True Stories of Modern Magic

A Conjurer's Confessions
Deception Explained By The Science Of Psychology
Facing The Arab's Pistol
Fact And Fable In Psychology
Fraudulent Spiritualism Unveiled[1]
How Spirits Materialize
How The Tricks Succeeded
Matter Through Matter
Mind Reading In Public
Second Sight
Some Famous Exposures
The Magician Who Became An Ambassador
The Man In The Iron Mask
The Methods Of A Doctor Of The Occult
The Name Of The Dead

The Lock And Key Library

A Case Of Identity
A Conjurer's Confessions
A Flight Into Texas
A Formidable Weapon
A Mystery With A Moral
A Scandal In Bohemia
A Wish Unexpectedly Gratified
Addressed To The Advocate Who Defended Him At His Trial
Adventure Of The Black Fisherman
Adventures In The Secret Service Of The Post-office Department
An Aspirant For Congress
An Erring Shepherd
An Heiress From Redhorse
An Old Game Revived
By The Waters Of Paradise
Deception Explained By The Science Of Psychology
Facing The Arab's Pistol
Fact And Fable In Psychology
Fraudulent Spiritualism Unveiled[1]
His Wedded Wife
Horror: A True Tale
How Spirits Materialize
How The Tricks Succeeded
In The House Of Suddhoo
Introduction To A Mystery With A Moral
Introduction To Melmoth The Wanderer
Introduction To The Corpus Delicti
Matter Through Matter
Melmoth The Wanderer
Mind Reading In Public
My Own True Ghost Story
My Wife's Tempter
No 1 Branch Line: The Signal-man
On Being Found Out
Saint-germain The Deathless
Second Sight
Some Famous Exposures
The Avenger
The Baron's Quarry
The Closed Cabinet
The Corpus Delicti
The Dream Woman
The Fortune Of Seth Savage
The Fowl In The Pot
The Gold-bug
The Golden Ingot
The Great Valdez Sapphire
The Haunted And The Haunters Or The House And The Brain
The Hostler's Story Told By Himself
The Incantation
The Lost Duchess
The Magician Who Became An Ambassador
The Man And The Snake
The Man In The Iron Mask
The Methods Of A Doctor Of The Occult
The Minister's Black Veil
The Minor Canon
The Mortals In The House
The Name Of The Dead
The Notch On The Ax - A Story A La Mode
The Oblong Box
The Pavilion On The Links
The Pipe
The Puzzle
The Red-headed League
The Sending Of Dana Da
The Shadows On The Wall
The Story Continued By Percy Fairbank
Wieland's Madness
Wolfert Webber Or Golden Dreams

The Man In The Iron Mask



The Mystery of the Man in the Iron Mask is, despite a pleasant
saying of Lord Beaconsfield's, one of the most fascinating in
history. By a curious coincidence the wildest legend on the
subject, and the correct explanation of the problem, were offered
to the world in the same year, 1801. According to this form of the
legend, the Man in the Iron Mask was the genuine Louis XIV.,
deprived of his rights in favor of a child of Anne of Austria and
of Mazarin. Immured in the Isles Sainte-Marguerite, in the bay of
Cannes (where you are shown his cell, looking north to the sunny
town), he married, and begot a son. That son was carried to
Corsica, was named de Buona Parte, and was the ancestor of
Napoleon. The Emperor was thus the legitimate representative of
the House of Bourbon.

This legend was circulated in 1801, and is referred to in a
proclamation of the Royalists of La Vendee. In the same year,
1801, Roux Fazaillac, a Citoyen and a revolutionary legislator,
published a work in which he asserted that the Man in the Iron Mask
(as known in rumor) was not one man, but a myth, in which the
actual facts concerning at least two men were blended. It is
certain that Roux Fazaillac was right; or that, if he was wrong,
the Man in the Iron Mask was an obscure valet, of French birth,
residing in England, whose real name was Martin.

Before we enter on the topic of this poor menial's tragic history,
it may be as well to trace the progress of the romantic legend, as
it blossomed after the death of the Man, whose Mask was not of
iron, but of black velvet. Later we shall show how the legend
struck root and flowered, from the moment when the poor valet,
Martin (by his prison pseudonym "Eustache Dauger"), was immured in
the French fortress of Pignerol, in Piedmont (August, 1669).

The Man, in connection with the Mask, is first known to us from a
kind of notebook kept by du Junca, Lieutenant of the Bastille. On
September 18, 1698, he records the arrival of the new Governor of
the Bastille, M. de Saint-Mars, bringing with him, from his last
place, the Isles Sainte-Marguerite, in the bay of Camnes, "an old
prisoner whom he had at Pignerol. He keeps the prisoner always
masked, his name is not spoken . . . and I have put him alone, in
the third chamber of the Bertaudiere tower, having furnished it
some days before with everything, by order of M. de Saint-Mars.
The prisoner is to be served and cared for by M. de Rosarges," the
officer next in command under Saint-Mars.[1]

[1] Funck-Brentano, Legendes et Archives de la Bastille, pp. 86,
87. Paris, 1898, p. 277, a facsimile of this entry.

The prisoner's death is entered by du Junca on November 19, 1703.
To that entry we return later.

The existence of this prisoner was known and excited curiosity. On
October 15, 1711, the Princess Palatine wrote about the case to the
Electress Sophia of Hanover, "A man lived for long years in the
Bastille, masked, and masked he died there. Two musketeers were by
his side to shoot him if ever he unmasked. He ate and slept in his
mask. There must, doubtless, have been some good reason for this,
as otherwise he was very well treated, well lodged, and had
everything given to him that he wanted. He took the Communion
masked; was very devout, and read perpetually."

On October 22, 1711, the Princess writes that the Mask was an
English nobleman, mixed up in the plot of the Duke of Berwick
against William III.--Fenwick's affair is meant. He was imprisoned
and masked that the Dutch usurper might never know what had become
of him.[1]

[1] Op. cit. 98, note I.

The legend was now afloat in society. The sub-commandant of the
Bastille from 1749 to 1787, Chevalier, declared, obviously on the
evidence of tradition, that all the Mask's furniture and clothes
were destroyed at his death, lest they might yield a clew to his
identity. Louis XV. is said to have told Madame de Pompadour that
the Mask was "the minister of an Italian prince." Louis XVI. told
Marie Antoinette (according to Madame de Campan) that the Mask was
a Mantuan intriguer, the same person as Louis XV. indicated.
Perhaps he was, it is one of two possible alternatives. Voltaire,
in the first edition of his "Siecle de Louis XIV.," merely spoke of
a young, handsome, masked prisoner, treated with the highest
respect by Louvois, the Minister of Louis XIV. At last, in
"Questions sur l'Encyclopedie" (second edition), Voltaire averred
that the Mask was the son of Anne of Austria and Mazarin, an elder
brother of Louis XIV. Changes were rung on this note: the Mask was
the actual King, Louis XIV. was a bastard. Others held that he was
James, Duke of Monmouth--or Moliere! In 1770 Heiss identified him
with Mattioli, the Mantuan intriguer, and especially after the
appearance of the book by Roux Fazaillac, in 1801, that was the
generally accepted opinion.

It MAY be true, in part. Mattioli MAY have been the prisoner who
died in the Bastille in November 1703, but the legend of the Mask's
prison life undeniably arose out of the adventure of our valet,
Martin or Eustache Dauger.



After reading the arguments of the advocates of Mattioli, I could
not but perceive that, whatever captive died, masked, at the
Bastille in 1703, the valet Dauger was the real source of most of
the legends about the Man in the Iron Mask. A study of M. Lair's
book "Nicholas Fouquet" (1890) confirmed this opinion. I therefore
pushed the inquiry into a source neglected by the French
historians, namely, the correspondence of the English ambassadors,
agents, and statesmen for the years 1668, 1669.[1] One result is
to confirm a wild theory of my own to the effect that the Man in
the Iron Mask (if Dauger were he) may have been as great a mystery
to himself as to historical inquirers. He may not have known WHAT
he was imprisoned for doing! More important is the probable
conclusion that the long and mysterious captivity of Eustache
Dauger, and of another perfectly harmless valet and victim, was the
mere automatic result of "red tape" of the old French absolute
monarchy. These wretches were caught in the toils of the system,
and suffered to no purpose, for no crime. The two men, at least
Dauger, were apparently mere supernumeraries in the obscure
intrigue of a conspirator known as Roux de Marsilly.

[1] The papers are in the Record Office; for the contents see the
following essay, The Valet's Master.

This truly abominable tragedy of Roux de Marsilly is "another
story," narrated in the following essay. It must suffice here to
say that, in 1669, while Charles II. was negotiating the famous, or
infamous, secret treaty with Louis XIV.--the treaty of alliance
against Holland, and in favor of the restoration of Roman
Catholicism in England--Roux de Marsilly, a French Huguenot, was
dealing with Arlington and others, in favor of a Protestant league
against France.

When he started from England for Switzerland in February, 1669,
Marsilly left in London a valet called by him "Martin," who had
quitted his service and was living with his own family. This man
is the "Eustache Dauger" of our mystery. The name is his prison
pseudonym, as "Lestang" was that of Mattioli. The French
Government was anxious to lay hands on him, for he had certainly,
as the letters of Marsilly prove, come and gone freely between that
conspirator and his English employers. How much Dauger knew, what
amount of mischief he could effect, was uncertain. Much or little,
it was a matter which, strange to say, caused the greatest anxiety
to Louis XIV. and to his Ministers for very many years. Probably
long before Dauger died (the date is unknown, but it was more than
twenty-five years after Marsilly's execution), his secret, if
secret he possessed, had ceased to be of importance. But he was
now in the toils of the French red tape, the system of secrecy
which rarely released its victim. He was guarded, we shall see
with such unheard-of rigor that popular fancy at once took him for
some great, perhaps royal, personage.

Marsilly was publicly tortured to death in Paris on June 22, 1669.
By July 19 his ex-valet, Dauger, had entered on his mysterious term
of captivity. How the French got possession of him, whether he
yielded to cajolery, or was betrayed by Charles II., is uncertain.
The French ambassador at St. James's, Colbert (brother of the
celebrated Minister), writes thus to M. de Lyonne, in Paris, on
July I, 1669:[1] "Monsieur Joly has spoken to the man Martin"
(Dauger), "and has really persuaded him that, by going to France
and telling all that he knows against Roux, he will play the part
of a lad of honor and a good subject."

[1] Transcripts from Paris MSS., Vol. xxxiii., Record Office.

But Martin, after all, was NOT persuaded!

Martin replied to Joly that he knew nothing at all, and that, once
in France, people would think he was well acquainted with the
traffickings of Roux, "and so he would be kept in prison to make
him divulge what he did not know." The possible Man in the Iron
Mask did not know his own secret! But, later in the conversation,
Martin foolishly admitted that he knew a great deal; perhaps he did
this out of mere fatal vanity. Cross to France, however, he would
not, even when offered a safe-conduct and promise of reward.
Colbert therefore proposes to ask Charles to surrender the valet,
and probably Charles descended to the meanness. By July 19, at all
events, Louvois, the War Minister of Louis XIV., was bidding Saint-
Mars, at Pignerol in Piedmont, expect from Dunkirk a prisoner of
the very highest importance--a valet! This valet, now called
"Eustache Dauger," can only have been Marsilly's valet, Martin,
who, by one means or another, had been brought from England to
Dunkirk. It is hardly conceivable, at least, that when a valet, in
England, is "wanted" by the French police on July 1, for political
reasons, and when by July 19 they have caught a valet of extreme
political importance, the two valets should be two different men.
Martin must be Dauger.

Here, then, by July 19, 1669, we find our unhappy serving man in
the toils. Why was he to be handled with such mysterious rigor?
It is true that State prisoners of very little account were kept
with great secrecy. But it cannot well be argued that they were
all treated with the extraordinary precautions which, in the case
of Dauger, were not relaxed for twenty-five or thirty years. The
King says, according to Louvois, that the safe keeping of Dauger is
"of the last importance to his service." He must have intercourse
with nobody. His windows must be where nobody can pass; several
bolted doors must cut him off from the sound of human voices.
Saint-Mars himself, the commandant, must feed the valet daily.
"You must never, under any pretenses listen to what he may wish to
tell you. You must threaten him with death if he speaks one word
except about his actual needs. He is only a valet, and does not
need much furniture."[1]

[1] The letters are printed by Roux Fazaillac, Jung, Lair, and

Saint-Mars replied that, in presence of M. de Vauroy, the chief
officer of Dunkirk (who carried Dauger thence to Pignerol), he had
threatened to run Dauger through the body if he ever dared to
speak, even to him, Saint-Mars. He has mentioned this prisoner, he
says, to no mortal. People believe that Dauger is a Marshal of
France, so strange and unusual are the precautions taken for his

A Marshal of France! The legend has begun. At this time (1669)
Saint-Mars had in charge Fouquet, the great fallen Minister, the
richest and most dangerous subject of Louis XIV. By-and-by he also
held Lauzun, the adventurous wooer of la Grande Mademoiselle. But
it was not they, it was the valet, Dauger, who caused "sensation."

On February 20, 1672, Saint-Mars, for the sake of economy, wished
to use Dauger as valet to Lauzun. This proves that Saint-Mars did
not, after all, see the necessity of secluding Dauger or thought
the King's fears groundless. In the opinion of Saint-Mars, Dauger
did not want to be released, "would never ask to be set free."
Then why was he so anxiously guarded? Louvois refused to let
Dauger be put with Lauzun as valet. In 1675, however, he allowed
Dauger to act as valet to Fouquet, but with Lauzun, said Louvois,
Dauger must have no intercourse. Fouquet had then another prisoner
valet, La Riviere. This man had apparently been accused of no
crime. He was of a melancholy character, and a dropsical habit of
body: Fouquet had amused himself by doctoring him and teaching him
to read.

In the month of December, 1678, Saint-Mars, the commandant of the
prison, brought to Fouquet a sealed letter from Louvois, the seal
unbroken. His own reply was also to be sealed, and not to be seen
by Saint-Mars. Louvois wrote that the King wished to know one
thing, before giving Fouquet ampler liberty. Had his valet,
Eustache Dauger, told his other valet, La Riviere, what he had done
before coming to Pignerol? (de ce a quoi il a ete employe aupravant
que d'etre a Pignerol). "His Majesty bids me ask you [Fouquet]
this question, and expects that you will answer without considering
anything but the truth, that he may know what measures to take,"
these depending on whether Dauger has, or has not, told La Riviere
the story of his past life.[1] Moreover, Lauzun was never, said
Louvois, to be allowed to enter Fouquet's room when Dauger was
present. The humorous point is that, thanks to a hole dug in the
wall between his room and Fouquet's, Lauzun saw Dauger whenever he

[1] Lair, Nicholas Foucquet, ii. pp. 463, 464.

From the letter of Louvois to Fouquet, about Dauger (December 23,
1678), it is plain that Louis XIV. had no more pressing anxiety,
nine years after Dauger's arrest, than to conceal what it was that
Dauger had done. It is apparent that Saint-Mars himself either was
unacquainted with this secret, or was supposed by Louvois and the
King to be unaware of it. He had been ordered never to allow
Dauger to tell him; he was not allowed to see the letters on the
subject between Lauzun and Fouquet. We still do not know, and
never shall know, whether Dauger himself knew his own secret, or
whether (as he had anticipated) he was locked up for not divulging
what he did not know.

The answer of Fouquet to Louvois must have satisfied Louis that
Dauger had not imparted his secret to the other valet, La Riviere,
for Fouquet was now allowed a great deal of liberty. In 1679, he
might see his family, the officers of the garrison, and Lauzun--it
being provided that Lauzun and Dauger should never meet. In March,
1680, Fouquet died, and henceforth the two valets were most
rigorously guarded; Dauger, because he was supposed to know
something; La Riviere, because Dauger might have imparted the real
or fancied secret to him. We shall return to these poor serving
men, but here it is necessary to state that, ten months before the
death of their master, Fouquet, an important new captive had been
brought to the prison of Pignerol.

This captive was the other candidate for the honors of the Mask,
Count Mattioli, the secretary of the Duke of Mantua. He was
kidnaped on Italian soil on May 2, 1679, and hurried to the
mountain fortress of Pignerol, then on French ground. His offense
was the betraying of the secret negotiations for the cession of the
town and fortress of Casal, by the Duke of Mantua, to Louis XIV.
The disappearance of Mattioli was, of course, known to the world.
The cause of his enlevement, and the place of his captivity,
Pignerol, were matters of newspaper comment at least as early as
1687. Still earlier, in 1682, the story of Mattioli's arrest and
seclusion in Pignerol had been published in a work named "La
Prudenza Trionfante di Casale."[1] There was thus no mystery, at
the time, about Mattioli; his crime and punishment were perfectly
well known to students of politics. He has been regarded as the
mysterious Man in the Iron Mask, but, for years after his arrest,
he was the least mysterious of State prisoners.

[1] Brentano, op. cit., p. 117.

Here, then, is Mattioli in Pignerol in May, 1679. While Fouquet
then enjoyed relative freedom, while Lauzun schemed escapes or made
insulting love to Mademoiselle Fouquet, Mattioli lived on the bread
and water of affliction. He was threatened with torture to make
him deliver up some papers compromising Louis XIV. It was
expressly commanded that he should have nothing beyond the barest
necessaries of life. He was to be kept dans la dure prison. In
brief, he was used no better than the meanest of prisoners. The
awful life of isolation, without employment, without books, without
writing materials, without sight or sound of man save when Saint-
Mars or his lieutenant brought food for the day, drove captives

In January, 1680, two prisoners, a monk[1] and one Dubreuil, had
become insane. By February 14, 1680, Mattioli was daily conversing
with God and his angels. "I believe his brain is turned," says
Saint-Mars. In March, 1680, as we saw, Fouquet died. The
prisoners, not counting Lauzun (released soon after), were now
five: (1) Mattioli (mad); (2) Dubreuil (mad); (3) The monk (mad);
(4) Dauger, and (5) La Riviere. These two, being employed as
valets, kept their wits. On the death of Fouquet, Louvois wrote to
Saint-Mars about the two valets. Lauzun must be made to believe
that they had been set at liberty, but, in fact, they must be most
carefully guarded IN A SINGLE CHAMBER. They were shut up in one of
the dungeons of the "Tour d'en bas." Dauger had recently done
something as to which Louvois writes: "Let me know how Dauger can
possibly have done what you tell me, and how he got the necessary
drugs, as I cannot suppose that you supplied him with them" (July
10, 1680).[2]

[1] A monk, who MAY have been this monk, appears in the following
essay, p. 34, infra.

[2] Lair, Nicholas Foucquet, ii., pp. 476, 477.

Here, then, by July, 1680, are the two valets locked in one dungeon
of the "Tour d'en bas." By September Saint-Mars had placed
Mattioli, with the mad monk, in another chamber of the same tower.
He writes: "Mattioli is almost as mad as the monk," who arose from
bed and preached naked. Mattioli behaved so rudely and violently
that the lieutenant of Saint-Mars had to show him a whip, and
threaten him with a flogging. This had its effect. Mattioli, to
make his peace, offered a valuable ring to Blainvilliers. The ring
was kept to be restored to him, if ever Louis let him go free--a
contingency mentioned more than once in the correspondence.

Apparently Mattioli now sobered down, and probably was given a
separate chamber and a valet; he certainly had a valet at Pignerol
later. By May 1681, Dauger and La Riviere still occupied their
common chamber in the "Tour d'en bas." They were regarded by
Louvois as the most important of the five prisoners then at
Pignerol. They, not Mattioli, were the captives about whose safe
and secret keeping Louis and Louvois were most anxious. This
appears from a letter of Louvois to Saint-Mars, of May 12, 1681.
The jailer, Saint-Mars, is to be promoted from Pignerol to Exiles.
"Thither," says Louvois, "the king desires to transport such of
your prisoners as he thinks too important to have in other hands
than yours." These prisoners are "the two in the low chamber of
the tower," the two valets, Dauger and La Riviere.

From a letter of Saint-Mars (June, 1681) we know that Mattioli was
not one of these. He says: "I shall keep at Exiles two birds
(merles) whom I have here: they are only known as the gentry of the
low room in the tower; Mattioli may stay on here at Pignerol with
the other prisoners" (Dubreuil and the mad monk). It is at this
point that Le Citoyen Roux (Fazaillac), writing in the Year IX. of
the Republic (1801), loses touch with the secret.[1] Roux finds,
in the State Papers, the arrival of Eustache Dauger at Pignerol in
1669, but does not know who he is, or what is his quality. He sees
that the Mask must be either Mattioli, Dauger, the monk, one
Dubreuil, or one Calazio. But, overlooking or not having access to
the letter of Saint-Mars of June, 1681, Roux holds that the
prisoners taken to Les Exiles were the monk and Mattioli. One of
these must be the Mask, and Roux votes for Mattioli. He is wrong.
Mattioli beyond all doubt remained at Pignerol.

[1] Recherches Historiques sur l'Homme au Masque de Fer, Paris.
An. IX.

Mountains of argument have been built on these words, deux merles,
"two jail-birds." One of the two, we shall see, became the source
of the legend of the Man in the Iron Mask. "How can a wretched
jail-bird (merle) have been the Mask?" asks M. Topin. "The rogue's
whole furniture and table-linen were sold for 1l. 19s. He only got
a new suit of clothes every three years." All very true; but this
jail-bird and his mate, by the direct statement of Louvois, are
"the prisoners too important to be intrusted to other hands than
yours"--the hands of Saint-Mars--while Mattioli is so unimportant
that he may be left at Pignerol under Villebois.

The truth is, that the offense and the punishment of Mattioli were
well known to European diplomatists and readers of books. Casal,
moreover, at this time was openly ceded to Louis XIV., and Mattioli
could not have told the world more than it already knew. But, for
some inscrutable reason, the secret which Dauger knew, or was
suspected of knowing, became more and more a source of anxiety to
Louvois and Louis. What can he have known? The charges against
his master, Roux de Marsilly, had been publicly proclaimed. Twelve
years had passed since the dealings of Arlington with Marsilly.
Yet, Louvois became more and more nervous.

In accordance with commands of his, on March 2, 1682, the two
valets, who had hitherto occupied one chamber at Exiles as at
Pignerol, were cut off from all communication with each other.
Says Saint-Mars, "Since receiving your letter I have warded the
pair as strictly and exactly as I did M. Fouquet and M. Lauzun, who
cannot brag that he sent or received any intelligence. Night and
day two sentinels watch their tower; and my own windows command a
view of the sentinels. Nobody speaks to my captives but myself, my
lieutenant, their confessor, and the doctor, who lives eighteen
miles away, and only sees them when I am present." Years went by;
in January, 1687, one of the two captives died; we really do not
know which with absolute certainty. However, the intensified
secrecy with which the survivor was now guarded seems more
appropriate to Dauger and M. Funck-Brentano and M. Lair have no
doubt that it was La Riviere who expired. He was dropsical, that
appears in the official correspondence, and the dead prisoner died
of dropsy.

As for the strange secrecy about Dauger, here is an example.
Saint-Mars, in January, 1687, was appointed to the fortress of the
Isles Sainte-Marguerite, that sun themselves in the bay of Cannes.
On January 20 he asks leave to go to see his little kingdom. He
must leave Dauger, but has forbidden even his lieutenant to speak
to that prisoner. This was an increase of precaution since 1682.
He wishes to take the captive to the Isles, but how? A sedan chair
covered over with oilcloth seems best. A litter might break down,
litters often did, and some one might then see the passenger.

Now M. Funck-Brentano says, to minimize the importance of Dauger,
"he was shut up like so much luggage in a chair hermetically closed
with oilcloth, carried by eight Piedmontese relays of four."

Luggage is not usually carried in hermetically sealed sedan chairs,
but Saint-Mars has explained why, by surplus of precaution, he did
not use a litter. The litter might break down and Dauger might be
seen. A new prison was built specially, at the cost of 5,000
lires, for Dauger at Sainte-Marguerite, with large sunny rooms. On
May 3, 1687, Saint-Mars had entered on his island realm, Dauger
being nearly killed by twelve days' journey in a closed chair. He
again excited the utmost curiosity. On January 8, 1688, Saint-Mars
writes that his prisoner is believed by the world to be either a
son of Oliver Cromwell, or the Duc de Beaufort,[1] who was never
seen again, dead or alive, after a night battle in Crete, on June
25, 1669, just before Dauger was arrested. Saint-Mars sent in a
note of the TOTAL of Dauger's expenses for the year 1687. He
actually did not dare to send the ITEMS, he says, lest they, if the
bill fell into the wrong hands, might reveal too much.

[1] Duc de Beaufort whom Athos releases from prison in Dumas's
Vingt Ans Apres.

Meanwhile, an Italian news-letter, copied into a Leyden paper, of
August 1687, declared that Mattioli had just been brought from
Pignerol to Sainte-Marguerite. There was no mystery about
Mattioli, the story of his capture was published in 1682, but the
press, on one point, was in error; Mattioli was still at Pignerol.
The known advent of the late Commandant of Pignerol, Saint-Mars,
with a single concealed prisoner, at the island, naturally
suggested the erroneous idea that the prisoner was Mattioli. The
prisoner was really Dauger, the survivor of the two valets.

From 1688 to 1691 no letter about Dauger has been published.
Apparently he was then the only prisoner on the island, except one
Chezut, who was there before Dauger arrived, and gave up his
chamber to Dauger while the new cells were being built. Between
1689 and 1693 six Protestant preachers were brought to the island,
while Louvois, the Minister, died in 1691, and was succeeded by
Barbezieux. On August 13, 1691, Barbezieux wrote to ask Saint-Mars
about "the prisoner whom he had guarded for twenty years." The
only such prisoner was Dauger, who entered Pignerol in August,
1669. Mattioli had been a prisoner only for twelve years, and lay
in Pignerol, not in Sainte-Marguerite, where Saint-Mars now was.
Saint-Mars replied: "I can assure you that NOBODY HAS SEEN HIM BUT

By the beginning of March, 1694, Pignerol had been bombarded by the
enemies of France; presently Louis XIV. had to cede it to Savoy.
The prisoners there must be removed. Mattioli, in Pignerol, at the
end of 1693, had been in trouble. He and his valet had tried to
smuggle out letters written on the linings of their pockets. These
were seized and burned. On March 20, 1694, Barbezieux wrote to
Laprade, now commanding at Pignerol, that he must take his three
prisoners, one by one, with all secrecy, to Sainte-Marguerite.
Laprade alone must give them their food on the journey. The
military officer of the escort was warned to ask no questions.
Already (February 26, 1694) Barbezieux had informed Saint-Mars that
these prisoners were coming. They are of more consequence, one of
them at least, than the prisoners on the island, and must be put in
the safest places." The "one" is doubtless Mattioli. In 1681
Louvois had thought Dauger and La Riviere more important than
Mattioli, who, in March, 1694, came from Pignerol to Sainte-
Marguerite. Now in April, 1694, a prisoner died at the island, a
prisoner who, like Mattioli, HAD A VALET. We hear of no other
prisoner on the island, except Mattioli who had a valet. A letter
of Saint-Mars (January 6, 1696) proves that no prisoner THEN had a
valet, for each prisoner collected his own dirty plates and dishes,
piled them up, and handed them to the lieutenant.

M. Funck-Brentano argues that in this very letter (January 6, 1696)
Saint-Mars speaks of "les valets de messieurs les prisonniers."
But in THAT part of the letter Saint-Mars is not speaking of the
actual state of things at Sainte-Marguerite, but is giving
reminiscences of Fouquet and Lauzun, who, of course, at Piguerol,
had valets, and had money, as he shows. Dauger had no money. M.
Funck-Brentano next argues that early in 1694 one of the preacher
prisoners, Melzac, died, and cites M. Jung ("La Verite sur le
Masque de Fer," p. 91). This is odd, as M. Jung says that Melzac,
or Malzac, "died in the end of 1692, or early in 1693." Why, then,
does M. Funck-Brentano cite M. Jung for the death of the preacher
early in 1694, when M. Jung (conjecturally) dates his decease at
least a year earlier?[1] It is not a mere conjecture as, on March
3, 1693, Barbezieux begs Saint-Mars to mention his Protestant
prisoners under nicknames. There are THREE, and Malzac is no longer
one of them. Malzac, in 1692, suffered from a horrible disease,
discreditable to one of the godly, and in October, 1692, had been
allowed medical expenses. Whether they included a valet or not,
Malzac seems to have been non-existent by March, 1693. Had he
possessed a valet, and had he died in 1694, why should HIS valet
have been "shut up in the vaulted prison"? This was the fate of
the valet of the prisoner who died in April, 1694, and was probably

[1] M. Funck-Brentano's statement is in Revue Historique, lvi. p.
298. "Malzac died at the beginning of 1694," citing Jung, p. 91.
Now on p. 91 M. Jung writes, "At the beginning of 1694 Saint-Mars
had six prisoners, of whom one Melzac, dies." But M. Jung (pp.
269, 270) later writes, "It is probable that Melzac died at the end
of 1692, or early in 1693," and he gives his reasons, which are
convincing. M. Funck-Brentano must have overlooked M. Jung's
change of opinion between his p. 91 and his pp. 269, 270.

Mattioli, certainly, had a valet in December, 1693, at Pignerol.
He went to Sainte-Marguerite in March, 1694. In April, 1694, a
prisoner with a valet died at Sainte-Marguerite. In January, 1696,
no prisoner at Sainte-Marguerite had a valet. Therefore, there is
a strong presumption that the "prisonnier au valet" who died in
April, was Mattioli.

After December, 1693, when he was still at Pignerol, the name of
Mattioli, freely used before, never occurs in the correspondence.
But we still often hear of "l'ancien prisonnier," "the old
prisoner." He was, on the face of it, Dauger, by far the oldest
prisoner. In 1688, Saint-Mars, having only one prisoner (Dauger),
calls him merely "my prisoner. In 1691, when Saint-Mars had
several prisoners, Barbezieux styles Dauger "your prisoner of
twenty years' standing." When, in 1696-1698, Saint-Mars mentions
"mon ancien prisonnier," "my prisoner of long standing," he
obviously means Dauger, not Mattioli--above all, if Mattioli died
in 1694. M. Funck-Brentano argues that "mon ancien prisonnier" can
only mean "my erstwhile prisoner, he who was lost and is restored
to me"--that is, Mattioli. This is not the view of M. Jung, or M.
Lair, or M. Loiseleur.

Friends of Mattioli's claims rest much on this letter of Barbezieux
to Saint-Mars (November 17, 1697): "You have only to watch over the
security of all your prisoners, without ever explaining to anyone
what it is that your prisoner of long standing did." That secret,
it is argued, MUST apply to Mattioli. But all the world knew what
Mattioli had done! Nobody knew, and nobody knows, what Eustache
Dauger had done. It was one of the arcana imperii. It is the
secret enforced ever since Dauger's arrest in 1669. Saint-Mars
(1669) was not to ask. Louis XIV. could only lighten the captivity
of Fouquet (1678) if his valet, La Riviere, did not know what
Dauger had done. La Riviere (apparently a harmless man) lived and
died in confinement, the sole reason being that he might perhaps
know what Dauger had done. Consequently there is the strongest
presumption that the "ancien prisonnier" of 1697 is Dauger, and
that "what he had done" (which Saint-Mars must tell to no one) was
what Dauger did, not what Mattioli did. All Europe knew what
Mattioli had done; his whole story had been published to the world
in 1682 and 1687.

On July 19, 1698, Barbezieux bade Saint-Mars come to assume the
command of the Bastille. He is to bring his "old prisoner," whom
not a soul is to see. Saint-Mars therefore brought his man MASKED,
exactly as another prisoner was carried masked from Provence to the
Bastille in 1695. M. Funck-Brentano argues that Saint-Mars was now
quite fond of his old Mattioli, so noble, so learned.

At last, on September 18, 1698, Saint-Mars lodged his "old
prisoner" in the Bastille, "an old prisoner whom he had at
Pignerol," says the journal of du Junca, Lieutenant of the
Bastille. His food, we saw, was brought him by Rosarges alone, the
"Major," a gentleman who had always been with Saint-Mars. Argues
M. Funck-Brentano, all this proves that the captive was a
gentleman, not a valet. Why? First, because the Bastille, under
Louis XIV., was "une prison de distinction." Yet M. Funck-Brentano
tells us that in Mazarin's time "valets mixed up with royal plots"
were kept in the Bastille. Again, in 1701, in this "noble prison,"
the Mask was turned out of his room to make place for a female
fortune-teller, and was obliged to chum with a profligate valet of
nineteen, and a "beggarly" bad patriot, who "blamed the conduct of
France, and approved that of other nations, especially the Dutch."
M. Funck-Brentano himself publishes these facts (1898), in part
published earlier (1890) by M. Lair.[1] Not much noblesse here!
Next, if Rosarges, a gentleman, served the Mask, Saint-Mars alone
(1669) carried his food to the valet, Dauger. So the service of
Rosarges does not ennoble the Mask and differentiate him from
Dauger, who was even more nobly served, by Saint-Mars.

[1] Legendes de la Bastille, pp. 86-89. Citing du Junca's Journal,
April 30, 1701.

On November 19, 1703, the Mask died suddenly (still in his velvet
mask), and was buried on the 20th. The parish register of the
church names him "Marchialy" or "Marchioly," one may read it either
way; du Junca, Lieutenant of the Bastille, in his contemporary
journal, calls him "M. de Marchiel." Now, Saint-Mars often spells
Mattioli, "Marthioly."

This is the one strength of the argument for Mattioli's claims to
the Mask. M. Lair replies, "Saint-Mars had a mania for burying
prisoners under fancy names," and gives examples. One is only a
gardener, Francois Eliard (1701), concerning whom it is expressly
said that, as he is a prisoner, his real name is not to be given,
so he is registered as Pierre Maret (others read Navet, "Peter
Turnip"). If Saint-Mars, looking about for a false name for
Dauger's burial register, hit on Marsilly (the name of Dauger's old
master), that MIGHT be miswritten Marchialy. However it be, the
age of the Mask is certainly falsified; the register gives "about
forty-five years old." Mattioli would have been sixty-three;
Dauger cannot have been under fifty-three.

There the case stands. If Mattioli died in April, 1694, he cannot
be the Man in the Iron Mask. Of Dauger's death we find no record,
unless he was the Man in the Iron Mask, and died, in 1703, in the
Bastille. He was certainly, in 1669 and 1688, at Pignerol and at
Sainte-Marguerite, the center of the mystery about some great
prisoner, a Marshal of France, the Duc de Beaufort, or a son of
Oliver Cromwell. Mattioli was not mystery, no secret. Dauger is
so mysterious that probably the secret of his mystery was unknown
to himself. By 1701, when obscure wretches were shut up with the
Mask, the secret, whatever its nature, had ceased to be of moment.
The captive was now the mere victim of cruel routine. But twenty
years earlier, Saint-Mars had said that Dauger "takes things
easily, resigned to the will of God and the King."

To sum up, on July 1, 1669, the valet of the Huguenot intriguer,
Roux de Marsilly, the valet resident in England, known to his
master as "Martin," was "wanted" by the French secret police. By
July 19, a valet, of the highest political importance, had been
brought to Dunkirk, from England, no doubt. My hypothesis assumes
that this valet, though now styled "Eustache Dauger," was the
"Martin of Roux de Marsilly. He was kept with so much mystery at
Pigernol that already the legend began its course; the captive
valet was said to be a Marshal of France! We then follow Dauger
from Pignerol to Les Exiles, till January, 1687, when one valet out
of a pair, Dauger being one of them, dies. We presume that Dauger
is the survivor, because the great mystery still is "what he HAS
DONE," whereas the other valet had done nothing, but may have known
Dauger's secret. Again the other valet had long been dropsical,
and the valet who died in 1687 died of dropsy.

In 1688, Dauger, at Sainte-Marguerite, is again the source and
center of myths; he is taken for a son of Oliver Cromwell, or for
the Duc de Beufort. In June 1692, one of the Huguenot preachers at
Saint-Marguerite writes on his shirt and pewter plate and throws
them out of the window.[1] Legend attributes these acts to the Man
in the Iron Mask, and transmutes a pewter into a silver plate.
Now, in 1689-1693, Mattioli was at Pignerol, but Dauger was at
Sainte-Marguerite, and the Huguenot's act is attributed to him.
Thus Dauger, not Mattioli, is the center round which the myths
crystallize: the legends concern him, not Mattioli, whose case is
well known, and gives rise to no legend. Finally, we have shown
that Mattioli probably died at Sainte-Marguerite in April, 1694.
If so, then nobody but Dauger can be the "old prisoner" whom Saint-
Mars brought, masked, to the Bastille, in September, 1698, and who
died there in November, 1703. However suppose that Mattioli did
not die in 1694, but was the masked man who died in the Bastille in
1703, then the legend of Dauger came to be attributed to Mattioli:
these two men's fortunes are combined in the one myth.

[1] Saint-Mars au Ministre, June 4, 1692.

The central problem remains unsolved.

What had the valet, Eustache Dauger, done?[1]

[1] One marvels that nobody has recognized, in the mask, James
Stuart (James de la Cloche), eldest of the children of Charles II.
He came to England in 1668, was sent to Rome, and "disappears from
history." See infra, "The Mystery of James de la Cloche."



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 foregoing 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 clew 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 indorsed
"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

(1) Marsilly reports, on the authority of his friends at Stockholm,
that the King of Sweden intends, first to intercede with Louis XIV.
in favor 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 Gall 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 Britannic 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 a 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."[1]

[1] 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."[1] (Is "that one person" de la Cloche?)

[1] 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."[1] 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.[2] 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 kidnaped by agents of Louis
XIV., and his doom was dight. Here is the account of the matter,
written to ---- by Perwich in Paris:

[1] Ibid., p. 281.

[2] Ibid., p. 285.

"W. Perwich to ----

"Paris, May 25, '69.

"Honored Sir,

"The Cantons of Switzerland are much troubled at the French King's
having sent fifteen horsemen into Switzerland from whence the Sr de
Manille, the King's resident there, had given information of the Sr
Roux de Marsilly's being there negotiating 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.)[1]

[1] Madame, by Julia Cartwright, p. 264.

"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."

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.[1]

[1] 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.[1]

[1] 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.[1]

[1] 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 pretended 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 of 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.[1] 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-in-law), 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 favor 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."

[1] 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'inquitetude]. . . . There is here in England one
Martin" (Eustace Dauger), "who has been that wretch's valet, and
who left him 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.[1]

[1] 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 postcript,
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
naturalized 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 19/25, 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 (p. 51).

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 good reason why
diplomatists should have murmured of a crusade against the cruel
and brigand Government which sent soldiers to kidnap, in
neighboring 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 utilize 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
kind of France.


[1] State Papers, France, vol. 126.

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

Paris, May ye , 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
Compte: 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
endeavor 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 Baithazar'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 wo

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