- François de Bassompierre
The son of Christophe de Bassompierre (1547-1596), he was born at the castle of
Harouéin Lorraine. He was descended from an old family which had for generations served the dukes of Burgundy and Lorraine, and after being educated with his brothers in Bavariaand Italy, was introduced to the court of King Henry IV of Francein 1598. He became a great favouriteof the king and shared to the full in the dissipations of court life. In 1600, he took part in the brief campaign in Savoy, and in 1603 fought in Hungaryfor the emperor against the Turks.
In 1614, he assisted
Marie de' Medici, now queen mother, in her struggle against the nobles, but upon her failure in 1617 remained loyal to the young king Louis XIII and assisted the royalists when they routed Marie's supporters at Les Ponts-de-Céin 1620. His services during the Huguenotrising of 1621-1622 won for him the dignity of marshal of France. He was with the army of the king during the siege of La Rochellein 1628, and in 1629 distinguished himself in the campaign against the rebels of Languedoc. In 1615 Bassompierre had purchased from Henri, duc de Rohan, the coveted position of colonelgeneral of the Swiss and Grisons; on this account he was sent to raise troops in Switzerlandwhen Louis XIII marched against Savoy in 1629, and after a short campaign in Italy his military career ended.
As a diplomat, his career was a failure. In 1621, he went to
Madridas envoy extraordinary to arrange the dispute concerning the seizure of the Valtellineforts by Spain, and signed the fruitless Treaty of Madrid. In 1625, he was sent into Switzerland on an equally futile mission, and in 1626 to London to secure the retention of the Catholic ecclesiastics and attendants of Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I of England. The personal influence of Henry IV had deterred Bassompierre from a marriage with Charlotte de Montmorency, daughter of the constable Montmorency, afterwards princesse de Condé, and between 1614 and 1630 he was secretly married to Louise Marguerite, widow of François, prince de Conti, and through her became implicated in the plot to overthrow Richelieu on the " Day of the Dupes" 1630. His share was only a slight one, but his wife was an intimate friend of Marie de' Medici, and her hostility to the cardinal aroused his suspicions. By Richelieu's orders, Bassompierre was arrested at Senlison February 25, 1631, and put into the Bastille, where he remained until Richelieu's death in 1643.
On his release his offices were restored to him, and he passed most of his time at the castle of
Tillièresin Normandy, until his death. He left a son, Francois de la Tour, by the princesse de Conti, and an illegitimate son, Louis de Bassompierre, afterwards Bishop of Saintes.
His "Mémoires", which are an important source for the history of his time, were first published at Cologne in 1665. He also left an incomplete account of his embassies to
Spain, Switzerlandand England(Cologne, 1668) and a number of discourses upon various subjects.
*1911 The article is available [http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/BAR_BEC/BASSOMPIERRE_FRANCOIS_DE_1579_1.html here] .
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