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in all things relating to political government, simply to the dictates of common sense. Passing over for the present the chronological order of the history before us, let us advance at once to the reign of Louis XIII., which naturally divides itself into two parts. But how are these parts distinguished one from the other ? The first period presents ‘ eleven years of low intrigues, of quarrels, of invasions of authority, and of the horrors of civil war and anarchy. The second is marked by eighteen years of the tyranny of a man, tormented by the most unbridled ambition, devoured by an inextinguishable thirst of power, and who, in order to satisfy these passions, aban-, doned himself to the most audacious and criminal intrigues.’ Much has been said of the disorders that occasionally prevailed in ancient and modern republics. But in truth, the most fruitful sources of disorder of every kind, public and private, have been found in the ancient and modern monarchies, in which the national welfare has seldom been thought of, and the passions of the king and of his minions, have been the only rule of government. Sometimes those minions lost the favour of the sovereign, and were dismissed from court; this turned them into patriots and traitors, for still they counted the people as nothing, themselves as every thing, following the example of the shameless debauchee who sat upon the throne. What an astounding picture does history furnish us with, when it comes to paint, in their true characters, such men as the Prince de Condé, the Duke de Guise, a d’Ancre and a de Soissons ! “The intrigues of the marquis d'Ancre, of the count de Soissons, of the prince de Condé, of the duke de Bouillon, of the duke de Guise, and others; the cabals which they formed against the court; the measures of deception, the impostures, the menaces which they made use of to strengthen their party, and to weaken that of their adversaries; the contemptible motives of so many agitations, the civil wars which ensued; those acts of bad faith, those basemesses rewarded,—was all this calculated to edify the public, or to diminish the corruption of morals 2 Those men, when they seek to conceal their vices under the veil of pompous titles, of decorations, and of riches, to dazzle the eyes by the glare of gold, by magnificent equipages, and by a numerous suite of servants, after having presented so many bad examples, do they not give an improper direction to public opinion? Do they not teach the multitude of their fellows to honour and respect vice thus clothed? Do they not incline them to prefer to real merit a merit which is purchased, a merit which a successful robber may procure ? It is impossible to have good morals, it is impossible not to have great corruption, where gold and where birth preserve their possessors from infamy and the scaffold, where that metal is preferred to talent and virtue. “When the prince de Condé, then count de Soissons, and others, demanded of the intimidated court such places, such governments, such a pension, such a sum of money, and demanded them with threats of taking arms against it, did their conduct differ much from that of the brigand, who, with the menace of death, demands his purse of the travel
ler? Did not these brigands find illustrious models for their conduct in that of these princes? What a model of morality did that Luynes afford, who assassinated the marquis d'Ancre, and who shamelessly inherited the dignities and property of his victim 1'--vol. ii. pp. 1–3.
The fair of St. Germain, which at that period (1611) was a mart of the greatest importance to numerous merchants, was forbidden by Mary de Medicis to be held on one occasion, thereby ruining the fortunes of some, and seriously injuring those of others of the traders of that day, because, forsooth, a misunderstanding prevailed between certain of the leading men of France, and it was likely that they would render the fair the scene of an open rupture With such men as these, the violation of a promise, or a deliberate falsehood, was not deemed dishonourable, while the slightest departure from the fantastic forms of etiquette was deemed a justifiable cause of war. The repose of France was threatened at one time by one of the most trifling incidents that can be imagined. Two brothers, the Prince de Conti and the Count de Soissons, were going in state to the Louvre; their carriages met at the cross of Trahoir, and the streets being crowded, it was necessary that one of the two coaches should stop to allow the other to pass. The groom of the count not knowing the coach of the prince, desired his people to draw back, but they, on the contrary, pushed on. The count learning the real state of the affair, sent immediately his excuses to his brother, but they were spurned, and the prince as he passed put his head out of his carriage window, and said, “A demain, pourpoint bas 1” For this silly accident a brother challenges his brother | The affair alarmed the whole court. All the inhabitants of Paris were ordered to be in readiness to take up arms, and to throw chains across the streets. In the progress of the negociations for a settlement of this fraternal dispute, the Duke de Guise acted as peace-maker. But he was himself very near being drawn into a separate quarrel, for happening to pass by the hotel de Soissons with a large retinue of cavaliers, the count took umbrage at this, saying that they were paraded before his residence in order to intimidate him The daring ambition of a Richelieu preserves his crimes from the ridicule which attaches to meanness and triviality of action; but was it less pernicious to the state 7
“To seize upon the supreme authority, in how many immoral intrigues, impostures, and manoeuvres had he not to involve himself! and, in order to maintain himself in that high degree of power, what iniquities had he not to commit! The greatest crimes, when he judged them necessary, did not stop his ambitious march. Violence, perfidy, corruption, all the infernal resources of machiavelism, were the familiar instruments which he knew how to handle with ability. After exile, the dungeon, and the scaffold, espionage was one of his most powerful means. This art, so useful to tyrants, so fatal to public morality, was carried by this cardinal to a degree of perfection which it had never before attained : he gave it a fatal extension. Terror with some, the hope of a salary with others, procured him satellites; dukes, valets, marshals of France, soldiers, monks, wives, mistresses,—he succeeded in corrupting all; all, in order to serve him, were obliged to betray their duties, their fellows, and their conscience.”—vol. ii. pp. 11–12.
This high-priest of a Christian church was so blinded by his ambition, that he scrupled not to confer upon himself the double office of high admiral of France and generalissimo of its forces ! We cannot wonder in such times as these, to find the tribunals of justice polluted by every species of corruption. A writer of that day, speaking of the judges, says, “ you will see them condemn a man either to death or to some other punishment, but for money. If you ask justice, they will ask you if you belong to a party. If you say ‘no,' they will acquit the culprit ; if you say ‘yes,' they will inform themselves if you have wherewithal to pay the expenses of the procedure; and they will condemn the poor wretch to the gallies, or to be whipped before your gate. They take the little. rogues, and the great ones they allow to remain at large.”
All public offices were openly purchased from the king himself, his mistresses, or the other minions of his court. The consequence of this was that official corruption was universal; any thing might be had for money, the officers necessarily being compelled to reimburse themselves by taking all the bribes they could get. There were laws, for instance, decreed against gaming-houses, which were at all times over-abundant in Paris; but ‘these laws remained unexecuted; the agents of justice sold themselves to the guilty.” Marriages, particularly those among the noblesse, were considered merely as the means of mending their ruined fortunes. Abductions of rich widows and heiresses were frequent.
We have already alluded to the Prince de Condé, who, in the eyes of many careless readers of history, is the very beau ideal of chivalry. The author before us, who spares nobody, paints the great Condé as in truth a very contemptible person. His ambition drove him, at one time, to side with the Court, at another with the Fronde. Several assassinations and massacres, particularly that of the Place de Grève, are said to have been perpetrated by his order. Having met with disappointments at home, he went over to the Spaniards, then the most violent enemies of France, and for eight years conducted the war against his own country ! This fact alone ought to be sufficient, we should think, to strip him of his title of great. . But, generally speaking, the nobles of France in the reign of Louis XIII., and the minority of Louis XIV., were a most des— picable race. The civil wars had restored to them all the vices of feudalism; they conducted themselves as the enemies alike of the king and the people; and their ferocity in the provinces equalled their baseness at the court. Among them were found some men of valour; there was not among them a single man of worth; they were the slaves of Mazarin, and of the superintendents Bullion and Fouquet.
. The Marshal de Villeroi, who was governor of Louis XV., used. to say, “Il faut tenir le pot de chambre auw ministres tantgu'ils sont en place; et le leur verser sur la tête quand ils n'y sont plus.” He added, “Whatever minister comes into place I declare, in advance, that I am his slave, his friend, and even, in some sort, his. relation.” . • . - The court of the regent Orleans may be said to have been the forerunner of the revolution. The extreme debauchery by which it was characterized demoralized all France. The Duchess Dowager lived openly with Law; the Duchess de Bourbon with Du Chayla ; the Princess de Conti with her own nephew, La Valliere; the young Princess de Conti with La Fare; and other female members of the royal family were equally well provided. The regent himself was a worthy ruler of this courtly Pandemonium. He surrounded himself with dukes, counts, valets, actresses, dancers, duchesses, princesses, ladies of honour, almost all of whom either ministered directly to his passions, or employed themselves in seeking out, for this sultan, new victims for his seraglio. Such was the licentiousness of his circle, that the Countess de Sabran said one night, in a full supper party, with much point, though with an inexcusable blasphemy, that “God, after having created man, took a remnant of dirt, of which he formed the souls of princes and lackeys.” . It was no uncommon accident for the duchesses and princesses of this epoch to get drunk. The elevation of the infamous pander, Dubois, to the Archbishopric of Cambrai, would of itself be sufficient to mark the wickedness of the regent's court. It was very natural, after this, that a prostitute out of the streets, who had free entrance to his house, should appear before him and request that he would make her Abbess of Montmartre The court of Louis XV. was little better, in any respect, than that of the regent. All the world knows that he and his kingdom were, for many years, governed by the Marchioness de Pompadour, the most favoured successor of a long line of other mistresses. We must forbear to allude to the orgies which he carried on in his secret harem, at the hermitage of the Parc aux Cerfs. The memoirs of Madame du Hausset, of which we gave a full account, in a former number of this journal, display the depravities of that resort of vice, and indeed of the whole court, in the most intelligible language. It does undoubtedly appear very strange to our contemplation, that the most civilized nation of Europe should have been, for so many centuries, made the footstool of a race so generally corrupt as the house of Bourbon. Some few exceptions there were indeed in this long line of kings, whose names are still honoured, and justly honoured, for the benefits which they have conferred upon mankind both by their example and their precepts. He who was particularly distinguished by the title of St. Louis, according to all the testimony of history well deserved that distinction. He was faithful to his word, attentive to the interests of his subjects, a sincere and zealous observer of all the charities of private life, and of all the duties of religion. When we come to compare the character of such man as this with the much vaunted character of Henry IV., whose prowess in war, and whose magnificence in peace, are the perpetual theme of history and song in France, we find that the claims of the latter are but as the tinkle of the cymbal, a loud but an enlpty sound, scarcely worthy of reaching the ear. In truth, it would appear, we apprehend, upon a full investigaticn, that Henri Quatre was not a whit better than the infamous Regent Orleans, or the debauched and voluptuous Louis XV. The list of his mistresses is almost as long as that of Don Giovanni himself; “Henry married, in 1752, Marguerite de Valois, sister of the king of France; which did not prevent him from having for mistresses the Greek Dayelle, and Charlotte de Beaune de Samblançai, wife of Simon de Fizes, baron of Sauves, both maids of honour of Catherine de Medicis, whom that queen, in 1578, according to her usual line of policy, brought into Gascony to seduce the king of Navarre. “He had also many other mistresses of divers conditions; such were the demoiselles Tignonville, de Montaign, and l'Arnaudine, Catherine de Luc, demoiselle d'Agen, Fleurette, daughter of the gardener of the château de Nérac ; the demoiselle Rebours, and François de Montmorency, maids of honour to the queen his wife: he had also, while he was in Gascony, another demoiselle called the Leclain. * Bassompierre thus continues the list of mistresses of Henry IV. :— “After his marriage (with Marguerite de Valois) he fell in love with madame de Narmoustier. After that, being at Pau, he was smitten with the widow of the count de Grammont, named the countess de la Guiche; and the desire of seeing her again made him lose all the advantages which he might have drawn from gaining the battle of Coutras. During that passion he came to the crown; and having seen, in passing, the countess de la Roche-Guyon (marchioness of Guercheville) he fell in love with her; and, in order to go to see her, he made foolish and hazardous journeys, in which he was very near being taken by his enemies. This lady was one of those to whom this prince paid his addresses, who had the honour to resist him; she said to him, “I am too poor to be your wife, and of too good a family to be your mistress.’ ‘‘‘, Having seen Gabrielle d’Estrée,” continues Bassompierre, “he became so enamoured of her that he forgot the countess de la RocheGuyon.” * Soon after the death of Gabrielle, Henry took another mistress, Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues. The favours of this lady had cost him, according to the OEconomies Royales of Sully, a hundred thousand crowns; she further extorted from him a promise of marriage, which Sully had the courage to tear to pieces in presence of the king himself. * In 1599, Henry succeeded in dissolving his marriage with Marguerite de Valois, who consented to the divorce; and in 1600 he espoused Mary de Medicis. Although provided with this new wife, he continued his old habits. He became enamoured, but without success, of the duchess de