Policy and Schemes of Alberoni.--He is Made a Cardinal.--Other Rewards
Bestowed on Him.--Dispute with the Majordomo.--An Irruption into the
Royal Apartment.--The Cardinal Thrashed.--Extraordinary Scene.
Anecdote of the Duc d'Orleans.--He Pretends to Reform --Trick Played upon
Me.--His Hoaxes.--His Panegyric of Me.--Madame de Sabran.--How the Regent
Treated His Mistresses.
Encroachments of the Parliament.--The Money Edict.--Conflict of Powers--
Vigorous Conduct of the Parliament.--Opposed with Equal Vigour by the
Regent.--Anecdote of the Duchesse du Maine.--Further Proceedings of the
Parliament.--Influence of the Reading of Memoirs.--Conduct of the
Regent.--My Political Attitude.--Conversation with the Regent on the
Subject of the Parliament.--Proposal to Hang Law.--Meeting at My House.--
Law Takes Refuge in the Palais Royal.
Proposed Bed of Justice.--My Scheme.--Interview with the Regent.--
The Necessary Seats for the Assembly.--I Go in Search of Fontanieu.--
My Interview with Hini.--I Return to the Palace.--Preparations.--
Proposals of M. le Duc to Degrade M. du Maine.--My Opposition.--My Joy
and Delight.--The Bed of Justice Finally Determined On.--A Charming
Messenger.--Final Preparations.--Illness of the Regent.--News Given to
M. du Maine.--Resolution of the Parliament.--Military Arrangements.--I Am
Summoned to the Council.--My Message to the Comte de Toulouse.
The Material Preparations for the Bed of Justice--Arrival of the Duc
d'Orleans:--The Council Chamber.--Attitude of the Various Actors.--The
Duc du Maine.--Various Movements.--Arrival of the Duc de Toulouse.--
Anxiety of the Two Bastards.--They Leave the Room.--Subsequent
Proceedings.--Arrangement of the Council Chamber.--Speech of the Regent.
--Countenances of the Members of Council.--The Regent Explains the Object
of the Bed of Justice.--Speech of the Keeper of the Seals.--Taking the
Votes.--Incidents That Followed.--New Speech of the Duc d'Orleans.--
Against the Bastards.--My Joy.--I Express My Opinion Modestly.--Exception
in Favour of the Comte de Toulouse.--New Proposal of M. le Duc.--Its
Effect.--Threatened Disobedience of the Parliament.--Proper Measures.--
The Parliament Sets Out.
Continuation of the Scene in the Council Chamber.--Slowness of the
Parliament.--They Arrive at Last.--The King Fetched.--Commencement of the
Bed of Justice.--My Arrival.--Its Effect.--What I Observed.--Absence of
the Bastards Noticed.--Appearance of the King. The Keeper of the Seals.--
The Proceedings Opened.--Humiliation of the Parliament.--Speech of the
Chief-President.--New Announcement.--Fall of the Duc du Maine Announced.
--Rage of the Chief-President.--My Extreme joy.--M. le Duc Substituted
for M. du Maine.--Indifference of the King.--Registration of the Decrees.
My Return Home.--Wanted for a New Commission.--Go to the Palais Royal.--
A Cunning Page.--My journey to Saint-Cloud.--My Reception.--Interview
with the Duchesse d'Orleans.--Her Grief.--My Embarrassment.--Interview
with Madame.--Her Triumph.--Letter of the Duchesse d'Orleans.--She Comes
to Paris.--Quarrels with the Regent.
Intrigues of M. du Maine.--And of Cellamare, the Spanish Ambassador.--
Monteleon and Portocarrero.--Their Despatches.--How Signed.--The
Conspiracy Revealed.--Conduct of the Regent.--Arrest of Cellamare.--His
House Searched.--The Regency Council.--Speech of the Duc d'Orleans.--
Resolutions Come To.--Arrests.--Relations with Spain.--Alberoni and
Saint-Aignan.--Their Quarrel.--Escape of Saint-Aignan.
The Regent Sends for Me.--Guilt of the Duc de Maine.--Proposed Arrest.--
Discussion on the Prison to Be Chosen.--The Arrest.--His Dejection.--
Arrest of the Duchess.--Her Rage.--Taken to Dijon.--Other Arrests.--
Conduct of the Comte de Toulouse.--The Faux Sauniers.--Imprisonment of
the Duc and Duchesse du Maine.--Their Sham Disagreement.--Their
The Abbe Alberoni, having risen by the means I have described, and
acquired power by following in the track of the Princesse des Ursins,
governed Spain like a master. He had the most ambitious projects. One
of his ideas was to drive all strangers, especially the French, out of
the West Indies; and he hoped to make use of the Dutch to attain this
end. But Holland was too much in the dependence of England.
At home Alberoni proposed many useful reforms, and endeavoured to
diminish the expenses of the royal household. He thought, with reason,
that a strong navy was the necessary basis of the power of Spain; and to
create one he endeavoured to economise the public money. He flattered
the King with the idea that next year he would arm forty vessels to
protect the commerce of the Spanish Indies. He had the address to boast
of his disinterestedness, in that whilst working at all manner of
business he had never received any grace from the King, and lived only
on fifty pistoles, which the Duke of Parma, his master, gave him every
month; and therefore he made gently some complaints against the
ingratitude of princes.
Alberoni had persuaded the Queen of Spain to keep her husband shut up,
as had the Princesse des Ursins. This was a certain means of governing a
prince whose temperament and whose conscience equally attached him to his
spouse. He was soon completely governed once more--under lock and key,
as it were, night and day. By this means the Queen was jailoress and
prisoner at the same time. As she was constantly with the King nobody
could come to her. Thus Alberoni kept them both shut up, with the key of
their prison in his pocket.
One of the chief objects of his ambition was the Cardinal's hat. It
would be too long to relate the schemes he set on foot to attain his end.
He was opposed by a violent party at Rome; but at last his inflexible
will and extreme cunning gained the day. The Pope, no longer able to
resist the menaces of the King of Spain, and dreading the vengeance of
the all-powerful minister, consented to grant the favour that minister
had so pertinaciously demanded. Alberoni was made Cardinal on the 12th
of July, 1717. Not a soul approved this promotion when it was announced
at the consistory. Not a single cardinal uttered a word in praise of the
new confrere, but many openly disapproved his nomination. Alberoni's
good fortune did not stop here. At the death, some little time after,
of the Bishop of Malaga, that rich see, worth thirty thousand ecus a
year, was given to him. He received it as the mere introduction to the
grandest and richest sees of Spain, when they should become vacant.
The King of Spain gave him also twenty thousand ducats, to be levied upon
property confiscated for political reasons. Shortly after, Cardinal
Arias, Archbishop of Seville, having died, Alberoni was named to this
In the middle of his grandeur and good luck he met with an adventure that
must have strangely disconcerted him.
I have before explained how Madame des Ursins and the deceased Queen had
kept the King of Spain screened from all eyes, inaccessible to all his
Court, a very palace-hermit. Alberoni, as I have said, followed their
example. He kept the King even more closely imprisoned than before, and
allowed no one, except a few indispensable attendants, to approach him.
These attendants were a small number of valets and doctors, two gentlemen
of the chamber, one or two ladies, and the majordomo-major of the King.
This last post was filled by the Duc d'Escalone, always called Marquis de
Villena, in every way one of the greatest noblemen in Spain, and most
respected and revered of all, and justly so, for his virtue, his
appointment, and his services.
Now the King's doctors are entirely under the authority of the majordomo-
major. He ought to be present at all their consultations; the King
should take no remedy that he is not told of, or that he does not
approve, or that he does not see taken; an account of all the medicines
should be rendered to him. Just at this time the King was ill. Villena
wished to discharge the duties attached to his post of majordomo-major.
Alberoni caused it to be insinuated to him, that the King wished to be at
liberty, and that he would be better liked if he kept at home; or had the
discretion and civility not to enter the royal chamber, but to ask at the
door for news. This was language the Marquis would not understand.
At the end of the grand cabinet of the mirrors was placed a bed, in which
the King was laid, in front of the door; and as the room is vast and
long, it is a good distance from the door (which leads to the interior)
to the place where the bed was. Alberoni again caused the Marquis to be
informed that his attentions were troublesome, but the Marquis did not
fail to enter as before. At last, in concert with the Queen, the
Cardinal resolved to refuse him admission. The Marquis, presenting
himself one afternoon, a valet partly opened the door and said, with much
confusion, that he was forbidden to let him enter.
"Insolent fellow," replied the Marquis, "stand aside," and he pushed the
door against the valet and entered. In front of him was the Queen,
seated at the King's pillow; the Cardinal standing by her side, and the
privileged few, and not all of them, far away from the bed. The Marquis,
who, though full of pride, was but weak upon his legs, leisurely
advanced, supported upon his little stick. The Queen and the Cardinal
saw him and looked at each other. The King was too ill to notice
anything, and his curtains were closed except at the side where the Queen
was. Seeing the Marquis approach, the Cardinal made signs, with
impatience, to one of the valets to tell him to go away, and immediately
after, observing that the Marquis, without replying, still advanced, he
went to him, explained to him that the King wished to be alone, and
begged him to leave.
"That is not true," said the Marquis; "I have watched you; you have not
approached the bed, and the King has said nothing to you."
The Cardinal insisting, and without success, took him by the arm to make
him go. The Marquis said he was very insolent to wish to hinder him from
seeing the King, and perform his duties. The Cardinal, stronger than his
adversary, turned the Marquis round, hurried him towards the door, both
talking the while, the Cardinal with measure, the Marquis in no way
mincing his words. Tired of being hauled out in this manner, the Marquis
struggled, called Alberoni a "little scoundrel," to whom he would teach
manners; and in this heat and dust the Marquis, who was weak, fortunately
fell into an armchair hard by. Angry at his fall, he raised his little
stick and let it fall with all his force upon the ears and the shoulders
of the Cardinal, calling him a little scoundrel--a little rascal--
a little blackguard, deserving a horsewhipping.
The Cardinal, whom he held with one hand, escaped as well as he could,
the Marquis continuing to abuse him, and shaking the stick at him. One
of the valets came and assisted him to rise from his armchair, and gain
the door; for after this accident his only thought was to leave the room.
The Queen looked on from her chair during all this scene, without
stirring or saying a word; and the privileged few in the chamber did not
dare to move. I learned all this from every one in Spain; and moreover I
asked the Marquis de Villena himself to give me the full details; and he,
who was all uprightness and truth, and who had conceived some little
friendship for me, related with pleasure all I have written. The two
gentlemen of the chamber present also did the same, laughing in their
sleeves. One had refused to tell the Marquis to leave the room, and the
other had accompanied him to the door. The most singular thing is, that
the Cardinal, furious, but surprised beyond measure at the blows he had
received, thought only of getting out of reach. The Marquis cried to him
from a distance, that but for the respect he owed to the King, and to the
state in which he was, he would give him a hundred kicks in the stomach,
and haul him out by the ears. I was going to forget this. The King was
so ill that he saw nothing.
A quarter of an hour after the Marquis had returned home, he received an
order to retire to one of his estates at thirty leagues from Madrid. The
rest of the day his house was filled with the most considerable people of
Madrid, arriving as they learned the news, which made a furious sensation
through the city. He departed the next day with his children. The
Cardinal, nevertheless, remained so terrified, that, content with the
exile of the Marquis, and with having got rid of him, he did not dare to
pass any censure upon him for the blows he had received. Five or six
months afterwards he sent him an order of recall, though the Marquis had
not taken the slightest steps to obtain it. What is incredible is, that
the adventure, the exile, the return, remained unknown to the King until
the fall of the Cardinal! The Marquis would never consent to see him, or
to hear him talked of, on any account, after returning, though the
Cardinal was the absolute master. His pride was much humiliated by this
worthy and just haughtiness; and he was all the more piqued because he
left nothing undone in order to bring about a reconciliation, without any
other success than that of obtaining fresh disdain, which much increased
the public estimation in which this wise and virtuous nobleman was held.
I must not omit to mention an incident which occurred during the early
part of the year 1718, and which will give some idea of the character of
M. le Duc d'Orleans, already pretty amply described by me.
One day (when Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans had gone to Montmartre, which
she quitted soon after) I was walking alone with M. le Duc d'Orleans in
the little garden of the Palais Royal, chatting upon various affairs,
when he suddenly interrupted me, and turning towards me; said, "I am
going to tell you something that will please you."
Thereupon he related to me that he was tired of the life he led, which
was no longer in harmony with his age or his desires, and many similar
things; that he was resolved to give up his gay parties, pass his
evenings more soberly and decently, sometimes at home, often with Madame
la Duchesse d'Orleans; that his health would gain thereby, and he should
have more time for business; that in a little while I might rely upon it
--there would be no more suppers of "roues and harlots" (these were his
own terms), and that he was going to lead a prudent and reasonable life
adapted to his age and state.
I admit that in my extreme surprise I was ravished, so great was the
interest I took in him. I testified this to him with overflowing heart,
thanking him for his confidence. I said to him that he knew I for a long
time had not spoken to him of the indecency of his life, or of the time
he lost, because I saw that in so doing I lost my own; that I had long
since despaired of his conduct changing; that this had much grieved me;
that he could not be ignorant from all that had passed between us at
various times, how much I desired a change, and that he might judge of
the surprise and joy his announcement gave me. He assured me more and
more that his resolution was fixed, and thereupon I took leave of him,
the hour for his soiree having arrived.
The next day I learned from people to whom the roues had just related it,
that M. le Duc d'Orleans was no sooner at table than he burst out
laughing, and applauded his cleverness, saying that he had just laid a
trap for me into which I had fallen full length. He recited to them our
conversation, at which the joy and applause were marvellous. It is the
only time he ever diverted himself at my expense (not to say at his own)
in a matter in which the fib he told me, and which I was foolish enough
to swallow, surprised by a sudden joy that took from me reflection, did
honour to me, though but little to him. I would not gratify him by
telling him I knew of his joke, or call to his mind what he had said to
me; accordingly he never dared to speak of it.
I never could unravel what fantasy had seized him to lead him to hoax me
in this manner, since for many years I had never opened my mouth
concerning the life he led, whilst he, on his side, had said not a word
to me relating to it. Yet it is true that sometimes being alone with
confidential valets, some complaints have escaped him (but never before
others) that I ill-treated him, and spoke hastily to him, but all was
said in two words, without bitterness, and without accusing me of
treating him wrongfully. He spoke truly also; sometimes, when I was
exasperated with stupidity or error in important matters which affected
him or the State, or when he had agreed (having been persuaded and
convinced by good reasons) to do or not to do some essential thing, and
was completely turned from it by his feebleness, his easy-going nature
(which he appreciated as well as I)--cruelly did I let out against him.
But the trick he most frequently played me before others, one of which my
warmth was always dupe, was suddenly to interrupt an important argument
by a 'sproposito' of buffoonery. I could not stand it; sometimes being
so angry that I wished to leave the room. I used to say to him that if
he wished to joke I would joke as much as he liked, but to mix the most
serious matters with tomfoolery was insupportable. He laughed heartily,
and all the more because, as the thing often happened, I ought to have
been on my guard; but never was, and was vexed both at the joke and at
being surprised; then he returned to business. But princes must
sometimes banter and amuse themselves with those whom they treat as
friends. Nevertheless, in spite of his occasional banter, he entertained
really sincere esteem and friendship for me.
By chance I learnt one day what he really thought of me. I will say it
now, so as to leave at once all these trifles. M. le Duc d'Orleans
returning one afternoon from the Regency Council at the Tuileries to the
Palais Royal with M. le Duc de Chartres (his son) and the Bailli de
Conflans (then first gentleman of his chamber) began to talk of me,
passing an eulogium upon me I hardly dare to repeat. I know not what had
occurred at the Council to occasion it. All that I can say is that he
insisted upon his happiness in having a friend so faithful, so unchanging
at all times, so useful to him as I was, and always had been; so sure, so
true, so disinterested, so firm, such as he could meet with in no one
else, and upon whom he could always count. This eulogy lasted from the
Tuileries to the Palais Royal, the Regent saying to his son that he
wished to teach him how to make my acquaintance, as a support and a
source of happiness (all that I relate here is in his own words); such as
1. /Ivrel/Core Rules/Addendums/Monster Addendum 1 [Draconians].doc
|Chapter IV the article||Contents. Chapter I|
|Chapter 9 a few Questions||Chapter 5 "Who are these aliens?"|
|Chapter cxiii||Chapter xcvii|
|Chapter LXXVIII||Chapter XVIII|