People of Purpose

My 6th great-uncle Jacques Beauchamp and his family came to Canada on the St. Andre to help Gabriel Souart, physician turned priest, set up the Sulpician seminary in Montreal and farm a land grant. On board were the great founding mothers,  Jeanne Mance and Marguerite Bourgeoys. Jeanne Mance is known as a co- founder of Montreal and the Hopital Dieu and Marguerite Bourgeouys as founder of the Congregation de Notre Dame de Montreal. The company had set out in 1657 to find further support for the colony and it’s religious aims. Also involved was Paul de Chomeday de Maisonneuve a gentlemen/soldier who was hired to lead and protect the colonists. He became the first governor of Montreal. It is interesting to note that all of these people had actual letters from Louis XIII giving permission to do what they had to do.

In 1653, Maisonneuve set sail for France determined to bring back enough soldiers to combat the Iroquois. With a donation from Jeanne Mance which had formerly been intended for the Hopital Deu, he was able to return with what would become known as the “Grand Recru”. Later in 1655, Maisonneuve made another trip to France to seek out the first parish clergy for the colony. He returned in 1657 with Abbe Queylus and 3 Sulpician priests.

That same year, Jeanne Mance had fallen and fractured her wrist which was not healing well. After a year she set out with Marguerite Bourgeoys, Judith Moreau and Catherine Mace to bring back 3 nursing sisters known as the Hospitallers de Saint Joseph.  While she was there, she hoped to obtain more funding from Angelique de Bullion, whose husband was Finance Minister under Cardinal Richelieu. The Sisters were able to recruit workers for the Seminary as well.  Among them we find Jacques Beauchamp and his wife, Marie Dardeyne. Note at the bottom, the line stating these passengers were “pour Monsieur Souart”.

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The following are some census returns for Jacques.

Jacques 1666 Census cap.JPG

Jacques 1667 census cap.JPG

Jacques 1681 Census.JPG

Here you get some notion of their early life in Canada. You can see that Marie was kept fairly busy!  The change of occupation from “chapelier” (hat maker” to “charpentier” is interesting. I am not sure what use a hat maker would have been to Monsieur Souart. By the next year he is a farmer and carpenter.  I would tend to think that there was an error there. It is a coincidence that my own grandfather,  Alfred Beauchamp was a carpenter.

By 1659, the Iroquois had effectively blocked the economy of New France. Their war parties patrolled along the banks of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, intercepting shipments of furs from Algonquins to the west. When they resumed their bloody ambushes at Ville-Marie in 1663, Maisonneuve created the militia of the Sainte-Famille in order to meet the danger. The 139 settlers,  who remained mostly inside the fort walls, were divided into 20 squads. Each squad had a corporal elected by the majority. Jacques Beauchamp was drafted into the eighteenth squadron as found in the Memoirs and Documents of the  Montreal Historical Society published in 1859:

Jacques in the Militia 1663.JPG

The force provided additional guards for workers in the fields and relieved the Montreal militia for nightly guard duty on the walls of the town. In 1666, following the arrival of French regular troops,  Maisonneuve disbanded the Soldats de la Sainte-Famille. In three years, the unit lost only eight men to Iroquois war parties. Ironically, 1666 is the year that my 5th great-grandfather,  Jean Beauchamp and brother to Jacques arrived in Montreal.

A Flash of Scarlet Conclusion and Sources

There is much to be learned from history. What has made the great Cardinal so fascinating to people from all walks of life? For the politician, it may be his political policy or “le raison d’etat”, described by Oxford as “a purely political reason for action on the part of a ruler or government, especially where a departure from openness, justice, or honesty is involved.” 

The term more commonly used is “the national interest”.  One might interpret it as doing whatever you have to to prevent the enemy from gaining control during war. This could involve destroying ships that may be taken or even creating alliances with former enemies. Winston Churchill found himself in just such a situation during WWII. You can read about that here.  Richelieu found himself allied with the very people, French Protestants, he had held under seige. Local and religious interests gave way to those of the nation.

There is also the story of not only Richelieu’s rise from impoverished nobility to the most powerful personage in Europe but the rise of France itself. He had restrained the Hapsburg dynasty and the power of the nobles to threaten the monarchy. A navy was created and colonies established. Richelieu had paved the way for the next King, Louis XIV, to rule as an absolute monarch and Louis carried on his policies making France the most powerful country in the late 17th century.

That being said, one should not discount the power of Louis XIII himself for there was no way  Richelieu could proceed without the consent of the King. The image created by Alexandre Dumas in his novel “The Three Musketeers” of a weak, bumbling King is neither fair nor correct. Although Louis was a reticent and at times, volatile person, he was never the less a fearless soldier and just arbiter. Together, Louis XIII and Richelieu fought against incredible challenges , both died prematurely, giving their lives for their country.

Bibliography

JOSEPH BERGIN,  Power and the Pursuit of Wealth. 1985. Yale University Press, New Haven and London

                                    The Rise of Richelieu. 1991. Yale University Press, New Haven and London

JEAN-VINCENT BLANCHARD,  Eminence Cardinal Richelieu and the Rise of France. 2011. Walker Company,  New York

ELENEANOR C. PRICE, Cardinal de Richelieu. 1912.  McBride, Nast & Company, New York

JOSEPH BERGIN AND LAURENCE BROCKLISS ED., Richelieu and His Age. 1992. Clarendon Press, Oxford

HENRY BERTRAM HILL , The Political Testament of Cardinal Richelieu. 1961. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison Wisconsin.

A. LLOYD MOTTE, Louis XIII, The Just. 1989. University of California Press,  Berkley, Los Angeles, London

A Flash of Scarlet Part XVIII

Richelieu’s seeming paranoia continued to rise as he found the members of Louis’ court powerful and independent enough not to come under his influence. They refused to spy for him and saw him as a cruel,  mysterious despot and a threat to their own influence on the King.  Even the King’s own brother could not be trusted. Louis himself was not above listening to the accusations and complaints of his favorites.

Queen Anne, who had been befriended by the Queen Mother early in her marriage, was herself Spanish. That and her inability to provide an heir gave Louis, who was not a naturally warm person, an excuse to ignore her. Of course he had mistresses as all kings had but they were screened by Richelieu with a contract that there would be no physical relations. Louis even fell in love with one of them, Marie de Hautefort, when she came to court as a lady in waiting to Anne. The fact that there could be no relations between them was a scurge to Louis even though the pair frequently argued. Marie, who had a very religious upbringing, soon became close to Anne and refused to become an agent for Richelieu. She was soon replaced by another innocent, Louise de la Fayette, cousin to Richelieu’s closest friend, Pere Joseph.

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Mare de Hautefort

Louise however, was well under the influence of Pere Caussin, the royal confessor and her uncle the Bishop of Limoge. It was just possible that she would try to turn Louis’ head against Richelieu. She sought advise from Pere Carré, advisor to the court ladies and Superior of the Dominicans in Paris. Naturally, he advised life in the convent. Pere Caussin, on the other hand asked why she should give up her friendship with Louis for an imagined vocation as a nun. In this he backed most of the court.  Very soon he found himself disgraced and banished to Brittany.  In 1637, Louise took up residence in the Convent de la Visitation where Louis visited her for some months.

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Louise de la Fayette

Anne, still ignored by Louis, felt ever closer to her family and friends in Spain after the war. She visited the Abbey of the Val-de-Grace where she would write letters complaining about Richelieu to the various enemies of France. In the summer of 1637,  Anne wrote a letter in code to Marie de Rohan, Duchess of Chevruese. The bearer of this letter La Porte, who was her valet-de-chambre, had already been examined by Richelieu and threatened with torture. He did not betray his mistress but was none the less intercepted.

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Old Buildings of Val de Grace, Paris                   David Monniaux

Later, Richelieu visited her seeking a confession which she, overwhelmed, signed. She was then given forgiveness by Louis and a list of requirements for her conduct. She was to visit no convents and write no letters, her maids being set as guards over her. It did not stop there. Anne, ill with fear, was again examined by Richelieu’s own court examiner and the Abbey was searched for further papers. Nothing was found, the Abbess was devoted to Anne. At this point, the Queen was ready to flee to Brussels, taking Mademoiselle de Hautefort and the Duc de Marcillac but without evidence, Richelieu could go no further.

Eventually, Anne and Louis reconciled. Madame de Chevreuse was exiled and Marie de Hautforte returned to court, maintaining her stormy relationship with the King and her friendship with the Queen. Richelieu however, was not so easily put off . He knew that de Hautefort was a danger to him , being friends with his former enemies, Monsieur, the king’s brother and the Comte de Soissons who had already given Richelieu enough trouble.

Richelieu decided to distract Louis with a new favourite in the form of a beautiful young man, Henry d’Effiat, Marquis de Cinq-Mars. Cinq-Mars was sent on a journey with Louis where he could plead his cause;  that de Hautefort could not be trusted and that Louis would have to choose between him and her. Soon Marie de Hautefort was sent on her way banished to her grandmother’s estates not to return until the regency of Anne.

A Flash of Scarlet Part XVII

Richelieu did indeed have great ambitions for himself and for France, these naturally involving the annexing of more and more territory. To this end, he would employ historians to research France’s ancient rights to the crown and give just cause to his ambitions. Add to this the perennial fact that France was surrounded by the Hapsburg dynasty creating a situation requiring constant vigil.

The Duchy of Lorraine, in northeastern France, was always a mix of German and French culture and gained great wealth and independence by her relations with the surrounding countries, always being able to gain allies from one or the other. The Duke of Lorraine, Charles IV, who had also been influenced by Gaston d”Orleans against Richelieu, refused to pay his homage for the duchy of Bar. In the summer of 1633,  Louis XIII and the Cardinal marched to Lorraine to confiscate the duchy.

The Duke Charles’ sister, Marguerite,  had been married to Gaston, Louis’ brother, in secret without the King’s permission. Charles now offered an annulment of the marriage by way of concession as well as offering his brother, Cardinal Nicholas-Francois as an alliance for Richelieu’s niece, Madame de Combalet.  Richelieu refused stating instead that he would accept only the capital city, Nancy and that Marguerite should be placed in the King’s care.

Charles would never accept the surrender of Nancy. The city was placed under siege during which time Marguerite escaped and found her way back to Gaston and the Queen mother where the marriage was legitimized by the Archbishop of Malines. Marguerite was now the Duchess of Orléans. Once again, Monsieur, as Gaston was known,  defied his brother, the King. This situation did not perturb the Cardinal but the Duke had provided him with sufficient reason to carry out his plan for reconquering Lorraine. Assistance from the Duke’s Spanish allies had been checked by the Protestants, he had lost his sister and Richelieu had set up a parliament in Metz. When the King and Richelieu left Lorraine garrisoned by French troops,  Charles left Lorraine in his brother’s hands while he joined the army under the Holy Roman Emperor.

While at Metz, several attempts were made on Richelieu’s life by assassins sent by Marie de Medici’s advisors, his life saved by the vast network of spies he employed. Gaston then made a treaty with Spain to invade France with an army of generals supplied by the Dutch. To this, the Cardinal created a league of nobles who pledged themselves to preventing the accession of Gaston should Louis fall. In any event, Spanish aid did not materialize and Gaston’s favorite Puylaurens began negotiations with Richelieu which themselves did not materialize. Puylaurens was implicated in the refusal of Gaston to accept the annulment of his marriage to Marguerite, this time by the French clergy.  Gaston had written to the Pope refusing to accept the annullment based on the fact that it usurped the Pope’s authority. Puylaurens knew this and had failed to divulge it to Richelieu with whom he was now in favour. When Richelieu discovered he was also seeking support from the Spanish again, he was exiled to Vincennes where he died,  a fate shared by many of Gaston’s friends.  Gaston was by this time reconciled at court and though he pleaded for his friend it did little good.

With Gaston’s reconciliation, Richelieu’s mind turned back to the unfinished business of the war against the Hapsburg Empire. While the rest of  Europe was willing to capitulate to the Holy Roman Emperor,  Richelieu knew that the only security for France was to stop the encroachment of her borders. He could not leave his former allies, Sweden, Holland and Protestant Germany in a weakened state. In May, 1635, Louis formally declared war against Spain, though Phillip was his brother-in-law. Again, Richelieu changed sides, supporting the Huguenots .

In spite of protests on their part, the entire country was mobilized for war, the nobles, the clergy and the people. The clergy, whose land had been previously untaxed were now asked to pay their share of the more than one hundred million francs a year. The people ever willing,  had no idea of the crush that was to come. Some would protest but to small avail. The Protestant Henri de Rohan, formerly Richelieu’s enemy at La Rochelle, now commanded an army against the Duc of Lorraine and was then commissioned to re-enter the Valtelline, once more to block the road between Austria and Spain. When Richelieu failed to pay the Grisons, rightful owners of the land a promised indemnity, they turned on Rohan whereupon he left the Valtelline to help gain Alsace.

Initially, the war did not go well for France. The Dutch were not happy with being invaded again, Germany was falling into Imperialist hands, Lorraine was barely being held and the Milanese invasion had failed. Add to that the deaths of the Ducs of Savoy and Mantua, two important allies. Spain had seized the Isles of Lérins and the navy barely recovered that due to the arguing between its commanders. Imperial troops crossed the borders into Picardy and captured La Capelle and La Catelet at their head, John of Werth, a Bavarian terrorist of the day.

In the terrible heat of late July, 1636, the people of Paris cried out against the Cardinal who with the King,  was sheltering in the country.  She was largely undefended, her walls torn down to build his palace. He was ungrateful to the Queen mother, the war was failing and he had allied a Catholic country  with heretics. Richelieu returned to Paris, once again his mind creating order out of chaos. He knew the people well, knew they were devout Catholics and called for the bishops to hold processions . The people were called to pray for their country and large gifts were made to the convents. Then he rode through the streets of Paris alone with no guards ordering all trades to  assemble to give help to their King. Once again he showed himself to be master of the situations he found himself in.

The gates of Paris were locked against those trying to escape, all privileges suspended. All men capable of bearing arms had to present themselves, all non-essential commerce cease . All owners of a coach must donate one horse, all peasants to work on new fortifications of Saint-Denis. Gifts of money poured in from all corners to supply the army. When Corbie was taken near Amiens, the army advanced there under Monsieur and the Comte de Soissons. The enemy was held in check at the Somme until all danger was past, in the middle of September. Werth and his men left.

While the enemy was repulsed everywhere, the two commanders once again plotted against Richelieu. It was decided by Gaston and de Soissons that he must be assassinated and the time was right.  The King was busy meeting with his ministers and Richelieu was alone at Amiens. Six men, met with the Cardinal in the courtyard at Amiens. One stood behind him with a knife waiting for a signal from Gaston. Two men stood on either side of the Cardinal. Moments passed, then suddenly Gaston turned to go up the stairs frozen with fear, he could not do it. The man facing the Cardinal was left abandoned and embarrassed. The Cardinal bade the men goodnight and left. They sheathed their knives.

Eventually, the conspirators left court for their homes but continued to send complaints to the King against Richelieu none of which he seemed to take seriously. Once again, after some manipulation by the Cardinal, Gaston presented himself for reconciliation with his brother, the King but there were indeed other enemies of the great Cardinal.

 

A Flash of Scarlet Part XVI

Not long after the execution of Henri de Montmorency, the Cardinal once again fell ill, this time for 3 months. It is not hard to imagine succumbing to the stress and hatred that surrounded him. On his way from Toulouse to Bordeaux where he was to escort the Queen, he received news that the loyal Maréchal de Schomberg, rescuer of Toiras and defeater of Buckingham had died of apoplexy.  Then, Gustavus Adolphus was killed at the Battle of Lutzen, weakening the Protestant alliance with France. The Cardinal worsened, giving a “cause de celebre” to his many enemies among them, Madame de Chevreuse who openly planned her position next to the Queen. Once again with terrific strength of will, the Cardinal recovered and meted out a terrible vengeance. Chevreuse was exiled from court while her partner, Monsieur de Chateauneuf was disgraced and in prison from whence we know few people escaped alive. The King rushed from Paris and celebrated with the Court, the seemingly miraculous recovery.

Again, Richelieu continued to exercise his wealth and creativity by purchasing more land and refurbishing the many country houses he owned, among them, Rueil, Limours and Bois-le-Vicomte. He felt limited by the Palais Cardinal which he had purposely built so that it would not out-shine the King’s palace. He then purchased his family home of Richelieu and the former lands of the Montpensier family, their neighbours.  The old chateau was torn down and its former outbuildings used to create the chateau of today. He was not given permission by the Pope to tear down the chapel, however. There is little left of the Chateau de Richelieu started in 1625 and finished in 1633,  once thought to be surpassed in beauty only by Fontanbleau.

Chateau and Town of Richelieu 1633

The Cardinal naturally extended the decor to include the many artistic treasures he had accumulated over the years.  Figures of mythological statues filled the gateways and from the ruined House of Montmorency, the famous Slaves of Michel Angelo stood near a variegated marble stairway. He wished for his officers and nobles, to build a town where they could stay when attending court and this soon rose up. While war with Gaston d’Orleans drew ever nearer, he focused on acquiring new paintings and statues. Here are some of the remaining parts of a town that the Cardinal never actually visited in spite of 8 years creating it and a link to the actual town today.

Paris was the place Richelieu spent his remaining years, at the Palais -Cardinal completed in 1634.  There he lived in almost royal splendor. Allegorical paintings of his life made of mosaic were embedded into gold ceilings. Paintings by famous artists, among them, Phillipe de Champagne who painted the now famous portraits of the Cardinal. The palace was filled with art treasures from all over Europe, the gardens clipped and formal.

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Le Palais Cardinal-Paris 1634

Richelieu’s charity was spread widely between his household pages who received the same training as royalty to the sick and poor of the streets. A number of gentlemen waited on him constantly and he had 5 private secretaries ( this often leading to academic confusion over what he actually wrote himself). Among them were the Prieur des Roches, Charpentier, Chéré, Mulot, Rossignol and at times, his private physician, Monsieur Citoys. Pere Joseph and his Capuchin clerks controlled an army of spies at home and abroad. Among his most confidential counsellors were the Bouthilliers and Monsieur de Noyers and Leffamas, head of the Paris police brought him reports of enemies. Jules Mazarin, later to become his successor became his most trusted diplomat. His aides-de-camp were the Cardinal de la Valette, the Archbishop of Bordeaux. The Marquise de Brézé and Marquis de la Meilleraye were created Marshalls of France. He had an army of pamphleteers and writers working under him the most well-known was Renaudot who founded the Gazette de France under the Cardinal. When he travelled, 12 instruments travelled with him along with a force of guards which included 200 musketeers, one hundred horse and a troop of gendarmes. These were quartered in and around the palace.

A normal day, when he was not ill, would begin at eight in the morning and end at eleven, after which he would sleep only for a few hours before his restless mind would cause him to commence writing. At dawn he would sleep for a few more hours and then rose to greet the King’s ministers. After hearing mass he would give an audience to anyone who wanted to see him until midday. After midday dinner, he would see the King and receive his ambassadors or attend public events. In the evening, he might stroll in his gardens, chatting with a friend until evening prayers.

Naturally, at court he was not always popular with his enemies or with women although it has been said that he at least attempted to be agreeable to them. Whether the rumours of him having a mistress are true or not would have to be proven. It is certain that affairs of state would take up a good part of his time. He is said to have been rebuffed by both Queen Anne and Madame de Chevreuse. Never the less, he could be found in the company of women at many social occasions. He was on the most affectionate terms with his niece, Marie Madeleine de Vignerot, daughter of his sister Francoise. The Cardinal attempted to arrange many marriages for her but none of them came to fruition. Still she had a powerful place at court as Duchess d’Aiguillon and was close friends with the Princess de Conde and Mademoiselle d’Angennes. She became the main figure at his entertainments.

Richelieu, who loved drama and the ballet had two theatres built at the Palais Cardinal one of which in 1641 hosted the famed play “Mirame” of which he wrote the greater part. It was performed in a theatre which could hold 3,000 people. The scenery was imported from Italy by Mazarin,  now Richelieu’s right hand . It was considered an innovation of the day with mechanical moving parts, which we find charming today. Some critics did not like it and some compared the story line to the affair between Queen Anne and Buckingham. A few disreputables had been invited which upset the King but the play was a resounding success. In the end, the Queen passed on a golden bridge drawn by peacocks to a silver throne behind the curtain from where she presided over a grand ball at the end of the evening. Richelieu had accomplished what he had set out to do, make himself acceptable to French society.

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Salle du Palais-Cardinal 1641 -Jacquot