Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection

The Characters of Balzac's 'La Comédie Humaine': Fact or Fiction?

It is also interesting to note that the sending of those specific de Foix hostages in 1559 was clearly to remove them from the possibility of creating trouble in France, because, two weeks after their departure, Paul de Foix was arrested on heresy charges. Although a Catholic he was tolerant of Protestant needs, but the new edict of Ecouan in June 1559 provided that all heretics be executed without mitigation or reprieve. Thankfully a month later Henri II died at a jousting tournament when Montgomery’s lance pierced his visor. Paul de Foix was released, and Foix-Candalle and Foix-Gurcon returned to France in early 1560.

Back to Balzac – I began to believe that his original d’Espards were Foix and that the marriage that triggered the use of the Foix name was actually that of Jean de Carmain and Isabelle de Foix (daughter of Archambaud de Foix). Balzac indicates, by date, that it was Louis Carmain’s marriage with Marguerite Foix-Candalle. Whichever it was, Tree 1 provides a set of interesting connections.

The historical facts match Balzac’s clues:

  • The marriages between the Foix and the Albrets are clear
  • A branch of the Foix family were Vicomts de Bearn
  • The Foix arms are too close to Balzac’s to be a coincidence
  • The Foix/Nègrepelisse marriages are there
  • There are even some hostages for the King of France at Queen Elizabeth 1’s court (although Foix not Nègrepelisse)
  • Louis de Carmain de Nègrepelisse was a friend and Captain of Montluc, and did receive favour from Charles IX
  • Louis was also a militant Catholic, and the town of Nègrepelisse was ruined in the church wars
  • There is also a strong clear connection to de Gramonts (although not Ferdinand’s line). The Jean d’Aure married Isabelle de Foix (Bearn), then the son, Menaud d’Aure, married Clare de Gramont, and from that point they took the name de Gramont. Menaud’s sister Francoise married in 1517 Antoine de Carmain de Nègrepelisse (father of Louis above).


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