Cardinal Mazarin

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His Eminence
Cardinal Mazarin
Cardinal Mazarin by Pierre Mignard (Musée Condé).jpg
Portrait of Jules Mazarin by Pierre Mignard (1658)
First Minister of State
In office
4 December 1642 – 9 March 1661
Monarch Louis XIII
Queen Anne (regent)
Louis XIV
Preceded by The Duke of Richelieu
Succeeded by Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Personal details
Born Giulio Raimondo Mazzarino
(1602-07-14)14 July 1602
Pescina, Abruzzo Ultra, Kingdom of Naples
Died 9 March 1661(1661-03-09) (aged 58)
Vincennes, Île-de-France, France
Nationality French
Alma mater Roman College
Profession Clergyman, statesman
Cardinal, Bishop of Metz
Metropolis Immediately Subject to the Holy See
Diocese Metz
See Metz
Predecessor Henri de Bourbon
Successor Franz Egon of Fürstenberg
Created cardinal 16 December 1641
by Pope Urban VIII
Personal details
Denomination Roman Catholic
Motto Firmando firmior hæret
Hinc ordo, hinc copia rerum
Signature Cardinal Mazarin's signature
Ordination history of
Cardinal Mazarin

Cardinal Jules Raymond Mazarin 1st Duke of Rethel, Mayenne and Nevers (French: [ʒyl mazaʁɛ̃]; 14 July 1602 – 9 March 1661), born Giulio Raimondo Mazzarino [ˈdʒuːljo raiˈmondo madːzaˈriːno] or Mazarino,[1] was an Italian-born cardinal, diplomat, and politician, who served as the Chief Minister to the kings of France Louis XIII and Louis XIV from 1642 until his death.

Mazarin succeeded his mentor, Cardinal Richelieu. Following the end of the Thirty Years' War, Mazarin, as the de facto ruler of France, played a crucial role in establishing the Westphalian principles that would guide European states' foreign policy and the prevailing world order. Some of these principles, such as the nation state's sovereignty over its territory and domestic affairs and the legal equality among states, remain the basis of international law to this day.

Early life[edit]

Giulio Mazzarino was born on July 14, 1602 in Pescina in the Abruzzo province of Italy, about one hundred twenty kilometers from Rome. His parents were residents of Rome, spending the summer in Pescina to escape the summer heat.[2] His father, Pietro Mazzarino, had moved to Rome from Sicily in 1590 to become a chamberlain in the family of Filippo I Colonna, the Grand Constable of Naples.[3] His father became a citizen of Rome in 1608. His mother was a native of Rome, from a family of the nobility whose origins were in Città di Castello in Umbria. The family had moved to Rome in the Middle Ages. She was the goddaughter of Filippo I Colonna, her husband's employer. Julio was the oldest of six children, two boys and four girls.[4]

Through the influence of the Colonnas, Julio was admitted at the age of seven to the Jesuit College in Rome, the most respected school in the city. Though he declined to join their order, he excelled in his studies. In 1618, at the age of sixteen, he gave a public lecture on theories explaining Halley's comet, which appeared in that year. He also excelled in theatrics; he was chosen to play the part of the newly-sainted Ignatius of Loyola in a religious pageant. He also acquired the habit of gambling at cards, and frequently was in debt.[4]

When he was twenty his father decided to send him away from the bad influences of Rome. Giulio accompanied Girolamo Colonna, one of the sons of Filippo I Colonna, who was eighteen, to the university of Alcalá de Henares in Spain. He studied law with Girolamo during the daytime and in the evenings continued to gamble and again was in debt. A notary who had advanced some cash to cover gaming debts urged the charming and personable young Mazarino to take his daughter as bride, with a substantial dowry, and Giulio accepted. Girolamo Colonno wrote urgently to his father in Rome, and Giulio was ordered to return immediately to Rome, without his fiancée.[4]

Papal Envoy[edit]

Upon his return to Rome, he resumed his studies, this time in law. In 1628 he received the title of doctor in utroque jure, meaning he could practice both civil and canonical law.[5] In the same year the Hapsburg Emperior laid claim to a papal territory, the Valtellina, in the Italian alps. Pope Urban VIII raised an army to defend his territory. The Prince of Palestrina, who was also a member of the Colonna family, commanded a new regiment of the Papal army, and invited Giulio to become a lieutenant in the regiment. Since neither the regiment nor Giulio had any military experience, they were assigned to a town far from the front line. Giulio knew little of military discipline. He received a message from Rome informing that his mother was seriously ill. Without asking permission from his commander, he immediately rode to Rome, and stayed there until mother had recovered. He was summoned before the Pope, Urban VIII, to explain why he had deserted his post. He threw himself at the feet of the Pope, and pleaded to be pardoned for his excess of loyalty to his family. The Pope was impressed by Giulio's spontaneity and eloquence, forgave his desertion, and invited him to become a Papal emissary.[6]

In 1628 Mazarin was named the secretary to Jean-François Saccchetti, a senior papal diplomat, who was trying to prevent the impending War of the Mantuan Succession between the armies of France and Spain for dominance of that region of northern Italy.[4] Throughout 1629 and 1630 he shuttled between Milan, Mantua, Turin, Casal and France, trying to find a solution to the crisis before the fighting began. This became, throughout his career, his standard method of diplomacy; traveling continually, getting to know and win the trust of as many decision-makers as possible.[7] During this time he came to know Cardinal François Barberini, the head of diplomacy for the Vatican, and, more important, Cardinal Richelieu of France, his future mentor, whom he first met in Lyon on 29 January 1630. Richelieu was aloof and confrontational; he wrote afterwards: "This Mazarini is here more to spy than to negotiate....He is so Spanish and so Savoyard that what he says shouldn't be taken as gospel truth."[8]

Mazarin carrying the peace agreement to the armies at Casal, crying "Peace! Peace!" (18th century engraving)

Richelieu at first decided to ignore Mazarin's diplomacy and to send the French army across the Alps into Italy. On October 26, 1630, the French and Spanish armies met outside the walls of the French-held town of Casal, ready to fight. Suddenly, a man on horseback with a flag appeared, galloping toward them, crying "Pace! Pace! ("Peace! Peace!") It was Mazarin, carrying an agreement from the Spanish commander to evacuate their soldiers from the town if the French would leave Montferrat to the Duke of Mantua. Mazarin brought together the Spanish and French commanders and explained the terms of the agreement, which were readily accepted by both sides. Mazarin had achieved his first diplomatic success.[8]

The result of Mazarin's first diplomatic efforts was the Treaty of Cherasco, 6 April 1631, in which the Emperor and the Duke of Savoy recognized the possession of Mantua and part of Monferrat by Charles Gonzaga and the French occupation of the strategic stronghold of Pinerolo, the gate to the valley of the Po, to the great satisfaction of Richelieu and King Louis XIII of France.

The Pope sent Mazarin to Paris at the beginning of 1631 to work out the final details of the agreement. He returned to France again from April to July 1632. He had his first interview with Lous XIII and with the Queen, Anne of Austria, in May 1632. He tried to persuade Louis XIII to send a military expedition to capture Geneva, the fortress of the Protestant movement, but the King, who had good relations with the Swiss cantons, rejected the idea. Mazarin returned to Rome in November 1632, and made a new friend and ally, Antonio Barberini, the nephew of the Pope and one of his chief diplomats, and his older brother, François Barberini, the State Secretary of the Vatican. With their assistance, he established himself as a guardian of French interests at the Vatican, and then of Vatican interests in France. in 1632, he was named papal vice-legate at Avignon, and given the religious title of Prelate, and began to wear an ecclesiastical costume, though he was not and never became a priest.[9]

Mazarin as a papal envoy in Paris (1632)

While in Rome, Mazarin sent regular gifts of flowers, perfumes and delicacies to the women of the French court, and more valuable gifts, including statues and Renaissance paintings, to Richelieu.[10] In 1634 he was named nuncio extraordinary to Paris by Urban VII, with the mission of persuading Louis XIII to undertake a grand naval crusade against the Turks. The goal was to create a combined fleet of the ships of Christian nations to seize the Turkish ports around the Mediterranean. Mazarin, a realist, knew that, given the rivalries between European powers, this project would never take place.

A new crisis arrived on 19 May 1635; France declared war on the Hapsburg rulers of Austria and Spain. Mazarin wrote later that he had done his best to persuade Richelieu to avoid a war. He wrote that in March 1635 he gave Richelieu all his reasons to maintain the peace. "His Eminence told me, in standing up," Mazarin wrote, 'that I courted Peace as if she were the woman of my dreams. Then he shook my hand, and concluded, "You are no longer on the side of France.'"Mazarin left Paris for Aviginon on April 7, 1636.[11][12]

During all of his negotiations, Mazarin was very careful not to be too critical of the French court and Richelieu, and they remained in contact. In November, 1636, he left Avignon to return to Rome, carrying instructions from Richelieu that made him a discreet Ambassador of the King of France.[10]

The atmosphere within the Vatican was hostile to France and to Richelieu; Spanish priests occupied many positions in the hierarchy and they considered him, with reason, an agent of France. When the Pope refused to send him back to France, or to represent the Vatican at a peace conference, he wrote: "I am not a subject of the King of France, but I believe I can truly say that the declarations of the Spanish have declared me to be French, so that with justice one can say that France is my country."[11]

His position in Rome was increasingly difficult. He had the affection of Pope Urban VIII, but he was disliked by Cardinal Barberini, the chief of Papal diplomacy, and by the large contingent of Spaniards in the Vatican household. He spent his time collecting sculpture and other works of art which he sent to Richelieu for the Cardinal's new palace in Paris. He considered serving the rulers of Savoy, Poland, or Queen Henriette of England, but in the end he decided to enter the service of Richelieu and France. However, Richelieu was in now hurry to bring him to Paris; he valued the diplomatic contributions Mazarin was making in Rome, as well as the art treasures he was acquiring. He kept Mazarin in Rome for two more years. Richelieu did one important favor for Mazarin; in October 1638 he put forward Mazarin's name as a candidate for Cardinal when the next vacancy opened up. In December 1638, when a sitting Cardinal died, Mazarin was nominated as a Cardinal. He had to wait the entire year of 1639 before his new position was confirmed. Then on 14 December 1639, he departed Rome for the port of Civita Vecchia, boarded an armed French ship to Marseille, and then traveled from Lyon to Paris, where he arrived on 5 January 1640.[13]

Cardinal and Deputy of Cardinal Richelieu[edit]

When he arrived in Paris, Mazarin was welcomed warmly by the King, by Richelieu, and by the Queen, Anne of Austria, to whom Mazarin had regularly sent perfumes, fans, gloves and other gifts. The Queen was at this time pregnant with her second child, and it was already anticipated that she would be the regent when King Louis XIII died.[14] He advised Richelieu on both political and cultural matters. He recommended artists to bring from Rome to Paris, and in 1640 he commissioned a bust of Richelieu from the sculptor Bernini in Rome, sending Bernini pictures of Richelieu. The bust of Richelieu arrived in August 1641. Mazarin declared that it was perfect, so lifelike that, as he wrote, "it seemed about to speak", but French tastes did not approve of the Baroque style. The other members of the Court condemned the work, and Mazarin wrote back to to Bernini, sending him more pictures of Richelieu and asking him to try again.[14]

Richelieu sent Mazarin on several delicate diplomatic missions, including a long trip to Savoy to straighten out the tangled political affairs there: the regency of Christine, the Duchess of Savoy, and sister of Louis XIII, was challenged by her brothers-in-law, the princes Maurice and Thomas of Savoy. (See Piedmontese Civil War) Mazarin successfully secured Christine's position, and established a solid alliance between Savoy and France. This task kept him away from Paris for nine months, until June 1641. On December 16, 1641, though he had not reached his fortieth birthday, he received what he most desired he was formally made a Cardinal. [14]

He had established a cordial relationship with Richelieu; Richelieu jokingly referred to him as Rinzama (an anagram of his name), or Nunzinicardo ("dear little envoy), or, most frequently, Colmarduccio, or Colmardo. When was asked what it meant. he translated into French as Frére Coupechou, the term for a junior candidate monk who was assigned to chop cabbage in the kitchen of the abbey. However, he he did not send Mazarin on the mission that he most wanted, as delegate of France to a Europe-wide peace conference. Richelieu's attention was devoted to making war; Richelieu, who was elderly and in poor health, took the King, who was also in poor health, the court and Mazarin on a series of long military expeditions, to suppress a rebellion in Catalonia, to capture Roussillon, and, in January 1642, to lay siege to Narbonne.[15]

On June 11, 1642, while in Tarascon on one of the long military expeditions, he was presented with evidence that Gaston, Duke of Orléans, the brother of Louis XIII, and The Marquis of Cinq-Mars, one of the King's closest advisors, had made a secret agreement with the King of Spain, without the knowledge of Richelieu or the King. It appeared probable that the Queen, Anne of Austria, was also aware of this secret betrayal of Richelieu, but did not tell him or the King. Cinq-Mars was arrested, Gaston was disgraced, and another conspirator, the Duke of Bouillon, was granted a pardon on the condition of revealing all the details of the plot to Mazarin, and surrendering the important fortress of Sedan to the King. Mazarin did not reveal the participation of the Queen in the conspiracy, but his knowledge gave him even greater leverage at the court. [16] His The destruction of the conspiracy against the King was one of the last acts of Cardinal Richelieu. He fell ill and died on 4 December 1642. His heir, the future Louis XIV was then only five years old. The Will of Louis XIII stated that his wife, Anne of Austria, would not be his regent after his death. However, she immediately went to the Parliament of Paris, an assembly of nobles friendly to her, and had his will declared invalid.

Chief minister of France - Diplomacy[edit]

Anne of Austria with her children Louis XIV of France and Philippe, Duke of Orléans (unknown artist)

The succession of Mazarin to the position of chief minister of Louis XIII was not automatic or immediate. Despite the accounts of some later historians, Richelieu did not name Mazarin as his successor. Richelieu did, according to Mazarin himself, advise the King to employ Mazarin, who until that time had no official position at Court. [17]

After the death of Richelieu, Louis XIII named three prominent figures to advise him; François Sublet de Noyers, Léon Bouthillier, comte de Chavigny and Mazarin. Mazarin and de Chavigny immediately joined together to get rid of de Noyers. They hinted to the King that de Noyers had secretly made an agreement with Anne of Austria to make her the regent of France after the King's death. The King, who had little love for the Queen and in his will had refused to make her his Regent, was furious; de Noyers was forced to resign on 10 April, 1643. [17]

Louis XIII died 14 May, 1643, just five months after Richelieu. His successor, Louis XIV, was just five years old. The King had specifically instructed that his wife, Anne of Austria, not rule in his place as regent. However, as soon as he was dead, she applied to the body of nobles known as the Parliament of Paris, and had his will annulled. She was declared Regent on 18 May. The Queen had a particularly dislike of de Chavigny, the other chief advisor chosen by Louis XIII. He had been close to Richelieu and was the only real rival in experience to Mazarin. The evening that she became regent, she declared that Mazarin would be her chief minister and head of her government. [17]

The management style of Mazarin was entirely different from that of Richelieu. The contrast was described by Cardinal Retz, the future enemy of Mazarin, in his Memoires: "One saw on the steps of the throne, where the sharp and fearsome Richelieu had thundered rather than governed the people, a leader who is gentle, benevolent, and demands nothing...He has the spirit, the insinuation, the playfulness, the manners, but also a certain laziness...."[18]

Cardinal Retz and his other rivals of Mazarin in the court underestimated Mazarin's skills, energy and determination. Mazarin continued Richelieu's costly war against the chief rivals of France in Europe, the Hapsburgs of Austria and Spain. The victories of Condé and Turenne finally brought Austria to the bargaining table and and ended the Thirty Years' War with the Peace of Westphalia (1646-48)

Mazarin's policies also added Alsace (though not Strasbourg) to France. He settled Protestant princes in secularized bishoprics and abbacies in reward for their political opposition to the Habsburgs, building a network of French influence as a buffer in the western part of the Empire. In 1657, he made an attempt to get Louis XIV elected as Holy Roman Emperor.[19] In 1658 he formed the League of the Rhine, which was designed to check the House of Austria in central Germany. In 1659 he made peace with Habsburg Spain in the Peace of the Pyrenees, which added to French territory Roussillon and northern Cerdanya—as French Cerdagne—in the far south as well as part of the Low Countries.

Towards Protestantism at home, Mazarin pursued a policy of promises and calculated delay to defuse the armed insurrection of the Ardèche (1653), for example, and to keep the Huguenots disarmed: for six years they believed themselves to be on the eve of recovering the protections of the Edict of Nantes, but in the end they obtained nothing.

There was constant friction with the pontificate of the Spanish Cardinal Pamphilj, elected Pope on 15 September 1644 as Innocent X. Mazarin protected the Barberini cardinals, nephews of the late Pope, and the Bull against them was voted by the Parlement of Paris "null and abusive"; France made a show of preparing to take Avignon by force, and Innocent backed down. Mazarin was more consistently an enemy of Jansenism, in particular during the formulary controversy, more for its political implications than out of theology. On his deathbed he warned young Louis "not to tolerate the Jansenist sect, not even their name." After his death, Louis XIV did not appoint a new principal minister and instead governed himself, marking the beginning of a new era of centralized government in France.[20]

Discontent - The Fronde (1648-53)[edit]

Mazarin's long war against the Hapsburgs, the final part of the Thirty years war, was successful, but the cost was enormous. Resentment grew against the Spanish Queen and her Italian prime minister, and culminated in The Fronde, a rebellion against the government by members of the nobility and discontented citizens of Paris, which lasted from 1648 until 1653. [21]

Mazarin was forced to raise money by any means possible to support the war against the Hapsburgs. His financial counselor was Particelli d'Emery, also Italian. When taxes, loans, and the sale of titles did not bring in enough, he sought new sources of income. He discovered an old law dating to Henry IV which forbade Parisians to build houses outside the city limits. Since the city had grown well outside its old boundaries, in 1644 he imposed heavy fines on all those who lived outside the city limits. In addition, he taxed all merchandise being brought into the city. One measure caused particular resentment among the nobility; he imposed a special tax on all the nobles who served on the various royal courts and councils, amounting to four years of their fees. [22]

The Fronde of the Parliament[edit]

The center of resistance was the Parlement de Paris, an ancient assembly of nobles which served as a high court of appeals. It was a period of rebellion against monarchs across Europe; independence movements appeared in the Spanish provinces of Catalonia and Portugal, a revolutionary seized power in Naples, and Charles I of England, the brother-in-law of Louis XIII, was deposed and executed in 1649. In Paris, the members of the Parlement of Paris called a special session to debate Mazarin's measures. The meeting was forbidden by Regent, Anne of Austria, but went ahead anyway. The Parlement issued a charter, inspired by the writ of Habeas Corpus in England, which revoked the authority of the King's justice officials, forbade any new taxes without the approval of the Parlement, and declared that no royal subjects could be imprisoned without due process of law.[23]

Mazarin recommended to the Queen that she listen to the Parlement and modify her decrees, but she was furious at their opposition. She waited until the right moment to strike back. The occasion she chose was the celebration of a major victory of the French Army over the Spanish at the Battle of Lens in Belgium on 26 August 1648. On the day that a special mass was held at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris to celebrate the victory, she gave orders to the Captain of her guards to arrest the leaders of the Parlement, including the popular Pierre Broussel. News of the arrest quickly spread in Paris, and crowds came out into the street to protest and to build barricades. That evening Mazarin wrote in his journal, "the Parlement has performed the functions of the King, and the people have deferred to it entirely." [23]

The rebellion lasted for three years. It took its popular name, the Fronde, from the children's' slings (frondes) which were used by the mobs in the Paris streets to hurl stones. It combined the anger of the Parisians against the new taxes with the resentment of the nobility against the reduction of their ancient privileges. It was led over time by an odd assortment of allies; Gaston d'Orleans, the brother of Louis XIII; Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé a brilliant general but poor politician, and the Cardinal Paul de Gondi, a consummate intriguer. Each of them had different goals, but all agreed that Mazarin should fall. [24]

When the Fronde began the French Army, commanded by the Prince de Condé was far from Paris, fighting the Austrians. Mazarin quickly sent an envoy to the Emperor in Vienna, calling for a truce and peace conference. The Treaty of Westphalia, ending the war, was signed 24 October 1648. Despite the peace, disturbances continued in the streets of Paris. During the night of January 6, 1649, Mazarin secretly took the young Louis XIV, Anne of Austria and the court to the safety of the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just west of Paris. Mazarin then set to work intriguing to divide the different factions of the Fronde. His goal was to separate the members of the Parlement and the more radical Parisian street demonstrators, who were united only by their dislike of Mazarin and Anne of Austria. [25]

As soon as the war was concluded, he brought Condé and his army back to Paris and placed the city under blockade. He then persuaded the Parlement that they had more to fear from an uprising of the Parisiens than they did from him. On March 14, 1649, Mazarin accepted many of the reforms demanded by the Parlement. In return, the Parlement supporters laid down their weapons and allowed Anne of Austria, the young Louis XIV and Mazarin to return to Paris. [26]

The Fronde of the Princes[edit]

Louis the Prince de Condé, leader of the second Fronde

The Parlement accepted Mazarin and his government, but the Fronde was still not finished. Many frondeurs were unhappy with the compromise reached in 1649. Condé was a brilliant general but a poor politician. Once in Paris, he made endless demands on Anne of Austria until she finally angrily dismissed him. One of the other eaders of the Fronde, Jean François Paul de Gondi, soon persuaded PCondé to join him in bringing down both Mazarin and Anne of Austria. Mazarin had an excellent network of agents, and immediately learned of the plot. On 18 January 1650 Mazarin had Condé, Condé's brother, Armand de Bourbon, prince de Conti and his brother-in-law, Henri II d'Orléans, duc de Longueville arrested.[27]

The agreements of 1649 had brought peace to Paris, but the unrest of the Fronde continued in other parts of France, Opponents of Mazarin disrupted tax collection and administration. As the rebellion grew, Mazarin observed that the rebels were only united in opposition to him. He decided it was wisest to resign his position and leave France while he could. He had Condé freed from prison, and, after a long journey to different cities, settled at the Château de Bruhl near Cologne, as the guest of the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne.[27]

From Germany, he sent daily instructions to Anne of Austria and to his agents in France, His strategy was to sow distrust among the the different factions of the Fronde. His instructions were carried out meticulously by Anne of Austria. His intrigues succeeded in preventing the proposed marriage between one of the leading Frondeurs, the Prince of Conti, with Madamemoiselle de Chevreuse, another of his principal enemies in Paris. He was greatly aided by the political ineptitude of Condé, who offended many of his natural allies. Mazarin urged Anne of Austria to bring him back to Paris as soon as possible, "to correct the greatest attack ever made against the royal authority." [28]

Battle between the Fronde forces of the Prince de Conde and the army loyal to Anne of Austria and and Mazarin

Once back in Paris, Mazarin soon made an alliance with his old enemy, the Cardinal Gondi. Condé departed to Bordeaux to gather reinforcements. He raised an army of Spanish and French soldiers, and marched on Paris, arriving on July 2. The soldiers loyal to the Queen, commanded by Turenne, were waiting, and trapped Condés' army against the walls of Paris. An ally of Condé, the Grande Madamoiselle, ordered the gates of the city opened to rescue Condés army. The battle was witnessed from the hills of Charonne by the young Louis XIV.[28]

As soon as Condé's solders entered Paris, he demanded an immediate purge of Mazarin's supporters. Riots broke out around the Bastille, and were suppressed with great difficulty. The Presidents of the Parlement, now allies of Mazarin, demanded that the violence be stopped and that Condé take his army out of Paris. Reluctantly, Condé left the city, going to the Spanish Netherlands, pursued by Turenne.

Louis XIV, now of age to claim his throne, re-entered Paris in October 1652, accompanied by his mother and by Turenne. Mazarin had to wait longer to make his return, which was carefully orchestrated with his help. The Parlement de Paris was first transferred by Anne of Austria from Paris to Pointoise, to see how many members would accept her authority. A majority appeared at the meeting. Following the prepared plan, the Parlement respectfully asked that Mazarin be dismissed, and Anne of Austria agreed. Mazarin, knowing this was the plan, accepted this decision, and waited a respectful time in exile. and made his return to Paris in February 1653. He was welcomed with a triumphal banquet at the Hotel de Ville, where crowds earlier had earlier demanded his downfall. [29]


Finding money was a primary preoccupation for Mazarin throughout his entire time as first minister. His new taxes on Parisians and the nobility had provoked the first Fronde,, but the end of the Fronde did not resolve the problem. The government had borrowed huge amounts to finance the campaigns the first Fronde and against Condé, and also had to pay for the continual travels of the Regent and the young King, and the elaborate festivities, parades, cavalcades that accompanied their travel and every major event. The royal budget for 1653 was about 109 million livres, which amounted to eight hundred tons of silver or sixty tons of gold. Expenditures were the greatest between 1656 and 1659. Twenty-seven agreements were made with bankers, who loaned the government 98 million livres to supplement the money collected through ordinary taxes. [30]

Following the death of his first finance minister, La Vieuville, on 2 February 1653, Mazarin chose a new minister, Nicolas Fouquet, At the age of twenty-five, Fouquet had inherited a very large fortune after the death of his young first wife, and an even greater fortune when he married the second time, to Marie-Madeleine de Castille, the heiress of one of the largest fortunes in Europe. Fouquet began as a master of receipts at age twenty, then an intendant to the army, then Procuror-General for the Parliament of Paris at the age of thirty-five.[31]

Through his family connections, Fouquet had amassed a fortune of three to four million livres. One of reasons for Fouquet's rapid rise was his willingness to lend very large sums to Mazarin for his various projects. In November , 1657, Mazarin needed 11.8 million livres to pay the Army of the North. Fouquet, drawing upon his wealthy relatives, was able to provide the money. In 1659 he provided another loan of five million livres. [30]

Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the enemy and successor of Fouquet

The great rival of Fouquet was Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who was recommended to King Louis XIV by Mazarin. Colbert's earliest recorded attempt at tax reform came in the form of a mémoire to Mazarin, showing that of the taxes paid by the people, not one-half reached the King. The paper also contained an attack upon the Superintendent Fouquet. The postmaster of Paris, a spy of Fouquet's, read the letter, leading to a dispute which Mazarin attempted to suppress. Following Mazarin's death, Fouquet was accused by Colbert of misuse of state funds, his property was confiscated, and he was put into prison until his death, with Colbert eventually taking his place. Colbert also informed the King of places where Mazarin had hidden his wealth.

The personal fortune of Mazarin at the time of his death was immense, amounting to 35 million livres, not counting the sums he left to his nieces. It exceeded the second-greatest personal fortune of the century, that of Richelieu, worth some 20 million livres. About one third of the personal fortune of Mazarin came from some twenty-one abbeys around France, each of which paid him an annual share of their revenue. [32] Unlike members of the nobility, he did not have any large estates; his only real estate was the palace in Paris which he purchased in 1649, and added several surrounding houses. It was valued at 1.2 million livres. Thirty-seven percent of his fortune was in easily transportable jewels and cash. Within the ebony cabinets of his rooms at the Louvre his heirs found 450 pearls of high quality, plus quantities of gold chains and crosses, and rings with previous stones, altogether adding another 400,000 livres. [31] He left to his family jewels worth an estimated 2.5 million livres, and gave a collection of diamonds worth 50,000 livres to the new Queen, and a 14-carat diamond called The Rose of England, valued at 73,000 livres, to the Queen Mother. The most valuable legacies of all, including a set of eighteen diamonds known as the "Mazarins", worth two million livres, were given to the young Louis XIV.[31]

Family connections[edit]

Niece Marie Anne, the future Duchess of Bouillon, 1670s.

Cardinal Mazarin's wealth (he collected benefices and amassed a huge fortune and a greater collection of art than the king's) and his nieces' beauty, made for notable family connections, marital and extramarital.

His three nieces Hortense, Marie, and Olympia, were famous for their wit, their beauty and their freedom. Olympia was the mother of the famous Prince Eugene of Savoy. Hortense was a mistress of Charles II of England. Another niece Laura married Alfonso IV d'Este, Duke of Modena and was the mother of Mary of Modena, Queen of England. Altogether, his seven nieces were referred to as the Mazarinettes.

Final months and death[edit]

In his las months, Mazarin mostly resided in the Louvre Palace, A large fire broke out in the Gallery of Apollo, the main picture gallery of the Louvre, and destroyed many pictures, greatly upsetting Mazarin. It was the beginning of his decline. When his doctor informed him that his end was near, Mazarin asked, "How long?" The Doctor replied "two months." Mazarin responded, "That's enough." [33]

Mazarin had already prepared several wills. Knowing that his enemies at court were telling Louis XIV that he Mazarin taking money that belonged rightfully to the King, his first will, which he made public, cleverly left all of his fortune to Louis XIV. He most likely knew in advance that the King would be too embarrassed to take all of his chief Minister's wealth, which was the case. The King graciously refused to accept it. Mazarin had prepared a different will, which left a large sum for the establishment of the College of the Nations, which he founded for students coming from the new provinces which Mazarin and added to the territory of France. The building, with its graceful dome, was eventually built directly across the Seine from the Louvre, where it was visible from the Palace. Mazarin asked that his remains be interred there, where they are found today in a marble monument.

In fiction[edit]

Library and manuscripts[edit]

The Bibliothèque Mazarine was initially the personal library of cardinal Mazarin, who was a great bibliophile. His first library, arranged by his librarian, Gabriel Naudé, was dispersed when he had to flee Paris during the Fronde.

He then began a second library with what was left of the first, assisted by the successor to Naudé, François de La Poterie. The library grew to over 25,000 volumes and was open to all. Mazarin's example would be responsible for the establishment of over 50 public libraries in France over the course of the next century. At his death he bequeathed his library, which he had opened to scholars since 1643, to the Collège des Quatre-Nations which he had founded in 1661.

Mazarin was also a manuscript collector:

Things named after Cardinal Mazarin[edit]

Notes and citations[edit]

  1. ^ Georges Dethan, "Mazarin, Jules, Cardinal" in The New Encyclopædia Britannica (15th edition, Chicago, 1991) vol. 7, p. 979. Some sources give his surname as Mazzarini (with two z's), for example Buelow 2004, p. 158. Mazarino is also a possible spelling
  2. ^ Poncet 2018.
  3. ^ Mongrédien 1959, p. 10.
  4. ^ a b c d Mongrédien 1959.
  5. ^ Poncet 2018, p. 32.
  6. ^ Mongrédien 1959, p. 13.
  7. ^ Mongrédien 1959, p. 14.
  8. ^ a b Mongrédien 1959, p. 16.
  9. ^ Mongrédien 1959, p. 22.
  10. ^ a b Mongrédien 1959, p. 38.
  11. ^ a b Mongrédien 1959, p. 24.
  12. ^ Poncet 1959, p. 24.
  13. ^ Mongrédien 1959, pp. 42-43.
  14. ^ a b c Mongrédien 1959, p. 45.
  15. ^ Mongrédien 1959, pp. 45-49.
  16. ^ Mongrédien 1959, pp. 47-49.
  17. ^ a b c Mongrédien 1959, pp. 50-51.
  18. ^ Mongrédien 1959, pp. 53.
  19. ^ O'Connor 1978, p. 5-9.
  20. ^ Jones, Colin (1994-10-20). The Cambridge Illustrated History of France (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-521-43294-8. 
  21. ^ This section draws upon the chapter Le vaincu de la Fronde deviant monarque absolu by Jacques de Bourbon Busset in Mazarin, edited by Georges Mongrédien (1959).
  22. ^ Mongrédien 1959, p. 54.
  23. ^ a b Mongrédien 1959, p. 56.
  24. ^ Mongrédien 1959, p. 56-58.
  25. ^ Mongrédien 1959, p. 59-60.
  26. ^ Mongrédien 1959, p. 60--61.
  27. ^ a b Mongrédien 1959, p. 60-61.
  28. ^ a b Mongrédien 1959, p. 75.
  29. ^ Mongrédien 1959, p. 76.
  30. ^ a b Goubert 1990, p. 434.
  31. ^ a b c Goubert 438, p. 439.
  32. ^ Goubert 438, p. 478.
  33. ^ This section draws mainly upon the essay "Le vieille homme et le jeune Roi by Jean d'Ormesson in Mazarin (1959).
  34. ^ "Poperingse Mazarinetaart erkend als streekproduct". De Standaard (in Flemish). 28 September 2006. Retrieved 21 July 2018. 

Books cited in text[edit]

  • Goubert, Pierre (1990). Mazarin (in French). Paris: Fayard. ISBN 2-213-01650-X. 
  • Mongrédien, Georges (1959). Mazarin (in French). Paris: Hachette. 
  • Poncet, Olivier (2018). Mazarin l'Italien (in French). Paris: Tallandier. ISBN 979-10-210-3105-0. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Amedeo Benedetti, Sul Breviario dei politici di Giulio Mazzarino, "Rivista di Studi Politici Internazionali", a. 79 (2012), fasc. 314, pp. 269–278.
  • Bonney, Richard. Society And Government In France Under Richelieu And Mazarin 1624-61 (Springer, 1988).
  • Buelow, George J. (2004). A history of baroque music. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34365-9. 
  • Ekberg, Carl J. "Abel Servien, Cardinal Mazarin, and the Formulation of French Foreign Policy, 1653–1659." The International History Review 3.3 (1981): 317-329.
  • Garrett, Mitchell Bennett (1940), European history, 1500-1815, American Book Company 
  • Hassall, Arthur. Mazarin (1903)
  • O'Connor, John T. (1978). Negotiator Out of Season: Career of Wilhelm Egon Von Furstenberg, 1629-1704. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. ISBN 978-0-8203-0436-6. 
  • Perkins, James Breck (1886). France Under Mazarin (2 volumes). New York: Putnam. Vols. 1 & 2 at Internet Archive.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Armand de Bourbon, Prince of Conti
Abbot of Cluny
Succeeded by
Rinaldo d'Este
Political offices
Preceded by
Cardinal Richelieu
Chief Minister to the French Monarch
Succeeded by
Jean-Baptiste Colbert
French royalty
Preceded by
Charles III Gonzaga
Duke of Nevers
Succeeded by
Philippe Jules Mancini