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to have no will independent of that of the King ; and
that although the King himself had not directly ordered
Turenne to speak to her on the subject, he knew that
the King desired the match. The King of Portugal
was the kind of youth who could be easily moulded by
a wife of strong character like Mademoiselle, who
could amuse herself with his great wealth and control
him as she pleased.

When he came to describe the proposed bridegroom,
he was in an almost ridiculous difficulty ; but he did
what he could under the circumstances. The King of
Portugal, said he, "was tolerably good-looking, fair,
and would have been well-made, but that he was born
with a paralysis of one side, which made it a little weaker

i665 Mt. 54] DEATH OF PHILIP IV. 277

than the other, yet this was not observable when he
was dressed ; he merely drew one leg a little after him.
He could only use one of his arms ; but he was begin-
nino- to ofet on his horse without help." His inclina-
tions were neither good nor bad ; but, as he was of a
submissive temperament, he would be quite safe in the
hands of so virtuous a mistress as Mademoiselle.

"No," replied she. " I prefer to be Made-
moiselle in France, with 500,000 livres a year, to do
honour to the Court, and to be held in as high con-
sideration for character as for rank."

Turenne then reminded his cousin — for she was a
relation of his — that, high as was her position, she was
still a subject of the King, who was not scrupulous with
those who opposed his wishes, nor hesitated to annoy
them in a thousand ways.

" If the King were to say this to me," answered
Mademoiselle, " I should know how to answer him.
But you are not the King!"

Perceiving that her royal highness was in a passion,
Turenne dropped the subject ; but he returned to it a
few days later, and to as little purpose.

The death of Philip IV. of Spain took place in
1665, and, in the same year, England declared war
against Holland. France intended to join the Dutch
against the English ; but the war turned out to be
entirely naval, and the French fleet was unable to join
that of the Dutch before the latter had met with a
defeat from the English, under the Duke of York, off


Although Turenne had spent much of his married
life on campaigns, he was devoted to his wife, and her
death in 1666 caused him great grief. He had indeed
been able to be with her more during the last few
years of her life than at any other period since his
marriage. Some of his letters to her, which are in
print, are full of affection ; but they are not devoid of
candid advice : "Call to mind a little my lessons," he
says in one of them. " Avoid dejection of mind : it is
the most dangerous of all diseases. ... I am more
hard upon those I love than upon others ; but though
I take upon me to reprimand, I am not the less sensible
of my own faults." On another occasion he seems
to have thought that his wife was too severe in her
treatment of some girl. " You . . . who exclaim so
much how hard it is to win upon a young woman, do
you take the proper methods ? Let me tell you that
roughness and severity beget aversion in young people.
, . . Before I turn over, I shall own that what I have
just said seems expressed with a little too much dry-
ness : I ask your pardon."

Sometimes the reprimand appears to have come
from exactly the opposite quarter ; for, in one letter,
Turenne writes: "I was some time before I could
understand what you meant by a stroke you aim at me ;
I don't deserve it, and in such affection as ours, little
twittings are always out of season. ... I know very
well, that loving me as you do, you will be extremely
concerned to find me having so quick a feeling for your
reproaches. ... I impart my thoughts to you ingenu-


ously and they displease you : to confess the truth, I
don't look upon the trouble you are in with the same
eye as if I had found you candid enough to acknow-
ledge certain truths, which seem to me as clear as
day." Towards the end of his letter he becomes more
submissive to the matronly correction. " Notwith-
standing anything I have said, I shall not slight your
remonstrances ; and I beg you to believe that I am not
insensible how much you love me ; it affects me very
much. ... I was going once to tear up this letter, but
the conclusion will assure you anew of my entire affec-

Almost at the same time as the Viscountess of
Turenne, died also the Queen-Dowager, Anne of
Austria, after a long, tedious and exceedingly painful
illness, which she bore with very remarkable fortitude,
patience and resignation.

On the death of Philip IV. of Spain, the weakly
boy, Charles II., Philip's son by his second marriage,
became King. Although the Queen of France, as In-
fanta of Spain, had renounced any future right to the
crown of her native country, Louis XIV. claimed that
the Spanish possessions in the Low Countries fell to
her, on the death of her father, by the right of devolu-
tion, according to the laws of the Low Countries, which
ordained that they should go to the issue, whether male
or female, of the first marriage, before that of the
second ; and the Queen of France, Maria Theresa, was
the only remaining child of Philip's first marriage.
According to Ramsay, Turenne was the first person


to call the attention of Louis to this right, or, at any
rate, asserted right, of his Queen.

Louis tried to come to some compromise about the
matter with the Queen-Regent of Spain ; but, when
she had refused to recognise that the Queen of France
had the shadow of a right to the Low Countries, Louis
made up his mind to take by force what he had failed
to obtain by diplomacy, and he said in confidence to
Turenne : "I will march in person at the head of my
army, but I will learn the art of war under you ". Louis,
who was now twenty-nine, was as good as his word.
Having sent Turenne to the war with 25,000 infantry
and 10,000 cavalry, he left St. Germains, on the i6th
of May, 1667, taking with him, as a fellow-pupil, his
recently appointed Minister-of-War, the Marquis of
Louvois. Turenne and Louvois between them, but at
Turenne's initiative, had arranged a new system of
furnishing an army on campaign with supplies, which
the weakness of the Government had hitherto rendered

The Low Countries were utterly unprepared for
war. Turenne had already taken Armentieres and
Binche, before the arrival of Louis ; after that arrival,
Douay, Oudenarde and several other places were taken
without a blow. When they came to Lille it was a
different matter. The governor was an officer of great
experience ; it was well fortified, well provisioned, and,
although its garrison of regular troops only numbered
4, 200, it contained 20,000 men capable of carrying arms.
The Marquis of Louvois tried to persuade the King


not to attack it ; but Turenne was inflexible ; and it
was well that he was so, for the siege was a great
success and the fortress capitulated in seventeen days.
The siege works were conducted by Vauban, then a
young engineer. His system was quite new to the
besieged, who were taken by surprise, confused and
bewildered. The King accompanied Turenne when
he visited the trenches during the siege, and took an
eager, intelligent and active interest in their progress.

The Count of Marsin and the Prince of LIgnes,
not knowing that Lille had fallen, advanced with 8,000
men to its relief When they learned that it had
capitulated, they retired, but the army of Turenne fell
upon their rear, routed them, and took 1,500 prisoners.
As the King was present at this engagement it counted
as his victory.

The Dutch became alarmed at the successes of
their ally ; for they by no means desired to have
France as a next neighbour, and they began secretly
to give assistance to their old enemies the Spaniards.
England was as uneasy as was Holland at the advances
of the French, and Sir William Temple was sent across
the Channel to form a triple alliance between Holland,
England and Sweden, for the purpose of obliging
France and Spain to make peace. The first three
months of the year 1668 were spent in negotiations,
military demonstrations, and threatened coalitions. On
the 15th of April peace was made at Aix-la-Chapelle.
France gave up Franche-Comte, but kept her conquests
in the Low Countries, known afterwards as French
Flanders ; and this treaty had been immediately pre-


ceded by one between Lisbon and Madrid, by which
Spain acknowledged the independence of Portugal.

Four years of peace were to follow; but not of
idleness for France in military matters. Louis XIV.
surrounded his seaports with forts, levelled unnecessary
inland fortresses, and greatly strengthened such as
were of importance. This was a very busy period for
Vauban. People who did not understand his system
were astounded at seeing high walls and towering
battlements disappear, and give place to earthworks,
almost level with the ground. Louis directed that the
fortifications of the important places on the frontier of
French Flanders should be carried forward before any
others, as he was bitterly annoyed with the Dutch for
having made the triple alliance which enforced the
peace, just as he was getting Spain into his power,
also for representing themselves, on a medal, as the
preservers of the peace of Europe ; and he determined
to punish, if not to annihilate, Holland. Though
strong at sea she was weak on land, and Louis had
every hope of success ; but he was not going to strike
until certain of victory. Meanwhile, he was doing
something besides improving fortresses. He was en-
deavouring to prove superior to the United Provinces
by sea as well as by land. His navy occupied much
of his thoughts and increased very rapidly. Altogether,
under the veil of a profound peace, he was eagerly and
energetically preparing for war.


Most of the extant records of the experiences of
Turenne relate to his public career; but, in all bio-
graphical sketches, the private life of their subjects
should not be allowed to pass altogether unnoticed.

We have now to consider a personal matter in the
life of Turenne, which has nothing to do with warfare.
The staunchness of his Calvinism has already been
noticed. It has also been observed that he refused two
splendid marriages rather than take a wife of a religion
different from his own ; and, in the last chapter, we
observed that, when the King offered to revive for his
acceptance the office of Constable of France, the
highest in the power of the Crown to grant, but one
which had to be held by a Catholic, Turenne re-
spectfully declined it, on the ground that he could not
change his religion, for even the highest honours of the

But so long ago as two years before that offer was
made to him, he had begun to take a more charitable
view of the Catholic religion. Writinor to his wife, from
Ypres, when on a campaign already described, he said,
in 1658: "We had a communion here last Sunday.
M. Brevin made an excellent sermon ; one ought to
grow better for such discourses ; that is the great point :


but it is very hard to become good; and when I
examine myself thoroughly, I find methinks but little
amendment. In discoursing on these words : Go out
of Babylon, he let me understand that he should not
have made such post-haste as our Reformers. He
has a great deal of knowledge and no bitterness of
spirit : he agreed with me that the people of the two
religions are not on either side fairly and honestly
instructed in the tenets of the other, and that each
party represents the religion of the other in such a
manner only as may beget an aversion to it ; just as in
a town where there are two cabals, you never meet with
sincerity or candour on either side."

Turenne had probably been considerably influenced
by Beaulieu, a Calvinist who held a Professorship
of Divinity, founded by Turenne, at Sedan. This
Calvinist, says Bayle iyDic, vol. i., p. 705), made "it
appear that many disputes, which are thought to be
real, are only disputes about words. It is scarce
credible how much this method prejudiced a great
many ignorant persons against him. They imagined
that he endeavoured to bring back the Reformed to the
Communion of the Church of Rome." It must be
remembered that Bayle wrote from a very anti-catholic
standpoint. On the same page Des Maizeaux says,
in his Notes, that Turenne was "very fond of re-uniting
both religions," or rather of wishing to unite them. In
conversation, also, he advanced the view of M. Brevin
that "he should not have made such post-haste as our
Reformers ".

i668 ^T. 57] A CONVERT 285

St. Evremond says, in his Eulogium on M. de
Turemte: "He ever loved to talk of religion, particu-
larly with M. d'Aubig-ni, and used to say that the
doctrine of the Reformed was the soundest, yet they
ought not to have made a separation, but to have in-
sensibly distilled their principles into the Catholics".
"When a man confesses that he is in the wrong to
separate from a Church," answered M. d'Aubigni,
"he is in a fair way of returning to it ; and if I survive
Madame de Turenne, I shall see you in ours." M. de
Turenne smiled, says St. Evremond, "but that smile
did not sufficiently discover whether he meant to laugh
at M. d'Aubigni's prediction or to approve of it".

But was Aubigni fair in hinting that Turenne was
afraid of his wife ? In 1 660 Turenne wrote to her from
Amiens : " Let us but lay aside prejudice, and we shall
often find in those long declamations that are made
against Catholics, a spirit of strife and wrangling, and
that some people are so intent upon reforming, that
they quite forget charity ". In the same letter he says :
" I had sent a Gentleman, who speaks English very
well, to Monck,^ to learn his intentions upon his arrival
at London. . . . This Gendeman examined the state
of religion in England. . . . One sees by this and by
the multitude of sects in England" — what would he
have said, if he could have known what their number
would be now? — "that through a too presumptuous
spirit of independency, though there may be good
sense and perhaps devotion among them, they have so
^ The famous English general.


much disfigured religion, that each private man is for
setting up a new sect of his particular fashion, and
that whoever reads the word of God, and will explain
it after his own fancy, goes greater lengths in folly
than is easily imagined."

Four months later, in the same year, he wrote to
her : " I read this morning a book, which I found at
M. Duplessis's, Secretary of State. It is a collection, in
French, made at the Port Royal, of what the Fathers of
the first centuries have said concerning the Eucharist.
The passages are there entire, with the context be-
fore and after them, and nothing of the author's own.
If the quotations are not fairly made, it is easy to show-
it ; but I assure you that these passages do not square
with what we say. I believe it is what I write to you
from time to time on this head, which draws upon me
those reproaches you make me : but nothing can lessen
my affection for you." From this it would appear
that Turenne was not afraid of speaking his mind very
freely to his wife on the subject of religion ; so M.
d'Aubigni need not have insinuated that Turenne
wanted to become a Catholic, but was afraid of doing
so during his wife's lifetime. On the contrary, Madame
de Turenne herself seems to have been anxious to
learn more about the Catholic Church ; for Ramsay
says: "This year (1665) died the Viscountess de
Turenne, whose virtues cannot be enough admired.
Though she had several conferences with the Doctors
of the Catholic Church, yet she continued under the
prejudices of her education as long as she lived."

1 668 ^T. 57] A CONVERT 287

Ramsay hints at Turenne's anxiety that, if he made
any movement towards the Catholic Church, his wife
should go with him, and it may be that, when she
seemed to be outpaced, he sometimes paused in his
inquiries to give her time to overtake him. But so
far indeed was he from merely waiting for his wife's
death to become a Catholic, that it was not until two
years after her death that he took that step.

" The calm which Europe enjoyed after the peace of
Aix-la-Chapelle, allowed the Viscount a great deal of
leisure : he employed it wholly in the study of religion,
which he had long reproached himself for not having
thoroughly examined. From the time of the Peace
of the Pyrenees, he had begun to have doubts about
Calvinism. The accounts he had frequently from the
English, during his intercourse with them, of the
multitude of sects that overspread Great Britain, had
struck him exceedingly."^

When he had become disposed to inquire into
the claims of the Catholic Church, he consulted the
celebrated preacher, Bossuet, afterwards Bishop of
Meaux, with whom he had many conversations. Du
Buisson, in his Vie de Tiirenne, published in 1695,
says that one of the Fathers of the French Oratory
had more to do than any one else with Turenne's pre-
paration for reception into the Church, and that it was
conducted as secretly as possible, because Turenne had
a great dislike to any fuss being made about himself

Ramsay says of Turenne that "so long as he
^ Ramsay.


was not convinced, no human views, no motives of
ambition, no temporal interest could prevail with him
to change his religion ; but, as soon as he saw the
truth, he yielded to it, sacrificing his reputation to the
unjust suspicions of those who accused him of acting
from political views, unworthy of a great soul ". If he
had become a Catholic some time earlier, no doubt it
would have materially assisted his career ; but at, and
from, the date at which he did so, it in no way influ-
enced his worldly prospects. Of course that entertain-
ing and cynical old sceptic, Voltaire, attributes his
change of religion to political motives, on much the
same principle that led Bismarck to say when a certain
diplomatist was prevented by serious illness from keep-
ing an appointment, " I should very much like to know
what his object is in being ill at this particular time ".
Yet even Voltaire says of Turenne : " It is also possible
that his conversion was sincere ".^ A great admission
from such a writer !

When, at the age of fifty-seven, he had completely
made up his mind to become a Catholic, Turenne
decided to make his abjuration before the Archbishop
of Paris ; but, fearing that, if the day and hour were to
be known, the cathedral would be crowded, he did not
make his appointment with the archbishop until the
evening before it took place.

It will be remembered that Turenne's brother, the
Duke of Bouillon, became a Catholic long before his
death, and one of the Duke's sons had been made a
^Steele de Louis XIV., vol. i., pp. 186, 187.

i668 ^T. 57] PENITENTS 289

cardinal by the time of Turenne's conversion. Possibly
conversations with his nephew may have supplemented
those with Bossuet and the fathers of the oratory in
convincing Turenne of the claims of the Church.

Besides Turenne, several characters figuring in
our story, characters formerly anything but saindike,
became what is called in their own language devoid s —
Cardinal de Retz, Prince de Conti, "the beauty of
whose repentance," says Madame de Motteville, "far
surpassed the hideousness of his faults," that very
political Magdalen, Madame de Longueville, who
devoted her later years entirely to religion, and, to
some extent, the Great Conde, of whom Bossuet said
that, in his last illness, he had "the Psalms always on
his lips, and faith always in his heart ".

St. Evremond said of Turenne that, both as a
Calvinist and as a Catholic, he "aimed at what was
right and good. While a Huguenot, he had no
schemes contrary to the interests of the Catholics ;
when converted, he had no zeal prejudicial to the safety
of the Huooienots." Of his excellence, Madame de
Sevigne wrote, in a letter to M. de Grignan : " No
one believes that sin and evil could have any place in
his heart : his conversion was so sincere . . . every-
body speaks of the innocence of his manners, the
purity of his intentions, his humility far removed from
all kind of affectation, his love of virtue for itself,
without respect to the approbation of men, and his
generous and Christian charity".

There can be little doubt that, in the seventeenth


century, some Frenchmen left the Huguenots to be-
come Catholics for the purpose of advancing their
prospects of obtaining office or other privileges from
the King or the Government. The Bishop of Nismes
contrasted Turenne with such as these : "How sin-
cere was his conversion, Gentlemen, and how different
from that of those who, forsaking heresy from in-
terested views, change their opinions without changing •
their manners, who enter into the bosom of the Church
only to wound her the deeper by a scandalous life,
and from being declared enemies, become rebellious
children. Though his mind had escaped the deprava-
tion commonly occasioned by the passions, yet he was
still the more careful to regulate it ; he thought that the
innocence of his life ought to be conformable to the
purity of his faith: he knew truth, he loved it, he
followed it." Shortly after becoming a Catholic, he
made a vow never again to commit a certain sin of
which hitherto he had not been guiltless. Sometime
afterwards, some one who was cognisant of his vow
asked him if he had kept it. Turenne replied : " I
have never broken my word to man : could you think
that I would break it to God?"

After his change of religion he lived a very quiet
life in Paris, only associating with a small circle of
chosen friends, and he rarely went to Court, except to
pay his respects to the King. To his intimate friends
his frugal table was always open. "He loved to be
gay at meals : he then liked pleasantry, being himself
facetious but still with prudence and politeness : few


i668 ^T. 57] A QUIET LIFE 291

people knew more stories or could tell them better,"^
Several anecdotes are told about his imperturbable good-
temper and his stolid coolness under provocation, during
this period of tranquil life. In a block in the streets
of Paris a young gentleman, who did not know
Turenne by sight, struck his coachman. Some one
loudly asked him what he meant by treating a servant
of Marshal Turenne in such a manner. He immedi-
ately went to the door of the carriage to apologise :
"You seem thoroughly to understand the correction
of servants, Sir," said Turenne, smiling. "Allow me
to send mine to you when they are in need of it."

He often walked alone to hear mass and then took
a turn on the ramparts. Once he passed two trades-
men, playing at bowls, and, without knowing who he
was, they asked him to decide a disputed game. He
measured with his cane and gave his opinion, when
the loser began to abuse him in the most violent
terms. Turenne quietly measured the distances a
second time ; and, while he was doing so, some officers
came up and saluted him. When the man who had
abused him ascertained who he was, he fell on his
knees and begged his pardon. All Turenne said was :
"My friend, you need not have been afraid that I
should cheat you ".

In a theatre, he was sitting alone, on the front seat,

when several strangers from the country swaggered in

and rather rudely asked him to make way for them.

This he refused to do, whereupon one of them had the

^ Ramsay, ii., p. 357.



impudence to take up Turenne's hat and gloves, and
throw them on to the stage. Turenne said nothing ;
but he asked a well-known young nobleman, who was
standing near, to fetch them for him. Seeing that
Turenne must be some one of importance, the strangers
asked who he was, and were hastily retiring in great
confusion, when Turenne called them back and told
them that, if they would only sit close together, there
was plenty of room for all of them.

Driving home late one night, his carriage was
stopped by highwaymen. The robbers took every-
thing of value that they could find on him, including
a ring, which he highly prized quite apart from its
intrinsic worth. He promised the men that, if he
might keep the ring, he would give them 100 Louis-

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