Jules Mazarix (Ital. Mazarini, or Mazza-rino, Giulio), cardinal, a French statesman, born at Piscina, in the kingdom of Naples, or according to some in Rome, July 14, 1602, died in Paris, March 9, 1661. He was of a noble Sicilian family, received his early education at Rome, and afterward studied law at the universities of Alcala and Salamanca in Spain. In 1625 he was a captain in the papal army. Even at this early age lie displayed remarkable diplomatic talent, and was employed in important negotiations with the French and Spanish commanders in Italy. Entering the civil service of the pope, he was attached to the suite of Cardinal Sacchetti, the papal ambassador at Turin. In 1629 the cardinal returned to Rome, leaving Mazaiin at Turin, with the title of internuncio and full powers to conclude a peace. In this capacity he went to Lyons in 1630, where he was presented to Louis XIII., and subsequently to Cardinal Richelieu, who succeeded in attaching him to the interests of France. In 1634 Richelieu caused him to be made vice legate of Avignon, and in 1641 procured for him a cardinal's hat from Pope Urban VI11. After the death of Richelieu in December, 1642, Mazarin became a member of the council of state; and on the death of Louis XIII. in May, 1643, the regent Anne of Austria made him prime minister.
He at first pursued a cautious policy, affecting great humility and moderation; but a powerful party was soon organized against him, headed by the duke of Beaufort, the prince of Conti, the duchess of Longueville, and De Retz, archbishop-coadjutor of Paris. The people being already heavily taxed, the parliament of Paris refused to consent to a new impost, and the cardinal caused Blancmesnil, its president, and Broussel, one of its most popular members, to be arrested. Instigated by De Ketz and the other leaders of the opposition, the citizens of Paris rose in insurrection in August, 1648, and thus began the civil Avar of the Fronde. Maza-rin fled to St. Germain with the queen regent and the young king, and was proscribed by the parliament. Peace was restored March 11, 1649, chiefly through the influence of the great Conde, who, however, conducted himself with such arrogance that Mazarin caused him to be arrested and imprisoned, Jan. 18, 1050, together with the prince of Conti and the duke of Longueville. The parliament espoused the cause of the princes, and issued a decree of banishment against Mazarin. As the parliament was sustained by the people, the cardinal liberated the princes in 1651, and fled to Germany. His influence over the queen, to whom he is supposed to have been secretly married, was so great that he still governed the kingdom from his exile; and in 1652, the excitement against him having apparently subsided, he entered France at the head of an army of 6,000 men under the authority of a passport from the queen.
The prince of Conde was at this time again in rebellion, and the young king Louis XIV., who had recently assumed his majority at the age of 13, was at Poitiers with his court, and toward that city Mazarin directed his march. The news of his return to France created great commotion in Paris. The parliament hastily assembled, decreed*that the cardinal was a rebel, and ordered his magnificent library and other property to be sold, and from the proceeds of the sale 150,000 livres set apart as a reward to whoever should deliver him up dead or alive. Mazarin, regardless of these decrees, continued his march, and at the end of a month reached Poitiers, where he was received by the king and the court with the greatest demonstrations of delight. The civil war continued for some months longer, being carried on by the princes and the parliament on the pretext that the king was a prisoner in the hands of Mazarin, whose foreign birth made him peculiarly unpopular. At length the cardinal, finding that nearly all parties were weary of the contest and only needed an excuse for laying down their arms, tendered his resignation as prime minister, and withdrew from the court.
The parliament then submitted, together with all the principal leaders of the Fronde except Conde, and the king returned to the capital amid the acclamations of the people. Louis immediately ordered Cardinal de Retz, the principal instigator of sedition, to be arrested and sent to prison at Vincennes. Mazarin, who had meanwhile taken command of the army on the frontier, and gained some successes over the Spaniards, seized the occasion to return to Paris. The king and the courtiers went out several miles to welcome him, and he entered the capital in triumph, in the same carriage with the king, amid general rejoicings. His first care after his return was for the public finances, which were in great disorder, and next for his own. His financial skill and his thrifty habits soon restored his fortunes, and he advanced those of his family, which included a number of beautiful and profligate nieces. (See Mancini.) From his return to Paris till his death Mazarin ruled France with absolute power, the king quietly submitting to his guidance. His last great stroke of policy was his negotiation of the peace of the Pyrenees with Spain in 1659, and the marriage of Louis XIV. with the Spanish infanta, which was celebrated in the following year.
Mazarin had accumulated during his administration 40,-000,000 livres, an enormous sum at that time. On his deathbed his conscience troubled him about his property, and he gave it to the king, who after keeping it three days restored it, and it became the inheritance of his relatives. His "Letters" were published in Paris in 1745.