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Title: History of France
Author: Yonge, Charlotte Mary, 1823-1901
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of France" ***

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http://dp.rastko.net.



History Primers. _Edited by_ J.R. GREEN.



HISTORY OF FRANCE.

BY

CHARLOTTE M. YONGE.


NEW YORK:
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
1, 3, AND 5 BOND STREET.
1882.



CONTENTS.


                                     PAGE

CHAPTER I.

THE EARLIER KINGS OF FRANCE             1


CHAPTER II.

THE HUNDRED YEARS' WAR                 25


CHAPTER III.

THE STRUGGLE WITH BURGUNDY             43


CHAPTER IV.

THE ITALIAN WARS                       52


CHAPTER V.

THE WARS OF RELIGION                   63


CHAPTER VI.

POWER OF THE CROWN                     81


CHAPTER VII.

THE REVOLUTION                        102


CHAPTER VIII.

FRANCE SINCE THE REVOLUTION           116



[Illustration: MAP OF FRANCE.

_Shewing the Provinces._]


[Illustration: MAP OF FRANCE.

_Shewing the Departments._]



FRANCE.



CHAPTER I.

THE EARLIER KINGS OF FRANCE.


1. France.--The country we now know as France is the tract of land
shut in by the British Channel, the Bay of Biscay, the Pyrenees, the
Mediterranean, and the Alps. But this country only gained the name of
France by degrees. In the earliest days of which we have any account, it
was peopled by the Celts, and it was known to the Romans as part of a
larger country which bore the name of Gaul. After all of it, save the
north-western moorlands, or what we now call Brittany, had been
conquered and settled by the Romans, it was overrun by tribes of the
great Teutonic race, the same family to which Englishmen belong. Of
these tribes, the Goths settled in the provinces to the south; the
Burgundians, in the east, around the Jura; while the Franks, coming
over the rivers in its unprotected north-eastern corner, and making
themselves masters of a far wider territory, broke up into two
kingdoms--that of the Eastern Franks in what is now Germany, and that of
the Western Franks reaching from the Rhine to the Atlantic. These Franks
subdued all the other Teutonic conquerors of Gaul, while they adopted
the religion, the language, and some of the civilization of the
Romanized Gauls who became their subjects. Under the second Frankish
dynasty, the Empire was renewed in the West, where it had been for a
time put an end to by these Teutonic invasions, and the then Frankish
king, Charles the Great, took his place as Emperor at its head. But in
the time of his grandsons the various kingdoms and nations of which the
Empire was composed, fell apart again under different descendants of
his. One of these, _Charles the Bald_, was made King of the Western
Franks in what was termed the Neustrian, or "not eastern," kingdom, from
which the present France has sprung. This kingdom in name covered all
the country west of the Upper Meuse, but practically the Neustrian king
had little power south of the Loire; and the Celts of Brittany were
never included in it.


2. The House of Paris.--The great danger which this Neustrian kingdom
had to meet came from the Northmen, or as they were called in England
the Danes. These ravaged in Neustria as they ravaged in England; and a
large part of the northern coast, including the mouth of the Seine, was
given by Charles the Bald to Rolf or Rollo, one of their leaders, whose
land became known as the Northman's land, or Normandy. What most checked
the ravages of these pirates was the resistance of Paris, a town which
commanded the road along the river Seine; and it was in defending the
city of Paris from the Northmen, that a warrior named Robert the Strong
gained the trust and affection of the inhabitants of the Neustrian
kingdom. He and his family became Counts (_i.e._, judges and protectors)
of Paris, and Dukes (or leaders) of the Franks. Three generations of
them were really great men--Robert the Strong, Odo, and Hugh the White;
and when the descendants of Charles the Great had died out, a Duke of
the Franks, _Hugh Capet_, was in 987 crowned King of the Franks. All the
after kings of France down to Louis Philippe were descendants of Hugh
Capet. By this change, however, he gained little in real power; for,
though he claimed to rule over the whole country of the Neustrian
Franks, his authority was little heeded, save in the domain which he had
possessed as Count of Paris, including the cities of Paris, Orleans,
Amiens, and Rheims (the coronation place). He was guardian, too, of the
great Abbeys of St. Denys and St. Martin of Tours. The Duke of Normandy
and the Count of Anjou to the west, the Count of Flanders to the north,
the Count of Champagne to the east, and the Duke of Aquitaine to the
south, paid him homage, but were the only actual rulers in their own
domains.


3. The Kingdom of Hugh Capet.--The language of Hugh's kingdom was
clipped Latin; the peasantry and townsmen were mostly Gaulish; the
nobles were almost entirely Frank. There was an understanding that the
king could only act by their consent, and must be chosen by them; but
matters went more by old custom and the right of the strongest than by
any law. A Salic law, so called from the place whence the Franks had
come, was supposed to exist; but this had never been used by their
subjects, whose law remained that of the old Roman Empire. Both of these
systems of law, however, fell into disuse, and were replaced by rude
bodies of "customs," which gradually grew up. The habits of the time
were exceedingly rude and ferocious. The Franks had been the fiercest
and most untamable of all the Teutonic nations, and only submitted
themselves to the influence of Christianity and civilization from the
respect which the Roman Empire inspired. Charles the Great had tried to
bring in Roman cultivation, but we find him reproaching the young Franks
in his schools with letting themselves be surpassed by the Gauls, whom
they despised; and in the disorders that followed his death, barbarism
increased again. The convents alone kept up any remnants of culture; but
as the fury of the Northmen was chiefly directed to them, numbers had
been destroyed, and there was more ignorance and wretchedness than at
any other time. In the duchy of Aquitaine, much more of the old Roman
civilization survived, both among the cities and the nobility; and the
Normans, newly settled in the north, had brought with them the vigour of
their race. They had taken up such dead or dying culture as they found
in France, and were carrying it further, so as in some degree to awaken
their neighbours. Kings and their great vassals could generally read and
write, and understand the Latin in which all records were made, but few
except the clergy studied at all. There were schools in convents, and
already at Paris a university was growing up for the study of theology,
grammar, law, philosophy, and music, the sciences which were held to
form a course of education. The doctors of these sciences lectured; the
scholars of low degree lived, begged, and struggled as best they could;
and gentlemen were lodged with clergy, who served as a sort of private
tutors.


4. Earlier Kings of the House of Paris.--Neither Hugh nor the next
three kings (_Robert_, 996-1031; _Henry_, 1031-1060; _Philip_,
1060-1108) were able men, and they were almost helpless among the
fierce nobles of their own domain, and the great counts and dukes around
them. Castles were built of huge strength, and served as nests of
plunderers, who preyed on travellers and made war on each other,
grievously tormenting one another's "villeins"--as the peasants were
termed. Men could travel nowhere in safety, and horrid ferocity and
misery prevailed. The first three kings were good and pious men, but too
weak to deal with their ruffian nobles. _Robert, called the Pious_, was
extremely devout, but weak. He became embroiled with the Pope on account
of having married Bertha--a lady pronounced to be within the degrees of
affinity prohibited by the Church. He was excommunicated, but held out
till there was a great religious reaction, produced by the belief that
the world would end in 1000. In this expectation many persons left their
land untilled, and the consequence was a terrible famine, followed by a
pestilence; and the misery of France was probably unequalled in this
reign, when it was hardly possible to pass safely from one to another of
the three royal cities, Paris, Orleans, and Tours. Beggars swarmed, and
the king gave to them everything he could lay his hands on, and even
winked at their stealing gold off his dress, to the great wrath of a
second wife, the imperious Constance of Provence, who, coming from the
more luxurious and corrupt south, hated and despised the roughness and
asceticism of her husband. She was a fierce and passionate woman, and
brought an element of cruelty into the court. In this reign the first
instance of persecution to the death for heresy took place. The victim
had been the queen's confessor; but so far was she from pitying him that
she struck out one of his eyes with her staff, as he was led past her to
the hut where he was shut in and burnt. On Robert's death Constance took
part against her son, _Henry I._, on behalf of his younger brother, but
Henry prevailed. During his reign the clergy succeeded in proclaiming
what was called the Truce of God, which forbade war and bloodshed at
certain seasons of the year and on certain days of the week, and made
churches and clerical lands places of refuge and sanctuary, which often
indeed protected the lawless, but which also saved the weak and
oppressed. It was during these reigns that the Papacy was beginning the
great struggle for temporal power, and freedom from the influence of the
Empire, which resulted in the increased independence and power of the
clergy. The religious fervour which had begun with the century led to
the foundation of many monasteries, and to much grand church
architecture. In the reign of _Philip I._, William, Duke of Normandy,
obtained the kingdom of England, and thus became far more powerful than
his suzerain, the King of France, a weak man of vicious habits, who lay
for many years of his life under sentence of excommunication for an
adulterous marriage with Bertrade de Montfort, Countess of Anjou. The
power of the king and of the law was probably at the very lowest ebb
during the time of Philip I., though minds and manners were less debased
than in the former century.


5. The First Crusade (1095--1100).--Pilgrimage to the Holy Land had
now become one great means by which the men of the West sought pardon
for their sins. Jerusalem had long been held by the Arabs, who had
treated the pilgrims well; but these had been conquered by a fierce
Turcoman tribe, who robbed and oppressed the pilgrims. Peter the Hermit,
returning from a pilgrimage, persuaded Pope Urban II. that it would be
well to stir up Christendom to drive back the Moslem power, and deliver
Jerusalem and the holy places. Urban II. accordingly, when holding a
council at Clermont, in Auvergne, permitted Peter to describe in glowing
words the miseries of pilgrims and the profanation of the holy places.
Cries broke out, "God wills it!" and multitudes thronged to receive
crosses cut out in cloth, which were fastened to the shoulder, and
pledged the wearer to the holy war or crusade, as it was called. Philip
I. took no interest in the cause, but his brother Hugh, Count of
Vermandois, Stephen, Count of Blois, Robert, Duke of Normandy, and
Raymond, Count of Toulouse, joined the expedition, which was made under
Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, or what we now call the
Netherlands. The crusade proved successful; Jerusalem was gained, and a
kingdom of detached cities and forts was founded in Palestine, of which
Godfrey became the first king. The whole of the West was supposed to
keep up the defence of the Holy Land, but, in fact, most of those who
went as armed pilgrims were either French, Normans, or Aquitanians; and
the men of the East called all alike Franks. Two orders of monks, who
were also knights, became the permanent defenders of the kingdom--the
Knights of St. John, also called Hospitallers, because they also lodged
pilgrims and tended the sick; and the Knights Templars. Both had
establishments in different countries in Europe, where youths were
trained to the rules of their order. The old custom of solemnly girding
a young warrior with his sword was developing into a system by which the
nobly born man was trained through the ranks of page and squire to full
knighthood, and made to take vows which bound him to honourable customs
to equals, though, unhappily, no account was taken of his inferiors.


6. Louis VI. and VII.--Philip's son, _Louis VI., or the Fat_, was the
first able man whom the line of Hugh Capet had produced since it mounted
the throne. He made the first attempt at curbing the nobles, assisted by
Suger, the Abbot of St. Denys. The only possibility of doing this was to
obtain the aid of one party of nobles against another; and when any
unusually flagrant offence had been committed, Louis called together the
nobles, bishops, and abbots of his domain, and obtained their consent
and assistance in making war on the guilty man, and overthrowing his
castle, thus, in some degree, lessening the sense of utter impunity
which had caused so many violences and such savage recklessness. He also
permitted a few of the cities to purchase the right of self-government,
and freedom from the ill usage of the counts, who, from their guardians,
had become their tyrants; but in this he seems not to have been so much
guided by any fixed principle, as by his private interests and feelings
towards the individual city or lord in question. However, the royal
authority had begun to be respected by 1137, when Louis VI. died, having
just effected the marriage of his son, _Louis VII._, with Eleanor, the
heiress of the Dukes of Aquitaine--thus hoping to make the crown really
more powerful than the great princes who owed it homage. At this time
lived the great St. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, who had a wonderful
influence over men's minds. It was a time of much thought and
speculation, and Peter Abailard, an able student of the Paris
University, held a controversy with Bernard, in which we see the first
struggle between intellect and authority. Bernard roused the young king,
Louis VII., to go on the second crusade, which was undertaken by the
Emperor and the other princes of Europe to relieve the distress of the
kingdom of Palestine. France had no navy, so the war was by land,
through the rugged hills of Asia Minor, where the army was almost
destroyed by the Saracens. Though Louis did reach Palestine, it was with
weakened forces; he could effect nothing by his campaign, and Eleanor,
who had accompanied him, seems to have been entirely corrupted by the
evil habits of the Franks settled in the East. Soon after his return,
Louis dissolved his marriage; and Eleanor became the wife of Henry,
Count of Anjou, who soon after inherited the kingdom of England as our
Henry II., as well as the duchy of Normandy, and betrothed his third son
to the heiress of Brittany. Eleanor's marriage seemed to undo all that
Louis VI. had done in raising the royal power; for Henry completely
overshadowed Louis, whose only resource was in feeble endeavours to take
part against him in his many family quarrels. The whole reign of Louis
the Young, the title that adhered to him on account of his simple,
childish nature, is only a record of weakness and disaster, till he died
in 1180. What life went on in France, went on principally in the south.
The lands of Aquitaine and Provence had never dropped the old classical
love of poetry and art. A softer form of broken Latin was then spoken,
and the art of minstrelsy was frequent among all ranks. Poets were
called troubadours and _trouvères_ (finders). Courts of love were held,
where there were competitions in poetry, the prize being a golden
violet; and many of the bravest warriors were also distinguished
troubadours--among them the elder sons of Queen Eleanor. There was much
license of manners, much turbulence; and as the Aquitanians hated
Angevin rule, the troubadours never ceased to stir up the sons of Henry
II. against him.


7. Philip II. (1180--1223).--Powerful in fact as Henry II. was, it was
his gathering so large a part of France under his rule which was, in the
end, to build up the greatness of the French kings. What had held them
in check was the existence of the great fiefs or provinces, each with
its own line of dukes or counts, and all practically independent of the
king. But now nearly all the provinces of southern and western France
were gathered into the hand of a single ruler; and though he was a
Frenchman in blood, yet, as he was King of England, this ruler seemed to
his French subjects no Frenchman, but a foreigner. They began therefore
to look to the French king to free them from a foreign ruler; and the
son of Louis VII., called _Philip Augustus_, was ready to take advantage
of their disposition. Philip was a really able man, making up by address
for want of personal courage. He set himself to lower the power of the
house of Anjou and increase that of the house of Paris. As a boy he had
watched conferences between his father and Henry under the great elm of
Gisors, on the borders of Normandy, and seeing his father overreached,
he laid up a store of hatred to the rival king. As soon as he had the
power, he cut down the elm, which was so large that 300 horsemen could
be sheltered under its branches. He supported the sons of Henry II. in
their rebellions, and was always the bitter foe of the head of the
family. Philip assumed the cross in 1187, on the tidings of the loss of
Jerusalem, and in 1190 joined Richard I. of England at Messina, where
they wintered, and then sailed for St. Jean d'Acre. After this city was
taken, Philip returned to France, where he continued to profit by the
crimes and dissensions of the Angevins, and gained, both as their enemy
and as King of France. When Richard's successor, John, murdered Arthur,
the heir of the dukedom of Brittany and claimant of both Anjou and
Normandy, Philip took advantage of the general indignation to hold a
court of peers, in which John, on his non-appearance, was adjudged to
have forfeited his fiefs. In the war which followed and ended in 1204,
Philip not only gained the great Norman dukedom, which gave him the
command of Rouen and of the mouth of the Seine, as well as Anjou, Maine,
and Poitou, the countries which held the Loire in their power, but
established the precedent that a crown vassal was amenable to justice,
and might be made to forfeit his lands. What he had won by the sword he
held by wisdom and good government. Seeing that the cities were capable
of being made to balance the power of the nobles, he granted them
privileges which caused him to be esteemed their best friend, and he
promoted all improvements. Though once laid under an interdict by Pope
Innocent III. for an unlawful marriage, Philip usually followed the
policy which gained for the Kings of France the title of "Most Christian
King." The real meaning of this was that he should always support the
Pope against the Emperor, and in return be allowed more than ordinary
power over his clergy. The great feudal vassals of eastern France, with
a strong instinct that he was their enemy, made a league with the
Emperor Otto IV. and his uncle King John, against Philip Augustus. John
attacked him in the south, and was repulsed by Philip's son, Louis,
called the "Lion;" while the king himself, backed by the burghers of his
chief cities, gained at Bouvines, over Otto, the first real French
victory, in 1214, thus establishing the power of the crown. Two years
later, Louis the Lion, who had married John's niece, Blanche of Castile,
was invited by the English barons to become their king on John's
refusing to be bound by the Great Charter; and Philip saw his son
actually in possession of London at the time of the death of the last
of the sons of his enemy, Henry II. On John's death, however, the barons
preferred his child to the French prince, and fell away from Louis, who
was forced to return to France.


8. The Albigenses (1203--1240).--The next great step in the building
up of the French kingdom was made by taking advantage of a religious
strife in the south. The lands near the Mediterranean still had much of
the old Roman cultivation, and also of the old corruption, and here
arose a sect called the Albigenses, who held opinions other than those
of the Church on the origin of evil. Pope Innocent III., after sending
some of the order of friars freshly established by the Spaniard,
Dominic, to preach to them in vain, declared them as great enemies of
the faith as Mahometans, and proclaimed a crusade against them and their
chief supporter, Raymond, Count of Toulouse. Shrewd old King Philip
merely permitted this crusade; but the dislike of the north of France to
the south made hosts of adventurers flock to the banner of its leader,
Simon de Montfort, a Norman baron, devout and honourable, but harsh and
pitiless. Dreadful execution was done; the whole country was laid waste,
and Raymond reduced to such distress that Peter I., King of Aragon, who
was regarded as the natural head of the southern races, came to his
aid, but was defeated and slain at the battle of Muret. After this
Raymond was forced to submit, but such hard terms were forced on him
that his people revolted. His country was granted to De Montfort, who
laid siege to Toulouse, and was killed before he could take the city.
The war was then carried on by _Louis the Lion_, who had succeeded his
father as Louis VIII. in 1223, though only to reign three years, as he
died of a fever caught in a southern campaign in 1226. His widow,
Blanche, made peace in the name of her son, _Louis IX._, and Raymond was
forced to give his only daughter in marriage to one of her younger sons.
On their death, the county of Toulouse lapsed to the crown, which thus
became possessor of all southern France, save Guienne, which still
remained to the English kings. But the whole of the district once
peopled by the Albigenses had been so much wasted as never to recover
its prosperity, and any cropping up of their opinions was guarded
against by the establishment of the Inquisition, which appointed
Dominican friars to _inquire_ into and exterminate all that differed
from the Church. At the same time the order of St. Francis did much to
instruct and quicken the consciences of the people; and at the
universities--especially that of Paris--a great advance both in thought
and learning was made. Louis IX.'s confessor, Henry de Sorbonne,
founded, for the study of divinity, the college which was known by his
name, and whose decisions were afterwards received as of paramount
authority.


9. The Parliament of Paris.--France had a wise ruler in Blanche, and a
still better one in her son, _Louis IX._, who is better known as _St.
Louis_, and who was a really good and great man. He was the first to
establish the Parliament of Paris--a court consisting of the great
feudal vassals, lay and ecclesiastical, who held of the king direct, and
who had to try all causes. They much disliked giving such attendance,
and a certain number of men trained to the law were added to them to
guide the decisions. The Parliament was thus only a court of justice and
an office for registering wills and edicts. The representative assembly
of France was called the States-General, and consisted of all estates of
the realm, but was only summoned in time of emergency. Louis IX. was the
first king to bring nobles of the highest rank to submit to the judgment
of Parliament when guilty of a crime. Enguerrand de Coucy, one of the
proudest nobles of France, who had hung two Flemish youths for killing a
rabbit, was sentenced to death. The penalty was commuted, but the
principle was established. Louis's uprightness and wisdom gained him
honour and love everywhere, and he was always remembered as sitting
under the great oak at Vincennes, doing equal justice to rich and poor.
Louis was equally upright in his dealings with foreign powers. He would
not take advantage of the weakness of Henry III. of England to attack
his lands in Guienne, though he maintained the right of France to
Normandy as having been forfeited by King John. So much was he respected
that he was called in to judge between Henry and his barons, respecting
the oaths exacted from the king by the Mad Parliament. His decision in
favour of Henry was probably an honest one; but he was misled by the
very different relations of the French and English kings to their
nobles, who in France maintained lawlessness and violence, while in
England they were struggling for law and order. Throughout the struggles
between the Popes and the Emperor Frederick II., Louis would not be
induced to assist in a persecution of the Emperor which he considered
unjust, nor permit one of his sons to accept the kingdom of Apulia and
Sicily, when the Pope declared that Frederick had forfeited it. He could
not, however, prevent his brother Charles, Count of Anjou, from
accepting it; for Charles had married Beatrice, heiress of the imperial
fief of Provence, and being thus independent of his brother Louis, was
able to establish a branch of the French royal family on the throne at
Naples. The reign of St. Louis was a time of much progress and
improvement. There were great scholars and thinkers at all the
universities. Romance and poetry were flourishing, and influencing
people's habits, so that courtesy, _i.e._ the manners taught in castle
courts, was softening the demeanour of knights and nobles. Architecture
was at its most beautiful period, as is seen, above all, in the Sainte
Chapelle at Paris. This was built by Louis IX. to receive a gift of the
Greek Emperor, namely, a thorn, which was believed to be from the crown
of thorns. It is one of the most perfect buildings in existence.


10. Crusade of Louis IX.--Unfortunately, Louis, during a severe
illness, made a vow to go on a crusade. His first fulfilment of this vow
was made early in his reign, in 1250, when his mother was still alive to
undertake the regency. His attempt was to attack the heart of the
Saracen power in Egypt, and he effected a landing and took the city of
Damietta. There he left his queen, and advanced on Cairo; but near
Mansourah he found himself entangled in the canals of the Nile, and with
a great army of Mamelukes in front. A ford was found, and the English
Earl of Salisbury, who had brought a troop to join the crusade, advised
that the first to cross should wait and guard the passage of the next.
But the king's brother, Robert, Count of Artois, called this cowardice.
The earl was stung, and declared he would be as forward among the foe as
any Frenchman. They both charged headlong, were enclosed by the enemy,
and slain; and though the king at last put the Mamelukes to flight, his
loss was dreadful. The Nile rose and cut off his return. He lost great
part of his troops from sickness, and was horribly harassed by the
Mamelukes, who threw among his host a strange burning missile, called
Greek fire; and he was finally forced to surrender himself as a prisoner
at Mansourah, with all his army. He obtained his release by giving up
Damietta, and paying a heavy ransom. After twenty years, in 1270, he
attempted another crusade, which was still more unfortunate, for he
landed at Tunis to wait for his brother to arrive from Sicily,
apparently on some delusion of favourable dispositions on the part of
the Bey. Sickness broke out in the camp, and the king, his daughter, and
his third son all died of fever; and so fatal was the expedition, that
his son Philip III. returned to France escorting five coffins, those of
his father, his brother, his sister and her husband, and his own wife
and child.


11. Philip the Fair.--The reign of _Philip III._ was very short. The
insolence and cruelty of the Provençals in Sicily had provoked the
natives to a massacre known as the Sicilian Vespers, and they then
called in the King of Aragon, who finally obtained the island, as a
separate kingdom from that on the Italian mainland where Charles of
Anjou and his descendants still reigned. While fighting his uncle's
battles on the Pyrenees, and besieging Gerona, Philip III. caught a
fever, and died on his way home in 1285. His successor, _Philip IV.,
called the Fair_, was crafty, cruel, and greedy, and made the Parliament
of Paris the instrument of his violence and exactions, which he carried
out in the name of the law. To prevent Guy de Dampierre, Count of
Flanders, from marrying his daughter to the son of Edward I. of England,
he invited her and her father to his court, and threw them both into
prison, while he offered his own daughter Isabel to Edward of Carnarvon
in her stead. The Scottish wars prevented Edward I. from taking up the
cause of Guy; but the Pope, Boniface VIII., a man of a fierce temper,
though of a great age, loudly called on Philip to do justice to
Flanders, and likewise blamed in unmeasured terms his exactions from the
clergy, his debasement of the coinage, and his foul and vicious life.
Furious abuse passed on both sides. Philip availed himself of a flaw in
the Pope's election to threaten him with deposition, and in return was
excommunicated. He then sent a French knight named William de Nogaret,
with Sciarra Colonna, a turbulent Roman, the hereditary enemy of
Boniface, and a band of savage mercenary soldiers to Anagni, where the
Pope then was, to force him to recall the sentence, apparently intending
them to act like the murderers of Becket. The old man's dignity,
however, overawed them at the moment, and they retired without laying
hands on him, but the shock he had undergone caused his death a few days
later. His successor was poisoned almost immediately on his election,
being known to be adverse to Philip. Parties were equally balanced in
the conclave; but Philip's friends advised him to buy over to his
interest one of his supposed foes, whom they would then unite in
choosing. Bertrand de Goth, Archbishop of Bordeaux, was the man, and in
a secret interview promised Philip to fulfil six conditions if he were
made Pope by his interest. These were: 1st, the reconciliation of Philip
with the Church; 2nd, that of his agents; 3rd, a grant to the king of a
tenth of all clerical property for five years; 4th, the restoration of
the Colonna family to Rome; 5th, the censure of Boniface's memory. These
five were carried out by Clement V., as he called himself, as soon as he
was on the Papal throne; the sixth remained a secret, but was probably
the destruction of the Knights Templars. This order of military monks
had been created for the defence of the crusading kingdom of Jerusalem,
and had acquired large possessions in Europe. Now that their occupation
in the East was gone, they were hated and dreaded by the kings, and
Philip was resolved on their wholesale destruction.


12. The Papacy at Avignon.--Clement had never quitted France, but had
gone through the ceremonies of his installation at Lyons; and Philip,
fearing that in Italy he would avoid carrying out the scheme for the
ruin of the Templars, had him conducted to Avignon, a city of the Empire
which belonged to the Angevin King of Naples, as Count of Provence, and
there for eighty years the Papal court remained. As they were thus
settled close to the French frontier, the Popes became almost vassals of
France; and this added greatly to the power and renown of the French
kings. How real their hold on the Papacy was, was shown in the ruin of
the Templars. The order was now abandoned by the Pope, and its knights
were invited in large numbers to Paris, under pretence of arranging a
crusade. Having been thus entrapped, they were accused of horrible and
monstrous crimes, and torture elicited a few supposed confessions. They
were then tried by the Inquisition, and the greater number were put to
death by fire, the Grand Master last of all, while their lands were
seized by the king. They seem to have been really a fierce, arrogant,
and oppressive set of men, or else there must have been some endeavour
to save them, belonging, as most of them did, to noble French families.
The "Pest of France," as Dante calls Philip the Fair, was now the most
formidable prince in Europe. He contrived to annex to his dominions the
city of Lyons, hitherto an imperial city under its archbishop. Philip
died in 1314; and his three sons--_Louis X._, _Philip V._, and _Charles
IV._,--were as cruel and harsh as himself, but without his talent, and
brought the crown and people to disgrace and misery. Each reigned a few
years and then died, leaving only daughters, and the question arose
whether the inheritance should go to females. When Louis X. died, in
1316, his brother Philip, after waiting for the birth of a posthumous
child who only lived a few days, took the crown, and the Parliament then
declared that the law of the old Salian Franks had been against the
inheritance of women. By this newly discovered Salic law, Charles IV.,
the third brother, reigned on Philip's death; but the kingdom of Navarre
having accrued to the family through their grandmother, and not being
subject to the Salic law, went to the eldest daughter of Louis X., Jane,
wife of the Count of Evreux.



CHAPTER II.

THE HUNDRED YEARS' WAR.


1. Wars of Edward III.--By the Salic law, as the lawyers called it,
the crown was given, on the death of Charles IV., to _Philip, Count of
Valois_, son to a brother of Philip IV., but it was claimed by Edward
III. of England as son of the daughter of Philip IV. Edward contented
himself, however, with the mere assertion of his pretensions, until
Philip exasperated him by attacks on the borders of Guienne, which the
French kings had long been coveting to complete their possession of the
south, and by demanding the surrender of Robert of Artois, who, being
disappointed in his claim to the county of Artois by the judgment of the
Parliament of Paris, was practising by sorcery on the life of the King
of France. Edward then declared war, and his supposed right caused a
century of warfare between France and England, in which the broken,
down-trodden state of the French peasantry gave England an immense
advantage. The knights and squires were fairly matched; but while the
English yeomen were strong, staunch, and trustworthy, the French were
useless, and only made a defeat worse by plundering the fallen on each
side alike. The war began in Flanders, where Philip took the part of the
count, whose tyrannies had caused his expulsion. Edward was called in to
the aid of the citizens of Ghent by their leader Jacob van Arteveldt;
and gained a great victory over the French fleet at Sluys, but with no
important result. At the same time the two kings took opposite sides in
the war of the succession in Brittany, each defending the claim most
inconsistent with his own pretensions to the French crown--Edward
upholding the male heir, John de Montfort, and Philip the direct female
representative, the wife of Charles de Blois.


2. Creçy and Poitiers.--Further difficulties arose through Charles the
Bad, King of Navarre and Count of Evreux, who was always on the watch to
assert his claim to the French throne through his mother, the daughter
of Louis X., and was much hated and distrusted by Philip VI. and his son
John, Duke of Normandy. Fearing the disaffection of the Norman and
Breton nobles, Philip invited a number of them to a tournament at Paris,
and there had them put to death after a hasty form of trial, thus
driving their kindred to join his enemies. One of these offended
Normans, Godfrey of Harcourt, invited Edward to Normandy, where he
landed, and having consumed his supplies was on his march to Flanders,
when Philip, with the whole strength of the kingdom, endeavoured to
intercept him at _Creçy_ in Picardy, in 1348. Philip was utterly
incapable as a general; his knights were wrong-headed and turbulent, and
absolutely cut down their own Genoese hired archers for being in their
way. The defeat was total. Philip rode away to Amiens, and Edward laid
siege to Calais. The place was so strong that he was forced to blockade
it, and Philip had time to gather another army to attempt its relief;
but the English army were so posted that he could not attack them
without great loss. He retreated, and the men of Calais surrendered,
Edward insisting that six burghers should bring him the keys with ropes
round their necks, to submit themselves to him. Six offered themselves,
but their lives were spared, and they were honourably treated. Edward
expelled all the French, and made Calais an English settlement. A truce
followed, chiefly in consequence of the ravages of the Black Death,
which swept off multitudes throughout Europe, a pestilence apparently
bred by filth, famine, and all the miseries of war and lawlessness, but
which spared no ranks. It had scarcely ceased before Philip died, in
1350. His son, _John_, was soon involved in a fresh war with England by
the intrigues of Charles the Bad, and in 1356 advanced southwards to
check the Prince of Wales, who had come out of Guienne on a plundering
expedition. The French were again totally routed at Poitiers, and the
king himself, with his third son, Philip, were made prisoners and
carried to London with most of the chief nobles.


3. The Jacquerie.--The calls made on their vassals by these captive
nobles to supply their ransoms brought the misery to a height. The salt
tax, or _gabelle_, which was first imposed to meet the expenses of the
war, was only paid by those who were neither clergy nor nobles, and the
general saying was--"Jacques Bonhomme (the nickname for the peasant) has
a broad back, let him bear all the burthens." Either by the king, the
feudal lords, the clergy, or the bands of men-at-arms who roved through
the country, selling themselves to any prince who would employ them, the
wretched people were stripped of everything, and used to hide in holes
and caves from ill-usage or insult, till they broke out in a rebellion
called the Jacquerie, and whenever they could seize a castle revenged
themselves, like the brutes they had been made, on those within it.
Taxation was so levied by the king's officers as to be frightfully
oppressive, and corruption reigned everywhere. As the king was in
prison, and his heir, Charles, had fled ignominiously from Poitiers,
the citizens of Paris hoped to effect a reform, and rose with their
provost-marshal, Stephen Marcel, at their head, threatened Charles, and
slew two of his officers before his eyes. On their demand the
States-General were convoked, and made wholesome regulations as to the
manner of collecting the taxes, but no one, except perhaps Marcel, had
any real zeal or public spirit. Charles the Bad, of Navarre, who had
pretended to espouse their cause, betrayed it; the king declared the
decisions of the States-General null and void; and the crafty management
of his son prevented any union between the malcontents. The gentry
rallied, and put down the Jacquerie with horrible cruelty and revenge.
The burghers of Paris found that Charles the Bad only wanted to gain the
throne, and Marcel would have proclaimed him; but those who thought him
even worse than his cousins of Valois admitted the other Charles, by
whom Marcel and his partisans were put to death. The attempt at reform
thus ended in talk and murder, and all fell back into the same state of
misery and oppression.


4. The Peace of Bretigny.--This Charles, eldest son of John, obtained
by purchase the imperial fief of Vienne, of which the counts had always
been called Dauphins, a title thenceforth borne by the heir apparent of
the kingdom. His father's captivity and the submission of Paris left
him master of the realm; but he did little to defend it when Edward III.
again attacked it, and in 1360 he was forced to bow to the terms which
the English king demanded as the price of peace. The Peace of Bretigny
permitted King John to ransom himself, but resigned to England the
sovereignty over the duchy of Aquitaine, and left Calais and Ponthieu in
the hands of Edward III. John died in 1364, before his ransom was paid,
and his son mounted the throne as _Charles V_. Charles showed himself
from this time a wary, able man, and did much to regain what had been
lost by craftily watching his opportunity. The war went on between the
allies of each party, though the French and English kings professed to
be at peace; and at the battle of Cocherel, in 1364, Charles the Bad was
defeated, and forced to make peace with France. On the other hand, the
French party in Brittany, led by Charles de Blois and the gallant Breton
knight, Bertrand du Guesclin, were routed, the same year, by the English
party under Sir John Chandos; Charles de Blois was killed, and the house
of Montfort established in the duchy. These years of war had created a
dreadful class of men, namely, hired soldiers of all nations, who, under
some noted leader, sold their services to whatever prince might need
them, under the name of Free Companies, and when unemployed lived by
plunder. The peace had only let these wretches loose on the peasants.
Some had seized castles, whence they could plunder travellers; others
roamed the country, preying on the miserable peasants, who, fleeced as
they were by king, barons, and clergy, were tortured and murdered by
these ruffians, so that many lived in holes in the ground that their
dwellings might not attract attention. Bertrand du Guesclin offered the
king to relieve the country from these Free Companies by leading them to
assist the Castilians against their tyrannical king, Peter the Cruel.
Edward, the Black Prince, who was then acting as Governor of Aquitaine,
took, however, the part of Peter, and defeated Du Guesclin at the battle
of Navarete, on the Ebro, in 1367.


5. Renewal of the War.--This expedition ruined the prince's health,
and exhausted his treasury. A hearth-tax was laid on the inhabitants of
Aquitaine, and they appealed against it to the King of France, although,
by the Peace of Bretigny, he had given up all right to hear appeals as
suzerain. The treaty, however, was still not formally settled, and on
this ground Charles received their complaint. The war thus began again,
and the sword of the Constable of France--the highest military dignity
of the realm--was given to Du Guesclin, but only on condition that he
would avoid pitched battles, and merely harass the English and take
their castles. This policy was so strictly followed, that the Duke of
Lancaster was allowed to march from Brittany to Gascony without meeting
an enemy in the field; and when King Edward III. made his sixth and last
invasion, nearly to the walls of Paris, he was only turned back by
famine, and by a tremendous thunderstorm, which made him believe that
Heaven was against him. Du Guesclin died while besieging a castle, and
such was his fame that the English captain would place the keys in no
hand but that of his corpse. The Constable's sword was given to Oliver
de Clisson, also a Breton, and called the "Butcher," because he gave no
quarter to the English in revenge for the death of his brother. The
Bretons were, almost to a man, of the French party, having been offended
by the insolence and oppression of the English; and John de Montfort,
after clinging to the King of England as long as possible, was forced to
make his peace at length with Charles. Charles V. had nearly regained
all that had been lost, when, in 1380 his death left the kingdom to his
son.


6. House of Burgundy.--_Charles VI._ was a boy of nine years old,
motherless, and beset with ambitious uncles. These uncles were Louis,
Duke of Anjou, to whom Queen Joanna, the last of the earlier Angevin
line in Naples, bequeathed her rights; John, Duke of Berry, a weak
time-server; and Philip, the ablest and most honest of the three. His
grandmother Joan, the wife of Philip VI., had been heiress of the duchy
and county of Burgundy, and these now became his inheritance, giving him
the richest part of France. By still better fortune he had married
Margaret, the only child of Louis, Count of Flanders. Flanders contained
the great cloth-manufacturing towns of Europe--Ghent, Bruges, Ypres,
etc., all wealthy and independent, and much inclined to close alliance
with England, whence they obtained their wool, while their counts were
equally devoted to France. Just as Count Louis II. had, for his lawless
rapacity, been driven out of Ghent by Jacob van Arteveldt, so his son,
Louis III., was expelled by Philip van Arteveldt, son to Jacob. Charles
had been disgusted by Louis's coarse violence, and would not help him;
but after the old king's death, Philip of Burgundy used his influence in
the council to conduct the whole power of France to Flanders, where
Arteveldt was defeated and trodden to death in the battle of Rosbecque,
in 1382. On the count's death, Philip succeeded him as Count of Flanders
in right of his wife; and thus was laid the foundation of the powerful
and wealthy house of Burgundy, which for four generations almost
overshadowed the crown of France.


7. Insanity of Charles VI.--The Constable, Clisson, was much hated by
the Duke of Brittany, and an attack which was made on him in the
streets of Paris was clearly traced to Montfort. The young king, who was
much attached to Clisson, set forth to exact punishment. On his way, a
madman rushed out of a forest and called out, "King, you are betrayed!"
Charles was much frightened, and further seems to have had a sunstroke,
for he at once became insane. He recovered for a time; but at Christmas,
while he and five others were dancing, disguised as wild men, their
garments of pitched flax caught fire. Four were burnt, and the shock
brought back the king's madness. He became subject to fits of insanity
of longer or shorter duration, and in their intervals he seems to have
been almost imbecile. No provision had then been made for the
contingency of a mad king. The condition of the country became worse
than ever, and power was grasped at by whoever could obtain it. Of the
king's three uncles, the Duke of Anjou and his sons were generally
engrossed by a vain struggle to obtain Naples; the Duke of Berry was
dull and weak; and the chief struggle for influence was between Philip
of Burgundy and his son, John the Fearless, on the one hand, and on the
other the king's wife, Isabel of Bavaria, and his brother Louis, Duke of
Orleans, who was suspected of being her lover; while the unhappy king
and his little children were left in a wretched state, often scarcely
provided with clothes or food.


8. Burgundians and Armagnacs.--Matters grew worse after the death of
Duke Philip in 1404; and in 1407, just after a seeming reconciliation,
the Duke of Orleans was murdered in the streets of Paris by servants of
John the Fearless. Louis of Orleans had been a vain, foolish man,
heedless of all save his own pleasure, but his death increased the
misery of France through the long and deadly struggle for vengeance that
followed. The king was helpless, and the children of the Duke of Orleans
were young; but their cause was taken up by a Gascon noble, Bernard,
Count of Armagnac, whose name the party took. The Duke of Burgundy was
always popular in Paris, where the people, led by the Guild of Butchers,
were so devoted to him that he ventured to have a sermon preached at the
university, justifying the murder. There was again a feeble attempt at
reform made by the burghers; but, as before, the more violent and
lawless were guilty of such excesses that the opposite party were called
in to put them down. The Armagnacs were admitted into Paris, and took a
terrible vengeance on the Butchers and on all adherents of Burgundy, in
the name of the Dauphin Louis, the king's eldest son, a weak, dissipated
youth, who was entirely led by the Count of Armagnac.


9. Invasion of Henry V.--All this time the war with England had
smouldered on, only broken by brief truces; and when France was in this
wretched state Henry V. renewed the claim of Edward III., and in 1415
landed before Harfleur. After delaying till he had taken the city, the
dauphin called together the whole nobility of the kingdom, and advanced
against Henry, who, like Edward III., had been obliged to leave Normandy
and march towards Calais in search of supplies. The armies met at
Agincourt, where, though the French greatly outnumbered the English, the
skill of Henry and the folly and confusion of the dauphin's army led to
a total defeat, and the captivity of half the chief men in France of the
Armagnac party--among them the young Duke of Orleans. It was Henry V.'s
policy to treat France, not as a conquest, but as an inheritance; and he
therefore refused to let these captives be ransomed till he should have
reduced the country to obedience, while he treated all the places that
submitted to him with great kindness. The Duke of Burgundy held aloof
from the contest, and the Armagnacs, who ruled in Paris, were too weak
or too careless to send aid to Rouen, which was taken by Henry after a
long siege. The Dauphin Louis died in 1417; his next brother, John, who
was more inclined to Burgundy, did not survive him a year; and the third
brother, Charles, a mere boy, was in the hands of the Armagnacs. In 1418
their reckless misuse of power provoked the citizens of Paris into
letting in the Burgundians, when an unspeakably horrible massacre took
place. Bernard of Armagnac himself was killed; his naked corpse, scored
with his red cross, was dragged about the streets; and men, women, and
even infants of his party were slaughtered pitilessly. Tanneguy
Duchatel, one of his partisans, carried off the dauphin; but the queen,
weary of Armagnac insolence, had joined the Burgundian party.


10. Treaty of Troyes.--Meanwhile Henry V. continued to advance, and
John of Burgundy felt the need of joining the whole strength of France
against him, and made overtures to the dauphin. Duchatel, either fearing
to be overshadowed by his power, or else in revenge for Orleans and
Armagnac, no sooner saw that a reconciliation was likely to take place,
than he murdered John the Fearless before the dauphin's eyes, at a
conference on the bridge of Montereau-sur-Yonne (1419). John's wound was
said to be the hole which let the English into France. His son Philip,
the new Duke of Burgundy, viewing the dauphin as guilty of his death,
went over with all his forces to Henry V., taking with him the queen and
the poor helpless king. At the treaty of Troyes, in 1420, Henry was
declared regent, and heir of the kingdom, at the same time as he
received the hand of Catherine, daughter of Charles VI. This gave him
Paris and all the chief cities in northern France; but the Armagnacs
held the south, with the Dauphin Charles at their head. Charles was
declared an outlaw by his father's court, but he was in truth the leader
of what had become the national and patriotic cause. During this time,
after a long struggle and schism, the Pope again returned to Rome.


11. The Maid of Orleans.--When Henry V. died in 1422, and the unhappy
Charles a few weeks later, the infant Henry VI. was proclaimed King of
France as well as of England, at both Paris and London, while _Charles
VII._ was only proclaimed at Bourges, and a few other places in the
south. Charles was of a slow, sluggish nature, and the men around him
were selfish and pleasure-loving intriguers, who kept aloof all the
bolder spirits from him. The brother of Henry V., John, Duke of Bedford,
ruled all the country north of the Loire, with Rouen as his
head-quarters. For seven years little was done; but in 1429 he caused
Orleans to be besieged. The city held out bravely, all France looked on
anxiously, and a young peasant girl, named Joan d'Arc, believed herself
called by voices from the saints to rescue the city, and lead the king
to his coronation at Rheims. With difficulty she obtained a hearing of
the king, and was allowed to proceed to Orleans. Leading the army with a
consecrated sword, which she never stained with blood, she filled the
French with confidence, the English with fear as of a witch, and thus
she gained the day wherever she appeared. Orleans was saved, and she
then conducted Charles VII. to Rheims, and stood beside his throne when
he was crowned. Then she said her work was done, and would have returned
home; but, though the wretched king and his court never appreciated her,
they thought her useful with the soldiers, and would not let her leave
them. She had lost her heart and hope, and the men began to be angered
at her for putting down all vice and foul language. The captains were
envious of her; and at last, when she had led a sally out of the
besieged town of Compiègne, the gates were shut, and she was made
prisoner by a Burgundian, John of Luxembourg. The Burgundians hated her
even more than the English. The inquisitor was of their party, and a
court was held at Rouen, which condemned her to die as a witch. Bedford
consented, but left the city before the execution. Her own king made no
effort to save her, though, many years later, he caused enquiries to be
made, established her innocence, ennobled her family, and freed her
village from taxation.

12. Recovery of France (1434--1450).--But though Joan was gone, her
work lasted. The Constable, Artur of Richmond, the Count of Dunois, and
other brave leaders, continued to attack the English. After seventeen
years' vengeance for his father's death, the Duke of Burgundy made his
peace with Charles by a treaty at Arras, on condition of paying no more
homage, in 1434. Bedford died soon after, and there were nothing but
disputes among the English. Paris opened its gates to the king, and
Charles, almost in spite of himself, was restored. An able merchant,
named Jacques Cœur, lent him money which equipped his men for the
recovery of Normandy, and he himself, waking into activity, took Rouen
and the other cities on the coast.


13. Conquest of Aquitaine (1450).--By these successes Charles had
recovered all, save Calais, that Henry V. or Edward III. had taken from
France. But he was now able to do more. The one province of the south
which the French kings had never been able to win was Guienne, the duchy
on the river Garonne. Guienne had been a part of Eleanor's inheritance,
and passed through her to the English kings; but though they had lost
all else, the hatred of its inhabitants to the French enabled them to
retain this, and Guienne had never yet passed under French rule. It was
wrested, however, from Eleanor's descendants in this flood-tide of
conquest. Bordeaux held out as long as it could, but Henry VI. could
send no aid, and it was forced to yield. Two years later, brave old Lord
Talbot led 5000 men to recover the duchy, and was gladly welcomed; but
he was slain in the battle of Castillon, fighting like a lion. His two
sons fell beside him, and his army was broken. Bordeaux again
surrendered, and the French kings at last found themselves master of the
great fief of the south. Calais was, at the close of the great Hundred
Years' War, the only possession left to England south of the Channel.


14. The Standing Army (1452).--As at the end of the first act in the
Hundred Years' War, the great difficulty in time of peace was the
presence of the bands of free companions, or mercenary soldiers, who,
when war and plunder failed them, lived by violence and robbery of the
peasants. Charles VII., who had awakened into vigour, thereupon took
into regular pay all who would submit to discipline, and the rest were
led off on two futile expeditions into Switzerland and Germany, and
there left to their fate. The princes and nobles were at first so much
disgusted at the regulations which bound the soldiery to respect the
magistracy, that they raised a rebellion, which was fostered by the
Dauphin Louis, who was ready to do anything that could annoy his father.
But he was soon detached from them; the Duke of Burgundy would not
assist them, and the league fell to pieces. Charles VII. by thus
retaining companies of hired troops in his pay laid the foundation of
the first standing army in Europe, and enabled the monarchy to tread
down the feudal force of the nobles. His government was firm and wise;
and with his reign began better times for France. But it was long before
it recovered from the miseries of the long strife. The war had kept back
much of progress. There had been grievous havoc of buildings in the
north and centre of France; much lawlessness and cruelty prevailed; and
yet there was a certain advance in learning, and much love of romance
and the theory of chivalry. Pages of noble birth were bred up in castles
to be first squires and then knights. There was immense formality and
stateliness, the order of precedence was most minute, and pomp and
display were wonderful. Strange alternations took place. One month the
streets of Paris would be a scene of horrible famine, where hungry dogs,
and even wolves, put an end to the miseries of starving, homeless
children of slaughtered parents; another, the people would be gazing at
royal banquets, lasting a whole day, with allegorical "subtleties" of
jelly on the table, and pageants coming between the courses, where all
the Virtues harangued in turn, or where knights delivered maidens from
giants and "salvage men." In the south there was less misery and more
progress. Jacques Cœur's house at Bourges is still a marvel of household
architecture; and René, Duke of Anjou and Count of Provence, was an
excellent painter on glass, and also a poet.



CHAPTER III.

THE STRUGGLE WITH BURGUNDY.


1. Power of Burgundy.--All the troubles of France, for the last 80
years, had gone to increase the strength of the Dukes of Burgundy. The
county and duchy, of which Dijon was the capital, lay in the most
fertile district of France, and had, as we have seen, been conferred on
Philip the Bold. His marriage had given to him Flanders, with a gallant
nobility, and with the chief manufacturing cities of Northern Europe.
Philip's son, John the Fearless, had married a lady who ultimately
brought into the family the great imperial counties of Holland and
Zealand; and her son, Duke Philip the Good, by purchase or inheritance,
obtained possession of all the adjoining little fiefs forming the
country called the Netherlands, some belonging to the Empire, some to
France. Philip had turned the scale in the struggle between England and
France, and, as his reward, had won the cities on the Somme. He had
thus become the richest and most powerful prince in Europe, and seemed
on the point of founding a middle state lying between France and
Germany, his weak point being that the imperial fiefs in Lorraine and
Elsass lay between his dukedom of Burgundy and his counties in the
Netherlands. No European court equalled in splendour that of Philip. The
great cities of Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, and the rest, though full of
fierce and resolute men, paid him dues enough to make him the richest of
princes, and the Flemish knights were among the boldest in Europe. All
the arts of life, above all painting and domestic architecture,
nourished at Brussels; and nowhere were troops so well equipped,
burghers more prosperous, learning more widespread, than in his domains.
Here, too, were the most ceremonious courtesy, the most splendid
banquets, and the most wonderful display of jewels, plate, and
cloth-of-gold. Charles VII., a clever though a cold-hearted, indolent
man, let Philip alone, already seeing how the game would go for the
future; for when the dauphin had quarrelled with the reigning favourite,
and was kindly received on his flight to Burgundy, the old king sneered,
saying that the duke was fostering the fox who would steal his chickens.


2. Louis XI.'s Policy.--_Louis XI._ succeeded his father Charles in
1461. He was a man of great skill and craft, with an iron will, and
subtle though pitiless nature, who knew in what the greatness of a king
consisted, and worked out his ends mercilessly and unscrupulously. The
old feudal dukes and counts had all passed away, except the Duke of
Brittany; but the Dukes of Orleans, Burgundy, and Anjou held princely
appanages, and there was a turbulent nobility who had grown up during
the wars, foreign and civil, and been encouraged by the favouritism of
Charles VI. All these, feeling that Louis was their natural foe, united
against him in what was called the "League of the Public Good," with his
own brother, the Duke of Berry, and Count Charles of Charolais, who was
known as Charles the Bold, the son of Duke Philip of Burgundy, at their
head. Louis was actually defeated by Charles of Charolais in the battle
of Montlhéry; but he contrived so cleverly to break up the league, by
promises to each member and by sowing dissension among them, that he
ended by becoming more powerful than before.


3. Charles the Bold.--On the death of Philip the Good, in 1467,
Charles the Bold succeeded to the duchy of Burgundy. He pursued more
ardently the plan of forming a new kingdom of Burgundy, and had even
hopes of being chosen Emperor. First, however, he had to consolidate his
dominions, by making himself master of the countries which parted
Burgundy from the Netherlands. With this view he obtained Elsass in
pledge from its owner, a needy son of the house of Austria, who was
never likely to redeem it. Lorraine had been inherited by Yolande, the
wife of René, Duke of Anjou and titular King of Sicily, and had passed
from her to her daughter, who had married the nearest heir in the male
line, the Count of Vaudémont; but Charles the Bold unjustly seized the
dukedom, driving out the lawful heir, René de Vaudémont, son of this
marriage. Louis, meantime, was on the watch for every error of Charles,
and constantly sowing dangers in his path. Sometimes his mines exploded
too soon, as when he had actually put himself into Charles's power by
visiting him at Peronne at the very moment when his emissaries had
encouraged the city of Liège to rise in revolt against their bishop, an
ally of the duke; and he only bought his freedom by profuse promises,
and by aiding Charles in a most savage destruction of Liège. But after
this his caution prevailed. He gave secret support to the adherents of
René de Vaudémont, and intrigued with the Swiss, who were often at issue
with the Burgundian bailiffs and soldiery in Elsass--greedy, reckless
men, from whom the men of Elsass revolted in favour of their former
Austrian lord. Meantime Edward IV. of England, Charles's brother-in-law,
had planned with him an invasion of France and division of the kingdom,
and in 1475 actually crossed the sea with a splendid host; but while
Charles was prevented from joining him by the siege of Neuss, a city in
alliance with Sigismund of Austria, Louis met Edward on the bridge of
Pecquigny, and by cajolery, bribery, and accusations of Charles,
contrived to persuade him to carry home his army without striking a
blow. That meeting was a curious one. A wooden barrier, like a wild
beast's cage, was erected in the middle of the bridge, through which the
two kings kissed one another. Edward was the tallest and handsomest man
present, and splendidly attired. Louis was small and mean-looking, and
clad in an old blue suit, with a hat decorated with little leaden images
of the saints, but his smooth tongue quite overcame the duller intellect
of Edward; and in the mean time the English soldiers were feasted and
allowed their full swing, the French being strictly watched to prevent
all quarrels. So skilfully did Louis manage, that Edward consented to
make peace and return home.


4. The Fall of Charles the Bold (1477).--Charles had become entangled
in many difficulties. He was a harsh, stern man, much disliked; and his
governors in Elsass were fierce, violent men, who used every pretext for
preying upon travellers. The Governor of Breisach, Hagenbach, had been
put to death in a popular rising, aided by the Swiss of Berne, in 1474;
and the men of Elsass themselves raised part of the sum for which the
country had been pledged, and revolted against Charles. The Swiss were
incited by Louis to join them; René of Lorraine made common cause with
them. In two great battles, Granson and Morat, Charles and all his
chivalry were beaten by the Swiss pikemen; but he pushed on the war.
Nancy, the chief city of Lorraine, had risen against him, and he
besieged it. On the night of the 5th of January, 1477, René led the
Swiss to relieve the town by falling in early morning on the besiegers'
camp. There was a terrible fight; the Burgundians were routed, and after
long search the corpse of Duke Charles was found in a frozen pool,
stripped, plundered, and covered with blood. He was the last of the male
line of Burgundy, and its great possessions broke up with his death. His
only child, Marie, did not inherit the French dukedom nor the county,
though most of the fiefs in the Low Countries, which could descend to
the female line, were her undisputed portion. Louis tried, by stirring
up her subjects, to force her into a marriage with his son Charles; but
she threw herself on the protection of the house of Austria, and
marrying Maximilian, son of the Emperor Frederick III., carried her
border lands to swell the power of his family.


5. Louis's Home Government.--Louis's system of repression of the
nobles went on all this time. His counsellors were of low birth (Oliver
le Daim, his barber, was the man he most trusted), his habits frugal,
his manners reserved and ironical; he was dreaded, hated, and
distrusted, and he became constantly more bitter, suspicious, and
merciless. Those who fell under his displeasure were imprisoned in iron
cages, or put to death; and the more turbulent families, such as the
house of Armagnac, were treated with frightful severity. But his was not
wanton violence. He acted on a regular system of depressing the lawless
nobility and increasing the royal authority, by bringing the power of
the cities forward, by trusting for protection to the standing army,
chiefly of hired Scots, Swiss, and Italians, and by saving money. By
this means he was able to purchase the counties of Roussillon and
Perpignan from the King of Aragon, thus making the Pyrenees his
frontier, and on several occasions he made his treasury fight his
battles instead of the swords of his knights. He lived in the castle of
Plessis les Tours, guarded by the utmost art of fortification, and
filled with hired Scottish archers of his guard, whom he preferred as
defenders to his own nobles. He was exceedingly unpopular with his
nobles; but the statesman and historian, Philip de Comines, who had gone
over to him from Charles of Burgundy, viewed him as the best and ablest
of kings. He did much to promote trade and manufacture, improved the
cities, fostered the university, and was in truth the first king since
Philip Augustus who had any real sense of statesmanship. But though the
burghers throve under him, and the lawless nobles were depressed, the
state of the peasants was not improved; feudal rights pressed heavily on
them, and they were little better than savages, ground down by burthens
imposed by their lords.


6. Provence and Brittany.--Louis had added much to the French
monarchy. He had won back Artois; he had seized the duchy and county of
Burgundy; he had bought Roussillon. His last acquisition was the county
of Provence. The second Angevin family, beginning with Louis, the son of
King John, had never succeeded in gaining a footing in Naples, though
they bore the royal title. They held, however, the imperial fief of
Provence, and Louis XI., whose mother had been of this family, obtained
from her two brothers, René and Charles, that Provence should be
bequeathed to him instead of passing to René's grandson, the Duke of
Lorraine. The Kings of France were thenceforth Counts of Provence; and
though the county was not viewed as part of the kingdom, it was
practically one with it. A yet greater acquisition was made soon after
Louis's death in 1483. The great Celtic duchy of Brittany fell to a
female, Anne of Brittany, and the address of Louis's daughter, the Lady
of Beaujeu, who was regent of the realm, prevailed to secure the hand of
the heiress for her brother, Charles VIII. Thus the crown of France had
by purchase, conquest, or inheritance, obtained all the great feudal
states that made up the country between the English Channel and the
Pyrenees; but each still remained a separate state, with different laws
and customs, and a separate parliament in each to register laws, and to
act as a court of justice.



CHAPTER IV.

THE ITALIAN WARS.


1. Campaign of Charles VIII. (1493).--From grasping at province after
province on their own border, however, the French kings were now to turn
to wider dreams of conquest abroad. Together with the county of
Provence, Louis XI. had bought from King René all the claims of the
house of Anjou. Among these was included a claim to the kingdom of
Naples. Louis's son, _Charles VIII._, a vain and shallow lad, was
tempted by the possession of large treasures and a fine army to listen
to the persuasions of an Italian intriguer, Ludovico Sforza, Duke of
Milan, and put forward these pretensions, thus beginning a war which
lasted nearly as long as the Hundred Years' War with England. But it was
a war of aggression instead of a war of self-defence. Charles crossed
the Alps in 1493, marched the whole length of Italy without opposition,
and was crowned at Naples; while its royal family, an illegitimate
offshoot from the Kings of Aragon, fled into Sicily, and called on
Spain for help. But the insolent exactions of the French soldiery caused
the people to rise against them; and when Charles returned, he was beset
at Fornovo by a great league of Italians, over whom he gained a complete
victory. Small and puny though he was, he fought like a lion, and seemed
quite inspired by the ardour of combat. The "French fury," _la furia
Francese_, became a proverb among the Italians. Charles neglected,
however, to send any supplies or reinforcements to the garrisons he had
left behind him in Naples, and they all perished under want, sickness,
and the sword of the Spaniards. He was meditating another expedition,
when he struck his head against the top of a doorway, and died in 1498.


2. Campaign of Louis XII.--His cousin, _Louis XII._, married his
widow, and thus prevented Brittany from again parting from the crown.
Louis not only succeeded to the Angevin right to Naples, but through his
grandmother he viewed himself as heir of Milan. She was Valentina
Visconti, wife to that Duke of Orleans who had been murdered by John the
Fearless. Louis himself never advanced further than to Milan, whose
surrender made him master of Lombardy, which he held for the greater
part of his reign. But after a while the Spanish king, Ferdinand, agreed
with him to throw over the cause of the unfortunate royal family of
Naples, and divide that kingdom between them. Louis XII. sent a
brilliant army to take possession of his share, but the bounds of each
portion had not been defined, and the French and Spanish troops began a
war even while their kings were still treating with one another. The
individual French knights did brilliant exploits, for indeed it was the
time of the chief blossom of fanciful chivalry, a knight of Dauphiné,
named Bayard, called the Fearless and Stainless Knight, and honoured by
friend and foe; but the Spaniards were under Gonzalo de Cordova, called
the Great Captain, and after the battles of Cerignola and the Garigliano
drove the French out of the kingdom of Naples, though the war continued
in Lombardy.


3. The Holy League.--It was an age of leagues. The Italians, hating
French and Spaniards both alike, were continually forming combinations
among themselves and with foreign powers against whichever happened to
be the strongest. The chief of these was called the Holy League, because
it was formed by Pope Julius II., who drew into it Maximilian, then head
of the German Empire, Ferdinand of Spain, and Henry VIII. of England.
The French troops were attacked in Milan; and though they gained the
battle of Ravenna in 1512, it was with the loss of their general, Gaston
de Foix, Duke of Nemours, whose death served as an excuse to Ferdinand
of Spain for setting up a claim to the kingdom of Navarre. He cunningly
persuaded Henry VIII. to aid him in the attack, by holding out the vain
idea of going on to regain Gascony; and while one troop of English were
attacking Pampeluna, Henry himself landed at Calais and took Tournay and
Terouenne. The French forces were at the same time being chased out of
Italy. However, when Pampeluna had been taken, and the French finally
driven out of Lombardy, the Pope and king, who had gained their ends,
left Henry to fight his own battles. He thus was induced to make peace,
giving his young sister Mary as second wife to Louis; but that king
over-exerted himself at the banquets, and died six weeks after the
marriage, in 1515. During this reign the waste of blood and treasure on
wars of mere ambition was frightful, and the country had been heavily
taxed; but a brilliant soldiery had been trained up, and national vanity
had much increased. The king, though without deserving much love, was so
kindly in manner that he was a favourite, and was called the Father of
the People. His first wife, Anne of Brittany, was an excellent and
high-spirited woman, who kept the court of France in a better state than
ever before or since.


4. Campaigns of Francis I.--Louis left only two daughters, the elder
of whom, Claude, carried Brittany to his male heir, Francis, Count of
Angoulêine. Anne of Brittany had been much averse to the match; but
Louis said he kept his mice for his own cats, and gave his daughter and
her duchy to Francis as soon as Anne was dead. _Francis I._ was one of
the vainest, falsest, and most dashing of Frenchmen. In fact, he was an
exaggeration in every way of the national character, and thus became a
national hero, much overpraised. He at once resolved to recover
Lombardy; and after crossing the Alps encountered an army of Swiss
troops, who had been hired to defend the Milanese duchy, on the field of
Marignano. Francis had to fight a desperate battle with them; after
which he caused Bayard to dub him knight, though French kings were said
to be born knights. In gaining the victory over these mercenaries, who
had been hitherto deemed invincible, he opened for himself a way into
Italy, and had all Lombardy at his feet. The Pope, Leo X., met him at
Bologna, and a concordat took place, by which the French Church became
more entirely subject to the Pope, while in return all patronage was
given up to the crown. The effects were soon seen in the increased
corruption of the clergy and people. Francis brought home from this
expedition much taste for Italian art and literature, and all matters of
elegance and ornament made great progress from this time. The great
Italian masters worked for him; Raphael painted some of his most
beautiful pictures for him, and Leonardo da Vinci came to his court, and
there died in his arms. His palaces, especially that of Blois, were
exceedingly beautiful, in the new classic style, called the Renaissance.
Great richness and splendour reigned at court, and set off his
pretensions to romance and chivalry. Learning and scholarship,
especially classical, increased much; and the king's sister, Margaret,
Queen of Navarre, was an excellent and highly cultivated woman, but even
her writings prove that the whole tone of feeling was terribly coarse,
when not vicious.


5. Charles V.--The conquest of Lombardy made France the greatest power
in Christendom; but its king was soon to find a mighty and active rival.
The old hatred between France and Burgundy again awoke. Mary of
Burgundy, the daughter of Charles the Bold, had married Maximilian,
Archduke of Austria and King of the Romans, though never actually
crowned Emperor. Their son, Philip, married Juana, the daughter of
Ferdinand, and heiress of Spain, who lost her senses from grief on
Philip's untimely death; and thus the direct heir to Spain, Austria, and
the Netherlands, was Charles, her eldest son. On the death of Maximilian
in 1518, Francis proposed himself to the electors as Emperor, but
failed, in spite of bribery. Charles was chosen, and from that time
Francis pursued him with unceasing hatred. The claims to Milan and
Naples were renewed. Francis sent troops to occupy Milan, and was
following them himself; but the most powerful of all his nobles, the
Duke of Bourbon, Constable of France, had been alienated by an injustice
perpetrated on him in favour of the king's mother, and deserted to the
Spaniards, offering to assist them and the English in dividing France,
while he reserved for himself Provence. His desertion hindered Francis
from sending support to the troops in Milan, who were forced to retreat.
Bayard was shot in the spine while defending the rear-guard, and was
left to die under a tree. The utmost honour was shown him by the
Spaniards; but when Bourbon came near him, he bade him take pity, not on
one who was dying as a true soldier, but on himself as a traitor to king
and country. When the French, in 1525, invaded Lombardy, Francis
suffered a terrible defeat at Pavia, and was carried a prisoner to
Madrid, where he remained for a year, and was only set free on making a
treaty by which he was to give up all claims in Italy both to Naples and
Milan, also the county of Burgundy and the suzerainty of those Flemish
counties which had been fiefs of the French crown, as well as to
surrender his two sons as hostages for the performance of the
conditions.


6. Wars of Francis and Charles.--All the rest of the king's life was
an attempt to elude or break these conditions, against which he had
protested in his prison, but when there was no Spaniard present to hear
him do so. The county of Burgundy refused to be transferred; and the
Pope, Clement VII., hating the Spanish power in Italy, contrived a fresh
league against Charles, in which Francis joined, but was justly rewarded
by the miserable loss of another army. His mother and Charles's aunt met
at Cambrai, and concluded, in 1529, what was called the Ladies' Peace,
which bore as hardly on France as the peace of Madrid, excepting that
Charles gave up his claim to Burgundy. Still Francis's plans were not at
an end. He married his second son, Henry, to Catherine, the only
legitimate child of the great Florentine house of Medici, and tried to
induce Charles to set up an Italian dukedom of Milan for the young pair;
but when the dauphin died, and Henry became heir of France, Charles
would not give him any footing in Italy. Francis never let any occasion
pass of harassing the Emperor, but was always defeated. Charles once
actually invaded Provence, but was forced to retreat through the
devastation of the country before him by Montmorençy, afterwards
Constable of France. Francis, by loud complaints, and by talking much of
his honour, contrived to make the world fancy him the injured man, while
he was really breaking oaths in a shameless manner. At last, in 1537,
the king and Emperor met at Aigues Mortes, and came to terms. Francis
married, as his second wife, Charles's sister Eleanor, and in 1540, when
Charles was in haste to quell a revolt in the Low Countries, he asked a
safe conduct through France, and was splendidly entertained at Paris.
Yet so low was the honour of the French, that Francis scarcely withstood
the temptation of extorting the duchy of Milan from him when in his
power, and gave so many broad hints that Charles was glad to be past the
frontier. The war was soon renewed. Francis set up a claim to Savoy, as
the key of Italy, allied himself with the Turks and Moors, and slaves
taken by them on the coasts of Italy and Spain were actually brought
into Marseilles. Nice was burnt; but the citadel held out, and as Henry
VIII. had allied himself with the Emperor, and had taken Boulogne,
Francis made a final peace at Crespy in 1545. He died only two years
later, in 1547.


7. Henry II.--His only surviving son, _Henry II._, followed the same
policy. The rise of Protestantism was now dividing the Empire in
Germany; and Henry took advantage of the strife which broke out between
Charles and the Protestant princes to attack the Emperor, and make
conquests across the German border. He called himself Protector of the
Liberties of the Germans, and leagued himself with them, seizing Metz,
which the Duke of Guise bravely defended when the Emperor tried to
retake it. This seizure of Metz was the first attempt of France to make
conquests in Germany, and the beginning of a contest between the French
and German peoples which has gone on to the present day. After the siege
a five years' truce was made, during which Charles V. resigned his
crowns. His brother had been already elected to the Empire, but his son
Philip II. became King of Spain and Naples, and also inherited the Low
Countries. The Pope, Paul IV., who was a Neapolitan, and hated the
Spanish rule, incited Henry, a vain, weak man, to break the truce and
send one army to Italy, under the Duke of Guise, while another attacked
the frontier of the Netherlands. Philip, assisted by the forces of his
wife, Mary I. of England, met this last attack with an army commanded by
the Duke of Savoy. It advanced into France, and besieged St. Quentin.
The French, under the Constable of Montmorençy, came to relieve the
city, and were utterly defeated, the Constable himself being made
prisoner. His nephew, the Admiral de Coligny, held out St. Quentin to
the last, and thus gave the country time to rally against the invader;
and Guise was recalled in haste from Italy. He soon after surprised
Calais, which was thus restored to the French, after having been held
by the English for two hundred years. This was the only conquest the
French retained when the final peace of Cateau Cambresis was made in the
year 1558, for all else that had been taken on either side was then
restored. Savoy was given back to its duke, together with the hand of
Henry's sister, Margaret. During a tournament held in honour of the
wedding, Henry II. was mortally injured by the splinter of a lance, in
1559; and in the home troubles that followed, all pretensions to Italian
power were dropped by France, after wars which had lasted sixty-four
years.



CHAPTER V.

THE WARS OF RELIGION.


1. The Bourbons and Guises.--Henry II. had left four sons, the eldest
of whom, _Francis II._, was only fifteen years old; and the country was
divided by two great factions--one headed by the Guise family, an
offshoot of the house of Lorraine; the other by the Bourbons, who, being
descended in a direct male line from a younger son of St. Louis, were
the next heirs to the throne in case the house of Valois should become
extinct. Antony, the head of the Bourbon family, was called King of
Navarre, because of his marriage with Jeanne d'Albrêt, the queen, in her
own right, of this Pyrenean kingdom, which was in fact entirely in the
hands of the Spaniards, so that her only actual possession consisted of
the little French counties of Foix and Béarn. Antony himself was dull
and indolent, but his wife was a woman of much ability; and his brother,
Louis, Prince of Condé, was full of spirit and fire, and little
inclined to brook the ascendancy which the Duke of Guise and his
brothers enjoyed at court, partly in consequence of his exploit at
Calais, and partly from being uncle to the young Queen Mary of Scotland,
wife of Francis II. The Bourbons likewise headed the party among the
nobles who hoped to profit by the king's youth to recover the privileges
of which they had been gradually deprived, while the house of Guise were
ready to maintain the power of the crown, as long as that meant their
own power.


2. The Reformation.--The enmity of these two parties was much
increased by the reaction against the prevalent doctrines and the
corruptions of the clergy. This reaction had begun in the reign of
Francis I., when the Bible had been translated into French by two
students at the University of Paris, and the king's sister, Margaret,
Queen of Navarre, had encouraged the Reformers. Francis had leagued with
the German Protestants because they were foes to the Emperor, while he
persecuted the like opinions at home to satisfy the Pope. John Calvin, a
native of Picardy, the foremost French reformer, was invited to the free
city of Geneva, and there was made chief pastor, while the scheme of
theology called his "Institutes" became the text-book of the Reformed in
France, Scotland, and Holland. His doctrine was harsh and stern, aiming
at the utmost simplicity of worship, and denouncing the existing
practices so fiercely, that the people, who held themselves to have been
wilfully led astray by their clergy, committed such violence in the
churches that the Catholics loudly called for punishment on them. The
shameful lives of many of the clergy and the wickedness of the Court had
caused a strong reaction against them, and great numbers of both nobles
and burghers became Calvinists. They termed themselves Sacramentarians
or Reformers, but their nickname was Huguenots; probably from the Swiss,
"_Eidgenossen_" or oath comrades. Henry II., like his father, protected
German Lutherans and persecuted French Calvinists; but the lawyers of
the Parliament of Paris interposed, declaring that men ought not to be
burnt for heresy until a council of the Church should have condemned
their opinions, and it was in the midst of this dispute that Henry was
slain.


3. The Conspiracy of Amboise.--The Guise family were strong Catholics;
the Bourbons were the heads of the Huguenot party, chiefly from policy;
but Admiral Coligny and his brother, the Sieur D'Andelot, were sincere
and earnest Reformers. A third party, headed by the old Constable De
Montmorençy, was Catholic in faith, but not unwilling to join with the
Huguenots in pulling down the Guises, and asserting the power of the
nobility. A conspiracy for seizing the person of the king and
destroying the Guises at the castle of Amboise was detected in time to
make it fruitless. The two Bourbon princes kept in the background,
though Condé was universally known to have been the true head and mover
in it, and he was actually brought to trial. The discovery only
strengthened the hands of Guise.


4. Regency of Catherine de' Medici.--Even then, however, Francis II.
was dying, and his brother, _Charles IX._, who succeeded him in 1560,
was but ten years old. The regency passed to his mother, the Florentine
Catherine, a wily, cat-like woman, who had always hitherto been kept in
the background, and whose chief desire was to keep things quiet by
playing off one party against the other. She at once released Condé, and
favoured the Bourbons and the Huguenots to keep down the Guises, even
permitting conferences to see whether the French Church could be
reformed so as to satisfy the Calvinists. Proposals were sent by Guise's
brother, the Cardinal of Lorraine, to the council then sitting at Trent,
for vernacular services, the marriage of the clergy, and other
alterations which might win back the Reformers. But an attack by the
followers of Guise on a meeting of Calvinists at Vassy, of whose ringing
of bells his mother had complained, led to the first bloodshed and the
outbreak of a civil war.


5. The Religious War.--To trace each stage of the war would be
impossible within these limits. It was a war often lulled for a short
time, and often breaking out again, and in which the actors grew more
and more cruel. The Reformed influence was in the south, the Catholic in
the east. Most of the provincial cities at first held with the Bourbons,
for the sake of civil and religious freedom; though the Guise family
succeeded to the popularity of the Burgundian dukes in Paris. Still
Catherine persuaded Antony of Bourbon to return to court just as his
wife, Queen Jeanne of Navarre, had become a staunch Calvinist, and while
dreaming of exchanging his claim on Navarre for the kingdom of Sardinia,
he was killed on the Catholic side while besieging Rouen. At the first
outbreak the Huguenots seemed to have by far the greatest influence. An
endeavour was made to seize the king's person, and this led to a battle
at Dreux. While it was doubtful Catherine actually declared, "We shall
have to say our prayers in French." Guise, however, retrieved the day,
and though Montmorençy was made prisoner on the one side, Condé was
taken on the other. Orleans was the Huguenot rallying-place, and while
besieging it Guise himself was assassinated. His death was believed by
his family to be due to the Admiral de Coligny. The city of Rochelle,
fortified by Jeanne of Navarre, became the stronghold of the Huguenots.
Leader after leader fell--Montmorençy, on the one hand, was killed at
Montcontour; Condé, on the other, was shot in cold blood after the fight
of Jarnac. A truce followed, but was soon broken again, and in 1571
Coligny was the only man of age and standing at the head of the Huguenot
party; while the Catholics had as leaders Henry, Duke of Anjou, the
king's brother, and Henry, Duke of Guise, both young men of little more
than twenty. The Huguenots had been beaten at all points, but were still
strong enough to have wrung from their enemies permission to hold
meetings for public worship within unwalled towns and on the estates of
such nobles as held with them.


6. Catherine's Policy.--Catherine made use of the suspension of arms
to try to detach the Huguenot leaders, by entangling them in the
pleasures of the court and lowering their sense of duty. The court was
studiously brilliant. Catherine surrounded herself with a bevy of
ladies, called the Queen-Mother's Squadron, whose amusements were found
for the whole day. The ladies sat at their tapestry frames, while
Italian poetry and romance was read or love-songs sung by the gentlemen;
they had garden games and hunting-parties, with every opening for the
ladies to act as sirens to any whom the queen wished to detach from the
principles of honour and virtue, and bind to her service. Balls,
pageants, and theatricals followed in the evening, and there was hardly
a prince or noble in France who was not carried away by these seductions
into darker habits of profligacy. Jeanne of Navarre dreaded them for her
son Henry, whom she kept as long as possible under training in religion,
learning, and hardy habits, in the mountains of Béarn; and when
Catherine tried to draw him to court by proposing a marriage between him
and her youngest daughter Margaret, Jeanne left him at home, and went
herself to court. Catherine tried in vain to bend her will or discover
her secrets, and her death, early in 1572, while still at court, was
attributed to the queen-mother.


7. Massacre of St. Bartholomew (1572).--Jeanne's son Henry was
immediately summoned to conclude the marriage, and came attended by all
the most distinguished Huguenots, though the more wary of them remained
at home, and the Baron of Rosny said, "If that wedding takes place the
favours will be crimson." The Duke of Guise seems to have resolved on
taking this opportunity of revenging himself for his father's murder,
but the queen-mother was undecided until she found that her son Charles,
who had been bidden to cajole and talk over the Huguenot chiefs, had
been attracted by their honesty and uprightness, and was ready to throw
himself into their hands, and escape from hers. An abortive attempt on
Guise's part to murder the Admiral Coligny led to all the Huguenots
going about armed, and making demonstrations which alarmed both the
queen and the people of Paris. Guise and the Duke of Anjou were,
therefore, allowed to work their will, and to rouse the bloodthirstiness
of the Paris mob. At midnight of the 24th of August, 1572, St.
Bartholomew's night, the bell of the church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois
began to ring, and the slaughter was begun by men distinguished by a
white sleeve. The king sheltered his Huguenot surgeon and nurse in his
room. The young King of Navarre and Prince of Condé were threatened into
conforming to the Church, but every other Huguenot who could be found
was massacred, from Coligny, who was slain kneeling in his bedroom by
the followers of Guise, down to the poorest and youngest, and the
streets resounded with the cry, "Kill! kill!" In every city where royal
troops and Guisard partisans had been living among Huguenots, the same
hideous work took place for three days, sparing neither age nor sex. How
many thousands died, it is impossible to reckon, but the work was so
wholesale that none were left except those in the southern cities, where
the Huguenots had been too strong to be attacked, and in those castles
where the seigneur was of "the religion." The Catholic party thought the
destruction complete, the court went in state to return thanks for
deliverance from a supposed plot, while Coligny's body was hung on a
gibbet. The Pope ordered public thanksgivings, while Queen Elizabeth put
on mourning, and the Emperor Maximilian II., alone among Catholic
princes, showed any horror or indignation. But the heart of the unhappy
young king was broken by the guilt he had incurred. Charles IX. sank
into a decline, and died in 1574, finding no comfort save in the surgeon
and nurse he had saved.


8. The League.--His brother, _Henry III._, who had been elected King
of Poland, threw up that crown in favour of that of France. He was of a
vain, false, weak character, superstitiously devout, and at the same
time ferocious, so as to alienate every one. All were ashamed of a man
who dressed in the extreme of foppery, with a rosary of death's heads at
his girdle, and passed from wild dissipation to abject penance. He was
called "the Paris Church-warden and the Queen's Hairdresser," for he
passed from her toilette to the decoration of the walls of churches with
illuminations cut out of old service-books. Sometimes he went about
surrounded with little dogs, sometimes flogged himself walking barefoot
in a procession, and his _mignons_, or favourites, were the scandal of
the country by their pride, license, and savage deeds. The war broke out
again, and his only remaining brother, Francis, Duke of Alençon, an
equally hateful and contemptible being, fled from court to the Huguenot
army, hoping to force his brother into buying his submission; but when
the King of Navarre had followed him and begun the struggle in earnest,
he accepted the duchy of Anjou, and returned to his allegiance. Francis
was invited by the insurgent Dutch to become their chief, and spent some
time in Holland, but returned, unsuccessful and dying. As the king was
childless, the next male heir was Henry of Bourbon, King of Navarre, who
had fled from court soon after Alençon returned to the Huguenot faith,
and was reigning in his two counties of Béarn and Foix, the head of the
Huguenots. In the resolve never to permit a heretic to wear the French
crown, Guise and his party formed a Catholic league, to force Henry III.
to choose another successor. Paris was devoted to Guise, and the king,
finding himself almost a prisoner there, left the city, but was again
mastered by the duke at Blois, and could so ill brook his arrogance, as
to have recourse to assassination. He caused him to be slain at the
palace at Blois in 1588. The fury of the League was so great that Henry
III. was driven to take refuge with the King of Navarre, and they were
together besieging Paris, when Henry III. was in his turn murdered by a
monk, named Clement, in 1589.


9. Henry IV.--The Leaguers proclaimed as king an old uncle of the
King of Navarre, the Cardinal of Bourbon, but all the more moderate
Catholics rallied round Henry of Navarre, who took the title of _Henry
IV._ At Ivry, in Normandy, Henry met the force of Leaguers, and defeated
them by his brilliant courage. "Follow my white plume," his last order
to his troops, became one of the sayings the French love to remember.
But his cause was still not won--Paris held out against him, animated by
almost fanatical fury, and while he was besieging it France was invaded
from the Netherlands. The old Cardinal of Bourbon was now dead, and
Philip II. considered his daughter Isabel, whose mother was the eldest
daughter of Henry II., to be rightful Queen of France. He sent therefore
his ablest general, the Duke of Parma, to co-operate with the Leaguers
and place her on the throne. A war of strategy was carried on, during
which Henry kept the enemy at bay, but could do no more, since the
larger number of his people, though intending to have no king but
himself, did not wish him to gain too easy a victory, lest in that case
he should remain a Calvinist. However, he was only waiting to recant
till he could do so with a good grace. He really preferred Catholicism,
and had only been a political Huguenot; and his best and most faithful
adviser, the Baron of Rosny, better known as Duke of Sully, though a
staunch Calvinist himself, recommended the change as the only means of
restoring peace to the kingdom. There was little more resistance to
Henry after he had again been received by the Church in 1592. Paris,
weary of the long war, opened its gates in 1593, and the inhabitants
crowded round him with ecstasy, so that he said, "Poor people, they are
hungry for the sight of a king!" The Leaguers made their peace, and when
Philip of Spain again attacked Henry, the young Duke of Guise was one of
the first to hasten to the defence. Philip saw that there were no
further hopes for his daughter, and peace was made in 1596.


10. The Edict of Nantes.--Two years later, in 1598, Henry put forth
what was called the Edict of Nantes, because first registered in that
parliament. It secured to the Huguenots equal civil rights with those of
the Catholics, accepted their marriages, gave them, under restrictions,
permission to meet for worship and for consultations, and granted them
cities for the security of their rights, of which La Rochelle was the
chief. The Calvinists had been nearly exterminated in the north, but
there were still a large number in the south of France, and the burghers
of the chief southern cities were mostly Huguenot. The war had been from
the first a very horrible one; there had been savage slaughter, and
still more savage reprisals on each side. The young nobles had been
trained into making a fashion of ferocity, and practising graceful ways
of striking death-blows. Whole districts had been laid waste, churches
and abbeys destroyed, tombs rifled, and the whole population accustomed
to every sort of horror and suffering; while nobody but Henry IV.
himself, and the Duke of Sully, had any notion either of statesmanship
or of religious toleration.


11. Henry's Plans.--Just as the reign of Louis XI. had been a period
of rest and recovery from the English wars, so that of Henry IV. was one
of restoration from the ravages of thirty years of intermittent civil
war. The king himself not only had bright and engaging manners, but was
a man of large heart and mind; and Sully did much for the welfare of the
country. Roads, canals, bridges, postal communications, manufactures,
extended commerce, all owed their promotion to him, and brought
prosperity to the burgher class; and the king was especially endeared to
the peasantry by his saying that he hoped for the time when no cottage
would be without a good fowl in its pot. The great silk manufactories of
southern France chiefly arose under his encouragement, and there was
prosperity of every kind. The Church itself was in a far better state
than before. Some of the best men of any time were then living--in
especial Vincent de Paul, who did much to improve the training of the
parochial clergy, and who founded the order of Sisters of Charity, who
prevented the misery of the streets of Paris from ever being so
frightful as in those days when deserted children became the prey of
wolves, dogs, and pigs. The nobles, who had grown into insolence during
the wars, either as favourites of Henry III. or as zealous supporters of
the Huguenot cause, were subdued and tamed. The most noted of these were
the Duke of Bouillon, the owner of the small principality of Sedan, who
was reduced to obedience by the sight of Sully's formidable train of
artillery; and the Marshal Duke of Biron, who, thinking that Henry had
not sufficiently rewarded his services, intrigued with Spain and Savoy,
and was beheaded for his treason. Hatred to the house of Austria in
Spain and Germany was as keen as ever in France; and in 1610 Henry IV.
was prepared for another war on the plea of a disputed succession to the
duchy of Cleves. The old fanaticism still lingered in Paris, and Henry
had been advised to beware of pageants there; but it was necessary that
his second wife, Mary de' Medici, should be crowned before he went to
the war, as she was to be left regent. Two days after the coronation, as
Henry was going to the arsenal to visit his old friend Sully, he was
stabbed to the heart in his coach, in the streets of Paris, by a fanatic
named Ravaillac. The French call him Le Grand Monarque; and he was one
of the most attractive and benevolent of men, winning the hearts of all
who approached him, but the immorality of his life did much to confirm
the already low standard that prevailed among princes and nobles in
France.


12. The States-General of 1614.--Henry's second wife, Mary de' Medici,
became regent, for her son, _Louis XIII._, was only ten years old, and
indeed his character was so weak that his whole reign was only one long
minority. Mary de' Medici was entirely under the dominion of an Italian
favourite named Concini, and his wife, and their whole endeavour was to
amass riches for themselves and keep the young king in helpless
ignorance, while they undid all that Sully had effected, and took bribes
shamelessly. The Prince of Condé tried to overthrow them, and, in hopes
of strengthening herself, in 1614 Mary summoned together the
States-General. There came 464 members, 132 for the nobles, 140 for the
clergy, and 192 for the third estate, _i.e._ the burghers, and these,
being mostly lawyers and magistrates from the provinces, were resolved
to make their voices heard. Taxation was growing worse and worse. Not
only was it confined to the burgher and peasant class, exempting the
clergy and the nobles, among which last were included their families to
the remotest generation, but it had become the court custom to multiply
offices, in order to pension the nobles, and keep them quiet; and this,
together with the expenses of the army, made the weight of taxation
ruinous. Moreover, the presentation to the civil offices held by
lawyers was made hereditary in their families, on payment of a sum down,
and of fees at the death of each holder. All these abuses were
complained of; and one of the deputies even told the nobility that if
they did not learn to treat the despised classes below them as younger
brothers, they would lay up a terrible store of retribution for
themselves. A petition to the king was drawn up, and was received, but
never answered. The doors of the house of assembly were closed--the
members were told it was by order of the king--and the States-General
never met again for 177 years, when the storm was just ready to fall.


13. The Siege of Rochelle.--The rottenness of the State was chiefly
owing to the nobility, who, as long as they were allowed to grind down
their peasants and shine at court, had no sense of duty or public
spirit, and hated the burghers and lawyers far too much to make common
cause with them against the constantly increasing power of the throne.
They only intrigued and struggled for personal advantages and rivalries,
and never thought of the good of the State. They bitterly hated Concini,
the Marshal d'Ancre, as he had been created, but he remained in power
till 1614, when one of the king's gentlemen, Albert de Luynes, plotted
with the king himself and a few of his guards for his deliverance.
Nothing could be easier than the execution. The king ordered the
captain of the guards to arrest Concini, and kill him if he resisted;
and this was done. Concini was cut down on the steps of the Louvre, and
Louis exclaimed, "At last I am a king." But it was not in him to be a
king, and he never was one all his life. He only passed under the
dominion of De Luynes, who was a high-spirited young noble. The
Huguenots had been holding assemblies, which were considered more
political than religious, and their towns of security were a grievance
to royalty. War broke out again, and Louis himself went with De Luynes
to besiege Montauban. The place was taken, but disease broke out in the
army, and De Luynes died. There was a fresh struggle for power between
the queen-mother and the Prince of Condé, ending in both being set aside
by the queen's almoner, Armand de Richelieu, Bishop of Luçon, and
afterwards a cardinal, the ablest statesman then in Europe, who gained
complete dominion over the king and country, and ruled them both with a
rod of iron. The Huguenots were gradually driven out of all their
strongholds, till only Rochelle remained to them. This city was bravely
and patiently defended by the magistrates and the Duke of Rohan, with
hopes of succour from England, until these being disconcerted by the
murder of the Duke of Buckingham, they were forced to surrender, after
having held out for more than a year. Louis XIII. entered in triumph,
deprived the city of all its privileges, and thus in 1628 concluded the
war that had begun by the attack of the Guisards on the congregation at
Vassy, in 1561. The lives and properties of the Huguenots were still
secure, but all favour was closed against them, and every encouragement
held out to them to join the Church. Many of the worst scandals had been
removed, and the clergy were much improved; and, from whatever motive it
might be, many of the more influential Huguenots began to conform to the
State religion.



CHAPTER VI.

POWER OF THE CROWN.


1. Richelieu's Administration.--Cardinal de Richelieu's whole idea of
statesmanship consisted in making the King of France the greatest of
princes at home and abroad. To make anything great of Louis XIII., who
was feeble alike in mind and body, was beyond any one's power, and
Richelieu kept him in absolute subjection, allowing him a favourite with
whom to hunt, talk, and amuse himself, but if the friend attempted to
rouse the king to shake off the yoke, crushing him ruthlessly. It was
the crown rather than the king that the cardinal exalted, putting down
whatever resisted. Gaston, Duke of Orleans, the king's only brother,
made a futile struggle for power, and freedom of choice in marriage, but
was soon overcome. He was spared, as being the only heir to the kingdom,
but the Duke of Montmorency, who had been led into his rebellion, was
brought to the block, amid the pity and terror of all France. Whoever
seemed dangerous to the State, or showed any spirit of independence,
was marked by the cardinal, and suffered a hopeless imprisonment, if
nothing worse; but at the same time his government was intelligent and
able, and promoted prosperity, as far as was possible where there was
such a crushing of individual spirit and enterprise. Richelieu's plan,
in fact, was to found a despotism, though a wise and well-ordered
despotism, at home, while he made France great by conquests abroad. And
at this time the ambition of France found a favourable field in the
state both of Germany and of Spain.


2. The War in Flanders and Italy.--The Thirty Years' War had been
raging in Germany for many years, and France had taken no part in it,
beyond encouraging the Swedes and the Protestant Germans, as the enemies
of the Emperor. But the policy of Richelieu required that the disunion
between its Catholic and Protestant states should be maintained, and
when things began to tend towards peace from mutual exhaustion, the
cardinal interfered, and induced the Protestant party to continue the
war by giving them money and reinforcements. A war had already begun in
Italy on behalf of the Duke of Nevers, who had become heir to the duchy
of Mantua, but whose family had lived in France so long that the Emperor
and the King of Spain supported a more distant claim of the Duke of
Savoy to part of the duchy, rather than admit a French prince into
Italy. Richelieu was quick to seize this pretext for attacking Spain,
for Spain was now dying into a weak power, and he saw in the war a means
of acquiring the Netherlands, which belonged to the Spanish crown. At
first nothing important was done, but the Spaniards and Germans were
worn out, while two young and able captains were growing up among the
French--the Viscount of Turenne, younger son to the Duke of Bouillon,
and the Duke of Enghien, eldest son of the Prince of Condé--and
Richelieu's policy soon secured a brilliant career of success. Elsass,
Lorraine, Artois, Catalonia, and Savoy, all fell into the hands of the
French, and from a chamber of sickness the cardinal directed the affairs
of three armies, as well as made himself feared and respected by the
whole kingdom. Cinq Mars, the last favourite he had given the king,
plotted his overthrow, with the help of the Spaniards, but was detected
and executed, when the great minister was already at death's door.
Richelieu recommended an Italian priest, Julius Mazarin, whom he had
trained to work under him, to carry on the government, and died in the
December of 1642. The king only survived him five months, dying on the
14th of May, 1643. The war was continued on the lines Richelieu had laid
down, and four days after the death of Louis XIII. the army in the Low
Countries gained a splendid victory at Rocroy, under the Duke of
Enghien, entirely destroying the old Spanish infantry. The battles of
Freiburg, Nordlingen, and Lens raised the fame of the French generals to
the highest pitch, and in 1649 reduced the Emperor to make peace in the
treaty of Münster. France obtained as her spoil the three bishoprics,
Metz, Toul, and Verdun, ten cities in Elsass, Brisach, and the Sundgau,
with the Savoyard town of Pignerol; but the war with Spain continued
till 1659, when Louis XIV. engaged to marry Maria Theresa, a daughter of
the King of Spain.


3. The Fronde.--When an heir had long been despaired of, Anne of
Austria, the wife of Louis XIII., had become the mother of two sons, the
eldest of whom, _Louis XIV._, was only five years old at the time of his
father's death. The queen-mother became regent, and trusted entirely to
Mazarin, who had become a cardinal, and pursued the policy of Richelieu.
But what had been endured from a man by birth a French noble, was
intolerable from a low-born Italian. "After the lion comes the fox," was
the saying, and the Parliament of Paris made a last stand by refusing to
register the royal edict for fresh taxes, being supported both by the
burghers of Paris, and by a great number of the nobility, who were
personally jealous of Mazarin. This party was called the Fronde, because
in their discussions each man stood forth, launched his speech, and
retreated, just as the boys did with slings (_fronde_) and stones in the
streets. The struggle became serious, but only a few of the lawyers in
the parliament had any real principle or public spirit; all the other
actors caballed out of jealousy and party spirit, making tools of "the
men of the gown," whom they hated and despised, though mostly far their
superiors in worth and intelligence. Anne of Austria held fast by
Mazarin, and was supported by the Duke of Enghien, whom his father's
death had made Prince of Condé. Condé's assistance enabled her to
blockade Paris and bring the parliament to terms, which concluded the
first act of the Fronde, with the banishment of Mazarin as a peace
offering. Condé, however, became so arrogant and overbearing that the
queen caused him to be imprisoned, whereupon his wife and his other
friends began a fresh war for his liberation, and the queen was forced
to yield; but he again showed himself so tyrannical that the queen and
the parliament became reconciled and united to put him down, giving the
command of the troops to Turenne. Again there was a battle at the gates
of Paris, in which all Condé's friends were wounded, and he himself so
entirely worsted that he had to go into exile, when he entered the
Spanish service, while Mazarin returned to power at home.


4. The Court of Anne of Austria.--The court of France, though never
pure, was much improved during the reign of Louis XIII. and the regency
of Anne of Austria. There was a spirit of romance and grace about it,
somewhat cumbrous and stately, but outwardly pure and refined, and quite
a step out of the gross and open vice of the former reigns. The Duchess
de Rambouillet, a lady of great grace and wit, made her house the centre
of a brilliant society, which set itself to raise and refine the
manners, literature, and language of the time. No word that was
considered vulgar or coarse was allowed to pass muster; and though in
process of time this censorship became pedantic and petty, there is no
doubt that much was done to purify both the language and the tone of
thought. Poems, plays, epigrams, eulogiums, and even sermons were
rehearsed before the committee of taste in the Hôtel de Rambouillet, and
a wonderful new stimulus was there given, not only to ornamental but to
solid literature. Many of the great men who made France illustrious were
either ending or beginning their careers at this time. Memoir writing
specially flourished, and the characters of the men and women of the
court are known to us on all sides. Cardinal de Retz and the Duke of
Rochefoucauld, both deeply engaged in the Fronde, have left, the one
memoirs, the other maxims of great power of irony. Mme. de Motteville,
one of the queen's ladies, wrote a full history of the court. Blaise
Pascal, one of the greatest geniuses of all times, was attaching
himself to the Jansenists. This religious party, so called from Jansen,
a Dutch priest, whose opinions were imputed to them, had sprung up
around the reformed convent of Port Royal, and numbered among them some
of the ablest and best men of the time; but the Jesuits considered them
to hold false doctrine, and there was a continual debate, ending at
length in the persecution of the Jansenists. Pascal's "Provincial
Letters," exposing the Jesuit system, were among the ablest writings of
the age. Philosophy, poetry, science, history, art, were all making
great progress, though there was a stateliness and formality in all that
was said and done, redolent of the Spanish queen's etiquette and the
fastidious refinement of the Hôtel Rambouillet.


5. Court of Louis XIV.--The attempt from the earliest times of the
French monarchy had been to draw all government into the hands of the
sovereign, and the suppression of the Fronde completed the work. Louis
XIV., though ill educated, was a man of considerable ability, much
industry, and great force of character, arising from a profound belief
that France was the first country in the world, and himself the first of
Frenchmen; and he had a magnificent courtesy of demeanour, which so
impressed all who came near him as to make them his willing slaves.
"There is enough in him to make four kings and one respectable man
besides" was what Mazarin said of him; and when in 1661 the cardinal
died, the king showed himself fully equal to becoming his own prime
minister. "The State is myself," he said, and all centred upon him so
that no room was left for statesmen. The court was, however, in a most
brilliant state. There had been an unusual outburst of talent of every
kind in the lull after the Wars of Religion, and in generals, thinkers,
artists, and men of literature, France was unusually rich. The king had
a wonderful power of self-assertion, which attached them all to him
almost as if he were a sort of divinity. The stately, elaborate Spanish
etiquette brought in by his mother, Anne of Austria, became absolutely
an engine of government. Henry IV. had begun the evil custom of keeping
the nobles quiet by giving them situations at court, with pensions
attached, and these offices were multiplied to the most enormous and
absurd degree, so that every royal personage had some hundreds of
personal attendants. Princes of the blood and nobles of every degree
were contented to hang about the court, crowding into the most narrow
lodgings at Versailles, and thronging its anterooms; and to be ordered
to remain in the country was a most severe punishment.


6. France under Louis XIV.--There was, in fact, nothing but the chase
to occupy a gentleman on his own estate, for he was allowed no duties
or responsibilities. Each province had a governor or _intendant_, a sort
of viceroy, and the administration of the cities was managed chiefly on
the part of the king, even the mayors obtaining their posts by purchase.
The unhappy peasants had to pay in the first place the taxes to
Government, out of which were defrayed an intolerable number of
pensions, many for useless offices; next, the rents and dues which
supported their lord's expenditure at court; and, thirdly, the tithes
and fees of the clergy. Besides which, they were called off from the
cultivation of their own fields for a certain number of days to work at
the roads; their horses might be used by royal messengers; their lord's
crops had to be got in by their labour gratis, while their own were
spoiling; and, in short, the only wonder is how they existed at all.
Their hovels and their food were wretched, and any attempt to amend
their condition on the part of their lord would have been looked on as
betokening dangerous designs, and probably have landed him in the
Bastille. The peasants of Brittany--where the old constitution had been
less entirely ruined--and those of Anjou were in a less oppressed
condition, and in the cities trade flourished. Colbert, the
comptroller-general of the finances, was so excellent a manager that the
pressure of taxation was endurable in his time, and he promoted new
manufactures, such as glass at Cherbourg, cloth at Abbeville, silk at
Lyons; he also tried to promote commerce and colonization, and to create
a navy. There was a great appearance of prosperity, and in every
department there was wonderful ability. The Reformation had led to a
considerable revival among the Roman Catholics themselves. The
theological colleges established in the last reign had much improved the
tone of the clergy. Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, was one of the most noted
preachers who ever existed, and Fénélon, Archbishop of Cambrai, one of
the best of men. A reform of discipline, begun in the convent of Port
Royal, ended by attracting and gathering together some of the most
excellent and able persons in France--among them Blaise Pascal, a man of
marvellous genius and depth of thought, and Racine, the chief French
dramatic poet. Their chief director, the Abbot of St. Cyran, was
however, a pupil of Jansen, a Dutch ecclesiastic, whose views on
abstruse questions of grace were condemned by the Jesuits; and as the
Port-Royalists would not disown the doctrines attributed to him, they
were discouraged and persecuted throughout Louis's reign, more because
he was jealous of what would not bend to his will than for any real want
of conformity. Pascal's famous "Provincial Letters" were put forth
during this controversy; and in fact, the literature of France reached
its Augustan age during this reign, and the language acquired its
standard perfection.


7. War in the Low Countries.--Maria Theresa, the queen of Louis XIV.,
was the child of the first marriage of Philip IV. of Spain; and on her
father's death in 1661, Louis, on pretext of an old law in Brabant,
which gave the daughters of a first marriage the preference over the
sons of a second, claimed the Low Countries from the young Charles II.
of Spain. He thus began a war which was really a continuance of the old
struggle between France and Burgundy, and of the endeavour of France to
stretch her frontier to the Rhine. At first England, Holland, and Sweden
united against him, and obliged him to make the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle
in 1668; but he then succeeded in bribing Charles II. of England to
forsake the cause of the Dutch, and the war was renewed in 1672.
William, Prince of Orange, Louis's most determined enemy through life,
kept up the spirits of the Dutch, and they obtained aid from Germany and
Spain, through a six years' terrible war, in which the great Turenne was
killed at Saltzbach, in Germany. At last, from exhaustion, all parties
were compelled to conclude the peace of Nimeguen in 1678. Taking
advantage of undefined terms in this treaty, Louis seized various cities
belonging to German princes, and likewise the free imperial city of
Strassburg, when all Germany was too much worn out by the long war to
offer resistance. France was full of self-glorification, the king was
viewed almost as a demi-god, and the splendour of his court and of his
buildings, especially the palace at Versailles, with its gardens and
fountains, kept up the delusion of his greatness.


8. Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.--In 1685 Louis supposed that the
Huguenots had been so reduced in numbers that the Edict of Nantes could
be repealed. All freedom of worship was denied them; their ministers
were banished, but their flocks were not allowed to follow them. If
taken while trying to escape, men were sent to the galleys, women to
captivity, and children to convents for education. Dragoons were
quartered on families to torment them into going to mass. A few made
head in the wild moors of the Cevennes under a brave youth named
Cavalier, and others endured severe persecution in the south of France.
Dragoons were quartered on them, who made it their business to torment
and insult them; their marriages were declared invalid, their children
taken from them to be educated in the Roman Catholic faith. A great
number, amounting to at least 100,000, succeeded in escaping, chiefly to
Prussia, Holland, and England, whither they carried many of the
manufactures that Colbert had taken so much pains to establish. Many of
those who settled in England were silk weavers, and a large colony was
thus established at Spitalfields, which long kept up its French
character.


9. The War of the Palatinate.--This brutal act of tyranny was followed
by a fresh attack on Germany. On the plea of a supposed inheritance of
his sister-in-law, the Duchess of Orleans, Louis invaded the Palatinate
on the Rhine, and carried on one of the most ferocious wars in history,
while he was at the same time supporting the cause of his cousin, James
II. of England, after he had fled and abdicated on the arrival of
William of Orange. During this war, however, that generation of able men
who had grown up with Louis began to pass away, and his success was not
so uniform; while, Colbert being dead, taxation began to be more felt by
the exhausted people, and peace was made at Ryswick in 1697.


10. The War of the Succession in Spain.--The last of the four great
wars of Louis's reign was far more unfortunate. Charles II. of Spain
died childless, naming as his successor a French prince, Philip, Duke of
Anjou, the second son of the only son of Charles's eldest sister, the
queen of Louis XIV. But the Powers of Europe, at the Peace of Ryswick,
had agreed that the crown of Spain should go to Charles of Austria,
second son of the Emperor Leopold, who was the descendant of younger
sisters of the royal Spanish line, but did not excite the fear and
jealousy of Europe, as did a scion of the already overweening house of
Bourbon. This led to the War of the Spanish Succession, England and
Holland supporting Charles, and fighting with Louis in Spain, Savoy, and
the Low Countries. In Spain Louis was ultimately successful, and his
grandson Philip V. retained the throne; but the troops which his ally,
the Elector of Bavaria, introduced into Germany were totally overthrown
at Blenheim by the English army under the Duke of Marlborough, and the
Austrian under Prince Eugene, a son of a younger branch of the house of
Savoy. Eugene had been bred up in France, but, having bitterly offended
Louis by calling him a stage king for show and a chess king for use, had
entered the Emperor's service, and was one of his chief enemies. He
aided his cousin, Duke Victor Amadeus of Savoy, in repulsing the French
attacks in that quarter, gained a great victory at Turin, and advanced
into Provence. Marlborough was likewise in full career of victory in the
Low Countries, and gained there the battle of Ramillies.


11. Peace of Utrecht.--Louis had outlived his good fortune. His great
generals and statesmen had passed away. The country was exhausted,
famine was preying on the wretched peasantry, supplies could not be
found, and one city after another, of those Louis had seized, was
retaken. New victories at Oudenarde and Malplaquet were gained over the
French armies; and, though Louis was as resolute and undaunted as ever,
his affairs were in a desperate state, when he was saved by a sudden
change of policy on the part of Queen Anne of England, who recalled her
army and left her allies to continue the contest alone. Eugene was not a
match for France without Marlborough, and the Archduke Charles, having
succeeded his brother the Emperor, gave up his pretensions to the crown
of Spain, so that it became possible to conclude a general peace at
Utrecht in 1713. By this time Louis was seventy-five years of age, and
had suffered grievous family losses--first by the death of his only son,
and then of his eldest grandson, a young man of much promise of
excellence, who, with his wife died of malignant measles, probably from
ignorant medical treatment, since their infant, whose illness was
concealed by his nurses, was the only one of the family who survived.
The old king, in spite of sorrow and reverse, toiled with indomitable
energy to the end of his reign, the longest on record, having lasted
seventy-two years, when he died in 1715. He had raised the French crown
to its greatest splendour, but had sacrificed the country to himself and
his false notions of greatness.


12. The Regency.--The crown now descended to _Louis XV._, a weakly
child of four years old. His great-grandfather had tried to provide for
his good by leaving the chief seat in the council of regency to his own
illegitimate son, the Duke of Maine, the most honest and conscientious
man then in the family, but, though clever, unwise and very unpopular.
His birth caused the appointment to be viewed as an outrage by the
nobility, and the king's will was set aside. The first prince of the
blood royal, Philip, Duke of Orleans, the late king's nephew, became
sole regent--a man of good ability, but of easy, indolent nature; and
who, in the enforced idleness of his life, had become dissipated and
vicious beyond all imagination or description. He was kindly and
gracious, and his mother said of him that he was like the prince in a
fable whom all the fairies had endowed with gifts, except one malignant
sprite who had prevented any favour being of use to him. In the general
exhaustion produced by the wars of Louis XIV., a Scotchman named James
Law began the great system of hollow speculation which has continued
ever since to tempt people to their ruin. He tried raising sums of money
on national credit, and also devised a company who were to lend money to
found a great settlement on the Mississippi, the returns from which were
to be enormous. Every one speculated in shares, and the wildest
excitement prevailed. Law's house was mobbed by people seeking
interviews with him, and nobles disguised themselves in liveries to get
access to him. Fortunes were made one week and lost the next, and
finally the whole plan proved to have been a mere baseless scheme; ruin
followed, and the misery of the country increased. The Duke of Orleans
died suddenly in 1723. The king was now legally of age; but he was dull
and backward, and little fitted for government, and the country was
really ruled by the Duke of Bourbon, and after him by Cardinal Fleury,
an aged statesman, but filled with the same schemes of ambition as
Richelieu or Mazarin.


13. War of the Austrian Succession.--Thus France plunged into new
wars. Louis XV. married the daughter of Stanislas Lecksinsky, a Polish
noble, who, after being raised to the throne, was expelled by Austrian
intrigues and violence. Louis was obliged to take up arms on behalf of
his father-in-law, but was bought off by a gift from the Emperor Charles
VI. of the duchy of Lorraine to Stanislas, to revert to his daughter
after his death and thus become united to France. Lorraine belonged to
Duke Francis, the husband of Maria Theresa, eldest daughter to the
Emperor, and Francis received instead the duchy of Tuscany; while all
the chief Powers in Europe agreed to the so-called Pragmatic Sanction,
by which Charles decreed that Maria Theresa should inherit Austria and
Hungary and the other hereditary states on her father's death, to the
exclusion of the daughters of his elder brother, Joseph. When Charles
VI. died, however, in 1740, a great European war began on this matter.
Frederick II. of Prussia would neither allow Maria Theresa's claim to
the hereditary states, nor join in electing her husband to the Empire;
and France took part against her, sending Marshal Belleisle to support
the Elector of Bavaria, who had been chosen Emperor. George II. of
England held with Maria Theresa, and gained a victory over the French at
Dettingen, in 1744. Louis XV. then joined his army, and the battle of
Fontenoy, in 1745, was one of the rare victories of France over England.
Another victory followed at Laufeldt, but elsewhere France had had heavy
losses, and in 1748, after the death of Charles VII., peace was made at
Aix-la-Chapelle.


14. The Seven Years' War.--Louis, dull and selfish by nature, had been
absolutely led into vice by his courtiers, especially the Duke of
Bourbon, who feared his becoming active in public affairs. He had no
sense of duty to his people; and whereas his great-grandfather had
sought display and so-called glory, he cared solely for pleasure, and
that of the grossest and most sensual order, so that his court was a
hotbed of shameless vice. All that could be wrung from the impoverished
country was lavished on the overgrown establishments of every member of
the royal family, in pensions to nobles, and in shameful amusements of
the king. In 1756 another war broke out, in consequence of the hatreds
left between Prussia and Austria by the former struggle. Maria Theresa
had, by flatteries she ought to have disdained, gained over France to
take part with her, and England was allied with Frederick II. In this
war France and England chiefly fought in their distant possessions,
where the English were uniformly successful; and after seven years
another peace followed, leaving the boundaries of the German states just
where they were before, after a frightful amount of bloodshed. But
France had had terrible losses. She was driven from India, and lost all
her settlements in America and Canada.


15. France under Louis XV.--Meantime the gross vice and licentiousness
of the king was beyond description, and the nobility retained about the
court by the system established by Louis XIV. were, if not his equals in
crime, equally callous to the suffering caused by the reckless
expensiveness of the court, the whole cost of which was defrayed by the
burghers and peasants. No taxes were asked from clergy or nobles, and
this latter term included all sprung of a noble line to the utmost
generation. The owner of an estate had no means of benefiting his
tenants, even if he wished it; for all matters, even of local
government, depended on the crown. All he could do was to draw his
income from them, and he was often forced, either by poverty or by his
expensive life, to strain to the utmost the old feudal system. If he
lived at court, his expenses were heavy, and only partly met by his
pension, likewise raised from the taxes paid by the poor farmer; if he
lived in the country, he was a still greater tyrant, and was called by
the people a _hobereau_, or kite. No career was open to his younger
sons, except in the court, the Church, or the army, and here they
monopolized the prizes, obtaining all the richer dioceses and abbeys,
and all the promotion in the army. The magistracies were almost all
hereditary among lawyers, who had bought them for their families from
the crown, and paid for the appointment of each son. The officials
attached to each member of the royal family were almost incredible in
number, and all paid by the taxes. The old _gabelle_, or salt-tax, had
gone on ever since the English wars, and every member of a family had to
pay it, not according to what they used, but what they were supposed to
need. Every pig was rated at what he ought to require for salting. Every
cow, sheep, or hen had a toll to pay to king, lord, bishop--sometimes
also to priest and abbey. The peasant was called off from his own work
to give the dues of labour to the roads or to his lord. He might not
spread manure that could interfere with the game, nor drive away the
partridges that ate his corn. So scanty were his crops that famines
slaying thousands passed unnoticed, and even if, by any wonder,
prosperity smiled on the peasant, he durst not live in any kind of
comfort, lest the stewards of his lord or of Government should pounce on
his wealth.


16. Reaction.--Meantime there was a strong feeling that change must
come. Classical literature was studied, and Greek and Roman manners and
institutions were thought ideal perfection. There was great disgust at
the fetters of a highly artificial life in which every one was bound,
and at the institutions which had been so misused. Writers arose, among
whom Voltaire and Rousseau were the most eminent, who aimed at the
overthrow of all the ideas which had come to be thus abused. The one by
his caustic wit, the other by his enthusiastic simplicity, gained
willing ears, and, the writers in a great Encyclopædia then in course of
publication, contrived to attack most of the notions which had been
hitherto taken for granted, and were closely connected with faith and
with government. The king himself was dully aware that he was living on
the crust of a volcano, but he said it would last his time; and so it
did. Louis XV. died of smallpox in 1774, leaving his grandsons to reap
the harvest that generations had been sowing.



CHAPTER VII.

THE REVOLUTION.


1. Attempts at Reform.--It was evident that a change must be made.
_Louis XVI._ himself knew it, and slurred over the words in his
coronation oath that bound him to extirpate heresy; but he was a slow,
dull man, and affairs had come to such a pass that a far abler man than
he could hardly have dealt with the dead-lock above, without causing a
frightful outbreak of the pent-up masses below. His queen, Marie
Antoinette, was hated for being of Austrian birth, and, though a
spotless and noble woman, her most trivial actions gave occasion to
calumnies founded on the crimes of the last generation. Unfortunately,
the king, though an honest and well-intentioned man, was totally unfit
to guide a country through a dangerous crisis. His courage was passive,
his manners were heavy, dull, and shy, and, though steadily industrious,
he was slow of comprehension and unready in action; and reformation was
the more difficult because to abolish the useless court offices would
have been utter starvation to many of their holders, who had nothing but
their pensions to live upon. Yet there was a general passion for reform;
all ranks alike looked to some change to free them from the dead-lock
which made improvement impossible. The Government was bankrupt, while
the taxes were intolerable, and the first years of the reign were spent
in experiments. Necker, a Swiss banker, was invited to take the charge
of the finances, and large loans were made to Government, for which he
contrived to pay interest regularly; some reduction was made in the
expenditure; but the king's old minister, Maurepas, grew jealous of his
popularity, and obtained his dismissal. The French took the part of the
American colonies in their revolt from England, and the war thus
occasioned brought on an increase of the load of debt, the general
distress increased, and it became necessary to devise some mode of
taxing which might divide the burthens between the whole nation, instead
of making the peasants pay all and the nobles and clergy nothing. Louis
decided on calling together the Notables, or higher nobility; but they
were by no means disposed to tax themselves, and only abused his
ministers. He then resolved on convoking the whole States-General of the
kingdom, which had never met since the reign of Louis XIII.


2. The States-General.--No one exactly knew the limits of the powers
of the States-General when it met in 1789. Nobles, clergy, and the
deputies who represented the commonalty, all formed the assembly at
Versailles; and though the king would have kept apart these last, who
were called the _Tiers Etât_, or third estate, they refused to withdraw
from the great hall of Versailles. The Count of Mirabeau, the younger
son of a noble family, who sat as a deputy, declared that nothing short
of bayonets should drive out those who sat by the will of the people,
and Louis yielded. Thenceforth the votes of a noble, a bishop, or a
deputy all counted alike. The party names of democrat for those who
wanted to exalt the power of the people, and of aristocrat for those who
maintained the privileges of the nobles, came into use, and the most
extreme democrats were called Jacobins, from an old convent of Jacobin
friars, where they used to meet. The mob of Paris, always eager, fickle,
and often blood-thirsty, were excited to the last degree by the debates;
and, full of the remembrance of the insolence and cruelty of the nobles,
sometimes rose and hunted down persons whom they deemed aristocrats,
hanging them to the iron rods by which lamps were suspended over the
streets. The king in alarm drew the army nearer, and it was supposed
that he was going to prevent all change by force of arms. Thereupon the
citizens enrolled themselves as a National Guard, wearing cockades of
red, blue, and white, and commanded by La Fayette, a noble of democratic
opinions, who had run away at seventeen to serve in the American War. On
a report that the cannon of the Bastille had been pointed upon Paris,
the mob rose in a frenzy, rushed upon it, hanged the guard, and
absolutely tore down the old castle to its foundations, though they did
not find a single prisoner in it. "This is a revolt," said Louis, when
he heard of it. "Sire, it is a revolution," was the answer.


3. The New Constitution.--The mob had found out its power. The
fishwomen of the markets, always a peculiar and privileged class, were
frantically excited, and were sure to be foremost in all the
demonstrations stirred up by Jacobins. There was a great scarcity of
provisions in Paris, and this, together with the continual dread that
reforms would be checked by violence, maddened the people. On a report
that the Guards had shown enthusiasm for the king, the whole populace
came pouring out of Paris to Versailles, and, after threatening the life
of the queen, brought the family back with them to Paris, and kept them
almost as prisoners while the Assembly, which followed them to Paris,
debated on the new constitution. The nobles were viewed as the worst
enemies of the nation, and all over the country there were risings of
the peasants, headed by democrats from the towns, who sacked their
castles, and often seized their persons. Many fled to England and
Germany, and the dread that these would unite and return to bring back
the old system continually increased the fury of the people. The
Assembly, now known as the Constituent Assembly, swept away all titles
and privileges, and no one was henceforth to bear any prefix to his name
but citizen; while at the same time the clergy were to renounce all the
property of the Church, and to swear that their office and commission
was derived from the will of the people alone, and that they owed no
obedience save to the State. The estates thus yielded up were supposed
to be enough to supply all State expenses without taxes; but as they
could not at once be turned into money, promissory notes, or assignats,
were issued. But, as coin was scarce, these were not worth nearly their
professed value, and the general distress was thus much increased. The
other oath the great body of the clergy utterly refused, and they were
therefore driven out of their benefices, and became objects of great
suspicion to the democrats. All the old boundaries and other
distinctions between the provinces were destroyed, and France was
divided into departments, each of which was to elect deputies, in whose
assembly all power was to be vested, except that the king retained a
right of veto, _i.e._, of refusing his sanction to any measure. He swore
on the 13th of August, 1791, to observe this new constitution.


4. The Republic.--The Constituent Assembly now dissolved itself, and a
fresh Assembly, called the Legislative, took its place. For a time
things went on more peacefully. Distrust was, however, deeply sown. The
king was closely watched as an enemy; and those of the nobles who had
emigrated began to form armies, aided by the Germans, on the frontier
for his rescue. This enraged the people, who expected that their newly
won liberties would be overthrown. The first time the king exercised his
right of _veto_ the mob rose in fury; and though they then did no more
than threaten, on the advance of the emigrant army on the 10th of
August, 1792, a more terrible rising took place. The Tuilleries was
sacked, the guards slaughtered, the unresisting king and his family
deposed and imprisoned in the tower of the Temple. In terror lest the
nobles in the prisons should unite with the emigrants, they were
massacred by wholesale; while, with a vigour born of the excitement, the
emigrant armies were repulsed and beaten. The monarchy came to an end;
and France became a Republic, in which the National Convention, which
followed the Legislative Assembly, was supreme. The more moderate
members of this were called Girondins from the Gironde, the estuary of
the Garonne, from the neighbourhood of which many of them came. They
were able men, scholars and philosophers, full of schemes for reviving
classical times, but wishing to stop short of the plans of the
Jacobins, of whom the chief was Robespierre, a lawyer from Artois,
filled with fanatical notions of the rights of man. He, with a party of
other violent republicans, called the Mountain, of whom Danton and Marat
were most noted, set to work to destroy all that interfered with their
plans of general equality. The guillotine, a recently invented machine
for beheading, was set in all the chief market-places, and hundreds were
put to death on the charge of "conspiring against the nation." Louis
XVI. was executed early in 1793; and it was enough to have any sort of
birthright to be thought dangerous and put to death.


5. The Reign of Terror.--Horror at the bloodshed perpetrated by the
Mountain led a young girl, named Charlotte Corday, to assassinate Marat,
whom she supposed to be the chief cause of the cruelties that were
taking place; but his death only added to the dread of reaction. A
Committee of Public Safety was appointed by the Convention, and
endeavoured to sweep away every being who either seemed adverse to
equality, or who might inherit any claim to rank. The queen was put to
death nine months after her husband; and the Girondins, who had begun to
try to stem the tide of slaughter, soon fell under the denunciation of
the more violent. To be accused of "conspiring against the State" was
instantly fatal, and no one's life was safe. Danton was denounced by
Robespierre, and perished; and for three whole years the Reign of Terror
lasted. The emigrants, by forming an army and advancing on France,
assisted by the forces of Germany, only made matters worse. There was
such a dread of the old oppressions coming back, that the peasants were
ready to fight to the death against the return of the nobles. The army,
where promotion used to go by rank instead of merit, were so glad of the
change, that they were full of fresh spirit, and repulsed the army of
Germans and emigrants all along the frontier. The city of Lyons, which
had tried to resist the changes, was taken, and frightfully used by
Collot d'Herbois, a member of the Committee of Public Safety. The
guillotine was too slow for him, and he had the people mown down with
grape-shot, declaring that of this great city nothing should be left but
a monument inscribed, "Lyons resisted liberty--Lyons is no more!" In La
Vendée--a district of Anjou, where the peasants were much attached to
their clergy and nobles--they rose and gained such successes, that they
dreamt for a little while of rescuing and restoring the little captive
son of Louis XVI.; but they were defeated and put down by fire and
sword, and at Nantes an immense number of executions took place, chiefly
by drowning. It was reckoned that no less than 18,600 persons were
guillotined in the three years between 1790 and 1794, besides those who
died by other means. Everything was changed. Religion was to be done
away with; the churches were closed; the tenth instead of the seventh
day appointed for rest. "Death is an eternal sleep" was inscribed on the
schools; and Reason, represented by a classically dressed woman, was
enthroned in the cathedral of Notre Dâme. At the same time a new era was
invented, the 22nd of September, 1792; the months had new names, and the
decimal measures of length, weight, and capacity, which are based on the
proportions of the earth, were planned. All this time Robespierre really
seems to have thought himself the benefactor of the human race; but at
last the other members of the Convention took courage to denounce him,
and he, with five more, was arrested and sent to the guillotine. The
bloodthirsty fever was over, the Committee of Public Safety was
overthrown, and people breathed again.


6. The Directory.--The chief executive power was placed in the hands
of a Directory, consisting of more moderate men, and a time of much
prosperity set in. Already in the new vigour born of the strong emotions
of the country the armies won great victories, not only repelling the
Germans and the emigrants, but uniting Holland to France. Napoleon
Buonaparte, a Corsican officer, who was called on to protect the
Directory from being again overawed by the mob, became the leading
spirit in France, through his Italian victories. He conquered Lombardy
and Tuscany, and forced the Emperor to let them become republics under
French protection, also to resign Flanders to France by the Treaty of
Campo Formio. Buonaparte then made a descent on Egypt, hoping to attack
India from that side, but he was foiled by Nelson, who destroyed his
fleet in the battle of the Nile, and Sir Sydney Smith, who held out Acre
against him. He hurried home to France on finding that the Directory had
begun a fresh European war, seizing Switzerland, and forcing it to give
up its treasures and become a republic on their model, and carrying the
Pope off into captivity. All the European Powers had united against
them, and Lombardy had been recovered chiefly by Russian aid; so that
Buonaparte, on the ground that a nation at war needed a less cumbrous
government than a Directory, contrived to get himself chosen First
Consul, with two inferiors, in 1799.


7. The Consulate.--A great course of victories followed in Italy,
where Buonaparte commanded in person, and in Germany under Moreau.
Austria and Russia were forced to make peace, and England was the only
country that still resisted him, till a general peace was made at Amiens
in 1803; but it only lasted for a year, for the French failed to
perform the conditions, and began the war afresh. In the mean time
Buonaparte had restored religion and order, and so entirely mastered
France that, in 1804, he was able to form the republic into an empire,
and affecting to be another Charles the Great, he caused the Pope to say
mass at his coronation, though he put the crown on his own head. A
concordat with the Pope reinstated the clergy, but altered the division
of the dioceses, and put the bishops and priests in the pay of the
State.


8. The Empire.--The union of Italy to this new French Empire caused a
fresh war with all Europe. The Austrian army, however, was defeated at
Ulm and Austerlitz, the Prussians were entirely crushed at Jena, and the
Russians fought two terrible but almost drawn battles at Eylau and
Friedland. Peace was then made with all three at Tilsit, in 1807, the
terms pressing exceedingly hard upon Prussia. Schemes of invading
England were entertained by the Emperor, but were disconcerted by the
destruction of the French and Spanish fleets by Nelson at Trafalgar.
Spain was then in alliance with France; but Napoleon, treacherously
getting the royal family into his hands, seized their kingdom, making
his brother Joseph its king. But the Spaniards would not submit, and
called in the English to their aid. The Peninsular War resulted in a
series of victories on the part of the English under Wellington, while
Austria, beginning another war, was again so crushed that the Emperor
durst not refuse to give his daughter in marriage to Napoleon. However,
in 1812, the conquest of Russia proved an exploit beyond Napoleon's
powers. He reached Moscow with his Grand Army, but the city was burnt
down immediately after his arrival, and he had no shelter or means of
support. He was forced to retreat, through a fearful winter, without
provisions and harassed by the Cossacks, who hung on the rear and cut
off the stragglers, so that his whole splendid army had become a mere
miserable, broken, straggling remnant by the time the survivors reached
the Prussian frontier. He himself had hurried back to Paris as soon as
he found their case hopeless, to arrange his resistance to all
Europe--for every country rose against him on his first disaster--and
the next year was spent in a series of desperate battles in Germany
between him and the Allied Powers. Lützen and Bautzen were doubtful, but
the two days' battle of Leipzic was a terrible defeat. In the year 1814,
four armies--those of Austria, Russia, England, and Prussia--entered
France at once; and though Napoleon resisted, stood bravely and
skilfully, and gained single battles against Austria and Prussia, he
could not stand against all Europe. In April the Allies entered Paris,
and he was forced to abdicate, being sent under a strong guard to the
little Mediterranean isle of Elba. He had drained France of men by his
constant call for soldiers, who were drawn by conscription from the
whole country, till there were not enough to do the work in the fields,
and foreign prisoners had to be employed; but he had conferred on her
one great benefit in the great code of laws called the "_Code
Napoléon_," which has ever since continued in force.


9. France under Napoleon.--The old laws and customs, varying in
different provinces, had been swept away, so that the field was clear;
and the system of government which Napoleon devised has remained
practically unchanged from that time to this. Everything was made to
depend upon the central government. The Ministers of Religion, of
Justice, of Police, of Education, etc., have the regulation of all
interior affairs, and appoint all who work under them, so that nobody
learns how to act alone; and as the Government has been in fact ever
since dependent on the will of the people of Paris, the whole country is
helplessly in their hands. The army, as in almost all foreign nations,
is raised by conscription--that is, by drawing lots among the young men
liable to serve, and who can only escape by paying a substitute to serve
in their stead; and this is generally the first object of the savings of
a family. All feudal claims had been done away with, and with them the
right of primogeniture; and, indeed, it is not possible for a testator
to avoid leaving his property to be shared among his family, though he
can make some small differences in the amount each receives, and thus
estates are continually freshly divided, and some portions become very
small indeed. French peasants are, however, most eager to own land, and
are usually very frugal, sober, and saving; and the country has gone on
increasing in prosperity and comfort. It is true that, probably from the
long habit of concealing any wealth they might possess, the French
farmers and peasantry care little for display, or what we should call
comfort, and live rough hard-working lives even while well off and with
large hoards of wealth; but their condition has been wonderfully changed
for the better ever since the Revolution. All this has continued under
the numerous changes that have taken place in the forms of government.



CHAPTER VIII.

FRANCE SINCE THE REVOLUTION.


1. The Restoration.--The Allies left the people of France free to
choose their Government, and they accepted the old royal family, who
were on their borders awaiting a recall. The son of Louis XVI. had
perished in the hands of his jailers, and thus the king's next brother,
_Louis XVIII._, succeeded to the throne, bringing back a large emigrant
following. Things were not settled down, when Napoleon, in the spring of
1815, escaped from Elba. The army welcomed him with delight, and Louis
was forced to flee to Ghent. However, the Allies immediately rose in
arms, and the troops of England and Prussia crushed Napoleon entirely at
Waterloo, on the 18th of June, 1815. He was sent to the lonely rock of
St. Helena, in the Atlantic, whence he could not again return to trouble
the peace of Europe. There he died in 1821. Louis XVIII. was restored,
and a charter was devised by which a limited monarchy was established, a
king at the head, and two chambers--one of peers, the other of
deputies, but with a very narrow franchise. It did not, however, work
amiss; till, after Louis's death in 1824, his brother, _Charles X._,
tried to fall back on the old system. He checked the freedom of the
press, and interfered with the freedom of elections. The consequence was
a fresh revolution in July, 1830, happily with little bloodshed, but
which forced Charles X. to go into exile with his grandchild Henry,
whose father, the Duke of Berry, had been assassinated in 1820.


2. Reign of Louis Philippe.--The chambers of deputies offered the
crown to _Louis Philippe_, Duke of Orleans. He was descended from the
regent; his father had been one of the democratic party in the
Revolution, and, when titles were abolished, had called himself Philip
_Egalité_ (Equality). This had not saved his head under the Reign of
Terror, and his son had been obliged to flee and lead a wandering life,
at one time gaining his livelihood by teaching mathematics at a school
in Switzerland. He had recovered his family estates at the Restoration,
and, as the head of the Liberal party, was very popular. He was elected
King of the French, not of France, with a chamber of peers nominated for
life only, and another of deputies elected by voters, whose
qualification was two hundred francs, or eight pounds a year. He did his
utmost to gain the good will of the people, living a simple, friendly
family life, and trying to merit the term of the "citizen king," and in
the earlier years of his reign he was successful. The country was
prosperous, and a great colony was settled in Algiers, and endured a
long and desperate war with the wild Arab tribes. A colony was also
established in New Caledonia, in the Pacific, and attempts were carried
out to compensate thus for the losses of colonial possessions which
France had sustained in wars with England. Discontents, however, began
to arise, on the one hand from those who remembered only the successes
of Buonaparte, and not the miseries they had caused, and on the other
from the working-classes, who declared that the _bourgeois_, or
tradespeople, had gained everything by the revolution of July, but they
themselves nothing. Louis Philippe did his best to gratify and amuse the
people by sending for the remains of Napoleon, and giving him a
magnificent funeral and splendid monument among his old soldiers--the
Invalides; but his popularity was waning. In 1842 his eldest son, the
Duke of Orleans, a favourite with the people, was killed by a fall from
his carriage, and this was another shock to his throne. Two young
grandsons were left; and the king had also several sons, one of whom,
the Duke of Montpensier, he gave in marriage to Louise, the sister and
heiress presumptive to the Queen of Spain; though, by treaty with the
other European Powers, it had been agreed that she should not marry a
French prince unless the queen had children of her own. Ambition for
his family was a great offence to his subjects, and at the same time a
nobleman, the Duke de Praslin, who had murdered his wife, committed
suicide in prison to avoid public execution; and the republicans
declared, whether justly or unjustly, that this had been allowed rather
than let a noble die a felon's death.


3. The Revolution of 1848.--In spite of the increased prosperity of
the country, there was general disaffection. There were four
parties--the Orleanists, who held by Louis Philippe and his minister
Guizot, and whose badge was the tricolour; the Legitimists, who retained
their loyalty to the exiled Henry, and whose symbol was the white
Bourbon flag; the Buonapartists; and the Republicans, whose badge was
the red cap and flag. A demand for a franchise that should include the
mass of the people was rejected, and the general displeasure poured
itself out in speeches at political banquets. An attempt to stop one of
these led to an uproar. The National Guard refused to fire on the
people, and their fury rose unchecked; so that the king, thinking
resistance vain, signed an abdication, and fled to England in February,
1848. A provisional Government was formed, and a new constitution was to
be arranged; but the Paris mob, who found their condition unchanged, and
really wanted equality of wealth, not of rights, made disturbances again
and again, and barricaded the streets, till they were finally put down
by General Cavaignac, while the rest of France was entirely dependent on
the will of the capital. After some months, a republic was determined
on, which was to have a president at its head, chosen every five years
by universal suffrage. Louis Napoleon Buonaparte, nephew to the great
Napoleon, was the first president thus chosen; and, after some
struggles, he not only mastered Paris, but, by the help of the army,
which was mostly Buonapartist, he dismissed the chamber of deputies, and
imprisoned or exiled all the opponents whom the troops had not put to
death, on the plea of an expected rising of the mob. This was called a
_coup d'état_, and Louis Napoleon was then declared president for ten
years.


4. The Second Empire.--In December, 1852, the president took the title
of Emperor, calling himself Napoleon III., as successor to the young son
of the great Napoleon. He kept up a splendid and expensive court, made
Paris more than ever the toy-shop of the world, and did much to improve
it by the widening of streets and removal of old buildings. Treaties
were made which much improved trade, and the country advanced in
prosperity. The reins of government were, however, tightly held, and
nothing was so much avoided as the letting men think or act for
themselves, while their eyes were to be dazzled with splendour and
victory. In 1853, when Russia was attacking Turkey, the Emperor united
with England in opposition, and the two armies together besieged
Sebastopol, and fought the battles of Alma and Inkermann, taking the
city after nearly a year's siege; and then making what is known as the
Treaty of Paris, which guaranteed the safety of Turkey so long as the
subject Christian nations were not misused. In 1859 Napoleon III. joined
in an attack on the Austrian power in Italy, and together with Victor
Emanuel, King of Sardinia, and the Italians, gained two great victories
at Magenta and Solferino; but made peace as soon as it was convenient to
him, without regard to his promises to the King of Sardinia, who was
obliged to purchase his consent to becoming King of United Italy by
yielding up to France his old inheritance of Savoy and Nice. Meantime
discontent began to spring up at home, and the Red Republican spirit was
working on. The huge fortunes made by the successful only added to the
sense of contrast; secret societies were at work, and the Emperor, after
twenty years of success, felt his popularity waning.


5. The Franco-German War.--In 1870 the Spaniards, who had deposed
their queen, Isabel II., made choice of a relation of the King of
Prussia as their king. There had long been bitter jealousy between
France and Prussia, and, though the prince refused the offer of Spain,
the French showed such an overbearing spirit that a war broke out. The
real desire of France was to obtain the much-coveted frontier of the
Rhine, and the Emperor heated their armies with boastful proclamations
which were but the prelude to direful defeats, at Weissenburg, Wörth,
and Forbach. At Sedan, the Emperor was forced to surrender himself as a
prisoner, and the tidings no sooner arrived at Paris than the whole of
the people turned their wrath on him and his family. His wife, the
Empress Eugènie, had to flee, a republic was declared, and the city
prepared to stand a siege. The Germans advanced, and put down all
resistance in other parts of France. Great part of the army had been
made prisoners, and, though there was much bravado, there was little
steadiness or courage left among those who now took up arms. Paris,
which was blockaded, after suffering much from famine, surrendered in
February, 1871; and peace was purchased in a treaty by which great part
of Elsass and Lorraine, and the city of Metz, were given back to
Germany.


THE END.



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we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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