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Mazarin

Mazarin

 

MazarinCardinal Mazarin was one of the great ecclesiastics who have home a prominent part in the affairs of France. He was the friend, pupil and successor of Richelieu, but was inferior to his master. The contrast between their characters and methods was very great, yet their ends were the same-the establishment of absolutism in France.

 

Giulio Mazarini, to whose name was afterwards given the French form, Jules Mazatin, was born at Piscina, in the kingdom of Naples, on the 14th of July, 1602. He belonged to a noble Sicilian family, and was educated at Rome. He also studied law at the Universities of Alcala and Salamanca, in Spain. He was early engaged in the papal military service, and was employed in negotiations with the French and Spanish commanders in Italy. He was then transferred to the civil service, and in 1629 was made internuncio at Turin. His duties in this position led him, in the next year, to Lyons, where he was presented to King Louis XIII., and afterwards to Cardinal Richelieu.

 

Richelieu soon perceived Mazarin's great diplomatic ability and ambition, and by his splendid offers won him over to the service of France. In 1634, by the influence of Richelieu, Mazarin was made Vice-Legate of Avignon, and in 1641 Pope Urban VIII. made him a cardinal. all the death of Richelieu, in December, 1642, Mazarin was made a member of the Council of State, and on the death of Louis XIII. in May, 1643, the widowed queen, Anne of Austria, made him Prime Minister. From her known hostility to Richelieu, her selection of Mazarin as bis successor caused general surprise. Yet it is evident that her choice was proof of her discernment. Mazarin was a foreigner, and therefore completely dependent on the band which had raised him. He was not connected with any powerful party, and therefore the queen could make full use of his abilities without being in danger from his ambition. He had a strong, foreseeing, inventive mind, a supple character and persevering industry. He was not swayed by personal likes or dislikes, but solely by calculation. The Italian cardinal was, therefore, the queen's obedient, faithful servant.

 

The war in Flanders was prosecuted to a successful termination, under the able leadership of the Duke of Enghien, afterwards known as "the Great Conde ;" and Mazarin had the pleasure of concluding the" Peace of Westphalia," in 1648, by which France acquired Alsace, except Strasburg, and the seignory of the bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun. But while his foreign policy was thus successful, the country was soon plunged in domestic broils. One of the first effects of Mazarin's appointment had been to alienate from the queen the party of the noblesse. The nobility, crushed by Richelieu, had attached itself to the queen during her disgrace with the king, which was inspired by that haughty statesman. Mazarin advised her to resist the demands of her former partisans, and the consequence was a general conspiracy against the queen and the minister. But its leader, the Duke of Beaufort, was summarily sent to prison, and the Duchess of Chevrense, who had been the bosom friend of the queen, was exiled from the court.

 

But the discontent with the new rule was not confined to the nobility. A general outcry was raised against the foreigner. The great middle class, or bourgeoisie, which was now rising into wealth and political importance, was inflamed Against the imposition of new taxes, which Mazarin declared necessary on account of the expenses of the long war. Magistrates of this class, who had purchased their offices under Richelieu, now used their power to resist the royal edicts. The Parliament of Paris and the people of the city supported the opposition. The queen ordered the magistrates to be imprisoned, and when a mob surrounded the palace to demand their freedom, threatened to fling the heads of the captives in the streets. Soon, however, by the advice of Mazarin, she released them but this was done only to gain time.

 

In February, 1649, Anne of Austria, thinking Paris no longer safe, fled to St. Germaine en Laye, accompanied by her children, by Mazarin, the Duke of Orleans, and the Prince of Cond6. The latter had been implored by the queen, with tears in her eyes, to act as protector to the king, and he consented. Anne was obliged to pledge her jewels and those of the Crown to obtain money. The king himself was often in want of necessaries. Most of the court were obliged to sleep on straw. This humiliation seems to have made a deep impression on the mind of the child Louis, and to have contributed to render him mistrustful, arbitrary and stern.

 

After some fighting, a sort of peace was made in the spring of 1649, and the court re.entered Paris in the month of August. The Prince of Conde became discontented, and incurred the displeasure of the queen. Although he had been the means of appeasing the civil war, he was imprisoned first at Vincennes, and afterwards at Havre. In 1650, the great nobles and other Frondeurs began again the civil war and in 1651, the queen ordered the release of Conde. This prince returned to Paris but in the latter part of the year retired into Guienne, and there set up the standard of revolt. Anne of Austria had been compelled to send Mazarin out of the kingdom but he now returned to court and to power. The court left Paris and removed to Poitiers, but were obliged to retreat before Cond6, who had been joined by a great number of nobles. He took possession of Paris. Turenne, who had now come over to the royal party, held the command of the kings army. An engagement occurred at St. Antoine, near Paris; but with little advantage on either side. Many tumults and assassinations took. place in the capital, where the great obstacle to the restoration of royal authority appears to have been the extreme dislike entertained for Mazarin. It was so strong that the obnoxious minister was again sent into exile on the 12th of August 1652.

 

Immediately after Mazarin's departure, a deputation of citizens waited upon the king, and entreated him to return to Paris. He did so, and tranquility was restored. Conde emigrated to join the Spaniards. The Duke of Orleans was banished to Blois, and the Cardinal de Retz, one of the chief instigators of the disturbance, was arrested in the Louvre, and conveyed from prison to prison. Such was the termination of the Fronde. The arrogance of the nobles was again reduced within those limits which the policy of Richelieu had dictated. Mazarin was recalled. His influence with the queen was greater than ever. He did not hesitate to use his power and opportunity to enrich himself, and to promote the fortunes of his beloved nieces, the Mancini, and secure them husbands of high rank. Yet when the young king fell desperately in love with Marie de Mancini, and eagerly pressed for the queen's favor for the match, the Cardinal, from his sense of duty to the State, would not permit their union. He caused Marie to withdraw from the court, and even induced Louis to acquiesce in her departure. She was afterwards married to the Constable Colonna of Rome.

 

In 1654 Louis made bis first campaign in Flanders against the Spaniards. Conde, at the head of the enemies of his country, laid siege to Arras, which was, however, relieved by Turenne. In I655 Mazarin was induced to form a treaty of alliance with the Protector Oliver Cromwell against Spain. The exiled princes of the English royal family, on the downfall of their cause at home, had sought refuge in a country of which the reigning king was nephew to their mother, Henrietta Maria; but Cromwell insisted peremptorily on their expulsion, and to this demand Mazarin, on behalf of Louis, consented.

 

In I657 the Emperor Ferdinand HI. died, and Mazarin intrigued to prevent the election of his son Leopold, and to obtain the imperial dignity for Louis XIV. He began by supporting, through his agents in the Diet, the pretensions of the Elector of Bavaria, and representing and exaggerating the danger to the liberties of Germany which would attend another election of an Austrian prince to the imperial throne. It was soon found, however, that the Elector of Bavaria was not likely to be nominated, and Mazarin then intrigued separately with the electors in favor of Louis. He bribed, by actual disbursement of money and ample promises of territorial aggrandizement, the archbishop electors of Treves and Cologne, as well as the elector-palatine, and even the Elector of Brandenburg. Had he succeeded in gaining over the Elector of Mayence, John Philip de Schonbron, Chancellor of the empire, Louis XIV. would have succeeded. Louis himself repaired to Metz, his army being encamped in the neighborhood, as if to support his pretensions. The Cardinal sent to the Diet at Frankfort, Turenne and M. de Lyonne, to further his object. In his instructions he empowered them to offer to the Elector of Mayence 3000,000 livres, besides a revenue of 90,000 more for his relations, and, if necessary, to send at alice to Frankfort the value of 1,200,000 livres in plate and other valuable objects as a security. The Elector of Maycuce, however, adjourned the election to the following year. He wrote to Leopold of Austria, son of Ferdinand, promising him his vote. The other electors kept the money they had received from Mazarin, and turned also in favor of Leopold. who was unanimously elected in 1658. From that liute began the bitter animosity of Louis XIV. against Leopold, which lasted half a century, and was the cause of three long and sanguinary wars.

 

Meantime the war with Spain was brought to a close in November, 1659, by Cardinal Mazarin, by the treaty of the Bidasoa, in which the marriage between the Infanta, Maria Theresa, daughter of Philip IV. of Spain, and Louis XIV., was concluded. Spain gave up Artois and Rousillon, aud stipulated for a free pardon to the Prince of Conde. Mazarin also abandoned Portugal. Maria Theresa brought to Louis a dowry of 300,000 gold crowns, in consideration of which the Princerenounced all pretensions to the throne of her father. Mazarin so arranged it that the renunciation should be legally void; he expressly made it dependeut upon the exact payment of the dowry, which he knew the Spaniards would never be able to pay. Thus he paved the way for the future claims of the House of Bourbon. The new queen was married and made her entrance into Paris in 1660.

 

In February, 1661, Mazarin concluded at Vincennes a third and last treaty with Charles, Duke of Lorraine, by which Strasburg, Pfalsburg, Stenai, and other places were given up to France. Nine days after this treaty was signed Mazarin expired at Vincennes, at the age of fifty· nine, in despair at leaving his beautiful paintings, his statues, his books, affairs and life. He left a large fortune to his nieces and to his nephew, whom he made Duke of Nevers. Mazarin was more successful at the close of his career, in his treaties of peace, than be had been ill his wars and former negotiations.

 

THE CHILD-KING'S BED OF JUSTICE.

 

On Sunday, the 19th of April, 1643, King Louis XII!., who had been confined to his bed for a fortnight at the chateau of Saint Germain, felt bis death drawing nigh. His eldest son Louis, born on the 5th of September, 1638, was not yet five years old. In accordance with the practice of the royal family of France, the child was to reign after the death of his father, but he should have a guardian until he reached his majority. Louis XIII. would leave a wife and a brother, both of whom he held iu equal distrust. His brother, Gaston, Duke of Orleans, bad spent his life conspiring against him. His wife, Aune of Austria, a Spanish princess, had taken part in the intrigues carried on against the ministers of the king, indeed her favorites were the open adversaries of her husband's policy. Since Richelieu had been at the head of affairs, France had waged an iuceSS3.nt warfare against the Emperor and bis ally, the King of Spaiu i it had fought against them in the Thirty Years' 'War, and at length had brought them low. Richelieu had just died; but his policy was being continued by one of his faithflll agents, the Italian Mazarin, now a cardinal, thanks to the patronage of the King of France.Louis XIII. entertained fears lest Anne of Austria, attached to the Conrt of Spain, should make peace immediately after his death, and abandon those conquests that had cost so much money and so much bloodshed. Usage, however, required that the mother of the young king should be his guardian; but Louis XIII. endeavored to deprive her at least of the con· trol of the goverom~t's policy by forcing upon her a council of experienced men whose business it would be to decide on all important matters. On the 20th of April, the king's chamber was filled with high personages summoned thither by royal command. The queen was there with her two sons, the Duke of Orleans, the Prince of Conde, Mazarin, the Chancellor, the Secretaries of State, the dukes and peers, the grand officers of the crown. The king lay on his bed, the curtains of which were drawn aside, the queen sat on a chair at the foot of the bed, all the others were standing.

 

Louis XIII. ordered one of the Secretaries of State to read the document containing his last will and testament, and the secretary read forthwith in a loud voice the Instructions for the regency and the administration of the kingdom after the death of the king." The document rehearsed how the king had thought fit to devise measures for the preservation of the peace and the tranquility of his States in the event of his demise. Following the example of his predecessors, he intrusted the bringing up and the education of the young king to the child's mother, than whom no one could be more interested in the preservation of his person and of his crown the queen should therefore remain regent until her son attained his majority, which in the royal family of France was at the age of fourteen. Furthermore, the Duke of Orleans was appointed lien tenant-general to the king. But neither the regent nor the lieutenant-general could govern at will. The king hereby appointed a council consisting of the Prince of Conde, Cardinal Mazarin, the chancellor, the superintendent of finances, and the Secretary of State, Chavigny, with a strict injunction that no alteration should be made in these appointments for any motive whatsoever. Should anyone of the members of the council happen to die, the others should appoint his successor. The queen was to talke the advice of this council on all questions of peace and war, on the expenditure of public money, and on appointments to all the offices of the crown. The great and important affairs of the State were to be decided upon in this council by a majority of votes.

 

When the Secretary of State had finished reading the document, the king tool it from his hands, added thereto the words, The above is my most express command and my last will, which order to be carried into execution," and signed it He then handed it to his wife and his brother for their signatures and made them take an oath that they would observe what was contained therein. Then the chancellor went for a deputation from the Paris Parliament who had been waiting in a neighboring apartment, and ushered them into the royal chamber. The king told them that he had just set the government of his kingdom in order in case God should summon him before Him, and that his brother would convey his orders to Parliament on the following day; he commanded them to receive his last will and place it on their records with all the obedience that they owed him. The first president assured him that Parliament was ready to obey him in everything.

 

On the 21st of April the Duke of Orleans, accompanied by the chancellor, brought the will of the king to the parliament. It was read before all the Chambers gathered together for the purpose. Advocate General Talon delivered a long speech in which he thanked the king, eulogized the queen, and ex· pressed the hope that both she and the princes would hearken to the advice of the illustrious persons whom the king had appointed, and who could harbor none but legitimate intentions and no other designs but such as would be for the public welfare. He concluded with a motion that the king's will be registered, and that a duplicate of the same be forwarded to the other Parliaments of the kingdom. The motion was adopted unanimously. The king fondly believed he had taken the necessary steps to circumscribe the authority of the queen. But those who signed his will as well as those who registered it looked upon it as a useless piece of formality, and made but little of the restrictions it sought to impose on the rights of the regent. The queen's suite reminded her that Henry IV. also Lad imposed certain conditions all his widow. Marie de Medici, and that immediately after his death she had had the will annulled by the Paris Parliament. Anne deemed it prudent to take her precautions. She had signed the will and had sworn to comply with it she had even sent forth the statement that she had no objection to its being registered by Parliament. But privately she wrote a protest against the will, and sent one of her almoners with it to Paris to have her signature duly attested by notaries.

 

On the 14th of May Louis XIII. died. The queen left the new palace where her husband had spent the close of his life, and repaired to the old chateau of &'l.int·Germain, the residence of the new king, her son. All the court followed her. On the 15th of May the whole of the king's military household was astir at an early hour. The French and the Swiss Guards stood in array in front of the chateau. The queen, the young king, his brother Philip, the Duke of Orleans, and the Prince of Conde took their seats ill the royal carriage which proceeded toward Paris, attended by the king's footmen, the captains of the life guards, and the first equerry bearing the king's sword. Then came the whole of the military household as an escort; the lords and the ladies of the court either followed or preceded the cortege: the whole road, from Nanterre to Paris, was covered with carriages. With such pomp did Louis XIV. make his first entry into Paris.

 

The queen, with her two children, took up her apartments in the old palace of the Louvre. On the following morning, the 16th of May, a deputation from the Parliament, clad in black garments, came to present their respects to her. The first president, Mathieu Mole, offered her his congratulations, and prayed the king to visit his Parliament as soon as his convenience would permit. The queen promised to bring him two days later. The members of the parliament, who had been severely excluded from all participation in political affairs during Richelieu's ministry, looked upon the death of Louis XII as a deliverance, and were quite ready to side with the queen.

 

On the 18th of May all the members of the Parliament, in scarlet robes, had assembled betimes. As early as five o'clock ill the morning, the captains of the guards had posted them· selves at the gates of the Palace of Justice, so as to admit only those who had a right to be present at the sitting. Raised on a platform at the upper end of the hall was the bed of justice it was a throne surmounted with a velvet canopy bearing the anus and motto of Louis XIII. On raised benches, to the right of the throne, were seated the princes of the blood, the Duke of Orleans, the Prince of Conde, and his son, the Prince of Conde next to them were the dukes and peers with ermine-lined cloaks, and the marshals. On the left sat the Bishop of Beauvais, the only spiritual peer present at the sitting. The benches in the hall were occupied by the members of the Parliament and the king's suite.

 

At half-past nine the announcement is made that the king is at the Sainte-Chapelle. A deputation of three presidents and six members goes forth to meet him. The little king made his entry clad in violet, the mourning color of the kings of France. He was carried by his grand chamberlain, the Duke of Chevreuse, and accompanied by the Count of Charost, a captain of the life-guards and the officer of the day. Before him marched the King-at-arms of France, and two heralds in violet with golden fleurs-de-lis, and bearing ill their hands the scepter and the maces.

 

The captain of the guards commanded silcnce. The queen and the governess raised the little king to his feet on the throne. He was to pronounce the usual formula: "I have come here to communicate my will to my Parliament my chancellor will say the rest." But Louis XIV., still in his fifth year, was seized with a childish whim, declined to speak his piece and resumed his seat without opening his lips. The Abbe Marolles thought he heard the word: "Speak."

 

The queen now addressed the assemblage. She said that "her grief had driven from her mind all thought of what she had to do until the deputation from the Parliament had come and prayed her son to hold his bed of justice. By bringing the king to them, she wished to "show Messieus du Parlement that on all occasions she would gladly avail herself of their counsels." According to the prearranged programmed, the Duke of Orleans thanked the queen for what she had done, adding that the honor of the regency was due to her not only because she was the mother of the king, but all account of her own merits and her virtue, that as a matter of fact the regency had been conferred on him by the will of the late king and the consent of all the nobles; hut that he desired no other share in public affairs than it would please Her Majesty to allow him, and would base no claim on the particular clauses in the will affecting him. The Prince of Conde praised the Duke of Orleans for his generosity i "such generosity was needed, he said, for the good of the State, for public affairs do not prosper when authority is divided."

 

Chancellor Seguier then ascended the steps of the throne, knelt before the king, arose and returned to his place. Being now compelled to approve of a proposal which nullified the will that he himself had drafted, he sounded the praises of the queen, her eminent qualities and her great virtues. And he too ttlove4 that the regency be given to her with absolute power. "The authority of this wise princess could not be too great, he said, since it rests in the hands of virtue herself. The greatest blessings of monarchies lie in the entire freedom of those in power when they are bent on doing good."

 

Now came the turn of Advocate General Talon, who, three weeks before, bad moved the registration of the will of Louis XIII. He now compared the late king to David, who, like him, reigned for thirty-three years, and to Augustus, who died on the anniversary day of his advent to the throne. He wished to the new king the clemency of the great Henry, the piety and the justice of his father. He congratulated the queen on her assumption of the august title of regent. As for the advice she was to receive from her counselors, it "should be free, the result of conviction, not that of compulsion." In conclusion, he moved that the queen be declared regent in conformity with the will of the late king, and have the care and the education of His Majesty and the administration of all public affairs the Duke of Orleans to be lieutenant-general and president of the councils under the authority of the queen i the queen to have the power to choose whoever she might think fit to deliberate in said councils without being obliged to follow the opinion of the majority. Lastly, he entreated the queen to conclude peace, the only thing that could put an end to the misery of her people.

 

All having been agreed upon beforehand, the only part of the performance now to be gone through was the show of taking a vote on this motion. The chancellor walked up to each of the spectators. as if to collect their votes. He began with the king and the queen, the latter declining to vote, and stating that she would abide by the decision of the assembly,- then passed on to the princes, the peers, the secretaries of State, and ended with the members of the Parliament. As each man gave bis assent, he bowed toward the king.

 

All the votes being collected, the Chancellor pronounced the edict previously drawn out as follows. The king holding his bed of justice, in the presence and by the advice of the Duke of Orleans, his uncle, of the Prince of Conde, his cousin, first prince of the blood, and of the other princes, prelates, peers and officers, has declared the queen, his mother, regent of France, conformably with the will of the late king, to have the care of his education and the free, absolute and entire administration of the affairs of his kingdom during his minority. It is His Majesty's wish and command that the Duke of Orleans be lieutenant-general and president of his Councils, it being left to the power of the said queen-mother to select upright and experienced men in such number as she may deem fit to deliberate in said councils, without at the same time binding her to abide by a majority of their votes unless she be so minded. After reading of which the assembly broke tip.

 

All the precautionary measures taken by Louis XIII. were thus set at naught His widow became absolute mistress of the kingdom of France. People looked forward to the downfall of Mazarin and a complete reversal of Richelieu's policy. That very evening, it was announced that Anne of Austria confirmed Mazarin in the functions of first minister. Not a single change was made in the government.-C. SEIGNQBOS.

 

Mazarin

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