Toussaint Rose, one of the “Immortels”

The former members of the Académie française are called immortals. The Académie was founded in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642), it’s purpose is to guard the French language. The Académie consists of 40 members on 40 seats until today there have been over 700 members. Toussaint Rose was one of them, though he never wrote a book.

Toussaint Rose was born early in September 1615 in Provins and baptized on September 5. His father Étienne was of the bourgeoisie. Toussaint Rose attended a catholic theological college in Provins and went afterwards to Paris. In Paris he studied at the Sorbonne and gained a licence in canon law and civil law. Afterwards he returned to Provins and worked there as a lawyer, but he didn’t succeed, so he decided to go to Paris again. On 26 November 1636 he was inaugurated as a lawyer at the Parlement in Paris.

Rose attended Cardinal Richelieu but he didn’t get much attention from Richelieu and quit him to join the entourage of Jean François Paul de Gondi, cardinal de Retz (1613-1679) . Gondi and Rose travelled to Italy.

Portrait of Toussaint Rose by François de Troy (1645 - 1730), public domain, found on

Secretary of Mazarin

After Rose returned from Italy he left Gondi and joined the entourage of Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661).

He married on 8 September 1641 Madeleine de Villiers († 27 June 1701)
and on 31 August 1642 his only son, Louis Rose, was born.

Cardinal Richelieu died on 4 December 1642 and Mazarin received his office, Chief minister of France.

In December 1645 Rose was secretary of Mazarin. In 1649 Rose became member of the “Conseil du roi de France” (King’s Council).

From 1648 until 1653 a civil war called “Fronde” was going on in France. The Fronde was attempting to overthrow Mazarin, because of taxes he had demanded from the parlements and his curtailing of feudal liberties. Mazarin had to go into exile from 1651 until 1653. During the time of the Fronde Rose remained steadfastly at Mazarins side. After the Fronde Mazarin became Chief minister of France again.

In 1655 Toussaint Rose and his father received a knighthood. Toussaint Rose bought the fief Coye (Coye-la-Forêt) in the forest of Chantilly and kept the title “Marquis de Coye”.

Blazon of the family Rose. Own work, licence: public domain

Secretary of the king

On 25 April 1657 Rose became secretary (“secrétaire du cabinet”) of the king Louis XIV of France (1638-1715) and in 1661 he became Presiding Baron of the Court of Accounts in Paris (“président de la Chambre des Comptes”). In 1667 he suggested to the king to let the members of the Académie française give speeches at special events on which beforehand only the members of the parlement were invited. Those speeches were very successfull and the Académie française honoured Rose’s effort by inviting him in 1675. He received seat 2 (“fauteuil 2”).

Rose active up until old age. One evening early in the year 1701 he was returning from Castle Marly-le-Roi, the hermitage of Louis XIV. He was lying down, was ill for a couple of days and died on the morning of January 6.

Many letters of the king were actually written by Rose, but they are not literary works. Rose’s handwriting looked similar to that of the king and therefore Rose was often charged with writing letters of condolence or congratulation in the name of the king.

Marc de Villiers du Terrage: ”Un secrétaire de Louis XIV: Toussaint Rose, marquis de Coye, président de la Chambre des comptes”. May et Motteroz, 1891. in (French)

Creative Commons License
Toussaint Rose, one of the „Immortels“ by stanze, Stanzilla, stanzebla is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


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