Journal de Monsieur le Cardinal Duc de Richelieu : Qu’il a Faict Durant le Grand Orage de la Court en l’Année 1630 & 1631 ; Tiré de Ses Memoires Qu’il a Escrit de Sa Main ; Avec Diverses Autres Pieçes Remarquables, Qui Sont Arrivées en Son Temps, by Armand Jean du Plessis (Cardinal Richelieu). No publisher, 1648.
Vincent de Paul witnessed many of the key political events in the
evolution of the Bourbon monarchy and early modern France, including the
famous “Day of the Dupes” in November 1631. Historians consider this
event as the turning point in the reign of Louis XIII (1610-1643).
Louis XIII came to the throne at the age of eight, upon the
assassination of his father Henri IV. His mother Marie de Medici served
as Regent and exercised a great influence over her son, even after he
began his personal rule. Early in the reign a young, talented bishop by
the name of Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu came to the Regent's
attention and began his rocky rise to power which would lead to his
emergence as first minister.
The leadership weaknesses of Louis XIII led to a period of instability as the great struggles around domestic and foreign policy, religion, and royal authority took place in a power vacuum. This situation led to the development of plots, power struggles, court intrigue, and open rebellion. The King could not even control the behavior of his brother Gaston d’Orleans.
This situation came to a head in November 1631, when there was a show-down in which Marie de Medici and her dévot supporters such as the Keeper of the Seals (the great Michel de Marillac) plotted to defeat Richelieu. At first, it appeared that the Queen-Mother had convinced the King to dismiss the cardinal. However, even as Marie de Medici was celebrating her apparent victory, Richelieu and his supporters tried one last desperate appeal to the King. They succeeded, and Cardinal Richelieu snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Marie de Medici would be banished from the kingdom, and her leading supporters severely punished by Richelieu. Those punished would include Louise de Marillac’s two uncles, Michel and Louis, who paid with their lives.
Although Richelieu's relationship with Louis XIII would be strained and never close, the king knew that the Cardinal's leadership was essential to the preservation of royal authority, and the construction of a strong monarchy and a powerful kingdom. Vincent de Paul and Cardinal Richelieu enjoyed a close working relationship. It was during these years that Vincent began his rise to national prominence as Cardinal Richelieu’s policies transformed France, and prepared the way for Louis XIV.
The present volume was published after Richelieu's death. Taken from his memoires, it describes his view of the fateful events of 1630-31.
Vincent’s Reading List is a recurring blog series exploring texts known
to have been read and recommended by Saint Vincent de Paul, those which
can be presumed to have been read by him, and works published during
his lifetime (1581-1660) illustrating his world. All materials discussed
are held by DePaul University’s Richardson Library. The entire series may be viewed here.