Dissolution of the Company of Musketeers

Upon the death of Louis XIII, which followed Richelieu’s own death by a few months, began the Regency with Anne of Austria seconded by Cardinal Mazarin.

If Richelieu had never loved the King’s Musketeers and Tréville in particular, one could say that Mazarin brought this enmity to its paroxysm. 

Mazarin rapidly amassed a great deal of power, a power almost as absolute as that of his predecessor, and Tréville’s independence irritated him. 

Even more irritating, the latter insisted on flaunting his position of serving the King alone, without concessions. Besides, Mazarin had other very personal projects in mind for the company of the Musketeers. For one, he wanted to put his nephew Mancini at the head of the company.

A silent war began between the two men. Mazarin tried both trickery and flattery, but Tréville didn’t take the bait. He then tried to provoke him, notably by forbidding him to engage any new musketeer that was not presented first to the King (still a child), or by systematically rejecting any candidates recommended by Tréville. 

In the course of their quarrel, Tréville resisted the Cardinal and fought to protect his privileges, even seeking arbitration from the Queen by reminding her of his long and loyal service, not to mention his friendship with the defunct King Louis XIII. Above all, Tréville had no intention of resigning his commission as Lieutenant-Captain of the Company.

“Mr. De Tréville who, for having lost the late King who had been his support against Cardinal Richelieu’s attacks, had lost nothing of his pride, thought that after having resisted the power of such a man, he could resist just as well the power of this one. In this way, not more complaisant with one than he had been with the other, he stood firm against him, without listening to all his promises. He responded to those who spoke to him on the part [of Mazarin] that, this commission having been granted to him as the reward for his good deeds, he wished to conserve it for as long as he lived. He was satisfied that His Majesty, finding him thus anointed at his majority, should ask those who were nearest him as to the reasons that had obliged the late King his father to appoint [Tréville] rather than another.”
Courtilz de Sandras

Mazarin again tried slander, but was frustrated by the Musketeers’ loyalty toward their commander, whom they esteemed and respected. 

“This situation without resolution could not last long. The company justified the Cardinal’s envy with its excellent demeanor; it maintained very strict discipline. Accustomed to living together, the Musketeers held one another in high esteem. There was not one who was not brave: individual courage was demanded in particular. L’esprit de corps was very powerful because it was founded upon friendship and mutual trust among all the men of each detachment. The company had become the best school for learning at the same time the soldier’s trade and the duties of a man of the court.”
Arnaud Jacomet

Mazarin was so absorbed by his conflict with Tréville that he all he saw in the company was a “dangerous hotbed of sedition”. Frustrated by his inability to sway Tréville and get his way, he chose a radical solution: to definitively disband the company.

In 1646, he was rewarded with a decree by the King that officially dissolved the Company of the Musketeers.

In order to win public acceptance of this measure, Mazarin presented the pretext of the Company’s elevated cost and the unnecessary expenses it incurred on the State. Thus, the Musketeers were dispersed and absorbed by other existing military corps.