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he neglected those of the minister of finance, and that he suffered the treasurers to rob with impunity; in short, that he was incompetent, and ruined the king's affairs. The king is of a nature very obnoxious to the unfavorable reports which men make of each other, and especially when his interest is concerned; he is economical, even to avarice, in little things; and, yet, there never was a king of France, who gave away or expended so much, and, consequently, so drained his kingdom : but, as he attaches great weight to the opinions of others, and trusts implicitly to those whom he has once chosen as counsellors, this is to be attributed to the advice he has received.”
The king intended to remove M. de Schomberg from his place of minister of finance. Every one about him had, of course, some candidate for the office, to propose. The suggestion of Bassompierre does honour both to his disinterestedness and judgment.
“I,” says he, “named M. de Sully, as a person already known, tried, and esteemed by every body as the most able and well-informed in the duties of that department.
This illustrious statesman was, however, formally excluded from office, on account of his religion. The affair ended in justification of M. de Schomberg, and the disappointment of his enemies, who, accordingly, lui firent beaucoup de protestations d'amitié.
The noble sentiments and lofty rivalries of princes and marshals are beautifully set forth in the few words which follow. We give them literally.
“ Thus we began the year 1623 with our arrival at Paris, where the king made a sort of entrée, in which, as Monsieur would not suffer Monsieur le Comte (de Soissons) to march with him, Monsieur le Comte did the same to M. de Guise, who retired. It happened also, that the Prevôt des Marchands claimed to march immediately before the king, on the plea that this was not an entrée, but a joyful arrival ; for which claim, the marshals of France had such contempt that they would not contest it, and we went away without accompanying the king.”
Unhappily, the prejudices of caste are not the only ones formed in an imperfect state of civilization, which lead men to look upon the useful and laborious portion of society as inferior to the pernicious and the idle. We do not restrict the terms useful and laborious to those who toil with the hands to produce the necessaries, or the physical enjoyments, of human existence. By useful men, we mean men who discover or produce whatever may increase the sum of pleasure, or diminish the sum of pain, in the world ; by laborious men, men who employ their physical or mental powers in this kind of discovery or production. In this large acceptation of the word, it is clear that one man is more useful than another, only in proportion to the quantity of human enjoyment he has produced, or of human suffering he has averted. Whether the authors and the perpetrators of wars have any claim to the title of useful,--the most honorable to which man can attain,--we leave it to those who can weigh waste of life, waste of all the matter of enjoyment, and infliction of positive pain among the many, against the acquisition of reputation and power by the few, to determine. It is, however, certain, that, even within our own times, the prejudices or instincts of the savage have continued to bear down the reasonings of civilized and instructed man. Not in old France alone did her high-born marshals look with ineffable scorn upon the chief of a commercial body; the fierce soldiers whom Napoleon invested with that title had an equal disdain for all non-destructive employments. Pékin, the generic name for all but soldiers, was the lowest term of contempt in the mouths of men who were fitted, by their brutal ignorance, to subserve the purposes of an ambition so boundless in its grasp, so infinitely small in its object; but, in England, at least, people are gaining knowledge which will enable them to fling back this contempt on the contemners, and to discriminate between true courage, the result of reflection, on the value of an end to be attained by braving danger, and that monstrous offspring of levity, ennui, ferocity, and rapacity, which has so long passed under its name.
But to return to our narrative. The beginning of this year was marked by the conclusion of the offensive and defensive treaty of the duke of Savoy and the Signory of Venice, for restoring the Valteline to the Grisons. In the beginning of 1625, these allied powers resolved to commence hostilities against Spain, who had seized and retained possession of the Valteline. Louis was warmly urged to active measures, by the king of England and several princes of Germany, in alliance with Sweden and Denmark, and the Dutch; nor was he at all reluctant to hearken to their suggestions. He, accordingly, sent an army, under the command of the Marquis de Ceuvres, who reconquered the Valteline without any resistance. This was the prelude to Bassompierre's embassy into Switzerland, of which we shall soon have occasion to speak.
• Towards the end of February of this year, we received,” says he, “the news of the death of King James of England. This, however, did not retard the marriage of his son with Madame Henrietta, which was celebrated after Easter. The Duke de Chevreux married her for King Charles, at Nôtre Dame, on the 1st of May. Some days after, the duke of Buckingham (Bouquinquam) arrived unexpectedly, who made an extraordinary figure, both from the beauty of his person and his dress and jewels, and from his liberality.”
This is the meagre account of that celebrated visit of the vain and haughty Buckingham, which was followed by his audacious declaration of love to Ann of Austria, and by the hostilities with France, in which his mortified vanity led him to involve his master. The French armies had now passed the Alps and joined those of their ally, the Duke of Savoy. The combined armies were to march against the duke of Feria, the Spanish governor of Milan.
We cannot refrain from quoting a passage, to which we feel extraordinary tenderness and gratitude, as one of the very few in these latter volumes, to which we are indebted for a laugh.
“ While these things were going on, the Pope, indignant at the reconquest of the Valteline, which had been left as a deposit in his hands, sent his nephew, Cardinal Barberini, into France, as legate, to complain of this aggression, and also to endeavour to accommodate the affairs of Italy. He arrived while the English marriage was going on, and was received, lodged, and his expenses defrayed, with the honours usually paid to legates : but, after several conferences and propositions, finding that he could not gain his ends, he came to Fontainbleau, to take leave of the king, and immediately afterwards, without waiting to receive the accustomed ceremonies of escort and entertainment through France, he suddenly set off, having refused the king's present. The king, accordingly, sent for the princes and officers of the crown, with some presidents of his court of parliament, and held a famous council at Fontainbleau, concerning this extravagant departure, in which nothing was determined except to let him go.
News was now brought that the Swiss were falling off from their attachment to the King of France, and had actually allowed a passage to the German troops marching to the succour of the Duke of Feria. It was, therefore, thought necessary to send an ambassador extraordinary to the Cantons, and Bassompierre, both from his situation as Colonel General of the Swiss, and from the various qualities which fitted him for diplomacy, was fixed upon.
The journal of his embassy is utterly destitute of interest; nor is there any thing to be said about it, but that he was every where received with the highest possible honours, and that his mission was a successful one, in spite of the most violent and frantic opposition on the part of the Apostolic nuncio, Scapi, who was a remarkable, though not a singular, example of the humility and meekness of the churchmen of his age and country. His fury seems to have afforded some diversion to the well-bred and self-possessed courtier, during an embassy which he regarded as an honourable exile, and endured very impatiently. The letters in this volume are, generally, mere diplomatic dispatches.
We find, however, one passage which shews the atrocity and fury of the persecuting spirit which was then goading Louis into wars and inhumanities in various parts of his dominions. Scapi addressed a long letter to Bassompierre, setting forth the scandale which had occurred to all good Christians, because the heretics of Bruscio, and another village in the Grisons, who had been expelled, had returned, "a ripatriarsi,” and were even permitted to baptize their children after their own fashion. This was horrible. He urges, with pious earnestness, that they may not be allowed to perform “alcuna funzione della loco superstizione :” and exhorts the Marshal to "fare un opera di somma supererogazione,” by driving these poor people across the mountains again. Bassompierre, of course, thinks this all as it should be, but confesses, that, having heard that at Poschiano, another village where the Marquess de Ceuvres had forbidden the protestant ministers to exercise any of their functions, two infants had died of cold from being carried, in that very severe winter, across the mountains to obtain protestant baptism, he had relented a little.
In the Spring of the year 1626, the king's brother, Gaston of Orleans, married Mademoiselle de Montpensier. This event was followed by a temporary cordiality, or appearance of cordiality, between the brothers; which, however, was not of long duration. Just at this juncture, arrived the news of the discord which had prevailed at the court of England, and the consequent dismissal of all the queen's French attendants and priests. The queen-mother expressed to the king her desire that Bassompierre should be sent to England, " pour rémédier à tout celd,” which he was compelled, very reluctantly, to undertake. We now come to that part of the memoirs which has been extracted and published in English. The Dover road was not, it appears, quite so good as it now is ; at all events, the marshal found it expedient to sleep at Dover, at Canterbury, at Sittingbourne, at Rochester, and at Gravesend ; making a six days” journey of it.
“ On the 7th of October,” says he,“ I embarked on the Thames, and came by the warehouses for ship-building of the East Indies then by Grenwich, a house of the king's, near which the Earl of Dorchet, Knight of the Garter, of the family of Hacfil, came to speak to me from the king, and having conducted me into the king's barge, brought me close to the Tower of London, where the king's carriages were waiting for me, which carried me to my lodgings, where the said Earl of Dorchet left me. I was neither lodged nor entertained at the king's expense; and they made a difficulty of sending this Earl of Dorchet, according to the usual custom, to receive me. However, this did not prevent my being well lodged, furnished, and accommodated. The same evening, after I had supped, they came to tell the Chevalier
de Jars, who had supped with me, that one was enquiring for him. It was the Duke of Bouqinkam and Montaigu, who were come to see me alone, and without flambeaux, and begged him to introduce them into my room by some private door, which he did ; then came to fetch me. I was greatly surprised to see him (Buckingham) there, because I knew he was at Hampton Cour with the king; but he had come thence to see me. He began with making many complaints against France, then against me, with respect to certain persons; to which I answered the best I could, and then made those of France against England, which he also excused in the best manner he could, and then promised me all manner of assistance and friendship, and I also returned ample offers of my service to him. He begged me not to tell that he had been to see me, because he had done it without the king's knowledge ; which I did not believe.
Thursday, the 8th, the ambassador Contarini, of Venice, came to visit me; and, towards night, I went to see the Duke of Boukingkam, at his residence called Jorschaux,* which is extremely fine, and was more richly fitted up than any other I saw. We parted very good friends.
Saturday, the 11th, the Earl of Carlisle came with the king's coaches to fetch me to Hampton Court, into a room where there was a handsome collation. The Duke of Boukingkam came to introduce me to the audience, and told me that the king desired to know, beforehand, what I purposed saying to him, and that he (the king) would not have me speak to him about any business; that otherwise he would not give me audience. I said, that the king should know what I had to say to him from my own mouth, and that it was not the custom to limit an ambassador in what he had to represent to the sovereign to whom he was sent; and that if he did not wish to see me, I was ready to go back again. He swore to me, that the only reason which obliged him (the king) to this, was, that he could not help putting himself into a passion, in treating the matters about which I had to speak to him, which would not be decent on the high dais, in sight of the chief persons of the kingdom, both men and women; that the queen, his wife, was close to him, who, incensed at the dismissal of her servants, might commit some extravagance, and cry in sight of every body. In short, that he would not commit himself in public; and that he was sooner resolved to break up his audience, and grant me one in private, than to treat with me concerning any business before every body. He (the duke) swore vehemently to me, that he told me the truth, and that he had not been able to induce the king to see me otherwise ; begging of me even to suggest some expedient, and that I would oblige him. I (who saw that I was going to receive this affront, and that he asked me to assist him with my advice; to avoid the one, and to insinuate myself into his good graces by the other,) told him, that I could not,
* Jorschaux. In this strange-looking word, one has some difficulty in recognizing York House, the residence of Buckingham. It stood a little to the East of Hungerford market.