Jean Francois Paul De Gondi Retz, cardinal de, a French politician, born at Montmirail in 1614, died in Paris, Aug. 24, 1679. He was a younger son of Philippe Emmanuel de Gondi, the general of the galleys under the reign of Louis XIII, and was intended for the church; but, with the design of establishing a reputation that would debar him from that employment, he entered on a career of intrigue and licentiousness, participating in every conspiracy against Richelieu. His family proved immovable, and at length he turned his attention to theological studies. He took rank among the most distinguished members of the church, and when not 30 years old became coadjutor to his uncle the archbishop Henri de Gondi. His winning manners, eloquence, and seeming Christian virtues secured for him unparalleled popularity among the Parisians. When the troubles of the Fronde broke out, he offered his services to the regent, Anne of Austria; but being coldly received, he used his popularity to cause the people of the metropolis to rise in arms against Mazarin, and became in effect the leader of the revolt. In 1651 he secured a cardinal's hat through his temporary alliance with the court, but he finally lost credit with all parties.
Previous to the termination of the troubles, he was arrested by order of the queen, and was first taken to Vin-cennes, then to the castle of Nantes, whence he escaped. He took refuge in Spain, then in Italy, where his rank as a cardinal and his dignity of archbishop of Paris, in which he had nominally succeeded his uncle in 1654, secured him some respect. His return to France was permitted in 1661, but on condition of resign-ing his archbishopric, which he exchanged for the abbacy of St. Denis, the richest preferment in France. He now gave up politics entirely, lived for the most part on an estate in Lorraine, and paid up his old debts, which amounted to more than 3,000,000 livres. His personal memoirs were printed for the first time in 1717 (3 vols. 12mo, Nancy), and have been often reprinted, with the addition of those of Guy-Joly and the duchess de Nemours, by which they are completed. They are included in Petitot's and Michaud and Poujoulat's Collections de mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de France. The most complete edition is that of Aimé-Champollion (4 vols. 12mo, 1859), with annotations and index. - See also Oeuvres du cardinal de Retz, edited by Alphonse Feillet (vols. i. and ii., Paris, 1872).