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There were times when Joseph seemed to hold in his hand the thread of Richelieu's destiny. And though he was Richelieu's man, the man had no love for the master. “ C'était son homme, mais il ne l'aimait pas.” Joseph believed he had created Richelieu, and that in so doing he had created an ingrate. The Minister failed to provide for him as he desired. Father Joseph, with his Capuchin sandals, his rope girdle, and all cette comédie d'humilité, was looking out for the scarlet hat
, which would have doubtless given him the means of supplanting his friend. Richelieu, who saw what was coming, endeavoured, after 1628
, to get rid of one who was now a troublesome hanger-on- tried to shut him up, to claquemurer him, in a dull, dead, out-of-the-way town, of which he wanted to make him bishop. But Joseph, equally astuteand with as keen a scent as his master to smell a rat-declined the honour of being thus buried alive, and obstinately persisted in remaining a Capuchin. For Nolo episcopari is not always a sham. It is quite intel. ligible that a man should protest, I won't be a bishop, when his master motive, which a bishopric would thwart, impels him to resolve, I will be a cardinal-if I can.
Joseph, a cardinal in posse, crossed the Cardinal in esse, when he accepted the treaty of the Emperor, at Ratisbon, in 1630, contrary to the instructions of Richelieu. In so doing, says Michelet, the chances were two to one in his favour. If Louis XIII. died-as all France supposed would soon be the case—the new king, Gaston, would approve Joseph's signature. If Louis should not die, the two Queens would show the convalescent this treaty, and, peace being made, would make him drive away that obnoxious Richelieu. And who would be Richelieu's successor? There was but one man equal to the post, Joseph himself
. So Joseph would be Minister, and ---Cardinal.
Thus, we are led to suppose, did the worthy Father reason with hinself. “The famous Capuchin was an amiable, obliging man, who, thorough agent as he might be of Richelieu, had yet found the means of keeping on a good footing with all mankind.' He it was who, in 1626, founded the enormous fortune of the House of Orleans, by de. ciding Richelieu, despite his repugnance, to give Mademoiselle de Montpensier to Monsieur. Monsieur loved him, and said with regret at Joseph's death : “He was the friend of princes.'
“ He deserved this title at Ratisbon. "Pressed and entreated, he gave his consent that Brulart, his colleague, should sign a peace.
As for himself, an unworthy Capuchin, he declined so great an honour. But they put the
pen in his hand, and no doubt told him that the Pope willed it, and that in refusing he would for ever lose the cardinal's hat. He signed.” Richelieu might frown, would frown ; let him. Was not the Pope smiling on Father Joseph, was not the Emperor henceforth his very good friend, and had he not grown in favour with Monsieur, and with the two Queens ? Moreover, Louis himself had a growing kindness for Richelieu's right
“Le roi aimait le capucin Joseph.” Nothing pleased his Majesty better than to see his Minister encompassed by satellites in sombre grey. Richelieu kept Joseph in his own room, under his own eyes, that he might have this arch-spy under his own espionage ; and
thus far secure of him, the Cardinal employed him to prompt Louis to certain extreme measures, reserving for himself the affectation of more moderate counsels. What Richelieu could not in common decency suggest, Joseph was directed to submit for royal approval. For example, Richelieu could not, without what must look like ugly ingratitude, speak against his sometime patroness, the Queen- Mother. Perhaps-conjectures M. Michelet-he made Joseph do so instead, and by his means carried that great measure, the separation of mother and son.
So again in that black business, the execution of Montmorency for high treason. It is too evident, the historian observes, that Richelieu desired to impose on the King the entire responsibility of such an act. But anything spontaneous, any kind of initiative, was alien to Louis : he must be pushed on, urged to his work, and in the plainest, most emphatic terms. Now it is affirmed by a panegyrist of Father Joseph,
d'après des mémoires sûrs,” that the Capuchin had the honour of conducting this affair—that, in fact, he was at the bottom of the whole business, held the strings and swayed the puppets from first to last, directed Bouillon's treachery, led on Monsieur, and induced Louis to sign the sentence of death. “ Richelieu," our historian alleges, “put Joseph forward, and made him speak before himself. He knew him to be vain," and turned his vanity to serious account. Joseph knew Louis to be naturally severe, and turned his severity to tragical account. Montmorency, condemned at the Council, was forthwith condemned also by the Parliament of Toulouse, and was decapitated the same day, 30th October, 1632.
On more occasions than one, and in more directions than one, Father Joseph is evidently regarded by Michelet as Richelieu's evil genius. The familiar now inspired, now executed, deeds of cruelty or craft. To him is here attributed the influence which made Richelieu a persecutor. Aubry will have it that the Cardinal, had he lived, would have equalled the glory of Louis the Great, in making use of fire and sword to exterminate heresy; nay, that he would even have converted England, with a noble army of the orthodox to bring back us benighted islanders to the pale of the faith, and a knowledge of the truth. Michelet looks before he leaps to conclusions of this magnitude. He doubts the Cardinal's enthusiasm as a churchman militant. And he reckons it far more likely that those other writers, of the same age, were reasonable and right, who ascribe this vehement zeal, this warlike precipitation, rather to fiery Father Joseph, “ romanesque et violent, autant que rusé,” than to the native disposition or cherished policy of Richelieu himself.
There seemed a fine opening for the Capuchin's inquisitorial zeal, in the troubles of 1633-4, connected with the three great trials (la trilogie diabolique, as Michelet calls them) of Aix, Loudun, and Louviers-in which the persons proceeded against were Gauffridi, Urbain Grandier, and Pinart—and in all of which “ the devil arrives for the purpose of giving a dramatic interest, and making an effective finale.” In order that Joseph might shine forth brilliantly as the Church's avenger, and Rome be forced to give him the coveted hat, what was wanting for him was a numerous class to persecute—some great, novel, dangerous heresy, such as would warrant and demand a crusade of Capuching. The King
would favour so devout a war. A new power would be constituted, a Capuchin inquisitor, a Grand Inquisitor, Joseph. At first a Torquemada, anon a Ximenes, he would thus trip up Richelieu.
Now in order to push on this war within France, it would be necessary to finish the war without.
An arrangement must be made with foreign foes. The peddling politics that kept Christendom in hot water
-s0 trivial a question as that of the balance of Europe—so insignificant a topic as the country's foreign relations-must be summarily sacrificed to the great question of the faith. And for this end, it would be requisite to bring back good Spanish counsels for the guidance of a French king. The Queen-Mother must be recalled, rehabilitated, reinstated. To effect this, Joseph set himself to work, though somewhat timorously. He received the letters of Marie de Medicis, imploring permission to return to Francc; and these he showed to her son.
At this period, there was one thing at least in Joseph's favour : not only the King, but every one else in the kingdom-every other subject of Richelieu—was dying of ennui. There was that everlasting war in Germany, into which exhausted France had entered-misery was the result, misery that seemed endless, but certain to deepen and extend as time passed on. The air grew heavier, thicker, harder to breathe in, from year to year. A dense monotonous fog enveloped the scene, so that one actor alone could be distinguished—that great leaden figure, the Cardinal. Joseph would have enlivened the stage with an entire change in the performances. His stage-management would have belonged to quite another school. Only let him be director, and there would have been plenty of dramatic interest to keep everybody awake. The tragedies of a bygone age would have been reproduced, with striking effects, burlesque trimmings, and borrowings, from Italy and the order of Capuchins. In the Mémoires d'Etat written by this Father, now known merely by extracts—for no doubt, says Michelet, they have been suppressed as too instructive-ce bon père explains that in 1633 or 1634 it was his good fortune to discover a heresy, an immense heresy, in which an infinite number of confessors and directors had a hand. In describing the history of this heresy, and the fate of the heretics, M. Michelet evinces a zest and energy worthy of what Father Joseph showed in detecting it, and crushing them. The historian is even too fond of dwelling on subjects in which the devil takes, or is supposed to take, a leading part on one side, and father confessors and susceptible nuns are engaged on the other. But his account of the three procès—at Aix, Loudun, and Louviers—is full of interest, especially for those who are curious in demonology and morbid psychology. The interest, however, mainly depends on the details—which prevents our making use of this trilogie diabolique, even were there no other objection in the way. The three affairs are essentially one and the same. In each case we have a libertine priest, a jealous monk, a frenzied nun. In each case the nun is made the mouthpiece of Satan, and the priest is eventually committed to the flames. Urbain Grandier-celebrated in Alfred de Vigny's “ CinqMars”—is the most prominent figure in this tragical triad : a man whom Ménage almost ranges among the martyrs of science and free thought, while his historian, the Capuchin Tranquille, makes it marvellously clear, from a Capuchin point of view, that Grandier was a sorcerer—and more
than that, a very devil-indeed he is named Grandier des dominations in the procès, just as if Astaroth himself were the prisoner at the bar.
Father Joseph's interest at court was further advanced when his young relative, the fair Lafayette-rather brown than fair, by the way, and not nearly so good-looking as Mademoiselle de Hautefort—was pressed on his Majesty's notice by St. Simon and others, who sought to give Louis a change in his platonic attachments. This was an intrigue to discard the Hautefort, who was the Queen's advocate and virtuous spy. Lafayette was younger, plainer, a brunette, but of a tender, loving, elevated nature -one of those who ravish all hearts. Being Joseph's near relation, her success with Louis would have aided the rise of the Capuchin, and thus involved the decline and fall of the Cardinal. In 1638, Joseph, on the strength of this connexion, worked boldly in opposition to Richelieu. He made the king promise to recal his mother, and to urge his claims on the Pope for a scarlet hat. The Pope had not the courage to comply-being aware that Richelieu preferred a certain Mazarin, formerly Joseph's client, now Joseph's successor; this rising Italian was Richelieu's nominee, and the Capuchin must go to the wall. Joseph saw that he was being trifled with—and, like our bluff Henry, came to abhor the dilatory sloth and tricks of Rome. He was in despair ; he saw that the scarlet hat, his life-long ambition, would never be his now; and he understood who it was that “choused” him of it-le lui soufflaitto wit, his quondam client, his sometime creature, Jules Mazarin. The thought choked him, suffocated him. In May of this year he had a stroke of apoplexy. Every one said, Le Père Joseph is poisoned. He confirmed this rumour, so far as lay in his power, by quitting the Cardinal's hotel, and taking refuge in his convent.
Here Richelieu came to see him, and soothed him with a promise of getting the hat for him at the very next opening in the sacred college. But the Pope was put on his guard. Joseph was trifled with to the end of the chapter. No one but the King was serious in the matter. He insisted in favour of Joseph, just as the Minister did against him. The command of one day was countermanded the next. The
victim of this blast and counterblast system could endure it no longer. The shuttlecock was
worn out between this battledoor and that. pauvre martyr n'y tint pas." Bad news reached him from Rome on the 18th of December—and this finished him: two hours after it arrived, Father Joseph was a dead man.* Mazarin, le fourbe Italien, who had reckoned on stepping into the dead man's shoes, was not out in his reckoning, and soon attained an influence such as Joseph had rather grasped at than secured, to say nothing of the scarlet hat with which the eager Capuchin had been tantalised till within an hour-literally within two hours, of his death.
Richelieu survived his disappointed servitor from three to four years. It was during the last of these, 1642, that occurred the Conspiracy of Cinq-Mars, which is related with characteristic power by our historian. The Cardinal had set young Cinq-Mars as a domestic spy on the King. Louis—whose weak nature must needs have one favourite or another to
* For details connected with the career of Father Joseph, see pp. 23 sq., 55 sq., 77 sq., 117, 145-6, 152 sq., 194, 213-4, 231-2, of Michelet's present volume.
lean upon—would find the boy sleeping, or appearing to sleep, in the corners of rooms, and guessed that he was sleeping on Richelieu's account, for the purpose of listening, and reporting what he heard. The King pitied the lad; it was grievous that so sprightly and engaging a mind, inhabiting, too, so handsome a frame, should thus early be corrupted, and befouled in the dirty byways and miry sloughs of intrigue. Louis would try to convert and save this enfant charmant. Alas, the charming child was already far gone in worldly dissipations—and conversion” in his case was up-hill work. But it was work the King liked, and work at which he laboured strenuously. If the spoilt child were missing for ever so short a time, Louis was uneasy, and cried out, “ Where's CinqMars ?” For a while Richelieu's purpose was answered. But the new agent became refractory as he grew up; and the Cardinal found it expedient to chasser him from the Council, in which he was becoming too predominant. The expulsion was insultingly effected; and Cinq-Mars, crying and sobbing, was absorbed by one passion—to compass the Cardinal's death. The Queen, Gaston, Bouillon, were all stimulated by a kindred impulse. Richelieu had engaged Louis to withdraw the Dauphin from the Queen's hands. Bouillon was urged on by a haughty wife to be avenged on Richelieu for past affronts. Gaston was always plotting, or marplotting. The link between Cinq-Mars and Bouillon was Auguste de Thou, son of the illustrious historian, a young man of frank, honest, devout character, such as one is surprised to find mixed up in an affair of this kind. Like his father he was a savant; he was counsellor and librarian to the King, and his post as intendant d'armée brought him in contact with large numbers of the nobility and military men. Of a tender and generous nature, he did not shrink from the romantic occasion of hazarding his life “ for a great Queen”—a Queen so deeply wronged, so profoundly unhappy, whom they were for depriving of her children. De Thou had no private interest to serve. He was not ambitious. But he was un homme déclassé—unsettled, without firm prin. ciple or abiding convictions—a restless, perturbed, uncertain thinker, whom his friends used laughingly to address as “ Votre inquiétude.” This was not the man to meditate assassination. What, then, was his design in joining the conspirators ? Simply, Michelet says, to save the Queen, and put an end to the European war. The mistaken belief was, that this war represented Richelieu, was Richelieu, and that Spain was in favour of peace. Poor De Thou—the victim of this illusion-saw himself led on farther than he meant. He was in love with a favourite of the Queen's, Mme. de Guémené, a pretty little feather-brained princess, to gain whose good-will he seems to have suffered himself to be criminally inveigled in the darker designs of the plot. Richelieu unravelled its intricacies, and anon Cinq-Mars and De Thou were arrested. Gaston was frightened into a plenary confession-being assured by the King that, if his revelations were incomplete, he would be followed and taken; but that, if he told all, he would be allowed to retire to Venice, a free man, and a pensioned one. So Gaston, true to himself, spoke out tout au long, and every one of his words carried death with it-at first Cinq-Mars, Bouillon, Fontrailles, then De Thou himself. The Queen, when she put Richelieu in the way of discovering all, had, involuntarily and perhaps uncon