The "man in the mask" was either (1) Count Mattioli, who became the prisoner of Saint-Mars at Pignerol in 1679, or (2) the person called Eustache Dauger, who was imprisoned in July 1669 in the same fortress.
Of the Revue historique (1894); the claims of Eustache Dauger were no less ably advocated by J.
But while we know who Mattioli was, and why he was imprisoned, a further question still remains for supporters of Dauger, because his identity and the reason for his incarceration are quite obscure.
Funck-Brentano emphasizes the fact that, although Eustache Dauger was then at Ste Marguerite, the king's minister Barbezieux, writing to Saint-Mars (March 20, 1694) about the transfer of these prisoners, says: "You know that they are of more consequence (plus de consequence), at least one" (presumably Mattioli), "than those who are at present at the island."
In any case the age stated in the burial register, "about 45," was fictitious, whether for Mattioli (63) or Dauger (at least 53) and, as Lair points out, Saint-Mars is known to have given false names at the burial of other prisoners.
The existence of a "legend" as to Dauger can, however, be traced, as will be seen below, from the first.
On the 19th of July 1669 Louvois, Louis XIV.'s minister, writes to Saint-Mars at Pignerol that he is sending him "le nomme Eustache Dauger" (Dauger, D'Angers - the spelling is doubtful),' whom it is of the last importance to keep with special closeness; Saint-Mars is to threaten him with death if he speaks about anything except his actual needs.
On the same day Louvois orders Vauroy, major of the citadel of Dunkirk, to seize Dauger and conduct him to Pignerol.
21) that Vauroy had brought Dauger, and that people "believe him to be a marshal of France."
Louvois (March 26, 1670) refers to a report that one of Fouquet's valets - there was constant trouble about them - had spoken to Dauger, who asked to be left in peace, and he emphasizes the importance of there being no communication.
Saint-Mars (April 12, 1670) reports Dauger as "resign 5.
In 1672 Saint-Mars proposes - the significance of this action is discussed later - to allow Dauger to act as "valet" to Lauzun; Louvois firmly refuses, but in 1675 allows him to be employed as valet to Fouquet, and he impresses upon Saint-Mars the importance of nobody learning about Dauger's "past."
After Fouquet's death (1680) Dauger and Fouquet's other (old-standing) valet La Riviere are put together, by Louvois's special orders, in one lower dungeon; Louvois evidently fears their knowledge of things heard from Fouquet, and he orders Lauzun (who had recently been allowed to converse freely with Fouquet) to be told that they are released.
When Saint-Mars is again transferred, in May 1687, to Ste Marguerite, he takes his "prisoner" (apparently he now has only one - Dauger) with great show of caution; and next year (Jan.
In 1691 Louvois's successor, Barbezieux, writes to him about his "prisonnier de vingt ans" (Dauger was first imprisoned in 1669, Mattioli in 1679), and Saint-Mars replies that "nobody has seen him but myself."
When, therefore, we come to Saint-Mars's appointment to the Bastille in 1698, Dauger appears almost certainly to be the "ancien prisonnier" he took with him.'
Here we find not only sufficient indication of the growth of a legend as to Dauger, but also the existence in fact of a real mystery as to who he was and what he had done, two things both absent in Mattioli's case.
Who then was Dauger, and what was his "past"?
Now Louvois's original letter to Saint-Mars concerning Dauger (July 19, 1669), after dealing with the importance of his being guarded with special closeness, and of Saint-Mars personally taking him food and threatening him with death if he speaks, proceeds as follows (in a second paragraph, as printed in Delort, i.
Assuming the words here, "as he is only a valet," to refer to Dauger, and taking into account the employment of Dauger from 1675 to 1680 as Fouquet's valet, Mr Lang now obtains a solution of the problem of why a mere valet should be a political Funck-Brentano argues that "un ancien prisonnier qu'il avait a Pignerol" (du Junca's words) cannot apply to Dauger, because then du Junca would have added "et a Exiles."
Funck-Brentano also insists that the references to the "ancien prisonnier" in 1696 and 1697 must be to Mattioli, giving ancien the meaning of "late" or "former" (as in the phrase "ancien ministre"), and regarding it as an expression pertinent to Mattioli, who had been at Pignerol with Saint-Mars but not at Exiles, and not to Dauger, who had always been with SaintMars.
The natural interpretation of the word ancien is simply "of old standing," and Barbezieux's use of it, coming after Louvois's phrase in 1691, clearly points to Dauger being meant.
Then, on the 19th of July, Dauger is arrested at Dunkirk, the regular port from England.
It is true that what is certainly known about Martin hardly seems to provide sufficient reason for Eustache Dauger being regarded for so long a time as a specially dangerous person.
Dauger, on the other hand, was certainly a Catholic; indeed Louvois's second letter to Saint-Mars about him (Sept.
It may perhaps be argued that Dauger (if Martin) simply did not make bad worse by proclaiming his creed; but against this, Louvois must have known that Martin was a Huguenot.
The identification is inspired by the apparent necessity of an explanation why Dauger, being a valet, should be a political prisoner of importance.
The assumption, however, that Dauger was a valet when he was arrested is itself as unnecessary as the fact is intrinsically improbable.
Was Dauger a valet?
If Dauger was the "mask," it is just as well to remove a misunderstanding which has misled too many commentators.
There are then no letters in existence from Saint-Mars to Louvois up to Louvois's letter of July 19, in which he first refers to Dauger; and for three months (from April 22 to July 1 9) there is a gap in the correspondence, so that the sequence is obscure.
The portion, however, of the letter of the 19th of July, cited above, in which Louvois uses the words "ce n'est qu'un valet," does not, in the present writer's judgment, refer to Dauger at all, but to something which had been mooted in the meanwhile with a view to obtaining a valet for Fouquet.
If Louvois had meant to write that Dauger was "only a valet" he would have started by saying so.
On the contrary, he gives precise and apparently comprehensive directions in the first part of the letter about how he is to be treated: "Je vous en donne advis par advance, afin que vous puissiez faire accomoder un cachot ou vous le mettrez surement, observant de faire en sorte que les jours qu'aura le lieu où it sera ne donnent point sur les lieux qui puissent estre abordez de personne, et qu'il y ayt assez de portes fermees, les unes sur les autres, pour que vos sentinelles ne puissent bien entendre," &c. Having finished his instructions about Dauger, he then proceeds in a fresh paragraph to tell Saint-Mars that orders have been given to "Sieur Poupart" to do "whatever you shall desire."
The words "et vous ferez preparer les meubles qui sont necessaires pour la vie de celui que l'on vous amenera" are not at all those which Louvois would use with regard to Dauger, after what he has just said about him.
Why "celui que l'on vous amenera," instead of simply "Dauger," who was being brought, as he has said, by Vauroy ?
The whole previous correspondence (as well as a good deal afterwards) is full of the valet difficulty; and it is surely more reasonable to suppose that when Louvois writes to Saint-Mars on the 19th of July that he is sending Dauger, a new prisoner of importance, as to whom "it est de la derniere importance qu'il soit garde avec une grande seurete," his second paragraph as regards the instructions to "Sieur Poupart" refers to something which Saint-Mars had suggested about getting a valet from outside, and simply points out that in preparing furniture for "celui que l'on vous amenera" he need not do much, "comme ce n'est qu'un valet."
If Dauger had been originally a valet, he might as well have been used as such at once, when one was particularly wanted.
The words used by Saint-Mars in asking Louvois in 1672 if he might use Dauger as Lauzun's valet are themselves significant to the point of conclusiveness: "Il ferait, ce me semble, un bon valet."
Saint-Mars could not have said this if Dauger had all along been known to be a valet.
The terms of his letter to Louvois (Feb 20, 1672) show that Saint-Mars wanted to use Dauger as a valet simply because he was not a valet.
The fact was that Saint-Mars was hard put to it in the prison for anybody who could be trusted, and that he had convinced himself by this time that Dauger (who had proved a quiet harmless fellow) would give no trouble.
It is worth noting that up to 1672 (when Saint-Mars suggested utilizing Dauger as valet to Lauzun) none of the references to Dauger in letters after that of July 19, 1669, suggests his being a valet; and their contrary character makes it all the more clear that the second part of the letter of July 19 does not refer to Dauger.
In this connexion it may be remarked (and this is a point on which Funck-Brentano entirely misinterprets the allusion) that, even in his capacity as valet to Fouquet, Dauger was still regarded an as exceptional sort of prisoner; for in 1679 when Fouquet and Lauzun were afterwards allowed to walk freely all over the citadel, Louvois impresses on Saint-Mars that "le nomme Eustache" is never to be allowed to be in Fouquet's room when Lauzun or any other stranger, or anybody but Fouquet and the "ancien valet," La Riviere, is there, and that he is to stay in Fouquet's room when the latter goes out to walk in the citadel, and is only to go out walking with Fouquet and La Riviere when they promenade in the special part of the fortress previously set apart for them (Louvois's letter to SaintMars, Jan.
Was Dauger James de la Clothe?
But he too now disappears, though a letter from Lionne (the French foreign secretary) to Colbert of July 17 (two days before Louvois's letter to Saint-Mars about Dauger) says that he is expected in Paris.
Monsignor Barnes's theory is that Pregnani alias James de la Cloche, without the knowledge of Charles II., was arrested by order of Louis and imprisoned as Dauger on account of his knowing too much about the French schemes in regard to Charles II.
1 The view taken by Monsignor Barnes of the phrase "Ce n'est qu'un valet" in Louvois's letter of July 19, is that (reading this part of the letter as a continuation of what precedes) the mere fact of Louvois's saying that Dauger is only a valet means that that was just what he was not !
The identification of Dauger thus still remains the historical problem behind the mystery of the "man in the mask."
The fact nevertheless that he was employed as a valet, even in special circumstances, for Fouquet, makes it difficult to believe that Dauger was a man of any particular social standing.