François de Créquy

François de Blanchefort de Créquy, later Marquis de Marines (1629–1687) was a 17th-century French noble and soldier, who served in the wars of Louis XIV.

François de Blanchefort de Créquy, Marquis de Marines
François de Blanchefort de Créquy (1629-1687).jpg
François de Blanchefort de Créquy, Marquis de Marines by Joseph Parrocel
Born2 October 1629
Poix-de-Picardie Picardy
Died3 February 1687(1687-02-03) (aged 57)
Paris
Buried
Allegiance France
Service/branchArmy
Years of service1648-1684
RankMarshal of France 1668
Commands heldGovernor of Béthune 1667-1668
Battles/warsFranco-Spanish War, 1635-1659
Arras 1654 The Dunes 1658
War of Devolution 1667-1668
Siege of Lille
Occupation of Lorraine 1670
Franco-Dutch War 1672-1678
Konzer Brücke 1675; Trier 1675; Ortenbach 1678
War of the Reunions 1683-1684
Siege of Luxembourg 1684
AwardsOrder of the Holy Spirit

The de Créquys were powerful and well-connected, his grandfather Charles I de Blanchefort (1578–1638) being a Marshal of France. Rewarded for supporting the Royalists during the 1648-1653 civil war, his elder brother Charles (1623-1687) was a senior advisor to Louis while François had a successful military career.

Promoted Marshall in 1668, like other French soldiers of his generation he was over shadowed by Condé and Turenne. He fell from favour in April 1672 and although subsequently reinstated failed to regain his former prestige. He retired from service in 1684 and died in Paris in 1687.

LifeEdit

 
François' grandfather, Charles I de Blanchefort (1578–1638) Marquis de Créquy and Marshall of France

François de Blanchefort de Créquy, 2 October 1629 to 3 February 1687, was the youngest of three sons born to Charles de Blanchefort (ca 1598-1630), and Anne Grimoard du Roure (ca 1601-1686). His eldest brother Charles (1623-1687) was one of Louis XIV's closest counsellors and his wife chief Lady-in-waiting to Queen Maria Theresa. The middle brother Alphonse (1628-1711) became the 6th duke of Lesdiguières in 1703 but was less successful than his siblings.

François was born in Poix-de-Picardie, although the family originally came from Créquy, Artois, part of the Spanish Netherlands until annexed by France in 1659. De Créquys were distributed throughout Northern France, including Bernieulles, Auffay and Heilly; other 'de Créquis' served in the armies of the Dutch Republic and Sweden.

His grandfather, Charles I de Blanchefort (1578–1638), was a trusted advisor to Louis XIII and Marshal of France, who commanded French troops at the 1636 victory of Tornavento; his father died at the siege of Chambéry in 1630.[1]

In 1657, François married Catherine de Rougé (1641-1713); they had two children, François Joseph (1662–1702), killed in action at Luzzara in 1702 and Nicolas Charles (1669-1696), who died of disease at the siege of Tournai in 1696.[2]

He purchased the lordship of Marines in 1659 and became 'Marquis de Marines.' His aunt, Madeleine de Créquy (1609-1675), was grandmother of François, duc de Villeroy (1644-1730), French commander in Flanders from 1701 to 1708 during the War of the Spanish Succession.

CareerEdit

In the first half of the 17th century, France was divided internally and threatened externally; while it largely stayed out of the 1618-1648 Thirty Years' War, support for the Dutch Republic in its war of independence from Spain eventually led to the 1635-1659 Franco-Spanish War. At home, the French Wars of Religion that had ended with the 1590 Edict of Nantes flared up again in a series of domestic Huguenot rebellions in the 1620s.

 
The June 1658 Battle of the Dunes; de Créquy commanded the French right under Turenne, shown here

The accession of the five year old Louis XIV in 1643 caused a power struggle between his regents, headed by his mother, Anne of Austria and Cardinal Mazarin, opposed by regional magnates like Condé. This resulted in the 1648-1653 civil war known as the Fronde; de Créquy supported the Royalists and was a Lieutenant-General by 1658. He commanded the French right wing under Turenne at the Battle of the Dunes, a decisive victory that led to the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees.[3]

In the 1667-1668 War of Devolution, France quickly over-ran Franche-Comté and much of the Spanish Netherlands; after the capture of Lille in 1667, Turenne detached a cavalry force under Bellefonds and de Créquy to cut off the Spanish retreat. They inflicted nearly 2,000 casualties, with Louis looking on; in 1668, Bellefonds, de Créquy and Humières were all created Marshals of France.[4]

The Dutch much preferred a weak Spain as a neighbour in the Spanish Netherlands to a strong and ambitious France. In response, they formed the 1668 Triple Alliance with England and Sweden, forcing Louis to return most of his gains in the 1668 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. He viewed this as ingratitude for the support provided to the Dutch during their war against Spain and began preparations to invade the Netherlands.[5]

Now regarded as one of France's leading soldiers, de Créquy led the invasion force that occupied the strategic Duchy of Lorraine in August 1670.[6] In April 1672, an internal dispute threatened to derail his career when Turenne was appointed senior commander in the Netherlands. Bellefonds, Humières and de Créquy refused to serve under him, arguing Marshalls of France were not subordinate to anyone other than the king. Louis sentenced all three to internal exile and de Créquy retired to his estates in Marines.[7]

 
Siege of Luxembourg, June 1684; de Créquy's last military action

The Franco-Dutch War began in May 1672, when the French over-ran much of the Dutch Republic and initially seemed to have achieved an overwhelming victory. By late July, the Dutch position had stabilised and they gained the support of Brandenburg-Prussia, Emperor Leopold and Charles II of Spain. With new fronts opening in Spain and the Rhineland, French troops withdrew from the Dutch Republic by the end of 1673, retaining only Grave and Maastricht.[8]

Along with Bellefonds and Humières, de Créquy returned to service in 1673 but his attempt to relieve Trier was defeated at Konzer Brücke in August 1675. After entering the city to organise the defence, an unpaid and starving garrison forced him to surrender the town in September. He was taken prisoner, which was widely viewed as a humiliation and cost him the support of Louis and Louvois, the Minister of War.[9]

With the death of Turenne and Condé's retirement in 1675, de Créquy was given a new command but this permanently affected Louis' confidence in him.[10] While an apparently minor setback, the defeat at Konzer Brücke was specifically mentioned in the eulogy delivered at Louis' funeral in 1715.[11]

With peace negotiations nearing completion at Nijmegen, Louis planned a short campaign in early 1678 to strengthen his position in the Spanish Netherlands, while remaining on the defensive elsewhere. De Créquy was instructed to avoid battle and ensure the retention of Freiburg, threatened by an Imperial army of 30,000 under Charles of Lorraine. With the advantage of superior logistics, in early July he inflicted heavy casualties on an Imperial detachment at Rheinfelden, before out manoeuvring the main force at the Battle of Ortenbach. Charles retreated to Electoral Palatinate and de Créquy completed the campaign by capturing Kehl and its bridge over the Rhine, which were instrumental in securing Strasbourg, annexed by France in 1681.[12]

He oversaw the Bombardment of Luxembourg from 1681 to 1682; the French withdrew after securing Strasbourg, then annexed it in 1684 during the War of the Reunions. This was de Créquy's final military action; he died in Paris on 3 February 1687, ten days before his brother Charles on 13th.

LegacyEdit

 
Paul Cézanne; 'Château des environs de Paris' (Marines)

In 1659, de Créquy purchased the lordship and chateau of Marines from Roger-Louis Brûlart, Marquis de Sillery (1619-1691), which remained in the family until 1714; the gardens were laid out by André Le Nôtre, leading landscape designer of the period. Paul Cézanne painted the chateau in 1890 and while unfinished, it is regarded as a masterpiece of perspective.[13]

De Créquy and his wife were buried in the church attached to the convent of Jacobins Saint-Honoré, Paris, demolished in 1816. Their memorial was designed by Charles Le Brun and executed by Antoine Coysevox; when the Jacobin Club took over the church during the French Revolution, this was moved to the Church of Saint-Roch, where it can be seen today.[14]

De Créquy is referenced by the English playwright John Dryden in his 1678 work Mr. Limberman or the Kind Keeper.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hanlon, Gregory (2016). The Ordeal of Tornavento in Italy 1636: Cemetery of Armies (2018 ed.). OUP. ISBN 978-0198738251.
  2. ^ Pattou, Etienne. "Seigneurs de Créquy - Racines & Histoire" (PDF). Racines et histoire. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  3. ^ De Périni, Hardÿ (1896). Batailles françaises, Volume IV. Ernest Flammarion, Paris. p. 227.
  4. ^ De Périni, Batailles françaises, Volume IV p. 303
  5. ^ Lynn, John (1996). The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667-1714 (Modern Wars In Perspective). Longman. p. 113. ISBN 978-0582056299.
  6. ^ McCluskey, Phil (2009). French Military Occupations of Lorraine and Savoy, 1670-1714. University of St Andrews. p. 53. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  7. ^ Swann, Julian (2017). Exile, Imprisonment, or Death: The Politics of Disgrace in Bourbon France, 1610-1789. OUP. p. 352. ISBN 978-0198788690.
  8. ^ Lynn 1999, p. 117.
  9. ^ Rowlands, Guy (2002). The Dynastic State and the Army under Louis XIV: Royal Service and Private Interest 1661-1701 (2010 ed.). CUP. p. 54. ISBN 978-0521144742.
  10. ^ De Périni, Hardÿ (1896). Batailles françaises, Volume V. Ernest Flammarion, Paris. p. 224.
  11. ^ Massillon, François, Aizpurua, Paul (2004). Oraison funèbre de Louis XIV: 1715. Editions Jérôme Millon. p. 55. ISBN 978-2841371587.
  12. ^ De Périni, Hardÿ pp. 223-224
  13. ^ "Castle of Marines, 1890 - by Paul Cezanne". Paulcezanne.org. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Francois de Crequy". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  15. ^ Dearing, Vinton (ed and Commentary), Roper, Alan (ed and Commentary) (1992). The Works of John Dryden; Volume XIV (2013 ed.). Hardpress. p. 391. ISBN 978-1314579512.

SourcesEdit

French nobility
Preceded by
Marquis de Marines
1632–1687
Succeeded by