By STANLEY LEATHES, M.A., formerly Fellow and Lecturer in History of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Accession of Louis XIII . 118
The Regency in France . 119
The Assembly of Estates . 120
The Concini and their enemies .121
The conference of Loudun. Barbin's Ministry . 122
Richelieu Foreign Minister . 123
The murder of Concini. Rise of Luynes . 124
Richelieu and the Queen-Mother . 125
Conspiracy and rebellion. The malcontent Princes . 126
War against the Huguenots. Death of Luynes . 127
Richelieu Chief Minister . 128
Foreign policy of Richelieu . 129
Treaty of Monzon. Operations against the Huguenots .130
The Assembly of Notables . 131
Buckingham's expedition to Ré . 132
Siege and capitulation of La Rochelle 133
The Mantuau succession 134
Final submission of the Huguenots 135
Richelieu and Louis XIII .136
Mary de' Medici. Gaston of Orleans 137
War in Piedmont. The "Day of Dupes". 138
The Mantuan settlement. Gaston and Lorraine . 139
Rebellion and death of Montmorency . 140
Richelieu and Gustavus Adolphus .- 141
Negotiations with Sweden and Germany . 142
French army in Lorraine. Gaston's marriage dissolved .143
Open war with Spain . 144
Richelieu's diplomacy . 145
Negotiations for peace . .146
French conduct of the war . 147
Elsass. Franche Comté. Italy. Roussillon . 148
The French generals under Richelieu .149
Death of Father Joseph . 150
The Count of Soissons. Cinq-Mars . 151
Death of Richelieu. His administration . 152
The finances of France . 153
The Governors and the Parlements . 154
The Intendants. Justice. Police . 155
The Academy. The Church .156
Results of Richelieu's rule . 157
ON the death of Henry IV his far-reaching designs were laid aside, and the energy of the Government of France was expended for some years in shifts, expedients, and temporary measures of self-preservation. The proposed invasion of Navarre was ignored by the tacit consent of both the States concerned. The attack upon Milan was abandoned, and the ambitions of the Duke of Savoy were frustrated. The French Government contented itself with affording him so much support as preserved him from the vengeance of Spain. The War of the Jiilich Succession, which has been narrated in a previous volume, was dexterously confined to the narrowest limits. The great army which Henry IV had assembled for purposes of which he alone had been fully cognisant was in part disbanded ; and a small force of 8000 foot and 1200 horse joined the Dutch and German contingents in the siege of Jüh'ch. When the town had surrendered (September 1, 1610) this force was withdrawn; and the disputed territories were left to Brandenburg and Neuburg, " the Princes in possession." In stipulating for the maintenance of the Catholic religion in the pacified duchies the French Government followed perhaps the course which the late King would have approved, and certainly that which was most likely to preserve the peace.
Meanwhile measures had been taken to carry on the affairs of France. Immediately on the death of the King, his Ministers, too cautious to take a definite decision on their own responsibility, appealed to the Parlement of Paris ; and that body, nothing loth to exercise a political function, at once declared the Queen-Mother, Mary de' Medici, to be the lawful Regent. This decree was confirmed on the following day in a lit de justice, at which the little King, Louis XIII, appeared (May 15, 1610). The new Regent retained her husband's Ministers in their appointments. The routine business of State was transacted by Sillery (the Chancellor), Villeroy, and Jeannin. Sully, on his master's death, bethought him of the many enemies whom he had made, and retired for safety to the Bastille. Reassured as to his personal security, he afterwards joined the Government and retained his posts ; his unpopularity, however, told against him ; his overweening temper alienated
But the old Ministry, competent and even excellent under the direction of a strong King, was incapable of governing, or of inspiring a weak ruler with method, resolution, and wisdom. The Princes of the Blood and other magnates caballed against the Regent, against each other, and against the Ministry. The Ministers in their turn could devise only transitory palliatives. Discontented interests were appeased by gifts of money, of places, and of pensions. Such appetites grow by what they devour, and the hoards of Henry IV began to melt away. A chronic deficit appeared in place of an annual surplus. The Ministers endeavoured to please everyone, and no one was satisfied.
In these conditions a vigorous foreign policy was out of the question. Opposition to the Habsburg Powers, Spain and Austria, could only lead to undesirable complications. The Queen's Ministers aimed at an understanding with Spain. Early in 1612 plans for a double marriage between the royal Houses of France and Spain began to be seriously discussed. In August of that year it was settled that Louis XIII should marry Anne, the elder Spanish Princess. This indication that old hostilities were abandoned smoothed for the time the path of the French Ministry. The Governments, acting together, maintained a precarious peace in the north of Italy in spite of the restless ruler of Savoy. But the Protestant and independent allies of Henry IV, the United Provinces, the German Princes, Venice, and the minor Italian Powers were alarmed and alienated ; the Huguenots feared and resented the reactionary influence of Spain ; and their Assemblies at Saumur (1611), and La Rochelle (1612-3) pressed for an extension of safeguards and privileges. The weakness of the Government invited contempt ; its policy of doles excited cupidity ; real grievances were not wanting ; and early in 1614 some of the most important Princes, the Prince of Condé, the Duke of Nevers, the Duke of Mayenne (son of the famous leader of the League), the Duke of Longueville, the Duke of Vendôme, and the Duke of Bouillon, withdrew from the Court, and issued a manifesto against the Government, charging it with incompetence, maladministration, and unconstitutional conduct, calling in question the policy of the Spanish marriages, and demanding a meeting of the three Estates.
The league of Princes was a formidable combination. The Prince of Condé, though dissolute, inexperienced, and worthless, was yet the first Prince of the Blood and Governor of Guienne. The Duke of Nevers was Governor of Champagne. The Duke of Longueville, descendant of the royal bastard Dunois, was Governor of Picardy. Vendôme, the illegitimate son of Henry IV, was Governor of Britanny.
The Assembly of Estates, of which such high expectations had been professed, led to little or no result. The Third Estate, still mindful of the murder of Henry IV, and of the doctrines set forth by Mariana and Bellarmin in books condemned by the Parlement, put in the forefront of their cahier a declaration of fundamental law : " The King holding his crown of God alone, there is no power on earth, spiritual or temporal, which has any right over his kingdom to deprive thereof the consecrated persons of the Kings, or to absolve their subjects from the fealty or obedience which they owe, on any ground or pretext whatsoever." The clergy resented this encroachment upon their sphere, and some perhaps the direct attack on papal authority ; a violent quarrel ensued, in which the Parlement also took part; and the Government was compelled to close the discussion without deciding the question. The nobles and the clergy demanded the abolition of the Paillette, thereby striking at the hereditary rights of the official members of the Third Estate, who constituted the great majority of its representatives. In retaliation, the Third Estate demanded the suppression of pensions and the correction of abuses in the Church. The clergy demanded the publication of the Decrees of the Council of Trent, which the Third Estate opposed. Confronted with the urgent need of financial reform-for it appeared that the normal expenditure was thirty-five millions against thirty-two millions of receipts, and that the pension fund had increased from three millions to five and a half since the death of Henry, and the general expenses by four millions-the Estates proposed to suppress the Paulette, which involved a loss of a million and a half per annum, to reduce the Taille, and abolish the sale of offices ; but no means were suggested to meet the existing or the resulting deficit, except the institution of a Chamber of Justice to deal with the malversations of financiers. The Spanish marriages were generally approved. After waiting until March, 1615, for an answer to their representations, the Estates were dismissed with a promise of consideration, and a pledge that pensions should be diminished, a Chamber of Justice set up, and the venality of offices abolished. But none of these promises was put into effect. The Paulette was suspended for a time, but was soon restored. The last
Disappointed in the results of the meeting of the Estates, the Opposition continued their intrigues. Immediately after the dispersal of the delegates the Parlement of Paris issued a decree, inviting Princes, Dukes, peers, and officers of the Crown to attend a meeting of the Parlement and discuss measures to be taken for the service of the King, the relief of his subjects, and the good of the State. This bold intrusion into the sphere of government was promptly resented by the Ministers ; and a prolonged dispute followed in which the Parlement was not altogether worsted. In the course of the discussion (May 22), the Parlement called for the exclusion of foreigners from the government of provinces, and from military offices. This demand gave the note of the ensuing struggle. The attack was now unmasked. It became an open assault on the position of the Queen-Mother's principal confidants, Concino Concini, and his wife, Leonora Galigai, through whom his power and influence had been obtained. Leonora had come to France in the suite of Mary de' Medici at the time of her marriage. As her lady-in-waiting she had won and successfully retained an unrivalled power over her mistress. The Italian adventurer whom she married in 1602 had shared her ascendancy and had used his power during the first years of the reign chiefly for the advancement of his private fortune and that of his friends. It was reckoned later that the pair had accumulated in seven years nine millions of livres. One of the first acts of the Regent was to purchase for her favourite the marquisate of Ancre, the governments of Peronne, Roye, and Montdidier, and the office of First Gentleman of the Chamber. Later, he had received the government of Amiens, and the post of Marshal (1613). This accumulation of offices and dignities and patronage had aroused jealousy ; and the Marshal was gradually forced, in order to protect his private interests, to take a part in politics. His position in Picardy had brought him into collision with the Duke of Longueville, whom he wished entirely to supplant in that province, with an eye, perhaps, to communications with the Spanish Netherlands, and he was personally odious to most of the discontented Princes.
Thus, when the Princes in August once more openly raised the standard of rebellion, they designated Concini openly as the principal object of their enmity. The Court, in spite of the gathering storm, had decided to start for the south to solemnise the Spanish marriages and to exchange the Princesses. While the royal cortege and its protecting army slowly moved on its way, Condé and Bouillon marched through France, watched but hardly impeded by the Marshal de Boisdauphin, to Poitou. Meanwhile a Protestant assembly, authorised for Grenoble,
Concini's escape had been a narrow one, and he felt that vigorous measures were needed. He determined to set up a strong Ministry on which he could depend. Not only Sillery, but Jeannin and Villeroy were to be superseded. The head of the new Government was Barbin, a man of obscure origin, closely attached to the Concini, capable and courageous. Condé was persuaded to return to Paris, that either his moderation might assist the Government or his arrogance give them a pretext. The pretext was not lacking ; the Prince's insolence suggested that he was aiming at the throne; he ostentatiously withdrew his protection from Concini, who retired to Normandy. But the counter-stroke followed quickly ; on September 1 the Prince was arrested at the Louvre, and shortly afterwards he was imprisoned in the Bastille. The new Ministry had shown its courage ; its capacity was still to be proved.
Concini returned to Paris, where the mob had sacked his house. The arrest of Condé was followed by a general exodus of Princes. This time the Duke of Nevers in Champagne, abandoning his favourite project of a crusade against the Turks, with Bouillon and Longueville formed the centre of resistance. Barbin was the man to meet such emergencies, but he needed stronger backing. The Ministry was recast ; and on November 30, 1616, Richelieu became Minister of State, charged with the departments of Foreign Affairs and War.
Jean Armand Duplessis de Richelieu was now in his thirty-second year. On his father's side he was noble, of a Poitevin family; his mother was the daughter of an advocate in the Parlement of Paris. His father had done good service under Henry III, and became Grand Provost of the royal household, and Knight of the Holy Ghost. After his death in 1590, Armand, his youngest son, was at first educated as a layman ; but in 1602 he was called upon to leave the "Academy," where he was receiving the usual soldierly training of his class, and fit himself for the family bishopric of Luçon. In 1606 he was formally nominated to this bishopric ; in 1607 he went to Rome and was dispensed by the Pope from the canonical rule of age ; and in 1608 he took up his duties in the see. Here, with a vigilant eye fixed on the Court and on politics, he performed his pastoral duties, studied, wrote, and reflected, and formed some of his few friendships. Here he met the Capuchin, François du Tremblay, better known as Père Joseph, with whom he was to be so closely associated in later years, Duvergier de Hauranne, later Abbé of Saint Cyran, whom he afterwards found it necessary to imprison, and the family of Bouthillier, his faithful servants. His friends procured his election in 1614 as delegate for the clergy of Poitou ; and he was already so far distinguished as to be chosen to make the final address on behalf of the clergy when their cahier was presented. His first Court office was that of Grand Almoner to the young Queen Anne, which he took up on her entry into Paris in 1616. He was employed in the summer of 1616 to induce the Prince of Condé to return to Paris. In six months he must have won the confidence of the Queen-Mother and of Concini, as whose creature he makes his entry on the great stage. But in the acts of his five months' Ministry his own individuality is strongly marked.
Abroad the situation was more menacing than it had been since the death of Henry IV. Venice was at war with Archduke Ferdinand of Styria. Milan was threatening Savoy. Before the end of December Lesdiguières, Governor of Dauphiné, acting on his own initiative, crossed the Alps with an army to aid Savoy against the Spaniards. A breach with Spain seemed imminent ; and, on the other hand, the old allies of France had been alienated by the Spanish marriages. Into these complications Richelieu had not time to introduce order; but his first acts are significant. He sent envoys to Germany, Holland, England, and Switzerland, to explain away the Spanish marriages. He asserted with more vigour than judgment French interests in the Valtelline. He tolerated the action of Lesdiguières. Subservience to Spain was at an end.
At home, equal energy and determination were shown. Three armies were quickly mustered and directed against the confederates in the east. A stinging manifesto set their action before the public in its true light. It was pointed out that in six years Condé had received three millions
The sudden stroke which overthrew the favourite, drove the Queen-Mother from power, and brought the King to the exercise of the royal authority, was the work of a poor gentleman, Charles d'Albert, afterwards Duke of Luynes. Born in 1578, he was introduced to the service of the King by Concini, who thought that his humble position would make him powerless for harm, while the difference of age rendered any dangerous intimacy between him and the young King improbable. But his skill in all the arts of falconry won him the King's affection, which was strengthened by his engaging manners, his handsome person, and his supple tact. He soon obtained that absolute ascendancy over the young King which a man can sometimes obtain over a boy. Louis was now old enough to resent the humiliating control of his mother, and the still more humiliating rule of Concini. He made Luynes the confidant of his grievances, and learnt from him the way to power and revenge ; the plot was secretly contrived between them and successfully carried into effect. The young King showed considerable resolution and reticence in this, the first responsible act of his public life. Vengeance did not cease when Concini was dead ; from his wife also the utmost penalty was pitilessly exacted.
On receipt of the news of Concini's death the rebellious Princes laid down their arms and were admitted to pardon, or, rather, their meritorious conduct was duly recognised. But it was soon seen that, though the principal personages were changed, little else was altered. The old Ministers were recalled to the Council. The policy of shifts and expedients was revived. The quarrels of Savoy and Milan were once more allayed by an unstable peace (Treaty of Pavia, October 9, 1617). An assembly of Notables was called to give some official recognition to the results of the revolution and to the new order. The old
At home the family of Luynes alone benefited. The favourite became a Duke and Peer ; he succeeded to the dignities and to the spoils of Concini, even to his plans of aggrandisement in Picardy ; in 1621 he became Constable of France. He married a beautiful lady of the House of Rohan, afterwards famed as the Duchess of Chevreuse. His brothers shared his prosperity and rose in their turn to ducal rank. The old jealousies and discontents were thus awakened, and rebellion was always in the air. Private animosities and disappointed interests were reinforced by religious passions. For one of the first acts of the new rule was to issue an edict restoring to the Church the ecclesiastical possessions in Beam which had been for half a century in the hands of the Protestants. This was a measure that could only be executed by force, and the King had to acquiesce for a time in the open disobedience of the provincial authorities.
All discontents found a focus in the little Court of Blois. The contemptible intrigues of a discredited woman and her worthless adherents would deserve little notice had they not served as Richelieu's opportunity. The only hold which the Bishop of Luçon still retained on power was through the influence he had established over the mind of Mary de1 Medici. He hoped by dexterously using his ascendancy to win the confidence of the King and of Luynes. But he soon saw that this double game was dangerous. He left the Court at Blois to its own devices and retired to his bishopric. He still continued to correspond with the Queen-Mother, but with caution and reserve. When a correspondence became known which she had imprudently carried on with Barbin in prison, Richelieu, though not directly implicated, fell under suspicion ; and in April, 1618, he was ordered into exile at Avignon. Hence he was suddenly recalled in March, 1619, to deal with a new situation.
Under the influence of the adventurers who swayed her mind in Richelieu's absence, the Queen-Mother had taken a step which inconvenienced the Government. She had appealed to Épernon to release her from the species of captivity which she endured at Blois. While the old courtier was hastening secretly and by forced marches from his
Thus in May, 1620, when the periodical rising of Princes recurred, Richelieu found himself dragged into rebellion. The malcontents appeared at the Queen's Court. They controlled Normandy through Longueville, and Britanny through Vendôme, while Angers commanded the Loire. South of the Loire, Rohan in Poitou and Epernon in Angoulême joined hands with Mayenne in Guienne. There were hopes of Montraorency's accession carrying Languedoc; and the Protestants were expected to be sympathetic. It was a promising rebellion-on paper; and Richelieu did not or could not prevent it. But the King had the troops and the power, and he was not afraid to use them. He marched straight on Angers ; the forces of the confederates were crushed and scattered in a single battle near Ponts de Ce (August 7), and the whole house of cards fell to pieces. But Richelieu knew how insecure the position of the favourite was, and snatched victory from defeat. In the conference at which he represented his mistress he procured for her and for all concerned a complete amnesty with restitution of captured places, merely promising on her part friendly relations for the future with Luynes. Richelieu had not been far from the scaffold ; he emerged from his disasters with increased prestige, and the definite promise of nomination as Cardinal, which Luynes so long as he lived was careful to render nugatory. But the marriage between the niece of Richelieu and the nephew of the favourite indicated at least a desire for better relations between the pair.
The settlement of the dispute between the King and his mother set Louis free to intervene in Beam. His ardour for military enterprise
The Court was eager for war. In April the King took the field. Moving westwards he seized the Huguenot fortresses north and south of the Loire. St Jean d'Angely, Rohan's own command, resisted under the Duke of Soubise, his brother, for three weeks, and then surrendered. Meanwhile other armies under Condé in the centre, Mayenne in Guienne, and Epernon in Beam, were operating ; and everywhere the Huguenot strongholds were rapidly reduced. The first serious check which the royal arms received was at Montauban, where a regular siege was begun in August, 1621. Rohan had made all the preparations necessary to enable the town to withstand a siege, while he himself collected men and supplies for its relief in Languedoc and the Cevennes. His efforts were successful, and in November the siege was raised. This was a great blow to the credit of the Constable, who endeavoured to repair it by attacking the little place of Monheurt. The place was taken and burned ; but two days later (December 14) Luynes died from a fever which he had contracted during the siege. An obstacle had been removed out of Richelieu's way ; but he was still far from the attainment of that high power on which his ambitions were immovably fixed.
During the period which followed the death of Luynes, the King relied principally on the old Minister Sillery and his son Puisieux, who had won the support of Condé. But Richelieu took a definite step forwards when the Queen-Mother was admitted to the Council, where, acting under his advice, she observed an attitude of dignified reserve, taking advantage, however, of suitable opportunities to put forward propositions of policy, carefully framed and supported by argument,
Meanwhile the war with the Protestants was renewed. Soubise was decisively beaten at the Isle of Riez in Poitou (April, 1622) ; the danger threatened by the advance of an army under Mansfeld into French territory was successfully avoided; and after a number of minor successes the siege of Montpellier was begun. Here royalist prosperity ceased ; but both parties were ready for peace, and on October 9 a formal treaty between the King and the Protestants was concluded. Montpellier surrendered and its fortifications were demolished. Protestant assemblies were forbidden for the future. The exercise of both religions where it had been previously permitted was restored. Of the two hundred strongholds conceded to the Huguenots by the Edict of Nantes only two, Montauban and La Rochelle, were allowed to remain in their hands. The old Huguenot Lesdiguières saw that the game was up ; and in July he had purchased the Constable's sword by reconciliation with the Church.
An inglorious war was now followed by a period of still more inglorious inaction. Sillery and Puisieux were the most incompetent of the old cabal. Burning questions were pending abroad, and the Ministers were men of protocols and not of action. At length the King grew weary of them, and tried a change. In January, 1624, La Vieuville, who had been introduced to the finance department by Sillery's influence, succeeded in ousting and replacing his patrons, and became Chief Minister. But his period of supreme power did not last long; he soon found himself forced to make advances to Richelieu, who was able to dictate his own terms. In April, 1624, the Cardinal entered the Council, and as Cardinal immediately claimed precedence over the other Ministers. In August La Vieuville was dismissed and imprisoned, and Richelieu became Chief Minister.
Many years later Richelieu, reviewing the course of his policy, declared that, when entering on his office, he promised his master to employ all his industry and all the authority bestowed upon him in destroying the Huguenot party, abasing the pride of the magnates, and raising the King's name to its proper place among the foreign Powers-a triple task, each part of which would tax the wasted resources of the kingdom. Nor could the several elements be isolated and separately handled. Discontented magnates would not sit idly by while the Government was at grips with the Huguenots. Those whom religion or ambition had made rebels could rely on help from the foreign enemies of France. External dangers pressed ; and measures to meet them could not be postponed until France had restored order and authority at home. Fourteen years had passed since the death of Henry IV ; and the policy of shifts and expedients had allowed trivial questions to become serious, and
The valley of the Valtelline, as shown in a previous chapter, was under the control of the three Grison Leagues, whose alliance with France exposed them to the constant and watchful hostility of Spain. In 1620 a revolt of the Catholic inhabitants of the Valtelline gave Spain her opportunity ; the valley was seized, the Grisons were invaded and the convention of Lindau was signed (1620-2). France again met force by negotiation, with the result that when Richelieu came to power the Valtelline fortresses had been entrusted to the custody of the Pope pending a settlement. But no peaceful settlement was likely to result which did not leave to Spain the right of passage through the Valtelline.
Richelieu at once began to strengthen the French position. Even before the fall of La Vieuville, aid in money and men had been promised to the Dutch. Mansfeld was subsidised ; and an annual grant was promised to Christian IV of Denmark, on his taking up arms in Germany. All this was part of a deliberate policy of thwarting the Habsburgs without committing France to open intervention. It was part of the same scheme to detach Maximilian of Bavaria from the Habsburg coalition, and to win him for the French cause. Negotiations were at once set on foot to procure this result, which in spite of repeated failures Richelieu never seems to have despaired of attaining. A marriage was arranged between Henrietta Maria of France and the Prince of Wales, who, when the marriage was solemnised (May, 1625), had become King Charles I of England by the death of his father. In the Valtelline diplomatic methods were not by themselves sufficient. The Marquis de Coeuvres was accordingly sent to collect Swiss troops, and with their aid in the last months of 1624 he seized the fortresses of the Valtelline and drove out the papal garrisons. Richelieu could
Whatever other considerations may have hastened Richelieu's action in this matter, he had in fact obeyed the law of necessity. Troubles crowded upon him at home. The finances were in complete disorder. Temporary relief had been obtained by means of an enquiry into the conduct of the financiers, who were forced for fear of worse things to disgorge ten millions. But in June, 1626, when the Marquis d'Effiat took over the Surintendance, the revenue of the current year had already been spent, the revenue of the succeeding year had been largely anticipated, and a floating debt of twenty-seven millions demanded liquidation. In January, 1625, the Huguenots renewed the civil war by seizing the port of Blavet in Britanny with the royal ships that lay there. Soubise, with the fleet thus acquired and the navy of La Rochelle, ranged the western coast and intercepted commerce. Rohan at Castres was raising troops. Montauban was in revolt. La Rochelle loudly demanded the destruction of Fort Louis, a fortress intended to hold its harbour in check, whose demolition, as the citizens alleged, had been informally promised at the time of the Peace of Montpellier. Against the navy of Soubise Richelieu collected English and Dutch vessels, which he manned with French seamen. By their help Montmorency was enabled to scatter the forces of Soubise (September, 1625), and to seize the islands of Ré and Oleron, which commanded the harbour of La Rochelle. Soubise was forced to seek a refuge in England. The districts about Montauban and other rebellious places were ruthlessly devastated. But English and Dutch opinion resented the use against Protestants of the vessels lent to France ; the ships were recalled ; and Richelieu was fain to use the good offices of the English ambassadors to conclude a treaty with the Huguenots (February, 1626). Little was conceded, but the English were thereby in some sort constituted protectors of the Protestants in France.
This danger past, Richelieu thought it opportune to vindicate his own authority by a vigorous demonstration. The conspiracy which he chose to discover centred about the Duke of Anjou, the King's brother. The Government intended to marry this Prince to Mademoiselle de Montpensier ; the Prince himself was disinclined to the match ; and he
Richelieu had composed his difficulties with Spain ; and in April, 1627. a treaty of alliance was concluded with this Power, in view of the strained relations between England and France. The secret conditions of the English marriage had proved impracticable. Charles and Buckingham were not strong enough to protect the Roman Catholics in England. Trouble arose between the royal pair, which resulted, in August, 1626, in the ignominious expulsion of the Queen's French household. The Parliamentary situation in England made some action on behalf of the French Protestants a desirable political move ; and Buckingham's own wounded pride prompted a similar policy. As an envoy to the Court of Paris at the time of Charles' marriage, the
The island was protected by two fortresses, St Martin and La Free ; and the garrison was commanded by Toiras, a brave soldier though ill regarded by the Cardinal. Before Buckingham moved up his troops to attack, these places were hastily put in a state of defence, and the English were forced to proceed to a regular siege of St Martin. Meanwhile the King had fallen ill ; and the Cardinal, distracted by fears for his own safety, had to direct from his bedside measures of defence and relief. An army was sent to hold in check La Rochelle, which did not at first declare itself for Buckingham, but afterwards openly adopted the cause of the invaders. Had the city granted the request of Buckingham and admitted his army within their walls, the issue might have been different. But the citizens were fighting for independence, not to change one master for another.
In 1625 the King had been forced to wage war with borrowed vessels; in 1627 Richelieu had already created a fleet, whose headquarters were at Brouage. Moreover, shipping and boats were collected from all parts to aid in the task of transporting men and provisions. The Cardinal advanced money from his own treasury to meet the necessary expenses. At length the King was well enough to travel, and on October 2 he arrived in the camp before La Rochelle. Toiras' provisions were almost exhausted and on October 7 St Martin made proposals for surrender. But the very next day a convoy fought its way in with provisions for a month. The reinforcements promised from England did not arrive. On October 30 a first detachment of French troops landed at La Free ; and on November 6 Buckingham delivered a last assault on St Martin, which was repulsed. He then gave orders to embark his forces, but meanwhile the enemy had assembled in the island in considerable strength. The English were attacked while retreating by a narrow causeway to their ships and suffered heavily. On November 18 the fleet sailed for England, its original complement reduced to less than one-half by battle, capture, and disease.
Richelieu was now free to push his project for annihilating the political privileges of the Huguenots. Just grounds for action were not wanting. La Rochelle had openly assisted Buckingham. Rohan had raised troops in Languedoc. Walter Montague, an English agent,
In May the long-hoped-for aid from England arrived, a fleet of thirty vessels under Lord Denbigh. The rumour of its coming had driven away the Spaniards ; but Richelieu had not depended upon their support. The English fleet was ineffective and ill-found, the seamen were unwilling ; and, after a futile demonstration against the guardships and the forts, Lord Denbigh sailed off again, leaving the city to its fate. In July another armament was begun, and in spite of the assassination of Buckingham, September 2 (N.S.), it set sail on September 17 under the Earl of Lindsey. But no serious attempt was made to force the passage ; and the citizens, wasted by extremest famine and despairing of succour, concluded their capitulation on October 29 in sight of the English fleet. The city lost all its privileges, its walls were destroyed, the Catholic religion was restored to its rights ; but the persons and the property of the citizens were spared, and the free exercise of Protestant worship in the city was permitted. On November 1 the King rode into the city. On November 11 the English sailed away.
Meanwhile warfare had been proceeding in Languedoc ; but, so long as La Rochelle held out, the King's troops attempted nothing decisive, and Rohan, whose vigour, devotion, and ability alone maintained the
On December 26,1627, Duke Vincent II of Mantua had died, leaving no nearer male heir than Charles di Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers, a Frenchman by education and sympathy. Vincent before his death, acting under French influence, left his duchy by will to Charles, and married the daughter of his brother Francis, who had died in 1613, to Charles' son, the Duke of Rethel. Charles at once took possession of his duchy. But Spain was not willing to acquiesce in the establishment of a French prince in Italy. Other claimants were encouraged to put forward their claims ; the Duke of Savoy was glad to have the chance of reviving his pretensions to Montferrat; the Emperor refused his investiture and formally sequestered the duchy ; and Savoy and Spain, acting in concert, occupied Montferrat, with the exception of the important fortress of Casale, to which Gonzalez de Cordoba, the Governor of Milan, laid siege. So long as La Rochelle held out, France was unable to act, except by diplomacy; and force was needed. But Casale outlasted the Protestant capital ; and, so soon as La Rochelle had fallen, Louis and Richelieu determined if possible to save Casale. The Duke of Savoy was requested to allow passage for the French troops ; he bargained, but did not conclude ; and on March 6, 1629, the French army crossed the frontier in his despite and seized the town of Susa. The Duke of Savoy then came to terms and made an agreement which allowed the French to relieve Casale. The Spaniards retired, and the immediate object of the expedition was achieved. But much still remained to be settled, and the French retained Susa as a guarantee. A league was formed between France, Venice, Mantua, and Savoy for the defence of Italy ; the hands of France were freed by the conclusion of peace with England (April 24, 1629) ; Louis returned to France ; and the Cardinal remained for a while at Susa with a considerable force
The King was now at liberty to deal with the Huguenots. In his despair, Rohan had been forced to appeal to the enemies of France; English promises had proved delusive ; and, about the time when England made peace with France, the King of Spain consented to accept Rohan's offer of service and promised him an annual subsidy. But the promise came too late. Operations began by the siege of Privas, at which the Cardinal joined the King, having left the Marshal de Créquy in command at Susa ; and the conclusion of peace with England was announced (May). Deprived of this last hope, the Huguenots might yet have sold their liberty dear. But discord was rife in their party, and resistance was irresolute. Privas surrendered, and was pillaged and burnt contrary to the capitulation. The fortresses of the Cevennes were soon in the King's hands. Rohan was forced to treat. On June 28 peace was made ; the Huguenots submitted ; the fortifications of their remaining strongholds were razed; and the last remnants of independent military power given up. There could never again be a militant Protestant party in France. Rohan was treated with indulgence ; the property of his family was restored ; but he himself was sent into exile at Venice. On August 20 the Cardinal made his triumphal entry into Montauban, and the wars of religion in France were formally concluded. Toleration for Protestant worship was maintained ; the chambres mi-parties of the Edict of Nantes continued to sit; but the conversion of the Huguenots, which had already begun, proceeded hereafter more rapidly, and was the object of the efforts of numerous Capuchin missions, in which Father Joseph took great interest.
At no time in his career did Richelieu manifest greater qualities of resolution, promptness, and resource than during the years which immediately preceded the landing of Gustavus Adolphus in Germany (June, 1630). While La Rochelle still held out, the Cardinal was preparing for an extension of the field of his activity and meditating plans of attack, direct and insidious, on the Habsburg power, then at its height. When La Rochelle had fallen, though armed rebellion was still on foot in Languedoc, Casale was hastily relieved. This accomplished, the Huguenots were taken in hand without delay. Meanwhile Christian IV of Denmark had been reduced to negotiating for the peace which he concluded in May, 1629. It was impossible for Richelieu to prevent this defection ; but he felt that its consequences must be by some means counteracted. Charnacé, who was sent as an envoy to influence the peace negotiations, was also charged to visit Bavaria and endeavour to detach Maximilian from the Habsburg coalition, and finally to mediate if possible a truce between Sweden and Poland. This last part of his mission was successful (September, 1629); and the way was thus cleared for a new and more dangerous enemy
No factor in Richelieu's career is more difficult to estimate than the exact influence of Louis' character on the Minister's policy. Louis was not a nonentity ; he had a large share of obstinacy, his determination once formed had to be respected, his moods were variable and dangerous. Possessed of good average ability, some industry, and a sense of kingly duty, he could be convinced and influenced, but he could never be neglected. He appears to have long resisted the introduction of Richelieu into the ministry for fear of his commanding personality. To the end of his days he chafed under Richelieu's predominance. But he loved military glory and success; he hated to feel the burden of his functions pressing on his capacity. So long as Richelieu provided the King with success, so long as he made the burden seem light, so long as he showed him the way and found for him the means to meet every difficulty, so long in fact as Richelieu was indispensable-so long he was safe. But, had events ever proved too strong for the Cardinal, had he ever failed to find the solution of the enigma, the magic for dispersing danger, the way to a conspicuous and intelligible end, then his day was over, his life was forfeited. For such a man could not be allowed to return to private life ; he was too dangerous. Meanwhile Louis regarded him as a schoolboy regards his schoolmaster, with a certain awe, with a certain dislike-above all, it may be guessed, with a certain humiliation as one who was greater than the King.
The longer the Cardinal's ascendancy lasted, the safer he became by proved success, by indispensable competence, by use and wont. But the King's moods were always to be feared. The Cardinal had seen him with his favourites, exacting as a woman, inconstant, petulant, intolerable. He was careful not to become a favourite, but to preserve a certain distance and austerity, to avoid the friction of intimate relations. But yet he could never feel secure against a sudden act of temper, a momentary betrayal. His rivals helped him here. Their incompetence was conspicuous, their exactions harassing, their claims humiliating. Above all others, the Queen-Mother had become his rival. Richelieu
Gaston of Orleans was another danger, to the King no less than to the Minister. Louis was childless as yet ; his wife's hopes of offspring had been twice frustrated. His own excellent health had been ruined by harassing medical treatment. Gaston, as his heir, looked forward to the succession, and meanwhile made opposition after the fashion of heirs-apparent. In himself he was not a dangerous opponent, and the preference shown to him by the Queen-Mother weakened their joint influence. Dissolute, inconsequent, faithless, he had a name and a position, and could hazard rebellion without risking his life ; nor had his followers yet realised that he could not and did not care to confer similar immunity upon them. In 1627 he had lost his first wife in child-bed. He turned his eyes on a Mantuan Princess, resident at the French Court. This match did not please the Queen-Mother, who disliked the Mantuan House ; and, while the King and Cardinal were in Piedmont (1629), she thought it necessary to imprison Mary di Gonzaga. Foiled in his whim, Gaston thought to take revenge upon the Cardinal. He intrigued and gathered adherents; and in September, 1629, he left the Court and retired to Lorraine, whose Duke had already shown some willingness to take advantage of the difficulties of France, and to join her enemies. Time which should have been given to preparations for intervention in Italy had to be spent in quieting this malcontent. He was at length persuaded to accept the government of Orleans, and an increase of pension. In December the Cardinal was able to turn his mind to the Italian war, though Gaston was not formally reconciled to his brother until April, 1630.
The Cardinal's personal supervision was needed to forward the lagging military preparations. The army was ready in March, 1630; after negotiations had failed the Cardinal led it into Piedmont ; on March 25,
During this lull the relations between Richelieu and the Queen-Mother reached their crisis. In September Louis had fallen seriously ill, and it appears that during his illness his wife and mother had persuaded him to hold out hopes of the Cardinal's dismissal. On November 10, 1630, the Queen-Mother and Richelieu met in the King's presence. A violent scene followed with no decisive result; but when on the following day the King retired to Versailles the Cardinal's enemies were convinced that his fall was certain. However, whether spontaneously or by arrangement, the Cardinal followed him, and, before the "Day of Dupes" was ended, was completely restored to favour. On this day the Cardinal's ultimate victory became certain, but a final blow was still needed. Meanwhile the Garde des Sceaux, Michel de Marillac, who had lent himself to the cabal, was dismissed and exiled. His brother, Marshal Louis de Marillac, was arrested in the midst of the army of Piedmont, in which he held a command, brought to trial for malversation, condemned, and executed. No plot against the Cardinal was allowed to pass without a victim.
In the course of 1631, by treaties concluded at Cherasco, the affairs of Mantua were brought to a satisfactory settlement. The Duke of Mantua received his investiture and recovered his duchy. The Duke of Savoy received a small territorial compensation. Montferrat was
In January, 1631, Gaston took up his mother's quarrel, and acting in concert with her left the Court for Orleans. Richelieu determined to proceed to extremities. The King left Paris for Compiègne, and ordered his mother to follow him thither. On arriving at Compiègne, she was asked to sign a written engagement to give no countenance to opponents of the established authorities. On her refusal, the King sent orders for her to retire to Moulins. This she declined to do ; and, after remaining for some months under supervision at Compiègne, she escaped (July) to the Spanish Netherlands. Here she received honourable entertainment, and remained for eight years. She then removed to Holland, and afterwards to England, and died in 1641 at Cologne, to the last a bitter though impotent enemy of the man whom she had raised to power. Meanwhile the King had moved towards Orleans (March, 1631) ; and on his approach Gaston once more fled to Lorraine, where he remained for some months courting the Duke's sister, Margaret. A warfare of manifestos and pamphlets followed ; and the Parlement of Paris, which protested against the summary condemnation of Gaston's adherents without form of trial, was made to feel that no constitutional or legal safeguards could prevail against the King's will. But other measures were also needed ; and in December the King was at Metz with an army ; while Gustavus, having in his victorious progress reached Mainz, was said to have thought of invading Lorraine, whose Duke had raised men for the Emperor's service and had allowed Imperial troops to occupy and fortify Moyenvic in the bishopric of Metz. But France reserved to herself the right of coercing her neighbour, and invading Lorraine drove the garrison from Moyenvic. The Duke hastened to make peace (January 6, 1632), ceding Marsal to France ; but on January 3 Gaston had been secretly married to Margaret of Lorraine. He was not, however, safe in the proximity of a French army, and was thus obliged to leave his bride and join his mother in the Netherlands.
In June, 1632, he was again in Lorraine, whence he entered France with a scanty force, and marched through Burgundy, Bourbonnais, Auvergne, Rouergue, to Languedoc, where at length he found an important supporter in the Duke of Montmorency (August), The arrival of Gaston coincided with an injudicious attempt of the Cardinal to abolish the ancient privileges of Languedoc and to take the collection
The enterprise of Gaston had been precipitated by the knowledge that the King was once more advancing upon Lorraine. In June, Louis had put his army in motion. The places which he passed on his route opened their gates; the forces which he met were dispersed; and on June 23 he was before Nancy. The Duke once more hastened to make peace, surrendered Stenay and Jametz, and his disputed claim to the County of Clermont. The King did not need to take the field himself against his brother. Schomberg and La Force were detached from the army of Lorraine to keep the rebels in check ; and, while the King was preparing more substantial forces, Gaston's little army came into collision with that of Schomberg near Castelnaudary. Montmorency, charging rashly and almost alone, was wounded and captured; and Gaston's forces at once began to disperse. He was • admitted to terms, renounced all his foreign alliances and the cause of his mother, abandoned all his followers to the King's mercy, and on these conditions received a contemptuous pardon. Montmorency and the unfortunate gentlemen taken in arms were left to pay the price. The trial, condemnation, and execution of the generous Duke, the head of one of the most illustrious Houses of France, was a merciless act of policy, well calculated to strike terror into all rebels, and to expose the character of Gaston in its true light.
On the news of Montmorency's death, which he had not attempted to prevent, Gaston took fright for himself. The Lorraine marriage, which he had denied, was a dangerous matter. If a Montmorency's head could fall on the scaffold, even the King's brother might not be safe ; he fled once more to Flanders (November, 1632), where he remained for nearly two years. His despicable intrigues fill a larger place in history than his character or capacity deserves; for it was not until his power to harm had been completely destroyed that Richelieu felt free to develop a vigorous course of action abroad; and his relations with Lorraine determined in great measure the line which that action took.
The death of Montmorency and the third flight of Gaston were quickly followed by the news of Gustavus' death, November 16, 1632. His brief career in Germany is treated elsewhere in this volume; so long as it lasted, European events remained almost entirely out of the Cardinal's control. Richelieu had facilitated Gustavus' expedition by
Gradually Richelieu had been gaining strength. The Protestants had been crushed in France ; his enemies at home had learnt his power, and drekded his implacable resentment ; his action abroad, cautious and reserved at first in the matter of the Valtelline and the Mantuan succession, had become gradually more confident and effective : from the death of Gustavus he became more and more certainly the arbiter of Europe. His will fanned the flames of war from the Oder to the Ebro. Dangling before his deluded allies the prospects of a general peace, in which all interests should be secured, ceaselessly impressing on all concerned that a separate arrangement could be neither profitable nor trustworthy, he gradually wore down the strength of the Habsburgs and recovered the ground lost in twenty years of irresolution or of impotence. His death found his work still uncompleted ; but he left a successor to pursue his tradition ; and the Peace of Westphalia was really of his making.
On the death of Gustavus it must have been clear to Richelieu that open war with one or both of the Habsburg Powers could not long be postponed. He was anxious, however, to defer it as long as possible. Internal troubles were not yet completely removed. The Queen-Mother
In every direction Richelieu sent out his envoys, and his envoys served him well. His old plan of separating the Princes of the Catholic League from the House of Austria, of inducing them to stand neutral in the coming struggle, and the Protestant confederates to recognise their neutrality, was pushed once more, and failed once more owing to the jealousies, animosities, and suspicions of the rival parties. But Feuquières concluded on behalf of France a fresh treaty with Sweden, safeguarding as before the interests of the Catholic religion so far as a treaty could secure them, confining the assistance of France to a pecuniary subsidy, and engaging the Swedish Power to continue the war (April, 1633). At Heilbronn the Protestant Alliance was reorganised, with Oxenstierna, the Swedish Chancellor, at its head, and measures were taken for a vigorous campaign. Charnacé was able to persuade the United Provinces to continue the war with the Spanish Netherlands, without pledging France to direct and immediate intervention, which Richelieu was prepared to offer in the last resort.
Towards the Rhine, Richelieu offered to take over Mainz and the other fortresses on the left bank then in possession of the Swedes. But this was refused. Similar proposals were put forward with regard to Philippsburg and Elsass, and were similarly abandoned. His agents worked among the petty Princes on both banks of the Rhine, endeavouring to create a Rhenish confederacy under French protection. Already at the end of 1631 the Elector of Trier had placed his territories under French protection; in June, 1632, French troops had entered the Electorate ; in August they drove the Spaniards from his capital and took over Coblenz from the Swedes. Hopes of similar action on the part of the Elector of Cologne were destined to be disappointed. The attitude of Lorraine was still hostile ; the question of Gaston's marriage was still unsettled ; and in 1633 France determined to support her allies by action in this direction. The Duke of Lorraine was summoned to do homage for his duchy of Bar, which he held of the crown of France ; and when he declined to risk his person at the Court of his enemies, the
Parlement of Paris declared the duchy forfeit; in August, 1633, the French army advanced into Lorraine ; and in September the Duke was forced to renounce all hostile alliances, to place Nancy in the King's hands, and to consent to the dissolution of his sister's marriage. The Princess herself escaped to the Netherlands, where she joined her husband. Duke Charles in January, 1634, resigned his duchy to his brother Cardinal Nicolas Francis, and took the field as a soldier of fortune in the service of the Emperor. The new Duke, to secure his rights, granted himself the necessary dispensations, divested himself of his orders, and married his cousin, the Princess Claude. Hereupon both he and his wife were arrested, but in April, 1634, they escaped and made good their flight to Florence. Thus of all the ducal family only the Duchess Nicole, the first discarded wife of Charles, was left in Lorraine, which was occupied and governed by the French.
There remained Gaston's marriage. The Pope did not favour the dissolution ; and accordingly the Parlement of Paris was called upon to declare the civil contract null and void. This was effected in due course, on the ground that the heir to the throne could not contract a legal marriage without the consent of his natural guardian the King. There was still the sacrament ; and it was argued that, sacrament standing to contract as form to matter, the form could not subsist without the matter in which it was inherent. The contract being void, the sacrament was therefore non-existent. On such grounds the decision of the French clergy assembled in Paris, July, 1635, that such marriages were illicit, was held to conclude the question ; and no more regular dissolution was obtained. Meanwhile, towards the end of 1634, the Duke of Orleans, fatigued by the impotence and humiliation of his position in Flanders, where he had actually been persuaded to conclude a formal treaty with Spain, took flight and returned to France, and was reconciled to his brother, abandoning his wife with as little compunction as he showed in abandoning his friends to the scaffold or to the Bastille.
The military events of the year 1633 were on the whole favourable to the allies of France. Not so those of the following year. The negotiations which were opened during the summer of 1633 for the defection of Wallenstein and his adhesion to France, were frustrated in February, 1634, by his assassination. The allies suffered a series of reverses and finally a crowning disaster at Nördlingen (September 6). Thereupon Oxenstierna at once agreed to the cession to France of all the positions for which she had long been pressing, and in particular of Philippsburg, Colmar, and Schlettstadt. The French thus held a fairly continuous defensive position far in advance of their actual frontier. In the south the Bishop of Basel had placed his territories under French protection ; and to the west of Basel the little principality of Montbeliard (Miimpelgard) had been similarly handed over on behalf of Württemberg. In Elsass the French held Colmar and
Schlettstadt ; in Strassburg they were endeavouring to establish connexions, further north they had occupied a number of positions, of which Hagenau and Zabern were the chief. In the Palatinate and the neighbouring bishopric of Speier they were masters of Kaiserslautern, Speier, Philippsburg, and Mannheim. Further north they garrisoned the Elector of Trier's fortress of Ehrenbreitstein.
Thus by the end of 1634 they had grasped a great block of Imperial territory, from Basel in the south and Coblenz in the north to Lorraine in the west. Yet war had not been declared. But, after keen bargaining at Paris and Worms and the passage of envoys to and fro, among whom was the famous Hugo Grotius, in April, 1635, a treaty was arranged at Compiègne by Oxenstierna in person, binding France to an immediate rupture, and the allies to conclude no separate peace. In February of the same year an offensive and defensive alliance was concluded at Paris between France and the United Provinces, providing for the joint invasion and partition of the Spanish Netherlands. The time for elusions and evasions was past. If the coalition were to be maintained, it could only be maintained by the vigorous intervention of France. Saxony, Brandenburg, the principal Protestant Princes of Germany, and the chief Imperial towns, were preparing to make their peace ; and when the Treaty of Prague was published (May 31) and was afterwards adopted by the chief part of Protestant Germany, it only recorded results that had been long foreseen. Imperial troops had surprised Philippsburg (January 23-4) ; on March 26 the Elector of Trier and his capital fell into the hands of the Spaniards ; this last incident supplied the pretext for the decision which had been already made ; and on May 19 war was solemnly declared by France against Spain. Open war with the House of Austria was not declared until 1638 ; but meanwhile hostilities with that Power were hardly less effective because they were indirect and officially ignored.
Thus were the ulterior designs of Henry IV put into effect. The simultaneous attack upon the possessions of the House of Habsburg in all parts of Europe, the wide-spread alliances, the universal conflagration-these Henry had dreamed; they now became a reality. It is said and may be partly true that Richelieu initiated and prolonged the war in order that his master might be saddled with responsibilities which only the Minister could enable him to endure. It is true that, throughout his long career, the maintenance of his own precarious position was for Richelieu a prime care, that it assumed with him the importance rather of an end than of a means. It is the fact that, so long as the war lasted, Richelieu was or seemed indispensable to Louis. Yet little motives never cause, though they may occasion, great results. A spark may fire a powder-mine, but the powder must have been prepared and laid. The great Habsburg war was the inevitable result of Richelieu's policy, of the
This becomes the more clear when we observe the very moderate measure of wisdom which inspired the counsels and the action of France in this momentous period. Of diplomacy, indeed, Richelieu was a supreme master. Even in Italy he contrived to assemble a respectable coalition of Savoy, Mantua, and Parma, _to confront the predominant Power. In Germany it was his object, we cannot doubt, to prolong the war. This he could only do by the aid of Sweden. Sweden was invaluable to him ; yet he bought her aid at the paltry price of a million livres a year, to which was subsequently added a small contingent of troops. Sweden was threatened on the east and the west by the jealous Powers of Poland and Denmark. He persuaded Poland to refuse the tempting offers made to her, and to conclude a twenty-six years1 truce with Sweden (1635). He kept Denmark quiet, and amused her King with the futile duties of a self-important mediator. Sweden was anxious for peace, and would have accepted it at any time if the possession of Pomerania, or perhaps a substantial part of it, had been guaranteed to her. He succeeded in persuading her that no terms which Austria could offer would be secure unless they were safeguarded by a general peace, in which the interests of all the enemies of Habsburg domination should receive due recognition.
In order to preserve the illusion that such a settlement was within
With the United Provinces similar methods were employed; but here the difficulty was less, since Spain would not consent to the recognition of Dutch independence-the indispensable condition of peace in this quarter.
But in the sphere of military operations far less ability was displayed. France was acting on interior lines, from a consolidated territory, against the scattered possessions of Spain. Sea-power was thus a momentous
On land immense efforts were made; five, six, or seven separate armies were kept up; some 150,000 men were constantly in the field; money was ruthlessly extorted and recklessly spent. But the general conduct of operations reveals no bold offensive, no concentration on a skilfully chosen objective. At the outset, indeed, Richelieu contemplated the conquest of the Spanish Netherlands .in cooperation with the Dutch, and with the aid of disaffected subjects of the King of Spain. The Dutch were slow and cautious, and their conception of war was a series of laborious sieges. Had they been left to make war after their own fashion, they would yet have effected valuable diversions ; while a more enterprising enemy might have won the lion's share of the spoil. But, after the failure of the first campaign French efforts in this direction, though costly and exhausting, were never pushed with determination. In 1636, indeed, France was hard put to it to defend her northern frontiers. French activity had been transferred to Franche Comté and the Rhinelands. Taking advantage of the opportunity thus offered, united Spanish and Imperial forces in July invaded Picardy, captured La Capelle, Le Catelet, Roye, Corbie, and threatened Paris itself. In due time they retreated, and the fortresses were sooner or later recovered. Thenceforward Picardy was never without a strong covering force; the expense of a vigorous offensive would have been little greater. But the record of warfare on this side carries little to the credit of the French. The siege of St Omer in 1638 was a disastrous failure. The conquests of Cateau Cambrésis and Landrecies in 1637, of Hesdin in 1639, of Arras in 1640, after the Spaniards had been driven from the seas by the Dutch, and of Bapaume in 1641, are all that the French had to show for seven years of laborious campaigning in the north.
The retention of Lorraine was no doubt a point of prime importance in the Cardinal's scheme. Yet the treaty with Duke Charles in 1641 seems to show that Richelieu hardly hoped to retain it at the end of the war. And the places which were necessary to cover it, Philippsburg, Mainz, Coblenz, Trier, were allowed to fall into and remain in the
Franche Comté might have seemed an easy prize ; the territory was French, and formed a natural addition to French dominions. In the wars of the sixteenth century the protection of the Swiss had secured this province from attack. In this war the Swiss appear to have taken little interest in preserving its neutrality. Desultory inroads were made by French armies, and abortive sieges were undertaken ; but nothing of moment was effected.
The warfare in Italy and Piedmont was perhaps the most futile and extravagant. No man in Europe knew better than Richelieu the importance of the Valtelline. Here, at the outset, the brilliant victories of Rohan secured for him the necessary control. But, unsupported and neglected, the gallant leader was forced in 1637 to surrender to the mountaineers whose freedom he was supposed to be protecting. He had perhaps shown too much talent, and no further employment was offered to him ; in the following year he died. The loss of the Valtelline controlled the situation in Italy. The death of the Duke of Savoy (October 7, 1637) was a misfortune. The Duchess Christine, sister of the King of France, was with difficulty kept faithful to the French alliance ; and her friendship was rather a burden than a profit. Prolonged efforts were necessary to uphold her authority against her brothers-in-law, Thomas and Maurice, who were backed by Spain. The death of the Duke of Mantua (September 24, 1637) left his dominions under the regency of his wife, who was hostile to France ; and Mantua was only prevented from open secession by the presence of a French garrison in Casale. Parma left the coalition in the same year. Warfare never ceased in this region during these seven years; but, in spite of the brilliant exploits of the Count d'Harcourt in 1640, achieved with very scanty resources, all that France could boast in Italy was the imperfect maintenance of the status quo.
On the side of Spain, the conquest of Roussillon was an obvious preliminary for more serious attack. Yet this was not undertaken until it was practically forced upon France by the revolt of Catalonia in 1640. Even then, Condé was allowed to fail before Richelieu and the King took the task seriously in hand; they completed it in 1642, just before
Thus at the Cardinal's death in 1642 France had won little compensation for seven years of exhausting warfare. Lorraine had been retained, and Elsass had been acquired French armies had been trained in war, their tactics improved, their personnel disciplined, the military organisation developed. An effective instrument had been created for ministers who had a definite objective, a rational scheme of offensive, and above all the courage to use their resources without reserve. But Richelieu was afraid of his generals. He divided their commands, he hampered them with instructions. Any great enterprise required the presence of Richelieu and the King, which meant that no risks would be taken, and overwhelming forces would be used to achieve some ostensible success. Military operations were always controlled by political considerations; and political considerations meant the unchallenged supremacy of the Cardinal. In these circumstances it is not surprising that no great general had appeared before the Cardinal's death. Turenne and the Duke of Enghien (the great Conde) were trained in these wars ; but they held no independent commands until after his death. Enghien had already prepared his way to glory by marrying the Cardinal's niece, a disparagement which he would certainly have refused had he foreseen the hour of Richelieu's death. The only sure qualification for high command under Richelieu was unquestioning submission and attachment to his person. Hence we find great armies expended to no purpose under a Condé, a Cardinal de La Valette, a Brézé, a La Meilleraye, or a Guiche. The circle of selection being limited to the Cardinal's relations, connexions, and humble adherents, these were perhaps the best that could be found. But little more could be expected of them than was actually achieved. If equal opportunities had been allowed to Rohan, or Guébriant, or even Harcourt, the issue might have been wholly different.
No detailed examination of campaigns is possible in this place ; and indeed they present no features of exceptional military interest. The foregoing summary may suffice to show the policy, the objectives, and the results of the seven years of war for whose conduct the Cardinal was responsible. Half-way through the seven years (December 18, 1638) died that remarkable man, François du Tremblay, better known to history as the Capuchin Father Joseph. The fact that no difference can be observed in Richelieu's policy or action after the death of
Father Joseph is the best refutation of those fantastic legends which represent him as a malign and dominating influence, inspiring Richelieu with unholy schemes, and thwarting his excellent intentions. The fact seems to be that Father Joseph, after a pious, blameless, and enthusiastic youth, which found expression in mystical poetry of a high order, and in romantic schemes for a crusade of all Europe against the infidel Turk, fell in middle life entirely under the influence of Richelieu. After materially assisting his master in his progress to power, he became his confidant, his secretary, his humbler self. He was, among other things, a born politician; his knowledge, especially of German and Italian affairs, acquired partly in the course of his crusading missions, was extensive and valuable; he generally drafted the instructions intended for French agents, which were then revised by the Cardinal, and transmitted through the ordinary official channels ; he was employed by the Cardinal for negotiations, for interviews, and on missions; his manner, alternating between unctuous suavity and a delusive frankness, served as a useful mask; his unofficial standing made it easy to disavow him, as for instance after the negotiations at Ratisbon ; while his confidential intimacy with the Cardinal gave him weight and credit. Careful research has revealed many minor differences of opinion between master and agent, but none was of permanent importance, and in the end the views of the Cardinal as a rule prevailed. Father Joseph remained to the last a faithful servant of the Church, of the Order to which he belonged, and of the Order of Sisters which he founded; he may have refreshed his zeal with the prospect of the great crusade that was to follow when the Habsburgs had been crushed ; but he nevertheless became the slave of a policy in which worldly considerations had undisputed supremacy, and in which religion was always subordinated to statecraft. His own bent, in fact, was entirely overruled by a more commanding personality.
Other personal episodes belonging to this period may be quickly dismissed. We need not pause to consider the subterranean influences which used the King's favourites, Marie de Hautefort and Louise de Lafayette, to undermine the Cardinal's power. From these, as from all other Court intrigues, Richelieu emerged victorious. Spanish attempts to sway the King by secret correspondence with his wife were hardly more dangerous. The unexpected, almost miraculous, birth of an heir in 1638, and the birth of a second son in 1640, relieved the Cardinal of his gravest apprehensions as to consequences which might follow the sudden death of Louis. Orleans continued his desultory machinations, but he was no longer dangerous. The other malcontent Bourbon prince, the Count of Soissons, took refuge in 1637 at the Court of Sedan, where he was permitted to remain. In 1641, Bouillon, Guise, and Soissons, in alliance with the Habsburgs, thought the opportunity had come for a decisive blow. Supported by Lamboy with an
Imperial army they invaded France ; the forces of Châtillon which confronted them were driven in rout; but at the moment of victory the Count of Soissons was mysteriously slain by a pistol-shot. The figurehead of the conspiracy thus removed, Bouillon made terms and Lamboy retired. The Cardinal appears to have thought the occasion favourable for testing the fidelity of the Duke of Lorraine, who had recently made terms with Louis, and commissioned him to aid in suppressing the rebellion. As may have been expected, he preferred to support it, and by such action gave ground for the reoccupation of Lorraine, which followed in due course. In the ensuing year a more romantic plot had a tragical ending.
Henry, Marquis of Cinq-Mars, was the second son of the Marquis of Eflfiat, who had faithfully served the Cardinal in diplomacy, war, and finance. On the father's death in 1632, Richelieu took the boy under his personal protection, and introduced him to the Court in 1638, in the hope that by his attractive personality he would win the King's favour, and counteract other inconvenient influences. Before very long Cinq-Mars had become the King's accredited favourite and constant companion. But the position had its drawbacks. The young man loved pleasure, and had ambitions. He found the King's amusements dull, his temper trying, and his company tedious; he was under the vigilant supervision of his powerful patron, and was expected to reveal to him the King's most intimate confidences. He fell in love with Mary di Gonzaga, who disdained the love of a mere Grand Ecuyer, but held out to him hopes if he attained a more distinguished rank. Cinq-Mars, misled perhaps by the willingness with which the King listened to and echoed complaints against the Cardinal, formed the hope that by royal favour he might contrive to remove the Minister, and succeed to his authority. He sounded Louis and found that he was not at any rate prepared to take the necessary action himself. He therefore entered into relations with Gaston, and with Bouillon. The three made a treaty with the King of Spain (1642) ; Sedan was to be the base and refuge of the conspirators ; but what further action was to be taken was never certainly agreed. Assassination was no doubt considered, but apparently rejected. The serious illness of Richelieu during the summer of 1642 gave hopes of his removal by natural means ; but to the Cardinal on his death-bed was brought through some mysterious channel a copy of the treaty with Spain. Taking advantage of a temporary improvement in his health, he arose, and carried the compromising document to the King. Cinq-Mars and his friend and agent, de Thou, the son of the famous historian and statesman, were seized, brought to trial, condemned, and executed. Cinq-Mars at any rate deserved his fate ; sympathy is wasted on a man so worthless and unfit for power. Bouillon was arrested in the midst of the army of Italy, where he was in command, and escaped further penalty by the
For eighteen years the great Minister had ruled the kingdom of France. He had claimed for his master and himself power over all persons and causes within the realm. He had elevated absolutism into a principle. Existing institutions, existing traditions, had been forced to give way before his will. Claiming so much, he must be brought to account for all that he claimed. His great achievements in the field of diplomacy, his personal triumphs over rivals and enemies, the creation of a French army and a French navy, the lasting impression of his overmastering personality-these things give him a great place in history. But he must also be judged by his work as an administrator, and by the effects of his work on the internal prosperity and development of France.
France needed a great administrator. The development of her institutions had not kept pace with her growth. The monarchy had accepted the heritage of a hundred feudal sovereigns ; it had undertaken the task of welding a dozen races into a nation ; all the men and all the treasures of the kingdom were at its disposal ; the fund of loyalty and national enthusiasm on which it could draw was almost inexhaustible ; but the machinery for the orderly execution of its purposes was still to be created. We may also think, and consequences were to prove, that safeguards against the abuse of its authority were needed ; but we can hardly blame the statesman who saw in Parlements and Estates General only so many obstacles to efficiency. The materials for a constitutional monarchy may have been present in France, though they were not very obvious to view ; but the materials for an orderly, law-abiding, and beneficent monarchy were certainly present, and Richelieu did little or nothing for their organisation.
The most crying need was that for financial reconstruction. The influence of royal finance was all-pervading, the needs of the royal treasury unceasing and progressive. The income of Henry IV was some 40,000,000 of livres towards the end of his reign; his expenditure far less. The annual expenditure of Richelieu in his last years was 160-180,000,000. Yet the financial organisation that had served for Louis XI and Louis XII was still maintained without improvement. There was still a separate machinery for the collection and accounts of the faille, the aides, the gabelle, and the domaine. The revenue was still diverted at its sources to meet local expenditure so that hardly more than a half reached the royal exchequer. The system of audit and accounts was still hopelessly defective. A quarter of the revenue appears in the accounts in a lump
The burden of taxation was great; the distribution of it rendered its incidence even more galling. The pays d'états, Languedoc, Provence, Burgundy, Britanny, paid hardly more than one-third of their proper share. Richelieu endeavoured indeed (1628-32) to assimilate the financial conditions of some of these provinces to the rest of France; but here his authority for once proved insufficient; and he had to compound with the freer provinces for the restoration of their liberties. Dauphiné alone lost its privileges. Not only did the nobles and the clergy escape the more burdensome forms of taxation ; but the myriads of officials, whose numbers were constantly growing, also avoided payment. Many professions were exempt. Most of the chief towns paid a light
Richelieu himself, though profuse, was not avaricious. His income from ecclesiastical benefices was about a million and a half livres ; and he received as much more from property and pensions. At his death his fortune, though large, was not large in proportion to his opportunities. That he himself was no financier, need not be laid to his charge. But that he did not discover and employ able financiers is largely due to the principles which governed his public action. He required his men of finance to be as subservient as his generals. His Bullions and Bouthilliers found him money ; he did not understand, he did not care to understand the means. More capable ministers might have been less easy to control. Even their dishonesty was valuable, as placing them more completely in his power, should they at any time give offence.
In general administration Richelieu made little systematic improvement. Local administration, so far as it existed, was in the hands of the heads of the five-and-twenty governments into which France was divided, and of the Parlements. The military local authority was in the hands of the Governors, the civil authority in the hands of the Parlements. In times of weak government the authority of Governors had frequently been used in the cause of rebellion. Richelieu made it clear how slight that authority really was, and it was proved that the rebellion even of a Montmorency was not dangerous. But the Cardinal was naturally not inclined to increase the importance of the Governors : and their office continued to be one rather of dignity than of power. Only six months' residence was customary ; and even this was frequently evaded. With the Parlements he was constantly in collision ; they approved neither his financial edicts, nor his manner of dealing with political offenders, nor his contemptuous attitude towards the law. They were not suited for the work of administration ; and, if they had been, they would not have been suited to the Cardinal. His methods were arbitrary and direct; he carried further the practice introduced by his predecessors of despatching commissioners, maîtres des requêtes, to districts where action was necessary; under the name of intendants de justice, de police, et des finances, these officers received the widest authority to override every existing functionary or institution, to order all matters at the pleasure of the central Government, to try persons and causes without regard to the formalities of law. Similar officers accompanied the armies, where their simple procedure and extensive competence proved of the highest value in controlling and regulating expenditure and supply. Eventually a system of intendants was created ; but under Richelieu there was no system ; no law prescribed the duties of intendants or defined their
In matters relating to justice France was already well provided. The Courts of the présidiaux and the Parlements, with minor jurisdictions, covered the field well ; the complaint was rather of the excessive complexity of the system and procedure, than of injustice or defect. But Richelieu made it a practice in dealing with political offenders to disregard the ordinary Courts of justice, and to proceed by the action of commissions of judges specially chosen to try the particular case. By such tribunals, Cinq-Mars, de Thou, Montmorency, the Marshal de Marillac, and many others were condemned. If a first commission showed any hesitation, it was dissolved, and a second appointed. However clear the offence, the Cardinal would not allow the law to take its normal course. The Parlements protested ; but their protests were disregarded.
In matters relating to public order little progress was made. The nobility as a class neither required crushing, nor were crushed. Impoverished by the high rate of customary expenditure in the Court and with the army, and by the fall in the purchasing power of the fixed dues which they received from their tenants, their chief ambition was to win the favour of the Government and to secure its patronage, rather than to thwart it. The destruction of royal fortresses except on the frontier was a wise measure of economy. The destruction of the fortified residences of the nobility may or may not have been necessary as a precaution; but such residences, for the most part, were indefensible against modern ordnance, and their destruction without indemnity was in any case an injustice. The practice of the magnates to raise rebellion on any occasion of discontent required severe repression ; in the process of repression it became clear how scanty were the actual resources controlled by such rebels. The general security of ordinary citizens under Richelieu's rule was neither greater nor less than it had been in earlier times, and left much to be desired. The armies, whose pay became more and more irregular, lived upon the country where they were quartered. To be treated as a conquered country implied exceptional indulgence and not the reverse. In spite of the striking example made of de Bouteville and des Chapelles, the practice of duelling was hardly less prevalent under Richelieu than it had been under Henry IV. The Cardinal's police was admirable for the discovery of secret intrigues ; for the security of common people it was not intended. The almost complete freedom of the press that had existed up to 1630 was in that year destroyed ; for the indulgent control of the Parlements and the Sorbonne was substituted a rigorous censorship: and a government permit was required for every publication. Of the press as a useful source of instruction to statesmen, he had no notion. The official Gazette de France contained all the information about public affairs which he thought desirable for the people.
Richelieu's friendship for letters followed the same principle as his other efforts, the establishment of a central and supreme authority. This was an age when literary and social circles or cliques exercised a considerable influence. The dix-sept seigneurs assembled at the house of Bassompierre, Messieurs du Marais in that of Madame de Rohan ; the Countess of Soissons, the Princess of Condé, held similar gatherings. The Hôtel de Rambouillet was the centre for the précieux. One of these clubs met at the house of Valentin Conrart to discuss literary questions. Richelieu heard of their discussions, and offered them his protection and official recognition. Though somewhat embarrassed, they had no choice but to accept, and in 1634 they were constituted as the French Academy. The Parlement with considerable reluctance registered their letters-patent in 1637. The number of the members from the first was forty, of whom Balzac, Voiture, Chapelain, Vaugelas were the most distinguished. They accepted their prescribed mission : to purify the French language, and to determine its canons according to the best usage. For this purpose in 1638 they began, at the suggestion of Chapelain, the compilation of their Dictionary, in which the influence of Vaugelas was predominant. The later history of the Academy is beyond the scope of this chapter.
The age of Richelieu was an age of a great religious revival in France. The Cardinal de Bérulle founded the Oratory, and multiplied institutions for the instruction of clergy. St Vincent de Paul founded his Sœurs de la Charité, and his Congregation of the Mission. The Ursulines and the Visitandines took in hand the education of girls and women. The Jesuit schoolmasters and professors were active everywhere. Richelieu himself did something for the reformation of the religious Orders, and procured his election as head of the three great Orders of Cluny, Cîteaux, and Prémontré, partly with this object. He did good service in composing the disputes between secular and regular clergy, in requiring of the religious license to preach and to confess, and in subjecting them to the authority of the Bishops. It was his ambition to become head of the Church in France, as he was ruler of the State. When the Pope thwarted his desire to be Legate for France, he dreamed of becoming Patriarch of a national Church. Yet flagrant abuses went unremedied in the Church. Non-residence, plurality of benefices, abbeys, and priories in lay hands, the charging of lay pensions on ecclesiastical revenues, the employment of Cardinals and Archbishops in military commands-these disorders the Cardinal, himself a soldier and a pluralist, did not attempt to check.
He is seen perhaps at his best in his treatment of the Protestants after their pretensions to political independence had been finally suppressed. The toleration which was accorded to them was real. The greatest consideration was shown for their susceptibilities, and the hostility of the Catholic population was kept in bounds. Their pastors were exempted from taille ; a subvention of 200,000 livres was accorded to
Different estimates may be formed of the military achievements of the Cardinal ; as to the general tendencies of his political action there is less room for doubt. Talents, industry, perseverance, resolution, courage, these he possessed in the highest degree. The game of politics, as he understood it and as it was generally understood, he played with consummate ability. Though at a vast expense, he checked the dangerous ' preponderance of the Habsburg coalition and kept for France her proper place among the Powers. That a large proportion of the sacrifices which he imposed upon his country for this end were unnecessary, that the heritage of bankruptcy which he left to his successors was due to misgovernment, that his habitual contempt of law and justice was impolitic as well as immoral, that he created no system to take the place of that which he destroyed, that the absolutism which he set up was lawless and disorderly, that he seems to have never comprehended the true bases of national prosperity and national power-these are defects which become the more flagrant the more highly we estimate his gifts. The abasement of the magnates, the suppression of the Huguenots, the Habsburg wars, even the maintenance of his personal power-these were legitimate ends. But in his choice of means he was reckless and improvident ; in his choice of persons he looked for subservience rather than for independent initiative ; of more exalted aims he had no conception ; of mercy and justice he took no account ; of creative and beneficent statesmanship he had no share. Four-fifths of the field of political endeavour he left untouched, or touched only to encumber and destroy. If the Peace of Westphalia and the Peace of the Pyrenees were of his making, so also was the Revolution of 1789. He had revealed to the French monarchy the weakness of all those traditional and conventional restraints which had limited the power of earlier Kings for good, and more especially for evil ; the autocracy was slow to unlearn the lesson he had taught. The bonfires of rejoicing which celebrated his decease were premature ; his death was not to ease the bondage which his living will had imposed on France.