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Volume 1, redone Dec. 2014


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Coda of 2014, to Richelieu et La Querelle de la "Mère et du fils"

Scenarios and Structures

Lire d'abord Richelieu et La Querelle de la "Mère et du fils"

Without developing in Part I a formal description of how a discourse about health may function to assure freedom to act, or coercion of others, the principal aspects became apparent in the actions of Marie de Médicis, Louis XIII and Richelieu, and the correspondence they exchanged prior to the Day of the Dupes.

In this Coda I wish to suggest that the political and social relations of the Querelle de la Mère et du Fils might be characterized as phenomena that are not quite structuralist and not quite scenario-like. Structuralism is "any theory that lays stress on structure, rather than on function"; scenarios are plots of plays -- "experiences, not mental processes" (Webster). Marie's flights and exiles, like those of her son Gaston, have both structuralist and scenario elements. My point in what follows is to suggest approaches for deepening our understanding of these phenomena (they are not developments) that go beyond: 1) the simply familial, 2) state-building, or 3) household politics. The scenario of a play is never quite the same, even when interpreted by the same actors, and even though the lines recited are the same. A structuralist action must have heuristics that are the same, or nearly so, with another action or a congeries of actions. After Marie's escape from Blois in 1619, Louis XIII's first initiative was to gather an army and pursue his mother. He would do the same thing in the autumn of 1630. But in both instances, advisors convinced him to take a different, though equally structuralist course of action. Advice was taken, letters about the querelle were sent to governors throughout the realm, and in one way or another, there was an effort to purge Marie's household of her advisors. The same actions might be observed in each of Gaston's numerous rebellions. All I can do in a short Coda is suggest the contours of the scenarios. Literally hundreds of other integrally related and equally significant actions might be added to what is a mere outline.

* * *

Marie de Médicis escaped from the chateau of Blois on February 23, 1619. Louis's new favorite, Luynes, did not know what to do. Louis's immediate reaction was to raise troops and go after her, and more especially to go after her, arrest her, and once again isolate her and those who had helped and supported her. He was persuaded by Luynes to call a council meeting instead. For five days the council deliberated ... and deliberated ..., under the influence of the senior councilors who were returning to office after their disgrace by Concini.

Louis got his way. A decision to raise troops was accompanied by a decision to appoint negotiators and to write letters accounting for the escape, to be sent to all the governors and parlements in the realm. After summing up the events of November 1630, we shall recognize this as a scenario.

The Comte de Soissons informed the king that he and his mother would join the rebellion. Upon learning this, Louis quickly worked out a plan to trap and arrest Soissons. He was persuaded to give it up. Throughout the scenario, Louis would strive to act with force; Luynes wanted to negotiate.

The negotiations with Marie quickly turned upon which places fortes she would receive: Angers, Chinon, Nevers, Ponts-de-Cé. News that Louis was putting together an army led her to reduce her demands. To everyone's surprise, in May she suddenly ordered her confessor, Father Jean Suffren, S.J., to announce a unilateral peace! There had been an abolition générale for those who had followed Marie and who otherwise might have been charged with the capital crime of lèse-majesté.
Luynes invited the exiled Richelieu to join Marie, hoping that he would exert a moderating influence on her. Prior to the peace declaration, Philippe de Béthune, Bérulle and Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld had already tried -- and failed -- to arrange a settlement.

The public reconciliation of the king and his mother, always part of the scenario between Louis and Gaston, would not take place until somewhat later, and in a new context. Marie and Concini had ordered Condé's arrest as an over-mighty subject and rebel. Luynes's release of Condé upset the terms of the peace of Angoulême that had been worked out after Marie's declaration of peace. Would Condé be on the Conseil d'en Haut? Given Luynes's ways, this seemed inevitable, owing to his high rank as a prince of the blood. Marie began to ask for more places fortes. As we shall see, in 1630-31 no major court nobles, or grands were advising her, although some secretly supported her. Marie's councilors in early 1620, probably Rucellai, began to argue in favor of a second revolt, to take over more places fortes, jobs and pensions.

By late spring 1620, Marie had begun to win over many more influential court nobles, beginning, of course, with Soissons -- and with him some grands, most of them descendants of scrappy fighters in the Wars of Religion: Mayenne, Retz, Roannez, Rohan, Montmorency and Coligny-Châtillon. They all took time to draft documents that solemnly promised to support Marie against the tyrannical minister, Luynes, whom they claimed had duped Louis.

The Pont-de-Cé "war" has been well studied, so we need not spend time on it here, except to note that it was a complete debacle for all the grands who were Marie's supporters, and for Marie herself. For Louis, confidence in the use of military force increased, at the expense of his rebellious subjects.

We shall see that grands were not rallying to Marie in the fugue that began in 1630. And Richelieu would not show the same deference toward a rebellious duke, as Luynes had. Negotiation and clemency in the 1620 clash would be replaced, in the 1630s, by resort to laws that defined rebellion as a capital crime for which only persons of royal blood could avoid prosecution. J. Bergin discerns Richelieu's firm hand on the financial and logistical aspects of Marie's faction, which at this point accounts for Louis's hostility toward him. All the posturing on the part of the grands, and all the puff about their heroism in the Pont-de-Cé moment, left the future cardinal and Marie in need of one another. But Richelieu had learned many lessons; and Marie had not. Louis's personal affirmation strengthened when he escaped from his mother's will. This experience, too, would be repeated.

Martial Avenel (1) asserts that Richelieu wrote the letters that Louis sent his mother. Formal and deferential, letter after letter, we see patience with Marie becoming increasingly short; patience was sustained by fear of another fierce emotional outburst on Marie's part. Louis deeply resented these rages and became unnerved in the face of experiences he knew all too well. In his own way, he probably understood them as highly coercive, because they lacked the dignity that went with the high dignity of queen.

The discourse about health and doctoring continues in this correspondence that amounted to negotiations. Marie expresses her pain at being deprived of the king's presence; and at the same time, after Louis's brush with death a few months earlier in Lyon, it became known that her older son's possible death was part of the calculation. Never the favorite son, the ever-suspicious Louis perhaps read between the lines: now that the death of the king seemed possible, delay might be a strategy until Gaston could wear the crown. Inquiring about the king's health might be viewed by some as simply maternal and innocent, but Louis perhaps did not view it that way. The Medici queen wanted, if not sovereign power in the state, at least the next thing to it. Then too, like Francis I's mother, Marie was not one to sit by idly while councilors whom she neither respected nor controlled made bids for power.

In 1620, it was a case of having too many chiefs and not enough Indians; in 1630 there would be neither chiefs nor Indians. The negotiations of the 1630s would turn on whether Marie would agree to turn over some of her most faithful councilors to Richelieu and the royal commissions that would prosecute them for lèse-majesté. It was said that Vautier (or Vaultier), Marie's physician, had become her principal councilor.

After the events of November 11, 1630, Richelieu's disgrace became Marie's principal demand; and so, as a concession, she turned to wanting places fortes, just like the Huguenots. But none seemed right to her.

Gaston's rebellions always ended in a huge payoff of more appanage rights, offices forfidèles, and cash. In 1630, and after, there was every reason for Louis (and Richelieu) to believe that his mother would accept financial and political terms similar to the ones she had accepted in 1620. It would not be possible for Marie to be at court and not be a member de droit of the Conseil d'en Haut. In the letters he addressed to relatives and close political allies in mid-November, Richelieu envisaged Marie's return to the council. It is doubtful if Louis ever envisaged her return, unless all his principal councilors favored it. He took pride in saying that he followed the advice of his councilors.

With both Condé and Richelieu on the council, Marie could not be sure to dominate Louis. Thus, beneath her temper fits and beneath her sense of having been betrayed by Richelieu, there was calculation. Using fidèles to control the council was a structural feature employed by Marie (Richelieu) and later by Richelieu, through his creatures Bouthillier, Chavigny, Sublet de Noyers and, but not quite, Bullion. Battles over appointments to a household, extended to battles over conciliar appointments. Decades ago I suggested that fidelity, far more than competence, remained the top priority in governance. Louis's majesty as king in no way affected Marie's desire to govern; the Concini "execution" clouded issues of governance for the entire reign. For one of his chapters, Jean-François DuBost quotes Marie: "Je puis et je veux régner seul." (2) Note the absence of an e on seul. It suggests that the masculine model of kingship-monarchy characterized Marie's politics.

When Gaston rebelled in 1630, he commissioned harsh pamphlets about the economic and social conditions in the realm caused by the Cardinal's policies. He seems not to have accepted the fact that Richelieu's policies were the king's policies. All this has structured features that went back for centuries. Marie would have several effective pens at her disposal, to make public the betrayal by her fidéle, Richelieu. References to "M. St. Germain" (de Morgues) in Louis's negotiation letters to his mother, strengthens Avenel's assertion that the Cardinal drafted the royal letters. Richelieu was also sensitive to public opinion (the phrase, opinion publique, is used), for an accommodement would require the cessation of these attacks.

* * *

The rupture that took place on November 11, 1630, known as the "Day of the Dupes," has been frequently studied, and there is little point in returning to it here. What has not be examined in any detail are the terms employed in the letters exchanged by Marie, her son, and others, during the efforts at reconciliation. There have always been the questions: Were Louis and Richelieu sincere on their side of the negotiations? Did Louis really want his mother to return to the council? Was Richelieu happy to have a freer hand, without the powerful presence of his royal patroness? It is difficult to discern sincerity in prose that is intended to appear affectionate and sincere.

The historian who sought to answer this question more deeply than anyone is Martial Avenel, the editor of Richelieu's papers in the Documents inédits series. Little-known, and even less studied, Avenel was one of the truly great historians of the nineteenth century. His notes, and even more important, his ordering of documents, reveals a profound understanding of high politics in France during the first half of the seventeenth century.

For example, in his edition of Richelieu's papers, there are four letters dated November 12, 1630. Avenel did not know the precise order in which those letters were written that day, unless their order in the liasse was in fact temporal.

The first letter is from the king to Maréchal de Schomberg, Versailles, November 12, 1630. (3) It informs Schomberg that du Hallier is ordered to arrest Maréchal de Marillac; but that, should the latter pick a different itinerary, and should Schomberg encounter him, then Schomberg should arrest Marillac. We need not go into all the reasons leading to Avenel's attribution of this letter; but placed as it is among the four letters of November 12, two of which were written at Versailles, one can infer that the Cardinal resumed his duty as royal amanuensis the day after the Day of the Dupes. We know, however, from other sources that Claude Bouthillier, a secretary of state, was summoned: in other words, someone else was present to take dictation, countersign, and seal the letter. Richelieu did not have to do it.

The second letter is addressed by Richelieu to Louis. Its provenance is Aubery, not the great collection of letters in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We therefore cannot know in whose hand it was written. The tone approaches the epideictic. Avenel characterizes it as having "l'ivresse d'un triomphe récent." (4) As is the case with most of the Cardinal's letters to the king, it begins by asserting something highly favorable about His Majesty -- in this case, "Ses sentiments sont pleins de générosité." After a renewed offer of service in the pursuit of royal glory, we find: "Les singuliers tesmoignages qu'il vous a pleut hier me rendre de vostre bienveillance m'ont percé le cœur." There are numerous letters such as this, expressing the Cardinal's devotion to the king as the "plus fidèle créature, le plus puissant, le plus passionné sujet, et le plus zélé serviteur que jamais roy et maistre ait eu au monde." (5) There is no reference to Marie, nor to the events of the previous day.

Of the four letters, the first and the fourth provide a place of geographic origin: Versailles. The third of the four letters is in Denis Charpentier's hand, making it absolutely authentic. (It is also in Aubery.) It is addressed to the Marquise de Brézé, the Cardinal's sister. In it Richelieu announces that the Queen Mother has dismissed him, his niece de Combalet and his cousin la Melleraie [sic] from their household duties. There are allusions to "astonishment," and "accident." Having informed his sister that he is "auprès du roy," he concludes: "... quelque traitement que je reçoive d'elle [Marie], je publieray tousjours les grandes obligations que je lui ay, qui m'astreignent à vivre et mourir son serviteur." (6) To "publish" something is to make it public. Is this a signal that a new course will be dissimulated.

The final letter surviving from November 12, 1630, is written at Versailles. The hand probably is Cherré's. Richelieu addressed the letter to his uncle, Commandeur de la Porte, to alert him to Marie's actions and to inform him that he, Richelieu, is "auprès du roy." Since Marie was governor of the province where Brouage is located, and and had "given" Brouage to Richelieu, this suggests that the Cardinal expected a further effort on Marie's part to disgrace him. To which he adds: "Comme je ne suis point capable d'avoir jamais autre chose dans le cœur que de vivre et mourir serviteur de la reyne, je vous prie de parler conformément à cela. je vous [en] advertis parce que je cognois vostre liberté, qui pourroit estre emportée par l'affection que vous me portez." (7) In the language of communication , it is evident that a message had been established for close relatives, a message that had been given orally, in all probability to Secretary of State Bouthillier on November 12.

From here on, there are at least two sources that must be carefully analyzed: 1) the routine correspondence, and 2) the official letters addressed to Marie that, asserts Avenel, were all written by Richelieu under Louis's signature and seal.

By late November, the Cardinal had mobilized Father Suffren, Marie's confessor; Rancé, her secretary; and Bullion, to attend her and work to calm her down. Richelieu would always practice the strategy of surrounding a major person at court with individuals on whose personalities and fidelity he could count. Time and again he had tried that with Gaston, and he had failed every time. In the Cinq Mars affair, he would also fail. But in 1634, he was convinced that Marie's fugue would diminish, if he could change the persons to whom she was listening.

Marie had remained in Paris. Louis therefore could not return to the capital and hold council meetings, for fear that his mother would attend. (8) The court went to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. There had been a minor storm over what Louis had said to some parlementaires, and to which Marie had angrily objected. Richelieu "protested" that neither he nor any of his friends had known what the king was going to say. Avenel challenges this, because on numerous occasions Richelieu wrote out what the king was to say -- to ambassadors, for example. But here, we simply do not know, although we learn that Avenel considered Louis to be virtually speechless regarding relations with his mother. Was he correct?

* * *

Another point of departure from the November 12, 1631: Louis and Richelieu are at Versailles. Other officials are also there, especially Claude Bouthiller, the secretary of state. Sources talk of four hours of discussion between Louis and Richelieu. In any event, Louis proposed that Richelieu spend the night of November 12 at Versailles, in the room of the Duke de Soissons.

Fearing yet another rage by Marie's rage, and tears from the Cardinal, did Louis simply leave on the Day of the Dupes without saying anything? Perhaps he could not really speak effectively to his mother. In any event, it would be several days before she would stop saying that "either he [Richelieu] goes, or I go." Louis perhaps feared that his enraged mother would strike him. Tearful, total submission and contrition by a kneeling Richelieu could scarcely have prompted anything but invective from Marie.

At some point between November 13 and November 21, Louis went to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Did Richelieu accompany him? Some sources say he did. What was to be done about holding a council meeting? Louis would insist on Richelieu's presence, Marie would insist on attending the council! This crisis situation lasted several days; pourparlers were held. At some point the king decided to go to Compiègne and let it be known that all the councilors except Marie should attend him. Why Compiègne, especially since, once there, Marie and her gens followed. So Louis would strangely order Marie to go to Moulins, Nevers or Angers. If Louis wanted his mother to reside nearer to the center of the realm, why Compiègne in the first place? The letters exchanged between the king and Maréchal d'Estrées, commander of the military forces at Compiègne, concerning the bringing together of military force, suggests an answer. Prior to being appointed to the South, and eventually to Italy, the Maréchal de Marillac had been in charge of administering Verdun. He had left a nephew, Biscarras, in charge of the place of Verdun. Would Marillac, the Duke of Lorraine, Gaston, and possibly Soissons, join in a rebellion, thereby prompting a Spanish incursion across the border?

Verdun seems remote from Compiègne; but at this point Louis did not wish to appear to be intimidating the Duke of Lorraine. So it is very possible that Estrées and the forces already at Compiègne account for the choice of Compiègne. Compiègne was sufficiently south of the border to permit a rejoinder to any incursion by Spanish troops, without letting an army move swiftly southward, toward Paris.

Louis might well have made the decisions regarding Compiègne pretty much on his own. But what about the terms proposed to his mother for an accommodement? The last ten days of November were a time of considerable fluidity on both sides, and whom could they send to Marie to bring peace? It has been argued that the first "calmers" were known to be too close to Richelieu; they got nowhere. Among them were Bullion and Rancé, both of whom were as much fidèles of Marie as of Richelieu. The next group centered around Father Suffren, Marie's confessor; he too failed. If not totally in charge of these démarches, Louis certainly played a major role, and there is little doubt that he sincerely wanted an accommodement.

Close examination of the places fortes proposed to Marie suggests a fluid situation in the Mother-Son negotiations. Louis's letters to Marie are orders; her replies are refusals and the reasons behind them. Moulins, Nevers, Angers -- all places where Marie had rights, probably income, and certainly close ties of fidelity to local officials. Louis was prepared to take from the Condés the governorship of the Bourbonnais and give it to Marie, so that she might have an almost-sovereign place of security. The Condés would require compensation, but no matter, it seems: the offer was made. It is certainly possible that Richelieu helped write these letters, but Bouthillier or some other official could conceivably have written them, for they contain none of the rhetorical snaps or traps one would expect were Richelieu involved. All these attempts ended in failure.

Acting according to a Senecan formula of benefits and gratitude, Marie could not forgive Richelieu for not obeying her: she had done so much for him. The Cardinal would recognize the truth of his betrayal in his Mémoires, just as he would refer to his past service to her as a "servitude." In the Political Testament he writes that people are not bound by gratitude.

In the letters that negotiated Marie's return to grace, neither she nor Louis (Richelieu) mentions a policy issue such as the military incursion in Italy. What Marie saw as a condition, probably became a feeler that first was set out orally, when Bagni reported his efforts to convince Marie to return. One of the conditions was the release of Maréchal de Marillac and his brother, the former keeper of the seals. Perhaps Bagni proposed this, or perhaps it was Marie. Both men were her fidèles and it is logical that she would think of their future. Richelieu's reply is quite cagey: he says that their release had not previously been part of the terms for Marie's return. Yet he does categorically say no. The king would have to be consulted before any decision could be made.

Despite the protestation of filial affection and duty in the salutations, Louis's (Richelieu's) letters are drafted quite formally, as acts of state. Great care is taken to avoid mentioning some incident from the past, for a disagreeable memory might lead to another fit of rage. This cautiousness confirms the sincerity of the conciliatory tone. It would have been all too easy for Richelieu to slip in a reference to one of the Queen Mother's past rages or to the events that had led to her arrest in 1619.

It is important to note Jean-François Dubost's insightful remark about how Marie sought to have her letters delivered by a relative or by some well-known person at court, just to strengthen and personalize her message -- a gesture very typical of household politics. Louis and Richelieu were doing the same by having one or another of her householders deliver the letters.

In February 1634, Marie made a major attempt to oblige her son to change his mind. Dubost provides the context (9) for Le Leu's mission directly to Louis and to Richelieu, with individual letters and instructions about what to say to strengthen the argument. She begins by recounting what Bouthillier reportedly said about Richelieu, who had expressed regret at her being deprived of seeing the king. She states that "your" (that is, Richelieu's) "plus grande satisfaction seroit d'employer vostre pouvoir à me procurer ce bonheur." (10)

The style of writing in the epistolary exchanges between members of the royal family and their servants, merits systematic study. Marie writes to Richelieu in a un-elevated or plain style, the same style that Louis used when writing to a sovereign. Richelieu always addresses the king in inflected, hyperbolic terms. Service, devotion and affection, in absolute terms, are present in his letter to the king of November 12, 1630, as we have already noted.

Appended to Marie's letter to Richelieu is a document characterized as an "Instruction." Le Leu, it says, can repeat the contents of Marie's letter to Richelieu, in order to assure that a "rentrée dans les bonnes grâces du Roy" is possible, through the Cardinal. Indeed, this is mentioned, but not discussed in Le Leu's Instructions. Next comes the search for anaccommodement: "tant que ledit Sieur Cardinal demeurera dans les deffiances qu'il a eues jusques à cette heure, veu qu'il s'est rendu si puissant, que quand il donneroit à la Reyne le choix des meilleures et plus fortes places du Royaume, sa majesté n'y seroit pas en seureté, s'il entroit dans la moindre deffiance d'elle." (11)

These Instructions include several variations on the same theme. They end with an assurance that while Father Chanteloupe must remain in her service, Chanteloupe himself would leave Marie if it made an accommodement possible.

The letter to Richelieu leaves it up to him to show, in some way, that he has no deffiance toward her. Ever since the Day of the Dupes, Richelieu's comments had shown considerable restraint, except when he drafted the letters that Louis sent to his mother. Marie's letter to Richelieu does not include a request that he beg the king for an accommodement. How to understand the structure of relations that Marie envisaged in her letter to Richelieu? By stressing the Cardinal's power in the Instruction, she implicitly challenged her son's power. Not his authority, which was not in doubt, but his power as a result of Richelieu's presence in the government. Marie most certainly knew that the Cardinal would give the king her letter to read, and would summarize for him what Le Leu had said about places fortes and deffiance.

Marie's letter to Louis, likewise dated February 1634, notes that she feels deprived of the honor of seeing him, and states her resolve to do whatever he wishes and to believe what Le Leu says. The latter's Instruction is that, since Villiers and Jaquelot have stated that the king is not prepared to love her if she does not love (aimer) the Cardinal, she is prepared to do so. The letter ends by noting that Le Leu has been ordered to give Louis the letter she has written to Richelieu.

Avenel found copies of almost all these letters in Cherré's or Charpentier's hands. They were edited and published in Richelieu's Mémoires. Several texts complement these copies; all are authentic.
The first complementary text (12) bears no title. Avenel dates it to February 25, 1634. It narrates what had occurred in relations with Marie since September 1633. Avenel discerns that it bears some notes in Richelieu's hand. An edited and abbreviated version is found in the Cardinal's Mémoires.

Was the memo drafted just to keep things in mind, or was it destined for the Mémoires from the beginning? We do not know; but posing the question suggests a larger issue, namely, to establish a narrative, a message, so that, as in McLuhen-esque communication it could be articulated by anyone wishing to raise the topic. In household politics, repetitions, distortions, projections, and even reversals of opinions occurred all the time. Richelieu's record would not, of course, have been accepted by Marie; but the third, all-important party, Louis, might accept Richelieu's version of events should it be countered by Marie.

The record of emissaries, letters, etc., prior to the exchanges of February 1634, need not be laid down in detail here, but the following points are significant: 1) there is derision of Marie's householders, some of whom allegedly had desseins to assassinate the Cardinal; 2) Marie's plan for an accommodement results from the bad treatment she has received from the Spanish; 3) disagreements with Gaston also favor an accommodement; 4) the king of England approves of her decision as well.

Only near the end comes the report of Le Leu's visit to the court: "Le 19 [février] le dit Le Leu fut, par commandement du roy, ouy à Ruel par tout son conseil conjointement, scavoir est: par M. le Cardinal, le garde des Sceaux [Séguier], Bullion, St. Chaumont et Bouthillier; et, devant eux tous, il lut son instruction." Note that "his instruction" was "read." Le Leu probably read aloud the Instruction in which Richelieu is characterized as "puissant," and without reference at that point to the king. The un-titled memo concludes by remarking that the king "ne le [Le Leu] vouloit point voir ... le vit à St. Germain où il luy parla conformément au contenu de sa response insérée cy-après." (13)

Louis's letter to Marie begins by praising God for the "bons sentiments" she has expressed, and expresses the hope that his "justes déffiances" will be dispelled. It continues by requesting that Villiers and Jaquetot be turned over to his justice, along with "ceux qui, par de vaines prédictions, ont mis ma vie en compromis dans l'opinion publique, comme a fait Fabroni; ceux qui, par libelles diffamatoires remplis de faussetez, n'ont rien oublié de ce qu'ils ont peu pour ternir mon honneur et ma réputation ...." (14)

Marie kept hoping that God would take her kingly son. The talk of assassinating Richelieu seems to have been going on in her tiny court. Just what Louis (Richelieu) was accusing Villiers and Jaquelot of, is not germane to our quest for understanding the structure and the scenarios that turned on Marie's fugue.

Neither Villiers nor Jaquelot are mentioned in Marie's letters to Louis or Richelieu. There is only the assurance that she will not disgrace Chanteloube, but that he would in fact leave if this would bring about a reconciliation. The letter from Louis (Richelieu) is not conciliatory: it presses for the disgrace and arrest of two of Marie's fidèles.

Richelieu's letter to the Queen Mother is written in the lofty panegyrical style:

Il est vray qu'au plus fort du malheur qui m'est arrivé de la perte de vos bonnes graces, ce m'a tousjours esté une consolation très particulière de cognoistre par expérience qu'ainsy que rien n'estoit capable de me faire perdre la mémoire de tant d'effets de bonté qu'il luy a pleu me départir pendant l'espace de douze ans que j'ay eu l'honneur de sa bienveillance, rien ne l'estoit aussy de m'empescher de souhaitter ardemment les moyens de continuer à luy rendre des preuves d'une très fidelle servitude. (15)

The issue of places fortes is not brought up, nor any other issue beyond the "deffiance" that is mutuel between Louis and his mother.

Richelieu wrote the same day to Father Suffren, that veteran from the days of Marie's exile to Blois and the Pont-de-Cé debacle. There is an ironic report about how some theologians around Marie have concluded that plotting, and possibly assassination, may be "licite et méritoire devant Dieu." The Cardinal expresses the hope that those around the Queen Mother will listen to Suffren. There is a lengthy account of what has happened recently in the exchanges with Le Leu and others; it serves to inform Suffren that Richelieu is completely and entirely informed about everything that has been done. Avenel believed that some of this was written specifically for the Mémoires.

What have we learned from this simplified account of two moments of intense and passionate political engagement on the part of Marie, an engagement that, in the end, becomes so destructive for her? We learn that:

● Her experience in 1619-1620 did not disabuse her from believing that she could wield power over her son, if he were alone with only her at his side.
● The quarrel became overt over attempts to disgrace householders: Marie's rejection of Luynes, of course, and later of Richelieu; and Louis and Richelieu's disgrace of a variety of her advisors.
● The coherent and systematic articulation of royal policy by Luynes and Richelieu constituted parts of the state that was being constructed by Louis XIII and Richelieu. Marie's actions remained much closer to the typical politics of households than to policy and the law.
● As had the Huguenots, royal rebels demanded places fortes for their security against possible military action by the state.

In conclusion, it is interesting to note that, in his Testament politique, the reader of Machiavelli that was Richelieu did not propose delineating the household and state spheres, although he stressed the importance of "l'État en soy-même."


1. Martial Avenel, Lettres, instructions diplomatiques et papiers d'État du Cardinal de Richelieu (Paris, 1861), vol. VIII, pp. 65ff.
2. Jean-François Dubost, Marie de Médicis (Paris: Payot, 2009), title to chap. 28, à propos of her exile to Blois.
3. Avenel, vol. IV, p. 7, letter III.
4. Avenel, vol. IV, p. 11, letter IV.
5. Avenel, vol. IV, p. 13, letter V.
6. Avenel, vol. IV, p. 14.
7. Avenel, vol. IV, p. 15, letter VI.
8. Avenel, vol IV, p. 27.
9. Dubost, p. 818.
10. Aubery, Mémoires pour l'histoire du Cardinal duc de Richelieu (Cologne, 1667), vol. II, p. 223.
11. Aubery, vol. II, p. 222.
12. Avenel, vol. IV, p. 527, letter CCLXXIII.
13. Avenel, vol. IV, p. 530.
14. Avenel, vol. IV, p. 531, letter CCLXXIV.
15. Avenel, IV, p. 532, letter CCLXXV, Feb. 25, 1634.