Father Joseph: "gray cardinal" and "invisible hand of Richelieu"

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Father Joseph: "gray cardinal" and "invisible hand of Richelieu"
Father Joseph before the crucifix, 17th-century portrait


The hero of today's article - Francois Leclerc du Tremblay Baron de Mafflieu - was the closest collaborator and confidant of Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, who headed the French government for 18 years and is considered the most outstanding statesman of all time. history of this country. However, few people know the name François du Tremblay - everyone knows him as Father Joseph. This man was called the “gray eminence” and the “invisible hand of Richelieu.”




Jean-Leon Gerome. "Grey Eminence", 1873

Now many people judge him based on the novel by the famous dreamer - Alexandre Dumas the Father, who incidentally portrayed him as a real monster. In the novel "The Three Musketeers" there are the following lines:

“There was also, however, Father Joseph, but his name was pronounced only in a whisper: so great was the fear of the “gray eminence,” a friend of Cardinal Richelieu.”

This is how the audience of the French parody film “Charlot’s Four Musketeers” saw Father Joseph:


However, this is the description of his appearance given, for example, by Aldous Huxley (in his work “The Gray Eminence: A Study of Religion and Politics”):

“The face of a middle-aged man, weather-beaten, thin from the hardships to which he had condemned himself, wrinkled and tired from the constant work of his mind. From under a wide, intelligent forehead, bulging blue eyes looked at the world attentively, even intently... the face of a strong man, a man of powerful mind and strong faith, in whom a quarter of a century of religious life had not dulled strong passions and acute feelings.”

And this is roughly how we see him in the series “Richelieu,” filmed in France in 1977:


Jean Leuvret as Father Joseph, series "Richelieu", 1977

By the way, Father Joseph’s younger brother, Charles du Tremblay, was feared no less, and perhaps even more, than the hero of the article: after all, he was the commandant of the Bastille, and did not disdain the bribes he took from relatives of prisoners for improving their conditions of detention.

As for Father Joseph, his contemporaries remembered him as a strict, but very fair and personally modest person. In addition, he was brilliantly educated and for 14 years he led the publication of the first French newspaper, Mercury. Father Joseph was also a very successful diplomat. British historian Wilson wrote about him:

“A cross between Talleyrand and Savonarola, he could play a diplomatic game with a double set of trump cards against the usual. One should not think that in these cases he acted with calculated insincerity, that he deliberately moved from one role to another. No, he really combined both of these roles - both the clergyman and the diplomat, and he was, apparently, really convinced that the policy so skillfully carried out by the latter was no less consistent with the will of God than the sermons and instructions that were the work of his life first."

Richelieu called Father Joseph Ezekiel (something like a fiery preacher) for his eloquence, and Tenebroso-Cavernoso (a well-known politician at that time, a skillful and impenetrable diplomat) for his diplomatic abilities.

Father Joseph can safely be called almost the only friend of the famous cardinal. In court circles they later told an “anecdote” (in the original meaning of the word – “unpublished, unpublished”) that only his cats and Father Joseph had the right to enter Richelieu without a report.


Charles Edouard Delors. "Richelieu and his cats"

By the way, the names of some of these favorites of Richelieu are known: Pyramus, Thisbe, Serpole, Sumiz, Lodoiska.

So, in this article we will talk about Francois Leclerc du Tremblay - Father Joseph, but first let's understand the meaning of the phraseological unit, the appearance of which many associate with the activities of our hero. However, there is reason to believe that the stable expression “gray eminence” appeared a little earlier. After all, Father Joseph became a cardinal a few months before his death, and he held this rank for only a short time.

"Eminence grise"


Cardinals have the right to wear a cassock and a red headdress, which symbolizes their loyalty to the pope and their willingness to shed blood for the faith and for the Church. Here, for example, is what the cardinal’s vestment looks like in this portrait of Richelieu by Philippe de Champagne:


But, as one version says, Cardinal Luciano Ponti, as a sign of humility, refused such a privilege and continued to wear his previous gray cassock. However, this, on the contrary, distinguished Ponti from other hierarchs, and the people called him the “gray eminence.” And since Ponti’s influence in the Vatican was very great, this phraseology became synonymous with a person whose outward modesty and inconspicuousness masks his true position as a “shadow ruler.”

In the Russian Empire, many people called K. Pobedonostsev “gray eminence” behind his back; in the USSR, this title was secretly assigned to M. Suslov.

It is curious that in the Chinese language there is a similar expression - “bai zaixiang” (official in white) - without the breast squares “buzi” (“bufan”) indicating rank.


Chinese official of the Ming Dynasty. A chest square with the image of cranes means belonging to the highest rank

In France there is also a saying la nuit tous les chats sont gris - at night all cats are gray. Gray color in this case is also a synonym for the adjective “inconspicuous”. That is, we see an increase in the meaning of the phraseological unit “gray cardinal”.

By the way, Richelieu in Russia is often called the “red cardinal”, which is fundamentally incorrect: this is, as they say, butter - all cardinals wear a red cassock, there is no need to emphasize this fact. In fact, in France Richelieu was called the “red duke” - this is a pun: the first minister, having a ducal title from birth, also received the rank of cardinal, and with it the right to wear a red cassock. You can read about this in Dumas:

“The Red Duke would teach you a lesson,” Aramis calmly remarked.

The early life of François Leclerc du Tremblay


The hero of the article was born in Paris on November 4, 1577 and was 8 years younger than Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu. His father Jean Leclerc du Tremblay belonged to the official nobility (“nobility of the robe”), and his mother Marie Motier de Lafayette came from an old Auvergne family that belonged to the “nobility of the sword.” The father occupied a fairly high position: at first he served as chancellor at the court of the youngest son of King Henry IV and Catherine de Medici at the time when he was Duke of Alençon, then he became president of the Paris Parliament (judicial body).

Francois du Tremblay received a very good education, knew many languages, including ancient Greek and Latin, at the age of 10 he even gave a speech about the poet Pierre de Ronsard, written in Latin, before the royal court.

To complete his education, the 18-year-old boy was sent by his parents to Florence in 1595, where he studied fencing and horse riding - Italian teachers in these subjects had a very high reputation in other European countries. I returned home through Germany.

In 1597, Francois du Tremblay took part in the siege of Amiens - and the commander of the French army, Constable Montmornacy, gave the most flattering reviews about him. Then he was a member of the French embassy in London - he served as secretary to his distant relative - Yuro de Mesa. They said that when meeting Elizabeth of England, Francois expressed admiration for the linguistic abilities of the queen, who knew many foreign languages, to which she allegedly replied:

“There’s nothing great about teaching a woman to talk; it’s harder to get her to keep her mouth shut.”

In general, all paths were open to the hero of the article, but unexpectedly for everyone he decided to become a monk.

François Leclerc du Tremblay was tonsured


In 1598, François suddenly decided to become a monk of the very strict Carthusian order. The mother was categorically against it, but after a few months she gave in on the condition that her son choose a monastic order, the charter of which would allow him to see his family - so Francois du Tremblay became a member of the Order of the Minor Brothers of the Hermitic Life, which separated from the Franciscan in 1528. Based on their characteristic headdress, the monks of this order were often called Capuchins. Tradition claims that it was the monks of this order who were the first to add milk to coffee so that it would cleanse the “sinful drink”: this is how cappuccino appeared.

The French historian Fanier wrote about the choice of François du Tremblay:

“Saint Bruno lost a monk, but Saint Francis gained him, and Cardinal Richelieu gained a secretary of state for foreign affairs.”

Francois became a novice of one of the monasteries of Orleans at the age of 21.

He took monastic vows on February 2, 1599 under the name Joseph (in French pronunciation - Joseph). Since then, the hero of the article moved only on foot and barefoot - in strict accordance with the charter of the order.

Later, Father Joseph was appointed coadjutor (assistant) of the order's provincial of Touraine, and then became a provincial. The territory under his control included Tours and the surrounding area, the region of Poitou, as well as most of Brittany and Normandy. Having become the guardian of these lands, Father Joseph personally visited all the monasteries on foot (and barefoot). You can imagine the condition his legs were in.

Beginning of a political career


At this time, the Queen of France was Marie de Medici, regent for her son, young Louis XIII, whom she ordered to be flogged every morning (this limited her participation in the upbringing of the future king). And the country was ruled by Concino Concini, the husband of the royal friend Leonora Dori.


Marie de' Medici in a portrait by Rubens


Cum in the portrait of Daniel Dumoustier

Maria de Medici, having become the head of the Royal Council, retained power even after her son was declared an adult (this happened on October 2, 1614). The authority of the government was unusually low, the queen and her favorite were despised in all layers of French society.

In the fall of 1615, another rebellion of French aristocrats began; the center of the uprising was the city of Loudun, where Father Joseph ended up conducting another inspection of his monasteries. He obtained an audience with the Prince of Condé, whose chamberlain was his younger brother Charles (the future commandant of the Bastille).

And here Father Joseph first acted as a successful diplomat. Having become a mediator between the queen and the rebellious aristocrats, he managed to achieve a compromise. France maintained allied relations with Spain, Louis XIII married the daughter of Philip III, Anna of Austria, and the French princess Elizabeth became the wife of the son of this Spanish king (the future Philip IV).


Jean Chalette. Marriage of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, 1615

And Conde became a member of the Royal Council, received Guienne and one and a half million livres (however, he was soon arrested and sent to prison, but Maria Medici was later sent into exile by her own son, and Concini was killed on his orders).

Meanwhile, the hero of our article in Tours met the Bishop of Luzon - Armand Richelieu, the third son of the main prevost of France Francois du Plessis de Richelieu, a deputy of the Estates General convened a year earlier. Richelieu was still on the side of Marie de Medici, who would later passionately hate the first minister and dream that he would die before her.

The hero of the article and Richelieu immediately liked each other; the mystical Father Joseph decided that the Bishop of Luzon was the man whom God had chosen as his instrument in order to save France. It was he who warmly recommended Richelieu to Queen Marie de Medici. And during the confrontation between this queen and her son (which resulted in two wars), Richelieu served as head of her Council, keeper of the seal, was chancellor, surintenadant of the palace and finances.

Only in 1624 would he find himself in the service of the king and soon become the de facto ruler of France.

Confidant of the First Minister of France


Father Joseph became Richelieu's most valuable employee and even his friend. It is known that the cardinal demanded to be warned about Joseph's approach and personally went to meet him. Richelieu greatly valued communication with his friend, but he did not like to walk, and therefore, so that he could get into the carriage, he temporarily released him from his vow to walk.

As a diplomat, Joseph advocated French intervention in the Thirty Years' War, and he led the negotiations that ended with the Peace of Regensburg in 1630. Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II wrote about him:

“This beggar Capuchin disarmed me with his rosary.”

In April of the same 1630, in Pinerolo, Father Joseph met Giulio Mazarini, who was then acting as secretary to the papal nuncio in Milan - Sacchetti. This talented Italian would enter the service of France only in 1639.

It was Father Joseph who wanted Richelieu to be his successor, but he died before him - on December 17, 1638. A few months before his death, he received the rank of cardinal, but did not change his habits.

As he died, he was worried about the French troops besieging Breizah. To calm him down, Richelieu lied, declaring the fall of this fortress, which would be taken only the next day - December 18, and the news of the victory would be delivered on December 24.

After the death of Father Joseph, the First Minister said:

“I have lost my support, I have lost my consolation, my only help and support, my most trusted person.”

Richelieu outlived his closest assistant and friend by 4 years. During this time, he managed to prepare a new ruler for France.

After the death of the famous cardinal, this country was led by Giulio Mazarin, who, as we remember, transferred to French service in 1639. He also became the lover of Queen Dowager Anne of Austria. And some, such as Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, claimed that the queen and the first minister entered into a secret marriage.

Mazarin was a very capable man and had great services to France. Richelieu himself in his memoirs left the following record about his acquaintance with this 28-year-old Italian in 1630:

“Instinct told me that this was a genius.”


Mazarin in the portrait of R. Nanteil

Mazarin categorically refused the marriage of Louis XIV with his niece Maria Mancini, and he bequeathed his entire fortune to the king, but the monarch refused to accept it.
28 comments
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  1. +12
    10 July 2024 05: 24
    A story about an interesting person, thank you!
    1. +14
      10 July 2024 07: 27
      “Two people are the embodiment of French politics of the early 17th century: one, Richelieu, was its architect, and the other, Father Joseph, was its core,” the French historian Pierre Benoit wrote about him. I join the words of gratitude to the author of the previous speaker.
  2. +10
    10 July 2024 07: 34
    Yet the commandant of the Bastille was a common position at that time. And she had and had to feed the person. There was no trace of any corruption. They put people there for a reason. No money was allocated for their maintenance. The prisoners were supported by their relatives. Almost always rich. Therefore, the prisoners did not complain much about their hungry life. Maintenance money was paid to the commandant. They provided the prisoners with everything from their relatives’ contributions and received salaries from the same funds. I don’t remember that there were any complaints from relatives against the commandants of the Bastille) laughing . Vice versa.
    It is possible that this position was one of the most honest in those days.
    1. +5
      10 July 2024 09: 01
      I absolutely disagree; every leader has the opportunity to make someone his favorite, and to push someone down. And so that you won’t find fault. Platoon commander, head of a department or workshop, school teacher, prison warden and others. Understanding relatives of the prisoner give gifts to the prison governor at Christmas, Easter, etc. - and for their relative a better cell, concessions, polite guards. They don’t understand that Father Joseph’s brother “wants attention” - their relatives have the dampest and darkest cell, constant nagging, guards throwing bowls of food on the floor. And since royal favor or anger are unpredictable, the courtiers had to show emphatic respect to the head of the Bastille - otherwise he would remember later.
      1. +3
        10 July 2024 17: 02
        This is how the countes and marquises often sat in the Bastille. And royal anger, like mercy, is changeable. And then you look, and then they will remember the commandant’s nagging and punishment cells.
        What I read about imprisonment in the Bastille, everything is simple. A person was deprived of freedom, but the joys of life were not. Excellent food, walks, the commandant is a darling. And the fact that he puts part of the money from relatives into his pocket is so accepted and quite correct.
        1. +1
          11 July 2024 08: 18
          Among equals there are always “more equals”. So, the most prudent and caring relatives had to do a little more for the commandant of the Bastille than the rest, and he treated their relatives a little better than the rest.
          1. +1
            11 July 2024 11: 54
            Everything is fair. Oh! That is, by income. Those who lived well before the Bastille also had a good life in the Bastille.
    2. +1
      11 July 2024 19: 29
      I don’t remember that there were any complaints from relatives against the commandants of the Bastille) laughing. Vice versa.

      From relatives, maybe not. But in general there were complaints
      Yulen and Elie guaranteed the safety of the defenders of the fortress, and the commandant of the Bastille, the Marquis de Launay, was sent under escort to the town hall. But on Grève Square, a crowd thirsty for revenge tore him out of the hands of the convoy. The commandant of the Bastille was cut off, hung on a pike and carried through the city. The same fate befell his three officers and three soldiers, as well as the merchant foreman Paris Flessel
      1. 0
        11 July 2024 19: 30
        It was fools who broke such an architectural monument!
  3. +10
    10 July 2024 08: 07
    I read it with great interest, thanks to the Author. There are many digressions in the text (cats, Suslov, Chinese, etc.), but they only decorate the main story.

    Father Joseph took the social elevator to go down, but it took him to the very top :)
  4. +5
    10 July 2024 09: 03
    they told an “anecdote” (in the original meaning of the word – “unpublished, unpublished”) that only his cats and father Joseph had the right to enter Richelieu without a report.

    I immediately remembered from “An Ordinary Miracle”:
    Experts argued that it was difficult to understand who behaved more worthy: me or the royal cats?

    lol
  5. +10
    10 July 2024 09: 26
    Richelieu called Father Joseph Ezekiel (something like a fiery preacher) for his eloquence.

    I'm afraid there's a more complex allegory there))
    The Lord made the prophet mute, but instructed him to convey his discontent to the Israelis. To achieve this, Ezekiel slept on one side for more than a year, ate cakes cooked in cow dung (don’t ask me how, I don’t know)), then shaved his head, but he achieved his goal.
    In general, Ezekiel is someone who can carry out any assignment without having the means to do so and without disdaining any methods.

    Dear author, thank you!
  6. +2
    10 July 2024 09: 34
    From under the wide smart forehead bulging blue eyes

    I wonder what a stupid forehead looks like...
    in the USSR this title was secretly awarded to M. Suslov

    they are different in terms of influence, because: the Frenchman is the smartest person, and Suslov is a narrow-minded, stubborn, sad dogmatist, a galosh man, who did not even convince his daughter of the delights of communism: the daughter of the main ideologist Mikhail Suslov - Maya Mikhailovna Sumarokova, together with her husband and two lives with his sons in Austria.
    In the autumn 1615 In the same year, another rebellion of French aristocrats began, the center of the uprising was the city of Loudun, where Father Joseph ended up conducting another inspection of his monasteries. He obtained an audience with the Prince of Condé

    And here Father Joseph first acted as a successful diplomat. Becoming an intermediarym between the queen and the rebellious aristocrats, he managed to reach a compromise. France maintained allied relations with Spain, Louis XIII married Philip III's daughter Anne of Austria, the French princess Elizabeth became the wife of the son of this Spanish king (the future Philip IV)
    .
    HOW in negotiations between the French and the queen can you achieve... the marriage of Louis with Spanish Anna Austria etc?

    It was a little different: Queen Marie de' Medici pursued a pro-Spanish and pro-Italian policy, having secured the support of the religious party much earlier than 1915. She retreated from the policies of Henry IV and decided to create a Catholic union with Spain, which more April 30, 1611 sealed with a marriage contractheir to Louis and Infanta Anna. . The marriage contract also stipulated that Infanta Anne would marry Louis only if his sister Elizabeth became the wife of Anne's younger brother, Prince Philip.

    And in the fall of 1615 ALREADY Engagement took place on October 18 in Burgos (and not the negotiations of Father Joseph) by proxy of the Infanta and the French King Louis XIII, who was represented by the Duke of Lerma. Same day in Bordeaux French Princess Elizabeth also married Prince Philip of Spain by proxy, who was represented by Duke Charles I of Guise. After ceremonies on Pheasant Island between Fuenterrabia and Hendaye, the princesses were "exchanged". On November 21, 1615, the wedding of Louis XIII and the Infanta took place in Bordeaux.

    It is curious that the son of Louis 13 Louis 14 also married the Spanish infanta Maria Theresa, niece of Anna of Austria.

    Anna's wisdom lay in the fact that she knew how to choose smart advisers and listen to smart advice. Her son named her the Great King.
    1. +3
      10 July 2024 11: 04
      I wonder what a stupid forehead looks like

      Everything is very simple. Have you heard the word "narrow-minded"?
      they are the same, they are different in terms of influence

      So we are talking about influence. If all the “gray cardinals”, without exception, were outstanding people... But more often they are simply clever intriguers.
      1. +2
        10 July 2024 11: 41
        Quote: vet
        I wonder what a stupid forehead looks like.
        Very simple. Have you heard the word "narrow-minded"?

        those. some Asian and African peoples, and many white peoples (Macedonian, Plato, Stalin, etc.) ..... have a stupid forehead?!
        Quote: vet
        So we are talking about influence. If all the “gray cardinals”, without exception, were outstanding people.

        The first one is smart, therefore appreciated and influenced, and the second one is.... and....t!
    2. +2
      10 July 2024 11: 12
      French King Louis XIII, who was represented by the Duke of Lerma.
      Did the Spaniard Mr. Lerma represent the French king? It's kind of strange.
      1. +2
        10 July 2024 11: 38
        French King Louis XIII, who was represented by the Duke of Lerma

        I've been looking for this phrase in the text of the article for a long time, but it turns out it's in the comments...
      2. +2
        10 July 2024 12: 05
        Quote: sivuch
        Hispanic Mr. Lerma represented the French king

        And he represented the Spanish Prince Philip at his engagement to the French princess -Frenchman de Guise.
  7. +7
    10 July 2024 11: 09
    Sorry, I'll start with quibbles
    Cardinal Luciano Ponti - I didn’t find this, maybe Lucido?
    NYZ, Richelieu’s father was not a duke, so the great cardinal could not be a duke by birth. The helpful Vika gives the following - a ducal title in the rank of peer of France. The title was created on November 26, 1629 for Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu
    But most importantly, yes, he was an outstanding man and not at all Richelieu’s henchman, as he is sometimes portrayed. Initially, it was he who promoted Richelieu when he fell out of favor with the king as a man of Marie de Medici. Moreover, their political and religious views were somewhat different - Father Joseph was much more Catholic than the great cardinal.
    As for whether Fr. Joseph is Richelieu's only friend - it's hard to say.
    I think that Cardinal La Valette can also be considered one (after cats, of course).
    On the Day of the Fooled, when almost all of his supporters turned away from Richelieu, it was La Valette who dissuaded him from fleeing and, on the contrary, convinced him to talk to the king again.
    With the Regensburg Treaty, everything was much more complicated. The official representative of France was Nicolas Brulard de Sillery (I am writing from memory, I could be wrong). A meeting of the Reichstag of the HRE was held in Regensburg, where most of the issues of France were not touched upon at all. Therefore, the official task of the delegation was to conclude an agreement with the emperor to end the War of the Mantuan Succession, and the unofficial task was to create a maximum quarrel between the emperor and his German vassals and achieve Wallenstein’s resignation from the post of commander in chief. But the German princes dealt with the latter themselves.
    I’ll write about the agreement later.
  8. +5
    10 July 2024 11: 14
    Thanks to the author! Very interestingly written. Moreover, those times were generally interesting.
  9. +2
    10 July 2024 14: 58
    I wonder for what purpose such “evidence” is included in the article.
    1)
    However, this is the description of his appearance given, for example, Aldous Huxley (in the work “The Gray Eminence: a study on religion and politics”)

    2)
    Father Joseph was also a very successful diplomat. British historian Wilson wrote about him:

    Father Joseph - years of life November 4, 1577 - December 17, 1638.
    Aldous Huxley - July 26, 1894 - November 22, 1963
    British historian Wilson - born October 15, 1961.

    Question: What difference does it make what description of Father Joseph’s appearance was given by Aldous Huxley, who lived 300 years after the death of Father Joseph?
    Moreover, what difference does it make what the still living British historian Wilson wrote about him?
    Well, they wrote their personal views, so what?
  10. +2
    10 July 2024 18: 49
    Quote: Seal
    I wonder for what purpose such “evidence” is included in the article.
    1)
    However, this is the description of his appearance given, for example, Aldous Huxley (in the work “The Gray Eminence: a study on religion and politics”)

    2)
    Father Joseph was also a very successful diplomat. British historian Wilson wrote about him:

    Father Joseph - years of life November 4, 1577 - December 17, 1638.
    Aldous Huxley - July 26, 1894 - November 22, 1963
    British historian Wilson - born October 15, 1961.

    Question: What difference does it make what description of Father Joseph’s appearance was given by Aldous Huxley, who lived 300 years after the death of Father Joseph?
    Moreover, what difference does it make what the still living British historian Wilson wrote about him?
    Well, they wrote their personal views, so what?

    These are your personal views. And here the author cited quotes from the works of people who spent time, studied sources and compiled a picture from the past. This is called research.
    1. -2
      11 July 2024 19: 44
      Quote from olgherd
      These are your personal views. And here the author cited quotes from the works of people who spent time, studied sources and compiled a picture from the past. This is called research.
      Really? Let's see what Huxley himself relied on? We take his book and look at the “Notes” chapter.
      We read.
      The posthumous fate of Father Joseph is so incredible that it would be worth devoting a separate study to it. In the first ten years after his death, a long and detailed biography of the Gray Cardinal was written by a certain Lepre-Balen, a friend of Father Angelus de Mortagne, who had access to all the necessary documents in the Capuchin archives and to the entire collection of state papers of Father Joseph. From the latter he compiled a collection entitled “Addition to the History of France.” For some unknown reason, both the biography and the Supplement were never published. The manuscript was first kept in the archives of the Calvarian women, from where it came into the possession of the Parisian Capuchins. The manuscript of the second disappeared for two hundred and fifty years, and was only discovered around 1890 by Gustave Fagnez in the library of the British Museum. How it came to England is unclear; reliable information about its fate dates back to the beginning of the nineteenth century, when it passed from the collection of the Earl of Bridgewater into the hands of Tom Moore.
      By that time, the only published biographies of Father Joseph were three books published at the beginning of the eighteenth century by an amazing character - Abbot Richard. A priest without a parish, suffering from acute lack of money, Richard looked for the position of canon at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. This position was held by a certain M. du Tremblay, who was the grandson of Father Joseph’s younger brother, Charles. To flatter him, Richard undertook to compile a panegyric biography of his great-uncle. Having gained access to the manuscript of Lepre-Balen's Life, he quickly composed a short biography - quite accurate within the framework of its genre. It was published from a distance, and the abbot expected a reward. It didn't show up. Enraged Richard decided to take revenge. In the text of his laudatory biography, he inserted a number of new passages in which Father Joseph was accused of all sorts of crimes - from murder to simony. The new version was released anonymously under the attractive title “Le Veritable Pere Joseph”. Needless to say, the “real” Father Joseph was faring much better than Father Joseph tout court. But the booksellers' payments were ridiculously small compared to the canon's lucrative income. The abbot was struck by a brilliant idea. He picked up his pen again and scribbled a passionate refutation of his own slander. A refutation was published and aroused some interest among the public, but the du Tremblay family remained indifferent this time too. Reverend Richard died in poverty.
      For more than a century and a half, historians limited themselves to adding up Richard’s flattery, slander and refutation and dividing the resulting sum by three. The resulting quotient was considered the true image of Father Joseph.
      In the mid-nineteenth century, M. Pelletier, an erudite archivist, became interested in Father Joseph. For many years he collected materials for a new and truthful biography. The gigantic preliminary work was almost completed when Napoleon III began the war with Prussia. In 1871, during the Paris Commune, the building where Mr. Pelletier kept piles of his notes burned to the ground. It already seemed that some higher power wanted the world to know about Father Joseph.
      Further, Huxley lists some other authors of “works” about Father Joseph, but all of them were born in the 19th century and later.
      The fact of the matter is that the information contained in such compilations, the process of creation of which fully corresponds to the description of the process of creating “historical works” described by the great Anatole France in his novel-essay “Penguin Island”, is presented as “historical facts”.
      Now, if in O. Huxley’s “work” there had been a chapter called “Bibliography”, and it had mentioned original documents from the time of Cardinal Richelieu, it would have been a different matter. Well, if there are no documents, then there is no History. This is an axiom.
      1. +1
        12 July 2024 09: 32
        From your point of view, writing historical studies is generally pointless. But the work of the researcher consists in recreating the picture from the surviving bits, just as a restorer recreates the image from the surviving and barely guessable fragments.
        1. 0
          12 July 2024 13: 29
          Quote: vet
          so that, bit by bit,
          This method is really pointless. And I didn't say that. This was said by the great French writer Anatole France in his essay novel “Penguin Island”.
          After all, the main question is whether these are actually preserved genuine grains or, alas, just the next thoughts of the next writers who wrote on the topics of history.
          Historians actually have such a method and it is called the Gibbon Method. In the attachment.
          I adhere to the positivist paradigm.
          The positivist paradigm in source studies is most consistently developed in the work of Sh.-V. Langlois and C. Segnobos "Introduction to the Study of History" (1898), which is based on a course of lectures they delivered at the Sorbonne in the 1896/97 academic year. Sh.-V. Langlois (1863-1929) - medievalist historian, professor at the Sorbonne, holder of a diploma from the National School of Charters, director of the National Archives (1912-1929), member (since 1917), then president (since 1925) of the Academy of inscriptions and belles-lettres . C. Segnobos (1854–1942) – professor at the Sorbonne (1890), began his research activity with the study of ancient and medieval history, later specialized in modern history, author of the work “Political History of Modern Europe” (1897).
          "Introduction to the Study of History" begins with a formula that over time has become an aphorism:
          History is written according to documents. Documents are traces left by the thoughts and actions of people who once lived <…>. Every thought and every deed that has not left a direct or indirect trace, or whose visible trace has disappeared, is forever lost to history, as if it had never existed <…>. Nothing can replace documents: there are none, there is no history
  11. +2
    10 July 2024 20: 15
    Concino Concini

    We need to think about a new nickname... winked You never know, it will come in handy...
  12. +4
    10 July 2024 21: 24
    There was still a century and a half before the storming of the Bastille.
    And Louis XIV ruled for most of this period, transferring power to his great-grandson.
    The state is me!.
    Modest but tasteful.
    Well, right after Octavian - “I am finally God!”
  13. +1
    11 July 2024 19: 15
    Charles du Tremblay was feared no less, and perhaps even more, than the hero of the article: after all, he was the commandant of the Bastille

    But in three days is the day of the storming of the Bastille. There is a reason. And Sunday too :))