The Man in the Iron Mask, a mystery we can solve even today. Yes, I can see you frown. Is this not a case from way back then? Yes, but that does not mean we can forget about victims, can we?
I blogged about this case and I repost the link here so you can read up on that. You need to if you want to follow what comes below.
A few days ago, I was contacted by Professor Paul Sonnino. Prof. Sonnino works at the UCSB (University Of California Santa Barbara) Department of History. He too is fascinated by this case. His research into the identity of this masked prisoner led him to my blog. You cannot see it but I am doing a happy dance right now.
Prof Sonnino has dug into the papers of Cardinal Mazarin. As you will recall Mazarin “served as the chief minister of France from 1642 until his death. Mazarin succeeded his mentor, Cardinal Richelieu. He was a noted collector of art and jewels, particularly diamonds, and he bequeathed the “Mazarin diamonds” to Louis XIV in 1661, some of which remain in the collection of the Louvre museum in Paris.”
Prof Sonnino’s paper “The Three Testaments of Cardinal Mazarin” ties in with what I wrote in my posts about this case. You can find the link to that article here. We both see connections that go beyond the romanticized Hollywood versions of twins.
I have joined the information from Prof. Sonnino’s paper with my own notes. Cardinal Mazarin had five executors of his last will and testament. In Italics are my notes from the post that I referred to above.
The five executors of the Mazarin testament:
1: Guillaume de Lamoignon, First President of the Parlement of Paris;
2: Nicolas Fouquet, Procurator General at the Parlement of Paris and Superintendent General of Finances;
my note: Nicolas Fouquet was arrested in September 1661 for embezzlement of state funds and conspiracy to rebellion. He was sentenced to life in December 1664. He died at Pignerolo (a prison then governed by Saint-Mars) on April 6, 1680. Fouquet was involved in a power struggle between the Marquis de Louvois and Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who was Minister of Finance from 1665-1683.
3: Michel le Tellier, Secretary of State and old collaborator of Mazarin;
my note: From 1669-1691 le Tellier, the Marquis de Louvois (further “Louvois”) was Minister of War.
4: Zongo Ondedei, a relative of Mazarin and Bishop of Fréjus;
5: Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Minister of Finances of France from 1665 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV.
Now add this from my notes:
In November 1671, Antoine Nompar de Caumont, Marquis de Puyguilhem and Duc de Lauzun (further “de Lauzun,” see more below) arrived as prisoner in Pignerolo. de Lauzun was there from 1671-1681.
There are notes from Louvois to Saint-Mars (the warden) in which Louvois demanded that another prisoner, Eustache Dauger, was not allowed to have any contact with both Fouquet and Lauzun present. Dauger was only allowed to walk outside if he was accompanied by Fouquet and la Riviere, a valet.
What does this tell you?
- That Fouquet and la Riviere had to keep an eye on Dauger.
- To avoid that a memory is triggered in de Lauzun when he has contact with Dauger.
Why else are these men allowed to mingle during their incarceration but when Dauger is around, they cannot.
Talking to Dauger would have reminded de Lauzun of something he saw or overheard as courtier that involved Louvois. Something that Fouquet knew as well. Whether la Riviera knew is not clear but in the least he was following orders.
Some background information about de Lauzun: de Lauzun was a Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Dragoons and Maréchal de Camp (general officer rank). As a soldier, he was under Louvois’ command. de Lauzun was also a courtier whose good sense of humour placed him on Louis XIV’s guest lists. However, all this wasn’t enough for de Lauzun’s ego.
One day, he asked Madame de Montespan (who competed with Louise de la Vallière for Louis XIV’s heart) to secure him the post of Grand-Master of the Artillery. When Louis XIV refused, de Lauzun turned his back on the King, broke his sword, and swore that he would never serve again. He was rewarded for this outburst with prison time because Madame de Montespan did not mind collaborating with Louvois to get de Lauzun arrested.
In Nov 1671, Lauzun was taken from the Bastille to Pignerolo. Louvois ordered excessive precautions to make sure that de Lauzun did not get in contact with certain people/prisoners. Eventually, de Lauzun was allowed to meet one other prisoner: Fouquet. One of the people/prisoners he was absolutely not to speak to was Eustache Dauger, who while incarcerated occasionally served as valet to Fouquet.
All these names and titles can make this very foggy very fast. Let me draw a mindmap for you (see left, click image to enlarge).
So the question is: what is it that de Lauzun saw or overheard at one time as courtier that involved Louvois?
As you can see, the combination Fouquet and two valets did not bother Louvois. But as soon as you placed de Lauzun with Dauger …
The answer involves Cardinal Mazarin. As you can see from the notes, we have two executioners to his testament here in play. Now go back to my conclusions in the previously referred to post:
“We need to start with the Minister of War, Louvois, and his relationship with de Lauzun because in the end whoever Saint-Mars used for his own fame was put there by Louvois in the first place for something de Lauzun witnessed.” It fits with the professor’s paper.
I hope he keeps digging in the case of the Man in the Iron Mask.
Take that Hollywood!