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to Henry the Fourth, and of the royal blood of France.' To this the Capuchin returned me a very satisfactory answer: 'Sir,' says he, ' it seems you are but little acquainted with the casuistick doctrine and principles of the Jesuits, and have not the happiness to be ac. quainted with Father le Chese the king's confessor, so well as

and therefore I'll tell you one evasion, a wit, like his, will soon find out to remove all needless scruples from the king's mind, arising from his swearing the edict of Nantz, and it is this: - The words of the oath, which the king did take at his coronation, were these : And seeing this edict was declared to by King Henry

the Fourth, our grandfather of glorious memory, to be irrevocable, ' and that his lawful successors, the succeeding kings of France,

should swear the same at their coronation, thefore we do thereby

promise and swear, faithfully and inviolably to observe the said • edict all the days of our life-time. Now these being the very

words of the king's oath (continues the capuchin) how proper ' and easy was it for the Reverend Father le Chese, to tell him,

Sire, you are not at all obliged by this oath, because it leans upon, and contains in its very bosom, a supposition, upon the removal of which, the whole oath itself does necessarily fall, viz. your ma. jesty's being the grand child of Henry the Fourth; which neither you

yourself, nor no body else does believe: so that, if your majesty • has sworn an oath, wherein there is an express supposition that

you are the grand-child of Henry the Fourth, which you are not, the oath itself, as leaning on that false supposition, must necessari. ly fall with it, and becomes in itself void. I hope you are wiser, (concludes the capuchin to me) but to think that Father le Chese might use all this freedom with his ignorant bigotted pupil, in. slaved to his direction, especially that he is acquainted with all the

villainies of his life, and in particular with his criminal privacies (with the dauphiness.' Thus far the capuchin's discourse and mine; and I must say, upon reflexion, I cannot divine an evasion which Father le Chese could have fallen upon more plausible, to persuade his inslaved pupil to revoke the edict of Nantz, than this the capuchin hinted at.

But I know the reader will tell me, what means all this pother, upon a mere supposition that Lewis le Grand is a bastard, without making it appear, or proving that he is so? I acknowledge, that, of all the tasks one ever ventured upon, that of proving a man to be a bastard is the hardest; for, when a woman designs to bring another than her husband to her bed, she uses not to order such and such persons to stand by, that they may bear testimony of her crime ; and though some women may come the length of inadvertency or impudence, in being too open in their amours, yet when they have to do with a gallant that is concerned in honour, and obliged by his cha. racter, to be more reserved in his pleasures; it is not to be imagined, but she will be taught to play her part, if not chastely, yet cautiously. All the world knows that the cardinals of Richlieu and Mazarine were capable of keeping their own secrets; and yet it is to be re

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gretted, that their amours with our invincible monarch's mother were hard enough to be concealed, so many are the spies about the courts of princes.

That Anne of Austria found a way to provide an heir to Lewis the Thirteenth, without putting him to the pains of getting it him. self, will appear clearly enough, if we take a view of all the circumstances that meet in this affair, which, all taken together, leave us no room to doubt of that queen's concern for perpetuating her husband's memory at any cost.

Common fame was ever looked upon as a great presumption of the truth of a thing, especially if joined to other concurring circumstances; and never did that prating goddess extend her voice louder, than in proclaiming to the world the spurious birth of our august monarch. Time was, when she did not whisper it in corners, but expressed it in publick pictures, plays, farces, and what not? Mo. desty will not allow me to mention the bawdy shapes of these two sorts of bread, called to this day the Queen's Bread, and the Cardi. nal's Bread, sold through Paris, and in most places of France; so that, at that time, one could scarce sit down to eat, but he was put in mind of the queen and the cardinal's amours. It were in vain to enumerate the thousandth part of the satires and pasquils on this subject, for a great many years; each pen outvying one another, in the glory of propagating to posterity the love passions of these two mighty cardinal ministers of state; let this one upon Cardinal Richlieu, affixed on his palace, serve for all:

What means th’ ungrate French to hate,
The only true support of state ?
What greater favour could there be
Shewn to the king, queen, state, all three;
Than to provide, by his unwearied care,

The king a son, the queen a husband, and the state an heir ? Impotency is one of those imperfections, a man is most unwilling to take with, being that which unmans him, and renders him the scorn of his own, and the abhorrence of the other sex. It can only be proved by presumptions; and these are for the most part reducible, either to his indifference for the fair sex in general, or for his own wife in particular; the weakness of his constitution, or his cohabita ing with a woman of a sound body, and proportioned age, for a con. siderable time, without having any issue by her. All these presumptions, and some more than perhaps decency will allow me to name, will be found in Lewis the Thirteenth, the supposed father of our august monarch.

I think there can be no greater proof of a man's indifference for the fair sex, in general, or his own wife in particular, than when a man, in the heat of his youth, has a right by marriage to the bed of a beautiful and young princess, has her constantly in his view, and in his power, and yet, at the same time, can, for some years toge. ther, abstain from those embraces, which marriage has not only made lawful, but a duty. And this unwonted coldness, in youth, is

the more to be jealoused, that, previous to the marriage, the man did express an eager impatience to enjoy his young bride; for the subsequent coldness and abstinence does clearly insinuate a conscious, ness of his being mistaken of himself, and that upon trial he has found his power not answerable to his will.

Of all this, we have a pretty clear instance in Lewis the Thirteenth. Upon his being married by proxy to Anne of Austria, Infanta of Spain, afterwards mother to our invincible monarch, he expressed the greatest eagerness to enjoy her, and, having gone the length of Bourdeaux to meet her, his desires vented themselves in the follow, ing letter, sent her some few days before her arrival,

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MADAME, ! Since I cannot, according to my longing desire, find myself near

you, at your entry into my kingdom, to put you in possession of the power I have, and of that intire affection I have in my breast

I to love and serve you; I send you Luyenes, one of the most trusty of my servants, to salute you in my name, and to tell you, that you are expected by me with the greatest impatience, to offer unto you myself: I pray, therefore, receive him favourably, and be. lieve what he shall tell you, madam, from your most dear friend and servant,

LEWIS.

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The strain of this letter seems to be warm enough, and the word, offer of himself, is pretty expressive, as coming from a young bride. groom, to a young and beautiful bride. Now who would have dreamed, but this skirmishing by letters should have produced a fixed battle at meeting? But, alas! our youngster, having bedded his queen but for the space of two hours, rises up from his nuptial bed, too late conscious to himself of his unfitness for the sports of Venus. And, albeit he was in his queen's company every day for four years thereafter, his false desires never led him once again, during all that time, to try a second rencounter: Yea, it was ex. pected by every body, he should never have ventured to bed the queen again, if his favourite Luyenes had not tricked him into it, the very night of his sister's marriage with the prince of Piedmont. For, Luyenes finding the king in a good jolly humour, and talking more wantonly than ordinary, he grasps him out of his bed, in his arms, and throwing a night-gown about him, brings him unexpect. edly into the queen’s bed. It was indeed pretended, that the reason of this four years abstinence was, for fear the marriage-bed might hinder the king's growth, and enervate his strength : And yet it is hard to believe, that such a politick consideration could prevail with a man that had any boiling blood in his veins. But every body will be apt, at the first dash, to draw this consequence from it, that there was more in it of a winter chilness, than usually suits with youth.

From the beginning of the year 1619, to 1638, King Lewis the Thirteenth continued to cohabit with his queen; and often in his

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melancholy fits, to which he was naturally subject, he would com. plain to his confidents, that he knew certainly the queen would have no children to him. Upon which fell out a remarkable passage, that serves mightily to unriddle some difficulties in this affair. One day at Fontainebleau, the time of his brother Monsieur's wars against him, being in a suilen fit, he began to regret, to some few about him, his misfortune of not having children of his own body; which, he said, was the cause of Monsieur's insolence against him, and of his power with the people, as being presumptive heir of the crown. Hereupon some of them began to tell him, that, for reasons of state, it was very fit to procure a divorce from the queen; and that, perhaps, another wife might bring him children to heir the crown of France, and put Monsieur beside the cushion. But Luyenes, who knew the king's infirmity best, taking him aside, told him with his usual freedom, Sire, unless you resolve to ruin yourself, for good and

all, let there never be the least mention made, in time coming, of a divorce from the queen ; for, if any such thing shall come to her ears, she will be sure to lay the blame of her barrenness upon

your majesty; and this every body will believe, and which will render Monsieur's pretensions insupportable. And indeed, it was from this consideration, that the motion of a divorce was ever afterwards laid aside, lest the queen should be provoked, to tell out the truth, and thereby Monsieur's interest elevated a pin higher than suited with the king's safety.

There is another great presumption of one's impotency, when a man evinces himself to be indifferent not only for his own wife, but for the whole fair sex in general. Lewis the Thirteenth gave ample proofs of this sort of virtue, if it be one; having been never seen to cast one single warm glance at any of the beauties of the court, and never heard to utter one expression that could be interpreted amorous.

Of this indifference of his, for the fair sex, there is one pretty instance, in an expression he had to Monsieur his brother, upon the occasion of his marrying the Duke of Lorrain's daughter against the king's will. Monsieur having told him, by way of excuse, that he chused to marry at any rate, rather than to live in whoredom; and one of the two, he said, his constitution obliged him to do: Brother, 5 replies the king, you, and I, it seems, are of different tempers, for "I could live all my life without either of them.' Here was a modest, though untimely confession of his indifference, if not impo. tency; and indeed Monsieur was not wanting to improve it in his cir. cular letters, he wrote to his partisans, a few months after, upon his retiring to Brussels.

There is another story, much of the same nature, that passed be. twixt the king and his favourite Luyenes, about the divorce from the queen, when it was first talked of. Luyenes told him, that the only way to stop the queen's mouth, in the matter of the divorce, was for the king to give an evidence, that her barrenness was not from his fault, by trying to get children by some other woman; and, hereupon, he mentioned one of the handsomest ladies about court, as a fit mistress for him. The king answered coldly Mais je vous

assure Luyenes, je ne songe pas a telles choses;' but I assure you, says he, Luyenes, I do not think upon these things;' and so the disa course was dropped.

I shall only name one other instance more, of the king's indif. ference for the fair sex, because it was so publick, and had so much of rallery in it. The king being one day playing at cards with Madamoiselle Ramboulet, it happened that the king alledged upon her, she had dropped a card on design, saying he would have it, be where it will: The lady, finding she was discovered, slipped the card into her breast, saying, “Sire, I am assured you will not take it out ! here. Which was true, for the king gave over any further search, when he saw the card was in her bosom.

A great many attributed this indifference of the king's, for his own lady, and all other women, to the weakness of his constitu. tion; and, indeed, he was of the tenderest and sickliest imaginable, being, from his birth, weak in his limbs, and asthmatick to his dying. day. The Duke of Espernon, rallying one day with the king's physician, told him, he was afraid the king might over-heat himself, in the embraces of a young and beautiful queen. The physician, nodding his head, answered him, it must be a great heat that will thaw his majesty's ice.

But though Lewis the Thirteenth had been a just admirer of his own queen, and of the fair sex in general, and had neither been branded with impotency, nor known to be of a weakly constitution, what a wonderful thing was it, that what a man could not do, in the heat of his youth, he should, in the beginning of the autumn of his age, and that there should be twenty-three years betwixt their mar. riage, and the birth of their first child ! I remember the poets tell us, that Jupiter, when he was to beget Hercules, was necessitated to make a night three times longer than the ordinary; so difficult was it, even for the father of the Gods, to beget an hero: but our in. vincible hero Lewis le Grand, required a longer time to be gotten than Hercules, and twenty-three years was little enough time to produce our august monarch. What a shame was it for Cardinal Richelieu to throw away so much pains to no purpose? And how easy had it been to have made the king a father, and the queen a mother, in the twentieth part of that time, if he had but understood the new English way of getting and bearing children? But, it seems, the art of imposing infant princes was not then brought to that perfection, it has been of late; and Anne of Austria was not so good a proficient in the trade, as Mary of Modena. What needed the former have made herself the talk of all France, for her intrigues with her two cardinals ? It had been the easiest ihing in the world to make her a mother, without the trouble of one single throw. A close balister about the bed, and a convenient passage at the head of it, with a wary midwife, and one ort wo more trusty confidents, might have done just as well.

But the curse of all was, our Lewis the Thirteenth was neither to be imposed upon, in such an affair, nor could be brought into

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