Quarrel of the King of England with His Son. Schemes of Dubois icon

Quarrel of the King of England with His Son. Schemes of Dubois

НазваниеQuarrel of the King of England with His Son. Schemes of Dubois
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Quarrel of the King of England with His Son.--Schemes of Dubois.--

Marriage of Brissac.--His Death.--Birth of the Young Pretender.--

Cardinalate of Dubois.--Illness of the King.--His Convalescence.--

A Wonderful Lesson.--Prudence of the Regent.--Insinuations against Him.


Projected Marriages of the King and of the Daughter of the Duc d'Orleans_

--How It Was Communicated to Me.--I Ask for the Embassy to Spain.--It Is

Granted to Me.--Jealousy of Dubois.--His Petty Interference.--

Announcement of the Marriages.


Interview with Dubois.--His Singular Instructions to Ale.--His Insidious

Object.--Various Tricks and Manoeuvres.--My Departure for Spain.--Journey

by Way of Bordeaux and Bayonne.--Reception in Spain.--Arrival at Madrid.


Interview in the Hall of Mirrors.--Preliminaries of the Marriages.--

Grimaldo.--How the Question of Precedence Was Settled.--I Ask for an

Audience.--Splendid Illuminations.--A Ball.--I Am Forced to Dance.


Mademoiselle de Montpensier Sets out for Spain.--I Carry the News to the

King.--Set out for Lerma.--Stay at the Escurial.--Take the Small--pox.--



Mode of Life of Their Catholic Majesties.--Their Night.--Morning.--

Toilette.--Character of Philippe V.--And of His Queen.--How She Governed



The King's Taste for Hunting.--Preparations for a Battue.--Dull Work.--

My Plans to Obtain the Grandesse.--Treachery of Dubois.--Friendship of

Grimaldo.--My Success.


Marriage of the Prince of the Asturias.--An Ignorant Cardinal.--I Am Made

Grandee of Spain.--The Vidame de Chartres Named Chevalier of the Golden

Fleece.--His Reception--My Adieux.--A Belching Princess.--

Return to France.


For a long time a species of war had been declared between the King of

England and his son, the Prince of Wales, which had caused much scandal;

and which had enlisted the Court on one side, and made much stir in the

George had more than once broken out with indecency against

his son; he had long since driven him from the palace, and would not see

him. He had so cut down his income that he could scarcely subsist. The

father never could endure this son, because he did not believe him to be

his own. He had more than suspected the Duchess, his wife, to be in

relations with Count Konigsmarck. He surprised him one morning leaving

her chamber; threw him into a hot oven, and shut up his wife in a chateau

for the rest of her days. The Prince of Wales, who found himself ill-

treated for a cause of which he was personally innocent, had always borne

with impatience the presence of his mother and the aversion of his

father. The Princess of Wales, who had much sense, intelligence, grace,

and art, had softened things as much as possible; and the King was unable

to refuse her his esteem, or avoid loving her. She had conciliated all

England; and her Court, always large, boasted of the presence of the most

accredited and the most distinguished persons. The Prince of Wales

feeling his strength, no longer studied his father, and blamed the

ministers with words that at least alarmed them. They feared the credit

of the Princess of Wales; feared lest they should be attacked by the

Parliament, which often indulges in this pleasure. These considerations

became more and more pressing as they discovered what was brewing against

them; plans such as would necessarily have rebounded upon the King. They

communicated their fears to him, and indeed tried to make it up with his

son, on certain conditions, through the medium of the Princess of Wales,

who, on her side, felt all the consciousness of sustaining a party

against the King, and who always had sincerely desired peace in the royal

family. She profited by this conjuncture; made use of the ascendency she

had over her husband, and the reconciliation was concluded. The King

gave a large sum to the Prince of Wales, and consented to see him. The

ministers were saved, and all appeared forgotten.

The excess to which things had been carried between father and son had

not only kept the entire nation attentive to the intestine disorders

ready to arise, but had made a great stir all over Europe; each power

tried to blow this fire into a blaze, or to stifle it according as

interest suggested. The Archbishop of Cambrai, whom I shall continue to

call the Abbe Dubois, was just then very anxiously looking out for his

cardinal's hat, which he was to obtain through the favour of England,

acting upon that of the Emperor with the Court of Rome. Dubois,

overjoyed at the reconciliation which had taken place, wished to show

this in a striking manner, in order to pay his court to the King of

England. He named, therefore, the Duc de la Force to go to England, and

compliment King George on the happy event that had occurred.

The demonstration of joy that had been resolved on in France was soon

known in England. George, annoyed by the stir that his domestic

squabbles had made throughout all Europe, did not wish to see it

prolonged by the sensation that this solemn envoy would cause. He begged

the Regent, therefore, not to send him one. As the scheme had been

determined on only order to please him, the journey of the Duc de la

Force was abandoned almost as soon as declared. Dubois had the double

credit, with the King of England, of having arranged this demonstration

of joy, and of giving it up; in both cases solely for the purpose of

pleasing his Britannic Majesty.

Towards the end of this year, 1720, the Duc de Brissac married Mlle.

Pecoil, a very rich heiress, whose father was a 'maitre des requetes',

and whose mother was daughter of Le Gendre, a very wealthy merchant of

Rouen. The father of Mlle. Pecoil was a citizen of Lyons, a wholesale

dealer, and extremely avaricious. He had a large iron safe, or strong-

box, filled with money, in a cellar, shut in by an iron door, with a

secret lock, and to arrive at which other doors had to be passed through.

He disappeared so long one day, that his wife and two or three valets or

servants that he had sought him everywhere. They well knew that he had a

hiding-place, because they had sometimes seen him descending into his

cellar, flat-candlestick in hand, but no one had ever dared to follow


Wondering what had become of him, they descended to the cellar, broke

open the doors, and found at last the iron one. They were obliged to

send for workmen to break it open, by attacking the wall in which it was

fixed. After much labour they entered, and found the old miser dead in

his strong-box, the secret spring of which he had apparently not been

able to find, after having locked himself in; a horrible end in every


The Brissacs have not been very particular in their alliances for some

time, and yet appear no richer. The gold flies away; the dross remains.

I had almost forgotten to say that in the last day of this year, 1720, a

Prince of Wales was born at Rome.

The Prince was immediately baptised by the Bishop; of Montefiascone, and

named Charles. The event caused a great stir in the Holy City. The Pope

sent his compliments to their Britannic Majesties, and forwarded to the

King of England (the Pretender) 10,000 Roman crowns, gave him, for his

life, a country house at Albano, which until then, he had only lent him,

and 2000 crowns to furnish it. A Te Deum was sung in the chapel of the

Pope, in his presence, and there were rejoicings at Rome. When the Queen

of England was able to see company, Cardinal Tanora came in state, as

representative of the Sacred College, to congratulate her.

The birth of the Prince also made much stir at the Court of England, and

among the priests and Jacobites of that country. For very different

reasons, not only the Catholics and Protestants, enemies of the

government, were ravished at it, but nearly all the three realms showed

as much joy as they dared; not from any attachment to the dethroned

house, but for the satisfaction of seeing a line continue with which they

could always menace and oppose their kings and the royal family.

In France we were afraid to show any public feeling upon the event. We

were too much in the hands of England; the Regent and Dubois too much the

humble servants of the house of Hanover; Dubois especially, waiting, as

he was, so anxiously for his cardinal's hat. He did not, as will be

seen, have to wait much longer.

The new Pope had given, in writing, a promise to Dubois, that if elected

to the chair of St. Peter he would make him cardinal. Time had flown,

and the promise was not yet fulfilled. The impatience of Dubois

increased with his hopes, and gave him no repose. He was much bewildered

when he learnt that, on the 16th of June, 1721, the Pope had elevated to

the cardinalship; his brother, who for ten years had been Bishop of

Terracine and Benedictine monk of Mount Cassini. Dubois had expected

that no promotion would be made in which he was not included. But here

was a promotion of a single person only. He was furious; this fury did

not last long, however; a month after, that is to say, on the 16th of

July, the Pope made him cardinal with Dion Alexander Alboni, nephew of

the deceased Pope, and brother of the Cardinal Camarlingue.

Dubois received the news and the compliment that followed with extreme

joy, but managed to contain himself with some little decency, and to give

all the honour of his nomination to M. le Duc d'Orleans, who, sooth to

say, had had scarcely anything to do with it. But he could not prevent

himself from saying to everybody that what honoured him more than the

Roman purple was the unanimous eagerness of all the European powers to

procure him this distinction; to press the Pope to award it; to desire

that his promotion would be hastened without waiting for their

nominations. He incessantly blew these reports about everywhere without

ever being out of breath; but nobody was the dupe of them.

Shortly after this, that is, on the last day of July, the King, who had

until then been in perfect health, woke with headache and pain in the

throat; shivering followed, and towards afternoon, the pains in the head

and throat being augmented, he went to bed. I repaired the next day

about twelve to inquire after him. I found he had passed a bad night,

and that within the last two hours he had grown worse. I saw everywhere

consternation. I had the grandes entrees, therefore I went into his

chamber. I found it very empty. M. le Duc d'Orleans, seated in the

chimney corner, looked exceedingly downcast and solitary. I approached

him for a moment, then I went to the King's bed. At this moment Boulduc,

one of the apothecaries, gave him something to take. The Duchesse de la

Ferme, who, through the Duchesse de Ventadour, her sister, had all the

entrees as godmother to the King, was at the heels of Boulduc, and

turning round to see who was approaching, saw me, and immediately said in

a tone neither high nor low, "He is poisoned! he is poisoned!"

"Hold your tongue, Madame," said I. "This is terrible."

But she kept on, and spoke so loudly that I feared the King would hear

her. Boulduc and I looked at each other, and I immediately withdrew from

the bed and from this mad woman, with whom I was in no way familiar.

During this illness, which lasted only five days (but of which the first

three were violent) I was much troubled, but at the same time I was

exceedingly glad that I had refused to be the King's governor, though the

Regent had over and over again pressed me to accept the office. There

were too many evil reports in circulation against M. le Duc d'Orleans for

me to dream of filling this position. For was I not his bosom friend

known to have been on the most intimate terms with him ever since his

child hood--and if anything had happened to excite new suspicions against

him, what would not have been said? The thought of this so troubled me

during the King's illness, that I used to wake in the night with a start,

and, oh, what joy was mine when I remembered that I had not this duty on

my head!

The malady, as I have said, was not long, and the convalescence was

prompt, which restored tranquillity and joy, and caused an overflow of Te

Deums and rejoicing. Helvetius had all the honour of the cure; the

doctors had lost their heads, he preserved his, and obstinately proposed

bleeding at the foot, at a consultation at which M. le Duc d'Orleans was

present; his advice prevailed, change for the better immediately took

place, cure soon after.

The Marechal de Villeroy (the King's governor) did not let slip this

occasion for showing all his venom and his baseness; he forgot nothing,

left nothing undone in order to fix suspicion upon M. le Duc d'Orleans,

and thus pay his court to the robe. No magistrate, however unimportant,

could come to the Tuileries whom he did not himself go to with the news

of the King and caresses; whilst to the first nobles he was inaccessible.

The magistrates of higher standing he allowed to enter at all times into

the King's chamber, even to stand by his bed in order to see him, while

they who had the 'grandes entrees' with difficulty enjoyed a similar


He did the same during the first days of convalescence, which he

prolonged as much as possible, in order to give the same distinction to

the magistrates, come at what time they might, and privately to the great

people of the Court and the ambassadors. He fancied himself a tribune of

the people, and aspired to their favour and their dangerous power. From

this he turned to other affectations which had the same aim against M. le

Duc d'Orleans. He multiplied the Te Deums that he induced the various

ranks of petty officers of the King to have sung on different days and in

different churches; he attended all, took with him as many people as he

could, and for six weeks continued this game. A Te Deum was sung in

every church in Paris. He spoke of nothing else, and above the real joy

he felt at the King's recovery, he put on a false one which had a party

smell about it, and which avowed designs not to be mistaken.

The King went in state to Notre Dame and Saint Genevieve to thank God.

These mummeries, thus prolonged, extended to the end of August and the

fete Saint-Louis. Each year there, is on that day a concert in the

garden. The Marechal de Villeroy took care that on this occasion, the

concert should become a species of fete, to which he added a display of

fireworks. Less than this would have been enough to draw the crowd.

It was so great that a pin could not have fallen to the ground through

the mass of people wedged against each other in the garden. The windows

of the Tuileries were ornamented, and were filled with people. All the

roofs of the Carrousel, as well as the Place, were covered with


The Marechal de Villeroy was in; his element, and importuned the King,

who tried to hide himself in the corners at every moment. The Marechal

took him by the arm, and led him, now to the windows where he could see

the Carrousel, and the houses covered with people; now to those which

looked upon the garden, full of the innumerable crowd waiting for the

fete. Everybody cried 'Vive le Roi!' when he appeared, but had not the

Marechal detained him, he would have run away and hid himself.

"Look, my master," the Marechal would say, "all that crowd, all these

people are yours, all belong to you; you are the master of them: look at

them a little therefore, to please them, for they are all yours, they are

all devoted to you."

A nice lesson this for a governor to give to a young King, repeating it

every time he leads him to the windows, so fearful is he lest the boy-

sovereign shall forget it! I do not know whether he received similar

lessons from those who had the charge of his education. At last the

Marechal led him upon the terrace, where, beneath a dais, he heard the

end of the concert, and afterwards saw the fireworks. The lesson of the

Marechal de Villeroy, so often and so publicly repeated, made much stir,

and threw but little honour upon him. He himself experienced the first

effect of is fine instruction.

M. le Duc d'Orleans conducted himself in a manner simple, so prudent,

that he infinitely gained by it. His cares and his reasonable anxiety

were measured; there was much reserve in his conversation, an exact and

sustained attention in his language, and in his countenance, which

allowed nothing to escape him, and which showed as little as possible

that he was the successor to the crown; above all, he never gave cause

for people to believe that he thought the King's illness more or less

serious than it was, or that his hopes were stronger than his fears.

He could not but feel that in a conjuncture so critical, all eyes were

fixed upon him, and as in truth he never wished for the crown (however

unlikely the statement may seem), he had no need to constrain himself in

any way, but simply to be measured in his bearing. His conduct was, in

fact, much remarked, and the cabal opposed to him entirely reduced to

silence. Nobody spoke to him upon the event that might happen, not even

his most familiar friends and acquaintances, myself included; and at this

he was much pleased. He acted entirely upon the suggestions of his own

good sense.

This was not the first time, let me add, that the Marechal de Villeroy,

in his capacity of governor of the King, had tacitly insulted M. le Duc

d'Orleans. He always, in fact, affected, in the discharge of his duties,

a degree of care, vigilance, and scrutiny, the object of which was

evident. He was particularly watchful of the food of the King, taking it

up with his own hands, and making a great show of this precaution; as

though the King could not have been poisoned a thousand times over in

spite of such ridiculous care. 'Twas because M. le Duc d'Orleans was

vexed with this childish behaviour, so calculated to do him great injury,

that he wished me to supersede the Marechal de Villeroy as governor of

the King. This, as before said, I would never consent to. As for the

Marechal, his absurdities met with their just reward, but at a date I

have not yet come to.


Before this illness of the King, that is to say, at the commencement of

June, I went one day to work with M, le Duc d'Orleans, and found him

alone, walking up arid down the grand apartment.

"Holloa! there," said he, as soon as he saw me; then, taking me by the

hand, "I cannot leave you in ignorance of a thing which I desire above

all others, which is of the utmost importance to me, and which will cause

you as much joy as me; but you must keep it profoundly secret." Then

bursting out laughing, "If M. de Cambrai knew that I had told it to you,

he would never pardon me." And he proceeded to state that perfect

reconciliation had been established between himself and the King and

Queen of Spain; that arrangements had been made by which our young King
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