Monday, August 8, 2011

THE DUCHESS DE CHEVREUSE - Famous Women From The Business of Politics


FROM the long-sustained, vigorous, and very eminent part played by Marie de Rohan in opposing the repressive system of the two great Cardinal Ministers, her name belongs equally to the political history as to that of the society and manners of the first half of the sixteenth century.

She came of that old and illustrious race the issue of the first princes of Brittany, and was the daughter of Hercule de Rohan, Duke de Montbazon, a zealous servant of Henry IV., by his first wife Madeleine de Lenoncourt, sister of Urbain de Laval, Marshal de Bois-Dauphin. Born in December, 1600, she lost her mother at a very early age, and in 1617 was married to that audacious favourite of Louis XIII., De Luynes, who from the humble office of “bird-catcher” to the young King, rose to the proud dignity of Constable of France, and who, upon the faith of a king’s capricious friendship, dared to undertake the reversal of the Queen-mother, Marie de’ Medici’s authority; hurl to destruction her great favourite, the Marshal d’Ancre; combat simultaneously princes and Protestants, and commence against Richelieu the system of Richelieu. Early becoming a widow, Marie next, in 1622, entered the house of Lorraine by espousing Claude, Duke de Chevreuse, one of the sons of Henry de Guise, great Chamberlain of France, whose highest merit was the name he bore, accompanied by good looks and that bravery which was never wanting to a prince of Lorraine; otherwise disorderly in the conduct of his affairs, of not very edifying manner of life, which may go far to explain and extenuate the errors of his young wife. The new Duchess de Chevreuse had been appointed during the sway of her first husband, _surintendante_ (controller) of the Queen’s household, and soon became as great a favourite of Anne of Austria as the Constable de Luynes was of Louis _the Just_. The French Court was then very brilliant, and gallantry the order of the day. Marie de Rohan was naturally vivacious and dashing, and, yielding herself up to the seductions of youth and pleasure, she had lovers, and her adorers drew her into politics. Her beauty and captivating manners were such as to fascinate and enthral the least impressible who crossed her path, and their dangerous power was extensively employed in influencing the politics of Europe, and consequently had a large share in framing her own destiny. A portrait in the possession of the late Duke de Luynes[1] represents her as having an admirable figure, a charming expression of countenance, large and well-opened blue eyes, chesnut-tinted fair hair in great abundance, a well-formed neck, with the loveliest bust possible, and throughout her entire person a piquant blending of delicacy, grace, vivacity, and passion. The following summary of her character by the clever, caustic, but little scrupulous De Retz, graphic as it is, and based on a certain amount of truth, must not be unhesitatingly accepted, it being over-coloured by wilful exaggeration:–”I have never seen anyone else,” says he, “in whom vivacity so far usurped the place of judgment. It very often inspired her with such brilliant sallies that they flashed like lightning, and so sensible withal, that they might not have been disowned by the greatest men of any age. The manifestation of this faculty was not confined to particular occasions. Had she lived in times when politics were non-existent, she would not have rested content with the idea only that they ought to have been rife. If the Prior of the Carthusians had pleased her, she would have become a sincere recluse. M. de Luynes initiated her into politics, the Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of Holland corresponded with her upon them, and Chateauneuf amused her with them. She gave herself up to their pursuit because she abandoned herself, without reserve, to everything which pleased the individual whom she loved, and simply because it was indispensable that she should love somebody. It was not even difficult to give her a lover by setting an eligible suitor to pay her court with an ostensible political motive; but as soon as she accepted him, she loved him solely and faithfully, and she owned to Mdme. de Rhodes and myself that, through caprice, she said, she had never really loved those whom she esteemed the most, with the exception of the unfortunate George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. Devotion to the passion which in her might be called eternal, although she might change the object of it, did not prevent even a fly from causing her mental abstraction; but she always recovered from it with a renewed exuberance which made such phases rather agreeable than otherwise. No one ever took less heed about danger, and never woman had more contempt for scruples and duties: she never recognised other than that of pleasing her lover.”
[1] This nobleman died at Rome in December, 1867, at the age of sixty-five, having gone thither to aid the Pope against the Garibaldians.
This epigrammatic sketch is almost worthy of the exaggerated author of the _Historiettes_,[2] and the reader is advised to accept only its more salient and truthful traits–the keen and accurate glance of Mdme. de Chevreuse in scanning the prevailing aspect of the political horizon, her dauntless courage, the fidelity and devotion of her love. Retz, moreover, mistakes entirely the order of her adventures; he forgets and then invents. In striving after epigrammatic point, he sacrifices truth to smartness of style, and writes as though he looked upon events in which the passions of the Duchess made her take part as mere trifles, whereas among them there were some than which none were ever of graver or even more tragic moment.
[2] Tallement des Reaux.
Mdme. de Chevreuse, in fact, possessed almost all the qualities befitting a great politician. One alone was wanting, and precisely that without which all the others tended to her ruin. She failed to select for pursuit a legitimate object, or rather she did not choose one for herself, but left it to another to choose for her. Mdme. de Chevreuse was womanly in the highest possible degree; that quality was alike her strength and her weakness. Her secret mainspring was love, or rather gallantry,[3] and the interest of him whom she loved became her paramount object. It is this which explains the wonderful sagacity, finesse, and energy she displayed in the vain pursuit of a chimerical aim, which ever receded before her, and seemed to draw her on by the very prestige of difficulty and danger. La Rochefoucauld accuses her of having brought misfortune upon all those whom she loved;[4] it is equally the truth to add that all those whom she loved hurried her in the sequel into insensate enterprises. It was not she evidently who made of Buckingham a species of paladin without genius; a brilliant adventurer of Charles IV. of Lorraine; of Chalais a hair-brained blunderer, rash enough to commit himself in a conspiracy against Richelieu, on the faith of the faithless Duke d’Orleans; of Chateauneuf, an ambitious statesman, impatient of holding second rank in the Government, without being capable of taking the first. Let no one imagine that he is acquainted with Mdme. de Chevreuse from having merely studied the foregoing portrait traced by De Retz, for that sketch is an exaggeration and over-charged like all those from the same pen, and was destined to amuse the malignant curiosity of Mdme. de Caumartin–for without being altogether false, it is of a severity pushed to the verge of injustice. Was it becoming, one might ask, of the restless and licentious Coadjutor to constitute himself the remorseless censor of a woman whose errors he shared? Did he not deceive himself as much and for a far longer period than she? Did he show more address in political strategy or courage in the dangerous strife, more intrepidity and constancy in defeat? But Mdme. de Chevreuse has not written memoirs in that free-and-easy and piquant style the constant aim of which is self-elevation, obtained at the expense of everybody else. There are two judges of her character the testimony of whose acts must be held to be above suspicion–Richelieu and Mazarin. Richelieu did all in his power to win her over, and not being able to succeed, he treated her as an enemy worthy of himself.
[3] Mdme. de Motteville.
[4] Memoires, Petitot’s Collection, 2nd series, vol. li. p. 339.
To revert briefly to her long-continued struggle with Richelieu, it must not be forgotten that for twenty years she had been the personal friend and favourite of Anne of Austria, and for ten years she had suffered persecution and privation on that account. Exiled, proscribed, and threatened with imprisonment, she had narrowly escaped Richelieu’s grasp by disguising herself in male attire, and in that garb traversing France and Spain on horseback, had succeeded in eluding his pursuit, and after many adventures in safely reaching Madrid. Philip IV. not only heaped every kind of honour upon his sister’s courageous favourite, but even, it is said, swelled the number of her conquests. Whilst in the Spanish capital she had allied herself politically with the Minister Olivarez, and obtained great ascendancy over the Cabinet of Madrid. The war between France and Spain necessarily rendering her position in the latter country delicate and embarrassing, she had, early in 1638, sought refuge in England. Charles I. and Henrietta Maria gave her the warmest possible reception at St. James’s; and the latter, on seeing again the distinguished countrywoman who had some years back conducted her as a bride from Paris to the English shores to the arms of Prince Charles, embraced her warmly, entered into all her troubles, and both the English King and Queen wrote letters pleading in her behalf, to Louis XIII., Anne of Austria, and Richelieu with regard to the restoration of her property and permission to rejoin her children at Dampierre. She herself resumed the links of a negotiation with the Cardinal which had never been entirely broken off, and the success of which seemed quite practicable, since it was almost equally desired by both. That negotiation was being carried on for more than a year, and when link after link had been frequently snapped and re-soldered, only to be once more broken, Richelieu at length gave his solemn word that she might return with perfect safety to Dampierre.
On the eve of her departure from the English Court, a vessel being in readiness to convey her to Dieppe, where a carriage awaited her landing, the Duchess received an anonymous letter warning her that certain ruin awaited her if she set foot on the soil of France, followed by another, still more explicit with regard to Richelieu’s designs to effect her destruction, from no less a person than Charles of Lorraine. This second warning from so reliable a source, followed shortly afterwards by other advice–held by her in the light of a command–enchained her to a foreign land. She for whom during ten long years the Duchess had suffered all things, braved all things, her august friend Anne of Austria cautioned her not to trust to appearances. Thus vanished the last hope of a sincere reconciliation between two persons who knew each other too well to discard distrust and to confide in words, of which neither were sparing, without requiring solemn guarantees that they could not or would not give.
Choosing stoically, therefore, to still undergo the pangs of absence, to consume the noontide of the days of her attractive womanhood in privation and turmoil rather than risk her liberty, Mdme. de Chevreuse on her part did not remain idle. From the moment she felt convinced that Richelieu was deceiving her, attracting her back to France only to hold her in a state of dependence, and if need were, to incarcerate her–having broken with him, she considered herself as free from all scruple, and thought of nothing further than paying him back blow for blow. Her old duel with the Cardinal thus once more renewed, she formed in London, with the aid of the Duke de Vendome, La Vieuville, and La Valette, a faction of active and adroit emigrants, who, leaning on the Earl of Holland, then one of the chiefs of the Royalist party and a general in the army of Charles of England; upon Lord Montagu, an ardent Papist and intimate adviser of Queen Henrietta Maria; upon Digby and other men of influence at Court, maintained likewise the closest intelligence with the Court of Rome through its envoy in England, Rosetti, and especially with the Cabinet of Madrid; encouraging and kindling the hopes of all the proscribed and discontented, strewing obstacles at all points in the path of Richelieu, and accumulating formidable perils around his head.
On the breaking out of the Civil War in England, Mdme. de Chevreuse repaired to Brussels, where in 1641 we find her acting as the connecting link between England, Spain, and Lorraine. Without attributing to the Duchess any especial motive beyond seconding an enterprise directed against the common enemy, she did not the less play an important part in the affair of the Count de Soissons–the most formidable conspiracy that had hitherto been hatched against Richelieu. Anne of Austria was certainly privy to the plot and lent it her aid. She might have been ignorant of the secret treaty with Spain; but for all the rest, and so far as it menaced the Cardinal, she had a perfect understanding with the conspirators. That high-handed Minister, by overstraining the springs of government, by prolonging the war, by increasing the public expenditure, and by oppressing all classes whilst he crushed some in particular, had excited a hatred so bitter and widespread that at length he governed the State almost entirely through terror. Whilst the grandeur of his designs commanded respect and veneration from a select few, his genius towered above the bulk of his countrymen. But that harsh rule, continuing unrelaxed, and so many sacrifices being perpetually renewed, at length wearied out the greater number, the King himself not excepted. Louis’s reigning favourite, the Grand-Ecuyer, Cinq Mars, undermined and blackened the Cardinal as much as possible in his royal master’s estimation. He knew of the conspiracy of the Count de Soissons, and without taking a share in it, he favoured it. He might therefore be reckoned upon to figure in the next. The Queen, still in disgrace in spite of the two heirs she had given to the crown, naturally breathed vows for the termination of a rule which so oppressed her. Gaston, the King’s brother, had pledged his word, however little the reliance that might be placed upon it; but the Duke de Bouillon, an experienced soldier and an eminent politician, had openly declared himself; and his stronghold of Sedan, situated on the frontiers of France and Belgium, offered an asylum whence could be braved for a long while all the power of the Cardinal. A widespread understanding had been established throughout every part of the kingdom, amongst the clergy, and in the Parliament. There were conspirators in the very Bastille itself, where Marshal de Vitry and the Count de Cramail, prisoners as they were, had prepared a _coup de main_ with an admirably-kept secrecy. The Abbe de Retz, then twenty-five, preluded his adventurous career by this attempt at civil war. The Duke de Guise, having effected his escape from Rheims, and taken refuge in the Low Countries, was about to share the dangers of the conspiracy at Sedan. But the greatest–the firmest–hope of the Count de Soissons rested upon Spain: that power alone could enable him to take the field from Sedan, to march upon Paris, and crush the power of Richelieu. He therefore despatched Alexandre de Campion, one of his bravest and most intelligent gentlemen, to Brussels to negotiate with the Spanish Ministers and obtain from them troops and money. There he addressed himself to Mdme. de Chevreuse, and confided to her the mission with which he was charged, which she hastened to second with all her influence. Having prevailed upon Olivarez to strenuously support those requirements which the Count de Soissons and the Duke de Bouillon sought at his hands, she despatched letters by a secret agent in the service of Spain to the Duke de Lorraine, entreating him not to fail her in this supreme opportunity of repairing her past misfortunes and of dealing a mortal blow to their remorseless enemy. The Duke Charles, thus solicited at once by Mdme. de Chevreuse, by his kinsman the Duke de Guise, by the Spanish Minister, and, more than all, by his own restless and adventurous ambition, broke the solemn compact he had so recently made with France, entered into an alliance with Spain and the Count de Soissons, and prepared with all diligence to march to the aid of Sedan. And whilst Mdme. de Chevreuse and the emigrants brought into play every engine they could lay hands on, Lamboy and Metternich set out for Flanders at the head of six thousand Imperialists. France–all the nationalities of Europe, were on the tiptoe of expectation. Richelieu had never been menaced with a greater danger, and the loss of the battle of Marfee would have proved a fatal event had not the Count de Soissons met his death simultaneously with his triumph.
If Mdme. de Chevreuse were a stranger in 1642 to the fresh conspiracy of Gaston, Duke d’Orleans, Cinq Mars, and the Duke de Bouillon against her relentless foe, it would have been the only one in which she had not taken a leading part. It is indeed more than probable that she was in the secret as well as Queen Anne, whose understanding with Gaston and Cinq Mars cannot be contested. La Rochefoucauld repeatedly remarks touching a matter in which he seems to have been implicated, “The dazzling reputation of M. le Grand (Cinq Mars) rekindled the hopes of the discontented; the Queen and the Duke d’Orleans united with him; the Duke de Bouillon and several persons of quality did the same.” De Bouillon also declares that the Queen was closely allied with Gaston and the Grand-Ecuyer, and that she herself had invited his concurrence. “The Queen, whom the Cardinal had persecuted in such a variety of ways, did not doubt that, if the King should chance to die, that minister would seek to deprive her of her children, in order to assume the Regency himself. She secretly instigated De Thou to seek the Duke de Bouillon with persevering entreaties. She asked the latter whether, in the event of the King’s death, he would promise to receive her and her two children in his stronghold of Sedan, believing–so firmly persuaded was she of the evil designs of the Cardinal, and of his power–that there was no other place of safety for them throughout the realm of France.” De Thou further told the Duke de Bouillon that since the King’s illness the Queen and the Duke d’Orleans were very closely allied, and that it was through Cinq Mars that their alliance had been brought about. Now, where the Queen was so deeply implicated it was not likely that Mdme. de Chevreuse would stand aloof. A friend of Richelieu, whose name has not come down to us, but who must have been perfectly well informed, does not hesitate to place Mdme. de Chevreuse as well as the Queen amongst those who then endeavoured to overthrow Richelieu. “M. le Grand,” he writes to the Cardinal,[5] “has been urged to his wicked designs by the Queen-mother, by her daughter (Henrietta Maria), by the Queen of France, by Mdme. de Chevreuse, by Montagu, and other English Papists.” At length the Cardinal, on an early day in June, 1642, retired to Tarascon, ostensibly for the sake of his health, but doubtless for safety also, accompanied by his two bosom friends, Mazarin and Chavigny, and the faithful regiments of his guards. Finding himself surrounded by peril on all sides, and representing to Louis XIII. the gravity of the situation, he cited that which had been alleged of Mdme. de Chevreuse as amongst the most striking indications of the truth of what he stated.[6]
[5] Archives des Affaires Etrangeres; FRANCE, tom. CI.
[6] Archives des Affaires Etrangeres; FRANCE, tom. cii. Inedited Memoir of Richelieu.
But what _was_ the party in fact then conspiring against Richelieu? Was it not the party of former coalitions–of the League, of Austria, and of Spain? And Mdme. Chevreuse at Brussels, through her connection with the Duke de Lorraine, the Queen of England, the Chevalier de Jars at Rome, the Minister Olivarez at Madrid–was she not one of the great motive powers of that party? When, therefore, such machinery was found to be again in activity, it was quite reasonable to suspect the hand of Mdme. de Chevreuse in all its movements.
The gathering cloud that now lowered so thick and threatening above the head of Richelieu seemed pregnant with inevitable destruction to his power and life. But ere long his eagle glance pierced through the overshadowing gloom, and the aim of Cinq Mars’ dark intrigue became clearly revealed to his far-seeing introspection. A treachery, the secret of which has remained impenetrable to every research made during the last two centuries, caused the treaty concluded with Spain through the intervention of Fontrailles, and bearing the signatures of Gaston, Cinq Mars, and the Duke de Bouillon, to fall into his hands. From that instant the Cardinal felt certain of victory. He knew Louis XIII. thoroughly; he conjectured that he might in some access of his morbid and changeful humour have uttered reproachful words against his Minister in the favourite’s ear–even expressed a wish to be rid of him, as did our first Plantagenet when tired of the despotism of Thomas a Becket–and had perhaps listened to strange proposals for effecting such object. But the Cardinal knew right well also to what extent Louis was a king and a Frenchman, and devoted by self-interest to their common system. He despatched, therefore, Chavigny in all haste from Narbonne with irrefragable evidence of the treaty made with Spain. Louis, thunderstricken, could scarcely believe his own eyes. He sank into a gloomy reverie, out of which he emerged only to give way to bursts of indignation against the favourite who could thus abuse his confidence and conspire with the foreigner. It was needless to inflame his anger, he was the first to call for an exemplary punishment. Not for a day, not for an hour, did his heart soften towards the youthful culprit who had been so dear to him. He thought only of his crime, and signed without an instant’s hesitation his death-warrant. If Louis the Just spared the Duke de Bouillon, it was merely to acquire Sedan. If he pardoned his brother Gaston, he at the same time dishonoured him by depriving him of all authority in the State. Upon a report spread by a servant of Fontrailles, and which Fontrailles’ memoirs fully confirm, his suspicions were directed towards the Queen; and no one afterwards could divest his mind of the conviction that in this instance, as in the affair of Chalais, Anne of Austria had an understanding with his brother, the Duke d’Orleans. What would he have done had he perused the statement of Fontrailles, the Duke de Bouillon’s memoirs, a letter of Turenne, and the declaration of La Rochefoucauld? Their united testimony is so concordant that it is altogether irresistible. The Queen racked her brains to exorcise this fresh storm, and to persuade the King and Richelieu of her innocence. Anne went much farther; she did not confine herself to falsehood and dissimulation. Menaced by imminent danger, she went so far as to repudiate that courageous friend who had been so long and steadfastly devoted to her. Had fortune declared in her favour she would have embraced the Duchess as a deliverer. Vanquished and disarmed, she abandoned her. As she had protested in terms of horror against the conspiracy that had failed, her two young, imprudent, and ill-starred accomplices, Cinq Mars and De Thou, mounted the scaffold without breathing her name. Finding also both the King and Richelieu violently exasperated against Mdme. de Chevreuse, and firmly resolved to reject the renewed entreaties of her family to obtain her recall, Anne of Austria, far from interceding for her faithful adherent, warmly sided with her enemies; and further, to indicate the change in her own sentiments, and seem to applaud that which she could not prevent, she asked as an especial favour that the Duchess might be estranged from her person, and even from France. “The Queen,” wrote Chavigny, Richelieu’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, “has pointedly asked me if it were true that Mdme. de Chevreuse would return; and, without waiting for a reply, she signified to me that she should be vexed to find her presently in France; that she now saw the Duchess in her proper light; and she commanded me to pray His Eminence on her part, if he had any mind to favour Mdme. de Chevreuse, that it might be done without granting her permission to return to France. I assured her Majesty that she should have satisfaction on that point.”[7]
[7] Archives des Affaires Etrangeres, FRANCE, tom. CI.
Poor Marie de Rohan! Her heart already bled from many wounds, but this last was the “unkindest cut of all.” Her position had indeed become frightful, and calculated to sink her to the lowest depth of despair. No hope of seeing her native land again, her princely chateau, her children, her favourite daughter Charlotte! Deriving scarcely anything from France, deeply in debt, and with credit exhausted, she found herself entirely at the end of her resources. How thoroughly did the banished woman then realise the woes of exile–how hard it is to climb and descend the stranger’s stair, experience the hollowness of his promise, and the arrogance of his commiseration. And, finally, as though fated to drain her cup of bitterness to the last drop, to learn that she, her long-loved bosom friend and royal mistress, who owed her, at the very least, a silent fidelity, had openly ranged herself on the side of fortune and Richelieu!
In a condition of mental torture the most acute, resulting from such accumulated misfortune, Madame de Chevreuse remained for several months with no other support than that of her innate high-souled courage. At length, towards the close of that eventful year, the golden grooves of change rung out a joyous paean to gladden the heart of the much-enduring exile. Suddenly Marie–all Europe–heard with a throb that the inscrutable, iron-handed man of all the human race most dreaded alike by States as by individuals, had yielded to a stronger power than his own, and had closed his eyes in death (December 4, 1642). Within a few short months afterwards the King also, whose regal power he had consolidated at such a cost in blood and suffering, followed the great statesman to the tomb; having entrusted the Regency, very much against his will, to the Queen, but controlled by a Council, over which presided as Prime Minister the man most devoted to Richelieu’s system–his closest friend, confidant, and creature–Jules Mazarin.
A passage in the funeral oration on Louis XIII. summed up briefly but significantly the result of Richelieu’s gigantic efforts to consolidate the regal power. “Sixty-three kings,” it said, “had preceded him in rule of the realm, but he alone had rendered it absolute, and what all collectively had been impotent to achieve in the course of twelve centuries for the grandeur of France, he had accomplished in the short space of thirty-three years.” It was against that absolute power incarnate in Richelieu, which from the steps of the throne hurled men to the earth with its bolts rather than governed them, that Mazarin was destined later to encounter the reaction of the Fronde.
Distrustful of leaving Anne of Austria in uncontrolled possession of regal authority, Louis by his last will and testament had placed royalty, including his brother Gaston as lieutenant-general of the realm, in a manner under a commission. And further, Louis did not believe that he could ensure quiet to the State after his death without confirming and perpetuating, so far as in him lay, the perpetual exile of Madame de Chevreuse.
As the pupil and confidential friend of Richelieu, Mazarin had imbibed both that statesman’s and the late king’s opinions and sentiments touching the influence of that eminently dangerous woman. Though he had never seen her hitherto, he was not the less well acquainted with her by repute: dreading her mortally, and cherishing a like antipathy to her friend Chateauneuf. He knew the Duchess to be as seductive as she was talented, experienced and courageous in party strife–an instance of which was that she could sway entirely a man of such ambition and capacity as the former Keeper of the Seals. Attached, moreover, in secret to Lorraine, to Austria, and to Spain, all this was as absolutely incompatible with the exclusive favour to which he aspired at the hands of his royal mistress as it was with all his diplomatic and military designs. The solemn injunctions of the late king’s will, while denouncing Madame de Chevreuse and Chateauneuf as the two most illustrious victims of the close of his reign, embodied also the heads of the policy which it was that monarch’s wish should be continued by Richelieu’s successor. “Forasmuch,” ran the will, “that for weighty reasons, important to the welfare of our State, we found ourselves compelled to deprive the Sieur de Chateauneuf of the post of Keeper of the Seals of France, and have him sent to the Castle of Angouleme, in which he has remained by our command up to the present time, we will and intend that the said Sieur de Chateauneuf remain in the same state in which he is at present, in the said Castle of Angouleme, until after the peace be concluded and executed; under charge, nevertheless, that he shall not then be set at liberty save by the order of the Queen-Regent, under the advice of her Council, which shall appoint a place to which he shall retire, within the realm or without the realm, as may be judged best. And as our design is to take foresight of all such subjects as may possibly in some way or other disturb the precautionary arrangements which we have made to preserve the repose and safety of our realm, the knowledge that we have of the bad conduct of the Lady Duchess de Chevreuse, of the artifices which she has employed up to this moment without the kingdom with our enemies, made us judge it fitting to forbid her, as we do, entrance into our kingdom during the war: desiring even that after the peace be concluded and executed she may not return into our kingdom, save only under the orders of the said Lady Queen-Regent, with the advice of the said Council, under charge, nevertheless, that she shall not either take up her abode or be in any place near to the Court or to the said Queen-Regent.”
Within a few days only after the decease of Louis XIII. that same Parliament which had enrolled his will reformed it. The Queen-Regent was freed from every fetter and restriction, and invested with almost absolute sovereignty; the ban was removed from the proscribed couple so solemnly denounced, Chateauneuf’s prison doors were thrown open, and Madame de Chevreuse quitted Brussels triumphantly, with a cortege of twenty carriages, filled with lords and ladies of the highest rank in that Court, to return once more to France and to the side of her royal friend and mistress.
Adapted From Political Women by Sutherland Menzies

 Compiled From Sources In The Public Domain.
I have a graduate degree in history and I love history in all it’s forms–especially women’s history. A graduate degree in women’s studies was not an option at the university where I received my MA in History so I had to make do with a more generalized degree. However, in every class I made up for the lack by researching the condition of women in each age that I studied. I have always been fascinated by women’s history, so I thought I would start sharing some of the lost treasures that I uncover. I believe that most people have curious minds and like glimpses of how the world was, and how things were perceived in the past. I firmly believe in the idea that we must remember history in order to learn from it, grow and hopefully cut down on the number of stupid mistakes that random impulse and intellectual curiosity and greed and a thousand other human motivators lead us to make.
Smiles and Good Fortune,
Teresa Thomas Bohannon

It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
– W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

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