It was a sarcastic pleasantry at the expense of Mazarin and the Paix des Pyrénées, St. Évremond was a soldier, a wit, and the leader of fashion; Colbert hated him, and magnified a jeu d'esprit into a State-crime. He was exiled, and spent the rest of his long life in England. Of the baser sort, hundreds were turned out of their places and thrown penniless upon the world.
The ridiculous scheme which had been discovered behind a looking-glass in Fouquet's country-house was read; the instructions given to his friends in case of his arrest seemed to foreshadow a rebellion; Fouquet listened, with his eyes bent upon the crucifix. "You cannot be ignorant that this is a state-crime," said the chancellor.
"I confess that it is outrageous, sir," replied the accused; "but it is not a state-crime. I entreat these gentlemen," turning to the judges, "to kindly allow me to explain what a state-crime is.
It is when you hold a chief office, when you are in the secrets of your prince, and when, all at once, you range yourself on the side of his enemies, enlist all your family in the same interest, cause the passes to be given up by your son-in-law, and the gates to be opened to a foreign army, so as to introduce it into the heart of the kingdom. That, gentlemen, is what is called a state-crime."