Bassompierre, François De

, colonel-general of the Swiss guards, and marshal de France in 1622, was born in Lorraine of a family of distinction, April 22, 1579. He served in the war of the Savoy in 1600, and in 1603 went into Hungary, where he was solicited to serve under the emperor, but he preferred the service of France. In 1617 he commanded the ordnance at the siege of ChateauPorcien, and a short time after was wounded at the siege of Rhetel. He served afterwards, as marshal of the camp, at the battle of Pont-de-Ce, the sieges of St. John d’Angeli, of Montpellier, &c. In 1622, when made a marshal of France, he was colonel of the Swiss, and at the same time sent as ambassador extraordinary to Spain. In 1625 he served in the same capacity in Swisserland, and in 1626 in England. He was also at the siege of Rochelle, and, as on all other occasions, was distinguished for skill and | bravery, but the cardinal de Richelieu, who had to complain of his caustic tongue, and who dreaded all those by whom he thought he might one day be eclipsed, caused him to be imprisoned in the Bastille in 1631. Bassompierre had foreseen the ascendancy which the capture of Rochelle, the bulwark of the Protestants, would give to that minister; and therefore was heard to say on that occasion: “You will see that we shall be fools enough to take Rochelle.” He passed the time of his confinement in reading and writing. One day as he was busily turning over the leaves of the Bible, Malleville asked him what he was looking for “A passage that I cannot find,” returned the marechal, “a way to get out of prison.” Here also he composed his “Memoirs,” printed at Cologne in 1665, 3 vols. Like the generality of this sort of books, it contains some curious anecdotes, and a great many trifles. They begin at 1598, and terminate in 1631. His detention lasted twelve years, and it was not till after the death of Richelieu that he regained his liberty. There is also by him a “Relation of his embassies,” much esteemed, 1665 and 1668, 2 vols. 12mo; likewise “Remarks on the history of Louis XIII.” by Dupleix, in 12mo, a work somewhat too satirical, but curious. Bassompierre lived till the 12th of October 1646, when he was found dead in his bed. He was a great dealer in bons mots, which were not always delicate. On his coming out of the Bastille, as he was become extremely corpulent, for want of exercise, the queen asked him, “Quand il accoucheroit?” “Quand j’aurais trouve une sage femme,” answered he; which will not bear a translation, as the wit turns on the double meaning of sage femme, which signifies either a midwife, or a sensible woman, Louis XI II. asked him his age, almost at the same time: he made himself no more than fifty. The king seeming surprised: “Sir,” answered Bassompierre, I subtract ten years passed in the Bastille, because I did not employ them in your service.“Although he had been employed in embassies, negociation was not his principal talent; but he possessed other qualities’that qualified him for an ambassador. He was a very handsome man, had great presence of mind, was affable, lively, and agreeable, very polite and generous. After his liberation from the Bastille, the duchess of Aiguillon, niece of the cardinal de Richelieu, offered him five hundred thousand livres to dispose of as he should think proper:” Madam,“said Bassompierre, | as be thanked her,” your uncle has done me too much harm, to allow me to receive so much good of you." he spoke all the languages of Europe with the same facility as his own. Play and women were his two predominant passions. Being secretly informed that he was to be arrested, he rose before day, and burnt upwards of six thousand letters, which he had received from ladies of the city and the court. 1