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MEMOIRS OF
MARSHAL DUKE DE RICHELIEU

BY

M. F. BARR1ERE



(Sburfiers and
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Court '>/" l : ranee
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The Regent and His Mother



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Courtiers and Favourites
of Royalty

^Memoirs of the Court of France
With Contemporary and CModern Illustrations

Collected from the
French Rational ^Archives

BY ,

LEON VALLEE

LIBRARIAN AT THE BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE



{Memoirs

of
'Duke dc l\ichelieu

IN THREE VOLUMES
VOL. I



Paris

Socicte des 'Bibliophiles

New York

{Merrill & 'Baker




EDITION <DU PETIT TRIANON

Limited to One Thousand Sets

No. - 3-



ight. 1903. by Merrill & Bake



THE DUKE DE RICHELIEU.

ARMAND DE VIGNEROD DU PLESSIS, Duke de Richelieu
and Fronsac, is one of the most remarkable figures of the
eighteenth century. Grand-nephew of the celebrated
cardinal, he is born prematurely at Paris, March 13, 1696.
Such are his weakness and constitutional debility that, to
save his life, he has to be reared in a box of cotton ! This
little sickly, puling creature is nevertheless to astonish the
world, and will not die till the age of ninety-two, after
having achieved a highly active and very stormy career.

His father marries him against his will, at fourteen, to
Mademoiselle de Noailles ; then straightway presents him
at Versailles and at Marly, where the ladies of the court
nickname him the little doll, and begin to dote on him.
But the outbreaks of the young duke soon compel the
father to request of the King his son's imprisonment in the
Bastille. There, during fourteen months, Richelieu has
for his solitary diversion the daily visits of his young wife
and the lessons of the learned Abbe" de Saint-Remy. He
takes the instruction, but he accords his wife none of the
intimate privacies she has the right to, and which she tries
vainly to obtain from him.

When war breaks out, Richelieu asks to serve in the
Musketeers, and goes through the campaign in Flanders
with Marshal de Vi liars, who, to reward him for his fine



THE DUKE DE RICHELIEU.



conduct, commissions him with carrying to the King the
news of the army's success.

During his sojourn at the court, Richelieu has a public
duel with the Marquis de Gac, son of Marshal de
Matignon ; for the second time he is shut up in the
Bastille, where he makes close acquaintance with the
young Arouet. Happily his detention is short; he is set
at liberty.

But there soon occurs the conspiracy of the Count de
Cellamare, which has for its aim the transfer of the regency
of France to Philip V., King of Spain. Richelieu allows
himself to be drawn into the plot, which is unluckily dis-
covered. Cardinal Dubois and the Regent for the third
time incarcerate the duke in the Bastille, and give rigorous
orders concerning him. A little later, nevertheless, they
release him, and content themselves with exiling him to
Conflans, at the Duke of Noailles', his uncle.

The end of the regency is marked by a great financial
event. Law has launched his famous System ! All Paris
is a prey to stock-jobbing; and when the complications
arrive that lead to the crash of the System, ruin strikes
almost the entire population. Like the rest, Richelieu
has gambled, has speculated; but by an exception most
fortunate for him, he escapes the general shipwreck, and
is one of the rare individuals whom the System profits
by a very great fortune.

Now appointed ambassador to Vienna, he sets out for
Austria, where he astonishes the people by his magnifi-
cence. He spends his immense fortune in princely fashion.
He cultivates intimate relations with the richest and most
brilliant noblemen of Austria. He conquers the court by



THE DUKE DE RICHELIEU.

the elegance of his manners and the resources of his wit.
He gains the friendship of the Emperor Charles VI., and
finally decides Austria to form an alliance with France.

When the War of the Polish Succession begins, Richelieu
at once resumes military life, and contributes to the win-
ning of the battle of Fontenoy. He next marches to
deliver Genoa, besieged by the English. His conduct is
so brilliant that Louis XV. confers on the duke the baton
of marshal, while the senate of the Genoese Republic
votes him, with the sum of a million crowns, the erection
of a statue in one of the squares of Genoa, and inscribes
his name in the Golden Book of the Republic. Then
placed in charge of the expedition to Minorca, he descends
on the island, outstrips the English, and in spite of their
desperate efforts, seizes Port Mahon. Finally, in the
German campaign, he makes himself master of Hanover,
which he ravages and ruins from end to end.

We have just viewed Richelieu as a good diplomatist
and a fortunate soldier. These are enough for his glory.
The literary career also tempts the duke, who at twenty-
four profits by the death of Dangeau to force the doors of
the French Academy. He hardly knows how to spell, but
he has wit, and he is the grand-nephew of the founder of
the illustrious society; which, seeing in him a powerful
protector rather than a brother member, votes in his
favor.

In the domestic politics of the kingdom, Richelieu also
plays one of the principal parts; for he is everywhere
mixed up with the affairs of the country. Called to the
Royal Council, he always votes against anti-religious inno-
vations ; he always defends the Church, its traditions and



THE DUKE DE RICHELIEU.

its beliefs. His acts sometimes arouse violent protests
among those under his jurisdiction; especially when, as
governor of Guyenne, he commits such monstrous abuses
of power that the Parliament of Bordeaux prints and posts
up a decree which orders the officers of bailiwicks and
seneschalships to address themselves to their attorney-
general, and forbids their obeying the governor's in-
junctions. A martinet to the utmost, used to making
everything bend before his will or his good pleasure,
Richelieu flies into a terrible anger at this, and swears that
he will destroy the parliaments, those assemblies which
dare to address remonstrances to the King, refuse to
authorize the subsidies demanded, and issue decrees
against the high functionaries of the state ! In his efforts
the duke is seconded by Madame Du Barri, by D'Aiguillon,
by Maupeou. He finally succeeds in extracting from
Louis XV. the edict which crushes the parliaments. His
joy is extreme, and he experiences one of the greatest
satisfactions of his life the day when he is charged with
bearing and reading the lettre de cachet which dissolves the
Paris Court of Aids. He penetrates into the session hall ;
and when the president, M. de Malesherbes, protests
against his action, the duke draws his sword and cries,
" My orders are my soldiers ! " then calls in his black
musketeers and compels the councillors to leave.

But Richelieu's joy is of short duration, for events hurry
forward. Louis XV. dies, and with him disappears the
work of Maupeou and Richelieu. Louis XVI., the new
sovereign, is the enemy of the corruption of the old court.
He wishes reforms, and he recalls the parliaments, which,
now grown more powerful than ever, are to open the



THE DUKE DE RICHELIEU.

revolutionary era. Richelieu dies August 8, 1788, the
day of the convocation of the Assembly of Notables at
Versailles, that is to say, just soon enough not to assist
in person at the disappearance of royalty and of the
governmental principles he has served during his entire
existence.

In the life of the marshal there is one very characteristic
side of which we have not yet spoken. We know that
the eighteenth century is distinguished by the lightness of
its morals, that woman then played one of the most con-
siderable parts in the history of France, and that the
scandal of the most shameful connections checked neither
princes, nor the upper clergy, nor kings. In the midst of
this brazen riot, Richelieu, from his first youth to his last
year, appears as the most tireless soldier of love. This
Celadon, who lived under three reigns, makes it a title of
glory to have married three wives. The first, Mademoiselle
de Noailles, dies young without having obtained, despite
her advances, those intimate satisfactions of which her
fickle spouse is so prodigal for other women. Richelieu
marries at a second wedding Mademoiselle de Guise, whom
he loves, but to whom he remains faithful hardly six
months. And when the marshal, at eighty-four, marries
for the third time, with Madame Roth, the widow of an
Irish colonel, age has not calmed the passions of the old
duke, and the third consort quickly bears her share of the
conjugal infidelities. Nevertheless, in spite of their too
well justified griefs, these three wives preserve for their
husband a love which is never interrupted ; and like their
rivals, the irregular companions, they manage to content
themselves with the small share of affection which their



THE DUKE DE RICHELIEU.

ford and master deigns to accord them ! How great was
the power of enticement of the latter, all Paris had the
evident proof under its eyes during the duke's captivity;
for at the hour when Richelieu was authorized to take the
air on the height of the Bastille rampart, there was seen
every day the throng of his mistresses, who, in the hope of
obtaining a glimpse of him and addressing him some signs
of affection, promenaded far and wide at the base of the
sad fortress! None of his contemporaries obtained so
much success with the weaker sex ; no one counted more
love conquests, and Richelieu took the tender victims in-
differently in all ranks of society, as witnessed by these
lines of Voltaire:

"Wearied awhile of musket fire,
Forgetting Germany entire,
You will admit, as o'er-true tale,
The fleeting favors you display
Fall on the first that comes your way,
Modest or prude, or fair and frail,
The wise or silly, haughty, soft,

Whoever falls within your lines;
But if you still retain a trace
Of pity for your neighbor's case,
Spare, on the road you walk so oft,

The beauty that my heart enshrines. 1 *

LEON VALLEB.



Table of Contents.



CHAPTER I.

From birth to seven months of age. A pretty attendant. Spon-
sors. Admitted to the court at fourteen years of age. Con-
quest of a person of high rank. Marriage to Mile, de
Noailles. First sojourn in the Bastille. His wife vainly
endeavors to reconcile him there. He leaves the Bastille and
departs for the army of Flanders. Siege of Marchiennes.
A beautiful Italian woman offered as a prize to the conquer-
ors. Siege of Fribourg. Details. Flattering commission
with which the Duke of Fronsac is charged. Treaty of
Utrecht. ....... i

CHAPTER II

The Duke of Orleans. His fickle propensities, and numerous
mistresses. Sorcery : How Richelieu discovered it. Rival-
ries between a mother and her daughter. Diamond ear-
rings. . . . . . . . 2 5

CHAPTER III.

Death of Louis XIV. Various events. Joy of the people.
Onions scattered along the route of the funeral pro-
cession. . . . . . . 45

CHAPTER IV.

The intrigues that marked the commencement of the regency.

How the Duke of Orleans obtained it. . . . . 51

CHAPTER V.

The Abb6 de Saint-Pierre. The pretext under which he was ex-
cluded from the French Academy. His books poorly writ-
ten ; his morals not above reproach. . . .61



ii TABLE OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VI. *

The general favor with which the administration of the regent
was received at first. The roues. The quick repartee of a
commissary of police to the brother of Louis XIV. The
society and entertainments frequented by the regent. The
Duchess of Orleans, his wife : the Duchess de Berri, his
daughter. An adventure at the Luxembourg. The house
of Conde. Sojourn and fetes at Sceaux. . . .68

CHAPTER VII.

The regent and Mme. de Berri, his daughter, at the opera.
Masked balls given there. Passion of Mile, de Charolais for
Richelieu. Rendezvous that the princesses gave. Nocturnal
fetes at the home of -the Count de Gace. His duel with
Richelieu, who is imprisoned in the Bastille for the second
time. Mile, de Charolais visits him there. . . .84

CHAPTER VIII.

Struggle of parliament against the nobility. Memoirs of same.
Open war between the legitimate and legitimated princes.
Other differences between members of the high nobility and
the peers. The decree of the States-General pronounced. . 94

CHAPTER IX.

Jansenism at the court of the regent. Mile, of Orleans, Abbess
de Chelles. Her life as an artist at Savant and as a woman
of the world under the veil. Her interview in the guise of a
convert with the Cardinal Bissy. The princesses, daughters
of the regent. Morals of the court. Rivalries between the
prince and the Duke de Richelieu. Two women fight a duel
on account of him. ..... 102

CHAPTER X.

The man with the iron mask. Different conjectures. What

Richelieu knew of him. . . . . .119

CHAPTER XI.

The conspiracy of Cellamare. Richelieu imprisoned in the Bas-
tille for the third time, The price of his freedom. . ,152



TABLE OF CONTENTS. Ill

CHAPTER XII.

Richelieu at Modena, under the guise of a book-colporteur. His
interviews with the duchess. He is surprised by the duke,
but throws him off the scent. His return to Paris. Recep-
tion and dress at the French Academy. Details of gallan-
try. . . . . . . . .164

CHAPTER XIII.

D'Argenson was made keeper of the seals through the influence
of Dubois and of the roues. His birth. He was at first lieu-
tenant of police. Indispensable to Mme.de Maintenon he is
feared in Paris. Leads the Duke of Orleans from that time
on. His tastes for convent life. Relations between him
and Richelieu who, in the guise of a nun, enters the Abbey
of Tresnel. The pleasant existence that D'Argenson enjoys
there. ........ 175

CHAPTER XIV.

Dubois wishes to become cardinal. Tencin charged with the
commission of negotiating with the Court of Rome in his be-
half. The promise that he exacts from Cardinal Conti before
nominating him pope. The regent kicks Dubois. He be-
comes cardinal. His reception in the council. The haugh-
tiness and insolence with which Marshal de Villeroy treats
Dubois in his own home. The exile of Villeroy. . .190

CHAPTER XV.

The licentious festivals mentioned by Mile. Tencin, praised by
Dubois, and celebrated in the presence of the regent at Saint-
Cloud. . . . . . . . .211

CHAPTER XVI.

Picture of the ministry drawn by the regent himself, after the re-
gency. . . . . . . . .217

CHAPTER XVII.
Greek orgies beneath the windows of Louis XV. at Versailles. 222



IV TABLE OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XVIII.

How the police made use of prostitution to govern the capitol
during the regency. Adventures of the celebrated Fillon.
An experience of a president's wife. . . . 226

CHAPTER XIX.

Death of Dubois. Strange peculiarities. The Duke of Orleans

prime minister. ..... . 232

CHAPTER XX.

Portrait and death of the Duke of Orleans. Monsieur le Due,

Prince de Conde" declared prime minister. . . . 239

CHAPTER XXI.

The results of the Spanish queen's ambiHon to rule in France.
Abdication of Phillip V. Reign of Louis I., his son. The
unseemly conduct of the daughter of the regent, Queen of
Spain. Phillip V. reascends the throne. . . . 243

CHAPTER XXII.

The ministry of Monsieur le Due, of the House of Conde". Char-
acter of the prime minister. Customs of the time and anec-
dotes of the court. ...... 249

CHAPTER XXIII.

Rivalry between the Houses of Orleans and Conde". Continua-
tion of the picture of public morals. .... 253

CHAPTER XXIV.

The sequel of the rivalry of the Houses of Orleans and Conde".

Marriage of the Duke of Orleans. .... 256

CHAPTER XXV.

Richelieu ambassador to Vienna. He was first taken for a spy.
He challenges Riperda, Spanish Ambassador. His useful
and gallant conduct towards the Countess Badioni, Mistress
of Prince Eugene. ...... 261



TABLE OF CONTENTS. V

CHAPTER XXVI.

Public reception of Richelieu in Vienna. Adventure of the sleighs
with the Princess Lichtenstein. The sequel of the adven-
ture. He causes the cardinal's cap to be given to the Bishop
of Frejus. He is made chevalier of the order of the Holy
Ghost before being eligible on account of age. He concludes
his negotiations and returns to Paris. . . . 270

CHAPTER XXVII.

The dismissal of the Infanta. How Mile, de Vermandois lost the
crown. Louis XV. married to the daughter of Stanislaus.
The irritation of Spain. ..... 290

CHAPTER XXVIII.

The house of the queen is prepared. Different word-paintings.
The young queen is astonished at the presents that France
makes her. ....... 299

CHAPTER XXIX.

Attempt of the queen and M. le Due to get rid of Fleury.
Triumph of the prelate. Character of the Duke de Morte-
mart. Facts about the court. About Mme. de Prie and M.
le Due. . . ..... 301

CHAPTER XXX.

Exile of M. le Due, prime minister, and of Mme. de Prie. Char-
acter of the king and Fleury. .... 320

CHAPTER XXXI.

Character of M. le Due. How the women De Prie, Duvernay,

and Dodun deceived the prince. .... 330

CHAPTER XXXII.

Picture of France at the beginning of Fleury's ministry. The
court. The king. The queen. Beauty of the king, his
timidity in the presence of women. Character and express-
ions of the queen. ...... 338



VI TABLE OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXXIII.
Curious details about the princes and princesses. . . . 348

CHAPTER XXXIV.

Portrait of Cardinal de Fleury. His character. . . . 355

CHAPTER XXXV.

Courtiers disgraced and the reasons therefore. M. le Due does
honor to his retirement. The Court of Madrid. An illness
of Louis XV. ....... 361

CHAPTER XXXVI.

Polet confessor of Fleury. Barjac, his valet-de-chambre. His
conduct toward the nobles who demeaned themselves to
flatter him. . . . . . . 37 1



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME I



THE REGENT AND HIS MOTHER. Frontispiece.

AUTOGRAPH OF THE DUKE DE RICHELIEU. PAO ,

THE DUKE or ANJOU DECLARED KING OF SPAIN 36

LOUIS XIV BLESSING HIS GRANDSON ........ 46

MARRIAGE OF MADAME DE MAINTENON AND Louis XIV .... 48

THE ROYAL PALACB AT MEUDON 76

DUKE DE RICHELIEU VISITED IN PRISON BY THE PRINCESSES ... 92

THE MAN WITH THE IRON MASK ........ 120

THE REGENT NAMING CARDINAL DUBOIS PRIME MINISTER . . . 190

PORTRAIT OF THE YOUNG Louis XV EXHIBITED TO THE ROYAL FAMILY 342

THE POWER BEHIND THB THBONB 372



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Memoirs of the Duke de Richelieu.



CHAPTER I.

From birth to seven months of age. A pretty attendant. Sponsors.
Admitted to the court at fourteen years of age. Conquest of a
person of high rank. Marriage to Mile, de Noailles. First
sojourn in the Bastille. His wife vainly endeavors to reconcile
him there. He leaves the Bastille and departs for the army of
Flanders. Siege of Marchiennes. A beautiful Italian woman
offered as a prize to the conquerors. Siege of Fribourg. De-
tails. Flattering commission with which the Duke of Fronsac is
charged. Treaty of Utrecht.

WHEN we recall the kind of life he led and his long
career, it is difficult to realize that the Marshal de
Richelieu, privately baptized the I3th of March, 1696,
was born after pregnancy of seven months. It is to
nature that he owed his robust, and at the same time,
delicate constitution, which long resisted the assaults of
time and passions which would quickly have destroyed
an ordinary temperament. From the very day of his
birth he struggled against death and was so delicate that
he had to be enveloped and protected in a box of cotton.
Believing that new born babes, when they are as feeble
as was the case with him, have need only of a benign
warmth, his father ordered the doctors away from the
frail body, commanding them to allow nature to take



2 MEMOIRS OF THE DUKE DE RICHELIEU.

its course. And it was to nature alone that he owed his
existence.

For the little duke gained new strength from day to day
and gradually drove away the apprehensions which his un-
timely birth and the ill-health of his mother had created,
though a convulsion which seized him one day nearly
caused his death. On this occasion he was actually
abandoned for dead, but an unexpected event saved him.
A female attendant whom curiosity had attracted to the
vicinity of the child perceived a change in what was
thought to be the corpse ; it commenced to give some
slight signs of life ; she called for help ; they returned to
the little duke who had been left for dead and he was
very soon livelier than ever. From this time on he
never was sick. This crisis appears to have brought
about an advantageous change in his constitution ; he
became very much stronger and in a few months his
health became so rugged as to prevent any further fears
for him. It is fitting that a man who became so re-
nowned in after years should have had something
singular in the history of his infancy. 1

He was baptized in 1699, being held over the baptismal
font by the king and Mme. the Duchess de Bourgogne.

Mme. de Maintenon, who was under certain obliga-
tions to the Duke de Richelieu and who, being at that
time Mme. Scarren, visited him frequently a circum-



1 They say that the female attendant was very pretty and in after years
the marshal was very often rallied about this circumstance ; this seemed
to foreshadow the power which beauty would have over him and he never
denied it. It is not at all surprising that he passed his whole life in per-
forming acts of homage to beauty.



MEMOIRS OF THE DUKE DE RICHELIEU. 3

stance which excited considerable unfavorable comment
at the time was very well pleased at being able to serve
the son of her former protector. The baptism was
celebrated with pomp. The child already gave promise
of intelligence and beauty.

His early education was quite neglected ; his father,
who was but slightly educated and who had always
given himself over to his own pleasures, could not devote
attention to his instruction ; and it was intrusted with-
out surveillance to the care of a tutor who did not have
the requisite qualities of an instructor. Moreover the
child was willful and preferred play rather than study,
a preference in which he was seconded by his tutor,
who, wishing to retain his position, continually boasted
of the progress of his pupil, in spite of the fact that he
really was very backward.

Presented at the Court of Louis XIV., in 1710, he had
an opportunity of enjoying a few of the dazzling days
that marked the end of that great king, and of learning
the professions of war under his most skillful generals.
Mme. de Maintenon continued to regard him as her
protege, even when he appeared least to merit her
affection. Several letters of Mme. de Maintenon ad-
dressed to the old Duke de Richelieu acquaint us with
the exact position of the young Duke de Fronsac at
the Court of Louis XIV. at this time. He had only
been presented a few months when Mme. de Maintenon
wrote to his father, who rarely visited Versailles, inform-
ing him how well the young man had succeeded. " I
am delighted, my dear duke," she wrote to him, " that I



4 MEMOIRS OF THE DUKE DE RICHELIEU.

am able to say to you that the Duke de Fronsac was
remarkably successful at Marly. No young man ever
entered into society under more pleasant circumstances ;
he pleased the king and the whole court ; whatever he
does he does well ; he dances very well ; he plays hon-
estly ; he rides a horse perfectly ; he is polite ; he is not
at all bashful ; nor is he forward. On the contrary he
is very respectful ; he jests and converses fluently ; in
fine there is nothing wanting in him, and I never have
heard any untoward comments made concerning him. I
realize on this occasion my relation to you, for I have an
extreme pleasure in hearing him praised and in being
able to bear such favorable testimony of him. You will
believe, sir, that this is most sincere, for you know that
I am not given to flattery. Mme. the Duchess de Bour-
gogne has paid your son great attention. Yesterday I
sent for him to visit me and I am greatly affected by
what I saw. I spoke to him of his marriage and of Mile.
de Noailles. Both in regard to the prospective event
and in regard to her personality, he replied with candor
far beyond what I could have expected. He is a ver-
itable prodigy. Enjoy this happiness, my dear duke,
and believe me, no one wishes you happiness as much
as I."

As a matter of fact it was rumored in the court that
the young Fronsac was receiving marked attentions from
the Duchess de Bourgogne. There were also rumors



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