Memoirs of Count de Grammont


Bussi and St. Evremont.
Voltaire, in the Age of Lewis XIV., ch. 24, speaking of that monarch, says, "Even at the same time when he began to encourage genius by his liberality, the Count de Bussi was severely punished for the use he made of his: he was sent to the Bastile in 1664. THE AMOURS OF THE GAULS was the pretence of his imprisonment; but the true cause was the song in which the king was treated with too much freedom, and which, upon this occasion, was brought to remembrance, to ruin Bussi, the reputed author of it.

"Qua Deodatus est heureux,
De baiser ce bec amoreux,
Qui d'une oreille à l'autre va !

"See Deodatus with his billing dear,
Whose amorous mouth breathes love from ear to ear !

"His works were not good enough to compensate for the mischief they did him. He spoke his own language with purity; he had some merit, but more conceit: and he made no use of the merit he had, but to make himself enemies." Voltaire adds,-- "Bussi was released at the end of eighteen months; but he was in disgrace all the rest of his life, in vain protesting a regard for Lewis XIV." Bussi died 1693. Of St. Evremont, see note, postea.

Louis XIII.
Son and successor of Henry IV. He began to reign 14th May, 1610 and died 14th May, 1643.

Cardinal de Richelieu.
Of this great minister Mr. Hume gives the following character: -- "This man had no sooner, by suppleness and intrigue, gotten possession of the reins of government, than he formed at once three mighty projects -- to subdue the turbulent spirit of the great; to reduce the rebellious Hugonots; and to curb the encroaching power of the house of Austria. Undaunted and implacable, prudent and active, he braved all the opposition of the French princes and nobles in the prosecution of his vengeance; he discovered and dissipated all their secret cabals and conspiracies. His sovereign himself he held in subjection, while he exalted the throne. The people, while they lost their liberties, acquired, by means of his administration, learning, order, discipline, and renown. That confused and inaccurate genius of government, of which France partook in common with other European kingdoms, he changed into a simple monarchy, at the very time when the incapacity of Buckingham encouraged the free spirit of the Commons to establish in England a regular system of liberty." -- (History of England, vol. iv. p. 232.) Cardinal Richelieu died 1642.

Siege of Trino.
Trino was taken 4th May, 1639.

Prince Thomas
Of Savoy, uncle of the reigning duke. He died 1656.

As the post of Lieutenant-General was not then known.
The author has here made a mistake; for in the year 1638, while the Duke of Weimar was besieging Brisac, Cardinal Richelieu sent him two reinforcements, under the conduct of Turenne and the Count de Guébriant, as Lieutenant-Generals, a rank till that time not known in France, -- Mémoires de Turenne.

Du Plessis Praslin,
Afterwards Maréchal and Duke de Choiseul. He retired from the army in 1672. Monsieur Renault, in his History of France, under that year, says, -- "Le Maréchal du Plessis ne fit pas cette campagne à cause de son grand âge; il dit au roi, qu'il portoit envie a ses enfans, qui avoient l'honneur de servir sa majesté, que pour lui il souhaitoit la mort, puisqu'il n'étoit plus bon à rien; le roi l'embrassa, et lui dit: M. le Maréchal, on ne travaille que pour approcher de la réputation que vous avez acquise; il est agréable de se reposer apres tant de victoires."

Viscount Turenne.
This great general was killed July 27, 1675, by a cannot-shot, near the village of Saltzback, in going to choose a place whereon to erect a battery. "No one," says Voltaire, "is ignorant of the circumstances of his death; but we cannot here refrain a review of the principal of them, for the same reason that they are still talked of every day. It seems as if one could not too often repeat, that the same bullet which killed him, having shot off the arm of St. Hilaire, lieutenant-general of the artillery, his son came and bewailed his misfortune with many tears; but the father, looking towards Turenne, said, 'It is not I, but that great man, who should be lamented.' These words may be compared with the most heroic sayings recorded in all history, and are the best eulogy that can "be bestowed upon Turenne. It is uncommon, under a despotic government, where people are actuated only by their private interests, for those who have served their country to die regretted by the public. Nevertheless, Turenne was lamented both by the soldiers and people; and Louvois was the only one who rejoiced at his death. The honours which the king ordered to be paid to his memory are known to every one; and that he was interred at St. Denis, in the same manner as the Constable du Guesclin, above whom he was elevated by the voice of the public, as much as the age of Turenne was superior to the age of the constable.

"Turenne had not always been successful in his wars; he had been defeated at Mariendal, Retel, and Cambray: he had also committed errors, and was himself so great a man as to confess them. He never made great and celebrated conquests, nor ever gained those great and important victories, by which nations are subjected: but having always repaired his defeats, and done a great deal with a little, he was regarded as the first general in Europe, at a time when the art of war was more studied and better understood than ever. Moreover, though he was reproached for his infidelity in the wars of the Fronde; though, at the age of sixty years, love made him reveal the secrets of the state; and though he had exercised cruelties in the Palatinate, which did not appear necessary; yet he had always the happiness to preserve the reputation of an honest, wise, and moderate man; because his virtues and his great abilities, which were peculiar to himself, made those errors and weaknesses pardonable in him. which he had in common with the rest of mankind. If he can be compared to any one, we presume, that among all the generals of the preceding ages, Gonzalvo de Cordova, surnamed the Great Captain, is the man whom he most resembles." -- The Age of Louis XIV. ch. 11.

In former editions, the quotation from Voltaire was yet longer. It is more germain to the present matter to observe, that it appears, from the Memoirs of St. Hilaire, where Voltaire found his anecdote, that Count Hamilton was present at the death of Turenne. Monsieur de Boze had twice sent to Turenne, to beg him to come to the place where the battery was to be erected, which Turenne, as if by presentiment, declined. Count Hamilton brought the third anxious request from De Boze; and in riding to the place where he was, Turenne received his death-blow.

The horse of Montecuculi, the opposite general, was, in the course of the same day, killed by a cannon-shot.

Of this number was Matta.
Matta, or Matha, of whom Hamilton has drawn so striking a pictuie, is said to have been of the house of Bourdeille, which had the honour to produce Brantome and Montresor. The combination of indolence and talent, of wit and simplicity, of bluntness and irony, with which he is represented, may have been derived from tradition, but could only have been united into the inimitable whole by the pen of Hamilton. Several of his bon mots have been preserved; but the spirit evaporates in translation. "Where could I get this nose," said Madame D'Albret, observing a slight tendency to a flush in that feature. "At the sideboard, madam," answered Matta. When the same lady, in despair at her brother's death, refused all nourishment, Matta administered this blunt consolation: "If you are resolved, madam, never again to swallow food, you do well; but if ever you mean to eat upon any future occasion, believe me, you may as well begin just now." Madame Caylus, in her Souvenirs, commemorates the simple and natural humour of Matta, as rendering him the most delightful society in the world. Mademoiselle, in her Memoirs, alludes to his pleasantry in conversation, and turn for deep gaming. When the Memoirs of Grammont were subjected to the examination of Fontenelle, then censor of the Parisian press, he refused to license them, on account of the scandalous conduct imputed to Grammont in this party at quinze. The count no sooner heard of this than he hastened to Fontenelle, and having joked him for being more tender of his reputation than he was himself, the license was instantly issued. The censor might have retorted upon Grammont the answer which the count made to a widow, who received coldly his compliments of condolence on her husband's death. "Nay, madam, if that is the way you take it, I care as little about it as you do." He died in 1674. "Matta est mort sans confession," says Madame Maintenon, in a letter to her brother. -- Tome i. p. 67.

Caesars de Vendome.
Caesar Duke de Vendome was the eldest son of Henry I.V., by the celebrated Gabrielle d'Estres. He died in 1665.

The college of Pau.
Pau was the capital of the principality of Bearn, and lies on an eminence on the Gave Bearnois, being indeed small and well built, and formerly the seat of a parliament, a bailiwick, and a chamber of accounts. In the palace here was born Henry IV. Exclusive of an academy of sciences and liberal arts, there was in it a college of Jesuits, with five convents, and two hospitals.

A principality belonging to the family of the Grammonts, in the province of Gascogny.

The Baron de Batteville.
This officer appears to have been the same person who was afterwards ambassador from Spain to the court of Great Britain, where, in the summer of 1660, he offended the French court, by claiming precedence of their ambassador, Count D'Estrades, on the public entry of the Swedish ambassador into London. On this occasion the court of France compelled its rival of Spain to submit to the mortifying circumstance of acknowledging the French superiority. To commemorate this important victory, Lewis XIV. caused a medal to be struck, representing the Spanish ambassador, Marquis de Fuente, making the declaration to that king, "No concurrer con los ambassadores de Francia," with this inscription, "Jus præcedendi assertum," and under it, "Hispanorum excusatio coram xxx legatis principum, 1662." A very curious account of the fray occasioned by this dispute, drawn up by Mr. Evelyn, is to be seen in that gentleman's article in the Biographia Britannica. Lord Clarendon, speaking of Baron de Batteville, says, he was born in Burgundy, in the Spanish quarters, and bred a soldier, in which profession he was an officer of note, and at that time was governor of St. Sebastian's, and of that province. He seemed a rough man, and to have more of the camp, but in truth, knew the intrigues of a court better than most Spaniards; and, except when his passion surprised him, was wary and cunning in his negotiation. He lived with less reservation and more jollity than the ministers of that crown used to do, and drew such of the court to his table and conversation, who he observed were loud talkers, and confident enough in the king's presence. -- Continuation of Clarendon, p. 84.

Madame Royale.
Christina, second daughter of Henry IV., married to Victor Amadeus, Prince of Piedmont, afterwards Duke of Savoy. She seems to have been well entitled to the character here given of her. Keysler, in his Travels, vol. i. p. 239, speaking of a fine villa, called La Vigne de Madame Royale, near Turin, says, "During the minority under the regent Christina, both the house and garden were often the scenes of riot and debauchery. On this account, in the king's advanced age, when he was, as it were, inflamed with an external flame of religion, and with which possibly the admonitions of his father-confessor might concur, this place became so odious to him, that, upon the death of Madame Royale, he bestowed it on the hospital." She died in 1663.

The Marchioness de Senantes.
Lord Orford says, the family of Senantes still remains in Piedmont, and bears the title of Marquis de Carailles.

La Venerie.
This place is thus described by Keysler. Travels, vol. i. p. 235.-- "The palace most frequented by the royal family is La Venerie, the court generally continuing there from the spring to December. It is about a league from Turin: the road that leads to it is well paved, and the greatest part of it planted with trees on each side: it is not always in a direct line, but runs a little winding between fine meadows, fields, and vineyards." After describing the palace as it then was, he adds,-- "The palace garden at present consists only of hedges and walks, whereas formerly it had fine water-works and grottos, besides the fountain of Hercules and the temple of Diana, of which a description may be seen in the Nouveau Théâtre de Piedmont. But now nothing of these remains, being gone to ruin, partly by the ravages of the French, and partly by the king's order that they should be demolished, to make room for something else; but those vacuities have not yet, and probably will not very soon be filled up."

The Prince de Condé.
Lewis of Bourbon, Duke d'Enguien, afterwards, by the death of his father in 1646, Prince de Condé. Of this great man Cardinal de Retz says, "he was born a general, which never happened but to Caesar, to Spinola, and to himself. He has equalled the first: he has surpassed the second. Intrepidity is one of the least shining strokes in his character. Nature had formed him with a mind as great as his courage. Fortune, in setting him out in a time of wars, has given this last a full extent to work in: his birth, or rather his education, in a family devoted and enslaved to the court, has kept the first within too strait bounds. He was not taught time enough the great and general maxims which alone are able to form men to think always consistently. He never had time to learn them of himself, because he was prevented from his youth, by the great affairs that fell unexpectedly to his share, and by the continual success he met with. This defect in him was the cause, that with the soul in the world the least inclined to evil, he has committed injuries; that with the heart of an Alexander, he has. like him, had his failings; that with a wonderful understanding, he has acted imprudently; that having all the qualities which the Duke Francis of Guise had, he has not served the state in some occasions so well as he ought; and that having likewise all the qualities of the Duke Henry of Guise, he has not carried faction so far as he might. He could not come up to the height of his merit; which, though it be a defect, must yet be owned to be very uncommon, and only to be found in persons of the greatest abilities." -- Memoirs, vol. i. p. 248, edit. 1723.

He retired from the army, soon after the death of Turenne, to Chantilly, "from whence," says Voltaire, "he very rarely came to Versailles, to behold his glory eclipsed in a place where the courtier never regards any thing but favour. He passed the remainder of his days, tormented with the gout, relieving the severity of his pains, and employing the leisure of his retreat, in the conversation of men of genius of all kinds, with which France then abounded. He was worthy of their conversation; as he was not unacquainted with any of those arts and sciences in which they shone. He continued to be admired even in his retreat; but at last that devouring fire, which, in his youth, had made him a hero, impetuous, and full of passions, having consumed the strength of his body, which was naturally rather agile than robust, he declined before his time; and the strength of his mind decaying with that of his body, there remained nothing of the great Condé during the last two years of his life. He died in 1686." -- Age of Lewis XIV., chap. 11. He was aged 66 years.

[Pepys says, "The Prince of Condé's excellence is, that there is not a more furious man in the world; danger in fight never disturbs him, except just to make him civil, and to command in words of great obligation to his officers and men; but without any the least disturbance in his judgment or spirit."]

Battles of Lens, Norlinguin, and Fribourg.
These were fought in the years 1648, 1645, and 1644.

The Queen.
Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III. of Spain, widow of Lewis XIII., to whom she was married in 1615, and mother of Lewis XIV. She died in 1666. Cardinal de Retz speaks of her in the following terms.-- " The queen had more than anybody whom I ever knew, of that sort of wit which was necessary for her not to appear a fool to those that did not know her. She had in her more of harshness than haughtiness; more of haughtiness than of greatness; more of outward appearance than reality; more regard to money than liberality; more of liberality than of self-interest; more of self-interest than disinterestedness: she was more tied to persons by habit than by affection; she had more of insensibility than of cruelty ; she had a better memory for injuries than for benefits; her intention towards piety was greater than her piety; she had in her more of obstinacy than of firmness; and more incapacity than of all the rest which I mentioned before." -- Memoirs, vol. i. p. 247.

The policy of the minister.
Cardinal Mazarine, who, during a few of the latter years of his life, governed France. He died at Vincennes the 9th of March 1661, aged 59 years, leaving as heir to his name and property the Marquis de la Meilleray, who married his niece, and took the title of Duke of Mazarine. On his death, Lewis XIV. and the court appeared in mourning, an honour not common, though Henry IV. had shewn it to the memory of Gabrielle d'Estrées. Voltaire, who appears unwilling to ascribe much ability to the cardinal, takes an opportunity, on occasion of his death, to make the following observation.-- "We cannot refrain from combating the opinion, which supposes prodigious abilities, and a genius almost divine, in those who have governed empires with some degree of success. It is not a superior penetration that makes statesmen; it is their character. All men, how inconsiderable soever their share of sense may be, see their own interest nearly alike. A citizen of Bern or Amsterdam, in this respect, is equal to Sejanus, Ximenes, Buckingham, Richelieu, or Mazarine; but our conduct and our enterprises depend absolutely on our natural dispositions, and our success depends upon fortune." -- Age of Lewis XIV. chap. 5.

The Archduke.
Leopold, brother of the Emperor Ferdinand III.

A little but strong town, standing among marshes on the river Somme, in Picardy.

The battle of Rocroy.
This famous battle was fought and won 19th May, 1643, five days after the death of Lewis XIII.

The siege of Arras.
Voltaire observes, that it was the fortune of Turenne and Condé to be always victorious when they fought at the head of the French, and to be vanquished when they commanded the Spaniards. This was Condé's fate before Arras, August 25, 1654, when he and the archduke besieged that city. Turenne attacked them in their camp, and forced their lines: the troops of the archduke were cut to pieces; and Conde, with two regiments of French and Lorrairiers, alone sustained the efforts of Turenne's army; and, while the archduke was flying, he defeated the Marshal de Hoquincourt, repulsed the Marshal de la Ferté, and retreated victoriously himself, by covering the retreat of the vanquished Spaniards. The king of Spain, in his letter to him after this engagement, had these words: "I have been informed that every thing was lost, and that you have recovered every thing."

The Duke of York.
Priorato, in his Memoirs of Cardinal Mazarine, mentions other Englishmen besides the Duke of York being present; as Lords Gerrard, Barclay, and Jermyn, with others. -- Memoirs, 12mo., 1673, tome i. pt. 3, p. 365.

Marquis de Humieres.
Lewis de Crevans, maréchal of France. He died 1694. Voltaire says of him, that he was the first who, at the siege of Arras, in 1658, was served in silver in the trenches, and had ragouts and entremets served up to his table.

Henry Duke of Montmorency, who was taken prisoner 1st September, 1632, and had his head struck off at Thoulouse in the month of November following.

A fortified town in Artois, seated in a barren country, without rivers or springs, and having an old palace, which gave rise to the town, with a particular governor of its own, a royal and forest ccurt. In 1641 the French took it from the Spaniards.

Without doubt he would have given him some severe reply.
This spirit seems not always to have attended him in his transactions with the cardinal. On occasion of the entry of the king in 1660, "Le Chevalier de Grammont, Rouville, Bellefonds, and some other courtiers, attended in the cardinal's suite, a degree of flattery which astonished every body who knew him. I was informed that the chevalier wore a very rich orange-coloured dress on that occasion." -- Lettres de Maintenon, tome i. p. 32.

Peter Mazarine.
Peter Mazarine was father to the cardinal. He was a native of Palermo in Sicily, which place he left in order to settle at Rome, where he died in the year 1654.

The peace of the Pyrenées.
This treaty was concluded 7th November, 1659.

The king's marriage.
Lewis XIV. with Mary Theresa of Austria. She was born 20th September, 1638, married 1st June, 1660, and entered Paris 26th August following. She died at Versailles 30th July, 1683, and was buried at St. Denis.

The return of Prince de Coude.
11th April. -- See De Retz's Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 119.

La Motte Houdancourt, ------ Meneville.
These two ladies at this period seem to have made a distinguished figure in the annals of gallantry. One of their contemporaries mentions them in these terms: "In this case, perhaps, I can give a better account than most people; as, for instance, they had raised a report, when the queen-mother expelled Mademoiselle de la Motte Agencourt, that it was on his score, when I am assured, upon very good grounds, that it was for entertaining the Marquis de Richelieu against her majesty's express command. This lady, who was one of her maids of honour, was a person whom I was particularly acquainted with; and that so much, as I was supposed to have a passion for her; she was counted one of the finest women of the court, and therefore I was not displeased at all to have it thought so; for, except Mademoiselle de Meneville (who had her admirers), there was none could pretend to dispute it." -- Memoirs of the Count de Rochfort, 1696, p. 210 -- See also Anquetil Louis XIV. sa Cour et le Regent, tome i. p. 46.

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Memoirs of Count Grammont