The Life of the Truly Eminent and Learned Hugo Grotius
by Jean Levesque de Burigny
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The authority of Oxenstiern was so great that this kind of nomination needed not the Queen's confirmation: it was not till almost two years after[211] that Christina ratified by her letters Grotius's embassy. Before their arrival he enjoyed the same honours and prerogatives as if the Queen herself had nominated him.

As soon as he could depend upon an establishment, he purposed to make it known by some public act that he considered himself no longer as a Dutchman. On the 13th of July, 1634[212], he sent his brother letters for the Prince of Orange and the Dutch: but desired him to read them first himself, and advise with the Counsellor Reigersberg and Beaumont about them. "I have ceased, says he in another place[213], to be a Dutchman since I entered into the service of Sweden; which I have sufficiently intimated to the States of Holland. I have written to them, but not as their subject. Thus the Spaniards used to act in such cases, as Mariana informs us in several places of his History of Spain. When I bad adieu to the United Provinces (he writes again[214]) I signified to them that I was a member of another nation; that I should give myself little trouble about what might be said or thought of it; and that I reckoned never to see the Country again." We may judge by these expressions that his patience was at length worn out.

He wrote to the City of Rotterdam, which had deferred nominating a Pensionary since the sentence passed against Grotius, that they might now chuse one, since they ought no longer to look on him as a Dutchman.


[207] Ep. 349. p. 125. & ep. 346. p. 124.

[208] Ep. 330. p. 849.

[209] Ep. 352. p. 127.

[210] Ep. 337. p. 851.

[211] Ep. 577. p. 227.

[212] Ep. 330. p. 849.

[213] Ep. 572. p. 958.

[214] Ep. 719. p. 970.

III. At the time that Grotius entered into the service of Sweden, the affairs of that Crown were in a very bad situation. The death of the Great Gustavus had made a strange change in them. He left at his death a young Princess under age, whose right was even disputed. Ladislaus IV. elected King of Poland on the death of his father Sigismond, set up a claim to the Swedish crown, and had a party in the kingdom capable of forming a dangerous faction. Sweden was unable singly to support the war in Germany; and saw the allies, whom she had hitherto kept on her side by her authority and the eclat of her victories, ready to fall off: the weaker, in consternation at the death of their leader, wished for peace; the more powerful, such as the Dukes of Pomerania, the Elector of Brandenbourg, the Dukes of Meklenbourg, and some others, jealous of the authority usurped by the Swedes in Germany, would acknowledge them only as allies, and not as the head of the Protestant party. The Duke of Brunswick was already levying men in his own name, and intended to form a separate party composed of the Circle of Lower Saxony. The Elector of Saxony carried his views still farther. He wanted to have the supreme direction of affairs; and, if thwarted, there was reason to apprehend he would soon relinquish the common cause. In this perilous situation the Swedes, hardening themselves against danger, trusted to their courage and address: and after nominating regents to govern the kingdom during Queen Christina's minority, they committed the care of Sweden's interests in Germany to Baron Oxenstiern the High Chancellor with an almost absolute power.

That great man supported this important charge in the most difficult times with a firmness, address, and capacity, which justly made him be looked upon as one of the ablest Ministers of Europe. He inspired those who were wavering through fear with new Courage; brought back those who on private views had detached themselves from the common cause; broke the measures of the Duke of Brunswick; suspended the effects of the Elector of Saxony's jealousy, and made all the allies sensible that they could only find their true interest, their security, and safety, in their union. By this means the bands which knit them together were strengthened, and Sweden preserved the principal direction of affairs, and almost as much authority as she had in the time of Gustavus. The Swedes had lately lost the famous battle of Norlingen in September; and Marshal Horne their General was made prisoner. This disaster was followed by the peace of Prague, in which the Emperor Ferdinand II. engaged the Electors of Saxony and Brandenbourg to unite against the Swedes; and it would have been all over with them in Germany, had not a power which hitherto faintly seconded them, brought them powerful assistance. Lewis XIII. by the advice of his Prime Minister, sent Cardinal De la Vallette at the head of an army into Germany; and concluded a treaty with the Duke of Weimar, engaging to pay him a subsidy of one million five hundred thousand Livres, and the sum of four millions yearly for maintaining an army of eighteen thousand men, which the Duke obliged himself to furnish, and command under the direction of France.

Such is the exact portrait which Father Bougeant gives of the state of Germany. Let us hear what a cotemporary author says of it[215]. "Fortune smiled on the Imperialists on every side. There was nothing but conquest and victories and a happy change of affairs: for in less than a month the Swedes, who were become so powerful and formidable, were defeated, and entirely dispersed in one battle, and an unheard-of victory gained most gloriously with inconsiderable loss on the side of the Imperialists. Bavaria was entirely delivered; the Swedes driven out of Swabia, the dutchy of Wirtemberg conquered; and almost all Franconia: the rivers Ocin and Iser remained free; the Lek, the Danube, the Necker, and almost all the Main cleared, with the loss of so many towns and provinces in such a short time, almost deprived the Swedes of a retreat; Ulm and Nuremberg refusing them admittance, whereas formerly they were welcome, and masters every where."

These descriptions agree with that given by Grotius. Sept. 20, 1634, he writes to Du Maurier[216], "Had I come sooner to the High Chancellor, I should have found the times more favourable; but as his great courage is most conspicuous in adverse circumstances, it is proper we should conform to the example of so great a leader. France is at present the sole resource of Germany in her affliction: since the loss of Ratisbon and Donavert, and the unfortunate battle of Norlinguen, the towns are all frightened, and it is a great happiness that the conquerors have not approached Franckfort: they have divided their army; the King of Hungary has led one into Bohemia, and his brother is marched with the other towards the United Provinces. France alone is able to restore our affairs." The Swedes, in the consternation occasioned by the defeat at Norlinguen, were threatened with seeing Franckfort, Mentz, Augsburg, Nuremberg, and Ulm fall into the hands of the Imperialists; but by good luck they did not take the advantage of their victory. Grotius assures us the Swedes were obliged to the King of France for it, who kept the projects of the enemy suspended by the apprehension of his declaring war. Such was the situation of affairs when Grotius received orders to repair to the French Court. It was the most important commission with which a Minister could be charged, since the principal resource of the Swedes and their allies was in the protection of France; and Oxenstiern's nominating Grotius to be the Ambassador who was to strengthen the union between Sweden and France is a demonstration of that great man's particular esteem for him.


[215] Mercure Francois, an. 1634, p. 621.

[216] Ep. 354, p. 127 et 355. p. 128.

IV. In the beginning of the year 1635 Grotius set out from Mentz on his embassy to France. He was obliged to go a great way about, to avoid being surprised by the enemies parties. Beginning his journey in very rainy weather, succeeded by a hard frost, he arrived at Metz much later than he expected, and indisposed with a cholic occasioned by the great cold; which obliged him to continue there some time till he recovered. It was five days before he could write to the High Chancellor. January 30, as soon as his pain abated, he wrote to him that he hoped to be able to continue his journey in two or three days, and that the vexation of his mind at being hindered from getting so soon as he wished to the place of his destination, was greater than the indisposition of his body. He was extremely well received by the Commandants of Haguenau and Saverne. At the former of those towns he met some waggons going to the army with a million of money, which it was said would soon be followed by other two.

He left Metz February 2[217], and was at Meaux the 7th, from whence he went to St. Denis. On the 14th he wrote to the High Chancellor, that by the advice of his friends he had given the introductors of Ambassadors notice of his arrival, that they might pay him the usual honours; and that he would write to the Queen of Sweden as soon as he had his audience of the King[218]. Francis de Thou, hearing of his arrival, came immediately to visit him.

Grotius was suffered to remain long at St. Denis: February 12, he wrote to Oxenstiern[219] that Count Brulon, introductor of Ambassadors, had been with him to acquaint him that the troubles of the Court had hitherto prevented the appointing a day for his entry. In fact, the Duke de Puy-Laurens, and some other Lords, accused of giving bad counsels to Gaston of France Duke of Orleans, had been just arrested.

But Grotius suspected that his entry was deferred for other reasons; that they waited for the answers of La Grange and Feuquieres, employed by the Court of France in Germany, to know whether the High Chancellor would conform to the intentions of the French Ministry, and in consequence to proportion the honours to be paid Sweden's Ambassador to Oxenstiern's compliance. Count Brulon assured Grotius that in two or three days every obstruction to his entry would be removed, and in the mean time gave him an invitation to see incognito the ballets and entertainments that were to be given the Sunday following, in the King's apartments: which the Ambassador thought fit to decline. February 23[220] Count Brulon came to make Grotius another visit, and asked, who sent him into France? Grotius answered, that he was the Queen of Sweden's Ambassador, and was nominated to that employment by the High Chancellor of Sweden, by virtue of the powers given to his Excellency. Brulon said, that the King of Spain had formerly empowered the Duke of Mentz to nominate Ambassadors; but they were never regarded as such. Grotius replied, that was owing to the war, and a dislike to the duke of Mentz; that when the truce between Spain and the United Provinces was treating at the Hague, the Ambassadors sent thither by the Arch-Dukes were received by the French and English Ministers as Ambassadors of the King of Spain; and that if during the late war in Italy Cardinal Richelieu, who had very extensive powers, had nominated Ambassadors, they would have been every where received in the same manner as those sent by the King; that the High Chancellor's powers could not be disputed; that they were given him by the whole kingdom; that the King of France had already treated as Ambassadors Ministers nominated by his Excellency; and that the Ambassadors of the King of France, in the treaty which they made with Oxenstiern, acknowledged this power. Brulon declared, that the difficulty did not proceed from any aversion to Grotius, whom the King highly esteemed. He repeated this so often, that the Swedish Ambassador imagined they wanted to make him quit the service of Sweden, and enter into that of France. The Count promised to return in three or four days: he did not keep his word; he sent however to acquaint Grotius that the Wednesday following, which was the last of February, every thing would be ready for his entry; but that he must first receive the King's commands who was at Chantilly.

Du Maurier, Son of the Ambassador to Holland, an intimate friend of Grotius, pretends, in his Memoirs, that the Swedish Ambassador was suffered to remain so long at St. Denis because Cardinal Richelieu, who had a dislike to him, was vexed to see him nominated Ambassador to France; that he wrote to Oxenstiern, asking him to appoint some other, and that the High Chancellor paying no regard to the Cardinal's whim, he was obliged to acknowledge Grotius's quality. The Letters of Grotius rather contradict than confirm this anecdote, though Du Maurier assures us Grotius was fully informed of this secret negotiation.

Grotius made his public entry into Paris on Friday the 2d of March, 1635. The Marshals D'Estres and St. Luc were nominated to attend him; but, the latter falling ill, Count Brulon, Introductor of Ambassadors, supplied his place. They came in the King and Queen's coaches to take him up. The coaches of the Venetian, Swiss, and Mantuan Ministers were at this entry, together with those of the German powers allied to Sweden. The Princes of the Blood did not send their coaches because they were not at Paris; Gaston Duke of Orleans was at Angers; the Prince of Conde had a cause depending at Rouen; and the Count De Soissons was at Senlis with the Court.

Pau, Ambassador from Holland, greatly chagrined to see Grotius in such an honourable place, was much embarrassed[221] in what manner to behave: he wrote about it to the States-General, and in the mean time sent to make him his compliments. The States-General answered, that they intended their Ambassadors should shew the same regard to Grotius as to the Ambassadors of powers in friendship with them. Pau, not satisfied with this, wrote to the particular States of Holland. Grotius was informed of it, and seemed little concerned, because, he said, they knew little, were very inconstant, and took their resolutions on slight grounds.

May 5, the Count de Nancei, Master of the Wardrobe, came to compliment him on the part of the King. He told him that his nomination to the French Embassy was most agreeable to his Majesty[222], who wished he might long continue in that post. Count Brulon assured him that he had orders to present his lady to the Queen, who remained at Paris, whenever she pleased: but Grotius thought this ought to be deferred till he had seen the King.

Grotius was carried to Court at Senlis on the sixth of March, by the Duke De Mercoeur, whom he calls the most learned of all the Princes[223]: on the death of his father he became Duke of Vendome, and in the end a Cardinal. The new Ambassador was extremely satisfied with his reception: the King's guards were under arms[224]: Lewis XIII. spoke much to him, and with so great goodness, that he conjectured from it he should bring the affairs with which he was entrusted to the desired conclusion. His Majesty gave him to understand by his gracious manner, and by his[225] talk, that they could not have sent into France a Minister so agreeable to him. He made him be covered in his presence, and repeated his civilities on Grotius's presenting to him his son Cornelius.

March 8, Grotius sent Queen Christina news of his entry and his audience of the King: Next day he wrote to Salmasius: after acquainting him with the agreeable revolution in his affairs, he adds, that the first formalities of his embassy being over, he hoped to have leisure to resume his studies. Salmasius had at that time the greatest esteem for Grotius, and on hearing of his being nominated Ambassador to France, took occasion to say that Grotius's friends were only sorry the affairs of Sweden were not in such a good situation, as might render the embassy of so great a man as agreeable as could be desired.

After having an audience of the King, Grotius made his visits to Mademoiselle[226], the Prince of Conde, the Count of Soissons, the Countess of Soissons the Count's mother, and to his lady the Princess of Conde. The Prince[227] received him with the greatest politeness, spoke to him of their old acquaintance, and next day returned his visit. Cardinal Richelieu, before he would see him, wanted to know his instructions relating to the treaty lately concluded between France and several German Princes, with which the Swedes were dissatisfied. He went to his Abbey of Royaumont till Grotius should see Boutillier, Superintendant of the Finances, with whom he was to discuss the late treaty; and as things passed at this conference the Cardinal was to talk to the Swedish Ambassador.


[217] Ep. 360. p. 130 & 361. p. 610.

[218] Ep. 362. p. 130.

[219] Ep. 363. p. 131.

[220] Ep. 364. p. 132.

[221] Ep. 374. p. 137.

[222] Ep. 374. p. 137.

[223] Ep. 339. p. 851.

[224] Ep. 367. p. 134.

[225] Ep. 388. p. 142.

[226] Ep. 370. p. 135.

[227] Ep. 339. p. 851.

V. The subject of the dispute between France and Sweden was this: after the unfortunate battle of Norlinguen, the Swedes and their allies being reduced to the last extremity, judged the support of France must be their principal resource. They made no doubt that such an able statesman as Cardinal Richelieu would seize every opportunity to abase, or at least embarrass the house of Austria, the eternal rival of France. James Laefler and Philip Strect were sent in 1634, by the Protestant Princes and States of the Circles and Electoral Provinces of Franconia, Suabia, and the Rhine, to solicit succours from the King of France, and prevail with him to declare war against the Emperor. They proposed that the King should send an army to the Rhine, and advance a large sum of money to enable the allies to recruit their army, which was almost wholly destroyed. They treated with the Cardinal de Richelieu, who endeavoured to avail himself of the situation of affairs and their necessities, to make the most advantageous treaty he could for France. He offered only five hundred thousand Livres, six thousand foot in six weeks, and twelve thousand when they had put France in possession of Benfield: but their powers did not extend to the cession of that place. However they promised it without making any condition; and had not the precaution to stipulate that France should furnish every year the same subsidies which she engaged to give King Gustavus by a treaty which was renewed at Hailbron. The Cardinal gave them hopes that France would declare war against the Emperor; that after the declaration the King would keep twelve thousand men in Germany, and a strong army on the Rhine; advance immediately five hundred thousand Francs to be divided among the army or the allies; nominate a Prince to command the army of twelve thousand men, with a lieutenant under him as his collegue; and have one to assist in his Majesty's name at the Councils of war.

After signing the treaty Laefler and Strect returned to Germany in December 1634.

When a motion was made in the assembly of the Allies at Worms to ratify this Treaty, the High Chancellor of Sweden opposed it. He maintained that it was obscure and ambiguous, and discordant with the private treaty made with Sweden. This Minister was chiefly chagrined at Sweden's losing the principal direction of affairs in Germany by the nomination of a German Prince to be Generalissimo of the allied army. He declared that he thought himself obliged to propose his difficulties to the Queen of Sweden: and besides would send an embassy to Paris on the subject. This then was the business which Grotius had to manage at the Court of France. The Commission was the more delicate as Cardinal Richelieu, a positive man, absolutely required that the treaty made with the Envoys of the German Princes should have its full effect.

It was to confer on this affair that Grotius made a visit to Boutillier, Superintendant of the Finances. The Swedish Ambassador represented, that the Treaty ought not to be in force till Sweden's ratification of it, which could not be expected, as it made void the Treaty of Hailbron. This was not what the Cardinal wanted: he commissioned Father Joseph to employ all his address to bring Grotius into his measures. The Capuchin was the Cardinal's confident, and it was then thought that he was destined to succeed him in the Ministry in case of the Cardinal's death. March 14, the Superintendant sent to acquaint Grotius that he purposed to make him a visit with Father Joseph; but as the Father was taken ill he asked him to go with him to the Convent of the Capuchins; that he ought to have no reluctance to this, since the Cardinal himself had lately visited Father Joseph there when he was ill. Grotius went to the convent, and was conducted from thence to the Garden of the Thuilleries, where he found Boutillier and Father Joseph. After the usual compliments, the Capuchin shewed that the late treaty at Paris was made in consequence of a full power given the Ministers of the German Princes, and concluded and signed without any stipulation concerning the necessity of ratifying it. Grotius replied, that the High Chancellor himself had said the contrary; that the towns who approved of the treaty owned the necessity of its being ratified; that a ratification was so necessary to give a treaty the force of a law, that that which was concluded at Ratisbon, in 1630, by Father Joseph himself, had not its full execution because the King did not think proper to ratify it; that the Swedes only asked what was just, and would consent that some addition should be made to the treaty of Hailbron, if that were proper. Grotius was asked, which article of the late treaty Sweden complained of? he first mentioned that of the Subsidies, the disposition of which was left to the four circles of Germany, though it was on the express condition of receiving them that Sweden had engaged in the war: he added, that it was unjust to take Benfield from the Swedes without giving them an equivalent, since the Germans had given them that place as a pledge. The two French Ministers, unable to make Grotius approve of the treaty of Paris, had recourse to menaces and caresses: they imagined that his instructions bore that he might ratify it provided it was not till the last extremity. Grotius saw through their design, and told them they deceived themselves. They said, they would write to Sweden to complain of the High Chancellor; that the King would no longer treat with Grotius as Ambassador; that orders would be sent to the Marquis de Feuquieres to complain to Oxenstiern himself of his contempt of a signed treaty, and want of due regard to the King. Grotius answered, that the Marquis de Feuquieres had already made representations to the High Chancellor, without effect, on this subject; that if France would not have him for Ambassador, he would be employed elsewhere; that it would be in vain to write to Sweden because Oxenstiern's reasons for not ratifying the treaty of Paris would certainly be approved there. They cooled a little; and gave him to understand, that an alteration might be made in some of the articles, and that the King would consent that the Swedes should not be excluded from the chief command, though the treaty imported that a Prince should be General. Grotius shewed that there were many other articles, which occasioned great difficulty both by their ambiguity and their opposition to the interests of Sweden. The two Ministers put themselves into a passion, and concluded with complaining that they would inform the King and the Cardinal that they could settle nothing with Grotius, and that the Swedes made a jest of treaties. Father Joseph retiring, the conversation became milder with the Superintendant: Grotius shewed that it was the promise of assistance from France, which engaged Sweden in such a burthensome war; that the High Chancellor had done essential services to the common cause; that if the King should drop his alliance with the Swedes, they should be obliged to take care of themselves; that France might give subsidies to the Germans, but it was just that those promised to Sweden should be exactly paid. Grotius informed the High Chancellor of this conference in a letter of the 15th of March, 1635.

Cardinal Richelieu[228], to induce the Swedes to conform more to his measures, spread a report, and even said himself often, that he was in treaty with the Emperor, and the accommodation on the point of being concluded: but Grotius, who knew the Cardinal's character, was not duped by it; and wrote to the High Chancellor that it was only a stratagem of that Minister, and the report ought to make no change in Sweden's conduct.

On the 28th of March the Cardinal sending to acquaint Grotius[229] that he wanted to confer with him, he immediately waited on his Eminence: which shews the inaccuracy of Du Maurier, who assures us that Grotius never saw Cardinal Richelieu whilst he was Minister from Sweden in France, because his Eminence gave not the precedence to Ambassadors.

He complimented the Cardinal (with whom he found Father Joseph) in the name of the Queen, the Regents of Sweden, and the High Chancellor, and delivered to him his Letters of Credence. The treaty of Paris was soon brought on the carpet: the Cardinal pretended that it ought to be executed without any restriction; he said the King, by assisting the Germans with men and money, sufficiently favoured the Swedes; adding, that Sweden did not apply the subsidies granted by France to the uses agreed on. Grotius made answer, that Laefler and Strect could not make a treaty contrary to the interests of Sweden. Father Joseph added that the King was informed that it was he (Grotius) who advised the High Chancellor not to ratify the treaty of Paris, giving him hopes that he through his friends would obtain one more advantageous. Grotius assured him it was a falshood; and that what had been said of the misapplication of the Subsidies was a gross calumny. The Cardinal interposing said that he perceived Father Joseph and the Swedish Ambassador were not in good understanding, and he would endeavour to reconcile them. Grotius sounded high the wealth of France, as being more than sufficient to assist the Germans without abandoning the Swedes, who had entered into the war solely at her felicitation and on her promise of succours. The Cardinal, without explaining himself what sum would be given, hinted that Sweden must not expect for the future a Subsidy of a million. Father Joseph pretended, that he knew from good hands the High Chancellor only wanted that article changed which excluded the Swedes from the command in chief, and that regard should be had to their interests in concluding a peace. The Cardinal said the King would consent to this alteration; but that he was surprised the High Chancellor, after giving so many assurances of his satisfaction, should make new demands. Grotius still insisted that it was but just to adhere to the treaty of Hailbron, and that Sweden, which kept up armies and fleets, had a better claim to the King's liberality, than several other Princes to whom the King generously gave subsidies.

The Cardinal receiving notice that a Courier was just arrived with Letters from the High Chancellor, ordered him to be brought in. He presented Oxenstiern's Letters to the Cardinal, who, on reading them, was much surprised to find the High Chancellor desirous of coming into France to settle all difficulties in a conference. This journey was not at all agreeable to the Cardinal: however, as it would have been indecent and improper to oppose it, he answered that he would write about it to the King, and he did not doubt but his Majesty would consent to it; that it would give him the greatest pleasure to see Oxenstiern, but if his errand was to set aside the treaty of Paris, he foresaw the interview would do more harm than good; and that he would dispatch La Grange to the High Chancellor to compliment him, and assure him he must not think of concluding a treaty contrary to what had been agreed on with Laefler and Strect.


[228] Ep. 375. p 137.

[229] Ep. 380. p. 139.

VI. The King being informed that Oxenstiern, to serve the common cause, wanted to come to France, consented to it, and gave orders for his being received with great magnificence: the Hotel for Ambassadors Extraordinary at Paris was fitted up for him[230]. All business was suspended till his arrival[231]: and the King went to Compeigne to be nearer Flanders and Germany. The High Chancellor came thither. Grotius had purposed to go to meet him as soon as he heard of his being on the way; but Oxenstiern not giving him notice what rout he would take, nor whether he would come directly to Paris, or alight at Compeigne, Grotius remained in suspense till April 21, that a Courier[232] from the High Chancellor brought him word that he had taken the road through the Three Bishoprics and Champagne, and desired him to come to him. Grotius set out immediately; and met him at Soissons, from whence they came to Compeigne. The High Chancellor had two hundred men in his retinue. The Count de Soissons was at first nominated to go to meet that Minister[233]; it was however the Count D'Alais, Son of the Duke D'Angouleme, who went with Count Brulon in the King's coach. They proceeded the distance of three leagues, and on their coming up the High Chancellor stept with them into his Majesty's coach. He was conducted to the Hotel prepared for him, and splendidly entertained at the King's expence. On the 26th of April, 1635, he came to Compeigne; and next day had an audience of the King, who received him very graciously, and expressed a high esteem for him. The visit lasted half an hour: the Scots Colonels Hepburn and Leslie were present; and Grotius served as Interpreter. He afterwards visited the Queen, and also Cardinal Richelieu, who took the right hand of him; he offered it indeed to Oxenstiern; but he in civility refused it. They were together at this visit three hours, but said not a word of business; nothing passed but compliments and mirth, says the Mercure Francois. Both spoke in Latin. Two days after, that is to say, on the 29th, the Cardinal returned the High Chancellor's visit: his Eminence was booted as if he were returning from the country, that this visit, says Puffendorf, might not be looked upon as a debt. They conversed long together about business. Oxenstiern, like an able Politician, made no mention of the treaty of Paris, nor of that of Hailbron: he foresaw that it would draw on discussions which might breed ill blood, and hurt the common cause: he only talked of a treaty with Sweden. There was some alteration made in the old one; and it was agreed that no peace or truce should be concluded with the Austrians without the consent of the two Crowns. The same day, according to the Mercure Francois, or on the 30th of April, according to Puffendorf, the High Chancellor had his audience of leave of the King: his Majesty took a diamond ring from his finger, valued at that time at ten or twelve thousand crowns, which he gave him, together with a box set with diamonds, in which was his Majesty's picture. All the time he was at Compeigne, he was served by the officers of the King's kitchen with so much splendor and magnificence, that he complained to Grotius of the too great expence they were at on his account. He set out from Compeigne on Monday the 30th of April for Paris. He wanted to be there incognito; and lodged with Grotius[234]; but as soon as his arrival took air, the crowd to see him was so great that they could scarce keep them from forcing into Grotius's house. Had he been one descended from heaven they could not have shewn more eagerness. He staid only two or three days at Paris, during which he went to see the Church of Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Palace of Luxembourg, and some of the fine Seats near the City. He was so well satisfied with the manner in which Grotius received him, that he made a considerable present to his lady. She would have refused it, if she could have done it with a good grace. Grotius, in returning his humble thanks for it to the High Chancellor, told him that he owed all he had to his goodness, and that if he could have done more, he would have thought himself sufficiently recompensed by the honour of lodging so great a man. Oxenstiern went from Paris to embark at Dieppe; and Grotius accompanied him a part of the way[235]. As soon as the High Chancellor arrived at Dieppe, he wrote Grotius a very obliging letter[236]. The Court had prepared vessels at Dieppe, on board which Oxenstiern embarked for Holland, from whence he proceeded to Lower Saxony.

This treaty occasioned a difference between the Duke of Weymar and the High Chancellor[237]. The Marquis de Feuquieres insinuated to that Prince, that Oxenstiern, in treating with France, had shewn no regard to the interests of Germany. The fact was most false; for Grotius was a witness that the High Chancellor had recommended the affairs of Germany to the King with great warmth: it was agreed that neither peace nor truce should be concluded but in concert with the Allies; and he had ordered Grotius to solicit their affairs, who had in consequence pressed the sending the promised succours. It was not probable that Feuquieres should of himself venture to talk in this manner, which was enough to ruin him: there was therefore reason to suspect that he did it by private orders from the Cardinal, that the Duke of Weymar, distrusting the Chancellor, might place his confidence in his Eminence. It is certain, that notwithstanding what was agreed on at Compeigne, the Cardinal had the treaty with Laefler and Strect still much at heart; and Avaugour[238], the French Minister at Stockholm, was ordered to demand its ratification. But he was answered, that those Ministers were not sent by Sweden, and exceeded their powers, and that the affair was referred to Oxenstiern. After such a formal denial, Avaugour was forced to confine his demands to the ratification of the treaty of Compeigne.


[230] Ep. 383. p. 140.

[231] Ep. 390. p. 142. & ep. 391. p. 143.

[232] Ep. 393. p. 143 & ep. 396 p. 144.

[233] Ep. 387. p. 141.

[234] Ep. 400. p. 146.

[235] Ep. 344. p. 853.

[236] Ep. 408. p. 1, 8.

[237] Ep. 432. p. 159.

[238] Puffendorf, l. 8. n. 4.

VII. Grotius was not only fatigued and embarrassed with State affairs; the reformed Ministers gave him uneasiness at a time when he imagined they had room to be satisfied with him.

He was at a loss[239] at first how to act with regard to the celebration of divine service. March 30, 1635, he wrote to his brother: "You have reason to ask how I must act in the affair of religion; it greatly embarrasses me. It would be an odious thing, and might displease the High Chancellor, to introduce, by my own authority, a new reformed Church: besides, those, to whom I might apply for a Minister, are of different sentiments from me. What you propose, that I should hear the Ministers of Charenton, since they receive the Lutherans into their communion, is not amiss."

We have seen that Grotius, on his arrival at Paris after his escape from Louvestein, had room to be dissatisfied with the reformed Ministers, who, under pretence of his refusing to receive the Synod of Dort, and his attachment to Arminianism, would not communicate with him. The happy revolution in his fortune made one in their minds, as he writes to Vossius[240]. Immediately on his arrival at Paris in quality of Ambassador from Sweden, he was visited by six of the principal reformed Ministers, among whom were Faucher, Aubertin, Daille, and Drelincourt. They were not much attached to the rigid sentiments on Predestination: some even seemed to prefer Melancton's system to that of Calvin. Before Grotius had determined in what manner he should act with the Ministers of Charenton, Faucher, Mestrezat, and Daille came on the 2d of August, 1635[241], to ask him to join their communion; which, they assured him, discovered a greater disposition than ever towards an union among Protestants, having lately resolved to admit Lutherans. "They hoped, they said, that he looked on their Confession of Faith as consistent with Christianity; that they had the same charitable sentiments concerning that of the Arminians; that they had not forgot what he had formerly said, writing against Sibrand, 'that he wondered whether the Contra-Remonstrants would refuse to admit St. Chrysostom and Melancton into their communion, if they should offer themselves;' that they had read and approved of his Treatise on the Truth of the Christian Religion, and what he had lately written, exhorting Christians to live in peace; that they had written to Holland, to make no more difficulty about admitting the Remonstrants into their communion; and that the Dutch, become more moderate in process of time, would give attention to their reasons." Grotius answered, that he was ready to give them public proofs of his willingness to join in communion with them, and that it was not his fault he had not done this sooner: adding, that if he should go into any Country where the Lutherans, knowing his sentiments on the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, should be willing to receive him into their communion, he would make no difficulty of joining with them: which the Ministers approved of.

He had not yet determined to go to Charenton on the 23d of August, 1635. "I weigh matters (he writes to his[242] brother) that I may do what is most agreeable to God, useful to the Church, and advantageous to my Family."

This affair seemed almost finished when the Ministers sent to tell him[243] that they would willingly receive him, but not as Ambassador from Sweden, because that kingdom was of a different persuasion. "I am surprised (he writes to his brother) at the fickleness of people, who invite the Lutherans to partake with them, and say they cannot receive me in quality of Ambassador from Sweden, on account of their differing in opinion from that kingdom." To go to sermon as a private man would have been no great inconveniency to him[244], but he could not do this without contradicting his principles, which made him look on the Swedes as orthodox. He resolved therefore to have Divine Service celebrated for the future in his own house.

It is evident from this recital, which is faithfully taken from Grotius's letters, that Du Maurier is mistaken in saying[245], that the Ministers of Charenton, when they knew that Grotius was Ambassador from Sweden, deputed one of their number to invite him to their Church; and he answered, that having neglected him when a Fugitive he would now neglect them when Ambassador.

Not having been able to settle matters with the reformed Ministers, he resolved to have Divine Service performed at home. The Lutherans attended his Chapel as if he publicly professed their religion. He writes to his brother, Dec. 28, 1635[246], "We celebrated at my house the Feast of the Nativity: the Duke of Wirtemberg, the Count de Suarsenbourg, and several Swedish and German Lords assisted at it."

George Calixtus, an eminent Lutheran Minister[247], procured him Brandanus for his Chaplain. This man was a zealous Lutheran: Grotius recommended moderation to him, and took him upon condition[248] that he should be upon his guard in his Sermons, and never enter into controversy in public, either with the Roman Catholics or the Reformed. But his zeal carried him away; and seeing his Master's Chapel much frequented, he took occasion to rail sometimes against the Papists and even sometimes against the Reformed. Grotius was much offended at it, not only because it was contrary to agreement, but also because, by publicly attacking in his own house the established Church and the others who were tolerated, he exposed himself to the hatred of the whole kingdom. He several times intimated to Brandanus[249] to behave otherwise; but his representations and orders having no effect, in autumn, 1637, he forbad him his Chapel: he kept him however in his house till the end of February following. To supply the place of Brandanus he pitched upon Francis Dor, who had been deposed at Sedan for his adherence to Arminianism, and since lived by keeping a boarding-school, and teaching French to young Flemings and Germans on their travels in France. It was some time before he could resolve[250] to quit this manner of life; but at length accepted of Grotius's offer. They lived in good understanding together, because their opinions were almost the same.


[239] Ep. 340. p. 151.

[240] Ep. 378. p. 138.

[241] Ep. 350. p. 854.

[242] Ep. 354. p. 856.

[243] Ep. 358. p. 857.

[244] Ep. 360. p. 857.

[245] Memoirs, p. 414, 415.

[246] Ep. 363. p. 858.

[247] Ep. 674. p. 275.

[248] Ep. 410. p. 872.

[249] Ep. 840. p. 369.

[250] Ep. 423. p. 879.

VIII. Soon after Oxenstiern left the kingdom, the peace of Vervins was broken, and the French and Spaniards began that long war which was not ended till the Pyrenean treaty. The King went to Chateau-Thierry; and the Cardinal followed him, though indisposed. Grotius went to Court on the eve of Whitsunday, 1635[251], as well to solicit the affairs of Sweden, as to attend to the interest of their allies. France was at this time in great joy on account of the victory at Ardenne, gained by the Marshals de Breze and de Chatilon over Prince Thomas of Savoy. The Marshal de la Force had also gained a great advantage over the Cravats in Lorrain: which happy beginning raised the hopes of the French exceedingly. It was at this point of time Grotius arrived at Court. He went first to Cardinal Richelieu, who was three leagues from Chateau-Thierry; but as that Minister had been blooded on Whitsunday, he referred the Ambassador to Boutillier the Superintendant. They talked about several things: the chief was the payment of the Subsidies. Grotius after this conference sending to ask how the Cardinal did, his Eminence desired him to wait on the King. Grotius accordingly went to compliment his Majesty on the victory of Ardenne, and afterwards begged that he would be pleased to give orders about the money which was demanded by the Swedes. The King heard him with great goodness, and desired him to give in a state of his demands to Boutillier. At taking his leave, Grotius told his Majesty that he should think himself most happy if he could do him any service, or promote the common cause. The King answered, that he might be of great use in what concerned the affairs of Holland. He afterwards related to him what had passed between the Marshal de la Force and the Cravats; the news of which, he had just received.

Grotius was preparing to visit the Superintendant again, when the Cardinal sent to acquaint him, that he should be glad to see him. Grotius went: he spoke to his Eminence of the sums due to Sweden before the death of King Gustavus, and which Chavigni, Secretary of State for foreign affairs, and Boutillier's son, promised the High Chancellor should be paid. The Cardinal answered, that his bad state of health and greater affairs had made him much a stranger to those particulars; and that since the Superintendant and Bullion said they were ignorant of the King's intentions on the subject, he must wait Chavigni's return, who was expected at Court in a few days.

Grotius after this visit went to the Superintendant, with whom he left a memorial of his demands as his Majesty had desired. Boutillier talked in the same strain the Cardinal had done concerning the money due to the Swedes.

Things being in this situation, Grotius returned to Paris, leaving his Secretary at Court, who was to give him notice of Chavigni's return.

The King drawing nearer Paris, Chavigni came back to that city. The Swedish Ambassador[252] sent several times to demand an interview, which he eluded; sometimes it was pretended he was gone out; at other times he was busy: he once made a positive appointment with him; but when Grotius came to his house, he was gone to wait upon the King at Monceaux. At his return he appointed another meeting; Grotius did not fail to be there: Chavigni assured him, that some pressing business hindered him from conferring with him at that time. The Cardinal returning very ill to Ruel, Chavigni went to see him; Grotius followed, and pressed him so closely, he could not put him off. Bullion was present: Chavigni pretended that there never had been any positive promise to pay the arrears of the old subsidies; that he had only said from the King, that as far as the situation of affairs would allow, his Majesty would endeavour that the High Chancellor should have no reason to complain. However Grotius recommended this affair to Bullion as being just in itself; and Bullion answered, that he would give as much attention to it as the state of the finances would permit. Grotius shewed them his letters from Germany, informing him that the body of twelve thousand men, which the King engaged to furnish, was in a very bad condition, and that even the interest of France required that it should be speedily completed. They made answer, that the King intended it, and that this army would soon be increased to seventeen thousand men.

Grotius's pressing solicitations were troublesome to Chavigni[253], and we see that he was afraid of his visits. He sought pretences for delay, and even often broke his appointments with so little decency, that Grotius complained to the High Chancellor that Chavigni did not shew proper respect to the dignity of an Ambassador from Sweden.

The King going to Fontainebleau in summer, 1635[254], and carrying Boutillier with him, whose son was with the Duke of Orleans, Servin, Secretary at War, remained at Paris. Grotius went to see him and was received with great politeness and friendship.

He spoke to him of the subsidies; Servien promised his good offices. Grotius also recommended to him the interests of the Duke of Weymar, who was hard pressed by his enemies: and he received fair promises. Some days after, Servien returned his visit[255]. July 20, 1635, Grotius went to see the Cardinal at Ruel[256]; and spoke to him of the money owing to Sweden. His Eminence owned it; but enlarged much on the great expence France was put to for the allies; and wished the Swedish Ambassador would confer on this and other matters with Father Joseph, who had an apartment at Ruel near the Cardinal's. Grotius saw him, and received much satisfaction. The Father said he had always disapproved of the delays in the payment of the subsidies; that he would use his endeavours to get the promises made to Sweden punctually performed, and to perpetuate a good understanding between the two crowns, which would be for the interest of both: he added, that the troops intended for augmenting the army in Germany were already on their march.

Grotius met with the better reception as the French Court was under some uneasiness lest the allies should make a separate peace. The Cardinal gave some hints of what he apprehended on this subject: Grotius removed his fears in relation to Sweden, and the Cardinal promised that France would be faithful to her engagements. Grotius did not lose sight of the affair of the subsidies[257]: he went several times to Bullion, on whom it partly depended as belonging to his department: but Bullion always refused to speak to him under pretence of indisposition or multiplicity of business, which did not leave him master of his own time. Grotius judging this behaviour equivalent to a positive denial, wrote to the High Chancellor, that he thought his Excellency should write to the King himself. The answers of the Ministry depended on the situation of affairs[258]: when France had need of Oxenstiern they made fine promises to Grotius, who was not duped by them. At last he saw Bullion[259], who, after enlarging much on the King's great expence in maintaining an hundred and fifty thousand men, promised to advance two hundred thousand Francs; but never issued the order. Lewis XIII. making a progress towards Lorain, Cardinal Richelieu was left at Paris with absolute power. Grotius had an audience of him in September 1635. He found him in a very bad humour. His Eminence said he was well assured the High Chancellor was negotiating a separate treaty with the Elector of Saxony; that it was vain to make alliances if they were not faithfully observed; that for his part he was resolved to adhere to his engagements, and chose rather to be deceived than to deceive. Grotius answered, that it was true the Elector of Saxony had made proposals to the High Chancellor, but his Excellency had written to the Elector himself, had told his Envoys, and sent a deputation to inform him, that a separate treaty would be injurious to France and the other allies of Sweden: The Ambassador added, that he had orders to declare to his Eminence, that in case Sweden should be abandoned by France, he must not be surprised if the necessity of affairs should oblige the Swedish Ministers to have recourse to expedients which were very far from their intention. The Cardinal replied, that that was the usual style of such as depart from their engagements and treat separately. Grotius assured him that there was nothing yet done; that it were to be wished France would send a Minister to Oxenstiern to act in concert with him; and that it was time to pay the arrears which were still owing to Sweden notwithstanding the frequent promises to the contrary, and whose payment Bullion always deferred. The Cardinal made no answer to this article: he asked the Ambassador whether he thought the High Chancellor had an inclination to return to his own country. Grotius replied, that that illustrious minister entertained no thoughts but what were honourable and great, and that his principal object was to terminate with dignity the great affairs with which he was entrusted. The Ambassador at the same time took occasion to thank the Cardinal for the attention which the King and his Eminence gave to what passed on the Rhine. The Cardinal intimating that he heard the Princes in those parts had a great aversion to Oxenstiern, Grotius replied, that it was impossible it should be otherwise as things were situated; and that a Foreigner, however great his prudence and modesty might be, would be always odious to Princes whose authority and dignity he eclipsed. The end of the conference was more calm: The Cardinal conducted Grotius to the door of the chamber, excusing himself that his health did not permit him to go farther. A month after this audience Grotius demanded another of his Eminence, which he obtained, after asking it five days successively[260], at Ruel. Grotius gave him to understand that the letters he received from Germany ought to make them very uneasy. The Cardinal replied, that he apprehended the bad state of affairs was exaggerated in order to excuse a separate peace; but that no honourable or lasting one could be made but in conjunction, as he desired. His Eminence grew more mild afterwards, and promised that the Marquis de St. Chaumont should in a little time set out for Germany with very ample powers to act in concert with Oxenstiern for the good of the common cause. He desired the Ambassador to see Bullion in relation to the subsidies. Father Joseph was present at this audience. The Cardinal treated Grotius with more respect than he had ever done: he waited on him a little beyond the door of his Chamber, and gave him the upper hand.

Bullion being at Ruel, Grotius went to wait on him: he promised to give two hundred thousand Francs, and even to add three hundred thousand more as soon as the state of the King's affairs would permit it. The Ambassador answered, that was putting off the payment to a long day. Bullion represented that the King sent large sums into the Valtoline, Italy, Germany, Lorain, Piccardy, and Flanders. All this was very true; but the greatest part, Grotius said, remained in the hands of harpies. He informed the Chancellor of these conferences in a letter dated at Paris, October 12, 1635, which he concludes with saying that the fidelity which he owed to the kingdom of Sweden and to his Excellency obliged him to observe, that money was very scarce in France, and that the way to derive advantage from the peace was to hasten its conclusion. The Marquis de St. Chaumont, who was nominated to go to Germany, was not liked by Grotius: he was a declared enemy of the Protestants[261], and it has even been said that he was made choice of for the embassy into Germany out of compliment to the Court of Rome, who complained loudly of the protection given by France to Heretics. St. Chaumont's zeal, which was to do him much honour at the Court of Rome, was no merit in Germany, where it might even injure the common cause. He set out on his embassy without having had any conference with the Swedish Ambassador[262], and even without visiting him; which seemed contrary to custom and decency.

November 3, 1635, Grotius went to Ruel to see the Cardinal[263] whom he found in a very bad humour. His Eminence thought Sweden wanted to make a separate peace: he enlarged much on the respect due to the observance of treaties, and that there could never be any necessity for acting dishonourably; he added, that the design of Grotius's embassy was a very bad one, and that he could only derive dishonour from it, since it had led him first to make objections against the treaty of Paris, and secondly to acknowledge that the Swedes would not abide by what they had agreed on at Compeigne. Grotius answered, that the High Chancellor was in the greatest dilemma, surrounded by enemies, and abandoned by his allies; that he himself had long solicited the money promised, but could never obtain payment; that the sending a French Minister into Germany, so often demanded, was agreed to much later than the good of the common cause required; and that the High Chancellor desired nothing more than to remedy the unhappy situation of affairs. The Cardinal made no answer concerning the remedy to be applied; and contented himself with saying that these general discourses sufficiently shewed a formed design of making a separate peace. He added, that all the Protestants were treacherous; which was a reason not only for being on one's guard in treating with them, but also for thinking their religion bad. Grotius grew warm, and said, that he needed not produce former instances to prove the integrity and sincerity of the Protestants, since the High Chancellor and the Duke of Weymar had never departed from their engagements. The Cardinal pretended that the peace which was just concluded between Poland and Sweden, by the mediation of France, put the Swedes in condition to continue the war against the Emperor. Grotius answered, that it was not yet ratified; that, besides, the cession of Prussia, stipulated by this treaty, was very disadvantageous to Sweden, because that province not only covered the kingdom, but also yielded a rich revenue. The Cardinal seemed to be in some emotion, and said that it required a great command of temper to listen patiently to discourses that bordered so near on ingratitude. Grotius assured him, that in all he had advanced he exactly followed his instructions. The Cardinal seemed displeased with those who had given them; and added that if the High Chancellor was not content with the peace between Sweden and Poland, it was from private views, because he lost the government of Prussia. After this sharp conversation, the Cardinal appeared more calm; and said, that he had nothing to do but hear what might be advanced, and would not judge till he had seen what was done. Grotius answered, that the High Chancellor would always act as a man of honour and a man of courage.

November 5, Grotius had an audience of the King, who complained much, that after having been at so great expence, to the prejudice of his own affairs, on account of the Germans, they should break their treaties.

Grotius went to Ruel on the 14th of December[264], again to solicit the payment of what was due to Sweden. He found there a courier from the Marquis de St. Chaumont, who delivered to him some letters he had brought with him from the High Chancellor. Grotius suspected that they had been opened, for besides their being dirty, the Courier had been arrived near a month; and he gave very bad reasons both for the condition of the letters, and his not delivering them sooner; he said they had fallen into the sea; that he had been at Paris, but could not find Grotius's house; and that he had been since kept at Ruel. What made Grotius easy, was that these letters were written with so much circumspection, had they been intercepted, the reading of them would rather have been advantageous than hurtful to Sweden. The French Court's fears lest the Swedes should conclude a separate peace made the Ministers promise him speedy payment of the arrears of the subsidies: Bullion assured him that he would without delay advance three hundred thousand Francs at several small payments (which Grotius disliked) and that he had already given orders for paying other two hundred thousand Francs: Servien promised that France would make greater efforts next campaign, if Sweden would continue the war.

In the beginning of 1636[265] Grotius went to see the Cardinal, who complained bitterly that Grotius had written to Holland that the affairs of France were in a deplorable situation, and the French still on the point of making their peace. Grotius assured him it was a pure calumny: the Cardinal pretended that it was known to the French Ambassadors at the Hague. Grotius assured him these false reports owed their rise to the artifices of Pau and Aersens his declared enemies, that Camerarius the Swedish Ambassador in Holland, with whom he corresponded by letters, would attest the contrary; that this report was probably occasioned by an article inserted in the Brussels Gazette, that his letters had been intercepted, representing France as in the greatest declension, of which he had never had a thought; and that this was done with design to make him lose the friendship of his patrons. He added, that he had forgot his Country; that indeed he wished its preservation on account of the friends and the small estate he had in it; but that he had given himself entirely to Sweden, and was not so ignorant, not to know how much it imported Sweden that whilst she was in arms the Dutch should continue the war; nor so dishonest, to give counsels contrary to the interest of Sweden and of the High Chancellor, to whom he owed every thing; and that if his Eminence would put it in his power to do some service to France, he would much more chearfully refute these calumnies by his actions, than by his words. The Cardinal resumed an air of serenity, said several obliging things, and assured him that for the future he would behave to him with more openness. He reconducted him a pretty way, politely excusing himself that he did not go farther lest he should be oppressed by the croud that wanted to speak to him.

[266]The Duke of Parma arriving about this time at Paris to negotiate with the Court of France, great difficulties arose with regard to the ceremonial. The Pope's Nuncios, Mazarin, and Bolognetti, and the other Ambassadors, would not visit him because they could not agree about the manner in which he should receive them: the English and Swedish Ambassadors did not even send their Coaches to meet him, because they knew that those of the Nuncios would take the precedence. The Duke of Weymar came to Paris in spring 1636. Grotius[267], who was extremely circumspect, was in doubt whether he should pay him the first visit: and before he determined, he wanted to see what the English Ambassador would do. The Duke sent him his compliments, and the Ambassadors coming to an agreement to wait first on that Prince[268], Grotius went to see him, and was extremely well received: the Duke returned his visit. As it was through the mediation of the Count d'Avaux that the truce of twenty-six years between Sweden and Poland was concluded, Queen Christina[269] ordered her Ambassador to return her thanks to the King of France. Grotius obtained an audience, April 17, 1636, at Chantilly, and gave an account of what passed at it in a letter to her Majesty, dated April 24[270]. Having presented to the King the Queen of Sweden's letter, his Majesty assured him, that he interested himself most sincerely in her Majesty's health and prosperity; that she might depend upon the constancy of these his sentiments; that he had had the conclusion of the war between Sweden and Poland the more at heart, as he hoped her Swedish Majesty, having no longer any differences with the Poles, would give all her attention to the affairs of Germany; that he already saw with pleasure his hopes had not been without foundation: that he would write to his Ministers to know how the payment of the subsidies stood; that he had always had a good opinion of D'Avaux and therefore employed him in affairs of importance, and intended to make farther use of his service. Grotius sent the High Chancellor[271] a copy of this letter to the Queen. He used to send her Majesty the substance of any affair of importance without descending to particulars, as Oxenstiern[272] had recommended to him.

He had an audience of Cardinal Richelieu[273] in the beginning of May, 1636: The affairs of the allies were in a good situation. His Eminence greatly extolled the High Chancellor: he said what he had done was not inferior to the exploits of the great Gustavus; that it was a kind of miracle that the Swedes, after being betrayed by their friends, and forced into a corner of Germany, should have been able in such a short time to penetrate into the heart of the Empire. He assured Grotius, that a part of the money due had been paid by St. Chaumont, and that in a little time there would not be one sol owing. Afterwards embracing the Swedish Ambassador with great cordiality, he begged of him in the name of polite learning, which they both professed to cultivate, to do all in his power for the advantage of the common cause, especially with the English: and, to efface the remembrance of the ill treatment Grotius had received, he told him with a smile, that the French were often fools in the opinion of other nations, but they soon recovered their right senses. This change in the Cardinal proceeded from the Queen of Sweden's approving Oxenstiern's nomination of Grotius to be Ambassador in France; from the confidence which the High Chancellor placed in him; from Pau's having lost his authority in Holland; and from the Prince of Orange's having spoken of him in terms of friendship. The Cardinal magnified the preparations made by France at sea, from which great things, he said, might be expected if the English would join: he wanted they should be given to understand that the French and Swedes would undertake to obtain the restitution of the Palatinate to Prince Charles Lewis the King of England's nephew, if the English would unite their forces with those of France and Sweden. He added that it was unjust in the English to claim the Empire of the sea, but that it would be improper for some time openly to dispute their pretensions, for fear of preventing their joining in the treaty, or on the other hand to acknowledge directly the right they assumed.

This was all that passed directly between Cardinal Richelieu and Grotius: they never conferred together afterwards. The Swedish Ambassador thought he should derogate from his dignity by visiting a Minister, who, because he was invested with the Purple, refused to give the upper hand to Ambassadors. He resolved therefore to see his Eminence no more, but to treat with the other Ministers.

The English were the first who disputed the privileges of the Cardinalship. Lord Scudamore, Ambassador in ordinary from England to France[274], would not see Cardinal Richelieu: he sent to tell him that he was expressly ordered to visit no one who assumed in his own house the precedency of the Ambassadors of Kings. The English had been induced to take this step by the representation of the Protestants, that to suffer a Cardinal to take the upper hand of an Ambassador was to acknowledge the Pope's dignity. Grotius informed the High Chancellor of this by a letter of the fourth of September, 1635, where he adds, "I say not this as if I thought the English ought to be imitated in every thing, but that we may avoid whatever might expose us to contempt: than which nothing, I am persuaded, can be of more prejudice to the interests of kings and kingdoms."

He continued, however, to see the Cardinal till the arrival of the Earl of Leicester, who came to Paris in spring 1636, as Ambassador Extraordinary from the King of England, with orders not to visit the Cardinal, because the British Court thought it indecent that Ambassadors should yield the precedence to Cardinals; and that it was even contrary to the ceremonial of the Court of Spain. "I commend, says Grotius writing to the High Chancellor[275], those who defend their rights: I dare not however imitate them without orders." He thought it most proper therefore not to visit the Cardinal till he knew the High Chancellor's intentions. Receiving no orders to continue his visits to him[276], he wholly left them off; and the Queen's Ministry thinking the crown of Sweden at least equal in dignity to that of England, approved of his conduct. Count d'Avaux was ordered to use his endeavours with the Swedish Ministry to write to Grotius that he should continue to visit the Cardinal as formerly: D'Avaux spoke of it to Salvius, a Privy-Councellor, and Chancellor of the Court, who was with him at Hamburg negotiating a new treaty. Salvius answered, that Grotius had received orders to conform to the Earl of Leicester's example; that it would be absurd that the Minister of such a King as yielded not the precedence to any other King, should yield it to a Minister; and, in fine, that the dignity of Cardinal was unknown in Sweden.

Grotius informs us in several of his letters, that the English were the first who refused to give the Cardinal the upper hand. He writes to the High Chancellor, "[277]Chavigni asked, as by chance, whether I would see the Cardinal? I answered, that since the English had ceased to visit him, I was ordered not to see him. I have in fact letters on that subject from Schmalz. I added, if the Earl of Leicester, who wished so well to the common cause, and greatly desired the Cardinal's friendship, should find an expedient to reconcile what is due to the dignity, of his King to that of the Cardinal, it would be an example for me to follow: but (continues Grotius) the Earl of Leicester has assured me that the King will not change his resolution: and I dare make no innovation without a new order." He writes to Muller[278], "I have no personal dealings with the Cardinal: the Regents of the kingdom must send me their orders if they would have me follow the example of the English. If they think it improper, they need only speak, it is mine to obey. I have no interest in the matter."

We have enlarged so much on this article, because Puffendorf, the author of Vindiciae Grotianae, and Father Bougeant have pretended[279] that the Earl of Leicester only followed Grotius's example, in refusing to give the upper hand to Cardinal Richelieu; which they would not have advanced had they read with attention the Ambassador's letters.

Grotius's steadiness in supporting the interest and dignity of the crown of Sweden rendered him most odious to the court of France. The Marquis de St. Chaumont was ordered to demand his recall. Oxenstiern, who knew that it was his great zeal for the service of the Queen his mistress that displeased the Cardinal, would not consent to it: he apprised Grotius of what was plotting against him, and the Swedish ambassador wrote him a long letter on this subject[280], in which he tells him that St. Chamount's demand proved how greatly the Courtiers were changed towards him, for he had been extremely well received by the King at his last audience; Madam de Combalet, the Cardinal's niece, assured his wife in presence of several persons, that the Cardinal had a high esteem for him; and Count Brulon, Introductor of Ambassadors, had asked him to wait upon the King whenever he pleased, even if he had no business, his Majesty would take it extremely well. Grotius was persuaded that the ill-offices done him proceeded from Pau the Dutch Ambassador, and some Frenchmen. Pau and his accomplices hoped by this persecution to force Grotius to seek a reconciliation with the Dutch by some meanness. As to the Frenchmen, their dislike to Grotius was occasioned by his opposition to their design of abasing the crown of Sweden. "If the dignity of the crown of Sweden is to receive any diminution, I would rather, he says, it should be by another than by me." Father Joseph was one of the greatest opposers of Grotius[281], who would not visit him because the Capuchin had no title; and, besides, the English Ambassadors had declared they would not see him. As often as they met, Grotius treated him with civility; but the Monk, who had all the Cardinal's confidence, wanted to be considered as a Minister.

The Count d'Avaux was also against Grotius. There having been some interruption in the payment of the subsidies, the Count said publicly[282] it was owing to the Swedish Ambassador in France, who did not make his court to the first Minister, though he was known to possess all the King's authority; and even refused him the honours paid by the other Ambassadors.

Grotius, informed of the French Ministry's dislike to him, wrote to the High Chancellor[283], praying him to consider whether it would not be better that Sweden should have no Ambassador in France, but only an Agent without a public character, to enquire into what passed, and hear what was said to him. The Swedish Ministry judged that the more Cardinal Richelieu desired Grotius's removal, the greater reason they had for supporting him, since he displeased only by doing his duty too well. Grotius was informed of their sentiments, and wrote to Salvius[284], that the justice which the Regents of Sweden did him would serve to confirm his steadiness. Father Joseph said[285] publicly, the French Ministers desired Grotius's removal, because it was evident to them that he opposed the success of the affairs of France. This being repeated to Grotius, he answered, that it was of little importance to him whether he served Sweden in France or in another kingdom, but that the French might be persuaded if a successor were sent he would be of the same opinion. He himself informed the High Chancellor of what was plotting against him in France; and the Regents of Sweden, notwithstanding this violent opposition, wrote to him that they were well satisfied with his good services[286].

The Cardinal's tools endeavoured to render Sweden suspicious of him, by insinuating that he was a Pensioner of France. His friends told him one day his name was in the list of pensioners. He immediately informed the Chancellor of it; adding, that he did not know whether it was done by mistake or with a bad design; that having been formerly a Pensioner of the King, his name might possibly have been copied from some old list; but there was also reason to think it was done with a design to injure him: he farther adds, "I can assure your Excellency, before God, that I have not received a farthing from the Court of France since I have been in the service of Sweden; and that I am determined to accept of only what is usually given Ambassadors when they have their audience of leave."

It is probable that his name was put in the list of Pensioners, because the Ministry imagined if they could get him to accept of a pension, they would more easily bring him to their ends. It is certain they offered him one[287]; and when they saw that he absolutely refused it, as not thinking he could with decency be a Minister of Sweden and a Pensioner of France at the same time, they rightly judged that he would never sacrifice the interest of the Crown of Sweden to the pretensions of the French Ministers. They sometimes caressed him[288], however, because they saw him powerfully protected. Feuquieres was ordered to tell him they were very well satisfied with him: but he believed these compliments were made, that, being less on his guard, they might have a better opportunity to hurt him. "For (he writes to Oxenstiern[289]) I am persuaded they would be glad to see me gone, because I absolutely refuse the presents they offer me; and suffer not myself to be led by them like some other Ambassadors. For this reason they put me in such a situation that I must either sacrifice the dignity of the kingdom, or expose myself to be hated. I will never do any thing against the honour of Sweden; and I will shun, as much as I can, what may render me odious. Whatever I may do on such critical occasions, I shall be censured; but I rely on the testimony of a good conscience."

They often threw difficulties in his way, hoping that the Regents of Sweden, tired out with these disputes, would recall him. We are assured[290], that when he went to see the Chancellor Seguier, one of the Cardinal's creatures, Seguier seated himself in the higher place; which obliged Grotius to take his chair himself to place it above the Chancellor. Besides the vexation which they endeavoured to give him in France, he met with some disgust even from the Swedes. It was intimated to him at the Court of France, that the High Chancellor's nomination to the embassy of Paris was not sufficient; it must be approved of by the Regency of Sweden. This difficulty gave him uneasiness: he writes to Schmalz, Feb. 28, 1636[291], "I know the High Chancellor has authority enough to maintain me in the post to which he has raised me; but I think I should be better able to defend the interest of the crown, if it were made to appear that what the High Chancellor has done for me is approved of in Sweden. He is mortal; and besides I find his power of sending Ambassadors is sometimes called in question here." Grotius was soon after satisfied, the Regency of Sweden confirming his nominations[292].

Having been some time without receiving letters from the Swedish Ministers, it gave him much chagrin, because it disabled him from serving them effectually: besides, he looked on it as a want of respect. August 31, 1635, he wrote to the High Chancellor[293], "Since your Sublimity set out for Hamburg, I have received no letter from you, nor from any of your attendants: what grieves me is, that not knowing the actual state of things, I scarce have assurance to speak to those to whom I must recommend the affairs with which I am charged." Eight days after, he renewed his complaint in a more bitter tone: "I have desired nothing so much, says he, as to give proofs of my zeal and fidelity to the kingdom of Sweden, and to your Sublimity, in this embassy: I have not yet failed in my duty, and I hope I never shall fail; but it is impossible for me to discharge it properly, if I am kept ignorant of those things which an Ambassador ought to know. I have no accounts from Sweden. If I have not received letters from your Sublimity since you set out for Hamburg, I ascribe your silence to the multiplicity of your affairs: but Schmalz has not written to me since; and for some time I have had no letter from Camerarius or Grubbius. If they imagine my enemies so powerful, that I ought to remain here Ambassador only in name, without being let into affairs, and without doing any thing; that will not suit me. I am not a man that would be chargeable or a dishonour to those who nominated me to my employment. Besides, they are mistaken if they think my enemies have so much credit in my native Country; and those who know what passes there think as I do. I humbly beg you would be pleased to indemnify me for the expences I have been obliged to be at, and let me at liberty: wherever I go, it will be a sufficient recommendation not to have displeased your Sublimity."

Whilst he was thus tormenting himself without much reason, he received two letters from the High Chancellor which made him easy. He thanked him for them, assuring him that he desired information of what passed, not from any eager desire for news, but to enable him better to fulfil the functions of his embassy. Oxenstiern fully satisfied him; and Grotius was extremely pleased, in the end of 1635 and the beginning of 1636, with the attention paid him by that great minister. Dec. 20, 1635[294], he writes, "I cannot sufficiently thank your Sublimity for the care you have taken of my private affairs and my dignity; it is my duty so to act as not to appear unworthy such great and continual favours. God forbid that I should want to penetrate into those things which prudence requires to be buried in mystery; but as to public matters, I would not be the last to know them, and to learn them from strangers." "It gives me great satisfaction (he writes to Oxenstiern's Secretary[295]) that the High Chancellor is pleased to remark that I discharge my embassy with honour."

Besides the embarrassment which always attends difficult negotiations, the trouble of contenting several masters, and the difficulty of treating with Ministers to whom one is disagreeable, Grotius, who thought it essential to an Ambassador to live with dignity, received almost continual uneasiness from the ill payment of his appointments. Sep. 14, 1635, he wrote to the High Chancellor[296], that the Treasurer of Sweden refused to pay his quarter's salary; that the expences of his journies were still unpaid, and that he had exhausted all his private resources. He repeats in a letter of the 8th of November, 1635[297], that he had received but one quarter, which was owing even before his arrival at Paris; that there were two others due since: that he spared no expence in order to live with more dignity; that his journies and the furnishing of his house were very expensive; that he could borrow no more, and what he had already borrowed, was done on very disadvantageous terms. At the end of 1638 there were six quarters owing, amounting to twelve thousand rixdollars, besides twelve hundred which he had laid out for the service of Sweden. He was desirous of being permitted to pay himself out of the subsidies given by France. He represented that his expence was considerably increased by the high tax laid on all sorts of goods, which made living so dear, that his salary was insufficient for supporting his dignity. For two whole years he received no remittance, and in the end of May, 1639[298], there were forty thousand francs owing besides what he had laid out on several occasions. His salary was, therefore, twenty thousand francs per annum. Salvius ordered one half of what was owing him to be paid out of the subsidies received by Sweden from France; but it was long before Grotius got the money: for on the 9th of July, 1639[299], he pressed Salvius very warmly to order immediate payment; and went so far as to tell him that if he still left him in this perplexity, he would demand to be reimbursed and recalled. It was in these critical circumstances that the French Ministry offered him a supply, which he refused with great disinterestedness[300].

Living at Paris growing every day dearer, the Swedish Ambassador, not knowing how to support his dignity, took a resolution to ask of the Queen of Sweden, Jan. 21, 1640[301], that, as he was unable to make any more advances, and his anxiety about this matter hindered him in some measure from attending to her Majesty's more important concerns, he might be permitted to pay himself out of the French subsidy. Without waiting for an answer he took sixteen thousand rixdollars of it; and wrote to the High Chancellor, April 14, 1640[302], that he was compelled to this by necessity, and that it was no more than had been usually done by the Ambassadors who resided in France. There is reason to think that Oxenstiern, who had a friendship for the Ambassador, found no fault with his boldness, as he did not venture on this step till all his resources were exhausted.


[251] Ep. 413. p. 150.

[252] Ep. 419. p. 153.

[253] Ep. 426. p. 157.

[254] Ep. 434. p. 160.

[255] Ep. 436. p. 162.

[256] Ep. 437. p. 162.

[257] Ep. 438. p. 163.

[258] Ep. 468. p. 177.

[259] Ep. 475. p. 181.

[260] Ep. 491. p. 188.

[261] Ep. 475. p. 180. 492. p. 189. 504. p. 194. & 517. p. 200.

[262] Ep. 475. p. 180.

[263] Ep. 505. p. 194.

[264] Ep. 528. p. 204.

[265] Ep. 534. p. 208.

[266] Ep. 556. p. 219.

[267] Ep. 560. p. 221.

[268] Ep. 562. p. 222.

[269] Ep. 577. p. 227.

[270] Ep. 580. p. 228.

[271] Ep. 581. p. 229.

[272] Ep. 557. p. 210.

[273] Ep. 585. p. 231.

[274] Ep. 475. p. 180.

[275] Ep. 598. p. 239.

[276] Ep. 800. p. 347.

[277] Ep. 1135. p. 513.

[278] Ep. 226. p. 553.

[279] Puffendorf, l. 11. sec. 78. Vindiciae Grotianae, p. 396. Hist. des guerres de Vestphalie, t. 1. l. 5. p. 362.

[280] Ep. 636. p. 256.

[281] Ep. 598. p. 235.

[282] Vin. Grot. p. 394.

[283] Ep. 690. p. 284. Vin. Grot. p. 378.

[284] Ep. 716. p. 301.

[285] Ep. 739. p. 313.

[286] Ep. 745. p. 317 & 754. p. 323.

[287] Ep. 636. p. 257. 1263. p. 575. & 1289. p. 583.

[288] Ep. 958. p. 428.

[289] Ep. 958. p. 428.

[290] Puffendorf, l. 11. sec. 78. Bougeant, l. 5. p. 362. See Ep. 1414. p. 645.

[291] Ep. 557 p. 219.

[292] Ep. 585. p. 231.

[293] Ep. 470. p. 178.

[294] Ep. 528. p. 204.

[295] Ep. 533. p. 207.

[296] Ep. 475. p. 181.

[297] Ep. 505. p. 195.

[298] Ep. 1177. p. 533. 1183. p. 536. & 1199. p. 542.

[299] Ep. 1203. p. 544.

[300] Ep. 1263. p. 573. & 1289. p. 583.

[301] Ep. 1308. p. 592.

[302] Ep. 1350. p. 612.

IX. The French Ministry carried their animosity against Grotius so far, that, if we may believe the Swedish Historian[303], they instigated the Venetian Ambassador to dispute with him for precedency at the public entry of the Ambassador in ordinary from England. The French took the part of the Venetians. Grotius imagined they did it to make their court to the Pope. He wrote to the High Chancellor, that Father Joseph, who had a great desire to be a Cardinal, always favoured such counsels as might please the court of Rome. Besides, the Capuchin fought to make a merit with the Cardinal of vexing Grotius, whom they both hated.

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