Anxious, however, to destroy any latent hope in which she might still indulge of a return to power, De Luynes resolved to effect the ruin of all who had evinced any anxiety for her restoration; and there was suddenly a commission given to the Council, “to bring to trial the authors of the cabals and factions, having for their object the recall of the Queen-mother, the deliverance of the Prince de Conde, and the overthrow of the State.” The first victims of this sweeping accusation were the Baron de Persan, the brother-in-law of De Vitry, and De Bournonville his brother, who were entrusted with the safe keeping of Barbin in the Bastille, and by whom he had been indirectly permitted to maintain a correspondence with his exiled mistress; together with the brothers Siti, of Florence, and Durand, the composer of the King’s ballets. The result of the trial proved the virulence of the prosecutors, but at the same time revealed their actual weakness, as they feared to execute the sentence pronounced against the three principal offenders; and were compelled to satiate their vengeance upon the more insignificant and less guilty of the accused parties.
M. de Persan was simply exiled from the Court; De Bournonville was sentenced to death, but not executed; while Barbin only escaped the scaffold by a single vote, and was condemned to banishment; a sentence which the King subsequently aggravated by changing it to perpetual imprisonment. The three pamphleteers, for such were in reality the brothers Siti and Marie Durand, whose only crime appeared to have been that they had written a diatribe against De Luynes, did not, however, escape so easily, as the two former were broken on the wheel and burned in the Place de Greve, while the third was hanged.
Such a wholesale execution upon so slight a pretext aroused the indignation of the citizens, and excited the murmurs of the people, who could not brook that the person of an ennobled adventurer should thus be held sacred, while the widow of Henry the Great was exposed to the insults of every time-serving courtier. Nor were the nobles less disgusted with this display of heartless vanity and measureless pretension. The Ducs de Rohan and de Montbazon, despite their family connexion with the arrogant favourite, had already openly endeavoured to effect a reconciliation between Louis and the Queen-mother; and the other disaffected Princes no sooner witnessed the effect produced upon the populace by the cruel tyranny of De Luynes, than they resolved to profit by this manifestation, and to lose no time in attempting the deliverance of the royal prisoner.