Cardinal Richelieu

French clergyman, noble and statesman (1585-1642)

Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu et de Fronsac (9 September 15854 December 1642) was a French clergyman, noble, and statesman. Consecrated as a bishop in 1607, he was appointed Foreign Secretary in 1616. He continued to rise in both the Catholic Church and French government, becoming a cardinal in 1622, and Chief minister to Louis XIII of France in 1624. He retained this office until his death in 1642, when he was succeeded by Cardinal Mazarin, whose career he had fostered.

To mislead a rival, deception is permissible; one may use all means against his enemies.

Richelieu sought to consolidate royal power and by restraining the power of the nobility, he transformed France into a strong, centralized state. In foreign policy, his primary objective was to check the power of the Habsburg dynasty in Spain and Austria, and ensure French dominance in the Thirty Years' War that engulfed Europe. Despite suppressing French Protestants, he made alliances with Protestant states like the Kingdom of England and the Dutch Republic to achieve his goals. Though he was a powerful political figure, events such as the Day of the Dupes, or Journée des Dupes, show this power was still dependent on the king's confidence.

QuotesEdit

 
If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.
  • Savoir dissimuler est le savoir des rois.
    • Deception is the knowledge of kings.
    • “Maxims,” Testament Politique (1641)
  • Secrecy is the first essential in affairs of state.
    • “Maxims,” Testament Politique (1641)
  • Pour tromper un rival l'artifice est permis; on peut tout employer contres ses ennemis.
    • We may employ artifice to deceive a rival, anything against our enemies.
      • As quoted in Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern English and Foreign Sources (1899) by James Wood
    • Variant translation: To mislead a rival, deception is permissible; one may use all means against his enemies.
  • Ultima ratio Regum
    • The last reasoning of Kings.
      • A comment upon artillery fire, as quoted in Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Classical Quotations (1908) edited by Hugh Percy Jones, p. 119; these words were later inscribed upon the cannon of Louis XVI of France.
  • Had Luther and Calvin been confined before they had begun to dogmatize, the states would have been spared many troubles.
    • As quoted in The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), edited by Charles George Herbermann
  • Harshness towards individuals who flout the laws and commands of state is for the public good; no greater crime against the public interest is possible than to show leniency to those who violate it.
    • As quoted in Champlain's Dream‎ (2008) by David Hackett Fischer


DisputedEdit

  • Qu'on me donne six lignes écrites de la main du plus honnête homme, j'y trouverai de quoi le faire pendre.
    • If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.
      • As quoted in The Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (1896) by Jehiel K̀eeler Hoyt, p. 763
    • Édouard Fournier, in L'Espirit dans l'Historie (1867), 3rd edition, Ch. 51, p. 260, disputes the traditional attribution, and suggests various agents of Richelieu might have been the actual author.
    • David Hackett Fischer, in Champlain's Dream (2009), Simon & Schuster, p. 704, n. 14, says it's a paraphrase of Quintilian and there is no source closer to Richelieu than Francoise Bertaut's Memoires pour servir à l'histoire d'Anne d'Autriche.
    • Variant translations:
    • Give me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough in them to hang him.
      • Attributed in Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Classical Quotations (1908) edited by Hugh Percy Jones, p. 327
    • If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.
      • As quoted in America Debates Privacy Versus Security‎ (2007) by Jeri Freedman
    • Give me six lines written by the most honest man, and I will find something there to hang him.
      • As quoted in Champlain's Dream‎ (2008), Simon & Schuster, p. 391, by David Hackett Fischer, footnoted with disputation above.

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