1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Créquy

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CRÉQUY, a French family which originated in Picardy, and took its name from a small lordship in the present Pas-de-Calais. Its genealogy goes back to the 10th century, and from it originated the noble houses of Blécourt, Canaples, Heilly and Royon. Henri de Créquy was killed at the siege of Damietta in 1240; Jacques de Créquy, marshal of Guienne, was killed at Agincourt with his brothers Jean and Raoul; Jean de Créquy, lord of Canaples, was in the Burgundian service, and took part in the defence of Paris against Joan of Arc in 1429, received the order of the Golden Fleece in 1431, and was ambassador to Aragon and France; Antoine de Créquy was one of the boldest captains of Francis I., and died in consequence of an accident at the siege of Hesdin in 1523. Jean VIII., sire de Créquy, prince de Poix, seigneur de Canaples (d. 1555), left three sons, the eldest of whom, Antoine de Créquy (1535–1574), inherited the family estates on the death of his brothers at St Quentin in 1557. He was raised to the cardinalate, and his nephew and heir, Antoine de Blanchefort, assumed the name and arms of Créquy.

Charles I. de Blanchefort, marquis de Créquy, prince de Poix, duc de Lesdiguières (1578–1638), marshal of France, son of the last-named, saw his first fighting before Laon in 1594, and was wounded at the capture of Saint Jean d’Angély in 1621. In the next year he became a marshal of France. He served through the Piedmontese campaign in aid of Savoy in 1624 as second in command to the constable, François de Bonne, duc de Lesdiguières, whose daughter Madeleine he had married in 1595. He inherited in 1626 the estates and title of his father-in-law, who had induced him, after the death of his first wife, to marry her half-sister Françoise. He was also lieutenant-general of Dauphiné. In 1633 he was ambassador to Rome, and in 1636 to Venice. He fought in the Italian campaigns of 1630, 1635, 1636 and 1637, when he helped to defeat the Spaniards at Monte Baldo. He was killed on the 17th of March 1638 in an attempt to raise the siege of Crema, a fortress in the Milanese. He had a quarrel extending over years with Philip, the bastard of Savoy, which ended in a duel fatal to Philip in 1599; and in 1620 he defended Saint-Aignan, who was his prisoner of war, against a prosecution threatened by Louis XIII. Some of his letters are preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and his life was written by N. Chorier (Grenoble, 1683).

His eldest son, François, comte de Sault, duc de Lesdiguières (1600–1677), governor and lieutenant-general of Dauphiné, took the name and arms of Bonne. The younger, Charles II. de Créquy, seigneur de Canaples, was killed at the siege of Chambéry in 1630, leaving three sons—Charles III., sieur de Blanchefort, prince de Poix, duc de Créquy (1623?–1687); Alphonse de Créquy, comte de Canaples (d. 1711), who became on the extinction of the elder branch of the family in 1702 duc de Lesdiguières, and eventually succeeded also to his younger brother’s honours; and François, chevalier de Créquy and marquis de Marines, marshal of France (1625–1687).

The last-named was born in 1625, and as a boy took part in the Thirty Years’ War, distinguishing himself so greatly that at the age of twenty-six he was made a maréchal de camp, and a lieutenant-general before he was thirty. He was regarded as the most brilliant of the younger officers, and won the favour of Louis XIV. by his fidelity to the court during the second Fronde. In 1667 he served on the Rhine, and in 1668 he commanded the covering army during Louis XIV.’s siege of Lille, after the surrender of which the king rewarded him with the marshalate. In 1670 he overran the duchy of Lorraine. Shortly after this Turenne, his old commander, was made marshal-general, and all the marshals were placed under his orders. Many resented this, and Créquy, in particular, whose career of uninterrupted success had made him over-confident, went into exile rather than serve under Turenne. After the death of Turenne and the retirement of Condé, he became the most important general officer in the army, but his over-confidence was punished by the severe defeat of Conzer Brück (1675) and the surrender of Trier and his own captivity which followed. But in the later campaigns of this war (see Dutch Wars) he showed himself again a cool, daring and successful commander, and, carrying on the tradition of Turenne and Condé, he was in his turn the pattern of the younger generals of the stamp of Luxembourg and Villars. He died in Paris on the 3rd of February 1687.

Alphonse de Créquy had not the talent of his brothers, and lost his various appointments in France. He went to London in 1672, where he became closely allied with Saint Évremond, and was one of the intimates of King Charles II.

Charles III. de Créquy served in the campaigns of 1642 and 1645 in the Thirty Years’ War, and in Catalonia in 1649. In 1646, after the siege of Orbitello, he was made lieutenant-general by Louis. By faithful service during the king’s minority he had won the gratitude of Anne of Austria and of Mazarin, and in 1652 he became duc de Créquy and a peer of France. The latter half of his life was spent at court, where he held the office of first gentleman of the royal chamber, which had been bought for him by his grandfather. In 1659 he was sent to Spain with gifts for the infanta Maria Theresa, and on a similar errand to Bavaria in 1680 before the marriage of the dauphin. He was ambassador to Rome from 1662 to 1665, and to England in 1677; and became governor of Paris in 1675. He died in Paris on the 13th of February 1687. His only daughter, Madeleine, married Charles de la Trémoille (1655–1709).

The marshal François de Créquy had two sons, whose brilliant military abilities bade fair to rival his own. The elder, François Joseph, marquis de Créquy (1662–1702), already held the grade of lieutenant-general when he was killed at Luzzara on the 13th of August 1702; and Nicolas Charles, sire de Créquy, was killed before Tournai in 1696 at the age of twenty-seven.

A younger branch of the Créquy family, that of Hémont, was represented by Louis Marie, marquis de Créquy (1705–1741), author of the Principes philosophiques des saints solitaires d’Égypte (1779), and husband of the marquise separately noticed below, and became extinct with the death in 1801 of his son, Charles Marie, who had some military reputation.

For a detailed genealogy of the family and its alliances see Moreri, Dictionnaire historique; Annuaire de la noblesse française (1856 and 1867). There is much information about the Créquys in the Mémoires of Saint-Simon.