Peace Of Westphalia, War Of The Fronde
Author: Hassall, Arthur

Peace Of Westphalia, War Of The Fronde


By the arbitrary impositions of the minister, Cardinal Mazarin, an
insurrection was provoked in France whereby Mazarin was temporarily driven
from power. This struggle is sometimes called the "War of the Fronde," and as
an episode in French history, although productive of little definite result,
it has a dramatic as well as a political interest. It shows the higher French
nobility and the representatives of the people arrayed against the party of
the court during the early minority of Louis XIV.

"The Fronde" is the name that was given to the anticourt party. The word
fronde means a sling, and the origin of its use as a party name is attributed
to an epigram. Someone is said to have compared the Frondeurs, as the members
of the party were called, to children with slings, who let fly stones and then
hide or run away.

This outbreak followed closely upon the conclusion of the Peace of
Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War. To Mazarin the great
advantages gained by France through that treaty were mainly due. The whole
period is remarkable for its antagonisms and cross-purposes, and these are
brought to view by Hassall with much subtlety of insight and felicity of

The Peace of Westphalia constitutes an important epoch in the history of
Europe. It marked the close of the struggle in Central and Northern Europe
between the Reformation and Counter-reformation movements, and the failure of
the attempts of Emperor Ferdinand III to form all Germany into an Austrian and
Roman Catholic empire. After the Peace of Westphalia, commercial rather than
religious motives regulated the policy of the chief states of Europe. But the
peace did not merely mark a revolution in men's ways of thought; it also
signalized a remarkable change in the balance of forces on the Continent. For
upward of a century the Hapsburgs, supreme in Vienna and Madrid, and closely
united by family ties, had threatened to impose their will upon Europe. After
1648 the danger ceased. The weakness of the Emperor and the strength and
independence of the German princes rendered any close union with Spain
impossible, while Spain herself, though she struggled till 1659 against her
impending fate, was already a declining power.

From another point of view, the Peace of Westphalia had a special
interest. It affords an admirable illustration of a successful effort on the
part of the German princes to strengthen their own position at the expense of
the central power. All over Europe the monarchical principle was being
assailed. In Holland the power of the stadtholder depended entirely on the
will of the merchant aristocracy; in England a republic was shortly to be
established; in Italy the revolt of Masaniello seemed at one time likely to
lead to the formation of a Neapolitan government independent of Spain; and
even in Russia aristocratic discontent against the Czar existed. Thus the
movement in France against Mazarin, which shortly developed into the Fronde
struggle, was but one of many similar manifestations of a general tendency all
over Europe to attack monarchical institutions.

Mazarin was well aware of the impossibility of checking the general
disaffection in France till Austria had been humbled, and therefore he devoted
all his efforts to bringing the war to a successful conclusion. The actual
congress was not opened at Munster till April 10, 1644, and it was not till
the end of 1645 that the negotiations seriously began. The questions to be
settled were many and complicated. France and Sweden demanded compensations
either in land or money; the Elector of Brandenburg wished to occupy all
Pomerania, which the Swedes had seized; the Elector Palatine demanded
restoration to his dominions. Then there were innumerable questions dealing
with the religious situation, the United Provinces, Italy, Catalonia,
Portugal, the constitution of the empire, and the position of the German

Early in the proceedings Mazarin brought forward France as the protector
of the ancient German liberties, and so secured the friendship of the imperial
towns and the German princes. The Landgrave of Hesse, the Elector of Treves,
and the Duke of Neuburg readily accepted the protection of France. It proved
impossible to gain the fickle Duke of Lorraine; it was equally difficult to
win over the powerful Elector of Bavaria. Maximilian I of Bavaria had played
an important part in the Thirty Years' War, but from June, 1644, he began to
enter into periodical negotiations with Mazarin. The cardinal placed no
reliance on these negotiations, which he recognized were meant to sow discord
between France and her allies. Consequently it was not till after the battle
of Nordlingen, followed later by the devastation of his territory by Turenne,
that Maximilian made serious overtures to France. In an atmosphere of
intrigue such as existed at Munster, Mazarin did wisely in pressing on
military operations.

There is no doubt that the continuation of the war had completely
disorganized the financial administration. Various devices such as the toise
had been employed by the government to raise funds, but each attempt had been
met by fresh opposition. In 1647 recourse was had to a tax known as the edit
du tarif, which modified the existing regulations upon the entry of provisions
into Paris. Great opposition was raised by the Parliament, which still more
violently opposed in January, 1648, a tax upon all possessors of lands. A lit
de justice was necessary to provide for the requirements of the government.

The operation of the unpopular tax, or rachat, as it was termed, was
postponed, and the creation of many new maitres de requetes provided a certain
amount of money. At the lit de justice, Omer Talon, the intrepid
avocat-general, delivered an eloquent oration on the condition of the French
peasants. "For ten years, sire," he said, "the country has been ruined, the
peasants reduced to sleep upon straw, their furniture sold to pay taxes. To
minister to the luxury of Paris, millions of innocent people are obliged to
live upon rye and oat bread, and their only protection is their poverty." The
creation of new maitres de requetes was stoutly opposed, but in vain, Broussel
distinguishing himself by his attack upon the government.

Thus, while victory was being prepared by Turenne, Conde, and Schomberg,
a revolution was breaking out in Paris, and in many other parts of the kingdom
resistance to the government was the order of the day. Brittany and Toulouse
showed especial audacity in their attacks on government officials. At his
wits' end for money, Emery resolved to demand as a condition of the renewal of
the paulette - a tax paid by those officials whose offices were hereditary - a
fine of four years' salary. In the hope of conciliating the Parliament of
Paris, the fine was not imposed on that body. The Parliament, however, placed
itself at the head of the opposition, and on May 13, 1648, it and the
sovereign courts - the chambre des comptes, the cour des aides, and the grand
conseil - signed a bond in union, and the courts decided to send
representatives to a conference in the chamber of St. Louis. Like Louis XVI,
in 1789, the Queen mother endeavored to prevent the meeting of the deputies.
Like Louis, she failed in her object, and the court was forced to yield. The
Spaniards had taken Courtrai, and it was well to temporize.

Money was urgently needed, and Mazarin hoped, by appealing to the
patriotism of the Parliament, to obtain the requisite supplies. He
represented that the conduct of the Parliament strengthened the cause of Spain
and ruined the credit of France. Unless money was forthcoming it would be
impossible to keep up the French armies or to maintain order at home.
Catalonia would have to be abandoned, the alliance with Sweden and Hesse would
be broken off; in a word, all would be lost. The Parliament, however, was
dead to all sense of patriotism, and was prepared to sacrifice the nation to
its own petty interests. Orleans, who had joined the malcontents, promised
that the deputies who had been imprisoned or exiled by Mazarin should be
restored. Mazarin, hoping for some striking success on the frontier,
determined to temporize, and on June 30, 1648, in open defiance of the orders
of the government, the chamber of St. Louis was constituted as a permanent
political body to carry out reforms. With its establishment the First or
Parliamentary Fronde began its stormy career.

In appearance the Parliament of Paris was like the English Parliament,
bent on securing valuable constitutional rights. Its members demanded proper
control of the taxes, liberty for the individual, the abolition of lettres de
cachet. But in doing so they were encroaching on the rights of the
States-General, which was the only representative assembly of the French
nation. And, moreover, it was soon evident that the Parliament aimed
primarily at securing its own privileges. Each step in the struggle between
the Parliament and the Crown brings out more conclusively the selfishness of
the lawyers and their lack of statemanship. In the New or Second Fronde the
nobles made no pretence of securing for the nation constitutional rights. They
openly demanded provincial governments, pensions, and gifts of money.

Thus the principal cause of the failure of the Fronde movement was
apparent from the first. The Parliament had no constitutional basis; its
opposition to Mazarin, which was in many respects justified, was tainted by
the egoism and selfishness of its members. It had in reality no great aims;
it had no hold on the people. As time went on the movement was rapidly
wrecked by the intervention of the nobles and court ladies. De Retz was under
the influence of the Duchess of Chevreuse; the Duke of Beaufort was governed
by the Duchess of Montbazon; Conde revealed all his plans to the Duchess of
Chatillon, who conveyed them to Mazarin; Turenne was encouraged in disloyalty
by the Duchess of Longueville. There was no lack of ability on the side of
the opposition; Mole and De Retz represented talents of different qualities,
and the latter remained the most brilliant pamphleteer of the period.
Rochefoucauld, who at one time was under the sway of the Duchess of
Longueville, gives ample evidence in his Maximes of consummate ability and of
a profound knowledge of human nature; while Turenne and Conde, who at the
period were united against the crown, were the two ablest generals of the day.

Among other conspicuous men of the day who opposed Mazarin, Chavigny and
Chateauneuf were perhaps the most dangerous. But the association of most of
these heroes of the Fronde with the court ladies ruined all chances of
success. Love-affairs and politics became hopelessly intermingled, and the
New Fronde has remained a ridiculous episode in French history. Though the
Old Fronde was narrow-minded and selfish, and the New Fronde absurd, the
movements were fraught with great danger to the monarchy. In 1648 Mazarin at
first failed to recognize the gravity of the situation, and he thought that he
had only to combat the intrigues of some of the nobles. In the later phases
of the struggle he often erred through his belief in diplomacy and his
tendency to follow moderate counsels. But he never faltered in his
determination to preserve the rights of the French monarchy; he easily
outmatched his opponents in intrigue; and eventually, supported by the
bourgeoisie and the mass of the nation, he triumphed over both the Parliament
and the nobles.

Throughout the early months of 1648 the opposition of the Parliament was
intensified by the folly and unpopularity of Emery, the superintendent of the
finances, and by the failure of Mazarin to master the details of the French
administrative system. Moreover, he had given some justification for the
attacks made upon him by the favors which he showered upon his own relations,
and by the means employed in order to secure for his brother the title of
cardinal. The truth is Mazarin cared little for home affairs, and gave no
thought to matters connected with the commerce and agriculture of France.
Unlike Henry IV and Richelieu, he made no attempt to open up new sources of
prosperity for France for founding colonies, encouraging trade, introducing
manufactures, or protecting agriculture. His neglect of the internal
administration was largely answerable for the financial embarrassments of
France, for the misery of the people, and to a large extent for the outbreak
of the First Fronde.

At the same time it must be remembered that his predecessor was in some
measure responsible for the troubles which ensued after his death. Richelieu
had made no efforts to reform the financial administration of France, and both
the direct and indirect taxes were levied unfairly and oppressively. The
financiers who framed the indirect taxes made enormous fortunes out of the
taxpayers; fraud and peculation were common; the provinces were in a state of
wretchedness. The sale of offices, the system of farming the taxes, and the
gabelle or tax on salt were left untouched; the enormous and harmful
concessions given to the nobles during the minority of Louis XIII had not been
revoked or diminished. On his accession to office Mazarin found that the
revenues of the next three years had been spent. Moreover, on Richelieu's
death few men of marked capacity were to be found in France. Like Frederick
the Great in the next century, Richelieu was jealous of any initiative on the
part of his colleagues. He gradually concentrated in his own hands all the
threads of the administration and controlled the generals in the field. His
system produced useful agents, but neither statesmen nor able commanders. The
concentration of all authority in his own hands checked reforms in the
government departments, and one writer has stated that "the Fronde would never
have taken place if Richelieu had thought more of securing efficiency in those
departments to which he could not give sufficient personal attention, and less
on concentrating all authority in his own hands."

After Richelieu's death a policy of firmness, if not severity, was
required. The easy rule of Anne of Austria, with its pardons and concessions
resulted in an increase of independence on the part of the nobles, and led
ultimately to the Fronde. The policy of leniency brought numerous
difficulties and dangers which Mazarin in the end succeeded in overcoming.
That he was able to do so was probably due partly to his own perseverance,
partly to the policy of Richelieu, who had weakened the nobles and the
Parliament and deprived them of all substantial power. Had Richelieu lived
the Fronde could never have occurred; that it did occur "was due to Mazarin's
inability to rule with the same iron hand as his more illustrious

Rarely had a minister, occupied in carrying on a prolonged war, been so
involved in internal difficulties as was Mazarin. He had to superintend the
movements of French generals in Flanders, Germany, Italy, and Spain, and at
the same time to keep in constant communication with his agents at Munster,
who carried on complicated peace negotiations under his instructions.

During the earlier part of his ministry successes abroad strengthened the
government at home and enabled it to take up a firm attitude toward its
opponents. In 1643 the victory of Rocroi had aided in the establishment of
Anne of Austria's regency; in 1645 the triumph at Nordlingen had enabled
Mazarin to suppress the rising opposition of the Parliament of Paris; and in
1646 the capture of Mardyke, Duenkirk, Piombino, and Porto Longone had effaced
the recollection of the failure at Orbitello. But in 1648 the situation at
home was more critical and political passions ran high. Mazarin's neglect of
the internal administration had led to the revival of the cabals suppressed in
1643, while the Parliament of Paris found in the general misery and
misgovernment of the country some justification for its opposition to the
court and the minister. Turenne's victory of Zusmarshausen in May, 1648,
passed almost unnoticed in Paris, which was then seething with discontent.
Mazarin, however, hoped that a victory won by the popular Conde in Flanders
would at any rate arrest attention, strike the imagination of the Parisians,
and enable the Court to deal a telling blow at its opponents.

That the opposition had any real ground of complaint Mazarin never seems
to have acknowledged, and he certainly at this time failed to grasp the
gravity of the situation. The leaders of the Parliamentary Fronde were to a
great extent men who "represented the highest type of citizen life" and who
had the welfare of France at heart. In attacking a wasteful administration
and a ruinous system of taxation, the Fronde movement is deserving of respect.
There was much to urge against the frauds of contractors, unjust
imprisonments, and the creation of new offices, and many of the suggested
reforms of the chamber of St. Louis were excellent. On May 15, 1648,
delegates from the four sovereign courts - the parliament, the grand conseil,
the chambre des comptes, the cour des aides - had met in the chamber of St.
Louis "to reform the abuses which had crept into the state." The thirty-two
delegates who sat in that chamber formulated their demands, and practically
claimed a share in the legislative authority. Their principal demands were:

(1) That no tax should be levied unless previously voted by the
Parliament of Paris; (2) that no one should be kept in prison for more than
twenty-four hours without being tried; (3) that an investigation into the
extortions of the farmers of the taxes should be made; (4) that a quarter of
the taille should be remitted, and that money gained from that source should
be strictly appropriated to the wars; (5) that the intendants should be
abolished; (6) that no new office should be created without the agreement of
the Parliament of Paris.

The Parliament of Paris thus proposed to take up a position similar to
that occupied by the English Parliament. But the Parliament of Paris was
unfitted to be a legislative body. It was merely a close corporation of
hereditary lawyers, whose claim to political functions had been summarily
dismissed by Richelieu. The demand for the abolition of the intendants at
once testifies to its want of statesmanship.

Among Richelieu's beneficial measures none was more valuable than the
appointment of the intendants. By abolishing them the Parliament of Paris was
threatening the unity of the whole internal administration. Without the
intendants the provinces would once again fall into the incapable hands of the
nobles, feudalism would again be rampant, and general confusion and anarchy
would ensue. The Parliament no doubt attacked the intendants in the hope of
succeeding to their functions and thus securing a considerable voice in the
administration of the provinces. The intendants, too, whose full title was
"intendants of justice, police, and finance," had often infringed upon the
jurisdiction of the Parliament, which was always jealous of any invasion of
its judicial powers. The proposals of the chamber of St. Louis constituted a
distinct attack on the royal power; they also implied on the part of the
sovereign courts an invasion of the rights of the nation. The King alone had
legislative power, and the States-General alone had the right to present to
him their grievances. At this crisis it is evident that the Parliament wished
to supersede the States-General and to take their place. Such a usurpation on
the part of a body of lawyers could not be tolerated either by the government
or by the nation, and the resistance of the former eventually received the
full support of the French people.

Anne of Austria, in her determination to preserve for her son all the
royal prerogatives intact, was furious at the demands of the sovereign courts,
and was prepared to enter upon a contest with them without delay. Mazarin,
however, persuaded her to temporize. Orleans, on July 7th, presided over a
conference in his palace, and certain concessions were made by Mazarin to the
opposition. The superintendent, Emery, was dismissed, and the incapable
Marshal de la Meilleraye substituted. A chamber of justice was set up, to
deal with all abuses connected with the financial administration. Over the
abolition of the intendants there was much angry discussion. Eventually Anne
gave a reluctant consent to the suppression of all except those in Languedoc,
Provence, the Lyonnais, Picardy, and Champagne. During these conferences
Orleans showed a sympathy with the Frondeurs and it was evident that he would
not uphold the royal cause. Being determined at the first opportunity to
resist the pretensions of the Parliament, and being desirous to sound the
loyalty of Conde, Anne and Mazarin summoned the Prince to Paris. It was
probably arranged at some interviews which took place on July 19th and the
following day that the Prince should first crush the Archduke Leopold and then
return to aid the government in overcoming the resistance of the Parliament.

Till Conde had won a decisive victory the government thought it well to
continue to temporize, and Anne of Austria simulated a desire to satisfy all
the demands of the Frondeurs. On July 31st a royal declaration agreed to the
majority of the claims made by the sovereign courts in the chamber of St.
ouis. No satisfactory guarantee was, however, given with regard to the
personal liberty of the subject, the Broussel and other extremists continued
to agitate. The situation, which in many respects resembled that of 1792,
remained critical, the Frondeurs desiring further radical changes, while the
court anxiously awaited developments on the frontier. At last, on August 22,
1648, arrived the news of Conde's victory at Lens.

"Heaven has at last declared in our favor," wrote Mazarin, "in the Low
Countries no less than in other places." The victories of Zusmarshausen,
Tortosa, and Prague had now been crowned by the victory of Lens. The
superiority of the French arms was proved, and the courts prepared to crush
the opposition of the Parliament. The success at Lens would in Mazarin's
opinion enable him to force Spain to make peace, and to triumph over the
Parliament. By the advice of the Count of Chavigny, the King's council -
which included, besides the Queen Regent and Mazarin, the Dukes of Orleans and
Longueville, the chancellor, Seguier, and Meilleraye, the superintendent of
the finances - decided, like the court of Louis XVI in July, 1789, to carry
out a coup d'etat and to arrest three members of the Parliament - Broussel,
Blancmesnil, and Charton. The arrests were to take effect in August. On
August 26th, the day on which a Te Deum was being sung in Norte Dame in honor
of the victory at Lens, the attempt to carry out the coup d'etat was made.
Unlike Charles I in his attempt to arrest the five members, the action of the
French government was partially successful. Charton indeed escaped, but
Broussel and Blancmesnil were seized. The populace of Paris at once rose and
erected barricades. The whole city was in an uproar. The news that
Masaniello had headed a rising in Naples against the tax-gatherers helped to
excite the mob, just as the victories of the English Parliament had encouraged
the aspirations of the French Parliament. At this point Paul de Gondi, better
known as the Cardinal de Retz, the intriguing coadjutor of the Archbishop of
Paris, became prominent. He appeared at the Palais Royal and advised the
Queen Regent to yield to the popular wish and release Broussel and
Blancmesnil. Having failed in his object, he set to work to inflame still
more the passions of the multitude. On August 27th the situation became yet
more serious, and the chancellor, Seguier, attacked by the mob, nearly lost
his life.

The Parliament endeavored, at first without success, to induce Anne to
release the prisoners; but at length, yielding to the advice of Orleans and
Mazarin, she consented to a compromise. The Parliament agreed not to
interfere in political matters, and Broussel and Blancmesnil were released.
The barricades disappeared and outwardly Paris was pacified.

But all danger was by no means over. The Duke of Longueville had during
the troubles held a very ambiguous attitude, and it was evident that he and
other nobles were not loyal to the court. The troops had shown signs of
mutiny; the days of the League seemed likely to return. On August 29th
Mazarin made certain suggestions to the Regent which testified to his
foresight and determination. He was resolved to restore the royal authority
and to subdue the Parliament. He was determined to enforce the supremacy of
the King in Paris, and till that had been accomplished the reputation of
France would suffer abroad, trade would languish, the conclusion of the war
would be deferred. Like Mirabeau, Mazarin recognized the necessity of
removing the King and court from the influence of the capital. He therefore
advised the departure of the court to Rueil, Conflans, or St. Maur, where the
return of Conde could be awaited. On that general's arrival Paris could, if
necessary, be coerced by force of arms. Meanwhile he urged the adoption of
temporizing measures and of a policy of conciliation, with the object of
dividing the enemies of the royal authority. Many of the bourgeoisie were
opposed to the late seditious conduct of Paris, and the older members of the
Parliament were disposed to peace. But a powerful party in the Parliament was
determined to regain its political powers, and on the instigation of De Retz
held meetings in order to consult upon the necessary measures to be taken.
Moreover, the Count of Chavigny had deserted the cause of the court and urged
the Parliament to resist Mazarin to the uttermost. It was obvious that a
further collision between the royal authority and the Parliament was

Mazarin's mind was made up. On September 13th the court moved to Rueil,
where it was joined by Orleans, Seguier, Meilleraye, and Conde. Two of the
Cardinal's opponents, the Marquis of Chateauneuf and the Count of Chavigny, at
once felt the heavy hand of the minister. The former was exiled; the latter
was placed under arrest. The attempt of a deputation of the Parliament,
headed by its president, Matthieu Mole, to secure the release of Chavigny and
to induce the Queen Regent to return to Paris, failed, and the King's council
annulled the decree of the Parliament itself. The Parliament prepared to take
defensive measures, but the outbreak of hostilities was averted by the
temporary triumph of a pacific spirit in the court. It is difficult to
account for this sudden change; it was probably due to the fact that Mazarin
could not depend upon the whole-hearted support of Conde in carrying out an
energetic policy. Conde indeed stood apart from De Retz and looked with
contempt upon the "long-robed" Parliament as much as he did upon the canaille.
Like Napoleon he scorned mob rule and disorder. But for years he had been
alienated from Mazarin, and hated him as much as he despised the Frondeurs.

Yielding to the persuasions of De Retz, Conde advocated the assembling of
a conference, hoping to bring about Mazarin's exclusion from its meetings. The
conference first met at St. Germain on September 25th, the royal authority
being represented by Orleans, Conde, Conti, and Longueville; and it lasted ten
days, till October 4th. After long discussions the members agreed to an
ordinance, which was published on October 22, 1648, and known as the
Declaration of St. Germain. Most of the demands of the chamber of St. Louis
were conceded. The financial, judicial, and commercial administration of the
kingdom was regulated, and measures were taken to check arbitrary arrests and
to reform the methods of taxation. This ordinance was the most important act
of the First or Parliamentary Fronde, and represents the high-water mark of
constitutional advance made by the Parliament and its supporters. It almost
seemed that constitutional life was at last to begin in France.

But if examined closely the Declaration of October 22d bears full
evidence as to the selfish and narrow aims of the Parliament, and shows how
every so-called constitutional effort on its part was tainted by its
determination to secure its own privileges. In the declaration it is
specially stated that the charges and privileges of the Parliament should be
guaranteed. Though the regular payment of the rentes of the Hotel de Ville -
a matter in which the bourgeoisie was interested - was enforced, and though
there was a reference in general terms to the amelioration of the lot of the
mass of the people, the declaration was principally concerned with securing
and confirming the privileges of the Parliament.

So far Mazarin and Anne had been forced to yield, and the Parliament had
apparently won the day. But Mazarin had only simulated a yielding spirit; in
reality, he was more determined than ever to establish the royal authority, to
crush all opposition in Paris by a concentration of troops under a trusted
commander. By his advice Anne had made promises which she never intended to
keep, and Mazarin was simply biding his time. One of his most striking
characteristics was his perseverance in carrying out his plans. Having fixed
upon a policy, he carried it through in the end, though compelled to adopt
various and unexpected methods before success was attained. It is noteworthy
that the treaty of Westphalia and the treaty with the Frondeurs were signed on
the same day. It is equally noteworthy that, while the Frondeurs were
seemingly triumphant, Mazarin was making careful preparations for the civil
war which he regarded as inevitable.

On October 24, 1658, the Peace of Westphalia was signed between France
and Sweden on the one hand and the representatives of the Emperor and the
empire on the other. France secured Upper and Lower Alsace, the Sundgau, and
the prefecture of ten imperial towns; in other words, the practical ownership
of Alsace, though the rights of the imperial princes were for a long time a
matter of difficulty. She also obtained recognition of her possession of (1)
Metz, Toul, and Verdun, the three bishoprics conquered by Henry III, with
their districts; (2) of Old Brisach, situated on the right bank of the Rhine;
while the privilege of keeping a garrison in Philippsburg was also granted to
France. Further, no fortress was to be placed on the right bank of the Rhine
between Basel and Philippsburg. Indirectly France gained enormously. Her
ally, Sweden, secured a foothold in Northern Germany, together with a vote in
the Diet; and the practical independence of the princess of the empire was

Mazarin had successfully carried on the foreign policy of Richelieu, and
the situation of the great European states in 1648 speaks volumes for his
skill and energy. The power of the house of Hapsburg was in many respects
seriously curtailed. The Austrian branch could no longer aim at establishing
a universal monarchy, and came out of the war with its resources much
weakened. The Spanish branch had lost its preponderance in Italy, Portugal
had regained her independence, Catalonia was in revolt. Though Spain
continued the war till 1659, she only lost by doing so, and her defeats and
losses strengthened the position of France. French influence remained supreme
in Germany for some thirty years, and was only destroyed by the ambition and
shortsightedness of Louis XIV. Mazarin had not merely advanced the boundary
of France toward the Rhine; he had established French preponderance in Europe,
and had insisted on the recognition of the balance of power. The Peace of the
Pyrenees in 1659 completed the work of the pacification of Westphalia. The
conclusion of the war between France and the Emperor was hardly noticed in
Paris, and this fact in itself is a striking illustration of the want of
patriotism of the Frondeurs. Moreover, De Retz, in October, 1648, was
actually considering the advisability of inviting the Spaniards to march on
Paris. His plan was to send St. Ibal, his friend and relation, to Brussels to
engage Fuensaldana to advance. Already the Parliamentary Fronde was falling
into the hands of plotters and traitors.

On October 30th the court returned to Paris, and two months of anxiety
followed. Orleans was with difficulty induced to forego his feelings of
resentment toward Mazarin and to remain faithful to the royal cause. His
support was all the more valuable as the Parliament was disposed to harass the
government at every opportunity. It complained that the promises in the
Declaration of October 22nd were not carried out; that the grievances of the
taxpayers had not been remedied; moreover, like the National Assembly in 1789,
it was much agitated at the gradual concentration of troops around Paris.
Though Orleans and Conde visited the Parliament in December and promised that
the Declaration of October 22nd should be loyally executed, the attacks on the
government, and especially on Mazarin, increased in violence.

Countless pamphlets styled mazarinades were published containing abuse of
the Cardinal. "It was the fashion to hate Mazarin," is the declaration of a
court lady, and the hatred was shared by the nobles and the workmen of Paris.
He gained no thanks for the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia, but was
attacked for not bringing the war with Spain to a close. These attacks on the
Cardinal were intensified by the support which they gained from De Retz. In
the existing complications lay his chance of securing at least notoriety.
Utterly unprincipled, and absolutely devoid of any patriotic feelings, De Retz
hoped during the coming troubles to become the practical ruler of Paris. For
five years Paris read little else but mazarinades, which, with very rare
exceptions, were utterly devoid of literary merit. These attacks on his
authority and position implied, in Mazarin's opinion, the growth of
revolutionary views, and he warned the Queen-mother that the situation in
France resembled that in England at the opening of the civil war. He thought
that his own position was like Strafford's, and he was prepared to act
vigorously. The encroachments on the royal power increased, and the Cardinal
advocated a fresh retirement from Paris. On January 5, 1649, the court, under
circumstances of haste and secrecy, moved suddenly to St. Germain, and the
Parisians the following morning "saw war, siege, and famine at their gates."

The civil war had begun, and continued from January 6 to April 1, 1649.
Mazarin hoped, by means of the troops, to cut Paris off from all supplies and
to starve it into surrender. But the army of fifteen thousand was not large
enough for carrying out so elaborate a scheme, and Mazarin had to be content
with occupying the principal posts outside the city. Under Conde the military
operations were efficiently performed, and the Parisians, with their hastily
raised army, could do little but defend themselves. Though risings took place
in the North and Southeast, the war of the First Fronde concentrated itself
round the capital. At first Paris adopted a bold attitude. Under the
influence of the Duchess of Longueville, who now "sank to the level of a mere
adventuress," the Frondeurs were joined by many princes, such as her brother
the Prince of Conti, her husband the Duke of Longueville, the Marshal de la
Mothe, the Duke of Bouillon, and the Duke of Beaufort. The latter, together
with De Retz, became the real leaders of the resistance to the court, and were
the last to be reconciled to the government. While De Retz headed the
Parliamentary movement, Beaufort, "the idol of the markets," led the mob.
Hoping to stir up the provinces, the Duke of Longueville proceeded to
Normandy; but Mazarin at once sent the Count of Harcourt to suppress all
rebellious movements. In spite of this danger, and of small risings in the
Southwest, the war of the First Fronde was mainly an attempt on the part of
the Parliament of Paris to remedy certain existing evils in the government,
though De Retz hoped to win a decisive success by means of the treason of

The treason of Turenne was more serious than possible rebellions in the
provinces. That general, perhaps beguiled by the Duchess of Longueville,
proposed to lead his army, composed mainly of Germans, to Paris. Fortunately,
the German auxiliaries refused to follow him, and Turenne was compelled later
to retire to Heilbronn, and thence to Holland.

Freed from all fear of any serious risings in the provinces, and for the
moment from any hostile movement on the part of Turenne, Mazarin was able to
devote his energies to the task of subduing Paris. There, on January 12th,
the mob had seized the Arsenal, and had secured possession of the Bastille.
Two days later, on January 14th, Beaufort occupied Charenton, important as
facilitating the entry of provisions into Paris. Possessed of Charenton and
of the town of Brie-Comte-Robert, the Parisians could feel secure from all
danger of being starved into surrender.

In spite, however, of these successes, and of the continual efforts of De
Retz and Beaufort, the Parisian levies proved no match for Conde's regular
troops, before whom they fled on January 23rd and again on January 29th. These
reverses, together with the loss of Charenton on February 8th, encouraged the
party of moderation among the clergy and the members of the Parliament to
raise their voices in favor of peace. The people in Paris were becoming weary
of the war, resented the sufferings to which they were subject, and complained
of the conduct of their generals. From being a determined stand for liberties
and reforms, the war was already showing signs of degenerating into a mere
selfish struggle on the part of the nobles against the centralization of the
royal power, and especially against Mazarin.

In many respects the siege of 1649 foreshadowed that of 1870. There were
the same levity and anarchy, the same endurance and courage. Conde and Moltke
both experienced similar difficulties in their attempts to subdue the French
capital. Through the influence of De Retz negotiations were entered into with
Spain, and a Spanish envoy arrived in Paris. But a reaction had begun, and
the moderate party in the Parliament protested against dealings with Spain.
The clergy favored a settlement, and the news of the execution of Charles I
shocked the consciences of the more reasonable men on both sides. The loss,
too, on February 25th, of the town of Brie-Comte-Robert increased enormously
the difficulty of securing supplies. Though De Retz remained master of the
Parisian populace, and intractable, and though the nobles of the Fronde stood
aloof, moderate counsels prevailed, and on February 28th the Parliament
decided to send deputies, who should treat, not with Mazarin, but with the
courts. The interests of the royal cause demanded a settlement, even though
of a temporary character. Turenne was still anxious to march to the aid of
Paris, the Archduke Leopold was ready to invade France, and some of the French
governors of frontier towns were intriguing with the Spaniards. Concessions
were therefore advisable. On March 11th a compromise was patched up, known as
the Treaty of Rueil. But in Paris the terms were refused. The extreme
members of the Parliament were furious when they realized that Mazarin was to
remain in power, and that, till end of 1649, the Parliament was not to discuss
political questions. It was not till April 2nd that the treaty, slightly
modified, was accepted, and the twelve-weeks' war came to an end. The right
of the Parliament to take some part in state affairs was reluctantly allowed
by Mazarin, and the treaty was registered; the Parisian troops were then
disbanded. But the main object of the Frondeurs, the expulsion of Mazarin
from France, remained unfulfilled, and the people and nobles regarded the
treaty with no enthusiasm.


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