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A Note on Favoritism in Seventeenth-Century Great Britain and France

Written in an attempt to honor J.G.H. Pocock
Dedicated to my teacher, D.H. Willson

Professor John Marshall organized an informal conference in honor of J.G.A. Pocock and his work, March 13-14, 2008. The highpoints of the conference were Dorothy Ross's general assessment of the impact of Pocock's work on American (US) historiography, and John's own lecture "Gibbon on Gibbon," in which he explores and draws conclusions about the relations between Gibbon's understanding of Rome's decline and the rise of Christianity. My paper was the first one presented on March 13.


Scholars familiar with J.G.A. Pocock's The Machiavellian Moment know that the Index is a reasoned, thematic, and detailed work prepared by the author and his spouse. A quick check of this Index reveals that the words "favorite" and "favoritism" do not appear in it. There is a lengthy heading under "corruption," but neither "favoritism" nor "favorite" appears among the 14 sub-headings. Tiberius, Sejanus, Buckingham, Gaveston, Wolsey, Essex, and Strafford do not appear in the Index. There is a Somerset, but he is Edward, Earl of Worcester, not Robert Carr. There is one reference to "counsel," and five to "counselors." In the chapter on Modes of Civic Consciousness, the importance of descending theories of power and Aristotelian/Polybian forms of government, frame the account, except for a page on the Tacitean prince. Does it seem safe to conclude that no distinct political identity, as counselor royal, occurred to Oxbridge graduates, as they trundled off to parish livings or the Inns of Court? Depending on family rank, some might imagine, in effect, inheriting duties in the royal household; and some might claim to be future counselors by right. But these imaginings scarcely constituted a mode of consciousness.

Yet the conduct, or misconduct of royal counselors was a much-discussed subject in the theater, in news sheets, and in Parliament. The few references to the court in the Pocock Index, prior to the Civil War, suggests that there was not sufficient potential power in the question of royal counsel to require it to be included in debates over the distribution of powers in a "mixed" monarchy. When all this has been pointed out to John, over the years since the publication of The Machiavellian Moment, the response has been: "Well, Machiavelli did not really know much about courts." This is suggestive of the intensity with which Machiavelli centered his thought on Florentine political culture, and not on Rome, Naples, Milan, or France.

David Wootton begins a chapter on favorites with the famous opening lines from The Prince, where it is noted that it is the gifts of fine horses, cloths of gold, and so forth, that permits access to the powerful. Then he turns to the importance of friendship in Francis Bacon's understanding of "counsel."(1) Note that Machiavelli did not speak of friendship in his opening line about gifts, nor did he, when he faces squarely the issue of favoritism:

It is an infallible rule that a prince who is not himself wise cannot be soundly advised, unless he happens to put himself in the hands of a man who is very able and controls every thing. Then he could certainly be well advised, but he would not last long, because such a governor would soon deprive him of his state.(2)

Over the next century thousands of people in the British kingdoms would read these lines. But how could their gist be integrated into descending theories of power and Aristotelian forms of government? The confusion of thought about counsel and friendship seems to have been particularly strong in British political culture; the writings of Sir Thomas Elyot and Francis Bacon exemplify this.(3) We should not therefore be surprised to find that the words "friend" and "friendship" do not appear in John Pocock's Index, for that book is rigorously about public consciousness, not private life. Under the term "luxury," there are no references between John's discussion of Guicciardini and his discussion of Andrew Fletcher ­ thus leaving a gap of a century an one-half.

However, Oxbridge graduates could ponder the slippery slopes between absolute monarchy and tyranny in Aristotle : The Politics, V, xi, might have come to mind: "... tyrants like obsequious associates ­ which it is the business of courtiers to be. Tyranny is thus a system which chooses bad men for its friends. Tyrants love to be flattered, and nobody with the soul of a human can stoop to that (Barker's emphasis). A good man may be a friend, but at any rate he will not be a flatterer."(4)

The contours of British constitutional thought have had something of a blank in them, regarding the likes of Essex, Somerset, and Buckingham. As we shall now explore, however, prudence's mirror reflected the double portraits of Sejanus and Tiberius, the Despenser, Robert de Vere and Richard II, and Wolsey and Henry VIII, and Robert Carr and James I ­ and reflected them so strongly that they entered French political culture. If I am on the right track here, it was the failure to integrate the sphere of politics that could be placed under the rubric "evil counselor," into the public consciousness that helps to understand the intense, brutal, even barbaric responses to them when perceived by Britons. Whiggish tendencies may appear in the very themes included or excluded from a genre, in this instance constitutional history. And by now we are not surprised: the term "evil counselor" does not appear in John's Index!

* * *

Pierre Matthieu, a man of letters who earned his living by his pen, writing histories and panegyrics, published a book about the murder (execution) of Marie de Medicis's favorite, Concini, the very year that the event occurred.(5) Within a few months he also published the Magicienne estrangere, about Concini's wife (and Marie's favorite), who had quickly been tried, found guilty of lèse-majesté divine, and burned as a sorceress. The tides of royalist sentiment rose as a result of Louis XIII's brutal action,(6) and some 374 pamphlets, histories, and poems were published in just a few months, to celebrate the elimination of the royal favorites. Then, as if to supply a deeper historical context for the event, Matthieu published a Roman History in 1618, which is mainly about the relations between Sejanus and Tiberius. This work would be translated into English by Thomas Hawkins, and dedicated to William, Earl of Salisbury — albeit not until 1628.(7) Robert Cecil's son, William (1591-1668) would generally be on the side of Parliament in the civil war. There would be another edition of Matthieu in 1639, thus establishing a rhythm between its publication and the crises caused by favorites at the highest levels of the British Kingdoms.

Political-historical parallels were the stock in trade in the early-modern centuries. Ben Johnson' Sejanus of 1603 had appeared at the only possible chronological juncture, with its resonances to the career of Essex and the late Queen ­ a moment when the conduct of Tiberius could not yet bring James to mind except for those who had been in his court in Scotland. Blair Worden is right to stress the mood in Jonson's play: it is one of terror, and this fact makes it more Tacitist than the very large theatrical repertory about favorites written in the later sixteenth century.(8)
Matthieu's Sejanus, in English, is a history, not a play; and the authorial voice is minimal, as a result of the columns at the left and the right, with quotations and references to the Annals. By condensing an already sententious historian, the message is strengthened and becomes lurid and chilling. As in Tacitus, Matthieu portrays Tiberius as co-evil, a murderer of his closest loved ones. We lack the time to explore all this, but I shall stress one theme that is central in the Tacitean message: as "captain" of the praetorian guards, Sejanus ordered a concentration of these elite fighters in one neighborhood, rather than keeping them distributed in various parts of Rome. Tacitus adds that Sejanus also sought familiarity with the guards. The implications are so obvious about possible intimidation of the Senate or the princeps, that Tacitus does not mention them. In discussing Sir Walter Raleigh's Maxims of State, John Pocock remarks: "What is striking is the amount of attention paid to the distribution of arms in ways appropriate to monarchies, aristocracies, and popular states."(9)

A much more general point must be made about these works, in both the Concini and the Sejanus: the sovereigns finally propose fully worked-out political and strategic plans for having their favorites murdered!

Tacitus and Matthieu describe the killings, poisonings, and starvations of those who had been empowered to rise up against Sejanus. The parallel is Louis XIII, who had plotted with his gamekeeper Luynes and a faithful guard named Vitry, who did the king's bloody work. Did parallels occur to readers in 1618, when James's affections were shifting from Robert Carr to George Villiers, and again in 1639, as Thomas Wentworth's powers, first in the North and then in Ireland, seemed without limit? Had John Felton in fact done the king's work? (10) Would the Commons under Pym's leadership be doing the king's work in the attainder of Strafford?(11) Many efforts would be made to establish the right of Parlement to control the appointment of royal counselors. We must also recall that the Roman Senate was not entirely hostile to Sejanus. After all, it voted for the erection of a statue to honor him (Annals, III, lxxxiii): thus the parallel Senate-Parliament was ambiguous. Historical parallels can end in dissatisfaction and in reflection on unfinished business.

* * *

The Dupuy brothers (12) chose to spend their lives cataloguing books and charters, and composing heavily foot-noted tomes ideologically slanted to support the royalist versions of litigation with the papacy, feudal families, and episcopal sees. They could have spent their careers in one or another of the sovereign courts; but instead they chose lives as learned clerks and librarians. What of their political engagement? Supplying footnotes for the endless litigations over Gallican rights certainly was a type of political engagement. The Dupuys knew that ultramontanist French scholars, and those scholars in the Curia, would challenge their findings. Thus their identities were strongly associated with the French Crown and, by implication, the actions of the royal family and its principal ministers and counselors.

Richelieu's strident, indeed brutal uses of the law and the courts would place an immediate and painful choice before our scholars, when one of their protectors became implicated in a treasonous plot, was tried, and beheaded. (13) All this is well known, but it must be mentioned in order to provide context for Pierre Dupuy's Histoire des plus illustres favoris, which would appear posthumously in 1659. Dupuy had earlier explored the law of lèse-majesté and the trial of young François-Auguste de Thou, to make it clear that there had been a miscarriage of justice. This writing is at once historical, but more politically engaged and dangerous, which is why the text was not published until the political climate had changed.

(We do not know exactly when Pierre Dupuy wrote his book about favorites, or if it was complete when he died; but all the years between 1624 and 1661 were ones when dubious political ethics in the form of Reason of State and "tyrannical favoritism" prevailed in France. For an érudit to combine, in his title, the terms "history," "illustrious," and "favorites" constituted a remarkable innovation in a classicizing culture. Here was an attempt to sift the sources and examples, and not to be simply polemical, but ironic. (For a list of the favorites discussed by Dupuy, as well as a list of the illustrations in the book, see the appendix that Orest distributed to participants.)

Pierre's brother Jacques is usually given the credit for having his brother's book published. There was no problem about a connection with Elsevier (14): the Dupuy brothers had many connections among the learned, and with publishers in the Low Countries. But Jacques died in 1656, at least two or perhaps three years before the book was published: thus it is possible to suggest that the Dupuys may have lost complete control of the text. The dedication by Jean Elsevier to Fabian, Count of Dona, was not explained by the florid prose. More mysterious still are the 16 engravings of Turkish social and political institutions, such as vizirs, eunuchs, and Janissaries, done 10 years after the book was purportedly published; yet the volume does not seem to have been rebound. The French National Library lists six editions, not all by Elsevier. The 1661 edition, here at Hopkins, has 514 pages.

What Dupuy does is assemble an ancient Asian, European, and British canon of favorites and sovereigns. Though certainly not a specialist in British history, I have looked for and failed to find a seventeenth-century writer-historian who develops even a local canon. Gaveston and Edward II are frequently mentioned, as Leicester and Essex would be; but Wolsey seems rare. Evidently, Dupuy did not perceive Leicester and Essex as favorites, nor does he include any of Henri III's mignons, or Biron. Recall that the latter, like Essex, was beheaded on orders from the sovereign; but clearly some recognition of leadership in foreign policy and war may have caused them to be spared from Dupuy's roster of ignominy. Did the inclusion of Wolsey stem from a search for an English parallel with Richelieu and Mazarin? Dupuy asserts that Henry VIII had decided to have Wolsey put to death; Wolsey died while en route to London (p. 490). Richelieu died in bed, respected if not loved by the sovereign; so did Mazarin, deeply loved by Louis XIV. Did Dupuy's canon of favorites refract historical confirmation of a model evil favorite? Or was he simply selecting from the books at hand?
First, we need to flash back to Sejanus and Tiberius, to note that in Dupuy's account no mention is made of assembling the praetorian guard in one part of Rome (pp. 25-51). Dupuy mentions that he is relying on Dio Cassius's account of Roman history. Did the learned Dupuy neglect to compare and evaluate various sources? It would seem so, and this would imply that, although entitled History, to his mind the work about illustrious favorites was more of a political tract than his work about the historical proofs of Gallican liberties.

Before turning to the British examples, let us explore the single example of Oriental favoritism: the story of Nassouf, sold into slavery, purchased by a black eunuch who educated him and made him his heir. In a very short time, Nassouf learns about the use of money, to the point that he is corrupted and is therefore disinherited, although in the meantime he has become surintendant of a building project for the sultan's wife.

There are many pages of court intrigue, as Nassouf rises to ever greater heights as the sultana's favorite. Rivals fail to destroy him; the great Lord orders him to raise an army and conquer Bagdad — which he fails to do because the townsmen have learned about his reputation as harsh and avaricious.

After numerous high-risk adventures, the Great Lord asks Nassouf to return the great seal. The sultana's favorite is accused of being in touch with the Persians, and though there seems to be no evidence, Nassouf thought he would be killed, had a special palace built for himself, raised an army in secret, and amassed a fortune (40 pairs of gold spurs, 3 bushels of precious stones, and 1 bushel of diamonds).

The Great Lord plots to have Nassouf strangled, but Nassouf is so fat that the would-be strangler fails and is forced to cut the victim's throat instead.

Several traits found in other examples occur here: for example, modest origins, rise to wealth and high office, ineffective military leadership, and "execution" by the sovereign are all stressed. Orientalist features such as harems, eunuchs, bushels of jewels, charges of treason, and strangulation or throat-cutting, are present; but the exotic does not overpower the narrative of the fate of the ambitious favorite.

Turning to the list of English favorites, the first appears under the title of "Duke of Ireland," that is, Robert de Vere, Richard II's favorite. This is the first example discussed by Dupuy, in lieu of Edward II and the Despencers, who came first chronologically. In the complexity of civil wars —familial (uncles), baronial, and (almost) popular — Dupuy discusses de Vere's influence over Richard as the pervasive, corrupting influence. Dupuy never writes negatively about the rivalry, violence, and patronage of the barons, almost as if their ranks and powers are what they are — and this may suggest his attitude toward the princes in France as well. But de Vere's control of Ireland through patronage, was dangerous for two reasons: first, it provided a power base where the favorite was virtually sovereign; and second, the creation of the title "Marquess of Ireland" undermined the baronial hierarchy (p. 441). Concini had begun to have his own power base through appointing commanders of garrisons in various castles, as would Richelieu and, later, Fouquet. The civil war that followed brought Richard defeat, and de Vere fled to the Low Countries (p. 444.) The narrative ends in a stalemate for Dupuy. The impeachment and imprisonment of another favorite, De la Pole, and the Treason statute of 1352, are noted, to build up the evidence that favorites were the source of instability and corruption.

Dupuy notes that Gaveston had served Edward I well; but, as he puts it, it was either the vices of the young Edward II, or Gaveston's scorn for the sons of the great nobles, that provoked troubles. Edward made changes in ancient ceremonials, but it is not clear from Dupuy that this had been initiated by Gaveston. The charges are: avarice drove him, he shipped money out of the realm, and in marrying a sister to the earl of Gloucester, he violated noble ranks by mésalliance. Gaveston would be beheaded in 1322 (p. 454).(15)

The Despensers, under Edward II and Edward III, are depicted as avaricious favorites who go in and out of conflict with the barons. The civil wars always end in the Dispensers' defeat and flight. Hugh II tried to escape by boat, but was captured, had his shameful parts cut off, and was thrown into the fire, and his heart was ripped out because he was accused of sodomy, says Dupuy, "according to history" (p. 463).

Wolsey is described as having been born in a low place, then attending Oxford, and serving Henry VII well, and helping his successor by doing administrative work. He amassed immense wealth and property, took pensions from the king of Spain and the Holy Roman emperor, carried the great seal of England with him on a trip to Flanders, campaigned to be elected pope, and counseled the king on marriages and divorces. Dupuy suggests here that favor has ended, although the rewards of it remain in the hands of Wolsey's relatives and clients. He reports that Wolsey left a "family" of nearly 2,000 hangers-on, again a possible parallel with the more recent French minister-favorites.
Dupuy next takes up the Piedmontese, David Riz (Rizzio), favorite of Mary Queen of Scots. The Scots deeply resent him, as a foreigner. A plot to kill him develops among Protestant lords and Darnley, and it is successful. Mary has Riz's body put in her father's tomb, which prompts popular outcry against her. Dupuy stops at this point, but, as we know, the blood-letting had only begun (p. 504).

Dupuy remarks that Robert Carr had come down from Scotland with James I; but that it was an accident and a broken leg that brought him into daily proximity with the king. An appointment in the royal household and an earldom quickly followed. Dupuy notes that Robert Cecil, "an arrogant and avaricious minister," had fallen out of favor not long before his death, leaving James particularly alone and vulnerable when Carr came along.

Dupuy centers his attention on the Essex-Howard divorce proceedings in which James became deeply involved. Carr wanted to marry Frances Howard, who as a child had wed the earl of Essex. Overbury, Carr's friend since the early days in Scotland, had objected. Dupuy narrates at length Overbury's fate, perhaps because the undoing of his own protector, François-Auguste de Thou, had resulted from a friendship. The wedding of the divorcee, the ex-Countess of Essex, with the now earl of Somerset was magnificent and expensive: the cornets of the bride and groom had cost 400,000 écus, says Dupuy.

Opposition to Somerset increases: he is arrested and put in the Tower for years, after which he travels incognito to Scotland to end his days. At court, a handsome young man named George Villiers had been introduced to James and promoted in the process of disgracing Somerset (p. 512). Dupuy goes no farther in the career of the favorite who would become the Duke of Buckingham.

* * *

In 514 pages of four-point type, Dupuy offers biographical narratives of favorites without institutional contexts or comparisons in the form of parallels. There is no discussion of baronial claims to have the right to counsel the king, or in the humanists' claims to expert knowledge to offer the king about governing. There is no anti-court sentiment, no general charges of corruption. The narrative consists of assertions and infrequent mention of sources. There are no "proofs" of the sort Dupuy had published regarding Gallican liberties. Similarly, there it not a single reference having personally experienced or witnessed favoritism. Indeed, if the text belongs to the genre of historicized prudence, the face in the mirror wears a mask. Dupuy's writing is less personal and judgmental than de Thou's, in his History of His Own Times. Dupuy may have sought to write with seeming ironic detachment, yet from the profound classical-republican perspective that is so compelling in the Annals of Tacitus. He did not succeed, but the five editions on Illustrious Favorites (and their sovereigns) may have loosened some of the mortar in the foundation of absolute Monarchy in the late-seventeenth century. "Favori" is in Bayle's index.

* * *

Only a few thoughts are in order at this point. The writer, Matthieu, and the learned historian, Dupuy, wrote narratives about favorites and sovereigns, and they grounded them on narratives that had already selected or constructed congeries of attitudes and actions about favorites. Neither Matthieu nor Dupuy proposed fundamental interpretive frames that took into consideration religions, cultural, or chronological differences. There are no reflections on monarchy as a form of government, although occasional phrases about the dangers run by kings who share powers must have brought to mind Bodin, and later, perhaps Hobbes, on absolute monarchy. The parallel between Tiberius's decision to have Sejanus murdered, and Louis XIII's decision to have Concini murdered, might have put Elizabeth's decision about Essex into a particular historical symmetry; the collective longing for James and Charles to do away with their favorites occasionally breaks through as sub-texts where kingship is alluded to as personal, not as an institution.
The Machiavellian Moment is not a history of England or of Great Britain; therefore it is not really surprising to find that favoritism is absent. A quick sample suggests that favoritism is not a theme in constitutional histories, or in studies of the relations between the distribution and jurisdictions of powers in the various kingdoms. Neither "favorite" nor "favoritism" appears in D.L. Keir's classic work on the subject (1938); J.R. Tanner's famous volume of documents (1927); or J.P. Kenyon's The Stuart Constitution (1966).

There are, of course, numerous works in John's bibliography that are about the history of England, and we should not be surprised if he takes favoritism into account ­ for example, when elucidating the motives at work in 1628, in the drafting of the Petition of Right, that "general rehearsal of the fundamental law and its principles." Let me conclude by quoting John about a moment when the favorite became a hypothetical but necessary negative in constitutional proto-history:

All Buckingham's soldiers, by the way, now appear as Irish and foreign mercenaries papists and enemies within the realm; martial law is forgotten, except as a threat of Roman dictatorship. The obsession of the image of the evil favourite — the Haman or Sejanus, very characteristic of the age — had been of course implanted in the Commons' mind by the events of 1626. Now it becomes obsessive; there not only is, but must be an evil counselor to account for the King's falsity on meum and tuum, on parliamentary right, on propriety and liberty; and perhaps this helps explain why, when Buckingham was dead, the session of 1629 turned into an attack on Weston, that of 1640 into an attack of Strafford. Neither man was another Buckingham, but the role had to be played by someone.(16)

Available languages may constitute available roles into which individuals are perceived, and executed.

See also: the appendix that Orest distributed to participants



1. "Francis Bacon: Your Flexible Friend," in The World of Favorites, ed. J.H. Elliott and L.W.B. Brockliss (New Haven, 1999), p. 184. The more general context is explored by A. Bray, The Friend (Chicago, 2003), pp. 146-50; and on James's efforts to reduce factionalism by marriages, D.H. Willson, James VI and I (London, 1956), p. 339. L.L. Peck's publications loom all over the question of how favoritism is or is not part of British constitutional history: "Kingship, Counsel, and Law in Early Stuart Britain," in J.G.A. Pocock, ed., The Varieties of British Political Thought, 1500-1800 (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 80-115; and Court Patronage and Corruption in Early Stuart England (Boston, 1990).

2. Quoted by Antonio Feros, "Images of Evil, Images of Kings: the Contrasting Faces of the Royal Favorite ..., c. 1580-1650," in Elliott and Brockliss, eds., pp. 208-209. The ambitious are those who advance their own ranks and wealth at the expense of the public.

3. F.W. Conrad, "The Problem of Counsel Reconsidered: The Case of Sir Thomas Elyot," in P.A. Fideler and T.F. Mayer, eds., Political Thought and the Tudor Commonwealth (London, 1992), pp. 75-107.

4. The translation by Sir Ernest Barker (Oxford, 1958), p. 245.

5. Matthieu awaits his historian. See my Artisans of Glory (Chapel Hill, 1980), p. 99; and J.H. Elliott in Elliott and Brockliss, eds., p. 2, where the Buckingham-Sejanus parallel is found in a speech by Sir John Eliot before the House of Commons!

6. H. Duccini, Faire voir, Faire croire: l'opinion publique sous Louis XIII (Paris, 2003), p. 331. See also J. Sawyer, Printed Poison: Pamphlet Propaganda, Faction Politics and the Public Sphere in Early Seventeenth-Century France (Berkeley, 1990).

7. I read the copy of the 1639 edition at the Paris Bibliothèque Mazarine, call number 32542A.

8. "Favourites on the English Stage," in Elliott and Brockliss, eds., p. 170. See also the classic F.J. Levy, Tudor Historical Thought (San Marino, 1967), passim; and J.H.M. Salmon, "Seneca and Tacitus in Jacobean England," in L.L. Peck, ed., The Mental World of the Jacobean Court (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 169-88.

9. The Machiavellian Moment (Princeton, 1975), p. 357, where the perception of arms-bearing and the distribution of military force is an analytical measure of how power is distributed in a society. For the general context of Tacitist thought in Britain in the 1620's, N. Malcolm, Reason of State, Propaganda, and the Thirty Years' War (Oxford, 2007), pp. 92-123.

10. Recall the phrase he had sewn into his hat: "Let no man commend me for doing it, but rather discommend themselves as the cause for it. For if God had not taken away our hearts for our sins, he [Buckingham] would not have gone so long unpunished," R. Lockyear, Buckingham (London, 1981), p. 459.

11. His November 7, 1640, speech to the Commons contains phrases which suggest that the king is becoming a pervasive, institutional body, as opposed to His Majesty, Charles I: J.P. Kenyon, The Stuart Constitution (Cambridge, 1966), Doc. 54, pp. 203-205.

12. The recent, careful work by J. Delatour adds to and updates much of the older work: Une bibliothèque humaniste au temps des guerres de religion: les livres de Claude Dupuy (Villeurbanne, 1998); and "Le Cabinet des frères Dupuy," Sciences et Techniques en perspective, 9 (2005), pp. 287-328. See also A.M. Raugei, "Storia e riflessione politica nella biblioteca dei fratelli Dupuy," in G. Dotoli, ed., Politique et Littérature en France au XVIe et XVIIe siècles (Bari, 1997), pp. 257-72; and K. Garber, "À propos de la politisation de l'Humanisme tardif: Jacques-Auguste de Thou et le cabinet Dupuy," in C. Lauverngnat-Gagnière and B. Yon, Le Juste et l'injuste à la Renaissance et à l'âge classique (Saint-Étienne, 1984), pp. 158-77. The work on Gallican Liberties prompted contestation beyond Rome. Cardinal de La Rochefoucauld sought to mobilize the French clergy and royal councilors to force a revision upon Dupuy. See J. Bergin, Cardinal de La Rochefoucauld; Leadership and Reform in the French Church (New Haven, 1987), p. 77.

Dupuy's writings consisted largely of notes that were not published in his lifetime but were circulated in learned circles. His Mémoires et instructions sur l'innocence de François-Auguste de Thou certainly was exemplary activism in defense of a protector who had run afoul of Richelieu's stretch of the law of treason. Whether or not Dupuy considered Richelieu a favorite is difficult to determine, but he would have had not trouble qualifying Mazarin as one, and it was he who ruled France in the name of a very young king in the 1650s, the years in which Dupuy probably wrote his book on favorites. What I have called passive political engagement consisted of research in defense of Gallican Liberties, and more generally the French Crown's version of late-medieval history, especially in its endless litigation with the Papacy.

A famous example of activist political engagement on the part of a scholar is, of course, Étienne Pasquier's really quite inflammatory pamphlet against the Jesuits (1602), by which time he, like Dupuy, was elderly and held in high esteem for his learning. Matthieu Molé, sometime premier président of the Parlement and sometime keeper of the seals, wrote to Jacques Dupuy in 1651: "J'a reçu le mémoire des ouvrages de feu M. votre frère [Pierre Dupuy], ils méritent tous l'impression," M. Molé, Mémoires, ed. A. Champollion-Figeac (Paris, 1857), IV, p. 409.

13. F. Hildesheimer, Richelieu (Paris, 2004), pp. 448-61; and W.F. Church, Richelieu and Reason of State (Princeton, 1972), pp. 328-34.

14. For some indication of the quite fluid state of the Jean Elsevier firm, at the time the Dupuy was published, see D.W. Davies, The World of the Elseviers, 1580-1712 (The Hague, 1954), pp. 86-88.

15. For how some historians in the seventeenth century interpreted the reigns of Edward I, see D.N. Deluna, "Pocock's Neo-Harringtonian Moment," in D.N. Deluna, ed., The Political Imagination in History, Essays concerning J.G.A. Pocock (Baltimore, 2006), p. 146.

16. "Propriety, Liberty and Valour: Ideology, Rhetoric and Speech in the 1628 Debates in the House of Commons, in D.N. Deluna, ed., p. 258. From a European perspective, using the same metaphor, J.H. Elliott writes: "In consequence the Earl of Strafford, the one figure at court who was built in the heroic mould of Richelieu and Olivares, was not given the opportunity until too late, to play the role for which he was cast": "England and Europe: A Common Malady," C. Russell, ed., The Origins of the English Civil War (New York, 1973), p. 252. Elliott might have added Oxenstierna to the list of heroic figures.