H. (Henri) Forneron.

The court of Charles II, 1649-1734, comp. from state papers by H. Forneron; online

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Tiie court of Charles II, 1649-1734

Henri Forneron



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THE

COURT OF Charles II.

1649-1734

(9^ont)Hl*b from $tate ^ap»v»

BY

H. FORNERON
With a Prepack by

Mrs. G. M. CRAWFORD

With Portraits, FacsirniU Letter^ etc.



LONDON
SWAN SONNENSCHEIN & CO. LTD.
PATERNOSTER SQUARE
1897



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First Edition— Sept., 1886 ; Second Edition— Sept., 1887 ;

TItird Edition— Feb., 1888 ; Fourtit Edition— Oct., 1891 ;

Fifllt Edition— Marcli, 1897.



/TJarvard

UNIVFRSITY]

Lie: -.RY
I NOV 13 196-



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PREFACE BY MRS G. M CRAWFORD.



■ ■ t i ll '



On the stormy 3rd of September, 1658, the
soul of that master man Cromwell, which had
so often undergone gloomy eclipses, lay in
deep darkness. The throes of death were on
the Protector, and black presentiments took
hold of his mind. One of the causes of his
anguish was leaving behind him an unfin-
ished work. This, to a man of his genius and
disposition, was like leaving in hard times an
infant child to buffet alone with the troubles
of life. Limp and gritless, Richard Cromwell
was no meet guardian for such a ward as the
young Commonwealth of England ; and which
of the Major-Generals could better assume the
office? In the broken phrases the Protector
uttered, he showed a foreboding of the deca-
dence into which his nation was to fall, and of
the moral crisis through which, like a drunken
Bacchante, she was to reel and stagger with



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vi PREFACE BY MRS. G, M. CRA t^'FORD.

a merry monarch at her head, and a crew of
greedy and sensual nobles — arrant knaves and
rascals for the most part — at his heels.

Cromwell, it being no use to take thought
for the morrow and the days after, did what it
was best under the circumstances to do. He
ended by leaving the whole matter for his dis-
quietude to God. Oppressed with the feeling
that he was a " miserable worm " and " a poor,
foolish creature," he took his stand on the
Covenant of Grace, and in his quaint Puritan
speech, supplicated on behalf of the people
he had led, for higher guidance. He was an
affectionate kinsman, and his heart habitually
went out to his children. But on that stormy
September day, which brought back memories
of his greatest victories, and placed him face
to face with death, he was so absorbed in
patriotic anxiousness that, said one who
watched beside him, " He forgot to entreat
God for his own family."

" However, Lord," cried the dying hero,
"Thou do dispose of me, do good for Thy
people. Give them consistency of judgment,
and go to deliver them with the work of refor-
mation."



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PREFACE BY MRS, G. M. CRAWFORD. vii

" With the work of reformation ! '* Think
of that, all honest Britons, whether Tory or
Primrose Leaguer, for this book is not intended
to point a moral for the teaching of the dis-
honest, they being unteachable.

If God's mill grinds fine, the grinding pro-
cess is — when men and women do not keep up
a good supply of grist — so slow as to be im-
perceptible, unless we look to the work it does
in the long course of generations. Cromwell's
prayer was answered, but in a way that neither
he himself nor those around him could have
looked forward to. The tale this volume fur-
nishes, of a French harlot's progress at White-
hall, and of the solid anchorage (;^ 19,000 a
year for ever!) which a supine nation allowed
to her offspring, would not on the first blush
seem to justify this view. What would any old
Ironside have thought of the power of a good
man's prayer, were Harvey, at the time of the
Rye- House Plot convictions and executions,
to have told him what he overheard Cromwell
utter when the shadow of death was upon him ?
It would not have occurred to him that the
slow grinding mill was grinding at all. Nor
was it, in a general way in England, where the



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vui PREFACE BY MRS. G. M. CRAWFORD.

supply of grist was too miserably stinted for the
millstones not to grind each other out, if they
did long and strong spells of work. Here and
there, there was a soul in touch with Heaven.
But persecution was the lot of such. One
of them, the tinker Bunyan, escaped from a
jail-bird's noisome sufferings by a flight into
Dreamland. He dreamed day-dreams, in which
the vulgar facts of life — the heart- wringings
that sprang from inability to protect his dear
blind little child — the slips, the falls, and the
hindrances to moral growth, were transmuted
into the circumstances of an epic poem. We
find in his Dream counterparts of Louise de
Keroualle and her Court of Whitehall rivals,
A Madam Bubble, Mrs. Lechery, Mrs. Bats-
eyes, and Mrs. Filth. Fashion travelled slowly
in those times — but it travelled. The titled
demi-reps who formed the cortdge of the Merry
Monarch had, we may rest assured, their copy-
ists in the low-lying social strata which the
tinker was only able to observe.

Among the phenomena of nervous diseases
there are none more curious than susceptibility to
" suggestion " and anesthesia or transfer of vital
force from one member of the body to another.



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PREFACE BY MRS. G. M. CRAWFORD. ix

In the one case a human being can be directed
by the expressed— or, what is more noteworthy,
the verbally unuttered — will of a strong-minded
person in full health. Hypnotic patients of
Doctor Charcot have afforded instances of this
strange susceptibility. In the lives of nations
we often see collective maladies similar to those
which trouble individuals. England, after
Cromwell's death, was like a machine going at
full speed, when it loses the fly-wheel. She fell
into a state of nervous unbalancement and then
moral inertia. There were times when, acting
under — as it is shown by the author of *' Louise
de Keroualle," — the " suggestions " of a French
faction, secretly organized in London to work
her ruin, she was as one demented. This
faction, was managed dexterously by French
ambassadors, and through Louise de Keroualle
it held the Crown. Indeed, all the disposing
and directing powers of the nation were exer-
cised according to orders or suggestions from
Versailles. England had no more volition of her
own than an hypnotic patient of Doctor Charcot
Her condition was closely watched and reported
on by the agents of Louis to that monarch, and
worked upon for the furtherance of a great



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z PREFACE BY MRS. G. M. CRAWFORD.

political scheme, which was a feasible one. This
plan of policy broke down chiefly because the
legitimate offspring of the Grand Monarch had
all bad constitutions, and died early. In con-
sequence, the French crown passed, at the begin-
ning of the eighteenth century, to a child of no
natural political ability and of vicious instincts,
who was placed under the tutelage of a volup-
tuary. England had under Charles become so
deranged in mind as to justify a French diplo-
matist writing to his King that if a thing was
irrational and absurd, it was the more certain for
that reason to succeed among the English. Yet
there was no lack of cleverness, and fine talents
cropped up in literature and science. But these
various gifts and capacities did not make for the
general weal. The aristocracy were profligate
and knavish, and, according to their degree,
their leading men as much the pensioners of
Louis as their monarch. In their orgies,
they kept their eyes v^^ell fixed on the main
chances of their class. Their wits were success-
fully employed in throwing off" the military
burdens with which their broad estates were
charged, and shifting them to the shoulders of
mercantile lacklands. So far as the middle and



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PREFACE BY MRS. G. M. CRAWFORD. xi

lower middle class went, there was a clear case
6f anesthesia, as shown in the transfer of re-
forming power and self-governing will to New
England.

When Louise de Keroualle was above the
crowned Queen at Whitehall, that New Eng-
land territory was the sparsely colonized fringe
of the wildest and biggest wilderness in the
world. Its colonists were "the people," to
whom by early associations and Puritan breed-
ing Cromwell belonged and gave his last
thoughts. God's mill was then grinding fast
and fine among them, because the supply of
grist was plentiful. But New England was
out of the sight and mind of old England,
which was supine and inert, when she was
not either carousing, attacked with nervous
convulsions, or a prey to wild panics, got up by
agents of the Prince of Orange and limbs of
the French faction. These scares are known
to us as the Papist and the Rye- House Plots.
Hitherto their causes have remained in semi-
obscurity. In " Louise de Keroualle " they are
brought into a light, full and clear to fierceness.

It has been a subject of anxiety to the
translator, whether he should tone down what



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xii PREFACE BY MRS. G. M. CRAWFORD.

might appear to many well-meaning persons
the too crisp scandals of the Court of White-
hall, which fill so large a place in the letters
of French ambassadors to their king and his
secretary for foreign affairs. Happily he has
been induced not to Bowdlerize. This book is
for the information of men and women who like
to see the facts of history divested of con-
ventional forms, and allowed to speak for them-
selves, in their own way. So 'the letter and the
spirit are adhered to of the documents to which
we owe this new vista on the wildly dissipated
court of Charles 11. Nothing is watered; nor
would morality be served by a watering process.
There are great lessons to be deduced from the
piquant gossip in which this volume abounds.
They would miss their mark were the trans-
lator to have toned them down. M. Forneron's
book came out in Paris a few years ago, when
the Duke of Richmond was in the enjoyment
of an hereditary annuity of ;^ 19,000 a year.
The last edition of the Financial Reform
Almanac states that his pension has been
commuted by a sum of nearly half a million
sterling. It is to be supposed that this
arrangement was hastened forward and quietly



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PREFACE BY MRS, G. M. CRAWFORD, xiii

got through because the publication of " Louise
de Keroualle " was expected in England, and a
foretaste of it given in the House of Commons
in a question put by Mr. Labouchere. Nobody
who has any share in bringing this book before
the English public harbours any sort of grudge
against the ducal family of Richmond. At the
same time, it is hard to conceive anything
more monstrous than the commutation of the
pension originally granted to Louise de
Keroualle. Its enormity must come home to
all who read in this volume the story of her
aims and efforts. We have to go back three
thousand years, to the Valley of Sorek, to find
a wanton who was a match for her in cold-
blooded astuteness. There is a good deal to
be forgiven to a Magdalen who loves much,
even though she has loved often. But the
woman who plans betrayal while bewitching
with her caresses, deserves outlawry. This was
what Louise de Keroualle did.

However, there was a sound spot in her.
Though gorged with English money (and
indeed Irish money too), and always expectant
of, and hungering for more, her allegiance to
her own king was never shaken. She was born.



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xiv PREFACE BY MRS. G. M. CRAWFORD.

lived, and died a Frenchwoman. Under all
circumstances, and in every case, she was a
leal and intelligent agent of Louis the Four-
teenth in London ; and she won every wage
he paid her, by consciously trying to bring
England into subjection to France. She all
but succeeded. Unfortunately for her and
the King of France, the means they took de-
feated their object Charles's vices being over-
stimulated and overdone, he died before his
time, and then a new chapter of history was
opened. Had he lived a few years more, the
work of reformation on which Cromwell set his
heart, and which after his time went on so well
across the Atlantic, must have been nipped in
the bud. It is in general idle to speculate
upon " what might have been." But it is easy
to say what, under given circumstances, could
not have been. Thus, if Louise de Keroualle
had remained effective queen at Whitehall
for a few years more, that Greater Britain,
wherein the Irish Celt has full play for his
tumultuous activities and the Anglo-Saxon all
the personal liberty he wants, must have fallen
into the limbo of the could- not- ha ve-beens.
It was a part of the French scheme to edge



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PREFACE BY MRS. G. M. CRAWFORD. xv

England out of North America. Seeing that
France held Canada and the Mississippi Valley,
was herself a great naval power, the greatest
existing military power, and had her hand on
Holland, the design was essentially practicable.
Its success must have relegated the Boston
Harbour tea fight to the could-not-have-beens ;
and we know that out of that event arose, not
only a fresh order of things in the New World,
but in the Old World too. It was the people
with whom Cromwell was in his last hour in
heart and thought, who settled around Boston
Harbour. The changes to which the tea fray
led in Europe brought about the suppression —
and without commutation ! — of the ducal fief of
Aubigny in France, which was granted to Louise
de Keroualle and her heirs, for her secret ser-
vices in England.' But the perpetual wages
which the Merry Monarch granted her out of



^ I am told, but have as yet been unable to obtain
documentary evidence, that the late Duke, in the reign of
Charles X., put in, as disestablished lord of Aubigny, a claim
for a slice of the ;^ 10,000,000 sterling indemnity voted to
the hnigrSs of the French aristocracy by " la Chambre in-
trouvable.**



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XVI PREFACE BY MRS. G. M. CRAWFORD

his lackland subjects' pockets, for the means
she took to render these services to her own
king, continue to gild the ducal coronet of
Richmond.

I wish it were otherwise, for the sake of the
readers who like to see, in novels and at the
close of the play, vice well whipped and vir-
tue triumphant. But history evolves itself in-
dependently of our likings or dislikings ; and
all that historians should do is to record, to
seek for missing links, to connect them, when
found, with the rest of the chain, and to leave
their narrative to point its own moral.



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CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

ENGLAND AND THE POLICY OF LOUIS XIV.

Indebtedness of France to Louise de Keroualle. —
French ingratitude for services rendered by her at
the Court of Whitehall. — Pedigree of Louise. —
Her early life. — Adventures at the French court
— Libels and lampoons. — ^Ambitious policy of
Louis the Fourteenth. — England the main ob-
stacle to its accomplishment. — Charles IL his
disposition and vices.— Henrietta Maria, her
intrigues and secret marriage.— Catherine of
Braganza, her ugliness and incapacity to become
a useful tool of France. — Her bridal humiliations.
— ^Her displeasure at Lady Castlemaine's supre-
macy at Whitehall — The beautiful Lady Castle-
maine. — Her truculence and triumph over the
Queen. — Presents sent her by the King of France.
— Inconstancy of Charles IL — The lovely and
vacuous Miss Stuart — Nelly Gwynn, her thea-
trical career, jests, and frolics.— Arlington and
Buckingham, their foreign intrigues. — Sir Sam-
uel Morland, his life and adventures. — French
noblemen at Whitehall — French diplomatists,
diplomatic wires and wire pullers. — Manoeuvres
to hold Charles. — ^The Italian astrologer, his
erroneous forecasts of the Newmarket races and
bis recall to France

xvh ^



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iviii CONTENTS.



CHAPTER II.
MADAME HENRIETTE.

PAGE

Buckingham's suspicions of Henriette, Duchess of
Orleans and Princess of England. — Influence of
the Duchess with Charles II. — Her intervention
in the French intrigues at Whitehall advised by
Colbert. — The Countess of Shrewsbury's relations
with Buckingham and complicity in Killegrew's
murder. — Charles's greed for French gold. — He
proposes a secret league to Louis XIV. — Its un-
English purport — Holland to be sacrificed. —
Hitch on the French side about Hamburg. — Hen-
rietta's dexterity. — Her visit to England decided
upon. — Choice by her of Louise de Keroualle to
attend her there. — Meeting of Charles and Hen-
riette. — Betrayal of England by her King. — Louis,
at Dunkirk, watches the progress of negocia-
tions at Dover. — Henriette returns to France. —
Her sudden death, and suspicion that she was
poisoned. — Louise de Keroualle sent to London
to console and manage Charles. — His susceptibility
to her charms. — Lady Castlemaine's jealousy. —
The Royal bastards. — Louise's adroitness. —
Public suspicions of her and the Cabal. — Her
dose game and affected coyness. • « 47

CHAPTER in.

ACCESSION OF LOUISE DE KEROUALLE.

Louise pursues her close game. — She remains coy. —
Uneasiness thereat of the French Embassy. —
Fury of the Duchess of Cleveland. — ^The King's



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CONTENTS, x«



fancy for Louise. — Her soft graces and refine-
ment. — Lady Arlington's plot to break down her
supposed scruples. — Euston Hall. — The King
goes to Euston from Newmarket — Louise fetched
to meet him. — Mock marriage of Charles and the
French beauty at Euston Hall. — France, through
her ambassador, congratulates the pseudo bride,
and turns her new position to diplomatic account
— Charles declares war on Holland. — Louis con-
quers Flanders. — Attempts to make Charles
declare himself a Catholic — ^The Duke of York.
— Intrigues to bring him to propose for the
Duchess of Guise 64

CHAPTER IV.
THE RIVALS.

The Dangers which beset Louise. — ^The Queen's
bad health. — The French favourite aims at the
Crown. — Catherine's Doctors and their prognos-
tics. — A Royal divorce mooted — The King's new
amours. — ^Their cost to the nation. — The Duchess
of Cleveland's four sons. — The three rival beauties.
— English taste for boisterous fun. — The Queen's
jollifications. — Her Majesty's adventure at Saffron
Walden fair. — Actresses under Charles II. — Mary
Davies. — Louise holding ground against Court
and people. — Her tact— Refuses to uige the
Conversion of Charles. — Her match-making
scheme for the Duke of York. — His uxorious-
ness. — He stands out for a pretty wife. — ^A
princess of Wurtemburg offered. — Louise gets
her set aside. — The Duke of York marries
Mary Beatrice of Este. — Louise enters the



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CONTENTS,



peerage as Baroness of Peterfield, Countess
of Famham, Duchess of Pendennis, and
Duchess of Portsmouth. She aspires to a French
Duchy. — Obstacles to her ambition. — Charles II.
solicits for her the Ducal fief of Aubigny which
she desires. — Its Royal Stuart associations. —
French nobles at Whitehall. — Duras created Earl
of Feversham. — The Frenchmen of Buckingham's
set —Saint Evremond. — The Marquis de Sessac.
— His gambling gains. — Buckingham a secret
service agent of France. — His plan to buy M.P.'s
for Louis. — De Ruvigny's mission, his honour-
able life. — His Protestantism and relationship to
the Russells. — His secret mission to London. —
Is instructed to purchase King and Parliament
— France stretches her Frontiers. —Louis feels
England slipping from him. — Alarm given to
France by the Comte D*Estrades.- -Tide of
public hatred turning against Roman Catholicism
and France. — Charles is given a bribe of eight
millions of francs. — Buckingham curries popular
favour, reforms his life and goes to church. —
Peace with HoUand 79

CHAPTER V.
THE DUCHESS OF PORTSMOUTH'S FIRST CHECK.

Plain Speech the rule at the polished Court of Ver-
sailles. — Prudish niceness unknown there. — The
sins of Charles and Louise find them out —
Ruvigny's letters about Charles. — Louise seeks
a cure at Tunbridge Wells. — Derision of the
Marchioness of Worcester. — The Household



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CONlhNTS.



guard escorts Louise from the Wells to Windsor.
— The King's doctor treats her. — Henriette her
sister comes to England and marries Lord Pem-
broke. — Louise still solicits a French Duchy. —
Nell Gwynn derides her for her oft vaunted high
connections. — ^Versailles finds matter for amuse-
ment in her progress at Whitehall. — Madame de
S^vign^'s jests. — Her sketch of Nell Gwynn. —
Queen Catherine's card table. — Hierarchy of the
King's Seraglio. — Louise's son created Duke of
Richmond. — Maternal tricks to secure him pre-
cedence over the King's other progeny. — Their
success. — ^The Dukes of Grafton and St. Albans. —
A Scotch Countess named governess to Louise's
son. — Pensions and emoluments granted to the
Duchesses of the Seraglio and to their heirs. —
The fair favourites fleece the exchequer. — The
French favourite's passion for gaming. — Her
sumptuous lodgings a cause of envy. — ^The con-
tempt in which the English held her. — Advent
of the Duchess Mazarin ..... 107

CHAPTER VL

THE DUCHESS MAZARIN.

Close of a great era. — The Congress of Nimeguen.
— Danby gained for Louis by Louise. — French
subsidy of two millions of francs for Charles.


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