The Book of Days

 
 Home

 About:

 Today's Page

 Calendar of Days

 Indexes

 Search Site

 Links

 Contact Us

 Site Map

 

 The Book of Days is proudly brought to
you by the members of Emmitsburg.net

 

September 12th

Born: Francis I of France, 1494; Sir William Dugdale, antiquary, 1605, Shustoke, Warwickshire; Jean-Philippe Rameau, writer of operas, 1683, Dijon.

Died: Pope Innocent VI, 1362; Cinq-Mars, favourite of Louis XIII, executed at Lyon, along with De Thou, on charge of conspiracy, 1642; Griffith Jones, miscellaneous writer, 1786, London; Edward, Lord Thurlow, chancellor of England, 1806, Brighton; Lebrecht Von Blücher, field-marshal of Prussia, 1819, Kriblowitz, Silesia; Lord Metcalfe, statesman, 1846, Basingstoke; William Cooke Taylor, miscellaneous writer, 1849, Dublin; James Fillans, sculptor, 1852, Glasgow; Sir James Stephen, historical and miscellaneous writer, 1859, Coblentz.

Feast Day: St. Albeus, bishop and confessor, 525. St. Eanswide, virgin and abbess, 7th century. St. Guy, confessor, 11th century.

CINQ-MAIRS

Youth and comeliness of person not unfrequently serve as palliations of serious delinquencies, and what in the case of an ordinary criminal would have been looked on as simply a fitting punishment for his misdeeds, is apt to be regarded as harsh and oppressive, when the penalties of the law come to be inflicted on a young and handsome transgressor. A feeling of this sort has thrown a romantic interest around the fate of the , the favourite of Louis XIII, though it is but justice to his memory to admit that, in putting him to death, the principles both of law and equity were grossly violated.

It is well known that the weak and irresolute Louis XIII was entirely subject to his prime minister, the crafty and ambitious Cardinal Richelieu. Yet in the opinion of the latter, it was necessary to watch the sovereign closely, lest some stranger should gain such a sway over his heart, as to render nugatory the influence wielded by himself. It was necessary to provide him with some favourite, who might act as a spy on his actions, and duly report all his proceedings. A fitting instrument for such an employment, the cardinal believed he had discovered in M. de Cinq-Mars, a young gentleman of Auvergne, who joined the most unique graces of personal appearance to the most brilliant wit and captivating manners. Having been introduced at court by Richelieu, he rapidly gained the favour of the king, who had him appointed, when only nineteen, to the offices of grand equerry and master of the robes. Never was a favourite's advancement more speedy, nor the sunshine of royal friendship more liberally dispensed. Yet the gay and volatile Cinq-Mars chafed under the restraints to which the constant attention claimed by an invalid monarch subjected him, and he not unfrequently involved himself in disgrace by transgressing the rules of court.

A mistress of his, the beautiful Marion de Lorme, occupied a large share of his thoughts to the exclusion of the king; and Louis was often irritated in the mornings, on sending for his equerry, by the announcement, that he had not yet risen, the real fact being, that he had just lain down to sleep after a night spent in visiting Mademoiselle de Lorme. Cinq-Mars was at first gently reprimanded for his indolence, but the truth at last came out, and a most uncourtly altercation ensued between him and the king. High words passed on both sides, and at last Louis ordered him from his presence. After a short absence from court, he made a humble submission to Richelieu, and through his influence was reinstated in royal favour. But the relation between these two men soon assumed a different phase. Cinq-Mars was beginning to insinuate himself too intimately into the king's good graces, and by aiming at freeing himself from dependence on Richelieu, rendered himself an object of suspicion and hatred to the jealous priest.

Then the latter mortally offended the favourite, by interposing to prevent his marriage with the Princess Gonzaga, to whose hand Cinq-Mars had ventured to aspire. The result of all these counter-agencies was a rancorous and deadly feud, which nothing but blood could appease. The assassination of Richelieu was meditated by Cinq-Mars, and suggested by him to the king, who certainly did not manifest any decided aversion to a scheme which would have rid him of a minister who exercised over him so thorough a control. But the project was never carried out. In the meantime, some of the leading French nobles, including among others the Duke of Orleans, Louis's brother, and the Duke de Bouillon, had entered into a conspiracy for the overthrow of Cardinal Richelieu, and the securing to the first-named duke the regency of the kingdom, in the event of the king's death, an occurrence which the state of his health rendered probable at no distant date. Into this confederacy Cinq-Mars readily entered along with a friend of his, the councillor De Thou, a son of the celebrated historian.

The real mover, however, in the plot was Gaston, Duke of Orleans. With the view of strengthening their cause, the conspirators entered into a secret treaty with the Spanish court, and everything was looking favourable for the success of their design. The cardinal, however, had his spies and informers everywhere, and having received intelligence of what was going on, refrained from taking any active steps till he could strike the final blow. At last he contrived to get possession of a copy of the Spanish treaty, and laid it before the king, who thereupon granted a warrant for the arrest of the parties implicated. The real rind leader, Louis of Orleans, a man aged forty-six, had the baseness to throw the entire guilt of the transaction upon Cinq-Mars, a youth of twenty-two, and by burning, as is said, the original treaty, managed to destroy the legal proof of his treason. The Duke de Bouillon escaped by forfeiting his principality of Sedan. But Richelieu was bent on having the lives of Cinq-Mars and De Thou, the demerits of the latter consisting in the circumstance of his father, the historian, having made in his work some unpleasant revelations regarding one of the cardinal's ancestors.

The two friends were arrested at Narbonne, conveyed to Perpignan, and from thence up the Rhone towards Lyon. It is said Richelieu preceded them in a triumphal progress as far as Valence, having his two victims placed in a barge, which was attached to the stern of his own as he sailed up the river. On reaching Lyon, the prisoners were brought to trial, and after a mockery of the forms of justice, the evidence against both, more especially De Thou, being very incomplete, they were condemned to lose their heads as traitors. To gratify Richelieu, who dreaded the effect of the intercession of their friends and relatives with the king, the proceedings were hurried through as rapidly as possible, and the execution took place on the same day that sentence was pronounced.

Both Cinq-Mars and De Thou behaved with great courage, though the decapitation of the latter was accomplished in a most bungling and repulsive manner, the proper executioner having broken his leg a few days before, and his place being supplied by a novice to the business, who was rewarded with a hundred crowns for his work. Such was the history of Cinq-Mars, whose fate has supplied materials both to the romance-writer and dramatist. That he was illegally condemned, is certainly true; but it is no less so, that he had plotted Richelieu's over-throw, and at one period meditated his death, so that he could scarcely complain of being entangled in the same net which he had already spread for another. The cardinal did not long survive the gratification of his vengeance, and, broken down by disease and bodily suffering, followed his victims in a few months to that unseen world where the forgiveness, which he had so inexorably withheld from them, would have to be solicited, it is to be hoped successfully, by himself, from a higher and more merciful Power.

GRIFFITH JONES

The readers of the Vicar of Wakefield--and who has not read it?—must remember how poor Primrose, when sick and penniless at a little ale-house seventy miles from home, was rescued from his distressing situation by ' the philanthropic bookseller of St. Paul's Churchyard, who has written so many little books for children'—who called himself the friend of children, 'but was the friend of all mankind '— then engaged in a journey of importance, namely, to gather 'materials for the history of one Mr. Thomas Trip.' The person here meant was Mr. John Newbery, who carried on business as a publisher in the last house of Ludgate Hill, adjoining to St. Paul's Churchyard, and who was one of the chief bibliopolic patrons of Goldsmith himself. It was, indeed, he to whom Dr. Johnson sold for sixty pounds the manuscript of the Vicar of Wakefield, thereby redeeming its author from a position of difficulty with which Boswell has made the public sufficiently familiar.

The little books for children published by Mr. Newbery are now entirely unknown. We remember then still in great favour about fifty years ago. Rather plain in respect of paper they were; the embellishments were somewhat rude; and perhaps the variant-hued paper-covers, with a slight gold lackering, would be sneered at by the juveniles of the present age. Nevertheless, we cannot look back upon them without respect. The History of Goody Two-shoes, the History of Giles Gingerbread, and the Travels of Tommy Trip, were all charming narrations.

If it was worth while to advert to M. Perrault as the author of the Contes des Fées, it seems equally proper, in a book of this kind, to put into some prominence the writers of this English literature for the young. Let it be observed, then, that the chief of these was a Welshman of considerable learning and talent, Mr. Griffith Jones, who had been reared as a printer under Mr. Bowyer, but advanced to be a journalist of repute, and a notable contributor to periodical works supported by Johnson, Smollett, Goldsmith, and other eminent men. He was many years editor of the Daily Advertiser, the paper in which the letters of Junius appeared. He resided at one time in Bolt Court, Fleet Street, and thus was a near neighbour of Johnson. A small work of his, entitled Great Events from Little Causes, is said to have had an extensive sale. Being, however, a modest man, he was content to publish anonymously, and thus it has happened that his name is hardly known in our literary history. His brother, Giles Jones, was another worker in the humble field wherein Mr. Newbery acquired his fame, and his son, Stephen Jones, was the editor of the Biographic Dramatics, 1812.

RAISING OF THE SIEGE OF VIENNA SEPTEMBER 12th, 1683

Depressed as the Turks now are, it is difficult to imagine how formidable they were two hundred years ago. The Hungarians, threatened by their sovereign, the Emperor Leopold, with the loss of their privileges, revolted against him, and called in the Turks to their aid. An Ottoman army, about two hundred thousand strong, augmented by a body of Hungarian troops, consequently advanced into Austria, and, finding no adequate resistance, laid siege to Vienna.

The emperor, quitting his capital with precipitation, retired first to Lintz, afterwards to Passau, leaving the Duke of Lorraine at the head of a little army to sustain, as he best might, the fortunes of the empire. All Europe was at gaze at this singular conjuncture, none doubting that the Austrian capital would speedily be in the hands of the Turks, for it had hardly any defence-beyond what was furnished by a weak garrison of citizens and students. The avarice of the grand vizier, Kara-Mustapha, the commander of the Turks, saved Vienna. He had calculated that the emperor's capital ought to contain immense treasures, and he hesitated to order a general assault, lest these should be appropriated by the soldiery. This allowed time for John Sobieski, king of Poland, to bring up his army, and for the princes of the empire to gather their troops. The Janissaries murmured. Discouragement followed upon indignation. They wrote, 'Come, infidels; the mere sight of your hats will put us to flight!'

In effect, when the king of Poland and the Duke of Lorraine descended the Colemberg mountain with their troops, the Turks retired without fighting. The vizier, who had expected to obtain so much treasure in Vienna, left his own in the hands of Sobieski, and went to surrender his head to the sultan. The retreat of his army was so precipitate, that they left behind them the grand standard of the Prophet, which Sobieski, with practical wit, sent to the pope.

September 13th

BACK TO TOP >