, 239 
Rotrou, Jean de, 245 
Rubens, Pierre-Paul, 135 
Rucellai, the Abbe, iii, 1 16-17 

Saint- Aignan, Comte de, 125 
Saint-Cyran, Abbe de (Duvergier de 

Hauranne), 45, 65, 66, 104, 275 
Sainte-Croix, Madame de, 45 
Saint-Georges, Jeanne de Harlay, 

Marquise de, 261-2 
Saint-Georges, le Sieur de, 240 
Saint-Ibal, M. de, 259-60 
Saint-Preuil, Comte de, 229 
Saint-Simon, Claude, Duo de, 211, 

Saint-Simon, Louis, Due de, 129 
Sales, St. Fran9ois de, 22, 274 
Savoy, Charles Emmanuel I., Duke 

of, 87, 91, 112, 147-8, 159, 165, 

181, 194, 197, 203-6 
Savoy, Prince Thomas of, 118 
Savoy, Victor Am6dee L, Duke of 

(Prince of Piedmont), 112, 118, 196, 

253, 256 
Saxe-Weimar, Duke Bernard of, 255, 

259, 276 
Schomberg, Henry, Marechal de, 

183, 189, 195, 202, 216, 228, 232 
Scudery, Georges de, 295 

Siguier, Pidrre (Chancellor), 269-70, 

Senece, Baron de, 70 
Senec^., Marquise de, 268 
Sillery, Nicolas Brfilart de, 64, 68, 

76, 81, 130, 136, 139 
Smith, Richard, 23 
Soissons, Anne de Montafie, Comtesse 

de, 90, 122, 137, 278 
Soissons, Charles de Bourbon, Comte 

de, 32, 33, 44, 56, 90, 144 
Soissons, Louis de Bourbon, Comte 

de, 90, 124, 165, 172, 174, 176, 181, 

189, 210, 222, 256-62, 270, 277-9 
Soubise, Benjamin de Rohan, Duo 

de, y6, i49-53» i57, 181-2, 189, 

Soufflot, 17 

Sourdis, Cardinal Fran9ois de (Arch- 
bishop of Bordeaux), 63, 67, 182 
Sourdis, Henry de (Bishop of Maille- 

zais and Archbishop of Bordeaux), 

182, 189, 19Z, 236-7, 239, 256 
Spinola, Marquis, 202 
Suffren, Pdre, 213, 219 

Sully, Maximilien de Bethune, Due 
de, 27, 29, 36, 43, 55, 57, 64, 65, 
76, 86, 88, 89, 161 



Tallemant des Reaux, Gedeon, 7, 

127, 243 
Themines, Antoine, Marquis de, 32, 

Themines, Marquis et Marechal de, 

Thianges, Madame de, 4 
Thou, Jacques Auguste de, 106 
Thou, Fran9ois Auguste de, 106, 

283, 288-9 
Tilly, Comte de, 199 
Tiriot, 190 
Toiras, Jean, Marechal de, 181, 184-5, 

202, 204 
Touchet, Marie (Comtesse d'En- 

traigues), 35 
Tremblay, Charles Le Clerc, Seig- 
neur du, 85, 96, 1 14-15 
Tremblay, Fran9ois Le Clerc, Mar- 
quis du (see Pdre Joseph) 
Tremoille, Henry, Due de la, ^6, 189 
Troisville (ou Treville), M. de, 291 
Turenne, Henry de la Tour d'Au- 
vergne, Vicomte et Marechal de, 

Urban VIII., Pope (Barberini), 134, 
147, 221, 252, 272-5 

ValeuQay, Achille de (Commander, 
afterwards Cardinal), 167 

Valette, Bernard de Nogaret, Mar- 
quis, then Due de la, 35, 173, 252 

Valette, Louis de Nogaret, Cardinal 
de la (Archbishop of Toulouse), 
115, 119, 202, 214, 222, 239, 242, 
259, 273 

Valois, Queen Marguerite de, 30, 67, 

79, 153 
Vardes, Comte de, 221 
Vardes, Comtesse de (see Bueil) 
Varenne, Fouquet de la (Bishop of 

Angers), 120 
Varenne, Guillaume Fouquet, Mar- 
quis de la, 83 
Varicarville, 260 
Vautier, 220 

Vendome, Alexandre de (Grand 

Prieur de France), 124, 165, 167, 

170-71, 176, 201 
Vendome, Catherine Henriette de 

(Duchesse d'Elbeuf), 105, 220 
Vendome, Cesar, Due de, 33, 35, 66, 

91, 122-5, 152, 165, 170-73, 176, 

218, 297 
Vendome, Duchesse de (Fran9oise de 

Lorraine), 36 
Vendome, Mademoiselle de, 246 
Vemeuil, Henriette d'Entraigues, 

Marquise de, 35, 78 
Verneuil, Mademoiselle de, 35 
Vieuville, Charles, Marquis de la, 

138-42, 145 
Vigean, Mademoiselle du, 280 
Vignerot, Armand Jean de, 279, 296 
Vignerot, Franfois de (see Pont-de- 

Vignerot, Jean Baptiste Amador de, 

Vignerot, Marie Th6rdse de (see 

Vignerot, Rene de (see Pont-de- 

Ville-aux-Clercs, Henry Auguste de 

Lomenie, Sieur de la (Comte de 

Brienne), 149, 219 
Villeroy, Nicolas de Neufville, Due 

de, 37, 51, 64, 74, 77, 81, 88, 98, 

105-6, 115 
Vitry, Nicolas de I'Hopital, Marechal 

de, 95, 96, 256 
Vivonne, Due de, 4 
Voltaire, Francois Arouet de, 8, 17 
Vouet, Simon, 236-8 

Wallenstein, Comte de, 253 
Werth, John of, 256-8 

Yon, Jean, 18, 19, 22 
Yver, Fran9ois, 14, 16, 23 

Zamet, Sebastien, 30 
Zamet, Sebastien (Bishop of Langres), 

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