The Valet's Tragedy, by Andrew Lang


The secret of the Man in the Iron Mask, or at least of one of the two persons who have claims to be the Mask, was ‘WHAT HAD EUSTACHE DAUGER DONE?’ To guard this secret the most extraordinary precautions were taken, as we have shown in the fore-going essay. And yet, if secret there was, it might have got wind in the simplest fashion. In the ‘Vicomte de Bragelonne,’ Dumas describes the tryst of the Secret-hunters with the dying Chief of the Jesuits at the inn in Fontainebleau. They come from many quarters, there is a Baron of Germany and a laird from Scotland, but Aramis takes the prize. He knows the secret of the Mask, the most valuable of all to the intriguers of the Company of Jesus.

Now, despite all the precautions of Louvois and Saint–Mars, despite sentinels for ever posted under Dauger’s windows, despite arrangements which made it impossible for him to signal to people on the hillside at Les Exiles, despite the suppression even of the items in the accounts of his expenses, his secret, if he knew it, could have been discovered, as we have remarked, by the very man most apt to make mischievous use of it — by Lauzun. That brilliant and reckless adventurer could see Dauger, in prison at Pignerol, when he pleased, for he had secretly excavated a way into the rooms of his fellow-prisoner, Fouquet, on whom Dauger attended as valet. Lauzun was released soon after Fouquet’s death. It is unlikely that he bought his liberty by the knowledge of the secret, and there is nothing to suggest that he used it (if he possessed it) in any other way.

The natural clue to the supposed secret of Dauger is a study of the career of his master, Roux de Marsilly. As official histories say next to nothing about him, we may set forth what can be gleaned from the State Papers in our Record Office. The earliest is a letter of Roux de Marsilly to Mr. Joseph Williamson, secretary of Lord Arlington (December 1668). Marsilly sends Martin (on our theory Eustache Dauger) to bring back from Williamson two letters from his own correspondent in Paris. He also requests Williamson to procure for him from Arlington a letter of protection, as he is threatened with arrest for some debt in which he is not really concerned. Martin will explain. The next paper is endorsed ‘Received December 28, 1668, Mons. de Marsilly.’ As it is dated December 27, Marsilly must have been in England. The contents of this piece deserve attention, because they show the terms on which Marsilly and Arlington were, or, at least, how Marsilly conceived them.

(1) Marsilly reports, on the authority of his friends at Stockholm, that the King of Sweden intends, first to intercede with Louis XIV. in favour of the French Huguenots, and next, if diplomacy fails, to join in arms with the other Protestant Powers of Europe.

(2) His correspondent in Holland learns that if the King of England invites the States to any ‘holy resolution,’ they will heartily lend forces. No leader so good as the English King — Charles II! Marsilly had shown ARLINGTON’S LETTER to a Dutch friend, who bade him approach the Dutch ambassador in England. He has dined with that diplomatist. Arlington had, then, gone so far as to write an encouraging letter. The Dutch ambassador had just told Marsilly that he had received the same news, namely, that, Holland would aid the Huguenots, persecuted by Louis XIV.

(3) Letters from Provence, Languedoc, and Dauphine say that the situation there is unaltered.

(4) The Canton of Zurich write that they will keep their promises and that Berne IS ANXIOUS TO PLEASE THE KING OF GREAT BRITAIN, and that it is ready to raise, with Zurich, 15,000 men. They are not afraid of France.

(5) Zurich fears that, if Charles is not represented at the next Diet, Bale and Saint Gal will be intimidated, and not dare to join the Triple Alliance of Spain, Holland, and England. The best plan will be for Marsilly to represent England at the Diet of January 25, 1669, accompanied by the Swiss General Balthazar. This will encourage friends ‘TO GIVE HIS BRITTANIC MAJESTY THE SATISFACTION WHICH HE DESIRES, and will produce a close union between Holland, Sweden, the Cantons, and other Protestant States.’

This reads as if Charles had already expressed some ‘desire.’

(6) Geneva grumbles at a reply of Charles ‘through a bishop who is their enemy,’ the Bishop of London, ‘a persecutor of our religion,’ that is, of Presbyterianism. However, nothing will dismay the Genevans, ‘si S. M. B. ne change.’

Then comes a blank in the paper. There follows a copy of a letter as if FROM CHARLES II. HIMSELF, to ‘the Right High and Noble Seigneurs of Zurich.’ He has heard of their wishes from Roux de Marsilly, whom he commissions to wait upon them. ‘I would not have written by my Bishop of London had I been better informed, but would myself have replied to your obliging letter, and would have assured you, as I do now, that I desire . . . .’

It appears as if this were a draft of the kind of letter which Marsilly wanted Charles to write to Zurich, and there is a similar draft of a letter for Arlington to follow, if he and Charles wish to send Marsilly to the Swiss Diet. The Dutch ambassador, with whom Marsilly dined on December 26, the Constable of Castille, and other grandees, are all of opinion that he should visit the Protestant Swiss, as from the King of England. The scheme is for an alliance of England, Holland, Spain, and the Protestant Cantons, against France and Savoy.

Another letter of Marsilly to Arlington, only dated Jeudi, avers that he can never repay Arlington for his extreme kindness and liberality. ‘No man in England is more devoted to you than I am, and shall be all my life.’17

17 State Papers, France, vol. 125, 106.

On the very day when Marsilly drafted for Charles his own commission to treat with Zurich for a Protestant alliance against France, Charles himself wrote to his sister, Madame (Henriette d’Orleans). He spoke of his secret treaty with France. ‘You know how much secrecy is necessary for the carrying on of the business, and I assure you that nobody does, nor shall, know anything of it here, but myself and that one person more, till it be fit to be public.’18 (Is ‘that one person’ de la Cloche?)

18 Madame, by Julia Cartwright, p. 275.

Thus Marsilly thought Charles almost engaged for the Protestant League, while Charles was secretly allying himself with France against Holland. Arlington was probably no less deceived by Charles than Marsilly was.

The Bishop of London’s share in the dealing with Zurich is obscure.

It appears certain that Arlington was not consciously deceiving Marsilly. Madame wrote, on February 12, as to Arlington, ‘The man’s attachment to the Dutch and his inclination towards Spain are too well known.’19 Not till April 25, 1669, does Charles tell his sister that Arlington has an inkling of his secret dealings with France; how he knows, Charles cannot tell.20 It is impossible for us to ascertain how far Charles himself deluded Marsilly, who went to the Continent early in spring, 1669. Before May 15/25 1669, in fact on April 14, Marsilly had been kidnapped by agents of Louis XIV., and his doom was dight.

19 Madame, by Julia Cartwright, p. 281.

20 Ibid. p. 285.

Here is the account of the matter, written to ——— by Perwich in Paris:

W Perwich to ———

Paris, May 25, ‘69.

Honored Sir,

. . . . . .

The Cantons of Switzerland are much troubled at the French King’s having sent 15 horsemen into Switzerland from whence the Sr de Maille, the King’s resident there, had given information of the Sr Roux de Marsilly’s being there negociating the bringing the Cantons into the Triple League by discourses much to the disadvantage of France, giving them very ill impressions of the French King’s Government, who was BETRAYED BY A MONK THAT KEPT HIM COMPANY and intercepted by the said horsemen brought into France and is expected at the Bastille. I believe you know the man. . . . I remember him in England.

Can this monk be the monk who went mad in prison at Pignerol, sharing the cell of Mattioli? Did he, too, suffer for his connection with the secret? We do not know, but the position of Charles was awkward. Marsilly, dealing with the Swiss, had come straight from England, where he was lie with Charles’s minister, Arlington, and with the Dutch and Spanish ambassadors. The King refers to the matter in a letter to his sister of May 24, 1669 (misdated by Miss Cartwright, May 24, 1668.)21

‘You have, I hope, received full satisfaction by the last post in the matter of Marsillac [Marsilly], for my Ld. Arlington has sent to Mr. Montague [English ambassador at Paris] his history all the time he was here, by which you will see how little credit he had here, and that particularly my Lord Arlington was not in his good graces, because he did not receive that satisfaction, in his negotiation, he expected, and that was only in relation to the Swissers, and so I think I have said enough of this matter.’

21 Madame, by Julia Cartwright, p. 264.

Charles took it easily!

On May 15/25 Montague acknowledged Arlington’s letter to which Charles refers; he has been approached, as to Marsilly, by the Spanish resident, ‘but I could not tell how to do anything in the business, never having heard of the man, or that he was employed by my Master [Charles] in any business. I have sent you also a copy of a letter which an Englishman writ to me that I do not know, in behalf of Roux de Marsilly, but that does not come by the post,’ being too secret.22

22 State Papers, France, vol. 126.

France had been well informed about Marsilly while he was in England. He then had a secretary, two lackeys, and a valet de chambre, and was frequently in conference with Arlington and the Spanish ambassador to the English Court. Colbert, the French ambassador in London, had written all this to the French Government, on April 25, before he heard of Marsilly’s arrest.23

23 Bibl. Nat., Fonds Francais, No. 10665.

The belief that Marsilly was an agent of Charles appears to have been general, and, if accepted by Louis XIV., would interfere with Charles’s private negotiations for the Secret Treaty with France. On May 18 Prince d’Aremberg had written on the subject to the Spanish ambassador in Paris. Marsilly, he says, was arrested in Switzerland, on his way to Berne, with a monk who was also seized, and, a curious fact, Marsilly’s valet was killed in the struggle. This valet, of course, was not Dauger, whom Marsilly had left in England. Marsilly ‘doit avoir demande la protection du Roy de la Grande Bretagne en faveur des Religionaires (Huguenots) de France, et passer en Suisse AVEC QUELQUE COMMISSION DE SA PART.’ D’Aremberg begs the Spanish ambassador to communicate all this to Montague, the English ambassador at Paris, but Montague probably, like Perwich, knew nothing of the business any more than he knew of Charles’s secret dealings with Louis through Madame.24

24 State Papers, France, vol. 126.

To d’Aremberg’s letter is pinned an unsigned English note, obviously intended for Arlington’s reading.

‘Roux de Marsilly is still in the Bastille though they have a mind to hang him, yet they are much puzzled what to do with him. De Lionne has beene to examine him twice or thrice, but there is noe witnes to prove anything against him. I was told by one that the French king told it to, that in his papers they find great mention of the DUKE OF BUCKS: AND YOUR NAME, and speak as if he were much trusted by you. I have enquired what this Marsilly is, and I find by one Mr. Marsilly that I am acquainted withall, and a man of quality, that this man’s name is onely Roux, and borne at Nismes and having been formerly a soldier in his troope, ever since has taken his name to gain more credit in Switserland where hee, Marsilly, formerly used to bee employed by his Coll: the Mareschall de Schomberg who invaded Switserland.’

We next find a very curious letter, from which it appears that the French Government inclined to regard Marsilly as, in fact, an agent of Charles, but thought it wiser to trump up against him a charge of conspiring against the life of Louis XIV. On this charge, or another, he was executed, while the suspicion that he was an agent of English treachery may have been the real cause of the determination to destroy him. The Balthazar with whom Marsilly left his papers is mentioned with praise by him in his paper for Arlington, of December 27, 1668. He is the General who should have accompanied Marsilly to the Diet.

The substance of the letter (given in full in Note I.) is to the following effect. P. du Moulin (Paris, May 19/29, 1669) writes to Arlington. Ever since Ruvigny, the late French ambassador, a Protestant, was in England, the French Government had been anxious to kidnap Roux de Marsilly. They hunted him in England, Holland, Flanders, and Franche–Comte. As we know from the case of Mattioli, the Government of Louis XIV. was unscrupulously daring in breaking the laws of nations, and seizing hostile personages in foreign territory, as Napoleon did in the affair of the Duc d’Enghien. When all failed, Louis bade Turenne capture Roux de Marsilly wherever he could find him. Turenne sent officers and gentlemen abroad, and, after four months’ search, they found Marsilly in Switzerland. They took him as he came out of the house of his friend, General Balthazar, and carried him to Gex. No papers were found on him, but he asked his captors to send to Balthazar and get ‘the commission he had from England,’ which he probably thought would give him the security of an official diplomatic position. Having got this document, Marsilly’s captors took it to the French Ministers. Nothing could be more embarrassing, if this were true, to Charles’s representative in France, Montague, and to Charles’s secret negotiations, also to Arlington, who had dealt with Marsilly. On his part, the captive Marsilly constantly affirmed that he was the envoy of the King of England. The common talk of Paris was that an agent of Charles was in the Bastille, ‘though at Court they pretend to know nothing of it.’ Louis was overjoyed at Marsilly’s capture, giving out that he was conspiring against his life. Monsieur told Montague that he need not beg for the life of a would-be murderer like Marsilly. But as to this idea, ‘they begin now to mince it at Court,’ and Ruvigny assured du Moulin ‘that they had no such thoughts.’ De Lyonne had seen Marsilly and observed that it was a blunder to seize him. The French Government was nervous, and Turenne’s secretary had been ‘pumping’ several ambassadors as to what they thought of Marsilly’s capture on foreign territory. One ambassador replied with spirit that a crusade by all Europe against France, as of old against the Moslems, would be necessary. Would Charles, du Moulin asked, own or disown Marsilly?

Montague’s position was now awkward. On May 23, his account of the case was read, at Whitehall, to the Foreign Committee in London. (See Note II. for the document.) He did not dare to interfere in Marsilly’s behalf, because he did not know whether the man was an agent of Charles or not. Such are the inconveniences of a secret royal diplomacy carried on behind the backs of Ministers. Louis XV. later pursued this method with awkward consequences.25 The French Court, Montague said, was overjoyed at the capture of Marsilly, and a reward of 100,000 crowns, ‘I am told very privately, is set upon his head.’ The French ambassador in England, Colbert, had reported that Charles had sent Marsilly ‘to draw the Swisses into the Triple League’ against France. Montague had tried to reassure Monsieur (Charles’s brother-inlaw), but was himself entirely perplexed. As Monsieur’s wife, Charles’s sister, was working with Charles for the secret treaty with Louis, the State and family politics were clearly in a knot. Meanwhile the Spanish ambassador kept pressing Montague to interfere in favour of Marsilly. After Montague’s puzzled note had been read to the English Foreign Committee on May 23, Arlington offered explanations. Marsilly came to England, he said, when Charles was entering into negotiations for peace with Holland, and when France seemed likely to oppose the peace. No proposition was made to him or by him. Peace being made, Marsilly was given money to take him out of the country. He wanted the King to renew his alliance with the Swiss cantons, but was told that the cantons must first expel the regicides of Charles I. He undertook to arrange this, and some eight months later came back to England. ‘He was coldly used, and I was complained of for not using so important a man well enough.’

25 Cf. Le Secret du Roi, by the Duc de Broglie.

As we saw, Marsilly expressed the most effusive gratitude to Arlington, which does not suggest cold usage. Arlington told the complainers that Marsilly was ‘another man’s spy,’ what man’s, Dutch, Spanish, or even French, he does not explain. So Charles gave Marsilly money to go away. He was never trusted with anything but the expulsion of the regicides from Switzerland. Arlington was ordered by Charles to write a letter thanking Balthazar for his good offices.

These explanations by Arlington do not tally with Marsilly’s communications to him, as cited at the beginning of this inquiry. Nothing is said in these about getting the regicides of Charles I. out of Switzerland: the paper is entirely concerned with bringing the Protestant Cantons into anti-French League with England, Holland, Spain, and even Sweden. On the other hand, Arlington’s acknowledged letter to Balthazar, carried by Marsilly, may be the ‘commission’ of which Marsilly boasted. In any case, on June 2, Charles gave Colbert, the French ambassador, an audience, turning even the Duke of York out of the room. He then repeated to Colbert the explanations of Arlington, already cited, and Arlington, in a separate interview, corroborated Charles. So Colbert wrote to Louis (June 3, 1669); but to de Lyonne, on the same day, ‘I trust that you will extract from Marsilly much matter for the King’s service. IT SEEMED TO ME THAT MILORD D’ARLINGTON WAS UNEASY ABOUT IT [EN AVAIT DE L’INQUIETUDE]. . . . There is here in England one Martin’ (Eustace Dauger), ‘who has been that wretch’s valet, and who left him in discontent.’ Colbert then proposes to examine Martin, who may know a good deal, and to send him into France. On June 10, Colbert writes to Louis that he expects to see Martin.26

26 Bibl. Nat., Fonds Francais, No. 10665.

On June 24, Colbert wrote to Louis about a conversation with Charles. It is plain that proofs of a murder-plot by Marsilly were scanty or non-existent, though Colbert averred that Marsilly had discussed the matter with the Spanish Ministers. ‘Charles knew that he had had much conference with Isola, the Spanish ambassador.’ Meanwhile, up to July 1, Colbert was trying to persuade Marsilly’s valet to go to France, which he declined to do, as we have seen. However, the luckless lad, by nods and by veiled words, indicated that he knew a great deal. But not by promise of security and reward could the valet be induced to return to France. ‘I might ask the King to give up Martin, the valet of Marsilly, to me,’ Colbert concludes, and, by hook or by crook, he secured the person of the wretched man, as we have seen. In a postscript, Colbert says that he has heard of the execution of Marsilly.

By July 19, as we saw in the previous essay, Louvois was bidding Saint–Mars expect, at Pignerol from Dunkirk, a prisoner of the highest political importance, to be guarded with the utmost secrecy, yet a valet. That valet must be Martin, now called Eustache Dauger, and his secret can only be connected with Marsilly. It may have been something about Arlington’s negotiations through Marsilly, as compromising Charles II. Arlington’s explanations to the Foreign Committee were certainly incomplete and disingenuous. He, if not Charles, was more deeply engaged with Marsilly than he ventured to report. But Marsilly himself avowed that he did not know why he was to be executed.

Executed he was, in circumstances truly hideous. Perwich, June 5, wrote to an unnamed correspondent in England: ‘They have all his papers, which speak much of the Triple Alliance, but I know not whether they can lawfully hang him for this, having been naturalised in Holland, and taken in a privileged country’ (Switzerland). Montague (Paris, June 22, 1669) writes to Arlington that Marsilly is to die, so it has been decided, for ‘a rape which he formerly committed at Nismes,’ and after the execution, on June 26, declares that, when broken on the wheel, Marsilly ‘still persisted that he was guilty of nothing, nor did know why he was put to death.’

Like Eustache Dauger, Marsilly professed that he did not know his own secret. The charge of a rape, long ago, at Nismes, was obviously trumped up to cover the real reason for the extraordinary vindictiveness with which he was pursued, illegally taken, and barbarously slain. Mere Protestant restlessness on his part is hardly an explanation. There was clearly no evidence for the charge of a plot to murder Louis XIV., in which Colbert, in England, seems to have believed. Even if the French Government believed that he was at once an agent of Charles II., and at the same time a would-be assassin of Louis XIV., that hardly accounts for the intense secrecy with which his valet, Eustache Dauger, was always surrounded. Did Marsilly know of the Secret Treaty, and was it from him that Arlington got his first inkling of the royal plot? If so, Marsilly would probably have exposed the mystery in Protestant interests. We are entirely baffled.

In any case, Francis Vernon, writing from Paris to Williamson (?) (June 19/29 1669), gave a terrible account of Marsilly’s death. (For the letter, see Note V.) With a broken piece of glass (as we learn from another source), Marsilly, in prison, wounded himself in a ghastly manner, probably hoping to die by loss of blood. They seared him with a red-hot iron, and hurried on his execution. He was broken on the wheel, and was two hours in dying (June 22). Contrary to usage, a Protestant preacher was brought to attend him on the scaffold. He came most reluctantly, expecting insult, but not a taunt was uttered by the fanatic populace. ‘He came up the scaffold, great silence all about.’ Marsilly lay naked, stretched on a St. Andrew’s cross. He had seemed half dead, his head hanging limp, ‘like a drooping calf.’ To greet the minister of his own faith, he raised himself, to the surprise of all, and spoke out loud and clear. He utterly denied all share in a scheme to murder Louis. The rest may be read in the original letter (Note V.).

So perished Roux de Marsilly; the history of the master throws no light on the secret of the servant. That secret, for many years, caused the keenest anxiety to Louis XIV. and Louvois. Saint–Mars himself must not pry into it. Yet what could Dauger know? That there had been a conspiracy against the King’s life? But that was the public talk of Paris. If Dauger had guilty knowledge, his life might have paid for it; why keep him a secret prisoner? Did he know that Charles II. had been guilty of double dealing in 1668–1669? Probably Charles had made some overtures to the Swiss, as a blind to his private dealings with Louis XIV., but, even so, how could the fact haunt Louis XIV. like a ghost? We leave the mystery much darker than we found it, but we see reason good why diplomatists should have murmured of a crusade against the cruel and brigand Government which sent soldiers to kidnap, in neighbouring states, men who did not know their own crime.

To myself it seems not improbable that the King and Louvois were but stupidly and cruelly nervous about what Dauger MIGHT know. Saint–Mars, when he proposed to utilise Dauger as a prison valet, manifestly did not share the trembling anxieties of Louis XIV. and his Minister; anxieties which grew more keen as time went on. However, ‘a soldier only has his orders,’ and Saint–Mars executed his orders with minute precision, taking such unheard-of precautions that, in legend, the valet blossomed into the rightful king of France.



Note I. Letter of Mons. P. du Moulin to Arlington.28

Paris, May ye 19/29, 1669.

My Lord,

. . . . . .

Ever since that Monsieur de Ruvigny was in England last, and upon the information he gave, this King had a very great desire to seize if it were possible this Roux de Marsilly, and several persons were sent to effect it, into England, Holland, Flanders, and Franche Comte: amongst the rest one La Grange, exempt des Gardes, was a good while in Holland with fifty of the guards dispersed in severall places and quarters; But all having miscarried the King recommended the thing to Monsieur de Turenne who sent some of his gentlemen and officers under him to find this man out and to endeavour to bring him alive. These men after foure months search found him att last in Switzerland, and having laid waite for him as he came out from Monsr Balthazar’s house (a commander well knowne) they took him and carryed him to Gex before they could be intercepted and he rescued. This was done only by a warrant from Monsieur de Turenne but as soone as they came into the french dominions they had full powers and directions from this court for the bringing of him hither. Those that tooke him say they found no papers about him, but that he desired them to write to Monsr Balthazar to desire him to take care of his papers and to send him THE COMMISSION HE HAD FROM ENGLAND and a letter being written to that effect it was signed by the prisoner and instead of sending it as they had promised, they have brought it hither along with them. THEY DO ALL UNANIMOUSLY REPORT THAT HE DID CONSTANTLY AFFIRME THAT HE WAS IMPLOYED BY THE KING OF GREAT BRITTAIN AND DID ACT BY HIS COMMISSION; so that the general discourse here in towne is that one of the King of England’s agents is in the Bastille; though att Court they pretend to know nothing of it and would have the world think they are persuaded he had no relacion to his Majesty. Your Lordship hath heard by the publique newes how overjoyed this King was att the bringing of this prisoner, and how farr he expressed his thanks to the cheife person employed in it, declaring openly that this man had long since conspired against his life, and agreable to this, Monsieur, fearing that Mylord Ambr. was come to interpose on the prisoner’s behalfe asked him on Friday last att St. Germains whether that was the cause of his coming, and told him that he did not think he would speake for a man that attempted to kill the King. The same report hath been hitherto in everybody’s mouth but they begin now to mince it att court, and Monsieur de Ruvigny would have persuaded me yesterday, they had no such thoughts. The truth is I am apt to believe they begin now to be ashamed of it: and I am informed from a very good hand that Monsieur de Lionne who hath been at the Bastille to speake with the prisoner hath confessed since that he can find no ground for this pretended attempting to the King’s life, and that upon the whole he was of opinion that this man had much better been left alone than taken, and did look upon what he had done as the intemperancy of an ill-settled braine. And to satisfy your Lordship that they are nettled here, and are concerned to know what may be the issue of all this, Monsieur de Turenne’s secretary was on Munday last sent to several forreigne Ministers to pump them and to learne what their thoughts were concerning this violence committed in the Dominions of a sovereign and an allye whereupon he was told by one of them that such proceedings would bring Europe to the necessity of entering into a Croisade against them, as formerly against the infidels. If I durst I would acquaint your Lordship with the reflexions of all publique ministers here and of other unconcerned persons in relation to his Majesty’s owning or disowning this man; but not knowing the particulars of his case, nor the grounds his Ma’ty may go upon, I shall forbeare entering upon this discourse . . . .

Your Lordships’ etc.


27 State Papers, France, vol. 126.

28 Ibid.

Note II. Paper endorsed ‘Mr. Montague originally in Cypher. Received May 19, ‘69. Read in foreigne Committee, 23 May. Roux de Marsilli.’29

I durst not venture to sollicite in Monsr Roux Marsilly’s behalfe because I doe not know whether the King my Master hath imployed him or noe; besides he is a man, as I have beene told by many people here of worth, that has given out that hee is resolved to kill the French king at one time or other, and I think such men are as dangerous to one king as to another: hee is brought to the Bastille and I believe may be proceeded against and put to death, in very few daies. There is great joy in this Court for his being taken, and a hundred thousand crownes, I am told very privately, set upon his head; the French Ambassador in England watcht him, and hee has given the intelligence here of his being employed by the King, and sent into Switzerland by my Master to draw the Swisses into the Triple League. Hee aggravates the business as much as hee can to the prejudice of my Master to value his owne service the more, and they seeme here to wonder that the King my Master should have imployed or countenanced a man that had so base a design against the King’s Person, I had a great deal of discourse with Monsieur about it, but I did positively say that he had noe relation to my knowledge to the King my Master, and if he should have I make a question or noe whither in this case the King will owne him. However, my Lord, I had nothing to doe to owne or meddle in a buisines that I was so much a stranger to . . . .

This Roux Marsilly is a great creature of the B. d’Isola’s, wch makes them here hate him the more. The Spanish Resident was very earnest with mee to have done something in behalfe of Marsilly, but I positively refused.

29 State Papers, France, vol. 126.

Note III. [A paper endorsed ‘Roux de Marsilli. Read in for. Committee, 23d May.’]30

Roux de Marsilly came hither when your Majesty had made a union with Holland for making the Peace betwixt the two Crownes and when it was probable the opposition to the Peace would bee on the side of France.

Marsilly was heard telling of longe things but noe proposition made to him or by him.

Presently the Peace was made and Marsilly told more plainly wee had no use of him. A little summe of money was given him to returne as he said whither he was to goe in Switzerland. Upon which hee wishing his Ma’ty would renew his allience wth the Cantons hee was answerd his M’ty would not enter into any comerce with them till they had sent the regicides out of their Country, hee undertooke it should bee done. Seven or eight months after wth out any intimation given him from hence or any expectation of him, he comes hither, but was so coldly used I was complained off for not using so important a man well enough. I answerd I saw noe use the King could make of him, because he had no credit in Switzerlande and for any thing else I thought him worth nothing to us, but above all because I knew by many circumstances HEE WAS ANOTHER MAN’S SPY and soe ought not to be paid by his Majesty. Notwithstanding this his Ma’ty being moved from compassion commanded hee should have some money given him to carry him away and that I should write to Monsieur Balthazar thanking him in the King’s name for the good offices hee rendered in advancing a good understanding betwixt his Ma’ty and the Cantons and desiring him to continue them in all occasions.

The man was always looked upon as a hot headed and indiscreete man, and soe accordingly handled, hearing him, but never trusting him with anything but his own offered and undesired endeavours to gett the Regicides sent out of Switzerland.

30 State Papers, France, vol. 126.

Note IV. Letter of W. Perwich to ———.31

Paris: June 5, 1669.

Honored Sir,

. . . . . .

Roux Marsilly has prudently declared hee had some what of importance to say but it should bee to the King himselfe wch may be means of respiting his processe and as he hopes intercession may bee made for him; but people talk so variously of him that I cannot tell whether hee ought to bee owned by any Prince; the Suisses have indeed the greatest ground to reclayme him as being taken in theirs. They have all his papers which speak much of the Triple Alliance; if they have no other pretext of hanging him I know not whether they can lawfully for this, hee having been naturallised in Holland and taken in a priviledged Country . . . .

31 State Papers, France, vol. 126.

Note V. Francis Vernon to [Mr. Williamson?].32

Paris: June 19/29 1669.

Honored Sir,

My last of the 26th Currt was soe short and soe abrupt that I fear you can peck butt little satisfaction out of it.

. . . . . .

I did intend to have written something about Marsilly but that I had noe time then. In my letter to my Lord Arlington I writt that Friday 21 Currt hee wounded himself wch he did not because hee was confronted with Ruvigny as the Gazettes speake. For he knew before hee should dye, butt he thought by dismembering himself that the losse of blood would carry him out of the world before it should come to bee knowne that he had wounded himselfe. And when the Governor of the Bastille spied the blood hee said It was a stone was come from him which caused that effusion. However the governor mistrusted the worst and searcht him to see what wound he had made. So they seared him and sent word to St. Germaines which made his execution be hastened. Saturday about 1 of the clock hee was brought on the skaffold before the Chastelet and tied to St. Andrew’s Crosse all wch while he acted the Dying man and scarce stirred, and seemed almost breathlesse and fainting. The Lieutenant General presst him to confesse and ther was a doctor of the Sorbon who was a counsellr of the Castelet there likewise to exhort him to disburthen his mind of any thing which might be upon it. Butt he seemed to take no notice and lay panting.

Then the Lieutenant Criminel bethought himself that the only way to make him speake would bee to sende for a ministre soe hee did to Monsr Daillie butt hee because the Edicts don’t permitt ministres to come to condemned persons in publique butt only to comfort them in private before they goe out of prison refused to come till hee sent a huissier who if hee had refused the second time would have brought him by force. At this second summons hee came butt not without great expectations to bee affronted in a most notorious manner beeing the first time a ministre came to appeare on a scaffold and that upon soe sinister an occasion. Yet when he came found a great presse of people. All made way, none lett fall soe much as a taunting word. Hee came up the Scaffold, great silence all about. Hee found him lying bound stretched on St Andrew’s Crosse, naked ready for execution. Hee told him hee was sent for to exhort him to die patiently and like a Christian. Then immediately they were all surprized to see him hold up his head wch he lett hang on one side before like a drooping calfe and speake as loud and clear as the ministre, to whom he said with a chearful air hee was glad to see him, that hee need not question butt that hee would dye like a Christian and patiently too. Then hee went and spoke some places of Scripture to encourage him which he heard with great attention. They afterward came to mention some things to move him to contrition, and there hee tooke an occasion to aggravate the horrour of a Crime of attempting against the King’s person. Hee said hee did not know what hee meant. For his part hee never had any evill intention against the Person of the King.

The Lieutenant Criminel stood all the while behind Monsieur Daillie and hearkened to all and prompted Monsr Daillie to aske him if hee had said there were 10 Ravillacs besides wch would doe the King’s businesse. Hee protested solemnly hee never said any such words or if hee did hee never remembred, butt if hee had it was with no intention of Malice. Then Monsieur Daillie turned to the people and made a discourse in vindication of those of the Religion that it was no Principle of theirs attempts on the persons of King[s] butt only loyalty and obedience. This ended hee went away; hee staid about an hour in all, and immediately as soon as he was gone, they went to their worke and gave him eleven blows with a barre and laid him on the wheele. Hee was two houres dying. All about Monsr Daillie I heard from his own mouth for I went to wait on him because it was reported hee had said something concerning the King of England butt hee could tell mee nothing of that. There was a flying report that he should say going from the Chastelet — The Duke of York hath done mee a great injury — The Swisses they say resented his [Marsilly’s] taking and misst butt half an hour to take them which betrayed him [the monk] after whom they sent. When he was on the wheele hee was heard to say Le Roy est grand tyrant, Le Roy me traitte d’un facon fort barbare. All that you read concerning oaths and dying en enrage is false all the oaths hee used being only asseverations to Monsr Daillie that he was falsely accused as to the King’s person.

Sr I am etc


32 State Papers, France, vol. 126.

Note VI. The Ambassador Montague to Arlington.33

Paris: June 22, 1669.

My Lord,

. . . . . .

The Lieutenant criminel hath proceeded pretty farre with Le Roux Marsilly. The crime they forme their processe on beeing a rape which he had formerly committed at Nismes soe that he perceiving but little hopes of his life, sent word to the King if hee would pardon him he could reveale things to him which would concerne him more and be of greater consequence to him, than his destruction.

33 State Papers, France, vol. 126.

Note VII. The same to the same.

Paris: June 26, ‘69.
My Lord,

. . . . . .

I heard that Marsilly was to be broke on the wheel and I gave order then to one of my servants to write Mr. Williamson word of it, soe I suppose you have heard of it already: they hastened his execution for feare he should have dyed of the hurt he had done himself the day before; they sent for a minister to him when he was upon the scaffold to see if he would confesse anything, but he still persisted that he was guilty of nothing nor DID NOT KNOW WHY HE WAS PUT TO DEATH . . . .

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 22:03