Les Nouvelles de la Cour: Le Roi est mort, chacun sauve ce qu'il peut!
With a young & unexperienced king that can easily be influenced speculations occured as to who might be the chosen one to lead the council. As always, situations as this fire up people's imagination. As a result, it does not seem surprising that names of people keep being mentioned that were long thought to be "gone with the wind" (in other words taking a more or less voluntary break from politics on a remote country estate in the province).
As rats flee the sinking ship, also courtiers in view of a changing government have developed a very efficient strategy in order to save the privileges that had been bestowed onto them under the former government: Change sides and forget you ever knew certain personages or do whatever you can to sustain your own desirable candidates for the offices. Especially Mesdames (and among those the infamous Madame Adelaide) are said to wield enough influence over the young king in order to force their own will and interests on the new conseil des ministres. But the mischievous aunts are not the only ones who could have a hand in this match: The Duc d'Aiguillon, a member of the old government, is thought to have a particular interest in maintaining a more conservative council!
According to some sources, a number of honourable nobles have indeed requested the return of Machault , the comte de d'Arnouville once one of the most influential ministers under Louis XV's reign (Garde des sceaux de France, Contrleur gnral des finances and towards the end of his political career secrtaire d'tat la Marine) had been deposed in 1751 under the influence of the royal mistress la Marquise de Pompadour. The poor old man was obliged to leave Paris for his country estate where he would spend the next decades in solitude forgotten by the world that had once flattered and adored him. What a downfall!
Others call for the return of the Duc de Choiseul , champion of the Franco-Austrian Alliance. Dismissed on the insistance of Du Barry and d'Aiguillon, now there are hopes that the Queen, whose marriage the Duc was heavily involved in instrumenting, may champion his return to office. It is unknown yet to what extent her influence will be over King, only time will tell if she can initiate the return of this exiled minister.
As far as the Abb de Terray is concerned who has meanwhile already left Versailles, it is evident that the floor has become thin below his feet as everyone expects that his dismissal is only a matter of time! Luckily, his chteau on which he has been spending all his money for the last years will be of some comfort in these troublesome times!
For the rest, we are to wait anxiously for the news that are now coming in every day. Most certainly, the return of an "old friend" is more than worrisome news for some older courtiers among us!
As Aubign put it:
"En un petit esquif esperdu, malheureux,
Expos l'horreur de la mer enrage,
Je disputoy' le sort de ma vie engage,
Avecq' les tourbillons des bises outrageux.
Tout accourt ma mort: Orion pluvieux
Creve un deluge epais, et ma barque charge
De flotz avecq' ma vie estoit my submerge,
N'ayant autre secours que mon cry vers les cieux."