Item of the Day: Memoirs of the Life of Count de Grammont (1714)

Full Title: Memoirs of the Life of Count De Grammont: containing, in Particular, the Amorous Intrigues of the Court of England in the Reign of King Charles II. Translated from the French by Mr. Boyer. London: Printed, and are to be Sold by J. Round in Exchange-Alley, W. Taylor, at the Ship in Pateronster-row, J. Brown near Temple-Bar, W. Lewis in Rassel-Street, Covent-Garden, and J. Greaves next White’s Chocolate-House in St. James-Street, 1714.

CHAP. I.

As they who read only for Diversion appear to me more reasonable, than those who open a Book with no other Design than to find Faults in it, I declare, that without being in the least concern’d at the severe Eruditions of the latter, I write only for the Amusement of the other.

I shall not take upon me to draw his Picture: As to his Person, Bussi and St. Evremond, two Writers rather entertaining than faithful, have said something of it. The first has represented the Chevalier De Grammont as artful, fickle, and even somewhat treacherous in Love; indefatigable, and cruel in Point of Jealousie; St. Evremond has used other Colours to express his Genius, and give a general Prospect of his Manners: But, both the one and the other have got more Credit by their different Draughts, than they have done Justice to their Hero.

‘Tis therefore to the Count De Grammont himself we must listen, while he give us an agreeable Relation of the Sieges and Battles, wherein he distinguished himself in Company with another Hero. And ’tis him we must believe in less glorious Passages of his Life, when the Sincerity, with which he displays his Address, Vivacity, Tricks, and divers Strategems, he has made use of, either in Love or at Play, expresses his Character to the Life.

‘Tis to him, I say, we must attend the following Papers; since I do but hold the Pen, while he dictates to me, the most singular and most secret Particulars of his Life.

 

CHAP. II.

In those Days, things were not managed in France, as at the present time. Lewis XIII. reigned still, and Cardinal De Richlieu governed the Kingdom. Great Men commanded little Armies, and yet those Armies perform’d great Things. The Fortune of the great Men at Court depended on the Favour of the Prime Minister; nor was there any solid Settlement in any Post, unless by being entirely devoted to him. Vast Designs laid in the very Heart of Neighbouring States, the Foundation of that formidable Greatness, to which France is now arrived. The Reins of the Civil Government were, however, somewhat slacken’d: The Roads were pester’d with Robbers by Day, and the Streets by Night; but Robberies were committed elsewhere with greater Impunity. Young Men, upon their first Entrance into the World, took what Course they thought best. Whoever pleased, was a Chevalier; and whoever could, an Abbé. I mean an Abbé with a Benefice. The Chevalier and the Abbé were not distinguished’d by their Habits: And I think that the Chevalier De Grammont was both the one and the other at the Siege of Trino. This was, it seems his first Campaign, whrein he shew’d those happy Dispositions that bespeak and command a favourable Prepossession; so that whoever is Master of them, needs neither Friends to be introduc’d, nor Reommendations to be agreeably entertain’d wherever he comes.

The Siege was form’d upon his Arrival, which spar’d him some Temerities; for, a Volunteer cannot rest unless he receives the first Shot. He therefore went to reconnoitre the Generals, there being nothing to be done of that Kind, as to the Place. Prince Thomas commanded the Army, and the Post of Lieutenant-General being unknown, in those Days, Du Plessis-Praslin, and the famous Viscount Turenne were Majors-General under him. . . .

 

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Filed under 1700's, Biography, Culture, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

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