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Title: Heroes of Modern Europe
Author: Birkhead, Alice
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Frontispiece: Leo Tolstoy in his bare Apartments at Yasnaya Polyana









[Transcriber's note: Page numbers in this book are indicated by numbers
enclosed in curly braces, e.g. {99}.  They have been located where page
breaks occurred in the original book, in accordance with Project
only at the start of that section.  In the HTML version of this book,
page numbers are placed in the left margin.]

First published July 1913


39-41 Parker Street, Kingsway, London, W.C.2

Reprinted in the present series:

February 1914; August 1917; May 1921; January 1924; July 1926



     I.  THE TWO SWORDS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
    II.  DANTE, THE DIVINE POET  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
   III.  LORENZO THE MAGNIFICENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  30
    IV.  THE PRIOR OF SAN MARCO  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  41
     V.  MARTIN LUTHER, REFORMER OF THE CHURCH . . . . . . . .  52
    VI.  CHARLES V, HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR . . . . . . . . . . . .  63
   VII.  THE BEGGARS OF THE SEA  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74
    IX.  HENRY OF NAVARRE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
     X.  UNDER THE RED ROBE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
    XI.  THE GRAND MONARCH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
   XII.  PETER THE GREAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
  XIII.  THE ROYAL ROBBER  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
   XIV.  SPIRITS OF THE AGE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
    XV.  THE MAN FROM CORSICA  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
   XVI.  "GOD AND THE PEOPLE"  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
  XVII.  "FOR ITALY AND VICTOR EMMANUEL!"  . . . . . . . . . . 195
 XVIII.  THE THIRD NAPOLEON  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
   XIX.  THE REFORMER OF THE EAST  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216
    XX.  THE HERO IN HISTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
         INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233


  AT YASNAYA POLYANA  (_Repin_). . . . . . . . . .  _Frontispiece_

DANTE IN THE STREETS OF FLORENCE (_Evelyn Paul_) . . . . . . .  22

THE LAST SLEEP OF SAVONAROLA (_Sir George Reid, P.R.S.A._) . .  60

PHILIP II PRESENT AT AN AUTO-DA-FÉ (_D. Valdivieso_) . . . . .  78

LAST MOMENTS OF COUNT EGMONT (_Louis Gallait_) . . . . . . . .  90


  (_A. Menzel_)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152



Heroes of Modern Europe

Chapter I

The Two Swords

In the fourth century after Christ began that decay of the Roman Empire
which had been the pride of the then civilized world.  Warriors of
Teutonic race invaded its splendid cities, destroyed without remorse
the costliest and most beautiful of its antique treasures.  Temples and
images of the gods fell before barbarians whose only fear was lest they
should die "upon the straw," while marble fountains and luxurious
bath-houses were despoiled as signs of a most inglorious state of
civilization.  Theatres perished and, with them, the plays of Greek
dramatists, who have found no true successors.  Pictures and statues
and buildings were defaced where they were not utterly destroyed.  The
Latin race survived, forlornly conscious of its vanished culture.

The Teutons had hardly begun to impose upon the Empire the rude customs
of their own race when Saracens, bent upon spreading the religion of
Mahomet, bore down upon Italy, where resistance from watchtowers and
castles was powerless to check their cruel depredations.  Norman
pirates plundered the shores of the Mediterranean and sailed up the
River Seine, {10} always winning easy victories.  Magyars, a strange,
wandering race, came from the East and wrought much evil among the
newly-settled Germans.

From the third to the tenth century there were incredible changes among
the European nations.  Gone were the gleaming cities of the South and
the worship of art and science and the exquisite refinements of the
life of scholarly leisure.  Gone were the flourishing manufactures
since the warrior had no time to devote to trading.  Gone was the love
of letters and the philosopher's prestige now that men looked to the
battle-field alone to give them the awards of glory.

Outwardly, Europe of the Middle Ages presented a sad contrast to the
magnificence of an Empire which was fading to remoteness year by year.
The ugly towns did not attempt to hide their squalor, when dirt was
such a natural condition of life that a knight would dwell boastfully
upon his contempt for cleanliness, and a beauty display hands innocent
of all proper tending.  The dress of the people was ill-made and
scanty, lacking the severe grace of the Roman toga.  Furniture was
rudely hewn from wood and placed on floors which were generally uneven
and covered with straw instead of being paved with tessellated marble.

Yet the inward life of Europe was purer since it sought to follow the
teaching of Christ, and preached universal love and a toleration that
placed on the same level a mighty ruler and the lowest in his realm.
Fierce spirits, unfortunately, sometimes forgot the truth and gave
themselves up to a cruel lust for persecution which was at variance
with their creed, but the holiest now condemned warfare and praised the
virtues of obedience and self-sacrifice.


Whereas pagan Greek and Rome had searched for beauty upon earth, it was
the dreary belief of the Middle Ages that the world was a place where
only misery could be the portion of mankind, who were bidden to look to
another life for happiness and pleasure.  Sinners hurried from
temptation into monasteries, which were founded for the purpose of
enabling men to prepare for eternity.  Family life was broken up and
all the pleasant intercourse of social habits.  Marriage was a snare,
and even the love of parents might prove dangerous to the devoted monk.
Strange was the isolation of the hermit who refused to cleanse himself
or change his clothes, desiring above all other things to attain to
that blessed state when his soul should be oblivious of his body.

Women also despised the claims of kindred and retired to convents where
the elect were granted visions after long prayer and fasting.  The nun
knelt on the bare stone floor of her cell, awaiting the ecstasy that
would descend on her.  When it had gone again she was nigh to death,
faint and weary, yet compelled to struggle onward till her earthly life
came to an end.

The Crusades, or Wars of the Cross, had roused Europe from a state of
most distressful bondage.  Ignorance and barbarism were shot with
gleams of spiritual light even after the vast armies were sent forth to
wrest the possession of Jerusalem from the infidels.  Shameful stories
of the treatment of pilgrims to the Holy Sepulchre had moved the hearts
of kings and princes to a passionate indignation.  Valour became the
highest, and all men were eager to be ranked with Crusaders--those
soldiers of heroic courage whose cause was Christianity and its
defence.  At the close of the tenth century there were innumerable
pilgrims travelling {12} toward the Holy Land, for it had been
prophesied that in the year A.D. 1000 the end of the world would come,
when it would be well for those within Jerusalem, the City of the
Saviour.  The inhuman conduct of the Turk was resented violently,
because it would keep many a sinner from salvation; and the dangerous
journey to the East was held to atone for the gravest crimes.

After the first disasters in which so many Crusaders fell before they
reached their destination, Italy especially began to benefit by these
wars.  It was considered safer to reach Jerusalem by sea, boarding the
vessels in Italian ports, which were owned and equipped by Italian
merchants.  Venice, Pisa, and Genoa gradually assumed the trade of
ancient Constantinople, once without rival on the southern sea.
Constantinople was a city of wonder to the ignorant fighting men from
other lands, who had never dreamed of a civilization so complete as
that which she possessed.  Awed by elegance and luxury, they returned
to their homes with a sense of inferiority.  They had met and fought
side by side with warriors of such polished manners that they felt
ashamed of their own brutal ways.  They had seen strange costumes and
listened to strange tongues.  Henceforth no nation of Europe could be
entirely indifferent to the fact that there was a world without.

The widowed and desolate were not comforted by the knowledge which the
returned Crusader delighted to impart.  They had been sacrificed to the
pride which led husbands and fathers to sell their estates and squander
vast sums of money, that they might equip a band of followers to lead
in triumph to the Holy Wars.  The complaints of starving women led to
{13} the collection of much gold and silver by Lambert Le Bègue, "the
stammering priest."  He built a number of small houses to be inhabited
by the Order of Bèguines, a new sisterhood who did not sever themselves
entirely from the world, but lived in peaceful retirement, occupied by
spinning and weaving all day long.

The Beghards, or Weaving Brothers, took pattern by this busy guild of
workers and followed the same rules of simple piety.  They were fond of
religious discussion, and were mystics.  They enjoyed the approval of
Rome until the new orders were established of Saint Francis and Saint

In the twelfth century religion was drawing nearer to humanity and the
needs of earth.  The new orders, therefore, tried to bridge the gulf
between the erring and the saintly, forbidding their brethren to
seclude themselves from other men.  A healthy reaction was taking place
from the old idea that the religious life meant a withdrawal from the
temptations of the world.

St Dominic, born in Spain in 1170, was the founder of "the Order of
Preaching Monks for the conversion of heretics."  The first aim of the
"Domini canes" (Dominicans), or Hounds of the Lord, was to attack
anyone who denied their faith.  Cruelty could be practised under the
rule of Dominic, who bade his followers lead men by any path to their
ultimate salvation.  Tolerance of free thought and progress was
discouraged, and rigid discipline corrected any disciple of compassion.
The dress of the order was severely plain, consisting of a long black
mantle over a white robe.  The brethren practised poverty, and fared
humbly on bread and water.

The brown-frocked Franciscans, rivals in later times of the monks of
Dominic, were always taught to love {14} mankind and be merciful to
transgressors.  It was the duty of the Preaching Brothers to warn and
threaten; it was the joy of the _Frati Minori_, or Lesser Brothers, to
tend the sick and protect the helpless, taking thought for the very
birds and fishes.

St Francis was born at Assisi in 1182, the son of a prosperous
householder and cloth merchant.  He drank and was merry, like any other
youth of the period, till a serious illness purged him of follies.
After dedicating his life to God, he put down in the market-place of
Assisi all he possessed save the shirt on his body.  The bitter
reproaches of kinsfolk pursued him vainly as he set out in beggarly
state to give service to the poor and despised.  He loved Nature and
her creatures, speaking of the birds as "noble" and holding close
communion with them.  The saintly Italian was opposed to the warlike
doctrines of St Dominic; he made peace very frequently between the two
parties known as Guelfs and Ghibellines.

_Welf_ was a common name among the dukes of Bavaria, and the Guelfs
were, in general, supporters of the Papacy and this ducal house,
whereas the Waiblingen (Ghibellines) received their name from a castle
in Swabia, a fief of the Hohenstaufen enemies of the Pope.  It was
under a famous emperor of the House of Swabia that the struggle between
Papacy and Empire, "the two swords," gained attention from the rest of

In the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII had won many notable
victories in support of his claims to temporal power.  He had brought
Henry IV, the proud Emperor, before whose name men trembled, to sue for
his pardon at Canossa, and had kept the suppliant in the snow, with
bare head and bare feet, that he might {15} endure the last
humiliations.  Then the fortune of war changed, and the Pope was seized
in the Church of St Peter at Rome by Cencio, a fiery noble, who held
him in close confinement.  It was easier to lord it over princes who
were hated by many of their own subjects than to quell the animosity
which was roused by attempted domination in the Eternal City.

The Pope was able sometimes to elect a partisan of the Guelf party as
emperor.  On the other hand, an emperor had been heard to lament the
election of a staunch friend to the Papacy because he believed that no
pope could ever be a true Ghibelline.

Certain princes of the House of Hohenstaufen were too proud to
acknowledge an authority that threatened to crush their power in Italy.
Henry VI was a ruler dreaded by contemporaries as merciless to the last
degree.  He burned men alive if they offended him, and had no
compunction in ordering the guilty to be tarred and blinded.  He was of
such a temper that the Pope had not the courage to demand from him the
homage of a vassal.  It was Frederick II, Henry's son, who came into
conflict with the Papacy so violently that all his neighbours watched
in terror.

Pope Gregory IX would give no quarter, and excommunicated the Emperor
because he had been unable to go on a crusade owing to pestilence in
his army.  The clergy were bidden to assemble in the Church of St Peter
and to fling down their lighted candles as the Pope cursed the Emperor
for his broken promise, a sin against religion.  The news of this
ceremony spread through the world, the two parties appealing to the
princes of Europe for aid in fighting out this quarrel.  Frederick
defied the papal decree, and went to win back Jerusalem from the
infidels as soon as his soldiers had {16} recovered.  He took the city,
but had to crown himself as king since none other would perform the
service for a man outside the Church.  Frederick bade the pious
Mussulmans continue the prayers they would have ceased through
deference to a Christian ruler.  He had thrown off all the
superstitions of the age except the study of astrology, and was a
scholar of wide repute, delighting in correspondence with the learned.

The Arabs did not admire Frederick's person, describing him as unlikely
to fetch a high price if he had been a slave!  He was bald-headed and
had weak eyesight, though generally held graceful and attractive.  In
mental powers he surpassed the greatest at his house, which had always
been famous for its intellect.  He had been born at Palermo, "the city
of three tongues"; therefore Greek, Latin, and Arabic were equally
familiar.  He was daring in speech, broad in views, and cosmopolitan in
habit.  He founded the University of Naples and encouraged the study of
medicine; he had the Greek of Aristotle translated, and himself set the
fashion in verse-making, which was soon to be the pastime of every
court in Italy.

The Pope was more successful in a contest waged with tongues than he
had proved on battle-fields, which were strewn with bodies of both
Guelf and Ghibelline factions.  He dined in 1230 at the same table as
his foe, but the peace between them did not long continue.  In turn
they triumphed, bringing against each other two armies of the Cross,
the followers of the Pope fighting under the standard of St Peter's
Keys as the champion of the true Christian Church against its

Pope Innocent IV, who succeeded Gregory, proved himself a very cunning
adversary.  He might have {17} won an easy victory over Frederick II if
the exactions of the Papacy had not angered the countries where he
sought refuge after his first failures.  It was futile to declare at
Lyons that the Emperor was deposed when all France was crying out upon
the greed of prelates.  The wearisome strife went on till the very
peasants had to be guarded at their work by knights, sent out from
towns to see that they were not taken captive.  It was the day of the
robber, and all things lay to his hand if he were bold enough to grasp
them.  Prisoners of war suffered horrible tortures, being hung up by
their feet and hands in the hope that their friends would ransom them
the sooner.  Villages were burned down, and wolves howled near the
haunts of men, seeking food to appease their ravening hunger.  It was
said that fierce beasts gnawed through the walls of houses and devoured
little children in their cradles.  Italy was rent by a conflict which
divided one province from another, and even placed inhabitants of the
same town on opposite sides and caused dissension in the noblest

The Flagellants marched in procession through the land, calling for
peace but bringing tumult.  The Emperor's party made haste to shut them
out of the territory they ruled, but they could not rid the people of
the terrible fear inspired by the barefooted, black-robed figures, with
branches and candles in their hands and the holy Cross flaming red
before them.

One defeat after another brought the House of Hohenstaufen under the
control of the Church they had defied so boldly.  Frederick's own son
rebelled against him, and Frederick's camp was destroyed by a Guelf
army.  The Emperor had lived splendidly, making more impression on
world-history than any other prince of that {18} illustrious family,
but he died in an hour of failure, feeling bitterly how great a triumph
his death would be to the Pope who had conquered.

It was late in the year 1250 when the tidings of Frederick II's death
travelled slowly through his Empire.  Many refused to believe them, and
declared long years afterwards that the Emperor was still living,
beneath a mighty mountain.  The world seemed to be shaking yet with the
vibration of that deadly struggle.  Conrad and Conradin were left, and
Manfred, the favourite son of Frederick, but their reigns were short
and desperate, and when they, too, had passed the Middle Ages were
merging into another era.  The "two swords" of Papacy and Empire were
still to pierce and wound, but the struggle between them would never
seem so mighty after the spirit had fled which inspired Conradin, last
of the House of Swabia.

This young prince was led to the scaffold, where he asserted stoutly
his claim to Naples above the claim of Charles, the Count of Anjou, who
held it as fief of the Papacy.  Then Conradin dared to throw his glove
among the people, bidding them to carry it to Peter, Prince of Aragon,
as the symbol by which he conveyed the rights of which death alone had
been able to despoil him.


Chapter II

Dante, the Divine Poet

There were still Guelfs and Ghibellines in 1265, but the old names had
partially lost their meaning in the Republic of Florence, where the
citizens brawled daily, one faction against the other.  The nobles had,
nevertheless, a bond with the emperor, being of the same Teutonic
stock, and the burghers often sought the patronage of a very powerful
pope, hoping in this way to maintain their well-loved independence.

But often Guelf and Ghibelline had no interest in anything outside the
walls of Florence.  The Florentine blood was hot and rose quickly to
avenge insult.  Family feuds were passionately upheld in a community so
narrow and so zealous.  If a man jostled another in the street, it was
an excuse for a fight which might end in terrible bloodshed.  Fear of
banishment was no restraint to the combatants.  The Guelf party would
send away the Ghibelline after there had been some shameful tumult.
Then the _fuori_ (outside) were recalled because their own faction was
in power again, and, in turn, the Guelfs were banished by the
Ghibellines.  In 1260 there had even been some talk of destroying the
famous town in Tuscany.  Florence would have been razed to the ground
had not a party leader, Farinata degli Uberti, showed unexpected
patriotism which saved her.

Florence had waxed mighty through her commerce, {20} holding a high
place among the Italian cities which had thrown off the feudal yoke and
become republics.  Wealth gave the citizens leisure to study art and
literature, and to attain to the highest civilization of a thriving
state.  The Italians of that time were the carriers of Europe, and as
such had intercourse with every nation of importance.  They were
especially successful as bankers, Florentine citizens of middle rank
acquiring such vast fortunes by finance that they outstripped the
nobles who dwelt outside the gates and spent all their time in
fighting.  The guilds of Florence united men of the same trade and also
encouraged perfection in the various branches.  Goldsmiths offered
marvellous wares for the purchase of the affluent dilettante.  Silk was
a natural manufacture, and paper had to be produced in a place where
the School of Law attracted foreign scholars.

Rome had the renown of past splendour and the purple of imperial pride.
Venice was the depôt of the world's trade, and sent fleets east and
west laden with precious cargoes, which gave her a unique position
among the five Republics.  Bologna drew students from every capital in
Europe to her ancient Universities.  Milan had been a centre of
learning even in the days of Roman rule, and the Emperor Maximilian had
made it the capital of Northern Italy.  Florence, somewhat overshadowed
by such fame, could yet boast the most ancient origin.  Was not
Faesulae, lying close to her, the first city built when the Flood had
washed away the abodes of men and left the earth quite desolate?  _Fia
sola_--"Let her be alone"--the words re-echoed through the whole
neighbourhood and were the pride of Florence, which lay in a smiling
fertile plain where all things flourished.  The Florentines were coming
to their own as the Middle Ages {21} passed; they were people of
cunning hand and brain, always eager to make money and spend it to
procure the luxury and beauty their natures craved.  The "florin" owed
its popularity to the soundness of trade within the very streets where
the bell, known as "the great cow," rang so lustily to summon the
citizens to combat.  The golden coins carried the repute of the fair
Italian town to other lands, and changed owners so often that her
prosperity was obvious.

Florence looked very fair when Durante Alighieri came into the world,
for he was born on a May morning, and the Florentines were making
holiday.  There was mirth and jesting within the tall grey houses round
the little church of San Martino.  The Alighieri dwelt in that quarter,
but more humbly than their fine neighbours, the Portinari, the Donati,
and the Cerci.

The Portinari celebrated May royally in 1275, inviting all their
friends to a blithe gathering.  At this _festa_ Dante Alighieri met
Beatrice, the little daughter of his host, and the long dream of his
life began, for he idealized her loveliness from that first youthful

"Her dress on that day was of a most noble colour, a subdued and goodly
crimson, girdled and adorned in such sort as best suited with her very
tender age.  At that moment I say most truly that the spirit of life,
which hath its dwelling in the secretest chamber of the heart, began to
tremble so violently that the least pulses of my body shook therewith;
and in trembling it said these words--'_Ecce Deus fortior me, qui
veniens dominabitur mihi._'  From that time Love ruled my soul. . . ."

Henceforth, Dante watched for the vision of Beatrice, weaving about her
all the poetic fancies of his youth.  He must have seen her many times,
but no words passed {22} between them till nine years had sped and he
chanced to come upon her in all the radiance of her womanhood.  She was
"between two gentle ladies who were older than she; and passing by in
the street, she turned her eyes towards that place where I stood very
timidly, and in her ineffable courtesy saluted me so graciously that I
seemed then to see the heights of all blessedness.  And because this
was the first time her words came to my ears, it was so sweet to me
that, like one intoxicated, I left all my companions, and retiring to
the solitary refuge of my chamber I set myself to think of that most
courteous one, and thinking of her, there fell upon me a sweet sleep,
in which a marvellous vision appeared to me."  The poet described the
vision in verse--it was Love carrying a sleeping lady in one arm and in
the other the burning heart of Dante.  He wished that the sonnet he
wrote should be answered by "all the faithful followers of love," and
was gratified by the prompt reply of Guido Cavalcanti, who had won
renown as a knight and minstrel.

Dante became the friend of this elder poet, and was encouraged to
pursue his visionary history of the earlier years of his life and his
fantastic adoration for Beatrice Portinari.  The _Vita Nuova_ was read
by the poet's circle, who had a sympathetic interest in the details of
the drama.  The young lover did not confess his love to "the youngest
of the angels," but he continued to worship her long after she had
married Simone de Bardi.

[Illustration: Dante in the Streets of Florence (Evelyn Paul)]

Yet Dante entered into the ruder life of Florence, and took up arms for
the Guelf faction, to which his family belonged.  He fought in 1289 at
the battle of Campaldino against the city of Arezzo and the Ghibellines
who had taken possession of that city.  Florence had been strangely
peaceful in his childhood because the Guelfs were her unquestioned
masters at the time.  It must have {23} been a relief to Florentines to
go forth to external warfare!

Dante played his part valiantly on the battle-field, then returned to
wonderful aloofness from the strife of factions.  He was stricken with
grave fears that Beatrice must die, and mourned sublimely when the sad
event took place on the ninth day of one of the summer months of 1290.
"In their ninth year they had met, nine years after, they had spoken;
she died on the ninth day of the month and the ninetieth year of the

Real life began with the poet's marriage when he was twenty-eight, for
he allied himself to the noble Donati by marrying Gemma of that house.
Little is known of the wife, but she bore seven children and seems to
have been devoted.  Dante still had his spiritual love for Beatrice in
his heart, and planned a wonderful poem in which she should be
celebrated worthily.

Dante began to take up the active duties of a citizen in 1293 when the
people of Florence rose against the nobles and took all their political
powers from them.  The aristocratic party had henceforth to submit to
the humiliation of enrolling themselves as members of some guild or art
if they wished to have political rights in the Republic.  The poet was
not too proud to adopt this course, and was duly entered in the
register of the art of doctors and apothecaries.  It was not necessary
that he should study medicine, the regulation being a mere form,
probably to carry out the idea that every citizen possessing the
franchise should have a trade of some kind.

The prosperity of the Republic was not destroyed by this petty
revolution.  Churches were built and stones laid for the new walls of
Florence.  Relations with other states demanded the services of a
gracious and tactful {24} embassy.  Dante became an ambassador, and was
successful in arranging the business of diplomacy and in promoting the
welfare of his city.  He was too much engaged in important affairs to
pay attention to every miserable quarrel of the Florentines.  The
powerful Donati showed dangerous hostility now to the wealthy Cerchi,
their near neighbours.  Dante acted as a mediator when he could spare
the time to hear complaints.  He was probably more in sympathy with the
popular cause which was espoused by the Cerchi than with the arrogance
of his wife's family.

The feud of the Donati and Cerchi was fostered by the irruption of a
family from Pistoia, who had separated into two distinct branches--the
Bianchi and the Neri (the Whites and the Blacks)--and drawn their
swords upon each other.  The Cerchi chose to believe that the Bianchi
were in the right, and, of course, the Donati took up the cause of the
Neri.  The original dispute had long been forgotten, but any excuse
would serve two factions anxious to fight.  Brawling took place at a
May _festa_, in which several persons were wounded.

Dante was glad to divert his mind from all his discords when the last
year of the thirteenth century came and he set out to Rome on
pilgrimage.  At Easter all the world seemed to be flocking to that
solemn festival of the Catholic Church, where the erring could obtain
indulgence by fifteen days of devotion.  Yet the very break in the
usual life of audiences and journeys must have been grateful to the
tired ambassador.  He began to muse on the poetic aims of his first
youth and the work which was to make Beatrice's name immortal.  Some
lines of the new poem were written in the Latin tongue, then held the
finest language for expressing a great subject.  The poet had to
abandon his scheme for {25} a time at least, when he was made one of
the Priors, or supreme rulers, of Florence in June 1300.

There was some attempt during Dante's brief term of office to settle
the vexed question of the rival parties.  Both deserved punishment,
without doubt, and received it in the form of banishment for the heads
of the factions.  "Dante applied all his genius and every act and
thought to bring back unity to the republic, demonstrating to the wiser
citizens how even the great are destroyed by discord, while the small
grow and increase infinitely when at peace. . . ."

Apparently Dante was not always successful in his attempts to unite his
fellow-citizens.  He talked of resignation sometimes and retirement
into private life, a proposal which was opposed by his friends in
office.  When the losing side decided to ask Pope Boniface for an
arbitrator to settle their disputes, all Dante's spirit rose against
their lack of patriotism.  He went willingly on an embassy to desire
that Charles, the brother or cousin of King Philip of France, who had
been selected to regulate the state of Florence, should come with a
friendly feeling to his party, if his arrival could not be averted.  He
remained at Rome with other ambassadors for some unknown cause, while
his party at Florence was defeated and sentence of banishment was
passed on him as on the other leaders.

Dante loved the city of his birth and was determined to return from
exile.  He joined the band of _fuor-usciti_, or "turned-out," who were
at that time plotting to reverse their fortunes.  He cared not whether
they were Guelf or Ghibelline in his passionate eagerness to win them
to decisive action that would restore him to his rights as a Florentine
citizen.  He had no scruples in seeking foreign aid against the unjust
Florentines.  An {26} armed attempt was made against Florence through
his fierce endeavours, but it failed, as also a second conspiracy
within three years, and by 1304 the poet had been seized with disgust
of his companions outside the gates.  He turned from them and went to
the University of Bologna.

Dante's wife had remained in Florence, escaping from dangers, perhaps,
because she belonged to the powerful family of Donati.  Now she sent
her eldest son, Pietro, to his father, with the idea that he should
begin his studies at the ancient seat of learning.

After two years of a quiet life, spent in writing his _Essay on
Eloquence_ and reading philosophy, the exile was driven away from
Bologna and had to take refuge with a noble of the Malespina family.
He hated to receive patronage, and was thankful to set to work on his
incomplete poem of the _Inferno_, which was sent to him from Florence.
The weariness of exile was forgotten as he wrote the great lines that
were to ring through the centuries and prove what manner of man his
fellow-citizens had cast forth through petty wish for revenge and
jealous hatred.  He had written beautiful poems in his youth, telling
of love and chivalry and fair women.  Now he took the next world for
his theme and the sufferings of those whose bodies have passed from
earth and whose souls await redemption.  "Where I am sailing none has
tracked the sea" were his words, avowing an intention to forsake the
narrower limits of all poets before him.

  "In the midway of this our mortal life,
  I found one in a gloomy wood, astray
  Gone from the path direct; and e'en to tell
  It were no easy task, how savage wild
  That forest, how robust and rough its growth,
  Which to remember only, my dismay
  Renews, in bitterness not far from death."


So the poet descended in imagination to the underworld, which he
pictured reaching in wide circles from a vortex of sin and misery to a
point of godlike ecstasy.  With Vergil as a guide, he passed through
the dark portals with their solemn warning.

  "Through me men pass to city of great woe,
  Through me men pass to endless misery,
  Through me men pass where all the lost ones go."

In 1305 the _Inferno_ was complete, and Dante left it with the monks of
a certain convent while he wandered into a far-distant country.  The
Frate questioned him eagerly, asking why he had chosen to write the
poem in Italian since the vulgar tongue seemed to clothe such a
wonderful theme unbecomingly.  "When I considered the condition of the
present age," the poet replied, "I saw that the songs of the most
illustrious poets were neglected of all, and for this reason
high-minded men who once wrote on such themes now left (oh! pity) the
liberal arts to the crowd.  For this I laid down the pure lyre with
which I was provided and prepared for myself another more adapted to
the understanding of the moderns.  For it is vain to give sucklings
solid food."

Dante fled Italy and again sat on the student's "bundle of straw,"
choosing Paris as his next refuge.  There he discussed learned
questions with the wise men of France, and endured much privation as
well as the pangs of yearning for Florence, his beloved city, which
seemed to forget him.  Hope rose within his breast when the
newly-elected Emperor, Henry of Luxemburg, resolved to invade Italy and
pacify the rebellious spirit of the proud republics.  Orders were given
that Florence should settle her feuds once for all, {28} but the
Florentines angrily refused to acknowledge the imperial authority over
their affairs and, while recalling a certain number of the exiled,
refused to include the name of Dante.

Dante, in his fierce resentment, urged the Emperor to besiege the city
which resisted his imperial mandates.  The assault was unsuccessful,
and Henry of Luxemburg died without accomplishing his laudable
intention of making Italy more peaceful.

Dante lived under the protection of the powerful Uguccione, lord of
Pisa, while he wrote the _Purgatorio_.  The second part of his epic
dealt with the region lying between the under-world of torment and the
heavenly heights of Paradise itself.  Here the souls of men were to be
cleansed of their sins that they might be pure in their final ecstasy.

A revolt against his patron led the poet to follow him to Verona, where
they both dwelt in friendship with the young prince, Cane della Scala.
The later cantos of the great poem, the _Divine Comedy_, were sent to
this ruler as they were written.  Cane loved letters, and appreciated
Dante so generously that the exile, for a time, was moved to forget his
bitterness.  He dedicated the _Paradiso_ to della Scala, but he had to
give up the arduous task of glorifying Beatrice worthily and devote
himself to some humble office at Verona.  The inferiority of his
position galled one who claimed Vergil and Homer as his equals in the
world of letters.  He lost all his serene tranquillity of soul, and his
face betrayed the haughty impatience of his spirit.  Truly he was not
the fitting companion for the buffoons and jesters among whom he was
too often compelled to sit in the palaces where he accepted bounty.  He
could not always win respect by the power of his dark and {29} piercing
eyes, for he had few advantages of person and disdained to be genial in
manners.  Brooding over neglect and injustice, he grew so repellant
that Cane was secretly relieved when thoughtless, cruel levity drove
the poet from his court.  He never cared, perhaps, that Dante, writing
the concluding cantos of his poem, decided sadly not to send them to
his former benefactor.

The last goal of Dante's wanderings was the ancient city of Ravenna,
where his genius was honoured by the great, and he derived a melancholy
pleasure from the wonder of the people, who would draw aside from his
path and whisper one to another: "Do you see him who goes to hell and
comes back again when he pleases?"  The fame of the _Divine Comedy_ was
known to all, and men were amazed by the splendid audacity of the

Yet Dante was still an exile when death took him in 1321, and Florence
had stubbornly refused to pay him tribute.  He was buried at Ravenna,
and over his tomb in the little chapel an inscription reproached his
own city with indifference.

  "_Hic claudor Dantes patriis extorris ab oris,_
  _Quem genuit parvi Florentia mater amoris._"

  "Here I am enclosed, Dante, exiled from my native country,
  Whom Florence bore, the mother that little did love him."


Chapter III

Lorenzo the Magnificent

The struggle in which Dante had played a leading part did not cease for
many years after the poet had died in exile.  The Florentines proved
themselves so unable to rule their own city that they had to admit
foreign control and bow before the Lords Paramount who came from
Naples.  The last of these died in 1328 and was succeeded by the Duke
of Athens.  This tyrant roused the old spirit of the people which had
asserted its independence in former days.  He was driven out of
Florence on Saint Anne's Day, July 26th of 1343, and the anniversary of
that brave fight for liberty was celebrated henceforth with loud

The _Ciompi_, or working-classes, rose in 1378 and demanded higher
wages.  They had been grievously oppressed by the nobles, and were
encouraged by a general spirit of revolt which affected the peasantry
of Europe.  They were strong enough in Florence to set up a new
government with one of their own rank as chief magistrate.  But
democracy did not enjoy a lengthy rule and the rich merchant-class came
into power.  Such families as the Albizzi and Medici were well able to
buy the favour of the people.

There had been a tradition that the Florentine banking-house of Medici
were on the popular side in those struggles which rent Florence.  They
were certainly born leaders {31} and understood very thoroughly the
nature of their turbulent fellow-citizens.  They gained influence
steadily during the sway of their rivals, the illustrious Albizzi.
When Cosimo dei Medici had been banished, it was significant that the
same convention of the people which recalled him should send Rinaldo
degli Albizzi into exile.

Cosimo dei Medici rid himself of enemies by the unscrupulous method of
his predecessors, driving outside the walls the followers of any party
that opposed him.  He had determined to control the Florentines so
cleverly that they should not realize his tyranny.  He was quite
willing to spend the hoards of his ancestors on the adornment of the
state he governed, and, among other things, he built the famous convent
of St Mark.  Fra Angelico, the painter-monk, was given the work of
covering its white walls with the frescoes in which the monks delighted.

Cosimo gained thereby the reputation of liberality and gracious
interest in the development of genius.  The monk had devoted his time
before this to the illuminations of manuscripts, and was delighted to
work for the glory of God in such a way that all the convent might
behold it.  He wished for neither profit not praise for himself, but he
knew that his beautiful vision would be inherited by his Church, and
that they might inspire others of his brethren.

The Golden Age of Italian art was in its heyday under Cosimo dei
Medici.  Painters and architects had not been disturbed by the tumults
that drew the rival factions from their daily labours.  They had been
constructing marvellous edifices in Florence even during the time when
party feeling ran so high that it would have sacrificed the very
existence of the city to its rancours.  {32} The noble Cathedral had
begun to rise before Dante had been banished, but there was no belfry
till 1334 when Giotto laid the foundation-stone of the _Campanile_,
whence the bells would ring through many centuries.  The artist had
completed his masterpiece in 1387, two years before the birth of
Cosimo.  It was an incentive to patriotic Florentines to add to the
noble buildings of their city.  The Church of San Lorenzo owed its
existence to the House of Medici, which appealed to the people by
lavish appreciation of all genius.

Cosimo was a scholar and welcomed the learned Greeks who fled from
Constantinople when that city was taken by the Turks in 1453.  He
founded a Platonic Academy in Florence so that his guests were able to
discuss philosophy at leisure.  He professed to find consolation for
all the misfortunes of his life in the writings of the Greek Plato, and
read them rather ostentatiously in hours of bereavement.  He collected
as many classical manuscripts as his agents could discover on their
journeys throughout Europe, and had these translated for the benefit of
scholars.  He had been in the habit of conciliating Alfonso of Naples
by a present of gold and jewels, but as soon as a copy of Livy, the
Latin historian, came to his hand, he sent the priceless treasure to
his ally, knowing that the Neapolitan prince had an enormous reverence
for learning.  Cosimo, in truth, never coveted such finds for his own
private use, but was always generous in exhibiting them at public
libraries.  He bought works of art to encourage the ingenuity of
Florentine craftsmen, and would pay a high price for any new design,
because he liked to think that his benevolence added to the welfare of
the city.

Cosimo protected the commercial interests of Florence, identifying them
with his own.  He knew that peace {33} was essential to the foreign
trade, and tried to keep on friendly terms with the neighbours whose
hostility would have destroyed it.  He lived with simplicity in private
life, but he needed wealth to maintain his position as patron of art
and the New Learning; nor did he grudge the money which was scattered
profusely to provide the gorgeous spectacles, beloved by the unlearned.
He knew that nothing would rob the Florentines so easily of their
ancient love of liberty as the experience of sensuous delights, in
which all southern races find some satisfaction.  He entertained the
guests of the Republic with magnificence, that they might be impressed
by the security of his unlawful government.

Lorenzo, the grandson of Cosimo dei Medici, carried on his policy.  It
had been successful, for the Florentines of their own accord put
themselves beneath the sway of a second tyrant.

"Poets of every kind, gentle and simple, with golden cithern and with
rustic lute, came from every quarter to animate the suppers of the
Magnifico; whosoever sang of arms, of love, of saints, of fools, was
welcome, or he who, drinking and joking, kept the company amused. . . .
And in order that the people might not be excluded from this new
beatitude (a thing which was important to the Magnifico), he composed
and set in order many mythological representations, triumphal cars,
dances, and every kind of festal celebration, to solace and delight
them; and thus he succeeded in banishing from their souls any
recollection of their ancient greatness, in making them insensible to
the ills of the country, in disfranchising and debasing them by means
of temporal ease and intoxication of the senses."

Lorenzo the Magnificent was endowed with charms {34} that were
naturally potent with a beauty-loving people.  He had been very
carefully trained by the prudent Cosimo, so that he excelled in
physical exercises and could also claim a place among the most
intellectual in Florence.  Although singularly ill-favoured, he had
personal qualities which attracted men and women.  He spared no pains
to array himself with splendour whenever he appeared in public.  At
tournaments he wore a costume ornamented with gold and silver thread,
and displayed the great Medicean diamond--_Il Libro_--on his shield,
which bore the _fleur-de-lis_ of France in token of the friendship
between the Medici and that nation.  The sound of drums and fifes
heralded the approach of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and cheers acclaimed
him victor when he left the field bearing the coveted silver helmet as
a trophy.

Lorenzo worshipped a lady who had given him a bunch of violets as a
token, according to the laws of chivalry.  He wrote sonnets in honour
of Lucrezia Donati, but he was not free to marry her, the great house
of Medici looking higher than her family.  The bride, chosen for the
honour of mating with the ruler of Florence, was a Roman lady of such
noble birth that it was not considered essential that she should bring
a substantial dowry.  Clarice Orsini was dazzled at her wedding-feast
by the voluptuous splendour of the family which she entered.

The ceremony took place at Florence in 1469 and afforded an excuse for
lavish hospitality.  The bride received her own guests in the garden of
the villa where she was to reign as mistress.  Young married women
surrounded her, admiring the costliness of her clothing and preening
themselves in the rich attire which they had assumed for this great
occasion.  In an upper {35} room of the villa the bridegroom's mother
welcomed her own friends of mature years, and listened indulgently to
the sounds of mirth that floated upward from the cloisters of the
courtyard.  Lorenzo sat there with the great Florentines who had
assembled to honour his betrothal.  The feast was served with solemnity
at variance with the wit and laughter that were characteristic of the
gallant company.  The blare of trumpets heralded the arrival of dishes,
which were generally simple.  The stewards and carvers bowed low as
they served the meats; their task was far from light since abundance
was the rule of the house of Medici.  No less than five thousand pounds
of sweetmeats had been provided for the wedding, but it must be
remembered that the banquets went on continuously for several days, and
the humblest citizen could present himself at the hospitable boards of
the bridegroom and his kinsfolk.  The country-folk had sent the usual
gifts, of fat hens and capons, and were greeted with a welcome as
gracious as that bestowed on the guests whose offerings were rings or
brocades or costly illuminated manuscripts.

After his marriage, Lorenzo was called upon to undertake a foreign
mission.  He travelled to Milan and there stood sponsor to the child of
the reigning Duke, Galeazzo Sforza, in order to cement an alliance.  He
gave a gold collar, studded with diamonds, to the Duchess of Milan, and
answered as became him when she was led to express the hope that he
would be godfather to all her children!  It was Lorenzo's duty to act
as host when the Duke of Milan came to visit Florence.  He was not
dismayed by the long train of attendants which followed the Duke, for
he knew that these richly-dressed warriors might be bribed to {36}
fight for his State if he conciliated their master.  There were
citizens in Florence, however, who shrank from the barbaric ostentation
of their ally.  They looked upon a fire which broke out in a church as
a divine denunciation of the mystery play performed in honour of their
guests, and were openly relieved to shut their gates upon the Duke of
Milan and his proud forces.

Lorenzo betrayed no weakness when the town of Volterra revolted against
Florence, which exercised the rights of a protector.  He punished the
inhabitants very cruelly, banishing all the leaders of the revolt and
taking away the Volterran privilege of self-government.  His enemies
hinted that he behaved despotically in order to secure certain mineral
rights in this territory, and held him responsible for the sack of
Volterra, though he asserted that he had gone to offer help to such of
the inhabitants as had lost everything.

But the war of the Pazzi conspiracy was the true test of the strength
of Medicean government.  It succeeded a time of high prosperity in
Florence, when her ruler was honoured by the recognition of many
foreign powers, and felt his position so secure that he might safely
devote much leisure to the congenial study of poetry and philosophy.

Between the years 1474-8 Lorenzo had managed to incur the jealous
hatred of Pope Sixtus IV, who was determined to become the greatest
power in Christendom.  This Pontiff skilfully detached Naples from her
alliance with Florence and Milan by promising to be content with a
nominal tribute of two white horses every year instead of the handsome
annual sum she had usually exacted from this vassal.  He congratulated
himself especially on this stroke of policy, because he believed Venice
to be too selfish as a commercial State {37} to combine with her
Italian neighbours and so form another Triple Alliance.  He then
proceeded to win over the Duke of Urbino, who had been the leader of
the Florentine army.  He also thwarted the ambition of Florentine trade
by purchasing the tower of Imola from Milan.  The Medici, coveting the
bargain for their traffic with the East, were too indignant to advance
the money which, as bankers to the Papacy, they should have supplied.
They preferred to see their rivals, the great Roman banking-house of
the Pazzi, accommodating the Pope, even though this might mean a fatal
blow to their supremacy.

Lorenzo's hopes of a strong coalition against his foe were destroyed by
the assassination of Sforza of Milan in 1474.  The Duke was murdered in
the church of St Stephen by three young nobles who had personal
injuries to avenge and were also inspired by an ardent desire for
republican liberty.  The Pope exclaimed, when he heard the news, that
the peace of Italy was banished by this act of lawlessness.  Lorenzo,
disapproving of all outbreaks against tyranny, promised to support the
widowed Duchess of Milan.  The control he exercised during her brief
régime came to an end in 1479 with the usurpation of Ludovico, her
Moorish brother-in-law.

Then Riario, the Pope's nephew, saw that the time was ripe for a
conspiracy against the Medici which might deprive them of their power
in Italy.  He allied himself closely with Francesco dei Pazzi, who was
anxious for the aggrandisement of his own family.  His name had long
been famous in Florence, every good citizen watching the ancient _Carro
dei Pazzi_ which was borne in procession at Easter-tide.  The car was
stored with fireworks set alight by means {38} of the Colombina (Dove)
bringing a spark struck from a stone fragment of Christ's tomb.  The
citizens could not forget the origin of the sacred flame, for they had
all heard in youth the story of the return of a crusading member of the
Pazzi house with that precious relic.

The two conspirators hoped to bring a foreign army against Florence
and, therefore, gained the aid of Salviati, Archbishop of Pisa.  The
Pope bade them do as they wished, "provided that there be no killing."
In reality, he was aware that a plot to assassinate both Lorenzo dei
Medici and his brother, Giuliano, was on foot, but considered that it
would degrade his holy office if he spoke of it.

It was necessary for their first plan that Lorenzo should be lured to
Rome where the conspirators had assembled, but he refused an invitation
to confer with the Pope about their differences and a new plan had to
be substituted.  Accordingly the nephew of Riario, Cardinal Raffaelle
Sansoni, expressed a keen desire to view the treasures of the Medici
household, and was welcomed as a guest by Florence.  He attended mass
in the Cathedral which was to be the scene of the assassination, since
Lorenzo and his brother were certain to attend it.  Two priests offered
to perform the deed of sacrilege from which the original assassin
recoiled.  They hated Lorenzo for his treatment of Volterra, and drove
him behind the gates of the new sacristy.  Giuliano was slain at the
very altar, his body being pierced with no less than nineteen wounds,
but Lorenzo escaped to mourn the fate of the handsome noble brother who
had been a model for Botticelli's famous "Primavera."

He heard the citizens cry, "Down with traitors!  The Medici!  The
Medici!" and resolved to move {39} them to a desperate vengeance on the
Pazzi.  The Archbishop of Pisa was hanged from the window of a palace,
while a fellow-conspirator was hurled to the ground from the same
building.  This gruesome scene was painted to gratify the avengers of

Florence was enthusiastic in defence of her remaining tyrant.  He was
depicted by Botticelli in an attitude of triumph over the triple forces
of anarchy, warfare and sedition.  All the family of Pazzi were
condemned as traitors.  Their coat of arms was erased by Lorenzo's
adherents wherever it was discovered.

Henceforth, Lorenzo exercised supreme control over his native city.  He
won Naples to a new alliance by a diplomatic visit that proved his
skill in foreign negotiations.  The gifts that came to him from strange
lands were presented, in reality, to the master of the Florentine
"republic."  Egypt sent a lion and a giraffe, which were welcomed as
wonders of the East even by those who did not appreciate the fact that
they showed a desire to trade.  It was easy soon to find new markets
for the rich burghers whose class was in complete ascendancy over the
ancient nobles.

Lorenzo was seized with mortal sickness in the early spring of 1492,
and found no comfort in philosophy.  He drank from a golden cup which
was supposed to revive the dying when it held a draught, strangely
concocted from precious pearls according to some Eastern fancy.  But
the sick man found nothing of avail in his hour of death except a visit
from an honest monk he had seen many times in the cloisters of San

Savonarola came to the bedside of the magnificent pagan and demanded
three things as the price of absolution.  Lorenzo was to believe in the
mercy of God, to {40} restore all that he had wrongfully acquired, and
to agree to popular government being restored to Florence.  The third
condition was too hard, for Lorenzo would not own himself a tyrant.  He
turned his face to the wall in bitterness of spirit, and the monk
withdrew leaving him unshriven.

The sack of Volterra, and the murder of innocent kinsfolk of the Pazzi
who had been involved in the great conspiracy haunted Lorenzo as he
passed from life in the prime of manhood and glorious achievements.  He
would have mourned for the commerce of his city if he had known that in
the same year of 1492 the discovery of America would be made, through
which the Atlantic Ocean was to become the highway of commerce,
reducing to sad inferiority the ports of the Mediterranean.


Chapter IV

The Prior of San Marco

Long before Lorenzo's death, Girolamo Savonarola had made the
corruption of Florence the subject of sermons which drew vast crowds to
San Marco.  The city might pride herself on splendid buildings
decorated by the greatest of Italian painters; she might rouse envy in
the foreign princes who were weary of listening to the praises of
Lorenzo; but the preacher lamented the sins of Florentines as one of
old had lamented the wickedness of Nineveh, and prophesied her downfall
if the pagan lust for enjoyment did not yield to the sternest

Savonarola had witnessed many scenes which showed the real attitude of
the Pope toward religion.  He had been born at Ferrara, where the
extravagant and sumptuous court had extended a flattering welcome to
Pius IV as he passed from town to town to preach a Crusade against the
Turks.  The Pope was sheltered by a golden canopy and greeted by sweet
music, and statues of heathen gods were placed on the river-banks as an
honour to the Vicar of Christ!

Savonarola shrank from court-life and the patronage of Borsi, the
reigning Marquis of Ferrara.  That prince, famed for his banquets, his
falcons, and his robes of gold brocade, would have appointed him the
court physician it he would have agreed to study medicine.  {42} The
study of the Scriptures appealed more to the recluse, whose only
recreation was to play the lute and write verses of a haunting

Against the wishes of his family Savonarola entered the Order of Saint
Dominic.  He gave up the world for a life of the hardest service in the
monastery by day, and took his rest upon a coarse sack at night.  He
was conscious of a secret wish for pre-eminence, no doubt, even when he
took the lowest place and put on the shabbiest clothing.

The avarice of Pope Sextus roused the monk to burning indignation.  The
new Pope lavished gifts on his own family, who squandered on luxury of
every kind the money that should have relieved the poor.  The Church
seemed to have entered zealously into that contest for wealth and power
which was devastating all the free states of Italy.

Savonarola had come from his monastery at Bologna to the Convent of San
Marco when he first lifted up his voice in denunciation.  He was not
well received because he used the Bible--distrusted by the Florentines,
who expressed doubts of the correctness of its Latin!  Pico della
Mirandola, the brilliant young scholar, was attracted, however, by the
friar's eloquence.  A close friendship was formed between these two
men, whose appearance was as much in contrast as their characters.

Savonarola was dark in complexion, with thick lips and an aquiline
nose--only the flashing grey eyes set under overhanging brows redeemed
his face from harshness.  Mirandola, on the other hand, was gifted with
remarkable personal beauty.  Long fair curls hung to his shoulders and
surrounded a face that was both gentle and gracious.  He had an
extraordinary knowledge of languages and a wonderful memory.


Fastidious Florentines were converted to Mirandola's strange taste in
sermons, so that the convent garden with its rose-trees became the
haunt of an ever-increasing crowd, eager to hear doctrines which were
new enough to tickle their palates pleasantly.  On the 1st of August
1489, the friar consented to preach in the Convent Church to the
Dominican brothers and the laymen who continued to assemble in the
cloisters.  He took a passage of Revelations for his text.  "Three
things he suggested to the people.  That the Church of God required
renewal, and that immediately; second, that all Italy should be
chastised; third, that this should come to pass soon."  This was the
first of Savonarola's prophecies, and caused great excitement among the
Florentines who heard it.

At Siena, the preacher pronounced sentence on the Church, which was now
under the rule of Innocent IV, a pope more openly depraved than any of
his predecessors.  Through Lombardy the echo of that sermon sounded and
the name of Girolamo Savonarola.  The monk was banished, and only
recalled to Florence by the favour of Lorenzo dei Medici, who was
undisturbed by a series of sermons against tyranny.

Savonarola was elected Prior of San Marco in July 1491, but he refused
to pay his respects to Lorenzo as the patron of the convent.  "Who
elected me to be Prior--God or Lorenzo?" he asked sternly when the
elder Dominicans entreated him to perform this duty.  "God," was the
answer they were compelled to make.  They were sadly disappointed when
the new Prior decided, "Then I will thank my Lord God, not mortal man."

In the Lent season of this same year Savonarola preached for the first
time in the cathedral or Duomo {44} of Florence.  "The people got up in
the middle of the night to get places for the sermon, and came to the
door of the cathedral, waiting outside till it should be opened, making
no account of any inconvenience, neither of the cold nor the wind, nor
of standing in the winter with their feet on the marble; and among them
were young and old, women and children of every sort, who came with
such jubilee and rejoicing that it was bewildering to hear them, going
to the sermon as to a wedding. . . .  And though many thousand people
were thus collected together no sound was to be heard, not even a
'hush,' until the arrival of the children, who sang hymns with so much
sweetness that heaven seemed to have opened."

The Magnificent often came to San Marco, piqued by the indifference of
the Prior and interested in the personality of the man who had
succeeded in impressing cultured Florentines by simple language.  He
gave gold pieces lavishly to the convent, but the gold was always sent
to the good people of St Martin, who ministered to the needs of those
who were too proud to acknowledge their decaying fortunes.  "The silver
and copper are enough for us," were the words that met the
remonstrances of the other brethren.  "We do not want so much money."
No wonder that Lorenzo remembered the invincible honesty of this Prior
when he was convinced of the hollowness of the life he had led among a
court of flatterers!

The Prior's warnings were heard in Florence with an uneasy feeling that
their fulfilment might be nearer after Lorenzo died and was succeeded
by his son.  Piero dei Medici sent the preacher away from the city, for
he knew that men whispered among themselves that the Dominican had
foretold truly the death of Innocent and the parlous state of Florence
under the {45} new Pope, Alexander VI (Alexander Borgia).  He did not
like the predictions of evil for his own house of Medici, which had now
wielded supreme power in Florence for over sixty years.  It would go
hardly with him if the people were to rise against the tyranny his
fathers had established.

Piero's downfall was hastened by the news that a French army had
crossed the Alps under Charles VIII of France, who intended to take
Naples.  This invasion of Italy terrified the Florentines, for they had
become unwarlike since they gave themselves up to luxury and pleasure.
They dreaded the arrival of the French troops, which were famous
throughout Europe.  On these Charles relied to intimidate the citizens
of the rich states he visited on his way to enforce a claim transmitted
to him through Charles of Anjou.  Piero de Medici made concessions to
the invader without the knowledge of the people.  The Florentines
rebelled against the admission of soldiers within their walls as soon
as the advance guard arrived to mark with chalk the houses they would
choose for their quarters.  There were frantic cries of "_Abbasso le
palle_," "Down with the balls," in allusion to the three balls on the
Medici coat of arms.  Piero himself was disowned and driven from the

All the enemies of the Medici were recalled, and the populace entreated
Savonarola to return and protect them in their hour of peril.  They had
heard him foretell the coming of one who should punish the wicked and
purge Italy of her sins.  Now their belief in the Prior's utterances
was confirmed.  They hastened to greet him as the saviour of their city.

Savonarola went on an embassy to Charles' camp and made better terms
than the Florentines had {46} expected.  Nevertheless, they had to
endure the procession of French troops through their town, and found it
difficult to get rid of Charles VIII, whose cupidity was aroused when
he beheld the wealth of Florence.  There was tumult in the streets,
where soldiers brawled with citizens and enraged their hosts by
insults.  The Italian blood was greatly roused when the invading
monarch threatened "to sound his trumpets" if his demands were not
granted.  "Then we will ring our bells," a bold citizen replied.  The
French King knew how quickly the town could change to a stronghold of
barricaded streets if such an alarm were given, and wisely refrained
from further provocation.  He passed on his way after "looting" the
palace in which he had been lodged.  The Medicean treasures were the
trophies of his visit.

In spite of himself, the monk had to turn politician after the French
army had gone southward.  He was said to have saved the State, and was
implored to assume control now that the tyranny was at an end.  There
was a vision before him of Florence as a free Republic in the truest
sense.  He took up his work gladly for the cause of liberty.  The
_Parliamento_, a foolish assembly of the people which was summoned
hastily to do the will of any faction that could overawe it, was
replaced by the Great Council formed on a Venetian model.  In this sat
the _benefiziati_--those who had held some civic office, and the
immediate descendants of officials.  Florence was not to have a really
democratic government.

After the cares of government, Savonarola felt weary in mind and body;
he had never failed to preach incessantly in the cathedral, where he
expounded his schemes for reform without abandoning his work as
prophet.  He broke down, but again took up his burden {47} bravely.
Florence was a changed city under his rule.  Women clothed themselves
in the simplest garb and forsook such vanities as wigs and rouge-pots.
Bankers, repenting of greed, hastened to restore the wealth they had
wrongly appropriated.  Tradesmen read their Bibles in their shops in
the intervals of business, and were no longer to be found rioting in
the streets.  The Florentine youths, once mischievous to the last
degree, attended the friar daily, and actually gave up their
stone-throwing.  "_Piagnoni_" (Snivellers) was the name given to these
enthusiasts, for the godly were not without opponents.

Savonarola had to meet the danger of an attempt to restore the
authority of Piero dei Medici.  He mustered eleven thousand men and
boys, when a report came that the tyrant had sought the help of Charles
VIII against Florence.  The Pope, also, wished to restore Piero for his
own ends.  In haste the citizens barred their gates and then assembled
in the cathedral to hearken to their leader.

Savonarola passed a stern resolution that any man should be put to
death who endeavoured to destroy the hard-won freedom of his city.
"One must treat these men," he declared, "as the Romans treated those
who sought the recall of Tarquinius."  His fiery spirit inflamed the
Florentines with such zeal that they offered four thousand gold florins
for the head of Piero dei Medici.

The attempt to force the gates of Florence proved a failure.  Piero had
to fly to Rome and the Prior's enemies were obliged to seek a fresh
excuse for attacking his position.  The Pope was persuaded to send for
him that he might answer a charge of disseminating false doctrines.
The preacher defended himself vigorously, {48} and seemed to satisfy
Alexander Borgia, whose aim was to crush a reformer of the Catholic
Church likely to attack his evil practices.  He was, however, forbidden
to preach, and had to be silent at the time when Florence held her

The extraordinary change in the nature of this festival was a tribute
to the influence of Savonarola.  Children went about the streets,
chanting hymns instead of the licentious songs which Lorenzo dei Medici
had written for the purpose.  They begged alms for the poor, and their
only amusement was the _capannucci_, or Bonfire of Vanities, for which
they collected the materials.  Books and pictures, clothes and jewels,
false hair and ointments were piled in great heaps round a kind of
pyramid some sixty feet in height.  Old King Carnival, in effigy, was
placed at the apex of the pyramid, and the interior was filled with
comestibles that would set the whole erection in a blaze as soon as a
taper was applied.  When the signal was given, bells pealed and
trumpets sounded glad farewell to the customs of the ancient carnival.
The procession set forth from San Marco on Palm Sunday (led by
white-robed children with garlands on their heads), and went round the
city till it came to the cathedral.  "And so much joy was there in all
hearts that the glory of Paradise seemed to have descended on earth and
many tears of tenderness and devotion were shed."  So readily did
Florentines confess that the new spirit of Christianity brought more
satisfaction than the noisy licence of a pagan festival.

In 1496 the Pope not only allowed Savonarola to preach, but even
offered him a Cardinal's Hat on condition that he would utter no more
predictions.  "I want no other red hat but that of martyrdom, reddened
{49} by my own blood," was the firm response of the incorruptible
preacher.  He was greeted by joyful shouts when he mounted to the
pulpit of the Duomo, and had reached the height of his popularity in

When a year had passed, Savonarola faced a different world, where
friends were fain to conceal their devotion and enemies became loud in
their constant menaces.  The _Arrabiati_ (enraged) had overcome the
_Piagnoni_ and induced the Pope to pronounce excommunication against
the leader of this party.  The sermons continued, the Papal decree was
ignored, but a new doubt had entered the mind of Florentines.  A
Franciscan monk, Francesco da Puglia, had attacked the Dominican,
calling him a false prophet and challenging him to prove the truth of
his doctrines by the "ordeal by fire."

Savonarola hesitated to accept the challenge, knowing that he would be
destroyed by it, whatever might be the actual issue.  The _Piagnoni_
showed some chagrin when he allowed a disciple, Fra Domenico, to step
into his place as a proof of devotion.  On all sides there were murmurs
at the Prior's strange shrinking and obvious reluctance to meet with a
miracle the charges of his opponents.

A great crowd assembled on the day appointed for the "ordeal" in the
early spring of 1498.  Balconies and roofs were black with human
figures, children clung to columns and statues in order that they might
not lose a glimpse of this rare spectacle.  Only a few followers of
Savonarola prayed and wept in the Piazza of San Marco as the chanting
procession of Domenicans appeared.  Fra Domenico walked last of all,
arrayed in a cope of red velvet to symbolize the martyr's flames.  He
did not fear to prove the strength of his belief, but walked erect and
bore the cross in triumph.  It was the {50} Franciscan brother whose
courage failed for he had never thought, perhaps, that any man would be
brave enough to reply to his awful challenge.

The crowd watched, feverishly expectant, but the hours passed and there
was no sign of Francesco da Puglia.  His brethren found fault with
Domenico's red cope and bade him change it.  They consulted, and came
at last to the conclusion that their own champion had found himself
unable to meet martyrdom.  At length it was announced that there would
be no ordeal--a thunderstorm had not caused one spectator to leave his
place in the Piazza, where there should be wrought a miracle.  It was
clear that the Prior's enemies had sought his death, for they showed a
furious passion of resentment.  Even the _Piagnoni_ were troubled by
doubts of their prophet, who had refused to show his supernatural
powers and silence the Franciscans.  The monks were protected with
difficulty from the violence of the mob as they returned in the April
twilight to the Convent of San Marco.

[Illustration: The Last Sleep of Savonarola.  (Sir George Reid,

There was the sound of vespers in the church when a noise of tramping
feet was heard and the fierce cry, "To San Marco!"  The monks rose from
their knees to shut the doors through which assailants were fast
pouring.  These soldiers of the Cross fought dauntlessly with any
weapon they could seize when they saw that their sacred dwelling was in

Savonarola called the Dominicans round him and led them to the altar,
where he knelt in prayer, commanding them to do likewise.  But some of
the white-robed brethren had youthful spirits and would not refrain
from fighting.  They rose and struggled to meet death, waving lighted
torches about the heads of their assailants.  A novice met naked swords
with a great {51} wooden cross he took to defend the choir from
sacrilege.  "Save Thy people, O God"; it was the refrain of the very
psalm they had been singing.  The place was dense with smoke, and the
noise of the strife was deafening.  A young monk died on the very altar
steps, and received the last Sacrament from Fra Domenico amid this
strange turmoil.

As soon as a pause came in the attack, Savonarola led the brethren to
the library.  He told them quietly that he was resolved to give himself
up to his enemies that there might be no further bloodshed.  He bade
them farewell with tenderness and walked forth into the dangerous crowd
about the convent.  His hands were tied and he was beaten and buffeted
on his way to prison.  The first taste of martyrdom was bitter in his
mouth, and he regretted that he had not answered the Franciscan's

The prophet was put on trial on a charge of heresy and sedition.  He
was tortured so cruelly that he was led to recant and to "confess," as
his judges said.  They had already come to a decision that he was
guilty.  Sentence of death was pronounced, and he mounted the scaffold
on May 23rd, 1498.  He looked upon the multitude gathered in the great
Piazza, but he did not speak to them; he did not save himself, as some
of them were hoping.  It was many years before Florence paid him due
honour as the founder of her liberties and the greatest of her


Chapter V

Martin Luther, Reformer of the Church

The martyrdom of Savonarola gave courage to reformers and renewed the
faith of the people.  It had been his aim to progress steadily toward
the truth and to draw the whole world after him.  Unconsciously he
prepared the way for the German monk who destroyed the unity of the
Catholic Church.  Though he was merciless to papal abuses, it had not
been in the mind of the zealous Dominican to protest against the
doctrines of the Papacy, nor did he ever doubt the faith which had
drawn him to the convent.  He had no wish to destroy--his work was to
purify.  But his death proved that purification was impossible.  Rome
had gone too far on the downward path to be checked by a Reformer.  She
had come at last to the parting of the ways.

Martin Luther knew nothing of the pomp of Italian cities.  He was born
in very humble circumstances at Eisleben, a little town in Germany, on
St Martin's Eve, 1483.  Harsh discipline made his childhood unhappy,
for the age of educational reformers had not yet come.  The little
Martin was beaten and tormented, and had to sing in the streets for

Ambition roused his parents to send him to the University of Erfurt
that he might study law.  He took his degree as Doctor of Philosophy in
1505--the event {53} was celebrated by a torchlight procession and
rejoicing, after the student-custom of those parts.

Then Martin Luther, appalled by the sudden death of a comrade in a
thunderstorm, resolved to devote himself to God.  Luther was a genial
youth, and gave a supper to his friends before he left them; there were
feasting and laughter and a burst of song.  That same evening the door
of a convent opened to receive a novice with two books, Vergil and
Plautus, in his hand.

The novice had to perform the meanest tasks, sweeping floors and
begging in the street on behalf of his brethren of the Augustinian
Order.  "Go through the street with a sack and get food for us," they
clamoured, driving him out that they might resume their idleness.

Staupnitz, the head of the Order, visited the convent and was
interested in the young man to whom fasting and penance did not bring
the peace he craved.  Oppressed by his sins, Luther lived a life of
misery.  He read the Bible constantly, having discovered the Holy Book
by chance within the convent walls.  At last, the words of the creed
brought comfort to him "_I believe_ in the forgiveness of sins."  He
despaired of his soul no longer.  "It was as if I had found the door of
Paradise wide open," he said joyfully, and devoted himself more closely
to the study of the Scriptures.

The fame of Luther's learning spread beyond the convent of his Order.
He was summoned to teach philosophy and theology at Wittenberg, a new
university, founded by Frederick, the Elector of Saxony.  The boldness
of the lecturer's spirit was first shown in his sermons against
"indulgences," one of the worst abuses of the Roman Church.

The Pope claimed to inherit the keys of St Peter, {54} which opened the
treasury containing the good works of the saints and the boundless
merits of Jesus Christ.  He professed to be able to transfer a portion
of this merit to any person who gave a sum of money to purchase pardon
for sins.  "Indulgences" had been first granted to pilgrims and
Crusaders.  They were further extended to those who aided pious works,
such as the building of St Peter's.  The Pope, Leo X, had found the
papal treasury exhausted by his predecessors.  He had to raise money,
and therefore allowed agents to sell pardons throughout Germany.
Tetzel, a Dominican friar, was employed in Saxony.  He was noisy and
dishonest, and spent on his own evil pleasures sums that were given by
the ignorant creatures upon whom he traded to secure their eternal

Luther inveighed against such practices from the pulpit of the church
at Wittenberg.  He was particularly angry to hear Tetzel's wicked
proclamation that "when one dropped a penny into the box for a soul in
purgatory, so soon as the money chinked in the chest, the soul flew up
to heaven."

The papal red cross hung above Tetzel's money-counter, and he sat there
and called on all to buy.  Luther decided on an action that should stop
the shameful traffic, declaring, "God willing, I will beat a hole in
his drum."  On the eve of All Saints' Day a crowd assembled to gaze at
the relics displayed at the Castle church of Wittenberg.  Their
attention was drawn to a paper nailed on the church gate, which set
forth reasons why indulgences were harmful and should be immediately

There were other abuses in the Church of Rome which Luther now openly
deplored.  Hot discussion followed this bold step.  Tetzel retired to
Frankfort, {55} but from there he wrote to contradict the new teaching
of the Augustine monk.  He burnt Luther's theses publicly, and then
heard that his own had been consigned to the flames in the market-place
of Wittenberg, where a host of sympathisers had watched the bonfire
with satisfaction.  Luther did not stand alone in his struggle to free
the Church from vice and superstition.  He lived in an age when men had
learning enough to despise the trickery of worldly monks.  The spirit
of inquiry had lived through the Revival of Letters and Erasmus, the
famous scholar, had discovered many errors in the Roman Church.

Erasmus joined Luther in an attempt to show men that the Holy
Scriptures alone would offer guidance in spiritual matters.  He knew
that a reform of the Western Church was urgently needed, and was
willing to use his subtle brains to confute the arguments of ignorant
opponents.  But soon he found that Luther's temper was too ardent, that
there was no middle course for this impetuous spirit.  He dreaded for
himself the loss of wealth and honour, and refused to make war on those
in high stations, whose patronage had helped him to the rewards of

Alarmed by the spread of Luther's books and doctrines, the cardinals
entreated the Pope to summon him to Rome.  Printing had been invented,
and poor as well as rich could easily be roused to inquire into the
truth of the doctrines taught by Rome.  Leo X had been disposed to
ignore the sermons of the obscure German monk, for he had many schemes
to further his own ambition.  He yielded, at last, and sent the
necessary summons.  Luther was loth to go to Rome, where he was sure of
condemnation.  The Elector Frederick of Saxony came forward as his
champion, not from religious {56} motives, but because he was pleased
to see some prospect of the exactions of the court of Rome being

Cajetan, the Papal Legate, came to preside over a Diet, summoned
specially to Augsburg.  He urged the monk to retract his dangerous
doctrine that the authority of the Bible was above that of the Pope of
Rome.  "Retract, my son, retract," he urged; "it is hard for thee to
kick against the pricks."  But the conference ended where it had
begun--Luther fled back to Wittenberg.

He began to see now that the whole system of Romish government was
wrong, and that there were countless abuses to be swept away before the
Church could truly claim to point the way to Christianity.  Conscience
or authority, the Scriptures or the Church, Germany or Rome?  A choice
had to be made, each man ranging himself on one side or the other.  The
independence of Germany was dear to Luther's heart.  He wrote an
address to the nobles and summoned the Christian princes of Germany to
his aid.  He declared that all Christians were priests, and that the
Church and nation ought to be freed from the interference of the
Papacy.  He was becoming an avowed enemy of the Pope, losing his former
reluctance to attack authority.  A Bull was, of course, issued against
him, but the students of Erfurt threw the paper on which it was written
into the river, saying contemptuously--"It is a bubble, let it swim!"

In December, 1520, Luther himself burnt the Bull on a fire kindled for
the purpose at the Elster Gate of Wittenberg.  He said, as he committed
the document to the flames, "As thou hast vexed the saints of God, so
mayest thou be consumed in eternal fire."  The act cut him off from the
Papacy for ever.  He had defied the Pope in the presence of many
witnesses.  {57} Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, was not in a
position to take up the cause of Luther against his powerful enemies.
He maintained an alliance with the Pope so that he would oppose the
vast schemes which his rival, Francis I of France, was maturing.  At
the same time, he owed a debt of gratitude to the Elector Frederick,
who was one of the seven German princes possessing the right to "elect"
a new emperor.  He decided, after a brief struggle, to yield to the
demands of the Papal Legates.  He ordered Martin Luther to come to
Worms and appear before the great Diet, or Assembly of German rulers,
which met in 1521.

Luther obeyed at once, making a triumphant journey through many towns
and villages.  Music fell on his ears pleasantly, a portrait of
Savonarola was sent to him that he might feel his courage strengthened.
Had not his resolve been fixed, he would have turned back at Weimar,
where he found an edict posted on the walls ordering all his writings
to be burnt.  "I am lawfully called to appear in that city," he said,
"and thither will I go in the name of the Lord, though as many devils
as there are tiles on the houses were there combined against me."  He
was stricken with illness at Eisenach, but went on as soon as he
recovered.  When he caught sight of the old towers of Worms, his spirit
leapt with joy, and he began to sing his famous hymn, "_Ein feste Burg
ist unser Gott._"  ("A mighty fortress is our God.")

The crowded streets testified to the fame that had gone before him.
Not even the Emperor had met with such a flattering reception.  Saxon
noblemen welcomed him, and friendly speech cheered him to meet the
ordeal of the next day.  The Diet was an impressive assembly, with the
Emperor on his throne and the great dignitaries {58} of State around
him, clad in all the majesty of red and purple.  Not the chivalry of
Germany only had flocked to hear the defence of Martin Luther for
Spanish warriors sat there in yellow cloaks and added lustre to the
splendid gathering.

Luther's courageous stand against his adversaries won many to his
cause.  He would not withdraw one word he had written or spoken, nor
did he consent to his opinions being tried by any other rule than the
word of God.

Eric, the aged Duke of Brunswick, sent him a silver can of Einbech beer
as a token of sympathy.  Weary of strife, Luther drank it, saying, "As
Duke Eric has remembered me this day, so may our Lord Christ remember
him in his last struggle."

The reformer called in vain on the Emperor and States, assembled at
Worms, to consider the parlous case of the Church, lest God should
visit the German nation with His judgment.  A severe edict was
published against him by the authority of the Diet, and he was deprived
of all the privileges he enjoyed as a subject of the Empire.
Furthermore, it was forbidden for any prince to harbour or protect him,
and his person was to be seized as soon as the safe-conduct for the
journey had expired.

As Luther returned to Wittenberg, a band of horsemen took him and
carried him off to the strong castle of Wartburg, where he was lodged
in the disguise of a knight.  It was a ruse of the Elector of Saxony to
save him from the storm he had roused by his behaviour at the Diet.
Imprisonment was not irksome, and the retreat was pleasant enough after
the strife of years.  He hunted in his character of gallant cavalier,
and always wore a sword.  Much of his time was spent in {59}
translating the Scriptures into German, that knowledge might not be
denied even to the unlettered.  Constant study made his imagination
very vivid, and the devil seemed to be constantly before him.  He had
long conversations with Satan in person, as he believed, and decided
that the best way to get rid of him was by gibes and mockery.  One
night his bed shook with the violent agitation caused by the rattling
of some hazel nuts against each other after they had felt the
inspiration of the Evil One!  On another occasion a diabolical moth
buzzed round him, preventing close attention to his labours.  He hurled
an inkstand at the intruder, staining the wall of the chamber with a
mark that remained there through centuries.

During this confinement, Luther's opinions gained ground in Saxony.
The University of Wittenberg made several alterations in the form of
Church worship, abolishing, in particular, the celebration of private
masses for the souls of the dead.  Two events counteracted the pleasure
of the reformer when the news came to him.  He was told that the
ancient University of Paris had condemned his doctrines, and that Henry
VIII of England had written a reply to one of his books, so ably that
the Pope had been delighted to confer on him the title of Defender of
the Faith.

In 1522, Luther returned to Wittenberg, enjoying a harmless jest at
Jena by the way.  There his disguise of red mantle and doublet so
deceived fellow-travellers that they told him their intention of going
to see Martin Luther return, without realizing that they were speaking
to the great reformer!

His next sermons were not fortunate in their results, since the
peasants failed to understand them.  A class war followed, in which
Luther took the part of mediator, {60} trying to show his poorer
neighbours the evils their violence would bring on themselves, and
reproaching the nobles with their oppressive customs.  He was angry
that the new religious spirit should be discredited by social disorder,
and spoke bitterly of all who refused to heed his remonstrances.
Erasmus was shocked by Luther's roughness of speech, and withdrew more
and more from the reforming party.  He hated the old monkish teaching
and desired literary freedom, but he could not forgive the excesses of
this thorough-going reformer.

In 1523, Luther gave grave offence to many of his own followers by
marrying Catherine von Bora, a nun who had left her convent.  He had
cast off the Roman belief that a priest should never marry, but public
feeling could not approve of a change which was in conflict with so
many centuries of tradition.  The Reformer's home life was happy,
nevertheless, and six children were born of the marriage.  As a father,
Luther showed much tenderness.  He wrote with a marvellous simplicity
to his eldest son: "I know a very pretty, pleasant garden and in it
there are a great many children, all dressed in little golden coats,
picking up nice apples and pears and cherries and plums, under the
trees.  And they sing and jump about and are very merry; and besides,
they have got beautiful little horses with golden bridles and silver
saddles.  Then I asked the man to whom the garden belonged, whose
children they were, and he said, 'These are children who love to pray
and learn their lessons, and do as they are bid'; then I said, 'Dear
sir, I have a little son called Johnny Luther; may he come into this
garden too?'"

Luther's translation of the Bible was read with wonderful attention by
people of every rank.  Other {61} countries of Europe also were
influenced by his doctrines, with the result of a diminution of the
blind faith in priestcraft.  Nuremburg, Frankfort, Hamburg, and other
imperial free cities in Germany openly embraced the reformed religion,
abolishing the mass and other "superstitious rites of popery."  The
secular princes drew up a list of one hundred grievances, enumerating
the grievous burdens laid upon them by the Holy See.  In 1526 a Diet
assembled at Speyer to consider the state of religion!  The Diet
enjoined all those who had obeyed the decree issued against Luther at
Worms to continue to observe it, and to prohibit other States from
attempting any further innovation in religion till the meeting of a
general council.  The Elector of Saxony, with the heads of other
principalities and free cities, entered a solemn "protest" against this
decree, as unjust and impious.  On that account they were distinguished
by the name of Protestants.

At Augsburg, where priests and statesmen met together in 1530, the
Protestant form of religion was established.  The reformers issued
there a "confession" of their faith, known as the Augsburg Confession,
and which placed them for ever apart from the old Roman Catholic
Church.  A zeal for religion had seized on men excited by their own
freedom to find the truth for themselves.  Luther lamented the strife
that of necessity followed, often wondering whether he had not been too
bold in opposing the ancient traditions of Rome.  For he had aimed at
purification rather than separation, and would have preferred to keep
the old Church rather than to set up a new one in its place.  "He was
never for throwing away old shoes till he had got new ones."  Naturally
reformers of less moderate nature did not love him.  He detested
argument for {62} argument's sake.  There was nothing crafty or subtle
in his nature.  He poured out the honest convictions of his heart
without regard to the form in which he might express them.

In 1546, Luther had promised to settle a dispute between two nobles,
and set out on his journey, feeling a presentiment that the end of
worldly strife was come for him.  On the way, he visited Eisleben,
where he had been born, and there died.  His body was taken to
Wittenberg, the scene of his real life-work.

Germany had been restless before the reforms of Martin Luther,
disinclined to believe all that was taught by monks and inculcated by
tradition.  The authority of the Pope had kept men's souls in bondage.
They hardly dared to judge for themselves what was right and what was
wrong.  If money could free them from the burden of sins, they paid it
gladly, acquitting themselves of all responsibility.  Now conscience
had stirred and the mind been slowly awakened.  Luther declared his
belief that each was responsible to God for his own soul, and there was
a universal echo.  "I _believe_ in the forgiveness of sins."  The truth
which had shone on the troubled monk was the truth to abide for ever
with his followers.  "No priest can save you! no masses or indulgences
can help you!  But God has saved you!"  The voice of the preacher came
to the weary, crying out from ancient cathedrals and passionately
swaying the whole nation of Germany.  Europe was in need of the same
moral freedom.  Other countries took up the new creed and examined it,
finding that which would work like a leaven in the corruptness of the


Chapter VI

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

The sixteenth century was an age of splendid monarchs, who vied with
each other in the luxury of their courts, the chivalry of their
bearing, and the extent of their possessions.

Francis I was a patron of the New Learning, the pride of France, ever
devoted to a monarch with some dash of the heroic in his composition.
He was dark and handsome, and excelled in the tournaments, where he
tried to recapture the romance of the Middle Ages by his knightly
equipment and gallant feats of arms.

Henry VIII, the King of England, was eager to spend the wealth he had
inherited on the glittering pageants which made the people forget the
tyranny of the Tudor monarchs.  He was four years the senior of
Francis, but still under thirty when Charles the Fifth succeeded, in
1516, to the wide realms of the Spanish Crown.

This king was likely to eclipse the pleasure-loving rivals of France
and England, for he had vast power in Europe through inheritance of the
great possessions of his house.  Castile and Aragon came to Charles
through his mother, Joanna, who was the daughter of Ferdinand and
Isabella.  Naples and Sicily went with Aragon, though, as a matter of
fact, they had been appropriated in violation of a treaty.  The Low
Countries were part of the dominions of Charles' grandmother, Mary of
{64} Burgundy, who had married Philip, the Archduke of Austria.  When
Maximilian of Austria died in 1519, he desired that his grandson should
succeed not only to his dominions in Europe, but also to the proud
title of Holy Roman Emperor, which was not hereditary.  With the
treasures of the New World at his disposal, through the discoveries of
Christopher Columbus, Charles V had little doubt that he could obtain
anything he coveted.

It was soon evident that Charles' claim to the Empire would be disputed
by Francis I, who declared, "An he spent three millions of gold he
would be Emperor."  The French King had a fine army, and money enough
to bribe the German princes, in whose hands the power of "electing"
lay.  Francis' ambassadors travelled from one to another with a train
of horses, heavily laden with sumptuous offerings, but these found it
quite impossible to bribe Frederick the Wise of Saxony.

Charles did not scruple to use bribery, and he hoped to win Henry of
England by flattery and by appealing to him as a kinsman; for his aunt,
Catherine of Aragon, was Henry's Queen at that time.  The Tudor King
had boldly taken for his motto, "Whom I defend is master," but he had
secret designs on the Imperial throne himself, and thought either
Francis I or Charles V would become far too powerful in Europe if the
German electors appointed one of them.

The Pope entered into the struggle because he knew that Charles of
Spain would be likely to destroy the peace of Italy by demanding the
Duchy of Milan, which was then under French rule.  He gave secret
advice, therefore, to the German electors to choose one of their own
number, and induced them to offer the Imperial rank to Frederick the
Wise of Saxony.  {65} This prince did not feel strong enough to beat
off the attacks of Selim, the ruler of the Ottoman Empire, then
threatening the land of Hungary.  He refused to become Emperor and
suggested that the natural resistance to the East should come from

Charles, undoubtedly, had Spanish gold that would assist him in this
struggle.  In 1519 he was invested with the imperial crown and began to
dream of further conquests.  A quarrel with France followed, both sides
having grievances that made friendship impossible at that period.
Charles had offended Francis I by promising to aid d'Albert of Navarre
to regain his kingdom.  He also wished to claim the Duchy of Milan as
the Pope had predicted, and was indignant that Burgundy, which had been
filched from his grandmother by Louis XI, had never been restored to
his family.

Francis renewed an ancient struggle in reclaiming Naples.  He was
determined not to yield to imperial pride, and sought every means of
conciliating Henry VIII of England, who seemed eager to assert himself
in Europe.  The two monarchs met at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in
1513 and made a great display of friendship.  They were both skilled
horsemen and showed to advantage in a tournament, having youth and some
pretensions to manly beauty in their favour.  The meeting between them
was costly and did not result as Francis had anticipated, since Charles
V had been recently winning a new ally in the person of Cardinal
Wolsey, the chief adviser of the young King of England.

Wolsey was ambitious and longed for the supreme honour of the Catholic
Church.  He believed that he might possibly attain this through the
nephew of {66} Catherine of Aragon.  He commended Charles to his
master, and in the end gained for him an Austrian alliance.  There was
even some talk of a marriage between the Emperor and the little
Princess Mary.

A treaty with the Pope made Charles V more sanguine of success than
ever.  Leo X belonged to the family of the Medici and hoped to restore
the ancient prestige of that house.  He was overjoyed to receive Parma
and Placentia as a result of his friendship with the ambitious Emperor,
and now agreed to the expulsion of the French from Milan on condition
that Naples paid a higher tribute to the Papal See.

These arrangements were concluded without reference to Chièvres, the
Flemish councillor, whose influence with Charles had once been
paramount.  Henceforward, the Emperor ruled his scattered empire,
relying only upon his own strength and capability.  He naturally met
with disaffection among his subjects, for the Spaniards were jealous of
his preference for the Netherlands, where he had been educated, and the
people of Germany resented his long sojourn in Spain, thinking that
they were thereby neglected.  It would have been impossible for Charles
to have led a more active life or to have striven more courageously to
retain his hold over far distant countries.  He was constantly
travelling to the different parts of his empire, and made eleven
sea-voyages during his reign--an admirable record in days when voyages
were comparatively dangerous.

Charles changed his motto from _Nondum_ to _Plus ultra_ as he proceeded
to send fleets across the ocean that the banner of Castile might float
proudly on the distant shores of the Pacific.  But the war with France
was the real interest of the Emperor's life and he pursued it
vigorously, obtaining supplies from the Spanish {67} _Cortes_ or
legislative authority of Spain.  He gained the sympathy of that nation
during his residence at Madrid from 1522-9 and pacified the rebellious
spirit of the _Communes_ which administered local affairs.  His
marriage with Isabella of Portugal proved, too, that he would maintain
the traditions of the Spanish monarchy.

In 1521 the French were driven from the Duchy of Milan and in 1522 they
were compelled to retire from Italy.  In the following year the
Constable of Bourbon deserted Francis to espouse the Emperor's cause,
because he had received many insults from court favourites.  He had
been removed from the government of Milan, and was fond of quoting the
words of an old Gascon knight first spoken in the reign of Charles VII:
"Not three kingdoms like yours could make me forsake you, but one
insult might."

Bourbon was rebuked for his faithlessness to his King at the battle of
La Biagrasse where Bayard, that perfect knight, _sans peur et sans
reproche_, fell with so many other French nobles.  The Constable had
compassion on the wounded man as he lay at the foot of a tree with his
face still turned to the enemy.  "Sir, you need have no pity for me,"
the knight answered bravely, "for I die an honest man; but I have pity
on you, seeing you serve against your prince, your country, and your

Bourbon may have blushed at the rebuke, but he took the field gallantly
at Pavia on behalf of the Emperor.  Francis I had invaded Italy and
occupied Milan, but he was not quick to follow up his success and met
defeat at the hands of his vassal on February 24th, 1525, which was
Charles V's twenty-fifth birthday.  The flower of France fell on the
battle-field, while the King himself {68} was taken prisoner.  He would
not give up his sword to the traitor Bourbon, but continued to fight on
foot after his horse had been shot under him.  He proved that he was as
punctilious a knight as Bayard, and wrote to his mother on the evening
of this battle, "All is lost but honour."

The Emperor's army now had both France and Italy at their mercy.
Bourbon decided to march on Rome, to the joy of his needy, avaricious
soldiers.  He took the ancient capital where the riches of centuries
had accumulated; both Spaniards and Germans rioted on its treasures
without restraint.  They spared neither church nor palace, but defiled
the most sacred places.  The very ring was removed from the hand of
Pope Julius as he lay within his tomb.  Clement VII, the reigning Pope,
was too feeble and vacillating to save himself, though it would have
been quite possible.  He was made a prisoner of war, for political
motives inspired the Emperor to demand a heavy ransom.

The Ladies' Peace concluded the long war between Charles V and Francis
I.  It was so called because it was arranged through Louise, the French
King's mother, and Margaret, the aunt who had taken charge of the
Emperor in his childhood.  These two ladies occupied adjoining houses
in the town of Cambrai, and held consultations at any hour in the
narrow passage between the two dwellings.  The peace, finally drawn up
in August 1529, was very shameful to Francis I, since he agreed to
desert all his partisans in Italy and the Netherlands.  He had
purchased his own freedom by the treaty of Madrid in 1526.

In 1530, the Emperor, who had made a separate treaty with the Italian
states, received the crown of Lombardy and crown of the Holy Roman
Empire from {69} the hands of the Pope at Bologna.  On this occasion he
was invested with a mantle studded with jewels and some ancient
sandals.  Ill-health and increasing melancholy clouded his delight in
these honours.  His aquiline features and dark colouring had formerly
given him some claim to beauty, but now the heavy "Hapsburg" jaw began
to show the settled obstinacy of a narrow nature.  The iron crown of
Italy weighed on him heavily, for he was stricken by remorse that he
had disregarded the entreaties of the Pope for the rescue of the
Knights of St John, whose settlement of Rhodes had been attacked by the
Turkish infidels.  He gave them Malta in order that he might appease
his conscience.  Religion claimed much of his attention after the long
conflict with France was ended.

Heresy was spreading in Germany, where Luther gained a vast number of
adherents.  Charles issued an edict against the monk, but there was
national resistance for him to face as a consequence.  In 1530 he
renewed the Edict of Worms and was opposed by a League of Protestant
princes, who applied for help from England, France, and Denmark against
the oppressive Emperor.  He would have set himself to crush them if his
dominions had not been menaced by Soliman the Magnificent, a Turkish
Sultan with an immense army.  He was obliged to secure the co-operation
of the Protestants against the Turks that he might drive the latter
from his eastern frontier.

Italians, Flemings, Hungarians, Bohemians, and Burgundians fought side
by side with the German troops and drove the invader back to his own
territory.  When this danger was averted, France suddenly attacked
Savoy, and the Emperor found that he must postpone his struggle with
the Lutherans.  A joint invasion of {70} France by Charles V and Henry
VIII of England forced Francis to conclude humiliating peace at Crespy
1544.  Three years later the death of the French King left his
adversary free to crush the religious liberty of his German subjects.

The Emperor, who had declared himself on the side of the Papacy in
1521, now united with the Pope and Charles' brother Ferdinand, who had
been given the government of all the Austrian lands.  All three were
determined to compel Germany to return to the old faith and the old
subjection to the Empire.  Their resolve seemed to be fulfilled when
Maurice, Duke of Saxony, betrayed the Protestant cause, the allies of
the German princes proved faithless, and the Elector of Saxony and the
Landgrave of Hesse were taken prisoners at Muhlberg in April 1547.

The star of Austria was still in the ascendant, and Charles V could
still quote his favourite phrase, "Myself and the lucky moment."  He
put Maurice in the place of the venerable Elector of Saxony, who had
refused long ago to take a bribe, and let the Landgrave of Hesse lie in
prison.  He imagined that he had Germany at his feet, and exulted over
the defenders of her freedom.  There had been a faint hope in their
hearts once that the Emperor would champion Luther's cause from
political interest, but he did not need a weapon against the Pope since
the Holy See was entirely subservient to his wishes.  Bigotry,
inherited from Spanish ancestors, showed itself in the Emperor now.  In
Spain and the Netherlands he used the terrible Inquisition to stamp out
heresy.  The Grand Inquisitors, who charged themselves with the
religious welfare of these countries, claimed control over lay and
clerical subjects in the name of their ruler.


Maurice was unscrupulous and intrigued with Henry II of France against
the Emperor, who professed himself the Protector of the Princes of the
Empire.  A formidable army was raised, which took Charles at a
disadvantage and drove him from Germany.  The Peace of Augsburg, 1555,
formally established Protestantism over a great part of the empire.

The Emperor felt uneasily that the star of the House of Austria was
setting.  After his failure to crush the heretics, he was troubled by
ill-health and the gloomy spirit which he inherited from his mother
Joanna.  He was weary of travelling from one part of his dominions to
another, and knew that he could never win more fame and riches than he
had enjoyed.  His son Philip was old enough to reign in his stead if he
decided to cede the sovereignty.  The old Roman Catholic faith drew him
apart from the noise and strife of the world by its promise of rest and
all the solaces of retirement.

In 1555 the Emperor held the solemn ceremony of abdication at Brussels,
for he paid especial honour to his subjects of the Netherlands.  He sat
in a chair of state surrounded by a splendid retinue and recounted the
famous deeds of his administration with a natural pride, dwelling on
the hardships of constant journeying because he had been unwilling to
trust the affairs of government to any other.  Turning to Philip he
bade him hold the laws of his country sacred and to maintain the
Catholic faith in all its purity.  As he spoke, all his hearers melted
into tears, for the people of the Netherlands owed much gratitude to
their ruler.  And the ceremony which attended the transference of the
Spanish crown to Philip was no less moving.  Charles had chosen the
monastery of San Yuste as his last dwelling on account of its warm, dry
climate.  After {72} a tender farewell to his family he set out there
in some state, many attendants going into retreat with him.  Yuste was
a pleasant peaceful village near the Spanish city of Plasencia.  Deep
silence brooded over it, and was only broken by the bells of the
convent the Emperor was entering.  He found that a building had been
erected for his "palace" in a garden planted with orange trees and
myrtles.  This was sumptuously furnished according to the monks' ideas,
for Charles did not intend to adopt the simplicity of these brothers of
St Jerome.  Velvet canopies, rich tapestries, and Turkey carpets had
been brought for the rooms which were prepared for a royal inmate.  The
walls of the Emperor's bedchamber were hung in black in token of his
deep mourning for his mother, but many pictures from the brush of
Titian were hung in that apartment.  As Charles lay in bed he could see
the famous "Gloria," which represented the emperor and empress of a
bygone age in the midst of a throng of angels.  He could also join in
the chants of the monks without rising, if he were suffering from gout,
for a window opened directly from his room into the chapel of the
monastery.  Sixty attendants were still in the service of the recluse,
and those in the culinary office found it hard to satisfy the appetite
of a monarch who, if he had given up his throne, had not by any means
renounced the pleasures of the table.

A Keeper of the Wardrobe had been brought to Yuste, although Charles
was plain in his attire and had somewhat disdained the personal vanity
of his great rivals.  He was parsimonious in such matters and hated to
see good clothes spoilt, as he showed when he removed a new velvet cap
in a sudden storm and sent to his palace for an old one!  He observed
{73} fast-days, though he did not dine with the monks, and he lived the
regular life of the monastery.  The monks grew restive under the
constant supervision which he exercised, and one of them is said to
have remonstrated with the royal inmate, saying, "Cannot you be
contented with having so long turned the world upside down, without
coming here to disturb the quiet of a convent?"

Charles amused many hours of leisure by mechanical employments in which
he was assisted by one Torriano, who constructed a sundial in the
convent-garden.  He had a great fancy for clocks, and had a number of
these in his royal apartments.  The special triumphs of Torriano were
some tin soldiers, so constructed that they could go through military
exercises, and little wooden birds which flew in and out of the window
and excited the admiring wonder of the monks walking in the convent

Many visitors were received by the Emperor in his retirement.  He still
took an interest in the events of Europe, and received with the deepest
sorrow the news that Calais had been lost by Philip's English wife.  He
was always ready to give his successor advice, and became more and more
intolerant in religious questions.  "Tell the Grand Inquisitor from
me," he wrote, "to be at his post and lay the axe to the root of the
tree before it spreads further.  I rely on your zeal for bringing the
guilty to punishment and for having them punished without favour to
anyone, with all the severity which their crimes demand."  After this
impressive exhortation to Philip, he added a codicil to his will,
conjuring him earnestly to bring to justice every heretic in his


Chapter VII

The Beggars of the Sea

The Netherlands, lying like a kind of debateable land between France
and Germany, were apt to be influenced by the different forms of
Protestantism which were established in those countries.  The
inhabitants were remarkably quick-witted and attracted by anything
which appealed to their reason.  Their breadth of mind and cosmopolitan
outlook was, no doubt, largely due to the extensive trade they carried
on with eastern and western nations.  The citizens of the well-built
towns studding the Low Countries, had become very wealthy.  They could
send out fine soldiers, as Charles V had seen, but their chief pursuit
was commerce.  Education rendered them far superior to many other
Europeans, who were scarcely delivered from the ignorance and
superstition of the Middle Ages.  Having proved themselves strong
enough to be independent, they formed a Confederacy of Republics on the
death of Charles V in 1558.

The Emperor was sincerely mourned because he had possessed Flemish
tastes, yet he had always failed in his attempts to unite the whole of
the Low Countries into one kingdom.  There were no less than seventeen
provinces in the Netherlands, with seventeen petty princes over them.
Each province disdained the other as quite alien and foreign.  Both
French and a dialect {75} of German were spoken by the natives.  It was
a great drawback to Philip II, their new ruler, that he could only
speak Castilian.

Philip had been unpopular from the time of his first visit to the
Netherlands, before the French war was settled by the treaty of Cateau
Cambresis.  The credit of the settlement was chiefly due to the subtle
diplomacy of William, Prince of Orange, the trusted councillor of
Charles V, on whose shoulder the Emperor leant during the ceremony of

William of Orange yielded to none in pride of birth, being descended
from one of the most illustrious houses of the Low Countries.  He was
young, gallant, and fond of splendour when he negotiated on the
Emperor's behalf with Henry II of France.  He managed matters so
successfully that the Emperor was able to withdraw without loss of
prestige from a war he was anxious to end at any cost.  William
received his nickname of the Silent during his residence as a hostage
at the French court.

One day, at a hunting party, Henry II uncautiously told Orange of a
plan he had made with Philip to stamp out every heretic in their
dominions of France and the Netherlands by a sudden deadly onslaught
that would allow the Protestants no time for resistance.  It was
assumed that William, being a powerful Catholic noble, would rejoice in
this scheme.  He held his peace very wisely but, in reality, he was
full of indignation.  He cared nothing for the reformed religion in
itself, but he was a humane generous man, and from that hour determined
that he would defend the helpless, persecuted Protestants of the Low

Philip II was not long in showing himself zealous to observe his
father's instructions to preserve the Catholic {76} faith in all its
purity.  He renewed the edict or "placard" against heresy which had
been first issued in 1550.  This provided for the punishment of anyone
who should "print, write, copy, keep, conceal, sell, buy, or give in
churches, streets, or other places" any book of the Reformers, anyone
who should hold conventicles, or anyone who should converse or dispute
concerning the Holy Scriptures, to say nothing of those venturing to
entertain the opinions of heretics.  The men were to be executed with
the sword and the women buried alive, if they should persist in their
errors.  If they were firm in holding to their beliefs, such deaths
were held too merciful.  Execution by fire was a punishment that was
universal in the days of the Spanish Inquisition.

[Illustration: Philip II present at an Auto-da-Fé.  (D. Valdivieso)]

Philip watched the burning of his heretic subjects with apparent
satisfaction.  The first ceremony that greeted him on his return to
Spain was an _Auto da fé_, or Act of Faith, in which many victims were
led to the stake.  The scene was the great square of Valladolid in
front of the Church of Saint Francis, and the hour of six was the
signal for the bells to toll which brought forth that dismal train from
the fortress of the Inquisition.  Troops marched before the hapless men
and women, who were clad in the hideous garb known as the San Benito--a
loose sack of yellow cloth which was embroidered with figures of flames
and devils feeding on them, in token of the destiny that would attend
the heretics, soul and body.  A pasteboard cap bore similar devices,
and added grotesque pathos to the suffering faces of the martyrs.
Judges and magistrates followed them, and nobles of the land were there
on horseback, while members of the dread tribunal came after these,
bearing aloft the arms of the Inquisition.

Philip occupied a seat upon the platform erected {77} opposite to the
scaffold.  It was his duty to draw his sword from the scabbard and to
repeat an oath that he would maintain the purity of the Catholic faith
before he witnessed the execution of "the enemies of God," as he
thought all those who laid down their lives for the sake of heretical

A few who recanted were pardoned, but for the majority recantation only
meant long imprisonment in cells where many hearts broke after years of
solitude.  The property of the accused was confiscated in any case; and
this rule was a sore temptation to informers, who received a certain
share of their neighbour's goods if they denounced him.  When the
"reconciled" had been sent back to prison under a strong guard, all
eyes were fixed on the unrepentant.  These wore cards round their necks
and carried in their hands either a cross, or an inverted torch, which
was a sign that their own life would shortly be extinguished.  Few of
these showed weakness, since they had already triumphed over
long-protracted torture.  They walked with head erect to the _quemada_
or place of execution.

Dominican monks, by whose fanatic zeal the Holy Office gained a hold on
every Spaniard, often walked among the doomed, stripped of their former
vestments.  Once a noble Florentine appealed to Philip as he was led by
the royal gallery.  "Is it thus that you allow your innocent subjects
to be persecuted?"  The King's face hardened, and his reply came
sharply.  "If it were my own son, I would fetch the wood to burn him,
were he such a wretch as thou art."  And there is no doubt that Philip
spoke truth when he uttered words so merciless.

Under the royal sanction the persecution was continued in the
Netherlands.  It had closed the domains {78} of science and speculation
for Spain.  It must break the free republican spirit of the Low
Countries.  Charles V had been afraid of injuring the trade which
enabled him to pay a vast, all-conquering army.  His son was less
tolerant, and thought religion of greater importance even than military

The terror of that formidable band of Inquisitors came upon the
Protestant Flemings like the shadow on some sunny hill-side.  They had
lived in comfort and independence, resisting every attempt at royal
tyranny.  Now a worse tyranny was ruling in their midst--secret,
relentless, inhuman--demanding toll of lives for sacrifice.  Philip was
zealous in appointing new bishops, each of whom should have inquisitors
to aid in the work of hunting down the Protestants.  "There are but few
of us left in the world who care for religion," he wrote, "'tis
necessary therefore for us to take the greater heed for Christianity."

Granvelle, a cardinal of the Catholic Church, was the ruler of the Low
Countries, terrorizing Margaret of Parma, whom Philip had appointed to
act there as his Regent.  Margaret was a worthy woman of masculine
tastes and habits; she was the daughter of Charles V and therefore a
half-sister of Philip.  She would have won some concessions for the
Protestants, knowing the temper of the Flemish, to whom she was allied
by birth, but Granvelle was artful in his policy and managed by
frequent correspondence with Spain to baffle the efforts of the whole
party, which looked with indignation on the work of the Inquisitors.
Peter Titelmann, the chief instrument of the Holy Office in the
Netherlands, alarmed Margaret as well as her subjects, who were at the
mercy of this monster.  He rode through the country on horseback,
dragging suspected persons {79} from their very beds, and glorying in
the knowledge that none dared resist him.  He burst into a house at
Ryssel one day, seized John de Swarte, his wife and four children,
together with two newly-married couples and two other persons,
convicted them of reading the Bible, of praying within their own
dwellings, and had them all immediately burned.  No wonder that the
Duchess of Parma trembled when the same man clamoured at the doors of
her chamber for admittance.  High and low were equally in danger.  Even
the royal family were at the mercy of the Holy Office.  Spies might be
found in any household, and both men and women disappeared to answer
"inquiries" made with torture of the rack, without knowing their

Granvelle had enemies, who bent themselves to accomplish the downfall
of the minister.  He was of humble origin, though he had amassed great
wealth and possessed a remarkable capacity for administration.  Egmont,
the fierce, quarrelsome soldier, was his chief adversary among the
nobles.  There was a lively scene when Egmont drew his sword on the
Cardinal in the presence of the Regent.

William of Orange was, perhaps, the one man whom all respected for his
true courage and strength of character.  Granvelle wrote of him to
Philip as highly dangerous, knowing that in the Silent he had met his
match in cunning; for William's qualities were strangely mingled--he
had vast ambition and yet took up a cause later that broke his splendid
fortunes.  He was upright, yet he had few scruples in dealing with
opponents.  He would employ spies to acquaint him with secret papers
and use every possible means of gaining an advantage.

Egmont and Orange vied with each other in the state they kept, their
wives being bitterly jealous of each {80} other.  William's second
marriage had been arranged for worldly motives.  His bride was Princess
Anna of Saxony, daughter of the Elector Maurice who had worked such
evil for the Emperor Charles and had embraced the new religion.  The
Princess was only sixteen; she limped, and was by no means handsome.
It was hinted, too, that her temper was stormy and her mind narrow.
The advantages of the match consisted in her high rank, which was above
that of Orange.  Philip disliked the wedding of a Reformer with one of
his most powerful subjects.  He disliked the bride's family, as was
natural, and the bride's family did not approve of her wedding with a
"Papist."  The ceremony took place on St Bartholomew's Day, 1561.

After his second marriage the Prince of Orange continued to exercise a
lordly hospitality, for his staff of cooks was famous.  His wife
quarrelled for precedence with the Countess Egmont, till the two were
obliged to walk about the streets arm-in-arm because neither would
acknowledge an inferior station.  Being magnificently dressed, they
suffered much inconvenience from narrow doorways, which were not built
to admit more than one dame in the costume of the period.  The times
were not yet too serious to forbid such petty bickering, and there was
a certain section of society quite frivolous enough to enjoy the
ridiculous side of it.

Margaret of Parma openly showed her delight when Granvelle was
banished, for she felt herself relieved from a tyrant.  She now gave
her confidence to Orange, who was very popular with the people.  There
seemed to be some hope of inducing Philip to withdraw some of the
edicts against his Protestant subjects.  Their cries were daily
becoming louder, and there was an uneasy spirit abroad in the Low
Countries which greeted with {81} delight the device of Count Egmont
for a new livery for his servants that should condemn the ostentation
of such ministers as Granvelle.  His retainers appeared in doublet and
hose of the coarsest grey material, with long hanging sleeves and no
embroideries.  They wore an emblem of a fool's cap and bells, or a
monk's cowl, which was supposed to mock the Cardinal's contemptuous
allusion to the nobles as buffoons.  The King was furious at the
fashion which soon spread among the courtiers.  They changed the device
then to a bundle of arrows or a wheat-sheaf which, they asserted,
denoted the union of all their hearts in the King's service.
Schoolboys could not have betrayed more joy in the absence of their
pedagogue than the whole court showed when Granvelle left the country
in 1564 on a pretended visit to his mother.

Orange had now three aims in life, to convoke the States-General, to
moderate or abolish the edicts, and to suppress both council of finance
and privy council, leaving only the one council of state, which he
could make the body of reform.  By this time the persecutions were
rousing the horror of Catholic as well as Calvinist.  The prisons were
crowded with victims, and through the streets went continual
processions to the stake.  The four estates of Flanders were united in
an appeal to Philip.  Egmont was to visit Spain and point out the
uselessness of forcing the Netherlands to accept religious decrees
which reduced them to abject slavery.  Before he set out, William of
Orange made a notable speech, declaring the provinces free and
determined to vindicate their freedom.

Egmont's visit was a failure, since he suffered himself to be won by
the flattery of Philip II.  He was reproached with having forgotten the
interests of the State when {82} he returned, and was consumed by
regrets that were unavailing.  The wrath of the people was increasing
daily as the cruel persecution devastated the Low Countries.  All other
subjects were forgotten in the time of agony and expectation.  There
was talk of resistance that would win death on the battlefield, more
merciful than that proceeding from slow torture.  In streets, shops,
and taverns men gathered to whisper of the dark deeds done in the name
of the Inquisition.  Philip had vowed "never to allow myself either to
become or to be called the lord of those who reject Thee for their
Lord," as he prostrated his body before a crucifix.  The doom of the
Protestants had been sealed by that oath.  Henceforth, those who feared
death were known to favour freedom of religion.

The Duke of Alva was firm in his support of Philip's measures.  The
Inquisition was formally proclaimed in the market-place of every town
and village in the Netherlands.  Resistance was certain.  All knew that
contending armies would take the field soon.  Commerce ceased to engage
the attention of the people.  Those merchants and artisans who were
able left the cities.  Patriots spoke what was in their hearts at last,
and pamphlets "snowed in the streets."  The "League of the Compromise"
was formed in 1566, with Count Louis of Nassau as the leader; it
declared the Inquisition "iniquitous, contrary to all laws, human and
divine, surpassing the greatest barbarism which was ever practised by
tyrants, and as redounding to the dishonour of God and to the total
desolation of the country."  The members of the League might be good
Catholics though they were pledged to resist the Inquisition.  They
always promised to attempt nothing "to the diminution of the King's
grandeur, majesty, or dominion." {83} All who signed the Compromise
were to be mutually protected by an oath which permitted none to be
persecuted.  It was a League, in fact, against the foreign government
of the Netherlands, signed by nobles whose spirit was roused to protest
against the influence of such men as Alva.

The Compromise did not gain the support of William of Orange because he
was distrustful of its objects.  The members were young and imprudent,
and many of them were not at all disinterested in their desire to
secure the broad lands belonging to the Catholic Church.  Their wild
banquets were dangerous to the whole country, since spies sat at the
board and took note of all extravagant phrases that might be construed
into disloyalty.  Orange himself held meetings of a very different sort
in his sincere endeavour to avert the catastrophe he feared.

Troops rode into Brussels, avowing their intention to free the country
from Spanish tyranny.  Brederode was among them--a handsome reckless
noble, descended from one of the oldest families of Holland.  The
citizens welcomed the soldiers with applause and betrayed the same
enthusiasm on the following day when a procession of noble cavaliers
went to present a petition to Margaret of Parma, urging that she should
suspend the powers of the Inquisition while a messenger was sent to
Spain to demand its abolition.

As the petitioners left the hall, they heard with furious resentment
the remark of one Berlaymont to the troubled Regent.  "What, Madam! is
it possible that your highness can entertain fears of these beggars?
(_gueux_).  Is it not obvious what manner of men they are?  They have
not had wisdom enough to manage their own estates, and are they now to
teach the King {84} and Your Highness how to govern the country?  By
the living God, if my advice were taken, their petition should have a
cudgel for a commentary, and we would make them go down the steps of
the palace a great deal faster than they mounted them."

The Confederates received an answer from the Duchess not altogether to
their satisfaction, though she promised to make a special application
to the King for the modification of edicts and ordered the Inquisitors
to proceed "moderately and discreetly" with their office.  Three
hundred guests met at Brederode's banquet on the 8th of April, and
there and then, amid the noise of revelry and the clink of wine-cups,
they adopted the name of "Beggars," flung at them in scorn by

Brederode was the first to call for a wallet, which he hung round his
neck after the manner of those who begged their bread.  He filled a
large wooden bowl as part of his equipment, lifted it with both hands
and drained it, crying, "Long live the Beggars!"  The cry was taken up
as each guest donned the wallet in turn and drank from the bowl to the
Beggars' health.  The symbols of the brotherhood were hung up in the
hall so that all might stand underneath to repeat certain words as he
flung salt into a goblet:

  "By this salt, by this head, by this wallet still,
  These beggars change not, fret who will."

A costume was adopted in accordance with the fantastic humour of the
nobles.  Soon Brussels stared at quaint figures in coarse grey
garments, wearing felt hats, and carrying the beggar's bowl and wallet.
The badges which adorned their hats protested fidelity to Philip.


Twelve of the Beggars sought an interview with the Duchess of Parma to
demand that Orange, Egmont, and Admiral Hoorn should be appointed to
guard the interests of the States, and they even threatened to form
foreign alliances if Margaret refused to grant what they wanted.  They
knew that they could count now on assistance from the Huguenot leaders
in France and from the Protestant princes in Germany.

The war was imminent in which the Beggars would avenge the insult
uttered by the haughty lips of Berlaymont.  The sea-power of Holland
had its origin in the first fleet which the Sea-Beggars equipped in
1569.  These corsairs who cruised in the narrow waters and descended
upon the seaport towns were of many different nationalities, but were
one and all inspired by a fanatic hatred of the Spaniard and the Papist.


Chapter VIII

William the Silent, Father of his Country

The confusion which reigned in the Netherlands sorely troubled Margaret
of Parma, who wrote to Philip for men and money that she might put down
the rising.  She received nothing beyond vague promises that he would
come one day to visit his dominions overseas.  It was still the belief
of the King of Spain that he held supreme authority in a country where
many a Flemish noble claimed a higher rank, declaring that the
so-called sovereign was only Duke of Brabant and Count of Flanders.

In despair, the Regent called on Orange, Hoorn, and Egmont to help her
in restoring order.  Refugees had come back from foreign countries and
were holding religious services openly, troops of Protestants marched
about the streets singing Psalms and shouting "Long live the Beggars!"
It seemed to Margaret of Parma, a devout Catholic, that for the people
there was "neither faith nor King."

William, as Burgrave of Antwerp, was able to restore order in that
city, promising the citizens that they should have the right to
assemble for worship outside the walls.  A change had come over this
once worldly noble--henceforth he cared nothing for the pomps and {87}
vanities of life.  He had decided to devote himself to the cause of the
persecuted, however dear it cost him.

The Prince of Orange hoped that Egmont would join him in resistance to
the Spanish tyranny.  Egmont was beloved by the people of the
Netherlands as a soldier who had proved his valour; his high rank and
proud nature might have been expected to make him resentful of
authority that would place him in subjection.  But William parted from
his friend, recognizing sadly that they were inspired by different
motives.  "Alas!  Egmont," he said, embracing the noble who would not
desert the cause of Philip, "the King's clemency, of which you boast,
will destroy you.  Would that I might be deceived, but I foresee too
clearly that you are to be the bridge which the Spaniards will destroy
so soon as they have passed over it to invade our country."

William found himself soon in a state of isolation.  He refused to take
a new oath of fidelity to the King, which bound him to "act for or
against whomsoever his Majesty might order without restriction or
limitation."  His own wife was a Lutheran, and by such a promise it
might become his duty to destroy her!  An alliance with foreign princes
was the only safeguard against the force which Spain was preparing.
The Elector of Saxony was willing to enter into a League to defend the
reformed faith of the Netherlands.  Meantime, after resigning all his
offices, the Prince of Orange went into exile with his entire household.

In 1567 Philip ceased his vacillation.  He sent the Duke of Alva to
stamp out heresy at any cost in the Low Countries.

Alva was the foremost general of his time, a soldier whose life had
been one long campaign in Europe.  He {88} had a kind of fierce
fanatical religion which led him to revenge his father's death at the
hands of the Moors on many a hapless Christian.  He was avaricious, and
the lust for booty determined him to sack the rich cities of the
Netherlands without regard for honour.  He was in his sixtieth year,
but time had not weakened his strong inflexible courage.  Tall, thin,
and erect, he carried himself as a Spaniard of noble blood, and yielded
to none in the superb arrogance of his manners.  His long beard gave
him the dignity of age, and his bearing stamped him always as a
conqueror who knew nothing of compassion.  It was hopeless to appeal to
the humanity of Toledo, Duke of Alva.  A stern disciplinarian, he could
control his troops better than any general Philip had, yet he did not
wish to check their excesses, and seemed to look with pleasure upon the
awful scenes of a war in which no quarter was given.

Alva led a picked army of 10,000 men--Italian foot soldiers for the
most part, with some musketeers among them--who would astonish the
simple northern people he held in such contempt.  "I have trained
people of iron in my day," was his boast.  "Shall I not easily crush
these people of butter?"

At first the people of the Netherlands seemed likely to be cowed into
complete submission.  Egmont came out to meet Alva, bringing him two
beautiful horses as a present.  The Spaniard had already doomed this
man to the block, but he pretended great pleasure at the welcome gift
and put his arms round the neck which he knew would not rest long on
Egmont's shoulders.  He spoke very graciously to the escort who led him
into Brussels.

Margaret of Parma was still Regent in name, but in reality she had been
superseded by the Captain-General {89} of the Spanish forces.  She was
furious at the slight, and showed her displeasure by greeting the Duke
of Alva coldly.  After writing to Philip to expostulate, she discovered
that her position would not be restored, and therefore retired to Parma.

Egmont and Hoorn were the first victims of Alva's treachery.  They died
on the same day, displaying such fortitude at the last that the people
mourned them passionately, and a storm of indignation burst forth
against Philip II and the agent he had sent to shed the noblest blood
of the Low Countries.

Alva set up a "Council of Troubles" so that he could dispatch other
victims with the same celerity.  This became known as "the Council of
Blood" from the merciless nature of its transactions.  Anyone who chose
to give evidence against his friends was assured that he would have a
generous reward for such betrayals.  The Duke of Alva was President of
the Council and had the right of final decision in all cases.  Few were
saved from the sword or the stake, since by blood alone the rebel and
the heretic were to be crushed and Philip's sovereignty established
firmly in the Netherlands.

In 1568 William of Orange was ordered to appear before the court and,
on his refusal, was declared an outlaw.  His eldest son was captured at
the University of Louvain and sent to the Spanish court that he might
unlearn the principles in which he had been educated.

Orange issued a justification of his conduct, but even this was held to
be an act of defiance against the authority of Philip.  The once loyal
subject determined to expel the King's troops from the Low Countries,
believing himself chosen by God to save the reformers from the pitiless
oppression of the Spanish.  He had {90} already changed his views on
religion.  Prudence seemed to have forsaken the astute Prince of
Orange.  He proceeded to raise an army, though he had not enough money
to pay his mercenaries.  He was preparing for a struggle against a
general, second to none in Europe, a general, moreover, who had
veterans at his command and the authority of Spain behind him.  Yet the
first disaster did not daunt either William of Orange or his brother
Louis of Nassau, who was also a chivalrous leader of the people.  "With
God's help I am determined to go on," were the words inspired by Alva's
triumph.  There were Reformers in other countries ready to send help to
their brethren in religion.  Elizabeth of England had extended a
welcome to thousands of Flemish traders.  It was William's constant
hope that she would send a force openly to his assistance.

Elizabeth, however, did not like rebels and was not minded to show
sympathy with the enemies of Philip, who kept his troops from an attack
on England.  She would secretly encourage the Beggars to take Spanish
ships, but she would not send an army of sufficient strength to ensure
a decisive victory for the Reformers of the Netherlands.

[Illustration: Last Moments of Count Egmont (Louis Gallait)]

Alva exulted in the loss of prestige which attended his enemy's flight
from the Huguenot camp in the garb of a German peasant.  He regarded
William as a dead man, since he was driven to wander about the country,
suffering from the condemnation of his allies because he had not been
successful.  Alva's victory would have seemed too easy if there had not
been a terrible lack of funds among the Spanish, owing to the plunder
which was carried off from Spain by Elizabethan seamen.  The Spanish
general demanded taxes suddenly {91} from the people of the
Netherlands, and expected that they would be paid without a murmur.

But he had mistaken the spirit of a trading country which was not
subservient in its loyalty to any ruler.  These prosperous merchants
had always been accustomed to dispose of the money they earned
according to their own wishes.  Enemies of the Spanish sprang up among
their former allies.  Catholics as well as Protestants were angry at
Alva's demand of a tax of the "hundredth penny" to be levied on all
property.  Alva's name had been detested even before he marched into
the Low Countries with the army which was notorious for deeds of blood
and outrage.  Now it roused such violent hatred that men who had been
ready to support his measures for their own interests gradually forsook

In July 1570, an amnesty was declared by the Duke of Alva in the great
square of Antwerp.  Philip's approaching marriage with Anne of Austria
ought to have been celebrated with some appearance of goodwill to all
men, but it was at this time that the blackest treachery stained
Philip's name, already associated with stern cruelty.

Montigny, the son of the Dowager Countess of Hoorn, was one of the
envoys sent to Philip's court before the war had actually opened.  He
had been detained in Spain and feared death, for he was a prisoner in
the castle of Segovia.  Philip had intended from the beginning to
destroy Montigny, but he did not choose to order his execution openly.
The knight had been sentenced by the Council of Blood after three years
imprisonment, but still lingered on, hoping for release through the
exertions of his family.  The King was busied with wedding
preparations, but not too busy to {92} carry out a crafty scheme by
which Montigny seemed to have died of fever, whereas he was strangled
in the Castle.  The hypocrisy of the Spanish monarch was so complete
that he actually ordered suits of mourning for Montigny's servants.

In 1572 the Beggars, always restlessly cruising against their foes on
the high seas, took Brill in the absence of a Spanish garrison.  Their
action was so successful that they hoisted the rebel flag over the
little fort and took an oath with the inhabitants to acknowledge the
Prince of Orange as their Stadtholder.  Brill was an unexpected triumph
which the brilliant, impetuous Louis of Nassau followed up by the
seizure of Flushing, the key of Zealand, which was the approach to
Antwerp.  The Sea-Beggars then swarmed over the whole of Walcheren,
receiving many recruits in their ranks and pillaging churches
recklessly.  Middelburg alone remained to the Spanish troops, while the
provinces of the North began to look to the Prince of Orange as their
legitimate ruler.

William looked askance at the disorderly feats of the Beggars, but the
capture of important towns inspired him to fresh efforts.  He
corresponded with many foreign countries and had his agents everywhere.
Sainte Aldgonde was one of the prime movers in these negotiations.  He
was a poet as well as a soldier, and wrote the stirring national anthem
of _Wilhelmus van Nassouwen_, which is still sung in the Netherlands.
Burghers now opened their purses to give money, for they felt that
victories must surely follow the capture of Brill and Flushing.
William took the field with hired soldiers, and was met by the news of
the terrible massacre of Protestants in France in 1572 on the Eve of St
Bartholomew.  All his hopes of help from France {93} were dashed to the
ground at once, and for the moment he was daunted.  Louis of Nassau was
besieged at Mons by Alva.  He tried to relieve his brother, but was
ignominiously prevented by the _Camisaders_ who made their way to his
camp at night, wearing white shirts over their armour, and killed eight
hundred of his soldiers.

William threw in his lot, once for all, with the Northern provinces,
receiving a hearty welcome from Holland and Zealand, states both
maintaining a gallant struggle.  He was recognized as Stadtholder by a
meeting of the States in 1572, and liberty of worship was established
for Protestants and Catholics.  His authority was absolute in this
region of the Low Countries.

Alva revenged himself for the resistance of Mons by the brutal sack of
Malines and of Zutphen.  The outrages of his soldiers were almost
inhuman, and immense booty was captured, to the satisfaction of the

Amsterdam was loyal to Philip, but Haarlem was in the hands of
Calvinists.  The Spanish army advanced on this town expecting to take
it at the first assault, but they met with a stubborn resistance.  The
citizens had in their minds the horror of the sack of Zutphen.  They
repulsed one assault after another and the siege, begun in December
1572, was turned into a blockade, and still the Spaniards could not
enter.  The heads of the leaders of relief armies which had been
defeated were flung into Haarlem with insulting gibes.  The reply to
this was a barrel which was sent rolling out carrying eleven heads, ten
in payment of the tax of one-tenth hitherto refused to Alva and the
eleventh as interest on the sum which had not been paid quite promptly!
It was in July 1573, when the citizens had been reduced by famine to
the consumption of {94} weeds, shoe-leather, and vermin, that the
Spanish army entered Haarlem.

The loss on both sides was enormous, and William had reason to despair.
Only 1600 were left of a garrison of 4000.  It seemed as if the courage
of Haarlem had been unavailing, for gibbets rose on all sides to
exhibit the leaders of the desperate resistance.

But the fleets of the Beggars rode the sea in triumph, and the example
of Haarlem had given spirit to other towns unwilling to be beaten in
endurance.  Alva was disappointed to find that immediate submission did
not follow.  He left the country in 1573, declaring that his health and
strength were gone, and he was unwilling to lose his reputation.

Don Luis Requesens, his successor, would have made terms, but William
of Orange adhered to certain resolutions.  There must be freedom of
worship throughout the Netherlands, where all the ancient charters of
liberty must be restored and every Spaniard must resign his office.
William then declared himself a Calvinist, probably for patriotic

The hope of assistance from France and England rose again inevitably.
Louis of Nassau obtained a large sum of French money and intended to
raise troops for the relief of Leyden, which was invested by the
Spaniards in 1574.  He gathered a force of mixed nationality and no
cohesion, and was surprised and killed with his gallant brother Henry.
Their loss was a great blow to William, who felt that the
responsibilities of the war henceforward rested solely on his shoulders.

Leyden was relieved by the desperate device of cutting the dykes and
opening the sluices to flood the land around it.  A fleet was thus
enabled to sail in amidst fields and farmhouses to attack the besieging
{95} Spanish.  The Sea-Beggars were driven by the wind to the outskirts
of Leyden, where they engaged in mortal conflict.  The forts fell into
their hands, some being deserted by the Spanish who fled from the
rising waters.  William of Orange received the news at Delft, where he
had taken up his residence.  He founded the University of Leyden as a
memorial of the citizens' endurance.  The victory, however, was
modified some months later by the capture of Zierickzee, which gave the
Spaniards an outlet on the sea and also cut off Walcheren from Holland.

In sheer desperation William made overtures to Queen Elizabeth,
offering her the sovereignty of Holland and Zealand if she would engage
in the struggle against Spain.  Elizabeth dared not refuse, lest France
should step into the breach, but she was unwilling to declare herself
publicly on the side of rebels.

In April 1576 an Act of Federation was signed which formally united the
two States of Zealand and Holland and conferred the supreme authority
on the Prince of Orange, commander in war and governor in peace.
Requesens was dead; a general patriotic rising was imminent.  On
September 26th the States-General met at Brussels to discuss the
question of uniting all the provinces.

The Spanish Fury at Antwerp caused general consternation in the
Netherlands.  The ancient town was attacked quite suddenly, all its
wealth falling into the hands of rapacious soldiers.  No less than 7000
citizens met their death at the hands of men who carried the standard
of Christ on the Cross and knelt to ask God's blessing before they
entered on the massacre!  Greed for gold had come upon the Spaniards,
who hastened to secure the treasures accumulated at Antwerp.  Jewels
{96} and velvets and laces were coveted as much as the contents of the
strong boxes of the merchants, and torture was employed to discover the
plate and money that were hidden.  A wedding-party was interrupted, and
the clothes of the bride stripped from her.  Many palaces fell by fire
and the splendid Town House perished.  For two whole days the city was
the scene of indescribable horrors.

The Pacification of Ghent had been signed when the news of the Spanish
Fury reached the States-General.  The members of this united with the
Prince of Orange, as ruler of Holland and Zealand, to drive the
foreigner from their country.  The Union of Brussels confirmed this
treaty in January 1577, for the South were anxious to rid themselves of
the Spaniards though they desired to maintain the Catholic religion.
Don John of Austria, Philip II's half-brother, was accepted as
Governor-General after he had given a general promise to observe the
wishes of the people.

Don John made a state entry into Brussels, but he soon found that the
Prince of Orange had gained complete ascendancy over the Netherlands
and that he was by no means free to govern as he chose.  Don John soon
grew weary of a position of dependence; he seized Namur and took up his
residence there, afterwards defying the States-General.  A universal
cry for Orange was raised in the confusion that followed, and William
returned in triumph to the palace of Nassau.  Both North and South
demanded that he should be their leader; both Protestant and Catholic
promised to regard his government as legal.

In January 1578, the Archduke Matthias, brother of the Emperor, was
invited by the Catholic party to enter Brussels as its governor.
William welcomed {97} the intruder, knowing that the supreme power was
still vested in himself, but he was dismayed to see Alexander of Parma
join Don John, realizing that their combined armies would be more than
a match for his.  Confusion returned after a victory of Parma, who was
an able and brilliant general.  The Catholic Duke of Anjou took Mons,
and John Casimir, brother of the Elector-Palatine, entered the
Netherlands from the east as the champion of the extreme Calvinists.

The old religious antagonism was destroying the union of the provinces.
William made immense exertions and succeeded in securing the alliance
of Queen Elizabeth, Henry of Navarre, and John Casimir, while the Duke
of Anjou accepted the title of Defender of the Liberties of the
Netherlands.  His work seemed undone on the death of Don John in 1578
and the succession of Alexander, Duke of Parma.  This Prince sowed the
seeds of discord very skilfully, separating the Walloon provinces from
the Reformers.  A party of Catholic Malcontents was formed in protest
against the excesses of the Calvinists.  Religious tolerance was to be
found nowhere, save in the heart of William of Orange.  North and South
separated in January 1579, and made treaties which bound them
respectively to protect their own form of religion.

Attempts were made to induce Orange to leave the Netherlands that Spain
might recover her lost sovereignty.  He was surrounded by foes, and
many plots were formed against him.  In March 1581, King Philip
denounced him as the enemy of the human race, a traitor and a
miscreant, and offered a heavy bribe to anyone who would take the life
of "this pest" or deliver him dead or alive.

William's defence, known to the authorities as his {98} Apology, was
issued in every court of Europe.  In it he dwelt on the different
actions of his long career, and pointed out Philip's crimes and
misdemeanours.  His own Imperial descent was contrasted with the King
of Spain's less illustrious ancestry, and an eloquent appeal to the
people for whom he had made heroic sacrifices was signed by the motto
_Je le maintiendrai_.  ("I will maintain.")

The Duke of Anjou accepted the proffered sovereignty of the United
Netherlands in September 1580, but Holland and Zealand refused to
acknowledge any other ruler than William of Orange, who received the
title of Count, and joined with the other States in casting off their
allegiance to Philip.  The French Prince was invested with the ducal
mantle by Orange when he entered Antwerp as Duke of Brabant, and was,
in reality, subject to the idol of the Netherlands.  The French
protectorate came to an end with the disgraceful scenes of the French
Fury, when the Duke's followers attempted to seize the chief towns,
crying at Antwerp, "Long live the Mass!  Long live the Duke of Anjou!
Kill!  Kill!"

Orange would still have held to the French in preference to the
Spanish, but the people did not share his views, and were suspicious of
his motives when he married a daughter of that famous Huguenot leader,
Admiral de Coligny.

Orange retired to Delft, sorely troubled by the distrust of the nation,
and the Catholic nobles were gradually lured back by Parma to the
Spanish party.  In 1584 a young Burgundian managed to elude the
vigilance of William's retainers; he made his way into the _Prinsenhof_
and fired at the Prince as he came from dinner with his family.


The Prince of Orange fell, crying "My God, have pity on my soul and on
this poor people."  He had now forfeited his life as well as his
worldly fortunes, but the struggle he had waged for nearly twenty years
had a truly glorious ending.  The genius of one man had given freedom
to the far-famed Dutch Republic, founded on the States acknowledging
William their Father.


Chapter IX

Henry of Navarre

Throughout France the followers of John Calvin of Geneva organized
themselves into a powerful Protestant party.  The Reformation in
Germany had been aristocratic in tendency, since it was mainly upheld
by princes whose politics led them to oppose the Papacy.  The teaching
of Calvin appealed more directly to the ignorant, for his creed was
stern and simple.  The Calvinists even declared Luther an agent of the
devil, in striking contrast to their own leader, who was regarded as
the messenger of God.  For such men there were no different degrees of
sinfulness--some were held to be elect or "chosen of the Lord" at their
birth, while others were predestined for everlasting punishment.  It
was characteristic of Calvin that he called vehemently for toleration
from the Emperor, Charles V, and yet caused the death of a Spanish
physician, Servetus, whose views happened to be at variance with his

The Calvinists generally held meetings in the open air where they could
escape the restrictions that were placed on services held in any place
of worship.  The middle and lower classes attended them in large
numbers, and the new faith spread rapidly through the enlightened world
of Western Europe.  John Knox, the renowned Scotch preacher, was a firm
friend of Calvin, and {101} thundered denunciations from his Scotch
pulpit at the young Queen Mary, who had come from France with all the
levity of French court-training in her manners.  The people of Southern
France were eager to hear the fiery speech that somehow captured their
imagination.  As they increased in numbers and began to have political
importance they became known as Huguenots or Confederates.  To
Catherine de Medici, the Catholic Regent of France, they were a
formidable body, and in Navarre their leaders were drawn mainly from
the nobles.

Relentless persecution would probably have crushed the Huguenots of
France eventually if it had been equally severe in all cases.  As a
rule, men of the highest rank could evade punishment, and a few of the
higher clergy preached religious toleration.  Thousands marched
cheerfully to death from among the ranks of humble citizens, for it was
part of Calvin's creed that men ought to suffer martyrdom for their
faith without offering resistance.  Judges were known to die, stricken
by remorse, and marvelling at their victims' fortitude.  At Dijon, the
executioner himself proclaimed at the foot of the scaffold that he had
been converted.

The Calvinist preachers could gain no audience in Paris, where the
University of the Sorbonne opposed their doctrines and declared that
these were contrary to all the philosophy of ancient times.  The
capital of France constantly proclaimed loyalty to Rome by the pompous
processions which filed out of its magnificent churches and paraded the
streets to awe the mob, always swayed by the violence of fanatic
priests.  The Huguenots did not attempt to capture a stronghold, where
it was boasted that "the novices of the convents and the priests'
housekeepers could have driven them out with broomsticks."


Such rude weapons would have been ineffectual in the South-East of
France, where all the most flourishing towns had embraced the reformed
religion.  The majority of the Huguenots were drawn from the most
warlike, intelligent, and industrious of the population of these towns,
but princes also adopted Calvinism, and the Bourbons of Navarre made
their court a refuge for believers in the new religion.

Navarre was at this time a narrow strip of land on the French side of
the Pyrenees, but her ruler was still a sovereign monarch and owed
allegiance to no overlord.  Henry, Prince of Bourbon and King of
Navarre, was born in 1555 at Béarns, in the mountains.  His mother was
a Calvinist, and his early discipline was rigid.  He ran barefoot with
the village lads, learnt to climb like a chamois, and knew nothing more
luxurious than the habits of a court which had become enamoured of
simplicity.  He was bewildered on his introduction to the shameless,
intriguing circle of Catherine de Medici.

The Queen-Mother did not allow King Charles IX to have much share in
the government of France at that period.  She had an Italian love of
dissimulation, and followed the methods of the rulers of petty Italian
states in her policy, which was to play off one rival faction against
another.  Henry of Guise led the Catholic party against the Huguenots,
whose leaders were Prince Louis de Bourbon and his uncle, the noble
Admiral de Coligny.  Guise was so determined to gain power that he
actually asked the help of Spain in his attempt to crush the "heretics"
of his own nation.

The Huguenots at that time had won many notable concessions from the
Crown, which increased the bitter hostility of the Catholics.  The
Queen-Mother, however, {103} concealed her annoyance when she saw the
ladies of the court reading the New Testament instead of pagan poetry,
or heard their voices chanting godly psalms rather than the old
love-ballads.  She did not object openly to the pious form of speech
which was known as the "language of Canaan."  She was a passionless
woman, self-seeking but not revengeful, and adopted a certain degree of
tolerance, no doubt, from her patriotic counsellor, L'Hôpital, who
resembled the Prince of Orange in his character.

The Edict of January in 1562 gave countenance to Huguenot meetings
throughout France, and was, therefore, detested by the Catholic party.
The Duke of Guise went to dine one Sunday in the little town of Vassy,
near his residence of Joinville.  A band of armed retainers accompanied
him and pushed their way into a barn where the Huguenots were holding
service.  A riot ensued, in which the Duke was struck, and his
followers killed no less than sixty of the worshippers.

This outrage led to civil war, for the Protestants remembered bitterly
that Guise had sworn never to take life in the cause of religion.  They
demanded the punishment of the offenders, and then took the field most
valiantly.  Gentlemen served at their own expense, but they were, in
general, "better armed with courage than with corselets."  They were
overpowered by the numbers of the Catholic League, which had all the
wealth of Church and State at its back, and also had control of the
King and capital.  One by one the heroic leaders fell.  Louis de
Bourbon was taken prisoner at Dreux, and Anthony of Bourbon died before
the town of Rouen.

The Queen of Navarre was very anxious for the safety of her son, for
she heard that he was accompanying {104} Catherine and Charles IX on a
long progress through the kingdom.  She herself was the object of
Catholic animosity, and the King of Spain destined her for a grand
_Auto-da-fé_, longing to make an example of so proud a heretic.  She
believed that her son had received the root of piety in his heart while
he was under her care, but she doubted whether that goodly root would
grow in the corrupt atmosphere which surrounded the youthful Valois
princes.  Henry of Navarre disliked learning, and was fond of active
exercise.  His education was varied after he came to court, and he
learnt to read men well.  In later life he was able to enjoy the most
frivolous pastimes and yet could endure the privations of camp life
without experiencing discomfort.

Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, was killed at the battle of Jarnac,
and Henry de Bourbon became the recognized head of the Huguenot party.
He took an oath never to abandon the cause, and was hailed by the
soldiers in camp as their future leader.  The Queen of Navarre clad him
in his armour, delighted that her son should defend the reformed
religion.  She saw that he was brave and manly, if he were not a truly
religious prince, and she agreed with the loudly expressed opinion of
the populace that he was more royal in bearing than the dissolute and
effeminate youths who spent their idle days within the palaces of the
Louvre and the Tuileries.

The country was growing so weary of the struggle that the scheme for a
marriage between Henry of Navarre and Margaret of Valois was hailed
with enthusiasm.  If Catholic and Huguenot were united there might be
peace in France that would add to the prosperity of the nation.
Catherine de Medici had intended originally that her daughter should
marry the {105} Catholic King of Portugal, and was angry with Philip II
of Spain because he had done nothing to assist her in making this
alliance.  Charles IX longed to humble Philip, who was indignant that
the "heretics" had been offered freedom of worship in 1570, and had
expressed his opinion rather freely.  Therefore the Valois family did
not hesitate to receive the leader of the Protestants, Henry de
Bourbon, whose territory extended from the Pyrenees to far beyond the

The Queen of Navarre disliked the match and was suspicious of the
Queen-Mother's motives.  She feared that Catherine and Catherine's
daughter would entice Henry into a gay, dissolute course of life which
would destroy the results of her early training, and she could not
respond very cordially to the effusive welcome which greeted her at the
court when she came sadly to the wedding.

The marriage contract was signed in 1571, neither bride nor bridegroom
having much choice in the matter.  Henry was probably dazzled by the
brilliant prospects that opened out to one who was mated with a Valois,
but he was only nineteen and never quite at ease in the shifting,
tortuous maze of diplomacy as conceived by the mind of Catherine de
Medici.  Margaret was a talented, lively girl, and pleased with the
fine jewels that were given her.  She did not understand the reasons
which urged her brother Charles to press on the match.  He insisted
that it should take place in Paris in order that he might show his
subjects how much he longed to settle the religious strife that had
lately rent the kingdom.  It was a question, of course, on which
neither of the contracting parties had to be more than formally

The Queen of Navarre died suddenly on the eve of {106} the wedding, and
her son, with 800 attendants, entered the city in a mourning garb that
had soon to be discarded.  Gorgeous costumes of ceremony were donned
for the great day, August 18th, 1572, when Margaret met her bridegroom
on a great stage erected before the church of Notre Dame.

Henry of Navarre could not attend the Mass, but walked in the nave with
his Huguenot friends, while Margaret knelt in the choir, surrounded by
the Catholics of the party.  Admiral Coligny was present, the stalwart
Huguenot who appealed to all the finest instincts of his people.  He
had tried to arrange a marriage between Elizabeth of England and Henry
of Anjou, the brother of the French King, but had not been successful,
owing to Elizabeth's politic vacillation.  He was detested by Catherine
de Medici because he had great power over her son, the reigning
monarch, whom she tried to dominate completely.  A dark design had
inspired the Guise faction of late in consequence of the Queen's enmity
to the influence of Coligny.  It was hinted that the Huguenot party
would be very weak if their strongest partisan were suddenly taken from
them.  All the great Protestant nobles were assembled in Paris for the
marriage of Navarre and Margaret of Valois.  They were royally
entertained by the Catholic courtiers and lodged at night in fine
apartments of the Louvre and other palaces.  They had no idea that they
had any danger to fear as they slept, and would have disdained to guard
themselves against the possible treachery of their hosts.  They might
have been warned by the attempted assassination of Admiral Coligny, who
was wounded by a pistol-shot, had not the King expressed such concern
at the attempt on the life of his favourite counsellor.  "My father,"
Charles IX declared when {107} he came to the Admiral's bedside, "the
pain of the wound is yours, but the insult and the wrong are mine."

The King had the gates of Paris shut, and sent his own guard to protect
Coligny.  He was weak, and subject to violent gusts of passion which
made him easy to guide, if he were in the hands of an unscrupulous
person.  His mother, who had plotted with Guise for the death of
Coligny, pointed out that there was grave danger to be feared from the
Protestants.  She made Charles declare in a frenzy of violence that
every Huguenot in France should perish if the Admiral died, for he
would not be reproached with such a crime by the Admiral's followers.

The bells of the church nearest to the Louvre rang out on the Eve of St
Bartholomew--they gave the signal for a cruel massacre.  After the
devout Protestant, Coligny, was slain in the presence of the Duke of
Guise, there was little resistance from the other defenceless Huguenot
nobles.  They were roused from sleep, surprised by treacherous foes,
and relentlessly murdered.  It was impossible to combine in their
perilous position.  Two thousand were put to death in Paris, where the
very women and children acted like monsters of cruelty to the heretics
for three days, and proved themselves as cunning as the Swiss guards
who had slain the King's guests on the night of Saint Bartholomew.  A
Huguenot noble escaped from his assailants and rushed into Henry's very
bridal chamber.  He cried, "Navarre!  Navarre!" and hoped for
protection from the Protestant prince against four archers who were
following him.  Henry had risen early and gone out to the tennis-court,
and Margaret was powerless to offer any help.  She fled from the room
in terror, having heard nothing previously of the Guises' secret


Charles IX sent for Navarre and disclosed the fact that he had been
privy to the massacre.  He showed plainly that the Protestants were to
find no toleration henceforth.  Henry felt that his life was in great
jeopardy, for most of the noblemen he had brought to Paris had fallen
in the massacre, and he stood practically alone at a Catholic court.
Henry understood that if he were to be spared it was only at the price
of his conversion, and with the alternatives of death or the Mass
before him, it is little wonder that he yielded, at least in
appearance, to the latter.  There were spies and traitors to be feared
in the circle of the Medici.  Even Margaret was not safe since her
marriage to a Protestant, but she gave wise counsel to her husband and
guided him skilfully through the perils of court life.

Catherine disarmed the general indignation of Europe by spreading an
ingeniously concocted story to the effect that the Huguenots had been
sacrificed because they plotted a foul attack on the Crown of France.
She had been hostile to Coligny rather than to his policy, and
continued to follow his scheme of thwarting Spain by alliances with
Elizabeth and the Prince of Orange.

Henry of Guise met the charge of excessive zeal in defending his King
with perfect equanimity.  He was a splendid figure at the court,
winning popularity by his affable manners and managing to conceal his
arrogant, ambitious nature.

After 1572 the Huguenots relied mainly on the wealthy citizens of the
towns for support in the struggle against the Guise faction.  In
addition to religious toleration they now demanded the redress of
political grievances.  A republican spirit rose in the Protestant
party, who read eagerly the various books and pamphlets declaring that
a monarchy should not continue if it {109} proved incapable of
maintaining order even by despotic powers.  More and more a new idea
gained ground that the sovereignty of France was not hereditary but

Charles IX, distracted by the confusion in his kingdom and the caprices
of his own ill-balanced temper, clung to Henry of Navarre because he
recognized real strength in him such as was wanting in the Valois.
Henry III, his successor, was contemptibly vain and feminine in all his
tastes, wearing pearls in his hair and rouging his face in order that
he might be admired by the foolish, empty courtiers who were his
favourite companions.  He succeeded to the throne in 1575, and made
some display of Catholic zeal by organizing fantastic processions of
repentant sinners through the streets of Paris.  He insisted on Navarre
taking part in this mummery, for it was to his interest to prevent the
Protestant party from claiming a noble leader.

Navarre had learnt to play his part well, but he chafed at his
inglorious position.  He saw with a fierce disgust the worthless
prince, Alençon, become the head of the Protestant party.  Then he
discovered that he was to have a chance of escape from the toils of the
Medici.  In January, 1576, he received an offer from some officers--who
had been disappointed of the royal favour--that they would put him in
possession of certain towns if he would leave the court.  He rode off
at once to the Protestant camp, leaving his wife behind him.

The Peace of Monsieur, signed in February 1576, granted very favourable
conditions to the Protestants, who had stoutly resisted an attack on
their stronghold of La Rochelle.  Catherine and Henry III became
alarmed by the increasing numbers of their enemies, for a Catholic
League was formed by Henry of Guise and {110} other discontented
subjects in order to ally Paris with the fanatics of the provinces.
This League was by no means favourable to the King and Catherine, for
its openly avowed leader was Henry of Guise, who was greatly beloved by
the people.  Henry III was foolish enough to become a member, thereby
incurring some loss of prestige by placing himself practically under
the authority of his rival.  Bitterly hostile to the Protestants as
were the aims of the League, it was nevertheless largely used by the
Duke of Guise as a cloak to cover his designs for the usurpation of the
royal power.  The hope of Henry III and his mother was that the rival
Catholics and Protestants would fight out their own quarrel and leave
the Crown to watch the battles unmolested.

The last of the Valois was closely watched by the bold preachers of
political emancipation.  These were determined to snatch the royal
prerogatives from him if he were unworthy of respect and squandered too
much public money on his follies.  It enraged them to hear that he
spent hours on his own toilette, and starched his wife's fine ruffs as
if he were her tire-woman.  They were angry when they were told that
their King regarded his functions so lightly that he gave audiences to
ambassadors with a basketful of puppies round his neck, and did not
trouble to read the reports his ministers sent to him.  They decided
secretly to proclaim Henry III's kinsman, the King of Navarre, who was
a fine soldier and a kindly, humane gentleman.

Navarre was openly welcomed as the leader of the Reformed Church party.
He was readmitted to Calvinist communion, and abjured the Mass.  He
took the field gladly, being delighted to remove the mask he had been
obliged to wear.  His brilliant feats of arms made him more popular
than ever.


When Anjou died, Navarre was heir presumptive to the throne, and had to
meet the furious hostility of the Guise faction.  These said that
Navarre's uncle, Cardinal de Bourbon, "wine-tun rather than a man,"
should be their king when Valois died.  They secured the help of Spain
before publishing their famous Manifesto.  This document avowed the
intentions of those forming the Catholic League to restore the dignity
of the Church by drawing the sword, if necessary, and to settle for
themselves the question of Henry III's successor.  He bribed the people
by releasing them from taxation and promised regular meetings of the

The King hesitated to grant the League's demands, which were definitely
formulated in 1585.  He did not wish to revoke the Edicts of Toleration
that had recently been passed, and might have refused, if his mother
had not advised him to make every concession that was possible to avoid
the enmity of the Guise faction.  He consented, and was lost, for the
Huguenots sprang to arms, and he found that he was to be driven from
his capital by the Guises.

The King was accused of sympathy with the Protestant cause, which made
his name odious to the Catholic University of Paris.  He had personal
enemies too, such as the Duchess of Montpensier, sister to Henry of
Guise, who was fond of saying that she would give him another crown by
using the gold scissors at her waist.  There was some talk of his
entering a monastery where he would have had to adopt the tonsure.

One-half of Navarre's beard had turned white when he heard that Henry
III was revoking the Edicts of Toleration.  Yet he was happiest in
camp, and leapt to the saddle with a light heart in May 1588 when the
{112} King fled from Paris and Guise entered the capital as the
deliverer of the people.  He looked the model of a Gascon knight, with
hooked nose and bold, black eyes under ironical arched eyebrows.  He
was a clever judge of character, and knew how to win adherents to his
cause.  His homely garb attracted many who were tired of the weak
Valois kings, for there was no artificial grace in the scarlet cloak,
brown velvet doublet and white-plumed hat which distinguished him from
his fellows.

Henry III plotted desperately to regain his prestige, and showed some
of the Medici guile in a plot for Guise's assassination.  When this
succeeded he went to boast to Catherine that he had killed the King of
Paris.  "You have cut boldly into the stuff, my son," she answered him,
"but will you know how to sew it together?"

Paris was filled by lamentations for the death of Guise, and the
festivities of Christmas Eve gave way to funeral dirges.  The
University of Sorbonne declared that they would not receive Henry of
Valois again as king.  His only hope was to reconcile himself with
Navarre and the Protestant party.  Paris was tumultuous with resistance
when the news came that Royalists and Huguenots had raised their
standards in the same camp and massed two armies.  The Catholic League
was beloved by the poorer citizens because it released them from
rent-dues.  The spirit of the people was shown by processions of
children, who threw lighted torches to the ground before the churches,
stamped on them, and cried, "Thus may God quench the House of Valois!"

The capital welcomed Spanish troops to aid them in keeping Henry III
from the gates.  He was assassinated {113} by a Burgundian monk as he
approached the city "he had loved more than his wife," and Henry of
Navarre, though a heretic, now claimed the right of entrance.

Navarre was the lineal descendant of Saint Louis of France, but for ten
generations no ancestor of his in the male line had ruled the French
kingdom.  He was the grandson of Margaret, sister of Francis I, and
Henry d'Albret, who had borne captivity with that monarch.  Many were
pledged to him by vows made to the dying King, who had come to look on
him as a doughty champion; many swore that they would die a thousand
deaths rather than be the servants of a heretic master.

In February 1590, Henry laid siege to Dreux in order to place himself
between his enemies and Paris.  Mayenne, the leader of the opposite
camp, drew him to Ivry, where a battle was fought on March 14th,
resulting in the complete discomfiture of the Catholic Leaguers.  The
white plume of Navarre floated victorious on the field, and the black
lilies of Mayenne were trampled.  The road to Paris lay open to the
heretic King, who invested the city on the northern side, but did not
attack the inhabitants.  The blockade would have reduced the hungry
citizens to submission at the end of a month if the Duke of Parma had
not come to their relief at the command of the Spanish sovereign.

Philip II wished his daughter to marry the young Duke of Guise and to
ascend the French throne with her husband.  For that reason he
supported Paris in its refusal to accept the Protestant King of
Navarre.  It was not till March 1594, that the King, known as Henri
Quatre, was able to lead his troops into Paris.

Navarre had been compelled to attend Mass in public and to ask
absolution from the Archbishop of Bourges, {114} who received him into
the fold of the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church before the
coronation.  He was now the "most Christian King," welcomed with blaze
of bonfires and the blare of trumpets.  He was crowned at Chartres
because the Catholic League held Rheims, and he entered Paris by the
Porte Neuve, through which Henry III had fled from the Guises some six
years previously.  The Spaniards had to withdraw from his capital,
being told that their services would be required no longer.

Henry IV waged successful wars against Spain and the Catholic League,
gradually recovering the whole of his dominions by his energy and
courage.  He settled the status of the Protestants on a satisfactory
basis by the Edict of Nantes, which was signed in April 1598, to
consolidate the privileges which had been previously granted to the
Calvinists.  Full civil rights and full civil protection were granted
to all Protestants, and the King assigned a sum of money for the use of
Protestant schools and colleges.

Henry introduced the silk industry into France, and his famous
minister, Sully, did much to improve the condition of French
agriculture.  By 1598 order had been restored in the kingdom, but
industry and commerce had been crippled by nearly forty years of civil
war.  When France's first Bourbon King, Henry IV, was assassinated in
April 1610, he had only begun the great work of social and economical
reform which proved his genuine sense of public duty.


Chapter X

Under the Red Robe

Never was king more beloved by his subjects than Henry of Navarre, who
had so many of the frank and genial qualities which his nation valued.
There was mourning as for a father when the fanatic, Ravaillac, struck
him to the ground.  It seemed strange that death should come in the
same guise to the first of the Bourbon line and the last of the Valois.

Henry had studied the welfare of the peasantry and the middle class,
striving to crush the power of the nobles whose hands were perpetually
raised one against the other.  Therefore he intrusted affairs of State
to men of inferior rank, and determined that he would form in France a
nobility of the robe that should equal the old nobility of the sword.
The _paulette_ gave to all those who held the higher judicial functions
of the State the right to transmit their offices by will to their
descendants, or even to sell them as so much hereditary property.

In foreign affairs Henry had attempted to check the ambitious schemes
of the Spanish Hapsburg line and to restore the ancient prestige of
France in Europe, but he had to leave his country in a critical stage
and hope that a man would be found to carry on his great work.
Cardinal Richelieu was to have the supreme {116} honour of fulfilling
Henry IV's designs, with the energy of a nature that had otherwise very
little in common with that of the first King of the Bourbons.

Armand Jean Duplessis, born in 1585, was the youngest son of François
Duplessis, knight of Richelieu, who fought for Navarre upon the
battle-fields of Arques and Ivry.  He was naturally destined for a
military career, and had seen, when he was a little child, some of the
terrible scenes of the religious wars.  Peering from the window of the
château in the sad, desolate land of Poitou, he caught glimpses of
ragged regiments of French troops, or saw foreign soldiers in their
unfamiliar garb, intent on pillaging the mean huts of the peasantry.
Armand was sent to Paris at an early age that he might study at the
famous College of Navarre, where the youths of the day were well
equipped for court life.  He learned Spanish in addition to Latin and
Greek, and became an adept in riding, dancing and fencing.  When he
left the humble student quarter of the capital and began to mingle with
the crowd who formed the court, he soon put off the manners of a rustic
and acquired the polished elegance of a courtier of the period.  He
spent much time in studying the drama of Parisian daily life, a
brilliant, shifting series of gay scenes, with the revelation now and
then of a cruel and sordid background.

The very sounds of active life must at first have startled the dreamy
youth who had come from the seclusion of a château in the marsh land.
Cavaliers in velvet and satin rallied to the roll of a drum which the
soldiers beat in martial-wise, and engaged in fierce conflicts with
each other.  Acts were constantly passed to forbid duelling, but there
were many wounded every year in the streets, and the nobility would
have thought {117} themselves disgraced if they had not drawn their
swords readily in answer to an insult.  Class distinctions were
observed rigidly, and the merchant clad in hodden grey and the lawyer
robed in black were pushed aside with some contempt when there was any
conflict between the aristocrats.  The busy Pont Neuf seemed to be the
bridge which joined two different worlds.  Here monks rubbed shoulders
with yellow-garbed Jews, and ladies of the court tripped side by side
with the gay _filles_ of the town.  Anyone strolling near the river
Seine could watch, if he chose, the multicoloured throng and amuse
himself by the contrast between the different phases of society in

Richelieu, who held the proud title of Marquis de Chillon, handled a
sword skilfully and dreamed of glory won upon battle-fields.  He was
dismayed when he first heard that his widowed mother had changed her
plans for his career.  A brother, who was to have been consecrated
Bishop of Luçon, had decided to turn monk, and as the preferment to the
See was in the hands of the family, it had been decided that Armand
Jean should have the benefit.

Soon a fresh vision had formed before the eyes of the handsome Bishop,
who visited Rome and made friends among the highest dignitaries.  He
was tall and slender, with an oval face and the keenest of grey eyes;
rich black hair fell to his shoulders and a pointed beard lent
distinction to his face.  The Louvre and the Vatican approved him, and
many protesting voices were heard when Richelieu went down to his
country diocese.

Poitou was one of the poorest districts of France, the peasants being
glad enough to get bread and chestnuts for their main food.  The
cathedral was battered by warfare and the palace very wretched.  Orders
to {118} Parisian merchants made the last habitable, Richelieu
declaring that, although a beggar, he had need of silver plates and
such luxuries to "enhance his nobility."  The first work he had found
to do was done very thoroughly.  He set the place in order and
conciliated the Huguenots.  Then he demanded relief from taxation for
his overburdened flock, writing urgently to headquarters on this
subject.  He had much vexation to overcome whenever he came into
contact with the priests drawn from the peasantry.  These were far too
fond of gambling and drinking in the ale-houses, and had to be
prohibited from celebrating marriages by night, a custom that led to
many scandals.

But Luçon was soon too narrow a sphere for the energy and ambition of a
Richelieu.  The Bishop longed to establish himself in a palace "near to
that of God and that of the King," for he combined worldly wisdom with
a zeal for religious purity.  He happened to welcome the royal
procession that was setting out for Spain on the occasion of Louis
XIII's marriage to Anne of Austria, a daughter of Philip II.  He made
so noble an impression of hospitality that he was rewarded by the post
of Almoner to the new Queen and was placed upon the Regent's Council.

Richelieu had watched the coronation of the quiet boy of fourteen in
the cathedral of Notre Dame, for he had walked in the state procession.
He knew that Louis XIII was a mere cipher, fond of hunting and loth to
appear in public.  Marie de Medici, the Regent, was the prime mover of
intrigues.  It was wise to gain her favour and the friendship of her
real rulers, the Italian Concini.

Concini himself was noble by birth, whereas his wife, the sallow,
deformed Leonora, was the daughter of a {119} laundress who had nursed
the Queen in illness.  Both were extravagant, costing the Crown
enormous sums of money--Leonora had a pretty taste in jewels as well as
clothes, and Marie de Medici even plundered the Bastille of her
husband's hoards because she could deny her favourites nothing.

Richelieu rose to eminence in the gay, luxurious court where the weak,
vain Florentine presided.  He had ousted other men, and feared for his
own safety when the Concini were attacked by their exasperated
opponents.  Concini himself was shot, and his wife was lodged in the
Bastille on a charge of sorcery.  Paris rejoiced in the fall of these
Italian parasites, and Marie de Medici shed no tears for them.  She
turned to her secretary, Richelieu, when she was driven from the court
and implored him to mediate for her with Louis XIII and his favourite
sportsman-adventurer, de Luynes, who had originally been employed to
teach the young King falconry.

Richelieu went to the château of Blois where Marie de Medici had fled,
a royal exile, but he received orders from Luynes, who was in power, to
proceed to Luçon and guide his flock "to observe the commandments of
God and the King."  The Bishop was exceedingly provoked by the taunt,
but he was obliged to wait for better fortunes.  Marie was plotting
after the manner of the Florentines, but her plans were generally
fruitless.  She managed to escape from Blois with Epérnon, the general
of Henry IV, and despite a solemn oath that she would live "in entire
resignation to the King's will," she would have had civil war against
the King and his adviser.

Richelieu managed to make peace and brought about the marriage of his
beautiful young kinswoman {120} to the Marquis of Cambalet, who was de
Luynes' nephew.  He did not, however, receive the Cardinal's Hat, which
had become the chief object of his personal ambition.

The minister, de Luynes, became so unpopular, at length, that his
enemies found it possible to retaliate.  He favoured the Spanish
alliance, whereas many wished to help the Protestants of Germany in
their struggle to uphold Frederick, the Elector Palatine, against
Ferdinand of Bohemia.  The Huguenots rose in the south, and Luynes took
the field desperately, for he knew that anything but victory would be
fatal to his own fortunes.  Songs were shouted in the Paris taverns,
satirizing his weak government.  Richelieu had bought the service of a
host of scribblers in the mean streets near the Place Royale, and these
were virulent in verse and pamphlet, according to the dictates of their

Fever carried off de Luynes, and the valets who played cards on his
coffin were hardly more indecent in their callousness than de Luynes'
enemies.  The Cardinal's Hat arrived with many gracious compliments to
the Bishop of Luçon, who then gave up his diocese.  Soon he rustled in
flame-coloured taffeta at fêtes and receptions, for wealth and all the
rewards of office came to him.  As a Prince of the Church, he claimed
precedence of princes of the blood, and was hardly astonished when the
King requested him to form a ministry.  In that ministry the power of
the Cardinal was supreme, and he had friends in all posts of
importance.  With a show of reluctance he entered on his life-work.  It
was a great and patriotic task--no less than the aggrandisement of
France in Europe.

France must be united if she were to present a solid front against the
Spanish vengeance that would threaten any change of policy.  The
Queen-Regent had intended {121} to support Rome, Austria and Spain
against the Protestant forces of the northern countries.  Richelieu
determined to change that plan, but he knew that the time was not yet
ripe, since he had neither a fleet nor an army to defeat such

The Huguenot faction must be ruined in order that France might not be
torn by internal struggles.  The new French army was sent to surround
La Rochelle, the Protestant fort, which expected help from England.
The English fleet tried for fourteen days to relieve the garrison, but
had to sail away defeated.  The sailors of the town elected one of
their number to be Mayor, a rough pirate who was unwilling to assume
the office.  "I don't want to be Mayor," he cried, flinging his knife
upon the Council-Table, "but, since you want it, there is my knife for
the first man who talks of surrender."  The spirit of resistance within
the walls of La Rochelle rose after this declaration.  The citizens
continued to defy the besiegers until a bushel of corn cost 1,000
livres and an ordinary household cat could be sold for forty-five!

It was Richelieu's intention to starve the inhabitants of La Rochelle
into surrender.  He had his will, being a man of iron, and held Mass in
the Protestant stronghold.  He treated the people well, allowing them
freedom of religion, but he razed both the fort and the walls to the
ground and took away all their political privileges.  The Huguenots
were too grateful for the liberty that was left to them to menace the
French Government any longer.  Most of them were loyal citizens and
helped the Cardinal to maintain peace.  In any case they did not exist
as a separate political party.

Richelieu reduced the power of the nobles by relentless {122} measures
that struck at their feudal independence.  No fortresses were to be
held by them unless they lived on the frontiers of France, where some
defence was necessary against a foreign enemy.  When their strong
castles were pulled down, the great lords seemed to have lost much of
their ancient dignity.  They were forbidden to duel, and dared not
disobey the law after they had seen the guilty brought relentlessly to
the scaffold.  The first families of France had to acknowledge a
superior in the mighty Cardinal Richelieu.  Intendants were sent out to
govern provinces and diminish the local influence of the landlords.
Most of these were men of inferior rank to the nobility, who found
themselves compelled to go to the wars if they wished to earn
distinction.  The result was good, for it added many recruits to the
land and sea forces.

In 1629, the Cardinal donned sword and cuirass and led out the royal
army to the support of the Duke of Mantua, a French nobleman who had
inherited an Italian duchy and found his rights disputed by both Spain
and Savoy.  Louis XIII accompanied Richelieu and showed himself a brave
soldier.  Their road to Italy was by the Pass of Susa, thick with snow
in the early spring and dangerous from the presence of Savoy's hostile
troups.  They forced their way into Italy, and there Richelieu remained
to make terms with the enemy, while Louis returned to his kingdom.

Richelieu induced both Spain and Savoy to acknowledge the rights of the
Duke of Mantua, and then turned his attention to the resistance which
had been organized in Southern France by the Protestants under the Duke
of Rohan.  The latter had obtained promises of aid from Charles I of
England and Philip IV of Spain, but found that his allies deserted him
at a critical {123} moment and left him to face the formidable army of
the Cardinal.  The Huguenots submitted to their fate in the summer of
1629, finding themselves in a worse plight than they had been when they
surrendered La Rochelle, for Richelieu treated with them no longer as
with a foreign power.  He expected them to offer him the servile
obedience of conquered rebels.  Henceforth he exerted himself to
restore the full supremacy of the Catholic faith in France by making as
many converts as was possible and by opening Jesuit and Capuchin
missions in the Protestant places.  "Some were brought to see the truth
by fear and some by favour."  Yet Richelieu did not play the part of a
persecutor in the State, for he was afraid of weakening France by
driving away heretics who might help to increase her strength in
foreign warfare.  He was pleased to find so many of the Huguenots loyal
to their King, and rejoiced that there would never be the possibility
of some discontented nobleman rising against his rule with a Protestant
force in the background.  The Huguenots devoted their time to peaceful
worship after their own mind, and waxed very prosperous through their
steady pursuit of commerce.

Richelieu returned to France in triumph, having won amazing success in
his three years' struggle.  He had personal enemies on every side, but
for the moment these were silenced.  "In the eyes of the world, he was
the foremost man in France."  For nineteen years he was to be the
King's chief minister, although he was many times in peril of losing
credit, and even life itself, through the jealous envy of his superiors
and fellow-subjects.

Mary de Medici forsook the man she had raised to some degree of
eminence, and declared that he had {124} shown himself ungrateful.  The
nobility in general felt his power tyrannical, and the clergy thought
that he sacrificed the Church to the interests of the State in
politics.  Louis XIII was restive sometimes under the heavy hand of the
Cardinal, who dared to point out the royal weaknesses and to insist
that he should try to overcome them.

Richelieu was very skilful in avoiding the pitfalls that beset his path
as statesman.  He had many spies in his service, paid to bring him
reports of his enemies' speech and actions.  Great ladies of the court
did not disdain to betray their friends, and priests even advised
penitents in the Confessional to act as the Cardinal wished them.  When
any treachery was discovered, it was punished swiftly.  The Cardinal
refused to spare men of the highest rank who plotted against the King
or his ministers, for he had seen the dangers of revolt and decided to
stamp it out relentlessly.  Some strain of chivalry forbade him to
treat women with the same severity he showed to male conspirators.  He
had a cunning adversary in one Madame de Chevreuse, who would ride with
the fearless speed of a man to outwit any scheme of Richelieu.

[Illustration: An Application to the Cardinal for his Favour (Walter

The life of a king in feeble health was all that stood between the
Cardinal and ruin, and several times it seemed impossible that he
should outwit his enemies.  Louis XIII fell ill in 1630.  At the end of
September he was not expected to survive, and the physicians bade him
attend to his soul's welfare.

The Cardinal's enemies exulted, openly declaring that the King's
adviser should die with the King.  The heir to the throne was Louis'
brother Gaston, a weak and cowardly prince, who detested the minister
in office and hoped to overthrow him.  When the sufferer {125}
recovered there was much disappointment to be concealed.  The
Queen-Mother had set her heart on Marillac being made head of the army
in Richelieu's place, and had secret designs to make Marillac's
brother, then the guard of the seals, the chief minister.

Louis was induced to say that he would dismiss the Cardinal when he was
completely recovered from his illness, but he did not feel himself
bound by the promise when he had rid himself of Marie de Medici and
felt once again the influence of Richelieu.  He went to Versailles to
hunt on November 11th, 1630, and there met the Cardinal, who was able
to convince him that it would be best for the interests of France to
have a strong and dauntless minister dominating all the petty offices
in the State instead of a number of incapable, greedy intriguers such
as would be appointed by Marie de Medici.  On this Day of Dupes the
court was over-confident of success, believing that the Cardinal had
fled from the disgrace that would shortly overtake him.  The joy of the
courtiers was banished by a message that Marillac was to be dismissed.
The Queen-Mother knew at once that her schemes had failed, and that her
son had extricated himself from her toils that he might retain

Marshal Marillac and his brother were both condemned to death.  Another
noble, Bassompierre, was arrested and put in the Bastille because he
was known to have sympathized with the Cardinal's enemies.  Richelieu
did not rid himself so easily of Marie de Medici, who was his deadliest
enemy.  She went into banishment voluntarily, but continued to devise
many plots with the Spanish enemies of France, for she had no scruples
in availing herself of foreign help against the hated minister.


After the Day of Dupes, Richelieu grasped the reins of government more
firmly.  He asked no advice, and feared no opposition to his rule.  His
foreign policy differed from that pursued by Marie de Medici, because
he realized that France could never lead the continental powers until
she had checked the arrogance of Spanish claims to supremacy.  It seems
strange that he should support the Protestant princes of Germany
against their Catholic Emperor when the Thirty Years' War broke out,
but it must be remembered that the Emperor, Ferdinand II, was closely
allied to the King of Spain, and that the success of the former would
mean a second powerful Catholic State in Europe.  The House of Austria
was already strong and menaced France in her struggle for ascendancy.

In 1635, war was formally declared by France against the Emperor
Ferdinand and Spain.  Richelieu did not live to see the conclusion of
this war, but he had the satisfaction of knowing that, at its close,
France would be established as the foremost of European nations, and he
felt that the result would be worth a lavish expenditure of men and
money.  In 1636, France was threatened by a Spanish invasion, which
alarmed the people of the capital so terribly that they attacked the
minister who had plunged them into warfare.  Richelieu displayed great
courage and inspired a patriotic rising, the syndics of the various
trades waiting on the King to offer lavish contributions in aid of the
defence of Paris.  Louis took the field at the head of a fine army
which was largely composed of eager volunteers, and the national danger
was averted.

Harassed by the cares of war, the Cardinal delighted in the gratitude
of men of letters whom he took under his protection.  He founded the
famous Academy of {127} France and had his own plays performed at Ruel,
the century-old château, where he gave fêtes of great magnificence.
His niece, Mme. de Cambalet, was made Duchesse D'Aiguillon that she
might adorn the sphere in which the Cardinal moved so royally.  She was
a beautiful woman of simple tastes, and yearned for a life of
conventual seclusion as she received the homage of Corneille or visited
the salon of the brilliant wit, Julie de Rambouillet.

Richelieu had a dozen estates in different parts of France and spent
vast sums on their splendid maintenance.  He adorned the home of his
ancestors with art treasures--pictures by Poussin, bronzes from Greece
and Italy, and the statuary of Michael Angelo.  His own equestrian
statue was placed side by side with that of Louis XIII because they had
ridden together to great victory.  The King survived his minister only
a few months; Richelieu died on December 4th, 1642, and Louis XIII in
the following May.  They left the people of France submissive to an
absolute monarchy.


Chapter XI

The Grand Monarch

Richelieu bequeathed his famous Palais Cardinal to the royal family of
France.  He left the reins of tyranny in the hands of Mazarin, a
Spaniard, who had complete ascendancy over the so-called Regent, Anne
of Austria.

There was not much state in the magnificent palace of little Louis XIV
during his long minority, and he chafed against the restrictions of a
parsimonious household.  Mazarin was bent on amassing riches for
himself and would not untie the purse-strings even for those gala-days
on which the court was expected to be gorgeous.  He stinted the
education of the heir to the Crown, fearing that a well-equipped youth
would demand the right to govern for himself.  His system was so
successful in the end that the mightiest of the Bourbon kings could
barely read and write.

Yet Louis XIV grew strong and handsome, with a superb bearing that was
not concealed by his shabby clothes, and a dauntless arrogance that
resented all slights on the royal prerogative.  He refused to drive in
the dilapidated equipage which had been provided for his use, and made
such a firm stand against Mazarin's avarice in this case that five new
carriages were ordered.

The populace rose, too, against the first minister of the State, whose
wealth had increased enormously {129} through his exactions from the
poorer classes.  France was full of abuses that Richelieu himself had
scarcely tried to sweep away.  The peasants laboured under heavy
burdens, the roads were dangerous for all travellers, and the streets
of cities were infested after nightfall by dangerous pickpockets and
assassins.  There had been a great victory won at Rocroy by the Due
d'Enghien, who routed the Spanish and sent two hundred and sixty
standards to the church of Notre Dame; but this glorious feat of arms
brought neither food nor clothing to the poor, and the fierce internal
strife, known as La Fronde, broke out.  The very name was undignified,
being derived from a kind of sling used by the urchins of the Paris
streets.  It was a mere series of brawls between Frondeurs and
Mazarins, and brought much humiliation to the State.

In 1649, civil war began which withdrew France somewhat from European
broils.  Enghien (Condé) returned to Paris to range himself against the
unruly Parlement as leader of the court party, and to try to reduce
Paris by a military force.  When the capital was besieged Anne of
Austria had to retire to Saint-Germains with her son, who suffered the
indignity of sleeping on a bed of straw in those troubled times.  She
concluded peace rather thankfully in March when the besieged citizens
had suffered severely from want of food.  The young King showed himself
in Paris in August when the tumult was at its worst, for the troubles
of King Charles I of England incited the Frondeurs to persevere in
their desire for a French Republic, where no minister should exercise
the royal prerogatives.

Mazarin played a losing game, and went into exile when Louis XIV was
declared of age.  The young King was only thirteen but had the dignity
of manhood in his air and carriage, and showed no fear in accepting
{130} absolute power.  But it was not until ten years later that he was
finally freed from Mazarin.  When the cardinal was dead he proclaimed
his future policy to the state of France--"Gentlemen," said he, "I
shall be my own prime minister."

In November 1659, the Treaty of the Pyrenees had restored peace to
France and Spain.  In the following year Louis XIV wedded the Infanta,
daughter of Philip IV, who renounced all her prospective rights to the
Spanish crown.  Mazarin had done well for France in these last
diplomatic efforts for the crown, but he had forced the people to
contribute to the enormous fortune which he made over to the King.

Colbert was the indefatigable minister who aided the new monarch to
restore the dignity of court life in France.  He revealed vast hoards
which the crafty Mazarin had concealed, and formed schemes of splendour
that should be worthy of a splendid king.

Louis XIV was one of the richest monarchs of Christendom, with a taste
for royal pomp that could be gratified only by an enormous display of
wealth.  He wished the distasteful scenes of his early life to be
forgotten by his subjects, and decided to build himself a residence
that would form a fitting background for his own magnificence.  He
would no longer live within the walls of Paris, a capital which had
shown disrespect to monarchy.

The ancient palace of the Louvre was not fine enough for Louis, and
Versailles was built at a cost of twenty millions, and at a sacrifice
of many humble lives, for the labourers died at their work and were
borne from the beautiful park with some attempt at secrecy.  It was a
stately place, and thither every courtier must hasten if he wished for
the favour of the King.  It became {131} the centre of the gayest world
of Europe, for there were ambassadors there from every foreign court.

Etiquette, so wearisome to many monarchs, was the delight of the
punctilious Louis XIV; every detail of his life was carried out with
due regard to the dignity that he held to be the fitting appendage of a
king.  When he rose and dressed, when he dined or gave audience, there
were fixed rules to be observed.  He was never alone though he built
Marly, expressing some wish that he might retire occasionally from the
weariness of the court routine.  His brothers stood in the royal
presence, and there was no real family life.  He was the grand monarch,
and represented the majesty of France most worthily on the occasions of
ceremony, when velvet and diamonds increased his stately grace.  "The
State--it is Myself," he was fond of declaring, and by this remark
satisfied his conscience when he levied exorbitant taxes to support the
lavish magnificence of his court.

Ignorant as the king was through the device of Mazarin, he was proud of
the genius that shed lustre on the French nation.  Corneille and Racine
wrote tragedies of classic fame, and Molière, the greatest of all
comedians, could amuse the wit of every visitor to the court.  Louis
gave banquets at Versailles in honour of the dramatists he patronized,
and had their plays performed in a setting so brilliant that ambition
might well be satisfied.  Tales of royal bounty spread afar and
attracted the needy genius of other lands.  Louis' heart swelled with
pride when he received the homage of the learned and beheld the
deference of messengers from less splendid courts.  He sat on a silver
throne amid a throng of nobles he had stripped of power.  It was part
of his policy to bring every landowner to Versailles, where fortunes
vanished {132} rapidly.  It was useless to hope for office it the
suitor did not come to make a personal appeal.

Parisians grumbled that the capital should be deserted by the King, but
they were appeased on holidays by free admission to the sights of
sumptuous Versailles.  The King himself would occasionally appear in
ballets performed by some exclusive company of the court.  There was
always feasting toward and sweet music composed by Lulli, and they were
amazed and interested by the dazzling jets of water from the fountains
that had cost such fabulous sums.  Court beauties were admired together
with the Guards surrounding the King's person in such fine array.
Rumours of the countless servants attached to the service of the court
gave an impression that the power of France could never fail.
Patriotic spirit was aroused by the fine spectacle of the hunting-train
as it rode toward the forests which lay between Versailles and the
capital.  The Grand Huntsman of France was a nobleman, and had a
splendid retinue.  "_Hallali, valets!  Hallali!_" was echoed by many
humble sportsmen when the stag was torn to pieces by the pack.

A special stud of horses was reserved for Louis' use in time of war.
He had shown himself a bold youth on the battlefield in Mazarin's time,
fighting in the trenches like a common soldier that his equipment might
not be too heavy an expense.  He chose, however, to be magnificent
enough as a warrior when he disturbed the peace of Europe by his
arrogant pride.

Philip IV of Spain died in 1665, leaving his dominions to Charles II,
half-brother of France's Queen.  Louis declared that Maria Theresa had
not been of age when she renounced her claims and that, moreover, the
dowry of 500,000 golden crowns promised in consideration {133} of this
renunciation had not been paid.  He wished to secure to his consort the
Flemish provinces of Brabant, Mechlin, Antwerp, etc., and to this end
made a treaty with the Dutch.  He was compelled to postpone his attack
on the Spanish possessions by a war with England which broke out
through his alliance with Holland, her great commercial rival at that

Louis XIV showed himself perfidious in his relationship with the Dutch
when he concluded a secret peace with Charles II of England in 1667.
He marched into the Netherlands, supported by a new alliance with
Portugal, and intended to claim the whole Spanish monarchy at some
future date.  Many towns surrendered, for he had a well-disciplined
army and no lack of personal courage.  Turenne and Condé, his brave
generals, made rapid conquests which filled all Europe with alarm.

But Louis' campaigns involved him in disastrous warfare with too many
foes.  He was a bigoted persecutor of the Protestant, and made a secret
treaty with England's treacherous ruler, Charles II, who, to his
lasting shame, became a pensioner of the French King, agreeing, in
return for French subsidies, to second Louis' designs on Spain.  France
herself was torn by wars of religion in 1698 when the Edict of Nantes
was revoked and the real intentions of the King were revealed to
subjects who had striven, in the face of persecution, to be loyal.

Louis XIV was under the influence of Madame de Maintenon, whom he
married privately after the death of his neglected Queen.  This
favourite, once the royal governess and widow of the poet Scarron, was
strictly pious, and desired to see the Protestants conform.  She
founded the convent of Saint-Cyr, a place of education for beautiful
young orphan girls, and placed at the head {134} of it Fénélon, the
priest and writer.  She urged the King continually to suppress heresy
in his dominions, and was gratified by the sudden and deadly
persecution that took place as the seventeenth century closed.

Torture and death were excused as acts necessary for the establishment
of the true faith, and soon all France was hideous with scenes of
martyrdom.  Children were dragged from their parents and placed in
Catholic households, where their treatment was most cruel unless they
promised to embrace the Catholic religion.  Women suffered every kind
of indignity at the hands of the soldiers who were sent to live in the
houses and at the cost of heretics.  These _Dragonnades_ were carried
on with great brutality, shameful carousals being held in homes once
distinguished for elegance and refinement.  Nuns had instructions to
convert the novices under their rule by any means they liked to employ.
Some did not hesitate to obtain followers of the Catholic Church by the
use of the scourge, and fasting and imprisonment in noisome dungeons.

There was fierce resistance in the country districts, and armed men
sprang up to defend their homes, welcoming even civil war if by that
means they could attain protection.  The contest was unequal, for the
peasants had been weakened by centuries of oppression, and there were
strange seignorial rights which the weak dared not refuse when they
were opposing the government in their obstinate choice of a religion.

The reign of the Grand Monarch was losing radiance, though Louis was
far from acknowledging that all was not well in that broad realm which
owned him master.  He had discarded the frivolities of his youth and
kept a dreary solemn state at Versailles, where decorous Madame de
Maintenon was all-powerful.  He did not lament {135} his Spanish wife
nor Colbert the minister, who died in the same year, for strict
integrity was not valued too highly by the King of France.  Yet
Colbert's work remained in the mighty palaces his constructive energy
had planned, the bridges and fortresses and factories which he had held
necessary for France's future greatness as a nation.  Louis paid scant
tribute of regret to the memory of one who had toiled indefatigably in
his service; but he looked complacently on Versailles and reflected
that it would survive, even if the laurels of glory should be wrested
from his brow.

In 1700, Louis' prestige had dwindled in Europe, where he had once been
feared as a sovereign ambitious for universal monarchy.  William the
Stadtholder, now ruler of England with his Stuart wife, had been
disgusted by the persecution of the French Protestants and had resolved
to avenge Louis' seizure of his principality of Orange.  Chance enabled
this man to ally the greater part of Europe against the ambition of the
Grand Monarch.  War had been declared by England against France in
1689, and prosecuted most vigorously till Louis XIV was gradually
deprived of his finest conquests.  Though this was concluded in 1697 by
the Peace of Ryswick, the French King's attempt to win the crown of
Spain for his grandson, the Duke of Anjou, caused a renewal of

William III was in failing health, but a mighty general had arisen to
defeat the projects of the French King.  The news of the Duke of
Marlborough's victories in Flanders made it evident that the power of
Louis XIV in the battlefield was waning.  Yet the French monarch did
not reflect the terror on the faces of his courtiers when the great
defeat of Lille was announced in his royal palace.  He observed all the
usual duties of his daily {136} life and affected a serenity that other
men might envy when they bewailed the passing of the Old Order, or
repeated the prophecy once made by an astrologer that the end of Louis
XIV's reign should not be glorious as the beginning.

The King retained his marvellous composure to the last, too haughty to
bend before misfortune or to retire even if the enemy came to the very
gates of Paris.  At seventy-six he still went out to hunt the stag; he
held Councils of State long after his health was really broken.  He
said farewell to the officers of the crown in a voice as strong as ever
when he was banished to the sick-room in 1715, and upbraided the
weeping attendants, asking them if they had indeed come to consider him

The reign of seventy-two years, so memorable in the annals of France,
drew to a close with the life that had embodied all its royalty.  Louis
XIV died "as a candle that goes out"--deserted even by Madame de
Maintenon, who determined to secure herself against adversity by
retirement to the convent of Saint-Cyr.  There was no loud mourning as
the King's corpse was driven to the tomb on a car of black and silver,
for the new century knew not the old reverence for kings.  It was the
age of Voltaire and the mocking sceptic.


Chapter XII

Peter the Great

On the very day when the Grand Monarch watched his army cross the Rhine
under the generals--Turenne and Condé--a man was born possessed of the
same strong individuality as Louis XIV, a man whose rule was destined
to work vast changes in the mighty realms to the extreme east of Europe.

On 30th May, 1672, Peter, son of Alexis, was born in the palace of the
Kreml at Moscow.  He was reared at first in strict seclusion behind the
silken curtains that guarded the windows of the _Térem_, where the
women lived.  Then rebellion broke out after his father's death; for
Alexis had children by two marriages, and the offspring of his first
wife, Mary Miloslavski, were jealous of the influence acquired by the
relatives of Nathalie Naryshkin, Peter's mother.

Peter found a strange new freedom in the village near Moscow which gave
him shelter when the Miloslavski were predominant in the State.  He
grew up wild and boisterous, the antithesis in all things of the
polished courtier of the western world, for he despised fine clothing
and hated the external pomp of state.  He ruled at first with his
half-brother Ivan, and had reason to dread the power of Ivan's sister,
Sophia Miloslavski, who was Regent, and gave lavish emoluments to
Galitzin, {138} her favourite minister.  There was even an attempt upon
Peter's life, which made him something of a coward in later times,
since he was taken unawares by a terrible rising that Sophia inspired
and escaped her only by a hurried flight.

The rising was put down, however; Sophia was sent to a convent, and
Galitzin banished before Peter could be said to rule.  He did not care
at first for State affairs, being absorbed by youthful pleasures which
he shared with companions from the stables and the streets.  He drilled
soldiers, forming pleasure regiments, and had hours of delight sailing
an old boat which he found one day, for this aroused a new enthusiasm.
There were Dutch skippers at Archangel who were glad to teach him all
they knew of navigation and the duties of their various crafts.  The
Tsar insisted on working his way upward from a cabin-boy--he was
democratic, and intended to level classes in his Empire in this way.

Russian subjects complained bitterly of the Tsar's strange foreign
tastes as soon as they heard that he was fond of visiting the
_Sloboda_, that German quarter of his capital where so many foreigners
lived.  There were rumours that he was not Alexis' son but the
offspring perhaps of Lefort, the Genevese favourite, who helped him to
reform.  When it was reported that he was about to visit foreign lands,
discontent was louder, for the rulers of the east did not travel far
from their own dominions if they followed the customs of their fathers,
and observed their people's will.  The _Streltsy_, a privileged class
of soldiers, rose on the eve of the departure for the west.  Their
punishment did not descend on them at once, but Peter planned a dark
vengeance in his mind.

The monarch visited many countries in disguise, intent on learning the
civilized arts of western Europe, {139} that he might introduce them to
"barbarous Muscovy," which clung to the obsolete practices of a former
age.  He spent some time at Zaandem, a village in Holland, where he was
busily engaged in boat-building.  Then he was entertained at Amsterdam,
and passed on to England as the guest of William III.  He occupied
Sayes Court, near Deptford, the residence of John Evelyn, the great
diarist, and wrought much havoc in that pleasant place; for his manners
were still rude and barbarous, and he had no respect for the property
of his host.  Sir Godfrey Kneller painted him--a handsome giant, six
feet eight inches high, with full lips, dark skin, and curly hair that
always showed beneath his wig.  The Tsar disdained to adorn his person,
and was often meanly clad, wearing coarse darned stockings, thick
shoes, and studying economy in dress.

Peter continued his study of ship-building at Deptford, but the chief
object of his visit was fulfilled when he had induced workmen of all
kinds to return with him to Russia to teach their different trades.
The Tsar was intent on securing a fleet, and hoped to gain a sea-board
for his empire by driving back the Poles and Swedes from their Baltic
ports.  He would then be able to trade with Europe and have intercourse
with countries that were previously unknown.  But only war could
accomplish this high ambition, and he had, as yet, no real skill in
arms.  An attempt on Azov, then in Turkish hands, had led to
ignominious defeat.

Peter returned home to find that the _Streltsy_ had broken out again.
His vengeance was terrible, for he had a barbarous strain and wielded
the axe and knout with his own hands.  The rebellious soldiers were
deprived of the privileges that had long been theirs, and those who
were fortunate enough to escape a cruel death were {140} banished.  In
future the army was to know the discipline that such soldiers as
Patrick Gordon, a Scotch officer, had learned in their campaigns in
foreign lands.  This soldier did much good work in the organization and
control of Peter's army.  Their dress was to be modelled on the western
uniforms that Peter had admired.  He was ashamed of the cumbersome
skirts that Russians wore after the Asiatic style, and insisted that
they should be cut off, together with the beards that were almost
sacred in the eyes of priests.

Favourites of humble origin were useful to Peter in his innovations,
which were rigorously carried out.  Menshikof, once a pastry-cook's
boy, aided the Tsar to crush any discontent that might break out, and
himself shaved many wrathful nobles who were afraid to resist.  It was
Peter's whim to give such lavish presents to this minister that he
could live in splendid luxury and entertain the Tsar's own guests.
Peter himself preferred simplicity, and despised the magnificence of
fine palaces.  He married a serving-maid named Catherine for his second
wife, and loved her homely household ways and the cheerful spirit with
which she rode out with him to camp.  His first wife was shut up in a
convent because she had a sincere distrust of all the changes that
began with Peter's reign.

Charles XII of Sweden was the monarch who had chief reason to beware of
the impatient spirit of the Tsar, ever desirous of that "window open
upon Europe," which his father too had craved.  The Swede was warlike
and fearless, for he was happy only in the field.  He scorned Peter's
claims at first, and inflicted shameful defeat on him.  The Tsar fled
from Narva in Livonia, and all Europe branded him as coward.  By 1700,
peace with Turkey had been signed in order that the {141} Russians
might march westward to the Baltic sea.  Their repulse showed the
determination of the Tsar, who had learnt a lesson from the humiliation
he had endured.  He began to train soldiers and sailors again, and sent
for more foreigners to teach the art of war.  The very church-bells
were melted into cannon-balls that he might conquer the all-conquering

Moscow, which consisted largely of wooden buildings, caught fire and
was burnt in 1701, both palace and state offices falling to the ground.
The capital had dreadful memories for the Tsar, who wished to build a
new fort looking out upon the Baltic Sea.  Its ancient churches and
convents did not attract him, for religion was strongly associated in
his mind with the stubborn opposition of the priesthood, which
invariably met his plans for reform.

Petersburg rose in triumph on an island of the Neva when the estuary
had been seized by a superb effort of the Tsar.  It was on a damp
unhealthy site and contained only wooden huts in its first period of
occupation, but inhabitants were quickly found.  The Tsar was
autocratic enough to bid his _boyards_, or nobles, move there despite
all their complaints.  He built the church of St Peter and St Paul, and
drew merchants thither by promises of trade.  "Let him build towns,"
his adversary said with scorn, "there will be all the more for us to

The King of Poland had allied himself with Russia against Sweden, but
proved faithless and unscrupulous as the contest waxed keen.  Augustus
had found some qualities in the Tsar which appealed to him, for he was
boisterous in mirth himself and a hard drinker, but his principal
concern was for the safety of his own throne and the security of his
own dominions.  After two {142} decisive defeats, he was expelled from
the throne of Poland by Charles XII, who placed Stanislaus Leszczynski
in his place.  This alarmed Peter, who had relied on Poland's help.
The winter and cold proved a better ally of Russia in the end than any
service which Augustus paid.  The Tsar wisely drew the Swedish army
into the desert-lands, where many thousands died of cold and hunger.
He met the forlorn remnants of a glorious band at Poltava in 1709, and
routed them with ease.  Narva was avenged, for the Swedish King had to
be led from the battlefield by devoted comrades and placed in retreat
in Turkey, where he was the Sultan's guest.  Charles' lucky star had
set when he received a wound the night before Poltava, for he could not
fight on foot and his men lost heart, missing the stern heroic figure
and the commanding voice that bade them gain either victory or death.

Peter might well order an annual celebration of his victory over
Sweden, writing exultantly to Admiral Apraxin at Petersburg some few
hours after battle, "Our enemy has encountered the fate of Phaethon,
and the foundation-stone of our city on the Neva is at length grimly
laid."  The Swedish army had been crushed, and the Swedish hero-king
was a mere knight-errant unable to return to his own land.  The
Cossacks who had tried to assert their independence of Russia under the
Hetman Mazeppa, an ally of Charles XII, failed in their opposition to
the mighty Tsar.  Augustus was recognized as King of Poland again after
the defeat of the Swedish King at Poltava, as Stanislaus retired,
knowing that he could expect no further support from Sweden.  Peter
renewed his alliance at Thorn with the Polish sovereign.

The new order began for Russia as soon as the Baltic coast fell into
the possession of Peter, who was {143} overjoyed by the new link with
the west.  He was despotic in his sweeping changes, but he desired the
civilization of his barbarous land.  He visited foreign courts,
disliking their ceremony and half-ashamed of his homely faithful wife.
He gathered new knowledge everywhere, learning many trades and
acquiring treasures that were the gifts of kings.  It was long before
his ambassadors were respected, longer still before he received the
ungrudging acknowledgment of his claims as Emperor.  He had resolved to
form great alliances through his daughters, who were educated and
dressed after the manner of the French.

Peter did much for the emancipation of women in Russia, though his
personal treatment of them was brutal, and he threatened even Catherine
with death it she hesitated to obey his slightest whim.  They had been
reared in monotonous retirement hitherto, and never saw their
bridegrooms till the marriage-day.  Their wrongs were seldom redressed
if they ventured to complain, and the convent was the only refuge from
unhappy married life.  The royal princesses were not allowed to appear
in public nor drive unveiled through the streets.  Suitors did not
release them from the dreary empty routine of their life, because their
religion was a barrier to alliance with princes of the west.  Sophia
had dared greatly in demanding a position in the State.

Peter altered the betrothal customs, insisting that the bridal couple
should meet before the actual ceremonies took place.  He gave
assemblies to which his subjects were obliged by _ukase_ or edict to
bring the women of their families, and he endeavoured to promote that
social life which had been unknown in Russia when she was cut off from
the west.  He approved of dancing and music, and took part in revels of
a more boisterous {144} kind.  He drank very heavily in his later days,
and was peremptory in bidding both men and women share the convivial
pleasures of his court.  National feeling was suspicious of all
feminine influence till the affable Catherine entered public life.  She
interceded for culprits, and could often calm her husband in his most
violent moods.  Gradually the attitude changed which had made proverbs
expressing such sentiments as "A woman's hair is long, but her
understanding is short."

Peter's fierce impetuous nature bore the nation along the new channel
in which he chose that it should flow.  He played at being a servant,
but he made use of the supreme authority of an Emperor.  All men became
absorbed in his strong imperious personality which differed from the
general character of the Russian of his day.  Relentless severity
marked his displeasure when any disaffection was likely to thwart his
favourite plans.  He sacrificed his eldest son Alexis to this theory
that every man must share his tastes.  "The knout is not an angel, but
it teaches men to tell the truth," he said grimly, as he examined the
guilty by torture and drew confession with the lash.

St Petersburg became the residence of the nobles.  They had to desert
their old estates and follow the dictates of a Tsar whose object it was
to push continually toward the west.  Labourers died in thousands while
the city was built and destroyed again by winter floods, but the past
for Russia was divided from the future utterly at Peter's death in 1725.


Chapter XIII

The Royal Robber

Peter the Great had paid a famous visit to the Prussian court, hoping
to conclude an alliance with Frederick William I against Charles XII,
his northern adversary.  Queen Catherine and her ladies had been
sharply criticized when they arrived at Berlin, and Peter's own bearing
did not escape much adverse comment and secret ridicule; nevertheless
he received many splendid presents, and these, no doubt, atoned to him
for anything which seemed lacking in his reception.

A splendid yacht sailed toward Petersburg as the gift of Frederick, who
was anxious to conciliate the uncouth ruler of the East.  In return,
men of gigantic stature were sent annually from Russia to enter the
splendid Potsdam Guards, so dear to the monarch, who was a stern
soldier and loved the martial life.  Prussia was a new kingdom obtained
for his descendants by the Elector of Brandenburg.  It was necessary
that the rulers should devote themselves to recruiting a goodly force,
since their land might be easily attacked by foreign foes and divided
among the greater powers, if they did not protect it well.

Frederick William sent recruiting sergeants far and wide, and suffered
these even to enter churches during service and to carry off by force
the stalwart young men {146} of the congregation.  Yet he was a pious
man, an enemy to vice, and a ruler of enormous diligence.  He rid
himself of useless attendants as soon as his father died, and exercised
the strictest economy in his private life.  He kept the purse-strings
and was also his own general.  He was ever about the streets, accosting
idlers roughly, and bidding the very apple-women knit at their stalls
while they were awaiting custom.  He preached industry everywhere, and
drilled his regiments with zealous assiduity.

Of tall stature and florid complexion, the King struck terror into the
hearts of the coward and miscreant.  He despised extravagance in dress.
French foppery was so hateful to him that he clothed the prison gaolers
in Parisian style, trusting that this would bring contempt on foreign

The Potsdam Guards were under the strictest discipline, and the
Prussian soldiers won battles by sheer mechanical obedience to orders
when they took the field.  Death punished any resistance to a superior
officer, and merciless flogging was inflicted on the rank and file.
Boys were often reluctant to enter on such a course of training, and
parents were compelled to give up their sons by means of
_Dragonnades_--soldiers quartered upon subjects who were not
sufficiently patriotic to furnish recruits for the State.  Every man of
noble birth had to be an officer, and must serve until his strength was
broken.  The King fraternized only with soldiers because these were
above other classes and belonged more or less to his own order.  The
army had been raised to 80,000 men when Frederick William I died,
holding the fond belief that his successor had it in his power to
enlarge the little kingdom which the old Elector had handed down with


The Crown Prince, Frederick of Brandenburg and Hohenzollern, was born
in the royal palace of Berlin on January 24th of 1712.  He was
christened Friedrich "rich in peace"--a name strangely ironical since
he was trained from his earliest years to adopt a martial life.  From
the child's eighth year he was educated by military tutors, and bred in
simple habits that would make him able to endure the hardships of a

The martinet, Frederick William I, laid down strict rules for his son's
training, for he longed to be followed by a lad of military tastes.  He
was to learn no Latin but to study Arithmetic, Mathematics and
Artillery and to be thoroughly instructed in Economy.  The fear of God
was to be impressed on the pupil, and prayers and Church services
played an important part in the prince's day, of which every hour had
its allotted task.  Haste and cleanliness were inculcated in the simple
royal toilette, for Frederick I had, for those days, a quite
exaggerated idea of cleanliness, but he particularly impressed upon
attendants that "Prayer with washing, breakfast and the rest" were to
be performed within fifteen minutes.  It was a hard life, destined to
bring the boy a "true love for the soldier business."  He was commanded
to love it and seek in it his sole glory.  The father returned from war
with the Swedes in January 1716, victorious, and delighted to see the
little Fritz, then of the tender age of three, beating a toy drum, and
his sister Wilhelmina, aged seven, in a martial attitude.

But the Crown Prince began to disappoint his father by playing the
flute and reading French romances.  He liked fine clothes too, and was
caught wearing a richly embroidered dressing-gown, to the rage of the
King, who put it in the fire.  Frederick liked to arrange his hair in
flowing locks instead of in a club after the {148} military fashion.
"A _Querpfeifer und Poet_, not a soldier," the indignant father
growled, believing the _Querpfeif_, or Cross-Pipe, was only fit for a
player in the regimental band.  Augustus William, another son, ten
years younger than Fritz, began to be the hope of parental ambition.
He took more kindly to a Spartan life than his elder brother.  There
were violent scenes at court when Frederick the younger was asked to
give up his right to the succession.  He refused to be superseded, and
had to endure much bullying and privation.  The King was ever ready
with his stick, and punished his son by omitting to serve him at his
rather scanty table!

There was much talk of a double marriage between the English and the
Prussian courts, which were then related.  Frederick was to marry
Amelia, daughter of George I while his sister, pretty pert Wilhelmina,
was destined for Frederick, Prince of Wales.  The King of Prussia set
his heart on the plan, and was furious that George I did not forward
it.  The whole household went in fear of him; he was stricken by gout
at the time, an affliction that made him particularly ill-tempered, and
Wilhelmina and Fritz were the objects of his wrath.  They fled from his
presence together; the Prince was accused of a dissolute life, and
insulted by a beating in public.

He decided on flight to England.  It was a desperate measure, and was
discovered and frustrated at the last moment.  The King of Prussia laid
the blame on English diplomats, though they had done nothing to help
the Prince.  There was talk of an Austro-English war at that time.  "I
shall not desert the Emperor even if everything goes to the dogs,"
wrote the irate father.  "I will joyfully use my army, my country, my
money and my blood for the downfall of England."  He was so {149}
enraged by the attempted flight that he might have gone to the extreme
of putting his son to death, but an old general, hearing of the
probable fate of the Crown Prince, offered his own life for that of
Frederick, and raised so vehement a protest that the runaway was merely
put in prison.

His confinement was not as strict as it would have been, had the
gaolers followed the King's orders.  He had to wear prison dress and
sit on a hard stool, but books and writing materials were brought to
him, and he saw his friends occasionally.  Lieutenant von Katte, who
fled with him, was executed before the fortress, and the Prince was
compelled to witness the punishment of the companion with whom he had
practised music and other forbidden occupations.

By degrees, the animosity of Frederick William toward his eldest son
softened.  He was allowed to visit Berlin when his sister Wilhelmina
was married to the Margrave of Baireuth, after four kings had applied
for her hand, among them the elderly Augustus of Poland and Charles XII
of Sweden.  The Castle of Rheinsburg, near Neu-Ruppin, was given to the
Prince for his residence.  He spent happy hours there with famous men
of letters in his circle, for he was actually free now to give time to
literature and science.  He corresponded frequently with Voltaire and
became an atheist.  He cared nothing for religion when he was king, and
was remarkable for the religious toleration which he extended to his
subjects.  But the harsh treatment of youth had spoilt his pleasant
nature, and his want of faith made him unscrupulous and hard-hearted.
He grasped at all he could win, and had every intention of fulfilling
the commands laid upon him by the Testament which his father wrote in
1722 when he believed himself {150} to be dying;--"Never relinquish
what is justly yours."

It was far from his intention to relinquish any part of his dominions,
and, moreover, he set early about the business of conquering Silesia to
add to his little kingdom.  Saxony should fall to him if he could in
any wise win it.  There was hope in that fine stalwart body of men his
father had so well disciplined.  There was courage in his own heart,
and he had been reared in too stern a school to fear hardships.

In 1740, Frederick received his dying father's blessing, and in the
same year the Emperor, Charles VI, left his daughter, Maria Theresa, to
struggle with an aggressive European neighbour.  She was a splendid
figure, this empress of twenty-three, beautiful and virtuous, with the
spirit of a man, and an unconquerable determination to fight for what
was justly hers.  She held not Austria alone but many neighbouring
kingdoms--Styria, Bohemia, the Tyrol, Hungary, and Carpathia.

Charles VI had endeavoured to secure his daughter's kingdom by means of
a "Pragmatic Sanction," which declared the indivisibility of the
Austrian dominions, and the right of Maria Theresa to inherit them in
default of a male heir.  This was signed by all the powers of Europe
save Bavaria, but Frederick broke it ruthlessly as soon as the Emperor

In high spirits Frederick II entered on the bold enterprise of seizing
from Maria Theresa some part of those possessions which her father had
striven to secure to her.

Allies gathered round Prussia quickly, admiring the 80,000 men that the
obscure sovereignty had raised from the subjects of a little kingdom.
France, Spain, Poland, and Bavaria allied themselves with the spoiler
against Maria Theresa, who sought the aid of England.  She {151} seemed
in desperate straits, the victim of treachery, for Frederick had
promised to support her.  The Battle of Molwitz went against Austria,
and the Empress was fain to offer three duchies of Silesia, but the
King refused them scornfully, saying, "Before the war, they might have
contented me.  Now I want more.  What do I care about peace?  Let those
who want it give me what I want; if not, let them fight me and be
beaten again."

The Elector of Bavaria was within three days' march of Vienna,
proclaiming himself Archduke of Austria.  Maria Theresa had neither men
nor money.  Quite suddenly she took a resolution and convoked the
Hungarian magnates at Pressburg, where she had fled from her capital.
She stood before them, most beautiful and patriotic in her youth and
helplessness.  Raising her baby in her arms, she appealed to the whole
assembly.  She had put on the crown of St Stephen and held his sword at
her side.  The appeal was quickly answered.  Swords leapt from their
scabbards; there came the roar of many voices, "_Moriamur pro rege
nostro, Maria Theresa!_"  ("Let us die for our King, Maria Theresa.")

But Friedrich defeated the Austrians again and again in battle.  No
armies could resist those wonderful compact regiments, perfectly
drilled and disciplined, afraid of nothing save of losing credit.
Maria had to submit to the humiliation of giving up part of Silesia to
her enemy, while the Elector had himself crowned as Emperor Charles VII
at Frankfort.  The English King, George II, fought for her against the
French at Dettingen and won a victory.  She entered her capital in
triumph, apparently confirmed in her possessions.  But Frederick was
active in military operations and {152} attempted to detach the English
from her.  He invaded Bohemia and defeated the imperial generals.  He
received the much-disputed territory of Silesia in 1745 by the Treaty
of Dresden, which concluded the second war.

The national spirit was rising in Prussia through this all-powerful
army, which drained the country of its men and horses.  The powers of
Europe saw with astonishment that a new force was arraying itself in
youthful glory.  The Seven Years' War began in 1756, one of the most
fateful wars in the whole of European history.

France, Russia, and Saxony were allied with Maria Theresa, but the
Prussians had the help of England.  Frederick II proved himself a
splendid general, worthy of the father whose only war had wrested the
coveted province of Pomerania from the doughty Charles XII of Sweden.
He defeated the Austrians and invaded Saxony, mindful of the wealth and
prosperity of that country which, if added to his own, would greatly
increase the value of his dominions.  He was almost always victorious
though he had half Europe against him.  He defeated the Austrians at
Prague and Leuthen, the Russian army at Zorndorf.  One of his most
brilliant triumphs was won over the united French and Imperial armies
at Rossbach.

[Illustration: Frederick the Great receiving his People's Homage (A.

The French anticipated an easy victory in 1757, for the army of the
allies was vastly superior to that which Frederick William had encamped
at Rossbach, a village in Prussian Saxony.  The King watched the
movements of the enemy from a castle, and was delighted when he managed
to bring them to a decisive action.  He had partaken of a substantial
meal with his soldiers in the camp, although he was certainly in a most
precarious {153} position.  He was too cunning a strategist to give the
signal to his troops till the French were advancing up the hill toward
his tents.  The battle lasted only one hour and a half and resulted in
a complete victory for Prussia.  The total loss of the King's army was
under 550 officers and men compared with 7700 on the side of the enemy.

The "Army of Cut-and-Run" was the contemptuous name earned by the
retreating regiments.

Gradually, allies withdrew on either side, France becoming involved
with England in India and the Colonies.  Frederick II and Maria Theresa
made terms at Hubertsburg.  Silesia was still in the hands of the
Prussian King, but he had failed in the prime object of the war, which
was the conquest of Saxony.

There was work for a king at home when the long, disastrous war was
over.  Harvests went unreaped for want of men, and there were no strong
horses left for farm-labour.  Starvation had rendered many parts of the
kingdom desolate, but the introduction of the potato saved some of
those remaining.  The King had forthwith to rebuild villages and bring
horses from foreign countries.  He was anxious to follow his father's
exhortations and make the population industrious and thriving.  He saw
to it that schools rose everywhere and churches also, in which there
was as little bickering as possible.  The clergy were kept down and
prevented from "becoming popes," as seemed to be the case in some
countries.  The King had no piety, but revered his father's

When the war was over, Frederick looked an old man though he was but
fifty-one.  He was a shabby figure, this "old Fritz," in threadbare
blue uniform with red facings.  His three-cornered hat, black breeches
and {154} long boots showed signs of an economical spirit, inculcated
in his youth when he had only eighteen pence a week to spend.  He
walked about among the country people talking familiarly with the
farmers.  He made it a rule to go round the country once a year to see
how things had prospered.

The King hated idleness, and, like the first Frederick, scolded his
subjects if they were not industrious.  "It is not necessary that I
should live, but it is necessary that whilst I live I be busy," he
would remark severely.  Frugality won praise from him and he always
noted it among his subjects.  One day he asked the time of an officer
he met in the streets and was startled to see a leaden bullet pulled up
by a golden chain.  "My watch points to but one hour, that in which I
am ready to die for your Majesty," was the patriotic answer to his
question.  He rewarded the officer with his own gold watch, and
reflected that his methods had been as successful as those of his
father.  That prudent monarch put loose sleeves over his uniform
whenever he wrote that he might not spoil the expensive cloth which was
then the fashion.

In 1786, Frederick II died, leaving Germany to mourn him.  The
best-disciplined army in Europe and a treasury full of gold were the
good gifts he left to his successor.  The population of the realm
numbered six million souls, in itself another fortune.  "If the country
is thickly populated, that is true wealth" had been a wise maxim of the
first Frederick.

Father and son cut homely figures on the stage of eighteenth-century
Europe.  The brilliant Louis XIV, and his stately Versailles, seemed to
far outshine them.  But Germany owed to Frederick I and Frederick II,
known as the Great, her unity and national spirit.  {155} They built on
solid ground and their work remained to bring power to their
successors, while the Grand Monarch left misery behind, which was to
find expression in that crying of the oppressed, known throughout
history as the French Revolution.


Chapter XIV

Spirits of the Age

It was the aim of Frederick the Great to shake down the old political
order in Europe, which had been Catholic and unenlightened.  To that
end he exalted Prussia, which was a Protestant and progressive State,
and fought against Austria, an empire clinging to obsolete ideas of
feudal military government.  He brought upon himself much condemnation
for his unjust partition of Poland with Russia.  He argued, however,
that Poland had hitherto been a barbaric feudal State, and must benefit
by association with countries of commercial and intellectual activity.
Galicia fell to Maria Theresa at the end of the war, and was likely to
remain in religious bondage.

Frederick II dealt many hard blows at the Holy Catholic Church, but he
did not intend to wage a religious war in Europe.  He insisted on
toleration in Prussia though he was not himself a religious man, and
invited to his court that enemy of the old faith of France--François
Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, a title he derived from the
name of an estate in the possession of his family.

The French scholar came to Frederick after he had suffered every
persecution that inevitably assailed a fearless writer in an age of
narrow bigotry.  Very soon after his appearance in Paris, Voltaire was
accused {157} of writing verses which recounted the evils of a country
where magistrates used their power to levy unjust taxes, and loyal
subjects were too often put in prison.  As a consequence, he was thrown
into the Bastille.  It was quite useless to protest that he was not the
author of _Je l'ai vu_ ("I have seen it").  His opinions were suspected
although he was but twenty-one and was under the protection of his
godfather, the Abbé Chateauneuf.  Voltaire was philosopher enough to
use his year in the Bastille very profitably--he finished his first
great tragedy, _Oedipe_, and produced it in 1716, winning the
admiration of French critics.

Although Voltaire was now embarked on a brilliant career as a
dramatist, he was unjustly treated by his superiors in social rank.  He
was the son of a notary of some repute, and was too rich to sue for
patronage, but nobles were offended by the freedom of the young wit,
who declared that a poet might claim equality with princes.  "Who is
the young man who talks so loud?" the Chevalier Rohan inquired at an
intellectual gathering.  "My lord," was Voltaire's quick reply, "he is
one who does not bear a great name but wins respect for the name he

This apt retort did not please the Chevalier, who instructed his lackey
to give the poet a beating.  Voltaire would have answered the insult
with his sword, but his enemy disdained a duel with a man of inferior
station.  The Rohan family was influential, and preferred to maintain
their dignity by putting the despised poet in prison.

Voltaire was ordered to leave Paris and decided to visit England, where
he knew that learned Frenchmen found a welcome.  He was amazed at the
high honour paid to genius and the social and political consequence
which could be obtained by writers.  Jonathan Swift, {158} the famous
Irish satirist, was a dignitary of the State Church and yet never
hesitated to heap scorn on State abuses.  Addison, the classical
scholar, was Secretary of State, and Prior and Gay went on important
diplomatic missions.  Philosophers, such as Newton and Locke, had
wealth as well as much respect, and were entrusted with a share in the
administration of their country.  With his late experience of French
injustice, Voltaire may have been inclined to exaggerate the absolute
freedom of an English subject to handle public events and public
personages in print.  "One must disguise at Paris what I could not say
too strongly at London," he wrote, and the hatred quickened in him of
all forms of class prejudice and intellectual obstinacy.

His _Lettres anglaises_, which moved many social writers of his time,
were burnt in public by the decree of the Parlement of Paris in 1734.
The Parlement, composed of men of the robe (lawyers), was closely
allied to the court in narrow-minded bigotry.  It was always to the
fore to prevent any manifestation of free thought from reaching the
people.  The old order, clinging to wealth and favour, judged it best
that the people--known as the Third Estate--should remain in ignorance
of the enormous oppressions put upon them.  It had been something of a
shock to Voltaire to discover that in England both nobles and clergy
paid taxes, while in France the saying of feudal times held good--"The
nobles fight, the clergy pray, the people pay."

Sadly wanting in respect to those in high places was that Voltaire who
had not long ago been beaten by a noble's lackeys.  He did not cease to
write, and continued to give offence, though the sun of the court shone
on him once through Madame de Pompadour, the King's favourite.  She
caused him to write a play {159} in 1745 to celebrate the marriage of
the Dauphin.  The _Princesse de Navarre_ brought him more honour than
had been accorded to his finest poems and tragedies.  He was admitted
to the Academy of Letters which Richelieu had founded, made Gentleman
of the Chamber, and Historiographer of France.

It was well in those times to write for royal favour, though the
subjects of the drama must be limited to those which would add glory to
the Church or State.  Yet Voltaire did not need the patronage which was
essential for poor men of genius like the playwrights of the famous
generation preceding his own.  He had private means which he invested
profitably, being little anxious to endure the insults commonly
directed at poverty and learning.  He lived in a quiet château at
Cirey, industrious and independent, though he looked toward the
Marquise du Châtelet for that admiration which a literary man craves.
It was the Marquise who shared with Frederick the Great the tribute
paid by the witty man of letters, _i.e._ that there were but two great
men in his time and one of them wore petticoats.  She differed from the
frivolous women of court life in her earnest pursuit of intellectual
pleasures.  Her whole day was given up to the study of writers such as
Leibnitz and Newton, the philosopher.  She rarely wasted time, and
could certainly claim originality in that her working hours were never
broken by social interruptions.  She was unamiable, but had no love for
slander, though she was herself the object of much spiteful gossip from
women who passed as wits in the corrupt court life of Versailles.

Voltaire came and went, moving up and down Europe, often the object of
virulent attacks which made flight a necessity, but for fifteen years
he returned regularly {160} to the solitary château of Cirey, where he
could depend upon seclusion for the active prosecution of his studies.
He was a man with a wide range of interests, dabbling in science and
performing experiments for his own profit.  He wrote history, in
addition to plays and poetry, and later, in his attacks upon the
Church, proved himself a skilful and unscrupulous controversialist.

In 1750, Madame du Châtelet being dead, Voltaire accepted the
invitation which had been sent to him from Berlin by the King of
Prussia.  He was installed sumptuously at Potsdam, where the court of
Frederick the Great was situated.  There he could live in familiar
intercourse with "the king who had won five battles."  He loved to take
an active part in life, and moved from one place to another, showing a
keen interest in novelty, although his movements might also be inspired
by fear of the merciless actions of the government.

At Potsdam he found activity, but not activity of intellect.  Frederick
the Great was drilling soldiers and received him into a stern barracks.
There was a commendable toleration for free speech in the country, but
there was constant bickering.  At court, Voltaire found his life
troubled by the intrigues of the envious courtiers, by the unreasonable
vanity of the King, and the almost mediaeval state of manners.  There
were quarrels soon between the King and his guest, which led to
exhibitions of paltriness and parsimony common to their characters.
The King stopped Voltaire's supply of chocolate and sugar, while
Voltaire pocketed candle-ends to show his contempt for this meanness!
The saying of Frederick that the Frenchman was only an orange, of
which, having squeezed the juice, he {161} should throw away the skin,
very naturally rankled in the poet to whom it was repeated.

There was jealousy and tale-bearing at Potsdam which went far to
destroy the mutual admiration of those two strong personalities who had
thought to dwell so happily together.  Voltaire spoke disparagingly of
Frederick's literary achievements, and compared the task of correcting
his host's French verses with that of washing dirty linen.  Politeness
had worn very thin when the writer described the monarch as an ape who
ought to be flogged for his tricks, and gave him the nickname of _Luc_,
a pet monkey which was noted for a vicious habit of biting!

In March 1753, Voltaire left the court, thoroughly weary of life in a
place where there was so little interest in letters.  He had a _fracas_
at Frankfort, where he was required to give up the court decorations he
had worn with childlike enjoyment, and also a volume of royal verses
which Frederick did not wish to be made public.  For five weeks he lay
in prison with his niece, Madame Denis, complaining of frightful
indignities.  He boxed the ears of a bookseller to whom he owed money,
attempted to shoot a clerk, and in general committed many strange
follies which were quite opposed to his claims to philosophy.  There
was an end of close friendship with Prussia, but he still drew his
pension and corresponded with the cynical Frederick, only occasionally
referring to their notorious differences.  In dispraise of the niece
Madame Denis, the King abandoned the toleration he had professedly
extended.  "Consider all that as done with," he wrote on the subject of
the imprisonment, "and never let me hear again of that wearisome niece,
who has not as much merit as her uncle with which to cover her {162}
defects.  People talk of the servant of Molière, but nobody will ever
speak of the niece of Voltaire."

The poet resented this contempt of his niece, for he was indulgently
fond of the homely coquette who was without either wit or the good
sense to win pardon for the frivolity of her tastes and extravagances.
Living in a learned circle, she talked, like a parrot, of literature
and wrote plays for the theatre of Ferney.  "She wrote a comedy; but
the players, out of respect to Voltaire, declined to act in it.  She
wrote a tragedy; but the one favour, which the repeated entreaties of
years could never wring from Voltaire, was that he would read it."

In spite of his quarrels, Voltaire spoke favourably of the German
freedom which allowed writings to be published reflecting on the Great
Elector.  He could not endure the hostile temper of his own land and
deserted Paris to settle at Geneva, that free republic which extended
hospitality to refugees from all countries.  He built two hermitages,
one for summer and one for winter, both commanding beautiful scenes,
which he enjoyed for twenty years to come, though he was not content
with one shelter.  He bought a life-interest in Tournay and the
lordship of Ferney in 1758, declaring that "philosophers ought to have
two or three holes underground against the hounds who chase them."
From Ferney he denounced the religion of the time, accusing the Church
of hatred of truth and real knowledge, with which was coupled a
terrible cruelty and lack of toleration.

To make superstition ridiculous was one of the objects of Voltaire's
satire, for, in this way, he hoped to secure due respect for reason.
All abuses were to be torn away, and such traditions as made slaves of
the {163} people.  The shameful struggles between Jesuits and
Jansenists were at their height.  How could religion exist when one
party believing in works denied the creed of a second believing grace
better than deeds, and when both sides were eager to devote themselves
to persecution?

In Voltaire's day, the condemnation of free writing came chiefly from
the clergy.  They would shackle the mind and bring it in subjection to
the priesthood.  Here was a man sneering at the power claimed by
members of a holy body.  The narrow bigotry of priests demanded that he
should be held in bondage.  Yet he did not mock at men who held good
lives but at the corrupt who shamed their calling.  The horrors of the
Inquisition were being revived by zealous Jesuits who were losing
authority through the increasing strength of another party of the
Catholic Church, then known as Jansenists.

The Jansenists followed the doctrines of Calvin in their belief in
predestination and the necessity for conversion, but they differed
widely from the Protestants on many points, holding that a man's soul
was not saved directly he was converted although conversion might be
instantaneous.  They were firmly convinced that each human soul should
have personal relation with its Maker, but held that this was only
possible through the Roman Church.  Their chief cause of quarrel with
the Jesuits was the accusation brought against the priests of that
order that they granted absolution for sins much too readily and
without being certain of the sinners' real repentance.

Voltaire's blood boiled when he heard that three young Protestants had
been killed because they took {164} up arms at the sound of the tocsin,
thinking it was the signal for rebellion.  He received under his
protection at Geneva the widow and children of the Protestant Calas,
who had been broken on the wheel in 1762 because he was falsely
declared to have killed his son in order to prevent his turning
Catholic.  A youth, named La Barre, was sentenced, at the instance of a
bishop, to have his tongue and right hand cut off because he was
suspected of having tampered with a crucifix.  He was condemned to
death afterwards on the most flimsy evidence.

Voltaire was all aflame at the ignorance of such fanatics.  There was
laughter in the writings of the unbelievers of the time, but it was
laughter inspired by the miserable belief that jesting was the only
means of enduring that which might come.  "Witty things do not go well
with massacres," Voltaire commented.  There was force in him to
destroy, and he set about destruction.

The clergy had refused in 1750 to bear their share of taxation, though
one-fifth of France was in their hands.  Superstition inevitably tends
to make bad citizens, the philosopher observed, and set forth the evils
to society that resulted from the idle lives which were supported by
the labour of more industrious subjects.  But in his praiseworthy
attack upon the spirit of the Catholicism of his day which stooped to
basest cruelty, Voltaire appealed always to intelligence rather than to
feeling.  He wanted to free the understanding and extend knowledge.  He
set up reason as a goddess, and left it to another man to point the way
to a social revolution.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau it was who led men to consider the possibility of
a State in which all citizens {165} should be free and equal.  He
suffered banishment and much hardship for the bold schemes he
presented.  The Parlement of Paris was ruthless when the two
books--_Émile_ and the _Social Contract_--were published in 1762.

Rousseau, a writer of humble origin, had been the close student of
Voltaire since his mind had first formed into a definite individuality.
He had been poor and almost starving many times, had followed the
occupations of engraver and music-copier, and had treated with
ingratitude several kindly patrons.  Like Voltaire, too, he journeyed
over Europe, finding refuge in Geneva, whence came his father's family.
He was a man of sordid life and without morality; but he was true to
his life's purpose, and toiled at uncongenial tasks rather than write
at other bidding than that of his own soul.

Rousseau's play _Le Devin du Village_ had a court success that brought
him into favour with gay ladies.  Many a beauty found it difficult to
tear herself away from the perusal of his strangely romantic novel _La
Nouvelle Héloïse_, which preached a return to Nature, so long neglected
by the artificial age of Paris.  All conventions should be thrown off
that man might attain the purity which God had originally intended.
Kings there should not be to deprive their subjects of all liberty, nor
nobles who claimed the earth, which was the inheritance of God's

At first, this theory of return to Nature pleased the ruling classes.
The young King and Queen were well-meaning and kindly to the people.
Louis XVI went among the poor and did something to alleviate the misery
that he saw.  Marie Antoinette gave up {166} the extravagant career of
fashion and spent happy hours in the rustic village of Trianon.  Nobles
and maids of honour played at rusticity, unconscious of the deadly
blows that Jean-Jacques had aimed at them in the writings which
appealed so strongly to their sentiment.  There was a new belief in
humanity which sent the Duchess out early in the morning to give bread
to the poor, even if at evening she danced at a court which was
supported in luxury by their miseries.  The poet might congratulate
himself on the sensation caused by ideas which sent him through an
edict of Parlement into miserable banishment.  He did not aim at
destruction of the old order, but he depicted an ideal State and to
attain that ideal State men butchered their fellows without mercy.  The
_Social Contract_ became the textbook of the first revolutionary party,
and none admired Rousseau more ardently than the ruthless wielder of
tyranny who followed out the theorist's idea that in a republic it was
necessary sometimes to have a dictator.

There were rival schools of thought during the lifetime of Voltaire and
Rousseau.  The latter was King of the Markets, destined in years to
come to inspire the Convention and the Commune.  Voltaire, companion of
kings and eager recipient of the favours of Madame de Pompadour, had
little sympathy with the author of a book in which the humble
watchmaker's son flouted sovereignty and showed no skill in his
handling of religion.  The elder man offered the younger shelter when
abuse was rained upon him; but Jean-Jacques would have none of it, and
thought Geneva should have cast out the unbeliever, for Jean-Jacques
was a pious man in theory and shocked by the worship {167} of pure
reason.  The mad acclamations which greeted the return of Voltaire to
Paris after thirty years of banishment must have echoed rather bitterly
in the ears of Rousseau, who had despised salons and chosen to live
apart from all society.


Chapter XV

The Man from Corsica

Born on August 15th, 1769, Napoleon Buonaparte found himself surrounded
from his first hours by all the tumult and the clash of war.  Ajaccio,
on the rocky island of Corsica, was his birthplace, though his family
had Florentine blood.  Letitia Ramolino, the mother of Napoleon, was of
aristocratic Italian descent.

Corsica was no sunny dwelling-place during the infancy of this young
hero, who learned to brood over the wrongs of his island-home.  The
Corsicans revolted fiercely against the sovereignty of Genoa, and were
able to resist all efforts to subdue them until France interfered in
the struggle and gained by diplomatic cunning what could not be gained
by mere force of arms.  This conquest was resented the more bitterly by
the Corsicans because they had enjoyed thirteen years of independence
in all but name under Paoli, a well-loved patriot.  It was after Paoli
was driven to England that the young Napoleon wrote, "I was born when
my country was perishing, thirty thousand Frenchmen vomited upon our
coasts, drowning the throne of Liberty in waves of blood; such was the
sight which struck my eyes."

Corsican Napoleon declared himself in the youth of poverty and
discontent, when he had dreams of {169} rising to power by such
patriotism as had ennobled Paoli.  Charles Buonaparte, his father, went
over to the winning side, and was eager to secure the friendship of
Marboeuf, the French governor of Corsica.

Napoleon, the second of thirteen children, owed assistance in his early
education to Marboeuf for it was impossible for his own family to do
more than provide the barest necessities of life.  Charles Buonaparte
was an idle, careless man and the family poverty bore hardly on his
wife Letitia, who had been married at fifteen and compelled to perform
much drudgery.

Napoleon entered the military school at Brienne in April 1779, and from
there sent letters which might well have warned his parents that they
had hatched a prodigy.  All the bitterness of a proud humiliated spirit
inspired them, whether the boy, despised by richer students, begged his
father to remove him, or urged, with utter disregard of filial piety,
the repayment by some means of a sum of money he had borrowed.

"If I am not to be allowed the means, either by you or my protector, to
keep up a more honourable appearance at the school I am in, send for me
home and that immediately.  I am quite disgusted with being looked upon
as a pauper by my insolent companions, who have only fortune to
recommend them, and smile at my poverty; there is not one here, but who
is far inferior to me in those noble sentiments which animate my soul.
. . .  If my condition cannot be ameliorated, remove me from Brienne;
put me to some mechanical trade, if it must be so; let me but find
myself among my equals and I will answer for it, I will soon be their
superior.  You may judge {170} of my despair by my proposal; once more
I repeat it; I would sooner be foreman in a workshop than be sneered at
in a first-rate academy."

In the academy Napoleon remained, however, censured by his parents for
his ambitious, haughty spirit.  He was gloomy and reserved and had few
companions, feeling even at this early age that he was superior to
those around him.  He admired Cromwell, though he thought the English
general incomplete in his conquests.  He read Plutarch and the
_Commentaries_ of Caesar and determined that his own career should be
that of a soldier, though he wrote again to the straitened household in
Corsica, declaring, "He who cannot afford to make a lawyer of his son,
makes him a carpenter."

He chose for the moment to disregard the family ties which were
especially strong among the island community.  "Let my brothers'
education be less expensive," he urged, "let my sisters work to
maintain themselves."  There was a touch of ruthless egotism in this
spirit, yet the Corsican had real love for his own kindred as he showed
in later life.  But at this period he panted for fame and glory so
ardently that he would readily sacrifice those nearest to him.  He
could not bear to feel that his unusual abilities might never find full
scope; he was certain that one day he would be able to repay any
generosity that was shown to him.

The French Revolution broke out and Napoleon saw his first chance of
distinction.  He was well recommended by his college for a position in
the artillery, despite the strange report of the young student's
character and manners which was written for the private perusal of
those making the appointment.  {171} "Napoleon Buonaparte, a Corsican
by birth, reserved and studious, neglectful of all pleasures for study;
delights in important and judicious readings; extremely attentive to
methodical sciences, moderately so as to others; well versed in
mathematics and geography; silent, a lover of solitude, whimsical,
haughty, excessively prone to egotism, speaking but little, pithy in
his answers, quick and severe in repartee, possessed of much self-love,
ambitious, and high in expectation."

Soon after the fall of the Bastille, Napoleon placed himself at the
head of the revolutionary party in Ajaccio, hoping to become the La
Fayette of a National Guard which he tried to establish on the isle of
Corsica.  He aspired to be the commander of a paid native guard if such
could be created, and was not unreasonable in his ambition since he was
the only Corsican officer trained at a royal military school.  But
France rejected the proposal for such a force to be established, and
Napoleon had to act on his own initiative.  He forfeited his French
commission by outstaying his furlough in 1792.  Declared a deserter, he
saw slight chance of promotion to military glory.  Indeed he would
probably have been tried by court-martial and shot, had not Paris been
in confusion owing to the outbreak of the French war against European
allies.  He decided to lead the rebels of Corsica, and tried to get
possession of Ajaccio at the Easter Festival.

This second attempt to raise an insurrection ended in the entire
Buonaparte family being driven by the wrathful Corsicans to France,
which henceforth was their adopted country.  The Revolution blazed
forth and King and Queen went to the scaffold, while treason that
might, in time of peace, have served to send an {172} officer to death,
proved a stepping-stone to high rank and promotion.  It was a civil
war, and in it Napoleon was first to show his extraordinary skill in
military tactics.  He had command of the artillery besieging Toulon in
1793 and was marked as a man of merit, receiving the command of a
brigade and passing as a general of artillery into the foreign war
which Republican France waged against all Europe.

The command of the army of Italy was offered Napoleon by Barras, who
was one of the new Directory formed to rule the Republic.  A rich wife
seemed essential for a poor young man with boundless ambitions just
unfolding.  Barras had taken up the Corsican, and arranged an
introduction for him to Josephine Beauharnais, the beautiful widow of a
noble who had been a victim of the Reign of Terror.  He had previously
made the acquaintance of Josephine's young son Eugene, when the boy
came to ask that his father's sword might be restored to him.

Josephine pleased the suitor by her amiability, and was attracted in
turn by his ardent nature.  She was in a position to advance his
interests through her intimacy with Barras, who promised that Napoleon
should hold a great position in the army if she became his wife.  She
married Napoleon in March 1796, undaunted by the prediction: "You will
be a queen and yet you will not sit on a throne."  Napoleon's career
may then be said to have begun in earnest.  It was the dawn of a new
age in Europe, where France stood forth as a predominant power.
Austria was against her as the avenger of Marie Antoinette, France's
ill-fated Queen, who had been Maria Theresa's daughter.  England and
Russia were in alliance, though Russia was an uncertain and disloyal


Want of money might have daunted one less eager for success than the
young Napoleon.  He was, however, planning a campaign in Italy as an
indirect means of attacking Austria.  He addressed his soldiers boldly,
promising to lead them into the most fruitful plains in the world.
"Rich provinces, great cities will be in your power," he assured them.
"There you will find honour, fame, and wealth."  His first success was
notable, but it did not satisfy the inordinate craving of his nature.
"In our days," he told Marmont, "no one has conceived anything great;
it falls to me to give the example."

From the outset he looked upon himself as a general independent of the
Republic.  He was rich in booty, and could pay his men without
appealing to the well-nigh exhausted public funds.  Silently, he
pursued his own policy in war, and that was very different from the
policy of any general who had gone before him.  He treated with the
Pope as a great prince might have treated, offering protection to
persecuted priests who were marked out by the Directory as their
enemies.  He seized property everywhere, scorning to observe
neutrality.  Forgetting his Italian blood, he carried off many pictures
and statues from the Italian galleries that they might be sent to
France.  He showed now his audacity and the amazing energy of his plans
of conquest.  The effect of the horror and disorders of Revolutionary
wars had been to deprive him of all scruples.  He despised a Republic,
and despised the French nation as unfit for Republicanism.  "A republic
of thirty millions of people!" he exclaimed as he conquered Italy,
"with our morals, our vices!  How is such a thing possible?  The nation
wants a chief, a chief covered with glory, not theories of {174}
government, phrases, ideological essays, that the French do not
understand.  They want some playthings; that will be enough; they will
play with them and let themselves be led, always supposing they are
cleverly prevented from seeing the goal toward which they are moving."
But the wily Corsican did not often speak so plainly!  Aiming at
imperial power, he was careful to dissimulate his intentions since the
army supporting him was Republican in sympathy.

Napoleon had achieved the conquest of Italy when only twenty-seven.  In
1796 he entered Milan amid the acclamations of the people, his troops
passing beneath a triumphal arch.  The Italians from that day adopted
his tricolour ensign.

The Directory gave the conqueror the command of the army which was to
be used against England.  The old desperate rivalry had broken out
again now that the French saw a chance of regaining power in India.  It
was Napoleon's purpose to wage war in Egypt, and he needed much money
for his campaign in a distant country.  During the conquest of Italy he
had managed to secure money from the Papal chests and he could rely,
too, on the vast spoil taken from Berne when the old constitution of
the Swiss was overthrown and a new Republic founded.  He took Malta,
"the strongest place in Europe," and proceeded to occupy Alexandria in
1798.  In the following February he marched on Cairo.

England's supremacy at sea destroyed the complete success of the plans
which Napoleon was forming.  He had never thought seriously of the
English admiral Nelson till his own fleet was shattered by him in a
naval engagement at Aboukir.  After that, he understood that he had to
reckon with a powerful enemy.


The Turks had decided to anticipate Napoleon's plan for securing Greece
her freedom by preparing a vast army in Syria.  The French took the
town of Jaffa by assault, but had to retire from the siege of Acre.
The expedition was not therefore a success, though Napoleon won a
victory over the Turkish army at Aboukir.  The English triumphed in
Egypt and were fortunate enough to win back Malta, which excluded
France from the Mediterranean.  Napoleon eluded with difficulty the
English cruisers and returned to France, where he rapidly rose to
power, receiving, after a kind of revolution, the title of First
Consul.  He was to hold office for ten years and receive a salary of
half a million francs.  In reality, a strong monarchy had been created.
The people of France, however, still fancied themselves a free Republic.

War was declared on France by Austria and England in 1800, and the
First Consul saw himself raised to the pinnacle of military glory.  He
defeated the Austrians at Marengo, while his only rival, Moreau, won
the great battle of Hohenlinden.  At Marengo, the general whom Napoleon
praised above all others fell dead on the field of battle.  The
conqueror himself mourned Desaix most bitterly, since "he loved glory
for glory's sake and France above everything."  But "Alas! it is not
permitted to weep," Napoleon said, overcoming the weakness as he judged
it.  He had done now with wars waged on a small scale, and would give
Europe a time of peace before venturing on vaster enterprises.  The
victory of Marengo on June 14th, 1800, wrested Italy again from
Austria, who had regained possession and power in the peninsula.  It
also saved France from invasion.  Austria was obliged to accept an
armistice, a humiliation she had not {176} foreseen when she arrayed
her mighty armies against the First Consul.  Napoleon gloried in this
success, proposing to Rouget de Lisle, the writer of the
_Marseillaise_, that a battle-hymn should commemorate the coming of
peace with victory.

The Treaty of Luneville, 1801, settled Continental strife so
effectually that Napoleon was free to attend to the internal affairs of
the French Republic.  The Catholic Church was restored by the
_Concordat_, but made to depend on the new ruler instead of the Bourbon
party.  The Treaty of Amiens in 1802 provided for a truce to the
hostilities of France and England.

With the world at peace, the Consulate had leisured to reconstruct the
constitution.  The capability of Napoleon ensured the successful
performance of this mighty task.  He was bent on giving a firm
government to France since this would help him to reach the height of
his ambitions.  He drew up the famous Civil Code on which the future
laws were based, and restored the ancient University of France.
Financial reforms led to the establishment of the Bank of France, and
Napoleon's belief that merit should be recognized publicly to the
enrolment of distinguished men in a Legion of Honour.

The remarkable vigour and intelligence of this military leader was
displayed in the reforms he made where all had been confusion.  France
was weary of the republican government which had brought her to the
verge of bankruptcy and ruin, and inclined to look favourably on the
idea of a monarchy.

Napoleon determined that this should be the monarchy of a Buonaparte,
not that of a Bourbon.  The Church had ceased to support the claims of
Louis XVI's brother.  Napoleon had won the _noblesse_, too, {177} by
his feats of arms, and the peacemaker's decrees had reconciled the
foreign cabinets.  It ended, as the prudent had foreseen, in the First
Consul choosing for himself the old military title of Emperor.

His coronation on December 2nd, 1804, was a ceremony of magnificence,
unequalled since the fall of the majestic Bourbons.  Napoleon placed
the sacred diadem on his own head and then on the head of Josephine,
who knelt to receive it.  His aspect was gloomy as he received this
symbol of successful ambition, for the mass of the people was silent
and he was uneasy at the usurpation of a privilege which was not his
birthright.  The authority of the Pope had confirmed his audacious
action, but he was afraid of the attitude of his army.  "The greatest
man in the world" Kléber had proclaimed him, after the crushing of the
Turks at Aboukir in Egypt.  There was work to do before he reached the
summit whence he might justly claim such admiration.  He found court
life at St Cloud very wearisome after the peace of his residence at

"I have not a moment to myself, I ought to have been the wife of a
humble cottager," Josephine wrote in a fit of impatience at the
restraints imposed upon an Empress.  But she clung to the title
desperately when she knew that it would be taken from her.  She had
been Napoleon's wife for fourteen years, but no heir had been born to
inherit the power and to continue the dynasty which he hoped to found.
She was divorced in 1809, when he married Marie Louise of Austria.

Peace could not last with Napoleon upon the throne of France,
determined as he was in his resolution to break the supremacy of the
foe across the Channel.  {178} He had not forgotten Egypt and his
failure in the Mediterranean.  He resolved to crush the English fleet
by a union of the fleets of Europe.  He was busied with daring projects
to invade England from Boulogne.  The distance by sea was so short that
panic seized the island-folk, who had listened to wild stories about
the "Corsican ogre."  Nelson was the hope of the nation in the year of
danger, 1805, when the English fleet gained the glorious victory of
Trafalgar and saved England from the dreaded invasion.  But the hero of
Trafalgar met his death in the hour of success, and, before the year
closed, Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz destroyed the coalition led by
the Austrian Emperor and the Tsar and caused a whole continent to
tremble before the conqueror.  The news of this battle, indeed,
hastened the death of Pitt, the English minister, who had struggled
nobly against the aggrandisement of France.  He knew that the French
Empire would rise to the height of fame, and that the coalition of
Russia, Prussia, and Austria would fall disastrously.

"The Prussians wish to receive a lesson," Napoleon declared, flushed by
the magnificence of his late efforts.  He defeated them at Jena and
Auerstadt, and entered Berlin to take the sword and sash of Frederick
the Great as well as the Prussian standards.  He did honour to that
illustrious Emperor by forbidding the passage of the colours and eagles
over the place where Frederick reposed, and he declared himself
satisfied with Frederick's personal belongings as conferring more
honour than any other treasures.

By the Treaty of Tilsit, concluded with Alexander of Russia on a raft
upon the River Niemen, Prussia suffered new humiliations.  The proud
creation of Frederick's military genius had vanished.  There was {179}
even undue haste to give up fortresses to the conqueror.  The country
was partitioned between Russia, Saxony, and Westphalia, created for the
rule of Jerome Buonaparte, Napoleon's younger brother.  He set up kings
now with the ease of a born autocrat.  His brother Joseph became King
of Naples, and his brother Louis King of Holland.

A new nobility sprang up, for honours must be equally showered on the
great generals who had helped to win his victories.  The new Emperor
was profuse in favour, not believing in disinterested affection.  He
paid handsomely for the exercise of the humours, known as his
"vivacités," entering in a private book such items as "Fifteen
napoleons to Menneval for a box on the ear, a war-horse to my
aide-de-camp Mouton for a kick, fifteen hundred _arpens_ in the
imperial forests to Bassano for having dragged him round my room by the

These rewards drained the empire and provided a grievance against the
Corsican adventurer who had dared to place all Europe under the rule of
Buonaparte.  The family did not bear their elevation humbly, but
demanded ever higher rank and office.  Joseph was raised to the exalted
state of King of Spain after the lawful king had been expelled by
violence.  The patriotism of the Spanish awoke and found an echo in the
neighbouring kingdom of Portugal.  Napoleon was obliged to send his
best armies to the Peninsula where the English hero, Sir Arthur
Wellesley, was pushing his way steadily toward the Pyrenees and the
French frontier.

The expedition to Russia had been partly provoked by the Emperor's
marriage with Marie Louise of Austria.  There had been talk of a
marriage between Napoleon and the Tsar's sister.  Then the {180}
arrangement of Tilsit had become no longer necessary after the humbling
of Austria.  Napoleon wished to throw off his ally, Alexander, and was
ready to use as a pretext for war Russia's refusal to adopt his
"continental system" fully.  This system, designed to crush the
commercial supremacy of England by forbidding other countries to trade
with her, was thus, as events were to prove, the cause of Napoleon's
own downfall.

The enormous French army made its way to Russia and entered Moscow, the
ancient capital, which the inhabitants burned and deserted.  In the
army's retreat from the city in the depth of winter, thousands died of
cold and hunger, and 30,000 men had already fallen in the fruitless
victory at Borodino.

Napoleon was nearing his downfall as he struggled across the continent
in the dreadful march which reduced an army of a quarter of a million
men to not more than twelve thousand.  He had to meet another failure
and the results of a destructive imperial policy in 1814, when he was
defeated at Leipzig by Austria, Russia, and Prussia, who combined most
desperately against him.  The Allies issued at Frankfort their famous
manifesto "Peace with France but war against the Empire."  They
compelled Napoleon to abdicate, and restored the Bourbon line.  A court
was formed for Louis XVIII at the Tuileries, while Napoleon was sent to

Louis XVI's brother, the Count of Artois, came back, still admired by
the faded beauties of the Restoration.  The pathetic figure of Louis
XVI's daughter, the Duchess of Angoulême, was seen amid the forced
gaieties of the new régime, and Madame de Stäel haunted the court of
Louis XVIII, forgetting her late revolutionary sentiments.


Napoleon grew very weary of his inaction on the isle of Elba.  He had
spent all his life in military pursuits and missed the companionship of
soldiers.  He thought with regret of his old veterans when he welcomed
the guards sent to him.  Perhaps he hoped for the arrival of his wife,
too, as he paced up and down the narrow walk by the sea where he took
exercise daily.  But Marie Louise returned to her own country.

Napoleon found some scope for his activity in the government of the
island, and gave audiences regularly to the people.  He might seem to
have lost ambition as he read in his library or played with a tame
monkey of which he made a pet, but a scheme of great audacity was
forming in his mind.  He resolved to go back to France once more and
appeal to the armies to restore him.

The Bourbons had never become popular again with the nation which was
inspired with the lust for military successes.  The life in the
Tuileries seemed empty and frivolous, wanting in great figures.  There
was little resistance when the news came that Napoleon had landed and
put himself at the head of the troops at Grenoble.

He had appealed to the ancient spirit of the South which had risen
before in the cause of liberty.  Feudalism and the oppression of the
peasants would return under the rule of the Bourbons, he assured them.
They began to look upon the abdicated Emperor as the Angel of
Deliverance.  The people of Lyons were equally enthusiastic, winning
warmer words than generally fell from the lips of Napoleon.  "I love
you," he cried, and bore them with him to the capital.  He entered the
Tuileries at night, and again the eagle of the Empire flew from steeple
to steeple on every church of Paris.


The Hundred Days elapsed between the liberation from the Bourbons and
Napoleon's last struggle for supremacy.  The King made a feeble effort
against the Emperor.  It was, however, the united armies of England and
Prussia that met the French on the field of Waterloo in 1815.  From
March 13th to June 22nd Napoleon had had time to realize the might of
Wellesley, now Duke of Wellington.  The splendid powers of the once
indefatigable French general were declining.  Napoleon, who had not
been wont to take advice, now asked the opinions of others.  The
dictator, so rapid in coming to a decision, hesitated in the hour of
peril.  He was defeated at Waterloo on June 18th, 1815, by Blücher and
Wellington together.  The battle raged from the middle of morning to
eight o'clock in the evening and ended in the rout of the French
troops.  The Emperor performed a second time the ceremony of
abdication, and, his terrible will being broken, surrendered on board
the _Bellerophon_ to the English.

The English Government feared a second return like the triumphant
flight from Elba.  No enemy had ever been so terrible to England as
Napoleon.  He must be removed altogether from the continent of Europe.
St Helena was chosen as the place of imprisonment, and Sir Hudson Lowe
put over him as, in some sort, a gaoler.  A certain amount of personal
freedom was accorded, but the captive on the lonely rock did not live
to regain liberty.  He died in 1821 on a day of stormy weather,
uttering _tête d'armée_ in the last moments of delirium.


Chapter XVI

"God and the People"

The diplomatists who assembled at the Congress of Vienna to settle the
affairs of Europe, so strangely disturbed by the vehement career of
that soldier-genius, Napoleon, had it in their minds to restore as far
as possible the older forms of government.

Italy was restless, unwilling to give up the patriotic dreams inspired
by the conqueror.  The people saw with dismay that the hope of unity
was over since the peninsula, divided into four states, was parcelled
out again and placed under the hated yoke of Austria.  Soldiers from
Piedmont and Lombardy, from Venice and Naples, Parma and Modena, had
fought side by side, sharing the glory of a military despot and willing
to endure a tyranny that gave them a firm administration and a share of
justice.  They saw that prosperity for their land would follow the more
regular taxation and the abolition of the social privileges oppressive
to the peasants.  They looked forward to increase of trade as roads
were made and bridges built, and they welcomed the chance of education
and the preparation for a national life.  Napoleon had always held
before them the picture of a great Italian State, freed from foreign
princes and realizing the promise of the famous Middle Ages.


Yet Napoleon had done nothing to forward the cause of Italian freedom
before his final exile.  The Italians would have made Eugene
Beauharnais king, of a united Italy, but Eugene was loyal to the
stepfather who had placed under his power the territory lying between
the Alps and the centre of the peninsula.  Murat, Napoleon's
brother-in-law, would have grasped the sceptre, for he was devoured by
overwhelming ambition.  He owed his rapid advance from obscurity to the
position of a general to the Corsican, whose own career had led him to
help men to rise by force of merit.  Murat bore a part in the struggle
for Italy when the cry was ever Liberty.  A new spirit had come upon
the indolent inheritors of an ancient name.  They were burning to
achieve the freedom of Italy, and hearkened only to the voice that
offered independence.

Prince Metternich, the absolute ruler of Austria, set aside the
conflicting claims, and parcelled out the states among petty rulers all
looking to him for political guidance.  Italy was "only a geographical
expression," he remarked with satisfaction.  Cadets of the Austrian
house held Tuscany and Modena, and Marie Louise, the ex-empress, was
installed at Parma.  Pius VII took up the papal domain in Central Italy
with firmer grasp.  Francis II, Emperor of Austria, seized Venice and
Lombardy, while a Bourbon, in the person of Ferdinand I, received
Naples and Sicily, a much disputed heritage.  Victor Emmanuel, King of
Sardinia, received also the Duchies of Savoy and Piedmont.  San Marino
was a republic still, standing solitary and mournful upon the waters of
the Adriatic.  Italy was divided state from state, as in the medieval
times, but now, alas! each state could not boast free government.


Italians, eating the bread of slaves, felt that they were in bondage to
Vienna.  Metternich had determined they should know no master but
himself, and all attempts to rebel were closely watched by spies.  The
police force allowed nothing to be printed or spoken against the
government that was strong to condemn disorder.  There were ardent
souls longing to fight for the cause of Italy and Liberty.  There were
secret societies resolving desperate measures.  There was discontent
everywhere to war with Metternich's distrust of social progress.

The sufferings of rebel leaders moved the compassion of Giuseppe
Mazzini, the son of a clever physician in the town of Genoa.  He was
only a boy when he was accosted by a refugee, whose wild countenance
told a story of cruelty and oppression.  From that moment, he realized
the degradation of Italy and chose the colour of mourning for his
clothes; he began to study the heroic struggles which had made martyrs
of his countrymen in late years, and he began to form visionary
projects which led him from the study of literature--his first
sacrifice.  He had aspired to a literary career, and renounced it to
throw himself into the duties he owed to countrymen and country.

In 1827, Mazzini joined the Carbonari, or Charcoalmen, a society which
worked in different countries with one aim--opposition to the despot
and the legitimist.  The young man of twenty-two was impressed, no
doubt, by the solemn oath of initiation which he had to take over a
bared dagger, but he soon had to acknowledge that the efforts of the
Carbonari were doomed to dismal failure.  Membership was confined too
much to the professional class, and there were too few appeals to the
youth of Italy.  Treachery was {186} rife among the different sections
of the wide-spreading organization.  It was easy for a man to be
condemned on vague suspicions.  When Mazzini was arrested, he had to be
acquitted of the charge of conspiracy because it was impossible to find
two witnesses, but general disapproval was expressed of his mode of
life.  The governor of Genoa spoke very harshly of the student's habit
of walking about at night in thoughtful silence.  "What on earth has
he, at his age, to think about?" he demanded angrily.  "We don't like
young people thinking without our knowing the subjects of their

The "glorious days of July," 1830, freed the French from a monarchy
which threatened liberal principles, and roused the discontented in
other countries to make fresh efforts for freedom.  Certain ordinances,
published on July 25th by the French Ministry, suspended the freedom of
the press, altered the law of election to the Chambers of Deputies, and
suppressed a number of Liberal journals.  Paris rose to resist, and on
July 28th, men of the Faubourg St Antoine took possession of the Hotel
de Ville, hoisting the tricolour flag again.  Charles X was deposed in
favour of Louis Philippe, the Citizen-King, who was a son of that Duke
of Orleans once known as Philippe Equality.  "A popular throne with
republican institutions" thus replaced the absolute monarchy of the
Bourbons.  There was an eager belief in other lands that the new King
of France would support attempts to abolish tyranny, but Louis Philippe
was afraid of losing power, and in Italy an insurrection in favour of
the new freedom was overawed by an army sent from Austria.  The time
was not yet come for the blow to be struck which would fulfil the
object of the {187} Carbonari by driving every Austrian from their

Mazzini passed into exile, realizing that there had been some fatal
defect in the organization of a society whose attempts met with such
failure.  He was confirmed in his belief that the youth of Italy must
be roused and educated to win their own emancipation.  "Youth lives on
freedom," he said, "grows great in enthusiasm and faith."  Then he made
his appeal for the enrolment of these untried heroes.  "Consecrate them
with a lofty mission; influence them with emulation and praise; spread
through their ranks the word of fire, the word of inspiration; speak to
them of country, of glory, of power, of great memories."  So he
recalled the past to them, and the genius which had dazzled the world
as it rose from the land of strange passion and strange beauty.  Dante
was more than a poet to him.  He had felt the same love of unity, had
looked to the future and seen the day when the bond-slave should shake
off the yoke and declare a national unity.

The young Italians rallied round the standard of the patriot, whose
words lit in them the spark of sacrifice.  They received his
adjurations gladly, promising to obey them.  He pointed out a thorny
road, but the reward was at the end, the illumination of the soul which
crowns each great endeavour.  Self had to be forgotten and family ties
broken if they held back from the claims of country.  Mazzini thought
the family sacred, but he bade parents give up their sons in time of
national danger.  It was the duty of every father to fit his children
to be citizens.  Humanity made demands which some could only satisfy by
submitting to long martyrdom.


Mazzini himself had parted from the Genoese home, which was very
desolate without the beautiful son of such brilliant promise.  He dwelt
in miserable solitude, unable to marry the woman he loved because an
exile could not offer to share his hearth with any.  He felt every pang
of desolation, but he would never return to easy acceptance of an evil
system.  He asked all from his followers and he gave all, declaring
that it was necessary to make the choice between good and evil.

The work that was to create a mighty revolution began in a small room
at Marseilles.  Austria would not give up her hold on Italy unless
force expelled her from the country.  There must be war and there must
be soldiers trained to fight together.  It seemed a hopeless enterprise
for a few young men of very moderate means and ability, but young Italy
grew and the past acquiescence could never be recovered.  Mazzini was
light of heart as he wrote and printed, infecting his companions with
the vivacity of his spirit.  He wore black still, but his cloak was of
rich Genoese velvet.  The wide "Republican" hat did not conceal the
long black curling hair that shaded features of almost perfect
regularity.  His dark eyes, gaily flashing, drew the doubting toward
confidence and strengthened those who already shared a like ideal.  He
was a leader by nature and would work indefatigably, sharing generously
the portion that was never plenteous.

Political pamphlets, written by an unwearied pen, were sent throughout
Italy by very strange devices.  State was barred from state by many
trade hindrances that prevented literature from circulating, and
freedom of the press had been refused by Napoleon.  It was necessary
for conspirators to have their own printing {189} press, and conceal
their contraband goods in barrels of pitch and in packets of sausages!

At Genoa, all classes were represented in the Young Italy which
displaced the worn-out Carbonari.  There were seamen and artisans on
the list, and Garibaldi, the gallant captain of the mercantile marine,
swore devotion to the cause of freedom.  He had already won the hearts
of every sailor in his crew, and made a name by writing excellent

Mazzini looked to Piedmont, the State of military traditions, for aid
in the struggle that should make the Alps the boundary of a new Italian
nation.  He wrote to Charles Albert, who professed liberal opinions,
beseeching him to place himself at the head of the new party.  "Unite
on your flag, Union, Liberty, and Independence!" he entreated.  "Free
Italy from the barbarian, build up the future, be the Napoleon of
Italian freedom.  Your safety lies in the sword's point; draw it, and
throw away the scabbard.  But remember if you do it not, others will do
it without you and against you."

Thousands flocked to join the new association, which began to rouse the
fears of mighty governments.  A military conspiracy was discovered,
into which many non-commissioned officers had entered.  Humble
sergeants were tried by court-martial, tortured to betray their
confederates, and sentenced to death, giving the glory of martyrdom to
the cause of Young Italy.

Mazzini lost the friend of his youth, Jacopo Ruffini, and the loss
bowed him with a sense of calamity too heavy to be borne.  He had to
remind himself that sacrifice was needful, and advance the preparations
for a new attack under General Ramolino, who had {190} served Napoleon.
He was in exile at Geneva, and chose Savoy as the base of operations.
The whole attempt failed miserably, and hardly a shot was fired.

Even the refuge in Switzerland was lost after this rising.  He fled
from house to house, hunted and despairing with the curses of former
allies in his ears now that he had brought distress upon them.  He
could not even get books as a solace for his weary mind, and clothes
and money were difficult to obtain since his friends knew how
importunate was Young Italy in demands, and how easily he yielded to
the beggar.  Bitterness came to him, threatening to mar his fine nature
and depriving him of courage.  Italy had sunk into apathy again, and he
knew not how to rouse her.  He bowed his head and asked pardon of God
because he had dared to sacrifice in that last effort the lives of many

Mazzini rose again, resolved to do without friends and kindred, if duty
should forbid those consolations.  He thought of the lives of Juvenal,
urging the Roman to ask for "the soul that has no fear of death and
that endures life's pain and labour calmly."  He gave up dreams of love
and ambition for himself, feeling that the only way for Italy to
succeed was to place religion before politics.  The eighteenth century
had rebelled for rights and selfish interests, and the nineteenth
century was preparing to follow the same teaching.  Rights would not
help to create the ideal government of Mazzini.  Men fought for the
right to worship, and sometimes cared not to use the privilege when
they had obtained it.  Men demanded votes and sold them, after making
an heroic struggle.

In 1837, London received the exiles who could find no welcome
elsewhere.  The fog and squalor of the {191} city offered a dreary
prospect to patriots from a land of sun and colour.  Poverty cut them
off from companionship with their equals.  Mazzini was content to live
on rice and potatoes, but the brothers Ruffini had moments of reaction.
The joint household suffered from an invasion of needy exiles.  There
were quarrels and visits to the pawnshops.  Debt and the difficulty of
earning money added a sordid element.

Mazzini made some friends when the Ruffinis left England.  He knew
Carlyle, the great historian, and visited his house frequently.  The
two men differed on many points, but "served the same god" in
essentials.  Carlyle had an admiration for the despot, while the
Italian loathed tyranny.  There was hot debate in the drawing-room
where the exile talked of freedom, blissfully unconscious that his wet
boots were spoiling his host's carpet!  There were sublime discussions
of the seer Dante, after which Carlyle would dismiss his guest in haste
because he longed to return to his own study.

The prophet had lost his vision but it came back to him, working among
the wretched little peasants, brought from Italy to be exploited by the
organ-grinders.  He taught the boys himself and found friends to tend
them.  Grisi, the famed singer, would help to earn money for the school
in Hatton Garden.

To reach the working classes had become the great aspiration of
Mazzini.  "Italy of the People" was the phrase he loved henceforward.
He roused popular sympathy by a new paper which he edited, the
_Apostolato Popolare_.  It served a definite end in rousing the spirit
that was abroad, clamouring for nationalism.

Revolution broke out in 1847 when Sicily threw off the Bourbon yoke,
and Naples obtained a constitution {192} from King Ferdinand.  The
Romans followed their lead, and Piedmont and Tuscany were not
behindhand.  Joyful news came from Vienna, announcing Metternich driven
from his seat of power.  One by one this minister's Italian puppets
fell, surrendering weakly to the will of a triumphant people, and Italy
could wave the flag "God and the People" everywhere save in the
Austrian provinces and their dependent duchies.

Mazzini returned to learn that he was regarded as the noble teacher of
the patriotism which inspired the peninsula.  The years of loneliness
and sorrow receded from his memory in that glad and glorious moment
when he entered liberated Milan, borne in a victorious procession.
Armies were gathering for the final tussle which should conclude the
triumph of the first revolt.  Class prejudices were forgotten in the
great crusade to free a nation.  Charles Albert led them, having taken
his side at last; but he had no power to withstand the force of
Austria, and he was forced to his knees while Northern Italy endured
the humiliation of surrender.

Mazzini carried the flag for Garibaldi in the vain hope that the
victory of the people might atone for the conquest of the princes.  He
went to Rome to witness her building of a new Republic.  It had long
been in his mind that the Eternal City might become the centre of
united Italy.  He felt a deep sense of awe as he received the honour of
being made a Triumvir.  No party-spirit should guide the Republic while
he held power as a ruler, no war of classes should divide the city.
Long cherished ideals found him true, and inspired those who shared the
government.  Priests were glad to be acquitted from the tyrannous power
{193} of a Pope who had now been driven from the city.  Some of the
more zealous would have given up the observances of the Roman Catholic
religion, but Mazzini was in favour of continuing the services.  He
would not have confessional-boxes burnt, since confession had relieved
the souls of believers.

In private life, the Triumvir clung to simplicity that he might set an
example in refusing to be separated from the working classes.  He dined
very frugally, and chose the smallest room in the Quirinal for his
dwelling.  He gave audience to any who sought him, and gave away
strength and energy with the same generous spirit that inspired him to
spend the modest salary attached to his office on his poorer brethren.
He was bent on showing the strength of a Republic to all European
cities that strove for the same freedom.

The Pope tried to regain his authority, and found an ally in Louis
Napoleon, a nephew of the great Emperor, who became president of the
Republic which expelled the Citizen-King of France.  Louis was anxious
to conciliate the French army and clergy.  He besieged Rome with an
army of 85,000 men, and met with a brave resistance.

There were famous names in the list of Roman defenders--Mameli, the
war-poet, and Ugo Bassi, the great preacher, fought under Garibaldi,
the leader of the future.  Mazzini cried out on them that surrender was
not for them.  "Monarchies may capitulate, republics die and bear their
testimony even to martyrdom."

On July 3rd, 1849, Rome fell before overwhelming numbers, though the
conquerors were afraid to face the sullen foes who opposed them at the
very gates of the doomed Republican stronghold.  The prophet lingered
{194} in the streets where he would have kept the flag flying which had
been lowered by the Assembly.  He was grey with the fierce endurance of
the two months' siege, but his heart bade him not desert his post from
any fear of death.  Secretly he longed for the assassin's knife, for
then he would have shed the blood of sacrifice for the cause of


Chapter XVII

"For Italy and Victor Emmanuel!"

The year of Revolution, beginning with most glorious hopes, ended
disastrously for the Italian patriots.  Princes had allied with
peasants in eager furtherance of the cause of freedom but defeat took
away their faith.  The soldiers lost belief in the leaders of the
movement and belief, alas! in the ideals for which they had been

Charles Albert, the King of Sardinia, continued to struggle on alone
when adversities had deprived his most faithful partisans of their zeal
for fighting.  He had once been uncertain and vacillating in mind, but
he became staunch in his later days and able to reply courageously to
the charges which his enemies brought against him.  He mustered some
80,000 men and put them under Polish leaders--a grave mistake, since
the soldiers were prejudiced by the strange foreign aspect of their
officers and began the war without enthusiasm for their generals.

Field-Marshal Radetsky, a redoubtable enemy, only brought the same
numbers to the field, but he had the advantage of being known as a
conquering hero.  His cry was "To Turin!" but the bold Piedmontese
rallied to defend their town and spread the news of joyful victory
throughout the Italian peninsula.  Other {196} defenders of liberty
dared to raise their heads now, thought once more of Italy free and

At the battle of Novara, fought on an April morning of 1849, the King
of Sardinia gave up his throne, and longed for death that he might make
some tardy recompense for the failure of his attempt to withstand the
power of Austria.  "Let me die, this is my last day," he said when
officers and men would have saved him from the fate of the 4000
Sardinians who lay dead and wounded.  He was not suffered to meet death
but rode away, pointing to his son Victor Emmanuel II as he left his
army.  "There is your King!" he said, resigning all claim to royalty
now that he had met defeat.  He promised that he would serve in the
ranks as a private soldier if Italian troops made war again on Austria.

After the disgrace of Novara and the flight from Rome it seemed that
Mazzini could do nothing more for the cause of patriotism he had served
so nobly.  He had given up hope of a great Italian Republic, and saw
that men's hearts were turned toward the young King Victor and the

Yet Garibaldi, the soldier of fortune, had not renounced the
aspirations of Mazzini, a leader to whom he had always been devoted.
"When I was young I had only aspirations," he said.  "I sought out a
man who could give me counsel and guide my youthful years; I sought him
as the thirsty man seeks water.  This man I found; he alone kept alive
the sacred fire; he alone watched while all the world slept; he has
always remained my friend, full of love for his country, full of
devotion for the cause of freedom: this man is Joseph Mazzini."

The worship of the prophet had led the gallant, {197} daring sailor
into hairbreadth escapes and strange vicissitudes of fortune.  He had
been sentenced to death as "an enemy of the State and liable to all the
penalties of a brigand of the first category."  He had fled to South
America and ridden over the untrodden pampas, tasting the wild life of
Nature with a keen enjoyment.  He had been a commander in the navy, and
had defended Monte Video.  He had been imprisoned and tortured, and had
taken Anita, daughter of Don Benito Riverio de Silva of Laguna to be
his wife and the companion of his adventures.

Garibaldi could not afford even the priest's marriage fees for his life
was always one of penury, so he gave him an old silver watch.  When he
was Head of the Italian Legion he was content to sit in the dark,
because he discovered that candles were not served out to the common
soldiers.  The red shirts of his following had been bought originally
for their cheapness, being intended for the use of men employed in the
great cattle-markets of the Argentine.  The sordid origin of the
_Camicia Rossa_ was soon forgotten as it became the badge of honour.
Its fame was sung in many foreign lands, and it generally figured in
pictures of Garibaldi.

The Legion created some alarm in Rome as they appeared--men with their
dark faces surmounted by peaked hats and waving plumes.  Garibaldi
himself rode on a white horse and attracted favourable notice, for he
was a gallant horseman and his red shirt became him no less than the
jaunty cap with its golden ornaments.  Three thousand men accepted the
offer which the chief made when there was news that the French were
advancing to the city.  He did not promise them gold nor distinction,
but a chance of meeting {198} their ancient enemy of Austria.  Cold and
hunger would be theirs, and the weariness of constant marches.  Death
would be the lot of many in their ranks, the cruel tortures of their
gaolers.  All men were outlaws who had defended Rome, the Republic, to
the last, and bread and water might be refused to them within the
confines of their country.

The cry for war sounded, and Garibaldi led three thousand men,
including Ugo Bassi and the noblest of knight-errants.  The attempt to
reach Venice was frustrated by a storm, and Anita died miserably in a
peasant's cottage, where she was dragged for shelter.  Garibaldi fled
to the United States, and never saw again many of his bold companions.
Venice was left of dire necessity to defend herself from Austria.  She
had sworn to resist to the last, and President Manin refused to
surrender even when cholera came upon the town and the citizens were
famished.  He appealed to England, but only got advice to make terms
with the besiegers.  He capitulated in the end because the town was
bombarded by the Austrian army, and he feared that the conquerors would
exercise a fell vengeance if the city still resisted.  There was
nothing left to eat after the eighteen months' siege of Venice.  Manin
left for Marseilles, mourned bitterly by the Venetians.  His very
door-step was broken by the Austrians, who found his name upon it.  Ugo
Bassi had kissed it, voicing the sentiment of many.  "Next to God and
Italy--before the Pope--Manin!"

Victor Emmanuel, the young King of Sardinia, had won no such
popularity, suffering from the prejudice against his family, the House
of Savoy, and against his wife, an Austrian by birth.  He came to the
throne at a dark time, succeeding to a royal inheritance of {199} ruin
and misery.  The army had been disgraced, and the exchequer was empty.
He had the dignity of a king and remarkable boldness, but it would have
been hard for him to have guided Italy without his adviser and friend,
the Count Cavour.

Mazzini, the prophet, and Garibaldi, the soldier, had won the hearts of
Italians devoted to the cause of Italy.  Cavour suffered the same
distrust as Victor Emmanuel, but he knew his task and performed it.  He
was the statesman who made the government and created the present
stable monarchy.  He had to be satisfied with less than the Republican
enthusiasts.  He had few illusions, and believed that in politics it
was possible to choose the end but rarely possible to choose the means.

Born in Piedmont in 1810, the statesman was of noble birth and
sufficient wealth, being a godson of Pauline, sister of the great
Napoleon.  He joined the army as an engineer in 1828, but found the
life little to his taste since he was not allowed to express his
opinions freely.  He resigned in 1831 and retired to the country, where
he was successful as a farmer.  He travelled extensively for those
days, and visited England, where he studied social problems.

Of all foreigners, Cavour, perhaps, benefited most largely by a study
of the English Parliament from the outside.  He was present at debates,
and wrote articles on Free Trade and the English Poor Law.  He had
enlightened views, and wished to promote the interests of Italy by
raising her to the position of a power in Europe.  He set to work to
bring order into the finances of Sardinia, but the King recognized his
minister's unpopularity by the nickname _bestia neira_.  He had a seat
in 1848 in the first Parliament of {200} Piedmont, and was Minister of
Commerce and Agriculture later.  He pushed on reforms to benefit the
trade and industries of Italy without troubling to consult the
democrats, his enemies.  His policy was liberal, but he intended to go
slowly.  "Piedmont must begin by raising herself, by re-establishing in
Europe as well as in Italy, a position and a credit equal to her
ambition.  Hence there must be a policy unswerving in its aims but
flexible and various as to the means employed."  Cavour's character was
summed up in these words.  He distrusted violent measures, and yet
could act with seeming rashness in a crisis when prudence would mean

Prime Minister in 1852, he saw an opportunity two years later of
winning fame for Piedmont.  The Russians were resisting the western
powers which defended the dominions of the Porte.  Ministers resigned
and the country marvelled, but Cavour signed a pledge to send forces of
15,000 men to the Crimea to help Turkey against Russia.  It would be
well to prove that Italy retained the military virtues of her history
after the defeat of Novara, he said in reply to all expostulations.
The result showed the statesman's wisdom and justified his daring.  The
Sardinians distinguished themselves in the Crimea, and Italy was able
to enter into negotiations with the great European powers who arranged
the Peace of Paris.

The Congress of Paris was the time for Cavour to gain sympathy for the
woes of Italian states, still subject to the tyrannous sway of Austria.
He denounced the enslavement of Naples also, and brought odium upon
King Ferdinand, but "Austria," he said, "is the arch-enemy of Italian
independence; the {201} permanent danger to the only free nation in
Italy, the nation I have the honour to represent."

England confined herself to expressions of sympathy, but Louis
Napoleon, now Emperor of France, seemed likely to become an ally.  He
met Cavour at Plombières, a watering place in the Vosges, in July 1858,
and entered into a formal compact to expel the Austrians from Italy.
The final arrangements were made in the following spring in Paris.  "It
is done," said Cavour, the minister triumphant.  "We have made some
history, and now to dinner."

Mazzini, in England, read of the alliance with gloomy misgivings, for,
as a Republican, he distrusted the President of France who had made
himself an Emperor.  He said that Napoleon III would work now for his
own ends.  He protested in vain.  Garibaldi rejoiced and returned from
Caprera, where he had been trying to plant a garden on a barren island.

Cavour fought against some prejudice when he offered to enrol Garibaldi
and his followers in the army of Sardinia.  Charles Albert had refused
the hero's sword in the days of his bitter struggle, and the regular
officers still looked askance on the Revolutionary captain.

But the Austrian troops were countless, numbering recruits from the
Tyrol and Bohemia, from the valleys of Styria and the Hungarian
steppes.  There was need of a vast army to oppose them.  The French
soldiers fought gallantly, yet they were inferior to the Austrians in
discipline.  When the allies had won the hard contested fight of
Montebello it was good to think of that band of 3000, singing as they
marched, "_Addio mia bella, addio_," like the knights of legend.  They
crossed Lake Maggiore into the enemy's own {202} country, and took all
the district of the Lowland Lakes.

In June, the allies won the victory of Magenta, and on the 8th of that
month, King and Emperor entered Milan flushed with victory.  The
Austrians had fled, and the keys of the city were in the possession of
Victor Emmanuel.

The Emperor of Austria, Francis Joseph, had assumed command of the army
when the great battle of Solferino was fought amidst the wondrous
beauty of Italian scenery in an Italian summer.  It was June 24th, and
the peasant reaped the harvest of Lombardy, wondering if he should reap
for the conqueror the next day.  The French officers won great glory as
they charged up the hills, which must be taken before they could
succeed in storming Solferino.  After a fierce struggle of six hours,
the streets of the little town were filled with the bodies of the dead
and dying.  By the evening, the victory of the allies over Austria was

Napoleon III had kept his promise to the Italian people, who were
encouraged by a success of the Piedmontese army under Victor Emmanuel
at San Martino.  But he disappointed them cruelly by stopping short in
his victorious career and sending General Fleury to the Austrian camp
to demand an armistice.  Europe was amazed when the preliminaries of
peace were signed, for it was generally expected that Austria would be
brought to submission.  Italy was in despair, for Venetia had not yet
been won for them.

Cavour raged with fury, regretting that he had trusted Napoleon and
trusted his King, Victor Emmanuel, who agreed to the proposals for an
armistice.  Now he heaped them with reproaches because they had {203}
given up the Italian cause.  He resigned office in bitterness for it
was he who had concluded the alliance of France and Italy.

Napoleon returned to France, pursued by the indignation of the country
he had come to deliver.  He complained of their ingratitude, though he
might have known that Lombardy would not accept freedom at the cost of
Venice.  He was execrated when the price of his assistance was
demanded.  France claimed Nice and Savoy as French provinces
henceforth.  Savoy was the country of Victor Emmanuel, and Nice the
honoured birthplace of the idolized Garibaldi!

Garibaldi was chosen by the people of Nice for the new Chamber of 1860,
for they hoped that he would make an effort to save his native town.
He had some idea of raising a revolution against French rule, but
decided to free Sicily as a mightier enterprise.  Victor Emmanuel
completed the sacrifice which gave "the cradle of his race" to the
foreigner.  He was reconciled to the cession at length because he
believed that Italy had gained much already.

Cavour did not openly approve of the attack which Garibaldi was
preparing to make upon the Bourbon's sovereignty.  Many said that he
did his best to frustrate the plans of the soldier because there was
hostility between them.  Garibaldi could not forgive the cession of
Nice to which the statesmen had, ere this, assented.  He was bitter in
his feeling toward Victor Emmanuel's minister, but he was loyal to
Victor Emmanuel.  His band of volunteers, known as the Thousand,
marched in the King's name, and the chief refused to enrol those whose
Republican sentiments made them dislike the idea of Italian unity.
"Italy and Victor Emmanuel," {204} the cry of the Hunters of the Alps,
was the avowed object of his enterprise.

Garibaldi sailed amid intense excitement, proudly promising "a new and
glorious jewel" to the King of Sardinia, if the venture were
successful.  The standard of revolt had already been raised by Rosaline
Pilo, the handsome Sicilian noble, whose whole life had been devoted to
the cause of country.  The insurgents awaited Garibaldi with a feverish
desire for success against the Neapolitan army, which numbered 150,000
men.  They knew that the leader brought only few soldiers but that they
were picked men.  Strange stories had been told of Garibaldi's success
in warfare, being due to supernatural intervention.  The prayers of his
beautiful old peasant-mother were said to have prevailed till her
death, when her spirit came to hold converse with the hero before

[Illustration: The Meeting of Victor Emmanuel and Garibaldi (Pietro

The Red-shirts landed at Marsala, a thousand strong, packed into
merchant vessels by a patriotic owner.  Garibaldi led them to the
mountain city of Salemi, which had opposed the Bourbon dynasty warmly.
There he proclaimed himself dictator of Sicily in the name of Victor
Emmanuel, soon to be ruler of all Italy.  Peasants joined the Thousand,
armed with rusty pistols and clad in picturesque goat-skins.  They were
received with honour by the chief, who was pleased to see that Sicily
was bent on freedom.  A Franciscan friar threw himself upon his knees
before the mighty leader and asked to join the expedition.  "Come with
us, you will be our Ugo Bassi," Garibaldi said, remembering with a pang
the defence of Rome and the fate of the defenders.

At Palermo, the capital of Sicily, the Neapolitan soldiers were
awaiting the arrival of the Thousand.  They ventured to attack first,
being very strong in {205} numbers.  The bravest might have feared to
oppose the royal troops with such a disadvantage, but Garibaldi held
firm when there were murmurs of surrender.  "Here we _die_," he said,
and the great miracle was accomplished.  "Yesterday we fought and
conquered," the chief wrote to the almost despairing Pilo.  The two
forces joined and Pilo fell, struck by a bullet.  It was May 27th when
Garibaldi entered the gates of Palermo.

The bells were hammered by the inhabitants, delighted to welcome the
brave Thousand to their city.  There was still a fierce struggle within
the walls, and the Neapolitan fleet bombarded the town.  An armistice
was granted on May 30th, for the Royalists needed food and did not
realize that Garibaldi's ammunition was exhausted.  He refused to
submit to any humiliating terms that might be offered to Palermo.  He
threatened to renew hostilities if the enemy still thought of them.
All declared for war, though they knew how such a war must have ended.
It was by the Royalists' act that the evacuation of the city was

The Revolution had succeeded elsewhere, and for the last time the
Bourbon flag was hoisted in Sicilian waters.  The conquest of Sicily
had occupied but a few days.  The Dictator proceeded thence to the
south of Italy and advanced on the Neapolitan kingdom.

Victor Emmanuel would have checked the hero of Palermo, and Cavour was
thoroughly uneasy.  No official consent had been given for this daring
act of aggression, and foreign powers wrote letters of protest, while
King Francis II, the successor of Ferdinand, held out such bribes as
fifty million francs and the Neapolitan navy to aid in liberating
Venice.  France induced the King of Sardinia to make an effort to
restrain the {206} popular soldier.  Garibaldi promised Victor Emmanuel
to obey him when he had made him King of Italy.

At Volturno the decisive battle was fought on the first day of October
1860, the birthday of King Francis.  "Victory all along the line" was
the message sent by Garibaldi to Naples after ten hours' fighting.
There had been grave fears expressed by Cavour that the army would
march on Rome and expel the French after this conclusion.  But the King
was advancing toward the south of Italy to prevent any move which would
provoke France, and Garibaldi, marching north, dismounted from his
horse when he met the Piedmontese, and walking up to Victor Emmanuel,
hailed him King of Italy.  Naples and Sicily, with Umbria and the
Marches, decided in favour of a united sceptre under the House of
Savoy.  It was Garibaldi's proclamation to the people which urged them
to receive the new King with peace and affection.  "No more political
colours, no more parties, no more discords," he hoped there would be
from the 7th of November, 1860.  It was on that day that the king-maker
and the King together entered Naples.  Garibaldi refused all the
honours which his sword had won, and left for his island-home at
Caprera, a poor man still, but one whose name could stir all Europe.

The Italian kingdom was proclaimed by the new Parliament which met in
February 1861, at Turin.  All parts of Italy were represented save Rome
and Venice, and King Victor Emmanuel II entered on his reign as ruler
of Italy "by the Grace of God and the will of the nation."


Chapter XVIII

The Third Napoleon

Italy was free, but Italy was not yet united as patriots such as
Garibaldi had hoped that it might be.  Venice and Rome must be added to
the possessions of Victor Emmanuel before he could boast that he held
beneath his sway all Italy between the Alps and Adriatic.

Rome, the dream of heroes, was in the power of a Pope who had to be
maintained in his authority by a garrison of the French.  Napoleon III
clung to his alliance with the Catholic Church, and refused to withdraw
his troops and leave his Papal ally defenceless, for he cared nothing
about the views of Italian dreamers who longed that the Eternal City
should be free.

There was romance in the life-story of this French Emperor upon whose
support so many allies had come to depend.  He was the son of Louis
Buonaparte and Hortense Beauharnais, who was the daughter of the
Empress Josephine.  During the reign of Louis Philippe, this nephew of
the great usurper had spent his time in dreary exile, living in London
for the most part, and concealing a character of much ambition beneath
a moody silent manner.  He visited France in 1840 and tried to gain the
throne, but was unsuccessful, for he was committed to the fortress of
Ham, a state prison.  He escaped in the disguise of a workman, and made
a second {208} attempt to stir the mob of Paris to revolution in the
year 1848, when Europe was restless with fierce discontent.  The King
fled for his life, and a Republic was formed again with Louis Napoleon
as President, but this did not satisfy a descendant of the great
Buonaparte.  He managed by the help of the army to gain the Imperial
crown, never worn by the second Napoleon, who died when he was still
too young to show whether he possessed the characteristics of his
family.  Henceforth Napoleon III of France could no longer be regarded
as a mere adventurer.  The Pope had come to depend on French troops for
his authority, and the Italians had to pay a heavy price for French
arms in their struggle against Austria.

Paris renewed its gaiety when Napoleon married his beautiful Spanish
wife, Eugénie, who had royal pride though she was not of royal birth.
There were hunting parties again, when the huntsmen wore brave green
and scarlet instead of the Bourbon blue and silver; there were court
fêtes, which made the entertainments of Louis Philippe, the honest
Citizen-King, seem very dull in retrospect.  The Spanish Empress longed
to rival the fame of Marie Antoinette, the Austrian wife of Louis XVI
who had followed that King to the scaffold.  Like Marie Antoinette, she
was censured for extravagances, the marriage being unpopular with all
classes.  The bourgeoisie or middle class refused to accept the
Emperor's plea that it was better to mate with a foreigner of ordinary
rank than to attempt to aggrandize the new empire by union with the
daughter of some despotic king.

Yet France amused herself eagerly at the famous fêtes and hunts of
Compiègne, while the third Napoleon craftily began to develop his
scheme for obtaining {209} influence in Europe that should make him as
great a man as the Corsican whom all had dreaded.  The Emperor's
insignificant appearance deceived many of his compeers, who were
inclined to look on him as a ruler who would be content to take a
subordinate place in international affairs.  He dressed in odd,
startling colours, and moved awkwardly; his eyes were strangely
impenetrable, and he seemed listless and indifferent, even when he was
meditating some subtle plan with which to startle Europe.

Dark stories were told of the part Napoleon played in the Crimean War,
when Turkey demanded help against Russia, which was crippling her army
and her fleet.  Many suspected that the French Emperor used England as
his catspaw, and saw that the English troops bore the brunt of all the
terrible disasters which befell the invaders of the south of Russia.
Alma, Balaclava, and Inkerman were victories ever memorable, because
the heroes of those battles had to fight against more sinister foes
than the Russian troops they defeated in the field.  Stores of food and
clothes were delayed too long before they reached the exhausted
soldiers, and there was suspicion of unjust favour shown to the French
soldiers when their English allies sought a healthy camping-ground.
The war ended in 1855 with the fall of Sebastopol, and it was notable
afterwards that the Napoleonic splendour increased vastly, that the
sham royalty seemed resolved to entertain the royal visitors who had
once looked askance at him.

France began to believe that no further Revolution could disturb the
Second Empire, which was secure in pride at least.  Yet Austria was
crushed by Prussia at the great battle of Sadowa in 1866, and the
Prussian state was advancing rapidly under the government of {210} a
capable minister and king.  There were few Frenchmen who had realized
the importance of King Wilhelm's act when he summoned Herr Otto von
Bismarck from his Pomeranian estates to be his chief political adviser.
The fast increasing strength of the Prussian forces did not
sufficiently impress Napoleon, who had embarked on a foolish expedition
to Mexico to place an Austrian archduke on the throne, once held by the
ancient Montezumas.  The news of Sadowa wrung "a cry of agony" from his
court of the Tuileries, where everyone had confidently expected the
victory of Austria.  Napoleon might have arbitrated between the two
countries, but he let the golden opportunity slip by in one of those
half-sullen passive moods which came upon him when he felt the
depression of his bodily weakness.  Prussia began to lay the foundation
of German unity, excluding Austria from her territory.

Napoleon handed over Venice to Italy when it was ceded to him at the
close of the Austrian war, and Garibaldi followed up this cession by an
attempt on Rome, which he resolved should be the capital of Italy.  He
defeated the Papal troops at Monte Rotondo, which commanded Rome on the
north, but he was defeated by French troops at the battle of Mentana.
The repulse of the Italian hero increased the national dislike of
French interference, but Napoleon only consented to evacuate Rome in
1870 when he had need of all his soldiers to carry out his boast that
he would "chastise the insolence of the King of Prussia."

The Franco-Prussian War arose nominally from the quarrel about the
throne of Spain, to which a prince of the Hohenzollern house had put in
a claim, first obtaining permission from Wilhelm I to accept the
dignity.  This prince, Leopold, was not a member of the Prussian {211}
royal family, but he was a Prussian subject and a distant kinsman of
the Kaiser.  It was quite natural, therefore, that he should ask the
royal sanction for his act and quite natural that Wilhelm should give
it his approval if Spain made the offer of the crown.

Napoleon sought some cause of difference with Prussia, because Bismarck
had refused to help him to win Belgium and Luxemburg in 1869.  He was
jealous of this new military power, for his own fame was far
outstripped by the feats of arms accomplished by the forces of General
von Moltke, the Prussian general.  He thought that war against his
rival might help him to regain the admiration of the French.  They were
humiliated by the failure of the Mexican design and saw fresh danger
for their country in Italian unity and the new confederation of North

Napoleon, racked by disease, might have checked his own ambition if his
Empress had not been too eager for a war.  He was misled by Marshal
Leboeuf into fancying that his own army was efficient enough to
undertake any military campaign.  He allowed his Cabinet to demand from
Wilhelm I that Prince Leopold's claim to the Spanish crown, which had
been withdrawn, should never be renewed by the sanction of Prussia at
least.  The unreasonable demand was refused, and France declared war in
July 1870, eighteen years after the new empire had risen on the ruins
of the Republic of the French.

The other European powers would not enter this war, though England
offered to mediate between the rival powers.  France and Prussia had to
test the strength of their armies without allies, and neither thought
how terrible the cost would be of that long national jealousy.
Napoleon took the field himself, leaving Eugénie as {212} Regent of the
French, and the King of Prussia led his own army with General Von
Moltke and General Von Roon in command.

The French army invaded South Germany, but had to retreat in disorder
after the battle of Worth.  The battle of Sedan on September 1st, 1870,
brought the war to a conclusion, the French being routed and forced to
lay down their arms.  Napoleon had fought with courage, but was obliged
to surrender his sword to Wilhelm I upon the battlefield.  He declared
that he gave up his person only, but France herself was forced to yield
after the capitulation of Metz, which had resisted Prussia stoutly.
The Empress had fled to England and the Emperor had been deposed.
France was once more a Republic when the siege of Paris was begun.

The citizens showed strange insensibility to the danger that they ran,
for they asserted that the Germans dared not invest the town.
Nevertheless, Parisians drilled and armed with vigour as Prussian
shells burst outside the walls and the clang of bells replaced the
sounds of mirth that were habitual to Paris.  Theatres were closed, to
the dismay of the frivolous, whom no alarm of war would turn from their
ordinary pursuits.  The Opera House became a barracks, for the camps
could not hold the crowds that flocked there from the provinces.

Still many ridiculed the idea of investment by the Prussian troops, and
householders did not prepare for the famine that came on them unawares.
People supped in gaily-lighted cafés and took their substantial meals
without thought of the morrow.  There were fewer women in the streets
and the workmen carried rifles, but the shops were still attractive in
their wares.  The fear of spies occupied men's thoughts rather than
{213} the fear of hunger--a foreign accent was suspicious enough to
cause arrest!  There were few Englishmen in the capital, but those few
ran the risk of being mistaken for Prussians, since the lower classes
did not distinguish between foreigners.

Paris was invested on September 19th, 1870, and the citizens had
experienced terrible want.  In October Wilhelm established his
headquarters at Versailles, part of the French Government going to
Tours.  Gambetta, the new minister, made every effort to secure help
for France.  He departed from Paris in a balloon, and carrier pigeons
were sent in the same way to take news to the provinces and bring back
offers of assistance.  Strange expedients for food had been proposed
already, and all supplies were very dear.  Horseflesh was declared to
be nutritious, and scientists demonstrated the valuable properties of
gelatine.  Housewives pored over cookery-books to seek for ways of
using what material they had when beef and butter failed.  A learned
professor taught them how to grow salads and asparagus on the balconies
in front of windows.  The seed-shops were stormed by enthusiasts who
took kindly to this new idea.

Gambetta's ascent in the balloon relieved anxiety for a time, because
every Parisian expected that help would come.  But soon gas could not
be spared to inflate balloons and sturdy messengers were in request who
dared brave the Prussian lines.  Sheep-dogs were sent out as carriers
after several attempts had been frustrated, but the Prussian sentries
seized the animals, and pigeons were soon the only means of
communication with the provinces.

The Parisians clamoured for the theatres to be opened, though they felt
the pangs of hunger now.  They {214} retorted readily when there was
some speech of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.  Their city was not yet
on fire, they said, and Napoleon, the Nero of the catastrophe, could
not fiddle because he had no ear for music!  The Cirque National was
opened on October 23rd, though fuel was running short and the cold
weather would soon come.

In winter prices rose for food that the fastidious had rejected earlier
in the siege.  A rat cost a franc, and eggs were sold at 80 francs the
dozen.  Beef and mutton had disappeared entirely from the stalls, and
butter reached the price of fifty francs the demi-kilogramme.  The poor
suffered horrible privations, and many children died from the effect of
bread soaked in wine, for milk was a ridiculous price.  Nevertheless,
four hundred marriages were celebrated, and Paris did not talk of
surrender to their Prussian foes.

Through October and November poultry shops displayed an occasional
goose or pigeon, but the sight of a turkey caused a crowd to collect,
and everyone envied those who could afford to purchase rabbits even
though they paid no less than 50 francs.  Soon dogs and cats were
rarely seen in Paris, and bear's flesh was sold and eaten with avidity.
At Christmas and New Year very few shops displayed the usual gifts, for
German toys were not popular at the festive season and the children of
the siege talked mournfully of their "New Year's Day without the New
Year's gifts."

Shells crashed into houses in January of 1871, an event most startling
to Parisians, who had expected a formal summons to surrender before
such acts took place.  After the first shock of surprise there was no
shriek of fear.  Capitulation was negotiated on January 26th, not on
account of this new danger, but {215} because there was no longer bread
for the citizens to buy.

Gambetta resisted to the last, but his dictatorship was ended, and a
National Assembly at Bordeaux elected M. Thiers their president.  By
the treaty of Frankfort, signed in May 1871, France ceded Alsace and
Lorraine to Prussia, together with the forts of Metz, Longwy and
Thionville.  She had also to pay a war indemnity of 200,000,000 pounds
sterling.  By the exertions of Bismarck, the imperial crown was placed
upon the head of Wilhelm I, and the conqueror of France was hailed as
Emperor of United Germany in the Great Hall of Mirrors at Versailles by
representatives of the leading European states.  The German troops were
withdrawn from Paris, where civil war raged for some six weeks, the
great buildings of the city being burned to the ground.

Europe was satisfied that united Germany should take the place of
Imperial France, whose policy had been purely personal and selfish
since its first foundation in 1852.  The fall of Napoleon III caused
little regret at any court, for he had all the unscrupulous ambition of
his mighty predecessor, without the genius of the First Napoleon.


Chapter XIX

The Reformer of the East

Italy had won unity after a gallant struggle, and Greece some fifty
years before revolted from the barbarous Turks and became an
independent kingdom.  The traditions of the past had helped these,
since volunteers remembered times when art and beauty had dwelt upon
the shores of the tideless Mediterranean.  Song and romance haloed the
name of Kossuth's race when the patriot rose to free Hungary from the
harsh tyranny of Austria.  General sympathy with the revolutionary
spirit was abroad in 1848, when the tyrant Metternich resigned and
acknowledged that the day of absolutism was over.

It was otherwise with the revolting Poles, who dwelt too far from the
nations of the West to rouse their passionate sympathies.  France
promised to help their cause, but failed them in the hour of peril.
Poland made a desperate struggle to assert her independence in 1830,
when Nicholas the Autocrat was reigning over Russia.  The Poles entered
Lithuania, which they would have reunited with their ancient kingdom,
but were completely defeated, losing Warsaw, their capital, and their
Church and language, as well as their own administration.

Under Nicholas I, a ruler devoted to the military power of his Empire,
there was little chance of freedom.  He had himself no love of the West
and the bold reforms {217} which might bring him enlightened and
discontented subjects.  He crushed into abject submission all opposed
to his authority.  The blunt soldier would cling obstinately to the
ancient Muscovy of Peter.  He shut his eyes to the passing of
absolutism in Europe and died, as he had reigned, the protector of the
Orthodox Church of Russia, the sworn foe of revolutionaries.

Alexander II succeeded his father while the Crimean war was distracting
the East by new problems and new warfare.  Christian allies fought for
the Infidel, and France and England declared themselves to be on the
side of Turkey.

At the famous siege of Sebastopol, a young Russian officer was fighting
for promotion.  He wrote vivid descriptions of the battle-fields and
armies.  He wrote satirical verses on the part played by his own
country.  Count Leo Tolstoy was only a sub-lieutenant who had lived
gaily at the University of Kazan and shared most of the views of his
own class when he petitioned to be sent to the Crimea.  The brave
conduct of the private soldiers fighting steadfastly, without thought
of reward or fear of death, impressed the Count, with his knowledge of
the self-seeking, ambitious nobles.  He began to love the peasantry he
had seen as dim, remote shadows about his father's estate in the
country.  There he had learnt not to treat them brutally, after the
fashion of most landowners, but it was not till he was exposed to the
rough life of the bastion with Alexis, a serf presented to him when he
went to the University, that Tolstoy acquired that peculiar affection
for the People which was not then characteristic of the Russian.

After the war the young writer found that, if he had not attained any
great rank in the army, high honours were awarded him in literature.
Turgeniev, the veteran {218} novelist, was ready to welcome him as an
equal.  The gifted officer was flattered and fêted to his heart's
content before a passionate love of truth withdrew him from society.

After the death of Nicholas reaction set in, as was inevitable, and
Alexander II was eager to adopt the progress of the West.  The German
writers began to describe the lives of humble people, and their books
were read in other lands.  Russia followed with descriptions of life
under natural conditions, the silence of the steppes and the solitude
of the forest where hunter and trapper followed their pursuits far from

Tolstoy set out for Germany in 1857, anxious to study social conditions
that he might learn how to raise the hapless serfs of Russia, bound,
patient and inarticulate, at the feet of landowners, longing for
independence, perhaps, when they suffered any terrible act of
injustice, but patient in the better times when there was food and
warmth and a master of comparatively unexacting temper.

Tolstoy had already written _Polikoushka_, a peasant story which
attracted some attention.  He was in love with the words People and
Progress, and spoke them continually, trampling upon conventions.  A
desire to be original had been strong within him when he followed the
usual pursuits of Russians of fashion.  He delighted in this wandering
in unknown tracks where none had preceded him.  He was sincere, but he
had not yet taken up his life-work.

At Lucerne he was filled with bitterness against the rich visitors at a
hotel who refused to give alms to a wandering musician.  He took the
man to his table and offered wine for his refreshment.  The indignation
of the other guests made him dwell still more fiercely upon {219} the
callousness of those who neglect their poorer neighbours.  Yet the
quixotic noble was still sumptuous in his dress and spent much time on
the sports which had been the pastimes of his boyhood.  He nearly lost
his life attempting to shoot a she-bear in the forest.  The beast drew
his face into her mouth and got her teeth in the flesh near the left
eye.  The intrepid sportsman escaped, but he bore the marks for long

In 1861 a new era began in Russia, and a new period in Tolstoy's life,
which was henceforward bound up with the history of the country folk.
Alexander II issued a decree of emancipation for the serf, and Tolstoy
was one of the arbitrators appointed to supervise the distribution of
the land, to arrange the taxes and decide conditions of purchase.  For
each peasant received an allotment of land, subject for sixty years to
a special land-tax.  In their ignorance, the serfs were likely to sell
themselves into new slavery where the proprietors felt disposed to
drive hard bargains.  Many landlords tried to allot land with no
pasture, so that the rearer of cattle had to hire at an exorbitant
rate.  There had been two ways of holding serfs before--the more
primitive method of obliging them to work so many days a week for the
master before they could provide for their own wants, and the more
enlightened manner of exacting only _obrók_, or yearly tribute.
Tolstoy had already allowed his serf to "go on _obrók_," but, according
to himself, he did nothing very generous when the new act was passed
providing for emancipation.

He defended the freed men as far as possible, however, from the tyranny
of other landowners, who began to dislike him very thoroughly.  He had
won the poor from their distrust by an experiment in education which he
tried at his native place of Yasnaya Polyana.


The school opened by Count Tolstoy was a "free"; school in every sense
of the word, which was then becoming popular.  The children paid no
fees and were not obliged to attend regularly.  They ran in and out as
they pleased and had no fear of punishments.  It was a firm belief of
the master that compulsory learning was quite useless.  He taught in
the way that the pupils wished to learn, humbly accepting their views
on the matter.  Vivid narration delighted the eager peasant boys in
their rough sheepskins and woollen scarves.  They would cry "Go on, go
on," when the lesson should have ended.  Any who showed weariness were
bidden to "go to the little ones."  At first, the peasants were afraid
of the school, hearing wonderful stories of what happened there.  They
gained confidence at length, and then the government became suspicious.

Tolstoy had given up his work with a feeling of dissatisfaction and
retired to a wild life with the Bashkirs in the steppes, where he hoped
to recover bodily health, when news came that the schools had been
searched and the teachers arrested.  The effect on the ignorant was to
make Tolstoy seem a criminal.

Hatred of a government, where such a search could be conducted with
impunity, was not much modified by the Emperor's expression of regret
for what had happened.  The pond on Tolstoy's estate had been dragged,
and cupboards and boxes in his own house opened, while the floor of the
stables was broken up with crowbars.  Even the diary and letters of an
intimate character which had been kept secret from the Count's own
family were read aloud by gendarmes.  In a fit of rage, the reformer
wrote of giving up his house and leaving Russia "where one cannot know
from moment to moment what awaits one."


In 1862 Tolstoy married Sophia Behrs, the daughter of a Russian
physician.  He began to write again, feeling less zeal for social work
and the need to earn money for his family.  The _Cossacks_ described
the wild pleasures of existence away from civilization, where all joys
arise from physical exertion.  Tolstoy had known such a life during a
sojourn in the Caucasus.  It attracted him especially, for he was an
admiring follower of Rousseau in the glorification of a return to

On the estate of Yasnaya there was work to be done, for agricultural
labour meant well-cultivated land, and that meant prosperity.  A large
family was sheltered beneath the roof where simplicity ruled, and yet
much comfort was enjoyed.  Tolstoy wore the rough garments of a
peasant, and delighted in the idea that he was often taken for a
peasant though he had once been sorely troubled by his blunt features
and lack of physical beauty.  Family cares absorbed him, and the books
he now gave to the world in constant succession.  His name was spoken
everywhere, and many visitors disturbed his seclusion.  _War and
Peace_, a description of Napoleonic times in Russia, found scant favour
with Liberals or Conservatives in the East, but it ranked as a great
work of fiction.  _Anna Karenina_ gave descriptions of society in town
and country that were unequalled even by Turgeniev, the writer whose
friendship with Tolstoy was often broken by fierce quarrels.  The
reformer's nature suffered nothing artificial.  He sneered at formal
charity and a pretence of labour.  Hearing that Turgeniev's young
daughter sat dressed in silks to mend the torn and ragged garments of
poverty, as part of her education, he commented with his usual
harshness.  The comment was not forgiven, and strife separated men who
had, nevertheless, a {222} curious attraction for each other.  Fet, the
Russian poet was, indeed, the only friend in the literary world
fortunate enough always to win the great novelist's approbation.

As the sons grew up, the family had to spend part of the year in Moscow
that the lads might attend the University.  It was necessary to live
with the hospitality of Russians of the higher class, and division
crept into the household where father and mother had been remarkable
for their strong affection.  Tolstoy wore the sheepskin of the labourer
and the felt cap and boots, and he ate his simple meal of porridge at a
table where others dined with less frugality.  He had given up the
habits of his class when he was fifty and adopted those of the
peasantry.  In the country he rose early, going out to the fields to
work for the widow and orphan who might need his service.  He hoped to
find the mental ease of the manual labourer by entering on these
duties, but his mind was often troubled by religious questions.  He was
serving God, as he deemed it, after a period of unbelief natural to
young men of his station.

He had learnt to make boots and shoes and was proud of his skill as a
cobbler.  He gave up field sports because they were cruel, and
renounced tobacco, the one luxury of Mazzini, because he held it
unhealthy and self-indulgent.  Money was so evil a thing in his sight
that he would not use it and did not carry it with him.  "What makes a
man good is having but few wants," he said wisely.  There were
difficulties in the way of getting rid of all his property, for the
children of the family could not be entirely despoiled of their
inheritance.  There were thirteen of them, and they did not all share
the great reformer's ideas.

In 1888, Tolstoy eased his mind by an act of formal {223} renunciation.
The Countess was to have charge of the estates in trust for her
children.  The Count was still to live in the same house, but resolved
to bind himself more closely to the people.  He had volunteered to
assist when the census was taken in 1880 and had seen the homes of
poverty near his little village.  He had been the champion of the
neighbourhood since he defended a young soldier who had been unjustly
sentenced.  There was always a knot of suppliants under the "poor
people's tree," ready to waylay him when he came out of the porch.
They asked the impossible sometimes, but he was always kindly.

Love for the serf had been hereditary.  Tolstoy's father was a
kindly-natured man, and those who brought up the dreamy boy at Yasnaya
had insisted on gentle dealings with both men and animals.  There was a
story which he loved of an orderly, once a serf on the family estate,
who had been taken prisoner with his father after the siege of Erfurt.
The faithful servant had such love for his master that he had concealed
all his money in a boot which he did not remove for several months,
though a sore was formed.  Such stories tallied with the reformer's own
experiences of soldiers' fighting at Sebastopol.

His mind was ever seeking new ways to reach the people.  He believed
that they would read if there were simple books written to appeal to
them.  He put his other labours on one side and wrote a series of
charming narratives to touch the unlettered and draw them from their
passion for _vodka_, or Russian brandy, and their harmful dissipations.
_Ivan the Fool_ was one of the first of these.  The _Power of Darkness_
had an enormous popularity.  The ABC books and simple versions of the
Scriptures did much to dispel sloth of mind in the {224} peasant, but
the Government did not look kindly on these efforts.  To them the
progressive Count was dangerous, though he held apart from those
fanatics of the upper classes who had begun to move among the people in
the disguise of workers, that they might spread disturbing doctrines.

The police system of Russia involved a severe censorship of literature.
Yet only one allusion did Tolstoy make in his _Confessions_ to the
revolutionary movement which led young men and women to sacrifice their
homes and freedom from a belief that the section of society which they
represented had no right to prey upon the lower.  Religion, he says,
had not been to them an inspiration, for, like the majority of the
educated class in Russia, they were unbelievers.  Different in his
service toward God and toward Mankind was the man who had begun life by
declaring that happiness came from self-worship.  He prayed, as age
came upon him, that he might find truth in that humanity which believed
very simply as others had believed of old time, but he could not be
satisfied by the practises of piety.  He was tortured until he built up
that religion for himself which placed him apart from his fellows who
loved progress.

The days of persecution in the East were as terrible as in the bygone
days of western mediaeval tortures.  For their social aims, men and
women were condemned to death or banishment.  The dreary wastes of
Siberia absorbed lives once bright and beautiful.  Known by numbers,
not by names, these dragged out a weary existence in the bitter cold of
an Arctic winter.  "By order of the Tsar" they were flogged, tormented,
put in chains, and reduced to the level of animals, bereft of reason.
Fast as the spirit of freedom raised its head, it was cowed by
absolutism and the powerful machinery {225} of a Government that used
the wild Cossacks to overawe the hot theories of defenceless students.
Educated men were becoming more common among the peasants, thanks to
Tolstoy's guidance.  He had shown the way to them and could not repent
when they took it, for it is the duty of the reformer to secure a
following.  Anarchy he had not foreseen, and was troubled by its
manifestations.  The gentle mind of an old man, resting peacefully in
the country, could not penetrate the dark corners of cities where the
rebellious gathered together and hatched plots against the tyrant.  In
spite of Alexander's liberal measures, the Nihilists were not satisfied
with a Government so despotic.  Many attempts had been made to
assassinate him before he was killed by a hand-bomb on March 13th, 1881.

Alexander III abandoned reforms and the discontent increased in Russia,
where the plots of conspirators called forth all the atrocities of the
spy-system which still existed.  Enmity to the Government was further
roused in a time of famine, wherein thousands of peasants perished
miserably.  Tolstoy was active in his attempts to relieve the sick and
starving in the year 1891, when the condition of the people was
heartrending.  He received thanks which were grateful to one very
easily discouraged.  The peasants turned to him for support quite
naturally in their hour of need.

Trouble came upon the aged leader through a sect of the Caucasian
provinces who had adopted his new views with ardour.  The Doukhobors
held all their goods in common and made moral laws for themselves,
based on Tolstoy's form of religion.  They refused to serve as
soldiers, which was said to be a defiance of their governor.  The
leaders were exiled and some hundreds enrolled in "a disciplinary
regiment" as a punishment.  {226} Tolstoy managed to rouse sympathy for
them in England, and they were allowed to emigrate instead of suffering
persecution.  He wrote _Resurrection_, a novel dealing with the
terrible life of Russian prisons, to get money for their relief.  He
was excommunicated formally for attacking the Orthodox Church of Russia
in 1901.  The sentence caused him to feel yet more bitterly toward the
Russian government.  He longed to see peace in the eastern land whence
tales of cruelty and oppression startled the more humane provinces of
Europe.  He would fain have stayed the outrages of bomb-throwing which
the Nihilist societies perpetrated.  He could feel for the unrest of
youth, but he knew from his long experience of life that violence would
not bring them to the attainment of their objects.

The tragedy of the Moujik-garbed aristocrat, striving for
self-perfection and cast down by compromise made necessary by love for
others, drew to a close as he neared his eightieth year.  He would have
given everything, and he had kept something.  Worldly possessions had
been stripped from his dwelling, with its air of honest kindly comfort.
More and more the descendant of Peter the Great's ambitious minister
began to feel the need of entire renunciation.  It was long since he
had known the riotous life of cities, but even the peace of his country
retreat was broken by discords since all did not share that longing for
utter self-abnegation which possessed the soul of Leo Tolstoy, now
troubled by remorse.

In the winter of 1910 the old man left the home where he had lived in
domestic security since the first years of his happy marriage.  It was
severe weather, and his fragile frame was too weak for the long
difficult journey he planned in order to reach a place of retreat in
the {227} Caucasus Mountains.  He had resolved to spend his last days
in complete seclusion, and to give up the intercourse with the world
which made too many claims upon him.  He died on this last quest for
ideal purity, and never reached the abode where he had hoped to end his
days.  The news of his death at a remote railway station spread through
Europe before he actually succumbed to the severity of his exposure to
the cold of winter.  There was universal sorrow, when Tolstoy passed,
among those who reckoned him the greatest of modern reformers.


Chapter XX

The Hero in History

Across the spaces of the centuries flit the figures known as heroes,
some not heroic in aspect but great through the very power which has
forbidden them to vanish utterly from the scenes of struggle.  Poets
who wrote immortal lines and philosophers who mocked the baseness of
the age which set up shams for worship, reformers with a fierce belief
in the cause that men as good as they abhorred to the point of
merciless persecution--these rank with the soldier, rank higher than
the monarch whose name must be placed upon the roll because his
personality was strong to mould events that made the history of his
country.  High and low, prince or peasant--all knew the throes of
struggle with opposing forces, since without effort none have attained
to heroism.

Back into the Middle Ages Dante and Savonarola draw us, marvelling at
the narrow limits which bound the vision of such free unfettered minds.
The little grey town of Tuscany lives chiefly on the fame of the poet
and preacher who loved her so passionately though she proved a cruel
and ungrateful mother.  The Italian state has ceased to assert its
independence, and the brawling of party-strife no longer draws the
mediator to make peace and, if possible, secure to himself some of the
rich treasures of the Florentines whose work was {229} coveted afar.
Pictures of wondrous beauty have been defaced and stolen, statuary has
crumbled into the dust that lies thick upon the tombs of great men who
have fallen.  But the words of the _Divine Comedy_ will never be
forgotten, and the glory of an epic rests always with Italian
literature.  All the cold and passionless intellect of the Renaissance
can be personified in Lorenzo the Magnificent, who encouraged the pagan
creeds that the Prior of San Marco yearned to overthrow.  Enemies in
life, they serve as opposing types of the fifteenth century Italian,
one earnest, ardent, filled with zeal for self-sacrifice, the other an
epicure, gratifying each whim, yet deserving praise because in every
form he encouraged beauty.  There is something fine in the magnanimity
of the Medicean tyrant when he tried to conciliate the honest monk;
there is something infinitely noble in the very weakness of the martyr,
whose death disappointed so many of his followers because it proved
that he had not miraculous powers.

The charm of Southern cities makes the background for the drama between
man and the devil seem dingy in comparison, but even Central Europe has
romantic figures in the Reformation times.  No sensuous Italian mind
could have defied Pope and Emperor so stoutly and changed the religion
of many European nations without the world being drenched in blood.
Luther is a less gallant champion than William of Orange who fought for
toleration and lost life and wealth in the cause, but his words were
powerful as weapons to reform the ancient abuses of the Church.  He is
singularly steadfast among the ranks of men struggling for freedom of
the soul, but hardly daring to war against the cramping dogmas of the


The soldiers of the Catholic Church have all the glamour of tradition
to render them immortal--they are the saints now whose lot was humblest
upon earth.  The Crusader has clashed through the ages with the noise
of sword and armour, attracting the lover of romance, though he
performed less doughty deeds than the monk of stern asceticism, whose
rule forbade him to break peace.  He enjoys glory still as he enjoyed
the hour of victories, and the battle that might bring death but could
not result in shame.  The Brethren of St Dominic and St Francis shrank
in life, at least, from the reverence paid to the sacrifice of worldly
pleasures.  They were marvellously simple, and believed that only some
stray picture on their convent walls would remain to tell their story.
They judged themselves unworthy to be praised, and their creed of
cheerful resignation would have forbidden them to accept the adulation
of the hero-worshipper which was lavished in their age upon more
brilliant warriors of the Church.

Time has had revenge upon the Grand Monarch and the usurping tyrant,
yet their names must be upon the roll of heroes, since they played a
mighty part in the events that make history and cannot suffer oblivion
though they have ceased to tower above the subjects they despised.
Louis XIV's personality needs the mantle of magnificence which fell
from France after the predominance of years.  Napoleon can be watched
in obscurity and exile till the price of countless victories is
estimated more truly now than was possible for his contemporaries.  His
successor has become a mere tinsel figure meddling with strange
impunity with the destinies of Europe, and possessing qualities so
little heroic that only his audacious visions and his last great
failure make the memory of France's last despotic ruler {231} one that
must abide with the memory of those other Revolutionaries of 1848.

Mazzini and Garibaldi receive once more the respect that poverty
stripped from them when they led a forlorn cause and gave up home and
country.  Earthly admiration came too late to console them for the ills
of exile and the loss of their beloved, but they both knew that a
struggle had not been vain which would leave Italy free.  Romance
forgets these sons of the South and their brief taste of popular glory.
Youth looks further back for idols placed on pinnacles of tradition,
despising shabby modern garb and loving the blood-stained suit of

Rousseau has risen triumphant above the strife of tongues that would
dispute his claims to the heroic because his life was marred and
incomplete.  He has credit now for a fierce impersonal love of truth
and purity.  He is a great teacher and a great philosopher, though none
ever placed him among the heroic in action or in character.  His
cynical contemporary, Voltaire, still has some veil of vague obscurity
which hides his brilliance from the world apt to reckon him a mere
scoffer and destroyer of beliefs.  He has more profound faith perhaps
than many who took up the sword to defend religion, but he covered his
spirit of tolerance with many cloaks of mockery, ashamed to be a hero
in conventional trappings, eager to win recognition for his wit rather
than immortality for the courage of the convictions he so firmly held.

Not of equal stature are the heroes looming through the curtain Fate
drops before each scene of the world's drama when another play begins.
There were selfish aims sometimes in the breasts of the patriotic,
worldly ambitions in the Reformers, the lust of persecution {232} in
the Saints.  Yet these great protagonists of history are easy to
distinguish among the crowd of actors who have played their parts.
Their words grip the attention, their actions are fraught with real
significance, and it is they who win applause when the play is at an



  Aboukir, 175, 177
  Aboukir Bay, 174
  Acre, 175, 177
  Addison, 158
  Ajaccio, 168, 171
  Albizzi, Rinaldo degli, 31
  Albizzi, the, 30, 31
  Aldgonde, Sainte, 92
  Alençon, Prince, 109
  Alexander II, Emperor of Russia, 217, 218, 219, 220, 225
  Alexander III, Emperor of Russia, 225
  Alexander, Emperor of Russia, 178
  Alexander of Parma, 97
  Alexandria, 174
  Alexis, 137, 138, 144
  Alfonso of Naples, 32
  Alighieri, Durante, 21
  Alma, Battle of, 209
  Alps, the, 207
  Alsace, Province of, 215
  Alva, Duke of, 82, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 93
  Amelia, Daughter of George I, 148
  America, discovery of, 40
  Amiens, Treaty of, 176
  Amsterdam, 93, 139
  _Anna Karenina_, 221
  Angelico, Fra, 31
  Angelo, Michael, 127
  Angoulême, Duchess of, 180
  Anita, wife of Garibaldi, 197
  Anjou, 18, 45, 106, 111
  Anjou, Duke of, 97, 98
  Anna of Saxony, Princess, 80
  Anne of Austria, 91, 118, 139
  Anthony of Bourbon, 103
  Antwerp, 86, 91, 95, 98
  _Apostolato, Popolare_, the, 191
  Apraxin, Admiral, 142
  Aragon, Prince of, 18
  Archangel, 138
  Arezzo, 22
  Aristotle, 16
  Armand Jean Duplessis, 116, 117
  Arouet, Francois Marie (see Voltaire)
  Arques, Battlefield, 116
  _Arrabiati_, the, 49
  Artois, Count of, 180
  Assisi, 14
  Athens, Duke of, 30
  Auerstädt, Battle of, 178
  Augsburg, 56, 61, 71
  Augustine, Saint, 53
  Augustus, King of Poland, 142, 149
  Augustus, William, 149
  Austerlitz, Battle of, 178
  Austria, 64, 70, 91, 96, 118, 121, 129, 151, 156,
  172, 173, 175, 179, 180, 183, 186, 188, 192, 198,
  202, 208, 209, 210
  Austria, Emperor of, 202
  Azov, 139

  Balaclava, Battle of, 209
  Bassi, Ugo, 193, 198, 204
  Barras, 172
  Bartholomew, Saint, Massacre of, 92, 107
  Bassompierre, 125
  Bastile, the, 125, 157, 171
  Bavaria, 150
  Bavaria, Dukes of, 14
  Bayard, Knight, 67, 68
  Béarns, 102
  Beatrice, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28
  Beauharnais, Eugene, 172, 184
  Beauharnais, Hortense, 207
  Beauharnais, Josephine, 172, 177, 207
  "Beggars, The," 84, 85, 86, 90, 92, 94, 95
  Beghards, the, 13
  Bègue, Lambert Le, 13
  Bèguines, 13
  Behrs, Sophia, 221
  Belgium, 211
  _Bellerophon_, the, 182
  Berlaymont, 83, 84
  Berlin, 145, 160, 178
  Berne, 174
  Biagrasse, La, 67
  Bianchi, the, 24
  Bismarck, Herr Otto von, 210, 215
  Blücher, 182
  Bohemia, 152, 201
  Bologna, 20, 26, 42, 69
  Bonaparte, Charles, 169
  Bora, Catherine von, 60
  Bordeaux, 215
  Borodino, Battle of, 180
  Borsi, Marquis, 41
  Botticelli, 38, 39
  Boulogne, 178
  Bourbon, 102
  Bourbon, Constable of, 67, 68
  Bourges, Archbishop of, 13
  Brabant, Duke of, 86, 98
  Brandenburg, Elector of, 145
  Brederode, noble, 83, 84
  Brienne, 169
  Brill, 92
  Brussels, 71, 83, 84, 88, 96
  Buonaparte, Jerome, 179
  Buonaparte, Joseph, 179
  Buonaparte, Louis, 179
  Burgundy, 64, 65

  Cairo, 174
  Cajetan, Papal Legate, 56
  Calais, 73
  Calas, 164
  Calvin, John, 100, 163
  Cambalet, Marquis of, 126
  _Camicia Rossa_, the, 197
  _Camisaders_, the, 93
  _Campanile_, the, 32
  Cambalet, Madame de, 127
  Cane della Scala, 28, 29
  Canossa, 14
  Caprera, 201
  Carbonari, the, 185, 186, 187, 188
  Carlyle, 191
  Casimir, John, 97
  Cateau Cambrésis, 75
  Catherine de Medici, 101, 102, 104, 105, 106, 108, 109, 110
  Catherine of Aragon, 64, 66
  Catherine, Queen, 140, 143
  Catholic League, the, 112, 114
  Cavalcanti, Guido, 23
  Cavour, Count, 199, 200, 201, 202, 205, 206
  Cencio, 15
  Cerchi, the, 21, 24
  Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, 192, 194, 196, 201
  Charles I of England, 122, 129
  Charles II of England, 133
  Charles II of Spain, 132
  Charles V, 57, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71,
  72, 73, 74, 75, 78, 80, 100
  Charles VI of Austria, 150
  Charles VII, 67
  Charles VII, Emperor, 151
  Charles VIII of France, 45, 46, 47
  Charles IX, 101, 104, 105, 106, 108, 109
  Charles X, 186
  Charles XII of Sweden, 140, 142, 145, 149, 152
  Charles, Count of Anjou, 18, 45
  Chartres, 114
  Châtelet, Marquis du, 159, 160
  Chevreuse, Madame de, 124
  Chièvres, Flemish Councillor, 66
  Chillon, Marquis de (see Richelieu), 117
  Christ, 10, 38, 54, 58
  Christianity, 11
  _Ciompi_, the, 30
  Cirey, 159, 160
  Civil Code, the, 176
  Cloth of Gold, Field of the, 65
  Colbert, 130, 135
  Coligny, Admiral de, 98, 99, 106, 107, 108
  Columbus, Christopher, 64
  Commune, the, 166
  Compiègne, 208
  Concini, 118, 119
  _Concordat_, the, 176
  Condé (Enghien), General, 129, 133, 137
  Condé, Prince de, 106
  _Confessions_, Tolstoy's, 224
  Conrad, 18
  Conradin, 18
  Constantinople, 12, 32
  "Continental System," the, 180
  Corneille, 131
  Corsica, island, 168, 170, 171
  Cosimo dei Medici, 31, 33, 33, 34
  _Cossacks_, the, 221
  "Council of Trouble" (Blood), 89, 91
  Crimea, the, 200, 209
  Cromwell, Protector, 170
  Crusades, the, 11

  D'Aiguillon (see Madame de Cambalet)
  D'Albert of Navarre, 65
  Dante Alighieri, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28,
  29, 30, 32, 187, 228
  Delft, 95, 98
  De Luynes, 119, 120
  Denis, Madame, 161, 162
  Deptford, 139
  Desaix, General, 175
  Dettingen, Battle of, 151
  _Devin du Village, Le_, play, 165
  Diet of Spires, 61
  Diet of Worms, 57, 58
  Dijon, 101
  Directory, the, 173, 174
  _Divine Comedy_, the, 28, 29, 229
  Domenico, Fra, 49, 50, 51
  Dominic, Saint, 13, 42, 230
  Dominicans, 13, 43
  Donati, Lucrezia, 34
  Donati, the, 21, 23, 24, 26
  Don John, 96, 97
  Doukhobors, the, 225
  Dresden, Treaty of, 152
  Dreux, 113
  Duc d'Enghien, 129
  Duplessis, Armand Jean, 116

  Egmont, Count, 79, 80, 81, 85, 87, 88, 89
  Egypt, 174, 175, 177
  Eisenach, 57
  Eisleben, 52, 62
  Elba, 180, 181, 182
  Elizabeth, Queen of England, 90, 95, 97, 106, 108
  _Émile_, 165
  Enghien (Condé) (see Condé, General)
  England, 63, 65, 69, 122, 135, 150, 152, 153, 157,
  168, 172, 175, 176, 180, 182, 209, 211
  Epérnon, General, 119
  Erasmus, 55, 60
  Erfurt, 52, 56, 223
  Eric, Duke of Brunswick, 58
  Eugénie, Empress, 208, 211, 212
  Evelyn, John, 139

  Faesulae, 20
  Farinata degli Uberti, 19
  Fénélon, Priest, 134
  Ferdinand, 63
  Ferdinand I, 184, 192, 200, 205
  Ferdinand II, Emperor, 126
  Ferdinand of Bohemia, 120
  Ferney, 162
  Ferrara, 41
  Fet, Poet, 222
  Flanders, 81, 135
  Fleury, General, 202
  Florence, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30,
  31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 44, 46, 47,
  48, 49, 51
  Flushing, 92
  France, 17, 25, 27, 45, 63, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70, 74,
  75, 85, 92, 95, 103, 109, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125,
  126, 129, 130, 131, 135, 150, 152, 153, 168, 172,
  175, 176, 201, 203, 207, 216
  Francis I of France, 57, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68, 113
  Francis II of Austria, 184, 202, 205
  Francis Joseph II, Emperor, 202, 205
  Francis, Saint, 13, 230
  Franciscans, 13
  Frankfort, 54, 61, 151, 180
  Frankfort, Treaty of, 215
  Frate, the, 27
  Frederick II, 15, 17, 18
  Frederick II, of Brandenburg and Hohenzollern, 147, 148, 149, 150,
  151, 152, 153, 154, 156, 160, 161, 178
  Frederick, Elector of Saxony, 53, 55, 64
  Frederick, Elector Palatine, 120
  Frederick, Prince  of Wales, 148
  Frederick William I, 145, 146, 147, 148, 154, 156
  Fronde, La, 129
  Frondeurs, the, 129

  Galitzin, 137, 138
  Gambetta, 213, 215
  Gaston, brother of Louis XIII, 124
  Garibaldi, 193, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 203, 204,
  205, 206, 207, 210, 230
  Gay, 158
  Gemma, 23
  Geneva, 162, 164, 165, 166, 190
  Genoa, 12, 168, 186, 189
  George I of England, 148
  George II of England, 151
  Germany, 61, 62, 69, 70, 74, 85, 100, 154, 218
  Ghent, Pacification of, 96
  Ghibellines, 14, 16, 19, 22, 25
  Giotto, 32
  Giuliano, 38, 39
  Gordon, Patrick, 140
  Granvelle, Cardinal, 78, 79, 81
  Greece, 175
  Grenoble, 181
  Grisi, 191
  Guelfs, the, 14, 15, 16, 19, 22
  Guise, Duke of, 103, 107
  Guise, Henry of, 102, 108, 109, 112

  Haarlem, 93, 94
  Hamburg, 61
  Henry II of France, 71, 75, 109
  Henry III of France, 110, 112, 114
  Henry IV of Germany, 14
  Henry IV of France, 114, 116
  Henry VI, 15
  Henry VIII, 59, 63, 64, 65, 70
  Henry of Anjou, 106, 111
  Henry d'Albret, 113
  Henry de Bourbon, 105
  Henry of Guise, 102, 108, 111
  Henry of Luxemburg, Emperor, 27, 28
  Henry of Navarre, 97, 104, 106, 108, 109, 110,
  111, 112, 113, 115
  Henry, Prince of Bourbon, 102, 104
  Henry of Valois, 112
  Hohenlinden, Battle of, 175
  Hohenstaufen, House of, 15, 17
  Hohenzollern, House of, 210
  Holland, 83, 85, 93, 95, 96, 98, 133, 179
  Holy Land, 12
  Holy Wars, 12
  Homer, 28
  Hoorn, Admiral, 85, 86, 89
  Hubertsburg, 153
  Huguenots  (Confederates), 101, 102, 108, 118, 120, 123
  Hungary, 65

  Imola, Tower of, 37
  India, 153, 174
  "Indulgences," 54
  _Inferno_, the, 26, 27, 29
  Inkerman, Battle of, 209
  Inquisition, the, 70, 76, 82, 83
  Isabella, 63
  Isabella of Portugal, 67
  Italy, 12, 15, 17, 20, 27, 42, 45, 64, 67, 69, 122,
  127, 173, 174, 175, 183, 184, 185, 186, 188, 189,
  191, 192, 200, 201, 202, 203, 206, 207, 210
  Ivan, half-brother of Peter the Great, 137
  _Ivan the Fool_, 223
  Ivry, Battlefield, 116

  Jaffa, 175
  Jansenists, the, 163
  Jarnac, Battle of, 104
  _Je l'ai vu_, play, 157
  Jena, 59, 178
  Jerusalem, 12, 15
  Jesuits, the, 163
  Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, 63
  John of Austria, 96

  Katte, Lieutenant von, 149
  Kléber, 177
  Kneller, Sir Godfrey, 139
  Knox, John, 100

  La Barre, 164
  Ladies' Peace, The, 68
  Lambert Le Bègue, 13
  Landgrave of Hesse, 70
  "League of the Compromise," 82, 83
  Leboeuf, Marshal, 211
  Lefort, 138
  Legion of Honour, the, 176
  Leibnitz, 159
  Leipzig, Battle of, 180
  Leo X, Pope, 54, 55
  Leonora, wife of Concini, 118, 119
  Leopold, Prince, 210, 211
  Lesser Brothers, 14
  Leszczynski, Stanislaus, 142
  _Lettres anglaises_, 158
  Leuthen, 152
  Leyden, 94
  Lille, Battle of, 135
  Lisle, Rouget de, 176
  Livonia, 140
  Livy, 32
  Locke, 158
  Lombardy, 43, 68, 184, 202, 203
  Longwy, Fortress of, 215
  Lorenzo, Church of San, 32
  Lorenzo the Magnificent, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38-41, 43, 229
  Lorraine, Province of, 215
  Louis XI, 65
  Louis XIII, 118, 119, 122, 124, 127
  Louis XIV, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 137, 154, 230
  Louis XVI, 165, 176, 180, 208
  Louis XVIII, 180
  Louis, Count of Nassau, 82, 90, 92, 93, 94, 96
  Louis de Bourbon, 103, 104
  Louis Philippe, King, 86, 207, 208
  Louis, Saint, of France, 113
  Louvain, 89
  Louvre, the, 104, 117, 130
  Low Countries, the, 63, 74, 75, 78, 80, 82, 87, 89, 90, 93
  Lowe, Sir Hudson, 182
  Lucerne, 218
  Luçon, Bishop of, 117, 118, 119, 120
  Ludovico, 37
  Lulli, 132
  Lunéville, Treaty of, 176
  Luther, Johnny, 60
  Luther, Martin, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59
  60, 61, 62, 69, 70, 100, 229
  Luxemburg, 211
  Luxemburg, Henry of, 27
  Lyons, 17, 181

  Madrid, 67
  Madrid, Treaty of, 68
  Magenta, Battle of, 202
  Maggiore, Lake, 201
  Magyars, 10
  Mahomet, 9
  Maintenon, Madame de, 133, 134, 136
  Malines, 93
  Malta, 69, 174, 175
  Mameli, poet, 193
  Manfred, 18
  Manin, President of Venice, 198
  Mantua, Duke of, 122
  Marboeuf, 169
  Marches, the, 206
  Marco, San, 39, 41, 43, 48, 49, 50, 229
  Marengo, Battle of, 175
  Margaret of Parma, 78, 80, 83, 84, 86, 88, 89
  Margaret of Valois, 104, 105, 106, 108
  Margrave of Baireuth, 149
  Maria Theresa, 132, 150, 151, 152, 153, 156, 172
  Marie Antoinette, 166, 172, 208
  Marie de Medici, 119, 123, 125, 126, 127
  Marie Louise, 177, 179, 180, 184
  Marillac, Marshal, 125
  Marino, San, 184
  Marlborough, Duke of, 135
  Marly, 131
  Marmont, 173
  Marsala, 204
  _Marseillaise_, the, 176
  Marseilles, 188
  Martino, San, 21, 202
  Mary, Queen of Scots, 101
  Mary, Princess, 66
  Matthias, Archduke, 96
  Maurice, Duke of Saxony, 70, 71, 80
  Maximilian, Emperor, 20
  Mayenne, 113
  Mazarin, 129, 131, 132
  Mazarins, the, 129, 130
  Mazeppa, Hetman, 142
  Mazzini, Guiseppe, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190,
  191, 192, 193, 196, 199, 201, 222, 231
  Medici, Cosimo dei, 31, 32, 33, 34
  Medici, Lorenzo dei, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 48
  Medici, Piero, dei, 44, 45, 47
  Medici, the, 30, 32, 34, 35, 37, 38, 45, 66, 109
  Menshikof, 140
  Mentana, Battle of, 210
  Metternich, Prince, 184, 185
  Metz, 212, 215
  Mexico, 210
  Middelburg, 92
  Milan, 20, 35, 36, 37, 64, 65, 66, 67, 174, 192, 202
  Milan, Duchess of, 35, 37
  Milan, Duke of, 35, 36
  Miloslavski, Mary, 137
  Miloslavski, Sophia, 137, 138, 143
  Mirandola, Pico della, 42, 43
  Modena, 184
  Molière, 131, 162
  Moltke, General von, 211, 212
  Molwitz, Battle of, 151
  Mons, 93, 97
  Monsieur, Peace of, 109
  Montebello, Battle of, 201
  Monte Video, 197
  Montigny, son of Hoorn, 91, 92
  Montpensier, Duchess of, 111
  Moreau, General, 175
  Moscow, 137, 141, 180, 222
  Muhlberg, 70
  Murat, General, 184

  Namur, 96
  Nantes, Edict of, 114, 133
  Naples, 16, 18, 32, 36, 39, 45, 63, 65, 66, 184, 191, 200
  Napoleon Buonaparte, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172,
  173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182,
  183, 188, 189, 196, 230
  Napoleon, Louis, 193, 201, 207, 208
  Napoleon III, 201, 202, 203, 207, 208, 209, 210,
  211, 212, 213, 215
  Narva, 140
  Naryshkin, Nathalie, 137
  Nassau, 82
  Navarre, 97, 102, 103, 104, 105, 108, 109, 110,
  112, 113, 115, 116
  Navarre, d'Albert of, 65
  _Navarre, Princesse de_, 159
  Nelson, 174, 178
  _Neri_, the, 24
  Netherlands, the, 66, 70, 71, 74, 75, 77, 78,
  82, 83, 86, 87, 88, 90, 91, 94, 95, 97, 98, 133
  Neva, river, 141, 142
  New Learning, 63
  Newton, 158, 159
  New World, 64
  Nice, 203
  Nicholas I, Emperor of Russia, 216, 218
  Niemen, 178
  Nihilists, the, 225
  Notre Dame, Cathedral of, 118, 129
  _Nouvelle Héloïse, La_, play, 165
  Novara, Battle of, 196, 200
  Nuremburg, 61

  _Oepide_, tragedy, 157
  Orange, Prince of (see William)
  Orleans, Duke of, 186
  Orsini, Clarice, 34

  Palermo, 16, 204, 205
  Paoli, 168, 169
  Papacy, the, 14, 15, 18, 52, 56, 66, 70
  _Paradiso_, the, 28
  Paris, 27, 59, 101, 105, 107, 112, 113, 114, 119,
  157, 158, 162, 167, 171, 181, 186, 208, 212, 213
  Paris, the Congress of, 200
  Parma, Duchess of, 79, 85
  Parma, Duke of, 113
  Pauline, sister of Napoleon, 199
  Pavia, 67
  _Pazzi, Carro dei_, 37
  Pazzi, banking-house of, 37, 38, 39, 40
  Pazzi Conspiracy, 36
  Pazzi, Francesco dei, 37
  Peter, Prince of Aragon, 18
  Petersburg, Saint, 141, 142, 144, 145
  Peter the Great, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142,
  143, 144, 145, 226
  Philip, Archduke of Austria, 64
  Philip II, Emperor of Spain, 71, 75, 76, 77, 81, 84, 87,
  88, 89, 92, 93, 97, 98, 105, 113, 118
  Philip IV of Spain, 122
  Philip, King of France, 25
  "Piagnoni" (Snivellers), 47, 49, 50
  Piedmont, 184, 189, 193, 199, 200
  Pilo, Rosalino, 204, 205
  Pisa, 12
  Pisa, Archbishop of, 30, 39
  Pisa, Lord of, 28
  Pistoia, 24
  Pitt, William, 178
  Pius IV, 41
  Pius VII, 184
  Plasencia, city of, 72
  Plato, 32
  Plautus, 53
  Poitou, 117
  Poland, 150, 216
  Poland, King of, 141, 142
  _Polikoushka_, 218
  Poltava, Battle of, 142
  Pomerania, province, 152
  Pompadour, Madame de, 158, 166
  Pont Neuf, 117
  Pope Alexander VI, 45, 48
  Pope Boniface, 25
  Pope Clement VII, 68
  Pope Gregory VII, 14
  Pope Gregory IX, 15, 16
  Pope Innocent IV, 16, 43, 44
  Pope Julius, 68
  Pope Leo X, 54, 66
  Pope Sixtus IV, 36, 42
  Pope, the, 14, 16, 37, 41, 47, 48, 53, 62, 64, 69, 173, 208
  Portinari, the, 21
  Portinari, Beatrice, 22
  Portugal, 67, 105, 133, 179
  Portugal, King of, 105
  Potsdam, 160, 161
  Potsdam Guards, 145, 146
  Poussin, 127
  _Power of Darkness_, the 223
  "Pragmatic Sanction", the, 150
  Prague, 152
  Preaching Brothers, 14
  Pressburg, 151
  Prior, 158
  Protestants, 61, 78, 86, 92, 93, 109, 114, 122
  Prussia, 145, 148, 150, 152, 153, 156, 160, 180,
  209, 210, 211, 215
  Puglia, Francesco da, 49, 50
  _Purgatorio_, the, 28
  Pyrenees, Treaty of, 130

  Quatre, Henri, 113

  Racine, 131
  Radetsky, Field-Marshal, 195
  Ramboullet, Julie de, 127
  Ramolino, 189
  Ramolino, Letitia, 168
  Ravaillac, 115
  Ravenna, 29
  Requesens, Don Luis, 94, 95
  _Resurrection_, Tolstoy's, 226
  Revival of Letters, 55
  Revolution, French, 155, 170
  Rheims, 114
  Rheinsburg, Castle of, 149
  Rhodes, 69
  Riario, 37, 38
  Richelieu, Cardinal, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120,
  121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 129
  Rochelle, La, 109, 121
  Rocroy, Battle of, 129
  Rohan, Chevalier, 157
  Rohan, Duke of, 122
  Roman Emperor, the Holy, 64
  Roman Empire, 68
  Rome, 13, 15, 20, 24, 35, 38, 47, 54, 55, 56,
  61, 101, 117, 121, 195, 196, 197, 198, 204, 207, 210
  Roon, General von, 212
  Rossbach, Battle of, 152
  Rotondo, Monte, Battle of, 210
  Rouen, 103
  Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 164, 165, 166, 167, 230
  Ruel, 127
  Ruffini, Jacopo, 189, 191
  Russia, 139, 141, 142, 152, 156, 172, 179, 180,
  200, 209, 217, 219, 224
  Ryssel, 79
  Ryswick, Peace of, 135

  Sadowa, Battle of, 209, 210
  Saint Augustine, Order of, 53
  Saint-Cyr, Convent of, 133
  Saint Dominic, 13, 42, 230
  Saint Francis, 13, 230
  Salemi, city of, 204
  Salviati, Archbishop, 38
  Sansoni, Cardinal Raffaelle, 38
  San Yuste, Monastery of, 71, 72
  Sardinia, 184, 198, 199, 201, 204, 205
  Sardinia, King of, 184, 194, 196, 204, 205
  Savonarola, Girolamo, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 57, 228
  Savoy, 69, 122, 190, 203
  Savoy, Duchy of, 184, 198, 206
  Saxony, 59, 70, 80, 150, 152, 179
  Saxony, Elector of, 53, 58, 61, 70, 87
  Sayes Court, 139
  Scala, Cane della, 28
  Scarron, Poet, 133
  Sebastopol, Siege of, 217, 223
  Sedan, Battle of, 212
  Segovia, Castle of, 91
  Seine, river, 9
  Selim, 65
  Sepulchre, the Holy, 11
  Servetus, 100
  Sforza, Galeazzo, 35, 37
  Sicily, 63, 184, 191, 204, 205, 206
  Silent, William the (see William)
  Silesia, 150, 151, 152, 153
  Simone de Bardi, 22
  _Social Contract_, the, 165
  Solferino, Battle of, 202
  Soliman the Magnificent, 69
  Sorbonne, the, 101, 112
  Spain, 63, 64, 67, 70, 76, 78, 81, 86, 87, 90,
  91, 97, 105, 118, 122, 126, 130, 133, 150, 179, 210
  Spain, King of, 86, 104
  Speyer, Diet of, 61
  Stäel, Madame de, 180
  States-General, the, 81, 95, 96
  Staupnitz, 53
  St Bartholomew, Massacre of, 92, 107
  St Helena, 182
  St Jerome, brothers of, 72
  St John, Knights of, 69
  St Peter's, 16, 53, 54
  _Streltsy_, the, 138, 139
  Sully, 114
  Susa, Pass of, 123
  Swabia, 14, 18
  Swarte, John de, 79
  Sweden, 141, 142
  Swift, Jonathan, 157
  Switzerland, 190
  Syria, 175

  Tetzel, 54, 55
  Thiers, Monsieur, 215
  Thionville, Fortress of, 215
  Third Estate, the, 158
  Thirty Years' War, 126
  Tilsit, Treaty of, 178, 180
  Titelmann, Peter, 78
  Titian, 72
  Toledo, Duke of Alva, 88
  Toleration, Edicts of, 111
  Tolstoy, Countess, 223
  Tolstoy, Count Leo, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222,
  223, 224, 225, 226, 227
  Torriano, 73
  Toulon, 172
  Tours, 213
  Trafalgar, Battle of, 178
  Trianon, village, 166
  "Troubles, Council of," 89
  Tuileries, the, 104, 180, 181, 210
  Turenne, General 133, 137
  Turgeniev, novelist, 217, 221
  Turin, 206
  Turkey, 140, 142, 200, 208, 217
  Tuscany, 19, 184, 192
  Tyrol, the, 201

  Uguccione, Lord of Pisa, 28
  Umbria, 206
  United States, 198
  Urbino, Duke of, 37

  Valladolid, 76
  Valois, Henry of, 112
  Vassy, 103
  Vatican, the, 117
  Venetia, 202
  Venice, 12, 20, 36, 184, 198, 203, 205, 206, 210
  Vergil, 27, 28, 53
  Verona, 28
  Versailles, 130, 131, 132, 134, 154, 159, 213, 215
  Victor Emmanuel II, 196, 198, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207
  Victor Emmanuel, King, 184
  Vienna, 183, 185, 192, 198
  Voltaire, 136, 156, 157, 159, 160, 161, 162,
  163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 231
  Volterra, town of, 36, 38, 40
  Volturno, Battle of, 206

  Waiblingen (Ghibellines), 14
  Walcheren, 92, 95
  _War and Peace_, 221
  Warsaw, 216
  Waterloo, Battle of, 182
  Weaving Brothers, 13
  Weimar, 57
  _Welf_, 14
  Wellesley, Sir Arthur, 179, 182
  Wellington, Duke of (see Wellesley)
  Westphalia, 179
  Wilhelm I, Emperor, 210, 211, 212, 213, 215
  Wilhelmina, 147, 148, 149
  _Wilhelmus van Nassouwen_, 92
  William III of England, 135, 139
  William, Prince of Orange, 75, 79, 80, 81, 83, 85, 86, 87, 89,
  90, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 103, 108, 229
  William the Stadtholder, 135
  Wittenburg, 53, 55, 56, 58, 59, 62
  Wolsey, Cardinal, 65
  Worms, 57, 58, 61, 69
  Wörth, Battle of, 212

  Yasnaya Polyana, 219, 221, 223

  Zaandem, 139
  Zealand, 93, 95, 96, 98
  Zierickzee, 95
  Zorndorf, Battle of, 152
  Zutphen, 93

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