The Prince married because his father promised to make him an allowance on that condition — a promise which was not kept. On the other hand, Madame de Roquelaure, who had placed her daughter in a convent to avoid giving her a dowry, refused all pecuniary assistance. The consequence was that the Prince and Princess had a very hard time of it, for the Due de Rohan lived to a ripe old age, and did not die until As for Florence, we find that after leaving the Bas- tille she retired to a convent, where she probably end- ed her days.
Her daughter married a French General. At the commencement of a number of spies were arrested and thrown into the Bastille, and amongst these was the Abbe du Bucquoy, " a rogue and a scoundrel capable of anything. The Abbe, having escaladed the walls, made his escape into Paris, favoured by a dark night, and the other two were taken back to prison. This happened at one o'clock this morn- mg.
This affair, reported by the Lieutenant of the Bas- tille, caused a great sensation, and much afflicted the Governor, M. In a letter to M. I kept him according to order in the underground cell, without fire, and with no more light than was necessary for eating and drinking; but the severity of the winter excited my compassion.
I had him re- moved to a chamber well barred, but not well enough for him, since he made his escape. I cannot 37 The Bastille tell you how afflicted my officers and I feel ; we are in despair. As for myself, I passed two nights without sleeping, and almost without eating, walking up and down all day long. I wish I had never put foot in the Bastille. I would give all my fortune and the revenue of the Bastille to find that fellow.
He afterwards went to Holland, where he met with a hospitable reception, keeping well clear of his native land. As we have before remarked, the authorities did not quite disbelieve in the existence of the philosopher's stone and the transmutation of metals, and while throwing the alchemists into the Bastille allowed them to experiment on behalf of the Government. On the 27th March one of these impostors called Delisle was arrested after a correspondence which commenced in May, , between M.
Delisle seems to have been patronised by the Bishop of Senez, who wrote to M. It appears to me that H. I will take care to return it to you. You must add what you think concerning the designs of Delisle, and if he is in a position to work in order to render his discovery too excellent to be believed in before being seen of ser- vice to the King. The Councillor of State, Nointel, was charged to in- quire into this afTair, and he appears, at length, to have lost patience and to have packed the poor alchemist off to the capital.
I am greatly distressed at the way in which the poor captive has been treated, and the ignominy he has endured, having been bound hand and foot. I am, 39 The Bastille however, consoled by the thought that DeUsle has at last determined to satisfy the King. In spite of his great age, the Bishop announced his intention of starting for Paris. Delisle appears to have been wounded on the road to Paris, and to have been in very indifferent health when committed to the Bastille. The Bishop of Senez brought the powders and bottles, and lighted the furnace in presence of M.
At a very early age Nicholas Freret, another philos- opher, exhibited great promise. In March, , when twenty-five years of age, he pronounced a dis- 40 Freret course at the Academy of Inscriptions, on the origin of the French. It excited the indignation of one of the members of the Academy, who denounced Freret to the sovereign authority, and the young scholar was thrown into the Bastille on the 26th December, 17 This philosopher was treated with great con- sideration, and was released in March, 5, having been three months and three days in captivity. In May, 17 15, we find the Princess of Nassau com- mitted to the Bastille on the charge of debauchery.
This lady, whose maiden name was Charlotte de Mailly de Nesle, belonged to the family which fur- nished in succession three mistresses to Louis XV. The Princess is thus spoken of by St. Simon : " The Marquis de Nesle had a sister who had very little money, was running to seed, and did not wish to take the veil. He found a younger son of Nassau-Siegen, without breeches, who filled a subordinate post in the guards of the King of Spain in Flanders. The name flattered the Maillys, who arranged a marriage, at 41 The Bastille which hunger wedded thirst, which was very unhappy, and which gave rise to a good many scenes.
The husband was a very honest and brave fellow, al- though poor, who had allowed his wife to hrclander at her ease, who lived by this trade and the money she gained at cards. Ugly as she was, she had some vil- lainous adventures which made a great noise. The husband got angry; she decided to plead, and very strange things were said on both sides.
The husband presented a petition to the King in which, very un- necessarily, he asked permission to accuse his wife of adultery. What was worse still, he accused her of attempting to poison him. The Maillys got fright- ened of the scafifold, and obtained permission for the Princess to be taken to the Bastille. Ravaisson gives us the petition of the Prince, in which he details his misfortunes, and gives the names of his wife's lovers.
This order has been executed in accordance with the wishes of H. Under the Regency she returned to her old habits of dissipation, which, being in keeping with the epoch, probably passed unnoticed and unpunished. On the 26th January, 17 15, the Marquise d'Esclain- villiers was also taken to the Bastille by order of the King on the charge of debauchery.
I am under a great many obligations for your attentions. May I dare to beg you to ask Madame d'Esclainvilliers what has become of my two cravates of point lace, with the sleeves? I shall be very much obliged to you, for I cannot find them. I am persuaded, however, that you cannot have it too contented, knowing the painful position in which I am. I throw myself at your knees 43 The Bastille and demand pardon.
Pardon a poor slave who, for the last three years, has been doing penitence over- whelmed with all the bitterness in the world. In the name of God lighten my punishment by allowing me to go to a convent for my repose and salvation. In the name of God and our three children, decide something in my favour.
The actual crime committed by Madame d'Esclain- villiers is shrouded in mystery. No mention of it is to be found. His wife, through the kindness of H. I beg that you will send them to me. It is very certain that if he were to remain free he would find many persons who, thirsting after gold, would fall into the snares set by this man, and it is to hinder this that H. It is important that this man should not escape, and that his papers, and effects should be seized; we shall find a good many things among them.
On the i8th June, Pontchartrain in a further letter to d'Argenson on this matter wrote : " H. During the time that this man is con- fined it will be well for you to speak to him and per- suade him to work in good faith in case his science is certain, or to acknowledge the fraud if it be false.
Boudin, in his report, said of Dies- back : " He is a poor devil who has never taken any one's money, and what will you do with him in prison? The almost total destruction of the Spanish fleet by Admiral Byng proved a terrible blow to the conspirators, numbers of whom were arrested by order of Cardinal Dubois. Other culprits of less importance, like Mademoiselle de Launay, were committed to the Bastille. She has left a lively- account of her misfortunes in her '' Memoirs. Genies, the Chevalier de Menil, and the Abbe Brigault, she says : '' There were several in- trigues distinct from ours, which all had Spain for headquarters, and were carried on through our am- bassador; the Due de Richelieu, committed to the Bastille some time afterwards, had his, and several other grandees of the kingdom were suspected of hav- ing their's.
This was in The prisoner asked for books and a pack of cards, and whiled away a portion of her time reading odd volumes of " Cleopatre," and playing at picquet with Rondel. She takes care to mention in her "Memoirs" how she arranged herself to the best advantage to re- ceive M. In the meantime the Governor brought her her linen and a purse filled with gold, the present of a friend called M.
Everything was done to make her as comfortable as it was possible, and she says in her " Memoirs : " " Relieved of the greatest anxieties inherent to my position, I should have tasted repose, had my mind not been continually besieged by a terrible idea. Some days before being confined in the Bastille the Abbe Chaulieu had related the most fearful stories about what happened there; amongst others, that of a lady of quality who had been tortured without trial, and so severely that she remained all her life a cripple.
He pretended that these means were often resorted to without any formality. This made a great impression on my mind, and I ventured one day when the King's Lieutenant came to see me to turn the conversation upon several things which I had heard were done in the Bastille. He treated most of them as children's stories. At length, lowering my voice, I said people pretended that the question was administered without trial. He made no reply. He walked up and down the room during this conversa- tion. He took another turn and then left me abrupt- ly.
I was thunderstruck, and more persuaded than ever of the terrible treatment which awaited me. She laughed heartily on making this discovery. The prisoner afterwards relates how, when she had been three weeks in the Bastille she was summoned to appear before the Keeper of the Seals; nor does she omit to state that before leaving her room she applied a little rouge, which she was not accustomed to do, so that her judges might learn nothing from the pallor of her face.
Mademoiselle de Launay got through her examination, which was not a very severe one, satisfactorily to herself, and when it was over, instead of being put to the question, she was rather astonished when M. To return to the " Memoirs : " " I had been for three months in this peaceful abode, when towards the end of Lent the Governor asked me if I wished to faire mes pdques. I asked if I might have a confessor of my own choice. He said no, and that I must either take the chaplain of the establishment or go without con- fessing.
I was so suspicious of all the officers that I was tempted to put ofif this duty to a more convenient season. However, fearing that the Regent, who entered into the most minute details of our con- duct, would draw unfavourable conclusions from my refusal, I determined at all risks to confess. As I had 49 The Ristille various things to recall to mind which might get jum- bled up, I asked the Governor for some paper so that I might set them in order and forget nothing. He re- plied that nothing could be written in the Bastille with- out being given to him to read.
That she should have suspected this ecclesiastic in the first place is not much to be wondered at, considering that a large number of abbes were notoriously spies in the pay of the Government, and formed, as Lanfrey said, speaking of the priests and bishops of the First Empire, a kind of sacred gendarmerie. Several prisoners having been released, M. He was the only man by whom I think that I was really loved. Verses were interchanged, and at last M. Other interviews, some stolen, followed, and in the end the lady and the Chevalier fell passionately in love with each other, to the great grief of the simple-minded M.
In February, , Mademoiselle de Launay was released, and as de Menil had already regained his liberty, she looked forward to uniting her lot with his. He was hardly beyond the walls of the Bastille when his passion cooled, and his fine promises were forgot- ten. The King's Lieutenant was revenged. There are portions of this lady's " Memoirs " writ- ten with great spirit, filled with small talk, very clever in its way, and highly interesting at times. Carlyle quotes a letter which she wrote to Madame du Def- fand, giving an inimitable description of a visit paid by Voltaire and his divine EmiHe to the Duchesse du Maine at her palace of Sceaux, pointing out that " she is by no means Necker's daughter, but a much clever- er.
Few persons, however, will endorse the judgment of Carlyle, and admit the quondam lady's-maid of the Duchesse du Maine, with all her in- teresting babble, to be cleverer than Madame de Stael, the authoress of " Corinne," and that " bird of ill omen " persecuted by Napoleon. As he would neither confess nor hear of a reconciliation with God, he was refused Christian burial.
The Gov- ernor does not know what his position was beyond the fact that he was an officer, nor what religion he pro- fessed. It is supposed, however, that he was a Catho- lic, as he went to mass several times. I have told the Governor not to have him buried until you have de- cided whether it shall be in consecrated ground or not. Neither had committed any serious crime, nor did either remain long in the prison to which, however, they were des- tined to return more than once.
When he was fourteen years of age this " precocious Cherubin," as Jules Janin calls him, the Due de Fron- sac, was presented by his father to Madame de Main- tenon, who shortly afterwards wrote to the Due de Richelieu saying : " Your son enjoys the favour of the King and of the whole court; he does everything well that he attempts, he dances to perfection, he plays at cards ' honestly,' he is a good horseman, he is polished, neither timid nor forward, gentlemanly, endowed with conversational powers, and in fact he is wanting in nothing.
The Duchesse de Bourgogne treats him 53 The Bastille with great attention. This marriage, we are assured, was merely one of form. However that may be, the Due de Fronsac's conduct continued to give serious displeasure to his family, and he was consequently committed to the Bastille on the 22nd April, 1, on the express demand of his father, who himself had been anything but a model of virtue. The young scapegrace was driven to prison by his father, who threatened to allow him to rot there un- less he changed his conduct.
He afterwards learned, so he tells us in his " Memoirs," that his incarceration was the result of a council held by the King, Madame de Maintenon, and his father, who came to the con- clusion that it was high time to put an end to his liaison with the Duchesse de Bourgogne. It would be impossible to leave him alone all day without injury to his health.
His relatives may be certain that he will see no one here capable of setting him a bad example, and I presume to flatter myself you have a 54 Le Due de Fronsac sufficiently good opinion of me to be sure that noth- ing happens in my presence or in that of M. The Marquise de Chastelet wife of the Lieu- tenant-General Governor of Vincennes , who did us the honour to dine with us, can tell you how we get on together.
She came yesterday evening with the steward. I received them in my apartment. The Due de Fron- sac treated his wife very well, and showed himself grateful for the alacrity with which she had obtained permission to see him. Remy, who shared the captivity of the young Duke and attended to his spiritual wants. The lovely angel who came down from heaven to deliver Peter was not more radiant. The Due de Fronsac 55 The Bastille was dazzled; and his wife on perceiving this, wished to aid him in recovering his senses by overwhelming him with compliments and caresses; but the Duke remem- bered that Louis XIV.
The Duke, in fact, appears to have devoted much time to the study of Virgil, and it was remarked in after life that he was never tired of reading the " BucoHcs. He came this morning, and there was much tenderness exhibited on both sides. The Duke spoke to him of his past conduct; he admitted his faults, and said that he would never forget the favour 56 Fronmc with Small-pox which the King had accorded him in sending him here to do penitence and to repair them, that he was happy to be here, and that he would do all he could to render himself worthy of the kindness of H.
He declared that he was in no hurry to be released, and that he should regard it as a great misfortune were he to be promptly set at Hberty. On the 28th September, M. Barere, the surgeon of the Musketeers, brought by the Duchesse de Richelieu. The next day it was found that the prisoner had the small-pox, and M. He received the communion at six o'clock with sentiments of piety which edified every 57 The Bastille one.
I continue to take care of him, and to see that he wants nothing. Reply : Continue to write punctually. On the 17th, the Duke was perfectly cured and got up; the windows were opened after '' all kirfds of gun- powder had been burned in the room. The small-pox has done him good; he has grown considerably, and will not be marked. This request irritated the Minister, who re- fused even to mention the matter to the King; it was contrary to all regulations, he said.
The Due de Richelieu At length, after having been kept in confinement for fifteen months, orders were given for the Due de Fronsac to be liberated. It was considered useless to detain him any longer in the Bastille. I cannot sufficiently praise his con- duct and his behaviour toward myself during his stay here. All this is owing to your advice, of which he will stand in need at the Court; he hopes that you will not refuse it to him. On leaving the Bastille he repaired to the army in Flanders, and was present at the fall of Friburg, Marchiennes, and Douai.
To reward his conduct Marshal Villars sent him to Versailles to announce the capture of these places. The Due de Fronsac, whose father had died while he was campaigning, presented himself at Court as Due de Richelieu, and people were much astonished when he set to work to pay his father's debts. Before the end of the year Louis XIV. Richelieu was accused by the Comte de Gace of having revealed what had occurred at a secret orgy which took place at his house. The Comte de Gace was able to return to the ball, but his adversary, though not dangerously hurt, had to be taken home.
This afifair took place on the 17th February, 17 16, in presence of a number of people, and it made so much noise in Paris that the Parliament, which was always wrangling with the peers, determined to take it up. Richelieu was called upon to constitute himself a prisoner, upon which he 60 The Celamare Conspiracy appealed to the Crown, demanding to be tried by his peers. Simon, de Luxem- bourg, d'Antin, etc. Without waiting for the decision of the Crown, the Parliament issued a warrant against the culprits, who, however, were committed to the Bastille on a lettre de cachet. After a good deal of quarrelling between the peers and the Parliament, the latter pro- ceeded to examine the combatants, who both swore that they did not fight a duel; no witnesses were forth- coming.
The peers were summoned by the King and asked for further information, but in the end the Duke and the Count were both acquitted, upon which, after dining together with the Governor, they embraced and were released, after having passed three months in the Bastille. A fight in which there was no chal- lenge given or received, and in which there were no seconds, in fact a fight which was not premeditated, was never considered as coming within the edict against duelling.
We now come to the Duke's third incarceration. Lemontey in his " History of the Regency," writing about the Celamare conspiracy, says : " A more brilliant hero played a part in the last episode of the intrigues of Alberoni. The Regent was informed that two emissaries of the Cardinal, the Baron de Schlieben and the Count Marini, the one a German, the other an Italian, were passing through France in order to hatch some plot at the Court of Prussia.
Mlle Bonnafon et la «vie privée» de Louis XV
These adventurers were thrown into the Bas- 6i The Bastille tille; the German remained there, but the Italian, more subtle, offered his services to France and returned to Spain. Alberoni, who was then searching some means to surprise one of our ports, accepted a propo- sition made to him by Marini, to gain over the Due de Richelieu, colonel of one of the two regiments in garrison at Bayonne. It was difficult for an extrava- gant youth, who owed all his reputation to his duels, to his reckless gambling, and to his scandalous gal- lantries, not to be tempted by the glory of a State crime.
The negotiations were carried on without any obstacle until the 29th March, when the Duke of Or- leans, deeming matters sufficiently ripe, had Richelieu arrested. He was found to have a letter of credit from Alberoni in his possession, and several other doc- uments clearly establishing his guilt, which he did not deny when examined by MM. Le Blanc and d'Argen- son separately. We are told in his " Memoirs " that he was thrown into an octagon dungeon which received light and air from a narrow longitudinal hole, that this cell was so damp that noth- mg could resist the hurriidity, and that there was nei- ther table, nor chair, nor bed, nor books in this dismal abode.
It seems extraordinary that under these cir- cumstances Richelieu should have been allowed a ser- vant to share his captivity. Jules Janin, who was a member of the Academy, 62 The Due de Richelieu has given us the following description of the Duke's incarceration in his " Paris et Versailles il y a cent ans " — a description which differs a good deal from the " Memoirs " with regard to the treatment of the prisoner.
He united courage to success in love. In his abyss he learned that the daughters of the Regent, Mademoiselle de Charolais who was not a daughter of the Regent, but of Conde and Mademoiselle de Valois, took pity on his wretchedness and defended him against their father. Following their example, all the ladies of Paris were filled with commiseration for the youthful noble, and repaired every day in their finest carriages and most charming toilettes to gaze on the walls of his prison, and to salute him with a smile as he walked on the battlements.
Of one of these did not Dean Swift write?
Media of the Revolution – Revolution of the Media
As clever Tom Clinch, while the rabble was bawling, Rode stately through Holborn to die in his calling, He stopped at the " George " for a bottle of sack. And promised to pay for it when he came back. His waistcoat, and stockings, and breeches were white, His cap had a new cherry ribbon to tie't, The maids to the doors and the balconies ran, And said, " Lack-a-day! Their glances seemed to say : ' Young man, you are par- doned! Other scandalous tales were related on this subject; but it is to be hoped the de- pravity of the Regent has been exaggerated by his detractors.
According to Lemontey, Philippe of Orleans looked upon the Celamare plot as a matter so utterly con- temptible that he scouted the idea of making it the occasion for shedding blood, and yet a similar crime committed under the reign of Louis XIV. It may be true, however, as the historian remarks, that this act of clemency was after all only an act of reciprocity, because the French Am- bassador at Madrid, the Marquis de Saint Aignan, instructed by the Regent, had been indulging, in Spain, in a conspiracy very similar to that got up by Prince Celamare in France.
Aignan and Cela- 64 Voltaire mare quitted their respective posts, and there was a sort of mutual amnesty. It is related that on the 25th August, , the Duke took it into his head to revisit the Bastille, not as a prisoner, but for the sake of old acquaintance, and that in spite of his ninety years, five months, and twelve days, he ascended to the summit of those gloomy towers which were shortly to disappear, car- ried away by a political convulsion which the vener- able courtier was spared the pain of witnessing.
We now come to the incarcerations of a man who for bad or for good has left such an indelible mark on the history of his times, a man whose keen and restless wit could be discouraged by neither imprisonment nor exile, a man of whom Macaulay has written : " It is due to Voltaire and his compeers to say that the real secret of their strength lay in the truth which was mingled with their errors, and in the generous enthusiasm which was hidden under their flippancy.
They were men who, with all their faults, moral and intellectual, sincerely and earnestly desired the im- provement of the condition of the human race, whose blood boiled at the sight of cruelty and injustice, who made manful war with every faculty they possessed on what they considered as abuses, and who on many signal occasions placed themselves gallantly between the powerful and the oppressed. Religious persecution, judicial torture, arbitrary imprisonment, the unnecessary multiplication of capital punishment, the delay and chicanery of tribunals, the exactions of 6s The Bastille farmers of the revenue, slavery, the slave trade, were the constant subjects of their lively satire and their eloquent disquisitions.
When an innocent man was broken on the wheel at Toulouse, when a youth guilty only of an indiscretion was beheaded at Abbeville, when a brave officer borne down by public injustice was dragged with a gag in his mouth to die on the Place de Greve, a voice instantly went forth from the banks of Lake Leman which made itself heard from Moscow and Cadiz, and which sentenced the unjust judges to the contempt and detestation of all Eu- rope. This made the philosopher an ardent champion of all who suffered wrong. Referring to the state of society in the eighteenth century, Ravaisson observes that the cane was then the weapon usually employed in literary quarrels, and that a noble could not fight with a commoner.
He adds that when Voltaire was beaten by the Chevalier de Rohan, the public and even the Administration were on his side, but when he spoke of a duel he was at once cast into the Bastille. It will be necessary to bear this fact in mind. We have connected the case of widow Aumary with that of the Patriarch, because she was committed to prison for selling some of his works and especially his tragedy of " Mahomet. The Court was dissolute beyond conception, and the Church was corrupt, but immoral and irreligious works were not to be tolerated.
In Lemontey's " His- tory of the Regency " vol. He was then a little over twenty years of age, and he had al- ready been exiled for writing a poem called " Le Bour- bier. He joked a good deal on the road saying that he did not think any business was done upon feast days, that he was delighted to go to the Bastille if they could let him continue taking his milk, and that if they offered to release him in a week he would ask to remain for another fortnight, that he knew the house, as he had had the honour of going there several times to see the Due de Richelieu, but that he did not then imagine he would ever take up his abode there; that what consoled him was that he had nothing to re- proach himself with.
A few days after his arrest the young Arouet was brought up for examination. Ravaisson remarks, " would in the days of Louis XIV. Voltaire, in 7, wrote a short poem on the Bas- tille and his arrest, beginning : Or ce fut done un matin, sans faute, En beau prin temps, un jour de Pentecote. Qu'un bruit etrange en sursaut m'eveilla. Voltaire afterwards changed his opinion with re- gard to Marc Rene d'Argenson, Lieutenant of Police, and wrote his eulogy.
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Voltaire did not tarry long at Chatenay with Arouet senior, who could do nothing with him. We have nothing more to say to Voltaire until the year , when after dining with the Due de Sully, he was attacked by some cut-throats in the pay of the Chevalier de Rohan and severely beaten. The Cheva- lier is said to have become the hero of the Court for thus punishing the insolence of a poet whose airs of affected equality had irritated the nobility.
This must be done without any noise. The fact is that Voltaire, after being " assassinated," went into the country to take some fencing lessons, and on his return to Paris repaired to the dressing- room of Adrienne Lecouvreur, where he found the Chevalier and challenged him. The Chevalier accept- ed the challenge, but his family interfered and the poet was committed to the Bastille. There is no trace of the " cut-throats " of the Chevalier de Rohan having shared the same fate.
He had sixty-five new golden louis of twenty francs each, but no other efifects. The money was returned to M. I am obliged to inform you that I shall not go to London until I have re-established my health, which has been shattered by the grief I have endured. Ravaisson says that Voltaire knew that the Parliament, which was very hard upon writers, instead of rendering him justice, would have found that M. I shall always respect the orders of the King, which will be more dear to me when coming through your hands.
Voltaire has spread abroad and popu- larised the philosophy of Locke. I have no doubt that you will behave in such a manner as to efface the bad impres- sion which H. As regards coming to Court, I think that you should dispense with that at present. I am per- suaded that you will keep a watch upon yourself at Paris, and that you will do nothing calculated to get you into trouble.
You will give me notice of his arrival. The King or- ders that under no pretext shall he be permitted to leave the interior of the castle. He had just published his " Lettres Philo- sophiques," which incensed the Parliament more than the Minister who gave the culprit time to escape be- fore issuing his lettre de cachet. Voltaire fled into 76 Publisher Jorre Germany, and his work was burned by the public ex- ecutioner. It is said that his lettre de cachet has been annulled. He enjoys great credit among the women; he chatters, he is presumptuous, he speaks of everything that he knows, and even of that he does not know.
The public executioner has done justice to this work. He has just gained an action against his new publisher; he had the boldness to plead himself. This poor wretch, who has been thrown into the Bastille for this, and had all his books con- fiscated, is totally ruined, and knows not what will become of him.
Full text of "The Bastille"
Jorre was a scamp who was more than paid for his print- ing. He has been obliged to give up all the letters capable of doing mischief. I learn that Rous- seau has just published a satire against Voltaire; it was sent secretly to Paris, and will soon be published. Her husband has arrived at Cirey, and has written letter after letter for her to come and keep him company.
It required infinite trouble to determine Voltaire to make this journey. Since he has come to a decision he is in fearful temper, treats the lady with the greatest harshness, and makes her cry all day long. The day before yesterday there was a discussion which lasted through a portion of the night. Voltaire, counting upon supping alone, had his things laid on a narrow table. Madame du Chatelet, having arrived for supper, wished to have a larger table; Voltaire insisted on having the small one, and, upon further remonstrances, declared that he was master in his own house, that he had too long played the dupe, and said several other severe things.
The secret motive for this respective ill- humour is occasioned by Voltaire's passion for Mdlle. This actress comes to see the poet when he is unable to go and see her. Madame du Chatelet is furious, but does not dare to push matters to ex- tremes, for fear that her lover should make up his mind to leave her. The journal of what passes be- tween these victims of love and good sense would be singularly interesting.
Numbers of persons were thrown into prison for publishing, selling, or hawking Voltaire's works. The tragedy of " Mahomet " had been per- formed in August, , with great success, but, owing to the allusions made to the clergy and to religion, it created so much scandal that it had to be withdrawn 79 The Bastille from the stage. The Turkish Ambassador, too, felt insulted at the manner in which the Prophet had been treated. Under these circumstances, Voltaire thought it prudent to leave France.
Relying on the approbation of Cardinal Fleury to whom the play had been shown , and on that of the clergy of Lille, Voltaire sent " Ma- homet " to M. Crebillon was opposed to its represen- tation, but M. The tragedy was therefore performed; but the next day there was a great stir in the Parliament. Some people saw in this work an attack upon religion, and others a political danger. In a letter addressed to M. He approves of you telling the comedians to feign the illness of an actor, so as to dispense them with per- forming the piece on Thursday, and getting M. Crebillon re-read it, and re- fused to alter his previous decision.
The author got the Due de Richelieu to ask for a new censor; the Keeper of the Seals consented, and d'Alembert was charged to read the tragedy of his friend. Without the slightest hesitation he quashed the decision of Crebillon. Shortly afterwards, Crebillon died, and the Cure of St. Severin, for saying a mass for the repose of his soul, in the name of, and in presence of the French actors, was openly punished by Monseigneur de Beau- mont, the Archbishop of Paris.
Voltaire, who had been at war with him for twenty years, defended his memory against an intolerant Church which ill re- paid those who had served her. In his preface to " Mahomet," we find Voltaire defending himself against his enemies. The Prophet orders an assassination, and makes use of religion to encourage a young man to commit this crime, and consequently Voltaire was accused of preaching mur- der. He said that this act was held up to reprobation, and that one might as well accuse Hermione of en- 8i The Bastille couraging regicide, Electra the murder of one's mother, and Medea that of one's children; say that Harpagon formed misers, the Joueur gamblers, and Tartufe hypocrites.
Peter, as Macaulay has called him. I dare to ask your protection for one and your benediction for the other. They attacked the Roman Catholic priesthood under the guise of priests of Jupiter, Druids, or Japanese monks, as Fontanelle made use of vestals to depict the cloister. The allusions were so transparent that no one was deceived.
Voltaire himself said : " After playing ' Tartufe ' and ' Mahomet ' we must not despair ; we shall be able to put Caiaphas and Pilate on the stage. Leprotti com- municated to me your distich for my portrait, and Cardinal Valenti yesterday handed me your letter of the 17th August. Each of these marks of kindness would deserve a distinct recognition, but perhaps you will permit me to thank you in a general manner. You catmot doubt the singular esteem with which your well-recognised merit inspires me.
He pretended that the word hie, which you employ as short, ought always to be long. Qui mundum scriptis docuit, virtutibus ornat. Although you are an interested party in the difference, we have so high an idea of your frankness and your straight- forwardness that we have no hesitation in taking you for judge between your critic and ourself. It only remains for us to give you our apostolical benediction. Such was the intimate correspondence which took place between the chief of the Roman Catholic re- ligion and the French poet concerning a work for the selling of which the widow Amaury was taken to the Bastille.
Ravaisson as a man of wit and learning, and, above all, an in- defatigable compiler and courageous editor, never frightened of the Bastille; with no more morality than a cat, doing anything for money, even to playing the spy. His pen was at the service of any one who would purchase it; his unworthiness was such that it dis- armed the wrath of the Minister, and he remained for a long time in the Bastille without being on bad terms with the Government.
Disraeli, he was afraid to print for a long time — a work on appa- ritions and visions. He kept it by him for fifty-five years before he ventured on its publication. Towards the close of his career he took to chemical experi- ments, which injured his health. These successful incidents in the life of an honourable spy were rewarded with a moderate pension. Lenglet must have been no vulgar intriguer; he was not only perpetually confined by his very patrons when he re- sided at home, but I find him early imprisoned in the citadel of Strasburg for six months, it is said for pur- 86 Abbe du Fresnoy loining some curious works from the library of the Abbe Bignon, of which he had the care.
Delort, in his " Detention of the Philosophers," gives us the list of the Abbe's imprisonments: Sep- tember, 1 , to December, ; June, , to June, ; March, , to June, ; January, , to March, ; December, , to January, His lordship, or cuckoldship, was seven times in the Tower for Jesuit plots and other matters before finally retiring to Wales to bury his marital and other misfortunes in gloomy solitude. In addition to this I acknowl- edge that all my gold, silver, papers, and effects, which I brought to the said Castle, have been restored to me.
In faith of which I have signed the present. Done at the Royal Castle of the Bastille, 24th January, He had been there for thirty-five years. He was dressed like a Jacobin when he was captured, and was suspected of having wished to poison Louvois, but there was no proof against him. When he was examined he replied in a jargon which none of the King's interpreters could under- 88 Unknown Prisoner stand, so that they never knew his name nor his country, nor why he was dressed as a Jacobin, and he passed thirty-five years without books or papers.
He departed this Hfe Archbishop of Cambrai, and he never went there, which is very surprising. The Prime Minister will soon be forgotten by every one but the Duke of Orleans, He was a man of talent, and possessed his entire confidence. He never did much harm, and yet he was little liked, being proud and violent.
This news will be welcomed by the exiles and the prisoners in the Bastille. There were the Comte de Belle Isle and La Jonchere, the former accused of assassination and the latter of peculation. On the 8th March, , Barbier wrote: " Great commotion. Gras- sin, Director-General of the Mint, has been arrested and taken to the Bastille. He is worth four or five millions, and owns a good deal of property around Mormant.
Grassin was not detained in the Bas- tille; he was examined and released. On the same night, Captain Conches, of the Dra- goons, aide-de-camp to M. A man of forty-five years of age, who played the beau, who spent three hours at his toilette, and even rouged himself. Barbier, in fact, mentions a number of arrests and committals, but none of the charges against the accused seem to have been proved.
If people were arrested on frivolous pretexts, or on insufficient evidence, they seldom remained long in durance vile. As well as I remember,' he is a cavalry officer; an elderly man, since he served the late King for forty years. As I have to make a report concerning this officer, in consequence of representations addressed to the King from abroad, I shall be obliged if you will inform me of the motives of his imprisonment.
We are assured that he received an ofifer of liberty with bad grace, as if he did not like to be disturbed in possession, and that he was with difficulty persuaded to exchange his residence at the Bastille for a pension at the Invalides. Delort has included Roy, the licentious young poet, 90 among his philosophers, giving us to understand at the same time that his arrest and incarceration in the Bastille had nothing to do with letters, but was caused by friponneries au sujet des papiers royaux, or tricks played with royal papers.
However, the " Archives " tell a different tale. As it is a question of putting a stop to pieces which are becoming too common, and of which he is suspected of being the author, H. He declares that his misfortune is due to M. The Commissioner Camuset is taking an inventory of his papers. It is to be presumed that the dread of a severer punishment will deprive him of the taste of criticising persons whom he considers are not his friends. Roy's exile was of very short duration. Roy is still irritated with the Academy like Linguet because it will not receive him.
Having met Roy he boxed his ears and kicked him. The poet took this quietly, although he had his sword by his side, and complained that he had been attacked by three assassins. An army contractor claims to have written the verses, and wishes to cane Roy — first, to make him acknowledge that the verses were written by him the contractor ; second, to make him declare that they are good. As for Moncriff, he struts about Paris with head erect and cane in hand, saying every- where that it is to give Roy his due. This is the difference between poets who serve in the army and those who do not.
It 93 The Bastille may be said that he is the man described by Horace as ' pus atque venenum. Lazare for an attack on the Academy, which was deemed an unjustifiable piece of insolence on the part of so depraved a fellow. When the Comte de Clermont, of the blood royal, was elected to the Academy, Roy was furious, and wrote a stinging epigram on the occasion.
The Count, after the fashion of the day, employed a nigger to beat him, and the chastisement was so severe that the poet, who was then over eighty years of age, went home and died. The Comte de Clermont, in addition to being a General, was the Abbe of Saint Germain-des-Pres, and, after he lost the battle of Crevelt, against Ferdinand of Brunswick, in , where the French, totally de- feated, retired in '' full cackle of universal flight," there appeared in Paris the following quatrain, which may have been due to the pen of Roy : Moitie plumet, moitie rabat, Aussi propre a I'un comme a I'autre, Clermont se bat comme un apotre, Et sert Dieu comme il se bat.
The unfortunate doctor had been forty-four years in prison; on regaining his liberty he could find no trace of his family; his wife had long been dead, and a public edifice had been erected on the spot where his house had stood. Like a prisoner already mentioned, he wished to return to the Bastille, but in the end he shut himself up with an old servant, and passed the remainder of his days in the most complete solitude. We find in the '' Archives " several documents re- lating to Antoine Francois Prevost d'Exiles, better known to us as the Abbe Prevost, a most prolific writer, out of whose volumes " Manon Lescaut " alone has held its ground.
The first document is a letter addressed to M. Maur to have arrested a fugitive member of the order, who about a fortnight ago left the house of St. Germain-des-Pres without any reason, and without a brief of translation. He twice left the Jesuits, and has been with the Benedictines for the last eight years.
His name is A. Prevost, of Hesdin, a man of middle height, fair, blue eyes, high colour, and full face. His 95 The Bastille principal acquaintances are among the Jesuit Fathers; he walks about Paris every day with impunity; he is the author of a little romance which has for title ' The Adventures of a Man of Quality ' the Chevalier Des- grieux. This work has made a great noise in Paris.
He is about thirty-six years of age, and is dressed as an ecclesiastic. Those who doubt my innocence may learn it from the Prince de Conti, from M. Their protection is a guarantee that my absence will be short. The Abbe Prevost is at Brussels; a lettre de cachet was issued to put him into the Bastille.
This little author wished to marry Gaussin, the actress; she had promised him her hand, and had told him to have the marriage contract drawn up. He came from Fontainebleau to Paris, and then returned to Fontainebleau with the contract in his pocket; but in the interval she had found a rich lover, M. Andreoth, of Milan, and she coolly told him that, having a lover, she had no need of a husband. She will no doubt figure in some tale. His adventure with the Gaussin appears very pleasant. Both the Crebillons enjoyed Court favour, and the younger filled for a long time the post of Royal Censor.
The prisoner did not remain in the Bastille more than a few days. Among the obscene works published in the first half of the eighteenth century, one of the most obscene was certainly the " Histoire de Dom B. Portier des Chartreux," which, one is informed in the title page, was revised, corrected and augmented under the eyes of the Pope. This scandalous volume, not ill-written, and illustrated with a certain amount of talent, got a good many persons into trouble, for it not only offended morality, but religion, by relating the illicit loves of monks and nuns. This did not prevent more than one abbe being concerned in its publication and sale.
It was at the solicitation of Madame d'Olinville, the sister of the Marquis, that he meddled with this distribution. It was Blangy who did the engravings. On the loth of March, the Oilier, mistress of the Marquis de Camus, was committed to the Bastille for distributing the work in question. The Marquis and the Abbe Nourry, since the arrest of the Oilier, do not leave each other; they are doing all they can to procure her release from the Bastille. The Marquis does not allow a single copy to appear. The Abbe Nourry is the author. On the loth June, Dameret and two other persons were confined in the Bastille for a month on the same charge.
Other works, some obscene and others political, helped to keep the Bastille pretty well peopled at this period. Among the former were " L'Art de F. Lazare, and as it would be useless for him to remain any longer in the Bastille, I think it will be well to have him transferred to St. It attacks both religion and good morals.
How- ever, no matter how innocent the means employed to support and bring up four boys destined for the service of the King, I do not wish to continue writing without your permission; I repeat that I would rather perish than displease a magistrate so worthy of being adored. To return to d'Arnaud, we find that this licentious young poet, after being transferred to St. Lazare, remained there for a couple of months only, and that the Government paid for his board.
So much for Baculard d'Arnaud, called by Carlyle, in his " Life of Frederick the Great," '' a conceited, foolish young fellow, much patronised by Voltaire, and given to write verses which are unknown to me. And on the 26th June we find Frederick the Great addressing some flattering stanzas to d'Arnaud, the last of which ran thus : Deja I'Apollon de la France S'achemine a sa decadence; Venez briller a votre tour, Elevez-vous s'il baisse encore.
Ainsi le couchant d'un beau jour Promet une plus belle aurore. Voltaire was furious when these verses were shown to him, jumped out of his sick bed, and determined at once to start for Berlin, on his fifth and last visit to Frederick, in order to show that his sun had not yet sunk below the horizon. It is shrewdly suspected that the Prussian monarch penned his flattering verses to the " conceited and foolish d'Arnaud " in order to procure the pleasure of Voltaire's company at Berlin.
If so, his stratagem perfectly succeeded. Nor had Voltaire much to complain of. You know, my dear angel, that I had the misfortune to inspire my pupil, d'Arnaud, with the most noble jealousy. This illustrious rival came here D'Arnaud recommended by the wise d'Argens and awaited as the person who consoled Paris for my decadence.
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He arrived by the coach, alone of all his band, and gave himself out for a seigneur who had lost his titles of nobility, his poetry, and the portraits of his mistresses on the road, the whole wrapped up in his night- cap. In a letter dated the 24th February, , Frederick wrote to Voltaire saying, among other things : '' On arriving here you exacted in rather a singular manner that I should no longer employ Freron to write me news from Paris, and I had the weakness to consent. D'Arnaud had offended you: a generous man would have pardoned him; a vindictive man hunts down those whom he hates.
In a word, although d'Arnaud gave me no cause for complaint, it was on your account that he had to leave. I preserved peace in my house until your arrival. D'Arnaud and the pack of scribblers would have been too glad. D'Arnaud, animated with the true love of glory, and not yet grown sufficiently illus- trious by his own immortal works, has behaved to me like a miserable, envious, lying little scoundrel, and The Bastille made Berlin too hot for him.
He seduced my clerk, and stole bits of La Piicelle to ruin me. My Lord Molton, who had been here for two years, was arrested at Fontainebleau, on leaving the Ambassador of Naples, with whom he had been supping, and taken to the Bastille. It will be seen that they were effected two years before the Pretender, in the interest of peace, was turned out of France. This is what we find. On the loth December, , a force of 1, French Guards surrounded the Opera, and as Prince Charles Edward was getting into his carriage, he was seized by four sergeants, who took him to a neighbouring house, where their officers were waiting for them.
The major said : " Prince, I arrest you in the name of the King," and he asked him for his sword. As Charles Edward refused and endeavoured to free him- self, his arms were tied with silk ribbon. He was then put into a carriage and six, and taken to Vincennes. As for the friends of the Pretender, his domestics, etc. Berryer, in a letter to Maure- pas, said that he had set thirteen of the persons arrested at liberty, and had recommended the Governor of the Bastille to treat the remainder with politeness and humanity.
The Prince wishes to take with him Stafford and Sher- idan, an Irishman. He has chosen Stuart and O'Brien his valets to be present when the seals are removed. You must go to the Bastille and release these four persons at once. His arrest was considered a most disgraceful affair, and naturally gave rise to a quantity of epigrams, which brought the authors into acquaintance with the Bastille.
The clerical party was especially irritated at the idea of a Catholic Prince being forcibly ejected in order to please a Protestant monarch; and half-a-dozen abbes, The Bastille who ventured to criticise the conduct of the Govern- ment in doggerel verse, were arrested. We shall presently see what Bonis wrote. In March, , the King ordered Labourdonnais to be confined in the Bastille on the complaint of the French East India Company, who accused him of peculation.
Ordered by M. Ravais- son, " was received as a hero. He learned in London the orders given respecting him, and he demanded permission to go to France as soon as judgment had been pronounced on his past conduct. A director of the English Company ofifered to go bail for him. This generosity increased the suspicion against Labour- donnais.
Three days after he arrived in Paris he was arrested and conveyed to the Bastille, where he was treated with the most unjustifiable harshness. Labourdonnais that his wife is at Lisbon, and that she is in good health. I beg that you will give him paper for this purpose, taking precaution," etc. I will make no use of what he writes to damage him. I see no reason, after this decision, for keeping him in solitary con- finement. In June he was allowed to walk in the garden of the Bastille and to see his wife. Every visit was duly reported.
This is her st visit. The prisoner is in good health. Four years later he died in poverty. Let those who wish to see what manner of man Labourdonnais was turn to Orme's " History of India. The Prince was arrested as he was leaving the Opera, sent to Vincennes, and then escorted to the frontier. Indignation was universal, and the clergy denounced in violent terms the sacrifice of a Catholic Prince to the vengeance of EngHsh Protestants.
Bonis was a Jesuit, and he and fourteen other members of the Order were arrested and kept in prison about three months on the charge of abusing the Government. Cutting verses like those below were addressed to the French Guard, in connection with this affair. Cet essaim de heros, qui sert bien son Roi. A Malplaquet, Dettingen, Fontenoy, Couvert d'une egale gloire. Baltimore, Md. The print reproduced above probably alludes to a theme in that vaudeville production: the tree went "crack" every time someone beneath its branches told a lie.
The best general account of nouvellistes is still in Frantz Funck-Brentano, Les nouvellistes Paris, , and Figaro et ses devanciers Paris, As an example of how remarks made beneath the tree of Cracow spread throughout Paris and Versailles, see E. Rathery, ed. See Jeremy D. Popkin and Bernadette Fort, eds. Oxford, ; and Dictionnaire des journalistes, — , 2 vols. Paris, ; on public opinion, Keith M. This and the following remarks about Mairobert are based on his dossier in the archives of the Bastille: BA, ms. See also the article on him in the Dictionnaire des journalistes , 2: — BA, ms.
This source, the densest I have been able to find, covers the years — For reasons of clarity, I have added quotation marks. BNF, ms. On contemporary indignation about the route around Paris, see BNF, ms. For a sober account of Louis XV's relations with the Nesle sisters there were actually five of them, but contemporary libelles usually mentioned only three or sometimes four , see Michel Antoine, Louis XV Paris, , — My interpretation of political and diplomatic history in these years owes a good deal to Antoine's definitive study. The incest theme appears in some of the most violent poems and songs attacking Louis XV in — For my part, I would not deny the literary quality of history writing, but I think the invention of anything that is passed off as factual violates an implicit contract between the historian and the reader: whether or not we are certified as professionals by the award of a PhD, we historians should never fabricate evidence.
All but the first have elaborate keys, usually inserted into the binding from a separate copy, sometimes with manuscript notes. Some notes also appear in the margins of this and the other three works, which also have keys. The following quotations come from BNF, ms. See also Mlle.
Bonafons' remarks in her second interrogation, fols. Paris, —84 ; Patrice Coirault, Formation de nos chansons folkloriques , 4 vols. Maurepas' love of songs and poems about current events is mentioned in many contemporary sources. The following version is taken from d'Argenson's account of this episode, On appelle fleurs blanches une certaine maladie des femmes. I have discussed this affair at length in an essay, "Public Opinion and Communication Networks in Eighteenth-Century Paris," to be published sometime in by the European Science Foundation.
Its text, which contains references to a great deal of source material, can be consulted in the electronic version of this essay, on the AHR web site, www. Most of the documentation comes from the dossiers grouped together in BA, ms. My own understanding of this field owes a great deal to conversations with Robert Merton and Elihu Katz.
Clark, ed. For my part, I find Habermas's notion of the public sphere valid enough as a conceptual tool; but I think that some of his followers make the mistake of reifying it, so that it becomes an active agent in history, an actual force that produces actual effects—including, in some cases, the French Revolution.