Instances of use of cipher by Cardinal Mazarin are collected herein. The location of the original letters in the Archives des Affaires étrangères etc. (apparently not on the Web) is found in the publications of Mazarin's letters.
Cardinal Mazarin took the place of chief minister after Cardinal Richelieu's death on 4 December 1642, and served under Louis XIII (until the King's death in May 1643) and Louis XIV (until Mazarin's death in 1661).
In January 1643, Mazarin sent Le Tellier a cipher, with an instruction to use the one Le Tellier gave Longueville in the meantime. (Le Tellier was Indendant of Justice for the French military in Piedmont. Mazarin relied on him to keep the peace in Savoy, which he had mediated in 1642 (Lettres, i, p.lxix). He became Secretary of State for War in 1643 with the help of his friendship with Mazarin.)
Mazarin's letter to Le Tellier, Brühl, 11 July 1651, was so secret that there is a note in the margin that it should be deciphered by Le Tellier himself ("a deschifrer par M. Le Tellier"). (Lettres, iv, p.323, n)
In March 1643, Mazarin sent a cipher to Olivier de Castellan, maréchal de camp.
In a letter of 1643 to Cardinal Bichi (Wikipedia), Mazarin attached a separate article that is so secret that he requested that the cardinal decipher himself.
At one time, Mazarin arranged for a memoire to be enciphered, but changed his mind to use a courier.
Mazarin also used cipher with Turenne (Lettres, i, p.535; ii, p.25). In 1644, Turenne was sent to Germany to reorganize the army there.
In June 1645, Mazarin had to send him a (presumably new) cipher, because Turenne said he had lost his copy (apparently in his note of 28 May).
In July 1644, Mazarin sent a cipher to duc d'Enghien (later, Prince of Condé, known as Grand Condé). (Enghien had won a decisive victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Rocroi in northern France in May 1643. In 1644, he was sent to Germany. He marched through hostile territories and, in early July, made a junction with Marsin. Upon hearing the difficulties of Turenne, he moved to the upper Rhine and, with Turenne, took Fribourg. (Bernard Pujo, Le Grand Condé, p.88-94; Wikipedia))
A few days later, Mazarin excused himself for not writing in his own hand saying that, being Italian, he was not familiar with orthography in French (Pujo, p.88; similar note is in Lettres, i, p.720).
Sometimes, it was not necessary to use a cipher.
On the other hand, in one occasion, Mazarin reminded the prince to use a cipher.
Phalsbourg [Pfalzburg] was a principality, acknowledged by the Holy Roman Emperor, separate from Lorraine from 1629-1660 under Henriette of Lorraine (Wikipedia). The princess kept writing to Mazarin on princes in Lorraine. In their correspondence, names are disguised or encoded. (Lettres, i, p.648, n.1) In Mazarin's letter to the Princess of Phalsbourg dated 23 August 1647, "22" represented "le duc de Lorraine." (Lettres, ii, p.479)
On 18 October 1647, Mazarin sent a cipher to Cardinal Orsini [Ursins] (Wikipedia) for matters that the cardinal would communicate only to Mazarin (Lettres, ii, p.964).
No sooner did the Peace of Westphalia end the Thirty Years' War than France was involved in a civil war called the Fronde: the Parliamentary Fronde (1648-1649) and the Fronde of the Princes (1650-1653). During the war with the Habsburgs, discontent grew against the Spanish queen (Anne of Austria) and the Italian minister, Mazarin.
In January 1650, the Prince of Condé was arrested with his brother Prince of Conti and brother-in-law Duke of Longueville, while Turenne managed to escape to Stenay. Turenne allied himself with Spain, and in June 1650, the Spanish troops entered France. (Pujo, p.171) Turenne's siding with the Frondeurs meant that the cipher shared with Turenne had to be replaced.
The cause of the Second Fronde was opposition to the Italian minister, Mazarin. In February 1651, Condé was released, and Mazarin went into exile in Germany.
Madame de Chevreuse was the center of many intrigues, including one against Mazarin. When a plan to marry her daughter to the prince of Conti came to nothing, she offered to help Mazarin in exile (Perkins, p.128). (Mazarin returned to Paris in February 1653.)
When reporting this to Lionne, queen's secretary, on 28 April 1651, Mazarin attached a copy of her letter to Noirmoutier in (Mazarin's?) cipher (Lettres, iv, p.147) (Noirmoutier also changed sides to Mazarin (Wikipedia)). That Madame de Chevreuse had provided Noirmoutier a cipher can be seen in the following remark at the end of her letter.
At one time, Mazarin could not write to Madame de Chevreuse because he did not have a cipher with her.
Basile Fouquet, known as the Abbe Fouquet, was a brother of the financier Nicolas Fouquet. He was the head of Mazarin's secret police.
There are some undeciphered cipher symbols such as 35, 46, 47, and 72 (inferred to be Abbe Fouquet, Reine, Mazarin, Mazarin) in Mazarin's letters addressed to him (Lettres, iv, p.286, p.297, n.3; the original is in BnF fr.23202, which I have not seen).
The Abbe Fouquet sent Mazarin a cipher, but explains that Roussereau, one of his secretaries, does not know cipher at all.
Some letters of Mazarin to Fouquet mention "la personne qui n'est pas dans le chiffre" (the person who is not in the cipher) (Lettres, iv, p.589, v, p.82), considered to refer to the princess of Palatine.
Prince Charles, son of Charles I, executed by the republicans in 1649, lived in exile in France, and English privateers were harassing the French trade. Mazarin sent Antoine de Bordeaux-Neufville to London in December 1652 (styled as ambassador from March 1654 (Lettres vi, p.131, n.3)) and recognized the commonwealth, but the commercial conflict persisted. When the Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654) came to a close, Mazarin sent Paul de Baas [or Batz] de Castelmore, an elder brother of Charles Baas de Castelmore, the model of D'Artagnan. France was still at war with Spain (even after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648), and England had to be prevented from allying with Spain. (John F. Battick (1973), "Cromwell's Diplomatic Blunder", Albion, Vol.5, No.4, pp.279-298 (JSTOR); Laurent Curelly (2012), "'The French, those Monkies of Mankind': the Fronde as seen by the newsbook Mercurius Politicus" (OpenEdition))
De Baas was provided with a separate cipher of his own.
In August 1654, marshal Turenne won a victory over the allied forces of the Prince of Condé and the Spanish besieging Arras. This became the turning point, after which the French was in the advantage. (Wikipedia)
The following is about correspondence between Turenne and Mazarin in this year.
In 1651, Mazarin went into exile in Germany because of the Second Fronde. His letters in cipher from this period are available online.
BnF Baluze 332 (Gallica) (f.105-f.203) contains many letters partly or almost entirely in cipher from Mazarin to Colbert from Brühl (near Cologne), Huy, or Dinant (May to November 1651). Some (f.170, 176, 186, 189) are addressed to "M. de Ligny" (considered to be a pseudonym of Colbert). One (f.178) has an addressee in cipher (again, Colbert is meant). These specimens show enciphering was done by a secretary.
The cipher in use is what I call "Le Tellier-Colbert Cipher 2", a two-part code apparently introduced in December 1650 (see another article).
Bnf Baluze 329 (Gallica) contains many letters of Mazarin to mainly Anne d'Autriche (at least f.58-f.187) (only copies (Dulong p.66)). Unlike his correspondence with Colbert, these letters use cipher only modestly, probably in consideration for the Queen, who could handle cipher personally (Dulong p.64). The ciphertext is deciphered in italics in the edition printed in Ravenel (1836) (p.89, n.2), which allows reconstruction of the substitution cipher as follows (Ravenel p.xii-xiii does not mention codebreaking. Though the cipher is simple enough, the paucity of specimens must have posed some difficulty. Apparently, the manuscript key is extant somewhere, as mentioned in p.35, n.1.).
The nomenclature is reconstructed in Ravenal (1836), p.485 ff., in which names are represented by code words (e.g., "la Mer" for "Mazarin"), figures (e.g., 44 for "la Reine" (not in the list; found on p.99, 222); 44 with an accent (printed in bold; see p.xiii, n.2) for "Mazarin", 35 with an accent for "toute" (not in the list; found on f.132); 42 with an overbar for "Madame de Beauvais"); or graphic signs. (There seem to be variations. Regarding 23 (Condé), 26 (Mazarin (I have seen this deciphered as "Cardinal")), and 29 (Mercoeur), the footnotes on p.491 say "Le chiffre de Mazarin" has "le maréchal de Grammont", "Servien", "Madame de Chevreuse", respectively. "Le chiffre de Mazarin" refers to the manuscript key used by Mazarin (p.35, n.1).
This Mazarin-Anne d'Autriche Cipher has two special symbols, which are considered to represent feelings of the Queen for Mazarin and vice versa (Ravenel p.493; Dulong (1982) further discusses these symbols in connectioin with other more commonly used symbols for similar use).
At one time, Mazarin suspected that Lionne was reading their correspondence by obtaining the key from Madame de Beauvais, and suggested replacing the cipher.
But there seems to be no trace of such replacement at this time. (Mazarin's letter of 15 June 1651 uses 26 for "Mazarin", Gabriel for "La princesse Palatine" (p.88), which are also used in a letter of 26 December 1651 (p.461, 462).
(As far as printed in Ravenel, the figure codes first appear in the above letter of 15 June. Although figure codes were used as early as 27 May 1651 (Baluze 329, f.5, in which "68", "26", barred "62", "23", barred "42", "22" are not deciphered), historians' help is needed to see to whom it is addressed.)
Mazarin appears to have also used symbols from another cipher, for which the Queen might get explanation from Bartet. (Bartet carried messages between Mazarin and the Queen (orrally after his Spanish passport expired) (Mémoires de Valentin Conrart (1825)).)
Baluze himself collected code symbols under the title "Chifres de la cour en 1652" (f.2-3). It seems to be different from the Mazarin-Anne d'Autriche Cipher above.
Mazarin sometimes mentions deciphering of intercepted despatches. Mazarin repeatedly mentioned that interleaving ciphertext with clear text made the task easier.
(Louis du Pas de Mazerolles was made maréchal de camp in 1648.)
Sometimes, content of ciphertext had to be guessed.
The following is a note when Mazarin shared an intercept with Le Tellier. (Don Luis de Haro (Wikipedia) was an adviser to the Spanish king. Bouillon (Wikipedia) was Turenne's elder brother. De la Force (britishmuseum) was created Duke in 1637.)
At one time, when he had deciphered a letter apparently written by Colbert not intended for him, he found disparaging remarks on him. (Since it was addressed to "mine", the deciphering was not codebreaking.)
(During the Fronde, popular songs accusing the minister, called Mazarinades, appeared in dozens (Wikipedia).)
The following is an instance where Mazarin forwarded a decipherment of a letter sent by Monsignor Bengivoglio, papal nuncio in Florence, to his brother in Paris.
The following is an instance where Colbert showed Mazarin the content of a letter in cipher from Le Tellier. (The word chiffre can mean a letter in cipher.)
Sometimes, Mazarin did not have time to have a letter deciphered, as he said in his letter to d'Avaux in a letter of 20 August 1646 (Lettres, ii, p.798).
Sometimes, Mazarin did not have time to encipher his letter.
Sometimes, Mazarin supposed the recipient did not have time to decipher his letter.
Sometimes, it is not clear whether "deciphering" involves codebreaking or routine work. The following seems to be the latter (in view of "response"), but the word "travailler" makes one wonder whether it is harder than routine work.
Sometimes, when in travel, Mazarin had to forward a letter back to court for deciphering. (By the way, in this letter, "40" is conjectured to be the Duchesse of Chevreuse and "32", the Queen.)
Sometimes, correspondents could not write what they want because of lack of a cipher.
In a letter from Mazarin to Comte de Brienne, Guise, 30 July 1655, Mazarin said he could not reply immediately because they did not bring the cipher that allows reading them. (Lettres, vii, p.23)
Sometimes, use of cipher is explicitly requested.
M.A. Chéruel, Vte G. D'Avenel (ed.) (1872-1906), Lettres du cardinal Mazarin pendant son ministere, tome i (1642-1644), tome ii (1644-1647), tome iii (1648-1650), tome iv (1651), tome v (1652-1653), tome vi (1653-1655), tome vii (1655-1657), tome viii (juillet 1657-aout 1658), tome ix (1658-1661)
Ravenel (ed.) (1836), Lettres du Cardinal Mazarin à la reine, à la princesse Palatine, etc. (Google) *This prints a cipher between Mazarin and the Queen on p.485 ff., which seems to be a simple nomenclature.
Claude Dulong (1982), "Les signes cryptiques dans la correspondance d'Anne d'Autricheavec Mazarin, contribution a l'emblematique du XVIIe siecle", Bibliotheque de l'ecole deschartes (Persée, JSTOR)
James Breck Perkins (1886), France Under Mazarin: With a Review of the Administration of Richelieu, vol.2
See also my related articles:
S.Tomokiyo, French ciphers during the Reign of Louis XIII
S.Tomokiyo, French Ciphers at the time of the Fronde
S.Tomokiyo, Ciphers Early in the Reign of Louis XIV
S.Tomokiyo, French Ciphers during the Reign of Louis XIV