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Parliament, or the injustice of the Prime Minister".

Upon receipt of this letter, Mazarin sent to the
troops of Turenne, ordering them no longer to ac-
knowledge him as their oreneral, and, in order to
insure their loyalty, he sent 3,000 crowns to be dis-
tributed among them, with a promise that their pay,
which was six months in arrear, should be immediately
given to them. Turenne, "after divesting himself of


the generalship . . . retired with fifteen or twenty of
his friends into Holland, to reside there till the troubles
should be pacified ". Madame de Motteville has some-
thing to say concerning this affair, which probably
ought to be taken cum grano sails. She declares that,
when Turenne found himself deserted by his troops,
he was "confounded and repentant"; that Conde re-
ceived a letter from him in which, "unhappy and
humiliated, he asked pardon for his fault, and entreated
the Prince to continue his protection and to obtain
from the Minister [Mazarin] forgiveness and absolution
for his crime ". Such action sounds very unlike what
one would expect from Turenne, and the story may
have been mere Court gossip.

Not very long after Turenne had gone to Holland,
the members of the Fronde, chiefly owing to the suc-
cesses of the Government troops under Conde, became
anxious for peace, for which the Government was little
less desirous. By the treaty which followed, the
cardinal and the Parliament retained their power, the
former over the Court, the latter over the people.
The Duke of Bouillon was to receive an equivalent
for the sovereignty of Sedan, and both he and Turenne,
for their descendants as well as for themselves, received
the rank of princes descended from a sovereign house.
Turenne then returned to Paris, and met with a most
gracious reception at Court.

Conde was now a personage of very great import-
ance and influence, not only as a distinguished general,
but also as a grandee ; for he had by this time become

i649 ^T. 38] CONDE AND MAZARIN 133

Prince of Conde, owing to the recent death of his
father — a very different man from the son. " Besides
the bad reputation he [the father] had acquired in his
youth, he was avaricious and unlucky in war. That
is the mildest term one can use about a Prince said
not to be valiant." Moreover, "he was in no wise
agreeable to look upon" (De Motteville, vol. i., chap,
ix,). Now to Cond6 was the merit due of bringing the
Fronde into submission, if to submission on very liberal
terms, and he thought and demanded that his merit
should be suitably rewarded. His own and Mazarin's
estimates of that merit and its suitable rewards varied
greatly, and considerable friction between them was the

At last Conde, whose temper was none of the
longest, insulted Mazarin in public. Mazarin com-
pletely controlled his own resentment, which for that
reason increased in intensity. The denunciations of
Mazarin by the disappointed Cond^, both in private and
in public, became as virulent as had been those of the
Fronde. In his rage against Mazarin, Conde sought
the friendship of the conspirators in the late or, as it
was subsequently called, the Old Fronde, by no means
always with success. For several months, during the
second half of 1649, Conde on one side and Mazarin
on the other, both having enlisted several members of
the Old Fronde to their separate interests, intrigued and
plotted for each other's ruin. Presently they had an
open quarrel, and a climax was reached in January, 1650,
when Mazarin arrested Cond^, his brother, the IVince


of Conti, and the Duke of Longijeville, the two latter
being princes who had taken an active part in the Old
Fronde ; and he sent all three as prisoners to the castle
of Vincennes.^ This action on the part of Mazarin,
instead of ending his troubles, increased them ; for it
made a split in the royal family and the nobility of
France, and eventually brought to birth a New Fronde
far more powerful than the old.

The New Fronde was anything rather than a re-
volutionary mob. It included the next heir to the
throne, Gaston, Duke of Orleans, uncle to the King,
Louis, Prince of Conde, who was also of the blood
royal, his brother, the Prince of Conti, and Henry of
Orleans, Duke of Longueville, a descendant of the
famous Bastard of Orleans who had fought by the side
of Joan of Arc. Next to the princes of the legitimate
blood royal, the Duke of Longueville was the most
powerful personage in France, and he was married to a
sister of the Prince of Conde. Three of these four
great men were now in prison ; but the larger propor-
tion of the princes and nobles of France advocated their

^ Dr. Guy Patin wrote : " Of the three princes who are prisoners,
M. de Longueville is very melancholy and never utters a word ;
M. le Prince de Conti weeps and hardly leaves his bed; M. le
Prince de Cond^ sings, hears Mass in the morning, reads Italian
books, dines and plays at battledore and shuttlecock. A few days
ago, M. le Prince de Conti entreated some one to bring him a work
entitled The Imitation of Christ, that he might console himself by
reading it. The Prince de Cond^ exclaimed, 'And for me,
Sir, I entreat you to send me the Imitation of M. de Beaufort, so
that I may be able to escape from hence, as he did two years ago ' "
{_Life of Condi, by Lord Mahon (1845), P- 95)-

i65o ^T. 39] THE NEW FRONDE 135

cause, and chose to consider the young King and the
Queen- Mother as practically prisoners in the hands of
the detested Italian, Mazarin. Among other noble
adherents to the Fronde, of whom we shall hear again,
were the Duke of Beaufort, the Duke of Nemours, and
the Due de la Rochefoucauld, the author of the cele-
brated Maxims. In addition to these, was the Duke
of Lorraine, except when he thought it more to his
interest to take, or to pretend to take, the other side.
But the Fronde, in its fresh phase, was not made
up only of princes and dukes ; for duchesses and
princesses played almost as important a part in it.
In an earlier chapter it was observed that an insignifi-
cant incident had led to a split among the ladies of the
Court, and that this split subsequently proved a factor
of some force in civil wars. It is true that, at the
point which we have now reached, some of the partisans
had changed sides ; that the lady who had begun the
quarrel on one side was now the leader on the other,
and that the great ladies changed from one faction to
another just as their convenience, their tempers, or
their love-affairs happened to prompt them ; but the
fact remained that ever since the apparently ridiculous
thin end of the wedge of discord had been jestingly
inserted into the highest society of F" ranee, the ladies
of the blood royal, accompanied by their satellites, both
male and female, had been cleft into two parties, one
siding with the Queen and the cardinal, the other with
anything or anybody, whether Fronde, hostile nation,
or aught else that happened to be opposed to the


Queen and cardinal. The inner circle of either party
usually met at the house of one of its duchesses ; and
at least one important political meeting was held at the
bedside of a princess shortly after the birth of one of
her children.

Ramsay shall tell us what Turenne did under the
new conditions. "Touched with the misfortunes of
Conde, persuaded that in preventing the sacrifice of a
hero of the blood of France, he should do service to
his country ; prepossessed with the false notion that
war might be made against the cardinal without fight-
ing against the King, and with several other maxims
which were authorised at that time, upon the specious
pretence of the public good, he gave way to the im-
pulses of his generous nature, and resolved to set the
princes at liberty, whatever might be the consequence.
His motives were the less to be suspected, as Conde,
so far from courting his friendship, before his imprison-
ment, had very much neglected it, and had concealed
from him all his secret machinations against the Court.
The viscount judged that it would be mean in him to
abandon the prince, and fancying himself no more
than a generous friend, became an undutiful subject."

That astute Frondeur, the coadjutor-bishop, after-
wards Cardinal de Retz, was far less certain than
Ramsay as to the motives of Turenne in joining his
party. In a letter^ to a friend he says: I own "that
to this day I am at a loss about the motives that put
him upon acting in that manner ". Probably the truth
^ Memoirs of De Retz, vol. i., p. 215.

i65o ^T. 39] CONSPIRACY 137

is that Turenne persuaded himself, as did other Fron-
deurs who were attached to the Queen and the young
King, that the then present dispute was a personal
quarrel between Conde and Mazarin, to which the
King and Queen were neutral.

Turenne's great act of conspiracy took place at
Stenay, a town belonging to Conde, situated on the
river Meuse, a dozen miles from the present frontier
of Belgium. At that time it was an important fortress ;
but four years afterwards Louis XIV. had its fortifica-
tions destroyed. Turenne's co-conspirators, at that
place, were the Archduke Leopold, a brother of the
Emperor Ferdinand III., and Madame de Longueville,
a lady who is not unlikely to have been attractive to
Turenne, if the description of her, by her contemporary,
Madame de Motteville, is not exaggerated. Her
beauty, she says, was more in her colouring than her
features. "Her eyes were not large but fine, soft, and
their blue was beautiful — it was like that of the tur-
quoise. Poets could only compare to lilies and roses
the beautiful carnation of her complexion ; and her fair
and sunny hair, accompanying so many other beauties,
made her less resemble woman than angel, according
as our weak nature has pictured one to our minds."

In the Bibliotheque Nationale of France (vol. 3855)
may be found nineteen folios consisting of a " Traite en
original de Madame de Longueville et du Marechal de
Turenne avec Monsieur I'Archiduc Leopold. Stenay.
30 Avril, 1650." This was practically an alliance for
a war against the King of France, by which it was


agreed that Spain should put 3,000 infantry and 2,000
cavalry under the command of Turenne. Historians
have been divided in opinion upon the question whether
Turenne was induced to join in this treaty by Madame
de Longueville.

It is a question, again, whether Turenne was in
love with her. Very likely he may have been, and
without knowing it ; for his contemporary, St. Evre-
mond, says: " M. de Turenne was not incapable of
love : his nature was not of that severe and rugged kind
which no sentiments of tenderness can soften : he even
loved more than he thought he did, concealing as much
as possible from himself a passion which others might
easily discover ".

Several grreat ladies, as we have seen, were intrigu-
ing in politics at the time of the wars of the Fronde :
Madame de Bouillon, Madame de Montbazon, Madame
de Chevreuse and her two daughters. Mademoiselle
de Chevreuse and the Princess Palatine ; but none of
them are generally supposed to have been more in-
triguing or more active than Madame de Longueville.

It is to be hoped that there is more scandal than
truth in something about Turenne which Des Maizeaux
says, in the notes to his edition of Bayle's Dictionary
(iii., 265); but it shall be given so that readers may
judge for themselves. Some of the intriguing ladies,
he states, were guilty of immoralities which are "almost
unavoidable to those women who concern themselves
with civil wars. They want the confidence of the party-
leaders; it is necessary that those gentlemen should


assist them with their swords and politics; but they
do nothing gratis, and they know how to improve the
opportunity. Such is the condition of a lady who
desires to have the direction of state-revolutions. It
is said that the Marshal de Turenne, though a very
wise man, could not resist the impetuosity of the
torrent, and required also such personal services from
the ladies durino- the civil war. I thouo^ht it micrht be
the first and the last time he was talked of on account
of his gallantry ; but I have been informed by a person,
who knew it well, that he frequently used that trade."

De Retz does not seem to have esteemed either the
activity or the powers of intrigue possessed by Madame
de Longueville quite so highly as did other people.
Fully admitting her "great store of wit," he says:
"Her capacity, which has not been helped by her
laziness, could never reach so far as affairs. . . . She
had a languishing air, which touched the heart more
than the vivacity of women more beautiful than she
was." And he states that her grallantries ranked first
in her mind, her politics only second. As to Turenne,
the woman who De Retz thought had most power over
his mind and actions was his sister, "an old maid,"
whom Madame de Bouillon "hated entirely" and used
to call "Turenne's governess".

If Turenne was ever in love with Madame de
Longueville, any affection she may have felt for him
must have been very temporary ; for the chief object
of her passion was the Due de la Rochefoucauld, If
anything is wanting in the portrait which he has given


us of himself in his Maxims, the required touches have
been added by De Retz. "He never was fit for any
manner of affairs, and I cannot tell why, for he had
qualities which would have supplied, in any other, those
which he wanted. ... He never was fit for war,
though an excellent soldier; neither was he ever a
good courtier, though he had always an inclination to
be so. He never was a good party-man, though all
his life long engaged in parties. . . . He had done
much better to have known himself, and to have
been content to pass, as he might have done, for
the politest and finest gentleman that appeared in that

Even if Madame de Longueville had not been in
love with Rochefoucauld, it is improbable that Turenne
could have gained her afi'ection ; for his biographer,
Du Buisson, says that, at the time of which we are
speaking, she was also in love for the moment with
Comte de Moussaye, the Governor of Stenay.

In his endeavours to raise troops for the release of
the captive princes, among the regiments which had
served under him in Germany, Turenne was only parti-
ally successful. The few he obtained met with a re-
verse from the King's troops under the Marquis of
Ferte-Senneterre, and, to avoid complete defeat,
Turenne asked for assistance from the Spaniards, who
immediately sent him 1,500 cavalry and some com-
panies of infantry.

In vain did Turenne write to implore the Queen
to enable him to return to his allegiance, which he

i65o ^T. 39] THE ARCHDUKE 141

heartily desired, by liberating the three princes. His
only hope remaining of delivering them was by an
alliance with the Spaniards, and it is but fair to say
that, in his treaty with them, he endeavoured, as much
as possible, to protect the interests of France. In
June, 1650, he took command of the Spanish army of
17,000 or 18,000 men, but the Archduke, uneasy at
the idea of the soldiers of Spain being commanded by
a Frenchman, came from Brussels and personally super-
seded him as commander-in-chief The Archduke
took Rethel, Chateau- Porcein and Neufchatel ; while
Turenne, with 4,000 men, defeated the Marquis of
Hocquincourt at Fismes. After this victory Turenne
had intended to march on to Vincennes to set the
three princes at liberty ; but finding that they had been
removed, he rejoined the Spanish army. That army,
after taking Mouzon, retired into winter quarters in
Flanders in November ; but Turenne remained on the
French frontier with 8,000 men.

While he was doing his best to organise the relief
of the princes, Turenne was infuriated by a report that
the leaders of the Fronde were being bribed by Mazarin.
In his anger he sent placards, signed with his name, to
be fixed in conspicuous places in Paris. "It is your
task, people of Paris," he wrote, "to solicit your pre-
tended tribunes, who are at last become Mazarin's
missionaries and protectors ; who have for a long time
made a plaything of you and of your fortunes; and
have sometimes stirred you up, sometimes slackened
you, sometimes pushed you on, sometimes kept you


back, as they were moved to it either by caprice, or
the different success of their ambition."

De Retz, who was obviously in Turenne's mind
when he published this effusion, chose to treat the mat-
ter as a joke in a letter to Turenne which he describes
as "sufficiently wanton, though upon so serious a sub-
ject. It began with these words : ' It well becomes
you, cursed Spaniard, to call us tribunes of the people '.
The end of it was no less wanton. I bantered him
upon account of a young wench in the street called
Des-petits Champs, whom he loved with all his heart.
The middle part was more solid, and took notice of
our good intentions towards a peace."

The King's forces had meanwhile been successful
in Bordeaux, and before the middle of December
Marshal du Plessis Praslin, with 16,000 men, besieged
and took Rethel, a fortified town on the Aisne, in
Ardennes, about eighty miles north-east of Paris and
about thirty from the present frontier of Belgium.
Turenne had left 1,300 men in Rethel, and when he
heard that it was besieged he made forced marches
for four days to succour it ; but he arrived too late as
it had just capitulated.

Contrary to the opinion of Napoleon, the Mdmoires
du Mardchal du Plessis (p. 417) blame Turenne for
not immediately attacking. They state that Du Plessis
felt certain he would do so ; that there was a hill on
Turenne's left, upon which he might have placed guns,
and that Turenne's whole position would have had
great advantages oyer that of Du Plessis.

i65o ^T. 39] RETHEL 143

The next day Turenne began to retire ; but in no
extra hurry. Napoleon says: "Finding his object
unattainable ... he ought to have marched at least seven
leagues that day ; he would not, in that case, have
been overtaken by the French army, or been compelled
to give battle to a superior army. But he marched
only four leagues". Du Plessis, on the contrary,
marched all day and during part of the night, and
early on the following morning he arrived within a
short distance of Turenne. The two armies were
posted on the opposite sides of a valley.

For some time a thick December fog prevented battle of
either general from ascertaining the exact position of 15th Decem-
the other, and made any movement dangerous. When ^^' ^ ^°*
it cleared, Turenne, who was largely outnumbered and
therefore wished to avoid an action, moved on along
the hillside; while Du Plessis, who was anxious to
force an action upon him, kept parallel with him on
the opposite side of the valley. They marched thus,
within cannon-shot of each other, for three miles ; and
then, at twelve o'clock, Du Plessis, fearing lest Turenne
might escape him, descended into the valley to attack
him on its opposite side. His forces were double those
of Turenne, although Du Plessis' memoirs assert that
while he was very much stronger than Turenne in
infantry he was weaker in cavalry; but Turenne,
observing that only a part of the infantry of Du Plessis
had yet reached the plain, thought that by a rapid
movement of his whole force against it he might over-
whelm it before the remainder could come up to its


support. With this hope, he accepted battle, descended
into the plain, and charged the enemy with all his
cavalry. To accomplish this, he attacked with what
was, in proportion to his own numbers, a very extended
front, which left him no men to form a reserve in
support of his flanks.

In these tactics he was probably acting upon a
principle which he is said to have laid down in these
words : " It is not always necessary to fight in two lines,
with a corps de reserve; for if the enemy be more
numerous than you, and the ground open so that they
may outflank you, care must be taken to extend your
front (though you fight in one line) equal to the front of
the enemy ". We shall see presently what Napoleon
thought on this subject.

Turenne led his left with success, and his artillery
fire with " cartouches "—some early form of canister
or case-shot — was very effective; but his right was
broken by the Marquis d'Hocquincourt, who completely
routed it, and then charged Turenne's flank just as
that general was beginning to get the best of Du
Plessis' right. After a long and sanguinary battle the
troops of Turenne were utterly defeated.

Although Du Plessis got the better of Turenne in
this battle, he was very inferior to him as a general.
Possibly Du Plessis may have been one of those whom
Turenne had in his mind when he said : "A blockhead
has sometimes perplexed me more than an able
general ".

Turenne himself was taken prisoner — a very serious

1650 JEt. 39] RETHEL 145

matter, as he was liable to be executed for high
treason! Happily, however, although his horse was
shot in five places, he contrived to escape from his
captors, killing some of them in a hand-to-hand fight.
After many adventures, he reached Montmedy and
from thence he went to Bois-le-Duc, where he was
able to rally about a quarter of his defeated troops.
Then he returned to Stenay and the charming
Madame de Longueville.

Of this action Napoleon says : "When Du Plessis
descended into the plain and drew up in line, Turenne
might still have avoided the battle by accelerating his
movement. He formed no reserve in the rear of his
wings, which was the cause of his overthrow. When
once broken, his cavalry could not rally : he would
have had a better chance of success with a less ex-
tended order of battle."

As to Turenne's own opinion of the action, when
asked by an indiscreet youth, long afterwards, how he
happened to lose it, he only replied : "By my own

Cardinal Mazarin was present at the capitulation
of Rethel, and he watched the retreat of Turenne
from one of its church towers. He had brought up
reinforcements to Du Plessis, which no doubt contri-
buted to that general's victory ; but Mazarin, on this
ground, very unjustly claimed all the glory of the
victory over Turenne. Probably the temptation to a
clergyman to represent himself as having overcome in
battle the greatest general of the age was more than


the not impeccable Mazarin had the moral courage to
withstand. But, in addition to any desire that he may
have entertained to shine as a conqueror, he had
another object in view, in relation to the army, which
is well described by Madame de Motteville. " Seeing
that he was hated by the grandees of the kingdom,
and by the people, he tried to preserve for himself the
goodwill of the soldiery. His principle was to go to
the army as often as he could, and always to carry
money to it, taking care to provide the soldiers with
all their little necessaries."


"Fortune," wrote Rochefoucauld, "so capriciously
ruled the events of the battle of Rethel, that M. de
Turenne, who had just lost it, became thereby neces-
sary to the Spaniards and obtained the entire command
of their army; and, on the other hand, the cardinal,
who claimed for himself all the glory of this action,
renewed in every breast the disgust and fear of his

Even those members of the Old Fronde whom
Mazarin had won to his side became alarmed at the
increase of his power, and this alarm was intensified
when a report was spread about that he was going to
purchase the support of Conde, by making private
terms with him, and liberating him, with his brother
and Loneueville. Amono- those most disturbed in
mind was the coadjutor-bishop, not yet a cardinal,
who was infuriated against Mazarin for refusing to
recommend him for the cardinalate at Rome,

Ramsay thus describes the unrest which then suc-
ceeded. " Instantly all the coadjutor's turbulence rouses
itself: he revives the cabals, excites the cardinal's
enemies, and sets the intriguing Court ladies at work.
The Princess Palatine treats with the Frondeurs about
147 10 *


the princes ; the Duchess of Montbazon is promised a
hundred thousand crowns ; the Duchess of Chevreuse
is flattered with the hopes of marrying her daughter
to the Prince of Conti ; and, lastly, the Prelate brings
over the Duke of Orleans, the Parliament and the

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