The Man In The Iron Mask

: True Stories of Modern Magic



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 w
s 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