1902 Encyclopedia > France > French History: The Bourbon Monarchy: (a) Richelieu

France
(Part 12)




FRENCH HISTORY (cont.)

The Bourbon Monarchy: (a) Richelieu


The year 1598 closes the mediaeval history of France; henceforth she takes her part in modern history. The power of the feudal noblesse has passed away; the earlier rivalries between France and Austria take a new character; the centralized absolutist monarchy begins. We are coming to the days of the great ministers, - first Sully, then Richelieu, lastly Colbert, under whose rule France becomes great, almost in spite of her kings. The age now past had little to look back on with pleasure; the utter corruption of the court, reign after reign, the selfish partisanship of the nobles, and the harsh incidence of civil war, incline us to believe the age to have been thoroughly wretched. Yet the condition of the French people was less miserable than it had been; without seeing much prosperity we hear less of famine than in previous or in later ages; for civil wars do not so much exhaust the well-being of a country as might appear. It has been observed that the wars of the Roses did little to check the progress of England; and in like manner the wars of the League do not seem to have deeply afflicted France. These wars, in fact, were all the fighting of lords and princes with their retainers; they were languid and partial; and though their story might be wretched enough, the wretchedness of it chiefly fell on the heads of the belligerents themselves. There is no Jacquerie in this age, as in the 15th and as in the 18th century in France; and in some respects the country made a real advance. In arts she has never been really great, and her age of poetry was not yet come. Ronsard and Du Bartas, great as their reputation was once, do not rise into the first rank of poets, and there are no better names. In political and legal writings, on the other hand, we have the great names of Montaigne and L’Hopital, of Bodin and Hottmann, of Jujas and Etienne Pasquier. Stephanus and Joseph Scaliger represent classical tastes and chronological investigation. Town-life was but little injured, except in Paris herself, by the wars of the period; and even Paris was not altogether the worse for them, for even Henry III. took an interest in the capital, and tried to develop its resources.
Whether the Christian Republic, that great political romance, was ever laid before the eyes of Henry IV. we shall never know; at all events it represents, in a rather extreme form, the broader politics of modern history, and marks a great change in the relations of states. Many of its ideas were, consciously or not, adopted by the imperialism of our own century; for they favored the national vanity, which sought to impose its principles and wishes on Europe. It represented the resistance of France to the Austro-Spanish power, affirmed the general principle of toleration, endeavored to substitute a court of arbitration in place of war, recognized many different forms of government, and sought to weld all civilized Europe into one harmonious community. That it was a dream the world’s history has plentifully proved; that there was in it much to admire, much to strive for, is equally proved by the persistence of many of its ideas, an their agreement with the best parts of the development of Europe in modern times.
In 1598, on the close of the Spanish war, when Henry IV. was at last fully recognized as king of France on all sides, we find at his court representatives of the two policies which for ages contented for the possession of the great resources of the country. These were the Hispano-Catholic policy, which aimed at uniting French and Spanish interests against the north and west of Europe; and on the other side, the policy of the tolerate party, which desired to make France the leader of the Protestant and liberal part of Europe, which allied itself with the Dutch, with the North German Lutherans, with the English, with the Swedes. It is the glory of Sully, of Richelieu, and of Colbert that they advanced the greatness of France by following the latter of these lines; whereas Louis XIV. lost power from the moment that he abandoned himself to the Spanish policy.
So at Henry’s court we find Maximilian of Bethune, lord of Rosny (he was not made duke of Sully till 1606), who headed the liberal party, the party of economy and good government, opposed to Villeroy, who represented the Spanish party, and seemed to have an equal share in the king’s regard. Between these two were Jeannin, a great lawyer, and president of the Paris parliament, who worked with Sully and Sillery, who held a middle course, and was the most trusted diplomatist of his time. Villeroy and the Spanish advisers were strongly supported by the court, especially after the appearance of Mary de Medici. The court of Spain was only too glad to thwart Henry where it could; the English court, after the accession of James, was too much set on windy schemes and grand impossibilities to afford a counterpoise on the other side. Sully had been made head of the finances in 1597, and had found everything in frightful disorder. His stern temper, severe manners, even his narrow grasp, proved him to be admirably suited for the part he had to play; a more enlightened statesman might have failed where he succeeded. We find in his finance no large views as to economic principles; we only see a rigid determination to stop waste, to punish thieves in high places, to make the taxes yield their full worth to the crown. So far as he occupied himself with general politics, Sully’s views were right and liberal; he disliked the Spanish tendencies of the court, and did his best to keep his master clear of them. he could not make the king economical, or reduce the outgoings of the state; on the contrary, he felt himself obliged to make a strong army and plentiful artillery, and to accumulate good store of coin at the arsenal, so as to be ready for any need. In spite of these expenses, he speedily lessened the severity of the taxation; and as good government made tranquility, and tranquility plenty, France bore her burdens with increasing willingness and ability. The chief failure of Sully’s administration lay in his having done nothing to equalize taxation, by compelling noble land to bear its share with the labor of the peasant. He laid on some new taxes, increased some of the worst of the existing imposts, reduced the amount of the public debt, and encouraged agriculture. Henry, who with all his faults had broader views than his finance minister, also did his best for manufactures; the edicts of the reign are numerous, and for the most part very sensible and helpful.
Though the civil wars were over before 1598, content had not returned to the country. Henry was often ungrateful to his old friends and loyal supporters; and the leaders of the Politique party, who might well think they had secured his throne for him, were especially dissatisfied. Consequently, when war broke out with the duke of Savoy in 1600 over some frontier question, the duke of Biron entered into a great plot with Savoy and Spain, and carried with him a formidable party of nobles. Sully, however, was prepared for all; his artillery and munitions of war were such as had never before been seen; and the duke of Savoy, seeing Montmelian, an impregnable stronghold, as it was deemed, actually taken, sued for peace. He retained Saluzzo, for Henry had no desire to meddle in Italian politics, and ceded to France Bresse and Bugey, Valromey and Gex, so securing French influences up to the very gates of Geneva, and making it certain that the duke of Savoy must never again hope to crush that vigorous republic. Just before the end of this war, his divorce from Margaret of Valois having come from the pope, Henry married Mary de Medici (1600), then in the prime of her beauty; later on she grew fat and heavy. She was always stiff and obstinate, a prejudiced follower of the old ways, who spent her life first in thwarting, afterwards in obliterating, the traces of the higher schemes and acts of her spouse. The duke of Biron, utterly dissatisfied at the result of the Savoyard war, plunged into fresh conspiracy; then Henry IV. felt no more pity for him, but seized and beheaded him; it was believed that the queen herself was mixed up in his plot, which had far-reaching ramifications. By 1605 Henry had reduced all the rest of his recalcitrant nobles, treating them without rancour or revenge if they came in, and setting trusty officers of his own to watch over them.
The remainder of the king’s life was occupied with two things: - first, the strengthening of the resources of France at home; secondly, the preparations for authoritative intervention in the affairs of Europe, which were now beginning to attract the attention of all. The king was called on to intervene as a mediator between the papacy and Venice in 1606-1607, and decided their quarrel in a way which ought to have roused the gratitude of the papal power. Chiefly through Henry’s firmness, a truce for twelve years was signed between Spain and the United Provinces, - for the Spaniards, exhausted by the siege of Ostend, the greatest siege the world had ever seen (1601-1604), and quite unable to cope with the genius of Maurice of Nassau, gladly accepted the peaceful overtures of Olden Barnaveldt and the commercial grandees of the towns, who then, as afterwards, were opposed to the democratic and war-loving population of the country, which supported the house of Orange. This truce closed the great struggle of the Low Countries for their independence, and virtually secured it to them. While, however, tranquility reigned in Holland and Italy, Germany was growing ever more uneasy; in more districts than one of the struggle between the communions, deferred not ended by the peace of Augsburg of 1555, had become acute. Not only in the Slavonic lands connected with the house of Austria were there excitement and disturbance but in the Rhine districts questions had arisen which called out the warm interest of all the three confessions, - the Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinistic. The death of the duke of Cleves in 1609 brought matters to a head; the Dutch and Spaniards, the elector of Brandenburg, and the emperor, all interfered. Then Henry IV. took up the cause of the Protestant princes, and sent envoys to the Evangelic Union of Halle (January 1610), and made most vigorous preparations for war, in combination with Maurice of Nassau, who agreed to join him with 20,000 Dutchmen in Cleves. It was arranged that the queen should be regent in the king’s absence, and as she had never been solemnly crowned, she delayed Henry’s departure till that ceremony had taken place; in the days of waiting the king, fretting tobe off, went to visit Sully, who lay ill at the Arsenal, and to feast his eyes one more on the splendid armoury and munitions of war collected there. As he went, he was assassinated by Ravaillac, who plunged a knife into his heart. It is said to have been the eighteen attempt made on his life. All the grand plans for interference in the affairs of Europe, and for the reduction of the house of Austria, fell to the ground at once, and German affairs were left to seethe as they would, until in 1618-1619 they came to a head in the outbreak of the Thirty Years’ War. The knife of Ravaillac, whether he was set on by the queen and the Spanish party or not, did their work; it left the Protestants of the north to fight for themselves, relieved the king of Spain of grave anxieties, and plunged France once more into confusion and trouble. Not till the reign of Richellieu had succeeded the administration of Sully did France resume her true direction and lead the resistance to the house of Austria.
Henry IV. had the great quality of individuality. He stands out fresh and clear as a distinct personage, of high soul, bright temper, original and characteristic speech. All great men leave sayings behind them, and Henry’s ring with vigorous good nature and humor. His brilliancy in war was that of a captain; he had not the coolness and combination of a general; his moral character was restless, bad, ungrateful, self-indulgent; he took little trouble to help his subjects to greater comfort, though he ever wished them well. They felt that there was in him something of the lazy kindliness of Louis XII. He chose a grand minister in Sully, and, in spite of some wavering, followed him in the right policy for France. He had the faults of the Bourbons; yet he was their greatest king, - on the whole, their nobles man.
Voltaire sum up the good deeds of his reign in nervous phrases: -
:Justice is reformed, and – farharder task! – the two religious live in peace- to all appearance. Agriculture is encouraged; as Sully said, ‘Plough and cow, these are the breasts of France, whereat she sucks; they are the true mines and treasures of Peru.’ Commerce and the arts, which Sully cared for less, were still honored; gold and silver stuffs enriched Lyons and France. Henry established manufactures of tapestry; French glass after the Venetian style began to be made. To him alone France owes the silkworm and the mulberry, in spite of Sully. It was Henry who dug the canal which joins the Seine and the Loire. Under him Paris grew and grew fair; he built the Place Toyale, he rebuilt the old bridges. Before his day the St Germain suburb was not connected with the town, and was improved; he saw to that. He built that fine bridge on which every Frenchman as he passes still looks up with emotion at his statue. St Germain, Monceaux, Fontainebleau, above all the Louvre, were enlarged, almost rebuilt, by him. He established in his long gallery in the Louvre artists of all kinds, and encouraged them frequently with his presence as well as his presents.
Finally, he had made France the arbiter of Europe, as was felt at Venice and Amsterdam, and as would have been also felt on the Rhine, had not the Spanish faction, and the undying hatred of the Catholic fanaticism, cut short his life on the very eve of great events.
The regency in France belonged in theory to the princes of the blood-royal; as, however, Catherine de’ Medici had made her a precedent, and as Henry IV. had as good as named his spouse regent, Marie de’ Medici seized the office at once. She took no vengeance on Sully for his opposition to her in past time, but made friends with him, taking from him all real power and command of the finances, while she left him the charge of the artillery and woods, together with the government of Poitou. The princes of the blood-royal were easily disposed of: Conde was in exile, the prince of Conti a cipher; the count of Soissons she quieted with great gifts. Then she composed a council of regency, which was managed by her favorites Concini and his wife Leonora Galigai. Concini, who purchased the marquisate of Ancre, and was made marshal, though an ambitious and greedy foreigner, did not use his power amiss for a time. when the princes, headed by Conde, opposed him and clamoured for the convocation of the States-General, Concini quieted them skillfully, and in 1614 caused the young king’s majority to be declared, - for Louis XIII. was then thirteen years old, - and summoned the States-General to meet at Paris. As this was the last time that they were called together before the eve of the Revolution, it may be well to say a word as to the body, its nature and composition. The States-General of France, in which the three ordersmet from time to time at invitation of the king, was an assembly of clergy, nobles, and "third estate" or commons. The three formed three entirely independent chambers, sitting, debating, and voting separately. Consequently the vote of two orders could always veto the wishes of the third; and as clergy were a class and nobles a caste, and as to a large extent the interests of these bodies were identical, and as, moreover, they both enjoyed a fatal immunity from the burdens of taxation, the chance of legislation or taxation on fair principles was very small indeed. Representing the clerical estate sat the bishops and abbots, together with a certain number of lower clergy; in the noble house sat the holders of noble fiefs; the third estate was represented (except in 1789) chiefly by deputies elected in the towns. These bodies had really no legislative power; and though just before the Revolution the parliament of Paris opened the way to great changes by declaring that taxes could only be legally voted by the States-General, they had, as a fact, very little authority even in this respect; in only a few cases did they sanction taxation or vote subsidies; the royal power found it more convenient, till the bankrupt state of the country under Louis XVI. compelled it to call on the Estates for help, to arrange the taxation as it thought good. The great doctrine of the relation between tax-paying and political power was unknown in France. The true function of the Estates seemed to be limited to expressions of opinion on points submitted to them by the king, and to the laying before him, on their side, grievances which they had brought up in their cahiers or "quires," from the country. These grievances they could not remedy: all they could do was solemnly to call the attention of the king to them, who could redress them if he liked. This solemn process was almost the only occasion on which the Estates met together. They went to church together at the opening, and then in one chamber were met by the king, who addressed them and dismissed them to their several chambers with the business he chose to entrust to their deliberation; then, once more, at the end of their labors they all met again. At the upper end of the hall a platform was erected for the king and his court, the twelve peers, and the household officers; on the right hand of it sat the clergy, on the left the nobles, in front, at the foot of the hall, the third estate. Each other presented its statement of grievances; the king replied with promises and assurances, which came to very little, and the Estates were then dismissed; and if the court had got money or the help it sought, very little more was thought about gravamina to be redressed. So little was their practical importance, - rarely were they convoked, that their composition, method of election or nomination, rules of procedure, rights and legislative competency, were never made clear. It was not in the interests of the monarchy, or indeed of the privileged orders, that the Estates should have any power, or meet very often. This, then, was all that France, before the Revolution, ever had by way of what Englishmen call a parliament. The word parliament in France has always signified only a law court; and the parliament of Paris, the chief law court of the realm, claimed a certain constitutional power, as having the duty of registering the royal edicts. As a rule, it proved itself the obsequious servant of the king’s will; from time to time, however, it was stubborn, and, refusing to register, held that the royal edicts so unregistered was void of authority. In such cases the king was wont to hold what was curiously styled a "lit de justice," a "bed of justice," or solemn visitation of the parliament, in which he personally attended and compelled the reluctant body to register his edict, - These things, for the "generalities" or "Pays d’election," - that is, for the chief part of France, - were the sum total of constitutional life and power enjoyed, - a total which, under a strong and determined monarch, or such a minister as Richelieu, meant absolutely nothing at all. In the outlying districts, called the "Pays d’etats," more liberties existed; these parts voted their own local taxation, and managed to a great extent their own local affairs; they were, however, a mere fringe round the borders of ancient France, - the estate of Flanders (namely, Douai and Lille), Provence, Bearn, Lower Nvarre, Bigorre, Foix, soule, Armagnac, Nebouzan, and Marsan.





The States-General of 1614 did nothing; they faithfully represented the jealousies and ill-will between the orders, and broke up in confusion. Armand du Plessis of Richelieu, bishop of Lucon, was the orator of the clergy on this occasion, the person charged to lay the grievances of his order before the king. This is the only interesting fact in the history of this meeting of the Estate. In 1615 Louis XIII. married Anne of Austria, who afterwards played a considerable part in the troubles of the Fronde. Fort two years Marshall Ancre steered his perilous way between theyoung king, who cared little for him – his mother’s favorite, not his, - the princes of the blood, and the discontented Huguenots. In 1617 the new favorite of Louis, Charles d’Albert, count of Luynes, overthrew and killed him; Leonora Galigai, his wife, was executed as a sorceress; the queen –mother and Richelieu, who was just hoping to secure his foothold at court, both fell,- she withdrew to Blois, he to Lucon; the young king, weak and frivolous, fell into the hands of the noblesse. After a time the nobles were as little pleased with Luynes as they had been with Concini, and rallied round the court of Mary de’ Medici at Angers. Richelieu, whose great abilities had already been recognized, was charged by Luynes with thedelicate task of attempting a reconciliation between the king and his mother; he succeeded by the treaty of angers in 1620 in averting civil war. Then Luynes, thinking it well to amuse the king, marched with him into Bearn, where the inhabitants, suddenly bereft (in 1617) of their rights as Protestants, were in open ferment and revolt. Here, as in all the south and west of France, the Huguenots were uneasy and suspicious; the incidents of war in Behemia, where the Calvinists had but just been crushed, and the political changes in the United Provinces, excited their already high-wrought feelings. They claimed the full benefit of the Edict of Nantes, which seemed to the court to be the establishment of a republic in the heart of the monarchy. In 1621 they held an assembly at their capital, La Rochelle, and made a kind of declaration of independence. They divided their 700 congregations throughout France into eight circles, after the German fashion, thus indicating a tendency towards decentralization, which must be offensive to the court and the general body of French people; they arranged their own levies of men and money, and in fact went far towards the full organization of what they styled "the republic of the Reformed churches of France and Bearn." They named the duke of Bouillon their chief, and made Lesdiguieres most plentiful offers. Thesegreat nobles, however, refused to join them, and the duke of Roban with his brother Soubise became the heads of this Huguenot movement. There were in it not a few elements of constitutional life; these Protestants had as far better idea of wholesome government than prevailed elsewhere in France. The noblesse, however, would have nothing to do with them, and their efforts were of little avail. The king, who showed considerable energy, took the command against them, and encouraged his army to treat them with barbarous cruelty, for her was a weak and heartless creature. At the siege of Montauban, however, he failed completely, and had to withdraw discomfited. Soon after this, in the end of 1621, Luynes was taken with camp fever and died. The king, who was weary of him, heard with pleasure the tidings of his death. Round him were now formed two parties, - that of the queen-mother upheld by Richelieu, and that of the prince of Conde. The king, leaning towards the latter, which wished for war, set forth on a second campaign against the Huguenots, and conducted it with the same mischievous cruelty as before. The Huguenots showed nothing but weakness; their chief men submitted, and place after place fell. After this war had lasted about a year, the queen-mother got the upper hand at court, and Conde had to withdraw; by a treaty which recalled the old peaces of the civil wars, the chief part of the Edict of Nantes was confirmed, while the Huguenots were forbidden to hold political meetings or to fortify towns; they retained only La Rochelle and Montauban as strongholds (October 1623). Richelieu, who in 1622 had received the cardinal’s hat in reward of his services in reconciling the king with his mother, was now ready to take charge of and to rule the weak, unstable king, who already appeared to fear and dislike his future master. He entered the council in April 1624.
"I venture on nothing without first thinking it out; but once decided, I go straight to my point, overthrow or cut down whatever stands in my way, and finally cover it all up with my cardinal’s red robe." Such are the words put into Richelieu’s mouth; and whether he said them or not, they represent fairly enough his deliberation, resolution, and cold severity. Nor does the final touch as the red robe of his clerical office go much beyond the truth; for he made great use of his dignity as a cardinal to cover the intrigues and cruelties on which otherwise he might perhaps have never ventured. In his earlier days he seems to have desired to build up a strong monarchy, absolute, without constitutional checks, on the goodwill of a satisfied and well-governed people. The alliance between despotism and democracy, which our own age has also seen, appeared to be especially adapted for France, where the constitutional life was always so weak. As soon, however, as the despotism was established on a firm footing, the people were forgotten; and Richeliu’s administration in the end oppressed them quite as much as it crushed the nobles or kept the church in order.
When Richelieu entered the king’s council in 1624 he was thirty-nine years old. Born in 1585, he was the youngest son of a noble family of Poitou, springing originally from the village of Richelieu. In that family the elder son, if he chose,took orders, because they could always dispose of the bishopric of Lucon, a kind of family benefice; the younger son became a soldier. As such, Armand du Plessis learnt lessons in warfare, which were very useful to him at a later time; the cardinal’s robe did not take the place of the soldier’s coat, - it only concealed it. When, however, his brother gave up his preferment at Lucon, Armand at once left the calling of a soldier, was ordained, and succeeded to the bishopric in 1607, at the age of twenty-two. The States-General of 1614 made the young prelate’s for tune; he pleased Concini and the queen-mother, acted with consummate skill and prudence through the ten years which followed, was made cardinal in 1622, and member of the council in 1624. His later life may be divided into four periods: - (1) from 1624 to 1626, the time of his first resistance against the Austro-Spanish power and his failure, as shown by the peace of Monzon; (2) from 1626 to 1628, when he punished the Huguenots of La Rochelle for that failure, and laid firmer foundation for his after-success; (3) from 1628 to 1635, the period in which he secured his own and his master’s despotism in France, and began to interfere in the affairs of Europe; and lastly (4), from 1635 to 1643, the days of his successful lead in the arena of general politics, and of his triumphant overthrow of his domestic foes; the fruits of this period he left for Mazarin to gather in abroad by his triumphs at the peace of Westphalia; Louis XIV. carried out his principles to their utmost development in domestic policy.
1.When he began to rule in 1624, the Austro-Spanish power had already become very strong. The first results of the Thirty Years’ War were all in their favor; they held the Palatinate and the course of the Rhine, by which they could communicate with the Spanish Netherlands and intimidate the Dutch; they were also masters of the important Valtelline, that long pass which led from the Milanese territory, at this time in their hands, to their German friends in Bavaria and Tyrol. Richelieu determined to attack them both in Germany and in the Italian Alps, - in Germany by supporting the leadership of Christian IV. of Denmark, though he would have much preferred that of Gustavas Adolphus; in the Alps by allying himself with Charles Emmanuel, duke of Savoy, with Venice, and with the Grison leagues. With hardly any resistance he swept the Spanish and papal troops out of the Valtelline; for Urban VIII. was only half-hearted on the side of Spain, and was to some extent influenced by the true winner of some of Richelieu’s greatest triumphs, the crafty capuchin, Father Joseph. Just, however, as all was going on well, Richelieu was paralyzed by an unlucky outburst of Huguenot independence; affairs in Germany took a bad turn, for Wallenstein now appears on the scene with a new imperial army; the attack of the duke of Savoy on Genoa failed; the French inPiedmont and the Valtelline felt themselves insecure. A temporary peace was made with the Huguenots, and in May 1626 the treaty of Monzon with Spain closed Richelieu’s first attempt to reduce the preponderance of that power. It is perhaps the darkest hour of his career; the treaty was secretly and treacherously agreed on; he left his allies for themselves; he seemed to reverse his whole policy. The truth was that the strength of the Spanish party at home, the ill-success of the Lutherans in Germany, and the weakening effect of Huguenot insurrection made it impossible for him to persevere.
2.It was clear that he must bridle the Rochelle Protestants before he could advance a step; so doing, he would also make a beginning in his second aim, that of bringing down the noblesse, - for some of the proudest aristocrats of France were Huguenots; then he could coerce the queen-mother and her party, with its Spanish leanings; and after that he would be free to resume his foreign policy. This second period of his public career, therefore, is chiefly occupied with the overthrow of the Huguenot power, which was concentrated at La Rochelle. It was, however, preceded by a great court intrigue, for he was already very obnoxious to the nobles near the throne, and to the princes of the blood. The plot was easily detected and crushed; Marshal Ornano perished in prison; Gaston of Orleans, the king’s dissolute younger brother, was compelled to make abject submission; the duke of Vendome lost his government of Brittany; the duchess of Chevreuse was banished; the queen herself was warned to behave more wisely in the future. The influence of women during this century is almost uniformly baleful; that of Henrietta Maria, sister of Louis XIII. and wife of Charles I., led to the attempt of Buckingham to recover his popularity in England by espousing the Huguenot cause, which was exciting a warm interest in the English people. The Huguenots, irritated by the establishment of Fort Louis as a check on La Rochelle, declared war on France herself; they were secretly encouraged by Anne of Austria and the court party, as well as by the Spaniards, who were delighted to see the cardinal thwarted and France weakened by civil war. They were also openly backed by England, which declared war on France, and sent a strong fleet under Buckingham to succour La Rochelle. But there was in light –headed handsome Buckingham nothing of the soldier; he failed ignominiously, while the cardinal’s siege grew daily stricter and more certain of success. After fourteen perilous months of siege, Richelieu entered the town in triumph. With the fall of La Rochelle ends the stubborn resistance of the Huguenots to the monarchy; the siege was a kind of after blow to the civil wars of the previous century. No very severe penalties were exacted from the town; it was simply rendered powerless. The fall of the place roused a warm patriotic feeling in France; it was regarded as a great defeat of England. Buckingham’s assassination had opened the way to peace, which was signed between the courts of England and France in September 1628.

3.It was full time for Richelieu to interfere elsewhere. The utter collapse of the resistance against the house of Austria in Germany had come. Wallenstein was omnipotent in the north; Christian IV. and been driven back into Denmark; the king of Spain was in league with the duke of Rohan and the discontented Huguenots of Languedoc; affairs in Italy were very threatening; the Spaniards were pressing Casale, the key of the great valley of the Po; on the two sieges, La Rochelle and Casale, which took place at the same time, the fortunes of Europe turned. Richelieu, while he sent his agent Charnace to North Germany to do what he could to check the Austrian advance and to raise up fresh barriers, set himself to relieve Casale. In January 1629 he had carried Louis XIII. into Italy, and the Spaniards at once raised the siege of Casale. Thence he returned into Languedoc, where the Protestant rebels were moving; they too were speedily put down; and Richelieu, with Father Joseph, once more posed before Europe as the champion of Catholicism. Urban VIII., who little knew his man, wrote him a letter of warm thanks and congratulations. With the fall of Montauban, the last glimmer of local independence in France died out. Before the end of 1629 Richelieu was called on once more to interfere, and this time more seriously, in Italy; the pope, the duke of Mantua, the republic of Venice, all in alarm appealed to him to save them from Spanish domination. He prevailed on the king to appoint him lieutenant-general, and with a splendid staff and army crossed the mountains into Italy early in 1630. His campaign, which did not include any open warfare against Spain, was thoroughly successful; he reduced all Savoy to submission, in spite of the duke’s ill-will. While he was thus making a splendid and theatrical campaign in Italy, he was quietly engaged on far greater things elsewhere; he was busy organizing and encouraging the resistance of northern Europe to the house of Asutria. Charnace with Gustavus Adolphus, and Father Joseph at the Ratisbon Diet, were charged with his duty, and fulfilled it with eminent success. It was in 1630 that Gustavus accepted the friendship and help of France, in early in 1631 signed at Barenwal a treaty of alliance with that power, which consented to pay him a great subsidy for five years. This treaty, in which Gustavus promised not to coerce peaceful catholics, was approved even by Urban VIII. At the Ratisbon Diet in June 1630 Father Joseph had a more delicate task; yet he too succeeded. The jealousies of the German princes neutralized all the advantages of the emperor Ferdinand, and brought about the fall of Wallenstein, who withdrew in haughty disdain to Bohemia; the princes also protested against the attempts of Ferdinand of Italy; and he, wishing above all things to conciliate them, and to get his son Ferdinand named Rex Romanorun, promised to secure to Gonzaga- Nevers duke at Mantua, and to withdraw his troops from the second siege of Casale. The first treaty of Cherasco (April 1631) brought the Italian war to an end; a second treaty, made by Richelieu with Victor Amadeus, the new duke of Savoy, secured for France Pinerolo, the key of the approaches to Turin. Giulio Mazarini, the pope’s agent, made his first public appearance in the negotiation of this Italian war, and laid the foundations of his fortunes in France.

A little before this time Richelieu had passed through the most critical moment of his career; the queen-mother, the reigning queen, Gaston of Orleans, still heir to the throne, the horse of Guise, a group of generals and officers of the crown, the duke of Bouillon, the count of Soissons, all the favorites and courtiers of Louis XIII., had conspired together to overthrow the cardinal. In the very moment of their apparent success, when the king, as they thought, had entirely given him up, the skilful audacity of Richelieu reversed all this plans. He threw himself on Louis XIII. for support, and the king, glad to be delivered from their hands, gave the cardinal carte blanche; the "great storm of the court," the "Day of Dupes," passed by and left him stronger than before. he showed no hesitation in punishing and crippling his foes. The queen-mother was got rid of; she took refuge at Brussels, and her ladies were exiled; Gaston fled to Lorriane, the duke of Guise to Italy; the parliament of Paris, which had favored the plot, was reduced to humble submission. Richelieu was now made duke and peer, with the government of Brittany. The attempts of the emigrant nobles to raise the province on the borders were sternly and swiftly put down; the battle of Castenaudary in Languedoc closed the series of outbreaks. The duke of Montmorency, son of the constable, was taken there, and afterwards executed. After pacifying Languedoc, Richelieu rearranged the governorship of the provinces, removing hostile or suspected governors, and putting his own friends in their places. By the end of 1632 he had crushed all the serious elements of resistance throughout France.

This period coincides with the splendid career and premature death of Gustavus Adolphus. His rapid advance and high aims had alarmed Richelieu; his fall at Lutzen was a distinct relief to his ally; it enabled him to step in between the combatants with emphasis, and to shape the latter years of the Thirty Years’ War so that they might conduce to the advantage of France. In July 1632 he had seized the duchy of Lorraine, almost without striking a blow, the duke having taken part with the emigrants against him. He was now prepared to advance thence to the Rhine; he took the Protestant adventures, Bernard of Saxe-Weimar and others, into his pay. Things worked well for Richelieu; the murder of Wallenstein in 1634, the abandonment of the prince’s party by the elector of Saxony (peace of Prague, 1635), the lack of a head for the German Calvinists, - all these things combined to open the way for the last and most brilliant period of Richelieu’s career.

4.Late in 1634 he had renewed his alliances with Sweden and the German Calvinists; he persuaded the Dutch to attack the Spanish Netherlands in May 1635; he declared war on Spain, and came openly into the field, in which hitherto he had worked only by secret and oblique methods. He had under his command such a force as France had never seen: 132,000 men in four armies seemed likely soon to bring the weary war to an end. One army was to join the Dutch under Frederick Henry of Orange and to march on Brussels, a second to unite with Bernard of Weimar and the Swedes across the Rhine, a third to hold the line of the Vosges and protect Lorraine; the fourth with the duke of Savoy should reduce the Milanese country. The result, however, in no way answered the expectations; the campaigns of 1635 and 1636 were unsuccessful and burdensome; neither glory nor profit followed; the Spaniards and Austrians invaded France on three sides, - in Picardy, across the Pyreness, and in Burgundy. Nor was 1637 more decisive. Though the invaders had been swept out, no important actions took place, no great results followed. The successes of Bernard of Saxe-Weimar on the Rhine in 1638 first showed that the Austro-Spanish power was checked. In this year the first steps were made towards the peace of Westphalia. The birth of the dauphin Louis also now ruined the court party, and secured to Richelieu a firmer lease of power; if their sickly king were to die, as seemed only too likely, he would continue to guide the fortunes of the state under a regency; the hopes and future of Gaston of Orleans were reduced to nothing. The fall of Breisach at the end of the year, which placed the upper Rhine completely in the hands of Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, though it might not be altogether grateful to Richelieu, who feared the skill and abilities of the ambitious and patriotic German, proved to the world that the Austrian power was worn out. The death of Father Joseph at the same moment caused the cardinal no small embarrassment; his place was taken by the supple Mazarin. The death of Bernard, just as his plans seemed on the point of being realized-just as he thought he had made of himself a principality on the Rhine to check the progress as much of France as of Austria. – came very opportunely for Richelieu. There was now no one engaged in the war who could interfere with his objects; he got possession of the army which had served Bernard so well, the best body of fighting men the war had produced after the Swedes had been exhausted; he also seized on the districts in their hands. In 1641 the count of Soissons went over to the Spaniards and invaded northern France. He fell in battle, and the attempt failed. In Germany and Italy the strength of France was more and more distinctly shown. The last battles o the Thirty Years’ War were chiefly won by Frenchmen; the cession of Sedan by the duke of Bouillon, and the capture of Perpignan close to the Spanish border, were "the last present made by Richelieu to France" (Michelet). The one helped to secure her northern, the other her southern frontier. The cardinal’s last struggle for supremacy took place now. In 1641 the parliament of Paris was humbled, and its ambition to rival the English parliament rudely destroyed; in 1642 the conspiracy of Cing Mars gave expression to the old and undying hatred of the court for Richelieu. The plot was detected and unraveled as soon as it was spun, and Cinq Mars with his friend De Thou perished on the scaffold at Lyons. After this, all were prostrate and obedient; the court party was utterly foiled, its chief members deal of exiled; the cardinal’s foreign policy was triumphant, and neither Spain nor Austria could do more. But he had no time to enjoy the successes his cold heart and strong hand had won; he fell into the hands of the one enemy whom no subtlety could baffle, and died in December 1642. Richelieu had an inflexible will, vigorous abilities, and a clear idea of what he desired that France should be; and it is hardly too much to say that he made France what she has continued to be almost that he made France what she has continued to be almost to our days. Not till the center of power in Germany had passed from Austria to Prussia did the old foreign policy of France fail; not till constitutional life had got firm hold on the French people did the republic succeed in reversing the evil principles and consequences of Richelieu’s home government. His leading idea was that unity brings strength; and into unity his stern resolves and pitiless severities forced his reluctant country. In the career of Louis XIV. we read the true commentary on his acts and principles; in the corrupt and deadly despotism of the 18th century we read its punishment; even the Revolution, though it scourged the older system with scorpions, could not at once destroy it, or build on surer foundations. When we remember how Richelieu crushed, one after another, those elements of society which had in them germs of a modern constitutional life, we are tempted to speculate on the splendid career which was possible for France had a wiser statesmen ruled her in these critical years. The base subserviency of the church, the humiliation of the lawyers in the parliaments, the loss of noble impendence, the overthrow of all healthy civic, life, the steady depression of Huguenot opinions, the silence of the States-General, the diminution of local liberties even in the "pays d’etats," the assertion of the king’s independent right to levy taxes and issue edicts – all these evils might have been avoided, and the strong life, strong often to turbulence, which lived in these different institutions might have been harmonized, brought into friendly and fruitful action, until an original and characteristic constitutional history had given France that strength and prosperity, that home development of magnificent resources, which would have secured her the undisputed lead and lordship among the nations of Europe. Instead, Richelieu gave her unity and glory. The burdens of France increased enormously; her aggressive power, now that she was concentrated in the hand of a despot, who had unchecked command of the persons and purses of his subjects, was immensely increased. If we look into Richelieu’s character, we shall discern, side by side with that pride which could rejoice in debasing the noblest and strongest, a vanity which, like a vein of impurer metal, spoilt the ring and clearness of his life. He was always conscious of effects; as an author, a dramatist, or a statesman, he was on the look-out for "situations"; his most striking political successes seemed due as much to the necessity of impressing men by startling novelties as to an honest belief in the justice of his cause or the wholesomeness of his course of action. His extraordinary powers, his life-long devotion to the policy he had drawn out for himself and France, secure him his safe position as a great man, - a great man on the lower level, - one whom one fears, perhaps admires, but never loves; because there were in him no really high aims, nor any true love of the people under him, nor any desire to rule them well. Richelieu has been often compared with Wolsey and contrasted with Mazarin. The red robe of the cardinal is common to all three; beyond this the comparison with Wolsey is of little value, for the men were essentially unlike in character and aim. The contrast with Mazarin, who lived with him, studied his policy, and succeeded him, is of more value and interest. It is brilliantly treated by Voltaire in his Henriade (vii. 327 sq.): -

Henri, dans ce moment, voit sur des fleurs de-lis
Deux mortels orgueilleux aupres du trone assis.
Ils teinenent sous leurs pieds tout un people a la chaine;
Tous deux sont reventus de la pourpre romaine;
Tous deux sont entoures de gardes, de soldats;
Il les prend pour des rois… Vous ne vous trompez pas;
Ils le sont, dit Louis, sans en avoir le titre;
Du prince et de l’etat l’un et ‘’autre est l’arbitre.
Richelieu, Mazarin, ministres immortels
Jusqu’an trone eleves de l’ombre des autels,
Enfants de la fortune et de la politique,
Marcheront a grands pas an pouvoir despotique.
Richelieu, grand, sublime, implcabale ennemi:
Mazarin, souple, adroit, et dangereux ami;
L’un fuyant avec art, et cedant a l’orage,
L’autre aux flots irrites opposant son courage;
Des princes de mon sang ennemis declares;
Tous deux hais du people, et tous deux admires;
Enfin, par leurs efforts, ou par leur industrie,
Utiles a leurs rois, cruels a la patrie."

One thing they had in common, the love and encouragement of letters; yet even this in Richelieu’s hands must be organized, despotic. Still, he and Mazarin have an honorable claim to remembrance when we speak of the writers of the "great age," for it was under them in the first half or so of the century, rather than under Louis XIV. in the latter half, that the chief masterpieces were produced. The tendency of the reign of Louis XIV, was rather to depress than to ennoble literature. Richelieu founded the French Academy in 1635, and set on foot the Gazette of France; he established the royal printing press; he desired to patronize learned men, though his own literary efforts failed, and men of real independence of character, like Corneille and Descartes, shunned the fatal honors of his patronage. He was in all his tastes a great and showy prince; his bearing and surroundings were more than noble; he called to his side artists of every kind; art, in its 17th century decadence and formalism, was well content to do his bidding, and gild an age of splendor without genius.

Louis XIII. died within six months after Richelieu’s death; he did but give time to Mazarin to win the favor of the queen and to secure his position as first minister. Mazarin was destined to fail completely in home government, while in foreign affairs he brought all his great master’s policy to a splendid and successful end. At home his rule reversed Richelieu’s stern principle of repression. The subtle and flexible Italian, after the manner of his countrymen, hoped to succeed by counterpoises, by playing factions off against one another, by trading on the meaner side of human nature, by love affairs and jealousies, and all the stock in trade of weak intriguing characters. His rule is characterized by the burlesque wars of the Fronde, which sufficiently showed his want of firmness and the degradation of the age.





Louis XIII. left at his death two sons, Louis the dauphin, now Louis XIV., and Philip duke of Anjou, afterwards duke of Orleans, who founded the Orleans branch of the Bourbon family, which ceased to reign on the deposition of Louis Philippe ion 1848. The regency was in the hands of Anne of Austria, his queen; Gaston of Orleans was named lieutenant-general of the kingdom; the direction of the government was placed with a council, the prince of Conde, Mazarin, Seguier the chancellor, and two more. The king’s will, however, was little respected. Anne, a haughty and ambitious woman, with Mazarin to back her, was not likely to care much for the clog of a council of regency. The parliament of Paris, flattered at appearing to be the arbiter of the counsels of kings, set aside the will, and declared Anne independent regent. The old court party, of which Anne had always been the head, expected to rule at will; Mazarin was tolerated only because he was necessary to bring foreign affairs to a successful issue; that done he would have to go. The "Important," as they were nicknamed, a frivolous and unworthy company of noble nobodies, reckoned on a long lease of power; the king was little more than a babe, - he was but four years and a half old, - and it would be strange if they could not secure themselves. The war on the frontiers, however, ruthlessly destroyed their hopes. The Spaniards, cheered by the deaths of Richelieu and Louis XIII., had besieged the little frontier town of Rocroi; Mazarin hastily sent up an army to relieve the place, commanded by marshal L’Hopital and the young duke of Englien, eldest son of Henry I., prince of Conde, a distant cousin of the king. In spite of L’Hopital’s prudent counsels, Enghein recklessly with the confidence of genius and youthful inexperience attacked and utterly defeated the world-famous Spanish infantry, and killed their aged general Fuentes. The battle of Rocroi (1643) destroyed for ever the older fighting power of the world, the solid Spanish foot, and gave to France her first taste of that military glory which marks the reign; it was the bapteme de feu of the child-king of France; it also secured the dominance of Mazarin. The house of Conde was his friend; Rocroi enabled him to hold up his head against both Spain and the "Importants"; their party, for the time, was utterly broken up. In these closing years of the Thirty Years’ War two able soldiers came to the front, the Great conde and Turenne, - the one all fire and dash, alike dangerous to friend and foe, the other the greatest tactician of the age. The one represents at its best the old noble fighter, the other the modern skilful officer. In 1644 they drove the imperial general Mercy out of his position at Freiberg, and became masters of the middle Rhine-land; in 1645, pressing the Asutrian nearer home, they fought and won the sanguinary second battle of Nordlingen; so much were they weakened by that Cadmean victory that they were unable to keep the advantage, and were thrust back to the Rhine. In 1646 they directed their attention against the elector of Bavaria, in hopes of being able to detach him from Austria; Turenne took undisputed possession of the whole upper Danube valley, and threatened the elector Maximilian at Munich. In 1647 he, to free himself from the invader, who mercilessly ravaged and plundered his lands, signed a separate truce with France, and abandoned at last the imperial cause. Well might the house of Austria now feel that by any sacrifices it must bring the long war to an end. When the elector broke truce early next year, his resistance was crushed by the French at Zusmarshausen, and the fighting in Germany was over. The war had rather more life in it as between France and Spain. In Italy, Flanders, and Catalonia considerable movements went on; that in Flanders, where Conde commanded, was alone decisive; the battle of Lens (9th August 1648), the last of the fighting on that side, was a crushing and final defeat of the Spanish, and even more fatal to their power than the overthrow of Rocroi.

For years there had been negotiations for peace; they had taken definite form as long back as 1639 at Cologne. In 1643 the congresses of Munster and Osnabruck were set permanently going; at Munster, France, Spain, and the Catholic princes were to make terms with the emperor; at Osnabruck negotiations should go on between him and Sweden, and the Protestant princes; the results should be welded into one coherent treaty of peace. The Dutch and Spaniards made peace together in January 1648, so ending their eighty years; struggle. The terms between the empire and Sweden were signed at Osnabruck in August; those between the empire and France at Munster in October 1648. The quarrel between France and Spain alone remained unsettled. The peace of Westphalia, as was necessary, largely favored France. As the war had gone on, her growing strength, and at last her preponderance, had made this quite inevitable; yet in actual again of territory France received but little, only Austrian Alsace being added to the kingdom. In influence and in relative strength, however, she grew much. The power of Germany was broken up; the princes friendly to France, the elector of Treves, the Palatine house, the house of Hesse Cassel, the Swiss cantons, were all strengthened. The three bishoprics, Metz, Verdun, Toul, were ceded in full sovereignty to France, as was also Pinerolo; she might garrison Philipsburg; the chief Rhine fortresses, barriers against her ambition, were to be dismantled; Breidach remained in her hands. Austria was cut off from the Netherlands, and was rendered almost powerless. Thus the foreign policy of France was finally triumphant, although Richelieu did not live to see it. He had marked out its course, had watched over the preparations for it, had set it in motion, and had seen it through its earlier failures and difficulties; then he bequeathed it to Mazarin, who, though far inferior to him in tenacity and unity of purpose, was perhaps better fitted to steer things to their end; for his subtle skill and flexibility were exactly calculated for the intricate mazes of long negotiations, and could well defend French purposes amidst the innumerable and conflicting claims and wishes of the states represented at the congresses.

No sooner had the peace of Westphalia settled, as it did for long years, the basis of the public law of Europe, than Mazarin was obliged to turn his attention to home-affairs, in which he was never so fortunate as in his foreign ventures. It has been noticed that a singular movement, adverse to the claims of monarchy, was at this very moment sweeping across Europe. The rulers of every state seem to lose power, sometimes are overthrow entirely. The characteristics of the Thirty Years’ War tended to produce this result, - partly by depressing Austria and Spain, partly by familiarizing men with the careers of brave adventurers not royal, not even princely, partly by arousing enthusiasm for strong Protestantism, as in the English volunteers who supported the Calvinist "winter king," or took service under the "Protestant hero," Gustavus Adolphus, partly also by the results of the war, as seen in the acknowledged independence of the United Provinces and Switzerland, two republics finally freed from royal control. Besides this there was an aristocratic reaction which had brought down the monarchy of the papacy, as was clearly seen in the long pontificate of Urban VIII; there was the popular reaction which was steadily destroying the absolutist theories of the Stewarts in England; there was a certain weakening of royalty in Scandinavia, whether at Stockholm or at Copenhagen. And France could not fail to feel the same influences at work. Mazarin’s easier rule allowed the princes and nobles whom Richelieu had steadily kept down to raise their heads again, and the lawyers who composed the parliament of Paris, flattered at having been allowed to pronounce an authoritative judgment on the last will of Louis XIII., and thinking themselves an institution parallel to the parliament of England, were also much disposed to take advantage of the childhood of the king, the weakness of the queen-mother, the easier disposition of the cardinal. The French people, who had much rejoiced when Richelieu died, thinking that his heavy burdens would be lightened, were deeply irritated to find that they had fallen into the hands of a greedy foreigner; that their financial position Mazarin allowed Emeri, a harsh and cruel creature, also an Italian, to manage the purse of France, and to plunder it at will for his own and his master’s profit. These causes are quite enough to account for the outbreak of civil war in 1648. The only wonder is that this war, the "War of the Fronde," or the Sling (a nickname drawn from the boys in the city ditches of Paris, who played at mimic fights with slings), proved so hollow and absurd, when one sees engaged in it the great names of Conde and Turenne. The name of the Fronde was first adopted by the leader of the movement, the coadjutor to the archbishop of Paris, Paul of Gondi, who us best known to history as the Cardinal de Retz. The immediate cause of the outbreak was the attempt of Mazarin about the dismissal of his corrupt agent Emeri. The news of Conde’s great victory at Lens (9th August 1648) had inspirited the court party, which counted Conde as its champion; and Mazarin determined to use the enthusiasm thus aroused to strike terror into the parliament. On the thanksgiving day for the victory, four members of the parliament were suddenly arrested, one of them being Broussel, an old counselor in his dotage, whom the mob loved for his rude manners and his fine head of white hair." All Paris was at once is an uproar; the coadjutor De Retz threw himself into the disturbance, obtained Broussel’s release, and quiet for the moment was restored. The queen-mother and Mazarin, alarmed at the troubled look of affairs, fled from Paris to Ruel. The parliament took the lead in what seemed to be a revolution, and De Retz, a born agitator and demagogue, gave to the lawyers a popular force in the discontent of the Paris mob. Though the court had been induced to return to Paris in October 1648, Mazarin thought it safer to escape with it again early in 1649 to St Germains. Then the discontented nobles, chiefly influenced by that romantic intriguer, the duchess of Longueville, conde’s sister, united their cause with that of Paris and the parliament, and seemed likely to overbear all opposition. The prince of Conti, Conde’s younger brother, the duke of Longueville, a crowd of others, and eventually Turenne himself, formed the heads of a new "War of the Public Weal." Conde saved the court; his siege of Paris, and the weariness of the people, who had to pay for all the brilliant follies of their noble allies, led to the peace of Ruel early in 1649, - a delusive peace, negotiated by the stiff pedantic president of the parliament, Mtthew Mole. This movement marks the division between the Old Fronde and the Newe, - the Old the Fronde of Paris and the parliament, the New the Fronde of the discontented nobles. These latter very by no means inclined to accept the agreement of Ruel; the second period of the Fronde began at once; Conde tried to play a middle part, intriguing with both sides, and equally disliked by both. He formed a kind of party of his own, that of the "petits mairtres," the frivolous young nobles, dazzled by his bright manners and warlike reputation. The chiefs of the New Fronde began serious negotiations with Spain, and Spanish troops entered northern France, descending as far as to Rheims. Anne of Austria, somewhat strengthened by the adherence of the Old Fronde, ventured now to arrest Conde, Conti, and Longueville, early in 1650. But the duchess of Longueville escaped, whereby the stroke was rendered a complete failure. She carried Turenne over to the New Fronde, and he, supported by Spanish troops, threatened Paris. The three prisoners were sent down to Havre for safety; Turenne’s Spaniards were driven back to the frontier, and the royal troops retook Rethel from them. Feeling that paris was still too uneasy for him, Mazarin released the three prisoners, and withdrew to Bruhl on the Rhine. His cunning thoughts was that Conde would certainly arouse jealousies and confusion, out of which the royal power might soon recover authority. Nor was he wrong; in the autumn of 1651 the Old Fronde had come entirely over to the court; De Retz, satisfied by the exile of Mazarin, was bought with a cardinal’t hat; Conde withdrew, and roused revolt in Guyenne, where he was strong. He reckoned on the help of Turenne and the Spaniards in the north; but all calculations were certain to be vain in a war in which love and vanity, jealousies and mean ambitions, ruled supreme. Turenne at once went over to the court, and took command of the king’s troops; Mazarin came back, the king’s majority was declared. A struggle for Paris followed, in which Turenne showed himself the master of his great rival, fist checking him at Etampes, and then defeating him completely in the suburbs of the capital (1652). Conde with the remnant of his force took refuge in the town through the St Antoine gate. Next year, all being weary of the war, the young king was invited back to Paris; Conde withdrew into Champange and joined the Spaniards, with whom he remained till the peace of the Pyreness. The New Fronde was entirely broken up; the Old Fronde had long been weary of the whole affair; Cardinal de Retz was a prisoner at Vincenes, and his career was over. Ere long Mazarin, who had again withdrawn from court to Sedan, was recalled; the parliament of Paris, which in 1654 demurred to the heavy cost of the Spanish war, was ordered by the king to abase itself; its meetings were forbidden; for nearly a century and a half its political action was suspended.

All this "burlesque war," this "war of children, with a child’s nickname," "comic in its origin, its events, its principle," as Michelet says of it, had been like the light scene which the skilful dramatist interposes between the great movements of his tragedy, at once to relieve the strained attention of the hearers and to heighten the effect of the catastrophe. It fills with light and merry motion the period between Rithcelieu and Louis XIV.; it was "the game of lively schoolboys in the interval between the lessons of those two stern and severe teachers." The Spaniards were still at war with France; and nothing so clearly shows their utter exhaustion as their inability to take any serious advantage of the troubles of their adversaries. The civil wars over, France soon drove Spain to the wall. Conde, in command of Spanish troops achieve nothing; in 1654 the Spaniards failed at the siege of Arras, and the French took Stenay; Louis XIV., who was with the army, perhaps here imbibed that love of sieges which always marked his military career. In 1655-1656 the fortunes of the war were almost evenly balanced, the Spaniards having perhaps the best of it in the north; and troubles with the noblesse began again, while the new opinions and party of Jansenius of Utrecht, which had been condemned by Pope Innocent X. in 1653, found great favor among the French clergy, who disliked the doctrines and tendencies of the Jesuits. From this time to the end of the reign of Louis XIV. the Jansenists of Paris are in more or less open opposition to the court; in these days they sympathized much with De Retz. Now, however, Mazarin’s skill as a foreign minister enabled him to triumph over all opposition. The strong government of Cromwell had in 1654 secured the tranquil progress of England by treaties with the chief northern powers and with Portugal; now in 1655 he had to choose between alliance with France with Spain. Nor could he hesitate. Spain still spoke her ancient tongue – the tongue of intolerance and Catholic repression; France in Mazarin’s hand had been willing to tolerate the Huguenots, and to aid the Protestant party in Germany. A treaty between England and France was accordingly signed in October 1655, a treaty of peace and commerce; a little later it was followed (March 1657) by an offensive and defensive alliance. Six thousand English Puritans, led by Turenne, made an immediate change in the character of the war, and the Spaniards began at once to give way. In 1658 Turenne caught them at the Dunes, not far from Dunkirk, and defeated them completely; Dunkirk yielded, and was duly handed over to keeping of the English; the Spaniards were swept away, Gravelines, Furnes, Oudenarde, all fell; Brussels was threatened. In August of this year Lionne, Mazarin’s agent, on occasion of an election to the Holy Roman Empire, concluded an agreement with the princes on the Rhine for the upholding of the peace of Westphalia; and France could show herself as the ally at once of England, Sweden, Bavaria, the ecclesiastical electors, the house of Brunswick. At last in 1659 Spain yielded, being utterly unequal to the strife. The peace of the Pyreness gave to France Gravelines, Landrecy, Thionville, and Montmedy, and Spain also ceded all she held in Artois; though the duke of Lorraine was replaced at Nancy, the duchy of Bar, and some smaller places along the Champagne border, were ceded to France. In Germany itself Louis XIV, secured Juliers to the duke of Neuburg, and the original trouble which led to the Thirty Years’ War was finally settled eleven years after that war had ended. All French conquests in Catalonia were restored to Spain, while France became finally master of Roussillon and Conflans; Conde was pardoned and taken into favor. Finally, the treaty involved a great marriage compact between Louis XIV. and the infanta Maria Theresa of Spain. The actual marriage, which took place next year, was garnished with a dowry never paid, and with a renunciation by the infanta of all her rights to the Spanish crown or Spanish possessions which was thrust contemptuously aside when in 1667 Louis XIV. desired to get hold of the Spanish Netherlands, or when forty years later he placed the crown of Spain on the brows of his young grandson Philip. The peace of the Pyreness and this Spanish marriage firmly established Louis XIV. on his throne as the most powerful monarch of Christendom; it was time for Mazarin to withdraw and leave his pupil in full command of the realm. He spend the last year of his life in teaching the young monarch those lessons of king-craft on which he built up his career, - taught him to avoid a first minister, instilled into him a belief that ill-faith in treaties was good policy, and urged him to cultivate his "natural gift of dissimulation"; called his attention to the miserable state of finance, and commended to him his trusted agent Colbert, as the man best fitted to bring order out of confusion; finally, he placed his own huge fortune, some ten millions sterling of our present reckoning, wrung from the misery of France, at the king’s disposal. Louis, however, replaced it honorably in the cardinal’s hands, who felt the bulk of it to this nieces, and with part founded his "College of the Fpur nations" for the education of noble children from the districts added to France in 1648 and 1659. To this college he bequeathed that splendid library which he had based on Richelieu’s fine collection, and had admirably enlarged by the care and skills of his librarian Naude. He had done what he could for arts, literature, and science, had established the academy of painting and sculpture, had pensioned Descartes in Holland, and had introduced at Paris the Italian opera. In all the solid elements of good government he was entirely wanting; and it remained for Colbert to struggle against his fate, - the fate of serving a grand monarch, who would neutralize his endeavors to secure financial and commercial prosperity for France. Mazarin died in March 1661, leaving the state in the unfettered hands of Louis XIV., who, though now twenty-two years old, and a king for 18 years past, had as yet been little but a cipher on the throne.


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