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Title: A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 4
Author: Guizot, François
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 "A Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 4" ***

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HISTORY OF FRANCE

BY M. GUIZOT

VOLUME IV.



CONTENTS:

XXVIII. FRANCIS I. AND CHARLES V.   9

XXIX.   FRANCIS I. AND THE RENAISSANCE.  137

XXX.    FRANCIS I. AND THE REFORMATION.  179

XXXI.   HENRY II. (1547-1559.)   230

XXXII.  FRANCIS II. JULY 10, 1559--DECEMBER 5, 1560   269

XXXIII. CHARLES IX. AND THE RELIGIOUS WARS. (1560-1574.)   296

XXXIV.  HENRY III. AND THE RELIGIOUS WARS. (1574-1589.)   388



LIST OF STEEL ENGRAVINGS:

THE CASTLE OF CHAIIIBORD.  FRONTISPIECE.

FRANCIS I  137

GALLERY HENRY II  230

DIANA DE POITIERS  243

MARY STUART  270

HENRY OF LORRAINE (DUKE OF GUISE)  332



LIST OF WOOD-CUT ILLUSTRATIONS:


Cardinal Ximenes  14

All Night a-horseback  19

Bayard Knighting Francis I  19

Leo X.  21

Anthony Duprat   24

Charles V.  39

Francis I. surprises Henry VIII  44

The Field of the Cloth of Gold  45

The Constable de Bourbon  53

The Death of Bayard  76

Capture of Francis I.  91

Louise of Savoy and Marguerite de Valois  102

Francis I.  115

The Duke of Orleans and Charles V   128

Claude de Lorraine, Duke of Guise  130

St. Thomas Aquinas and Abelard  140

Clement Marot  162

Francis I.  waits for Robert Estienne  168

Rabelais  171

The First Protestants  178

William Farel  181

The Castle of Pau  183

Burning of Reformers at Meaux  188

Erasmus  194

Berquin released by John de la Barre  198

Heretic Iconoclasts  201

Massacre of the Vaudians  218

Calvin  222

Henry II.  235

Anne de Montmorency  235

Guise at Metz  244

Francis II. and Mary Stuart love making.  251

Catherine de’ Medici (in her young days)  255

Joust between Henri II.  and Count de Montgomery   268

Archers of the Body-guard   268

Francis II.  269

Death of La Renaudie  283

After-dinner Diversions  284

Mary Stuart  284

Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condo  285

Coligny at the Death-bed of Francis II.  295

Francis de Lorraine, Duke of Aumale and of Guise  302

Massacre of Protestants  305

The Duke of Guise waylaid  315

Conde at the Ford  328

Parley before the Battle of Moncontour  337

Admiral Gaspard de Coligny  346

Charles IX. and Catherine de’ Medici  354

Henry de Guise and the Corpse of Coligny  369

The Queen of Navarre and the Huguenot  372

Chancellor Michael de l’Hospital  376

The St. Bartholomew  383

Henry III.  388

Indolence of Henry III.  390

Henry le Balafre  400

The Castle of Blois  428

Henry III. and the Murder of Guise  437

Henry of Navarre and the Scotch Guard  448



A POPULAR HISTORY OF FRANCE FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES.



CHAPTER XXVIII.----FRANCIS I. AND CHARLES V.

The closer the study and the wider the contemplation a Frenchman bestows
upon his country’s history, the deeper will be his feelings of patriotic
pride, dashed with a tinge of sadness.  France, in respect of her
national unity, is the most ancient amongst the states of Christian
Europe.  During her long existence she has passed through very different
regimens, the chaos of barbarism, the feudal system, absolute monarchy,
constitutional monarchy, and republicanism.  Under all these regimens she
has had no lack of greatness and glory, material power and intellectual
lustre, moral virtues and the charms of social life.  Her barbarism had
its Charlemagne; her feudal system St. Louis, Joan of Arc, and Bayard;
her absolute monarchy Henry IV. and Louis XIV.  Of our own times we say
nothing.  France has shone in war and in peace, through the sword and
through the intellect: she has by turns conquered and beguiled,
enlightened and troubled Europe; she has always offered to the foreigner
a spectacle or an abode full of the curious and the attractive, of noble
pleasures and of mundane amusements.  And still, after so many centuries
of such a grand and brilliant career, France has not yet attained the end
to which she ever aspired, to which all civilized communities aspire, and
that is, order in the midst of movement, security and liberty united and
lasting.  She has had shortcomings which have prevented her from reaping
the full advantage of her merits; she has committed faults which have
involved her in reverses.  Two things, essential to political prosperity
amongst communities of men, have hitherto been to seek in her;
predominance of public spirit over the spirit of caste or of profession,
and moderation and fixity in respect of national ambition both at home
and abroad.  France has been a victim to the personal passions of her
chiefs and to her own reckless changeability.

We are entering upon the history of a period and a reign during which
this intermixture of merits and demerits, of virtues and vices, of
progress and backsliding, was powerfully and attractively exhibited
amongst the French.  Francis I., his government and his times commence
the era of modern France, and bring clearly to view the causes of her
greatnesses and her weaknesses.

Francis I. had received from God all the gifts that can adorn a man: he
was handsome and tall and strong; his armor, preserved in the Louvre, is
that of a man six feet high; his eyes were brilliant and soft, his smile
was gracious, his manners were winning.  From his very childhood he
showed that he had wits, enterprise, skill, and boldness.  He was but
seven years old when, “on the day of the conversion of St. Paul, January
25, 1501, about two P. M., my king, my lord, my Caesar, and my son, was
run away with, near Amboise, by a hackney which had been given him by
Marshal de Gye; and so great was the danger that those who were present
thought it was all over; howbeit God, the protector of widowed women and
the defender of orphans, foreseeing things to come, was pleased not to
forsake me, knowing that, if accident had so suddenly deprived me of my
love, I should have been too utter a wretch.”  Such is the account given
of this little incident by his mother, Louise of Savoy, who was at that
time habitually kept, by Anne of Brittany’s jealousy, at a distance from
Paris and the court.  [_Journal de Louise de Savoie_ in the Petitot
collection of _Memoires sur l’Histoire de France,_ Series I.  t. xvi.
p. 390.]  Some years later the young prince, who had become an ardent
huntsman, took the fancy into his head one day to let loose in the
courtyard of the castle of Amboise a wild boar which he had just caught
in the forest.  The animal came to a door, burst it open with a blow of
his snout, and walked up into the apartments.  Those who were there took
to their heels; but Francis went after the boar, came up with him, killed
him with a swordthrust, and sent him rolling down the staircase into the
courtyard.  When, in 1513, Louis XII. sent for the young Duke of
Angouleme and bade him go and defend Picardy against the English, Francis
had scarcely done anything beyond so employing his natural gifts as to
delight the little court of which he was the centre; an estimable trait,
but very insufficient for the government of a people.

When, two years afterwards, on the 1st of January, 1515, he ascended the
throne before he had attained his one and twentieth year, it was a
brilliant and brave but spoiled child that became king.  He had been
under the governance of Artus Gouffier, Sire de Boisy, a nobleman of
Poitou, who had exerted himself to make his royal pupil a loyal knight,
well trained in the moral code and all the graces of knighthood, but
without drawing his attention to more serious studies or preparing him
for the task of government.  The young Francis d’Angouleme lived and was
moulded under the influence of two women, his mother, Louise of Savoy,
and his eldest sister, Marguerite, who both of them loved and adored him
with passionate idolatry.  It has just been shown in what terms Louise of
Savoy, in her daily collection of private memoranda, used to speak to
herself of her son, “My king, my lord, my Caesar, and my son!”  She was
proud, ambitious, audacious, or pliant at need, able and steadfast in
mind, violent and dissolute in her habits, greedy of pleasure and of
money as well as of power, so that she gave her son neither moral
principles nor a moral example: for him the supreme kingship, for herself
the rank, influence, and wealth of a queen-mother, and, for both,
greatness that might subserve the gratification of their passions--this
was all her dream and all her aim as a mother.  Of quite another sort
were the character and sentiments of Marguerite de Valois.  She was born
on the 11th of April, 1492, and was, therefore, only two years older than
her brother Francis; but her more delicate nature was sooner and more
richly cultivated and developed.  She was brought up with strictness by
a most excellent and most venerable dame, in whom all the virtues, at
rivalry one with another, existed together.  [Madame de Chatillon, whose
deceased husband had been governor to King Charles VIII.]  As she was
discovered to have rare intellectual gifts and a very keen relish for
learning, she was provided with every kind of preceptors, who made her
proficient in profane letters, as they were then called.  Marguerite
learned Latin, Greek, philosophy, and especially theology.  “At fifteen
years of age,” says a contemporary, “the spirit of God began to manifest
itself in her eyes, in her face, in her walk, in her speech, and.
generally in all her actions.”  “She had a heart,” says Brantome,
“mighty devoted to God, and she loved mightily to compose spiritual
songs.  .  .  .  She also devoted herself to letters in her young days,
and continued them as long as she lived, loving and conversing with, in
the time of her greatness, the most learned folks of her brother’s
kingdom, who honored her so that they called her their Maecenas.”
 Learning, however, was far from absorbing the whole of this young soul.
“She,” says a contemporary, “had an agreeable voice of touching tone,
which roused the tender inclinations that there are in the heart.”
 Tenderness, a passionate tenderness, very early assumed the chief place
in Marguerite’s soul, and the first object of it was her brother Francis.
When mother, son, and sister were spoken of, they were called a Trinity,
and to this Marguerite herself bore witness when she said, with charming
modesty,--

               “Such boon is mine, to feel the amity
               That God hath putten in our trinity,
               Wherein to make a third, I, all unfitted
               To be that number’s shadow, am admitted.”

Marguerite it was for whom this close communion of three persons had the
most dolorous consequences: we shall fall in with her more than once in
the course of this history; but, whether or no, she was assuredly the
best of this princely trio, and Francis I.  was the most spoiled by it.
There is nothing more demoralizing than to be an idol.

The first acts of his government were sensible and of good omen.  He
confirmed or renewed the treaties or truces which Louis XII., at the
close of his reign, had concluded with the Venetians, the Swiss, the
pope, the King of England, the Archduke Charles, and the Emperor
Maximilian, in order to restore peace to his kingdom.  At home Francis I.
maintained at his council the principal and most tried servants of his
predecessor, amongst others the finance-minister, Florimond Robertet; and
he raised to four the number of the marshals of France, in order to
confer that dignity on Bayard’s valiant friend, James of Chabannes, Lord
of La Palice, who even under Louis XII. had been entitled by the
Spaniards “the great marshal of France.”  At the same time he exalted to
the highest offices in the state two new men, Charles, Duke of Bourbon,
who was still a mere youth, but already a warrior of renown, and Anthony
Duprat, the able premier president of the Parliament of Paris; the former
he made constable, and the latter chancellor of France.  His mother,
Louise of Savoy, was not unconcerned, it is said, in both promotions;
she was supposed to feel for the young constable something more than
friendship, and she regarded the veteran magistrate, not without reason,
as the man most calculated to unreservedly subserve the interests of the
kingly power and her own.

These measures, together with the language and the behavior of Francis
I., and the care he took to conciliate all who approached him, made a
favorable impression on France and on Europe.  In Italy, especially,
princes as well as people, and Pope Leo X. before all, flattered
themselves, or were pleased to appear as if they flattered themselves,
that war would not come near them again, and that the young king had his
heart set only on making Burgundy secure against sudden and outrageous
attacks from the Swiss.  The aged King of Spain, Ferdinand the Catholic,
adopting the views of his able minister, Cardinal Ximenes, alone showed
distrust and anxiety.  “Go not to sleep,” said he to his former allies;
“a single instant is enough to bring the French in the wake of their
master whithersoever he pleases to lead them; is it merely to defend
Burgundy that the King of France is adding fifteen hundred lances to his
men-at-arms, and that a huge train of artillery is defiling into
Lyonness, and little by little approaching the mountains?”

[Illustration: Cardinal Ximenes----14]

Ferdinand urged the pope, the Emperor Maximilian, the Swiss, and
Maximilian Sforza, Duke of Milan, to form a league for the defence of
Italy; but Leo X.  persisted in his desire of remaining or appearing
neutral, as the common father of the faithful.  Meanwhile the French
ambassador at Rome, William Bude, “a man,” says Guicciardini, “of
probably unique erudition amongst the men of our day,” and, besides, a
man of keen and sagacious intellect, was unfolding the secret working of
Italian diplomacy, and sending to Paris demands for his recall, saying,
“Withdraw me from this court full of falsehoods; this is a residence too
much out of my element.”  The answer was, that he should have patience,
and still negotiate; for France, meeting ruse by ruse, was willing to be
considered hoodwinked, whilst the eyes of the pope, diverted by a hollow
negotiation, were prevented from seeing the peril which was gathering
round the Italian league and its declared or secret champions.
[Gaillard, _Histoire de Francois 1er,_ t. i.  p. 208.]

Neither the king nor the pope had for long to take the trouble of
practising mutual deception.  It was announced at Rome that Francis I.,
having arrived at Lyons in July, 1515, had just committed to his mother,
Louise, the regency of the kingdom, and was pushing forward towards the
Alps an army of sixty thousand men and a powerful artillery.  He had won
over to his service Octavian Fregoso, Doge of Genoa; and Barthelemy
d’Alviano, the veteran general of his allies the Venetians, was encamped
with his troops within hail of Verona, ready to support the French in the
struggle he foresaw.  Francis I., on his side, was informed that twenty
thousand Swiss, commanded by the Roman, Prosper Colonna, were guarding
the passes of the Alps in order to shut him out from Milaness.  At the
same time he received the news that the Cardinal of Sion, his most
zealous enemy in connection with the Roman Church, was devotedly
employing, with the secret support of the Emperor Maximilian, his
influence and his preaching for the purpose of raising in Switzerland
a second army of from twenty to five and twenty thousand men, to be
launched against him, if necessary, in Italy.  A Spanish and Roman army,
under the orders of Don Raymond of Cardone, rested motionless at some
distance from the Po, waiting for events and for orders prescribing the
part they were to take.  It was clear that Francis I., though he had been
but six months king, was resolved and impatient to resume in Italy, and
first of all in Milaness, the war of invasion and conquest which had been
engaged in by Charles VIII.  and Louis XII.; and the league of all the
states of Italy save Venice and Genoa, with the pope for their
half-hearted patron, and the Swiss for their fighting men, were
collecting their forces to repel the invader.

It was the month of August; the snow was diminishing and melting away
among the Alps; and the king, with the main body of the army, joined at
Embrun the Constable de Bourbon, who commanded the advance-guard.  But
the two passes of Mount Cenis and Mount Ginevra were strongly guarded by
the Swiss, and others were sought for a little more to the south.  A
shepherd, a chamois-hunter, pointed out one whereby, he said, the
mountains might be crossed, and a descent made upon the plains of the
marquisate of Saluzzo.  The young constable went in person to examine the
spots pointed out by the shepherd; and, the statement having been
verified, it did not seem impossible to get the whole army over, even the
heavy artillery; and they essayed this unknown road.  At several points,
abysses had to be filled up, temporary bridges built, and enormous rocks
pierced; the men-at-arms marched on foot, with great difficulty dragging
their horses; with still greater difficulty the infantry hauled the
cannon over holes incompletely stopped and fragments of yawning rock.
Captains and soldiers set to work together; no labor seems too hard to
eager hope; and in five days the mountain was overcome, and the army
caught sight of the plain where the enemy might be encountered.  A small
body of four hundred men-at-arms, led by Marshal de Chabannes, were the
first to descend into it; and among them was Bayard.  “Marshal,” said he
to Chabannes, “we are told that over the Po yonder is Sir Prosper Colonna,
with two thousand horse, in a town called Villafranca, apprehending
nought and thinking of nought but gaudies.  We must wake up his wits a
little, and this moment get into the saddle with all our troops, that he
be not warned by any.”  “Sir Bayard,” said the marshal, “it is right well
said; but how shall we cross the River Po, which is so impetuous and
broad?”  “Sir,” said Bayard, “here is my Lord de Morette’s brother, who
knows the ford; he shall cross first, and I after him.”  So they mounted
their horses, crossed the Po, and “were soon there, where Sir Prosper
Colonna was at table and was dining, as likewise were all his folk.”
 Bayard, who marched first, found the archers on guard in front of the
Italian leader’s quarters.  “Yield you and utter no sound,” cried he,
“else you are dead men.”  Some set about defending themselves; the rest
ran to warn Colonna, saying, “Up, sir; for, here are the French in a
great troop already at this door.”  “Lads,” said Colonna to them, “keep
this door a little till we get some armor on to defend ourselves.”  But
whilst the fight was going on at the door Bayard had the windows scaled,
and, entering first, cried out, “Where are you, Sir Prosper?  Yield you;
else you are a dead man.”  “Sir Frenchman, who is your captain?”  asked
Colonna.  “I am, sir.”  “Your name, captain?”  “Sir, I am one Bayard of
France, and here are the Lord of La Palice, and the Lords d’Aubigny and
d’Himbercourt, the flower of the captains of France.”  Colonna
surrendered, cursing Fortune, “the mother of all sorrow and affliction,
who had taken away his wits, and because he had not been warned of their
coming, for he would at least have made his capture a dear one;” and he
added, “It seems a thing divinely done; four noble knights at once, with
their comrades at their backs, to take one Roman noble!”

Francis I. and the main body of his army had also arrived at the eastern
foot of the Alps, and were advancing into the plains of the country of
Saluzzo and Piedmont.  The Swiss, dumbfounded at so unexpected an
apparition, fell back to Novara, the scene of that victory which two
years previously had made them so proud.  A rumor spread that negotiation
was possible, and that the question of Milaness might be settled without
fighting.  The majority of the French captains repudiated the idea, but
the king entertained it.  His first impulses were sympathetic and
generous.  “I would not purchase,” said he to Marshal de Lautrec, “with
the blood of my subjects, or even with that of my enemies, what I can pay
for with money.”  Parleys were commenced; and an agreement was hit upon
with conditions on which the Swiss would withdraw from Italy and resume
alliance with the French.  A sum of seven hundred thousand crowns, it was
said, was the chief condition; and the king and the captains of his army
gave all they had, even to their plate, for the first instalment which
Lautrec was ordered to convey to Bufalora, where the Swiss were to
receive it.  But it was suddenly announced that the second army of twenty
thousand Swiss, which the Cardinal of Sion had succeeded in raising, had
entered Italy by the valley of the Ticino.  They formed a junction with
their countrymen; the cardinal recommenced his zealous preaching against
the French; the newcomers rejected the stipulated arrangements; and,
confident in their united strength, all the Swiss made common accord.
Lautrec, warned in time, took with all speed his way back to the French
army, carrying away with him the money he had been charged to pay over;
the Venetian general, D’Alviano, went to the French camp to concert with
the king measures for the movements of his troops; and on both sides
nothing was thought of but the delivery of a battle.

On the 13th of September, 1515, about midday, the Constable de Bourbon
gave notice to the king, encamped at Melegnano (a town about three
leagues from Milan), that the Swiss, sallying in large masses from Milan,
at the noisy summons of the bull of Uri and the cow of Unterwalden, were
advancing to attack.  “The king, who was purposing to sit down to supper,
left it on the spot, and went off straight towards the enemy, who were
already engaged in skirmishing, which lasted a long while before they
were at the great game.  The king had great numbers of lanzknechts, the
which would fain have done a bold deed in crossing a ditch to go after
the Swiss; but these latter let seven or eight ranks cross, and then
thrust you them back in such sort that all that had crossed got hurled
into the ditch.  The said lanzknechts were mighty frightened; and but for
the aid of a troop of men-at-arms, amongst the which was the good knight
Bayard, who bore down right through the Swiss, there had been a sad
disaster there, for it was now night, and night knows no shame.  A band
of Swiss came passing in front of the king, who charged them gallantly.
There was heavy fighting there and much danger to the king’s person, for
his great buffe [the top of the visor of his helmet] was pierced, so as
to let in daylight, by the thrust of a pike.  It was now so late that
they could not see one another; and the Swiss were, for this evening,
forced to retire on the one side, and the French on the other.  They
lodged as they could; but well I trow that none did rest at ease.  The
King of France put as good a face on matters as the least of all his
soldiers did, for he remained all night a-horseback like the rest
(according to other accounts he had a little sleep, lying on a
gun-carriage).

[Illustration: All Night a-horseback----19]

On the morrow at daybreak the Swiss were for beginning again, and they
came straight towards the French artillery, from which they had a good
peppering.  Howbeit, never did men fight better, and the affair lasted
three or four good hours.  At last they were broken and beaten, and there
were left on the field ten or twelve thousand of them.  The remainder, in
pretty good order along a high road, withdrew to Milan, whither they were
pursued sword-in-hand.”  [_Histoire du bon Chevalier sans Peur et sans
Reproehe,_ t. ii.  pp. 99-102.]

The very day after the battle Francis I. wrote to his mother the regent a
long account, alternately ingenuous and eloquent, in which the details
are set forth with all the complacency of a brave young man who is
speaking of the first great affair in which he has been engaged and in
which he did himself honor.  The victory of Melegnano was the most
brilliant day in the annals of this reign.  Old Marshal Trivulzio, who
had taken part in seventeen battles, said that this was a strife of
giants, beside which all the rest were but child’s play.  On the very
battle-field, “before making and creating knights of those who had done
him good service, Francis I. was pleased to have himself made knight by
the hand of Bayard.  ‘Sir,’ said Bayard, ‘the king of so noble a realm,
he who has been crowned, consecrated and anointed with oil sent down from
heaven, he who is the eldest son of the church, is knight over all other
knights.’  ‘Bayard, my friend,’ said the king, ‘make haste; we must have
no laws or canons quoted here; do my bidding.’  ‘Assuredly, sir,’ said
Bayard, ‘I will do it, since it is your pleasure;’ and, taking his sword,
‘Avail it as much,’ said he, ‘as if I were Roland or Oliver, Godfrey or
his brother Baldwin; please God, sir, that in war you may never take
flight!’ and, holding up his sword in the air, he cried, ‘Assuredly, my
good sword, thou shalt be well guarded as a relic and honored above all
others for having this day conferred upon so handsome and puissant a king
the order of chivalry; and never will I wear thee more if it be not
against Turks, Moors, and Saracens!’  Whereupon he gave two bounds and
thrust his sword into the sheath.”  [_Les testes et la Vie du Chevalier
Bayard, by Champier,_ in the _Archives curieuses de l’Histoire de
France,_ Series I.  t. ii.  p. 160.]

[Illustration: Bayard Knighting Francis I----19]

The effect of the victory of Melegnano was great, in Italy primarily, but
also throughout Europe.  It was, at the commencement of a new reign and
under the impulse communicated by a young king, an event which seemed to
be decisive and likely to remain so for a long while.  Of all the
sovereigns engaged in the Italian league against Francis I., he who was
most anxious to appear temperate and almost neutral, namely, Leo X., was
precisely he who was most surprised and most troubled by it.  When he
knew that a battle was on the eve of being fought between the French and
the Swiss, he could not conceal his anxiety and his desire that the Swiss
might be victorious.  The Venetian ambassador at Rome, Marino Giorgi,
whose feelings were quite the other way, took, in his diplomatic
capacity, a malicious pleasure in disquieting him.  “Holy father,” said
he, “the Most Christian King is there in person with the most warlike and
best appointed of armies; the Swiss are afoot and ill armed, and I am
doubtful of their gaining the day.”  “But the Swiss are valiant soldiers,
are they not?” said the pope.  “Were it not better, holy father,”
 rejoined the ambassador, “that they should show their valor against the
infidel?”  When the news of the battle arrived, the ambassador, in grand
array, repaired to the pope’s; and the people who saw him passing by in
such state said, “The news is certainly true.”  On reaching the pope’s
apartment the ambassador met the chamberlain, who told him that the holy
father was still asleep.  “Wake him,” said he; but the other refused.
“Do as I tell you,” insisted the ambassador.  The chamberlain went in;
and the pope, only half dressed, soon sallied from his room.  “Holy
father,” said the Venetian, “your Holiness yesterday gave me some bad
news which was false; to-day I have to give you some good news which is
true: the Swiss are beaten.”  The pope read the letters brought by the
ambassador, and some other letters also.  “What will come of it for us
and for you?” asked the pope.  “For us,” was the answer, “nothing but
good, since we are with the Most Christian king; and your Holiness will
not have aught of evil to suffer.”  “Sir Ambassador,” rejoined the pope,
“we will see what the Most Christian king will do; we will place
ourselves in his hands, demanding mercy of him.”  “Holy father, your
Holiness will not come to the least harm, any more than the holy See: is
not the Most Christian king the church’s own son?”  And in the account
given of this interview to the Senate of Venice the ambassador added,
“The holy father is a good sort of man, a man of great liberality and of
a happy disposition; but he would not like the idea of having to give
himself much trouble.”

[Illustration: Leo X.----21]

Leo X. made up his mind without much trouble to accept accomplished
facts.  When he had been elected pope, he had said to his brother, Julian
de’ Medici, “Enjoy we the papacy, since God hath given it us” [_Godiamoci
il papato, poiche Dio ci l’ ha dato_].  He appeared to have no further
thought than how to pluck from the event the advantages he could discover
in it.  His allies all set him an example of resignation.  On the 15th of
September, the day after the battle, the Swiss took the road back to
their mountains.  Francis I. entered Milan in triumph.  Maximilian Sforza
took refuge in the castle, and twenty days afterwards, on the 4th of
October, surrendered, consenting to retire to France with a pension of
thirty thousand crowns, and the promise of being recommended for a
cardinal’s hat, and almost consoled for his downfall “by the pleasure of
being delivered from the insolence of the Swiss, the exactions of the
Emperor Maximilian, and the rascalities of the Spaniards.”  Fifteen years
afterwards, in June, 1530, he died in oblivion at Paris.  Francis I.
regained possession of all Milaness, adding thereto, with the pope’s
consent, the duchies of Parma and Piacenza, which had been detached from
it in 1512.  Two treaties, one of November 7, 1515, and the other of
November 29, 1516, re-established not only peace, but perpetual alliance,
between the King of France and the thirteen Swiss cantons, with
stipulated conditions in detail.  Whilst these negotiations were in
progress, Francis I. and Leo X., by a treaty published at Viterbo on the
13th of October, proclaimed their hearty reconciliation.  The pope
guaranteed to Francis I. the duchy of Milan, restored to him those of
Parma and Piacenza, and recalled his troops which were still serving
against the Venetians; being careful, however, to cover his concessions
by means of forms and pretexts which gave them the character of a
necessity submitted to rather than that of an independent and definite
engagement.  Francis I., on his side, guaranteed to the pope all the
possessions of the church, renounced the patronage of the petty princes
of the ecclesiastical estate, and promised to uphold the family of the
Medici in the position it had held at Florence since, with the King of
Spain’s aid, in 1512, it had recovered the dominion there at the expense
of the party of republicans and friends of France.

The King of France and the pope had to discuss together questions far
more important on both sides than those which had just been thus settled
by their accredited agents.  When they signed the treaty of Viterbo, it
was agreed that the two sovereigns should have a personal interview, at
which they should come to an arrangement upon points of which they had as
yet said nothing.  Rome seemed the place most naturally adapted for this
interview; but the pope did not wish that Francis I. should go and
display his triumph there.  Besides, he foresaw that the king would speak
to him about the kingdom of Naples, the conquest of which was evidently
premeditated by the king; and when Francis I., having arrived at Rome,
had already done half the journey, Leo X. feared that it would be more
difficult to divert him.  He resolved to make to the king a show of
deference to conceal his own disquietude; and offered to go and meet him
at Bologna, the town in the Roman States which was nearest to Milaness.
Francis accepted the offer.  The pope arrived at Bologna on the 8th of
December, 1515, and the king the next day.  After the public ceremonies,
at which the king showed eagerness to tender to the pope acts of homage
which the pope was equally eager to curtail without repelling them, the
two sovereigns conversed about the two questions which were uppermost in
their minds.  Francis did not attempt to hide his design of reconquering
the kingdom of Naples, which Ferdinand the Catholic had wrongfully
usurped, and he demanded the pope’s countenance.  The pope did not care
to refuse, but he pointed out to the king that everything foretold the
very near death of King Ferdinand; and “Your majesty,” said he, “will
then have a natural opportunity for claiming your rights; and as for me,
free, as I shall then be, from my engagements with the King of Arragon in
respect of the crown of Naples, I shall find it easier to respond to your
majesty’s wish.”  The pope merely wanted to gain time.  Francis, setting
aside for the moment the kingdom of Naples, spoke of Charles VII.’s
Pragmatic Sanction, and the necessity of putting an end to the
difficulties which had arisen on this subject between the court of Rome
and the Kings of France, his predecessors.  “As to that,” said the pope,
“I could not grant what your predecessors demanded; but be not uneasy;
I have a compensation to propose to you which will prove to you how dear
your interests are to me.”  The two sovereigns had, without doubt,
already come to an understanding on this point, when, after a three days’
interview with Leo X., Francis I. returned to Milan, leaving at Bologna,
for the purpose of treating in detail the affair of the Pragmatic
Sanction, his chancellor, Duprat, who had accompanied him during all this
campaign as his adviser and negotiator.

In him the king had, under the name and guise of premier magistrate of
the realm, a servant whose bold and complacent abilities he was not slow
to recognize and to put in use.  Being irritated “for that many, not
having the privilege of sportsmen, do take beasts, both red and black, as
hares, pheasants, partridges, and other game, thus frustrating us of our
diversion and pastime that we take in the chase,” Francis I. issued, in
March, 1516, an ordinance which decreed against poachers the most severe
penalties, and even death, and which “granted to all princes, lords, and
gentlemen possessing forests or warrens in the realm, the right of
upholding therein by equally severe punishments the exclusive privileges
of their preserves.”  The Parliament made remonstrances against such
excessive rigor, and refused to register the ordinance.  The chancellor,
Duprat, insisted, and even threatened.  “To the king alone,” said he,
“belongs the right of regulating the administration of his state obey, or
the king will see in you only rebels, whom he will know how to chastise.”
 For a year the Parliament held out; but the chancellor persisted more
obstinately in having his way, and, on the 11th of February, 1517, the
ordinance was registered under a formal order from the king, to which the
name was given of “letters of command.”

[Illustration: Anthony Duprat----24]

At the commencement of the war for the conquest of Milaness there was a
want of money, and Francis I.  hesitated to so soon impose new taxes.
Duprat gave a scandalous extension to a practice which had been for a
long while in use, but had always been reprobated and sometimes formally
prohibited, namely, the sale of public appointments or offices: not only
did he create a multitude of financial and administrative offices, the
sale of which brought considerable sums into the treasury, but he
introduced the abuse into the very heart of the judicial body; the
tribunals were encumbered by newly-created magistrates.  The estates of
Languedoc complained in vain.  The Parliament of Paris was in its turn
attacked.  In 1521, three councillors, recently nominated, were convicted
of having paid, one three thousand eight hundred livres, and the two
others six thousand livres.  The Parliament refused to admit them.
Duprat protested.  The necessities of the state, he said, made borrowing
obligatory; and the king was free to prefer in his selections those of
his subjects who showed most zeal for his service.  Parliament persisted
in its refusal.  Duprat resolved to strike a great blow.  An edict of
January 31, 1522, created within the Parliament a fourth chamber,
composed of eighteen councillors and two presidents, all of fresh, and,
no doubt, venal appointment, though the edict dared not avow as much.
Two great personages, the Archbishop of Aix and Marshal de Montmorenci,
were charged to present the edict to Parliament and require its
registration.  The Parliament demanded time for deliberation.  It kept an
absolute silence for six weeks, and at last presented an address to the
queen-mother, trying to make her comprehend the harm such acts did to the
importance of the magistracy and to her son’s government.  Louise
appeared touched by these representations, and promised to represent
their full weight to the king, “if the Parliament will consent to point
out to me of itself any other means of readily raising the sum of one
hundred and twenty thousand livres, which the king absolutely cannot do
without.”  The struggle was prolonged until the Parliament declared “that
it could not, without offending God and betraying its own conscience,
proceed to the registration; but that if it were the king’s pleasure to
be obeyed at any price, he had only to depute his chancellor or some
other great personage, in whose presence and on whose requirement the
registration should take place.”  Chancellor Duprat did not care to
undertake this commission in person.  Count de St. Pol, governor of
Paris, was charged with it, and the court caused to be written at the
bottom of the letters of command, “Read and published in presence of
Count de St. Pol, specially deputed for this purpose, who ordered viva
voce, in the king’s name, that they be executed.”

Thus began to be implanted in that which should be the most respected and
the most independent amongst the functions of government, namely, the
administration of justice, not only the practice, but the fundamental
maxim, of absolute government.  “I am going to the court, and I will
speak the truth; after which the king will have to be obeyed,” was said
in the middle of the seventeenth century by the premier president Mold to
Cardinal de Retz.  Chancellor Duprat, if we are not mistaken, was, in the
sixteenth century, the first chief of the French magistracy to make use
of language despotic not only in fact, but also in principle.  President
Mole was but the head of a body invested, so far as the king was
concerned, with the right of remonstrance and resistance; when once that
right was exercised, he might, without servility, give himself up to
resignation.  Chancellor Duprat was the delegate, the organ, the
representative of the king; it was in the name of the king himself that
he affirmed the absolute power of the kingship and the absolute duty of
submission.  Francis I. could not have committed the negotiation with Leo
X. in respect of Charles VII.’s Pragmatic Sanction to a man with more
inclination and better adapted for the work to be accomplished.

The Pragmatic Sanction had three principal objects:--

     1.  To uphold the liberties and the influence of the faithful in the
     government of the church, by sanctioning their right to elect
     ministers of the Christian faith, especially parish priests and
     bishops;

     2.  To guarantee the liberties and rights of the church herself in
     her relations with her head, the pope, by proclaiming the necessity
     for the regular intervention of councils and their superiority in
     regard to the pope;

     3.  To prevent or reform abuses in the relations of the papacy with
     the state and church of France in the matter of ecclesiastical
     tribute, especially as to the receipt by the pope, under the name of
     annates, of the first year’s revenue of the different ecclesiastical
     offices and benefices.

In the fifteenth century it was the general opinion in France, in state
and in church, that there was in these dispositions nothing more than the
primitive and traditional liberties and rights of the Christian church.
There was no thought of imposing upon the papacy any new regimen, but
only of defending the old and legitimate regimen, recognized and upheld
by St. Louis in the thirteenth century as well as by Charles VII. in the
fifteenth.

The popes, nevertheless, had all of them protested since the days of
Charles VII. against the Pragmatic Sanction as an attack upon their
rights, and had demanded its abolition.  In 1461, Louis XI., as has
already been shown, had yielded for a moment to the demand of Pope Pius
II., whose countenance he desired to gain, and had abrogated the
Pragmatic; but, not having obtained what he wanted thereby, and having
met with strong opposition in the Parliament of Paris to his concession,
he had let it drop without formally retracting it, and, instead of
engaging in a conflict with Parliament upon the point, he thought it no
bad plan for the magistracy to uphold in principle and enforce in fact
the regulations of the Pragmatic Sanction.  This important edict, then,
was still vigorous in 1515, when Francis I., after his victory at
Melegnano and his reconciliation with the pope, left Chancellor Duprat
at Bologna to pursue the negotiation reopened on that subject.  The
compensation, of which Leo X., on redemanding the abolition of the
Pragmatic Sanction, had given a peep to Francis I., could not fail to
have charms for a prince so little scrupulous, and for his still less
scrupulous chancellor.  The pope proposed that the Pragmatic, once for
all abolished, should be replaced by a Concordat between the two
sovereigns, and that this Concordat, whilst putting a stop to the
election of the clergy by the faithful, should transfer to the king the
right of nomination to bishoprics and other great ecclesiastical offices
and benefices, reserving to the pope the right of presentation of
prelates nominated by the king.  This, considering the condition of
society and government in the sixteenth century, in the absence of
political and religious liberty, was to take away from the church her own
existence, and divide her between two masters, without giving her, as
regarded either of them, any other guarantee of independence than the
mere chance of their dissensions and quarrels.

Egotism, even in kings, has often narrow and short-sighted views.  It was
calculated that there were in France at this period ten archbishoprics,
eighty-three bishoprics, and five hundred and twenty-seven abbeys.
Francis I. and his chancellor saw in the proposed Concordat nothing but
the great increment of influence it secured to them, by making all the
dignitaries of the church suppliants at first and then clients of the
kingship.  After some difficulties as to points of detail, the Concordat
was concluded and signed on the 18th of August, 1516.  Five months
afterwards, on the 5th of February, 1517, the king repaired in person to
Parliament, to which he had summoned many prelates and doctors of the
University.  The chancellor explained the points of the Concordat, and
recapitulated all the facts which, according to him, had made it
necessary.  The king ordered its registration, “for the good of his
kingdom and for quittance of the promise he had given the pope.”
 Parliament on one side, and the prelates and doctors of the University
on the other, deliberated upon this demand.  Their first answer was that,
as the matter concerned the interest of the whole Gallican church, they
could not themselves decide about it, and that the church, assembled in
national council, alone had the right of pronouncing judgment.  “Oho! so
you cannot,” said the king; “I will soon let you see that you can, or I
will send you all to Rome to give the pope your reasons.”  To the
question of conscience the Parliament found thenceforth added the
question of dignity.  The magistrates raised difficulties in point of
form, and asked for time to discuss the matter fundamentally; and
deputies went to carry their request to the king.  He admitted the
propriety of delay, but with this comment: “I know that there are in my
Parliament good sort of men, wise men; but I also know that there are
turbulent and rash fools; I have my eye upon them; and I am informed of
the language they dare to hold about my conduct.  I am king as my
predecessors were; and I mean to be obeyed as they were.  You are
constantly vaporing to me about Louis XII. and his love of justice; know
ye that justice is as dear to me as it was to him; but that king, just as
he was, often drove out from the kingdom rebels, though they were members
of Parliament; do not force me to imitate him in his severity.”
 Parliament entered upon a fundamental examination of the question; their
deliberations lasted from the 13th to the 24th of July, 1517; and the
conclusion they came to was, that Parliament could not and ought not to
register the Concordat; that, if the king persisted in his intention of
making it a law of the realm, he must employ the same means as Charles
VII. had employed for establishing the Pragmatic Sanction, and that,
therefore, he must summon a general council.  On the 14th of January,
1518, two councillors arrived at Amboise, bringing to the king the
representations of the Parliament.  When their arrival was announced to
the king, “Before I receive them,” said he, “I will drag them about at my
heels as long as they have made me wait.”  He received them, however, and
handed their representations over to the chancellor, bidding him reply to
them.  Duprat made a learned and specious reply, but one which left
intact the question of right, and, at bottom, merely defended the
Concordat on the ground of the king’s good pleasure and requirements of
policy.  On the last day of February, 1518, the king gave audience to the
deputies, and handed them the chancellor’s reply.  They asked to examine
it.  “You shall not examine it,” said the king; “this would degenerate
into an endless process.  A hundred of your heads, in Parliament, have
been seven months and more painfully getting up these representations,
which my chancellor has blown to the winds in a few days.  There is but
one king in France; I have done all I could to restore peace to my
kingdom; and I will not allow nullification here of that which I brought
about with so much difficulty in Italy.  My Parliament would set up for a
Venetian Senate; let it confine its meddling to the cause of justice,
which is worse administered than it has been for a hundred years; I
ought, perhaps, to drag it about at my heels, like the Grand Council, and
watch more closely over its conduct.”  The two deputies made an attempt
to prolong their stay at Amboise: but, “If before six to-morrow morning,”
 said the king, “they be not gone, I will send some archers to take them
and cast them into a dungeon for six months; and woe to whoever dares to
speak to me for them!”

On returning to Paris the deputies were beginning to give their fellows
an account of how harsh a reception they met with, when Louis de la
Tremoille, the most respected amongst the chiefs of the army, entered the
hall.  He came by order of the king to affirm to the Parliament that to
dismiss the Concordat was to renew the war, and that it must obey on the
instant or profess open rebellion.  Parliament upheld its decision of
July 24, 1517, against the Concordat, at the same time begging La
Tremoille to write to the king to persuade him, if he insisted upon
registration, to send some person of note or to commission La Tremoille
himself to be present at the act, and to see indorsed upon the Concordat,
“Read, published, and registered at the king’s most express command
several times repeated, in presence of .  .  .  , specially deputed by
him for that purpose.”  Tremoille hesitated to write, and exhibited the
letters whereby the king urged him to execute the strict orders laid upon
him.  “What are those orders, then?” asked the premier president.  “That
is the king’s secret,” answered La Tremoille: “I may not reveal it; all
that I can tell you is, that I should never have peace of mind if you
forced me to carry them out.”  The Parliament in its excitement begged La
Tremoille to withdraw, and sent for him back almost immediately.
“Choose,” said the premier president to him, “between Saturday or Monday
next to be present at the registration.”  La Tremoille chose Monday,
wishing to allow himself time for an answer even yet from the king.  But
no new instructions came to him; and on the 22d of March, 1518,
Parliament proceeded to registration of the Concordat, with the forms and
reservations which they had announced, and which were evidence of
compulsion.  The other Parliaments of France followed with more or less
zeal, according to their own particular dispositions, the example shown
by that of Paris.  The University was heartily disposed to push
resistance farther than had been done by Parliament: its rector caused to
be placarded on the 27th of March, 1518, in the streets of Paris, an
order forbidding all printers and booksellers to print the Concordat on
pain of losing their connection with the University.  The king commanded
informations to be filed against the authors and placarders of the order,
and, on the 27th of April, sent to the Parliament an edict, which forbade
the University to meddle in any matter of public police, or to hold any
assembly touching such matters, under pain, as to the whole body, of
having its privileges revoked, and, as to individuals, of banishment and
confiscation.  The king’s party demanded of Parliament registration of
this edict.  Parliament confined itself to writing to the king, agreeing
that the University had no right to meddle in affairs of government, but
adding that there were strong reasons, of which it would give an account
whenever the king should please to order, why it, the Parliament, should
refuse registration of the edict.  It does not appear that the king ever
asked for such account, or that his wrath against the University was more
obstinately manifested.  The Concordat was registered, and Francis I.,
after having achieved an official victory over the magistrates, had small
stomach for pursuing extreme measures against the men of letters.

We have seen that in the course of the fifteenth century, there were made
in France two able and patriotic attempts; the Pragmatic Sanction, in
1458, under Charles VII., and the States General of 1484, under Charles
VIII.  We do not care to discuss here all the dispositions of those acts;
some of them were, indeed, questionable; but they both of them, one in
respect of the church and the other of the state, aimed at causing France
to make a great stride towards a national, free and legalized regimen, to
which French feudal society had never known how or been willing to adjust
itself.  These two attempts failed.  It would be unjust to lay the blame
on the contemporary governments.  Charles VII. was in earnest about the
Pragmatic Sanction which he submitted to the deliberations and votes of a
national council; and Louis XI., after having for a while given it up to
the pope, retraced his steps and left it in force.  As to the States
General of 1484, neither the regent, Anne de Beaujeu, nor Charles VIII.,
offered the slightest hinderance to their deliberations and their votes;
and if Louis XII. did not convoke the States afresh, he constantly strove
in the government of his kingdom to render them homage and give them
satisfaction.  We may feel convinced that, considering the social and
intellectual condition of France at this time, these two patriotic
attempts were premature; but a good policy, being premature, is not on
that account alone condemned to failure; what it wants is time to get
itself comprehended, appreciated, and practised gradually and
consistently.  If the successors of Louis XII.  had acted in the same
spirit and with the same view as their predecessor, France would probably
have made progress in this salutary path.  But exactly the contrary took
place.  Instead of continuing a more and more free and legal regimen,
Francis I. and his chancellor, Duprat, loudly proclaimed and practised
the maxims of absolute power; in the church, the Pragmatic Sanction was
abolished; and in the state, Francis I., during a reign of thirty-two
years, did not once convoke the States General, and labored only to set
up the sovereign right of his own sole will.  The church was despoiled
of her electoral autonomy; and the magistracy, treated with haughty and
silly impertinence, was vanquished and humiliated in the exercise of its
right of remonstrance.  The Concordat of 1516 was not the only, but it
was the gravest pact of alliance concluded between the papacy and the
French kingship for the promotion mutually of absolute power.

Whilst this question formed the subject of disputes in France between the
great public authorities, there was springing up, outside of France,
between the great European powers another not more grave in regard to a
distant future, but more threatening in regard to the present peace of
nations.  King Ferdinand the Catholic had died on the 23d of January,
1516; and his grandson and successor, Archduke Charles, anxious to go and
take possession of the throne of Spain, had hastily concluded with
Francis I., on the 13th of August, 1516, at Noyon, a treaty intended to
settle differences between the two crowns as to the kingdoms of Naples
and Navarre.  The French and Spanish plenipotentiaries, Sires de Boisy
and de Chievres, were still holding meetings at Montpellier, trying to
come to an understanding about the execution of this treaty, when the
death of Emperor Maximilian at Wels, in Austria, on the 12th of January,
1519, occurred to add the vacant throne of a great power to the two
second-rate thrones already in dispute between two powerful princes.
Three claimants, Charles of Austria, who was the new King of Spain,
Francis I., and Henry VIII., King of England, aspired to this splendid
heritage.  In 1517, Maximilian himself, in one of his fits of temper and
impecuniosity, had offered to abdicate and give up the imperial dignity
to Henry VIII. for a good round sum; but the King of England’s envoy, Dr.
Cuthbert Tunstall, a stanch and clearsighted servant, who had been sent
to Germany to deal with this singular proposal, opened his master’s eyes
to its hollowness and falsehood, and Henry VIII. held himself aloof.
Francis I. remained the only rival of Charles of Austria; Maximilian
labored eagerly to pave the way for his grandson’s success; and at his
death the struggle between the two claimants had already become so keen
that Francis I., on hearing the news, exclaimed, “I will spend three
millions to be elected emperor, and I swear that, three years after the
election, I will be either at Constantinople or dead.”

The Turks, who had been since 1453 settled at Constantinople, were the
terror of Christian Europe; and Germany especially had need of a puissant
and valiant defender against them.  Francis I. calculated that the
Christians of Germany and Hungary would see in him, the King of France
and the victor of Melegnano, their most imposing and most effectual
champion.

Having a superficial mind and being full of vain confidence, Francis I.
was mistaken about the forces and chances on his side, as well as about
the real and natural interests of France, and also his own.  There was no
call for him to compromise himself in this electoral struggle of kings,
and in a distant war against triumphant Islamry.  He miscalculated the
strong position and personal valor of the rival with whom he would have
to measure swords.  Charles of Austria was but nineteen, and Francis I.
was twenty-three, when they entered, as antagonists, into the arena of
European politics.  Charles had as yet gained no battle and won no
renown; while Francis I. was already a victorious king and a famous
knight.  But the young archduke’s able governor, William de Croy, Lord of
Chievres, “had early trained him,” says M. Mignet, “to the understanding
and management of his various interests; from the time that he was
fifteen, Charles presided every day at his council; there he himself read
out the contents of despatches which were delivered to him the moment
they arrived, were it even in the dead of night; his council had become
his school, and business served him for books.  .  .  .  Being naturally
endowed with superior parts, a penetrating intellect and rare firmness of
character, he schooled himself to look Fortune in the face without being
intoxicated by her smiles or troubled at her frowns, to be astonished by
nothing that happened, and to make up his mind in any danger.  He had
even now the will of an emperor and an overawing manner. ‘His dignity and
loftiness of soul are such,’ says a contemporary writer, ‘that he seems
to hold the universe under his feet.’”  Charles’s position in Germany was
as strong as the man himself; he was a German, a duke of Austria, of the
imperial line, as natural a successor of his grandfather Maximilian at
Frankfort as of his grandfather Ferdinand at Madrid.  Such was the
adversary, with such advantages of nationality and of person, against
whom Francis I., without any political necessity, and for the sole
purpose of indulging an ambitious vision and his own kingly self-esteem,
was about to engage in a struggle which was to entail a heavy burden on
his whole life, and bring him not in triumph to Constantinople, but in
captivity to Madrid.

Before the death of Maximilian, and when neither party had done more than
foresee the struggle and get ready for it, Francis I. was for some time
able to hope for some success.  Seven German princes, three
ecclesiastical and four laic, the Archbishops of Mayence, Cologne, and
Troves, and the Duke of Saxony, the Margrave of Brandenburg, the Count
Palatine of the Rhine, and the King of Bohemia, had the sole power of
electing the emperor.  Four of them, the Archbishops of Troves and of
Cologne, the Count Palatine of the Rhine and the Margrave of Brandenburg,
had favorably received the overtures of Francis I., and had promised him
their suffrages.  His devoted servant, Robert de la Marck, Lord of
Fleuranges, had brought to him at Amboise a German gentleman from the
Palatinate, Franz von Sickingen, “of very petty family, but a very gentle
companion,” says Fleuranges, “the most beautiful talker that I think I
ever saw in my life, and in so much that there was no gentleman in
Germany, prince or man of war, who would not have been glad to do him
pleasure.”  Francis I. had received him with very chivalrous grace, and
had given him a pension of three thousand livres and handsome presents
for his comrades in adventure; and Sickingen was so charmed that he said
to Fleuranges on leaving Amboise, “The king did not open his heart to me
on the subject of the empire; however, I know all about it, and I beg you
to tell him that I will do his service and keep the oath I gave him.”
 A more important personage than Sickingen, Leo X., would have been very
glad to have for emperor in Germany neither the King of France nor the
King of Spain, both of them being far too powerful in Europe and far too
emulous in Italy not to be dangerous enemies or inconvenient allies for
him; and he tried to dissuade Francis I. from making any claim to the
empire, and to induce him to employ his influence in bringing about the
election of a second-rate German prince, Frederick the Wise, Duke of
Saxony, who was justly popular in Germany, and who would never be in a
condition to do France any harm.  It was judicious advice and a policy
good for France as well as for Europe in general; but Francis I.,
infatuated by his desire and his hope, did not relish it at all; and Leo
X., being obliged to choose between the two great claimants, declared for
Francis I., without any pleasure or confidence, but also without any
great perplexity, for he had but little faith in the success which he
made a show of desiring.  Francis, deceived by these appearances and
promises, on the part both of ecclesiastics and laics, held language
breathing a gallant and almost careless confidence.  “We are not enemies,
your master and I,” he said to the ambassadors of Spain; “we are two
lovers courting the same mistress: whichever of the two she may prefer,
the other will have to submit, and harbor no resentment.”  But when,
shortly after Maximilian’s death, the struggle became closer and the
issue nearer, the inequality between the forces and chances of the two
rivals became quite manifest, and Francis I. could no longer affect the
same serenity.  He had intrusted the management of his affairs in Germany
to a favorite comrade of his early youth, Admiral de Bonnivet, a soldier
and a courtier, witty, rash, sumptuous, eager to display his master’s
power and magnificence.  Charles of Austria’s agents, and at their head
his aunt Margaret, who had the government of the Low Countries in his
absence, were experienced, deliberate, discreet, more eager to succeed in
their purpose than to make a brilliant appearance, and resolved to do
quietly whatever was necessary for success.  And to do so they were
before long as fully authorized as they were resolved.  They discovered
that Francis I. had given Bonnivet four hundred thousand crowns in gold
that he might endeavor to bribe the electors; it was, according to
report, double the sum Charles of Austria had promised for the same
object; and his agents sent him information of it, and received this
answer: “We are wholly determined to spare nothing and to stake all for
all upon it, as the matter we most desire and have most at heart in this
world.  .  .  .  The election must be secured, whatever it may cost me.”
 The question before the seven elective princes who were to dispose of the
empire was thenceforth merely which of the two claimants would be the
higher and the safer bidder.  Francis I. engaged in a tussle of wealth
and liberality with Charles of Austria.  One of his agents wrote to him,
“All will go well if we can fill the maw of the Margrave Joachim of
Brandenburg; he and his brother the elector from Mayence fall every day
into deeper depths of avarice; we must hasten to satisfy them with
_speed, speed, speed_.”  Francis I. replied, “I will have Marquis Joachim
_gorged_ at any price;” and he accordingly made over to him in ready
money and bills of short dates all that was asked for by the margrave,
who on the 8th of April, 1519, gave a written undertaking to support the
candidature “of the most invincible and Most Christian prince, Francis,
by the grace of God King of the French, Duke of Milan, and Lord of Genoa,
who, what with his vigorous age, his ability, his justice, his military
experience, the brilliant fortune of his arms, and all other qualities
required for war and the management of the commonwealth, surpasses, in
the judgment of every one, all other Christian princes.”  But Charles of
Austria did not consider himself beaten because two of the seven electors
displayed avarice and venality.  His aunt Margaret and his principal
agent in Germany, the Chamberlain Armerstoff, resumed financial
negotiations with the Archbishop of Mayence, for his brother the margrave
as well as for himself, and the archbishop, without any formal
engagement, accepted the Austrian over-bid.  “I am ashamed at his
shamelessness,” wrote Armerstorff to Charles.  Alternate and antagonistic
bargaining went on thus for more than two months.  The Archbishop of
Cologne, Hermann von Wied, kept wavering between the two claimants; but
he was careful to tell John d’Albret, Francis I.’s agent, that “he
sincerely hoped that his Majesty would follow the doctrine of God, who
gave as much to those who went to work in His vineyard towards the middle
of the day as to those who had been at it all the morning.”  Duke
Frederick of Saxony was the only one of the seven electors who absolutely
refused to make any promise, as well as to accept any offer, and
preserved his independence, as well as his dignity.  The rumor of all
these traffickings and these uncertainties rekindled in Henry VIII., King
of England, a fancy for placing himself once more in the ranks; but his
agent, Richard Pace, found the negotiations too far advanced and the
prices too high for him to back up this vain whim of his master’s; and
Henry VIII. abandoned it.  The diet had been convoked for the 17th of
June at Frankfort.  The day was drawing near; and which of the two
parties had the majority was still regarded as, uncertain.  Franz von
Sickingen appeared in the outskirts of Frankfort with more than twenty
thousand men of the German army, “whereat marvellously astonished,” says
Fleuranges, “were they who wished well to the King of France and very
mightily rejoiced they who wished well to the Catholic king.”
 The gentleman-adventurer had not been less accessible than the
prince-electors to bribery.  The diet opened on the 18th of June.  The
Archbishop of Mayence made a great speech in favor of Charles of Austria;
and the Archbishop of Troves spoke in favor of Francis I., to whom he had
remained faithful.  Rival intrigues were kept up; Sickingen and his
troops were a clog upon deliberation; the electors were embarrassed and
weary of their dissensions; and the Archbishop of Troves proposed by way
of compromise the election of the Duke of Saxony, Frederick the Wise,
who, at this crisis so shameful for his peers, had just given fresh
proofs of his sound judgment, his honesty, and his patriotic
independence.  But Frederick declined the honor it was intended to do
him, and which he considered beyond his powers to support; and he voted
for Archduke Charles, “a real German prince,” said he, “the choice of
whom seemed to him most natural in point of right and most suitable in
point of fact under the present circumstances of Europe.”  The six other
electors gave in to his opinion, and that same day, June 18, 1519,
unanimously elected the King of Spain, Charles, King of the Romans and
Emperor of Germany, with the title of Charles V.

[Illustration: Charles V----39]

Whatever pains were taken by Francis I. to keep up a good appearance
after this heavy reverse, his mortification was profound, and he thought
of nothing but getting his revenge.  He flattered himself he would find
something of the sort in a solemn interview and an appearance of alliance
with Henry VIII., King of England, who had, like himself, just undergone
in the election to the empire a less flagrant but an analogous reverse.
It had already, in the previous year and on the occasion of a treaty
concluded between the two kings for the restitution of Tournai to France,
been settled that they should meet before long in token of
reconciliation.  Allusion had even been made, at that period, to a much
more important restitution, of Calais in fact, for which Francis I., at
what price we know not, had obtained the advocacy of Cardinal Wolsey, who
was then all-powerful with Henry VIII.  “Of what use to Us,” Wolsey had
said, “is this town of Calais, where in time of peace as well as of war
we have to keep up such numerous garrisons, which costs us so much money,
and which so often forces us to measures contrary to the real interests
of England?”  But this idea was vehemently scouted by the English, and
the coming interview between the two kings remained the sole accessory of
the treaty of 1518.  After Charles V.’s election to the empire, Francis
I. was eager to claim this interview, which was sure to cause in Europe
the impression of a close understanding between the two kings before the
very eyes of their common rival.  A convention, signed on the 26th of
March, 1520, regulated its details.  It was stipulated that the two kings
should meet in Picardy between Guines, an English possession in the
neighborhood of Calais, and Ardres, which belonged to France.  But, so
soon as Charles V., at that time in Spain, was informed of this design,
he used all his efforts to make it abortive.  Henry, however, stood firm;
not that he had resolved to knit himself closely with Francis I. against
the new emperor, whom, a few months previously, he had shown alacrity in
felicitating upon his accession to the empire, but he was unwilling to
fail in his promise to the King of France, and he liked to assume in
respect of the two rivals the part of an arbiter equally courted by both.
Charles V., still actively working against the interview, entered into
secret negotiation with Cardinal Wolsey to obtain for himself also an
interview with Henry VIII., which would destroy the effect of that in
course of arrangement between the Kings of France and England.  In
writing to Wolsey he called him his “very dear friend,” and guaranteed
him a pension of seven thousand ducats, secured upon two Spanish
bishoprics; and on the 26th of May, 1520, Henry VIII. received at
Canterbury, as he was passing by on his way to embark at Dover for the
interview in France, the as it were unexpected information that Charles
V. had just arrived with his fleet at the port of Hythe.  The king
immediately sent Wolsey to meet the emperor, who disembarked at Dover,
whither Henry went to visit him; and the two sovereigns repaired together
to Canterbury, where they went in state to the cathedral, “resplendent,”
 says Erasmus, “with all the precious gifts it had received for so many
centuries, especially with the most precious of all, the chest containing
the remains of Thomas a-Becket, so magnificent that gold was the least of
its ornaments.”  There they passed three days, treating of their affairs
in the midst of galas, during which Charles V. completely won over Wolsey
by promising to help him to become pope.  On the 31st of May, 1520,
Charles, quite easy about the interview in France, embarked at Sandwich
for his Flemish possessions, and Henry VIII. made sail for Calais, his
point of departure to the place agreed upon for Francis to meet him, and
where they had made up their minds, both of them, to display all the
splendors of their two courts.

This meeting has remained celebrated in history far more for its royal
pomp, and for the personal incidents which were connected with it, than
for its political results.  It was called _The Field of Cloth of Gold;_
and the courtiers who attended the two sovereigns felt bound to almost
rival them in sumptuousness, “insomuch,” says the contemporary Martin du
Bellay, “that many bore thither their mills, their forests, and their
meadows on their backs.”  Henry VIII. had employed eleven hundred
workmen, the most skilful of Flanders and Holland, in building a
quadrangular palace of wood, one hundred and twenty-eight feet long every
way; on one side of the entrance-gate was a fountain, covered with
gilding, and surmounted by a statue of Bacchus, round which there flowed
through subterranean pipes all sorts of wines, and which bore in letters
of gold the inscription, “Make good cheer, who will;” and on the other
side a column, supported by four lions, was surmounted by a statue of
Cupid armed with bow and arrows.  Opposite the palace was erected a huge
figure of a savage wearing the arms of his race, with this inscription,
chosen by Henry VIII.: “He whom I back wins.”  The frontage was covered
outside with canvas painted to represent freestone; and the inside was
hung with rich tapestries.  Francis I., emulous of equalling his royal
neighbor in magnificence, had ordered to be erected close to Ardres an
immense tent, upheld in the middle by a colossal pole firmly fixed in the
ground and with pegs and cordage all around it.  Outside, the tent, in
the shape of a dome, was covered with cloth of gold; and, inside, it
represented a sphere with a ground of blue velvet and studded with stars,
like the firmament.  At each angle of the large tent there was a small
one equally richly decorated.  But before the two sovereigns exchanged
visits, in the midst of all these magnificent preparations, there arose
a violent hurricane, which tore up the pegs and split the cordage of the
French tent, scattered them over the ground, and forced Francis I. to
take up his quarters in an old castle near Ardres.  When the two kings’
two chief councillors, Cardinal Wolsey on one side and Admiral Bonnivet
on the other, had regulated the formalities, on the 7th of June, 1520,
Francis I. and Henry VIII. set out on their way, at the same hour and the
same pace, for their meeting in the valley of Ardres, where a tent had
been prepared for them.  As they drew near, some slight anxiety was
manifested by the escort of the King of England, amongst whom a belief
prevailed that that of the King of France was more numerous; but it was
soon perceived to be nothing of the sort.  The two kings, mounted upon
fine horses and superbly dressed, advanced towards one another; and Henry
VIII.’s horse stumbled, which his servants did not like.  The two kings
saluted each other with easy grace, exchanged embraces without getting
off their horses, dismounted, and proceeded arm-in-arm to the tent where
Wolsey and De Bonnivet were awaiting them.  “My dear brother and cousin,”
 immediately said Francis with his easy grace, “I am come a long way, and
not without trouble, to see you in person.  I hope that you hold me for
such as I am, ready to give you aid with the kingdoms and lordships that
are in my power.”  Henry, with a somewhat cold reserve, replied, “It is
not your kingdoms or your divers possessions that I regard, but the
soundness and loyal observance of the promises set down in the treaties
between you and me.  My eyes never beheld a prince who could be dearer to
my heart, and I have crossed the seas at the extreme boundary of my
kingdom to come and see you.”  The two kings entered the tent and signed
a treaty whereby the Dauphin of France was to marry Princess Mary, only
daughter at that time of Henry VIII., to whom Francis I. undertook to pay
annually a sum of one hundred thousand livres [two million eight hundred
thousand francs, or one hundred and twelve thousand pounds in the money
of our day], until the marriage was celebrated, which would not be for
some time yet, as the English princess was only four years old.  The two
kings took wine together, according to custom, and reciprocally presented
the members of their courts.  “King Francis,” says Henry VIII.’s favorite
chronicler, Edward Hall, who was there, “is an amiable prince, proud in
bearing and gay in manner, with a brown complexion, large eyes, long
nose, thick lips, broad chest and shoulders, short legs, and big feet.”
 Titian’s portrait gives a loftier and more agreeable idea of Francis I.

When the two kings proceeded to sign, in their tent, the treaty they had
just concluded, “the King of England,” according to Fleuranges’
_Memoires,_ “himself took up the articles and began to read them.  When
he had read those relating to the King of France, who was to have the
priority, and came to speak of himself, he got as far as, ‘I, Henry,
King’ .  .  .  (he would have said of _France and England_), but he left
out the title as far as France was concerned, and said to King Francis,
‘I will not put it in as you are here, for I should lie;’ and he said
only, ‘I Henry, King of _England_.’”  But, as M. Mignet very properly
says, “if he omitted the title in his reading, he left it in the treaty
itself, and, shortly afterwards, was ambitious to render it a reality,
when he invaded France and wished to reign over it.”

After the diplomatic stipulations were concluded, the royal meeting was
prolonged for sixteen days, which were employed in tourneys, jousts, and
all manner of festivals.  The personal communication of the two kings was
regulated with all the precautions of official mistrust and restraint;
and when the King of England went to Ardres to see the Queen of France,
the King of France had to go to Guines to see the Queen of England, for
the two kings were hostages for one another.  “The King of France, who
was not a suspicious man,” says Fleuranges, “was mighty vexed at there
being so little confidence in one another.  He got up one morning very
early, which is not his habit, took two gentlemen and a page, the first
three he could find, mounted his horse, and went to visit the King of
England at the castle of Guines.  When he came on to the castle-bridge,
all the English were mighty astonished.  As he rode amongst them, the
king gayly called upon them to surrender to him, and asked them the way
to the chamber of the king his brother, the which was pointed out to him
by the governor of Guines, who said to him, ‘Sir, he is not awake.’  But
King Francis passed on all the same, went up to the said chamber, knocked
at the door, awoke the King of England, and walked in.

[Illustration: Francis I. surprises Henry VIII.----44]

Never was man more dumbfounded than King Henry, who said to King Francis,
‘Brother, you have done me a better turn than ever man did to another,
and you show me the great trust I ought to have in you.  I yield myself
your prisoner from this moment, and I proffer you my parole.’  He undid
from his neck a collar worth fifteen thousand angels, and begged the King
of France to take it and wear it that very day for his prisoner’s sake.
And, lo, the king, who wished to do him the same turn, had brought with
him a bracelet which was worth more than thirty thousand angels, and
begged him to wear it for his sake, which thing he did, and the King of
France put what had been given him on his neck.  Thereupon the King of
England was minded to get up, and the King of France said that he should
have no other chamber-attendant but himself, and he warmed his shirt and
handed it to him when he was up.  The King of France made up his mind to
go back, notwithstanding that the King of England would have kept him to
dinner; but, inasmuch as there was to be jousting after dinner, he
mounted his horse and went back to Ardres.  He met a many good folk who
were coming to meet him, amongst the rest l’Aventureux [a name given to
Fleuranges himself], who said to him, ‘My dear master, you are mad to
have done what you have done; I am very glad to see you back here, and
devil take him who counselled you.’  Whereupon the king said that never a
soul had counselled him, and that he knew well that there was not a soul
in his kingdom who would have so counselled him; and then he began to
tell what he had done at the said Guines, and so returned, conversing, to
Ardres, for it was not far.”

“Then began the jousts, which lasted a week, and were wondrous fine, both
a-foot and a-horseback.  After all these pastimes the King of France and
the King of England retired to a pavilion, where they drank together.
And there the King of England took the King of France by the collar, and
said to him, ‘Brother, I should like to wrestle with you,’ and gave him a
feint or two; and the King of France, who is a mighty good wrestler, gave
him a turn and threw him on the ground.  And the King of England would
have had yet another trial; but all that was broken off, and it was time
to go to supper.  After this they had yet three or four jousts and
banquets, and then they took leave of one another [on the 24th of June,
1520], with the greatest possible peace between the princes and
princesses.  That done, the King of England returned to Guines, and the
King of France to France; and it was not without giving great gifts at
parting, one to another.”  [_Memoires de Fleuranges,_ pp.  349-363.]

[Illustration: The Field of the Cloth of Gold----45]

Having left the Field of Cloth of Gold for Amboise, his favorite
residence, Francis I. discovered that Henry VIII., instead of returning
direct to England, had gone, on the 10th of July, to Gravelines, in
Flanders, to pay a visit to Charles V., who had afterwards accompanied
him to Calais.  The two sovereigns had spent three days there, and
Charles V., on separating from the King of England, had commissioned him
to regulate, as arbiter, all difficulties that might arise between
himself and the King of France.  Assuredly nothing was less calculated to
inspire Francis I. with confidence in the results of his meeting with
Henry VIII. and of their mutual courtesies.  Though he desired to avoid
the appearance of taking the initiative in war, he sought every occasion
and pretext for recommencing it; and it was not long before he found them
in the Low Countries, in Navarre, and in Italy.  A trial was made of
Henry VIII.’s mediation and of a conference at Calais; and a discussion
was raised touching the legitimate nature of the protection afforded by
the two rival sovereigns to their petty allies.  But the real fact was,
that Francis I. had a reverse to make up for and a passion to gratify;
and the struggle recommenced in April, 1521, in the Low Countries.
Charles V., when he heard that the French had crossed his frontier,
exclaimed, “God be praised that I am not the first to commence the war,
and that the King of France is pleased to make me greater than I am, for,
in a little while, either I shall be a very poor emperor or he will be a
poor King of France.”  The campaign opened in the north, to the advantage
of France, by the capture of Hesdin; Admiral Bonnivet, who had the
command on the frontier of Spain, reduced some small forts of Biscay and
the fortress of Fontarabia; and Marshal de Lautrec, governor of Milaness,
had orders to set out at once to go and defend it against the Spaniards
and Imperialists, who were concentrating for its invasion.

Lautrec was but little adapted for this important commission.  He had
been made governor of Milaness in August, 1516, to replace the Constable
de Bourbon, whose recall to France the queen-mother, Louise of Savoy, had
desired and stimulated.  Lautrec had succeeded ill in his government.  He
was active and brave, but he was harsh, haughty, jealous, imperious, and
grasping; and he had embroiled himself with most of the Milanese lords,
amongst others with the veteran J. J. Trivulzio, who, under Charles VIII.
and Louis XII., had done France such great service in Italy.  Trivulzio,
offensively treated at Milan, and subjected to accusations at Paris,
went, at eighty-two years of age, to France to justify himself before the
king; but Francis I. gave him a cold reception, barely spoke to him, and
declined his explanations.  One day, at Arpajon, Trivulzio heard that the
king was to pass on horseback through the town; and, being unable to
walk, had himself carried, ill as he was, in his chair to the middle of
the street.  The king passed with averted head, and without replying to
Trivulzio, who cried, “Sir, ah! sir, just one moment’s audience!”
 Trivulzio, on reaching home, took to his bed, and died there a month
afterwards, on the 5th of December, 1518, having himself dictated this
epitaph, which was inscribed on his tomb, at Milan, “J. J. Trivulzio, son
of Anthony: he who never rested, rests.  Hush!” [_J. J. Trivultius,
Antonii filius, qui nunquam quievit, quiescit.  Tace!_]

Francis I., when informed that Trivulzio was near his end, regretted, it
is said, his harsh indifference, and sent to express to him his regret;
but, “It is too late,” answered the dying man.  In the king’s harshness
there was something more than ungrateful forgetfulness of a veteran’s
ancient services.  While Francis was bringing about a renewal of war in
Italy, in the Low Countries, and on the frontier of Spain, he was
abandoning himself at Paris, Tours, Amboise, and wherever he resided, to
all the diversions and all the enticements of the brilliant court which
was gathered around him.  Extravagance and pleasure were a passion with
him.  “There has been talk,” says Brantome, “of the great outlay,
magnificence, sumptuousness and halls of Lucullus; but in nought of that
kind did he ever come near our king .  .  .  and what is most rare is,
that in a village, in the forest, at the meet, there was the same service
as there would have been in Paris.  .  .  .  One day, when the king was
expecting the Emperor Charles to dinner, word came that he had slipped
away, and had gone to give a sudden surprise to the constable, just as he
was sitting down to table, and to dine with him and all his comrades
comradewise.  He found this table as well furnished and supplied, and
laden with victuals as well cooked and flavored, as if they had been in
Paris or some other good city of France; whereat the emperor was so
mightily astonished that he said that there was no such grandeur in the
world as that of such a King of France.  .  .  .  In respect of ladies,
of a surety it must be confessed that before the time of King Francis
they set foot in and frequented the court but little and in but small
numbers.  It is true that Queen Anne (of Brittany) began to make her
ladies’ court larger than it had been under former queens; and, without
her, the king her husband (Louis XII.) would have taken no trouble about
it.  But Francis I., coming to reign, and considering that the whole
grace of the court was the ladies, was pleased to fill it up with them
more than had been the ancient custom.  Since, in truth, a court without
ladies is a garden without any pretty flowers, and more resembles a
Satrap’s or a Turk’s court than that of a great Christian king.  .  .  .
As for me, I hold that there was never anything better introduced than
the ladies’ court.  Full often have I seen our kings go to camp, or town,
or elsewhither, remain there and divert themselves for some days, and yet
take thither no ladies.  But we were so bewildered, so lost, so moped,
that for the week we spent away from them and their pretty eyes it
appeared to us a year; and always a-wishing, ‘When shall we be at the
court?’  Not, full often, calling that the court where the king was, but
that where the queen and ladies were.”  [_OEuvres de Brantome, edition of
the Societe de l’Histoire de France,_ t. iii.  pp. 120-129.]

Now, when so many fair ladies are met together in a life of sumptuousness
and gayety, a king is pretty sure to find favorites, and royal favorites
rarely content themselves with pleasing the king; they desire to make
their favor serviceable their family and their friends.  Francis I.  had
made choice one, Frances de Foix, countess of Chateaubriant, beautiful
ambitious, dexterous, haughty, readily venturing upon rivalry with even
the powerful queen-mother.  She had three brothers; Lautrec was one of
the three, and she supported him in all his pretensions and all his
trials of fortune.  When he set out to go and take the command in Italy,
he found himself at the head of an army numerous indeed, but badly
equipped, badly paid, and at grips with Prosper Colonna, the most able
amongst the chiefs of the coalition formed at this juncture between
Charles V. and Pope Leo X. against the French.  Lautrec did not succeed
in preventing Milan from falling into the hands of the Imperialists, and,
after an uncertain campaign of some months’ duration, he lost at La
Bicocca, near Monza, on the 27th of April, 1522, a battle, which left in
the power of Francis I., in Lombardy, only the citadels of Milan,
Cremona, and Novara.  At the news of these reverses, Francis I. repaired
to Lyons, to consult as to the means of applying a remedy.  Lautrec also
arrived there.  “The king,” says Martin du Bellay, “gave him a bad
reception, as the man by whose fault he considered he had lost his duchy
of Milan, and would not speak to him.”  Lautrec found an occasion for
addressing the king, and complained vehemently of “the black looks he
gave him.”  “And good reason,” said the king, “when you have lost me such
a heritage as the duchy of Milan.”  “‘Twas not I who lost it,” answered
Lautrec; “‘twas your Majesty yourself: I several times warned you that,
if I were not helped with money, there was no means of retaining the
men-at-arms, who had served for eighteen months without a penny, and
likewise the Swiss, who forced me to fight at a disadvantage, which they
would never have done if they had received their pay.”  “I sent you four
hundred thousand crowns when you asked for them.”  “I received the
letters in which your Majesty notified me of this money, but the money
never.”  The king sent at once for the superintendent-general of finance,
James de Beaune, Baron of Semblancay, who acknowledged having received
orders on the subject from the king, but added that at the very moment
when he was about to send this sum to the army, the queen-mother had come
and asked him for it, and had received it from him, whereof he was ready
to make oath.  Francis I. entered his mother’s room in a rage,
reproaching her with having been the cause of losing him his duchy of
Milan.  “I should never have believed it of you,” he said, “that you would
have kept money ordered for the service of my army.”  The queen-mother,
somewhat confused at first, excused herself by saying, that “those were
moneys proceeding from the savings which she had made out of her
revenues, and had given to the superintendent to take care of.”
 Semblancay stuck to what he had said.  The question became a personal one
between the queen-mother and the minister; and commissioners were
appointed to decide the difference.  Chancellor Duprat was the docile
servant of Louise of Savoy and the enemy of Semblancay, whose authority
in financial matters he envied; and he chose the commissioners from
amongst the mushroom councillors he had lately brought into Parliament.
The question between the queen-mother and the superintendent led to
nothing less than the trial of Semblancay.  The trial lasted five years,
and, on the 9th of April, 1527, a decree of Parliament condemned
Semblancay to the punishment of death and confiscation of all his
property; not for the particular matter which had been the origin of the
quarrel, but “as attained and convicted of larcenies, falsifications,
abuses, malversations, and maladministration of the king’s finances,
without prejudice as to the debt claimed by the said my lady, the mother
of the king.”  Semblancay, accordingly, was hanged on the gibbet of
Montfaucon, on the 12th of August.  In spite of certain ambiguities which
arose touching some acts of his administration and some details of his
trial, public feeling was generally and very strongly in his favor.  He
was an old and faithful servant of the crown; and Francis I. had for a
long time called him “his father.”  He was evidently the victim of the
queen-mother’s greed and vengeance.  The firmness of his behavior, at the
time of his execution, became a popular theme in the verses of Clement
Marot:--

          When Maillart, officer of hell, escorted
          To Montfaucon Semblancay, doomed to die,
          Which, to your thinking, of the twain supported
          The better havior?  I will make reply:
          Maillart was like the man to death proceeding;
          And Semblancay so stout an ancient looked,
          It seemed, forsooth, as if himself were leading
          Lieutenant Maillard--to the gallows booked!

It is said that, at the very moment of execution, Semblancay, waiting on
the scaffold for at least a commutation of the penalty, said, “Had I
served God as I have served the king, He would not have made me wait so
long.”  Nearly two centuries later, in 1683, a more celebrated minister
than Semblancay, Colbert, in fact, as he was dying tranquilly in his bed,
after having for twenty years served Louis XIV., and in that service made
the fortune of his family as well as his own, said also, “Had I done for
God what I have done for yonder man, I had been twice saved; and now I
know not what will become of me.”  A striking similarity in language and
sentiment, in spite of such different ends, between two great councillors
of kings, both devoted during their lives to the affairs of the world,
and both passing, at their last hour, this severe judgment, as
Christians, upon the masters of the world and upon themselves.

About the same time the government of Francis I. was involved, through
his mother’s evil passions, not in an act more morally shameful, but in
an event more politically serious, than the execution of Semblancay.
There remained in France one puissant prince, the last of the feudal
semi-sovereigns, and the head of that only one of the provincial
dynasties sprung from the dynasty of the Capetians which still held its
own against the kingly house.  There were no more Dukes of Burgundy,
Dukes of Anjou, Counts of Provence, and Dukes of Brittany; by good
fortune or by dexterous management the French kingship had absorbed all
those kindred and rival states.  Charles II., Duke of Bourbon, alone was
invested with such power and independence as could lead to rivalry.  He
was in possession of Bourbonness, of Auvergne, of Le Forez, of La Marche,
of Beaujolais, and a large number of domains and castles in different
parts of France.  Throughout all these possessions he levied taxes and
troops, convoked the local estates, appointed the officers of justice,
and regulated almost the whole social organism.  He was born on the 10th
of February, 1490, four years before Francis I.; he was the head of the
younger branch of the Bourbons-Montpensier; and he had married, in 1515,
his cousin, Suzanne of Bourbon, only daughter of Peter II., head of the
elder branch, and Anne of France, the able and for a long while puissant
daughter of Louis XI.  Louis XII. had taken great interest in this
marriage, and it had been stipulated in the contract “that the pair
should make a mutual and general settlement of all their possessions in
favor of the survivor.”  Thus the young duke, Charles, had united all the
possessions of the house of Bourbon; and he held at Moulins a brilliant
princely court, of which he was himself the most brilliant ornament.
Having been trained from his boyhood in all chivalrous qualities, he was
an accomplished knight before becoming a tried warrior; and he no sooner
appeared upon the field of battle than he won renown not only as a
valiant prince, but as an eminent soldier.  In 1509, at the battle of
Agnadello, under the eye of Louis XII. himself, he showed that he was a
worthy pupil of La Tremoille, of La Palice, and of Bayard; and in 1512,
at that of Ravenna, his reputation was already so well established in the
army that, when Gaston de Foix was killed, they clamored for Duke Charles
of Bourbon, then twenty-two years old, as his successor.  Louis XII.
gave him full credit for his bravery and his warlike abilities; but the
young prince’s unexpansive character, haughty independence, and momentary
flashes of audacity, caused the veteran king some disquietude.  “I wish,”
 said he, “he had a more open, more gay, less taciturn spirit; stagnant
water affrights me.”  In 1516, the year after Louis XII.’s death, Andrew
Trevisani, Venetian ambassador at Milan, wrote to the Venetian council,
“This Duke of Bourbon handles a sword most gallantly and successfully; he
fears God, he is devout, humane, and very generous; he has a revenue of
one hundred and twenty thousand crowns, twenty thousand from his
mother-in-law, Anne of France, and two thousand a month as constable of
France; and, according to what is said by M. de Longueville, governor of
Paris, he might dispose of half the king’s army for any enterprise he
pleased, even if the king did not please.”

Scarcely had Francis I. ascended the throne, on the 12th of January,
1515, when he made the Duke of Bourbon’s great position still greater by
creating him constable of France.  Was it solely to attach to himself the
greatest lord and one of the most distinguished soldiers of the kingdom,
or had, perhaps, as has already been hinted, the favor of the
queen-mother something to do with the duke’s speedy elevation?  The whole
history of Charles of Bourbon tends to a belief that the feelings of
Louise of Savoy towards him, her love or her hate, had great influence
upon the decisive incidents of his life.  However that may be, the young
constable, from the moment of entering upon his office, fully justified
the king’s choice.

[Illustration: The Constable de Bourbon----53]

He it was who, during the first campaign in Italy, examined in person,
with the shepherd who had pointed it out, an unknown passage across the
Alps; and, on the 13th and 14th of September, he contributed greatly to
the victory of Melegnano.  “I can assure you,” wrote Francis I. to his
mother, the regent, “that my brother the constable and M. de St. Pol
splintered as many lances as any gentlemen of the company whosoever; and
I speak of this as one who saw; they spared themselves as little as if
they had been wild boars at bay.”  On returning to France the king
appointed the constable governor of conquered Milaness; and to give him a
further mark of favor, “he granted him the noble privilege of founding
trades in all the towns of the kingdom.  This, when the Parliament
enregistered the king’s letters patent, was expressly stated to be in
consideration of Bourbon’s extraordinary worth, combined with his quality
as a prince of the blood, and not because of his office of constable.”
 [_Histoire de la Maison de Bourbon,_ by M. Desormeaux, t. ii.  p. 437.]
The constable showed that he was as capable of governing as of
conquering.  He foiled all Emperor Maximilian’s attempts to recover
Milaness; and, not receiving from the king money for the maintenance and
pay of his troops, he himself advanced one hundred thousand livres,
opened a loan-account in his own name, raised an army-working-corps of
six thousand men to repair the fortifications of Milan, and obtained from
the Swiss cantons permission to enlist twelve thousand recruits amongst
them.  His exercise of authority over the Lombard population was
sometimes harsh, but always judicious and efficient.  Nevertheless, in
the spring of 1516, eight months after the victory of Melegnano and but
two months after he had driven Emperor Maximilian from Milaness, the Duke
of Bourbon was suddenly recalled, and Marshal de Lautrec was appointed
governor in his place.  When the constable arrived at Lyons, where the
court then happened to be, “the king,” says Fleuranges in his Memoires,
“gave him marvellously good welcome;” but kings are too ready to imagine
that their gracious words suffice to hide or make up for their acts of
real disfavor; and the Duke of Bourbon was too proud to delude himself.
If he had any desire to do so, the way in which the king’s government
treated him soon revealed to him his real position: the advances he had
made and the debts he had contracted for the service of the crown in
Milaness, nay, his salary as constable and his personal pensions, were
unpaid.  Was this the effect of secret wrath on the part of the
queen-mother, hurt because he seemed to disdain her good graces, or an
act arising may be from mistrust and may be from carelessness on the
king’s part, or merely a result of the financial disorder into which the
affairs of Francis I. were always falling?  These questions cannot be
solved with certainty.  Anyhow the constable, though thus maltreated,
did not cry out; but his royal patroness and mother-in-law, Anne of
France, daughter of Louis XI., dowager-duchess of the house of Bourbon,
complained of these proceedings to the king’s mother, and uttered the
word ingratitude. The dispute between the two princesses grew rancorous;
the king intervened to reconcile them; speedy payment was promised of
all that was due to the constable, but the promise was not kept.  The
constable did not consider it seemly to wait about; so he quitted the
court and withdrew into his own duchy, to Moulins, not openly disgraced,
but resolved to set himself, by his proud independence, above the reach
of ill-will, whether on the king’s part or his mother’s.

Moulins was an almost kingly residence.  “The dukes,” said the Venetian
traveller Andrew Navagero, in 1528, “have built there fortress-wise a
magnificent palace, with beautiful gardens, groves, fountains, and all
the sumptuous appliances of a prince’s dwelling.”  No sooner did the
constable go to reside there than numbers of the nobility flocked thither
around him.  The feudal splendor of this abode was shortly afterwards
enhanced by an auspicious domestic incident.  In 1517 the Duchess of
Bourbon was confined there of a son, a blessing for some time past
unhoped for.  The delighted constable determined to make of the child’s
baptism a great and striking event; and he begged the king to come and be
godfather, with the dowager Duchess of Bourbon as godmother.  Francis I.
consented and repaired to Moulins with his mother and nearly all his
court.  The constable’s magnificence astonished even the magnificent king
“five hundred gentlemen, all clad in velvet, and all wearing a chain of
gold going three times round the neck,” were in habitual attendance upon
the duke; “the throng of the invited was so great that neither the castle
of Moulins nor the town itself sufficed to lodge them; tents had to be
pitched in the public places, in the streets, in the park.”  Francis I.
could not refrain from saying that a King of France would have much
difficulty in making such a show; the queen-mother did not hide her
jealousy; regal temper came into collision with feudal pride.  Admiral
Bonnivet, a vassal of the constable and a favorite of the king, was
having built, hard by Chatellerault, a castle so vast and so magnificent,
“that he seemed,” says Brantome, “to be minded to ride the high horse
over the house of M. de Bourbon, in such wise that it should appear only
a nest beside his own.”  Francis I., during a royal promenade, took the
constable one day to see the edifice the admiral was building, and asked
him what he thought of it.  “I think,” said Bourbon, “that the cage is
too big and too fine for the bird.”  “Ah!” said the king, “do you not
speak with somewhat of envy?”  “I!” cried the constable; “I feel envy of
a gentleman whose ancestors thought themselves right happy to be squires
to mine!”  In their casual and familiar conversations the least pretext
would lead to sharp words between the Duke of Bourbon and his kingly
guest.  The king was rallying him one day on the attachment he was
suspected of having felt for a lady of the court.  “Sir,” said the
constable, “what you have just said has no point for me, but a good deal
for those who were not so forward as I was in the lady’s good graces.”
 [At this period princes of the blood, when speaking to the king, said
Monsieur; when they wrote to him, they called him Monseigneur.]  Francis
I., to whom this scarcely veiled allusion referred, was content to reply,
“Ah! my dear cousin, you fly out at everything, and you are mighty
short-tempered.”  The nickname of short-tempered stuck to the constable
from that day, and not without reason.  With anybody but the king the
constable was a good deal more than short-tempered the chancellor,
Duprat, who happened to be at Moulins, and who had a wish to become
possessed of two estates belonging to the constable, tried to worm
himself into his good graces; but Bourbon gave him sternly to understand
with what contempt he regarded him, and Duprat, who had hitherto been
merely the instrument of Louise of Savoy’s passions, so far as the duke
was concerned, became henceforth his personal enemy, and did not wait
long for an opportunity of making the full weight of his enmity felt.
The king’s visit to Moulins came to an end without any settlement of
the debts due from the royal treasury to the constable.  Three years
afterwards, in 1520, he appeared with not a whit the less magnificence
at the Field of Cloth of Gold, where he was one of the two great lords
chosen by Francis I. to accompany him at his interview with Henry VIII.;
but the constable had to put up with the disagreeableness of having for
his associate upon that state occasion Admiral Bonnivet, whom he had but
lately treated with so much hauteur, and his relations towards the court
were by no means improved by the honor which the king conferred upon him
in summoning him to his side that day.  Henry VIII., who was struck by
this vassal’s haughty bearing and looks, said to Francis I., “If I had a
subject like that in my kingdom, I would not leave his head very long on
his shoulders.”

More serious causes of resentment came to aggravate a situation already
so uncomfortable.  The war, which had been a-hatching ever since the
imperial election at Frankfort, burst out in 1521, between Francis I.
and Charles V.  Francis raised four armies in order to face it on all his
frontiers, in Guienne, in Burgundy, in Champagne, and in Picardy, “where
there was no army,” says Du Bellai, “however small.”  None of these great
commands was given to the Duke of Bourbon; and when the king summoned him
to the army of Picardy, whither he repaired in all haste with six
thousand foot and three hundred men-at-arms raised in his own states,
the command of the advance-guard, which belonged to him by right of his
constableship, was given to the Duke of Alencon, who had nothing to
recommend him beyond the fact that he was the husband of Marguerite de
Valois and brother-in-law of the king.  Bourbon deeply resented this
slight; and it was remarked that he frequently quoted with peculiar
meaning a reply made by a Gascon gentleman to King Charles VII., who had
asked him if anything could shake his fidelity, “Nothing, sir, nothing;
not even an offer of three such kingdoms as yours; but an affront might.”
 The constable did not serve a whit the less valiantly and brilliantly in
this campaign of Picardy; he surprised and carried the town of Hesdin,
which was defended by a strong garrison; but after the victory he treated
with a generosity which was not perhaps free from calculation the
imperialist nobility shut up in the castle; he set all his prisoners at
large, and paid particular attention to the Countess de Roeux, of the
house of Croy, whom he knew to have influence with Charles V.  He was
certainly not preparing just then to abandon the King of France and go
over to the camp of the emperor; but he was sufficiently irritated
against Francis I. to gladly seize an opportunity of making new friends
on the rival side.

Meanwhile there occurred the event which was to decide his conduct and
his destiny.  His wife, Suzanne of Bourbon, died at Chatellerault, in
April, 1521, after having lost the son whose birth had been celebrated
with such brilliancy at Moulins, and having confirmed by her will the
settlement upon her husband of all her possessions, which had already
been conferred upon him by their marriage contract.  From whom came the
first idea of the proposal to which this death was ere long to lead?  Was
it the chancellor, Duprat, who told the mother of Francis I. that the
will and the settlement might be disputed at law, and that she would then
enter into possession of a great part of what belonged to the House of
Bourbon?  Was it Louise of Savoy herself who conceived the hope of
satisfying at one and the same time her cupidity and the passion she felt
for the constable, by having an offer made to him of her hand, with the
retention secured to him of those great possessions which, otherwise,
would be disputed, and which a decree of Parliament might take away from
him?  Between these two explanations of what occurred at that time, there
is no certain choice afforded by historical documents; but the more
reasonable conviction is, that the passion of Louise of Savoy was the
first and the decisive cause of the proposal made to the constable.  He
was then thirty years old; Louise of Savoy was forty-five, but she was
still beautiful, attractive, and puissant; she had given the constable
unmistakable proofs of her inclination for him and of the influence which
his inclinations exercised over her: she might well flatter herself that
he would be attracted by the prospect of becoming the king’s step-father
and almost a sharer in the kingly power, whilst retaining that of the
great feudal lord.  The chancellor, Duprat, full of ability and
servility, put all his knowledge, all his subtlety in argument, and all
his influence in the Parliament at the disposal of Madame Louise, who, as
a nearer relative than the constable, claimed the possessions left by his
wife, Suzanne of Bourbon.  Francis I., in the name of the crown, and in
respect of the constable’s other possessions, joined his claims to those
of his mother.  Thus the lawsuit with which the duke was threatened
affected him in every part of his fortune.  It was in vain that more or
less direct overtures, on behalf of Madame Louise and of the king
himself, were made to induce him to accept the bargain offered: his
refusal was expressed and given with an open contempt that verged upon
coarseness.  “I will never,” said he, “marry a woman devoid of modesty.”

The lawsuit was begun and prosecuted with all the hatred of a great lady
treated with contempt, and with all the knowingness of an unscrupulous
lawyer eager to serve, in point of fact, his patroness, and to
demonstrate, in point of law, the thesis he had advanced.  Francis I.,
volatile, reckless, and ever helpless as he was against the passions of
his mother, who whilst she adored, beguiled him, readily lent himself to
the humiliation of a vassal who was almost his rival in puissance, and
certainly was in glory.  Three lawyers of renown entered upon the
struggle.  Poyet maintained the pretensions of the queen-mother; Lizet
developed Duprat’s argument in favor of the king’s claims; Montholon
defended the constable.  The Parliament granted several adjournments,
and the question was in suspense for eleven months.  At last, in August,
1523, the court interest was triumphant; Parliament, to get rid of direct
responsibility, referred the parties, as to the basis of the question, to
the king’s council; but it placed all the constable’s possessions under
sequestration, withdrawing the enjoyment of them wholly from him.  A few
years afterwards Poyet became chancellor, and Lizet premier-president of
Parliament.  “Worth alone,” say the historians, “carved out for Montholon
at a later period the road to the office of keeper of the seals.”

The constable’s fall and ruin were complete.  He at an early stage had a
presentiment that such would be the issue of his lawsuit, and sought for
safeguards away from France.  The affair was causing great stir in
Europe.  Was it, however, Charles V. who made the first overtures as the
most efficient supporter the constable could have?  Or was it the
constable himself who, profiting by the relations he had established
after the capture of Hesdin with the Croys, persons of influence with the
emperor, made use of them for getting into direct communication with
Charles V., and made offer of his services in exchange for protection
against his own king and his own country?  In such circumstances and in
the case of such men the sources of crime are always surrounded with
obscurity.  One is inclined to believe that Charles V., vigilant and
active as he was, put out the first feelers.  As soon as he heard that
Bourbon was a widower, he gave instructions to Philibert Naturelli, his
ambassador in France, who said, “Sir, you are now in a position to marry,
and the emperor, my master, who is very fond of you, has a sister
touching whom I have orders to speak to you if you will be pleased to
hearken.”  It was to Charles V.’s eldest sister, Eleanor, widow of Manuel
the Fortunate, King of Portugal, that allusion was made.  This overture
led to nothing at the time; but the next year, in 1522, war was declared
between Francis I. and Charles V.; the rupture between Francis I. and the
Duke of Bourbon took place; the Bourbon lawsuit was begun; and the duke’s
mother-in-law, Anne of France, daughter of Louis XI., more concerned for
the fate of her House than for that of her country, and feeling herself
near her end, said one day to her son-in-law, “My son, reflect that the
House of Bourbon made alliance with the House of Burgundy, and that
during that alliance it always prospered.  You see at the present moment
what is the state of our affairs, and the lawsuit in which you are
involved is proceeded with only for want of alliances.  I do beg and
command you to accept the emperor’s alliance.  Promise me to use thereto
all the diligence you can, and I shall die more easy.”  She died on the
14th of November, 1522, bequeathing all her possessions to the constable,
who was day by day more disposed to follow her counsels.  In the summer
of 1522, he had, through the agency of Adrian de Croy, Lord of Beaurain,
entered into negotiations not only with Charles V., but also with Henry
VIII., King of England, deploring the ill behavior of Francis I. and the
enormity of existing abuses, and proposing to set on foot in his own
possessions a powerful movement for the reformation of the kingdom and
the relief of the poor people, if the two sovereigns would send “persons
of trust and authority into the vicinity of his principality of Dombes,
to Bourg-en-Bresse, whither he on his side would send his chancellor to
come to an agreement with them and act in common.”  In the month of
March, 1523, whilst the foreign negotiations thus commenced and the
home-process against the constable were pursuing a parallel course,
Bourbon one day paid a visit to Queen Claude of France at the hour when
she was dining alone.  She was favorably disposed towards him, and would
have liked to get him married to her sister Renee, who subsequently
became Duchess of Ferrara.  She made him sit down.  Francis I., who was
at dinner in an adjacent room, came in.  Bourbon rose to take leave.
“Nay, keep your seat,” said the king; “and so it is true that you are
going to be married?”  “Not at all, sir.”  “O, but I know it; I am sure
of it; I know of your dealings with the emperor.  And bear well in mind
what I have to say to you on the subject.”  “Sir! is this a threat, pray?
I have not deserved such treatment.”  After dinner he departed and went
back to his hotel hard by the Louvre; and many gentlemen who happened to
be at court accompanied him by way of escort.  He was as yet a powerful
vassal, who was considered to be unjustly persecuted.

Charles V. accepted eagerly the overtures made to him by Bourbon in
response to his own; but, before engaging in action, he wished to be
certified about the disposition of Henry VIII., King of England, and he
sent Beaurain to England to take accurate soundings.  Henry at first
showed hesitation. When, Beaurain set before him all the advantages that
would accrue to their coalition from the Duke of Bourbon’s alliance: “And
I,” said the king, brusquely, “what, pray, shall I get?” “Sir,” answered
Beaurain, “you will be King of France.”  “Ah!” rejoined Henry, “it will
take a great deal to make M. de Bourbon obey me.”  Henry remembered the
cold and proud bearing which the constable had maintained towards him at
the Field of Cloth of Gold.  He, nevertheless, engaged to supply half the
expenses and a body of troops for the projected invasion of France.
Charles V.  immediately despatched Beaurain to the Duke of Bourbon, who
had removed to Montbrison, in the most mountainous part of his domains,
on pretext of a pilgrimage to Notre-Dame du Puy.  Beaurain was conducted
thither, in great secrecy, on the 17th July, 1523, by two of the duke’s
gentlemen, and passed two days there shut up in a room adjoining the
constable’s apartment, never emerging save at night to transact business
with him.  On the 18th of July, in the evening, he put into Bourbon’s
hands his letters of credit, running thus: “My dear cousin, I send to you
Sieur de Beaurain, my second chamberlain.  I pray you to consider him as
myself, and, so doing, you will find me ever your good cousin and
friend.”  The negotiation was speedy.  Many historians have said that it
was confined to verbal conventions, and that there was nothing in writing
between the two contracting parties.  That is a mistake.  A treaty was
drawn up in brief terms by Beaurain’s secretary, and two copies were
made, of which one was to be taken to Charles V.  and the other to be
left with the Duke of Bourbon.  It stipulated the mutual obligations of
the three contracting parties in their offensive and defensive league.
Bourbon engaged to attack Francis I. but he would not promise to
acknowledge Henry VIII. as King of France.  “I am quite willing to be his
ally,” he said, “but his subject, his vassal, no!  All I can do is to
leave myself, as to my relations towards him, in the emperor’s hands.”
 A strange and noble relic of patriotism in that violent and haughty soul,
more concerned for its rights than its duties, and driven to extremity by
the acts of ungrateful and unthoughtful injustice, to which the great
lord and the valiant warrior had been subjected.  The treaty having been
signed with this reservation, Bourbon sent, about midnight, for
Saint-Bonnet, Lord of Branon, whom he intended to despatch to Charles
V., and, after having sworn him, “I send you,” said he, “to the emperor,
to whom you will say that I commend myself humbly to his good graces,
that I beg him to give me his sister in marriage, and that, doing me
this honor, he will find me his servant, his good brother, and friend.”

The fatal step was taken.  Bourbon was now engaged in revolt against his
king and his country, as well as in falsehood and treason--preliminary
conditions of such a course.  He needed tools and accomplices; and though
he had a numerous and devoted following, he could not feel sure of them
all for such a purpose.  The very day after the conclusion of his treaty
with Charles V., one of his most intimate and important confidants, John
of Poitiers, Lord of St. Vallier, who was present at Montbrison during
the negotiation of the treaty, said to him in the morning, “Sir, it was
your wish; I heard all; and I spent the whole night thinking about it;
tell me, I pray you, do you feel sure of your friend?”  “I was not more
fond of the brother I lost at Melegnano,” said the constable; “I should
not have felt more sure of him.”  “Well, then,” rejoined St.  Vallier,
“fancy that it is that brother who is speaking to you, and take in good
part what he is about to say to you.  This alliance which is offered to
you will bring upon France the Germans, the Spaniards, and the English;
think of the great mischief which will ensue--human bloodshed,
destruction of towns, of good families and of churches, violation of
women, and other calamities that come of war.  Reflect also on the great
treason you are committing; when the king has started for Italy and left
you in France, putting his trust in you, you will go and stab him in the
back, and destroy him as well as his kingdom.  You belong to the House of
France, and are one of the chief princes of the country, so beloved and
esteemed by all that everybody is gladdened at the very sight of you.  If
you should come to be the cause of so great ruin, you will be the most
accursed creature that ever was, accursed for a thousand years after your
death.  For the love of God consider all this; and if you have no regard
for the king and Madame his mother, who, you say, are treating you
wrongfully, at least have some regard for the queen and the princes her
children, and do not wilfully cause the perdition of this kingdom, whose
enemies, when you have let them into it, will drive you out of it
yourself.”  “But, cousin,” said the constable, quite overcome, “what
would you have me to do?  The king and Madame mean to destroy me; they
have already taken away a part of my possessions.”  “Sir,” replied
Saint-Vallier, “give up, I pray you, all these wicked enterprises; commend
yourself to God, and speak frankly to the king.”  If we are to believe
Saint-Vallier’s deposition, when, six months afterwards, he was put on
his trial and convicted for his participation in the plot and treason,
the constable was sufficiently affected by his representations to promise
that he would abandon his design and make his peace with the king: but
facts refute this assertion.  In the latter months of 1523, the
stipulations of the treaty concluded at Montbrison on the 18th of July
were put into execution by all the contracting parties; letters of
exchange from Henry VIII. were sent to Bale for the German lanzknechts he
was to pay; the lanzknechts crossed the Rhine on the 26th of August, and
marched through Franche-Comte in spite of its neutrality; the English
landed at Calais between the 23d and 30th of August, to co-operate with
the Flemings; the Spaniards began the campaign, on the 6th of September,
in the direction of the Pyrenees; and the Duke, of Bourbon on his side
took all the necessary measures for forming a junction with his allies,
and playing that part in the coalition which had been assigned to him.

According to what appears, he had harbored a design of commencing his
enterprise with a very bold stroke.  Being informed that Francis I. was
preparing to go in person and wage war upon Italy, he had resolved to
carry him off on the road to Lyons, and, when once he had the king in his
hands, he flattered himself he would do as he pleased with the kingdom.
If his attempt were unsuccessful, be would bide his time until Francis I.
was engaged in Milaness, Charles V. had entered Guienne, and Henry VIII.
was in Picardy: he would then assemble a thousand men-at-arms, six
thousand foot and twelve thousand lanzknechts, and would make for the
Alps to cut the king off from any communication with France.  This plan
rested upon the assumption that the king would, as he had announced,
leave the constable in France with an honorable title and an apparent
share in the government of the kingdom, though really isolated and
debarred from action.  But Francis had full cognizance of the details of
the conspiracy through two Norman gentlemen whom the constable had
imprudently tried to get to join in it, and who, not content with
refusing, had revealed the matter at confession to the Bishop of Lisieux,
who had lost no time in giving information to Sire de Breze, grand
seneschal of Normandy.  Breze at once reported it to the king, and his
letter ran: “Sir, there is need also to take care of yourself, for there
has been talk of an attempt to carry you off between here and Lyons, and
conduct you to a strong place in the Bourbon district or on the borders
of Auvergne.”  Being at last seriously disquieted for the consequences of
his behavior towards the constable, Francis took two resolutions: one
was, not to leave him in France during his own absence; the other was,
to go and see him at Moulins, at the same time taking all necessary
precautions for his own safety, and win him over once more by announcing
an intention of taking him off to Italy and sharing with him the command
of the army.  On approaching Moulins the king recalled the lanzknechts
who had already passed the town, entered it himself surrounded by his
guards, and took up his quarters in the castle, of which he seized the
keys.  At his first interview with the constable, who was slightly
indisposed and pretended to be very much so, “I know,” said he, “that you
are keeping up a connection with the emperor, and that he is trying to
turn your discontent to advantage, so as to beguile you; but I have faith
in you; you are of the House of France and of the line of Bourbon, which
has never produced a traitor.”  “It is true, sir,” said the constable,
without any confusion; “the emperor, informed by public rumor of the
position to which I am reduced, sent Beaurain to offer me an asylum in
his dominions and a fortune suitable to my birth and my rank; but I know
the value of empty compliments.  Hearing that your Majesty was to pass by
Moulins, I thought it my duty to wait and disclose this secret to you
myself rather than intrust it to a letter.”  The king showed signs of
being touched.  “I have an idea of taking you away with me to Italy,”
 said he: “would you come with me willingly?”  “Not only to Italy,” was
the answer, “but to the end of the world.  The doctors assure me that I
shall soon be in a condition to bear the motion of a litter; I already
feel better; your Majesty’s kindnesses will soon complete my cure.”
 Francis testified his satisfaction.  Some of his advisers, with more
distrust and more prevision, pressed him to order the arrest of so
dangerous a man, notwithstanding his protestations; but Francis refused.
According to what some historians say, if he had taken off the
sequestration laid upon the constable’s possessions, actually restored
them to him, as well as discharged the debts due to him and paid his
pensions, and carried him off to Italy, if, in a word, he had shown a
bold confidence and given back to him at once and forever the whole of
his position, he would, perhaps, have weaned him from his plot, and would
have won back to himself and to France that brave and powerful servant.
But Francis wavered between distrust and hope; he confined himself to
promising the constable restitution of his possessions if the decree of
Parliament was unfavorable to him; he demanded of him a written
engagement to remain always faithful to him and to join him in Italy as
soon as his illness would allow him; and, on taking leave of him, left
with him one of his own gentlemen, Peter de Brentonniere, Lord of Warthy,
with orders to report to the king as to his health.  In this officer
Bourbon saw nothing more or less than a spy, and in the king’s promises
nothing but vain words dependent as they were upon the issue of a lawsuit
which still remained an incubus upon him.  He had no answer for words but
words; he undertook the engagements demanded of him by the king without
considering them binding; and he remained ill at Moulins, waiting till
events should summon him to take action with his foreign allies.

This state of things lasted far nearly three weeks.  The king remained
stationary at Lyons waiting for the constable to join him; and the
constable, saying he was ready to set out and going so far as to actually
begin his march, was doing his three leagues a day by litter, being
always worse one day than he was the day before.  Peter de Warthy, the
officer whom the king had left with him, kept going and coming from Lyons
to Moulins and from Moulins to Lyons, conveying to the constable the
king’s complaints and to the king the constable’s excuses, without
bringing the constable to decide upon joining the king at Lyons and
accompanying him into Italy, or the king upon setting out for Italy
without the constable.  “I would give a hundred thousand crowns,” the
king sent word to Bourbon, “to be in Lombardy.”  “The king will do well,”
 answered Bourbon, “to get there as soon as possible, for despatch is
needful beyond everything.”  When Warthy insisted strongly, the constable
had him called up to his bedside; and “I feel myself,” said he, “the
most unlucky man in the world not to be able to serve the king; but if I
were to be obstinate, the doctors who are attending me would not answer
for my life, and I am even worse than the doctors think.  I shall never
be in a condition to do the king service any more.  I am going back to my
native air, and, if I recover a day’s health, I will go to the king.”
 “The king will be terribly put out,” said Warthy; and he returned to
Lyons to report these remarks of the real or pretended invalid.  While he
was away, the constable received from England and Spain news which made
him enter actively upon his preparations; he heard at the same time that
the king was having troops marched towards Bourbonness so as to lay
violent hands on him if he did not obey; he, therefore, decided to go and
place himself in security in his strong castle of Chantelle, where he
could await the movements of his allies; he mounted his horse, did six
leagues at one stretch, and did not draw bridle until he had entered
Chantelle.  Warthy speedily came and rejoined him.  He found the
constable sitting on his bed, dressed like an invalid and with his head
enveloped in a night-cap.  “M. de Warthy,” said Bourbon, “you bring your
spurs pretty close after mine.”  “My lord,” was the reply, “you have
better ones than I thought.”  “Think you,” said Bourbon, “that I did not
well, having but a finger’s breadth of life, to put it as far out of the
way as I could to avoid the king’s fury?”  “The king,” said Warthy, “was
never furious towards any man; far less would he be so in your case.”
 “Nay, nay,” rejoined the constable, “I know that the grand master and
Marshal de Chabannes set out from Lyons with the archers of the guard and
four or five thousand lanzknechts to seize me; and that is what made me
come to this house whilst biding my time until the king shall be pleased
to hear me.”  He demanded that the troops sent against him should be
ordered to halt till the morrow, promising not to stir from Chantelle
without a vindication of himself.  “Whither would you go, my lord?” said
Warthy: “if you wished to leave the kingdom, you could not; the king has
provided against that everywhere.”

“Nay,” said Bourbon, “I have no wish to leave the kingdom; I have
friends and servants there.”  Warthy went away from Chantelle in company
with the Bishop of Autun, Chiverny, who was one of the constable’s most
trusted friends, and who was bearer to the king of a letter which ran
thus: “Provided it please the king to restore to him his possessions, my
lord of Bourbon promises to serve him well and heartily, in all places
and at all times at which it shall seem good to him.  In witness whereof,
he has signed these presents, and begs the king to be pleased to pardon
those towards whom he is ill disposed on account of this business.
CHARLES.”  In writing this letter the constable had no other object than
to gain a little time, for, on bidding good by to the Bishop of Autun,
he said to him, “Farewell, my dear bishop; I am off to Carlat, and from
Carlat I shall slip away with five or six horses on my road to Spain.”
 On the next day but one, indeed, the 8th of September, 1523, whilst the
Bishop of Autun was kept prisoner by the troops sent forward to
Chantelle, the constable sallied from it about one in the morning, taking
with him five-and-twenty or thirty thousand crowns of gold sewn up in
from twelve to fifteen jackets, each of which was intrusted to a man in
his train.  For a month he wandered about Bourbonness, Auvergne,
Burgundy, Beaujolais, Vienness, Languedoc, and Dauphiny, incessantly
changing his road, his comrades, his costume, and his asylum,
occasionally falling in with soldiers of the king who were repairing to
Italy, and seeking for some place whence he might safely concert with and
act with his allies.  At last, in the beginning of October, he arrived at
Saint-Claude, in Franche-Comte, imperial territory, and on the 9th of
October he made his entry into Besancon, where there came to join him
some of his partisans who from necessity or accident had got separated
from him, without his having been able anywhere in his progress to excite
any popular movement, form any collection of troops, or intrench himself
strongly in his own states.  To judge from appearances, he was now but a
fugitive conspirator, without domains and without an army.

Such, however, were his fame and importance as a great lord and great
warrior, that Francis I., as soon as he knew him to be beyond his reach
and in a fair way to co-operate actively with his enemies, put off his
departure for Italy, and “offered the redoubtable fugitive immediate
restitution of his possessions, reimbursement from the royal treasury of
what was due to him, renewal of his pensions and security that they would
be paid him with punctuality.”  Bourbon refused everything.  “It is too
late,” he replied.  Francis I.’s envoy then asked him to give up the
sword of constable and the collar of the order of St.  Michael.  “You
will tell the king,” rejoined Bourbon, “that he took from me the sword
of constable on the day that he took from me the command of the
advance-guard to give it to M. d’Alencon.  As for the collar of his
order, you will find it at Chantelle under the pillow of my bed.”
 Francis I., in order to win back Bourbon, had recourse to his sister, the
Duchess of Lorraine [Renee de Bourbon, who had married, in 1515, Antony,
called the Good, Duke of Lorraine, son of Duke Rend II. and his second
wife, Philippine of Gueldres]: but she was not more successful.  After
sounding him, she wrote to Francis I. that the duke her brother “was
determined to go through with his enterprise, and that he proposed to
draw off towards Flanders by way of Lorraine with eighteen hundred horse
and ten thousand foot, and form a junction with the King of England.”
 [M. Mignet, _Etude sur le Connetable de Bourbon, in the Revue des Deux
Mondes_ of January 15, 1854, and March 15 and April 1, 1858.]

Under such grave and urgent circumstances, Francis I. behaved on the one
hand with more prudence and efficiency than he had yet displayed, and on
the other with his usual levity and indulgence towards his favorites.
Abandoning his expedition in person into Italy, he first concerned
himself for that internal security of his kingdom, which was threatened
on the east and north by the Imperialists and the English, and on the
south by the Spaniards, all united in considerable force and already in
motion.  Francis opposed to them in the east and north the young Count
Claude of Guise, the first celebrity amongst his celebrated race, the
veteran Louis de La Tremoille, the most tried of all his warriors, and
the Duke of Vendome, head of the younger branch of the House of Bourbon.
Into the south he sent Marshal de Lautrec, who was more brave than
successful, but of proved fidelity.  All these captains acquitted
themselves honorably.  Claude of Guise defeated a body of twelve thousand
lanzknechts who had already penetrated into Champagne; he hurled them
back into Lorraine, and dispersed them beneath the walls of the little
town of Neufchateau, where the princesses and ladies of Lorraine, showing
themselves at the windows, looked on and applauded their discomfiture.
La Tremoille’s only forces were very inferior to the thirty-five thousand
Imperialists or English who had entered Picardy; but he managed to make
of his small garrisons such prompt and skilful use that the invaders were
unable to get hold of a single place, and advanced somewhat heedlessly to
the very banks of the Oise, whence the alarm spread rapidly to Paris.
The Duke of Vendome, whom the king at once despatched thither with a
small body of men-at-arms, marched night and day to the assistance of the
Parisians, harangued the Parliament and Hotel de Ville vehemently on the
conspiracy of the Constable de Bourbon, and succeeded so well in
reassuring them that companies of the city militia eagerly joined his
troops, and the foreigners, in dread of finding themselves hemmed in,
judged it prudent to fall back, leaving Picardy in a state of equal
irritation and devastation.  In the south, Lautrec, after having made
head for three days and three nights against the attacks of a Spanish
army which had crossed the Pyrenees under the orders of the Constable of
Castille, forced it to raise the siege and beat a retreat.  Everywhere,
in the provinces as well as at the court, the feudal nobility, chieftains
and simple gentlemen, remained faithful to the king; the magistrates and
the people supported the military; it was the whole nation that rose
against the great lord, who, for his own purposes, was making alliance
with foreigners against the king and the country.

In respect of Italy, Francis I. was less wise and less successful.  Not
only did he persist in the stereotyped madness of the conquest of
Milaness and the kingdom of Naples, but abandoning for the moment the
prosecution of it in person, he intrusted it to his favorite, Admiral
Bonnivet, a brave soldier, alternately rash and backward, presumptuous
and irresolute, who had already lost credit by the mistakes he had
committed and the reverses he had experienced in that arena.  At the very
juncture when Francis I. confided this difficult charge to Bonnivet, the
Constable de Bourbon, having at last got out of France, crossed Germany,
repaired to Italy, and halted at Mantua, Piacenza, and Genoa; and, whilst
waiting for a reply from Charles V., whom he had informed of his arrival,
he associated with the leaders of the imperial armies, lived amongst the
troops, inoculated them with his own ardor as well as warlike views, and
by his natural superiority regained, amongst the European coalition, the
consideration and authority which had been somewhat diminished by his
ill-success in his own country and his flight from it.  Charles V. was
some time about sending an answer; for, in his eyes also, Bourbon had
fallen somewhat.  “Was it prudent,” says the historian of Bourbon
himself, “to trust a prince who, though born near the throne, had
betrayed his own blood and forsworn his own country?  Charles V. might no
doubt have insured his fidelity, had he given him in marriage Eleanor of
Austria, who was already affianced to him; but he could not make up his
mind to unite the destiny of a princess, his own sister, with that of a
prince whose position was equally pitiable and criminal.  At last,
however, he decided to name him his lieutenant-general in Italy; but he
surrounded him with so many colleagues and so much surveillance that he
had nothing to fear from his remorse and repentance.”  [_Histoire de la
Maison de Bourbon,_ t. ii.  p. 531.] Bourbon, however, though thus placed
in a position of perplexity and difficulty, was none the less an
adversary with whom Bonnivet was not in a condition to cope.

It was not long before this was proved by facts.  The campaign of 1524 in
Italy, brilliant as was its beginning, what with the number and the fine
appearance of the troops under Bonnivet’s orders, was, as it went on,
nothing but a series of hesitations, contradictory movements, blunders,
and checks, which the army itself set down to its general’s account.
Bonnivet, during his investment of Milan, had posted Bayard with a small
corps in the village of Rebec.  “The good knight, who was never wont to
murmur at any commission given him, said, ‘Sir Admiral, you would send me
to a village hard by the enemy, the which is without any fortress, and
would need four times so many men as I have, for to be in safety and to
hold it.’  ‘Sir Bayard,’ said the admiral, ‘go in peace; on my faith I
promise you that within three days I will send you plenty of men with you
for to hold Rebec, since I well know that it is not to be held with so
few men; but never you mind; there shall not a mouse get out of Milan
without you have notice of it.’  And so much did he say of one sort and
another that the good knight, with great disgust, went away with the men
told off to him to his post in Rebec.  He wrote many times to the admiral
that he was in very dangerous plight, and that, if he would have them
hold out long, he should send him aid; but he got no answer.  The enemies
who were inside Milan were warned that the good knight was in Rebec with
very little company; so they decided on a night to go and surprise and
defeat him.  And the good knight, who was ever on his guard, set nearly
every night half his men to watch and to listen, and himself passed two
or three nights at it, in such sort that he fell ill, as much from
melancholy as from cold, and far more than he let it appear; howbeit he
was forced to keep his room that day.  When it came on towards night, he
ordered some captains who were with him to go on the watch.  They went,
or made show of going; but, because it rained a little, back went all
those who were on the watch, save three or four poor archers, the which,
when the Spaniards approached within bow-shot of the village, made no
resistance, but took to flight, shouting, ‘Alarm alarm!’  The good
knight, who in such jeopardy never slept but with his clothes on, rose at
once, had the bridle put on a charger that was already saddled, and went
off with five or six men-at-arms of his, straight to the barrier whither
incontinently came up Captain Lorges and a certain number of his foot,
who bore themselves mighty well.  The uproar was great and the alarm was
hot.  Then said the good knight to Captain Lorges, ‘Lorges, my friend,
this is an unequal sort of game; if they pass this barrier we are cooked.
I pray you, retire your men, keep the best order you can, and march
straight to the camp at Abbiate-Grasso; I, with the horse I have, will
remain in the rear.  We must leave our baggage to the enemy; there is no
help for it.  Save we the lives if possible.’ .  .  .  The enemy sought
on all sides for the good knight, but he had already arrived at
Abbiate-Grasso, where he had some unpleasant words with the admiral;
howbeit, I will not make any mention of them; but if they had both lived
longer than they did live, they would probably have gone a little
farther.  The good knight was like to die of grief at the mishap that
had befallen him, even though it was not his fault; but in war there is
hap and mishap more than in all other things.”  [_Histoire du bon
Chevalier sans Peur et sans Reproche,_ t. ii.  pp. 120-123. _Les Gestes
et la Vie du Chevalier Bayard,_ by Champier, pp. 171-174.]

The situation of the French army before Milan was now becoming more and
more, not insecure only, but critical.  Bonnivet considered it his duty
to abandon it and fall back towards Piedmont, where he reckoned upon
finding a corps of five thousand Swiss who were coming to support their
compatriots engaged in the service of France.  Near Romagnano, on the
banks of the Sesia, the retreat was hotly pressed by the imperial army,
the command of which had been ultimately given by Charles V. to the
Constable de Bourbon, with whom were associated the Viceroy of Naples,
Charles de Lannoy, and Ferdinand d’Avalos, Marquis of Pescara, the most
able amongst the Neapolitan officers.  On the 30th of April, 1524, some
disorder took place in the retreat of the French; and Bonnivet, being
severely wounded, had to give up the command to the Count of St. Pol and
to Chevalier Bayard.  Bayard, last as well as first in the fight,
according to his custom, charged at the head of some men-at-arms upon the
Imperialists, who were pressing the French too closely, when he was
himself struck by a shot from an arquebuse, which shattered his reins.
“Jesus, my God,” he cried, “I am dead!”  He then took his sword by the
handle, and kissed the cross-hilt of it as the sign of the cross, saying
aloud as he did so, “Have pity on me, O God, according to Thy great
mercy” (Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam);
thereupon he became incontinently quite pale, and all but fell; but he
still had heart enough to grasp the pommel of the saddle, and remained in
that condition until a young gentleman, his own house-steward, helped him
to dismount and set him down under a tree, with his face to the enemy.
The poor gentleman burst into tears, seeing his good master so mortally
hurt that remedy there was none; but the good knight consoled him gently,
saying, “Jacques, my friend, leave off thy mourning; it is God’s will to
take me out of this world; by His grace I have lived long therein, and
have received therein blessings and honors more than my due.  All the
regret I feel at dying is that I have not done my duty so well as I
ought.  I pray you, Jacques, my friend, let them not take me up from this
spot, for, when I move, I feel all the pains that one can feel, short of
death, which will seize me soon.”  The Constable de Bourbon, being
informed of his wound, came to him, saying, “Bayard, my friend, I am sore
distressed at your mishap; there is nothing for it but patience; give not
way to melancholy; I will send in quest of the best surgeons in this
country, and, by God’s help, you will soon be healed.”  “My lord,”
 answered Bayard, “there is no pity for me; I die having done my duty; but
I have pity for you, to see you serving against your king, your country,
and your oath.”  Bourbon withdrew without a word.  The Marquis of Pescara
came passing by.  “Would to God, gentle Sir Bayard,” said he, “that it
had cost me a quart of my blood, without meeting my death, that I had
been doomed not to taste meat for two years, and that I held you safe and
sound my prisoner, for by the treatment I showed you, you should have
understanding of how much I esteemed the high prowess that was in you.”
 He ordered his people to rig up a tent over Bayard, and to forbid any
noise near him, so that he might die in peace.  Bayard’s own gentlemen
would not, at any price, leave him.  “I do beseech you,” he said to them,
“to get you gone; else you might fall into the enemy’s hands, and that
would profit me nothing, for all is over with me.  To God I commend ye,
my good friends; and I recommend to you my poor soul; and salute, I pray
you, the king our master, and tell him that I am distressed at being no
longer able to do him service, for I had good will thereto.  And to my
lords the princes of France, and all my lords my comrades, and generally
to all gentlemen of the most honored realm of France when ye see them.”

[Illustration: The Death of Bayard----76]

“He lived for two or three hours yet.  There was brought to him a priest,
to whom he confessed, and then he yielded up his soul to God; whereat all
the enemy had mourning incredible.  Five days after his death, on the 5th
of May, 1524, Beaurain wrote to Charles V., ‘Sir, albeit Sir Bayard was
your enemy’s servant, yet was it pity of his death, for ‘twas a gentle
knight, well beloved of every one, and one that lived as good a life as
ever any man of his condition.  And in truth he fully showed it by his
end, for it was the most beautiful that I ever heard tell of.’  By the
chiefs of the Spanish army certain gentlemen were commissioned to bear
him to the church, where solemn service was done for him during two days.
Then, by his own servitors was he carried into Dauphiny, and, on passing
through the territory of the Duke of Savoy, where the body was rested, he
did it as many honors as if it had been his own brother’s.  When the news
of his death was known in Dauphiny, I trow that never for a thousand
years died there gentleman of the country mourned in such sort.  He was
borne from church to church, at first near Grenoble, where all my lords
of the parliament court of Dauphiny, my lords of the Exchequer, pretty
well all the nobles of the country and the greater part of all the
burgesses, townsfolk, and villagers came half a league to meet the body:
then into the church of Notre-Dame, in the aforesaid Grenoble, where a
solemn service was done for him; then to a house of _Minimes,_ which had
been founded aforetime by his good uncle the bishop of Grenoble, Laurens
Alment; and there he was honorably interred.  Then every one withdrew to
his own house; but for a month there was a stop put to festivals dances,
banquets, and all other pastimes.  ‘Las! they had good reason; for
greater loss could not have come upon the country.”  [_Histoire du bon
Chevalier sans Peur et sans Reproche,_ t. ii.  pp. 125-132.]

It is a duty and an honor for history to give to such lives and such
deaths, as remarkable for modesty as for manly worth, the full place
which they ought to occupy in the memory of mankind.

The French army continued its retreat under the orders of the Count of
St. Pol, and re-entered France by way of Suza and Briancon.  It was
Francis I.’s third time of losing Milaness.  Charles V., enchanted at the
news, wrote on the 24th of May to Henry VIII., “I keep you advertised of
the good opportunity it has pleased God to offer us of giving a full
account of our common enemy.  I pray you to carry into effect on your
side that which you and I have for a long while desired, wherein I for my
part will exert myself with all my might.”  Bourbon proposed to the two
sovereigns a plan well calculated to allure them.  He made them an offer
to enter France by way of Provence with his victorious army, to
concentrate there all the re-enforcements promised him, to advance up the
Rhone, making himself master as he went of the only two strong places,
Monaco and Marseilles, he would have to encounter, to march on Lyons from
the side on which that city was defenceless, and be in four months at
Paris, whether or no he had a great battle to deliver on the march.  “If
the king wishes to enter France without delay,” said he to Henry VIII.’s
ambassador, “I give his Grace leave to pluck out my two-eyes if I am not
master of Paris before All Saints.  Paris taken, all the kingdom of
France is in my power.  Paris in France is like Milan in Lombardy; if
Milan is taken, the duchy is lost; in the same way, Paris taken, the
whole of France is lost.”  By this plan Bourbon calculated on arriving
victorious at the centre of France, in his own domains, and there
obtaining, from both nobles and people, the co-operation that had failed
him at the outset of his enterprise.  The two sovereigns were eager to
close with the proposal of the Frenchman, who was for thus handing over
to them his country; a new treaty was concluded between them on the 25th
of May, 1524, regulating the conditions and means of carrying out this
grand campaign; and it was further agreed that Provence and Dauphiny
should be added to the constable’s old possessions, and should form a
state, which Charles V. promised to raise to a kingdom.  There was yet a
difficulty looming ahead.  Bourbon still hesitated to formally
acknowledge Henry VIII. as King of France, and promise him allegiance.
But at last his resistance was overcome.  At the moment of crossing the
frontier into France, and after having taken the communion, he said to
the English ambassador, Sir Richard Pace, in the presence of four of his
gentlemen, “I promise you, on my faith, to place the crown, with the help
of my friends, on the head of our common master.”  But, employing a ruse
of the old feudal times, the last gasp of a troubled conscience, Bourbon,
whilst promising allegiance to Henry VIII., persisted in refusing to do
him homage.  Sir Richard Pace none the less regarded the question as
decided; and, whilst urging Cardinal Wolsey to act swiftly and resolutely
in the interests of their master, he added, “If you do not pay regard to
these matters, I shall set down to your Grace’s account the loss of the
crown of France.”

Bourbon entered Provence on the 7th of July, 1524, with an army of
eighteen thousand men, which was to be joined before long by six or seven
thousand more.  He had no difficulty in occupying Antibes, Frejus,
Draguignan, Brignoles, and even Aix; and he already began to assume the
title of Count of Provence, whilst preparing for a rapid march along by
the Rhone and a rush upon Lyons, the chief aim of the campaign; but the
Spanish generals whom Charles V. had associated with him, and amongst
others the most eminent of them, the Marquis of Pescara, peremptorily
insisted that, according to their master’s order, he should besiege and
take Marseilles.  Charles V. cared more for the coasts of the
Mediterranean than for those of the Channel; he flattered himself that he
would make of Marseilles a southern Calais, which should connect Germany
with Spain, and secure their communications, political and commercial.
Bourbon objected and resisted; it was the abandonment of his general plan
for this war and a painful proof how powerless he was against the wishes
of the two sovereigns, of whom he was only the tool, although they called
him their ally.  Being forced to yield, he began the siege of Marseilles
on the 19th of August.  The place, though but slightly fortified and ill
supplied, made an energetic resistance; the name and the presence of
Bourbon at the head of the besiegers excited patriotism; the burgesses
turned soldiers; the cannon of the besiegers laid open their walls, but
they threw up a second line, an earthen rampart, called the ladies’
rampart, because all the women in the city had worked at it.  The siege
was protracted; the re-enforcements expected by Bourbon did not arrive; a
shot from Marseilles penetrated into Pescara’s tent, and killed his
almoner and two of his gentlemen.  Bourbon rushed up.  “Don’t you see?”
 said Pescara to him, ironically, “here are the keys sent to you by the
timid consuls of Marseilles.”  Bourbon resolved to attempt an assault;
the lanzknechts and the Italians refused; Bourbon asked Pescara for his
Spaniards, but Pescara would only consent on condition that the breach
was reconnoitered afresh.  Seven soldiers were told off for this duty;
four were killed and the other three returned wounded, reporting that
between the open breach and the intrenchment extended a large ditch
filled with fireworks and defended by several batteries.  The assembled
general officers looked at one another in silence.  “Well, gentlemen,”
 said Pescara, “you see that the folks of Marseilles keep a table well
spread for our reception; if you like to go and sup in paradise, you are
your own masters so far; as for me, who have no desire to go thither just
yet, I am off.  But believe me,” he added seriously, “we had best return
to Milaness; we have left that country without a soldier; we might
possibly find our return cut off.”  Whereupon Pescara got up and went
out; and the majority of the officers followed him.  Bourbon remained
almost alone, divided between anger and shame.  Almost as he quitted this
scene he heard that Francis I. was advancing towards Provence with an
army.  The king had suddenly decided to go to the succor of Marseilles,
which was making so good a defence.  Nothing could be a bitterer pill for
Bourbon than to retire before Francis I., whom he had but lately promised
to dethrone; but his position condemned him to suffer everything, without
allowing him the least hesitation; and on the 28th of September, 1524, he
raised the siege of Marseilles and resumed the road to Italy, harassed
even beyond Toulon by the French advance-guard, eager in its pursuit of
the traitor even more than of the enemy.

In the course of this year, 1524, whilst Bourbon was wandering as a
fugitive, trying to escape from his country, then returning to it, after
a few months, as a conqueror, and then leaving it again at the end of a
few weeks of prospective triumph, pursued by the king he had betrayed,
his case and that of his accomplices had been inquired into and disposed
of by the Parliament of Paris, dispassionately and almost coldly,
probably because of the small esteem in which the magistrates held the
court of Francis I., and of the wrong which they found had been done to
the constable.  The Parliament was not excited by a feeling of any great
danger to the king and the country; it was clear that, at the core, the
conspiracy and rebellion were very circumscribed and impotent; and the
accusations brought by the court party or their servants against the
conspirators were laughable from their very outrageousness and
unlikelihood; according to them, the accomplices of the constable meant
not only to dethrone, and, if need were, kill the king, but “to make pies
of the children of France.”  Parliament saw no occasion to proceed
against more than a half score of persons in confinement, and, except
nineteen defaulters who were condemned to death together with
confiscation of their property, only one capital sentence was pronounced,
against John of Poitiers, Lord of Saint-Vallier, the same who had exerted
himself to divert the constable from his plot, but who had nevertheless
not refrained from joining it, and was the most guilty of all the
accomplices in consequence of the confidential post he occupied near the
king’s person.  The decree was not executed, however; Saint-Vallier
received his reprieve on the scaffold itself.  Francis I. was neither
rancorous nor cruel; and the entreaties, or, according to some
evil-speakers of the day, the kind favors, of the Lady de Brew,
Saint-Vallier’s daughter and subsequently the celebrated Diana of
Poitiers, obtained from the king her father’s life.

Francis I., greatly vexed, it is said, at the lenity of the Parliament of
Paris, summoned commissions chosen amongst the Parliaments of Rouen,
Dijon, Toulouse, and Bordeaux, and made them reconsider the case.  The
provincial Parliaments decided as that of Paris had.  The procedure
against the principal culprit was several times suspended and resumed
according to the course of events, and the decree was not pronounced so
long as the Duke of Bourbon lived.  It was abroad and in his alliance
with foreign sovereigns that all his importance lay.

After Bourbon’s precipitate retreat, the position of Francis I. was a
good one.  He had triumphed over conspiracy and invasion; the conspiracy
had not been catching, and the invasion had failed on all the frontiers.
If the king, in security within his kingdom, had confined himself to it,
whilst applying himself to the task of governing it well, he would have
obtained all the strength he required to make himself feared and deferred
to abroad.  For a while he seemed to have entertained this design: on the
25th of September, 1523, he published an important ordinance for the
repression of disorderliness and outrages on the part of the soldiery in
France itself; and, on the 28th of December following, a regulation as to
the administration of finances established a control over the various
exchequer-officers, and announced the king’s intention of putting some
limits to his personal expenses, “not including, however,” said he, “the
ordinary run of our little necessities and pleasures.”  This singular
reservation was the faithful exponent of his character; he was licentious
at home and adventurous abroad, being swayed by his coarse passions and
his warlike fancies.  Even far away from Paris, in the heart of the
provinces, the king’s irregularities were known and dreaded.  In 1524,
some few weeks after the death [at Blois, July 20, 1524] of his wife,
Queen Claude, daughter of Louis XII., a virtuous and modest princess more
regretted by the people than by her husband, Francis made his entry into
Manosque, in Provence.  The burgesses had the keys of their town
presented to him by the most beautiful creature they could find within
their walls; it was the daughter of Antony Voland, one of themselves.
The virtuous young girl was so frightened at the king’s glances and the
signs he made to his gentry, evidently alluding to her, that, on
returning home, she got some burning sulphur and placed herself for a
long while under the influence of its vapor, in order to destroy the
beauty which made her run the risk of being only too pleasing to the
king.  Francis, who was no great or able captain, could not resist the
temptations of war any more than those of the flesh.  When Bourbon and
the imperial army had evacuated Provence, the king loudly proclaimed his
purpose of pursuing them into Italy, and of once more going forth to the
conquest of Milaness, and perhaps also of the kingdom of Naples, that
incurable craze of French kings in the sixteenth century.  In vain did
his most experienced warriors, La Tremoille and Chabannes, exert
themselves to divert him from such a campaign, for which he was not
prepared; in vain did his mother herself write to him, begging him to
wait and see her, for that she had important matters to impart to him.
He answered by sending her the ordinance which conferred upon her the
regency during his absence; and, at the end of October, 1524, he had
crossed the Alps, anxious to go and risk in Milaness the stake he had
just won in Provence against Charles V.

Arriving speedily in front of Milan, he there found the imperial army
which had retired before him; there was a fight in one of the outskirts;
but Bourbon recognized the impossibility of maintaining a siege in a town
of which the fortifications were in ruins, and with disheartened troops.
On the line of march which they had pursued, from Lodi to Milan, there
was nothing to be seen but cuirasses, arquebuses tossed hither and
thither, dead horses, and men dying of fatigue and scarcely able to drag
themselves along.  Bourbon evacuated Milan, and, taking a resolution as
bold as it was singular, abruptly abandoned, so far as he was personally
concerned, that defeated and disorganized army, to go and seek for and
reorganize another at a distance.  Being informed that Charles III., Duke
of Savoy, hitherto favorable to France, was secretly inclining towards
the emperor, he went to Turin, made a great impression by his confidence
and his grand spirit in the midst of misfortune upon both the duke and
his wife, Beatrix of Portugal, and obtained from them not only a
flattering reception, but a secret gift of their money and their jewelry;
and, equipped with these resources, he passed into Germany to recruit
soldiers there.  The lanzknechts, who had formerly served under him in
France, rushed to him in shoals; he had received from nature the gifts
most calculated to gain the hearts of campaigners: kind, accessible,
affable and even familiar with the common soldier, he entered into the
details of his wants and alleviated them.  His famous bravery, his
frankness, and his generosity gained over those adventurers who were
weary of remaining idle; their affection consoled Bourbon and stood him
in stead of all: his army became his family and his camp his country.
Proscribed and condemned in France, without any position secured to him
in the dominions of Charles V., envied and crossed by that prince’s
generals, he had found full need of all the strong tempering of his
character and of his warlike genius to keep him from giving way under so
many trials.  He was beginning to feel himself near recovery: he had an
army, an army of his own; he had chosen for it men inured to labor and
fatigue, accustomed to strict discipline; and thereto he added five
hundred horsemen from Franche-Comte for whose devotion and courage he
could answer: and he gave the second command in this army to George of
Freundsberg, an old captain of lanzknechts and commandant of the
emperor’s guard, the same who, three years before, on seeing Luther
boldly enter Worms, said to him, with a slap on the shoulder, “Little
monk, this is a daring step thou art going to take!  Nor I, nor any
captain of us, ever did the like.  If thy cause is good, and if thou have
faith in thy cause, forward! little monk, in God’s name forward!”  With
such comrades about him, Bourbon re-entered Milaness at the head of
twelve or thirteen thousand fighting men, three months after having left
it, alone and moneyless.  His rivals about the person of Charles V.,
Lannoy, Viceroy of Naples, and the Marquis of Pescara, could not help
admiring him, and he regained in the imperial camp an ascendency which
had but lately been very much shaken.

He found the fresh campaign begun in earnest.  Francis I.’s veteran
generals, Marshals La Tremoille and Chabannes, had advised him to pursue
without pause the beaten and disorganized imperial army, which was in
such plight that there was placarded on the statue of Pasquin at Rome,
“Lost--an army--in the mountains of Genoa; if anybody knows what has
become of it, let him come forward and say: he shall be well rewarded.”
 If the King of France, it was said, drove back northward and forced into
the Venetian dominions the remnants of this army, the Spaniards would not
be able to hold their own in Milaness, and would have to retire within
the kingdom of Naples.  But Admiral Bonnivet, “whose counsel the king
made use of more than of any other,” says Du Bellay, pressed Francis I.
to make himself master, before everything, of the principal strong places
in Lombardy, especially of Pavia, the second city in the duchy of Milan.
Francis followed this counsel, and on the 26th of August, 1524, twenty
days after setting out from Aix in Provence, he appeared with his army in
front of Pavia.  On learning this resolution, Pescara joyously exclaimed,
“We were vanquished; a little while and we shall be vanquishers.”  Pavia
had for governor a Spanish veteran, Antony de Leyva, who had
distinguished himself at the battle of Ravenna, in 1512, by his vigilance
and indomitable tenacity: and he held out for nearly four months, first
against assaults, and then against investment by the French army.
Francis I. and his generals occasionally proceeded during this siege to
severities condemned by the laws and usages of war.  A small Spanish
garrison had obstinately defended a tower situated at the entrance of a
stone bridge which led from an island on the Ticino into Pavia.  Marshal
de Montmorency at last carried the tower, and had all the defenders
hanged “for having dared,” he said, “to offer resistance to an army of
the king’s in such a pigeon-hole.”  Antony de Leyva had the bridge
forthwith broken down, and De Montmorency was stopped on the borders of
the Ticino.  In spite of the losses of its garrison in assaults and
sorties, and in spite of the sufferings of the inhabitants from famine
and from lack of resources of all sorts, Pavia continued to hold out.
There was a want of wood as well as of bread; and they knocked the houses
to pieces for fuel.  Antony de Leyva caused to be melted down the vessels
of the churches and the silvern chandeliers of the university, and even a
magnificent chain of gold which he habitually wore round his neck.  He
feared he would have to give in at last, for want of victuals and
ammunition, when, towards the end of January, 1525, he saw appearing, on
the northern side, the flags of the imperial army: it was Bourbon,
Lannoy, and Pescara, who were coming up with twenty thousand foot, seven
hundred men-at-arms, a troop of Spanish arquebusiers, and several pieces
of cannon.  Bourbon, whilst on the march, had written, on the 5th of
January, to Henry VIII., and, after telling him what he meant to do, had
added, “I know through one of my servants that the French have said that
I retired from Provence shamefully.  I remained there a space of three
months and eight days, waiting for battle.  I hope to give the world to
know that I have no fear of King Francis, for, please God, we shall place
ourselves so close together that we shall have great trouble to get
disentangled without battle, and I shall so do that neither he nor they
who have held such talk about me shall say that I was afraid of being
there.”  The situation was from that moment changed.  The French army
found themselves squeezed between the fortress which would not surrender
and the imperial army which was coming to relieve it.  Things, however,
remained stationary for three weeks.  Francis I. intrenched himself
strongly in his camp, which the Imperialists could not attack without
great risk of unsuccess.  “Pavia is doomed to fall,” wrote Francis to his
mother the regent on the 3d of February, “if they do not reenforce it
somehow; and they are beating about to make it hold on to the last gasp,
which, I think, will not be long now, for it is more than a month since
those inside have had no wine to drink and neither meat nor cheese to
eat; they are short of powder even.”  Antony de Leyva gave notice to the
Imperialists that the town was not in a condition for further resistance.
On the other hand, if the imperial army put off fighting, they could not
help breaking up; they had exhausted their victuals, and the leaders
their money; they were keeping the field without receiving pay, and were
subsisting, so to speak, without resources.  The prudent Marquis of
Pescara himself was for bringing on a battle, which was indispensable.
“A hundred years in the field,” said he, in the words of an old Italian
proverb, “are better than one day of fighting, for one may lose in a
doubtful melley what one was certain of winning by skilful manoeuvres;
but when one can no longer keep the field, one must risk a battle, so as
not to give the enemy the victory without a fight.”  The same question
was being discussed in the French camp.  The veteran captains, La
Tremoille and Chabannes, were of opinion that by remaining in the strong
position in which they were encamped they would conquer without fighting.
Bonnivet and De Montmorency were of the contrary opinion.  “We French,”
 said Bonnivet, “have not been wont to make war by means of military
artifices, but handsomely and openly, especially when we have at our head
a valiant king, who is enough to make the veriest dastards fight.  Our
kings bring victory with them, as our little king Charles VIII. did at
the Taro, our king Louis XII. at Agnadello, and our king who is here
present at Melegnano.”  Francis I. was not the man to hold out against
such sentiments and such precedents; and he decided to accept battle as
soon as it should be offered him.  The imperial leaders, at a council
held on the 23d of February, determined to offer it next day.  Bourbon
vigorously supported the opinion of Pescara.

Antony de Leyva was notified the same evening of their decision, and was
invited to make, as soon as he heard two cannon-shots, a sortie which
would place the French army between two fires.  Pescara, according to his
custom, mustered the Spaniards; and, “My lads,” said he, “fortune has
brought you to such extremity that on the soil of Italy you have for your
own only that which is under your feet.  All the emperor’s might could
not procure for you to-morrow morning one morsel of bread.  We know not
where to get it, save in the Frenchman’s camp, which is before your eyes.
There they have abundance of everything, bread, meat, trout and carp from
the Lake of Garda.  And so, my lads, if you are set upon having anything
to eat tomorrow, march we down on the Frenchmen’s camp.”  Freundsberg
spoke in the same style to the German lanzknechts.  And both were
responded to with cheers.  Eloquence is mighty powerful when it speaks in
the name of necessity.

The two armies were of pretty equal strength: they had each from twenty
to five and twenty thousand infantry, French, Germans, Spaniards,
lanzknechts, and Swiss.  Francis I. had the advantage in artillery and in
heavy cavalry, called at that time the gendarmerie, that is to say, the
corps of men-at-arms in heavy armor with their servants; but his troops
were inferior in effectives to the Imperialists, and Charles V.’s two
generals, Bourbon and Pescara, were, as men of war, far superior to
Francis I. and his favorite Bonnivet.  In the night between the 23d and
24th of February they opened a breach of forty or fifty fathoms in the
wall around the park of Mirabello, where the French camp was situated; a
corps immediately passed through it, marching on Pavia to re-enforce the
garrison, and the main body of the imperial army entered the park to
offer the French battle on that ground.  The king at once set his army in
motion; and his well-posted artillery mowed down the corps of Germans and
Spaniards who had entered the park.  “You could see nothing,” says a
witness of the battle, “but heads and arms flying about.”  The action
seemed to be going ill for the Imperialists; Pescara urged the Duke of
Bourbon and Lannoy, the Viceroy of Naples, to make haste and come up;
Lannoy made the sign of the cross, and said to his men, “There is no hope
but in God; follow me and do every one as I do.”  Francis I., on his
side, advanced with the pick of his men-at-arms, burst on the
advance-guard of the enemy, broke it, killed with his own hand the
Marquis of Civita-San-Angelo, and dispersed the various corps he found in
his way.  In the confidence of his joy he thought the victory decided,
and, turning to Marshal de Foix, who was with him, “M. de Lescun,” said
he, “now am I fain to call myself Duke of Milan.”  But Bourbon and
Pescara were not the men to accept a defeat so soon; they united all
their forces, and resumed the offensive at all points; the French
batteries, masked by an ill-considered movement on the part of their own
troops, who threw themselves between them and the enemy, lost all
serviceability; and Pescara launched upon the French gendarmerie fifteen
hundred Basque arquebusiers, whom he had exercised and drilled to
penetrate into the midst of the horses, shoot both horses and riders, and
fall back rapidly after having discharged their pieces.  Being attacked
by the German lanzknechts of Bourbon and Freundsberg, the Swiss in the
French service did not maintain their renown, and began to give way.  “My
God, what is all this!” cried Francis I., seeing them waver, and he
dashed towards them to lead them back into action; but neither his
efforts, nor those of John of Diesbach and the Lord of Fleuranges, who
were their commanders, were attended with success.  The king was only
the more eager for the fray; and, rallying around him all those of his
men-at-arms who would neither recoil nor surrender, he charged the
Imperialists furiously, throwing himself into the thickest of the melley,
and seeking in excess of peril some chance of victory; but Pescara,
though wounded in three places, was none the less stubbornly fighting on,
and Antony de Leyva, governor of Pavia, came with the greater part of the
garrison to his aid.  At this very moment Francis I.  heard that the
first prince of the blood, his brother-in-law the Duke of Alencon, who
commanded the rear-guard, had precipitately left the field of battle.
The oldest and most glorious warriors of France, La Tremoille, Marshal de
Chabannes, Marshal de Foix, the grand equerry San Severino, the Duke of
Suffolk, Francis of Lorraine, Chaumont, Bussy d’Amboise, and Francis de
Duras fell, here and there, mortally wounded.  At this sight Admiral
Bonnivet in despair exclaimed, “I can never survive this fearful havoc;”
 and raising the visor of his helmet, he rushed to meet the shots which
were aimed at him, and in his turn fell beside his comrades in arms.
Bourbon had expressly charged his men to search everywhere in the melley
for the admiral, and bring him in a prisoner.  When, as he passed along
that part of the battle-field, he recognized the corpse, “Ah! wretch,” he
cried, as he moved away, “it is thou who hast caused the ruin of France
and of me!”  Amidst these dead and dying, Francis still fought on;
wounded as he was in the face, the arms, and the legs, he struck right
and left with his huge sword, and cut down the nearest of his assailants;
but his horse, mortally wounded, dragged him down as it fell; he was up
again in an instant, and, standing beside his horse, he laid low two more
Spaniards who were pressing him closely; the ruck of the soldiers crowded
about him; they did not know him, but his stature, his strength, his
bravery, his coat of mail studded with golden lilies, and his helmet
overshadowed by a thick plume of feathers pointed him out to all as the
finest capture to make; his danger was increasing every minute, when one
of Bourbon’s most intimate confidants, the Lord of Pomperant, who, in
1523, had accompanied the constable in his flight through France, came up
at this critical moment, recognized the king, and, beating off the
soldiers with his sword, ranged himself at the king’s side, represented
to-him the necessity of yielding, and pressed him to surrender to the
Duke of Bourbon, who was not far off.  “No,” said the king, “rather die
than pledge my faith to a traitor where is the Viceroy of Naples?”  It
took some time to find Lannoy; but at last he arrived and put one knee on
the ground before Francis I., who handed his sword to him.  Lannoy took
it with marks of the most profound respect, and immediately gave him
another.  The battle was over, and Francis I. was Charles V.’s prisoner.

[Illustration: Capture of Francis I.----91]

He had shown himself an imprudent and unskilful general, but at the same
time a hero.  His conquerors, both officers and privates, could not help,
whilst they secured his person, showing their admiration for him.  When
he sat down to table, after having had his wounds, which were slight,
attended to, Bourbon approached him respectfully and presented him with a
dinner-napkin; and the king took it without embarrassment and with frigid
and curt politeness.  He next day granted him an interview, at which an
accommodation took place with due formalities on both sides, but nothing
more.  All the king’s regard was for the Marquis of Pescara, who came to
see him in a simple suit of black, in order, as it were, to share his
distress.  “He was a perfect gentleman,” said Francis I., “both in peace
and in war.”  He heaped upon him marks of esteem and almost of
confidence.  “How do you think,” he asked, “the emperor will behave to
me?”  “I think,” replied Pescara, “I can answer for the emperor’s
moderation; I am sure that he will make a generous use of his victory.
If, however, he were capable of forgetting what is due to your rank, your
merits, and your misfortunes, I would never cease to remind him of it,
and I would lose what little claim upon him my services may have given
me, or you should be satisfied with his behavior.”  The king embraced him
warmly.  He asked to be excused from entering Pavia, that he might not be
a gazing-stock in a town that he had so nearly taken.  He was,
accordingly, conducted to Pizzighittone, a little fortress between Milan
and Cremona.  He wrote thence two letters, one to his mother the regent
and the other to Charles V., which are here given word for word, because
they so well depict his character and the state of his mind in his hour
of calamity:--

     1.  “To the Regent of France: Madame, that you may know how stands
     the rest of my misfortune: there is nothing in the world left to me
     but honor and my life, which is safe.  And in order that, in your
     adversity, this news might bring you some little comfort, I prayed
     for permission to write you this letter, which was readily granted
     me; entreating you, in the exercise of your accustomed prudence, to
     be pleased not to do anything rash, for I have hope, after all, that
     God will not forsake me.  Commending to you my children your
     grandchildren, and entreating you to give the bearer a free passage,
     going and returning, to Spain, for he is going to the emperor to
     learn how it is his pleasure that I should be treated.”

     2.  “To the Emperor Charles V.: If liberty had been sooner granted
     me by my cousin the viceroy, I should not have delayed so long to do
     my duty towards you, according as the time and the circumstances in
     which I am placed require; having no other comfort under my
     misfortune than a reliance on your goodness, which, if it so please,
     shall employ the results of victory with honorableness towards me;
     having steadfast hope that your virtue would not willingly constrain
     me to anything that was not honorable; entreating you to consult
     your own heart as to what you shall be pleased to do with me;
     feeling sure that the will of a prince such as you are cannot be
     coupled with aught but honor and magnanimity.  Wherefore, if it
     please you to have so much honorable pity as to answer for the
     safety which a captive King of France deserves to find, whom there
     is a desire to render friendly and not desperate, you may be sure of
     obtaining an acquisition instead of a useless prisoner, and of
     making a King of France your slave forever.”

The former of these two letters has had its native hue somewhat altered
in the majority of histories, in which it has been compressed into those
eloquent words, “All is lost save honor.”  The second needs no comment to
make apparent what it lacks of kingly pride and personal dignity.
Beneath the warrior’s heroism there was in the qualities of Francis I.
more of what is outwardly brilliant and winning than of real strength and
solidity.

But the warrior’s heroism, in conjunction with what is outwardly
brilliant and winning in the man, exercises a great influence over
people.  The Viceroy of Naples perceived and grew anxious at the
popularity of which Francis I. was the object at Pizzighittone.  The
lanzknechts took an open interest in him and his fortunes; the Italians
fixed their eyes on him; and Bourbon, being reconciled to him, might
meditate carrying him off.  Lannoy resolved to send him to Naples, where
there would be more certainty of guarding him securely.  Francis made no
objection to this design.  On the 12th of May, 1525, he wrote to his
mother, “Madame, the bearer has assured me that he will bring you this
letter safely; and, as I have but little time, I will tell you nothing
more than I shall be off to Naples on Monday--, and so keep a lookout at
sea, for we shall have only fourteen galleys to take us and eighteen
hundred Spaniards to man them; but those will be all their arquebusiers.
Above all, haste: for, if that is made, I am in hopes that you may soon
see your most humble and most obedient son.”  There was no opportunity
for even attempting to carry off the king as he went by sea to Naples;
instead of taking him to Naples, Lannoy transported him straight to
Spain, with the full assent of the king and the regent themselves, for it
was in French galleys manned by Spanish troops that the voyage was made.
Instead of awaiting the result of such doubtful chances of deliverance as
might occur in Italy, Francis I., his mother, and his sister Margaret,
entertained the idea that what was of the utmost importance for him was
to confer and treat in person with Charles V., which could not be done
save in Spain itself.  In vain did Bourbon and Pescara, whose whole
influence and ambitious hopes lay in Italy, and who, on that stage,
regarded Francis I. as their own prisoner rather than Charles V.’s, exert
themselves to combat this proposal; the Viceroy of Naples, in concert, no
doubt, with Charles V.  himself as well as with Francis I. and his
mother, took no heed of their opposition; and Francis I., disembarking at
the end of June at Barcelona first and then at Valentia, sent, on the 2d
of July, to Charles V. the Duke de Montmorency, with orders to say that
he had desired to approach the emperor, “not only to obtain peace and
deliverance in his own person, but also to establish and confirm Italy in
the state and fact of devotion to the emperor, before that the potentates
and lords of Italy should have leisure to rally together in opposition.”
 The regent, his mother, and his sister Margaret congratulated him
heartily on his arrival in Spain, and Charles V.  himself wrote to him,
“It was a pleasure to me to hear of your arrival over here, because that,
just now, it will be the cause of a happy general peace for the great
good of Christendom, which is what I most desire.”

It is difficult to understand how Francis I. and Charles V. could rely
upon personal interviews and negotiations for putting an end to their
contentions and establishing a general peace.  Each knew the other’s
pretensions, and they knew how little disposed they were, either of them,
to abandon them.  On the 28th of March, 1525, a month after the battle of
Pavia, Charles V. had given his ambassadors instructions as to treating
for the ransom and liberation of the King of France.  His chief
requirements were, that Francis I. should renounce all attempts at
conquest in Italy, that he should give up the suzerainty of the
countships of Flanders and Artois, that he should surrender to Charles V.
the duchy of Burgundy with all its dependencies, as derived from Mary of
Burgundy, daughter of the last duke, Charles the Rash; that the Duke of
Bourbon should be reinstated in possession of all his domains, with the
addition thereto of Provence and Dauphiny, which should form an
independent state; and, lastly, that France should pay England all the
sums of money which Austria owed her.  Francis I., on hearing, at
Pizzighittone, these proposals read out, suddenly drew his sword as if to
stab himself, saying, “It were better for a king to end thus.”  His
custodian, Alancon, seized his arm, whilst recalling him to his senses.
Francis recovered calmness, but without changing his resolution; he would
rather, he said, bury himself in a prison forever than subscribe to
conditions destructive of his kingdom, and such as the States General of
France would never accept.  When Francis I. was removed to Spain he had
made only secondary concessions as to these requirements of Charles V.,
and Charles V. had not abandoned any one of his original requirements.
Marshal de Montmorency, when sent by the king to the emperor on the 2d of
July, 1525, did not enter at all into the actual kernel of the
negotiation; after some conventional protestations of a pacific kind, he
confined himself to demanding “a safe conduct for Madame Marguerite of
France, the king’s only sister, Duchess of Alencon and Berry, who would
bring with her such and so full powers of treating for peace, the
liberation of the king, and friendly alliance to secure the said peace,
that the emperor would clearly see that the king’s intentions were pure
and genuine, and that he would be glad to conclude and decide in a month
what might otherwise drag on for a long while to the great detriment of
their subjects.”  The marshal was at the same time to propose the
conclusion of a truce during the course of the negotiations.

Amongst the letters at that time addressed to Francis I., a prisoner of
war, is the following, dated March, 1525, when he was still in Italy:--

     “My lord, the joy we are still feeling at the kind letters which you
     were pleased to write yesterday to me and to your mother, makes us
     so happy with the assurance of your health, on which our life
     depends, that it seems to me that we ought to think of nothing but
     of praising God and desiring a continuance of your good news, which
     is the best meat we can have to live on.  And inasmuch as the
     Creator bath given us grace that our trinity should be always
     united, the other two do entreat you that this letter, presented to
     you, who are the third, may be accepted with the same affection with
     which it is cordially offered you by your most humble and most
     obedient servants, your mother and sister--
     LOUISE, MARGUERITE.”

This close and tender union of the three continued through all
separations and all trials; the confidence of the captive king was
responsive to the devotion of his mother the regent and of his sister who
had become his negotiatrix.  When the news came of the king’s captivity,
the regency threatened for a moment to become difficult and stormy; all
the ambition and the hatred that lay dormant in the court awoke; an
attempt was made to excite in the Duke of Vendome, the head of the
younger branch of the House of Bourbon, a desire to take the regent’s
place; the Parliament of Paris attacked the chancellor, Duprat, whom they
hated--not without a cause; but the Duke of Vendome was proof against the
attempts which were made upon him, and frankly supported the regent,
who made him the chief of her council; and the regent supported the
chancellor. She displayed, in these court-contentions, an ability
partaking both of firmness and pliancy.  The difficulties of foreign
policy found her equally active and prudent.  The greatest peril which
France could at that time incur arose from the maintenance of the union
between the King of England and Charles V.  At the first news of the
battle of Pavia, Henry VIII. dreamed for a moment of the partition of
France between Charles and himself, with the crown of France for his own
share; demonstrations of joy took place at the court of London; and
attempts were made to levy, without the concurrence of Parliament,
imposts capable of sufficing for such an enterprise.  But the English
nation felt no inclination to put up with this burden and the king’s
arbitrary power in order to begin over again the Hundred Years’ War.
The primate, Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to Cardinal Wolsey,
“It is reported to me that when the people had orders to make bonfires
for the capture of the King of France, many folks said that it was more
reason for weeping than for rejoicing.  Others openly expressed their
desire that the King of France might be set at liberty, that a happy
peace might be concluded, and that the king might not attempt to conquer
France again, a conquest more burdensome than profitable, and more
difficult to keep than to make.”  Wolsey himself was cooled towards
Charles V., who, instead of writing to him as of old, and signing with
his own hand, “your son and cousin,” now merely put his name, Charles.
The regent, Louise of Savoy, profited ably by these feelings and
circumstances in England; a negotiation was opened between the two
courts; Henry VIII. gained by it two millions of crowns payable by annual
instalments of fifty thousand crowns each, and Wolsey received a pension
of a hundred thousand crowns.  At first a truce for four months, and then
an alliance, offensive and defensive, were concluded on the 30th of
August, 1525, between France and England; and the regent, Louise of
Savoy, had no longer to trouble herself about anything except the
captivity of the king her son and the departure of her daughter Margaret
to go and negotiate for the liberation of the prisoner.

The negotiation had been commenced, as early as the 20th of July, at
Toledo, between the ambassadors of Francis I. and the advisers of Charles
V., but without any symptom of progress.  Francis I., since his arrival
in Spain, had been taken from strong castle to strong castle, and then
removed to Madrid, everywhere strictly guarded, and leading a sad life,
without Charles V.’s coming to visit him or appointing him any
meeting-place.  In vain did the emperor’s confessor, the Bishop of Osma,
advise him to treat Francis I. generously, and so lay upon him either the
obligation of thankfulness or the burden of ingratitude; the majority of
his servants gave him contrary counsel.  “I know not what you mean to
do,” wrote his brother, the Archduke Ferdinand; “but, if I were wise
enough to know how to give you good counsel, it seems to me that such an
opportunity should not be lost, but that you should follow up your good
fortune and act in such wise that neither the King of France nor his
successors should have power hereafter to do harm to you or yours.”
 That, too, was Charles V.’s own way of thinking; but, slow and patient
as he was by nature, he relied upon the discomforts and the wearisomeness
of prolonged captivity and indecision for tiring out Francis I. and
overcoming his resistance to the harsh conditions he would impose upon
him.  The regent, Louise, made him an offer to go herself and treat with
him, at Perpignan, for the king’s liberation; but he did not accept that
overture.  The Duke of Alencon, son-in-law of Louise, had died at Lyons,
unable to survive the shame of his flight at the battle of Pavia; and the
regent hinted that her daughter Marguerite, three months a widow, “would
be happy if she could be agreeable to his Imperial Majesty,” but Charles
let the hint drop without a reply.  However, at the end of August, 1525,
he heard that Francis I. was ill: “from great melancholy he had fallen
into a violent fever.”  The population of Madrid was in commotion;
Francis I. had become popular there; many people went to pray for him in
the churches; the doctors told the emperor that there was fear for the
invalid’s life, and that he alone could alleviate the malady by
administering some hope.  Charles V. at once granted the safe-conduct
which had been demanded of him for Marguerite of France, and on the 18th
of September he himself went to Madrid to pay a visit to the captive.
Francis, on seeing him enter the chamber, said, “So your Majesty has come
to see your prisoner die?”  “You are not my prisoner,” answered Charles,
“but my brother and my friend: I have no other purpose than to give you
your liberty and every satisfaction you can desire.”  Next day Marguerite
arrived; her mother, the regent, had accompanied her as far as
Pont-Saint-Esprit; she had embarked, on the 27th of August, at
Aigues-Mortes, and, disembarking at Barcelona, had gone to Madrid by
litter; in order to somewhat assuage her impatience she had given
expression to it in the following tender stanzas:

               “For the bliss that awaits me so strong
               Is my yearning that yearning is pain;
               One hour is a hundred years long;
               My litter, it bears me in vain;
               It moves not, or seems to recede;
               Such speed would I make if I might:
               O, the road, it is weary indeed,
               Where lies--at the end--my delight!

               “I gaze all around me all day
               For some one with tidings to bring,
               Not ceasing--ne’er doubt me--to pray
               Unto God for the health of my king
               I gaze; and when none is descried,
               Then I weep; and, what else? if you ask,
               To my paper my grief I confide
               This, this is my sorrowful task.

               “O, welcome be he who at length
               Shall tap at my door and shall cry,
               ‘The king to new health and new strength
               Is returning; the king will not die!’
               Then she, who were now better dead,
               Will run, the news-bearer to see,
               And kiss him for what he hath said,
               That her brother from danger is free.”


Francis was not “free from danger” when his sister arrived; she took her
post at his side; on the 25th of September a serious crisis came on; and
he remained for some time “without speaking, or hearing, or seeing.”
 Marguerite had an altar set up in her chamber; and all the French, of the
household, great lords and domestics, knelt beside the sick man’s sister,
and received the communion from the, hands of the Archbishop of Embrun,
who, drawing near the bed, entreated the king to turn his eyes to the
holy sacrament.  Francis came out of his lethargy, and asked to
communicate likewise, saying, “God will cure me, soul and body.”  He
became convalescent, and on the 20th of October he was sufficiently
recovered for Marguerite to leave Madrid, and go and resume negotiations
at Toledo, whither Charles V. had returned.

The day but one after her arrival she wrote to the king, “The emperor
gave me courteous and kind reception, and, after coming to meet me at the
entrance of this house, he used very kind and courteous language to me.
He desired that he and I should be alone in the same room, and one of my
women to keep the door.  This evening I will send you word of what has
been done; entreating you, my lord, to put on before Sieur Alancon (the
king’s custodian) an air of weakness and weariness, for your debility
will strengthen me and will hasten my despatch, which seems to me slower
than I can tell you; as well for the sake of seeing you liberated, which
you will be by God’s help, as of returning and trying whether your dear
hand can be of any use to you.”  Marguerite was impressed by the
good-will she discovered at the court of Toledo in respect of the King of
France, his liberation, and the establishment of peace; she received from
the people in the streets, as well as from the great lords in their
houses, the most significant proofs of favor.  Charles V. took umbrage at
it, and had the Duke of Infantado, amongst others, informed that, if he
wished to please the emperor, neither he nor his sons must speak to
Madame d’Alencon.  “But,” said she, “I am not tabooed to the ladies, to
whom I will speak double.”  She contracted a real intimacy with even the
sister of Charles V., Eleanor, widow of the King of Portugal, whom
Charles had promised to the Duke of Bourbon, and between whom and her
brother, King Francis, Marguerite set brewing a marriage, which was not
long deferred.  But, in spite of her successes at the court, and even in
the family of the emperor, Marguerite had no illusions touching the small
chance of bringing her grand object of negotiation to a happy issue.
“Every one tells me,” she wrote, “that he loves the king; but there is
small experience of it.  .  .  .  If I had to do with good sort of
people, who understand what honor is, I would not care; but the contrary
is the case.”  She did not lose courage, however: “she spoke to the
emperor so bravely and courteously,” says Brantome, “that he was quite
astounded, and she said still worse to those of his council, at which
she had audience; there she had full triumph of her good speaking and
haranguing, with an easy grace in which she was not deficient; and she
did so well with her fine speaking that she made herself rather agreeable
than hateful or tiresome, that her reasons were found good and pertinent,
and that she remained in high esteem with the emperor, his council, and
his court.”

But neither good and pertinent reasons, nor the charm of eloquence in the
mouth of a pleasing and able woman, are sufficient to make head against
the passions and interests of the actors who are at a given moment in
possession of the political arena; it needs time, a great deal of time,
before the unjust or unreasonable requirements and determinations of a
people, a generation, and the chief of a state become acknowledged as
such and abandoned.  At the negotiations entered upon, in 1525, between
Francis I. and Charles V., Francis I. was prompt in making large and
unpalatable concessions: he renounced his pretensions, so far as Italy
was concerned, to the duchy of Milan, to Genoa, and to the kingdom of
Naples; his suzerainty over the countships of Flanders and Artois, and
possession of Hesdin and Tournay; he consented to reinstate Duke Charles
of Bourbon in all his hereditary property and rights, and to pay three
millions of crowns in gold for his own ransom; but he refused to cede
Provence and Dauphiny to the Duke of Bourbon as an independent state,
and to hand over the duchy of Burgundy to Charles V., as heir of his
grandmother, Mary of Burgundy, only daughter of Charles the Rash.
Charles V., after somewhat lukewarmly persisting, gave up the demand he
had made on behalf of the Duke of Bourbon, for having Provence and
Dauphiny erected into an independent state; but he insisted absolutely,
on his own behalf, in his claim to the duchy of Burgundy as a right and a
condition, sine qua non, of peace.  The question at the bottom of the
negotiations between the two sovereigns lay thus: the acquisition of
Burgundy was for Charles V. the crowning-point of his victory and of his
predominance in Europe; the giving up of Burgundy was for Francis I. a
lasting proof of his defeat and a dismemberment of his kingdom: one would
not let his prisoner go at any price but this, the other would not
purchase at this price even his liberty and his restoration to his
friends.  In this extremity Francis I. took an honorable and noble
resolution; in October, 1525, he wrote to Charles V., “Sir, my brother,
I have heard from the Archbishop of Embrun and my premier-president at
Paris of the decision you have expressed to them as to my liberation, and
I am sorry that what you demand of me is not in my power.  But feeling
that you could not take a better way of telling me that you mean to keep
me prisoner forever than by demanding of me what is impossible on my
part, I have made up my mind to put up with imprisonment, being sure that
God, who knows that I have not deserved a long one, being a prisoner of
fair war, will give me strength to bear it patiently.  And I can only
regret that your courteous words, which you were pleased to address to me
in my illness, should have come to nothing.”  [_Documents inedits sur
l’Histoire de France.  Captivite du roi Francois I._, p. 384.]

The resolution announced in this letter led before long to the official
act which was certain to be the consequence of it.  In November, 1525, by
formal letters patent, Francis I., abdicating the kingship which he could
not exercise, ordered that his eldest son, the dauphin Francis, then
eight years old, should be declared, crowned, anointed, and consecrated
Most Christian King of France, and that his grandmother, Louise of Savoy,
Duchess of Angouleme, or, in default of her, his aunt Marguerite, Duchess
of Alencon, should be regent of the kingdom: “If it should please God
that we should recover our personal liberty, and be able to proceed to
the government and conduct of our kingdom, in that case our most dear and
most beloved son shall quit and give up to us the name and place of king,
all things re-becoming just as they were before our capture and
captivity.”  The letters patent ordered the regent “to get together a
number of good and notable personages from the three estates in all the
districts, countries, and good towns of France, to whom, either in a body
or separately, one after another, she should communicate the said will of
the king, as above, in order to have their opinion, counsel, and
consent.”  Thus, during the real king’s very captivity, and so, long as
it lasted, France was again about to have a king whom the States General
of France would be called upon to support with their counsels and
adhesion.

[Illustration: Louise of Savoy and Marguerite de Valois----102]

This resolution was taken and these letters patent prepared just at the
expiry of the safe-conduct granted to the Princess Marguerite, and,
consequently, just when she would have to return to France.  Charles V.
was somewhat troubled at the very different position in which he was
about to find himself, when he would have to treat no longer at Madrid
with a captive king, but at Paris with a young king out of his power and
with his own people about him.  Marguerite fully perceived his
embarrassment.  From Toledo, where she was, she wrote to her brother,
“After having been four days without seeing the emperor, when I went to
take leave I found him so gracious that I think he is very much afraid of
my going; those gentry yonder are in a great fix, and, if you will be
pleased to hold firm, I can see them coming round to your wishes.  But
they would very much like to keep me here doing nothing, in order to
promote their own affairs, as you will be pleased to understand.”
 Charles V., in fact, signified to the king his desire that the
negotiations should be proceeded with at Madrid or Toledo, never ceasing
to make protestations of his pacific intentions.  Francis I. replied
that, for his part, “he would not lay any countermand on the duchess,
that he would willingly hear what the emperor’s ambassadors had to say,
but that, if they did not come to any conclusion as to a peace and his
own liberation, he would not keep his own ambassadors any longer, and
would send them away.”  Marguerite set out at the end of November; she at
first travelled slowly, waiting for good news to reach her and stop her
on the road; but, suddenly, she received notice from Madrid to quicken
her steps; according to some historians, it was the Duke of Bourbon who,
either under the influence of an old flame or in order to do a service to
the king he had betrayed, sent word to the princess that Charles V.,
uneasy about what she was taking with her to France, had an idea of
having her arrested the moment her safe-conduct had expired.  According
to a more probable version, it was Francis I. himself who, learning that
three days after Marguerite’s departure Charles V. had received a copy of
the royal act of abdication, at once informed his sister, begging her to
make all haste.  And she did so to such purpose that, “making four days’
journey in one,” she arrived at Salces, in the Eastern Pyrenees, an hour
before the expiry of her safe-conduct.  She no doubt took to her mother,
the regent, the details of the king’s resolutions and instructions; but
the act itself containing them, the letters patent of Francis I., had not
been intrusted to her; it was Marshal de Montmorency who, at the end of
December, 15225, was the first bearer of them to France.

Did Francis I. flatter himself that his order to have his son the dauphin
declared and crowned king, and the departure of his sister Marguerite,
who was going, if not to carry the actual text of the resolution, at any
rate to announce it to the regent and to France, would embarrass Charles
V. so far as to make him relax in his pretensions to the duchy of
Burgundy and its dependencies?  There is nothing to show that he was
allured by such a hope; any how, if it may have for a moment arisen in
his mind, it soon vanished.  Charles V. insisted peremptorily upon his
requirements; and Francis I. at once gave up his attitude of firmness,
and granted, instead, the concession demanded of him, that is, the
relinquishment of Burgundy and its dependencies to Charles V., “to hold
and enjoy with every right of supremacy until it hath been judged,
decided, and determined, by arbiters elected on the emperor’s part and
our own, to whom the said duchy, countships, and other territories
belong.  .  .  .  And for guarantee of this concession, the dauphin, the
king’s eldest son, and his second son, Henry, Duke of Orleans, or other
great personages, to the number of twelve, should be sent to him and
remain in his keeping as hostages.”  The regent, Louise, was not without
a hand in this determination of the king; her maternal affection took
alarm at the idea of her son’s being for an indefinite period a prisoner
in the hands of his enemy.  Besides, in that case, war seemed to her
inevitable; and she dreaded the responsibility which would be thrown upon
her.  Charles V., on his side, was essentially a prudent man; he disliked
remaining, unless it were absolutely necessary, for a long while in a
difficult position.  His chancellor, Gattinera, refused to seal a treaty
extorted by force and violated, in advance, by lack of good faith.
“Bring the King of France so low,” he said, “that he can do you no harm,
or treat him so well that he can wish you no harm, or keep him a
prisoner: the worst thing you can do is to let him go half satisfied.”
 Charles V. persisted in his pacific resolution.  There is no knowing
whether he was tempted to believe in the reality of Francis I.’s
concession, and to regard the guarantees as seriously meant; but it is
evident that Francis I. himself considered them a mere sham; for four
months previously, on the 22d of August, 1525, at the negotiations
entered into on this subject, he had taken care to deposit in the hands
of his negotiators a nullifying protest “against all pacts, conventions,
renunciations, quittances, revocations, derogations, and oaths that he
might have to make contrary to his honor and the good of his crown, to
the profit of the said emperor or any other whosoever.”  And on the 13th
of January, 1526, four weeks after having given his ambassadors orders
to sign the treaty of Madrid containing the relinquishment of Burgundy
and its dependencies, the very evening before the day on which that
treaty was signed, Francis I. renewed, at Madrid itself, and again placed
in the hands of his ambassadors, his protest of the 22d of August
preceding against this act, declaring “that it was through force and
constraint, confinement and length of imprisonment, that he had signed
it, and that all that was contained in it was and should remain null and
of no effect.”  We may not have unlimited belief in the scrupulosity of
modern diplomats; but assuredly they would consider such a policy so
fundamentally worthless that they would be ashamed to practise it.  We
may not hold sheer force in honor; but open force is better than
mendacious weakness, and less debasing for a government as well as for a
people.

“As soon as the treaty of Madrid was signed, the emperor came to Madrid to
see the king; then they went, both in one litter, to see Queen Eleanor,
the emperor’s sister and the king of Portugal’s widow, whom, by the said
treaty, the king was to espouse before he left Spain, which he did.”
 [_Memoires de Martin Du Bellay,_ t. ii.  p. 15.]  After which Francis was
escorted by Lannoy to Fontarabia, whilst, on the other hand, the regent
Louise, and the king’s two sons who were to go as hostages to Spain, were
on their way to Bayonne.  A large bark was anchored in the middle of the
Bidassoa, the boundary of the two kingdoms, between Irun and Andaye.
Lannoy put the king on board, and received in exchange, from the hands of
Marshal Lautrec, the little princes Francis and Henry.  The king gave his
children his blessing, and reached the French side whilst they were being
removed to the Spanish; and as soon as he set foot on shore, he leaped
upon a fine Turkish horse, exclaiming, as he started at a gallop for
Bayonne, where his mother and his sister awaited him, “So now I am king
again!”

On becoming king again, he fell under the dominion of three personal
sentiments, which exercised a decisive influence upon his conduct, and,
consequently, upon the destiny of France joy at his liberation, a
thirsting for revenge, we will not say for vengeance, to be wreaked on
Charles V., and the burden of the engagement he had contracted at Madrid
in order to recover his liberty, alternately swayed him.  From Bayonne he
repaired to Bordeaux, where he reassembled his court, and thence to
Cognac, in Saintonge, where he passed nearly three months, almost
entirely abandoning himself to field-sports, galas, diversions, and
pleasures of every kind, as if to indemnify himself for the wearisomeness
and gloom in which he had lived at Madrid.  “Age subdues the blood,
adversity the mind, risks the nerve, and the despairing monarch has no
hope but in pleasures,” says Tavannes in his Memoires: “such was Francis
I., smitten of women both in body and mind.  It is the little circle of
Madame d’Etampes that governs.”  One of the regent’s maids of honor, Anne
d’Heilly, whom Frances I. made Duchess of Etampes, took the place of the
Countess of Chateaubriant as his favorite.  With strange indelicacy
Francis demanded back from Madame de Chateaubriant the beautiful jewels
of gold which he had given her, and which bore tender mottoes of his
sister Marguerite’s composition.  The countess took time enough to have
the jewels melted down, and said to the king’s envoy, “Take that to the
king, and tell him that, as he has been pleased to recall what he gave
me, I send it back to him in metal.  As for the mottoes, I cannot suffer
any one but myself to enjoy them, dispose of them, and have the pleasure
of them.”  The king sent back the metal to Madame de Chateaubriant; it
was the mottoes that he wished to see again, but he did not get them.

At last it was absolutely necessary to pass from pleasure to business.
The envoys of Charles V., with Lannoy, the Viceroy of Naples, at their
head, went to Cognac to demand execution of the treaty of Madrid.
Francis waited, ere he gave them an answer, for the arrival of the
delegates from the estates of Burgundy, whom he had summoned to have
their opinion as to the cession of the duchy.  These delegates, meeting
at Cognac in June, 1527, formally repudiated the cession, being opposed,
they said, to the laws of the kingdom, to the rights of the king, who
could not by his sole authority alienate any portion of his dominions,
and to his coronation-oath, which superseded his oaths made at Madrid.
Francis invited the envoys of Charles V. to a solemn meeting of his court
and council present at Cognac, at which the delegates from Burgundy
repeated their protest.  Whilst availing himself of this declaration as
an insurmountable obstacle to the complete execution of the treaty of
Madrid, Francis offered to give two million crowns for the redemption of
Burgundy, and to observe the other arrangements of the treaty, including
the relinquishment of Italy and his marriage with the sister of Charles
V.  Charles formally rejected this proposal.  “The King of France,” he
said, “promised and swore, on the faith of an honest king and prince,
that, if he did not carry out the said restitution of Burgundy, he would
incontinently come and surrender himself prisoner to H. M. the emperor,
wherever he might be, to undergo imprisonment in the place where the said
lord the emperor might be pleased to order him, up to and until the time
when this present treaty should be completely fulfilled and accomplished.
Let the King of France keep his oath.”  [_Traite de Madrid,_ 14th of
January, 1526: art. vi.]

However determined he was, at bottom, to elude the strict execution of
the treaty of Madrid, Francis was anxious to rebut the charge of perjury
by shifting the responsibility on to the shoulders of the people
themselves and their representatives.  He did not like to summon the
states-general of the kingdom, and recognize their right as well as their
power; but, after the meeting at Cognac, he went to Paris, and, on the
12th of December, 1527, the Parliament met in state with the adjunct of
the princes of the blood, a great number of cardinals, bishops, noblemen,
deputies from the Parliaments of Toulouse, Bordeaux, Rouen, Dijon,
Grenoble, and Aix, and the municipal body of Paris.  In presence of this
assembly the king went over the history of his reign, his expeditions in
Italy, his alternate successes and reverses, and his captivity.  “If my
subjects have suffered,” he said, “I have suffered with them.”  He then
caused to be read the letters patent whereby he had abdicated and
transferred the crown to his son the dauphin, devoting himself to
captivity forever.  He explained the present condition of the finances,
and what he could furnish for the ransom of his sons detained as
hostages; and he ended by offering to return as a prisoner to Spain if no
other way could be found out of a difficult position, for he acknowledged
having given his word, adding, however, that he had thought it pledged
him to nothing, since it had not been given freely.

This last argument was of no value morally or diplomatically; but in his
bearing and his language Francis I.  displayed grandeur and emotion.  The
assembly also showed emotion; they were four days deliberating; with some
slight diversity of form the various bodies present came to the same
conclusion; and, on the 16th of December, 1527, the Parliament decided
that the king was not bound either to return to Spain or to execute, as
to that matter, the treaty of Madrid, and that he might with full
sanction and justice levy on his subjects two millions of crowns for the
ransom of his sons and the other requirements of the state.

Before inviting such manifestations Francis I. had taken measures to
prevent them from being in vain.  Since the battle of Pavia and his
captivity at Madrid the condition and disposition of Europe, and
especially of Italy, had changed.  From 1513 to 1523, three popes, Leo
X., Adrian VI., and Clement VII. had occupied the Holy See.  Adrian VI.
alone embraced the cause of Charles V., whose preceptor he had been; but
he reigned only one year, eight months, and five days; and even during
that short time he made only a timid use of his power on his patron’s
behalf.  His successor, Clement VII., was a Florentine and a Medici, and,
consequently, but little inclined to favor the emperor’s policy.  The
success of Charles V. at Pavia and the captivity of Francis I. inspired
the pope and all Italy with great dread of the imperial pretensions and
predominance.  A league was formed between Rome, Florence, Venice, and
Milan for the maintenance of Italian independence; and, as the pope was
at its head, it was called the Holy League.  Secret messages and
communications were interchanged between these Italian states, the regent
Louise of Savoy at Paris, and King Henry VIII. in London, to win them
over to this coalition, not less important, it was urged, for the
security of Europe than of Italy.  The regent of France and the King of
England received these overtures favorably; promises were made on either
side and a commencement was even made of preparations, which were hastily
disavowed both at Paris and in London, when Charles V. testified some
surprise at them.  But when Francis I. was restored to freedom and
returned to his kingdom, fully determined in his own mind not to execute
the treaty of Madrid, the negotiations with Italy became more full of
meaning and reality.  As early as the 22d of May, 1526, whilst he was
still deliberating with his court and Parliament as to how he should
behave towards Charles V. touching the treaty of Madrid, Francis I.
entered into the Holy League with the pope, the Venetians, and the Duke
of Milan for the independence of Italy; and on the 8th of August
following Francis I. and Henry VIII. undertook, by a special treaty, to
give no assistance one against the other to Charles V., and Henry VIII.
promised to exert all his efforts to get Francis I.’s two sons, left as
hostages in Spain, set at liberty.  Thus the war between Francis I. and
Charles V., after fifteen months’ suspension, resumed its course.

It lasted three years in Italy, from 1526 to 1529, without interruption,
but also without result; it was one of those wars which are prolonged
from a difficulty of living in peace rather than from any serious
intention, on either side, of pursuing a clear and definite object.
Bourbon and Lannoy commanded the imperial armies, Lautrec the French
army.  Only two events, one for its singularity and the other for its
tragic importance, deserve to have the memory of them perpetuated in
history.

After the battle of Pavia and whilst Francis I. was a captive in Spain,
Bourbon, who had hitherto remained in Italy, arrived at Madrid on the
13th of November, 1525, almost at the same time at which Marguerite de
Valois was leaving it for France.  Charles V. received the hero of Pavia
with the strongest marks of consideration and favor; and the Spanish army
were enthusiastic in their attachment to him.  Amongst the great Spanish
lords there were several who despised him as a traitor to his king and
country.  Charles V. asked the Marquis de Villena to give him quarters in
his palace.  “I can refuse the king nothing,” said the marquis; “but as
soon as the traitor is out of the house, I will fire it with my own hand;
no man of honor could live in it any more.”  Holding this great and at
the same time doubtful position, Bourbon remained in Spain up to the
moment when the war was renewed between Francis I. and Charles V.  The
latter could not at that time dispense with his services in Italy for the
only soldier who could have taken his place there, the Marquis of
Pescara, had died at Milan on the 30th of November, 1525, aged
thirty-six.  Charles V.  at once sent Bourbon to take the command of the
imperial armies in Italy.  On arriving at Milan in July, 1527, Bourbon
found not only that town, but all the emperor’s party in Italy, in such a
state of disorder, alarm, and exhaustion as to render them incapable of
any great effort.  In view of this general disturbance, Bourbon, who was
as ambitious as able, and had become the chief of the great adventurers
of his day, conceived the most audacious hopes.  Charles V. had promised
him the duchy of Milan; why should he not have the kingdom of Naples
also, and make himself independent of Charles V.?  He had immense
influence over his Spanish army; and he had recruited it in Germany with
from fourteen to fifteen thousand lanzknechts, the greater part of them
Lutherans, and right glad to serve Charles V., then at war with the pope.
Their commander, Freundsberg, a friend of Bourbon’s, had got made a
handsome gold chain, “expressly,” he said, “to hang and strangle the pope
with his own hand, because ‘honor to whom honor is due;’ and since the
pope called himself premier in Christendom, he must be deferred to
somewhat more than others.”  [Brantome, t. i.  p. 354.]  On the 30th of
January, 1527, at Piacenza, Bourbon, late Constable of France, put
himself at the head of this ruck of bold and greedy adventurers.  “I am
now,” said he to them, “nothing but a poor gentleman, who hasn’t a penny
to call his own any more than you have; but, if you will have a little
patience, I will make you all rich or die in the attempt;” and, so
saying, he distributed amongst them all he had left of money, rings, and
jewels, keeping for himself nothing but his clothes and a jacket of
silver tissue to put on over his armor.  “We will follow you everywhere,
to the devil himself!” shouted the soldiers; “no more of Julius Caesar,
Hannibal, and Scipio!  Hurrah! for the fame of Bourbon!”  Bourbon led
this multitude through Italy, halting before most of the towns, Bologna
and Florence even, which he felt a momentary inclination to attack, but,
after all, continuing his march until, having arrived in sight of Rome on
the 5th of March, 1527, in the evening, he had pitched his camp, visited
his guards, and ordered the assault for the morrow.  “The great chances
of our destiny,” said he to his troops, “have brought us hither to the
place where we desired to be, after traversing so many bad roads, in
midwinter, with snows and frosts so great, with rain, and mud, and
encounters of the enemy, in hunger and thirst, and without a halfpenny.
Now is the time to show courage, manliness, and the strength of your
bodies.  If this bout you are victorious, you will be rich lords and
mighty well off; if not, you will be quite the contrary.  Yonder is the
city whereof, in time past, a wise astrologer prophesied concerning me,
telling me that I should die there; but I swear to you that I care but
little for dying there, if, when I die, my corpse be left with endless
glory and renown throughout the world.”  Afterwards he gave the word for
retiring, some to rest, and some on guard, and for every one to be ready
to assault on the morrow early.  .  .  .  “After that the stars became
obscured by the greater resplendency of the sun and the flashing arms of
the soldiers who were preparing for the assault, Bourbon, clad all in
white that he might be better known and seen (which was not the sign of a
coward), and armor in hand, marched in front close up to the wall, and,
when he had mounted two rungs of his ladder, just as he had said the
night before, so did it happen to him, that envious, or, to more properly
speak, traitorous Fortune would have an arquebuse-shot to hit him full in
the left side and wound him mortally.  And albeit she took from him his
being and his life, yet could she not in one single respect take away his
magnanimity and his vigor so long as his body had sense, as he well
showed out of his own mouth, for, having fallen when he was hit, he told
certain of his most faithful friends who were nigh him, and especially
the Gascon captain, Jonas, to cover him with a cloak and take him away,
that his death might not give occasion to the others to leave an
enterprise so well begun.  .  .  .  Just then, as M. de Bourbon had
recommended,--to cover and hide his body,--so did his men; in such sort
that the escalade and assault went on so furiously that the town, after a
little resistance, was carried; and the soldiers, having by this time got
wind of his death, fought the more furiously that it might be avenged,
the which it certainly was right well, for they set up a shout of, ‘Slay,
slay! blood, blood!  Bourbon, Bourbon!’” [Brantome, t. i.  pp. 262-269.]

The celebrated artist-in-gold, Benvenuto Cellini, says, in his Life
written by himself, that it was he who, from the top of the wall of the
Campo Santo at Rome, aiming his arquebuse at the midst of a group of
besiegers, amongst whom he saw one man mounted higher than the rest, hit
him, and that he then saw an extraordinary commotion around this man, who
was Bourbon, as he found out afterwards.  [_Vita di Benvenuto Cellini,_
ch. xvii.  pp. 157-159.]  “I have heard say at Rome,” says Brantome on
the contrary, “that it was held that he who fired that wretched
arquebuse-shot was a priest.”  [Brantome, t.  ii.  p.  268.]

Whatever hand it was that shot down Bourbon, Rome, after his death, was
plundered, devastated and ravaged by a brutal, greedy, licentious, and
fanatical soldiery.  Europe was moved at the story of the sack of Rome
and the position of the pope, who had taken refuge in the castle of St.
Angelo.  Francis I. and Henry VIII. renewed their alliance; and a French
army under the command of Lautrec advanced into Italy.  Charles V.,
fearing lest it should make a rapid march to Rome and get possession of
the pope whilst delivering him from captivity, entered into negotiations
with him; and, in consideration of certain concessions to the emperor,
it was arranged that the pope should be set at liberty without delay.
Clement VII. was so anxious to get out of his position, lately so
perilous and even now so precarious, that he slank out of the castle of
St. Angelo in the disguise of a tradesman the very night before the day
fixed by the emperor for his liberation; and he retired to Orvieto, on
the territory occupied by the French army.  During this confusion of
things in Italy, Charles V. gave orders for arresting in Spain the
ambassadors of Francis I. and of Henry VIII., who were in alliance
against him, and who, on their side, sent him two heralds-at-arms to
declare war against him.  Charles V. received them in open audience at
Burgos, on the 22d of January, 1528.  “I am very much astonished,” said
he to the French envoy, “to find the King of France declaring against me
a war which he has been carrying on for seven years; he is not in a
position to address to me such a declaration; he is my prisoner.  Why has
he taken no notice of what I said to his ambassador immediately after his
refusal to execute the treaty of Madrid?”  Charles V. now repeated, in
the very terms addressed to the French ambassador, the communication to
which he alluded: “The king your master acted like a Bastard and a
scoundrel in not keeping his word that he gave me touching the treaty of
Madrid; if he likes to say to the contrary, I will maintain it against
him with my body to his.”  When these words were reported to Francis I.,
he summoned, on the 27th of March, 1528, the princes of the blood, the
cardinals, the prelates, the grandees of the kingdom, and the ministers
from foreign courts, and, after having given a vivid account of his
relations with Charles V., “I am not the prisoner of Charles,” he said:
“I have not given him my word; we have never met with arms in our hands.”
 He then handed his herald, Guyenne, a cartel written with his own hand,
and ending with these words addressed to Charles V.: “We give you to
understand that, if you have intended or do intend to charge us with
anything that a gentleman loving his honor ought not to do, we say that
you have lied in your throat, and that, as often as you say so, you will
lie.  Wherefore for the future write us nothing at all; but appoint us
the time and place of meeting, and we will bring our sword for you to
cross; protesting that the shame of any delay in fighting shall be yours,
seeing that, when it comes to an encounter, there is an end of all
writing.”  Charles V. did not receive Francis I.’s challenge till the 8th
of June; when he, in his turn, consulted the grandees of his kingdom,
amongst others the Duke of Infantado, one of the most considerable in
rank and character, who answered him in writing: “The jurisdiction of
arms extends exclusively to obscure and foggy matters in which the
ordinary rules of justice are at a discount; but, when one can appeal to
oaths and authentic acts, I do not think that it is allowable to come to
blows before having previously tried the ordinary ways of justice.  .  .
It seems to me that this law of honor applies to princes, however great
they may be, as well as to knights.  It would be truly strange, my lord,
that a debt so serious, so universally recognized, as that contracted by
the King of France, should be discharged by means of a personal
challenge.”  Charles V. thereupon sent off his herald, Burgundy, with
orders to carry to Francis I. “an appointment for a place of meeting
between Fontarabia and Andaye, in such a spot as by common consent should
be considered most safe and most convenient by gentlemen chosen on each
side;” and this offer was accompanied by a long reply which the herald
was at the same time to deliver to the King of France, whilst calling on
him to declare his intention within forty days after the delivery of that
letter, dated the 24th of June, “in default whereof,” said Charles, “the
delay in fighting will be yours.”

[Illustration: Francis I.----115]

On arriving at the frontier of France the Spanish herald demanded a
safe-conduct.  He was made to wait seven weeks, from the 30th of June to
the 19th of August, without the king’s cognizance, it is said.  At last,
on the 19th of September, 1528, Burgundy entered Paris, and was
conducted to the palace.  Francis I. received him in the midst of his
court; and, as soon as he observed the entrance of the herald, who made
obeisance preliminary to addressing him, “Herald,” cried the king, “all
thy letters declare that thou bringest appointment of time and place;
dost thou bring it?”  “Sir,” answered the Spaniard, “permit me to do my
office, and say what the emperor has charged me to say.”  “Nay, I will
not listen to thee,” said Francis, “if thou do not first give me a
patent signed by thy master, containing an appointment of time and
place.”  “Sir, I have orders to read you the cartel, and give it you
afterwards.”  “How, pray!” cried the king, rising up angrily: “doth thy
master pretend to introduce new fashions in my kingdom, and give me laws
in my own court?”  Burgundy, without being put out, began again: “Sir,
.  .  .  “  “Nay,” said Francis, “I will not suffer him to speak to me
before he has given me appointment of time and place.  Give it me, or
return as thou hast come.” “Sir, I cannot, without your permission, do
my office; if you will not deign to grant it to me, let me have your
refusal handed me, and your ratification I of my safe-conduct for my
return.”  “I am quite willing,” said the king; “let him have it!”
 Burgundy set off again for Madrid, and the incident was differently
reported by the two courts; but there was no further question of a duel
between the two kings.

One would not think of attempting to decide, touching this question of
single combat, how far sincerity was on the side of Francis or of
Charles.  No doubt they were both brave; the former with more brilliancy
than his rival, the latter, at need, with quite as much firmness.  But in
sending challenges one to the other, as they did on this occasion, they
were obeying a dying-out code, and rather attempting to keep up
chivalrous appearances than to put seriously in practice the precedents
of their ancestors.  It was no longer a time when the fate of a people
could be placed in the hands of a few valiant warriors, such as the three
Horatii and the three Curiatii, or the thirty Bretons and thirty English.
The era of great nations and great contests was beginning, and one is
inclined to believe that Francis I. and Charles V. were themselves aware
that their mutual challenges would not come to any personal encounter.
The war which continued between them in Italy was not much more serious
or decisive; both sides were weary of it, and neither one nor the other
of the two sovereigns espied any great chances of success.  The French
army was wasting itself, in the kingdom of Naples, upon petty,
inconclusive engagements; its commander, Lautrec, died of the plague on
the 15th of August, 1528; a desire for peace became day by day stronger;
it was made, first of all, at Barcelona, on the 20th of June, 1529,
between Charles V. and Pope Clement VII.; and then a conference was
opened at Cambrai for the purpose of bringing it about between Charles V.
and Francis I. likewise.  Two women, Francis I.’s mother and Charles V.’s
aunt, Louise of Savoy and Margaret of Austria, had the real negotiation
of it; they had both of them acquired the good sense and the moderation
which come from experience of affairs and from difficulties in life; they
did not seek to give one another mutual surprises and to play-off one
another reciprocally; they resided in two contiguous houses, between
which they had caused a communication to be made on the inside, and they
conducted the negotiation with so much discretion, that the petty Italian
princes who were interested in it did not know the results of it until
peace was concluded on the 5th of August, 1529.  Francis I. yielded on
all the Italian and Flemish questions; and Charles V. gave up Burgundy,
and restored to liberty the King of France’s two sons, prisoners at
Madrid, in consideration of a ransom put at two millions of crowns and of
having the marriage completed between his sister Eleanor and Francis I.
King Henry VIII. complained that not much account had been made of him,
either during the negotiations or in the treaty; but his discontent was
short-lived, and he none the less came to the assistance of Francis I.
in the money-questions to which the treaty gave rise.  Of the Italian
states, Venice was most sacrificed in this accommodation between the
kings.  “The city of Cambrai,” said the doge, Andrew Gritti, “is the
purgatory of the Venetians; it is the place where emperors and kings of
France make the Republic expiate the sin of having ever entered into
alliance with them.”  Francis went to Bordeaux to meet his sons and his
new wife.  At Bordeaux, Cognac, Amboise, Blois, and Paris, galas, both at
court and amongst the people, succeeded one another for six months; and
Europe might consider itself at peace.

The peace of Cambrai was called the ladies’ peace, in honor of the two
princesses who had negotiated it.  Though morally different and of very
unequal worth, they both had minds of a rare order, and trained to
recognize political necessities, and not to attempt any but possible
successes.  They did not long survive their work: Margaret of Austria
died on the 1st of December, 1530, and Louise of Savoy on the 22d of
September, 1531.  All the great political actors seemed hurrying away
from the stage, as if the drama were approaching its end.  Pope Clement
VII. died on the 26th of September, 1534.  He was a man of sense and
moderation; he tried to restore to Italy her independence, but he forgot
that a moderate policy is, above all, that which requires most energy and
perseverance.  These two qualities he lacked totally; he oscillated from
one camp to the other without ever having any real influence anywhere.  A
little before his death he made France a fatal present; for, on the 28th
of October, 1533, he married his niece Catherine de’ Medici to Francis
I.’s second son, Prince Henry of Valois, who by the death of his elder
brother, the Dauphin Francis, soon afterwards became heir to the throne.
The chancellor, Anthony Duprat, too, the most considerable up to that
time amongst the advisers of Francis I., died on the 9th of July, 1535.
According to some historians, when he heard, in the preceding year, of
Pope Clement VII.’s death, he had conceived a hope, being already
Archbishop of Sens, and a cardinal, of succeeding him; and he spoke to
the king about it.  “Such an election would cost too dear,” said Francis
I.; “the appetite of cardinals is insatiable; I could not satisfy it.”
 “Sir,” replied Duprat, “France will not have to bear the expense; I will
provide for it; there are four hundred thousand crowns ready for that
purpose.”  “Where did you get all that money, pray?” asked Francis,
turning his back upon him; and next day he caused a seizure to be made
of a portion of the chancellor-cardinal’s property.  “This, then,”
 exclaimed Duprat, “is the king’s gratitude towards the minister who has
served him body and soul!”  “What has the cardinal to complain of?” said
the king: “I am only doing to him what he has so often advised me to do
to others.”  [_Trois Magestrats Francais du Seizieme Siecle,_ by Edouard
Faye de Brys, 1844, pp. 77-79.]  The last of the chancellor’s
biographers, the Marquis Duprat, one of his descendants, has disputed
this story.  [_Vie d’Antoine Duprat,_ 1857, p. 364.]  However that may
be, it is certain that Chancellor Duprat, at his death, left a very large
fortune, which the king caused to be seized, and which he partly
appropriated.  We read in the contemporary _Journal d’un Bourgeois de
Paris_ [published by Ludovic Lalanne, 1854, p. 460], “When the chancellor
was at the point of death, the king sent M. de Bryon, Admiral of France,
who had orders to have everything seized and all his property placed in
the king’s hands.  .  .  .  They found in his place at Nantouillet eight
hundred thousand crowns, and all his gold and silver plate .  .  .  and
in his Hercules-house, close to the Augustins’, at Paris, where he used
to stay during his life-time, the sum of three hundred thousand livres,
which were in coffers bound with iron, and which were carried off by the
king for and to his own profit.”  In the civil as well as in the military
class, for his government as well as for his armies, Francis I. had, at
this time, to look out for new servants.

He did not find such as have deserved a place in history.  After the
deaths of Louise of Savoy, of Chancellor Duprat, of La Tremoille, of La
Palice, and of all the great warriors who fell at the battle of Pavia, it
was still one more friend of Francis I.’s boyhood, Anne de Montmorency,
who remained, in council as well as army, the most considerable and the
most devoted amongst his servants.  In those days of war and discord,
fraught with violence, there was no man who was more personally rough and
violent than Montmorency.  From 1521 to 1541, as often as circumstances
became pressing, he showed himself ready for anything and capable of
anything in defence of the crown and the re-establishment of order.  “Go
hang me such a one,” he would say, according to Brantome.  “Tie you
fellow to this tree; give yonder one the pike or arquebuse, and all
before my eyes; cut me in pieces all those rascals who chose to hold such
a clock-case as this against the king; burn me this village; set me
everything a-blaze, for a quarter of a league all round.”  In 1548,
a violent outbreak took place at Bordeaux on account of the gabel or
salt-tax; and the king’s lieutenant was massacred in it.  Anne de
Montmorency, whom the king had made constable in 1538, the fifth of his
family invested with that dignity, repaired thither at once.  “Aware of
his coming,” says Brantome, “MM. de Bordeaux went two days’ journey to
meet him and carry him the keys of their city: ‘Away, away,’ said he,
‘with your keys; I will have nothing to do with them; I have others which
I am bringing with me, and which will make other sort of opening than
yours (meaning his cannon); I will have you all hanged; I will teach you
to rebel against your king, and kill his governor and lieutenant.’  Which
he did not fail to do,” adds Brantome, “and inflicted exemplary
punishment, but not so severe assuredly as the case required.”  The
narrator, it will be seen, was not more merciful than the constable.
Nor was the constable less stern or less thorough in battles than in
outbreaks.  In 1562, at the battle of Dreux, he was aged and so ill that
none expected to see him on horseback.  “But in the morning,” says
Brantome, “knowing that the enemy was getting ready, he, brimful of
courage, gets out of bed, mounts his horse, and appears at the moment the
march began; whereof I do remember me, for I saw him and heard him, when
M. de Guise came forward to meet him to give him good day, and ask how he
was.  He, fully armed, save only his head, answered him, ‘Right well,
sir: this is the real medicine that hath cured me for the battle which is
toward and a-preparing for the honor of God and our king.’”  In spite of
this indomitable aptness for rendering the king everywhere the most
difficult, nay, the most pitiless services, the Constable de Montmorency
none the less incurred, in 1541, the disfavor of Francis I.; private
dissensions in the royal family, the intrigues of rivals at court, and
the enmity of the king’s mistress, the Duchess of Etampes, effaced the
remembrance of all he had done and might still do.  He did accept his
disgrace; he retired first to Chantilly, and then to Ecouen; and there he
waited for the dauphin, when he became King Henry II., to recall him to
his side and restore to him the power which Francis I., on his very
death-bed, had dissuaded his son from giving back.  The ungratefulnesses
of kings are sometimes as capricious as their favors.

The ladies’ peace, concluded at Cambrai in 1529, lasted up to 1536;
incessantly troubled, however, by far from pacific symptoms, proceedings,
and preparations.  In October, 1532, Francis I. had, at Calais, an
interview with Henry VIII., at which they contracted a private alliance,
and undertook “to raise between them an army of eighty thousand men to
resist the Turk, as true zealots for the good of Christendom.”  The
Turks, in fact, under their great sultan, Soliman II., were constantly
threatening and invading Eastern Europe.  Charles V., as Emperor of
Germany, was far more exposed to their attacks and far more seriously
disquieted by them than Francis I. and Henry VIII. were; but the peril
that hung over him in the East urged him on at the same time to a further
development of ambition and strength; in order to defend Eastern Europe
against the Turks he required to be dominant in Western Europe; and in
that very part of Europe a large portion of the population were disposed
to wish for his success, for they required it for their own security.
“To read all that was spread abroad hither and thither,” says William du
Bellay, “it seemed that the said lord the emperor was born into this
world to have fortune at his beck and call.”  Two brothers, Mussulman
pirates, known under the name of Barbarossa, had become masters, one of
Algiers and the other of Tunis, and were destroying, in the
Mediterranean, the commerce and navigation of Christian states.  It was
Charles V. who tackled them.  In 1535 he took Tunis, set at liberty
twenty thousand Christian slaves, and remained master of the regency.
At the news of this expedition, Francis I., who, in concert with Henry
VIII., was but lately levying an army to “offer resistance,” he said, “to
the Turk,” entered into negotiations with Soliman II., and concluded a
friendly treaty with him against what was called the common enemy.
Francis had been for some time preparing to resume his projects of
conquest in Italy; he had effected an interview at Marseilles, in
October, 1533, with Pope Clement VII., who was almost at the point of
death, and it was there that the marriage of Prince Henry of France with
Catherine de’ Medici was settled.  Astonishment was expressed that the
pope’s niece had but a very moderate dowry.  “You don’t see, then,” said
Clement VII.’s ambassador, “that she brings France three jewels of great
price, Genoa, Milan, and Naples?”  When this language was reported at the
court of Charles V., it caused great irritation there.  In 1536 all
these combustibles of war exploded; in the month of February, a French
army entered Piedmont, and occupied Turin; and, in the month of July,
Charles V. in person entered Provence at the head of fifty thousand men.
Anne de Montmorency having received orders to defend southern France,
began by laying it waste in order that the enemy might not be able to
live in it; officers had orders to go everywhere and “break up the
bake-houses and mills, burn the wheat and forage, pierce the wine-casks,
and ruin the wells by throwing the wheat into them to spoil the water.”
 In certain places the inhabitants resisted the soldiers charged with this
duty; elsewhere, from patriotism, they themselves set fire to their
corn-ricks and pierced their casks.  Montmorency made up his mind to
defend, on the whole coast of Provence, only Marseilles and Arles; he
pulled down the ramparts of the other towns, which were left exposed to
the enemy.  For two months Charles V. prosecuted this campaign without a
fight, marching through the whole of Provence an army which fatigue,
shortness of provisions, sickness, and ambuscades were decimating
ingloriously.  At last he decided upon retreating.  “From Aix to Frejus,
where the emperor at his arrival had pitched his camp, all the roads were
strewn with the sick and the dead pell-mell, with harness, lances, pikes,
arquebuses, and other armor of men and horses gathered in a heap.  I say
what I saw,” adds Martin du Bellay, “considering the toil I had with my
company in this pursuit.”  At the village of Mery, near Frejus, some
peasants had shut themselves up in a tower situated on the line of march;
Charles V. ordered one of his captains to carry it by assault; from his
splendid uniform the peasants, it is said, took this officer for the
emperor himself, and directed their fire upon him; the officer, mortally
wounded, was removed to Nice, where he died at the end of a few days.  It
was Garcilaso de la Vega, the prince of Spanish poesy, the Spanish
Petrarch, according to his fellow-countrymen.  The tower was taken, and
Charles V. avenged his poet’s death by hanging twenty-five of these
patriot-peasants, being all that survived of the fifty who had maintained
the defence.

On returning from his sorry expedition, Charles V. learned that those of
his lieutenants whom he had charged with the conduct of a similar
invasion in the north of France, in Picardy, had met with no greater
success than he himself in Provence.  Queen Mary of Hungary, his sister
and deputy in the government of the Low Countries, advised a local truce;
his other sister, Eleanor, the Queen of France, was of the same opinion;
Francis I. adopted it; and the truce in the north was signed for a period
of three months.  Montmorency signed a similar one for Piedmont.  It was
agreed that negotiations for a peace should be opened at Locate in
Roussillon, and that, to pursue them, Francis should go and take up his
quarters at Montpellier, and Charles V. at Barcelona.  Pope Paul III.
(Alexander Farnese), who, on the 13th of October, 1534, had succeeded
Clement VII., came forward as mediator.  He was a man of capacity, who
had the gift of resolutely continuing a moderate course of policy, well
calculated to gain time, but insufficient for the settlement of great and
difficult questions.  The two sovereigns refused to see one another
officially; they did not like the idea of discussing together their
mutual pretensions, and they were so different in character that, as
Marguerite de Valois used to say, “to bring them to accord, God would have
had to re-make one in the other’s image.”  They would only consent to
treat by agents; and on the 15th of June, 1538, they signed a truce for
ten years, rather from weariness of a fruitless war than from any real
desire of peace; they, both of them, wanted time to bring them unforeseen
opportunities for getting out of their embarrassments.  But for all their
refusal to take part in set negotiations, they were both desirous of
being personally on good terms again, and to converse together without
entering into any engagement.  Charles V. being forced by contrary winds
to touch at the Island of Sainte-Marie, made a proposal to Francis I.
for an interview at Aigues Mortes; Francis repaired thither on the 14th
of July, 1538, and went, the very same day, in a small galley, to pay a
visit to the emperor, who stepped eagerly forward, and held out a hand to
him to help him on to the other vessel.  Next day, the 15th of July,
Charles V., embarking on board one of the king’s frigates, went and
returned the visit at Aigues-Mortes, where Francis, with his whole court,
was awaiting him; after disembarkation at the port they embraced; and
Queen Eleanor, glad to see them together, “embraced them both,” says an
eyewitness, “a round the waist.”  They entered the town amidst the roar
of artillery and the cheers of the multitude, shouting, “Hurrah! for the
emperor and the king!”  The dauphin, Henry, and his brother Charles, Duke
of Orleans, arriving boot and spur from Provence, came up at this moment,
shouting likewise, “Hurrah! for the emperor and the king!”  “Charles V.
dropped on his knees,” says the narrator, and embraced the two young
princes affectionately.  They all repaired together to the house prepared
for their reception, and, after dinner, the emperor, being tired, lay
down to rest on a couch.  Queen Eleanor, before long, went and tapped at
his door, and sent word to the king that the emperor was awake.  Francis,
with the Cardinal de Lorraine and the Constable de Montmorency, soon
arrived.  On entering the chamber, he found the emperor still lying down
and chatting with his sister the queen, who was seated beside him on a
chair.  At sight of the king Charles V. sprang from the couch and went
towards him without any shoes on.  “Well, brother,” said the king, “how
do you feel?  Have you rested well?”  “Yes,” said Charles; “I had made
such cheer that I was obliged to sleep it off.”  “I wish you,” said
Francis, “to have the same power in France as you have in Flanders and in
Spain;” whereupon he gave him, as a mark of affection, a diamond valued
at thirty thousand crowns, and having on the ring in which it was set
this inscription: “A token and proof of affection” (Dilectionis testis
et exemplum).  Charles put the ring on his finger; and, taking from his
neck the collar of the order (the Golden Fleece) he was wearing, he put
it upon the king’s neck.  Francis did the converse with his own collar.
Only seven of the attendants remained in the emperor’s chamber; and there
the two sovereigns conversed for an hour, after which they moved to the
hall, where a splendid supper awaited them.  After supper the queen went
in person to see if the emperor’s room was ready; she came back to tell
him when it was, and Charles V. retired.  Next morning, July 16, Francis
went to see him again in his room; they heard mass together; Charles
re-embarked the same day for Spain; Francis I. went and slept, on the
17th, at Nimes; and thus ended this friendly meeting, which left, if not
the principal actors, at any rate the people all around, brimful of
satisfaction, and feeling sure that the truce concluded in the previous
month would really at last be peace.  The people are easily deceived; and
whenever they are pleased with appearances they readily take them for
realities.

An unexpected event occurred to give this friendly meeting at
Aigues-Mortes a value which otherwise it would probably never have
attained.  A year afterwards, in August, 1539, a violent insurrection
burst out at Ghent.  The fair deputy of the Low Countries had obtained
from the estates of Flanders a gratuitous grant of twelve hundred
thousand florins for the assistance of her brother the emperor, whom his
unfortunate expedition in Provence had reduced to great straits for want
of money; and the city of Ghent had been taxed, for its share, to the
extent of four hundred thousand florins.  The Ghentese pleaded their
privilege of not being liable to be taxed without their own consent.  To
their plea Charles V. responded by citing the vote of the estates of
Flanders and giving orders to have it obeyed.  The Ghentese drove out the
officers of the emperor, entered upon open rebellion, incited the other
cities of Flanders, Ypres and Bruges amongst the rest, to join them, and,
taking even more decisive action, sent a deputation to Francis I., as
their own lord’s suzerain, demanding his support, and offering to make
him master of the Low Countries if he would be pleased to give them
effectual assistance.  The temptation was great; but whether it were from
prudence or from feudal loyalty, or in consequence of the meeting at
Aigues-Mortes, and of the prospects set before him by Charles of an
arrangement touching Milaness, Francis rejected the offer of the
Ghentese, and informed Charles V. of it.  The emperor determined
resolutely upon the course of going in person and putting down the
Ghentese; but how to get to Ghent?  The sea was not safe; the rebels had
made themselves masters of all the ports on their coasts; the passage by
way of Germany was very slow work, and might be difficult by reason of
ill-will on the part of the Protestant states which would have to be
traversed.  France was the only direct and quick route.  Charles V. sent
to ask Francis I.  for a passage, whilst thanking him for the loyalty
with which he had rejected the offers of the Ghentese, and repeating to
him the fair words that had been used as to Milaness.  Francis announced
to his council his intention of granting the emperor’s request.  Some of
his councillors pressed him to annex some conditions, such, at the least,
as a formal and written engagement instead of the vague and verbal
promises at Aigues-Mortes.  “No,” said the king, with the impulsiveness
of his nature, “when you do a generous thing, you must do it completely
and boldly.”  On leaving the council he met his court-fool Triboulet,
whom he found writing in his tablets, called Fools’ Diary, the name of
Charles V., “A bigger fool than I,” said he, “if he comes passing
through France.”  “What wilt thou say, if I let him pass?” said the king.
“I will rub out his name and put yours in its place.”  Francis I. was not
content with letting Charles V.  pass; he sent his two sons, the dauphin
and the Duke of Orleans, as far as Bayonne to meet him, went in person to
receive him at Chatellerault, and gave him entertainments at Amboise, at
Blois, at Chambord, at Orleans, and Fontainebleau, and lastly at Paris,
which they entered together on the 1st of January, 1540.  Orders had been
sent everywhere to receive him “as kings of France are received on their
joyous accession.”  “The king gave his guest,” says Du Bellay, “all the
pleasures that can be invented, as royal hunts, tourneys, skirmishes,
fights a-foot and a-horseback, and in all other sorts of pastimes.”  Some
petty incidents, of a less reassuring kind, were intermingled with these
entertainments.  One day the Duke of Orleans, a young prince full of
reckless gayety, jumped suddenly on to the crupper of the emperor’s
horse, and threw his arms round Charles, shouting, “Your Imperial Majesty
is my prisoner.”  Charles set off at a gallop, without turning his head.

[Illustration: The Duke of Orleans and Charles V.----128]

Another day the king’s favorite, the Duchess of Etampes, was present with
the two monarchs.  “Brother,” said Francis, “you see yonder a fair dame
who is of opinion that I should not let you out of Paris without your
having revoked the treaty of Madrid.”  “Ah! well,” said Charles, “if the
opinion is a good one, it must be followed.”  Such freedom of thought and
speech is honorable to both sovereigns.  Charles V., impressed with the
wealth and cheerful industry that met his eye, said, according to
Brantome, “There is not in the world any greatness such as that of a King
of France.”  After having passed a week at Paris he started for the Low
Countries, halted at Chantilly, at the Constable de Montmorency’s, who,
as well as the king’s two sons, the dauphin and the Duke of Orleans, was
in attendance upon him, and did not separate from his escort of French
royalty until he arrived at Valenciennes, the first town in his Flemish
dominions.  According to some historians there had been at Chantilly,
amongst the two young princes and their servants, some idea of seizing
the emperor and detaining him until he had consented to the concessions
demanded of him; others merely say that the constable, before leaving
him, was very urgent with him that he should enter into some positive
engagement as to Milaness.  “No,” said Charles, “I must not bind myself
any more than I have done by my words as long as I am in your power; when
I have chastised my rebellious subjects I will content your king.”

He did chastise, severely, his Flemish subjects, but he did not content
the King of France.  Francis I. was not willing to positively renounce
his Italian conquests, and Charles V. was not willing to really give them
up to him.  Milaness was still, in Italy, the principal object of their
mutual ambition.  Navarre, in the south-east of France, and the Low
Countries in the north, gave occasion for incessantly renewed disputes
between them.  The two sovereigns sought for combinations which would
allow them to make, one to the other, the desired concessions, whilst
still preserving pretexts for and chances of recovering them.  Divers
projects of marriage between their children or near relatives were
advanced with that object, but nothing came of them; and, after two years
and a half of abortive negotiations, another great war, the fourth, broke
out between Francis I. and Charles V., for the same causes and with the
same by-ends as ever.  It lasted two years, from 1542 to 1544, with
alternations of success and reverse on either side, and several
diplomatic attempts to embroil in it the different European powers.
Francis I. concluded an alliance in 1543 with Sultan Soliman II., and, in
concert with French vessels, the vessels of the pirate Barbarossa cruised
about and made attacks upon the shores of the Mediterranean.  An outcry
was raised against such a scandal as this.  “Sir Ambassador,” said
Francis I. to Marino Giustiniano, ambassador from Venice, “I cannot deny
that I eagerly desire to see the Turk very powerful and ready for war;
not on his own account, for he is an infidel and all we are Christians,
but in order to cripple the power of the emperor, to force him into great
expense, and to give all other governments security against so great an
enemy.”  “As for me,” says the contemporary Montluc in his Memoires, “if
I could summon all the spirits of hell to break the head of my enemy who
would fain break mine, I would do it with all my heart, God forgive me!”
 On the other hand, on the 11th of February, 1543, Charles V. and Henry
VIII., King of England, concluded an alliance against Francis I. and the
Turks.  The unsuccess which had attended the grand expedition conducted
by Charles V. personally in 1541, with the view of attacking Barbarossa
and the Mussulmans in Algiers itself, had opened his eyes to all the
difficulty of such enterprises, and he wished to secure the co-operation
of a great maritime power before engaging therein afresh.  He at the same
time convoked a German diet at Spires in order to make a strong
demonstration against the alliance between Francis I. and the Turks, and
to claim the support of Germany in the name of Christendom.  Ambassadors
from the Duke of Savoy and the King of Denmark appeared in support of the
propositions and demands of Charles V.  The diet did not separate until
it had voted twenty-four thousand foot and four thousand horse to be
employed against France, and had forbidden Germans, under severe
penalties, to take service with Francis I.  In 1544 the war thus became
almost European, and in the early days of April two armies were
concentrated in Piedmont, near the little town of Ceresole, the Spanish
twenty thousand strong and the French nineteen thousand; the former under
the orders of the Marquis del Guasto, the latter under those of the Count
d’Enghien; both ready to deliver a battle which was, according to one
side, to preserve Europe from the despotic sway of a single master, and,
according to the other, to protect Europe against a fresh invasion of
Mussulmans.

Francis of Bourbon, Count d’Enghien, had received from the king a
prohibition to give battle.  He was believed to be weaker than the
Marquis del Guasto, who showed eagerness to deliver it.  Convinced that
such a position was as demoralizing as it was disagreeable for him, the
young Count d’Enghien sent a valiant and intelligent gentleman, Blaise de
Montluc, who had already had experience in the great wars of the reign,
to carry his representations to the king.  Francis I. summoned the
messenger to a meeting of the council, at which the dauphin, Henry, stood
behind his father’s chair.  “Montluc,” said the king, “I wish you to
return and report my deliberation and the opinion of my council to M.
d’Enghien, and to listen here to the difficulty that stands in the way of
our being able to grant him leave to give battle, as he demands.”  The
Count de St. Pol spoke and set forth the reasons the king had for not
desiring battle; and the end of them all was that there was a chance of
losing, which would be a matter for regret beyond all comparison with the
advantage to be gained from winning.  “I stamped with impatience to
speak,” says Montluc, “and would have broken in; but M. de St. Pol made
me a sign with his hand, saying, ‘Quiet! quiet!’ which made me hold my
tongue, and I saw that the king set on a-laughing.  Then he told me that
he wished me to say freely what I thought about it.  ‘I consider myself
most happy, sir,’ said I, ‘for when you were dauphin, and before you were
called to this great charge which God hath given you, you tried the
fortune of war as much as any king that ever hath been in France, without
sparing your own person any more than the meanest gentleman.  Well, a
soldier-king is the only one I can address.’  The dauphin, who was facing
me,” continued Montluc, “made me a sign with his head, which caused me to
think that he wished me to speak boldly.  Then said I, ‘Sir, I count that
there will be forty-five hundred or forty-six hundred of us Gascons, all
told; and all of us, captains and soldiers, will give you our names and
the places whence we come, and will stake our heads that we will fight on
the day of battle, if it should please you to grant it.  It is a matter
that we have been awaiting and desiring this long while, without much
taking of counsel; be assured, sir, there are not more resolute soldiers
than yonder.  There are, besides, thirteen companies of Swiss, who will
give you the same pledge as we who are your subjects; and we will hand in
to you the names of them all for to be sent to their cantons in order
that, if there be any who shall not do his duty, he may die.  You have
thus nine thousand men and more of whom you may be certain that they will
fight to the last gasp of their lives.  As for the Italians and
Provencals, I will not answer to you for them; but perhaps they will all
do as well as we, when they see us getting to work;’ and then I raised my
arm up, as if to strike, whereat the king smiled. Sir,’ said I, ‘I have
heard from wise captains that it is not the great number that wins, but
the stout heart; on a day of battle, a moiety doth not fight at all.
We desire no more; leave it to us.’ The king, who had very favorably
listened to me, and who took pleasure in seeing my impatience, turned his
eyes towards M. de St. Pol, who said, ‘Sir, would you change your opinion
at the words of this madcap, who has no thought for the calamity it would
be if we were to lose the battle?  It is a matter too important to be
left for settlement to the brains of a young Gascon.’ I answered him,
‘Sir, let me assure you that I am no braggart, nor so hare-brained as you
consider me.  All we have to do is not to go and attack the enemy in a
stronghold, as we did at La Bicocca; but M. d’Enghien has too many good
and veteran captains about him to commit such an error.  The only
question will be to find means of coming at them in open country, where
there is neither hedge nor ditch to keep us from setting to work; and
then, sir, you shall hear talk of the most furious fights that ever were.
I do entreat you most humbly, sir, to admit no thought of anything but a
victory.’  The dauphin,” continues Montluc, “went on more and more
smiling, and making signs to me, which gave me still greater boldness in
speaking.  All the rest spoke and said that the king must not place any
reliance upon my words.  Admiral d’Annebaut said not a syllable, but
smiled; I suppose he had seen the signs the dauphin was making to me.
M. de St. Pol turns to speak to the king, and says, ‘How, sir!  You seem
disposed to change your opinion, and listen to the words of this rabid
madman!’  To whom the king replied, ‘On my honor as a gentleman, cousin,
he has given me such great and clear reasons, and has represented to me
so well the good courage of my men, that I know not what to do.’  ‘I see
quite well,’ said the Lord of St. Pol, ‘that you have already turned
round.’  Whereupon the king, addressing the admiral, asked him what he
thought about it.  ‘Sir,’ answered the admiral, ‘you have a great mind to
give them leave to fight.  I will not be surety to you, if they fight,
for gain or loss, since God alone can know about that; but I will
certainly pledge you my life and my honor that all they whom he has
mentioned to you will fight, and like good men and true, for I know what
they are worth from having commanded them.  Only do one thing; we know
well that you are half brought round and inclined rather to fighting than
the contrary; make, then, your prayer to God, and entreat Him to be
pleased this once to aid you and counsel you as to what you ought to do.’
Then the king lifted his eyes towards heaven, and, clasping his hands and
throwing his cap upon the table, said, ‘O God, I entreat Thee that it may
please Thee to this day give me counsel as to what I ought to do for the
preservation of my kingdom, and that all may be to Thy honor and glory!’
Whereupon the admiral asked him, ‘Sir, what opinion occurs to you now?’
The king, after pausing a little, turned towards me, saying, with a sort
of shout, ‘Let them fight! let them fight!’  ‘Well, then, there is no
more to be said,’ replied the admiral; ‘if you lose, you alone will be
the cause of the loss; and, if you win, in like manner; and you, all
alone, will have the satisfaction of it, you alone having given the
leave.’  Then the king and every one rose up, and, as for me, I tingled
with joy.  His Majesty began talking with the admiral about my despatch
and about giving orders for the pay which was in arrears.  And M. de St.
Pol accosted me, saying with a laugh, ‘Rabid madman, thou wilt be cause
of the greatest weal that could happen to the king, or of the greatest
woe.’”

Montluc’s boldness and Francis I.’s confidence in yielding to it were not
unrewarded.  The battle was delivered at Ceresole on the 14th of April,
1544; it was bravely disputed and for some time indecisive, even in the
opinion of the anxious Count d’Enghien, who was for a while in an awkward
predicament; but the ardor of the Gascons and the firmness of the Swiss
prevailed, and the French army was victorious.  Montluc was eagerly
desirous of being commissioned to go and carry to the king the news of
the victory which he had predicted and to which he had contributed; but
another messenger had the preference; and he does not, in his Memoires,
conceal his profound discontent; but he was of those whom their
discontent does not dishearten, and he continued serving his king and his
country with such rigorous and stubborn zeal as was destined hereafter,
in the reign of Henry III., to make him Marshal of France at last.  He
had to suffer a disappointment more serious than that which was personal
to himself; the victory of Ceresole had not the results that might have
been expected.  The war continued; Charles V. transferred his principal
efforts therein to the north, on the frontiers of the Low Countries and
France, having concluded an alliance with Henry VIII. for acting in
concert and on the offensive.  Champagne and Picardy were simultaneously
invaded by the Germans and the English; Henry VIII. took Boulogne;
Charles V. advanced as far as Chateau-Thierry and threatened Paris.
Great was the consternation there; Francis I. hurried up from
Fontainebleau and rode about the streets, accompanied by the Duke of
Guise, and everywhere saying, “If I cannot keep you from fear, I will
keep you from harm.”  “My God,” he had exclaimed, as he started from
Fontainebleau, “how dear Thou sellest me my kingdom!”  The people
recovered courage and confidence; they rose in a body; forty thousand
armed militiamen defiled, it is said, before the king.  The army arrived
by forced marches, and took post between Paris and Chateau-Thierry.

[Illustration: Claude de Lorraine, Duke of Guise----130]

Charles V. was not rash; he fell back to Crespy in Laonness, some few
leagues from his Low Countries.  Negotiations were opened; and Francis
I., fearing least Henry VIII., being master of Boulogne, should come and
join Charles V., ordered his negotiator, Admiral d’Annebaut, to accept
the emperor’s offers, “for fear lest he should rise higher in his demands
when he knew that Boulogne was in the hands of the King of England.”  The
demands were hard, but a little less so than those made in 1540; Charles
V. yielded on some special points, being possessed beyond everything with
the desire of securing Francis I.’s co-operation in the two great
contests he was maintaining, against the Turks in eastern Europe and
against the Protestants in Germany.  Francis I. conceded everything in
respect of the European policy in order to retain his rights over
Milaness and to recover the French towns on the Somme.  Peace was signed
at Crespy on the 18th of September, 1544; and it was considered so bad an
one that the dauphin thought himself bound to protest, first of all
secretly before notaries and afterwards at Fontainebleau, on the 12th of
December, in the presence of three princes of the royal house.  This
feeling was so general that several great bodies, amongst others the
Parliament of Toulouse (on the 22d of January, 1545), followed the
dauphin’s example.

Francis I. was ill, saddened, discouraged, and still he thought of
nothing but preparing for a fifth great campaign against Charles V.
Since his glorious victory at Melegnano in the beginning of his reign,
fortune had almost invariably forsaken his policy and all his
enterprises, whether of war or of diplomacy; but, falling at one time a
victim to the defects of his mind and character, and being at another
hurried away by his better qualities and his people’s sympathy, he took
no serious note of the true causes or the inevitable consequences of his
reverses, and realized nothing but their outward and visible signs,
whilst still persisting in the same hopeful illusions and the same ways
of government.  Happily for the lustre of his reign and the honor of his
name, he had desires and tastes independent of the vain and reckless
policy practised by him with such alternations of rashness and feebleness
as were more injurious to the success of his designs than to his personal
renown, which was constantly recovering itself through the brilliancy of
his courage, the generous though superficial instincts of his soul, and
the charm of a mind animated by a sincere though ill-regulated sympathy
for all the beautiful works of mankind in literature, science, and art,
and for all that does honor and gives embellishment to the life of human
beings.



CHAPTER XXIX.----FRANCIS I. AND THE RENAISSANCE.

[Illustration: FRANCIS I.----137]

Francis I., in his life as a king and a soldier, had two rare pieces of
good fortune: two great victories, Melegnano and Ceresole, stand out at
the beginning and the end of his reign; and in his direst defeat, at
Pavia, he was personally a hero.  In all else, as regards his government,
his policy was neither an able nor a successful one; for two and thirty
years he was engaged in plans, attempts, wars, and negotiations; he
failed in all his designs; he undertook innumerable campaigns or
expeditions that came to nothing; he concluded forty treaties of war,
peace, or truce, incessantly changing aim, and cause, and allies; and,
for all this incoherent activity, he could not manage to conquer either
the empire or Italy; he brought neither aggrandizement nor peace to
France.

Outside of the political arena, in quite a different field of ideas and
facts, that is, in the intellectual field, Francis I. did better and
succeeded better.  In this region he exhibited an instinct and a taste
for the grand and the beautiful; he had a sincere love for literature,
science, and art; he honored and protected, and effectually too, their
works and their representatives.  And therein it is that more than one
sovereign and more than one age have found their purest glory to consist.
Virgil, Horace, and Livy contributed quite as much as the foundation of
the empire to shed lustre on the reign of Augustus.  Bossuet, Pascal, and
Fenelon, Corneille, Racine, Boileau, Moliere, and La Fontaine, count for
quite as much as his great warriors and his able administrators in regard
to the splendor of the age of Louis XIV.  People are quite right to set
this estimate upon the heroes of the human mind and upon their works;
their portion in the history of mankind is certainly not the most
difficult, but it is that which provides both those who give and those
who take with the purest delights, and which is the least dear in respect
of what it costs the nation.

The reign of Francis I. occupies the first half of the century (the
sixteenth), which has been called the age of Renaissance.  Taken
absolutely, and as implying a renaissance, following upon a decay of
science, literature, and art, the expression is exaggerated, and goes
beyond the truth; it is not true that the five centuries which rolled by
between the establishment of the Capetians and the accession of Francis
I. (from 987 to 1515), were a period of intellectual barrenness and
decay; the middle ages, amidst the anarchy, violence, and calamities of
their social condition, had, in philosophy, literature, and art, works of
their own and a glory of their own, which lacked not originality, or
brilliancy, or influence over subsequent ages.  There is no idea of
telling their history here; we only desire to point out, with some sort
of precision, their special character and their intellectual worth.

At such a period, what one would scarcely expect to find is intellectual
ambition on a very extensive scale and great variety in the branches of
knowledge and in the scope of ideas.  And yet it is in the thirteenth
century that we meet for the first time in Europe and in France with the
conception and the execution of a vast repertory of different scientific
and literary works produced by the brain of man, in fact with a veritable
Encyclopaedia.  It was a monk, a preaching friar, a simple Dominican
reader (lector qualiscumque), whose life was passed, as he himself says,
by the side and under the eye of the superior-general of his order, who
undertook and accomplished this great labor.  Vincent of Beauvais, born
at Beauvais between 1184 and 1194, who died at his native place in 1264,
an insatiable glutton for books (librorum helluo), say his
contemporaries, collected and edited what he called _Bibliotheca Mundi,
Speculum majus_ (Library of the World, an enlarged Mirror), an immense
compilation, the first edition of which, published at Strasbourg in 1473,
comprises ten volumes folio, and would comprise fifty or sixty volumes
octavo.  The work contains three, and, according to some manuscripts,
four parts, entitled _Speculum naturale_ (Mirror of Natural Science),
_Speculum historiale_ (Mirror of Historical Science), _Speculum
doctrinale_ (Mirror of Metaphysical Science), and _Speculum morale_
(Mirror of Moral Science).  M. Daunou, in the notice he has given to it
[in the xviiith volume of the _Histoire litteraire de la France,_ begun
by the Benedictines and continued by the _Academie des Inscriptions et
Belleslettres de l’Institut,_ pp. 449-519], disputes, not without reason,
the authenticity of this last part.  Each of these Specula contains a
summary, extracted from the various writings which have reference to the
subject of it, and the authors of which Vincent of Beauvais takes care to
name.  M. Daunou, at the end of his learned notice, has described the
nature, the merit, and the interest of the work in the following terms:
“The writings and documents which we have to thank Vincent of Beauvais
for having preserved to us are such as pertain to veritable studies, to
doctrines, to traditions, and even to errors which obtained a certain
amount of credit or exercised a certain amount of influence in the course
of ages.  .  .  .  Whenever it is desirable to know what were in France,
about 1250, the tendency and the subjects of the most elevated studies,
what sciences were cultivated, what books, whether ancient, or, for the
time, modern, were or might have been read, what questions were in
agitation, what doctrines were prevalent in schools, monasteries,
churches, and the world, it will be to Vincent of Beauvais, above all,
that recourse must be had.”  There is nothing to be added to this
judicious estimate; there is no intention of entering here into any sort
of detail about the work of Vincent of Beauvais; only it is desirable to
bring some light to bear upon the intellectual aspirations and activity
of the middle ages in France previously to the new impulse which was to
be communicated to them by the glorious renaissance of Greek and Roman
antiquity.  A scientific, historical, and philosophical encyclopaedia of
the thirteenth century surely deserves to find a place in the preface to
the sixteenth.

After the encyclopaedist of the middle ages come, naturally, their
philosophers.  They were numerous; and some of them have remained
illustrious.  Several of them, at the date of their lives and labors,
have already been met with and remarked upon in this history, such as
Gerbert of Aurillac, who became Pope Sylvester II., St. Anselm, Abelard,
St. Bernard, Robert of Sorbon, founder of the Sorbonne, and St. Thomas
Aquinas.

[Illustration: St. Thomas Aquinas and Abelard----140]

To these names, known to every enlightened man, might be added many
others less familiar to the public, but belonging to men who held a high
place in the philosophical contests of their times, such as John Scot
Erigena, Berenger, Roscelin, William of Champeaux, Gilbert of La Poree,
&c.  The questions which always have taken and always will take a
passionate hold of men’s minds in respect of God, the universe, and man,
in respect of our origin, our nature, and our destiny, were raised and
discussed, from the eleventh to the fifteenth century, if not with so
much brilliancy, at any rate with as much boldness and earnest thought,
as at any other period.  The middle ages had, in France, their
spiritualists, their materialists, their pantheists, their rationalists,
their mystics, and their sceptics, not very clear or refined in their
notions, but such as lacked neither profundity in their general view of
the questions, nor ingenious subtilty in their argumentative process.  We
do not care to give in this place any exposition or estimate of their
doctrines; we shall simply point out what there was original and
characteristic in their fashion of philosophizing, and wherein their
mental condition differed essentially from that which was engendered and
propagated, in the sixteenth century, by the resuscitation of Greek and
Roman antiquity.

It is the constant idea of the philosophers and theologians of that
period to affirm and to demonstrate the agreement between Christian faith
and reason.  They consider themselves placed between two fixed points,
faith in the Christian truths inculcated from the very first or formally
revealed by God to man, and reason, which is the faculty given to man to
enable him to recognize the truth.  “Faith,” wrote Hildebert, Archbishop
of Tours, in the eleventh century, “is not contrary to reason, but it is
above reason.  If, like the philosophers, one willeth not to believe
anything but what reason comprehends, faith, in this case, hath no merit.
The merit is in believing that which, without being contrary to reason,
is above it.  .  .  .  Faith is certainty in respect of things which fall
not under the perceptions of the body; it is below knowledge, for to
believe is less than to know; and it is above opinion, for to believe is
more than to imagine.”  “I do not seek to understand in order to
believe,” says St. Anselm; “I believe in order to understand.  .  .  .
Authority requires faith in order to prepare man for reason.”  But
“authority,” said St. Columban, in the sixth century, “proceeds from
right reason, not at all reason from authority.  Every authority whereof
the decrees are not approved of by right reason appears mighty weak.”
 Minds so liberal in the face of authority, and at the same time attached
to revealed and traditional faith, could not but be sometimes painfully
perplexed.  “My wounded spirit,” said Adam of the Premontre-order (le
premontre), in the twelfth century, “calls to her aid that which is the
source of all grace and all life.  But where is it?  What is it?  In her
trouble the spirit hath love abiding; but she knows no longer what it is
she loves, what she ought to love.  She addresseth herself to the stones
and to the rocks, and saith to them, ‘What are ye?’  And the stones and
the rocks make answer, ‘We are creatures of the same even as thou art.’
To the like question the sun, the moon, and the stars make the like
answer.  The spirit doth interrogate the sand of the sea, the dust of the
earth, the drops of rain, the days of the years, the hours of the days,
the moments of the hours, the turf of the fields, the branches of the
trees, the leaves of the branches, the scales of fish, the wings of
birds, the utterances of men, the voices of animals, the movements of
bodies, the thoughts of minds; and these things declare, all with one
consent, unto the spirit, ‘We are not that which thou demandest; search
up above us, and thou wilt find our Creator!’”  In the tenth century,
Remigius the theologian had gone still farther: “I have resolved,” said
he, “to make an investigation as to my God; for it doth not suffice me to
believe in Him; I wish further to see somewhat of Him.  I feel that there
is somewhat beyond my spirit.  If my spirit should abide within herself
without rising above herself, she would see only herself; it must be
above herself that my spirit will reach God.”

God, creator, lawgiver, and preserver of the universe and of man,
everywhere and always present and potent, in permanent connection, nay,
communication, with man, at one time by natural and at another by
supernatural means, at one time by the channel of authority and at
another by that of free-agency, this is the point of departure, this the
fixed idea of the philosopho-theologians of the middle ages.  There are
great gaps, great diversities, and great inconsistencies in their
doctrines; they frequently made unfair use of the subtile dialectics
called scholastics (la scolastique), and they frequently assigned too
much to the master’s authority (l’autorite du maitre); but Christian
faith, more or less properly understood and explained, and adhesion to
the facts, to the religious and moral precepts, and to the primitive and
essential testimonies of Christianity, are always to be found at the
bottom of their systems and their disputes.  Whether they be pantheists
even or sceptics, it is in an atmosphere of Christianity that they live
and that their thoughts are developed.

A breath from the grand old pagan life of Greece and Rome heaved forth
again and spread, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, throughout
this Christian atmosphere of the middle ages.  Greek and Roman antiquity,
with its ideas and its works, had never been completely forgotten
therein.  Aristotle and Plato, Seneca, Epictetus, Boetius, and other
ancients had taken their place amongst the studies and philosophical
notions of that period; but their influence had been limited to
professional scholars, and had remained without any social influence.
In spite of the stateliness of its ceremonies and the charm of its
traditions, paganism had never been, in plain truth, a religion; faith
and piety had held but a paltry place in it; instead of a God, the
creator and acting sovereign of the world, its gods were of human
invention and human nature: their adventures and the parts they played
were pleasing to the imagination, but gave no sort of satisfaction to the
deep instincts and higher aspirations of the soul.  Christianity is God
hovering over, watching over, and descending to earth; paganism is earth,
its children and the stories of their lives transported, with their vices
rather than their virtues, to heaven.  Olympus was peopled with nothing
but personages belonging to popular tradition, mythology, or allegory;
and in the fifteenth century this mythology was in full course of decay;
all that it might have commanded of credence or influence had vanished;
there remained of it nothing but barren memories or a contemptuous
incredulity.  Speaking from the religious point of view, the Renaissance
was but a resurrection of paganism dying out before the presence of the
Christian world, which was troubled and perplexed, but full of life and
futurity.

The religious question thus set on one side, the Renaissance was a great
and happy thing, which restored to light and honor the works and glories
of the Greek and Roman communities, those two communities which, in
history anterior to the sixteenth century, had reached the greatest
prosperity and splendor under a civil regimen, in the midst of a more or
less stormy but real and strong political freedom, and had attained by
the mere development of human thought and human energy the highest degree
of civilization yet known in Europe, and, one would be inclined to say,
in the world.  The memorials and monuments of this civilization, which
were suddenly removed, at the fall of the Greek empire, to Italy first
and then from Italy to France, and throughout the whole of Western
Europe, impressed with just admiration people as well as princes, and
inspired them with the desire of marching forward in their turn in this
attractive and glorious career.  This kind of progress, arrived at by the
road of imitation, often costs dear in the interruption it causes to the
natural course of the peculiar and original genius of nations; but this
is the price at which the destinies of diverse communities get linked
together and interpenetrate, and the general progress of humanity is
accomplished.

It was not only in religious questions and by their philosopho-
theologians that the middle ages, before the Renaissance, displayed their
activity and fecundity.  In literature and in art, in history and in
poesy, in architecture and in sculpture, they had produced great and
beautiful works, which were quite worthy of surviving, and have, in fact,
survived the period of their creation.  Here, too, the Renaissance of
Greek and Roman antiquity came in, and altered the originality of the
earliest productions of the middle ages, and gave to literature and to
art in France a new direction.  It will be made a point here to note with
some exactness the peculiar and native character of French literature at
its origin.  It is a far cry from the middle ages to the time of Louis
XIV.; but the splendors of the most lovely days do not efface the charm
belonging to the glimmerings of dawn.

The first amongst the literary creations of the middle ages is that of
the French language itself.  When we pass from the ninth to the
thirteenth century, from the oath of Charles the Bald and Louis the
Germanic at Strasbourg, in 842, to the account of the conquest of
Constantinople in 1203, given by Geoffrey de Villehardouin, seneschal of
Champagne, what a space has been traversed, what progress accomplished in
the language of France!  It was, at first, nothing but a coarse and
irregular mixture of German and Latin, the former still in a barbarous
and the latter already in a corrupted state; and amidst this mixture
appear some fragments of the Celtic idioms of Gaul, without any literary
tradition to regulate this mass of incoherence and confusion.  As for
following the development, regulation, and transformation of the French
national language during these three centuries, and marking how it issued
from this formless and vulgar chaos, there are not facts and documents
enough for our guidance throughout that long travail; but when the
thirteenth century begins, when Villehardouin tells the tale of the
crusade, which put, for seventy years, Constantinople and the Greek
empire of the East in the hands of the Latin and German warriors of the
West, the French language, though still rude and somewhat fluctuating,
appears already rich, varied, and capable of depicting with fidelity and
energy events, ideas, characters, and the passions of men.  There we have
French prose and French poesy in their simple and lusty youth; the
_Conquest of Constantinople_ by Geoffrey de Villehardouin, and the _Song
of Roland_ by the unknown poet who collected and put together in the form
of an epopee the most heroic amongst the legends of the reign of
Charlemagne, are the first great and beautiful monuments of French
literature in the middle ages.

The words are French literature; and of that alone is there any intention
of speaking here.  The middle ages had, up to the sixteenth century, a
Latin literature; philosophers, theologians, and chroniclers all wrote in
Latin.  The philosophers and theologians have already been spoken of.
Amongst the chroniclers some deserve the name of historians; not only do
they alone make us acquainted with the history of their times, but they
sometimes narrate it with real talent as observers and writers.  Gregory
of Tours, Eginhard, William of Tyre, Guibert of Nogent, William of
Jumieges, and Orderic Vital are worthy of every attention from those
whose hearts are set upon thoroughly understanding the history of the
periods and the provinces of which those laborers of the middle ages
have, in Latin, preserved the memorials.  The chief of those works have
been gathered together and translated in a special collection bearing the
name of Guizot.  But it is with the reign of Francis I. that, to bid a
truce to further interruption, we commence the era of the real grand
literature of France, that which has constituted and still constitutes
the pride and the noble pleasure of the French public.  Of that alone we
would here denote the master-works and the glorious names, putting them
carefully at the proper dates and places in the general course of events;
a condition necessary for making them properly understood and their
influence properly appreciated.  As to the reign of Francis I., however,
it must be premised as follows: several of the most illustrious of French
writers, in poesy and prose, Ronsard, Montaigne, Bodin, and Stephen
Pasquier, were born during that king’s lifetime and during the first half
of the sixteenth century; but it is to the second half of that century
and to the first of the seventeenth that they belong by the glory of
their works and of their influence; their place in history will be
assigned to them when we enter upon the precise epoch at which they
performed and shone.  We will at present confine ourselves to the great
survivors of the middle ages, whether in prose or poesy, and to the men
who shed lustre on the reign of Francis I. himself, and led French
literature in its first steps along the road on which it entered at that
period.

The middle ages bequeathed to French literature four prose-writers whom
we cannot hesitate to call great historians: Villehardouin, Joinville,
Froissart, and Commynes.  Geoffrey de Villehardouin, after having taken
part, as negotiator and soldier, in the crusade which terminated in the
capture of Constantinople, and having settled in Thessaly, at
Messinopolis, as holder of considerable fiefs, with the title of Marshal
of Romania (Roumelia), employed his leisure in writing a history of this
great exploit.  He wrote with a dignified simplicity, epic and at the
same time practical, speaking but little of himself, narrating facts with
the precision of one who took part in them, and yet without useless
detail or personal vanity, finding pleasure in doing justice to his
comrades, amongst others the veteran Doge of Venice, Henry Dandolo, and
sometimes intermingling with his story the reflections of a judicious and
sincere Christian, without any pious fanaticism and without ostentation.
Joinville wrote his History of St. Louis at the request of Joan of
Navarre, wife of Philip the Handsome, and five years after that queen’s
death; his manuscripts have it thus: “The things which I personally saw
and heard were written in the year of grace 1309, in the month of
October.”  He was then eighty-five, and he dedicated his book to Louis le
Hutin (the quarreller), great-grandson of St. Louis.  More lively and
more familiar in style than Villehardouin, he combines the vivid and
natural impressions of youth with an old man’s fond clinging to the
memories of his long life; he likes to bring himself upon the scene,
especially as regards his relations towards and his conversations with
St. Louis, for whom he has a tender regard and admiration, at the same
time that he maintains towards him a considerable independence of ideas,
conduct, and language; he is a valiant and faithful knight, who forms a
very sensible opinion as to the crusade in which he takes part, and who
will not enter upon it a second time even to follow the king to whom he
is devoted, but whose pious fanaticism and warlike illusions he does not
share; his narrative is at one and the same time very full of himself
without any pretension, and very spirited without any show of passion,
and fraught with a graceful and easy carelessness which charms the reader
and all the while inspires confidence in the author’s veracity.
Froissart is an insatiable Fry, who revels in all the sights of his day,
events and personages, wars and galas, adventures of heroism or
gallantry, and who is incessantly gadding about through all the dominions
and all the courts of Europe, everywhere seeking his own special
amusement in the satisfaction of his curiosity.  He has himself given an
account of the manner in which he collected and wrote his Chronicles.
“Ponder,” says he, “amongst yourselves, such of ye as read me, or will
read me, or have read me, or shall hear me read, how I managed to get and
put together so many facts whereof I treat in so many parts.  And, for to
inform you of the truth, I began young, at the age of twenty years, and I
came into the world amidst the deeds and adventures, and I did always
take great delight in them, more than in aught else.  And God gave me
such grace that I was well with all parties, and with the households of
the kings, and, especially, the household of King Edward of England, and
the noble queen his wife, Madame Philippa of Hainault, unto whom, in my
youth, I was clerk, and I did minister unto her with beautiful ditties
and amorous treatises.  And for love of the service of the noble and
valiant dame with whom I was, all the other lords, kings, dukes, counts,
barons, and knights, of whatsoever nation they might be, did love me and
hear me and see me gladly, and brought me great profit.  .  .  .  Thus,
wherever I went, I made inquiry of the old knights and squires who had
been at deeds of arms, and who were specially fit to speak thereof, and
also of certain heralds in good credit for to verify and justify all
matters.  Thus have I gotten together this lofty and noble history.”
 This picture of Froissart and his work by his own hand would be
incomplete without the addition of a characteristic anecdote.  In one of
his excursions in search of adventures and stories, “he fell in at
Pamiers with a good knight, Messire Espaing of Lyons, who had been in all
the wars of the time, and managed the great affairs of princes.  They set
out to travel together, Messire Espaing telling his comrade what he knew
about the history of the places whereby they passed, and Froissart taking
great care to ride close to him for to hear his words.  Every evening
they halted at hostels where they drained flagons full of white wine as
good as the good canon had ever drunk in his life; then, after drinking,
so soon as the knight was weary of relating, the chronicler wrote down
just the substance of his stories, so as to better leave remembrance of
them for time to come, as there is no way of retaining so certain as
writing down.”

There is no occasion to add to these quotations; they give the most
correct idea that can be formed of Froissart’s chronicles and their
literary merit as well as their historical value.

Philip de Commynes is quite another affair, and far more than Froissart,
nay, than Joinville and Villehardouin.  He is a politician proficient in
the understanding and handling of the great concerns and great personages
of his time.  He served Charles the Rash and Louis XI.; and, after so
trying an experience, he depicted them and passed judgment upon them with
imperturbable clearsightedness and freedom of thought.  With the recital
of events, as well as the portrayal of character, he mingles here and
there the reflections, expressed in precise, firm, and temperate
language, of a profound moralist, who sets before himself no other aim
but that of giving his thoughts full utterance.  He has already been
spoken of in the second volume of this History, in connection with his
leaving the Duke of Burgundy’s service for that of Louis XI., and with
his remarks upon the virtues as well as the vices of that able but
unprincipled despot.  We will not go again over that ground.  As a king’s
adviser, Commynes would have been as much in place at the side of Louis
XIV. as at that of Louis XI.; as a writer, he, in the fifteenth century,
often made history and politics speak a language which the seventeenth
century would not have disowned.

Let us pass from the prose-writers of the middle ages to their poets.

The grand name of poesy is here given only to poetical works which have
lived beyond their cradles and have taken rank amongst the treasures of
the national literature.  Thanks to sociability of manners, vivacity of
intellect, and fickleness of taste, light and ephemeral poesy has
obtained more success and occupied more space in France than in any other
country; but there are successes which give no title to enter into a
people’s history; quality and endurance of renown are even more requisite
in literature than in politics; and many a man whose verses have been
very much relished and cried up in his lifetime has neither deserved nor
kept in his native land the beautiful name of poet.  Setting aside, of
course, the language and poems of the troubadours of Southern France, we
shall find, in French poesy previous to the Renaissance, only three works
which, through their popularity in their own time, still live in the
memory of the erudite, and one only which, by its grand character and its
superior beauties, attests the poetical genius of the middle ages and can
claim national rights in the history of France.  _The Romance of the
Rose_ in the erotic and allegorical style, the _Romances of Renart_ in
the satirical, and the _Farce of Patelin,_ a happy attempt in the line of
comedy, though but little known nowadays to the public, are still and
will remain subjects of literary study.  _The Song of Roland_ alone is an
admirable sample of epic poesy in France, and the only monument of
poetical genius in the middle ages which can have a claim to national
appreciation in the nineteenth century.  It is almost a pity not to
reproduce here the whole of that glorious epopee, as impressive from the
forcible and pathetic simplicity of its sentiments and language as from
the grandeur of the scene and the pious heroism of the actors in it.  It
is impossible, however, to resist the pleasure of quoting some fragments
of it.  The best version to refer to is that which has been given almost
word for word, from the original text, by M. Leon Gaultier, in his
beautiful work, so justly crowned by the _Academie des Inscriptions et
Belles-lettres, on Lee Epopees Francaises_.

In 778 Charlemagne was returning from a great expedition in Spain, during
which, after having taken Pampeluna, he had failed before Saragossa, and
had not considered himself called upon to prolong his struggle with the
Arab Mussulmans.  He with the main body of his army had crossed the
Pyrenees, leaving as rearguard a small division under his nephew Roland,
prefect of the Marches of Brittany, Anselm, count of the palace, Oliver,
Roland’s comrade, Archbishop Turpin, and several other warriors of
renown.  When they arrived at the little valley of Roncesvalles, between
the defiles of Sizer and Val Carlos, this rearguard was unexpectedly
attacked by thousands of Basque mountaineers, who were joined by
thousands of Arabs eager to massacre and plunder the Christians and
Franks, who, indeed, perished to a man in this ambuscade.  “The news of
this disaster,” says Eginhard, in his Annales, “obscured the glory of the
successes the king had but lately obtained in Spain.”  This fact, with
large amplifications, became the source of popular legends and songs,
which, probably towards the end of the eleventh century, became embodied
in the _Song of Roland,_ attributed, in two manuscripts, but without any
certainty, to a certain Thuroulde (Turold), Abbot of Malmesbury and
Peterborough under William the Conqueror.  It must suffice to reproduce
here only the most beautiful and most characteristic passages of this
little national epopee, a truly Homeric picture of the quasi-barbarous
times and manners of knightly Christendom.

The eighty-second strophe of the poem commences thus:

“‘Of Paynim yonder, saw I more,’
Quoth Oliver, ‘than e’er before
The eye of man hath seen
An hundred thousand are a-field,
With helm and hauberk, lance and shield,
And pikes and pike-heads gleaming bright;
Prepare for fight, a fiercer fight
Than ever yet hath been.
Blow Olifant, friend Roland, blow,
That Charles and all his host may know.’

“To whom Sir Roland in reply:
‘A madman, then, good faith, were I
For I should lose all countenance
Throughout the pleasant land of France
Nay, rather, facing great and small,
I’ll smite amain with Durandal,
Until the blade, with blood that’s spilt,
Is crimson to the golden hilt.’
‘Friend Roland, sound a single blast
Ere Charles beyond its reach hath passed.’
‘Forbid it, God,’ cried Roland, then,
‘It should be said by living men
That I a single blast did blow
For succor from a Paynim foe!’
When Roland sees what moil will be,
Lion nor pard so fierce as he.

“Archbishop Turpin looks around,
Then forward pricks to higher ground
He halts, he speaks; the French give ear:
‘Lords barons, Charles hath left us here,
And for our king we’re bound to die;
For him maintain the Christian cause;
Behold! how near the battle draws;
Behold! where yonder Paynim lie;
Confess to God; and I will give
Absolvement, that your souls may live.
Pure martyrs are ye if ye fall;
And Paradise awaits ye all.’

“Down leap the French, on bended knee
They fall for benison; and he
Doth lay on all a penance light--
To strike their hardest in the fight.

“The French have risen to their feet;
They leap upon their chargers fleet;
Into the defiles rides their chief
On his good war-horse, Veillantif.
O, in his harness he looks grand!
On, on he goes with lance on high
Its tip is pointed to the sky;
It bears a snow-white pennon, and
Its golden fringes sweep his hand.
He scans the foe with haughty glance,
With meek and sweet the men of France
‘Lords barons, gently, gently ride;
Yon Paynim rush to suicide;
No king of France could ever boast
The wealth we’ll strip from yonder host.’
And as the words die off his lips,
Christian and Paynim are at grips.

“A wondrous fight! The men of France
Thrust fiercely with the burnished lance!
O, ‘twas a sight of grief and dread,
So many wounded, bleeding, dead!
On back or face together they,
One on another falling, lay!
The Paynim cannot choose but yield,
And, willy-nilly, quit the field
The eager French are on their track,
With lances pointed at the back. . . .

“Then pricketh forth a Saracen,
Abyme by name, but worst of men
No faith hath he in God the One,
No faith in Holy Mary’s Son;
As black as melted pitch is he,
And not for all Galicia’s gold
Could he be bribed his hand to hold
From murder and from treachery;
No merry laugh, no sportive mien
In him was ever heard or seen. . . .
The good archbishop could not brook
On pagan such as he to look;
He saw and fain would strike him dead,
And calmly to himself he said,
‘Yon pagan, as it seems to me,
A grievous heretic must be;
‘There best to slay him, though I died;
Cowards I never could abide.’

“He mounts his steed, won, so they tell,
From Denmark’s monarch, hight Grosselle;
He slew the king and took the steed
The beast is light and built for speed;
His hoofs are neat, his legs are clean,
His thigh is short, his flanks are lean,
His rump is large, his back full height,
His mane is yellow, his tail is white;
With little ears and tawny head,
No steed like him was ever bred.
The good archbishop spurs a-field,
And smites Abyme upon the shield,
His emir’s shield, so thickly sown
With many a gem and precious stone,
Amethyst and topaz, crystals bright,
And red carbuncles flashing light:
The shield is shivered by the blow;
No longer worth a doit, I trow;
Stark dead the emir lies below.
‘Ha! bravely struck!’ the Frenchmen yell:
‘Our bishop guards the Cross right well!’

“To Oliver Sir Roland cried,
‘Sir comrade, can it be denied
Our bishop is a gallant knight?
None better ever saw the light!
How he doth strike
With lance and pike!’
Quoth Oliver, ‘Then in the fight
Haste we to aid him with our might!’
And so the battle is renewed:
The blows are hard, the melley rude;
The Christians suffer sore
Four times they charge and all is well,
But at the fifth--dread tale to tell--
The knights of France are doomed to fall,--
All, all her knights; for of them all
God spareth but threescore.
But O, their lives they dearly sell!
Sir Roland marks what loss is there,
And turns him to Sir Oliver
‘Dear comrade, whom pray God to bless,
In God’s own name see what distress--
Such heaps of vassals lying low--
Fair France hath suffered at a blow
Well may we weep for her, who’s left
A widow, of such lords bereft!
And why, O, why art thou not near,
Our king, our friend, to aid us here?
Say, Oliver, how might we bring
Our mournful tidings to the king?’
Quoth Oliver, ‘I know not, I
To fly were shame; far better die.’
Quoth Roland, ‘I my horn will blow,
That Charles may hear and Charles may know;
And, in the defiles, from their track
The French, I swear, will hasten back.’
Quoth Oliver, ‘‘Twere grievous shame;
‘Twould bring a blush to all thy name
When I said thus thou scornedst me,
And now I will not counsel thee.
And shouldst thou blow, ‘twere no great blast;
Already blood is gushing fast
From both thine arms.’ ‘That well may be,’
Quoth he, ‘I struck so lustily!
The battle is too strong: I’ll blow
Mine Olifant, that Charles may know.’
Quoth Oliver, ‘Had Charles been here,
This battle had not cost so dear;
But as for yon poor souls, I wis,
No blame can rest with them for this.’
‘Why bear me spite?’ Sir Roland said.
‘The fault,’ said he, ‘lies on thy head.
And mark my words; this day will see
The end of our good company;
We twain shall part--not as we met--
Full sadly ere yon sun bath set.’
The good archbishop hears the stir,
And thither pricks with golden spur;
And thus he chides the wrangling lords
‘Roland, and you, Sir Oliver,
Why strive ye with such bitter words
Horns cannot save you; that is past;
But still ‘twere best to sound a blast;
Let the king come: he’ll strike a blow
For vengeance, lest the Paynim foe
Back to their homes in triumph go.’

“With pain and dolor, groan and pant,
Count Roland sounds his Olifant:
The crimson stream shoots from his lips;
The blood from bursten temple drips;
But far, O, far the echoes ring,
And, in the defiles, reach the king;
Reach Naymes, and the French array:
‘Tis Roland’s horn,’ the king doth say;
‘He only sounds when brought to bay.’
How huge the rocks! How dark and steep!
The streams are swift! The valleys deep!
Out blare the trumpets, one and all,
As Charles responds to Roland’s call.
Round wheels the king, with choler mad,
The Frenchmen follow grim and sad;
Not one but prays for Roland’s life,
Till they have joined him in the strife.
But ah! what prayer can alter fate?
The time is past; too late! too late!
As Roland scans both plain and height,
And sees how many Frenchmen lie
Stretched in their mortal agony,
He mourns them like a noble knight:
‘Comrades, God give ye grace to-day,
And grant ye Paradise, I pray!
No lieges ever fought as they.
What a fair land, O France, art thou!
But ah! forlorn and widowed now!
O Oliver, at least to thee,
My brother, I must faithful be
Back, comrade mine, back let us go,
And charge once more the Paynim foe!’

“When Roland spies the cursed race,
More black than ink, without a trace,
Save teeth, of whiteness in the face,
‘Full certified,’ quoth he, ‘am I,
That we this very day shall die.
Strike, Frenchmen, strike; that’s all my mind!’
‘A curse on him who lags behind!’
Quoth gallant Oliver; and so
Down dash the Frenchmen on the foe. . . .
Sir Oliver with failing breath,
Knowing his wound is to the death,
Doth call to him his friend, his peer,
His Roland: ‘Comrade, come thou here;
To be apart what pain it were!’
When Roland marks his friend’s distress,
His face all pale and colorless,
‘My God!’ quoth he, ‘what’s now to do?
O my sweet France, what dole for you,
Widowed of all your warriors true!
You needs must perish!’ At such plaint,
Upon his steed he falls a-faint.

“See Roland riding in a swound:
And Oliver with mortal wound;
With loss of blood so dazed is he
He neither near nor far can see
What manner of man a man may be:
And, meeting with Sir Roland so,
He dealeth him a fearful blow
That splits the gilded helm in two
Down to the very nasal, though,
By luck, the skull it cleaves not through.
With blank amaze doth Roland gaze,
And gently, very gently, says,
‘Dear comrade, smit’st thou with intent?
Methinks no challenge hath been sent
I’m Roland, who doth love thee so.’
Quoth Oliver, ‘Thy voice I know,
But see thee not; God save thee, friend:
I struck thee; prithee pardon me.
No hurt have I; and there’s an end.’
Quoth Roland, ‘And I pardon thee
‘Fore man and God right willingly.’
They bow the head, each to his brother,
And so, in love, leave one another.”

(Oliver dies: Roland and Archbishop Turpin continue the fight.)

“Then Roland takes his horn once more;
His blast is feebler than before,
But still it reaches the emperor
He hears it, and he halts to shout,
‘Let clarions, one and all, ring out!’
Then sixty thousand clarions ring,
And rocks and dales set echoing.
And they, too, hear--the pagan pack;
They force the rising laughter back;
‘Charles, Charles,’ they cry, ‘is on our track!’
They fly; and Roland stands alone--
Alone, afoot; his steed is gone--
Brave Veillantif is gone, and so,
He, willy-nilly, afoot must go.
Archbishop Turpin needs his aid:
The golden helm is soon unlaced,
The light, white hauberk soon unbraced;
And gently, gently down he laid
On the green turf the bishop’s head;
And then beseechingly he said,--
“‘Ah! noble sir, your leave I crave
The men we love, our comrades brave,
All, all are dead; they must not lie
Here thus neglected; wherefore I
Will seek for them, each where he lies,
And lay them out before your eyes.’
‘Go,’ said the bishop, ‘and speed be thine
Thank God! the field is thine and mine.’

“Sir Roland searched the plain, and found
His comrade’s body on the ground;
Unto his heart he strained it tight,
And bore it off, as best he might.
Upon a shield he lays his friend
Beside the rest, and, for an end,
The bishop gives them, all and one,
Absolvement and a benison.
As Roland marks them lying there,
His peers all dead--and Oliver,
His mighty grief he cannot stay,
And, willy-nilly, swoons away.

“The bishop feeleth grief profound
To see Sir Roland in a swound.
Through Roncesvalles, well he knows,
A stream of running water flows,
And fain would he a journey make
To fetch thereof for Roland’s sake,
He totters forth; he makes essay;
But all! his feeble limbs give way;
Breaks his great heart; he falls and lies,
Face downward, in death’s agonies!
So Charles’s soldier-priest is dead
He who with mighty lance and sword
And preacher’s craft incessant warred
Against the scorners of the Lord:
God’s benediction on his head!
Count Roland laid him to his rest
Between his shoulders, on his breast,
He crossed the hands so fine and fair,
And, as his country’s customs were,
He made oration o’er him there
‘Ah! noble knight, of noble race,
I do commend thee to God’s grace
Sure never man of mortal birth
Served Him so heartily on earth.
Thou hadst no peer in any clime
To stoutly guard the Christian cause
And turn bad men to Christian laws,
Since erst the great Apostles’ time.
Now rest thy soul from dolor free,
And Paradise be oped to thee!’”

(A last encounter takes place: a Saracen left wounded on the
battle-field, seeing Roland in a swoon, gets up, and approaches him,
saying, “Vanquished,  he is vanquished, the nephew of Charles! There is
his sword, which I will carry off to Arabia!”)

“And as he makes to draw the steel,
A something doth Sir Roland feel;
He opes his eyes, says nought but this,
‘Thou art not one of us, I wis,’
Raises the horn he would not quit,
And cracks the pagan’s skull with it. . .
And then the touch of death that steals
Down, down from head to heart he feels
Under yon pine he hastes away
On the green turf his head to lay
Placing beneath him horn and sword,
He turns towards the Paynim horde,
And, there, beneath the pine, he sees
A vision of old memories
A thought of realms he helped to win,
Of his sweet France, of kith and kin,
And Charles, his lord, who nurtured him.
He sighs, and tears his eyes bedim.
Then, not unmindful of his case,
Once more he sues to God for grace
‘O Thou, true Father of us all,
Who hatest lies, who erst did call
The buried Lazarus from the grave,
And Daniel from the lions save,
From all the perils I deserve
For sinful life my soul preserve!’
Then to his God outstretcheth he
The glove from his right hand; and, see!
St. Gabriel taketh it instantly.
God sends a cherub-angel bright,
And Michael, Saint of Peril hight;
And Gabriel comes; up, up they rise,
And bear the Count to Paradise.”


It is useless to carry these quotations any further; they are sufficient
to give an idea of the grand character of the poem in which so many
traits of really touching affection and so many bursts of patriotic
devotion and pious resignation are mingled with the merest brute courage.
Such, in its chief works, philosophical, historical, and poetical, was
the literature which the middle ages bequeathed to the reign of
Francis I.  In history only, and in spite of the new character assumed
afterwards by the French language, this literature has had the honor of
preserving its nationality and its glory.  Villehardouin, Joinville,
Froissart, and Commynes have remained great writers.  In philosophy and
in poesy a profound revolution was approaching; the religious reform and
the fine literary genius as well as the grand French language of the
seventeenth century were preparing to rise above the intellectual
horizon.  But between the moment when such advances dawn and that when
they burst forth there is nearly always a period of uncertain and
unfruitful transition: and such was the first half of the sixteenth
century, that is to say, the actual reign of Francis I.; it is often
called the reign of the Renaissance, which certainly originated in his
reign, but it did not grow and make any display until after him; the
religious, philosophical, and poetical revolution, Calvin, Montaigne, and
Ronsard, born in the earlier half of the seventeenth century, did not do
anything that exercised any power until the later.  One single poet, a
third-rate one, Clement Marot, attained lustre under Francis I.  Rabelais
is the only great prose writer who belongs strictly to that period.  The
scholars, the learned critics of what had been left by antiquity in
general and by Greek and Roman antiquity in particular, Bude (Budaeus),
J. C. Scaliger; Muretus, Danes (Danesius), Arnyot, Ramus (Peter la
Ramee), Robert Estienne (Stephanus), Vatable (Watebled), Cujas, and
Turnebius make up the tale of literature specially belonging to and
originating in the reign of Francis I., just as the foundation of the
College Royal, which became the College de France, is his chief personal
claim to renown in the service of science and letters.

Let us return to the poets of the actual reign of Francis I.  The first
we encounter speaks thus of himself:--

“I am not rich; that, certes, I confess;
But, natheless, well born and nobly bred;
I’m read by both the people and noblesse,
Throughout the world: ‘That’s Clement,’ it is said.
Men live their span; but I shall ne’er be dead.
And thou--thou hast thy meadow, well, and spring,
Wood, field, and castle--all that wealth can bring.
There’s just that difference ‘twixt thee and me.
But what I am thou couldst not be: the thing
Thou art, why, anybody else might be.”

Now who was this who, with perfect confidence, indulged in such proud
language?  Was it a Homer, a Dante, a Corneille, one of those great
poetical geniuses whose works can move a whole people, are addressed to
all the world, and “will live forever”?  No; it was a poet of the court
and of the fashionable world of Paris, of Blois, and of Amboise, in the
sixteenth century, a groom-of-the-chamber to Marguerite de Valois, and
one of Francis I.’s favorites, who had written elegies, eclogues,
epistles, complaints, roundelays, and epigrams on the incidents and for
his masters and mistresses of the hour; France owed to him none of those
great poetical works consecrated to description of the grand destinies
and grand passions of man, and to the future as well as to the writer’s
own time.

[Illustration: Clement Marot----162]

Clemont Marot, the son of a petty burgess of Cahors, named John Marot,
himself a poet in a small way, who had lived some time at the court of
Louis XII., under the patronage of Queen Anne of Bretagne, had a right to
style himself, “well born and nobly bred;” many of the petty burgesses of
Cahors were of noble origin, and derived therefrom certain privileges;
John Marot, by a frugal and regular life, had acquired and left to his
son two estates in the neighborhood of Cahors, where, no doubt, Clement
resided but little, for he lived almost constantly at the court, or
wandering about Europe, in every place where at one time the fortunes of
the king his protector and at another the storm of the nascent religious
reform left him stranded willy-nilly.  He was present in 1525 at the
battle of Pavia, where he was wounded and taken prisoner with his king,
but soon released, since the Imperialists let go on easy terms gentlemen
of whom it was impossible to make a rich booty.  From that time we do not
meet any more with Clement Marot in war or politics; to Marguerite de
Valois, to adventures of gallantry, and to success in his mundane line of
poesy his life was thenceforth devoted.  The scandal of history has often
been directed against his relations with his royal patroness; but there
seems to be no real foundation for such a suspicion; the manners of the
sixteenth century admitted of intimacies in language, and sometimes even
of familiarities in procedure, contrasting strangely with demonstrations
of the greatest respect, nay, humility.  Clement Marot was the king of
poesy and set the fashion of wit in his time; Marguerite had a generous
and a lively sympathy with wit, talent, success, renown; the princess and
the poet were mutually pleased with and flattered one another; and the
liberties allowed to sympathy and flattery were great at that time, but
far less significant than they would be in our day.

What were the cause, the degree, and the real value of this success and
this renown of which Clement Marot made so much parade, and for which his
contemporaries gave him credit?  What change, what progress effected by
him, during his lifetime, in French literature and the French language
won for him the place he obtained and still holds in the opinion of the
learned?

A poet who no more than Clement Marot produced any great poetical work,
and was very different from him in their small way, Francis Villon, in
fact, preceded him by about three quarters of a century.  The most
distinguished amongst the literary critics of our time have discussed the
question as to which of the two, Villon or Marot, should be regarded as
the last poet of the middle ages and the first of modern France.
M. Sainte-Beuve, without attempting to precisely solve that little
problem, has distinguished and characterized the two poets with so much
of truth and tact that there can be no hesitation about borrowing his
words: “Was Villon,” is the question he puts to himself, “an originator?
Did he create a style of poesy?  Had he any idea of a literary reaction,
as we should say nowadays?  What is quite certain is, that he possessed
original talent; that amidst all the execrable tricks wherein he
delighted and wherein he was a master, he possessed the sacred spark.
.  .  .  A licentious scamp of a student, bred at some shop in the Cite
or the Place Maubert, he has a tone which, at least as much as that of
Regnier, has a savor of the places the author frequented.  The beauties
whom he celebrates--and I blush for him--are none else than _la blanche
Savetiere_ (the fair cobbleress), or _la gente Saul cissiere, du coin_
(the pretty Sausage girl at the corner).  But he has invented for some of
those natural regrets which incessantly recur in respect of vanished
beauty and the flight of years a form of expression, truthful, charming,
and airy, which goes on singing forever in the heart and ear of whosoever
has once heard it.  He has flashes, nothing more than flashes, of
melancholy.  .  .  .  It is in reading the verses of Clement Marot that
we have, for the first time as it seems to me, a very clear and distinct
feeling of having got out from the circumbendibus of the old language,
from the Gallic tangle.  We are now in France, in the land and amidst the
language of France, in the region of genuine French wit, no longer that
of the boor, or of the student, or of the burgess, but of the court and
good society.  Good society, in poesy, was born with Marot, with Francis
I., and his sister Marguerite, with the Renaissance: much will still have
to be done to bring it to perfection, but it exists and will never cease
again.  .  .  .  Marot, a poet of wits rather than of genius or of great
talent, but full of grace and breeding, who has no passion, but is not
devoid of sensibility, has a way of his own of telling and saying things;
he has a turn of his own; he is, in a word, the agreeable man, the
gentleman-like man, who is bound to be pleasant and amusing, and who
discharges his duty with an easy air and unexceptionable gallantry.”

There we have exactly the new character which Marot, coming between
Villon and Ronsard, gave in the sixteenth century to French poesy.  We
may be more exacting than M. Sainte-Beuve; we may regret that Marot,
whilst rescuing it from the streets, confined it too much to the court;
the natural and national range of poesy is higher and more extensive than
that; the Hundred Years’ War and Joan of Arc had higher claims.  But it
is something to have delivered poesy from coarse vulgarity, and
introduced refinement into it.  Clement Marot rendered to the French
language, then in labor of progression, and, one might say, of formation,
eminent service: he gave it a naturalness, a clearness, an easy swing,
and, for the most part, a correctness which it had hitherto lacked.  It
was reserved for other writers, in verse and prose, to give it boldness,
the richness that comes of precision, elevation, and grandeur.

In 1534, amidst the first violent tempest of reform in France, Clement
Marot, accused of heresy, prudently withdrew and went to seek an asylum
at Ferrara, under the protection of the duchess, Renee of France,
daughter of Louis XII.  He there met Calvin, who already held a high
position amongst the Reformers, and who was then engaged on a translation
of the Psalms in verse.  The reformer talked to the poet about this grand
Hebrew poesy, which, according to M. Villemain’s impression, “has
defrayed in sublime coin the demands of human imagination.”  Marot, on
returning to France, found the College Royal recently instituted there,
and the learned Vatable [Francis Watebled, born at Gamaches, in Picardy,
died at Paris in 1547] teaching Hebrew with a great attendance of pupils
and of the curious.  The professor engaged the poet to translate the
Psalms, he himself expounding them to him word by word.  Marot translated
thirty of them, and dedicated them to Francis I., who not only accepted
the dedication, but recommended the work and the author to Charles V.,
who was at that time making a friendly passage through France on his way
to put down the insurrection at Ghent.  “Charles V. accepted the said
translation graciously” [as appears by a letter in 1559 to Catherine de’
Medici from Villemadon, one of Marguerite of Navarre’s confidential
servants], “commended it both by words and by a present of two hundred
doubloons, which he made to Marot, thus giving him courage to translate
the rest of the Psalms, and praying him to send him as soon as possible
the Psalm _Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus_ [Trust in the Lord, for He
is good], so fond was he of it.”  Singular fellow-feeling between Charles
V. and his great adversary Luther, who said of that same psalm, “It is
my friend; it has saved me in many a strait from which emperor, kings,
sages, nor saints could have delivered me!”  Clement Marot, thus aided
and encouraged in this work which gave pleasure to Francis I. and Charles
V., and must have been still more interesting to Calvin and Luther,
prosecuted his work and published in 1541 the first thirty psalms; three
years afterwards, in 1543, he added twenty others, and dedicated the
collection “to the ladies of France,” in an epistle wherein the following
verses occur:


“Happy the man whose favored ear
In golden days to come shall hear
The ploughman, as he tills the ground,
The tarter, as he drives his round,
The shopman, as his task he plies,
With psalms or sacred melodies
Whiling the hours of toil away!
O, happy he who hears the lay
Of shepherd and of shepherdess,
As in the woods they sing and bless,
And make the rocks and pools proclaim
With them their great Creator’s name!
O, can ye brook that God invite
Them before you to such delight?
Begin, ladies, begin!  .  .  .”


A century after Marot’s time, in 1649, a pious and learned Catholic,
Godeau, Bishop of Grasse and member of the nascent French Academy, was in
his turn translating the Psalms, and rendered full justice to the labors
of the poet, his predecessor, and to the piety of the Reformers, in the
following terms “Those whose separation from the church we deplore have
rendered the version they make use of famous by the pleasing airs that
learned musicians set them to when they were composed.  To know them by
heart is, amongst them, a sign of the communion to which they belong, and
in the towns in which they are most numerous the airs may be heard coming
from the mouths of artisans, and in the country from those of tillers.”

In 1555, eight years after the death of Francis I., Estienne Pasquier
wrote to Ronsard, “In good faith, there was never seen in France such a
glut of poets.  I fear that in the long run people will weary of them.
But it is a vice peculiar to us that as soon as we see anything
succeeding prosperously for any one, everybody wants to join in.”
 Estienne Pasquier’s fear was much better grounded after the death of
Francis I., and when Ronsard had become the head of the poet-world, than
it would have been in the first half of the sixteenth century.  During
the reign of Francis I. and after the date of Clement Marot, there is no
poet of any celebrity to speak of, unless we except Francis I. himself
and his sister Marguerite; and it is only in compliment to royalty’s name
that they need be spoken of.  They, both of them, had evidently a mania
for versifying, even in their most confidential communications, for many
of their letters to one another, those during the captivity of Francis I.
at Madrid amongst the rest, are written in verse; but their verses are
devoid of poesy; they are prose, often long-winded and frigid, and
sometimes painfully labored.  There is, however, a distinction to be made
between the two correspondents.  In the letters and verses of Marguerite
there is seen gleaming forth here and there a sentiment of truth and
tenderness, a free and graceful play of fancy.  We have three collections
of her writings: 1. her _Heptameron, ou les Sept Journees de la Reine de
Navarre,_ a collection of sixty-eight tales more or less gallant,
published for the first time in 1558, without any author’s name; 2.  her
_OEuvres poetiques,_ which appeared at Lyons in 1547 and 1548, in
consequence of her being alive, under the title of _Les Marguerites de la
Marguerite des Princesses_ (the Pearls of the Pearl of Princesses), and
of which one of her grooms of the chamber was editor; in addition to
which there is a volume of _Poesies inedites,_ collected by order of
Marguerite herself, but written by the hand of her secretary John Frotte,
and preserved at Paris amongst the manuscripts of the Bibliotheque
nationale; 3.  the Collection of her Letters, published in 1841, by M. F.
Genin.  This last collection is, morally as well as historically, the
most interesting of the three.  As for Francis I. himself, there is
little, if anything, known of his posies beyond those which have been
inserted in the _Documents relatifs a sa Captivite a Madrid,_ published
in 1847 by M. Champollion-Figeac; some have an historical value, either
as regards public events or Francis I.’s relations towards his mother,
his sister, and his mistresses; the most important is a long account of
his campaign, in 1525, in Italy, and of the battle of Pavia; but the
king’s verses have even less poetical merit than his sister’s.

Francis I.’s good will did more for learned and classical literature than
for poesy.  Attention has already been drawn to the names of the
principal masters in the great learned and critical school which devoted
itself, in this reign, to the historical, chronological, philological,
biographical, and literary study of Greek and Roman antiquity, both Pagan
and Christian.  It is to the labors of this school and to their results
that the word Renaissance is justly applied, and that the honor is
especially to be referred of the great intellectual progress made in the
sixteenth century.  Francis I. contributed to this progress, first by the
intelligent sympathy he testified towards learned men of letters, and
afterwards by the foundation of the _College Royal,_ an establishment of
a special, an elevated, and an independent sort, where professors found a
liberty protected against the routine, jealousy, and sometimes
intolerance of the University of Paris and the Sorbonne.  The king and
his sister Marguerite often went to pay a visit, at his printing-place in
St. Jean de Beauvais Street, to Robert Estienne (Stephanus), the most
celebrated amongst that family of printer-publishers who had so much to
do with the resurrection of ancient literature.  It is said that one day
the king waited a while in the work-room, so as not to disturb Robert
Estienne in the correction of a proof.

[Illustration: Francis I. waits for Robert Estienne----168]

When the violence bred of religious quarrels finally forced the learned
and courageous printer to expatriate himself, his first care was to say,
at the head of his apology, “When I take account of the war I have
carried on with the Sorbonne for a space of twenty years or thereabouts,
I cannot sufficiently marvel how so small and broken-down a creature as I
am had strength to maintain it.  When I was seen being harried on all
sides, how often have I been the talk on street and at banquets, whilst
people said, ‘It is all over with him; he is caught, he cannot escape;
even if the king would, he could not save him.’ .  .  .  I wish to
justify myself against the reproach of having left my country, to the
hurt of the public weal, and of not having acknowledged the great
liberality displayed towards me by the king; since it was a high honor
for me that the king, having deigned to make me his printer, always kept
me under his protection, in the face of all who envied me and wished me
ill, and never ceased to aid me graciously in all sorts of ways.”

The _College Royal,_ no less than Robert Estienne, met with obstacles and
ill-wishers; it was William Bude (Budeaus) who first suggested the idea
of the college to the king, primarily with the limited purpose of
securing instruction in Greek and Hebrew, after the fashion of the
College of Young Grecians and the College of the Three Languages (the
Trilingual, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin), of which the former was founded at
Rome by Leo X., the latter at Louvain by Canon Jerome Busleyden.  Francis
I. readily surrendered himself to more magnificent projects; he was
anxious to erect a splendid building on the site of the Hotel de Nesle,
and to put Erasmus at the head of the College Royal.  War incessantly
renewed and the nascent religious troubles interfered with his
resolutions; but William Bude never ceased to urge upon the king an
extension of the branches of learning in the establishment; and after the
Peace of Cambrai in 1529, chairs of mathematics, Oriental languages,
Latin oratory, Greek and Latin philosophy, and medicine were successively
added to the chairs of Hebrew and Greek which had been the original
nucleus of instruction in the College Royal.  It continued to be an
object of suspicion to the Sorbonne and of hesitation in the Parliament,
to which royalty had recourse against the attacks of its adversaries.
But it had no lack of protectors, nevertheless: the Cardinal of Lorraine,
Charles IX., and Catherine de’ Medici herself supported it in its trials;
and Francis I. had the honor of founding a great school of the higher
sort of education, a school, which, throughout all the religious
dissensions and all the political revolutions of France, has kept its
position and independence, whatever may have been elsewhere, in the
matter of public instruction, the system and the regimen of state
establishments.

A few words have already been said about the development of the arts,
especially architecture and sculpture, in the middle ages, and of the
characteristics, original and national, Gallic and Christian, which
belonged to them at this period, particularly in respect of their
innumerable churches, great and small.  A foreglance has been given of
the alteration which was brought about in those characteristics, at the
date of the sixteenth century, by the Renaissance, at the same time that
the arts were made to shine with fresh and vivid lustre.  Francis I. was
their zealous and lavish patron; he revelled in building and embellishing
palaces, castles, and hunting-boxes, St. Germain, Chenonceaux,
Fontainebleau, and Chambord; his chief councillors, Chancellor Duprat and
Admiral Bonnivet, shared his taste and followed his example; several
provinces, and the banks of the Loire especially, became covered with
splendid buildings, bearing the marks of a complicated character which
smacked of imitations from abroad.  Italy, which, from the time of
Charles VIII. and Louis XII., had been the object of French kings’
ambition and the scene of French wars, became also the school of French
art; national and solemn Christian traditions were blended, whilst taking
an altered form, with the Italian resuscitation of Greek and Roman
antiquity.  Italian artists, such as Rosso of Florence, Primatice of
Bologna, Niccolo dell’ Abbate of Modena, and Benvenuto Cellini of
Florence, came and settled in France, and there inspired and carried out
the king’s projects and works.  Leonardo da Vinci, full of years and
discontented with his Italian patrons, accompanied Francis I. to France,
and died in his arms at the castle of Clou, near Amboise, where he had
fixed his residence.  Some great French artists, such as the painter John
Cousin and the sculptor John Goujon, strove ably to uphold the original
character and merits of French art; but they could not keep themselves
entirely aloof from the influence of this brilliant Italian art, for
which Francis I.’s successors, even more than he, showed a zealous and
refined attachment, but of which he was, in France, the first patron.

We will not quit the first half of the sixteenth century and the literary
and philosophical Renaissance which characterizes that period, without
assigning a place therein at its proper date and in his proper rank to
the name, the life, and the works of the man who was not only its most
original and most eminent writer, but its truest and most vivid
representative, Rabelais.

[Illustration: Rabelais----171]

Francis Rabelais, who was born at Chinon in 1495, and died at Paris in
1553, wandered during those fifty-eight years about France and Europe
from town to town, from profession to profession, from good to bad and
from bad to good estate; first a monk of the Cordeliers; then, with Pope
Clement VII.’s authority, a Benedictine; then putting off the monk’s
habit and assuming that of a secular priest in order to roam the world,
“incurring,” as he himself says, “in this vagabond life, the double
stigma of suspension from orders and apostasy;” then studying medicine at
Montpellier; then medical officer of the great hospital at Lyons, but,
before long, superseded in that office “for having been twice absent
without leave;” then staying at Lyons as a corrector of proofs, a
compiler of almanacs, an editor of divers books for learned patrons, and
commencing the publication of his _Vie tres-horrifique du grand
Gargantua, pere de Pantagruel_ (Most horrifying life of the great
Gargantua, father of Pantagruel), which was immediately proceeded against
by the Sorbonne “as an obscene tale.”  On grounds of prudence or
necessity Rabelais then quitted Lyons and set out for Rome as physician
attached to the household of Cardinal John Du Bellay, Bishop of Paris and
envoy from France to the Holy See; the which bishop “having relished the
profound learning and competence of Rabelais, and having, besides,
discovered in him fine humor and a conversation capable of diverting the
blackest melancholy, retained him near his person in the capacity of
physician in ordinary to himself and all his family, and held him ever
afterwards in high esteem.”  After two years passed at Rome, and after
rendering all sorts of service in his patron’s household, Rabelais,
“feeling that the uproarious life he was leading and his licentious deeds
were unworthy of a man of religion and a priest,” asked Pope Paul III.
for absolution, and at the same time permission to resume the habit of
St. Benedict, and to practise “for piety’s sake, without hope of gain and
in any and every place,” the art of medicine, wherein he had taken, he
said, the degrees of bachelor, licentiate, and doctor.  A brief of Pope
Paul III.’s, dated January 17, 1536, granted his request.  Seventeen
months afterwards, on the 22d of May, 1537, Rabelais reappears at
Montpellier, and there receives, it is said, the degree of doctor, which
he had already taken upon himself to assume.  He pursues his life of
mingled science and adventure, gives lessons, and gads about so much that
“his doctor’s gown and cap are preserved at Montpellier, according to
tradition, all dirty and torn, but objects of respectful reminiscence.”
 In 1538 Rabelais leaves Montpellier, and goes to practise medicine at
Narbonne, Castres, and Lyons.  In 1540 he tires of it, resumes, as he had
authority to do, the habit of a canon of St. Maur, and settles in that
residence, “a paradise,” as he himself says, “of salubrity, amenity,
serenity, convenience, and all the chaste pleasures of agriculture and
country-life.”  Between 1540 and 1551 he is, nevertheless, found once
more wandering, far away from this paradise, in France, Italy, and,
perhaps, England; he completes and publishes, under his own name, the
_Faits et Dicts heroiques de Pantagruel,_ and obtains from Francis I. a
faculty for the publication of “these two volumes not less useful than
delightful, which the printers had corrupted and perverted in many
passages, to the great displeasure and detriment of the author, and to
the prejudice of readers.”  The work made a great noise; the Sorbonne
resolved to attack it, in spite of the king’s approbation; but Francis I.
died on the 31st of March, 1547.  Rabelais relapsed into his life of
embarrassment and vagabondage; on leaving France he had recourse, first
at Metz and afterwards in Italy, to the assistance of his old and ever
well-disposed patron, Cardinal John Du Bellay.  On returning to France he
obtained from the new king, Henry II., a fresh faculty for the printing
of his books “in Greek, Latin, and Tuscan;” and, almost at the same time,
on the 18th of January, 1551, Cardinal Du Bellay, Bishop of Paris,
conferred upon him the cure of St. Martin at Meudon, “which he
discharged,” says his biographer Colletet, “with all the sincerity, all
the uprightness, and all the charity that can be expected of a man who
wishes to do his duty, and to the satisfaction of his flock.”
 Nevertheless, when the new holder of the cure at Meudon, shortly after
his installation, made up his mind to publish the fourth book of the
_Faits et Dicts heroiques du bon Pantagruel,_ the work was censured by
the Sorbonne and interdicted by decree of Parliament, and authority to
offer it for sale was not granted until, on the 9th of February, 1552,
Rabelais had given in his resignation of his cure at Meudon, and of
another cure which he possessed, under the title of benefice, in the
diocese of Le Mans.  He retired in bad health to Paris, where he died
shortly afterwards, in 1553, “in Rue des Jardins, parish of St. Paul, in
the cemetery whereof he was interred,” says Colletet, “close to a large
tree which was still to be seen a few years ago.”

Such a life, this constant change of position, profession, career, taste,
patron, and residence, bore a strong resemblance to what we should
nowadays call a Bohemian life; and everything shows that Rabelais’
habits, without being scandalous, were not more regular or more dignified
than his condition in the world.  Had we no precise and personal
information about him in this respect, still his literary work,
_Gargantua and Pantagruel,_ would not leave us in any doubt: there is no
printed book, sketch, conversation, or story, which is more coarse and
cynical, and which testifies, whether as regards the author or the public
for whom the work is intended, to a more complete and habitual
dissoluteness in thought, morals, and language.  There is certainly no
ground for wondering that the Sorbonne, in proceeding against the _Vie
tres-horrifique du grand Gargantua, pere de Pantagruel,_ should have
described it as “an obscene tale;” and the whole part of Panurge, the
brilliant talker of the tale,

     “Take him for all in all the best boy in the world,”

fully justifies the Sorbonne.  But, by way of striking contrast, at the
same time that the works of Rabelais attest the irregularity of men’s
lives and minds, they also reveal the great travail that is going on and
the great progress that has already been made in the intellectual
condition of his day, in the influence of natural and legitimate
feelings, and in the appreciation of men’s mutual rights and duties.
Sixty-two years ago M. Guizot published, in a periodical collection
entitled _Annales de l’Education,_ a Study of Rabelais’ ideas compared
with the practice and routine of his day in respect of Education; an
important question in the sixteenth as it is in the nineteenth century.
It will be well to quote here from that Study certain fragments which
will give some notion of what new ideas and tendencies were making their
way into the social life of France, and were coincident with that great
religious and political ferment which was destined to reach
bursting-point in the reign of Francis I., and to influence for nearly
a century the fortunes of France.

“It was no easy matter,” were the words used by M. Guizot in 1811, “to
speak reasonably about education at the time when Rabelais wrote.  There
was then no idea of home-education and the means of rendering it
practicable.  As to public education, there was no extensive range and
nothing really useful to the community in the instruction received by
children at college; no justice and no humanity in the treatment they
experienced; a fruitless and ridiculously prolonged study of words
succeeded by a no less fruitless study of interminable subtilties, and
all this fruitless knowledge driven into the brains of children by help
of chastisements, blows, and that barbarous severity which seems to
regard the _Compelle intrare_ as the principal law and object of
instruction.  How proceed, in such a state of things, to conceive a plan
of liberal, gentle, and reasonable education?  Rabelais, in his book,
had begun by avoiding the danger of directly shocking received ideas;
by transporting both himself and his heroes to the regions of imagination
and extravagance he had set himself at liberty to bring them up in quite
a different fashion than that of his times; the rectors of colleges could
not pretend that Pantagruel, who was hardly born before he sucked down at
every meal the milk of four thousand six hundred cows, and for whose
first shirt there had been cut nine hundred ells of Chatellerault linen,
was a portrait of any of the little boys who trembled at their ferules.
. . .  Pantagruel is in his cradle; he is bound and swathed in it like
all children at that time; but, ere long, Gargantua, his father,
perceives that these bands are constraining his movements, and that he is
making efforts to burst there; he immediately, by advice of the princes
and lords present, orders the said shackles to be undone, and lo!
Pantagruel is no longer uneasy.  .  .  .  And thus became he big and
strong full early.  .  .  .  There came, however, the time when his
instruction must begin.  ‘My will,’ said Gargantua, ‘is to hand him over
to some learned man for to indoctrinate him according to his capacity,
and to spare nothing to that end.’  He, accordingly, put Pantagruel under
a great teacher, who began by bringing him up after the fashion of those
times.  He taught him his charte (alphabet) to such purpose that he could
say it by heart backwards, and he was five years and three months about
it.  Then he read with him Donotus and Facetus (old elementary works on
Latin grammar), and he was thirteen years, six months, and two weeks over
that.  Then he read with him the De Modis significandi, with the
commentaries of Hurtebisius, Fasquin, and a heap of others, and he was
more than eighteen years and eleven months over them, and knew them so
well that he proved on his fingers to his mother that _de modis
signifieandi non erat scientia_.  After so much labor and so many years,
what did Pantagruel know?  Gargantua was no bigot: he did not shut his
eyes that he might not see, and he believed what his eyes told him.  He
saw that Pantagruel worked very hard and spent all his time at it, and
yet he got no good by it.  And what was worse, he was becoming daft,
silly, dreamy, and besotted through it.  So Pantagruel was taken away
from his former masters and handed over to Ponocrates, a teacher of quite
a different sort, who was bidden to take him to Paris to make a new
creature of him and complete his education there.  Ponocrates was very
careful not to send him to any college.  Rabelais, as it appears, had a
special aversion for Montaigu College.  ‘Tempeste,’ says he, ‘was a great
boy-flogger at Montaigu College.  If for flogging poor little children,
unoffending school-boys, pedagogues are damned, he, upon my word of
honor, is now on Ixion’s wheel, flogging the dock-tailed cur that turns
it.’  Pantagruel’s education was now humane and gentle.  Accordingly he
soon took pleasure in the work which Ponocrates was at the pains of
rendering interesting to him by the very nature and the variety of the
subjects of it.  .  .  .  Is it not a very remarkable phenomenon that at
such a time and in such a condition of public instruction a man should
have had sufficient sagacity not only to regard the natural sciences as
one of the principal subjects of study which ought to be included in a
course of education, but further to make the observation of nature the
basis of that study, to fix the pupil’s attention upon examination of
facts, and to impress upon him the necessity of applying his knowledge by
studying those practical arts and industries which profit by such
applications?  That, however, Rabelais did, probably by dint of sheer
good sense, and without having any notion himself about the wide bearing
of his ideas.  Ponocrates took Pantagruel through a course of what we
should nowadays call practical study of the exact and natural sciences as
they were understood in the sixteenth century; but, at the same time, far
from forgetting the moral sciences, he assigns to them, for each day, a
definite place and an equally practical character.  ‘As soon as
Pantagruel was up,’ he says, ‘some page or other of the sacred Scripture
was read with him aloud and distinctly, with pronunciation suited to the
subject.  .  .  .  In accordance with the design and purport of this
lesson, he at frequent intervals devoted himself to doing reverence and
saying prayers to the good God, whose majesty and marvellous judgments
were shown forth in what was read.  .  .  .  When evening came, he and
his teacher briefly recapitulated together, after the manner of the
Pythagoreans, all that he had read, seen, learned, and heard in the
course of the whole day.  They prayed to God the Creator, worshipping
Him, glorifying Him for his boundless goodness, giving Him thanks for all
the time that was past, and commending themselves to His divine mercy for
all that was to come.  This done, they went to their rest.’  And at the
end of this course of education, so complete both from the worldly and
the religious point of view, Rabelais shows us young Pantagruel living in
affectionate and respectful intimacy with his father Gargantua, who, as
he sees him off on his travels, gives him these last words of advice:
Science without conscience is nought but ruin to the soul; it behooves
thee to serve, love, and fear God.  Have thou in suspicion the abuses of
the world; set not thine heart on vanity, for this life is transitory,
but the word of God abideth forever. Reverence thy teachers; flee the
company of those whom thou wouldest not resemble.  .  .  .  And when thou
feelest sure that thou hast acquired all that is to be learned yonder,
return to me that I may see thee and give thee my blessing ere I die.’”

After what was said above about the personal habits and the works of
Rabelais, these are certainly not the ideas, sentiments, and language one
would expect to find at the end and as the conclusion of his life and his
book.  And it is precisely on account of this contrast that more space
has been accorded in this history to the man and his book than would in
the natural course of things have been due to them.  At bottom and,
beyond their mere appearances the life and the book of Rabelais are a
true and vivid reflection of the moral and social ferment characteristic
of his time.  A time of innovation and of obstruction, of corruption and
of regeneration, of decay and of renaissance, all at once.  A deeply
serious crisis in a strong and complicated social system, which had been
hitherto exposed to the buffets and the risks of brute force, but was
intellectually full of life and aspiration, was in travail of a double
yearning for reforming itself and setting itself in order, and did
indeed, in the sixteenth century, attempt at one and the same time a
religious and a political reformation, the object whereof, missed as it
was at that period, is still at the bottom of all true Frenchmen’s trials
and struggles.  This great movement of the sixteenth century we are now
about to approach, and will attempt to fix its character with precision
and mark the imprint of its earliest steps.



CHAPTER XXX.----FRANCIS I. AND THE REFORMATION.

Nearly half a century before the Reformation made any noise in France it
had burst out with great force and had established its footing in
Germany, Switzerland, and England.  John Huss and Jerome of Prague, both
born in Bohemia, one in 1373 and the other in 1378, had been condemned as
heretics and burned at Constance, one in 1415 and the other in 1416, by
decree and in the presence of the council which had been there assembled.
But, at the commencement of the sixteenth century, Luther in Germany and
Zwingle in Switzerland had taken in hand the work of the Reformation, and
before half that century had rolled by they had made the foundations of
their new church so strong that their powerful adversaries, with Charles
V. at their head, felt obliged to treat with them and recognize their
position in the European world, though all the while disputing their
right.  In England, Henry VIII., under the influence of an unbridled
passion, as all his passions were, for Anna Boleyn, had, in 1531, broken
with the church of Rome, whose pope, Clement VII., refused very properly
to pronounce him divorced from his wife Catherine of Aragon, and the king
had proclaimed himself the spiritual head of the English church without
meeting either amongst his clergy or in his kingdom with any effectual
opposition.  Thus in these three important states of Western Europe the
Reformers had succeeded, and the religious revolution was in process of
accomplishment.

[Illustration: The First Protestants----178]

In France it was quite otherwise.  Not that, there too, there were not
amongst Christians profound dissensions and ardent desires for religious
reform.  We will dwell directly upon its explosion, its vicissitudes, and
its characteristics.  But France did not contain, as Germany did, several
distinct states, independent and pretty strong, though by no means
equally so, which could offer to the different creeds a secure asylum,
and could form one with another coalitions capable of resisting the head
of that incohesive coalition which was called the empire of Germany.  In
the sixteenth century, on the contrary, the unity of the French monarchy
was established, and it was all, throughout its whole extent, subject to
the same laws and the same master, as regarded the religious bodies as
well as the body politic.  In this monarchy, however, there did not
happen to be, at the date of the sixteenth century, a sovereign audacious
enough and powerful enough to gratify his personal passions at the cost
of embroiling himself, like Henry VIII., with the spiritual head of
Christendom, and, from the mere desire for a change of wife, to change
the regimen of the church in his dominions.  Francis I., on the contrary,
had scarcely ascended the throne when, by abolishing the Pragmatic
Sanction and signing the Concordat of 1516, he attached himself more
closely to the papacy.  The nascent Reformation, then, did not meet in
France with either of the two important circumstances, politically
considered, which in Germany and in England rendered its first steps more
easy and more secure.  It was in the cause of religious creeds alone, and
by means of moral force alone, that she had to maintain the struggles in
which she engaged.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, there lived, at a small castle
near Gap in Dauphiny, in the bosom of a noble and unostentatiously pious
family, a young man of ardent imagination, fiery temperament, and
energetic character, who shared his relatives’ creeds and joined in their
devotions, but grew weary of the monotony of his thoughts and of his
life.  William Farel heard talk of another young man, his contemporary
and neighbor, Peter du Terrail, even now almost famous under the name of
Bayard.  “Such sons,” was said in his hearing, “are as arrows in the hand
of a giant; blessed is he who has his quiver full of them!”  Young Farel
pressed his father to let him go too and make himself a man in the world.
The old gentleman would willingly have permitted his son to take up such
a life as Bayard’s; but it was towards the University of Paris, “that
mother of all the sciences, that pure and shining mirror of the faith,”
 that the young man’s aspirations were directed.  The father at first
opposed, but afterwards yielded to his wishes; and, about 1510, William
Farel quitted Gap and arrived at Paris.  The questions raised by the
councils of Bale and Florence, and by the semi-political,
semi-ecclesiastical assembly at Tours, which had been convoked by Louis
XII., the instruction at the Parisian University, and the attacks of the
Sorbonne on the study of Greek and Hebrew, branded as heresy, were
producing a lively agitation in the public mind.  A doctor of theology,
already advanced in years, of small stature, of mean appearance, and of
low origin, Jacques Lefevre by name, born at Etaples in Picardy, had for
seventeen years filled with great success a professorship in the
university.  “Amongst many thousands of men,” said Erasmus, “you will not
find any of higher integrity and more versed in polite letters.”  “He is
very fond of me,” wrote Zwingle about him; “he is perfectly open and
good; he argues, he sings, he plays, and be laughs with me at the follies
of the world.”  Some circumstance or other brought the young student and
the old scholar together; they liked one another, and soon became
friends.  Farel was impressed by his master’s devotion as well as
learning; he saw him on his knees at church praying fervently; and,
“Never,” said he, “had I seen a chanter of mass who chanted it with
deeper reverence.”  But this old-fashioned piety did not interfere at all
with the freedom of the professor’s ideas and conversations touching
either the abuses or the doctrines of the church.  “How shameful it is,”
 he would say, “to see a bishop soliciting people to drink with him,
caring for nought but gaming, constantly handling the dice and the
dice-box, constantly hunting, hallooing after birds and game, frequenting
bad houses!  .  .  .  Religion has but one foundation, but one end, but
one head, Jesus Christ blessed forever; he alone trod the wine-press.
Let us not, then, call ourselves by the name of St. Paul, or Apollos, or
St. Peter.”  These free conversations worked, not all at once, but none
the less effectually, upon those who heard them.  “The end was,” says
Farel, “that little by little the papacy slipped from its place in my
heart; it did not come down at the first shock.”  At the same time that
he thus talked with his pupils, Lefevre of Etaples published a commentary
on the Epistles of St. Paul, and then a commentary on the Gospels.
“Christians,” said he, “are those only who love Jesus Christ and His word.
May everything be illumined with His light!  Through it may there be a
return of times like those of that primitive church which devoted to
Jesus Christ so many martyrs!  May the Lord of the harvest, foreseeing a
new harvest, send new and diligent laborers!  .  .  .  My dear William,”
 he added, turning to Farel and taking his hand, “God will renew the
world, and you will see it!”

It was not only professors and pupils, scholars grown old in meditation
and young folks eager for truth, liberty, action, and renown, who
welcomed passionately those boundless and undefined hopes, those
yearnings towards a brilliant and at the same time a vague future, at
which they looked forward, according to the expression used by Lefevre
of Etaples to Farel, to a “renewal of the world.”  Men holding a social
position very different from that of the philosophers, men with minds
formed on an acquaintance with facts and in the practice of affairs,
took part in this intellectual and religious ferment, and protected and
encouraged its fervent adherents.  William Briconnet, Bishop of Meaux, a
prelate who had been Louis XII.’s ambassador to Pope Julius II., and one
amongst the negotiators of Francis I.’s Concordat with Leo X., opened his
diocese to the preachers and writers recommended to him by his friend
Lefevre of Staples, and supported them in their labors for the
translation and propagation, amongst the people, of the Holy Scriptures.
They had at court, and near the king’s own person, the avowed support of
his sister, Princess Marguerite, who was beautiful, sprightly, affable,
kind, disposed towards all lofty and humane sentiments as well as all
intellectual pleasures, and an object of the sometimes rash attentions of
the most eminent and most different men of her time, Charles V., the
Constable de Bourbon, Admiral Bonnivet, and Clement Marot.  Marguerite,
who was married to the Duke d’Alencon, widowed in 1525, and married a
second time, in 1527, to Henry d’Albret, King of Navarre, was all her
life at Pau and at Nerac, as well as at Paris, a centre, a focus of
social, literary, religious, and political movement.  “The king her
brother loved her dearly,” says Brantome, “and always called her his
darling.  .  .  Very often, when he had important business, he left it to
her, waiting for her definitive and conclusive decision.

[Illustration: The Castle of Pau----183]

The ambassadors who talked with her were enchanted by her, and always
went to see her after having paid their first ambassadorial visit.  She
had so great a regard and affection for the king, that when she heard of
his dangerous illness she said, ‘Whosoever shall come to my door, and
announce to me the recovery of the king my brother, such courier, should
he be tired, and worn out, and muddy, and dirty, I will go and kiss and
embrace as if he were the sprucest prince and gentleman of France; and,
should he be in want of a bed and unable to find one whereon to rid him
of his weariness, I would give him mine, and I would rather lie on the
hard, for the good news he brought me.’ .  .  .  She was suspected of
inclining to the religion of Luther, but she never made any profession or
sign thereof; and, if she believed it, she kept it in her heart very
secret, inasmuch as the king did hate it sorely.”  .  .  .  “The heresy
was seen glimmering here and there,” says another contemporary witness
[Florimond de Raimond in his _Histoire de l’Heresie_], “but it appeared
and disappeared like a nightly meteor which has but a flickering
brightness.”--At bottom this reserve was quite in conformity with the
mental condition of that class, or as one might he inclined to say, that
circle of Reformers at court.  Luther and Zwingle had distinctly declared
war on the papacy; Henry VIII. had with a flourish separated England from
the Romish church; Marguerite de Valois and Bishop Briconnet neither
wished nor demanded so much; they aspired no further than to reform the
abuses of the Romish church by the authority of that church itself, in
concert with its heads and according to its traditional regimen; they had
no idea of more than dealing kindly, and even sympathetically, with the
liberties and the progress of science and human intelligence.  Confined
within these limits, the idea was legitimate and honest enough, but it
showed want of foresight, and was utterly vain.  When, whether in state
or church, the vices and defects of government have lasted for ages and
become habits not only inveterate but closely connected with powerful
personal interests, a day at last comes when the deplorable result is
seen in pig-headedness and weakness.  Then there is an explosion of
deep-seated and violent shocks, from which infinitely more is expected
than they can accomplish, and which, even when they are successful, cost
the people very dear, for their success is sullied and incomplete.  A
certain amount of good government and general good sense is a necessary
preface and preparation for any good sort of reform.  Happy the nations
who are spared by their wisdom or their good fortune the cruel trial of
only obtaining such reforms as they need when they have been reduced to
prosecute them beneath the slings and arrows of outrageous revolution!
Christian France in the sixteenth century was not so favorably situated.

During the first years of Francis I.’s reign (from 1515 to 1520) young
and ardent Reformers, such as William Farel and his friends, were but
isolated individuals, eager after new ideas and studies, very favorable
towards all that came to them from Germany, but without any consistency
yet as a party, and without having committed any striking act of
aggression against the Roman church.  Nevertheless they were even then,
so far as the heads and the devoted adherents of that church were
concerned, objects of serious disquietude and jealous supervision.

[Illustration: William Farel----181]

The Sorbonne, in particular, pronounced vehemently against them.  Luther
and his progress were beginning to make a great noise in France.  After
his discussion with Dr. Eck at Leipzig in 1519 he had consented to take
for judges the Universities of Erfurt and Paris; on the 20th of January,
1520, the quoestor of the nation of France bought twenty copies of
Luther’s conference with Dr. Eck to distribute amongst the members of his
committee; the University gave more than a year to its examination.  “All
Europe,” says Crevier, “was waiting for the decision of the University of
Paris.”  Whenever an incident occurred or a question arose, “We shall
see,” said they of the Sorbonne, “what sort of folks hold to Luther.
Why, that fellow is worse than Luther!”  In April, 1521, the University
solemnly condemned Luther’s writings, ordering that they should be
publicly burned, and that the author should be compelled to retract.  The
Syndic of the Sorbonne, Noel Bedier, who, to give his name a classical
twang, was called _Beda,_ had been the principal and the most eager actor
in this procedure; he was a theologian full of subtlety, obstinacy,
harshness, and hatred.  “In a single Beda there are three thousand
monks,” Erasmus used to say of him.  The syndic had at court two powerful
patrons, the king’s mother, Louise of Savoy, and the chancellor, Duprat,
both decided enemies of the Reformers.  Louise of Savoy, in consequence
of her licentious morals and her thirst for riches; Duprat, by reason of
the same thirst, and of his ambition to become an equally great lord in
the church as in the state; and he succeeded, for in 1525 he was
appointed Archbishop of Sens.  They were, moreover, both of them, opposed
to any liberal reform, and devoted, in any case, to absolute power.
Beaucaire de Peguilhem, a contemporary and most Catholic historian,--for
he accompanied the Cardinal of Lorraine to the Council of Trent,--calls
Duprat “the most vicious of bipeds.”  Such patrons did not lack
hot-headed executants of their policy; friendly relations had not ceased
between the Reformers and their adversaries; a Jacobin monk, De Roma by
name, was conversing one day at Meaux with Farel and his friends; the
Reformers expressed the hopes they had in the propagation of the gospel;
De Roma all at once stood up, shouting, “Then I and all the rest of the
brotherhood will preach a crusade we will stir up the people; and if the
king permits the preaching of your gospel, we will have him expelled by
his own subjects from his own kingdom.”  Fanatical passions were already
at work, though the parties were too unequal as yet to come to actual
force.

Against such passions the Reformers found Francis I. a very indecisive
and very inefficient protector.  “I wish,” said he, “to give men of
letters special marks of my favor.”  When deputies from the Sorbonne came
and requested him to put down the publication of learned works taxed with
heresy, “I do not wish,” he replied, “to have those folks meddled with;
to persecute those who instruct us would be to keep men of ability from
coming to our country.”  But in spite of his language, orders were given
to the bishops to furnish the necessary funds for the prosecution of
heretics, and, when the charge of heresy became frequent, Francis I. no
longer repudiated it.  “Those people,” he said, “do nothing but bring
trouble into the state.”  Troubles, indeed, in otherwise tranquil
provinces, where the Catholic faith was in great force, often accompanied
the expression of those wishes for reform to which the local clergy
themselves considered it necessary to make important concessions.  A
serious fire took place at Troyes in 1524.  “It was put down,” says M.
Boutiot, a learned and careful historian of that town, “to the account of
the new religious notions, as well as to that of the Emperor Charles V.’s
friends and the Constable de Bourbon’s partisans.  As early as 1520 there
had begun to be felt at Troyes the first symptoms of repressive measures
directed against the Reformation; in 1523, 1527, and 1528, provincial
councils were held at Meaux, Lyons, Rouen, Bourges, and Paris, to oppose
the Lutherans.  These councils drew up regulations tending to reformation
of morals and of religious ceremonies; they decided that the
administration of the sacraments should take place without any demand for
money, and that preachers, in their sermons, should confine themselves to
the sacred books, and not quote poets or profane authors; they closed the
churches to profane assemblies and burlesques (fetes des fous); they
ordered the parish priests, in their addresses (au prone), to explain the
gospel of the day; they ruled that a stop should be put to the abuses of
excommunication; they interdicted the publication of any book on
religious subjects without the permission of the bishop of the diocese.
.  .  .  Troyes at that time contained some enlightened men; William Bude
(Budaeus) was in uninterrupted communication with it; the Pithou family,
represented by their head, Peter Pithou, a barrister at Troyes and a man
highly thought of, were in correspondence with the Reformers, especially
with Lefevre of Etaples.”  [_Histoire de la Ville de Troyes et de la
Champagne meridionale,_ by T.  Boutiot, 1873, t. iii.  p. 379.]  And thus
was going on throughout almost the whole of France, partly in the path of
liberty, partly in that of concessions, partly in that of hardships, the
work of the Reformation, too weak as yet and too disconnected to engage
to any purpose in a struggle, but even now sufficiently wide-spread and
strong to render abortive any attempt to strangle it.

The defeat at Pavia and the captivity of Francis I. at Madrid placed the
governing power for thirteen months in the hands of the most powerful
foes of the Reformation, the regent Louise of Savoy and the chancellor
Duprat.  They used it unsparingly, with the harsh indifference of
politicians who will have, at any price, peace within their dominions and
submission to authority.  It was under their regimen that there took
place the first martyrdom decreed and executed in France upon a partisan
of the Reformation for an act of aggression and offence against the
Catholic church.  John Leclerc, a wool-carder at Meaux, seeing a bull
of indulgences affixed to the door of Meaux cathedral, had torn it down,
and substituted for it a placard in which the pope was described as
Antichrist.  Having been arrested on the spot, he was, by decree of the
Parliament of Paris, whipped publicly, three days consecutively, and
branded on the forehead by the hangman in the presence of his mother, who
cried, “Jesus Christ forever!”  He was banished, and retired in July,
1525, to Metz; and there he was working at his trade when he heard that a
solemn procession was to take place, next day, in the environs of the
town.  In his blind zeal he went and broke down the images at the feet of
which the Catholics were to have burned incense.  Being arrested on his
return to the town, he, far from disavowing the deed, acknowledged it and
gloried in it.  He was sentenced to a horrible punishment; his right hand
was cut off, his nose was torn out, pincers were applied to his arms, his
nipples were plucked out, his head was confined in two circlets of
red-hot iron, and, whilst he was still chanting, in a loud voice, this
versicle from the cxvth Psalm,--

               “Their idols are silver and gold,
               The work of men’s hands.”

his bleeding and mutilated body was thrown upon the blazing fagots.  He
had a younger brother, Peter Leclerc, a simple wool-carder like himself,
who remained at Meaux, devoted to the same faith and the same cause.
“Great _clerc,_” says a contemporary chronicler, playing upon his name,
“who knew no language but that which he had learned from his nurse, but
who, being thoroughly grounded in the holy writings, besides the
integrity of his life, was chosen by the weavers and became the first
minister of the gospel seen in France.”  An old man of Meaux, named
Stephen Mangin, offered his house, situated near the market-place, for
holding regular meetings.  Forty or fifty of the faithful formed the
nucleus of the little church which grew up.  Peter Leclerc preached and
administered the sacraments in Stephen Mangin’s house so regularly that,
twenty years after his brother John’s martyrdom, the meetings, composed
partly of believers who flocked in from the neighboring villages, were
from three to four hundred in number.  One day when they had celebrated
the Lord’s Supper, the 8th of September, 1546, the house was surrounded,
and nearly sixty persons, men, women, and children, who allowed
themselves to be arrested without making any resistance, were taken.
They were all sent before the Parliament of Paris; fourteen of the men
were sentenced to be burned alive in the great marketplace at Meaux, on
the spot nearest to the house in which the crime of heresy had been
committed; and their wives, together with their nearest relatives, were
sentenced to be present at the execution, “the men bare-headed and the
women ranged beside them individually, in such sort that they might be
distinguished amongst the rest.”  The decree was strictly carried out.

[Illustration: Burning of Reformers at Meaux----188]

It costs a pang to recur to these hideous exhibitions, but it must be
done; for history not only has a right, but is bound to do justice upon
the errors and crimes of the past, especially when the past had no idea
of guilt in the commission of them.  A wit of the last century,
Champfort, used to say, “There is nothing more dangerous than an honest
man engaged in a rascally calling.”  There is nothing more dangerous than
errors and crimes of which the perpetrators do not see the absurd and
odious character.  The contemporary historian, Sleidan, says, expressly,
“The common people in France hold that there are no people more wicked
and criminal that heretics; generally, as long as they are a prey to the
blazing fagots, the people around them are excited to frenzy and curse
them in the midst of their torments.”  The sixteenth century is that
period of French history at which this intellectual and moral blindness
cost France “Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands,”--
most dear; it supplied the bad passions of men with a means, of which
they amply availed themselves, of gratifying then without scruple and
without remorse. If, in the early part of this century, the Reformation
was as yet without great leaders, it was not, nevertheless, amongst only
the laborers, the humble and the poor, that it found confessors and
martyrs.  The provincial nobility, the burgesses of the towns, the
magistracy, the bar, the industrial classes as well as the learned, even
then furnished their quota of devoted and faithful friends.  A nobleman,
a Picard by birth, born about 1490 at Passy, near Paris, where he
generally lived, Louis de Berquin by name, was one of the most
distinguished of them by his social position, his elevated ideas,
his learning, the purity of his morals, and the dignity of his life.
Possessed of a patrimonial estate, near Abbeville, which brought him in a
modest income of six hundred crowns a year, and a bachelor, he devoted
himself to study and to religious matters with independence of mind and
with a pious heart.  “Most faithfully observant,” says Erasmus, “of the
ordinances and rites of the church, to wit, prescribed fasts, holy days,
forbidden meats, masses, sermons, and, in a word, all, that tends to
piety, he strongly reprobated the doctrines of Luther.”  He was none the
less, in 1523, denounced to the Parliament of Paris as being on the side
of the Reformers.  He had books, it was said; he even composed them
himself on questions of faith, and he had been engaged in some sort of
dispute with the theologian William de Coutance, head of Harcourt
College.

[Illustration: Erasmus----194]

The attorney-general of the Parliament ordered one of his officers to go
and make an examination of Berquin’s books as well as papers, and to
seize what appeared to him to savor of heresy.  The officer brought away
divers works of Luther, Melancthon, and Carlostadt, and some original
treatises of Berquin himself, which were deposited in the keeping of the
court.  The theological faculty claimed to examine them as being within
their competence.  On being summoned by the attorney-general, Berquin
demanded to be present when an inventory was made of his books or
manuscripts, and to give such explanations as he should deem necessary;
and his request was granted without question.  On the 26th of June, 1523,
the commissioners of the Sorbonne made their report.  On the 8th of July,
Peter Lizet, king’s advocate, read it out to the court.  The matter came
on again for hearing on the 1st of August.  Berquin was summoned and
interrogated, and, as the result of this interrogatory, was arrested and
carried off to imprisonment at the Conciergerie in the square tower.  On
the 5th of August sentence was pronounced, and Louis de Berquin was
remanded to appear before the Bishop of Paris, as being charged with
heresy, “in which case,” says the Journal d’un Bourgeois de Paris, “he
would have been in great danger of being put to death according to law,
as he had well deserved.”  The public were as ready as the accusers to
believe in the crime and to impatiently await its punishment.

It was not without surprise or without displeasure that, on the 8th of
August, just as they had “made over to the Bishop of Paris, present and
accepting” the prisoner confined in the Conciergerie, the members of the
council-chamber observed the arrival of Captain Frederic, belonging to
the archers of the king’s guard, and bringing a letter from the king, who
changed the venue in Berquin’s case so as to decide it himself at his
grand council; in consequence of which the prisoner would have to be
handed over, not to the bishop, but to the king.  The chamber
remonstrated; Berquin was no longer their prisoner; the matter had been
decided; it was the bishop to whom application must be made.  But these
remonstrances had been foreseen; the captain had verbal instructions to
carry off Louis de Berquin by force in case of a refusal to give him up.
The chamber decided upon handing over the bishop’s prisoner to the king,
contenting themselves with causing the seized books and manuscripts to be
burned that very day in the space in front of Notre Dame.  It was whilst
repairing to the scene of war in Italy, and when he was just entering
Melun, where he merely passed through, that the king had given this
unexpected order, on the very day, August 5, on which the Parliament
pronounced the decree which sent Berquin to appear before the Bishop of
Paris.  There is no clear trace of the vigilant protect, or who had so
closely watched the proceedings against Berquin, and so opportunely
appealed for the king’s interference.  In any incident of this sort there
is a temptation to presume that the influence was that of Princess
Marguerite; but it is not certain that she was at this time anywhere near
the king; perhaps John du Bellay, Bishop of Bayonne, acted for her.
Francis I. was, moreover, disposed to extend protection, of his own
accord, to gentlemen and scholars against furious theologians, when the
latter were not too formidable for him.  However that may be, Berquin, on
becoming the king’s prisoner, was summoned before the chancellor, Duprat,
who, politely reproaching him with having disquieted the church, confined
himself to requesting that he would testify some regret for it.  Berquin
submitted with a good grace, and, being immediately set at liberty, left
Paris and repaired to his estate in Picardy.

Whilst he there resumed his life of peaceful study, the Parliament
continued to maintain in principle and openly proclaim its right of
repression against heretics.  On the 12th of August, 1523, it caused
notice to be given, by sound of trumpet, throughout the whole of Paris,
that clergy and laymen were to deposit in the keeping of the Palace all
Luther’s books that they possessed.  Laymen who did not comply with this
order would have their property confiscated; clergymen would be deprived
of their temporalities and banished.  Toleration, in a case of suspected
heresy, was an act of the king’s which itself required toleration;
proceedings against heresy remained the law of the land, constantly
hanging over every head.

Eighteen months later, in May, 1525, there seemed to be no further
thought about Berquin; but the battle of Pavia was lost; Francis I. was a
prisoner at Madrid; Louise of Savoy and the chancellor, Duprat, wielded
the power.  The question of heretics again came to the front.  “The queen
must be told,” said Peter Lizet, king’s advocate, “as St. Gregory told
Brunehaut, Queen of the Franks, that the best way of driving away the
enemies of the kingdom is to drive away from it the enemies of God and
His spouse, the Church.”  On the 10th of April, 1525, on occasion of
giving the regent some counsel as to her government, the Parliament
strongly recommended her to take proceedings against the heretics.  “The
court,” they said to her, “has before now passed several provisional
decrees against the guilty, which have not been executed because of the
evil disposition of the times and the hinderances effected by the
delinquents, who have found means of suspending and delaying the
judgments given against them, as well by transference of the venue to the
grand council as by seizure and removal of certain of them, prisoners at
the time, whom they have had withdrawn from their prisons by exercise of
sovereign and absolute power, which has given the rest occasion and
boldness to follow the evil doctrine.”  It was impossible to reproach the
king more broadly with having set Berquin at liberty.  The Parliament
further advised the regent to ask the pope to send over to France
pontifical delegates invested with his own powers to watch and to try in
his name “even archbishops, bishops, and abbots, who by their deeds,
writings, or discourses, should render themselves suspected of a leaning
towards heresy.”  Louise of Savoy, without any appearance of being hurt
by the attack made by the Parliament on the acts of the king her son,
eagerly followed the advice given her; and on the 20th of May, 1525,
Clement VII., in his turn, eagerly appointed four delegates commissioned
to try all those suspected of heresy, who, in case of condemnation, were
to be left to the secular arm.  On the very day on which the pope
appointed his delegates, the faculty of theology at Paris passed censure
upon divers writings of Erasmus, translated and spread abroad in France
by Berquin; and on the 8th of January, 1526, the Bishop of Amiens
demanded of the Parliament authority “to order the body to be seized of
Louis de Berquin, who resided in his diocese and was scandalizing it by
his behavior.”  The Parliament authorized his arrest; and, on the 24th of
January, Berquin was once more a prisoner in the Conciergerie, at the
same time that orders were given to seize all his books and papers,
whether at his own house or at that of his friend the Lord of Rambure at
Abbeville.  The great trial of Berquin for heresy was recommenced, and in
it the great name of Erasmus was compromised.

When the question was thus solemnly reopened, Berquin’s defenders were
much excited.  Defenders, we have said; but, in truth, history names but
one, the Princess Marguerite, who alone showed any activity, and alone
did anything to the purpose.  She wrote at once to the king, who was
still at Madrid “My desire to obey your commands was sufficiently strong
without having it redoubled by the charity you have been pleased to show
to poor Berquin according to your promise; I feel sure that He for whom I
believe him to have suffered will approve of the mercy which, for His
honor, you have had upon His servant and yours.”  Francis I. had, in
fact, written to suspend until his return the proceedings against
Berquin, as well as those against Lefevre, Roussel, and all the other
doctors suspected of heresy.  The regent transmitted the king’s orders to
the pope’s delegates, who presented themselves on the 20th of February
before the Parliament to ask its advice.  “The king is as badly advised
as he himself is good,” said the dean of the faculty of theology.  The
Parliament answered that “for a simple letter missive” it could not
adjourn; it must have a letter patent; and it went on with the trial.
Berquin presented several demands for delay, evidently in order to wait
for the king’s return and personal intervention.  The court refused them;
and, on the 5th of March, 1526, the judgment was read to him in his
prison at the Conciergerie.  It was to the effect that his books should
be again burned before his eyes, that he should declare his approval of
so just a sentence, and that he should earn the compassion of the church
by not refusing her any satisfaction she might demand; else he should
himself go to the stake.

Whilst Berquin’s trial was thus coming to an end, Francis I. was entering
France once more in freedom, crying, “So I am king again!”  During the
latter days of March, amongst the numerous personages who came to
congratulate him was John de Selve, premier president of the Parliament
of Paris.  The king gave him a very cold reception.  “My lords,” wrote
the premier president to his court, “I heard, through M. de Selve, my
nephew, about some displeasure that was felt as regards our body, and I
also perceived it myself.  I have already begun to speak of it to Madame
[the king’s mother].  I will do, as I am bound to, my duty towards the
court, with God’s help.”  On the 1st of April the king, who intended to
return by none but slow stages to Paris, wrote from Mont-de-Marsan, to
the judges holding his court of Parliament at Paris:--

“We have presently been notified how that, notwithstanding that, through
our dear and much-loved lady and mother, regent in France during our
absence, it was written unto you and ordered that you would be pleased
not to proceed in any way whatever with the matter of Sieur Berquin,
lately detained a prisoner, until we should have been enabled to return
to this our kingdom, you have, nevertheless, at the request and pursuance
of his ill-wishers, so far proceeded with his business that you have come
to a definitive judgment on it.  Whereat we cannot be too much astounded.
.  .  .  For this cause we do will and command and enjoin upon you .  .
that you are not to proceed to execution of the said judgment, which, as
the report is, you have pronounced against the said Berquin, but shall
put him, himself and the depositions and the proceedings in his said
trial, in such safe keeping that you may be able to answer to us for
them.  .  .  .  And take care that you make no default therein, for we do
warn you that, if default there be, we shall look to such of you as shall
seem good to us to answer to us for it.”

Here was not only a letter patent, but a letter minatory.  As to the
execution of their judgment, the Parliament obeyed the king’s injunction,
maintaining, however, the principle as well as the legality of Berquin’s
sentence, and declaring that they awaited the king’s orders to execute
it.  “According to the teaching of the two Testaments,” they said, “God
ever rageth, in His just wrath, against the nations who fail to enforce
respect for the laws prescribed by Himself.  It is important, moreover,
to hasten the event in order as soon as possible to satisfy,
independently of God, the people who murmur and whose impatience is
becoming verily troublesome.”  Francis I. did not reply.  He would not
have dared, even in thought, to attack the question of principle as to
the chastisement of heresy, and he was afraid of weakening his own
Authority too much if he humiliated his Parliament too much; it was
sufficient for him that he might consider Berquin’s life to be safe.
Kings are protectors who are easily satisfied when their protection, to
be worth anything, might entail upon them the necessity of an energetic
struggle and of self-compromise.  “Trust not in princes nor their
children,” said Lord Strafford, after the Psalmist [_Nolite confidere
principibus et filiis eorum, quia non est sales in illis,_ Ps. cxlvi.],
when, in the seventeenth century, he found that Charles I. was abandoning
him to the English Parliament and the executioner.  Louis de Berquin
might have felt similar distrust as to Francis I., but his nature was
confident and hopeful; when he knew of the king’s letter to the
Parliament, he considered himself safe, and he testified as much to
Erasmus in a long letter, in which he told him the story of his trial,
and alluded to “the fresh outbreak of anger on the part of those hornets
who accuse me of heresy,” said he, “simply because I have translated into
the vulgar tongue some of your little works, wherein they pretend that
they have discovered the most monstrous pieces of impiety.”  He
transmitted to Erasmus a list of the paragraphs which the pope’s
delegates had condemned, pressing him to reply, “as you well know how.
The king esteems you much, and will esteem you still more when
you have heaped confusion on this brood of benighted theologians whose
ineptitude is no excuse for their violence.”  By a strange coincidence,
Berquin’s most determined foe, Noel Beda, provost of the Sorbonne, sent
at the same time to Erasmus a copy of more than two hundred propositions
which had been extracted from his works, and against which he, Beda, also
came forward as accuser.  Erasmus was a prudent man, and did not seek
strife; but when he was personally and offensively attacked by enemies
against whom he was conscious of his strength, he exhibited it proudly
and ably; and he replied to Beda by denouncing him, on the 6th of June,
to the Parliament of Paris itself, as an impudent and ignorant
calumniator.  His letter, read at the session of Parliament on the 5th of
July, 1526, was there listened to with profound deference, and produced a
sensation which did not remain without effect; in vain did Beda persist
in accusing Erasmus of heresy and in maintaining that he was of the
brotherhood of Luther; Parliament considered him in the wrong,
provisionally prohibited the booksellers from vending his libels against
Erasmus, and required previous authorization to be obtained for all books
destined for the press by the rectors of the Sorbonne.

The success of Erasmus was also a success for Berquin; but he was still
in prison, ill and maltreated.  The king wrote on the 11th of July to
Parliament to demand that he should enjoy at least all the liberties that
the prison would admit of, that he should no longer be detained in an
unhealthy cell, and that he should be placed in that building of the
Conciergerie where the court-yard was.  “That,” was the answer, “would be
a bad precedent; they never put in the court-yard convicts who had
incurred the penalty of death.”  An offer was made to Berquin of the
chamber reserved for the greatest personages, for princes of the blood,
and of permission to walk in the court-yard for two hours a day, one in
the morning and the other in the evening, in the absence of the other
prisoners.  Neither the king nor Berquin was inclined to be content with
these concessions.  The king in his irritation sent from Beaugency, on
the 5th of October, two archers of his guard with a letter to this
effect: “It is marvellously strange that what we ordered has not yet been
done.  We do command and most expressly enjoin upon you, this once for
all, that you are incontinently to put and deliver the said Berquin into
the hands of the said Texier and Charles do Broc, whom we have ordered to
conduct him to our castle of the Louvre.”  The court still objected; a
prisoner favored by so high a personage, it was said, would soon be out
of such a prison.  The objection resulted in a formal refusal to obey.
The provost of Paris, John de la Barre, the king’s premier gentleman, was
requested to repair to the palace and pay Berquin a visit, to ascertain
from himself what could be done for him.  Berquin, for all that appears,
asked for nothing but liberty to read and write.  “It is not possible,”
 was the reply; “such liberty is never granted to those who are condemned
to death.”  As a great favor, Berquin was offered a copy of the Letters
of St. Jerome and some volumes of history; and the provost had orders not
to omit that fact in his report: “The king must be fully assured that the
court do all they can to please him.”

[Illustration: Berquin released by John de la Barre----198]

But it was to no purpose.  On the 19th of November, 1526, the provost of
Paris returned to the palace with a letter from the king, formally
commanding him to remove Berquin and transfer him to the Louvre.  The
court again protested that they would not deliver over the said Berquin
to the said provost; but, they said, “seeing what the times are, the said
provost will be able to find free access to the Conciergerie, for to do
there what he hath a mind to.”  The same day, about six in the evening,
John de la Barre repaired to the Conciergerie, and removed from it Louis
de Berquin, whom he handed over to the captain of the guard and four
archers, who took him away to the Louvre.  Two months afterwards, in
January, 1527, Princess Marguerite married Henry d’Albret, King of
Navarre, and about the same time, though it is difficult to discover the
exact day, Louis de Berquin issued forth a free man from the Louvre, and
the new queen, on taking him at once into her service, wrote to the
Constable Anne de Montmorency, whom the king had charged with the duty of
getting Berquin set at liberty, “I thank you for the pleasure you have
done me in the matter of poor Berquin, whom I esteem as much as if he
were myself; and so you may say that you have delivered me from prison,
since I consider in that light the pleasure done to me.”

Marguerite’s sympathetic joy was as natural as touching; she must have
thought Berquin safe; he was free and in the service of one who was
fundamentally a sovereign-prince, though living in France and in
dependence upon the King of France, whose sister he had just married.
In France, Berquin was under the stigma of having been condemned to death
as a heretic, and was confronted by determined enemies.  In so perilous a
position his safety depended upon his courting oblivion.  But instead of
that, and consulting only the dictates of his generous and blind
confidence in the goodness of his cause, he resolved to assume the
offensive and to cry for justice against his enemies.  “Beneath the cloak
of religion,” he wrote to Erasmus, “the priests conceal the vilest
passions, the most corrupt morals, and the most scandalous infidelity.
It is necessary to rend the veil which covers them, and boldly bring an
accusation of impiety against the Sorbonne, Rome, and all their
flunkies.”  Erasmus, justly alarmed, used all his influence to deter him:
but “the more confidence he showed,” says he, “the more I feared for him.
I wrote to him frequently, begging him to get quit of the case by some
expedient, or even to withdraw himself on the pretext of a royal
ambassadorship obtained by the influence of his friends.  I told him that
the theologians would probably, as time went on, let his affair drop, but
that they would never admit themselves to be guilty of impiety.  I told
him to always bear in mind what a hydra was that Beda, and at how many
mouths he belched forth venom. I told him to reflect well that he was
about to commit himself with a foe that was immortal, for a faculty never
dies, and to rest assured that after having brought three monks to bay,
he would have to defend himself against numerous legions, not only
opulent and powerful, but, besides, very dishonest and very experienced
in the practice of every kind of cheatery, who would never rest until
they had effected his ruin, were his cause as just as Christ’s.  I told
him not to trust too much to the king’s protection, the favor of princes
being unstable and their affections easily alienated by the artifices of
informers.  .  .  .  And if all this could not move him, I told him not
to involve me in his business, for, with his permission, I was not at all
inclined to get into any tangle with legions of monks and a whole faculty
of theology.  But I did not succeed in convincing him; whilst I argued in
so many ways to deter him from his design, I did nothing but excite his
courage.”

Not only did Berquin turn a deaf ear to the wise counsels of Erasmus, but
his protectress, Marguerite, being moved by his courage, and herself also
as imprudent as she was generous, persuaded herself that he was in the
right, and supported him in his undertaking.  She wrote to the king her
brother, “Poor Berquin, who, through your goodness, holds that God has
twice preserved his life, throws himself upon you, having no longer any
one to whom he can have recourse, for to give you to understand his
innocence; and whereas, Monseigneur, I know the esteem in which you hold
him and the desire he hath always had to do you service, I do not fear to
entreat you, by letter instead of speech, to be pleased to have pity on
him.  And if it please you to show signs of taking his matter to heart, I
hope that the truth, which he will make to appear, will convict the
forgers of heretics of being slanderers and disobedient towards you
rather than zealots for the faith.”

In his complaisance and indifference Francis I. attended to his sister’s
wishes, and appeared to support Berquin in his appeal for a fresh and
definite investigation of his case.  On the other hand, Parliament, to
whom the matter was referred, showed a disposition to take into account
the king’s good will towards Berquin, lately convicted, but now become in
his turn plaintiff and accuser.  “We have no wish to dispute your power,”
 said the president, Charles de Guillard, to the king at a bed of justice
held on the 24th of July, 1527: “it would be a species of sacrilege, and
we know well that you are above the laws, and that neither laws nor
ordinances can constrain you.  Your most humble and most obedient court
is comforted and rejoiced at your presence and advent, just as the
apostles were when they saw their God after the resurrection.  We are
assured that your will is to be the peculiar protector and defender of
religion, and not to permit or suffer in your kingdom any errors,
heresies, or false doctrines.”

The matter thus reopened pursued its course slowly; twelve judges were
appointed to give a definite decision; and the king himself nominated
six, amongst whom he placed Berquin’s friend, William Bude.  Various
incidents unconnected with religious disputes supervened.  The Queen of
Navarre was brought to bed at Pau, on the 7th of January, 1528, of a
daughter, Jeanne d’Albret, the future mother of Henry IV.  The marriage
of Princess Renee of France, daughter of Louis XII., with Duke Hercules
of Ferrara, was concluded, and the preparations for its celebration were
going on at Fontainebleau, when, on Monday, June 1, 1528, the day after
the Feast of Pentecost, “some heretics came by night,” says the Journal
d’un Bourgeois de Paris, “to an image of Notre-Dame de Pierre, which is
at a corner of the street behind the church of Petit St. Antoine; to the
which image they gave several blows with their weapons, and cut off her
head and that of her little child, Our Lord.  But it was never known who
the image-breakers were.

[Illustration: Heretic Iconoclasts----201]

The king, being then at Paris, and being advertised thereof, was so wroth
and upset that, it is said, he wept right sore.  And, incontinently,
during the two days following, he caused it to be proclaimed by sound of
trumpet throughout the cross-roads of the city that if any persons knew
who had done it they should make their report and statement to justice
and to him, and he would give them a thousand crowns of gold.
Nevertheless nothing could be known about it, although the king showed
great diligence in the matter, and had officers commissioned to go from
house to house to make inquiry.  .  .  .  On Tuesday and other days
following there were special processions from the parish churches and
other churches of the city, which nearly all of them went to the said
place.  .  .  .  And on the day of the Fete-Dieu, which was the 11th day
of the said month of June, the king went in procession, most devoutly,
with the parish of St. Paul and all the clergy, to the spot where was the
said image.  He himself carried a lighted waxen taper, bareheaded, with
very great reverence, having with him the band and hautbois with several
clarions and trumpets, which made a glorious show, so melodiously did
they play.  And with him were the Cardinal of Lorraine, and several
prelates and great lords, and all the gentlemen, having each a taper of
white wax in their hands, and all his archers had each a waxen taper
alight, and thus they went to the spot where was the said image, with
very great honor and reverence, which was a beautiful sight to see, and
with devotion.”  [_Journal d’un Bourgeois de Paris,_ pp. 347-351.]

In the sixteenth century men were far from understanding that respect is
due to every religious creed sincerely professed and practised; the
innovators, who broke the images of the Virgin Mary and the Infant Jesus,
did not consider that by thus brutally attacking that which they regarded
as a superstition, they were committing a revolting outrage upon
Christian consciences.  Such an incident was too favorable for Berquin’s
enemies not to be eagerly turned to profit by them.  Although his
prosecution had been resumed, he had hitherto remained at large, and been
treated respectfully; he repaired without any guard over him from the
Louvre to the Palace of Justice.  But now he was arrested, and once more
confined in the tower of the Conciergerie.  Some books of his, seized
hap-hazard and sent to the syndic Beda, were found covered with notes,
which were immediately pronounced to be heretical.  On the 16th of April,
1529, he was brought before the court.  “Louis Berquin,” said the
president to him, “you are convicted of having belonged to the sect of
Luther, and of having made wicked books against the majesty of God and of
His glorious Mother.  In consequence, we do sentence you to make
honorable amends, bareheaded and with a waxen taper alight in your hand,
in the great court of the palace, crying for mercy to God, the king, and
the law, for the offence by you committed.  After that, you will be
conducted bareheaded and on foot to the Place de Greve, where your books
will be burned before your eyes.  Then you will be taken in front of the
church of Notre-Dame, where you will make honorable amends to God and to
the glorious Virgin His Mother.  After which a hole will be pierced in
your tongue, that member wherewith you have sinned.  Lastly, you will be
placed in the prison of Monsieur de Paris (the bishop), and will be there
confined between two stone walls for the whole of your life.  And we
forbid that there be ever given you book to read or pen and ink to
write.”  This sentence, which Erasmus called atrocious, appeared to take
Berquin by surprise; for a moment he remained speechless, and then he
said, “I appeal to the king:” whereupon he was taken back to prison.  The
sentence was to be carried out the same day about three P. M. A great
crowd of more than twenty thousand persons, says a contemporary
chronicler, rushed to the bridges, the streets, the squares, where this
solemn expiation was to take place.  The commissioner of police, the
officer of the Chatelet, the archers, crossbowmen, and arquebusiers of
the city had repaired to the palace to form the escort; but when they
presented themselves at the prison to take Berquin, he told them that he
had appealed to the king, and that he would not go with them.  The escort
and the crowd retired disappointed.  The president convoked the tribunal
the same evening, and repairing to the prison, he made Berquin sign the
form of his appeal.  William Bude hurried to the scene, and vehemently
urged the prisoner to give it up.  “A second sentence,” said he, “is
ready, and it pronounces death.  If you acquiesce in the first, we shall
be able to save you later on.  All that is demanded of you is to ask
pardon: and have we not all need of pardon?” It appears that for a moment
Berquin hesitated, and was on the point of consenting; but Bude remained
anxious.  “I know him,” said he; “his ingenuousness and his confidence in
the goodness of his cause will ruin him.”  The king was at Blois, and his
sister Marguerite at St. Germain; on the news of this urgent peril she
wrote to her brother, “I for the last time, make you a very humble
request; it is, that you will be pleased to have pity upon poor Berquin,
whom I know to be suffering for nothing but loving the word of God and
obeying yours.  You will be pleased, Monseigneur, so to act that it be
not said that separation has made you forget your most humble and most
obedient subject and sister, Marguerite.”  We can discover no trace of
any reply whatever from Francis I.  According to most of the documentary
evidence, uncertainty lasted for three days.  Berquin persisted in his
resolution.  “No,” he to his friend Bude, who again came to the prison,
“I would rather endure death than give my approval, even by silence only
to condemnation of the truth.”  The president of the court went once more
to pay him a visit, and asked him if he held to his appeal.  Berquin
said, “Yes.” court revised its original sentence, and for the penalty of
perpetual imprisonment substituted that of the stake. On the 22d of
April, 1529, according to most of the documents, but on the 17th,
according to the _Journal d’un Bourgeois de Paris,_ which the details of
the last days render highly improbable, the officers of Parliament
entered Berquin’s gloomy chamber.  He rose quietly and went with them;
the procession set out, and at about three arrived at the Place de Greve;
where the stake was ready.  “Berquin had a gown of velvet, garments of
satin and damask, and hosen of gold thread,” says the Bourgeois de Paris.
“‘Alas!’ said some as they saw him pass, ‘he is of noble lineage, a
mighty great scholar, expert in science and subtile withal, and
nevertheless he hath gone out of his senses.’”  We borrow the account of
his actual death from a letter of Erasmus, written on the evidence of an
eye-witness: “Not a symptom of agitation appeared either in his face or
the attitude of his body: he had the bearing of a man who is meditating
in his cabinet on the subject of his studies, or in a temple on the
affairs of heaven.  Even when the executioner, in a rough voice,
proclaimed his crime and its penalty, the constant serenity of his
features was not at all altered.  When the order was given him to
dismount from the tumbrel, he obeyed cheerfully without hesitating;
nevertheless he had not about him any of that audacity, that arrogance,
which in the case of malefactors is sometimes bred of their natural
savagery; everything about him bore evidence to the tranquillity of a
good conscience.  Before he died he made a speech to the people; but
none could hear him, so great was the noise which the soldiers made,
according, it is said, to the orders they had received.  When the cord
which bound him to the post suffocated his voice, not a soul in the crowd
ejaculated the name of Jesus, whom it is customary to invoke even in
favor of parricides and the sacrilegious, to such extent was the
multitude excited against him by those folks who are to be found
everywhere, and who can do anything with the feelings of the simple and
ignorant.”  Theodore de Beze adds that the grand penitentiary of Paris,
Merlin, who was present at the execution, said, as he withdrew from the
still smoking stake, “I never saw any one die more Christianly.”  The
impressions and expressions of the crowd, as they dispersed, were very
diverse; but the majority cried, “He was a heretic.”  Others said, “God
is the only just Judge, and happy is the man whom He absolves.”  Some
said below their breath, “It is only through the cross that Christ will
triumph in the kingdom of the Gauls.”  A man went up to the Franciscan
monk who had placed himself at Berquin’s side in the procession, and had
entreated him without getting from him anything but silence, and asked
him, “Did Berquin say that he had erred?”  “Yes, certainly,” answered the
monk, “and I doubt not but that his soul hath departed in peace.”  This
expression was reported to Erasmus; but “I don’t believe it,” said he;
“it is the story that these fellows are obliged to invent after their
victim’s death, to appease the wrath of the people.”

We have dwelt in detail upon these two martyrs, Leclerc and Berquin, the
wool-carder and the scholarly gentleman, because they are faithful and
vivid representatives of the two classes amongst which, in the sixteenth
century, the Reformation took root in France.  It had a double origin,
morally and socially, one amongst the people and the other amongst the
aristocratic and the learned; it was not national, nor was it embraced by
the government of the country.  Persecution was its first and its only
destiny in the reign of Francis I., and it went through the ordeal with
admirable courage and patience; it resisted only in the form of
martyrdom.  We will give no more of such painful and hideous pictures; in
connection with this subject, and as regards the latter portion of this
reign, we will dwell upon only those general facts which bear the impress
of public morals and the conduct of the government rather than of the
fortunes and the feelings of individuals.  It was after Francis I.’s time
that the Reformation, instead of confining itself to submitting with
dignity to persecution, made a spirited effort to escape from it by
becoming a political party, and taking up, in France, the task of the
opposition--a liberal and an energetic opposition, which claims its
rights and its securities.  It then took its place in French history as a
great public power, organized and commanded by great leaders, and no
longer as a multitude of scattered victims falling one after another,
without a struggle, beneath the blows of their persecutors.

The martyrdom of Berquin put a stop to the attempt at quasi-tolerance in
favor of aristocratic and learned Reformers which Francis I. had essayed
to practise; after having twice saved Berquin from a heretic’s doom, he
failed to save him ultimately; and, except the horrible details of
barbarity in the execution, the scholarly gentleman received the same
measure as the wool-carder, after having been, like him, true to his
faith and to his dignity as a man and a Christian.  Persecution
thenceforward followed its course without the king putting himself to the
trouble of applying the drag for anybody; his sister Marguerite alone
continued to protect, timidly and dejectedly, those of her friends
amongst the reformers whom she could help or to whom she could offer an
asylum in Bearn without embroiling herself with the king, her brother,
and with the Parliaments.  We will not attempt to enumerate the
martyrdoms which had to be undergone by the persevering Reformers in
France between 1529 and 1547, from the death of Louis de Berquin to that
of Francis I.; the task would be too long and intermingled with too many
petty questions of dates or proper names; we will confine ourselves to
quoting some local computations and to conning over the great historic
facts which show to what extent the persecution was general and
unrelenting, though it was ineffectual, in the end, to stifle the
Reformation and to prevent the bursting out of those religious wars
which, from the death of Francis I. to the accession of Henry IV.,
smothered France in disaster, blood, and crime.

In the reign of Francis I., from 1524 to 1547, eighty-one death-sentences
for heresy were executed.  At Paris only, from the 10th of November to
the 2d of May, a space of some six months, one hundred and two sentences
to death by fire for heresy were pronounced; twenty-seven were executed;
two did not take place, because those who ought to have undergone them
denounced other Reformers to save themselves; and seventy-three succeeded
in escaping by flight.  The _Journal d’un Bourgeois de Paris_ (pp. 444-
450) does not mention sentences to lesser penalties.  In a provincial
town, whose history one of its most distinguished inhabitants, M.
Boutiot, has lately written from authentic documents and local
traditions, at Troyes in fact, in 1542 and 1546, two burgesses, one a
clerk and the other a publisher, were sentenced to the stake and executed
for the crime of heresy: “on an appeal being made by the publisher, Mace
Moreau, the Parliament of Paris confirmed the sentence  pronounced by the
bailiff’s court,” and he underwent his punishment on the Place St. Pierre
with the greatest courage.  The  decree of the Parliament contains the
most rigorous enactments against books in the French language treating of
religious  matters; and it enjoins upon all citizens the duty of
denouncing those who, publicly or not, make profession of the new
doctrine. “The Lutheran propaganda,” say the documents, “is in great
force throughout the diocese; it exercises influence not only on the
class of artisans, but also amongst the burgesses.  Doubt has made its
way into many honest souls.  The Reformation has reached so far even
where the schism is not complete.  Catholic priests profess some of the
new doctrines, at the same time that they remain attached to their
offices.  Many bishops declare themselves partisans of the reformist
doctrines.  The Protestant worship, however, is not yet openly conducted.
The mass of the clergy do not like to abandon the past; they cling to
their old traditions, and, if they have renounced certain abuses, they
yield only on a few points of little importance.  The new ideas are
spreading, even in the country.  .  .  .  Statues representing the Virgin
and the saints are often broken, and these deeds are imputed to those who
have adopted the doctrines of Luther and of Calvin.  A Notre-Dame de
Pitie, situated at the Hotel-Dieule-Comte, was found with its head
broken.  This event excites to madness the Catholic population.  The
persecutions continue.”  Many people emigrated for fear of the stake.
“From August, 1552, to the 6th of January, 1555,” says the chronicler,
“Troyes loses in consequence of exile, probably voluntary, a certain
number of its best inhabitants,” and he names thirteen families with the
style and title of “nobleman.”  He adds, “There is scarcely a month in
the year when there are not burned two or three heretics at Paris, Meaux,
and Troyes, and sometimes more than a dozen.”  Troyes contained, at that
time, says M. Boutiot, eighteen thousand two hundred and eighty-five
inhabitants, counting five persons to a household.  [Histoire de la Ville
de Troyes, t. iii.  pp. 381, 387, 398, 415, 431.] Many other provincial
towns offered the same spectacle.

During the long truce which succeeded the peace of Cambrai, from 1532 to
1536, it might have been thought for a while that the persecution in
France was going to be somewhat abated.  Policy obliged Francis I. to
seek the support of the Protestants of Germany against Charles V.; he was
incessantly fluctuating between that policy and a strictly Catholic and
papal policy; by marrying his son Henry, on the 28th of October, 1533,
to Catherine de’ Medici, niece of Pope Clement VII., he seemed to have
decided upon the latter course; but he had afterwards made a movement in
the contrary direction; Clement VII. had died on the 26th of September,
1524; Paul III. had succeeded him; and Francis I. again turned towards
the Protestants of Germany; he entered into relations with the most
moderate amongst their theologians, with Melancthon, Bucer, and Sturm;
there was some talk of conciliation, of a re-establishment of peace and
harmony in the church; nor did the king confine himself to speaking by
the mouth of diplomatists; he himself wrote to Melancthon, on the 23d of
June, 1535, “It is some time now since I heard from William du Bellay, my
chamberlain and councillor, of the zeal with which you are exerting
yourself to appease the altercations to which Christian doctrine has
given rise.  I now hear that you are very much disposed to come to us for
to confer with some of our most distinguished doctors as to the means of
re-establishing in the church that sublime harmony which is the chief of
all my desires.  Come, then, either in an official capacity or in your
own private character; you will be most welcome to me, and you shall in
either case have proof of the interest I feel in the glory of your own
Germany and in the peace of the world.”  Melancthon had, indeed, shown an
inclination to repair to Paris; he had written, on the 9th of May, 1535,
to his friend Sturm, “I will not let myself be stopped by domestic ties
or by fear of danger.  There is no human greatness before which I do not
prefer Christ’s glory.  One thought alone gives me pause: I doubt my
ability to do any good; I fear it is impossible to obtain from the king
that which I regard as necessary for the Lord’s glory and for the peace
of France.  You know that kingdom.  Pronounce your judgment.  If you
think that I shall do well to undertake the journey, I am off.”

Melancthon had good reason to doubt whether success, such as he deemed
necessary, were possible.  Whilst Francis I. was making all these
advances to the Protestants of Germany, he was continuing to proceed
against their brother Christians in France more bitterly and more
flagrantly than ever.  Two recent events had very much envenomed party
feeling between the French Catholics and Reformers, and the king had been
very much compromised in this fresh crisis of the struggle.  In 1534 the
lawless insurrection of Anabaptists and peasants, which had so violently
agitated Germany in 1525, began again; the insurgents seized the town of
Munster, in Westphalia, and there renewed their attempt to found the
kingdom of Israel, with community of property and polygamy.  As in 1525,
they were promptly crushed by the German princes, Catholic and
Protestant, of the neighborhood; but their rising had created some
reverberation in France, and the Reformers had been suspected of an
inclination to take part in it.  “It is said,” wrote the Chancellor de
Granvelle, in January, 1535, to the ambassador of France at the court of
Charles V., “that the number of the strayed from the faith in France, and
the danger of utter confusion, are very great; the enterprise of the said
strayed, about which you write to me, to set fire to the churches and
pillage the Louvre, proves that they were in great force.  Please God the
king may be able to apply a remedy!” [_Papiers d’Etat du Cardinal de
Granvelle,_ t. ii.  p. 283.] The accusation was devoid of all foundation;
but nothing is absurd in the eyes of party hatred and suspicion, and an
incident, almost contemporaneous with the fresh insurrection of the
Anabaptists, occurred to increase the king’s wrath, as well as the
people’s, against the Reformers, and to rekindle the flames of
persecution.  On the 24th of October, 1534, placards against the mass,
transubstantiation, and the regimen as well as the faith of the Catholic
church, were posted up during the night in the thoroughfares of Paris,
and at Blois on the very chamberdoor of Francis I., whose first glance,
when he got up in the morning, they caught.  They had been printed at
Neufchatel, in Switzerland, where the influence of the refugee William
Farel was strong, and their coarse violence of expression could not fail
to excite the indignation of even the most indifferent Catholics.  In
their fanatical blindness factions say only what satisfies their own
passions, without considering moral propriety or the effect which will be
produced by their words upon the feelings of their adversaries, who also
have creeds and passions.  Francis I., equally shocked and irritated,
determined to give the Catholic faith striking satisfaction, and
Protestant audacity a bloody lesson.  On the 21st of January, 1535, a
solemn procession issued from the church of St.  Germain l’Auxerrois.
John du Bellay, Bishop of Paris, held in his hands the holy sacrament,
surrounded by the three sons of France and the Duke de Vendome, who were
the dais-bearers; and the king walked behind, with a taper in his hand,
between the Cardinals of Bourbon and Lorraine.  At each halting-place he
handed his taper to the Cardinal of Lorraine, folded his hands, and
humbly prostrating himself, implored divine mercy for his people.  After
the procession was over, the king, who had remained to dine with John du
Bellay, assembled in the great hall of the palace the heads of all the
companies, and taking his place on a sort of throne which had been
prepared for him, said, “Whatever progress may have already been made by
the pest, the remedy is still easy if each of you, devoured by the same
zeal as I, will forget the claims of flesh and blood to remember only
that he is a Christian, and will denounce without pity all those whom he
knows to be partisans or favorers of heresy. As for me, if my arm were
gangrened, I would have it cut off though it were my right arm, and if my
sons who hear me were such wretches as to fall into such execrable and
accursed opinions, I would be willing to give them up to make a sacrifice
of them to God.”  On the 29th of January there was published an edict
which sentenced concealers of heretics, “Lutheran or other,” to the same
penalties as the said heretics, unless they denounced their guests to
justice; and a quarter of the property to be confiscated was secured to
the denouncers.  Fifteen days previously Francis I. had signed a decree
still stranger for a king who was a protector of letters; he ordered the
abolition of printing, that means of propagating heresies, and “forbade
the printing of any book on pain of the halter.”  Six weeks later,
however, on the 26th of February, he became ashamed of such an act, and
suspended its execution indefinitely.  Punishments in abundance preceded
and accompanied the edicts; from the 10th of November, 1534, to the 3d of
May, 1535, twenty-four heretics were burned alive in Paris, without
counting many who were sentenced to less cruel penalties.  The procedure
had been made more rapid; the police commissioner of the Chatelet dealt
with cases summarily, and the Parliament confirmed.  The victims had at
first been strangled before they were burned; they were now burned alive,
after the fashion of the Spanish Inquisition.  The convicts were
suspended by iron chains to beams which alternately “hoisted” and
“lowered” them over the flames until the executioner cut the cord to let
the sufferer fall.  The evidence was burned together with the convicts;
it was undesirable that the Reformers should be able to make a certified
collection of their martyrs’ acts and deeds.

After a detailed and almost complacent enumeration of all these
executions, we find in the _Journal d’un Bourgeois de Paris_ this
paragraph: “The rumor was, in June, 1535, that Pope Paul III., being
advertised of the execrable and horrible justice which the king was doing
upon the Lutherans in his kingdom, did send word to the King of France
that he was advertised of it, and that he was quite willing to suppose
that he did it in good part, as he still made use of the beautiful title
he had to be called the Most Christian king; nevertheless, God the
Creator, when he was in this world, made more use of mercy than of
rigorous justice, which should never be used rigorously; and that it was
a cruel death to burn a man alive because he might have to some extent
renounced the faith and the law.  Wherefore the pope did pray and request
the king, by his letters, to be pleased to mitigate the fury and rigor of
his justice by granting grace and pardon.  The king, wishing to follow
the pope’s wishes, according as he had sent him word by his letters
patent, sent word to the court of Parliament not to proceed any more with
such rigor as they had shown heretofore.  For this cause were there no
more rigorous proceedings on the part of justice.”  [_Journal d’un
Bourgeois de Paris,_ p. 456.]

Search has been made to discover whether the assertion of the Bourgeois
de Paris has any foundation, whether Pope Paul III. really did write in
June, 1535, the letter attributed to him, and whether its effect was,
that the king wrote to Parliament not to proceed against the Reformers
“with such rigor.”  No proof has, however, been obtained as to the
authenticity of the pope’s letter, and in any case it was not very
effectual, for the same _Bourgeois de Paris_ reports, that in September,
1535, three months after that, according to him, it was written: Two
fellows, makers of silk ribbons and tissues, were burned all alive, one
in the Place Maubert and the other in St. John’s cemetery, as Lutherans,
which they were.  They had handed over to their host at Paris some
Lutheran books to take care of, saying, ‘Keep this book for us while we
go into the city, and show it to nobody.’  When they were gone, this host
was not able to refrain from showing this book to a certain priest, the
which, after having looked at it, said incontinently, ‘This is a very
wicked book, and proscribed.’  Then the said host went to the
commissioner of police to reveal that he had such and such a book of such
an one, the which sent forth with to the house of the said host to take
and carry off the said two fellows to the Chatelet.  Being questioned,
they confessed the state of the case.  Whereupon, by sentence of the said
commissioner, confirmed by decree, “they made honorable amends in front of
the church of Notre-Dame de Paris, had their tongues cut out, and were
burned all alive and with unshaken obstinacy.”  Proceedings and
executions, then, did not cease, even in the case of the most humble
class of Reformers, and at the very moment when Francis I. was exerting
himself to win over the Protestants of Germany with the cry of
conciliation and re-establishment of harmony in the church.  Melancthon,
Bucer, and Luther himself had allowed themselves to be tempted by the
prospect; but the German politicians, princes, and counsellors were more
clear-sighted.  “We at Augsburg,” wrote Sailer, deputy from that city,
“know the King of France well; he cares very little for religion, or even
for morality.  He plays the hypocrite with the pope, and gives the
Germans the smooth side of his tongue, thinking of nothing but how to
cheat them of the hopes he gives them.  His only aim is to crush the
emperor.”  The attempt of Francis I. thus failed, first in Germany, and
then at Paris also, where the Sorbonne was not disposed, any more than
the German politicians were, to listen to any talk about a specious
conciliation; and the persecution resumed its course in France, paving
the way for civil war.

The last and most atrocious act of persecution in the reign of Francis I.
was directed not against isolated individuals, but against a whole
population, harried, despoiled, and banished or exterminated on account
of heresy.  About the year 1525 small churches of Reformers began to
assume organization between the Alps and the Jura.  Something was there
said about Christians who belonged to the Reformation without having ever
been reformed.  It was said that, in certain valleys of the Piedmontese
Alps and Dauphiny and in certain quarters of Provence, there were to be
found believers who for several centuries had recognized no authority
save that of the Holy Scriptures.  Some called them Vaudians
(Waldensians), others poor of Lyons, others Lutherans.  The rumor of the
Reformation was heard in their valleys, and created a lively emotion
amongst them.  One of them determined to go and see what this reformation
was; and he returned to his valleys with good news and with pious books.
Regular relations were from that time established between the Reformers
of Switzerland, France, and Germany, and the Christian shepherds of these
mountains.  Visits were exchanged Farel and Saunier went amongst the
Vaudians and conversed with them about their common faith, common in
spite of certain differences.  Rustic conferences, composed of the
principal landholders, barbas or pastors, and simple members of the
faithful, met more than once in the open air under the pines of their
mountains.  The Vaudians of Provence had been settled there since the end
of the thirteenth century; and in the course of the fourteenth other
Vaudians from Dauphiny, and even from Calabria, had come thither to join
them.  “Their barbas,” says a contemporary monk [_Histoire des Guerres
excitees dans le Comtat venaissin par les Calvinistes du seizieme siecle,
par le pere Justin, capucin_], “used to preside at their exercises of
religion, which were performed in secret.  As they were observed to be
quiet and circumspect, as they faithfully paid taxes, tithe, and
seigniorial dues, and as they were besides very laborious, they were not
troubled on the score of their habits and doctrines.”  Their new friends
from Switzerland and Germany reproached them with concealment of their
faith and worship.  As soon as they had overtly separated from the Roman
church, persecution began; Francis I. checked its first excesses, but it
soon began again; the episcopal prisons were filled with Vaudians, who
bristled at the summons to abjure; and on the 29th of March, 1535,
thirteen of them were sentenced to be burned alive.  Pope Paul III.
complained to Francis I. of their obstinacy; the king wrote about it to
the Parliament of Aix; the Parliament ordered the lords of the lands
occupied by the Vaudians to force their vassals to abjure or leave the
country.  When cited to appear before the court of Aix to explain the
grounds of their refusal, several declined.  The court sentenced them, in
default, to be burned alive.  Their friends took up arms and went to
deliver the prisoners.  Merindol was understood to be the principal
retreat of the sectaries; by decree of November 18, 1540, the Parliament
ordered that “the houses should be demolished and razed to the ground,
the cellars filled up, the woods cut down, the trees of the gardens torn
up, and that the lands of those who had lived in Merindol should not be
able to be farmed out to anybody whatever of their family or name.”  In
the region of Parliament itself complaints were raised against such
hardships; the premier president, Barthelemy Chassaneuz, was touched, and
adjourned the execution of the decree.  The king commissioned William du
Bellay to examine into the facts; the report of Du Bellay was favorable
to the Vaudians, as honest, laborious, and charitable farmers,
discharging all the duties of civil life; but, at the same time, he
acknowledged that they did not conform to the laws of the church, that
they did not recognize the pope or the bishops, that they prayed in the
vulgar tongue, and that they were in the habit of choosing certain
persons from amongst themselves to be their pastors.  On this report,
Francis I., by a declaration of February 18, 1541, pardoned the Vaudians
for all that had been irregular in their conduct, on condition that
within the space of three months they should abjure their errors; and he
ordered the Parliament to send to Aix deputies from their towns, burghs,
and villages, to make abjuration in the name of all, at the same time
authorizing the Parliament to punish, according to the ordinances, those
who should refuse to obey, and to make use, if need were, of the services
of the soldiery.  Thus persecuted and condemned for their mere faith,
undemonstrative as it was, the Vaudians confined themselves to asking
that it might be examined and its errors pointed out.  Those of Merindol
and those of Cabriere in the countship of Venasque drew up their
profession of faith and sent it to the king and to two bishops of the
province, Cardinal Sadolet, Bishop of Carpentras, and John Durandi,
Bishop of Cavaillon, whose equity and moderation inspired them with some
confidence.  Cardinal Sadolet did not belie their expectation; he
received them with kindness, discussed with them their profession of
faith, pointed out to them divers articles which might be remodelled
without disavowing the basis of their creed, and assured them that it
would always be against his sentiments to have them treated as enemies.
“I am astonished,” he wrote to the pope, “that these folks should be
persecuted when the Jews are spared.”  The Bishop of Cavaillon testified
towards them a favor less unalloyed: “I was quite sure,” said he, “that
there was not so much mischief amongst you as was supposed; however, to
calm men’s minds, it is necessary that you should submit to a certain
appearance of abjuration.”  “But what would you have us abjure, if we are
already within the truth?”  “It is but a simple formality that I demand
of you; I do not require in your case notary or signature; if you are
unwilling to assent to this abjuration, none can argue you into it.”  “We
are plain men, monseigneur; we are unwilling to do anything to which we
cannot assent;” and they persisted in their refusal to abjure.  Cardinal
Sadolet was summoned to Rome, and the premier president Chassaneuz died
suddenly.  His successor, John de Maynier, Baron of Oppede, was a violent
man, passionately bigoted, and moreover, it is said, a personal enemy of
the Vaudians of Cabrieres, on which his estates bordered; he recommenced
against them a persecution which was at first covert; they had found
protectors in Switzerland and in Germany; at the instance of Calvin, the
Swiss Protestant cantons and the German princes assembled at Smalkalden
wrote to Francis I. in their favor; it was to his interest to humor the
Protestants of Germany, and that fact turned out to the advantage of the
Vaudians of Provence; on the 14th of June, 1544, he issued an edict
which, suspending the proceedings commenced against them, restored to
them their privileges, and ordered such of them as were prisoners to be
set at large; “and as the attorney-general of Provence,” it goes on to
say, “is related to the Archbishop of Aix, their sworn enemy, there will
be sent in his place a counsellor of the court for to inform me of their
innocence.”  But some months later the peace of Crespy was made; and
Francis I. felt no longer the same solicitude about humoring the
Protestants of Switzerland and Germany.  Baron d’Oppede zealously resumed
his work against the Vaudians; he accused them of intriguing; with
foreign Reformers, and of designing to raise fifteen thousand men to
surprise Marseilles and form Provence into a republic.  On the 1st of
January, 1545, Francis I. signed, without reading it they say, the
revocation of his edict of 1544, and ordered execution of the decree
issued by the Parliament of Aix, dated November 18, 1540, on the subject
of the Vaudians, “notwithstanding all letters of grace posterior to that
epoch, and ordered the governor of the province to give, for that
purpose, the assistance of the strong hand to justice.”  The duty of
assisting justice was assigned to Baron d’Oppede; and from the 7th to the
25th of April, 1545, two columns of troops, under the orders,
respectively, of Oppede himself and Baron de la Garde, ravaged with fire
and sword the three districts of Merindol, Cabrieres, and La Coste, which
were peopled chiefly by Vaudians.

[Illustration: Massacre of the Vaudians----218]

We shrink from describing in detail all the horrors committed against a
population without any means of self-defence by troops giving free rein
to their brutal passions and gratifying the hateful passions of their
leaders.  In the end three small towns and twenty-two villages were
completely sacked; seven hundred and sixty-three houses, eighty-nine
cattle-sheds, and thirty-one barns burned; three thousand persons
massacred; two hundred and fifty-five executed subsequently to the
massacre, after a mockery of trial; six or seven hundred sent to the
galleys; many children sold for slaves; and the victors, on retiring,
left behind them a double ordinance, from the Parliament of Aix and the
vice-legate of Avignon, dated the 24th of April, 1545, forbidding “that
any one, on pain of death, should dare to give asylum, aid, or succor, or
furnish money or victuals, to any Vaudian or heretic.”

It is said that Francis I., when near his end, repented of this odious
extermination of a small population, which, with his usual fickleness and
carelessness, he had at one time protected, and at another abandoned to
its enemies.  Amongst his last words to his son Henry II. was an
exhortation to cause an inquiry to be made into the iniquities committed
by the Parliament of Aix in this instance.  It will be seen, at the
opening of Henry II.’s reign, what was the result of this exhortation of
his father’s.

Calvin was lately mentioned as having pleaded the cause of the Vaudians,
in 1544, amongst the Protestants of Switzerland and Germany.  It was from
Geneva, where he had lived and been the dominant spirit for many years,
that the French Reformer had exercised such influence over the chiefs of
the German Reformation in favor of that small population whose creed and
morals had anticipated by several centuries the Reformation in the
sixteenth century.  He was born, in 1509 at Noyon in Picardy, was brought
up in the bosom of the Catholic church, and held a cure in 1527 at
Pont-l’Eveque, where he preached several times, “joyous and almost
proud,” as he said himself, “that a single dissertation had brought me
a cure.”  In 1534, study, meditation on the Gospels, discussion of the
religious and moral questions raised on every side, and the free
atmosphere of the new spirit that was abroad, changed his convictions and
his resolves; he abandoned the career of the law as well as that of the
established church, resigned his cure at Pont-l’Eveque, and devoted
himself entirely to the work of the nascent and much opposed Reformation.
Having a mind that was judicious and free from illusion in the very heat
of passion, he soon saw to what an extent the success of the Reformation
in France was difficult and problematical; in 1535, impressed by the
obstacles it met with even more than by the dangers it evoked, he
resolved to leave his country and go else whither in search of security,
liberty, and the possibility of defending a cause which became the dearer
to him in proportion as it was the more persecuted.  He had too much
sagacity not to perceive that he was rapidly exhausting his various
places of asylum: Queen Marguerite of Navarre was unwilling to try too
far the temper of the king her brother; Canon Louis du Tillet was a
little fearful lest his splendid library should be somewhat endangered
through the use made of it by his guest, who went about, arguing or
preaching, in the vicinity of Angouleme; the queen’s almoner, Gerard
Roussel, considered that Calvin was going too far, and grew apprehensive
lest, if the Reformation should completely succeed, it might suppress the
bishopric of Oleron which he desired, and which, indeed, he at a later
period obtained.  Lefevre of Etaples, who was the most of all in sympathy
with Calvin, was seventy-nine years old, and had made up his mind to pass
his last days in peace.  Calvin quitted Angouleme and Nerac, and went to
pass some time at Poitiers, where the friends of the Reformation,
assembling round him and hanging upon his words, for the first time
celebrated the Lord’s Supper in a grotto close to the town, which still
goes by the name of Calvin’s Grotto.  Being soon obliged to leave
Poitiers, Calvin went to Orleans, then secretly to Paris, then to Noyon
to see his family once more, and set out at last for Strasbourg, already
one of the strongholds of the Reformation, where he had friends, amongst
others the learned Bucer, with whom he had kept up a constant
correspondence.  He arrived there at the beginning of the year 1535; but
it was not at Strasbourg that he took up his quarters; he preferred Bale,
where also there was a reunion of men of letters, scholars, and
celebrated printers, Erasmus, Simon Grynee (Grymeus), and the Frobens,
and where Calvin calculated upon finding the leisure and aid he required
for executing the great work he had been for some time contemplating--his
_Institution de la Religion chretienne_ (Christian Institutes). This
would not be the place, and we have no intention, to sum up the religious
doctrines of that book; we might challenge many of them as contrary to
the true meaning and moral tendency of Christianity; but we desire to set
in a clear light their distinctive and original characteristics, which
are those of Calvin himself in the midst of his age.  These
characteristics are revealed in the preface and even in the dedication of
the book.  It is to Francis I., the persecutor of the French Reformers,
during one of the most cruel stages of the persecution, and at the very
moment when he had just left his own country in order that he may live in
security and speak with freedom, that Calvin dedicates his work.  “Do not
imagine,” he says to the king, “that I am attempting here my own special
defence in order to obtain permission to return to the country of my
birth, from which, although I feel for it such human affection as is my
bounden duty, yet, as things are now, I do not suffer any great anguish
at being cut off.  But I am taking up the cause of all the faithful, and
even that of Christ, which is in these days so mangled and down-trodden
in your kingdom that it seems to be in a desperate plight.  And this has
no doubt come to pass rather through the tyranny of certain Pharisees
than of your own will.”  Calvin was at the same time the boldest and the
least revolutionary amongst the innovators of the sixteenth century; bold
as a Christian thinker, but full of deference and consideration towards
authority, even when he was flagrantly withdrawing himself from it.  The
idea of his book was at first exclusively religious, and intended for the
bulk of the French Reformers; but at the moment when Calvin is about to
publish it, prudence and policy recur to his mind, and it is to the King
of France that he addresses himself; it is the authority of the royal
persecutor that he invokes; it is the reason of Francis I. that he
attempts to convince.  He acts like a respectful and faithful subject,
as well as an independent and innovating Christian.

[Illustration: Calvin----222]

After having wandered for some time longer in Switzerland, Germany, and
Italy, Calvin in 1536 arrived at Geneva.  It was at this time a small
independent republic, which had bravely emancipated itself from the
domination of the Dukes of Savoy, and in which the Reformation had
acquired strength, but it had not yet got rid of that lawless and
precarious condition which is the first phase presented by revolutionary
innovations after victory; neither the political nor the religious
community at Geneva had yet received any organization which could be
called regular or regarded as definitive; the two communities had not yet
understood and regulated their reciprocal positions and the terms on
which they were to live together.  All was ferment and haze in this
little nascent state, as regarded the mental as well as the actual
condition, when Calvin arrived there; his name was already almost famous
there; he had given proofs of devotion to the cause of the Reformation;
his book on the _Institution de la Religion chretienne_ had just
appeared; a great instinct for organization was strikingly evinced in it,
at the same time that the dedication to Francis I. testified to a serious
regard for the principle of authority and for its rights, as well as the
part it ought to perform in human communities.  Calvin had many friends
in Switzerland, and they urged him to settle at once at Geneva, and to
labor at establishing there Christian order in the Reformed church
simultaneously with its independence and its religious liberties in its
relations with the civil estate.  At first Calvin hesitated and resisted;
he was one of those who take strict account, beforehand, of the
difficulties to be encountered and the trials to be undergone in any
enterprise for the success of which they are most desirous, and who
inwardly shudder at the prospect of such a burden.  But the Christian’s
duty, the Reformer’s zeal, the lively apprehension of the perils which
were being incurred by the cause of the Reformation, and the nobly
ambitious hope of delivering it,--these sentiments united prevailed over
the first misgivings of that great and mighty soul, and Calvin devoted
himself in Geneva to a work which, from 1536 to 1564, in a course of
violent struggles and painful vicissitudes, was to absorb and rapidly
consume his whole life.

From that time forth a principle, we should rather say a passion, held
sway in Calvin’s heart, and was his guiding star in the permanent
organization of the church which he founded, as well as in his personal
conduct during his life.  That principle is the profound distinction
between the religious and the civil community.  Distinction we say, and
by no means separation; Calvin, on the contrary, desired alliance between
the two communities and the two powers, but each to be independent in its
own domain, combining their action, showing mutual respect and lending
mutual support.  To this alliance he looked for the reformation and moral
discipline of the members of the church placed under the authority of its
own special religious officers and upheld by the indirect influence of
the civil power.

In this principle and this fundamental labor of Calvin’s there were two
new and bold reforms attempted in the very heart of the great Reformation
in Europe, and over and above the work of its first promoters.  Henry
VIII., on removing the church of England from the domination of the
papacy, had proclaimed himself its head, and the church of England had
accepted this royal supremacy.  Zwingle, when he provoked in German
Switzerland the rupture with the church of Rome, had approved of the
arrangement that the sovereign authority in matters of religion should
pass into the hands of the civil powers.  Luther himself, at the same
time that he reserved to the new German church a certain measure of
spontaneity and liberty, had placed it under the protection and
preponderance of laic sovereigns.  In this great question as to the
relations between church and state Calvin desired and did more than his
predecessors; even before he played any considerable part in the European
Reformation, as soon as he heard of Henry VIII.’s religious supremacy in
England, he had strongly declared against such a regimen; with an
equitable spirit rare in his day, and in spite of his contest with the
church of Rome, he was struck with the strength and dignity conferred
upon that church by its having an existence distinct from the civil
community, and by the independence of its head.  When he himself became a
great Reformer, he did not wish the Reformed church to lose this grand
characteristic; whilst proclaiming it evangelical, he demanded for it in
matters of faith and discipline the independence and special authority
which had been possessed by the primitive church; and in spite of the
resistance often shown to him by the civil magistrates, in spite of the
concessions he was sometimes obliged to make to them, he firmly
maintained this principle, and he secured to the Reformed church
of Geneva, in purely religious questions and affairs, the right of
self-government, according to the faith and the law as they stand
written in the Holy Books.

He at the same time put in force in this church a second principle of no
less importance.  In the course of ages, and by a series of successive
modifications, some natural and others factitious and illegitimate, the
Christian church had become, so to speak, cut in two, into the
ecclesiastical community and the religious community, the clergy and the
worshippers.  In the Catholic church the power was entirely in the hands
of the clergy; the ecclesiastical body completely governed the religious
body; and, whilst the latter was advancing more and more in laic ideas
and sentiments, the former remained even more and more distinct and
sovereign.  The German and English Reformations had already modified this
state of things, and given to the lay community a certain portion of
influence in religious questions and affairs.  Calvin provided for the
matter in a still more direct and effectual fashion, not only as regarded
affairs in general, but even the choice of pastors; he gave admission to
laymen, in larger number too than that of the ecclesiastics, into the
consistories and synods, the governing authorities in the Reformed
church.  He thus did away with the separation between the clergy and the
worshippers; he called upon them to deliberate and act together; and he
secured to the religious community, in its entirety, their share of
authority in the affairs and fortunes of the church.

Thus began at Geneva, under the inspiration and through the influence of
Calvin, that ecclesiastical organization which, developing, completing,
and modifying itself according to the requirements of places and times,
became, under the name of Presbyterian regimen, the regimen of the
Reformed churches in France, French Switzerland, Holland, Scotland, and
amongst a considerable portion of the Protestant population in England
and in the United States of America--a regimen evangelical in origin and
character, republican in some of its maxims and institutions, but no
stranger to the principle of authority, one which admitted of discipline
and was calculated for duration, and which has kept for three centuries,
amongst the most civilized people, a large measure of Christian faith,
ecclesiastical order, and civil liberty.  It was a French refugee who
instituted, in a foreign city, this regimen, and left it as a legacy to
the French Reformation and to the numerous Christian communities who were
eager to adopt it.  It is on this ground that Calvin takes a place in the
history of France, and has a fair right to be counted amongst the eminent
men who have carried to a distance the influence, the language, and the
fame of the country in the bosom of which it was not permitted them to
live and labor. In 1547, when the death of Francis I. was at hand, that
ecclesiastical organization of Protestantism which Calvin had instituted
at Geneva was not even begun in France.  The French Protestants were as
yet but isolated and scattered individuals, without any bond of generally
accepted and practised faith or discipline, and without any eminent and
recognized heads.  The Reformation pursued its course; but a Reformed
church did not exist.  And this confused mass of Reformers and Reformed
had to face an old, a powerful, and a strongly constituted church, which
looked upon the innovators as rebels over whom it had every right as much
as against them it had every arm.  In each of the two camps prevailed
errors of enormous magnitude, and fruitful of fatal consequences;
Catholics and Protestants both believed themselves to be in exclusive
possession of the truth, of all religious truth, and to have the right of
imposing it by force upon their adversaries the moment they had the
power.  Both were strangers to any respect for human conscience, human
thought, and human liberty.  Those who had clamored for this on their own
account when they were weak had no regard for it in respect of others
when they felt themselves to be strong.  On the side of the Protestants
the ferment was at full heat, but as yet vague and unsettled; on the part
of the Catholics the persecution was unscrupulous and unlimited. Such was
the position and such the state of feeling in which Francis I., at his
death on the 31st of March, 1547, left the two parties that had already
been at grips during his reign.  He had not succeeded either in
reconciling them or in securing the triumph of that which had his favor
and the defeat of that which he would have liked to vanquish.  That was,
in nearly all that he undertook, his fate; he lacked the spirit of
sequence and steady persistence, and his merits as well as his defects
almost equally urged him on to rashly attempt that which he only
incompletely executed.  He was neither prudent nor persevering, and he
may be almost said to have laid himself out to please everybody rather
than to succeed in one and the same great purpose.  A short time before
his death a Venetian ambassador who had resided a long while at his
court, Marino Cavalli, drew up and forwarded to the Senate of Venice a
portrait of him so observantly sketched and so full of truth that it must
be placed here side by side with the more exacting and more severe
judgment already pronounced here touching this brilliant but by no means
far-sighted or effective king.

“The king is now fifty years of age; his aspect is in every respect
kingly, insomuch that, without ever having seen his face or his portrait,
any one, on merely looking at him, would say at once: ‘That is the king.’
All his movements are so noble and majestic that no prince could equal
them.  His constitution is robust, in spite of the excessive fatigue he
has constantly undergone and still undergoes in so many expeditions and
travels.  He eats and drinks a great deal, sleeps still better, and, what
is more, dreams of nothing but leading a jolly life.  He is rather fond
of being an exquisite in his dress, which is slashed and laced, and rich
with jewelry and precious stones; even his doublets are daintily worked
and of golden tissue; his shirt is very fine, and it shows through an
opening in the doublet, according to the fashion of France.  This
delicate and dainty way of living contributes to his health.  In
proportion as the king bears bodily fatigue well, and endures it without
bending beneath the burden, in the same proportion do mental cares weigh
heavily upon him, and he shifts them almost entirely on to Cardinal de
Tournon and Admiral Annebault.  He takes no resolve, he makes no reply,
without having had their advice; and if ever, which is very rare, an
answer happens to be given or a concession made without having received
the approval of these two advisers, he revokes it or modifies it.  But in
what concerns the great affairs of state, peace or war, his Majesty,
docile as he is in everything else, will have the rest obedient to his
wishes.  In that case there is nobody at court, whatever authority he may
possess, who dare gainsay his Majesty.  This prince has a very sound
judgment and a great deal of information; there is no sort of thing, or
study or art, about which he cannot converse very much to the point.  It
is true that, when people see how, in spite of his knowledge and his fine
talk, all his warlike enterprises have turned out ill, they say that all
his wisdom lies on his lips, and not in his mind.  But I think that the
calamities of this king come from lack of men capable of properly
carrying out his designs.  As for him, he will never have anything to do
with the execution, or even with the superintendence of it in any way; it
seems to him quite enough to know his own part, which is to command and
to supply plans.  Accordingly, that which might be wished for in him is
a little more care and patience, not by any means more experience and
knowledge.  His Majesty readily pardons offences; and he becomes heartily
reconciled with those whom he has offended.”  [_Relations des
Ambassadeurs venitiens sur les Affaires de France au seizieme siecle, in
the Documents inedits sur l’Histoire de France,_ translated by M.
Tommaseo, t. i.  pp. 279-283.]

It is said that at the close of his reign Francis I., in spite of all the
resources of his mind and all his easy-going qualities, was much
depressed, and that he died in sadness and disquietude as to the future.
One may be inclined to think that, in his egotism, he was more sad on his
own account than disquieted on that of his successors and of France.
However that may be, he was assuredly far from foreseeing the terrible
civil war which began after him, and the crimes, as well as disasters,
which it caused.  None of his more intimate circle was any longer in a
position to excite his solicitude: his mother, Louise of Savoy, had died
sixteen years before him (September 22, 1531); his most able and most
wicked adviser, Chancellor Duprat, twelve years (July 29, 1535).  His
sister Marguerite survived him two years (she died December 21, 1549,)
“disgusted with everything,” say the historians, and “weary of life,”
 said she herself:--

               “No father now have I, no mother,
               Sister or brother.
               On God alone I now rely,
               Who ruleth over earth and sky.
               O world, I say good by to you;
               To relatives and friendly ties,
               To honors and to wealth, adieu;
               I hold them all for enemies.”

And yet Marguerite was loath to leave life.  She had always been troubled
at the idea of death; when she was spoken to about eternal life, she
would shake her head sometimes, saying, “All that is true; but we remain
a mighty long while dead underground before arriving there.”  When she
was told that her end was near, she “considered that a very bitter word,”
 saying that “she was not so old but that she might still live some
years.”  She had been the most generous, the most affectionate, and the
most lovable person in a family and a court which were both corrupt, and
of which she only too often acquiesced in the weaknesses and even vices,
though she always fought against their injustice and their cruelty.  She
had the honor of being the grandmother of Henry IV.



CHAPTER XXXI.----HENRY II. (1547-1559.)

[Illustration: GALLERY HENRY II----230]

Henry II. had all the defects, and, with the exception of personal
bravery, not one amongst the brilliant and amiable qualities of the king
his father.  Like Francis I., he was rash and reckless in his resolves
and enterprises, but without having the promptness, the fertility, and
the suppleness of mind which Francis I. displayed in getting out of the
awkward positions in which he had placed himself, and in stalling off or
mitigating the consequences of them.  Henry was as cold and ungenial as
Francis had been gracious and able to please: and whilst Francis I., even
if he were a bad master to himself, was at any rate his own master, Henry
II. submitted without resistance, and probably without knowing it, to the
influence of the favorite who reigned in his house as well as in his
court, and of the advisers who were predominant in his government.  Two
facts will suffice to set in a clear light, at the commencement of the
new reign, this regrettable analogy in the defects, and this profound
diversity in the mind, character, and conduct of the two kings.

Towards the close of 1542, a grievous aggravation of the tax upon salt,
called Babel, caused a violent insurrection in the town of Rochelle,
which was exempted, it was said, by its traditional privileges from that
impost.  Not only was payment refused, but the commissioners were
maltreated and driven away.  Francis I. considered the matter grave
enough to require his presence for its repression.  He repaired to
Rochelle with a numerous body of lanzknechts.  The terrified population
appeared to have determined upon submission, and, having assembled in a
mass at the town-hall, there awaited anxiously the king’s arrival.  On
the 1st of January, 1543, Francis I. entered the town in state,
surrounded by his escort.  The people’s advocate fell on his knees, and
appealed to the king’s clemency in dealing with a revolt of which every
one repented.  The king, who was seated on a wooden boarding, rose up.
“Speak we no more of revolt,” said he; “I desire neither to destroy your
persons nor to seize your goods, as was lately done by the Emperor
Charles to the Ghentese, whereby his hands are stained with blood; I long
more for the hearts of my subjects than for their lives and their riches.
I will never at any time of my life think again of your offence, and I
pardon you without excepting a single thing.  I desire that the keys of
your city and your arms be given back to you, and that you be completely
reinstated in your liberties and your privileges.”  The cheers of the
people responded to these words of the king.  “I think I have won your
hearts,” said the king on retiring; “and I assure you, on the honor of a
gentleman, that you have mine.  I desire that you ring your bells, for
you are pardoned.”  The Rochellese were let off for a fine of two hundred
thousand francs, which the king gave to his keeper of the seals, Francis
de Montholon, whom he wished to compensate for his good service.  The
keeper of the seals in his turn made a present of them to the town of
Rochelle to found a hospital.  But the ordinances as to the salt-tax were
maintained in principle, and their extension led, some years afterwards,
to a rising of a more serious character, and very differently repressed.

In 1548, hardly a year after the accession of Henry II., and in the midst
of the rejoicings he had gone to be present at in the north of Italy, he
received news at Turin to the effect that in Guienne, Angoumois, and
Saintonge a violent and pretty general insurrection had broken out
against the salt-tax, which Francis I., shortly before his death, had made
heavier in these provinces.  The local authorities in vain attempted to
repress the rising; the insurgent peasants scoured the country in strong
bodies, giving free rein not only to their desires, but also to their
revengeful feelings; the most atrocious excesses of which a mob is
capable were committed; the director-general of the gabel was massacred
cruelly; and two of his officers, at Angouleme, were strapped down stark
naked on a table, beaten to death, and had their bodies cast into the
river with the insulting remark, “Go, wicked gabellers, and salt the fish
of the Charente.”  The King of Navarre’s lieutenant, being appealed to
for aid, summoned, but to no purpose, the Parliament of Bordeaux; he was
forced to take refuge in Chateau-Trompette, and was massacred by the
populace whilst he was trying to get out; the president of the
Parliament, a most worthy magistrate, and very much beloved, it is said,
by the people, only saved his own life by taking the oath prescribed by
the insurgents.  “This news,” says Vieilleville, in his contemporary
_Memoires,_ “grievously afflicted the king; and the Constable de
Montmorency represented to him that it was not the first time that these
people had been capricious, rebellious, and mutinous; for that in the
reign of his lord and father, the late king, the Rochellese and
surrounding districts had forgotten themselves in like manner.  They
ought to be exterminated, and, in case of need, be replaced by a new
colony, that they might never return.  The said sir constable offered to
take the matter in hand, and with ten companies of the old hands whom he
would raise in Piedmont, and as many lanzknechts, a thousand men-at-arms
all told, he promised to exact a full account, and satisfy his Majesty.”

Montmorency was as good as his word.  When he arrived with his troops in
Guienne, the people of Bordeaux, in a fit of terror, sent to Langon a
large boat, most magnificently fitted up, in which were chambers and
saloons emblazoned with the arms of the said sir constable, with three or
four deputies to present it to him, and beg him to embark upon it, and
drop down to their city.  He repulsed them indignantly.  “Away, away,”
 said he, “with your boat and your keys; I will have nought to do with
them; I have others here with me which will make me other kind of opening
than yours.  I will have you all hanged; I will teach you to rebel
against your king and murder his governor and his lieutenant.”  And he
did, in fact, enter Bordeaux on the 9th of October, 1548, by a breach
which he had opened in the walls, and, after having traversed the city
between two lines of soldiers and with his guns bearing on the suspected
points, he ordered the inhabitants to bring all their arms to the
citadel.  Executions followed immediately after this moral as well as
material victory.  “More than a hundred and forty persons were put to
death by various kinds of punishments,” says Vieilleville; “and, by a
most equitable sentence, when the executioner had in his hands the three
insurgents who had beaten to death and thrown into the river the two
collectors of the Babel at Angouleme, he cast them all three into a fire
which was ready at the spot, and said to them aloud, in conformity with
the judgment against them, ‘Go, rabid hounds, and grill the fish of the
Charente, which ye salted with the bodies of the officers of your king
and sovereign lord.’  As to civil death (loss of civil rights),” adds
Vieilleville, “nearly all the inhabitants made honorable amends in open
street, on their knees, before the said my lords at the window, crying
mercy and asking pardon; and more than a hundred, because of their youth,
were simply whipped.  Astounding fines and interdictions were laid as
well upon the body composing the court of Parliament as upon the
town-council and on a great number of private individuals.  The very
bells were not exempt from experiencing the wrath and vengeance of the
prince, for not a single one remained throughout the whole city or in the
open country--to say nothing of the clocks, which were not spared either
--which was not broken up and confiscated to the king’s service for his
guns.”

The insurrection at Bordeaux against the gabel in 1548 was certainly more
serious than that of Rochelle in 1542; but it is also quite certain that
Francis I. would not have set about repressing it as Henry II. did; he
would have appeared there himself and risked his own person instead of
leaving the matter to the harshest of his lieutenants, and he would have
more skilfully intermingled generosity with force, and kind words with
acts of severity.  And that is one of the secrets of governing.  In 1549,
scarcely a year after the revolt at Bordeaux, Henry II., then at Amiens,
granted to deputies from Poitou, Rochelle, the district of Aunis,
Limousin, Perigord, and Saintonge, almost complete abolition of the Babel
in Guienne, which paid the king, by way of compensation, two hundred
thousand crowns of gold for the expenses of war or the redemption of
certain alienated domains.  We may admit that on the day after the revolt
the arbitrary and bloody proceedings of the Constable de Montmorency must
have produced upon the insurgents of Bordeaux the effect of a salutary
fright; but we may doubt whether so cruel a repression was absolutely
indispensable in 1548, when in 1549 the concession demanded in the former
year was to be recognized as necessary.

According to De Thou and the majority of historians, it was on the
occasion of the insurrection in Guienne against the Babel that Stephen
de la Boetie, the young and intimate friend of Montaigne, wrote his
celebrated _Discours de la Servitude voluntaire, ou le Contre-un,_ an
eloquent declamation against monarchy.  But the testimony of Montaigne
himself upsets the theory of this coincidence; written in his own hand
upon a manuscript, partly autograph, of the treatise by De la Boetie, is
a statement that it was the work “of a lad of sixteen.”  La Boetie was
born at Sarlat on the 1st of November, 1530, and was, therefore, sixteen
in 1546, two years before the insurrection at Bordeaux.  The _Contre-un,_
besides, is a work of pure theory and general philosophy, containing no
allusion at all to the events of the day, to the sedition in Guienne no
more than to any other.  This little work owed to Montaigne’s
affectionate regard for its author a great portion of its celebrity.
Published for the first time, in 1578, in the _Memoires de l’Etat de
France,_ after having up to that time run its course without any author’s
name, any title, or any date, it was soon afterwards so completely
forgotten that when, in the middle of the seventeenth century, Cardinal
de Richelieu for the first time heard it mentioned, and “sent one of his
gentlemen over the whole street of Saint-Jacques to inquire for _la
Servitude volontaire,_ all the publishers said, ‘We don’t know what it
is.’  The son of one of them recollected something about it, and said to
the cardinal’s gentleman, ‘Sir, there is a book-fancier who has what you
seek, but with no covers to it, and he wants five pistoles for it.’
‘Very well,’ said the gentleman;” and the Cardinal do Richelieu paid
fifty francs for the pleasure of reading the little political pamphlet by
“a lad of sixteen,” which probably made very little impression upon him,
but which, thanks to the elegance and vivacity of its style, and the
affectionate admiration of the greatest independent thinker of the
sixteenth century, has found a place in the history of French literature.
[_Memoires de Tallemant des Reaux,_ t. i.  p. 395.]

[Illustration: Anne de Montmorency----235]

History must do justice even to the men whose brutal violence she
stigmatizes and reproves.  In the case of Anne do Montmorency it often
took the form of threats intended to save him from the necessity of acts.
When he came upon a scene of any great confusion and disorder, “Go hang
me such an one,” he would say; “tie yon fellow to that tree; despatch
this fellow with pikes and arquebuses, this very minute, right before my
eyes; cut me in pieces all those rascals who chose to hold such a
clock-case as this against the king; burn me yonder village; light me up
a blaze everywhere, for a quarter of a mile all round.”  The same man
paid the greatest attention to the discipline and good condition of his
troops, in order to save the populations from their requisitions and
excesses.  “On the 20th of November, 1549, he obtained and published at
Paris,” says De Thou, “a proclamation from the king doubling the pay of
the men-at-arms, arquebusiers and light-horse, and forbidding them at the
same time, on pain of death, to take anything without paying for it.  A
bad habit had introduced itself amongst the troops, whether they were
going on service or returning, whether they were in the field or in
winter quarters, of keeping themselves at the expense of those amongst
whom they lived.  Thence proceeded an infinity of irregularities and
losses in the towns and in the country, wherein the people had to suffer
at the hands of an insolent soldiery the same vexatious as if it had been
an enemy’s country.  Not only was a stop put to such excesses, but care
was further taken that the people should not be oppressed under pretext
of recruitments which had to be carried out.”  [_Histoire de J. A. de
Thou,_ t. i.  p. 367.]  A nephew of the Constable de Montmorency, a young
man of twenty-three, who at a later period became Admiral de Coligny, was
ordered to see to the execution of these protective measures, and he drew
up, between 1550 and 1552, at first for his own regiment of foot, and
afterwards as colonel-general of this army, rules of military discipline
which remained for a long while in force.

There was war in the atmosphere.  The king and his advisers, the court
and the people, had their minds almost equally full of it, some in sheer
dread, and others with an eye to preparation.  The reign of Francis I.
had ended mournfully; the peace of Crespy had hurt the feelings both of
royalty and of the nation; Henry, now king, had, as dauphin, felt called
upon to disavow it.  It had left England in possession of Calais and
Boulogne, and confirmed the dominion or ascendency of Charles V. in
Germany, Italy, and Spain, on all the French frontiers.  How was the
struggle to be recommenced?  What course must be adopted to sustain it
successfully?  To fall back upon, there were the seven provincial
legions, which had been formed by Francis I. for Normandy, Picardy,
Burgundy, Dauphiny, and Provence united, Languedoc, Guienne, and
Brittany; but they were not like permanent troops, drilled and always
ready; they were recruited by voluntary enlistment; they generally
remained at their own homes, receiving compensation at review time and
high pay in time of war.  The Constable de Montmorency had no confidence
in these legions; he spoke of them contemptuously, and would much rather
have increased the number of the foreign corps, regularly paid and kept
up, Swiss or lanzknechts.  Two systems of policy and warfare, moreover,
divided the king’s council into two: Montmorency, now old and worn out in
body and mind (he was born in 1492, and so was sixty in 1552), was for a
purely defensive attitude, no adventures or battles to be sought, but
victuals and all sorts of supplies to be destroyed in the provinces which
might be invaded by the enemy, so that instead of winning victories there
he might not even be able to live there.  In 1536 this system had been
found successful by the constable in causing the failure of Charles V.’s
invasion of Provence; but in 1550 a new generation had come into the
world, the court, and the army; it comprised young men full of ardor and
already distinguished for their capacity and valor; Francis de Lorraine,
Duke of Guise (born at the castle of Bar, February 17, 1519), was
thirty-one; his brother, Charles de Guise, Cardinal of Lorraine, was only
six-and-twenty (he was born at Joinville, February 17, 1524); Francis de
Scepeaux (born at Durdtal, Anjou, in 1510), who afterwards became Marshal
de Vieilleville, was at this time nearly forty; but he had contributed in
1541 to the victory of Ceresole, and Francis I. had made so much of it
that he had said, on presenting him to his son Henry, “He is no older
than you, and see what he has done already; if the wars do not swallow
him up, you will some day make him constable or marshal of France.”
 Gaspard de Coligny (born at Chatillon-sur-Loing, February 16, 1517) was
thirty-three; and his brother, Francis d’Andelot (born at Chatillon, in
1521), twenty-nine.  These men, warriors and politicians at one and the
same time, in a high social position and in the flower of their age,
could not reconcile themselves to the Constable de Montmorency’s system,
defensive solely and prudential to the verge of inertness; they thought
that, in order to repair the reverses of France and for the sake of their
own fame, there was something else to be done, and they impatiently
awaited the opportunity.

[Illustration: Henry II.----235]

It was not long coming.  At the close of 1551, a deputation of the
Protestant princes of Germany came to Fontainebleau to ask for the king’s
support against the aggressive and persecuting despotism of Charles V.
The Count of Nassau made a speech “very long,” says Vieilleville in his
_Memoires,_ “at the same time that it was in very elegant language,
whereby all the presence received very great contentment.”  Next day the
king put the demand before his council for consideration, and expressed
at the very outset his own opinion that “in the present state of affairs,
he ought not to take up any enterprise, but leave his subjects of all
conditions to rest; for generally,” said he, “all have suffered and do
suffer when armies pass and repass so often through my kingdom, which
cannot be done without pitiable oppression and trampling-down of the poor
people.”  The constable, “without respect of persons,” says Vieilleville,
“following his custom of not giving way to anybody, forthwith began to
speak, saying that the king, who asked counsel of them, had very plainly
given it them himself and made them very clearly to understand his own
idea, which ought to be followed point by point without any gainsaying,
he having said nothing but what was most equitable and well known to the
company.”  Nearly all the members of the council gave in their adhesion,
without comment, to the opinion of the king and the constable.  “But when
it came to the turn of M. de Vieilleville, who had adopted the language
of the Count of Nassau,” he unhesitatingly expressed a contrary opinion,
unfolding all the reasons which the king had for being distrustful of the
emperor and for not letting this chance of enfeebling him slip by.  “May
it please your Majesty,” said he, “to remember his late passage through
France, to obtain which the emperor submitted to carteblanche;
nevertheless, when he was well out of the kingdom, he laughed at all his
promises, and, when he found himself inside Cambrai, he said to the
Prince of Infantado, ‘Let not the King of France, if he be wise, put
himself at my mercy, as I have been at his, for I swear by the living God
that he shall not be quit for Burgundy and Champagne; but I would also
insist upon Picardy and the key of the road to the Bastille of Paris,
unless he were minded to lose his life or be confined in perpetual
imprisonment until the whole of my wish were accomplished.’  Since thus
it is, sir, and the emperor makes war upon you covertly, it must be made
upon him overtly, without concealing one’s game or dissimulating at all.
No excuses must be allowed on the score of neediness, for France is
inexhaustible, if only by voluntary loans raised on the most comfortable
classes of the realm.  As for me, I consider myself one of the poorest of
the company, or at any rate one of the least comfortable; but yet I have
some fifteen thousand francs’ worth of plate, dinner and dessert, white
and red [silver and gold], which I hereby offer to place in the hands of
whomsoever you shall appoint, in order to contribute to the expenses of
so laudable an enterprise as this.  Putting off, moreover, for the
present the communication to you of a certain secret matter which one of
the chiefs of this embassy hath told me; and I am certain that when you
have discovered it, you will employ all your might and means to carry out
that which I propose to you.”

The king asked Vieilleville what this secret matter was which he was
keeping back.  “If it please your Majesty to withdraw apart, I will tell
it you,” said Vieilleville.  All the council rose; and Vieilleville,
approaching his Majesty, who called the constable only to his side, said,
“Sir, you are well aware how the emperor got himself possessed of the
imperial cities of Cambrai, Utrecht, and Liege, which he has incorporated
with his own countship of Flanders, to the great detriment of the whole
of Germany.  The electoral princes of the holy empire have discovered
that he has a project in his mind of doing just the same with the
imperial cities of Metz, Strasbourg, Toul, Verdun, and such other towns
on the Rhine as he shall be able to get hold of.  They have secretly
adopted the idea of throwing themselves upon your resources, without
which they cannot stop this detestable design, which would be the total
ruin of the empire and a manifest loss to your kingdom.  Wherefore, take
possession of the said towns, since opportunity offers, which will be
about forty leagues of country gained without the loss of a single man,
and an impregnable rampart for Champagne and Picardy; and, besides, a
fine and perfectly open road into the heart of the duchy of Luxembourg
and the districts below it as far as Brussels.”

However pacific the king’s first words had been, and whatever was the
influence of the constable, the proposal of Vieilleville had a great
effect upon the council.  The king showed great readiness to adopt it.
“I think,” said he to the constable, “that I was inspired of God when I
created Vieilleville of my council to-day.”  “I only gave the opinion I
did,” replied Montmorency, “in order to support the king’s sentiments;
let your Majesty give what orders you please.”  The king loudly
proclaimed his resolve.  “Then let every one,” he said, “be ready at an
early date, with equipment according to his ability and means, to follow
me; hoping, with God’s help, that all will go well for the discomfiture
of so pernicious a foe of my kingdom and nation, and one who revels and
delights in tormenting all manner of folks, without regard for any.”
 There was a general enthusiasm; the place of meeting for the army was
appointed at Chalons-sur-Marne, March 10, 1552; more than a thousand
gentlemen flocked thither as volunteers; peasants and mechanics from
Champagne and Picardy joined them; the war was popular.  “The majority of
the soldiers,” says Rabutin, a contemporary chronicler, “were young men
whose brains were on fire.”  Francis de Guise and Gaspard de Coligny were
their chief leaders.  The king entered Lorraine from Champagne by
Joinville, the ordinary residence of the Dukes of Guise.  He carried
Pont-a-Mousson; Toul opened its gates to him on the 13th of April; he
occupied Nancy on the 14th, and on the 18th he entered Metz, not without
some hesitation amongst a portion of the inhabitants and the necessity of
a certain show of military force on the part of the leaders of the royal
army.  The king would have given the command of this important place to
Vieilleville, but he refused it, saying, “I humbly thank your Majesty,
but I do not think that you should establish in Metz any governor in your
own name, but leave that duty to the mayor and sheriffs of the city,
under whose orders the eight captains of the old train-bands who will
remain there with their companies will be.”  “How say you!” said the
king: “can I leave a foreign lieutenant in a foreign country whose oath
of fidelity I have only had within the last four-and-twenty hours, and
with all the difficulties and disputes in the world to meet too?”  “Sir,”
 rejoined Vieilleville, “to fear that this master sheriff, whose name is
Tallanges, might possibly do you a bad turn, is to wrongly estimate his
own competence, who never put his nose anywhere but into a bar-parlor to
drink himself drunk; and it is also to show distrust of the excellent
means you have for preventing all the ruses and artifices that might be
invented to throw your service into confusion.”  The king acquiesced, but
not without anxiety, in Vieilleville’s refusal, and, leaving at Metz as
governor a relative of the constable’s, whom the latter warmly
recommended to him, he set out on the 22d of April, 1552, with all his
household, to go and attempt in Alsace the same process that he had
already carried out in Lorraine.  “But when we had entered upon the
territory of Germany,” says Vieilleville, “our Frenchmen at once showed
their insolence in their very first quarters, which so alarmed all the
rest that we never found from that moment a single man to speak to, and,
as long as the expedition lasted, there never appeared a soul with his
provisions to sell on the road; whereby the army suffered infinite
privations.  This misfortune began with us at the approach to Saverne
(Zabern), the episcopal residence of Strasbourg.”  When the king arrived
before Strasbourg he found the gates closed, and the only offer to open
them was on the condition that he should enter alone with forty persons
for his whole suite.  The constable, having taken a rash fit, was of
opinion that he should enter even on this condition.  This advice was
considered by his Majesty to be very sound, as well as by the princes and
lords who were about him, according to the natural tendency of the
Frenchman, who is always for seconding and applauding what is said by the
great.  But Vieilleville, on being summoned to the king’s quarters,
opposed it strongly.  “Sir,” said he, “break this purpose, for in
carrying it out you are in danger of incurring some very evil and very
shameful fate; and, should that happen, what will become of your army
which will be left without head, prince, or captain, and in a strange
country, wherein we are already looked upon with ill will because of our
insolence and indiscretions?  As for me, I am off again to my quarters to
quaff and laugh with my two hundred men-at-arms, in readiness to march
when your standard is a-field, but not thither.”  Nothing has a greater
effect upon weak and undecided minds than the firm language of men
resolved to do as they say.  The king gave up the idea of entering
Strasbourg, and retired well pleased nevertheless, for he was in
possession of Metz, Toul, Verdun, and Pont-a-Mousson, the keys for France
into Germany, and at the head of an army under young commanders who were
enterprising without being blindly rash.

Charles V. also had to know what necessity was, and to submit to it,
without renouncing the totality of his designs.  On the 2d of August,
1552, he signed at Passau, with the Protestant princes, the celebrated
treaty known under the name of “treaty of public peace,” which referred
the great questions of German pacification to a general diet to be
assembled in six months, and declared that, pending definitive
conciliation, the two religions should be on an equal footing in the
empire, that is, that the princes and free towns should have the supreme
regulation of religious matters amongst themselves.  Charles V. thus
recovered full liberty of action in his relations with France, and could
no longer think of anything but how to recover the important towns he had
lost in Lorraine.  Henry II., on the other hand, who was asked by his
Protestant allies on what conditions he would accept the peace of Passau,
replied that at no price would he dispossess himself of the
Three-Bishoprics of Lorraine, and that he would for his part continue the
contest he had undertaken for the liberation of Germany.  The siege of
Metz then became the great question of the day: Charles V. made all his
preparations to conduct it on an immense scale, and Henry II.
immediately ordered Francis de Guise to go and defend his new conquest at
all hazards.

[Illustration: DIANA DE POITIERS----243]

Ambition which is really great accepts with joy great perils fraught with
great opportunities.  Guise wrote to Henry II.’s favorite, Diana de
Poitiers, Duchess of Valentinois, to thank her for having helped to
obtain for him this favor, which was about to bring him “to the emperor’s
very beard.”  He set out at once, first of all to Toul, where the plague
prevailed, and where he wished to hurry on the repair of the ramparts.
Money was wanting to pay the working-corps; and he himself advanced the
necessary sum.  On arriving at Metz on the 17th of August, 1552, he found
there only twelve companies of infantry, new levies; and every evening he
drilled them himself in front of his quarters.  A host of volunteers,
great lords, simple gentlemen, and rich and brave burgesses, soon came to
him, “eager to aid him in repelling the greatest and most powerful effort
ever made by the emperor against their country and their king.”  This
concourse of warriors, the majority of them well known and several of
them distinguished, redoubled the confidence and ardor of the rank and
file in the army.  We find under the title of _Chanson faite en 1552 par
un souldar etant en Metz en garnison_ this couplet:--

               “My Lord of Guise is here at home,
               With many a noble at his side,
               With the two children of Vendome,
               With bold Nemours, in all his pride,
               And Strozzi too, a warrior tried,
               Who ceases not, by night or day,
               Around the city-walls to stride,
               And strengthen Metz in every way.”

     [Peter Strozzi, “the man in all the world,” says Brantome, “who
     could best arrange and order battles and battalions, and could
     best post them to his advantage.”]

To put into condition the tottering fortifications of Metz, and to have
the place well supplied, was the first task undertaken by its
indefatigable governor; he never ceased to meet the calls upon him either
in person or in purse; he was seen directing the workmen, taking his
meals with them, and setting them a good example by carrying the hod for
several hours.  He frequently went out on horseback to reconnoitre the
country, visit the points of approach and lodgment that the enemy might
make use of around the town, and take measures of precaution at the
places whereby they might do harm as well as at those where it would be
not only advantageous for the French to make sallies or to set
ambuscades, but also to secure a retreat.  Charles V., naturally slow as
he was in his operations no less than in his resolves, gave the activity
of Guise time to bear fruit.  “I mean to batter the town of Metz in such
style as to knock it about the ears of M. de Guise,” said he at the end
of August, 1552, “and I make small account of the other places that the
king may have beyond that.”

[Illustration: Guise at Metz----244]

On the 15th of September following, Charles was still fifteen leagues
from Metz, on the territory of Deux-Ponts, and it was only on the 19th
of October that the Duke of Alba, his captain-general, arrived with
twenty-four thousand men, the advance-guard, within a league of the
place which, it it is said, was to be ultimately besieged by one hundred
thousand foot, twenty-three thousand horse, one hundred and twenty
pieces of artillery, and seven thousand pioneers.  “After one and the
first encounter,” says a journal of the siege, “the enemy held our
soldiers in good repute, not having seen them, for any sort of danger,
advance or retreat, save as men of war and of assured courage; which was
an advantage, for M. de Guise knew well that at the commencement of a
war it was requisite that a leader should try, as much as ever he could,
to win.”  It was only on the 20th of November that Charles V., ill of
gout at Thionville, and unable to stand on his legs, perceived the
necessity of being present in person at the siege, and appeared before
Metz on an Arab horse, with his face pale and worn, his eyes sunk in his
head, and his beard white.  At sight of him there was a most tremendous
salute of arquebuses and artillery, the noise of which brought the whole
town to arms.  The emperor, whilst waiting to establish himself at the
castle of La Horgne, took up his quarters near the Duke of Alba, in a
little wooden house built out of the ruins of the Abbey of
Saint-Clement: “a beautiful palace,” said he, “when the keys of Metz are
brought to me there.”  From the 20th to the 26th the attack was
continued with redoubled vigor; fourteen thousand cannon-shots were
fired, it is said, in a single day Guise had remarked that the enemy
seemed preparing to direct the principal assault against a point so
strong that nobody had thought of pulling down the houses in its
vicinity.  This oversight was immediately repaired, and a stout wall,
the height of a man, made out of the ruins. “If they send us peas,” said
Guise, “we will give them back beans” (“we will give them at least as
good as they bring “).  On the 26th of November the old wall was
battered by a formidable artillery; and, breached in three places, it
crumbled down on the 28th into the ditch, “at the same time making it
difficult to climb for to come to the assault.”  The assailants uttered
shouts of joy; but, when the cloud of dust had cleared off, they saw a
fresh rampart eight feet in height above the breach, “and they
experienced as much and even more disgust than they had felt pleasure at
seeing the wall tumble.”  The besieged heaped mockery and insult upon
them; but Guise “imperatively put a stop to the disturbance, fearing, it
is said, lest some traitor should take advantage of it to give the
assailants some advice, and the soldiers then conceived the idea of
sticking upon the points of their pikes live cats, the cries of which
seemed to show derision of the enemy.”

The siege went on for a month longer without making any more impression;
and the imperial troops kicked against any fresh assaults.  “I was wont
once upon a time to be followed to battle,” Charles V. would say,  “but I
see that I have no longer men about me; I must bid farewell to the
empire, and go and shut myself up in some monastery; before three years
are over I shall turn Cordelier.”  Whilst Metz was still holding out, the
fortress of Toul was summoned by the Imperialists to open its gates; but
the commandant replied, “When the town of Metz has been taken, when I
have had the honor of being besieged in due form by the emperor, and when
I have made as long a defence as the Duke of Guise has, such a summons
may be addressed to me, and I will consider what I am to do.”  On the
26th of December, 1552, the sixty-fifth day since the arrival of the
imperial army and the forty-fifth since the batteries had opened fire,
Charles V. resolved to raise the siege.  “I see very well,” said he,
“that fortune resembles women; she prefers a young king to an old
emperor.”  His army filed off by night, in silence, leaving behind its
munitions and its tents just as they stood, “driven away, almost, by the
chastisement of Heaven,” says the contemporary chronicler Rabutin, “with
but two shots by way of signal.”  The ditty of the soldier just quoted
ends thus:--

“At last, so stout was her defence,
From Metz they moved their guns away;
And, with the laugh at their expense,
A-tramping went their whole array.
And at their tail the noble Lord
Of Guise sent forth a goodly throng
Of cavalry, with lance and sword,
To teach them how to tramp along.”

Guise was far from expecting so sudden and decisive a result.  “Sing me
no more flattering strains in your letters about the emperor’s
dislodgment hence,” he wrote on the 24th of December to his brother the
Cardinal of Lorraine; “take it for certain that unless we be very much
mistaken in him, he will not, as long as he has life, brook the shame of
departing hence until he has seen it all out.”

Irritated, and, perhaps, still more shocked, at so heavy a blow to his
power and his renown, Charles V. looked everywhere for a chance of taking
his revenge.  He flattered himself that he had found it in Therouanne,
a fortress of importance at that time between Flanders and Artois, which
had always been a dependency of the kingdom of France, and served as a
rampart against the repeated incursions of the English, the masters of
Calais.  Charles knew that it was ill supplied with troops and munitions
of war; and the court of Henry II., intoxicated with the deliverance of
Metz, spoke disdainfully of the emperor, and paid no heed to anything but
balls, festivities, and tournaments in honor of the marriage between
Diana d’Angouleme, the king’s natural daughter, and Horatio Farnese, Duke
of Castro.  All on a sudden it was announced that the troops of Charles
V. were besieging Therouanne.  The news was at first treated lightly; it
was thought sufficient to send to Therouanne some re-enforcements under
the orders of Francis de Montmorency, nephew of the constable; but the
attack was repulsed with spirit by the besiegers, and brave as was the
resistance offered by the besieged, who sustained for ten hours a
sanguinary assault, on the 20th of June, 1553, Francis de Montmorency saw
the impossibility of holding out longer, and, on the advice of all his
officers, offered to surrender the place; but he forgot to stipulate in
the first place for a truce; the Germans entered the town, thrown open
without terms of capitulation; it was given up as prey to an army itself
a prey to all the passions of soldiers as well as to their master’s
vengeful feelings, and Therouanne, handed over for devastation, was for a
whole month diligently demolished and razed to the ground.  When Charles
V., at Brussels, received news of the capture, “bonfires were lighted
throughout Flanders; bells were rung, cannon were fired.”  It was but a
poor revenge for so great a sovereign after the reverse he had just met
with at Metz; but the fall of Therouanne was a grievous incident for
France.  Francis I. was in the habit of saying that Therouanne in
Flanders and Acqs (now Dax) on the frontier of Guienne were, to him, like
two pillows on which he could rest tranquilly.  [_Histoire universelle,_
t. ii.  p. 352.]

Whilst these events were passing in Lorraine and Flanders, Henry II. and
his advisers were obstinately persisting in the bad policy which had been
clung to by Charles VIII., Louis XII., and Francis I., that, in fact, of
making conquests and holding possessions in Italy.  War continued, from
Turin to Naples, between France, the emperor, the pope, and the local
princes, with all sorts of alliances and alternations, but with no
tangible result.  Blaise de Montluc defended the fortress of Sienna for
nine months against the Imperialists with an intelligence and a bravery
which earned for him twenty years later the title of Marshal of France.
Charles de Brissac was carrying on the war in Piedmont with such a
combination of valor and generosity that the king sent him as a present
his own sword, writing to him at the same time, “The opinion I have of
your merit has become rooted even amongst foreigners.  The emperor says
that he would make himself monarch of the whole world if he had a Brissac
to second his plans.”  His men, irritated at getting no pay, one day
surrounded Brissac, complaining vehemently.  “You will always get bread
by coming to me,” said he; and he paid the debt of France by sacrificing
his daughter’s dowry and borrowing a heavy sum from the Swiss on the
security of his private fortune.  It was by such devotion and such
sacrifices that the French nobility paid for and justified their
preponderance in the state; but they did not manage to succeed in the
conduct of public affairs, and to satisfy the interests of a nation
progressing in activity, riches, independence, and influence.  Disquieted
at the smallness of his success in Italy, Henry II. flattered himself
that he would regain his ascendency there by sending thither the Duke of
Guise, the hero of Metz, with an army of about twenty thousand men,
French or Swiss, and a staff of experienced officers; but Guise was not
more successful than his predecessors had been.  After several attempts
by arms and negotiation amongst the local sovereigns, he met with a
distinct failure in the kingdom of Naples before the fortress of
Civitella, the siege of which he was forced to raise on the 15th of May,
1557.  Wearied out by want of success, sick in the midst of an army of
sick, regretting over “the pleasure of his field-sports at Joinville, and
begging his mother to have just a word or two written to him to console
him,” all he sighed for was to get back to France.  And it was not long
before the state of affairs recalled him thither.  It was now nearly two
years ago that, on the 25th of October, 1555, and the 1st of January,
1556, Charles V.  had solemnly abdicated all his dominions, giving over
to his son Philip the kingdom of Spain, with the sovereignty of Burgundy
and the Low Countries, and to his younger brother, Ferdinand, the empire
together with the original heritage of the House of Austria, and retiring
personally to the monastery of Yuste, in Estramadura, there to pass the
last years of his life, distracted with gout, at one time resting from
the world and its turmoil, at another vexing himself about what was doing
there now that he was no longer in it.  Before abandoning it for good, he
desired to do his son Philip the service of leaving him, if not in a
state of definite peace, at any rate in a condition of truce with France.
Henry II. also desired rest; and the Constable de Montmorency wished
above everything for the release of his son Francis, who had been a
prisoner since the fall of Thorouanne.  A truce for five years was signed
at Vaucelles on the 5th of February, 1556; and Coligny, quite young
still, but already admiral and in high esteem, had the conduct of the
negotiation.  He found Charles V. dressed in mourning, seated beside a
little table, in a modest apartment hung with black.  When the admiral
handed to the emperor the king’s letter, Charles could not himself break
the seal, and the Bishop of Arras drew near to render him that service.
“Gently, my Lord of Arras,” said the emperor; “would you rob me of the
duty I am bound to discharge towards the king my brother-in-law?  Please
God, none but I shall do it;” and then turning to Coligny, he said, “What
will you say of me, admiral?  Am I not a pretty knight to run a course
and break a lance, I who can only with great difficulty open a letter?”
 He inquired with an air of interest after Henry II.’s health, and boasted
of belonging himself, also, to the house of France through his
grandmother Mary of Burgundy.  “I hold it to be an honor,” said he, “to
have issued, on the mother’s side, from the stock which wears and upholds
the most famous crown in the world.”  His son Philip, who was but a
novice in kingly greatness, showed less courtesy and less good taste than
his father; he received the French ambassadors in a room hung with
pictures representing the battle of Pavia.  There were some who concluded
from that that the truce would not be of long duration.  [_Histoire
d’Espagne,_ by M. Rosseeuw Saint-Hilaire, t. viii.  p. 64.]

And it was not long before their prognostication was verified.  The
sending of the Duke of Guise into Italy, and the assistance he brought to
Pope Paul IV., then at war with the new King of Spain, Philip II., were
considered as a violation of the truce of Vaucelles.  Henry II. had
expected as much, and had ordered Coligny, who was commanding in Picardy
and Flanders, to hold himself in readiness to take the field as soon as
he should be, if not forced, at any rate naturally called upon, by any
unforeseen event.  It cost Coligny, who was a man of scrupulous honor, a
great struggle to lightly break a truce he had just signed; nevertheless,
in January, 1557, when he heard that the French were engaged in Italy in
the war between the pope and the Spaniards, he did not consider that he
could possibly remain inactive in Flanders.  He took by surprise the town
of Lens, between Lille and Arras.  Philip II., on his side, had taken
measures for promptly entering upon the campaign.  By his marriage with
Mary Tudor, Queen of England, he had secured for himself a powerful ally
in the north; the English Parliament were but little disposed to
compromise themselves in a war with France; but in March, 1557, Philip
went to London; the queen’s influence and the distrust excited in England
by Henry II. prevailed over the pacific desires of the nation; and Mary
sent a simple herald to carry to the King of France at Rheims her
declaration of war.  Henry accepted it politely, but resolutely.
“I speak to you in this way,” said he to the herald, “because it is a
queen who sends you; had it been a king, I would speak to you in a very
different tone;” and he ordered him to be gone forthwith from the
kingdom.  A negotiation was commenced for accomplishing the marriage,
long since agreed upon, between the young Queen of Scotland, Mary Stuart,
and Henry II.’s son, Francis, dauphin of France.  Mary, who was born on
the 8th of December, 1542, at Falkland Castle in Scotland, had, since
1548, lived and received her education at the court of France, whither
her mother, Mary of Lorraine, eldest sister of Francis of Guise and
queen-dowager of Scotland, had lost no time in sending her as soon as the
future union between the two children had been agreed upon between the
two courts.  The dauphin of France was a year younger than the Scottish
princess; but “from his childhood,” says the Venetian Capello, “he has
been very much in love with her Most Serene little Highness the Queen of
Scotland, who is destined for his wife.  It sometimes happens that, when
they are exchanging endearments, they like to retire quite apart into a
corner of the rooms, that their little secrets may not be overheard.”  On
the 19th of April, 1558, the espousals took place in the great hall of
the Louvre, and the marriage was celebrated in the church of Notre-Dame.

[Illustration: Francis II. and Mary Stuart love making----251]

From that time Mary Stuart was styled in France queen-dauphiness, and her
husband, with the authorization of the Scottish commissioners, took the
title of king-dauphin.  “Etiquette required at that time that the heir to
the throne should hold his court separately, and not appear at the king’s
court save on grand occasions.  The young couple resigned themselves
without any difficulty to this exile, and retired to Villers-Cotterets.”
 [_Histoire de Marie Stuart,_ by Jules Gauthier, t. i.  p. 36.]

Whilst preparations were being made at Paris for the rejoicings in honor
of the union of the two royal children, war broke out in Picardy and
Flanders.  Philip II. had landed there with an army of forty-seven
thousand men, of whom seven thousand were English.  Never did any great
sovereign and great politician provoke and maintain for long such
important wars without conducting them in some other fashion than from
the recesses of his cabinet, and without ever having exposed his own life
on the field of battle.  The Spanish army was under the orders of
Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, a young warrior of thirty, who had won
the confidence of Charles V.  He led it to the siege of Saint-Quentin,
a place considered as one of the bulwarks of the kingdom.  Philip II.
remained at some leagues’ distance in the environs.  Henry II. was ill
prepared for so serious an attack; his army, which was scarcely twenty
thousand strong, mustered near Laon under the orders of the Duke of
Nevers, governor of Champagne; at the end of July, 1557, it hurried into
Picardy, under the command of the Constable de Montmorency, who was
supported by Admiral de Coligny, his nephew, by the Duke of Enghien, by
the Prince of Condo, and by the Duke of Montpensier, by nearly all the
great lords and valiant warriors of France; they soon saw that Saint-
Quentin was in a deplorable state of defence; the fortifications were old
and badly kept up; soldiers, munitions of war, and victuals were all
equally deficient.  Coligny did not hesitate, however he threw himself
into the place on the 2d of August, during the night, with a small corps
of seven hundred men and Saint-Remy, a skilful engineer, who had already
distinguished himself in the defence of Metz; the admiral packed off the
useless mouths, repaired the walls at the points principally threatened,
and reanimated the failing courage of the inhabitants.  The constable and
his army came within hail of the place; and D’Andelot, Coligny’s brother,
managed with great difficulty to get four hundred and fifty men into it.
On the 10th of August the battle was begun between the two armies.  The
constable affected to despise the Duke of Savoy’s youth.  “I will soon
show him,” said he, “a move of an old soldier.”  The French army, very
inferior in numbers, was for a moment on the point of being surrounded.
The Prince of Conde sent the constable warning.  “I was serving in the
field,” answered Montmorency, “before the Prince of Conde came into the
world; I have good hopes of still giving him lessons in the art of war
for some years to come.”  The valor of the constable and his comrades in
arms could not save them from the consequences of their stubborn
recklessness and their numerical inferiority; the battalions of Gascon
infantry closed their ranks, with pikes to the front, and made an heroic
resistance, but all in vain, against repeated charges of the Spanish
cavalry: and the defeat was total.  More than three thousand men were
killed; the number of prisoners amounted to double; and the constable,
left upon the field with his thigh shattered by a cannon-ball, fell into
the hands of the Spaniards, as was also the case with the Dukes of
Longueville and Montpensier, La Rochefoucauld, D’Aubigne, &c.  .  .  .
The Duke of Enghien, Viscount de Turenne, and a multitude of others, many
great names amidst a host of obscure, fell in the fight.  The Duke of
Nevers and the Prince of Conde, sword in hand, reached La Fere with the
remnants of their army.  Coligny remained alone in Saint-Quentin with
those who survived of his little garrison, and a hundred and twenty
arquebusiers whom the Duke of Nevers threw into the place at a loss of
three times as many.  Coligny held out for a fortnight longer, behind
walls that were in ruins and were assailed by a victorious army.  At
length, on the 27th of August, the enemy entered Saint-Quentin by shoals.
“The admiral, who was still going about the streets with a few men to
make head against them, found himself hemmed in on all sides, and did all
he could to fall into the hands of a Spaniard, preferring rather to await
on the spot the common fate than to incur by flight any shame and
reproach.  He who took him prisoner, after having set him to rest a while
at the foot of the ramparts, took him away to their camp, where, as he
entered, he met Captain Alonzo de Cazieres, commandant of the old bands
of Spanish infantry, when up came the Duke of Savoy, who ordered the said
Cazieres to take the admiral to his tent.”  [_Commentaire de Francois de
Rabutin sur les Guerres entre Henri II., roi de France, et Charles Quint,
empereur,_ t. ii.  p. 95, in the _Petitot collection_.]  D’Andelot, the
admiral’s brother, succeeded in escaping across the marshes.  Being thus
master of Saint-Quentin, Philip II., after having attempted to put a stop
to carnage and plunder, expelled from the town, which was half in ashes,
the inhabitants who had survived; and the small adjacent fortresses, Ham
and Catelet, were not long before they surrendered.

Philip, with anxious modesty, sent information of his victory to his
father, Charles, who had been in retirement since February 21, 1556, at
the monastery of Yuste.  “As I did not happen to be there myself,” he
said at the end of his letter, “about which I am heavy at heart as to
what your Majesty will possibly think, I can only tell you from hearsay
what took place.”  We have not the reply of Charles V. to his son; but
his close confidant, Quejada, wrote, “The emperor felt at this news one
of the greatest thrills of satisfaction he has ever had; but, to tell you
the truth, I perceive by his manner that he cannot reconcile himself to
the thought that his son was not there; and with good reason.”  After
that Saint-Quentin had surrendered, the Duke of Savoy wanted to march
forward and strike affrighted France to the very heart; and the aged
emperor was of his mind.  “Is the king my son at Paris?” he said, when he
heard of his victory.  Philip had thought differently about it instead of
hurling his army on Paris, he had moved it back to Saint-Quentin, and
kept it for the reduction of places in the neighborhood.  “The
Spaniards,” says Rabutin, “might have accomplished our total
extermination, and taken from us all hope of setting ourselves up again.
.  .  .  But the Supreme Ruler, the God of victories, pulled them up
quite short.”  An unlooked-for personage, Queen Catherine de’ Medici,
then for the first time entered actively upon the scene.  We borrow the
very words of the Venetian ambassadors who lived within her sphere.  The
first, Lorenzo Contarini, wrote in 1552, “The queen is younger than the
king, but only thirteen days; she is not pretty, but she is possessed of
extraordinary wisdom and prudence; no doubt of her being fit to govern;
nevertheless she is not consulted or considered so much as she well might
be.”  Five years later, in 1557, after the battle and capture of
Saint-Quentin, France was in a fit of stupor; Paris believed the enemy
to be already beneath her walls; many of the burgesses were packing up
and flying, some to Orleans, some to Bourges, some still farther.  The
king had gone to Compiegne “to get together,” says Brantome, “a fresh
army.”

[Illustration: Catherine de’ Medici (in her young days)----255]

Queen Catherine was alone at Paris.  Of her own motion “she went to the
Parliament (according to the _Memoires de la Chatre_ it was to the Hotel
de Ville that she went and made her address) in full state, accompanied
by the cardinals, princes, and princesses; and there, in the most
impressive language, she set forth the urgent state of affairs at the
moment.  She pointed out that, in spite of the enormous expenses into
which the Most Christian king had found himself drawn in his late wars,
he had shown the greatest care not to burden the towns.  In the
continuous and extreme pressure of requirements her Majesty did not think
that any further charge could be made on the people of the country
places, who in ordinary times always bear the greatest burden.  With so
much sentiment and eloquence that she touched the heart of everybody, the
queen then explained to the Parliament that the king had need of three
hundred thousand livres, twenty-five thousand to be paid every two
months; and she added that she would retire from the place of session, so
as not to interfere with liberty of discussion; and she, accordingly,
retired to an adjoining room.  A resolution to comply with the wishes of
her Majesty was voted, and the queen, having resumed her place, received
a promise to that effect.  A hundred notables of the city offered to give
at once three thousand francs apiece.  The queen thanked them in the
sweetest form of words; and thus terminated this session of Parliament
with so much applause for her Majesty and such lively marks of
satisfaction at her behavior that no idea can be given of them.
Throughout the whole city nothing was spoken of but the queen’s prudence
and the happy manner in which she proceeded in this enterprise.”

Such is the account, not of a French courtier, but of the Venetian
ambassador, Giacomo Lorenzo, writing confidentially to his government.
From that day the position of Catherine de’ Medici was changed in France,
amongst the people as well as at court.  “The king went more often to see
her; he added to his habits that of holding court at her apartments for
about an hour every day after supper in the midst of the lords and
ladies.”  It is not to be discovered anywhere in the contemporary
Memoires, whether Catherine had anything to do with the resolution taken
by Henry II. on returning from Compiegne; but she thenceforward assumed
her place, and gave a foretaste of the part she was to play in the
government of France.  Unhappily for the honor of Catherine and for the
welfare of France, that part soon ceased to be judicious, dignified, and
salutary, as it had been on that day of its first exhibition.

On entering Paris again the king at once sent orders to the Duke of Guise
to return in haste from Italy with all the troops he could bring.  Every
eye and every hope were fixed upon the able and heroic defender of Metz,
who had forced Charles V. to retreat before him.  A general appeal was at
the same time addressed to “all soldiers, gentlemen and others, who had
borne or were capable of bearing arms, to muster at Laon under the Duke
of Nevers, in order to be employed for the service of the king and for
the tuition [protection] of their country, their families, and their
property.”  Guise arrived on the 20th of October, 1557, at
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where the court happened to be just then: every
mark of favor was lavished upon him; all the resources of the state were
put at his disposal; there was even some talk of appointing him viceroy;
but Henry II. confined himself to proclaiming him, on the very day of
his arrival, lieutenant-general of the armies throughout the whole
extent of the monarchy, both within and without the realm.  His brother,
the Cardinal of Lorraine, who was as ambitious and almost as able as he,
had the chief direction in civil, financial, and diplomatic affairs;
never, since the great mayors-of-the-palace under the Merovingian kings,
had similar power been in the hands of a subject.  Like a man born to
command, Guise saw that, in so complicated a situation, a brilliant
stroke must be accomplished and a great peril be met by a great success.
“He racked his brains for all sorts of devices for enabling him to do
some remarkable deed which might humble the pride of that haughty
Spanish nation and revive the courage of his own men; and he took it
that those things which the enemy considered as the most secure would be
the least carefully guarded.  Some years previously it had been
suggested to the constable that an attempt might be made upon Calais,
negligently guarded as it was, and the place itself not being in good
order.  The Duke of Guise put the idea of this enterprise forward once
more, and begged the king’s permission to attempt it, without saying a
word about it to anybody else, which the king considered to be a very
good notion.”  Guise took the command of the army, and made a feint of
directing its movements towards an expedition in the east of the
kingdom; but, suddenly turning westwards, he found himself on the night
of January 1, 1558, beneath the walls of Calais, “whither, with right
good will, all the princes, lords, and soldiers had marched.”  On the 3d
of January he took the two forts of Nieullay and Risbank, which covered
the approaches to the place.  On the 4th he prepared for, and on the 6th
he delivered, the assault upon the citadel itself, which was carried; he
left there his brother, the Duke of Aumale, with a sufficient force for
defence; the portion of the English garrison which had escaped at the
assault fell back within the town; the governor, Lord Wentworth, “like a
man in desperation, who saw he was all but lost,” made vain attempts to
recover this important post under cover of night and of the high sea,
which rendered impossible the prompt arrival of any aid for the French;
but “they held their own inside the castle.”  The English requested the
Duke of Aumale “to parley so as to come to some honorable and reasonable
terms;” and Guise assented.  On the 8th of January, whilst he was
conferring in his tent with the representatives of the governor,
Coligny’s brother, D’Andelot, entered the town at the solicitation of
the English themselves, who were afraid of being all put to the sword.
The capitulation was signed.  The inhabitants, with their wives and
children, had their lives spared, and received permission to leave
Calais freely and without any insult, and withdraw to England or
Flanders.  Lord Wentworth and fifty other persons, to be chosen by the
Duke of Guise, remained prisoners of war; with this exception, all the
soldiers were to return to England, but with empty hands.  The place was
left with all the cannons, arms, munitions, utensils, engines of war,
flags and standards which happened to be in it. The furniture, the gold
and silver, coined or other, the merchandise, and the horses passed over
to the disposal of the Duke of Guise.  Lastly the vanquished, when they
quitted the town, were to leave it intact, having no power to pull down
houses, unpave streets, throw up earth, displace a single stone, pull
out a single nail.  The conqueror’s precautions were as deliberate as
his audacity had been sudden.  On the 9th of January, 1558, after a
week’s siege, Calais, which had been in the hands of the English for two
hundred and ten years, once more became a French town, in spite of the
inscription which was engraved on one of its gates, and which may be
turned into the following distich:--

              “A siege of Calais may seem good
               When lead and iron swim like wood.”

The joy was so much the greater in that it was accompanied by great
surprise: save a few members of the king’s council, nobody expected this
conquest.  “I certainly thought that you must be occupied in preparing
for some great exploit, and that you wished to wait until you could
apprise me of the execution rather than the design,” wrote Marshal de
Brissac to the Duke of Guise, on the 22d of January, from Italy.
Foreigners were not less surprised than the French themselves; they had
supposed that France would remain for a long while under the effects of
the reverse experienced at Saint-Quentin.  “The loss of Calais,” said
Pope Paul IV., “will be the only dowry that the Queen of England will
obtain from her marriage with Philip.  For France such a conquest is
preferable to that of half the kingdom of England.”  When Mary Tudor,
already seriously ill, heard the news, she exclaimed from her deathbed,
on the 20th of January, “If my heart is opened, there will be found
graven upon it the word Calais.”  And when the Grand Prior of France, on
repairing to the court of his sister, Mary of Lorraine, in Scotland, went
to visit Queen Elizabeth, who had succeeded Mary Tudor, she, after she
had made him dance several times with her, said to him, “My dear prior, I
like you very much, but not your brother, who robbed me of my town of
Calais.”

Guise was one of those who knew that it is as necessary to follow up a
success accomplished as to proceed noiselessly in the execution of a
sudden success.  When he was master of Calais he moved rapidly upon the
neighboring fortresses of Guines and Ham; and he had them in his power
within a few days, notwithstanding a resistance more stout than he had
encountered at Calais.  During the same time the Duke of Nevers,
encouraged by such examples, also took the field again, and gained
possession, in Champagne and the neighborhood, of the strong castles of
Herbemont, Jamoigne, Chigny, Rossignol, and Villemont.  Guise had no idea
of contenting himself with his successes in the west of France; his
ambition carried him into the east also, to the environs of Metz, the
scene of his earliest glory.  He heard that Vieilleville, who had become
governor of Metz, was setting about the reduction of Thionville, “the
best picture of a fortress I ever saw,” says Montluc.  “I have heard,”
 wrote Guise to Vieilleville, “that you have a fine enterprise on hand; I
pray you do not commence the execution of it, in any fashion whatever,
until I be with you: having given a good account of Calais and Guines, as
lieutenant-general of his Majesty in this realm, I should be very vexed
if there should be done therein anything of honor and importance without
my presence.”  He arrived before Thionville on the 4th of June, 1558.
Vieilleville and his officers were much put out at his interference.
“The duke might surely have dispensed with coming,” said D’Estrees, chief
officer of artillery; “it will be easy for him to swallow what is all
chewed ready for him.”  But the bulk of the army did not share this
feeling of jealousy.  When the pioneers, drawn up, caught sight of Guise,
“Come on, sir,” they cried, “come and let us die before Thionville; we
have been expecting you this long while.”  The siege lasted three weeks
longer.  Guise had with him two comrades of distinction, the Italian
Peter Strozzi, and the Gascon Blaise do Montluc.  On the 20th of June
Strozzi was mortally wounded by an arquebuse-shot, at the very side of
Guise, who was talking to him with a hand upon his shoulder.  “Ah! by
God’s head, sir,” cried Strozzi, in Italian, “the king to-day loses a
good servant, and so does your excellency.”  Guise, greatly moved,
attempted to comfort him, and spoke to him the name of Jesus Christ; but
Strozzi was one of those infidels so common at that time in Italy.
“‘Sdeath,” said he, “what Jesus are you come hither to remind me of?
I believe in no God; my game is played.”  “You will appear to-day before
His face,” persisted Guise, in the earnestness of his faith.  “‘Sdeath,”
 replied Strozzi, “I shall be where all the others are who have died in
the last six thousand years.”  The eyes of Guise remained fixed a while
upon his comrade dying in such a frame of mind; but he soon turned all
his thoughts once more to the siege of Thionville.  Montluc supported him
valiantly.  A strong tower still held out, and Montluc carried it at the
head of his men.  Guise rushed up and threw his arm round the warrior’s
neck, saying, “Monseigneur, I now see clearly that the old proverb is
quite infallible: ‘A good horse will go to the last.’ I am off at once to
my quarters to report the capture to the king.  Be assured that I shall
not conceal from him the service you have done.”  The reduction of
Thionville was accomplished on that very day, June 22, 1558.  That of
Arlon, a rich town in the neighborhood, followed very closely.  Guise,
thoroughly worn out, had ordered the approaches to be made next morning
at daybreak, requesting that he might be left to sleep until he awoke of
himself; when he did awake, he inquired whether the artillery had yet
opened fire; he was told that Montluc had surprised the place during the
night.  “That is making the pace very fast,” said he, as he made the sign
of the cross; but he did not care to complain about it.  Under the
impulse communicated by him the fortunes of France were reviving
everywhere.  A check received before Gravelines, on the 13th of July,
1558, by a division commanded by De Termes, governor of Calais, did not
subdue the national elation and its effect upon the enemy themselves.
“It is an utter impossibility for me to keep up the war,” wrote Philip
II., on the 15th of February, 1559, to Granvelle.  On both sides there
was a desire for peace; and conferences were opened at Cateau-Cambresis.
On the 6th of February, 1559, a convention was agreed upon for a truce
which was to last during the whole course of the negotiation, and for six
days after the separation of the plenipotentiaries, in case no peace took
place.

It was concluded on the 2d of April, 1559, between Henry II. and
Elizabeth, who had become Queen of England at the death of her sister
Mary (November 17, 1558); and next day, April 3, between Henry II.,
Philip II., and the allied princes of Spain, amongst others the Prince of
Orange, William the Silent, who, whilst serving in the Spanish army, was
fitting himself to become the leader of the Reformers, and the liberator
of the Low Countries.  By the treaty with England, France was to keep
Calais for eight years in the first instance, and on a promise to pay
five hundred thousand gold crowns to Queen Elizabeth or her successors.
The money was never paid, and Calais was never restored, and this without
the English government’s having considered that it could make the matter
a motive for renewing the war.  By the treaty with Spain, France was to
keep Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and have back Saint-Quentin, Le Catelet, and
Ham; but she was to restore to Spain or her allies a hundred and
eighty-nine places in Flanders, Piedmont, Tuscany, and Corsica.  The
malcontents--for the absence of political liberty does not suppress
them entirely--raised their voices energetically against this last
treaty signed by the king, with the sole desire, it was supposed, of
obtaining the liberation of his two favorites, the Constable de
Montmorency and Marshal de Saint-Andre, who had been prisoners in Spain
since the defeat at Saint-Quentin.  “Their ransom,” it was said, “has
cost the kingdom more than that of Francis I.”  Guise himself said to
the king, “A stroke of your Majesty’s pen costs more to France than
thirty years of war cost.” Ever since that time the majority of
historians, even the most enlightened, have joined in the censure that
was general in the sixteenth century; but their opinion will not be
indorsed here; the places which France had won during the war, and which
she retained by the peace,--Metz, Toul, and Verdun on her frontier in
the north-east, facing the imperial or Spanish possessions, and Boulogne
and Calais on her coasts in the north-west, facing England,--were, as
regarded the integrity of the state and the security of the inhabitants,
of infinitely more importance than those which she gave up in Flanders
and Italy.  The treaty of Cateau-Cambresis, too, marked the termination
of those wars of ambition and conquest which the Kings of France had
waged beyond the Alps an injudicious policy, which, for four reigns, had
crippled and wasted the resources of France in adventurous expeditions,
beyond the limits of her geographical position and her natural and
permanent interests.

More or less happily, the treaty of Cateau-Cambreis had regulated all
those questions of external policy which were burdensome to France; she
was once more at peace with her neighbors, and seemed to have nothing
more to do than to gather in the fruits thereof.  But she had in her own
midst questions far more difficult of solution than those of her external
policy, and these perils from within were threatening her more seriously
than any from without.  Since the death of Francis I., the religious
ferment had pursued its course, becoming more general and more fierce;
the creed of the Reformers had spread very much; their number had very
much increased; permanent churches, professing and submitting to a fixed
faith and discipline, had been founded; that of Paris was the first, in
1555; and the example had been followed at Orleans, at Chartres, at
Lyons, at Toulouse, at Rochelle, in Normandy, in Touraine, in Guienne, in
Poitou, in Dauphiny, in Provence, and in all the provinces, more or less.
In 1561, it was calculated that there were twenty-one hundred and fifty
reformed, or, as the expression then was, rectified (dressees), churches.
“And this is no fanciful figure; it is the result of a census taken at
the instigation of the deputies who represented the reformed churches at
the conference of Poissy on the demand of Catherine de’ Medici, and in
conformity with the advice of Admiral de Coligny.”  [_La Reformation en
France pendant sa premiere periode,_ by Henri Luttheroth, pp. 127-132.]
It is clear that the movement of the Reformation in the sixteenth century
was one of those spontaneous and powerful movements which have their
source and derive their strength from the condition of men’s souls and
of whole communities, and not merely from the personal ambitions and
interests which soon come and mingle with them, whether it be to promote
or to retard them.  One thing has been already here stated and confirmed
by facts; it was specially in France that the Reformation had this truly
religious and sincere character; very far from supporting or tolerating
it, the sovereign and public authorities opposed it from its very birth;
under Francis I. it had met with no real defenders but its martyrs; and
it was still the same under Henry II.  During the reign of Francis I.,
within a space of twenty-three years, there had been eighty-one capital
executions for heresy; during that of Henry II., twelve years, there were
ninety-seven for the same cause, and at one of these executions Henry II.
was present in person, on the space in front of Notre-Dame: a spectacle
which Francis I. had always refused to see.  In 1551, 1557, and 1559,
Henry II., by three royal edicts, kept up and added to all the
prohibitions and penalties in force against the Reformers.  In 1550, the
massacre of the Vaudians was still in such lively and odious remembrance
that a noble lady of Provence, Madame de Cental, did not hesitate to
present a complaint, in the name of her despoiled, proscribed, and
murdered vassals, against the Cardinal de Tournon, the Count de Grignan,
and the Premier President Maynier d’Oppede, as having abused, for the
purpose of getting authority for this massacre, the religious feelings of
the king, who on his death-bed had testified his remorse for it.  “This
cause,” says De Thou, “was pleaded with much warmth, and occupied fifty
audiences, with a large concourse of people, but the judgment took all
the world by surprise.  Guerin alone, advocate-general in 1545, having no
support at court, was condemned to death, and was scape-goat for all the
rest.  D’Oppede defended himself with fanatical pride, saying that he
only executed the king’s orders, like Saul, whom God commanded to
exterminate the Amalekites.  He had the Duke of Guise to protect him; and
he was sent back to discharge the duties of his office.  Such was the
prejudice of the Parliament of Paris against the Reformers that it
interdicted the hedge-schools (_ecoles buissonnieres_), schools which the
Protestants held out in the country to escape from the jurisdiction of
the precentor of Notre-Dame de Paris, who had the sole supervision of
primary schools.  Hence comes the proverb, to play truant (_faire l’ecole
buissonniere--to go to hedge school_).  All the resources of French civil
jurisdiction appeared to be insufficient against the Reformers.  Henry
II. asked the pope for a bull, transplanting into France the Spanish
Inquisition, the only real means of extirpating the root of the errors.”
 It was the characteristic of this Inquisition, that it was completely in
the hands of the clergy, and that its arm was long enough to reach the
lay and the clerical indifferently.  Pope Paul IV. readily gave the king,
in April, 1557, the bull he asked for, but the Parliament of Paris
refused to enregister the royal edict which gave force in France to the
pontifical brief.  In 1559 the pope replied to this refusal by a bull
which comprised in one and the same anathema all heretics, though they
might be kings or emperors, and declared them to have “forfeited their
benefices, states, kingdoms, or empires, the which should devolve on the
first to seize them, without power on the part of the Holy See itself to
restore them.”  [_Magnum Bullarium Romanum, a Beato Leone Magno ad
Paulum IV.,_ t. i.  p. 841: Luxembourg, 1742.] The Parliament would not
consent to enregister the decree unless there were put in it a condition
to the effect that clerics alone should be liable to the inquisition, and
that the judges should be taken from amongst the clergy of France.  For
all their passionate opposition to the Reformation, the Magistrates had
no idea of allowing either the kingship or France to fall beneath the
yoke of the papacy.

Amidst all these disagreements and distractions in the very heart of
Catholicism, the Reformation went on growing from day to day.  In 1558,
Lorenzo, the Venetian ambassador, set down even then the number of the
Reformers at four hundred thousand.  In 1559, at the death of Henry II.,
Claude Haton, a priest and contemporary chronicler on the Catholic side,
calculated that they were nearly a quarter of the population of France.
They held at Paris, in May, 1559, their first general synod; and eleven
fully established churches sent deputies to it.  This synod drew up a
form of faith called the Gallican Confession, and likewise a form of
discipline.  “The burgess-class, for a long while so indifferent to the
burnings that took place, were astounded at last at the constancy with
which the pile was mounted by all those men and all those women who had
nothing to do but to recant in order to save their lives.  Some could not
persuade themselves that people so determined were not in the right;
others were moved with compassion.  ‘Their very hearts,’ say
contemporaries, ‘wept together with their eyes.’”  It needed only an
opportunity to bring these feelings out.  Some of the faithful one day in
the month of May, 1558, on the public walk in the Pre-aux-Clercs, began
to sing the psalms of Marot.  Their singing had been forbidden by the
Parliament of Bordeaux, but the practice of singing those psalms had but
lately been so general that it could not be looked upon as peculiar to
heretics.  All who happened to be there, suddenly animated by one and the
same feeling, joined in with the singers, as if to protest against the
punishments which were being repeated day after day.  This manifestation
was renewed on the following days.  The King of Navarre, Anthony de
Bourbon, Prince Louis de Conde, his brother, and many lords took part in
it together with a crowd, it is said, of five or six thousand persons.
It was not in the Pre-aux-Clercs only and by singing that this new state
of mind revealed itself amongst the highest classes as well as amongst
the populace.  The Queen of Navarre, Jeanne d’Albret, in her early youth,
“was as fond of a ball as of a sermon,” says Brantome, “and she had
advised her spouse, Anthony de Bourbon, who inclined towards Calvinism,
not to perplex himself with all these opinions.”  In 1559 she was
passionately devoted to the faith and the cause of the Reformation.  With
more levity, but still in sincerity, her brother-in-law, Louis de Conde,
put his ambition and his courage at the service of the same cause.
Admiral de Coligny’s youngest brother, Francis d’Andelot, declared
himself a Reformer to Henry II. himself, who, in his wrath, threw a plate
at his head, and sent him to prison in the castle of Melun.  Coligny
himself, who had never disguised the favorable sentiments he felt towards
the Reformers, openly sided with them on the ground of his own personal
faith, as well as of the justice due to them.  At last the Reformation
had really great leaders, men who had power and were experienced in the
affairs of the world; it was becoming a political party as well as a
religious conviction; and the French Reformers were henceforth in a
condition to make war as well as die at the stake for their faith.
Hitherto they had been only believers and martyrs; they became the
victors and the vanquished, alternately, in a civil war.

A new position for them, and as formidable as it was grand.  It was
destined to bring upon them cruel trials and the worth of them in
important successes; first, the Saint-Bartholomew, then the accession of
Henry IV. and the edict of Nantes.  At a later period, under Louis XIII.
and Louis XIV., the complication of the religious question and the
political question cost them the advantages they had won; the edict of
Nantes disappeared together with the power of the Protestants in the
state.  They were no longer anything but heretics and rebels.  A day was
to come, when, by the force alone of moral ideas, and in the name alone
of conscience and justice, they would recover all the rights they had for
a time possessed, and more also; but in the sixteenth century that day
was still distant, and armed strife was for the Reformers their only
means of defence and salvation.  God makes no account of centuries, and a
great deal is required before the most certain and the most salutary
truths get their place and their rights in the minds and communities of
men.

On the 29th of June, 1559, a brilliant tournament was celebrated in lists
erected at the end of the street of Saint-Antoine, almost at the foot of
the Bastille.  Henry II., the queen, and the whole court had been present
at it for three days.  The entertainment was drawing to a close.  The
king, who had run several tilts “like a sturdy and skilful cavalier,”
 wished to break yet another lance, and bade the Count de Montgomery,
captain of the guards, to run against him.  Montgomery excused himself;
but the king insisted.  The tilt took place.  The two jousters, on
meeting, broke their lances skilfully; but Montgomery forgot to drop at
once, according to usage, the fragment remaining in his hand; he
unintentionally struck the king’s helmet and raised the visor, and a
splinter of wood entered Henry’s eye, who fell forward upon his horse’s
neck.  All the appliances of art were useless; the brain had been
injured.  Henry II. languished for eleven days, and expired on the 10th
of July, 1559, aged forty years and some months.  An insignificant man,
and a reign without splendor, though fraught with facts pregnant of grave
consequences.

[Illustration: Joust between Henri II. and Count de Montgomery----268]



CHAPTER XXXII.----FRANCIS II.,  JULY 10, 1559--DECEMBER 5, 1560.

During the course, and especially at the close of Henry II.’s reign, two
rival matters, on the one hand the numbers, the quality, and the zeal of
the Reformers, and on the other, the anxiety, prejudice, and power of the
Catholics, had been simultaneously advancing in development and growth.
Between the 16th of May, 1558, and the 10th of July, 1559, fifteen
capital sentences had been executed in Dauphiny, in Normandy, in Poitou,
and at Paris.  Two royal edicts, one dated July 24, 1558, and the other
June 14, 1559, had renewed and aggravated the severity of penal
legislation against heretics.  To secure the registration of the latter,
Henry II., together with the princes and the officers of the crown, had
repaired in person to Parliament; some disagreement had already appeared
in the midst of that great body, which was then composed of a hundred and
thirty magistrates; the seniors who sat in the great chamber had in
general shown themselves to be more inclined to severity, and the juniors
who formed the chamber called La Tournelle more inclined to indulgence
towards accusations of heresy.  The disagreement reached its climax in
the very presence of the king.  Two councillors, Dubourg and Dufaure,
spoke so warmly of reforms which were, according to them, necessary and
legitimate, that their adversaries did not hesitate to tax them with
being Reformers themselves.  The king had them arrested, and three of
their colleagues with them.  Special commissioners were charged with the
preparation of the case against them.  It has already been mentioned that
one of the most considerable amongst the officers of the army, Francis
d’Andelot, brother of Admiral Coligny, had, for the same cause, been
subjected to a burst of anger on the part of the king.  He was in prison
at Meaux when Henry II. died.  Such were the personal feelings and the
relative positions of the two parties when Francis II., a boy of sixteen,
a poor creature both in mind and body, ascended the throne.

[Illustration: Francis II----269]

Deputies from Parliament went, according to custom, to offer their
felicitations to the new king, and to ask him “to whom it was his
pleasure that they should, thenceforward, apply for to learn his will and
receive his commands.”  Francis II. replied, “With the approbation of the
queen my mother, I have chosen the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of
Lorraine, my uncles, to have the direction of the state; the former will
take charge of the department of war, the latter the administration of
finance and justice.”  Such had, in fact, been his choice, and it was no
doubt with his mother’s approbation that he had made it.  Equally
attentive to observe the proprieties and to secure her own power,
Catherine de’ Medici, when going out to drive with her son and her
daughter-in-law Mary Stuart, on the very day of Henry II.’s death, said
to Mary, “Step in, madame; it is now your turn to go first.”

[Illustration: MARY STUART----270]

During the first days of mourning she kept herself in a room entirely
hung with black; and there was no light beyond two wax-candles burning on
an altar covered with black cloth.  She had upon her head a black veil,
which shrouded her entirely, and hid her face; and, when any one of the
household went to speak to her, she replied in so agitated and so weak
a tone of voice that it was impossible to catch her words, whatever
attention might be paid to them.  But her presence of mind and her
energy, so far as the government was concerned, were by no means affected
by it; he who had been the principal personage at the court under Henry
II., the Constable de Montmorency, perfectly understood, at his first
interview with the queen-mother, that he was dismissed, and all he asked
of her was, that he might go and enjoy his repose in freedom at his
residence of Chantilly, begging her at the same time to take under her
protection the heirs of his house.  Henry II.’s favorite, Diana de
Poitiers, was dismissed more harshly.  “The king sent to tell Madame de
Valentinois,” writes the Venetian ambassador, “that for her evil
influence (_mali officii_) over the king his father she would deserve
heavy chastisement; but, in his royal clemency, he did not wish to
disquiet her any further; she must, nevertheless, restore to him all the
jewels given her by the king his father.”  “To bend Catherine de’ Medici,
Diana was also obliged,” says De Thou, “to give up her beautiful house at
Chenonceaux on the Cher, and she received in exchange the castle of
Chaumont on the Loire.”  The Guises obtained all the favors of the court
at the same time that they were invested with all the powers of the
state.

In order to give a good notion of Duke Francis of Guise and his brother
the Cardinal of Lorraine, the two heads of the house, we will borrow the
very words of those two men of their age who had the best means of seeing
them close and judging them correctly, the French historian De Thou and
the Venetian ambassador John Micheli.  “The Cardinal of Lorraine,” says
De Thou, “was of an impetuous and violent character; the Duke of Guise,
on the contrary, was of a gentle and moderate disposition.  But as
ambition soon overleaps the confines of restraint and equity, he was
carried away by the violent counsels of the cardinal, or else surrendered
himself to them of his own accord, executing with admirable prudence and
address the plans which were always chalked out by his brother.”  The
Venetian ambassador enters into more precise and full details.  “The
cardinal,” he says, “who is the leading man of the house, would be, by
common consent, if it were not for the defects of which I shall speak,
the greatest political power in this kingdom.  He has not yet completed
his thirty-seventh year; he is endowed with a marvellous intellect, which
apprehends from half a word the meaning of those who converse with him;
he has an astonishing memory, a fine and noble face, and a rare eloquence
which shows itself freely on any subject, but especially in matters of
politics.  He is very well versed in letters: he knows Greek, Latin, and
Italian.  He is very strong in the sciences, chiefly in theology.  The
externals of his life are very proper and very suitable to his dignity,
which could not be said of the other cardinals and prelates, whose habits
are too scandalously irregular.  But his great defect is shameful
cupidity, which would employ, to attain its ends, even criminal means,
and likewise great duplicity, whence comes his habit of scarcely ever
saying that which is.  There is worse behind.  He is considered to be
very ready to take offence, vindictive, envious, and far too slow in
benefaction.  He excited universal hatred by hurting all the world as
long as it was in his power to.  As for Mgr. de Guise, who is the eldest
of the six brothers, he cannot be spoken of save as a man of war, a good
officer.  None in this realm has delivered more battles and confronted
more dangers.  Everybody lauds his courage, his vigilance, his steadiness
in war, and his coolness, a quality wonderfully rare in a Frenchman.  His
peculiar defects are, first of all, stinginess towards soldiers; then he
makes large promises, and even when he means to keep his promise he is
infinitely slow about it.”

To the sketch of the Cardinal of Lorraine Brantome adds that he was,
“as indeed he said, a coward by nature.” a strange defect in a Guise.

It was a great deal, towards securing the supremacy of a great family
and its leading members, to thus possess the favor of the court and the
functions of government; but the power of the Guises had a still higher
origin and a still deeper foundation.  “It was then,” said Michael de
Castelnau, one of the most intelligent and most impartial amongst the
chroniclers of the sixteenth century, “that schism and divisions in
religious matters began to be mixed up with affairs of state.  Well, all
the clergy of France, and nearly all the noblesse and the people who
belonged to the Roman religion, considered that the Cardinal of Lorraine
and the Duke of Guise were, as it were, called of God to preserve the
Catholic religion established in France for the last twelve hundred
years.  And it seemed to them not only an act of impiety to change or
alter it in any way whatever, but also an impossibility to do so without
ruin to the state.  The late king, Henry, had made a decree in the month
of June, 1559, being then at Ecouen, by which the judges were bound to
sentence all Lutherans to death, and which was published and confirmed by
all the Parliaments, without any limitation or modification whatever, and
with a warning to the judges not to mitigate the penalty, as they had
done for some years previously.  Different judgments were pronounced upon
the decree: those who took the most political and most zealous view of
religion considered that it was necessary, as well to preserve and
maintain the Catholic religion as to keep down the seditious, who, under
the cloak of religion, were doing all they could to upset the political
condition of the kingdom.  Others, who cared nothing for religion, or for
the state, or for order in the body politic, also thought the decree
necessary, not at all for the purpose of exterminating the Protestants,
--for they held that it would tend to multiply them,--but because it
would offer a means of enriching themselves by the confiscations ensuing
upon condemnation, and because the king would thus be able to pay off
forty-two millions of livres which he owed, and have money in hand, and,
besides that, satisfy those who were demanding recompense for the
services they had rendered the crown, wherein many placed their hopes.”
 [_Memoires de Michael de Castelnau, in the Petitot collection,_ Series
I., t. xxxiii.  pp. 24-27.]

The Guises were, in the sixteenth century, the representatives and the
champions of these different cliques and interests, religious or
political, sincere in their belief or shameless in their avidity, and
all united under the flag of the Catholic church.  And so, when they came
into power, “there was nothing,” says a Protestant chronicler, “but fear
and trembling at their name.”  Their acts of government soon confirmed
the fears as well as the hopes they had inspired.  During the last six
months of 1559 the edict issued by Henry II. from Ecouen was not only
strictly enforced, but aggravated by fresh edicts; a special chamber was
appointed and chosen amongst the Parliament of Paris, which was to have
sole cognizance of crimes and offences against the Catholic religion.  A
proclamation of the new king, Francis II., ordained that houses in which
assemblies of Reformers took place should be razed and demolished.  It
was death to the promoters of “unlawful assemblies for purposes of
religion or for any other cause.”  Another royal act provided that all
persons, even relatives, who received amongst them any one condemned for
heresy should seize him and bring him to justice, in default whereof they
would suffer the same penalty as he.  Individual condemnations and
executions abounded after these general measures; between the 2d of
August and the 31st of December, 1559, eighteen persons were burned alive
for open heresy, or for having refused to communicate according to the
rites of the Catholic church, or go to mass, or for having hawked about
forbidden books.  Finally, in December, the five councillors of the
Parliament of Paris, whom, six months previously, Henry II. had ordered
to be arrested and shut up in the Bastille, were dragged from prison and
brought to trial.  The chief of them, Anne Dubourg, nephew of Anthony
Dubourg, Chancellor of France under Francis I., defended himself with
pious and patriotic persistency, being determined to exhaust all points
of law and all the chances of justice he could hope for without betraying
his faith.  Everything shows that he had nothing to hope for from his
judges; one of them, the President Minard, as he was returning from the
palace on the evening of December 12, 1559, was killed by a pistol-shot;
the assassin could not be discovered; but the crime, naturally ascribed
to some friend of Dubourg, served only to make certain and to hasten the
death of the prisoner on trial.  Dubourg was condemned on the 22d of
December, and heard unmoved the reading of his sentence.  “I forgive my
judges,” said he; “they have judged according to their own lights, not
according to the light that comes from on high.  Put out your fires, ye
senators; be converted, and live happily.  Think without ceasing of God
and on God.”  After these words, which were taken down by the clerk of
the court, “and which I have here copied,” says De Thou, Dubourg was
taken on the 23d of December, in a tumbrel to the Place de Greve.  As he
mounted the ladder he was heard repeating several times, “Forsake me not,
my God, for fear lest I forsake thee.”  He was strangled before he was
cast into the flames (De Thou, t. iii.  pp. 399-402), the sole favor his
friends could obtain for him.

But extreme severity on the part of the powers that be is effectual only
when it falls upon a country or upon parties that are effete with age, or
already vanquished and worn out by long struggles; when, on the contrary,
it is brought to bear upon parties in the flush of youth, eager to
proclaim and propagate themselves, so far from intimidating them, it
animates them, and thrusts them into the arena into which they were of
themselves quite eager to enter.  As soon as the rule of the Catholic,
in the persons and by the actions of the Guises, became sovereign and
aggressive, the threatened Reformers put themselves into the attitude of
defence.  They too had got for themselves great leaders, some valiant and
ardent, others prudent or even timid, but forced to declare themselves
when the common cause was greatly imperilled.  The house of Bourbon,
issuing from St. Louis, had for its representatives in the sixteenth
century Anthony de Bourbon, King of Navarre and husband of Jeanne
d’Albret, and his brother Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Conde.  The King of
Navarre, weak and irresolute though brave enough, wavered between
Catholicism and the Reformation, inclining rather in his heart to the
cause of the Reformation, to which the queen his wife, who at first
showed indifference, had before long become Passionately attached.  His
brother, the Prince of Conde, young, fiery, and often flighty and rash,
put himself openly at the head of the Reformed party.  The house of
Bourbon held itself to be the rival perforce of the house of Lorraine.
It had amongst the high noblesse of France two allies, more fitted than
any others for fighting and for command, Admiral de Coligny and his
brother, Francis d’Andelot, both of them nephews of the Constable Anne de
Montmorency, both of them already experienced and famous warriors, and
both of them devoted, heart and soul, to the cause of the Reformation.
Thus, at the accession of Francis II., whilst the Catholic party, by
means of the Guises, and with the support of the majority of the country,
took in hand the government of France, the reforming party ranged
themselves round the King of Navarre, the Prince of Conde, and Admiral de
Coligny, and became, under their direction, though in a minority, a
powerful opposition, able and ready, on the one hand, to narrowly watch
and criticise the actions of those who were in power, and on the other to
claim for their own people, not by any means freedom as a general
principle in the constitution of the state, but free manifestation of
their faith, and free exercise of their own form of worship.

Apart from--we do not mean to say above-these two great parties, which
were arrayed in the might and appeared as the representatives of the
national ideas and feelings, the queen-mother, Catherine de’ Medici, was
quietly laboring to form another, more independent of the public, and
more docile to herself, and, above all, faithful to the crown and to the
interests of the kingly house and its servants; a party strictly
Catholic, but regarding as a necessity the task of humoring the Reformers
and granting them such concessions as might prevent explosions fraught
with peril to the state; a third party (tiers part), as we should say
nowadays, politic and prudent, somewhat lavish of promises without being
sure of the power to keep them, not much embarrassed at having to change
attitude and language according to the shifting phases of the moment, and
anxious above everything to maintain public peace and to put off
questions which it could not solve pacifically.  In the sixteenth
century, as at every other time, worthy folks of moderate views and
nervous temperaments, ambitious persons combining greed with suppleness,
old servants of the crown, and officials full of scruples and far from
bold in the practical part of government, were the essential elements of
this party.  The Constable de Montmorency sometimes issued forth from
Chantilly to go and aid the queen-mother, in whom he had no confidence,
but whom he preferred to the Guises.  A former councillor of the
Parliament, for a long while chancellor under Francis I. and Henry II.,
and again summoned, under Francis II., by Catherine de’ Medici to the
same post, Francis Olivier, was an honorable executant of the party’s
indecisive but moderate policy.  He died on the 15th of March, 1560;
and Catherine, in concert with the Cardinal of Lorraine, had the
chancellorship thus vacated conferred upon Michael de l’Hospital, a
magistrate already celebrated, and destined to become still more so.  As
soon as he entered upon this great office he made himself remarkable by
the marvellous ability he showed in restraining within bounds “the
Lorraines themselves, whose servant he was,” says the Protestant
chronicler Regnier de la Planche; “to those who had the public weal at
heart he gave hope that all would at last turn out well, provided that he
were let alone; and, to tell the truth, it would be impossible to
adequately describe the prudence he displayed; for, assuredly, although
if he had taken a shorter road towards manfully opposing the mischief he
would have deserved more praise, and God would perhaps have blessed his
constancy, yet, so far as one can judge, he alone, by his moderate
behavior, was the instrument made use of by God for keeping back many an
impetuous flood under which every Frenchman would have been submerged.
External appearances, however, seemed to the contrary.  In short, when
any one represented to him some trouble that was coming, he always had
these words on his lips: ‘Patience, patience; all will go well.’”  This
philosophical and patriotic confidence on the part of Chancellor de
l’Hospital was fated to receive some cruel falsifications.

A few months, and hardly so much, after the accession of Francis II.,
a serious matter brought into violent collision the three parties whose
characteristics and dispositions have just been described.  The supremacy
of the Guises was insupportable to the Reformers, and irksome to many
lukewarm or wavering members of the Catholic nobility.  An edict of the
king’s had revoked all the graces and alienations of domains granted by
his father.  The crown refused to pay its most lawful debts, and duns
were flocking to the court.  To get rid of them, the Cardinal of Lorraine
had a proclamation issued by the king, warning all persons, of whatever
condition, who had come to dun for payment of debts, for compensations,
or for graces, to take themselves off within twenty-four hours on pain of
being hanged; and, that it might appear how seriously meant the threat
was, a very conspicuous gibbet was erected at Fontainebleau close to the
palace.  It was a shocking affront.  The malcontents at once made up to
the Reformers.  Independently of the general oppression and perils under
which these latter labored, they were liable to meet everywhere, at the
corners of the streets, men posted on the lookout, who insulted them and
denounced them to the magistrates if they did not uncover themselves
before the madonnas set up in their way, or if they did not join in the
litanies chanted before them.  A repetition of petty requisitions soon
becomes an odious tyranny.  An understanding was established between very
different sorts of malcontents; they all said and spread abroad that the
Guises were the authors of these oppressive and unjustifiable acts.  They
made common cause in seeking for means of delivering themselves, at the
same time drawing an open distinction between the Guises and the king,
the latter of whom there was no idea of attacking.  The inviolability of
kings and the responsibility of ministers, those two fundamental maxims
of a free monarchy, had already become fixed ideas; but how were they to
be taken advantage of and put in practice when the institutions whereby
political liberty exerts its powers and keeps itself secure were not in
force?  The malcontents, whether Reformers or Catholics, all cried out
for the states-general.  Those of Tours, in 1484, under Charles VIII.,
had left behind them a momentous and an honored memory.  But the Guises
and their partisans energetically rejected this cry.  “They told the king
that whoever spoke of convoking the states-general was his personal enemy
and guilty of high treason; for his people would fain impose law upon him
from whom they ought to take it, in such sort that there would be left to
him nothing of a king but the bare title.  The queen-mother, though all
the while giving fair words to the malcontents, whether Reformers or
others, was also disquieted at their demands, and she wrote to her
son-in-law, Philip II., King of Spain, ‘that they wanted, by means of the
said states, to reduce her to the condition of a maid-of-all-work.’
Whereupon Philip replied ‘that he would willingly employ all his forces
to uphold the authority of the king his brother-in-law and of his
ministers, and that he had forty thousand men all ready in case anybody
should be bold enough to attempt to violate it.’”

In their perplexity, the malcontents, amongst whom the Reformers were
becoming day by day the most numerous and the most urgent, determined to
take the advice of the greatest lawyers and most celebrated theologians
of France and Germany.  They asked whether it would be permissible, with
a good conscience and without falling into the crime of high treason, to
take up arms for the purpose of securing the persons of the Duke of Guise
and the Cardinal of Lorraine, and forcing them to render an account of
their administration.  The doctors, on being consulted, answered that it
would be allowable to oppose by force the far from legitimate supremacy
of the Guises, provided that it were done under the authority of princes
of the blood, born administrators of the realm in such cases, and with
the consent of the orders composing the state, or the greatest and
soundest portion of those orders.  A meeting of the princes who were
hostile to the Guises were held at Vendome to deliberate as to the
conduct to be adopted in this condition of opinions and parties;
the King of Navarre and his brother the Prince of Conde, Coligny,
D’Andelot, and some of their most intimate friends took part in it;
and D’Ardres, confidential secretary to the Constable de Montmorency, was
present.  The Prince of Conde was for taking up arms at once and swoop
down upon the Guises, taking them by surprise.  Coligny formally opposed
this plan; the king, at his majority, had a right, he said, to choose his
own advisers; no doubt it was a deplorable thing to see foreigners at the
head of affairs, but the country must not, for the sake of removing them,
be rashly exposed to the scourge of civil war; perhaps it would be enough
if the queen-mother were made acquainted with the general discontent.
The constable’s secretary coincided with Coligny, whose opinion was
carried.  It was agreed that the Prince of Conde should restrain his
ardor, and let himself be vaguely regarded as the possible leader of the
enterprise if it were to take place, but without giving it, until further
notice, his name and co-operation.  He was called the mute captain.

There was need of a less conspicuous and more pronounced leader for that
which was becoming a conspiracy.  And one soon presented himself in the
person of Godfrey de Barri, Lord of La Renaudie, a nobleman of an ancient
family of Perigord, well known to Duke Francis of Guise, under whose
orders he had served valiantly at Metz in 1552, and who had for some time
protected him against the consequences of a troublesome trial, at which
La Renaudie had been found guilty by the Parliament of Paris of forging
and uttering false titles.  Being forced to leave France, he retired into
Switzerland, to Lausanne and Geneva, where it was not long before he
showed the most passionate devotion for the Reformation.  “He was a man,”
 says De Thou, “of quick and insinuating wits, ready to undertake
anything, and burning with desire to avenge himself, and wipe out,
by some brilliant deed, the infamy of a sentence which he had incurred
rather through another’s than his own crime.  He, then, readily offered
his services to those who were looking out for a second leader, and he
undertook to scour the kingdom in order to win over the men whose names
had been given him.  He got from them all a promise to meet him at Nantes
in February, 1560, and he there made them a long and able speech against
the Guises, ending by saying, ‘God bids us to obey kings even when they
ordain unjust things, and there is no doubt but that they who resist the
powers that God has set up do resist His will.  We have this advantage,
that we, ever full of submission to the prince, are set against none but
traitors hostile to their king and their country, and so much the more
dangerous in that they nestle in the very bosom of the state, and, in the
name and clothed with the authority of a king who is a mere child, are
attacking the kingdom and the king himself.  Now, in order that you may
not suppose that you will be acting herein against your consciences, I am
quite willing to be the first to protest and take God to witness that I
will not think, or say, or do anything against the king, against the
queen his mother, against the princes his brothers, or against those of
his blood; and that, on the contrary, I will defend their majesty and
their dignity, and, at the same time, the authority of the laws and the
liberty of the country against the tyranny of a few foreigners.’” [De
Thou, t. iii.  pp. 467-480.]

“Out of so large an assemblage,” adds the historian, “there was not found
to be one whom so delicate an enterprise caused to recoil, or who asked
for time to deliberate.  It was agreed that, before anything else, a
large number of persons, without arms and free from suspicion, should
repair to court and there present a petition to the king, beseeching him
not to put pressure upon consciences any more, and to permit the free
exercise of religion; that at almost the same time a chosen body of
horsemen should repair to Blois, where the king was, that their
accomplices should admit them into the town and present a new petition
to the king against the Guises, and that, if these princes would not
withdraw and give an account of their administration, they should be
attacked sword in hand; and, lastly, that the Prince of Conde, who had
wished his name to be kept secret up to that time, should put himself at
the head of the conspirators.  The 15th of June was the day fixed for the
execution of it all.”

But the Guises were warned; one of La Renaudie’s friends had revealed the
conspiracy to the Cardinal of Lorraine’s secretary; and from Spain,
Germany, and Italy they received information as to the conspiracy hatched
against them.  The cardinal, impetuous and pusillanimous too, was for
calling out the troops at once; but his brother the duke, “who was not
easily startled,” was opposed to anything demonstrative.  They removed
the king to the castle of Amboise, a safer place than the town of Blois;
and they concerted measures with the queen-mother, to whom the
conspirators were, both in their plans and their persons, almost as
objectionable as to them.  She wrote, in a style of affectionate
confidence, to Coligny, begging him to come to Amboise and give her his
advice.  He arrived in company with his brother D’Andelot, and urged the
queen-mother to grant the Reformers liberty of conscience and of worship,
the only way to checkmate all the mischievous designs and to restore
peace to the kingdom.  Something of what he advised was done: a royal
decree was published and carried up to the Parliament on the 15th of
March, ordaining the abolition of every prosecution on account of
religion, in respect of the past only, and under reservations which
rendered the grace almost inappreciable.  The Guises, on their side,
wrote to the Constable de Montmorency to inform him of the conspiracy,
“of which you will feel as great horror as we do,” and they signed, Your
thoroughly best friends.  The Prince of Conde himself, though informed
about the discovery of the plot, repaired to Amboise without showing any
signs of being disconcerted at the cold reception offered him by the
Lorraine princes.  The Duke of Guise, always bold, even in his
precautions, “found an honorable means of making sure of him,” says
Castelnau, “by giving him the guard at a gate of the town of Amboise,”
 where he had him under watch and ward himself.  The lords and gentlemen
attached to the court made sallies all around Amboise to prevent any
unexpected attack.  “They caught a great many troops badly led and badly
equipped.  Many poor folks, in utter despair and without a leader, asked
pardon as they threw down upon the ground some wretched arms they bore,
and declared that they knew no more about the enterprise than that there
had been a time appointed them to see a petition presented to the king
which concerned the welfare of his service and that of the kingdom.”
 [_Memoires de Castelnau,_ pp. 49, 50.] On the 18th of March, La Renaudie,
who was scouring the country, seeking to rally his men, encountered a
body of royal horse who were equally hotly in quest of the conspirators;
the two detachments attacked one another furiously; La Renaudie was
killed, and his body, which was carried to Amboise, was strung up to a
gallows on the bridge over the Loire with this scroll: “This is La
Renaudie, called La Forest, captain of the rebels, leader and author of
the sedition.”  Disorder continued for several days in the surrounding
country; but the surprise attempted against the Guises was a failure, and
the important result of the riot of Amboise (_tumulte d’Amboise_), as it
was called, was an ordinance of Francis II., who, on the 17th of March,
1560, appointed Duke Francis of Guise “his lieutenant-general,
representing him in person absent and present in this good town of
Amboise and other places of the realm, with full power, authority,
commission, and special mandate to assemble all the princes, lords, and
gentlemen, and generally to command, order, provide, and dispose of all
things requisite and necessary.”

[Illustration: Death of La Renaudie----283]

The young king was, nevertheless, according to what appears, somewhat
troubled at all this uproar and at the language of the conspirators.
“I don’t know how it is,” said he sometimes to the Guises, “but I hear it
said that people are against you only.  I wish you could be away from
here for a time, that we might see whether it is you or I that they are
against.”  But the Guises set about removing this idea by telling the
king that neither he nor his brothers would live one hour after their
departure, and “that the house of Bourbon were only seeking how to
exterminate the king’s house.”  The caresses of the young queen Mary
Stuart were enlisted in support of these assertions of her uncles.  They
made a cruel use of their easy victory “for a whole month,” according to
contemporary chronicles, “there was nothing but hanging or drowning
folks.  The Loire was covered with corpses strung, six, eight, ten, and
fifteen, to long poles.  .  .  .”  “What was strange to see,” says
Regnier de la Planche, “and had never been wont under any form of
government, they were led out to execution without having any sentence
pronounced against them publicly, or having the cause of their death
declared, or having their names mentioned.  They of the Guises reserved
the chief of them, after dinner, to make sport for the ladies; the two
sexes were ranged at the windows of the castle, as if it were a question
of seeing some mummery played.  And what is worse, the king and his young
brothers were present at these spectacles, as if the desire were to
‘blood’ them; the sufferers were pointed out to them by the Cardinal of
Lorraine with all the signs of a man greatly rejoiced, and when the poor
wretches died with more than usual firmness, he would say, ‘See, sir,
what brazenness and madness; the fear of death cannot abate their pride
and felonry.  What would they do, then, if they had you in their
clutches?’”

It was too much vengeance to take and too much punishment to inflict for
a danger so short-lived and so strictly personal.  So hideous was the
spectacle that the Duchess of Guise, Anne d’Este, daughter of Renee of
France, Duchess of Ferrara, took her departure one day, saying, as she
did so, to Catherine de’ Medici, “Ah! madame, what a whirlwind of hatred
is gathering about the heads of my poor children!”  There was, throughout
a considerable portion of the country, a profound feeling of indignation
against the Guises.  One of their victims, Villemongey, just as it came
to his turn to die, plunged his hands into his comrades’ blood, saying,
“Heavenly Father, this is the blood of Thy children: Thou wilt avenge
it!” John d’Aubigne, a nobleman of Saintonge, as he passed through
Amboise one market-day with his son, a little boy eight years old,
stopped before the heads fixed upon the posts, and said to the child,
“My boy, spare not thy head, after mine, to avenge these brave chiefs; if
thou spare thyself, thou shalt have my curse upon thee.”  The Chancellor
Olivier himself, for a long while devoted to the Guises, but now
seriously ill and disquieted about the future of his soul, said to
himself, quite low, as he saw the Cardinal of Lorraine, from whom he had
just received a visit, going out, “Ah! cardinal, you are getting us all
damned!”

[Illustration: Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condo----285]

The mysterious chieftain, the mute captain of the conspiracy of Amboise,
Prince Louis of Conde, remained unattainted, and he remained at Amboise
itself.  People were astounded at his security.  He had orders not to
move away; his papers were seized by the grand prelate; but his coolness
and his pride did not desert him for an instant.  We will borrow from the
_Histoire des Princes de Conde_ (t. i.  pp. 68-71), by the Duke of
Aumale, the present heir, and a worthy one, of that line, the account of
his appearance before Francis II., “in full council, in presence of the
two queens, the knights of the order, and the great officers of the
crown.  ‘As I am certified,’ said he, ‘that I have near the king’s person
enemies who are seeking the ruin of me and mine, I have begged him to do
me so much favor as to hear my answer in this company here present.  Now,
I declare that, save his own person and the persons of his brothers, of
the queen his mother and of the queen regnant, those who have reported
that I was chief and leader of certain sedition-mongers, who are said to
have conspired against his person and state, have falsely and miserably
lied.  And renouncing, for the nonce, my quality as prince of the blood,
which I hold, however, of God alone, I am ready to make them confess, at
the sword’s point, that they are cowards and rascals, themselves seeking
the subversion of the state and the crown, whereof I am bound to promote
the maintenance by a better title than my accusers.  If there be, amongst
those present, any one who has made such a report and will maintain it,
let him declare as much this moment.’  The Duke of Guise, rising to his
feet, protested that he could not bear to have so great a prince any
longer calumniated, and offered to be his second.  Conde, profiting by
the effect produced by his proud language, demanded and obtained leave
to retire from the court, which he quitted at once.”

All seemed to be over; but the whole of France had been strongly moved by
what had just taken place; and, though the institutions which invite a
people to interfere in its own destinies were not at the date of the
sixteenth century in regular and effective working order, there was
everywhere felt, even at court, the necessity of ascertaining the feeling
of the country.  On all sides there was a demand for the convocation of
the states-general.  The Guises and the queen-mother, who dreaded this
great and independent national power, attempted to satisfy public opinion
by calling an assembly of notables, not at all numerous, and chosen by
themselves.  It was summoned to meet on August 21, 1560, at
Fontainebleau, in the apartments of the queen-mother.  Some great lords,
certain bishops, the Constable de Montmorency, two marshals of France,
the privy councillors, the knights of the order, the secretaries of state
and finance, Chancellor de l’Hospital and Coligny, took part in it; the
King of Navarre and the Prince of Conde did not respond to the summons
they received; the constable rode up with a following of six hundred
horse.  The first day was fully taken up by a statement, presented to the
assembly by L’Hospital, of the evils that had fallen upon France, and by
a declaration on the part of the Guises that they were ready to render an
account of their administration and of their actions.  Next day, just as
the Bishop of Valence was about to speak, Coligny went up to the king,
made two genuflections, stigmatized in energetic terms the Amboise
conspiracy and every similar enterprise, and presented two petitions,
one intended for the king himself and the other for the queen-mother.
“They were forwarded to me in Normandy,” said he, “by faithful
Christians, who make their prayers to God in accordance with the true
rules of piety.  They ask for nothing but the liberty of holding their
own creed, and that of having temples and celebrating their worship in
certain fixed places.  If necessary, this petition would be signed by
fifty thousand persons.”  “And I,” said the Duke of Guise brusquely,
“would find a million to sign a contrary petition.”  This incident went
no further between the two speakers.  A great discussion began as to the
reforms desirable in the church, and as to the convocation of a general
council, or, in default thereof, a national council.  The Cardinal of
Lorraine spoke last, and vehemently attacked the petitions presented by
Admiral de Coligny.  “Though couched in moderate and respectful terms,”
 said he, “this document is, at bottom, insolent and seditious; it is as
much as to say that those gentry would be obedient and submissive if the
king would be pleased to authorize their mischievous sentiments.  For the
rest,” he added, “as it is merely a question of improving morals and
putting in force strict discipline, the meeting of a council, whether
general or national, appears to me quite unnecessary.  I consent to the
holding of the states-general.”

The opinion of the Cardinal of Lorraine was adopted by the king, the
queen-mother, and the assemblage.  An edict dated August 26 convoked a
meeting of the states-general at Meaux on the 10th of December following.
As to the question of a council, general or national, it was referred to
the decision of the pope and the bishops of France.  Meanwhile, it was
announced that the punishment of sectaries would, for the present, be
suspended, but that the king reserved to himself and his judges the right
of severely chastising those who had armed the populace and kindled
sedition.  “Thus it was,” adds De Thou, “that the Protestant religion,
hitherto so hated, began to be tolerated, and in a manner authorized, by
consent of its enemies themselves.”  [_Histoire Universelle,_ t. iii.
p. 535.]

The elections to the states-general were very stormy; all parties
displayed the same ardor; the Guises by identifying themselves more and
more with the Catholic cause, and employing, to further its triumph, all
the resources of the government; the Reformers by appealing to the rights
of liberty and to the passions bred of sect and of local independence.
A royal decree was addressed to all the bailiffs of the kingdom.
“Ye shall not fail,” said the king to them, “to keep your eyes open,
and give orders that such mischievous spirits as may be composed of the
remnants of the Amboise rebellion or other gentry, studious of innovation
and alteration in the state, be so discovered and restrained that they be
not able to corrupt by their machinations, under whatsoever pretexts they
may hide them, simple folks led on by confidence in the clemency whereof
we have heretofore made use.”  The bailiffs followed, for the most part
successfully, but in some cases vainly, the instructions they had
received.  One morning in December, 1560, the Duke of Guise was visited
by a courier from the Count de Villars, governor of Languedoc; he
informed the duke that the deputies of that province had just been
appointed, and that they all belonged to the new religion, and were
amongst the most devoted to the sect; there was not a moment to lose,
“for they were men of wits, great reputation, and circumspection.  The
governor was very vexed at not having been able to prevent their election
and departure; but plurality of votes had carried the day against him.”
 This despatch was “no sooner received than some men were got ready to go
and meet those deputies, in order to put them in a place where they would
never have been able to do good or harm.”  The deputies of Languedoc
escaped this ambuscade, and arrived safe and sound at Orleans; but they
“were kept under strict watch, and their papers were confiscated up to
the moment when the death of the king occurred to deliver them from all
fear.”  [_Histoire des Etats generaux,_ by G. Picot, t. ii.  pp. 25-29.]
In Provence, in Dauphiny, in the countship of Avignon, at Lyons, on
occasion and in the midst of the electoral struggle, several local
risings, seizures of arms, and surprisals of towns took place and
disturbed the public peace.  There was not yet religious civil war, but
there were the preparatory note and symptoms of it.

At the same time that they were thus laboring to keep out of the
approaching states-general adversaries of obscure rank and belonging to
the people, the Guises had very much at heart a desire that the great
leaders of the Reformers and of the Catholic malcontents, especially the
two princes of the house of Bourbon, the King of Navarre and the Prince
of Conde, should come to this assembly, and there find themselves under
the thumb of their enemies.  They had not gone to the assemblage of
notables at Fontainebleau, and their hostility to the Guises had been
openly shown during and since that absence.  Nothing was left untried to
attract them, not to Meaux any longer, but to Orleans, whither the
meeting of the states-general had been transferred.  King Francis II.,
a docile instrument in the hands of his uncles and his young queen their
niece, wrote letter after letter to the King of Navarre, urging him to
bring with him his brother the Prince of Conde to clear himself of the
accusations brought against him “by these miserable heretics, who made
marvellous charges against him.  .  .  .  Conde would easily prove the
falsity of the assertions made by these rascals.”  The King of Navarre
still hesitated; the king insisted haughtily.  “I should be sorry,” he
wrote on the 30th of August, 1560, “that into the heart of a person of
such good family, and one that touches me so nearly, so miserable an
inclination should have entered; being able to assure you that
whereinsoever he refuses to obey me I shall know perfectly well how to
make it felt that I am king.”  The Prince of Conde’s mother-in-law, the
Countess of Roye, wrote to the queen-mother that the prince would appear
at court if the king commanded it; but she begged her beforehand not to
think it strange if, on going to a place where his most cruel enemies had
every power, he went attended by his friends.  Whether she really were,
or only pretended to be, shocked at what looked like a threat, Catherine
replied that no person in France had a right to approach the king in any
other wise than with his ordinary following, and that, if the Prince of
Conde went to court with a numerous escort, he would find the king still
better attended.  At last the King of Navarre and his brother made up
their minds.  How could they elude formal orders?  Armed resistance had
become the only possible resource, and the Prince of Conde lacked means
to maintain it; his scarcity of money was such that, in order to procure
him a thousand gold crowns, his mother-in-law had been obliged to pledge
her castle of Germany to the Constable de Montmorency.  In spite of fears
and remonstrances on the part of their most sincere friends, the two
chiefs of the house of Bourbon left their homes and set out for Orleans.
On their arrival before Poitiers, great was their surprise: the governor,
Montpezat, shut the gates against them as public enemies.  They were on
the point of abruptly retracing their steps; but Montpezat had ill
understood his instructions; he ought to have kept an eye upon the
Bourbons without displaying any bad disposition towards them, so long as
they prosecuted their journey peacefully; the object was, on the
contrary, to heap upon them marks of respect, and neglect nothing to give
them confidence.  Marshal de Termes, despatched in hot haste, went to
open the gates of Poitiers to the princes, and receive them there with
the honors due to them.  They resumed their route, and arrived on the
30th of October at Orleans.

The reception they there met with cannot be better described than it has
been by the Duke of Aumale: “Not one of the crown’s officers came to
receive the princes; no honor was paid them; the streets were deserted,
silent, and occupied by a military guard.  In conformity with usage, the
King of Navarre presented himself on horseback at the great gate of the
royal abode; it remained closed.  He had to pocket the insult, and pass
on foot through the wicket, between a double row of gentlemen wearing an
air of insolence.  The king awaited the princes in his chamber; behind
him were ranged the Guises and the principal lords; not a word, not a
salutation on their part.  After this freezing reception, Francis II.
conducted the two brothers to his mother, who received them, according to
Regnier de la Planche’s expression, ‘with crocodile’s tears.’  The Guises
did not follow them thither, in order to escape any personal dispute, and
so as not to be hearers of the severe words which they had themselves
dictated to the young monarch.  The king questioned Conde sharply; but
the latter, ‘who was endowed with great courage, and spoke as well as
ever any prince or gentleman in the world, was not at all startled, and
defended his cause with many good and strong reasons,’  protesting his
own innocence and accusing the Guises of calumniation.  When he haughtily
alluded to the word of honor which had been given him, the king,
interrupting him, made a sign; and the two captains of the guard, Breze
and Chavigny, entered and took the prince’s sword.  He was conducted to a
house in the city, near the Jacobins’, which was immediately barred,
crenelated, surrounded by soldiers, and converted into a veritable
bastile.  Whilst they were removing him thither, Conde exclaimed loudly
against this brazen violation of all the promises of safety by which he
had been lured on when urged to go to Orleans.  The only answer he
received was his committal to absolutely solitary confinement and the
withdrawal of his servants.  The King of Navarre vainly asked to have his
brother’s custody confided to him; he obtained nothing but a coarse
refusal; and he himself, separated from his escort, was kept under ocular
supervision in his apartment.”

The trial of the Prince of Conde commenced immediately.  He was brought
before the privy council.  He claimed, as a prince of the blood and
knight of the order of St. Michael, his right to be tried only by the
court of Parliament furnished with the proper complement of peers and
knights of the order.  This latter safeguard was worth nothing in his
case, for there had been created, just lately, eighteen new knights, all
friends and creatures of the Guises.  His claim, however, was rejected;
and he repeated it, at the same time refusing to reply to any
interrogation, and appealing “from the king ill advised to the king
better advised.”  A priest was sent to celebrate mass in his chamber: but
“I came,” said he, “to clear myself from the calumnies alleged against
me, which is of more consequence to me than hearing mass.”  He did not
attempt to conceal his antipathy towards the Guises, and the part he had
taken in the hostilities directed against them.  An officer, to whom
permission had been given to converse with him in presence of his
custodians, told him “that an appointment (accommodation) with the Duke
of Guise would not be an impossibility for him.”  “Appointment between
him and me!” answered Conde: “it can only be at the point of the lance.”
 The Duchess Renee of Ferrara, daughter of Louis XII., having come to
France at this time, went to Orleans to pay her respects to the king.
The Duke of Guise was her son-in-law, and she reproached him bitterly
with Conde’s trial.  “You have just opened,” said she, “a wound which
will bleed a long while; they who have dared to attack persons of the
blood royal have always found it a bad job.”  The prince asked to see, in
the presence of such persons as the king might appoint, his wife, Eleanor
of Roye, who, from the commencement of the trial, “solicited this favor
night and day, often throwing herself on her knees before the king with
tears incredible; but the Cardinal of Lorraine, fearing lest his Majesty
should be moved with compassion, drove away the princess most rudely,
saying that, if she had her due, she would herself be placed in the
lowest dungeon.”  For them of Guise the princess was a thorn in the
flesh, for she lacked not wits, or language, or courage, insomuch that
they had some discussion about making away with her.  [_Memoires de
Castelnau,_ p. 119; _Histoire de l’Etat de France, Cant de la Republique
que de la Religion, sous Francois II.,_ by L. Regnier, Sieur de la
Planche.]  She demanded that at any rate able lawyers might act as
counsel for her husband.  Peter Robert and Francis de Marillac, advocates
of renown in the Parliament of Paris, were appointed by the king for that
purpose, but their assistance proved perfectly useless; on the 26th of
November, 1560, the Prince of Conde was sentenced to death; and the
sentence was to be carried out on the 10th of December, the very day of
the opening of the states-general.  Most of the historians say that, when
it came to the question of signing it, three judges only, Chancellor de
l’Hospital, the councillor of state, Duportail, and the aged Count of
Sancerre, Louis de Bueil, refused to put their names to it.  “For my
part,” says the scrupulous De Thou, “I can see nothing quite certain as
to all that.  I believe that the sentence of death was drawn up and not
signed.  I remember to have heard it so said a long while afterwards by
my father, a truthful and straightforward man, to whom this form of
sentence had always been distasteful.”

Many contemporaries report, and De Thou accords credence to the report,
that, in order to have nothing more to fear from the house of Bourbon,
the Guises had resolved to make away with King Anthony of Navarre as well
as his brother the Prince of Conde, but by another process.  Feeling
persuaded that it would be impossible to obtain against the elder brother
a sentence ever so little in accordance with justice, for his conduct had
been very reserved, they had, it is said, agreed that King Francis II.
should send for the King of Navarre into his closet and reproach him
severely for his secret complicity with his brother Conde, and that if
the King of Navarre defended himself stubbornly, he should be put to
death on the spot by men posted there for the purpose.  It is even added
that Francis II. was to strike the first blow.  Catherine de’ Medici, who
was beginning to be disquieted at the arrogance and successes of the
Lorraine princes, sent warning of this peril to the King of Navarre by
Jacqueline de Longwy, Duchess of Montpensier; and, just as he was
proceeding to the royal audience from which he was not sure to return,
Anthony de Bourbon, who was wanting in head rather than in heart, said to
Renty, one of his gentlemen, “If I die yonder, carry my blood-stained
shirt to my wife and my son, and tell my wife to send it round to the
foreign princes of Christendom, that they may avenge my death, as my son
is not yet of sufficient age.”  We may remark that the wife was Jeanne
d’Albret, and the son was to be Henry IV.  According to the chroniclers,
when Francis II. looked in the eyes of the man he was to strike, his
fierce resolve died away: the King of Navarre retired, safe and sound,
from the interview, and the Duke of Guise, irritated at the weakness of
the king his master, muttered between his teeth, “‘Tis the very whitest
liver that ever was.”

In spite of De Thou’s indorsement of this story, it is doubtful whether
its authenticity can be admitted; if the interview between the two kings
took place, prudence on the part of the King of Navarre seems to be quite
as likely an explanation of the result as hesitation to become a murderer
on the part of Francis II.

One day Conde was playing cards with some officers on guard over him,
when a servant of his who had been permitted to resume attendance on his
master, pretending to approach him for the purpose of picking up a card,
whispered in his ear, “Our gentleman is _croqued_.”  The prince,
mastering his emotion, finished his game.  He then found means of being
for a moment alone with his servant, and learned from him that Francis
II. was dead.  [_Histoire des Princes de Conde, by the Duke d’Aumale,_
t. i.  p. 94.]  On the 17th of November, 1560, as he was mounting his
horse to go hunting, he fainted suddenly.  He appeared to have recovered,
and was even able to be present when the final sentence was pronounced
against Conde; but on the 29th of November there was a fresh
fainting-fit.  It appears that Ambrose Pare, at that time the first
surgeon of his day, and a faithful Reformer, informed his patron, Admiral
Coligny, that there would not be long to wait, and that it was all over
with the king.  Up to the very last moment, either by themselves or
through their niece Mary Stuart, the Guises preserved their influence
over him: Francis II. sent for the King of Navarre, to assure him that it
was quite of his own accord, and not by advice of the Guises, that he had
brought Conde to trial.  He died on the 5th of December, 1560, of an
effusion on the brain, resulting from a fistula and an abscess in the
ear.

[Illustration: Mary Stuart----284]

Through a fog of brief or doubtful evidence we can see at the bedside of
this dying king his wife Mary Stuart, who gave him to the last her tender
ministrations, and Admiral de Coligny, who, when the king had heaved his
last sigh, rose up, and, with his air of pious gravity, said aloud before
the Cardinal of Lorraine and the others who were present, “Gentlemen, the
king is dead.  A lesson to us to live.”  At the same moment the Constable
de Montmorency, who had been ordered some time ago to Orleans, but had,
according to his practice, travelled but slowly, arrived suddenly at the
city gate, threatened to hang the ill-informed keepers of it, who
hesitated to let him enter, and hastened to fold in his arms his niece,
the Princess of Conde, whom the death of Francis II.  restored to hope.

[Illustration: Coligny at the Death-bed of Francis II.----295]



CHAPTER XXXIII.----CHARLES IX. AND THE RELIGIOUS WARS. (1560-1574.)

We now enter upon the era of the civil wars, massacres, and
assassinations caused by religious fanaticism or committed on religious
pretexts.  The latter half of the sixteenth century is the time at which
the human race saw the opening of that great drama, of which religious
liberty is the beginning and the end; and France was then the chief scene
of it.  At the close of the fifteenth and at the commencement of the
sixteenth centuries, religious questions had profoundly agitated
Christian Europe; but towards the middle of the latter century they had
obtained in the majority of European states solutions which, however
incomplete, might be regarded as definitive.  Germany was divided into
Catholic states and Protestant states, which had established between
themselves relations of an almost pacific character.  Switzerland was
entering upon the same course.  In England, Scotland, the Low Countries,
the Scandinavian states, and the free towns their neighbors, the
Reformation had prevailed or was clearly tending to prevail.  In Italy,
Spain, and Portugal, on the contrary, the Reformation had been stifled,
and Catholicism remained victorious.  It was in France that,
notwithstanding the inequality of forces, the struggle between
Catholicism and Protestantism was most obstinately maintained, and
appeared for the longest time uncertain.  After half a century of civil
wars and massacres it terminated in Henry IV., a Protestant king, who
turned Catholic, but who gave Protestants the edict of Nantes; a
precious, though insufficient and precarious pledge, which served France
as a point of departure towards religious liberty, and which protected it
for nearly a century, in the midst of the brilliant victory won by
Catholicism.  [The edict of Nantes, published by Henry IV. in 1598, was
revoked by Louis XIV. in 1685.]

For more than three centuries civilized Europe has been discussing, pro
or con, the question of religious liberty, but from instinct and with
passion far more than with a serious understanding of what is at the
bottom of things.  Even in our own day it is not without difficulty that
a beginning is being made to understand and accept that principle in its
true sense and in all its bearings.  Men were wonderfully far from it in
1560, at the accession of Charles IX., a child ten years old; they were
entering, in blind confidence, upon a religious war, in order to arrive,
only after four centuries of strife and misconception, at a vindication
of religious liberty.  “Woe to thee, O country, that hast a child for
king!” said, in accordance with the Bible, the Venetian Michael Suriano,
ambassador to France at that time.  Around that royal child, and seeking
to have the mastery over France by being masters over him, were
struggling the three great parties at that time occupying the stage in
the name of religion.  The Catholics rejected altogether the idea of
religious liberty for the Protestants; the Protestants had absolute need
of it, for it was their condition of existence; but they did not wish for
it in the case of the Catholics, their adversaries.  The third party
(_tiers parti_), as we call it nowadays, wished to hold the balance
continually wavering between the Catholics and the Protestants, conceding
to the former and the latter, alternately, that measure of liberty which
was indispensable for most imperfect maintenance of the public peace, and
reconcilable with the sovereign power of the kingship.  On such
conditions was the government of Charles IX. to establish its existence.

The death of Francis II. put an end to a grand project of the Guises,
which we do not find expressly indicated elsewhere than in the _Memoires_
of Michael de Castelnau, one of the best informed and most intelligent
historians of the time.  “Many Catholics,” says he, “were then of opinion
that, if the authority of the Duke of Guise had continued to be armed
with that of the king as it had been, the Protestants would have had
enough to do.  For orders had been sent to all the principal lords of the
kingdom, officers of the crown and knights of the order, to show
themselves in the said city of Orleans on Christmas-day at the opening of
the states, for that they might be all made to sign the confession of the
Catholic faith in presence of the king and the chapter of the order;
together with all the members of the privy council, reporting-masters (of
petitions), domestic officers of the king’s household, and all the
deputies of the estates.  The same confession was to be published
throughout all the said kingdom, in order to have it sworn by all the
judges, magistrates, and officers, and, finally, all private persons from
parish to parish.  And in default of so doing, proceedings were to be
taken by seizures, condemnations, executions, banishments, and
confiscations.  And they who did repent themselves and abjured their
Protestant religion were to be absolved.”  [_Memoires de Michel de
Castelnau,_ book ii.  chap. xii.  p. 121, in the _Petitot_ collection.]
It is not to be supposed that, even if circumstances had remained as they
were under the reign of Francis II., such a plan could have been
successful; but it is intelligible that the Guises had conceived such an
idea: they were victorious; they had just procured the condemnation to
death of the most formidable amongst the Protestant princes, their
adversary Louis de Conde; they were threatening the life of his brother
the King of Navarre; and the house of Bourbon seemed to be on the point
of disappearing beneath the blows of the ambitious, audacious, and by no
means scrupulous house of Lorraine.  Not even the prospect of Francis
II.’s death arrested the Guises in their work and their hopes; when they
saw that he was near his end, they made a proposal to the queen-mother to
unite herself completely with them, leave the Prince of Conde to
execution, rid herself of the King of Navarre, and become regent of the
kingdom during the minority of her son Charles, taking them, the Lorraine
princes and their party, for necessary partners in her government.  But
Catherine de’ Medici was more prudent, more judicious, and more
egotistical in her ambition than the Guises were in theirs; she was not,
as they were, exclusively devoted to the Catholic party; it was power
that she wanted, and she sought for it every day amongst the party or the
mixtures of parties in a condition to give it her.  She considered the
Catholic party to be the strongest, and it was hers; but she considered
the Protestant party strong enough to be feared, and to give her a
certain amount of security and satisfaction: a security necessary,
moreover, if peace at home, and not civil war, were to be the habitual
and general condition of France.  Catherine was, finally, a woman, and
very skilful in the strifes of court and of government, whilst, on the
field of battle, the victories, though won in her name, would be those of
the Guises more than her own.  Without openly rejecting the proposals
they made to her under their common apprehension of Francis II.’s
approaching death, she avoided making any reply.  She had, no doubt,
already taken her precautions and her measures in advance; her
confidante, Jacqueline de Longwy, Duchess of Montpensier and a zealous
Protestant, had brought to her rooms at night Antony de Bourbon, King of
Navarre, and Catherine had come to an agreement with him about the
partition of power between herself and him at the death of the king her
son.  She had written to the Constable de Montmorency, a rival of the
Guises and their foe though a stanch Catholic, to make haste to Orleans,
where his presence would be required.  As soon as Chancellor de
l’Hospital became aware of the proposals which were being made by the
Guises to the queen-mother, he flew to her and opposed them with all the
energy of his great and politic mind and sterling nature.  Was she going
to deliver the Prince of Conde to the scaffold, the house of Bourbon to
ruin, France to civil war, and the independence of the crown and of that
royal authority which she was on the point of wielding herself to the
tyrannical domination of her rivals the Lorraine princes and of their
party?  Catherine listened with great satisfaction to this judicious and
honest language.  When the crown passed to her son Charles she was free
from any serious anxiety as to her own position and her influence in the
government.  The new king, on announcing to the Parliament the death of
his brother, wrote to them that “confiding in the virtues and prudence of
the queen-mother, he had begged her to take in hand the administration of
the kingdom, with the wise counsel and advice of the King of Navarre and
the notables and great personages of the late king’s council.”  A few
months afterwards the states-general, assembling first at Orleans and
afterwards at Pontoise, ratified this declaration by recognizing the
placement of “the young King Charles IX.’s guardianship in the hands of
Catherine de’ Medici, his mother, together with the principal direction
of affairs, but without the title of regent.”  The King of Navarre was to
assist her in the capacity of lieutenant-general of the kingdom.
Twenty-five members specially designated were to form the king’s privy
council. [_Histoire des Etats generaux,_ by M. Picot, t. ii.  p. 73.]
And in the privacy of her motherly correspondence Catherine wrote to the
Queen of Spain, her daughter Elizabeth, wife of Philip II., “Madame, my
dear daughter, all I shall tell you is, not to be the least anxious, and
to rest assured that I shall spare no pains to so conduct myself that
God and everybody may have occasion to be satisfied with me.  .  .  .
You have seen the time when I was as happy as you are, not dreaming of
ever having any greater trouble than that of not being loved as I should
have liked to be by the king your father.  God took him from me, and is
not content with that; He has taken from me your brother, whom I loved
you well know how much, and has left me with three young children, and
in a kingdom where all is division, having therein not a single man in
whom I can trust, and who has not some particular object of his own.”

The queen-mother of France, who wrote to her daughter the Queen of Spain
with such firmness of tone and such independence of spirit, was, to use
the words of the Venetian ambassador John Michieli, who had lived at her
court, “a woman of forty-three, of affable manners, great moderation,
superior intelligence, and ability in conducting all sorts of affairs,
especially affairs of state.  As mother, she has the personal management
of the king; she allows no one else to sleep in his room; she is never
away from him.  As regent and head of the government, she holds
everything in her hands, public offices, benefices, graces, and the seal
which bears the king’s signature, and which is called the cachet
(privy-seal or signet).  In the council, she allows the others to speak;
she replies to any one who needs it; she decides according to the advice
of the council, or according to what she may have made up her own mind
to. She opens the letters addressed to the king by his ambassadors and
by all the ministers.  .  .  .  She has great designs, and does not
allow them to be easily penetrated.  As for her way of living, she is
very fond of her ease and pleasure; she observes few rules; she eats and
drinks a great deal; she considers that she makes up for it by taking a
great deal of exercise a-foot and a-horseback; she goes a-hunting; and
last year she always joined the king in his stag-chases, through the
woods and thick forests, a dangerous sort of chase for anyone who is not
an excellent rider.  She has an olive complexion, and is already very
fat; accordingly the doctors have not a good opinion of her life.  She
has a dower of three hundred thousand francs a year, double that of
other queens-dowager.  She was formerly always in money-difficulties and
in debt; now, she not only keeps out of debt, but she spends and gives
more liberally than ever.”  [_Relations des Ambassadeurs venztzens,_
published by A. N. Tommaseo, t. i.  pp. 427-429.]

As soon as the reign of Charles IX.  and the queen-mother’s government
were established, notice was sent to the Prince of Conde that he was
free.  He refused to stir from prison; he would wait, he said, until his
accusers were confined there.  He was told that it was the king’s express
order, and was what Francis II. on his death-bed had himself impressed
upon the King of Navarre.  Conde determined to set out for La Fere, a
place belonging to his brother Anthony de Bourbon, and there await fresh
orders from the king.  In February, 1561, he left La Fare for
Fontainebleau.  On his road to Paris his friends flocked to him and made
him a splendid escort.  On approaching the king’s palace Conde separated
himself from his following, and advanced alone with two of his most
faithful friends.  All the lords of the court, the Duke of Guise amongst
them, went to meet him.  On the 15th of March he was admitted to the
privy council.  Chancellor de l’Hospital, on the prince’s own demand,
affirmed that no charge had been found against him.  The king declared
his innocence in a deed signed by all the members of the council.  On the
13th of June, in solemn session, the Parliament of Paris, sitting as a
court of peers, confirmed this declaration.  Notwithstanding the Duke of
Guise’s co-operation in all these acts, Conde desired something of a more
personal kind on his part.

[Illustration: Francis de Lorraine, Duke of Aumale and of Guise----302]

On the 24th of August, at St. Germain, in presence of the king, the
queen-mother, the princes, and the court, the Duke of Guise, in reply to
a question from the king, protested “that he had not, and would never
have desired to, put forward anything against the prince’s honor, and
that he had been neither the author nor the instigator of his
imprisonment.”  “Sir,” said Conde, “I consider wicked and contemptible
him or them who caused it.”  “So I think, sir,” answered Guise, “and it
does not apply to me at all.”  Whereupon they embraced, and a report was
drawn up of the ceremony, which was called their reconciliation.  Just as
it was ending, Marshal Francis de Montmorency, eldest son of the
constable, and far more inclined than his father was towards the cause of
the Reformers, arrived with a numerous troop of friends, whom he had
mustered to do honor to Conde.  The court was a little excited at this
incident.  The constable declared that, having the honor to be so closely
connected with the princes of Bourbon, his son would have been to blame
if he had acted differently.  The aged warrior had himself negotiated
this reconciliation; and when it was accomplished, and the Duke of Guise
had performed his part in it with so much complaisance, the constable
considered himself to be quits with his former allies, and free to
follow his leaning towards the Catholic party. “The veteran,” says the
Duke of Autnale, “did not pique himself on being a theologian; but he
was sincerely attached to the Catholic faith because it was the old
religion and the king’s; and he separated himself definitively from
those religious and political innovators whom he had at first seemed to
countenance, and amongst whom he reckoned his nearest relatives.”  In
vain did his eldest son try to hold him back; a close union was formed
between the Constable de Montmorency, the Duke of Guise, and Marshal de
Saint-Andre, and it became the Catholic triumvirate against which
Catherine de’ Medici had at one time to defend herself, and of which she
had at another to avail herself in order to carry out the policy of
see-saw she had adopted as her chief means of government.

Before we call to mind and estimate as they deserve the actions of that
government, we must give a correct idea of the moral condition of the
people governed, of their unbridled passions, and of the share of
responsibility reverting to them in the crimes and shocking errors of
that period.  It is a mistake and an injustice, only too common, to lay
all the burden of such facts, and the odium justly due to them, upon the
great actors almost exclusively whose name has remained attached to them
in history; the people themselves have very often been the prime movers
in them; they have very often preceded and urged on their masters in the
black deeds which have sullied their history; and on the masses as well
as on the leaders ought the just sentence of posterity to fall.  The
moment we speak of the St. Bartholomew, it seems as if Charles IX.,
Catherine de’ Medici, and the Guises issued from their grave to receive
that sentence; and God forbid that we should wish to deliver them from
it; but it hits the nameless populace of their day as well as themselves,
and the hands of the people, far more than the will of kings, began the
tale of massacres for religion’s sake.  This is no vague and general
assertion; and, to show it, we shall only have to enumerate, with their
dates, the principal facts of which history has preserved the memory,
whilst stigmatizing them, with good reason, as massacres or murders.  The
greater number, as was to be expected, are deeds done by Catholics, for
they were by far the more numerous and more frequently victorious; but
Protestants also have sometimes deserved a place in this tragic category,
and when we meet with them, we will assuredly not blot them out.

We confine the enumeration to the reign of Charles IX., and in it we
place only such massacres and murders as were not the results of any
legal proceeding.  We say nothing of judicial sentences and executions,
however outrageous and iniquitous they may have been.

The first fact which presents itself is a singular one.  Admiral de
Coligny’s eldest brother, Odet de Chatillon, was a Catholic, Bishop of
Beauvais, and a cardinal; in 1550, he had gone to Rome and had
co-operated in the election of Pope Julius III.; in 1554, he had
published some _Constitutions synodales_ (synodal regulations), to remedy
certain abuses which had crept into his diocese, and, in 1561, he
proposed to make in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper some
modifications which smacked, it is said, of the innovations of Geneva.
The populace of Beauvais were so enraged at this that they rose up
against him, massacred a schoolmaster whom he tried to protect, and would
have massacred the bishop himself if troops sent from Paris had not come
to his assistance.

In the same year, 1561, the Protestants had a custom of meeting at Paris,
for their religious exercises, in a house called the Patriarch’s house,
very near the church of St. Medard.  On the 27th of December, whilst the
Reformed minister was preaching, the Catholics had all the bells of St.
Medard rung in full peal.  The minister sent two of his congregation to
beg the incumbent to have the bell-ringing stopped for a short time.  The
mob threw themselves upon the two messengers: one was killed, and the
other, after making a stout defence, returned badly wounded to the
Patriarch’s house, and fell dead at the preacher’s feet.  The provost of
tradesmen was for having the bells stopped; the riot became violent; the
house of the Reformers was stormed; and the provost’s archers had great
difficulty in putting a stop to the fight.  More than a hundred persons,
it is said, were killed or wounded.

[Illustration: Massacre of Protestants---305]

In 1562, in the month of February, whilst the Guises were travelling in
Germany, with the object of concluding, in the interests of policy,
alliances with some German Lutheran princes, disturbances broke out at
Cahors, Amiens, Sens, and Tours, between the Protestants and the
Catholics.  Which of the two began them?  It would be difficult to
determine.  The passions that lead to insult, attack, defence, and
vengeance were mutually felt and equally violent on both sides.  Montluc
was sent to Guienne by the queen-mother to restore order there; but
nearly everywhere he laid the blame on the Protestants.  His Memoires
prove that he harried them without any form of justice.  “At Sauveterre,”
 says he, “I caught five or six, all of whom I had hanged without expense
of paper or ink, and without giving them a hearing, for those gentry are
regular Chrysostoms (_parlent d’or_).”  “I was informed that at Gironde
there were sixty or eighty Huguenots belonging to them of La Reole, who
had retreated thither; the which were all taken, and I had them hanged to
the pillars of the market-place without further ceremony.  One hanged has
more effect than a hundred slain.”  When Montluc took Monsegur, “the
massacre lasted for ten hours or more,” says he, “because search was made
for them in the houses; the dead were counted and found to be more than
seven hundred.”  [_Memoires de Montluc,_ t. ii.  pp. 442, 443-447.]

Almost at the very time at which Montluc, who had been sent to Guienne to
restore order there between the Catholics and the Protestants, was
treating the latter with this shocking severity, an incident, more
serious because of the rank of the persons concerned, took place at
Vassy, a small town in Champagne, near which the Duke of Guise passed on
returning from Germany.  Hearing, as he went, the sound of bells, he
asked what it meant.  “It is the church of the Huguenots of Vassy,” was
the answer.  “Are there many of them?” asked the duke.  He was told that
there were, and that they were increasing more and more.  “Then,” says
the chronicler, “he began to mutter and to put himself in a white heat,
gnawing his beard, as he was wont to do when he was enraged or had a mind
to take vengeance.”  Did he turn aside out of his way with his following,
to pass right through Vassy, or did he confine himself to sending some of
his people to bring him an account of what was happening there?  When a
fact which was at the outset insignificant has become a great event, it
is hardly possible to arrive at any certain knowledge of the truth as to
the small details of its origin.  Whatever may have been the case in the
first instance, a quarrel, and, before long, a struggle, began between
the preacher’s congregation and the prince’s following.  Being informed
of the matter whilst he was at table, the Duke of Guise rose up, went to
the spot, found the combatants very warmly at work, and himself received
several blows from stones; and, when the fight was put a stop to,
forty-nine persons had been killed in it, nearly all on the Protestant
side; more than two hundred others, it is said, came out of it severely
wounded; and, whether victors or vanquished, all were equally irritated.
The Protestants complained vehemently; and Conde offered, in their name,
fifty thousand men to resent this attack, but his brother, the King of
Navarre, on the contrary, received with a very bad grace the pleading of
Theodore de Beze.  “It is true that the church of God should endure
blows and not inflict them,” said De Beze, “but remember, I pray you,
that it is an anvil which has used up a great many hammers.”

The massacre of Vassy, the name which has remained affixed to it in
history, rapidly became contagious.  From 1562 to 1572, in Languedoc, in
Provence, in Dauphiny, in Poitou, in Orleanness, in Normandy even and in
Picardy, at Toulouse, at Gaillac, at Frejus, at Troyes, at Sens, at
Orleans, at Amiens, at Rouen, and in many other towns, spontaneous and
disorderly outbreaks between religiously opposed portions of the populace
took place suddenly, were repeated, and spread, sometimes with the
connivance of the local authorities, judicial or administrative, but more
often through the mere brutal explosion of the people’s passions.  It is
distasteful to us to drag numerous examples from oblivion; but we will
cite just two, faithful representations of those sad incidents, and
attested by authentic documents.  The little town of Gaillac was almost
entirely Catholic; the Protestants, less numerous, had met the day after
Pentecost, May 18, 1562, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  “The
inhabitants in the quarter of the Chateau de l’Orme, who are all artisans
or vine-dressers,” says the chronicler, “rush to arms, hurry along with
them all the Catholics of the town, invest the place of assembly, and
take prisoners all who were present.  After this capture, they separate:
some remain in the meeting-house, on guard over the prisoners; the rest
go into dwellings to work their will upon those of the religion who had
remained there.  Then they take the prisoners, to the number of sixty or
eighty, into a gallery of the Abbey of St. Michael, situated on a steep
rock, at the base of which flows the River Tarn; and there, a field
laborer, named Cabral, having donned the robe and cape of the judge’s
deputy, whom he had slain with his own hand, pronounces judgment, and
sentences all the prisoners to be thrown from the gallery into the river,
telling them to go and eat fish, as they had not chosen to fast during
Lent; which was done forthwith.  Divers boatmen who were on the river
despatched with their oars those who tried to save themselves by
swimming.”  [_Histoire generale du Languedoc,_ liv.  xxxviii.  f. v., p.
227.]  At Troyes, in Champagne, “during the early part of August, 1572,
the majority of the Protestants of the town, who were returning from
Esleau-Mont, where they had a meeting-house and a pastor under
authorization from the king, were assailed in the neighborhood of
Croncels by the excited populace.  A certain number of individuals,
accompanying a mother carrying a child which had just received baptism,
were pursued with showers of stones; several were wounded, and the child
was killed in its mother’s arms.”  This affair did not give rise to any
prosecution.  “It is no use to think about it any longer,” said the
delegate of the bailiff and of the mayor of Troyes, in a letter from
Paris on the 27th of August.  The St. Bartholomew had just taken place
on the 24th of August.  [_Histoire de la Ville de Troyes,_ by H. Boutiot,
t. iii.  p. 25.]

Where they happened to be the stronger, and where they had either
vengeance to satisfy or measures of security to take, the Protestants
were not more patient or more humane than the Catholics.  At Nimes, in
1567, they projected and carried out, in the town and the neighboring
country, a massacre in which a hundred and ninety-two Catholics perished;
and several churches and religious houses were damaged or completely
destroyed.  This massacre, perpetrated on St. Michael’s day, was called
_the Michaelade_.  The barbarities committed against the Catholics in
Dauphiny and in Provence by Francis de Beaumont, Baron of Adrets, have
remained as historical as the massacre of Vassy, and he justified them on
the same grounds as Montluc had given for his in Guienne.  “Nobody
commits cruelty in repaying it,” said he; “the first are called
cruelties, the second justice.  The only way to stop the enemy’s
barbarities is to meet them with retaliation.”  Though experience ought
to have shown them their mistake, both Adrets and Montluc persisted in
it.  A case, however, is mentioned in which Adrets was constrained to be
merciful.  After the capture of Montbrison, he had sentenced all the
prisoners to throw themselves down, with their hands tied behind them,
from the top of the citadel; one of them made two attempts, and thought
better of it; “Come, twice is enough to take your soundings,” shouted the
baron, who was looking on.  “I’ll give you four times to do it in,”
 rejoined the soldier.  And this good saying saved his life.

The weak and undecided government of Catherine de’ Medici tried several
times, but in vain, to prevent or repress these savage explosions of
passion and strife amongst the people; the sterling moderation of
Chancellor de l’Hospital was scarcely more successful than the
hypocritical and double-faced attentions paid by Catherine de’ Medici to
both the Catholic and the Protestant leaders; the great maladies and the
great errors of nations require remedies more heroic than the adroitness
of a woman, the wisdom of a functionary, or the hopes of a philosopher.
It was formal and open civil war between the two communions and the two
parties that, with honest and patriotic desire, L’Hospital and even
Catherine were anxious to avoid.  From 1561 to 1572 there were in France
eighteen or twenty massacres of Protestants, four or five of Catholics,
and thirty or forty single murders sufficiently important to have been
kept in remembrance by history; and during that space of time formal
civil war, religious and partisan, broke out, stopped and recommenced in
four campaigns, signalized, each of them, by great battles, and four
times terminated by impotent or deceptive treaties of peace which, on the
24th of August, 1572, ended, for their sole result, in the greatest
massacre of French history, the St. Bartholomew.

The first religious war, under Charles IX., appeared on the point of
breaking out in April, 1561, some days after that the Duke of Guise,
returning from the massacre of Vassy, had entered Paris, on the 16th of
March, in triumph.  The queen-mother, in dismay, carried off the king to
Melun at first, and then to Fontainebleau, whilst the Prince of Conde,
having retired to Meaux, summoned to his side his relatives, his friends,
and all the leaders of the Reformers, and wrote to Coligny, “that Caesar
had not only crossed the Rubicon, but was already at Rome, and that his
banners were beginning to wave all over the neighboring country.”  For
some days Catherine and L’Hospital tried to remain out of Paris with the
young king, whom Guise, the Constable de Montmorency, and the King of
Navarre, the former being members and the latter an ally of the
triumvirate, went to demand back from them.  They were obliged to submit
to the pressure brought to bear upon them.  The constable was the first
to enter Paris, and went, on the 2d of April, and burned down the two
places of worship which, by virtue of the decree of January 17, 1561, had
been granted to the Protestants.  Next day the King of Navarre and the
Duke of Guise, in their turn, entered the city in company with Charles
IX. and Catherine.  A council was assembled at the Louvre to deliberate
as to the declaration of war, which was deferred.  Whilst the king was on
his way back to Paris, Conde hurried off to take up his quarters at
Orleans, whither Coligny went promptly to join him.  They signed, with
the gentlemen who came to them from all parts, a compact of association
“for the honor of God, for the liberty of the king, his brothers and the
queen-mother, and for the maintenance of decrees;” and Conde, in writing
to the Protestant princes of Germany to explain to them his conduct, took
the title of protector of the house and crown of France.  Negotiations
still went on for nearly three months.  The chiefs of the two parties
attempted to offer one another generous and pacific solutions; they even
had two interviews; but Catherine was induced by the Catholic triumvirate
to expressly declare that she could not allow in France more than one
single form of worship.  Conde and his friends said that they could not
lay down their arms until the triumvirate was overthrown, and the
execution of decrees granting them liberty of worship, in certain places
and to a certain extent, had been secured to them.  Neither party liked
to acknowledge itself beaten in this way without having struck a blow.
And in the early part of July, 1562, the first religious war began.

We do not intend to dwell upon any but its leading facts, facts which at
the moment when they were accomplished might have been regarded as
decisive in respect of the future.  In this campaign there were two; the
battle of Dreux, on the 19th of December, 1562; and the murder of the
Duke of Guise by Poltrot, on the 18th of February, 1563.

The two armies met in the plain of Dreux with pretty nearly equal forces,
the royal army being superior in artillery and the Protestant in cavalry.
When they had arrived in front of one another, the triumvirs sent to ask
the queen-mother’s authority to give battle.  “I am astounded,” said
Catherine to her favorite adviser, Michael de Castelnau, “that the
constable, the Duke of Guise, and Saint-Andre, being good, prudent, and
experienced captains, should send to ask counsel of a woman and a child,
both full of sorrow at seeing things in such extremity as to be reduced
to the risk of a battle between fellow-countrymen.”  “Hereupon,” says
Castelnau, “in came the king’s nurse, who was a Huguenot, and the queen,
at the same time that she took me to see the king, who was still in bed,
said to me with great agitation and jeeringly, ‘We had better ask the
king’s nurse whether to give battle or not; what think you?’  Then the
nurse, as she followed the queen into the king’s chamber according to her
custom, said several times that, as the Huguenots would not listen to
reason, she would say, ‘Give battle.’  Whereupon there was, at the privy
council, much discourse about the good and the evil that might result
therefrom; but the resolution arrived at was, that they who had arms in
their hands ought not to ask advice or orders from the court; and I was
despatched on the spot to tell them from the king and the queen, that, as
good and prudent captains, they were to do what they considered most
proper.”  Next day, at ten in the morning, the armies met.  “Then
every one,” says La Noue, one of the bravest amongst the Reformers’
leaders, “steadied himself, reflecting that the men he saw coming towards
him were not Spaniards, or English, or Italians, but Frenchmen, that is,
the bravest of the brave, amongst whom there were some who were his own
comrades, relatives, and friends, and that within an hour they would have
to be killing one another, which created some sort of horror of the fact,
without, however, diminution of courage.  .  .  .  One thing worthy of
being noted,” continues La Noue, “is the long duration of the fight, it
being generally seen in battles that all is lost or won within a single
hour, whereas this began about one P. M., and there was no issue until
after five.  Of a surety, there was marvellous animosity on both sides,
whereof sufficient testimony is to be found in the number of dead, which
exceeded seven thousand, as many persons say; the majority whereof were
killed in the fight rather than the pursuit.  .  .  .  Another incident
was the capture of the two chiefs of the armies, a thing which rarely
happens, because generally they do not fight until the last moment and in
extremity; and often a battle is as good as won before they come to this
point.  But in this case they did not put it off so long, for, at the
very first, each was minded to set his men an example of not sparing
themselves.  The Constable de Montmorency was the first taken, and
seriously wounded, having always received wounds in seven battles at
which he was present, which shows the boldness that was in him.  The
Prince of Conde was taken at the end, also wounded.  As both of them had
good seconds, it made them the less fearful of danger to their own
persons, for the constable had M. de Guise, and the Prince of Conde
Admiral de Coligny, who showed equally well to the front in the melley.
.  .  .  Finally I wish to bring forward another matter, which will be
supernumerary because it happened after the battle; and that is, the
courteous and honorable behavior of the Duke of Guise victorious towards
the Prince of Conde a prisoner; which most men, on one side as well as on
the other, did not at all think he would have been disposed to exhibit,
for it is well known how hateful, in civil wars, are the chiefs of
parties, and what imputations are made upon them.  Nevertheless here
quite the contrary happened: for, when the prince was brought before the
duke, the latter spoke to him respectfully and with great gentleness of
language, wherein he could not pretend that there was any desire to pique
him or blame him.  And whilst the prince staid in the camp, the duke
often dined with him.  And forasmuch as on this day of the battle there
were but few beds arrived, for the baggage had been half-plundered and
dispersed, the Duke of Guise offered his own bed to the Prince of Conde,
which the prince would accept in respect of the half only.  And so these
two great princes, who were like mortal foes, found themselves in one
bed, one triumphant and the other captive, taking their repast together.”
 [_Memoires de Francois de La Noue,_ in the _Petitot_ collection; 1st
series, t. xxxiv.  pp. 172-178.]

The results of the battle of Dreux were serious, and still more serious
from the fate of the chiefs than from the number of the dead.  The
commanders of the two armies, the Constable de Montmorency, and the
Prince of Conde, were wounded and prisoners.  One of the triumvirs,
Marshal de Saint-Andre, had been killed in action.  The Catholics’
wavering ally, Anthony de Bourbon, King of Navarre, had died before the
battle of a wound which he had received at the siege of Rouen; and on his
death-bed had resumed his Protestant bearing, saying that, if God granted
him grace to get well, he would have nothing but the gospel preached
throughout the realm.  The two staffs (_etats-majors_), as we should now
say, were disorganized: in one, the Duke of Guise alone remained unhurt
and at liberty; in the other, Coligny, in Conde’s absence, was elected
general-in-chief of the Protestants.  At Paris, for a while, it was
believed that the battle was lost.  “If it had been,” says Montluc,
“I think that it was all over with France, for the state would have
changed, and so would the religion; a young king can be made to do as
you please;” Catherine de’ Medici showed a facile resignation to such a
change.  “Very well,” she had said, “then we will pray to God in French.”
 When the victory became known there was general enthusiasm for the Duke.
of Guise; but he took only a very modest advantage of it, being more
anxious to have his comrades’ merits appreciated than his own.  At Blois,
as he handed the queen-mother her table-napkin at dinner-time, he asked
her if he might have an audience of her after the repast.  “Jesu! my dear
cousin,” said Catherine, “whatever are you saying?”  “I say it, madame,
because I would fain show you in the presence of everybody what I have
done, since my departure from Paris, with your army which you gave in
charge to me together with the constable, and also present to you all the
good captains and servants of the king and of yourself who have served
you faithfully, as well your own subjects as also foreigners, and
horsemen and foot;” whereupon he discoursed about the battle of Dreux,
“and painted it so well and so to the life,” says Brantome, “that you
would have said that they were still about it, whereat the queen felt
very great pleasure.  .  .  .  Every one listened very attentively,
without the least noise in the world; and he spoke so well that there was
none who was not charmed, for the prince was the best of speakers and
eloquent, not with a forced and overladen eloquence, but simple and
soldierly, with a grace of his own to match; so much so that the
queen-mother said that she had never seen him in such good form.”
 [Brantome, _Tries des Brands Capitaines,_ t. ii.  pp. 247-250.]  The good
form, however, was not enough to prevent the ill-humor and jealousy felt
by the queen-mother and her youthful son the king at such a great success
which made Guise so great a personage.  After the victory of Dreux he had
written to the king to express his wish to see conferred upon a candidate
of his own choosing the marshal’s baton left vacant by the death of
Saint-Andre.  “See now,” said Charles IX. to his mother and some persons
who were by, “if the Duke of Guise does not act the king well; you would
really say that the army was his, and that victory came from his hand,
making no mention of God, who, by His great goodness, hath given it us.
He thrusts the bargain into my fist (dictates to me).  Yet must I give
him a civil answer to satisfy him; for I do not want to make trouble in
my kingdom, and irritate a captain to whom my late father and I have
given so much credit and authority.”  The king almost apologized for
having already disposed of the baton in favor of the Marquis de
Vieilleville, and he sent the Duke of Guise the collar of the order for
two of his minions, and at the same time the commission of
lieutenant-general of the kingdom and commander-in-chief of the army for
himself. Guise thanked him, pretending to be satisfied: the king smiled
as he read his letter; and “_Non ti fidar, e non sarai gabbato_” (Don’t
trust, and you’ll not be duped), he said in the words of the Italian
proverb.

He had not to disquiet himself for long about this rival.  On the 18th of
February, 1563, the Duke of Guise was vigorously pushing forward the
siege of Orleans, the stronghold of the Protestants, stoutly defended by
Coligny.  He was apprised that his wife, the Duchess Anne d’Este, had
just arrived at a castle near the camp with the intention of using her
influence over her husband in order to spare Orleans from the terrible
consequences of being taken by assault.  He mounted his horse to go and
join her, and he was chatting to his aide-de-camp Rostaing about the
means of bringing about a pacification, when, on arriving at a cross-road
where several ways met, he felt himself struck in the right shoulder,
almost under the arm, by a pistol-shot fired from behind a hedge at a
distance of six or seven paces.  A white plume upon his head had made him
conspicuous, and as, for so short a ride, he had left off his cuirass,
three balls had passed through him from side to side.  “That shot has
been in keeping for me a long while,” said he: “I deserve it for not
having taken precautions.”  He fell upon his horse’s neck, as he vainly
tried to draw his sword from the scabbard; his arm refused its office.

[Illustration: The Duke of Guise waylaid---315]

When he had been removed to the castle, where the duchess, in tears,
received him, “I am vexed at it,” said he, “for the honor of France;” and
to his son Henry, Prince of Joinville, a boy of thirteen, he added,
kissing him, “God grant you grace, my son, to become a good man.”  He
languished for six days, amidst useless attentions paid him by his
surgeons, giving Catherine de’ Medici, who came daily to see him, the
most pacific counsels, and taking of the duchess his wife the most tender
farewells mingled with the most straightforward and honest avowals.  “I
do not mean to deny,” he said to her, “that the counsels and frailties of
youth have led me sometimes into something at which you had a right to be
offended; I pray you to be pleased to excuse me and forgive me.”  His
brother, the Cardinal de Guise, Bishop of Metz, which the duke had so
gloriously defended against Charles V., warned him that it was time to
prepare himself for death by receiving the sacraments of the church.
“Ah! my dear brother,” said the duke to him, “I have loved you greatly in
times past, but I love you now still more than ever, for you are doing me
a truly brotherly turn.”  On the 24th of February they still offered him
aliment to sustain his rapidly increasing weakness but “Away, away,” said
he; “I have taken the manna from heaven, whereby I feel myself so
comforted that it seems to me as if I were already in paradise.  This
body has no further need of nourishment;” and so he expired on the 24th
of February, 1563, an object, at his death, of the most profound regret
amongst his army and his party, as well as his family, after having been
during his life the object of their lively admiration.  “I do not
forget,” says his contemporary Stephen Pasquier in reference to him,
“that it was no small luck for him to die at this period, when he was
beyond reach of the breeze, and when shifting Fortune had not yet played
him any of those turns whereby she is so cunning in lowering the horn of
the bravest.”

It is a duty to faithfully depict this pious and guileless death of a
great man, at the close of a vigorous and a glorious life, made up of
good and evil, without the evil’s having choked the good.  This powerful
and consolatory intermixture of qualities is the characteristic of the
eminent men of the sixteenth century, Catholics or Protestants, soldiers
or civilians; and it is a spectacle wholesome to be offered in times when
doubt and moral enfeeblement are the common malady even of sound minds
and of honest men.

The murderer of Duke Francis of Guise was a petty nobleman of Angoumois,
John Poltrot, Lord of Mere, a fiery Catholic in his youth, who afterwards
became an equally fiery Protestant, and was engaged with his relative La
Renaudie in the conspiracy against the Guises.  He had been employed
constantly from that time, as a spy it is said, by the chiefs of the
Reformers--a vocation for which, it would seem, he was but little
adapted, for the indiscretion of his language must have continually
revealed his true sentiments.  When he heard, in 1562, of the death of
Anthony de Bourbon, King of Navarre, “That,” said he, “is not what will
put an end to the war; what is wanted is the dog with the big collar.”
 “Whom do you mean?”  asked somebody.  “The great Guisard; and here’s the
arm that will do the trick.”  “He used to show,” says D’Aubigne, “bullets
cast to slay the Guisard, and thereby rendered himself ridiculous.”
 After the battle of Dreux he was bearer of a message from the Lord of
Soubise to Admiral de Coligny, to whom he gave an account of the
situation of the Reformers in Dauphiny and in Lyonness.  His report no
doubt interested the admiral, who gave him twenty crowns to go and play
spy in the camp of the Duke of Guise, and, some days later, a hundred
crowns to buy a horse.  It was thus that Poltrot was put in a position to
execute the design he had been so fond of proclaiming before he had any
communication with Coligny.  As soon as, on the 18th of February, 1563,
in the outskirts of Orleans, he had, to use his own expression, done his
trick, he fled full gallop, so as not to bear the responsibility of it;
but, whether it were that he was troubled in his mind, or that he was ill
acquainted with the region, he wandered round and round the place where
he had shot the Duke of Guise, and was arrested on the 20th of February
by men sent in search of him.  Being forthwith brought before the privy
council, in the presence of the queen-mother, and put to the torture, he
said that Admiral de Coligny, Theodore de Beze, La Rochefoucauld,
Soubise, and other Huguenot chiefs had incited him to murder the Duke of
Guise, persecutor of the faithful, “as a meritorious deed in the eyes of
God and men.”  Coligny repudiated this allegation point blank.  Shrinking
from the very appearance of hypocrisy, he abstained from any regret at
the death of the Duke of Guise.  “The greatest blessing,” said he, “which
could come to this realm and to the church of God, especially to myself
and all my house;” and he referred to conversations he had held with the
Cardinal of Lorraine and the Duchess of Guise, and to a notice which he
had sent, a few days previously, to the Duke of Guise himself, “to take
care, for there was somebody under a bond to kill him.”  Lastly, he
demanded that, to set in a clear light “his integrity, innocence, and
good repute,” Poltrot should be kept, until peace was made, in strict
confinement, so that the admiral himself and the murderer might be
confronted.  It was not thought to be obligatory or possible to comply
with this desire; amongst the public there was a passionate outcry for
prompt chastisement.  Poltrot, removed to Paris, put to the torture and
questioned by the commissioners of Parliament, at one time confirmed and
at another disavowed his original assertions.  Coligny, he said, had not
suggested the project to him, but had cognizance of it, and had not
attempted to deter him.  The decree sentenced Poltrot to the punishment
of regicides.  He underwent it on the 18th of March, 1563, in the Place
de Greve, preserving to the very end that fierce energy of hatred and
vengeance which had prompted his deed.  He was heard saying to himself in
the midst of his torments, and as if to comfort himself, “For all that,
he is dead and gone,--the persecutor of the faithful,--and he will not
come back again.”  The angry populace insulted him with yells; Poltrot
added, “If the persecution does not cease, vengeance will fall upon this
city, and the avengers are already at hand.”

Catherine de’ Medici, well pleased, perhaps, that there was now a
question personally embarrassing for the admiral and as yet in abeyance,
had her mind entirely occupied apparently with the additional weakness
and difficulty resulting to the position of the crown and the Catholic
party from the death of the Duke of Guise; she considered peace
necessary; and, for reasons of a different nature, Chancellor de
l’Hospital was of the same opinion: he drew attention to “scruples of
conscience, the perils of foreign influence, and the impossibility of
curing by an application of brute force a malady concealed in the very
bowels and brains of the people.”  Negotiations were entered into with
the two captive generals, the Prince of Conde and the Constable de
Montmorency; they assented to that policy; and, on the 19th of March,
peace was concluded at Amboise in the form of an edict which granted to
the Protestants the concessions recognized as indispensable by the crown
itself, and regulated the relations of the two creeds, pending “the
remedy of time, the decisions of a holy council, and the king’s
majority.”  Liberty of conscience and the practice of the religion
“called Reformed” were recognized “for all barons and lords
high-justiciary, in their houses, with their families and dependants;
for nobles having fiefs without vassals and living on the king’s lands,
but for them and their families personally.”  The burgesses were treated
less favorably; the Reformed worship was maintained in the towns in
which it had been practised up to the 7th of March in the current year;
but, beyond that and noblemen’s mansions, this worship might not be
celebrated save in the faubourgs of one single town in every bailiwick
or seneschalty.  Paris and its district were to remain exempt from any
exercise of the said “Reformed religion.”

During the negotiations and as to the very basis of the edict of March
19, 1563, the Protestants were greatly divided; the soldiers and the
politicians, with Conde at their head, desired peace, and thought that
the concessions made by the Catholics ought to be accepted.  The majority
of the Reformed pastors and theologians cried out against the
insufficiency of the concessions, and were astonished that there should
be so much hurry to make peace when the Catholics had just lost their
most formidable captain.  Coligny, moderate in his principles, but always
faithful to his church when she made her voice heard, showed
dissatisfaction at the selfishness of the nobles.  “To confine the
religion to one town in every bailiwick,” he said, “is to ruin more
churches by a stroke of the pen than our enemies could have pulled down
in ten years; the nobles ought to have recollected that example had been
set by the towns to them, and by the poor to the rich.”  Calvin, in his
correspondence with the Reformed churches of France, severely handled
Conde on this occasion.  At the moment when peace was made, the pacific
were in the right; the death of the Duke of Guise had not prevented the
battle of Dreux from being a defeat for the Reformers; and, when war had
to be supported for long, it was especially the provincial nobles and the
people on their estates who bore the burden of it.  But when the edict of
Amboise had put an end to the first religious war, when the question was
no longer as to who won or lost battles, but whether the conditions of
that peace to which the Catholics had sworn were loyally observed, and
whether their concessions were effective in insuring the modest amount of
liberty and security promised to the Protestants, the question changed
front, and it was not long before facts put the malcontents in the right.
Between 1563 and 1567 murders of distinguished Protestants increased
strangely, and excited amongst their families anxiety accompanied by a
thirst for vengeance.  The Guises and their party, on their side,
persisted in their outcries for proceedings against the instigators,
known or presumed, of the murder of Duke Francis.  It was plainly against
Admiral de Coligny that these cries were directed; and he met them by a
second declaration, very frank as a denial of the deed which it was
intended to impute to him, but more hostile than ever to the Guises and
their party.  “The late duke,” said he, “was of the whole army the man I
had most looked out for on the day of the last battle; if I could have
brought a gun to bear upon him to kill him, I would have done it; I would
have ordered ten thousand arquebusiers, had so many been under my
command, to single him out amongst all the others, whether in the field,
or from over a wall, or from behind a hedge.  In short, I would not have
spared any of the means permitted by the laws of war in time of hostility
to get rid of so great an enemy as he was for me and for so many other
good subjects of the king.”

After three years of such deadly animosity between the two parties and
the two houses, the king and the queen-mother could find no other way
of stopping an explosion than to call the matter on before the privy
council, and cause to be there drawn up, on the 29th of January, 1566,
a solemn decree, “declaring the admiral’s innocence on his own
affirmation, given in the presence of the king and the council as before
God himself, that he had not had anything to do with or approved of the
said homicide.  Silence for all time to come was consequently imposed
upon the attorney-general and everybody else; inhibition and prohibition
were issued against the continuance of any investigation or prosecution.
The king took the parties under his safeguard, and enjoined upon them
that they should live amicably in obedience to him.”  By virtue of this
injunction, the Guises, the Colignies, and the Montmorencies ended by
embracing, the first-named accommodating themselves with a pretty good
grace to this demonstration: “but God knows what embraces!” [Words used
in La Harenga, a satire of the day in burlesque verse upon the Cardinal
of Lorraine.] Six years later the St. Bartholomew brought the true
sentiments out into broad daylight.

At the same time that the war was proceeding amongst the provinces with
this passionate doggedness, royal decrees were alternately confirming and
suppressing or weakening the securities for liberty and safety which the
decree of Amboise, on the 19th of March, 1563, had given to the
Protestants by way of re-establishing peace.  It was a series of
contradictory measures which were sufficient to show the party-strife
still raging in the heart of the government.  On the 14th of June, 1563,
Protestants were forbidden to work, with shops open, on the days of
Catholic festivals.  On the 14th of December, 1563, it was proclaimed
that Protestants might not gather alms for the poor of their religion,
unless in places where that religion was practised, and nowhere else.
On the 24th of June, 1564, a proclamation from the king interdicted the
exercise of the Reformed religion within the precincts of any royal
residence.  On the 4th of August, 1564, the Reformed churches were
forbidden to hold synods and make collections of money, and their
ministers to quit their places of residence and to open schools.  On the
12th of November, 1567, a king’s ordinance interdicted the conferring of
judiciary offices on non-Catholics.  In vain did Conde and Coligny cry
out loudly against these violations of the peace of Amboise; in vain, on
the 16th of August, 1563, at the moment of proclaiming the king’s
majority, was an edict issued giving full and entire confirmation to the
edict of the 19th of March preceding, with the addition of prescriptions
favorable to the royal authority, as well as, at the same time, to the
maintenance of the public peace; scarcely any portion of these
prescriptions was observed; the credit of Chancellor de l’Hospital was
clearly very much on the decline; and, whilst the legal government was
thus falling to pieces or languishing away, Gaspard de Tavannes, a proved
soldier and royalist, who, however, was not yet marshal of France, was
beginning to organize, under the name of Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit,
a secret society intended to renew the civil war “if it happened that
occasion should offer for repressing and chastising them of the religion
called Reformed.”  It was the League in its cradle.  At the same time,
the king had orders given for a speedy levy of six thousand Swiss, and
an army-corps was being formed on the frontiers of Champagne.  The
queen-mother neglected no pains, no caresses, to hide from Conde the true
moving cause at the bottom of all these measures; and as “he was,” says
the historian Davila, “by nature very ready to receive all sorts of
impressions,” he easily suffered himself to be lulled to sleep.  One day,
however, in June, 1567, he thought it about time to claim the fulfilment
of a promise that had been made him at the time of the peace of
Amboise of a post which would give him the rank and authority of
lieutenant-general of the kingdom, as his late brother, the King of
Navarre, had been; and he asked for the sword of constable which
Montmorency, in consequence of his great age, seemed disposed to resign
to the king. Catherine avoided giving any answer; but her favorite son,
Henry, Duke of Anjou, who was as yet only sixteen, repudiated this idea
with so much haughtiness that Conde felt called upon to ask some
explanations; there was no longer any question of war with Spain or of
an army to be got together.  “What, pray, will you do,” he asked, “with
the Swiss you are raising?”  The answer was, “We shall find good
employment for them.”

It is the failing of a hypocritical and lying policy, however able, that,
if it do not succeed promptly, a moment arrives when it becomes
transparent and lets in daylight.  Even Conde could not delude himself
any longer; the preparations were for war against the Reformers.  He
quitted the court to take his stand again with his own party.  Coligny,
D’Andelot, La Rochefoucauld, La Noue, and all the accredited leaders
amongst the Protestants, whom his behavior, too full of confidence or of
complaisance towards the court, had shocked or disquieted, went and
joined him.  In September, 1567, the second religious war broke out.

It was short, and not decisive for either party.  At the outset of the
campaign, success was with the Protestants; forty towns, Orleans,
Montereau, Lagny, Montauban, Castres, Montpellier, Uzes, &c., opened
their gates to them or fell into their hands.

They were within an ace of surprising the king at Monceaux, and he never
forgot, says Montluc, that “the Protestants had made him do the stretch
from Meaux to Paris at something more than a walk.”  It was around Paris
that Conde concentrated all the efforts of the campaign.  He had posted
himself at St. Denis with a small army of four thousand foot and two
thousand horse.  The Constable de Montmorency commanded the royal army,
having a strength of sixteen thousand foot and three thousand horse.
Attempts were made to open negotiations; but the constable broke them off
brusquely, roaring out that the king would never tolerate two religions.
On the 10th of November, 1567, the battle began at St. Denis, and was
fought with alternations of partial success and reverse, which spread joy
and sadness through the two hosts in turn; but in resisting a charge of
cavalry, led to victory by Conde, the constable fell with and under his
horse; a Scot called out to him to surrender; for sole response, the aged
warrior, “abandoned by his men, but not by his manhood,” says D’Aubigne,
smashed the Scot’s jaw with the pommel of his broken sword; and at the
same moment he fell mortally wounded by a shot through the body.  His
death left the victory uncertain and the royal army disorganized.  The
campaign lasted still four months, thanks to the energetic perseverance
of Coligny and the inexhaustible spirits of Conde, both of whom excelled
in the art of keeping up the courage of their men.  “Where are you taking
us now?” asked an ill-tempered officer one day.  “To meet our German
allies,” said Conde.  “And suppose we don’t find them?”  “Then we will
breathe on our fingers, for it is mighty cold.”  They did at last, at
Pont-a-Mousson, meet the German re-enforcements, which were being brought
up by Prince John Casimir, son of the elector-palatine, and which made
Conde’s army strong enough for him to continue the war in earnest.  But
these new comers declared that they would not march any farther unless
they were paid the hundred thousand crowns due to them.  Conde had but
two thousand.  “Thereupon,” says La Noue, “was there nothing for it but
to make a virtue of necessity; and he as well as the admiral employed all
their art, influence, and eloquence to persuade every man to divest
himself of such means as he possessed for to furnish this contribution,
which was so necessary.  They themselves were the first to set an
example, giving up their own silver plate.  .  .  .  Half from love and
half from fear, this liberality was so general, that, down to the very
soldiers’ varlets, every one gave; so that at last it was considered a
disgrace to have contributed little.  When the whole was collected, it
was found to amount, in what was coined as well as in plate and gold
chains, to more than eighty thousand livres, which came in so timely,
that without it there would have been a difficulty in satisfying the
reiters.  .  .  .  Was it not a thing worthy of astonishment to see an
army, itself unpaid, despoiling itself of the little means it had of
relieving its own necessities and sparing that little for the
accommodation of others, who, peradventure, scarcely gave them a thankee
for it?”  [_Memoires de La Noue, in the Petitot collection,_ 1st Series,
t. xxxiv.  p. 207.]

So much generosity and devotion, amongst the humblest as well as the most
exalted ranks of the army, deserved not to be useless: but it turned out
quite differently.  Conde and Coligny led back to Paris their new army,
which, it is said, was from eighteen to twenty thousand strong, and
seemed to be in a condition either to take Paris itself, or to force the
royal army to enter the field and accept a decisive battle.  To bring
that about, Conde thought the best thing was to besiege Chartres, “the
key to the granary of Paris,” as it was called, and “a big thorn,”
 according to La Noue, “to run into the foot of the Parisians.”  But
Catherine de’ Medici had quietly entered once more into negotiations with
some of the Protestant chiefs, even with Conde himself.  Charles IX.
published an edict in which he distinguished between heretics and rebels,
and assured of his protection all Huguenots who should lay down arms.
Chartres seemed to be on the point of capitulating, when news came that
peace had just been signed at Longjumeau, on the 23d of March.  The king
put again in force the edict of Amboise of 1563, suppressing all the
restrictions which had been tacked on to it successively.  The Prince of
Conde and his adherents were reinstated in all their possessions,
offices, and honors; and Conde was “held and reputed good relative,
faithful subject, and servant of the king.”  The Reformers had to
disband, restore the new places they had occupied, and send away their
German allies, to whom the king undertook to advance the hundred thousand
gold crowns which were due to them.  He further promised, by a secret
article, that he too would at a later date dismiss his foreign troops and
a portion of the French.

This news caused very various impressions amongst the Protestant camp and
people.  The majority of the men of family engaged in the war, who most
frequently had to bear the expense of it, desired peace.  The personal
advantages accruing to Conde himself--made it very acceptable to him.
But the ardent Reformers, with Coligny at their head, complained bitterly
of others being lured away by fine words and exceptional favors, and not
prosecuting the war when, to maintain it, there was so good an army and
the chances were so favorable.  A serious dispute took place between the
pacific negotiators and the malcontents.  Chancellor de l’Hospital wrote,
in favor of peace, a discourse on the pacific settlement of the troubles
of the year 1567, containing the necessary causes and reasons of the
treaty, together with the means of reconciling the two parties to one
another, and keeping them in perpetual concord; composed by a high
personage, true subject, and faithful servant of the French crown.  But,
if the chancellor’s reasons were sound, the hopes he hung upon them were
extravagant; the parties were at that pitch of passion at which reasoning
is in vain against impressions, and promises are powerless against
suspicions.  Concluded “through the vehemence of the desire to get home
again,” as La Noue says, the peace of Longjumeau was none the less known
as the little peace, the patched-up peace, the lame and rickety peace;
and neither they who wished for it nor they who spurned it prophesied its
long continuance.

Scarcely six months having elapsed, in August, 1568, the third religious
war broke out.  The written guarantees given in the treaty of Longjumeau
for security and liberty on behalf of the Protestants were misinterpreted
or violated.  Massacres and murders of Protestants became more numerous,
and were committed with more impunity than ever: in 1568 and 1569, at
Amiens, at Auxerre, at Orleans, at Rouen, at Bourges, at Troyes, and at
Blois, Protestants, at one time to the number of one hundred and forty or
one hundred and twenty, or fifty-three, or forty, and at another singly,
with just their wives and children, were massacred, burned, and hunted by
the excited populace, without any intervention on the part of the
magistrates to protect them or to punish their murderers.  The
contemporary Protestant chroniclers set down at ten thousand the number
of victims who perished in the course of these six months, which were
called a time of peace: we may, with De Thou, believe this estimate to be
exaggerated; but, without doubt, the peace of Longjumeau was a lie, even
before the war began again.

During this interval Conde was living in Burgundy, at Noyers, a little
fortress he possessed through his wife, Frances of Orleans, and Coligny
was living not far from Noyers, at Tanlay, which belonged to his brother
D’Andelot.  They soon discovered, both of them, not only what their party
had to suffer, but what measures were in preparation against themselves.
Agents went and sounded the depth of the moats of Noyers, so as to report
upon the means of taking the place.  The queen-mother had orders given to
Gaspard de Tavannes to surround the Prince of Conde at Noyers.  “The
queen is counselled by passion rather than by reason,” answered the old
warrior; “I am not the sort of man to succeed in this ill-planned
enterprise of distaff and pen; if her Majesty will be pleased to declare
open war, I will show how I understand my duty.”  Shocked at the
dishonorable commands given him, Tavannes resolved to indirectly raise
Conde’s apprehensions, in order to get him out of Burgundy, of which he,
Tavannes, held the governorship; and he sent close past the walls of
Noyers bearers of letters containing these words: “The stag is in the
toils; the hunt is ready.”  Conde had the bearers arrested, understood
the warning, and communicated it to Coligny, who went and joined him at
Noyers, and they decided, both of them, upon quitting Burgundy without
delay, to go and seek over the Loire at La Rochelle, which they knew to
be devoted to their cause, a sure asylum and a place suitable for their
purposes as a centre of warlike operations.  They set out together on the
24th of August, 1568.  Conde took with him his wife and his four
children, two of tender age.  Coligny followed him in deep mourning; he
had just lost his wife, Charlotte de Laval, that worthy mate of his, who,
six years previously, in a grievous crisis for his soul as well as his
cause, had given him such energetic counsels: she had left him one young
daughter and three little children, the two youngest still in the nurse’s
arms.  His sister-in-law, Anne do Salm, wife of his brother D’Andelot,
was also there with a child of two years, whilst her husband was scouring
Anjou and Brittany to rally the friends of his cause and his house.  A
hundred and fifty men, soldiers and faithful servants, escorted these
three noble and pious families, who were leaving their castles to go and
seek liberties and perils in a new war.  When they arrived at the bank of
the Loire, they found all points in the neighborhood guarded; the river
was low; and a boatman pointed out to them, near Sancerre, a possible
ford.  Conde went over first, with one of his children in his arms.

[Illustration: Conde at the Ford---328]

They all went over singing the psalm, _When Israel went out of Egypt,_
and on the 16th of September, 1568, Conde entered La Rochelle.  “I fled
as far as I could,” he wrote the next day, “but when I got here I found
the sea; and, inasmuch as I don’t know how to swim, I was constrained to
turn my head round and gain the land, not with feet, but with hands.”  He
assembled the burgesses of La Rochelle, and laid before them the pitiable
condition of the kingdom, the wicked designs of people who were their
enemies as well as his own: he called upon them to come and help; he
promised to be aidful to them in all their affairs, and, “as a pledge of
my good faith,” said he, “I will leave you my wife and children, the
dearest and most precious jewels I have in this world.”  The mayor of La
Rochelle, La Haise, responded by offering him “lives and property in the
name of all the citizens,” who confirmed this offer with an outburst of
popular enthusiasm.  The Protestant nobles of Saintonge and Poitou
flocked in.  A royal ally was announced; the Queen of Navarre, Jeanne
d’Albret, was bringing her son Henry, fifteen years of age, whom she was
training up to be Henry IV.  Conde went to meet them, and, on the 28th of
September, 1568, all this flower of French Protestantism was assembled at
La Rochelle, ready and resolved to commence the third religious war.

It was the longest and most serious of the four wars of this kind which
so profoundly agitated France in the reign of Charles IX.  This one
lasted from the 24th of August, 1568, to the 8th of August, 1570, between
the departure of Conde and Coligny for La Rochelle and the treaty of
peace of St. Germain-en-Laye: a hollow peace, like the rest, and only two
years before the St. Bartholomew.  On starting from Noyers with Coligny,
Conde had addressed to the king, on the 23d of August, a letter and a
request, wherein, “after having set forth the grievances of the
Reformers, he attributed all the mischief to the Cardinal of Lorraine,
and declared that the Protestant nobles felt themselves constrained, for
the safety of the realm, to take up arms against that infamous priest,
that tiger of France, and against his accomplices.”  He bitterly
reproached the Guises “with treating as mere policists, that is, men who
sacrifice religion to temporal interests, the Catholics inclined to make
concessions to the Reformers, especially the Chancellor de l’Hospital and
the sons of the late Constable de Montmorency.”  The Guises, indeed, and
their friends did not conceal their distrust of De l’Hospital, any more
than he concealed his opposition to their deeds and their designs.
Whilst the peace of Longjumeau was still in force, Charles IX. issued a
decree interdicting all Reformers from the chairs of the University and
the offices of the judicature; L’Hospital refused to seal it: “God save
us from the chancellor’s mass!” was the remark at court.  L’Hospital,
convinced that he would not succeed in preserving France from a fresh
civil war, made up his mind to withdraw, and go and live for some time at
his estate of Vignay [a little hamlet in the commune of Gironville, near
Etampes, Seine-et-Oise].  The queen-mother eagerly took advantage of his
withdrawal to demand of him the seals, of which, she said, she might have
need daily.  L’Hospital gave them up at once, at the same time retaining
his title of chancellor, and letting the queen know “that he would take
pains to recover his strength in order to return to his post, if and when
it should be the king’s and the queen’s pleasure.”  From his rural home
he wrote to his friends, “I am not downhearted because the violence of
the wicked has snatched from me the seals of the kingdom.  I have not
done as sluggards and cowards do, who hide themselves at the first show
of danger, and obey the first impulses of fear.  As long as I was strong
enough, I held my own.  Deprived of all support, even that of the king
and the queen, who dared no longer defend me, I retired, deploring the
unhappy condition of France.  Now I have other cares; I return to my
interrupted studies and to my children, the props of my old age and my
sweetest delight.  I cultivate my fields.  The estate of Vignay seems to
me a little kingdom, if any man may consider himself master of anything
here below.  .  .  .  I will tell you more; this retreat, which satisfies
my heart, also flatters my vanity; I like to imagine myself in the wake
of those famous exiles of Athens or Rome whom their virtues rendered
formidable to their fellow-citizens.  Not that I dare compare myself with
those great men, but I say to myself that our fortunes are similar.  I
live in the midst of a numerous family whom I love; I have books; I read,
write, and meditate; I take pleasure in the games of my children; the
most frivolous occupations interest me.  In fine, all my time is filled
up, and nothing would be wanting to my happiness if it were not for the
awful apparition hard by which sometimes comes, bringing trouble and
desolation to my heart.”

This “apparition hard by” was war, everywhere present or imminent in the
centre and south-west of France, accompanied by all those passions of
personal hatred and vengeance which are characteristic of religious wars,
and which add so much of the moral sufferings to the physical calamities
of life.  L’Hospital, when sending the seals to the queen-mother, who
demanded them of him, considered it his bounden duty to give her without
any mincing, and the king whom she governed, a piece of patriotic advice.
“At my departure,” he says in his will and testament, “I prayed of the
king and queen this thing, that, as they had determined to break the
peace, and proceed by war against those with whom they had previously
made peace, and as they were driving me from the court because they had
heard it said that I was opposed to and ill content with their
enterprise, I prayed them, I say, that if they did not acquiesce in my
counsel, they would, at the very least, some time after they had glutted
and satiated their hearts and their thirst with the blood of their
subjects, embrace the first opportunity that offered itself for making
peace, before that things were reduced to utter ruin; for, whatever there
might be at the bottom of this war, it could not but be very pernicious
to the king and the kingdom.”  During the two years that it lasted, from
August, 1568, to August, 1570, the third religious war under Charles IX.
entailed two important battles and many deadly faction-fights, which
spread and inflamed to the highest pitch the passions of the two parties.
On the 13th of March, 1569, the two armies, both about twenty thousand
strong, and appearing both of them anxious to come to blows, met near
Jarnac, on the banks of the Charente; the royal army had for its chief
Catherine de’ Medici’s third son, Henry, Duke of Anjou, advised by the
veteran warrior Gaspard de Tavannes, and supported by the young Duke
Henry of Guise, who had his father to avenge and his own spurs to win.

[Illustration: HENRY OF LORRAINE (DUKE OF GUISE)----332]

  The Prince of Conde, with Admiral de Coligny for second, commanded the
Protestant army.  We make no pretension to explain and discuss here the
military movements of that day, and the merits or demerits of the two
generals confronted; the Duke of Aumale has given an account of them and
criticised them in his _Histoire des Princes de Conde,_ with a complete
knowledge of the facts and with the authority that belongs to him.  “The
encounter on the 13th of March, 1569, scarcely deserves,” he says, “to be
called a battle; it was nothing but a series of fights, maintained by
troops separated and surprised, against an enemy which, more numerous to
begin with, was attacking with its whole force united.”.  A tragic
incident at the same time gave this encounter an importance which it has
preserved in history.  Admiral de Coligny, forced to make a retrograde
movement, had sent to ask the Prince of Conde for aid; by a second
message he urged the prince not to make a fruitless effort, and to fall
back himself in all haste.  “God forbid,” answered Conde, “that Louis de
Bourbon should turn his back to the enemy!” and he continued his march,
saying to his brother-in-law, Francis de la Rochefoucauld, who was
marching beside him, “My uncle has made a ‘clerical error’ (_pas de
clerc,_ a slip); but the wine is drawn, and it must be drunk.”  On
arriving at the battle-field, whither he had brought with him but three
hundred horse, at the very moment when, with this weak escort, he was
preparing to charge the deep column of the Duke of Anjou, he received
from La Rochefoucauld’s horse a kick which broke one of the bones of his
leg; and he had already crushed an arm by a fall.  We will borrow from
the Duke of Aumale the glorious and piteous tale of this incident.
“Conde turned round to his men-at-arms, and showing first his injured
limbs and then the device, ‘Sweet is danger for Christ and for
fatherland!’ which fluttered upon his banner in the breeze, ‘Nobles of
France,’ he cried, ‘this is the desired moment Remember in what plight
Louis de Bourbon enters the battle for Christ and fatherland!’  Then,
lowering his head, he charges with his three hundred horse upon the eight
hundred lances of the Duke of Anjou.  The first shock of this charge was
irresistible; such for a moment was the disorder amongst the Catholics
that many of them believed the day was lost; but fresh bodies of
royalists arrive one after another.  The prince has his horse killed
under him; and, in the midst of the confusion, hampered by his wounds, he
cannot mount another.  In spite of all, his brave comrades do not desert
him; Soubise and a dozen of them, covered with wounds, are taken; an old
man, named La Vergne, who had brought with him twenty-five sons or
nephews, is left upon the field with fifteen of them, ‘all in a heap,’
says D’Aubigne.  Left almost alone, with his back against a tree, one
knee upon the ground, and deprived of the use of one leg, Conde still
defends himself; but his strength is failing him; he sees two Catholic
gentlemen to whom he had rendered service, Saint-Jean and D’Argence; he
calls to them, raises the vizor of his helmet, and holds out to them his
gauntlets.  The two horsemen dismount, and swear to risk their lives to
save his.  Others join them, and are eager to assist the glorious
captive.  Meanwhile the royal cavalry continues the pursuit; the
squadrons successively pass close by the group which has formed round
Conde.  Soon he spies the red cloaks of the Duke of Anjou’s guards.  He
points to them with his finger.  D’Argence understands him, and, ‘Hide
your face!’ he cries.  ‘Ah D’Argence, D’Argence, you will not save me,’
replies the prince.  Then, like Caesar, covering up his face, he awaited
death the poor soul knew only too well the perfidious character of the
Duke of Anjou, the hatred with which he was hunting him down, and the
sanguinary orders he would give.  The guards had gone by when their
captain, Montesquion, learned the name of this prisoner.  ‘Slay, slay,
mordioux!’ he shouted; then suddenly wheeling his horse round, he returns
at a gallop, and with a pistol-shot, fired from behind, shatters the
hero’s skull.”  [_Histoire des Princes de Conde,_ by M. le Duc d’Aumale,
t. ii.  pp. 65-72.]

The death of Conde gave to the battle of Jarnac an importance not its
own.  A popular ditty of the day called that prince “the great enemy of
the mass.”  “His end,” says the Duke of Aumale, “was celebrated by the
Catholics as a deliverance; a solemn Te Deum was chanted at court and in
all the churches of France.  The flags taken were sent to Rome, where
Pope Pius IV. went with them in state to St. Peter’s.  As for the Duke of
Anjou, he showed his joy and his baseness together by the ignoble
treatment he caused to be inflicted upon the remains of his vanquished
relative, a prince of the blood who had fallen sword in hand.  At the
first rumor of Conde’s death, the Duke of Montpensier’s secretary,
Coustureau, had been despatched from headquarters with Baron de Magnac to
learn the truth of the matter.  ‘We found him there,’ he relates, ‘laid
upon an ass; the said sir baron took him by the hair of the head for to
lift up his face, which he had turned towards the ground, and asked me if
I recognized him.  But as he had lost an eye from his head, he was
mightily disfigured; and I could say no more than it was certainly his
figure and his hair, and further than that I was unable to speak.’
Meanwhile,” continues the Duke of Aumale, “the accounts of those present
removed all doubt; and the corpse, thus thrown across an ass, with arms
and legs dangling, was carried to Jarnac, where the Duke of Anjou lodged
on the evening of the battle.  There the body of Conde was taken down
amidst the sobs of some Protestant prisoners, who kissed, as they wept,
the remains of their gallant chief.  This touching spectacle did not stop
the coarse ribaldry of the Duke of Anjou and his favorites; and for two
days the prince’s remains were left in a ground-floor room, there exposed
to the injurious action of the air and, to the gross insults of the
courtiers.  The Duke of Anjou at last consented to give up the body of
Conde to the Duke of Longueville, his brother-in-law, who had it interred
with due respect at Vendome in the burial-place of his ancestors.”

When in 1569 he thus testified, from a mixture of hatred and fear, an
ignoble joy at the death of Louis de Conde, the valiant chief of
Protestantism, the Duke of Anjou did not foresee that, nearly twenty
years later, in 1588, when he had become Henry III., King of France, he
would also testify, still from a mixture of hatred and fear, the same
ignoble joy at sight of the corpse of Henry de Guise, the valiant chief
of Catholicism, murdered by his order and in his palace.

As soon as Conde’s death was known at La Rochelle, the Queen of Navarre,
Jeanne d’Albret, hurried to Tonnay-Charente, whither the Protestant army
had fallen back; she took with her her own son Henry, fifteen years old,
and Henry de Bourbon, the late Prince of Conde’s son, who was seventeen;
and she presented both of them to the army.  The younger, the future
Henry IV., stepped forward briskly.  “Your cause,” said he, “is mine;
your interests are mine; I swear on my soul, honor, and life, to be
wholly yours.”  The young Conde took the same oath.  The two princes were
associated in the command, under the authority of Coligny, who was
immediately appointed lieutenant-general of the army.  For two years
their double signature figured at the bottom of the principal official
acts of the Reformed party; and they were called “the admiral’s pages.”
 On both of them Jeanne passionately enjoined union between themselves,
and equal submission on their part to Coligny, their model and their
master in war and in devotion to the common cause.  Queen, princes,
admiral, and military leaders of all ranks stripped themselves of all the
diamonds, jewels, and precious stones which they possessed, and which
Elizabeth, the Queen of England, took in pledge for the twenty thousand
pounds sterling she lent him.  The Queen of Navarre reviewed the army,
which received her with bursts of pious and warlike enthusiasm; and
leaving to Coligny her two sons, as she called them, she returned alone
to La Rochelle, where she received a like reception from the inhabitants,
“rough and loyal people,” says La Noue, “and as warlike as mercantile.”
 After her departure, a body of German horse, commanded by Count Mansfeld,
joined Coligny in the neighborhood of Limoges.  Their arrival was an
unhoped-for aid.  Coligny distributed amongst them a medal bearing the
effigy of Queen Jeanne of Navarre with this legend: “Alone, and with the
rest, for God, the king, the laws, and peace.”

With such dispositions on one side and the other, war was resumed and
pushed forward eagerly from June, 1569, to June, 1570, with alternations
of reverse and success.  On the 23d of June, 1569, a fight took place at
Roche l’Abeille, near St. Yrieix in Limousin, wherein the Protestants had
the advantage.  The young Catholic noblemen, with Henry de Guise at their
head, began it rashly, against the desire of their general, Gaspard de
Tavannes, to show off their bravery before the eyes of the queen-mother
and the Cardinal of Lorraine, both of whom considered the operations of
the army too slow and its successes too rare.  They lost five hundred men
and many prisoners, amongst others Philip Strozzi, whom Charles IX. had
just made colonel-general of the infantry.  They took their revenge on
the 7th of September, 1569, by forcing Coligny to raise the siege of
Poitiers, which he had been pushing forward for more than two months, and
on the 3d of October following, at the battle of Moncontour in Poitou,
the most important of the campaign, which they won brilliantly, and in
which the Protestant army lost five or six thousand men and a great part
of their baggage.  Before the action began, “two gentlemen on the side of
the Catholics, being in an out-of-the-way spot, came to speech,” says La
Noue, “with some of the (Protestant) religion, there being certain
ditches between them.

[Illustration: Parley before the Battle of Moncontour----337]

‘Sirs,’ said they, ‘we bear the marks of enemies, but we do not hate you
in any wise, or your party.  Warn the admiral to be very careful not to
fight, for our army is marvellously strong by reason of re-enforcements
that have come in to it, and it is very determined withal.  Let the
admiral temporize for a month only, for all the nobles have sworn and
said to Monseigneur that they will not wait any longer, that he must
employ them within that time, and they will then do their duty.  Let the
admiral remember that it is dangerous to stem the fury of Frenchmen, the
which, however, will suddenly ooze away; if they have not victory
speedily, they will be constrained to make peace, and will offer it you
on advantageous terms.  Tell him that we know this from a good source,
and greatly desired to advertise him of it.’  Afterwards they retired.
The others,” continues La Noue, “went incontinently to the admiral for to
make their report, which was to his taste.  They told it also to others
of the principals; and some there were who desired that it should be
acted upon; but the majority opined that this notice came from suspected
persons, who had been accustomed to practise fraud and deceit, and that
no account should be made of it.”  The latter opinion prevailed; and the
battle of Moncontour was fought with extreme acrimony, especially on the
part of the Catholics, who were irritated by the cruelties, as La Noue
himself says, which the Protestants had but lately practised at the fight
of La Roche l’Abeille.  Coligny was wounded in the action, after having
killed with his own hand the Marquis Philibert of Baden; and the melley
had been so hot that the admiral’s friends found great difficulty in
extricating him and carrying him off the field to get his wound attended
to.  Three weeks before the battle, on the 13th of September, Coligny had
been sentenced to death by the Parliament of Paris, and hanged in effigy
on the Place de Greve; and a reward of fifty thousand gold crowns had
been offered to whosoever should give him up to the king’s justice dead
or alive, words added, it is said, to the decree at the desire of Charles
IX. himself.  Family sorrows were in Coligny’s case added to political
reverses; on the 27th of May, in this same year 1569, he had lost his
brother D’Andelot, his faithful comrade in his religious as well as his
warlike career.  “He found himself,” says D’Aubigne, “saddled with the
blame due to accident, his own merits being passed over in silence; with
the remnant of an army which, when it was whole, was in despair even
before the late disaster; with weak towns, dismayed garrisons, and
foreigners without baggage; himself moneyless, his enemies very powerful,
and pitiless towards all, especially towards him; abandoned by all the
great, except one woman, the Queen of Navarre, who, having nothing but
the title, had advanced to Niort in order to lend a hand to the afflicted
and to affairs in general.  This old man, worn down by fever, endured all
these causes of anguish and many others that came to rack him more
painfully than his grievous wound.  As he was being borne along in a
litter, Lestrange, an old nobleman, and one of his principal counsellors,
travelling in similar fashion, and wounded likewise, had his own litter,
where the road was broad, moved forward in front of the admiral’s, and
putting his head out at the door, he looked steadily at his chief,
saying, with tears in his eyes, ‘Yet God is very merciful.’  Thereupon
they bade one another farewell, perfectly at one in thought, without
being able to say more.  This great captain confessed to his intimates
that these few friendly words restored him, and set him up again in the
way of good thoughts and firm resolutions for the future.”  He was so
much restored, that, between the end of 1569 and the middle of 1570, he
marched through the south and the centre of France the army which he had
reorganized, and with which, wherever he went, he restored, if not
security, at any rate confidence and zeal, to his party.

On arriving at Arnay-le-Duc, in Burgundy, he found himself confronted by
Marshal de Cosse with thirteen thousand men of the king’s troops.
Coligny had barely half as many; but he did not hesitate to attack, and
on the 13th of June, 1570, he was so near victory that the road was left
open before him.  On the 7th of July he arrived at Charite-sur-Loire.
Alarm prevailed at Paris.  A truce for ten days was signed, and
negotiations were reopened for a fresh attempt at peace.

“If any one, in these lamentable wars, worked hard, both with body and
mind,” says La Noue, “it may be said to have been the admiral, for, as
regards the greatest part of the burden of military affairs and
hardships, it was he who supported them with much constancy and buoyancy;
and he was as respectful in his bearing towards the princes his superiors
as he was modest towards his inferiors.  He always had piety in singular
esteem, and a love of justice, which made him valued and honored by them
of the party which he had embraced.  He did not seek ambitiously for
commands and honors; they were thrust upon him because of his competence
and his expertness.  When he handled arms and armies, he showed that he
was very conversant with them, as much so as any captain of his day, and
he always exposed himself courageously to danger.  In difficulties, he
was observed to be full of magnanimity and resource in getting out of
them, always showing himself quite free from swagger and parade.  In
short, he was a personage worthy to re-establish an enfeebled and a
corrupted state.  I was fain to say these few words about him in passing,
for, having known him and been much with him, and having profited by his
teaching, I should have been wrong if I had not made truthful and
honorable mention of him.”  [_Memoires de La Noue, in the Petitot
collection,_ 1st series, t. xxxiv.  p. 288.]

The negotiations were short.  The war had been going on for two years.
The two parties, victorious and vanquished by turns, were both equally
sick of it.  In vain did Philip II., King of Spain, offer Charles IX. an
aid of nine thousand men to continue it.  In vain did Pope Pius V. write
to Catherine de’ Medici, “As there can be no communion between Satan and
the children of the light, it ought to be taken for certain that there
can be no compact between Catholics and heretics, save one full of fraud
and feint.”  “We have beaten our enemies,” says Montluc, “over and over
again; but notwithstanding that, they had so much influence in the king’s
council that the decrees were always to their advantage.  We won by arms,
but they won by those devils of documents.”  Peace was concluded at St.
Germain-en-Laye on the 8th of August, 1570, and it was more equitable and
better for the Reformers than the preceding treaties; for, besides a
pretty large extension as regarded free exercise of their worship and
their civil rights in the state, it granted “for two years, to the
princes of Navarre and Conde and twenty noblemen of the religion, who
were appointed by the king, the wardenship of the towns of La Rochelle,
Cognac, Montauban, and La Charite, whither those of the religion who
dared not return so soon to their own homes might retire.”  All the
members of the Parliament, all the royal and municipal officers, and the
principal inhabitants of the towns where the two religions existed were
further bound over on oath “to maintenance of the edict.”

Peace was made; but it was the third in seven years, and very shortly
after each new treaty civil war had recommenced.  No more was expected
from the treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye than had been effected by those of
Amboise and Longjumeau, and on both sides men sighed for something more
stable and definitive.  By what means to be obtained and with what
pledges of durability?  A singular fact is apparent between 1570 and
1572; there is a season, as it were, of marriages and matrimonial
rejoicings.  Charles IX. went to receive at the frontier of his kingdom
his affianced bride, Archduchess Elizabeth of Austria, daughter of the
emperor, Maximilian II., who was escorted by the Archbishop of Treves,
chancellor of the empire; the nuptials were celebrated at Mezieres, on
the 26th of November, 1570; the princes and great lords of the Protestant
party were invited; they did not think it advisable to withdraw
themselves from their asylum at La Rochelle; but Coligny wrote to the
queen-mother to excuse himself, whilst protesting his forgetfulness of
the past and his personal devotion.  Four months afterwards, Coligny
himself married again; it was three years since he had lost his noble
wife, Charlotte de Laval, and he had not contemplated anything of the
kind, when, in the concluding weeks of 1570, he received from the castle
of St. Andre de Briord, in Le Bugey, a letter from a great lady, thirty
years of age, Jacqueline de Montbel, daughter of Count d’Entremont,
herself a widow, who wrote to him “that she would fain marry a saint and
a hero, and that he was that hero.”  “I am but a tomb,” replied Coligny.
But Jacqueline persisted, in spite of the opposition shown by her
sovereign, Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, who did not like his fair
subjects to marry foreigners; and in February, 1571, she furtively
quitted her castle, dropped down the Rhone in a boat as far as Lyons,
mounted on horseback, and, escorted by five devoted friends, arrived at
La Rochelle.  All Coligny’s friends were urgent for him to accept this
passionate devotion proffered by a lady who would bring him territorial
possessions valuable to the Protestants, “for they were an open door to
Geneva.”  Coligny accepted; and the marriage took place at La Rochelle on
the 24th of March, 1571.  “Madame Jacqueline wore, on this occasion,”
 says a contemporary chronicler, “a skirt in the Spanish fashion, of black
gold-tissue, with bands of embroidery in gold and silver twist, and,
above, a doublet of white silver-tissue embroidered in gold, with large
diamond-buttons.”  She was, nevertheless, at that moment almost as poor as
the German arquebusiers who escorted her litter; for an edict issued by
the Duke of Savoy on the 31st of January, 1569, caused her the loss of
all her possessions in her own country.  She was received in France with
the respect due to her; and when, five months after the marriage,
Charles; IX. summoned Coligny to Paris, “to serve him in his most
important affairs, as a worthy minister, whose virtues were sufficiently
known and tried,” he sent at the same time to Madame l’Amirale a
safe-conduct in which he called her my fair cousin.  Was there any one
belonging to that august and illustrious household who had, at that time,
a presentiment of their impending and tragic destiny?

At the same period, the Queen of Navarre, Jeanne d’Albret, obtained for
her young nephew, Henry de Bourbon, Prince of Conde, son of the hero of
Jarnac, and companion of Henry of Navarre, the hand of his cousin, Mary
of Cleves; and there was still going on in London, on behalf of one of
Charles IX.’s brothers,--at one time the Duke of Anjou and at another the
Duke of Alencon,--the negotiation which was a vain attempt to make Queen
Elizabeth espouse a French prince.

Coincidently with all these marriages or projects of marriage amongst
princes and great lords came the most important of all, that which was to
unite Henry of Navarre and Charles IX.’s sister, Marguerite de Valois.
There had already, thirteen or fourteen years previously, been some talk
about it, in the reign of King Henry II., when Henry of Navarre and
Margaret de Valois, each born in 1553, were both of them mere babies.
This union between the two branches of the royal house, one Catholic and
the other Protestant, ought to have been the most striking sign and the
surest pledge of peace between Catholicism and Protestantism.  The
political expediency of such a step appeared the more evident and the
more urgent in proportion as the religious war had become more direful
and the desire for peace more general.  Charles IX. embraced the idea
passionately.  At the outset he encountered an obstacle.  The young Duke
of Guise had already paid court to Marguerite, and had obtained such
marked favor with her that the ambassador of Spain wrote to the king,
“There is no public topic in France just now save the marriage of my Lady
Marguerite with the Duke of Guise.”  People even talked of a tender
correspondence between the princess and the duke, which was carried on
through one of the queen’s ladies, the Countess of Mirandola, who was
devoted to the Guises and a favorite with Marguerite.  “If it be so,”
 said Charles IX., savagely, “we will kill him;” and he gave such
peremptory orders on this subject, that Henry de Guise, somewhat
disquieted, avoided for a while taking part in the royal hunts, and
thought it well that there should be resumed on his behalf a project of
marriage with Catherine of Cleves, widow of the Prince of Portien (Le
Porcien) and the wealthy heiress to some great domains, especially the
countship of Eu.  So long as he had some hope of marrying Marguerite de
Valois, the Duke of Guise had repudiated, not without offensiveness, all
idea of union with Catherine of Cleves.  “Anybody who can make me marry
the Princess of Portien,” said he, “could make me marry a negress.”  He,
nevertheless, contracted this marriage, so greatly disdained, on the 4th
of October, 1570; and at this price recovered the good graces of Charles
IX.  The queen-mother charged the Cardinal Louis de Lorraine, him whom
the people called Cardinal Bottles (from his conviviality), to publicly
give the lie to any rumor of a possible engagement between her daughter
Marguerite and Henry de Guise; and a grand council of the kings, after
three holdings, adopted in principle the marriage of Marguerite de Valois
with “the little Prince of Bearn.”

Charles IX. at once set his hand to the work to turn this resolution to
good account, being the only means, he said, of putting a stop at last to
this incessantly renewed civil war, which was the plague of his life as
well as of his kingdom.  He first of all sent Marshal de Cosse to La
Rochelle, to sound Coligny as to his feelings upon this subject, and to
urge him to thus cut short public woes and the Reformers’ grievances.
“The king has always desired peace,” said the marshal; “he wishes it to
be lasting; he has proved only too well, to his own misery and that of
his people, that of all the evils which can afflict a state, the most
direful is civil war.  But what means this withdrawal, since the signing
of peace at St. Germain, of the Queen of Navarre and her children, of the
Prince of Conde, and so many lords and distinguished nobles, still
separated from their houses and their families, and collected together in
a town like Rochelle, which has great advantages by land and sea for all
those who would fain begin the troubles again?  Why have they not
returned home?  During the hottest part of the war, they ardently desired
to see once more their houses, their wives, and their children; and now,
when peace leaves them free to do so, they prefer to remain in a land
which is in some sort foreign, and where, in addition to great expenses,
they are deprived of the conveniences they would find at home.  The king
cannot make out such absurdity; or, rather, he is very apprehensive that
this long stay means the hatching of some evil design.”  The Protestants
defended themselves warmly against this supposition; they alleged, in
explanation of their persistent disquietude, the very imperfect execution
of the conditions granted by the peace of St. Germain, and the insults,
the attacks which they had still to suffer in many parts of the kingdom,
and quite recently at Rouen and at Orange.  The king attempted, without
any great success, to repress these disorders amongst the populace.  The
Queen of Navarre, the two princes, Coligny, and many Protestant lords
remained still at La Rochelle, where was being held at this time a
general synod of the Reformed churches.  Charles IX. sent thither Marshal
de Biron, with formal orders to negotiate the marriage of Marguerite de
Valois and the Prince of Navarre, and to induce that prince, his mother
the Queen of Navarre, and Coligny to repair to the court in order to
conclude the matter.  The young prince was at that time in Warn.  The
queen, his mother, answered, “That she would consult her spiritual
advisers, and, as soon as her conscience was at rest, there were no
conditions she would not accept with a view of giving satisfaction to the
king and the queen, of marking her obedience and respect towards them,
and of securing the tranquillity of the state, an object for which she
would willingly sacrifice her own life.  .  .  .  But,” she added, “I
would rather sink to the condition of the humblest damoisel in France
than sacrifice to the aggrandizement of my family my own soul and my
son’s.”

In September, 1571, Charles IX. and the queen-mother repaired to Blois;
and at their urgent request Coligny went thither to talk over the
projected marriage and the affairs of Europe.  The king received him with
emotional satisfaction, calling him my father, and saying to him, “Now we
have you, and you shall not escape us when you wish to.”  Jeanne
d’Albret, more distrustful, or, one ought rather to say, more
clear-sighted, refused to leave La Rochelle, and continued to negotiate
vaguely and from a distance.  Catherine de’ Medici insisted.  “Satisfy,”
 she wrote to her, “the extreme desire we have to see you in this company;
you will be loved and honored therein as accords with reason and with
what you are.”  Jeanne still waited.  It was only in the following year,
at the end of January, that, having earnestly exhorted her son “to remain
Bearn-wards whilst she was at the court of France,” she set out for
Blois, where Charles IX. received her most affectionately, calling her my
good aunt, my dear aunt, and lavishing upon her promises as well as
endearments.  Jeanne was a strict and a judicious person; and the manners
and proceedings of the court at Blois displeased her.  On the 8th of
March, 1572, she wrote to her son, “I find it necessary to negotiate
quite contrariwise to what I had expected and what had been promised me;
I have no liberty to speak to the king or my Lady Marguerite, only to the
queen-mother, who treats me as if I were dirt.  .  .  .  Seeing, then,
that no advance is made, and that the desire is to make me hurry matters,
and not conduct them orderly, I have thrice spoken thereof to the queen,
who does nothing but make a fool of me, and tell everybody the opposite
of what I told her; in such sort that my friends find fault with me, and
I know not how to bring her to book, for when I say to her, ‘Madame, it
is reported that I said so-and-so to you,’ though it was she herself who
reported it, she denies it flatly, and laughs in my face, and uses me in
such wise that you might really say that my patience passes that of
Griselda.  .  .  .  Thenceforward I have a troop of Huguenots, who come
to converse with me, rather for the purpose of being spies upon me than
of assisting me.  Then I have some of another humor, who hamper me no
less, and who are religious hermaphrodites.  I defend myself as best I
may.  .  .  I am sure that if you only knew the trouble I am in, you
would have pity upon me, for they give me empty speeches and raillery
instead of treating with me gravely, as the matter deserves; in such sort
that I am bursting, because I am so resolved not to lose my temper that
my patience is a miracle to see.  .  .  .  I found your letter very much
to my taste; I will show, it to my Lady Marguerite if I can.  She is
beautiful, and discreet, and of good demeanor, but brought up in the most
accursed and most corrupt society that ever was.  I would not, for
anything in the world, have you here to remain here.  That is why I
desire to get you married, and you and your wife withdraw from this
corruption; for though I believed it to be very great, I find it still
more so.  Here it is not the men who solicit the women; it is the women
who solicit the men.  If you were here, you would never escape without a
great deal of God’s grace.”

[Illustration: Admiral Gaspard de Coligny----346]

Side by side with this motherly and Christianly scrupulous negotiation,
Coligny set on foot another, noble and dignified also, but even less in
harmony with the habits and bent of the government which it concerned.
The puritan warrior was at the same time an ardent patriot: he had at
heart the greatness of France as much as he had his personal creed; the
reverses of Francis I. and the preponderance of Spain in Europe oppressed
his spirit with a sense of national decadence, from which he wanted
France to lift herself up again.  The moment appeared to him propitious;
let the king ally himself with Queen Elizabeth of England, the Prince of
Orange in the Low Countries, and the Protestant princes of Germany; here
was for France a certain guarantee of power in Europe, and at the same
time a natural opportunity for conquering Flanders, a possession so
necessary to her strength and her security.  But high above this policy,
so thoroughly French, towered a question still more important than that
of even the security and the grandeur of France; that was the partition
of Europe between Catholicism and Protestantism; and it was in a country
Catholic in respect of the great majority, and governed by a kingship
with which Catholicism was hereditary, that, in order to put a stop to
civil war between French Catholics and Protestants, Coligny pressed the
king to put himself at the head of an essentially Protestant coalition,
and make it triumphant in Europe.  This was, in the sixteenth century, a
policy wholly chimerical, however patriotic its intention may have been;
and the French Protestant hero who recommended it to Charles IX. did not
know that Protestantism was on the eve of the greatest disaster it would
have to endure in France.

A fact of a personal character tended to mislead Coligny.  By his renown,
by the loftiness of his views, by the earnest gravity of his character
and his language he had produced a great effect upon Charles IX., a young
king of warm imagination and impressible and sympathetic temperament,
but, at the same time, of weak judgment.  He readily gave way, in
Coligny’s company, to outpourings which had all the appearance of perfect
and involuntary frankness.  “Speaking one day to the admiral about the
course of conduct to be adopted as to the enterprise against Flanders,
and well knowing that the queen-mother lay under his suspicion, ‘My dear
father,’ said he, ‘there is one thing herein of which we must take good
heed; and that is, that the queen, my mother, who likes to poke her nose
everywhere, as you know, learn nothing of this enterprise, at any rate as
regards the main spring of it, for she would spoil all for us.’  ‘As you
please, sir; but I take her to be so good a mother, and so devoted to the
welfare of your kingdom, that when she knows of it she will do nothing to
spoil it.’  ‘You are mistaken, my dear father,’ said the king; ‘leave it
to me only; I see quite well that you do not know my mother; she is the
greatest meddler in all the world.’”  Another time, when he was speaking
likewise to Teligny, Coligny’s son-in-law, about this enterprise against
Flanders, the king said, “Wouldst have me speak to thee freely, Teligny?
I distrust all these gentry; I am suspicious of Tavannes’ ambition;
Vieilleville loves nothing but good wine; Cosse is too covetous;
Montmorency cares only for his hunting and hawking; the Count de Retz is
a Spaniard; the other lords of my court and those of my council are mere
blockheads; my Secretaries of State, to hide nothing of what I think, are
not faithful to me; insomuch that, to tell the truth, I know not at what
end to begin.”  This tone of freedom and confidence had inspired Coligny
with reciprocal confidence; he believed himself to have a decisive
influence over the king’s ideas and conduct; and when the Protestants
testified their distrust upon this subject, he reproached them vehemently
for it; he affirmed the king’s good intentions and sincerity; and he
considered himself in fact, said Catherine de’ Medici with temper,
“a second king of France.”

How much sincerity was there about these outpourings of Charles IX. in
his intercourse with Coligny, and how much reality in the admiral’s
influence over the king?  We are touching upon that great historical
question which has been so much disputed: was the St. Bartholomew a
design, long ago determined upon and prepared for, of Charles IX. and his
government, or an almost sudden resolution, brought about by events and
the situation of the moment, to which Charles IX. was egged on, not
without difficulty, by his mother Catherine and his advisers?

We recall to mind here what was but lately said in this very chapter as
to the condition of minds and morals in the sixteenth century, and as to
the tragic consequences of it.  Massacre, we add no qualifying term to
the word, was an idea, a habit, we might say almost a practice, familiar
to that age, and one which excited neither the surprise nor the horror
which are inseparable from it in our day.  So little respect for human
life and for truth was shown in the relations between man and man!  Not
that those natural sentiments, which do honor to the human race, were
completely extinguished in the hearts of men; they reappeared here and
there as a protest against the vices and the crimes of the period; but
they were too feeble and too rare to struggle effectually against the
sway of personal passions and interests, against atrocious hatreds and
hopes, against intellectual aberrations and moral corruption.  To betray
and to kill were deeds so common that they caused scarcely any
astonishment, and that people were almost resigned to them beforehand.
We have cited fifteen or twenty cases of the massacres which in the reign
of Charles IX., from 1562 to 1572, grievously troubled and steeped in
blood such and such a part of France, without leaving any lasting traces
in history.  Previously to the massacre called the St. Bartholomew, the
massacre of Vassy is almost the only one which received and kept its true
name.  The massacre of Vassy was, undoubtedly, an accident, a deed not at
all forecast or prepared for.  The St. Bartholomew massacre was an event
for a long time forecast and announced, promised to the Catholics and
thrown out as a threat to the Protestants, written beforehand, so to
speak, in the history of the religious wars of France, but, nevertheless,
at the moment at which it was accomplished, and in the mode of its
accomplishment, a deed unexpected so far as the majority of the victims
were concerned, and a cause of contest even amongst its originators.
Accordingly it was, from the very first, a subject of surprise and
horror, throughout Europe as well as in France; not only because of the
torrents of blood that were shed, but also because of the extraordinary
degree in which it was characterized by falsehood and ferocious hatred.

We will bring forward in support of this double assertion only such facts
and quotations as appear to us decisive.

In 1565, Charles IX. and Catherine de’ Medici had an interview at Bayonne
with the Duke of Alba, representative of Philip II., to consult as to the
means of delivering France from heretics.  “They agreed at last,” says
the contemporary historian Adriani [continuer of Guicciardini; he had
drawn his information from the _Journal of Cosmo de’ Medici,_ Grand Duke
of Tuscany, who died in 1574], “in the opinion of the Catholic king, who
thought that this great blessing could not have accomplishment save by
the death of all the chiefs of the Huguenots, and by a new edition, as
the saying was, of the Sicilian Vespers.  ‘Take the big fish,’ said the
Duke of Alba, ‘and let the small fry go; one salmon is worth more than a
thousand frogs.’  They decided that the deed should be done at Moulins in
Bourbonness, whither the king was to return.  The execution of it was
afterwards deferred to the date of the St. Bartholomew, in 1572, at
Paris, because of certain suspicions which had been manifested by the
Huguenots, and because it was considered easier and more certain to get
them all together at Paris than at Moulins.”

Catherine de’ Medici charged Cardinal Santa Croce to assure Pope Pius V.
“that she and her son had nothing more at heart than to get the admiral
and all his confidants together some day and make a massacre (_un
macello_) of them; but the matter,” she said, “was so difficult that
there was no possibility of promising to do it at one time more than at
another.”

La Noue bears witness in his _Memoires_ to “the resolution taken at
Bayonne, with the Duke of Alba aiding, to exterminate the Huguenots of
France and the beggars (_gueux_) of Flanders; whereof warning had been
given by those about whom there was no doubt.  All these things, and many
others as to which I am silent, mightily waked up those,” he adds, “who
had no desire to be caught napping.  And I remember that the chiefs of
the religion held, within a short time, three meetings, as well at Valeri
as at Chatillon, to deliberate upon present occurrences, and to seek out
legitimate and honorable expedients for securing themselves against so
much alarm, without having recourse to extreme remedies.”

De Thou regards these facts as certain, and, after having added some
details, he sums them all up in the words, “This is what passed at
Bayonne in 1565.”

In 1571, after the third religious war and the peace of
St. Germain-en-Laye, Marshal de Tavaunes wrote to Charles IX., “Peace
has a chance of lasting, because neither of the two parties is willing
or able to renew open war; but, if one of the two sees quite a safe
opportunity for putting a complete end to what is at the root of the
question, this it will take; for to remain forever in the state now
existing is what nobody can or ought to hope for.  And there is no such
near approximation to a complete victory as to take the persons.  For to
surprise what they (the Reformers) hold, to put down their religion, and
to break off all at once the alliances which support them--this is
impossible.  Thus there is no way but to take the chiefs all together
for to make an end of it.”

Next year, on the 24th of August, 1572, when the St. Bartholomew broke
out, Tavannes took care to himself explain what he meant in 1571 by those
words, to take the chiefs all together for to make an end of it.  Being
invested with the command in Paris, “he went about the city all day,”
 says Brantome, “and, seeing so much blood spilt, he said and shouted to
the people, ‘Bleed, bleed; the doctors say that bleeding is as good all
through this month of August as in May.’”

In the year which preceded the outbreak of the massacre, when the
marriage of Marguerite de Valois with the Prince of Navarre was agreed
upon, and Coligny was often present at court, sometimes at Blois and
sometimes at Paris, there arose between the king and the queen-mother a
difference which there had been up to that time nothing to foreshadow.
It was plain that the union between the two branches, Catholic and
Protestant, of the royal house and the patriotic policy of Coligny were
far more pleasing to Charles IX. than to his mother.

On the matrimonial question the king’s feeling was so strong that he
expressed it roughly.  Jeanne d’Albret having said to him one day that
the pope would make them wait a long while for the dispensation requested
for the marriage, “No, no, my clear aunt,” said the king; “I honor you
more than I do the pope, and I love my sister more than I fear him.  I am
not a Huguenot, but no more am I an ass.  If the pope has too much of his
nonsense, I will myself take Margot by the hand and carry her off to be
married in open conventicle.”  Toligny, for his part, was so pleased with
the measures that Charles IX. had taken in favor of the Low Countries in
their quarrels with Philip II., and so confident himself of his influence
over the king, that when Tavannes was complaining in his presence “that
the vanquished should make laws for the victors,” Coligny said to his
face, “Whoever is not for war with Spain is not a good Frenchman, and has
the red cross inside him.”  The Catholics were getting alarmed and
irritated.  The Guises and their partisans left the court.  It was near
the time fixed for the marriage of Henry of Navarre and Marguerite de
Valois; the new pope, Gregory XIII., who had at first shown more pliancy
than his predecessor Pius V., attached to the dispensation conditions to
which neither the intended husband nor King Charles IX. himself was
inclined to consent.  The Queen of Navarre, Jeanne d’Albret, who had gone
to Paris in preparation for the marriage, had died there on the 8th of
June, 1572; a death which had given rise to very likely ill-founded
accusations of poisoning.  “A princess,” says D’Aubigne, “with nothing of
a woman but the sex, with a soul full of everything manly, a mind fit to
cope with affairs of moment, and a heart invincible in adversity.”  It
was in deep mourning that her son, become King of Navarre, arrived at
court, attended by eight hundred gentlemen, all likewise in mourning.
“But,” says Marguerite de Valois herself, “the nuptials took place a few
days afterwards with such triumph and magnificence as none others of my
quality; the King of Navarre and his troop having changed their mourning
for very rich and fine clothes, and I being dressed royally, with crown
and corset of tufted ermine, all blazing with crown-jewels, and the grand
blue mantle with a train four ells long borne by three princesses, the
people choking one another down below to see us pass.”  The marriage was
celebrated on the 18th of August, by the Cardinal of Bourbon, in front of
the principal entrance of Notre-Dame.  When the Princess Marguerite was
asked if she consented, she appeared to hesitate a moment; but King
Charles IX. put his hand a little roughly on her head, and made her lower
it in token of assent.  Accompanied by the king, the queen-mother, and
all the Catholics present, Marguerite went to hear mass in the choir;
Henry and his Protestant friends walked about the cloister and the nave;
Marshal de Damville pointed out to Coligny the flags, hanging from the
vaulted roof of Notre-Dame, which had been taken from the vanquished at
the battle of Moncontour.  “I hope,” said the admiral, “that they will
soon have others better suited for lodgement in this place.”  He was
already dreaming of victories over the Spaniards.

Meanwhile Charles IX. was beginning to hesitate.  He was quite willing
to disconnect himself from the King of Spain, and even to incur his
displeasure, but not to be actively embroiled with him and make war upon
him; he could not conceal from himself that this policy, thoroughly
French though it was, was considered in France too Protestant for a
Catholic king.  Coligny urged him vehemently.  “If you want men,” he
said, “I have ten thousand at your service;” whereupon Tavannes said to
the king, “Sir, whoever of your subjects uses such words to you, you
ought to have his head struck off.  How is it that he offers you that
which is your own?  It is that he has won over and corrupted them, and
that he is a party-leader to your prejudice.”  Tavannes, a rough and
faithful soldier, did not admit that there could be amongst men moral
ties of a higher kind than political ties.  Charles IX., too weak in mind
and character to think and act with independence and consistency in the
great questions of the day, only sought how to elude them, and to leave
time, that inscrutable master, to settle them in his place.  His
indecision brought him to a state of impotence, and he ended by inability
to do anything but dodge and lie, like his mother, and even with his
mother.  Whilst he was getting his sister married to the King of Navarre
and concerting his policy with Coligny, he was adopting towards the three
principal personages who came to talk over those affairs with him three
different sorts of language; to Cardinal Alessandrino, whom Pope Pius V.
had sent to him to oppose the marriage, he said, “My lord cardinal, all
that you say to me is sound; I acknowledge it, and I thank the pope and
you for it; if I had any other means of taking vengeance on my enemies,
I would not make this marriage; but I have no other.”  With Jeanne
d’Albret, he lauded himself for the marriage as the best policy he could
pursue.  “I give my sister,” he said, “not to the Prince of Navarre, but
to all the Huguenots, to marry them as it were, and take from them all
doubt as to the unchangeable fixity of my edicts.”  And to humor his
mother Catherine, he said to her, on the very evening of his interview
with Jeanne d’Albret, “What think you, madam?  Do I not play my partlet
well?”  “Yes, very well; but it is nothing if it is not continued.”  And
Charles continued to play his part, even after the Bartholomew was over,
for he was fond of saying with a laugh, “My big sister Margot caught all
those Huguenot rebels in the bird-catching style.  What has grieved me
most is being obliged to dissimulate so long.”

His contemporary Catholic biographer, Papirius Masson, who was
twenty-eight years old at the time of the St. Bartholomew, says of him,
“He is impatient in waiting, ferocious in his fits of anger, skilfully
masked when he wishes, and ready to break faith as soon as that appears
to his advantage.”

[Illustration: Charles IX. and Catherine de’ Medici----354]

Such was the prince, fiery and flighty, inconsistent and artful,
accessible to the most opposite sympathies as well as hatreds, of whom
Catherine de’ Medici and Admiral Coligny were disputing the possession.

In the spring of 1572 Coligny might have considered himself the victor in
this struggle; at his instance Charles IX. had written on the 27th of
April to Count Louis of Nassau, leader of the Protestant insurrection in
Hainault, “that he was determined, so far as opportunities and the
arrangements of his affairs permitted him, to employ the powers which God
had put into his hands for the deliverance of the Low Countries from the
oppression under which they were groaning.”  Fortified by this promise of
the king’s, Coligny had raised a body of French Protestants, and had sent
it under the command of La Noue to join the army of Louis of Nassau.  The
Reformers had at first had some successes; they had taken Valenciennes
and Mons; but the Duke of Alba restored the fortunes of the King of
Spain; he re-entered Valenciennes and he was besieging Mons.  Coligny
sent to the aid of that place a fresh body of French under the orders of
Senlis, one of his comrades in faith and arms.  Before setting out,
Senlis saw Charles IX., received from him money together with
encouragement, and, in the corps he led, some Catholics were mixed with
the Protestants.  But from the very court of France there came to the
Duke of Alba warnings which put him in a position to surprise the French
corps; and Senlis was beaten and made prisoner on the 10th of July.
“I have in my hands,” the Duke of Alba sent word to his king, “a letter
from the King of France which would strike you dumb if you were to see
it; for the moment, it is expedient to say nothing about it.”  “News of
the defeat of Senlis,” says Tavannes, “comes flying to court, and changes
hearts and counsels.  Disdain, despite, is engendered in the admiral, who
hurls this defeat upon the heads of those who have prevented the king
from declaring himself; he raises a new levy of three thousand foot, and,
not regarding who he is and where he is, he declares, in the presumption
of his audacity, that he can no longer hold his partisans, and that it
must be one of two wars, Spanish or civil.  It is all thunder-storm at
court; everyone remains on the watch at the highest pitch of resolution.”
 A grand council was assembled.  Coligny did not care.  He had already, at
the king’s request, set forth in a long memorial all the reasons for his
policy of a war with Spain; the king had appeared struck with them; but,
“as he only sought,” says De Thou, “to gain time without its being
perceived,” he handed the admiral’s memorial to the keeper of the seals,
John de Morvilliers, requesting him to set forth also all the reasons for
a pacific policy.  Coligny, a man of resolution and of action, did not
take any pleasure in thus prolonging the discussion; nevertheless he
again brought forward and warmly advocated, at the grand council, the
views he had so often expressed.  They were almost unanimously rejected.
Coligny did not consider himself bound to give them up.  “I have
promised,” said he, “on my own account, my assistance to the Prince of
Orange; I hope the king will not take it ill if by means of my friends,
and perhaps in person, I fulfil my promise.”  This reservation excited
great surprise.  “Madam,” said Coligny to the queen-mother, “the king is
to-day shunning a war which would promise him great advantages; God
forbid that there should break out another which he cannot shun!”  The
council broke up in great agitation.  “Let the queen beware,” said
Tavannes, “of the king her son’s secret councils, designs, and sayings;
if she do not look out, the Huguenots will have him.  At any rate, before
thinking of anything else, let her exert herself to regain the mother’s
authority which the admiral has caused her to lose.”

The king was hunting at Brie.  The queen-mother went and joined him; she
shut herself up with him in a cabinet, and, bursting into tears, she
said, “I should never have thought that, in return for having taken so
much pains to bring you up and preserve to you the crown, you would have
had heart to make me so miserable a recompense.  You hide yourself from
me, me who am your mother, in order to take counsel of your enemies.  I
know that you hold secret counsels with the admiral; you desire to plunge
rashly into war with Spain, in order to give your kingdom, yourself, and
the persons that are yours, over as a prey to them of the religion.  If I
am so miserable a creature, yet before I see that, give me leave to
withdraw to the place of my birth; remove from you your brother, who may
call himself unfortunate in having employed his own life to preserve
yours; give him at least time to withdraw out of danger and from the
presence of enemies made in doing you service; Huguenots who desire not
war with Spain, but with France, and the subversion of all the Estates in
order to set up themselves.”

Tavannes himself terms these expressions “an artful harangue;” but he
says, “it moved, astounded, and dismayed the king, not so much on the
score of the Huguenots as of his mother and brother, whose subtlety,
ambition, and power in the state he knew; he marvelled to see his
counsels thus revealed; he avowed them, asked pardon, promised obedience.
Having sown this distrust, having shot this first bolt, the queen-mother,
still in displeasure, withdrew to Monceaux.  The trembling king followed
her; he found her with his brother and Sieurs de Tavannes, de Retz, and
the Secretary of State de Sauve, the last of whom threw himself upon his
knees and received his Majesty’s pardon for having revealed his counsels
to his mother.  The infidelity, the bravado, the audacity, the menaces,
and the enterprises of the Huguenots were magnified with so much of truth
and art that from friends behold them converted into enemies of the king,
who, nevertheless, wavering as ever, could not yet give up the desire he
had conceived of winning glory and reputation by war with Spain.”

A fresh incident increased the agitation in the royal circle.  In July,
1572, the throne of Poland had become vacant.  A Polish embassy came to
offer it to the Duke of Anjou.  On his part and his mother’s, there was
at first great eagerness to accept it; Catherine was charmed to see her
favorite son becoming a king.  “If we had required,” says a Polish
historian, “that the French should build a bridge of solid gold over the
Vistula, they would have agreed.”  Hesitation soon took the place of
eagerness; Henry demanded information, and took time to reply.  He had
shown similar hesitation at the time of the negotiations entered upon in
London, in 1571, with a view of making him the husband of Elizabeth,
Queen of England: Coligny, who was very anxious to have him away, pressed
Charles IX. to insist upon a speedy solution.  “If Monsieur,” said he,
“who would not have England by marriage, will not have Poland either by
election, let him declare once for all that he will not leave France.”
 The relations between the two brothers became day by day more
uncomfortable: two years later, Henry, for a brief period King of Poland,
himself told the story of them to his physician Miron.  “When, by any
chance,” he said, “the queen-mother and I, after the admiral’s departure,
approached the king to speak to him of any matters, even those which
concerned merely his pleasure, we found him marvellously quick-tempered
and cross-grained, with rough looks and bearing, and his answers still
more so.  One day, a very short time before the St. Bartholomew, setting
out expressly from my quarters to go and see the king, somebody told me
on inquiry that he was in his cabinet, whence the admiral, who had been
alone with him a very long while, had just that instant gone out.  I
entered at once, as I had been accustomed to do.  But as soon as the king
my brother perceived me, he, without saying anything to me, began walking
about furiously and with long steps, often looking towards me askance and
with a very evil eye, sometimes laying his hand upon his dagger, and in
so excited a fashion that I expected nothing else but that he would come
and take me by the collar to poniard me.  I was very vexed that I had
gone in, reflecting upon the peril I was in, but still more upon how to
get out of it; which I did so dexterously, that, whilst he was walking
with his back turned to me, I retreated quickly towards the door, which I
opened, and, with a shorter obeisance than at my entry, I made my exit,
which was scarcely perceived by him until I was outside.  And straightway
I went to look for the queen my mother; and, putting together all
reports, notifications, and suspicions, the time, and past circumstances,
in conjunction with this last meeting, we remained both of us easily
persuaded, and as it were certain, that it was the admiral who had
impressed the king with some bad and sinister opinion of us, and we
resolved from that moment to rid ourselves of him.”

One idea immediately occurred to Catherine and her son.  Two persons felt
a passionate hatred towards Coligny; they were the widow of Duke Francis
of Guise, Anne d’Este, become Duchess of Nemours by a second marriage,
and her son Henry de Guise, a young man of twenty-two.  They were both
convinced that Coligny had egged on Poltrot to murder Duke Francis, and
they had sworn to exact vengeance.  Being informed of the queen-mother’s
and the Duke of Anjou’s intention, they entered into it eagerly; the
young Duke of Guise believed his mother quite capable of striking down
the admiral in the very midst of one of the great assemblies at court;
the fair ladies of the sixteenth century were adepts in handling dagger
and pistol.  In default of the Duchess of Nemours, her son was thought of
for getting rid of Coligny.  “It was at one time decided,” says the Duke
de Bouillon in his Memoires, “that M. de Guise should kill the admiral
during a tilt-at-the-ring which the king gave in the garden of the
Louvre, and in which all Messieurs were to lead sides.  I was on that of
the duke, who was believed to have an understanding with the admiral.  On
this occasion, it was so managed that our dresses were not ready, and the
late duke and his side did not tilt at all.  The resolution against the
admiral was changed prudently; inasmuch as it was very perilous, for the
person of the king and of Messieurs, to have determined to kill him in
that place, there being present more than four hundred gentlemen of the
religion, who might have gone very far in case of an assault upon that
lord, who was so much beloved by them.”  Everything considered, it was
thought more expedient to employ for the purpose an inferior agent;
Catherine and the Duke of Anjou sent for a Gascon captain, a dependant of
the house of Lorraine, whom they knew to be resolute and devoted.
“We had him shown the means he should adopt,” says the Duke of Anjou,
“in attacking him whom we had in our eye; but, having well scanned him,
himself and his movements, and his speech and his looks, which had made
us laugh and afforded us good pastime, we considered him too hare-brained
and too much of a wind-bag to deal the blow well.”  They then applied to
an officer “of practice and experience in murder,” Charles de Louviers,
Sieur de Maurevert, who was called the king’s slaughterman (_le tueur du
roi_), because he had already rendered such a service, and they agreed
with him as to all the circumstances of place, time, and procedure most
likely to secure the success of the deed, whilst giving the murderer
chances of escape.

In such situations there is scarcely any project the secret of which is
so well kept that there does not get abroad some rumor to warn an
observant mind; and when it is the fate of a religious or a popular hero
that is in question, there is never any want of devoted friends or
servants about him, ready to take alarm for him.  When Coligny mounted
his horse to go from Chatillon to Paris, a poor countrywoman on his
estates threw herself before him, sobbing, “Ah! sir, ah! our good master,
you are going to destruction; I shall never see you again if once you go
to Paris; you will die there, you and all those who go with-you.”  At
Paris, on the approach of the St. Bartholomew, the admiral heard that
some of his gentlemen were going away.  “They treat you too well here,”
 said one of them, Langoiran, to him; “better to be saved with the fools
than lost for the sake of being thought over-wise.”  “The admiral was
beset by letters which reminded him of the queen-mother’s crooked ways,
and the detestable education of the king, trained to every sort of
violence and horrible sin; his Bible is Macchiavelli; he has been
prepared by the blood of beasts for the shedding of human blood; he has
been persuaded that a prince is not bound to observe an edict extorted by
his subjects.”  To all these warnings Coligny replied at one time by
affirming the king’s good faith, and at another by saying, “I would
rather be dragged dead through the muck-heaps of Paris than go back to
civil war.”  This great soul had his seasons, not of doubt as to his
faith or discouragement as to his cause, but of profound sorrow at the
atrocious or shameful spectacles and the public or private woes which had
to be gone through.

Charles IX. himself felt some disquietude as to the meeting of the Guises
and Coligny at his court.  The Guises had quitted it before the 18th of
August, the day fixed for the marriage of King Henry of Navarre with
Marguerite de Valois.  When the marriage was over, they were to return,
and they did.  At the moment of their returning, the king said to
Coligny, with demonstrations of the most sincere friendship, “You know,
my dear father, the promise you made me not to insult any of the Guises
as long as you remained at court.  On their side, they have given me
their word that they will have for you, and all the gentry of your
following, the consideration you deserve.  I rely entirely upon your
word, but I have not so much confidence in theirs; I know that they are
only looking for an opportunity of letting their vengeance burst forth; I
know their bold and haughty character; as they have the people of Paris
devoted to them, and as, on coming hither, under pretext of the
rejoicings at my sister’s marriage, they have brought a numerous body of
well-armed soldiers, I should be inconsolable if they were to take
anything in hand against you; such an outrage would recoil upon me.  That
being so, if you think as I do, I believe the best thing for me is to
order into the city the regiment of guards, with such and such captains
(he mentioned none but those who were not objects of suspicion to
Coligny); this re-enforcement,” added the king, “will secure public
tranquillity, and, if the factious make any disturbance, there will be
men to oppose to them.”  The admiral assented to the king’s proposal.  He
added that he was ready to declare “that never had he been guilty or
approving of the death of Duke Francis of Guise, and that he set down as
a calumniator and a scoundrel whoever said, that he had authorized it.”
 Though frequently going to the palace, both he and the Guises, they had
not spoken when they met.  Charles had promised the Lorraine princes “not
to force them to make friends with Coligny more than was agreeable to
them.”  He believed that he had taken every precaution necessary to
maintain in his court, for some time at least, the peace he desired.

On Friday, the 22d of August, 1572, Coligny was returning on foot from
the Louvre to the Rue des Fosses--St.-Germain-l’Auxerrois, where he
lived; he was occupied in reading a letter which he had just received;
a shot, fired from the window of a house in the cloister of
St. Germain-l’Auxerrois, smashed two fingers of his right hand and
lodged a ball in his left arm; he raised his eyes, pointed out with his
injured hand the house whence the shot had come, and reached his
quarters on foot.  Two gentlemen who were in attendance upon him rushed
to seize the murderer; it was too late; Maurevert had been lodging there
and on the watch for three days at the house of a canon, an old tutor to
the Duke of Guise; a horse from the duke’s stable was waiting for him at
the back of the house; and, having done his job, he departed at a
gallop.  He was pursued for several leagues without being overtaken.

Coligny sent to apprise the king of what had just happened to him.
“There,” said he, “was a fine proof of fidelity to the agreement between
him and the Duke of Guise.”  “I shall never have rest, then!” cried
Charles, breaking the stick with which he was playing tennis with the
Duke of Guise and Teligny, the admiral’s son-in-law; and he immediately
returned to his room.  The Duke of Guise took himself off without a word.
Teligny speedily joined his father-in-law.  Ambrose Pare had already
attended to him, cutting off the two broken fingers; somebody expressed a
fear that the balls might have been poisoned.  “It will be as God pleases
as to that,” said Coligny; and, turning towards the minister, Merlin, who
had hurried to him, he added, “pray that He may grant me the gift of
perseverance.”  Towards midday, Marshals de Damville, De Cosse, and De
Villars went to see him “out of pure friendship,” they told him, “and not
to exhort him to endure his mishap with patience: we know that you will
not lack patience.”  “I do protest to you,” said Coligny, “that death
affrights me not; it is of God that I hold my life; when He requires it
back from me, I am quite ready to give it up.  But I should very much
like to see the king before I die; I have to speak to him of things which
concern his person and the welfare of his state, and which I feel sure
none of you would dare to tell him of.”  “I will go and inform his
Majesty, .  .  .”  rejoined Damville; and he went out with Villars and
Teligny, leaving Marshal de Cosse in the room.  “Do you remember,” said
Coligny to him, “the warnings I gave you a few hours ago?  You will do
well to take your precautions.”

About two P. M., the king, the queen-mother, and the Dukes of Anjou and
Alencon, her two other sons, with many of their high officers, repaired
to the admiral’s.  “My dear father,” said the king, as he went in, “the
hurt is yours; the grief and the outrage mine; but I will take such
vengeance that it shall never be forgotten;” to which he added his usual
imprecations.  “Then the admiral, who lay in bed sorely wounded,” says
the Duke of Anjou himself, in his account of this interview, “requested
that he might speak privately to the king, which the king granted
readily, making a sign to the queen my mother, and to me, to withdraw,
which we did incontinently into the middle of the room, where we remained
standing during this secret colloquy, which caused us great misgiving.
We saw ourselves surrounded by more than two hundred gentlemen and
captains of the admiral’s party, who were in the room and another
adjoining, and, besides, in a ball below, the which, with sad faces and
the gestures and bearing of malcontents, were whispering in one another’s
ears, frequently passing and repasssing before and behind us, not with so
much honor and respect as they ought to have done, and as if they had
some suspicion that we had somewhat to do with the admiral’s hurt.  We
were seized with astonishment and fear at seeing ourselves shut in there,
as my mother has since many times confessed to me, saying that she had
never been in any place where there was so much cause for fright, and
whence she had gone away with more relief and pleasure.  This
apprehension caused us to speedily break in upon the conversation the
admiral was having with the king, under a polite excuse invented by the
queen my mother, who, approaching the king, said out loud that she had no
idea he would make the admiral talk so much, and that she saw quite well
that his physicians and surgeons considered it bad for him, as it
certainly was very dangerous, and enough to throw him into a fever, which
was, above everything, to be guarded against.  She begged the king to put
off the rest of their conversation to another time, when the admiral was
better.  This vexed the king mightily, for he was very anxious to hear
the remainder of what the admiral had to say to him.  However, he being
unable to gainsay so specious an argument, we got the king away.  And
incontinently the queen-mother (and I too) begged the king to let us know
the secret conversation which the admiral had held with him, and in which
he had been unwilling that we should be participators; which the king
refused several times to do.  But finding himself importuned and hard
pressed by us, he told us abruptly and with displeasure, swearing by
God’s death that what the admiral said was true, that kings realized
themselves as such in France only in so far as they had the ‘power of
doing harm or good to their subjects and servants, and that this power
and management of affairs had slipped imperceptibly into the hands of the
queen my mother and mine.’  ‘This superintendent domination, the admiral
told me, might some day be very prejudicial to me and to all my kingdom,
and that I should hold it in suspicion and beware of it; of which he was
anxious to warn me, as one of my best and most faithful subjects, before
he died.  There, God’s death, as you wish to know, is what the admiral
said to me.’  This, said as it was with passion and fury, went straight
home to our hearts, which we concealed as best we might, both of us,
however, defending ourselves in the matter.  We continued this
conversation all the way from the admiral’s quarters to the Louvre,
where, having left the king in his room, we retired to that of the queen
my mother, who was piqued and hurt to the utmost degree at this language
used by the admiral to the king, as well as at the credence which the
king seemed to accord to it, and was fearful lest it should bring about
some change and alteration in our affairs and in the management of the
state.  Being unable to resolve upon any course at the moment, we
retired, putting off the question till the morrow, when I went to see my
mother, who was already up.  I had a fine racket in my head, and so had
she, and for the time there was no decision come to save to have the
admiral despatched by some means or other.  It being impossible any
longer to employ stratagems and artifices, it would have to be done
openly, and the king brought round to that way of thinking.  We agreed
that, in the afternoon, we would go and pay him a visit in his closet,
whither we would get the Sieur de Nevers, Marshals de Tavannes and de
Retz, and Chancellor de Birague to come, merely to have their opinion as
to the means to be adopted for the execution, which we had already
determined upon, my mother and I.”

On Saturday, the 23d of August, in the afternoon, the queen-mother, the
Duke of Anjou, Marshals do Tavannes and de Retz, the Duke of Nevers, and
the Chancellor de Birague met in the king’s closet, who was irresolute
and still talking of exacting from the Guises heavy vengeance for the
murderous attack upon Coligny.  Catherine “represented to him that the
party of the Huguenots had already seized this occasion for taking up
arms against him; they had sent,” she said, “several despatches to
Germany to procure a levy of ten thousand reiters, and to the cantons of
the Swiss for another levy of ten thousand foot; the French captains,
partisans of the Huguenots, had already, most of them, set out to raise
levies within the kingdom time and place of meeting had already been
assigned and determined.  All the Catholics, on their side,” added
Catherine, “disgusted with so long a war and harassed by so many kinds of
calamities, have resolved to put a stop to them; they have decided
amongst them to elect a captain-general, to form a league offensive and
defensive against the Huguenots.  The whole of France would thus be seen
armed and divided into two great parties, between which the king would
remain isolated, without any command and with about as much obedience.
For so much ruin and calamity in anticipation and already within a
finger’s reach, and for the slaughter of so many thousands of men, a
preventive may be found in a single sword-thrust; all that is necessary
is to kill the admiral, the head and front of all the civil wars; the
designs and the enterprises of the Huguenots will die with him, and the
Catholics, satisfied with the sacrifice of two or three men, will remain
forever in obedience to the king.  .  .  .”  “At the beginning,” continues
the Duke of Anjou, in his account, “the king would not by any means
consent to have the admiral touched; feeling, however, some fear of the
danger which we had so well depicted and represented, to him, he desired
that, in a case of such importance, every one should at once state his
opinion.”  When each of those present had spoken, the king appeared still
undecided.  The queen-mother then resolved “to let him hear the truth in
toto from Marshal de Retz, from whom she knew that he would take it
better than from any other,” says his sister Marguerite de Valois in her
Memoires, “as one who was more in his confidence and favor than any
other.  The which came to see him in the evening, about nine or ten, and
told him that, as his faithful servant, he could not conceal from him the
danger he was in if he were to abide by his resolution to do justice on
M. de Guise, because it was necessary that he should know that the attack
upon the admiral was not M. de Guise’s doing alone, but that my brother
Henry, the King of Poland, afterwards King of France, and the queen my
mother, had been concerned in it; which M. de Guise and his friends would
not fail to reveal, and which would place his Majesty in a position of
great danger and embarrassment.”  Towards midnight, the queen-mother went
down to the king, followed by her son Henry and four other councillors.
They found the king more put out than ever.  The conversation began
again, and resolved itself into a regular attack upon the king.  “The
Guises,” he was told, “will denounce the king himself, together with his
mother and brother; the Huguenots will believe that the king was in
concert with the party, and they will take the whole royal family to
task.  War is inevitable.  Better to win a battle in Paris, where we hold
all the chiefs in our clutches, than put it to hazard in the field.
After a struggle of an hour and a half, Charles, in a violent state of
agitation, still hesitated; when the queen-mother, fearing lest, if there
were further delay, all would be discovered, said to him, ‘Permit me and
your brother, sir, to retire to some other part of the kingdom.’  Charles
rose from his seat.  ‘By God’s death,’ said he, ‘since you think proper
to kill the admiral, I consent; but all the Huguenots in Paris as well,
in order that there remain not one to reproach me afterwards.  Give the
orders at once.’”  And he went back into his room.

In order to relieve and satisfy her own passions and those of her
favorite son, which were fear and love of power, the queen-mother had
succeeded in working her king-son into a fit of weakness and mad anger.
Anxious to profit by it, “she gave orders on the instant for the signal,
which was not to have been given until an hour before daybreak,” says De
Thou, “and, instead of the bell at the Palace of Justice, the tocsin was
sounded by the bell of St.-Germain-Auxerrois, which was nearer.”

Even before the king had given his formal consent, the projectors of the
outrage had carefully prepared for its execution; they had apportioned
out amongst themselves or to their agents the different quarters of the
city.  The Guises had reserved for themselves that in which they
considered they had personal vengeance as well as religious enmity to
satisfy, the neighborhood of St.-Germain-l’Auxerrois, and especially Rue
de Bethisy and Rue des Fosses-St.-Germain.  Awakened by the noise around
his house, and, before long, by arquebuse-shots fired in his court-yard,
Coligny understood what was going to happen; he jumped out of bed, put on
his dressing-gown, and, as he stood leaning against the wall, he said to
the clergyman, Merlin, who was sitting up with him, “M. Merlin, say me a
prayer; I commit my soul to my Saviour.”  One of his gentlemen, Cornaton,
entered the room.  “What is the meaning of this riot?” asked Ambrose
Pare, who had also remained with the admiral.

“My lord,” said Cornaton to Coligny, “it is God calling us.”  “I have
long been ready to die,” said the admiral; “but you, my friends, save
yourselves, if it is still possible.”  All ran up stairs and escaped, the
majority by the roof; a German servant, Nicholas Muss, alone remained
with the admiral, “as little concerned,” says Cornaton, “as if there were
nothing going on around him.”  The door of his room was forced.  Two men,
servants of the Guises, entered first.  One of them, Behme, attached to
the Duke of Guise’s own person, came forward, saying, “Art thou not the
admiral?”  “Young man,” said Coligny, “thou comest against a wounded and
an aged man.  Thou’lt not shorten my life by much.”  Behme plunged into
his stomach a huge pointed boar-spear which he had in his hand, and then
struck him on the head with it.  Coligny fell, saying, “If it were but a
man!  But ‘tis a horse-boy.”  Others came in and struck him in their
turn.  “Behme!” shouted the Duke of Guise from the court-yard, “hast
done?”  “‘Tis all over, my lord,” was the answer; and the murderers threw
the body out of the window, where it stuck for an instant, either
accidentally or voluntarily, and as if to defend a last remnant of life.
Then it fell.  The two great lords, who were waiting for it, turned over
the corpse, wiped the blood off the face, and said, “Faith, ‘tis he, sure
enough.”

[Illustration: Henry de Guise and the Corpse of Coligny----369]

Some have said that Guise gave him a kick in the face.  A servant of the
Duke of Nevers cut off the head, and took it to the queen-mother, the
king, and the Duke of Anjou.  It was embalmed with care, to be sent, it
is said, to Rome.  What is certain is that, a few days afterwards,
Mandelot, governor of Lyons, wrote to the king, “I have received, sir,
the letter your Majesty was pleased to write to me, whereby you tell me
that you have been advertised that there is a man who has set out from
over yonder with the head he took from the admiral after killing him, for
to convey it to Rome, and to take care, when the said man arrives in this
city, to have him arrested, and to take from him the said head.
Whereupon I incontinently gave such strict orders, that, if he presents
himself, the command which it pleases your Majesty to lay upon me will be
acted upon.  There hath not passed, for these last few days, by way of
this city, any person going Romewards save a squire of the Duke of
Guise’s, named Paule, the which had departed four hours previously on the
same day on which I received the said letter from your Majesty.”

We do not find anywhere, in reference to this incident, any information
going further than this reply of the governor of Lyons to Charles IX.
However it may be, the remains of Coligny’s body, after having been hung
and exposed for some days on the gibbet of Montfaucon, were removed by
Duke Francis de Montmorency, the admiral’s relative and friend, who had
them transferred to Chantilly and interred in the chapel of the castle.
After having been subjected, in the course of three centuries, at one
time to oblivion and at others to divers transferences, these sad relics
of a great man, a great Christian, and a great patriot, have been
resting, for the last two and twenty years, in the very castle of
Chatillon-sur-Loing, his ancestors’ own domain having once more become
the property of a relative of his family, the Duke of Luxembourg, to whom
Count Anatole de Montesquiou transferred them, and who, in 1851, had them
sealed up in a bit of wall in ruins, at the foot of an old tower, under
the site of the bed-chamber of the Duchesses of Chatillon, where, in all
probability, Coligny was born.  The more tardy the homage, the greater.

The actual murderers of Coligny, the real projectors of the
St. Bartholomew, Catherine de’ Medici and her son the Duke of Anjou, at
the very moment when they had just ordered the massacre, were seized with
affright at the first sound of their crime.  The Duke of Anjou finishes
his story with this page “After but two hours’ rest during the night,
just as the day was beginning to break, the king, the queen my mother,
and I went to the frontal of the Louvre, adjoining the tennis-court, into
a room which looks upon the area of the stable-yard, to see the
commencement of the work.  We had not been there long when, as we were
weighing the issues and the consequence of so great an enterprise, on
which, sooth to say, we had up to that time scarcely bestowed a thought,
we heard a pistol-shot fired.  I could not say in what spot, or whether
it knocked over anybody; but well know I that the sound wounded all three
of us so deeply in spirit that it knocked over our senses and judgment,
stricken with terror and apprehension at the great troubles which were
then about to set in.  To prevent them, we sent a gentleman at once and
with all haste to M. de Guise, to tell him and command him expressly from
us to retire into his quarters, and be very careful to take no steps
against the admiral, this single command putting a stop to everything
else, because it had been determined that in no spot in the city should
any steps be taken until, as a preliminary, the admiral had been killed.
But soon afterwards the gentleman returning told us that M. de Guise had
answered him that the command came too late, that the admiral was dead,
and the work was begun throughout the rest of the city.  So we went back
to our original determination, and let ourselves follow the thread and
the course of the enterprise.”

The enterprise, in fact, followed its thread and natural course without
its being in the power of anybody to arrest or direct it.  It had been
absolutely necessary to give information of it the evening before to the
provost of tradesmen of Paris, Le Charron, president in the court of
taxation (Board of Excise), and to the chief men of the city.  According
to Brantome, “they made great difficulties and imported conscience into
the matter; but M. de Tavannes, in the king’s presence, rebuked them
strongly, and threatened them that, if they did not make themselves busy,
the king would have them hanged.  The poor devils, unable to do aught
else, thereupon answered, ‘Ha! is that the way you take it, sir, and you,
monsieur?  We swear to you that you shall hear news thereof, for we will
ply our hands so well right and left that the memory shall abide forever
of a right well kept St. Bartholomew.’”  “Wherein they did not fail,”
 continues Brantome, “but they did not like it at first.”  According to
other reports, the first opposition of the provost of tradesmen, Le
Charron, was not without effect; it was not till the next day that he let
the orders he had received take their course; and it was necessary to
apply to his predecessor in his office, the ex-provost Marcel, a creature
of the queen-mother’s, to set in motion the turbulent and the fanatical
amongst the populace, “which it never does to ‘blood,’ for it is
afterwards more savage than is desirable.”  Once let loose upon the
St. Bartholomew, the Parisian populace was eager indeed, but not alone in
its eagerness, for the work of massacre; the gentlemen of the court took
part in it passionately, from a spirit of vengeance, from religious
hatred, from the effect of smelling blood, from covetousness at the
prospect of confiscations at hand.  Teligny, the admiral’s son-in-law,
had taken refuge on a roof; the Duke of Anjou’s guards make him a mark
for their arquebuses.  La Rochefoucauld, with whom the king had been
laughing and joking up to eleven o’clock the evening before, heard a
knocking at his door, in the king’s name; it is opened; enter six men in
masks and poniard him.  The new Queen of Navarre, Marguerite de Valois,
had gone to bed by express order of her mother Catherine.  “Just as I was
asleep,” says she, “behold a man knocking with feet and hands at the door
and shouting, Navarre!  Navarre!  My nurse, thinking it was the king my
husband, runs quickly to the door and opens it.  It was a gentleman named
M. de Leran, who had a sword-cut on the elbow, a gash from a halberd on
the arm, and was still pursued by four archers, who all came after him
into my bedroom.  He, wishing to save himself, threw himself on to my
bed; as for me, feeling this man who had hold of me, I threw myself out
of bed towards the wall, and he after me, still holding me round the
body.  I did not know this man, and I could not tell whether he had come
thither to offer me violence, or whether the archers were after him in
particular, or after me.  We both screamed, and each of us was as much
frightened as the other.  At last it pleased God that M. de Nanqay,
captain of the guards, came in, who, finding me in this plight, though he
felt compassion, could not help laughing; and, flying into a great rage
with the archers for this indiscretion, he made them begone, and gave me
the life of that poor man who had hold of me, whom I had put to bed and
attended to in my closet, until he was well.”

[Illustration: The Queen of Navarre and the Huguenot----372]

We might multiply indefinitely these anecdotical scenes of the massacre,
most of them brutally ferocious, others painfully pathetic, some generous
and calculated to preserve the credit of humanity amidst one of its most
direful aberrations.  History must show no pity for the vices and crimes
of men, whether princes or people; and it is her duty as well as her
right to depict them so truthfully that men’s souls and imaginations may
be sufficiently impressed by them to conceive disgust and horror at them;
but it is not by dwelling upon them and by describing them minutely, as
if she had to exhibit a gallery of monsters and madmen, that history can
lead men’s minds to sound judgments and salutary impressions; it is
necessary to have moral sense and good sense always in view, and set high
above great social troubles, just as sailors, to struggle courageously
against the tempest, need to see a luminous corner where the sky is
visible, and a star which reveals to them the port.  We take no pleasure,
and we see no use, in setting forth in detail the works of evil; we
should be inclined to fear that, by familiarity with such a spectacle,
men would lose the perception of good, and cease to put hope in its
legitimate and ultimate superiority.  Nor will we pause either to discuss
the secondary questions which meet us at the period of which we are
telling the story; for example, the question whether Charles IX. fired
with his own hand on his Protestant subjects whom he had delivered over
to the evil passions of the aristocracy and of the populace, or whether
the balcony from which he is said to have indulged in this ferocious
pastime existed at that time, in the sixteenth century, at the palace of
the Louvre, and overlooking the Seine.  These questions are not without
historic interest, and it is well for learned men to study them; but we
consider them incapable of being resolved with certainty; and, even were
they resolved, they would not give the key to the character of Charles
IX. and to the portion which appertains to him in the deed of cruelty
with which his name remains connected.  The great historic fact of the
St. Bartholomew is what we confine ourselves to; and we have attempted to
depict it accurately as regards Charles IX.’s hesitations and equally
feverish resolutions, his intermixture of open-heartedness and
double-dealing in his treatment of Coliguy, towards whom he felt himself
drawn without quite understanding him, and his puerile weakness in
presence of his mother, whom he feared far more than he trusted.  When he
had plunged into the orgies of the massacre, when, after having said,
“Kill them all!” he had seen the slaughter of his companions in his royal
amusements, Teligny and La Rochefoucauld, Charles IX. abandoned himself
to a fit of mad passion.  He was asked whether the two young Huguenot
princes, Henry of Navarre and Henry de Conde, were to be killed also;
Marshal de Retz had been in favor of it; Marshal de Tavannes had been
opposed to it; and it was decided to spare them.  On the very night of
the St. Bartholomew, the king sent for them both.  “I mean for the
future,” said he, “to have but one religion in my kingdom; the mass or
death; make your choice.”  Henry of Navarre reminded the king of his
promises, and asked for time to consider; Henry de Conde “answered that
he would remain firm in the true religion though he should have to give
up his life for it.”  “Seditious madman, rebel, and son of a rebel,” said
Charles, “if within three days you do not change your language, I will
have you strangled.”  At this first juncture, the king saved from the
massacre none but his surgeon, Ambrose Pare, and his nurse, both
Huguenots; on the very night after the murder of Coligny, he sent for
Ambrose Pare into his chamber, and made him go into his wardrobe, says
Brantome, “ordering him not to stir, and saying that it was not
reasonable that one who was able to be of service to a whole little world
should be thus massacred.”  A few days afterwards, “Now,” said the king
to Pare, “you really must be a Catholic.”  “By God’s light,” answered
Pars, “I think you must surely remember, sir, to have promised me, in
order that I might never disobey you, never, on the other hand, to bid me
do four things--find my way back into my mother’s womb, catch myself
fighting in a battle, leave your service, or go to mass.”  After a
moment’s silence Charles rejoined, “Ambrose, I don’t know what has come
over me for the last two or three days, but I feel my mind and my body
greatly excited, in fact, just as if I had a fever; meseems every moment,
just as much waking as sleeping, that those massacred corpses keep
appearing to me with their faces all hideous and covered with blood.  I
wish the helpless and the innocent had not been included.”  “And in
consequence of the reply made to him,” adds Sully in his (_Economies
royales_ t. i.  p. 244, in the Petitot collection), “he next day issued
his orders, prohibiting, on pain of death, any slaying or plundering; the
which were, nevertheless, very ill observed, the animosities and fury of
the populace being too much inflamed to defer to them.”

The historians, Catholic or Protestant, contemporary or researchful,
differ widely as to the number of the victims in this cruel massacre;
according to De Thou, there were about two thousand persons killed in
Paris the first day; D’Aubigne says three thousand; Brantome speaks of
four thousand bodies that Charles IX. might have seen floating down the
Seine; La Popeliniere reduces them to one thousand.  There is to be
found, in the account-books of the city of Paris, a payment to the
grave-diggers of the cemetery of the Innocents for having interred eleven
hundred dead bodies stranded at the turns of the Seine near Chaillot,
Auteuil, and St. Cloud; it is probable that many corpses were carried
still farther, and the corpses were not all thrown into the river.  The
uncertainty is still greater when one comes to speak of the number of
victims throughout the whole of France; De Thou estimates it at thirty
thousand, Sully at seventy thousand, Perefixe, Archbishop of Paris in the
seventeenth century, raises it to one hundred thousand; Papirius Masson
and Davila reduce it to ten thousand, without clearly distinguishing
between the massacre of Paris and those of the provinces; other
historians fix upon forty thousand.  Great uncertainty also prevails as
to the execution of the orders issued from Paris to the governors at the
provinces; the names of the Viscount d’Orte, governor of Bayonne, and of
John le Hennuyer, Bishop of Lisieux, have become famous from their having
refused to take part in the massacre; but the authenticity of the letter
from the Viscount d’Orte to Charles IX. is disputed, though the fact of
his resistance appears certain; and as for the bishop, John le Hennuyer,
M. de Formeville seems to us to have demonstrated in his _Histoire de
l’ancien Eveche-comte de Lisieux_ (t. ii.  pp. 299-314), “that there was
no occasion to save the Protestants of Lisieux, in 1572, because they did
not find themselves in any danger of being massacred, and that the merit
of it cannot be attributed to anybody, to the bishop, Le Hennuyer, any
more than to Captain Fumichon, governor of the town.  It was only the
general course of events and the discretion of the municipal officers of
Lisieux that did it all.”  One thing which is quite true, and which it is
good to call to mind in the midst of so great a general criminality, is
that, at many spots in France, it met with a refusal to be associated in
it; President Jeannin at Dijon, the Count de Tende in Provence, Philibert
de la Guiche at Macon, Tanneguy le Veneur de Carrouge at Rouen, the Count
de Gordes in Dauphiny, and many other chiefs, military or civil, openly
repudiated the example set by the murderers of Paris; and the municipal
body of Nantes, a very Catholic town, took upon this subject, as has been
proved from authentic documents by M. Vaurigaud, pastor of the Reformed
Church at Nantes [in his _Essai sur l’Histoire des Eglises reformees de
Bretagne,_ t. i.  pp.  190-194], a resolution which does honor to its
patriotic firmness as well as to its Christian loyalty.

[Illustration: Chancellor Michael de l’Hospital----376]


A great, good man, a great functionary, and a great scholar, in disgrace
for six years past, the Chancellor Michael de l’Hospital, received about
this time, in his retreat at Vignay, a visit from a great philosopher,
Michael de Montaigne, “anxious,” said the visitor, “to come and testify
to you the honor and reverence with which I regard your competence and
the special qualities which are in you; for, as to the extraneous and the
fortuitous, it is not to my taste to put them down in the account.”
 Montaigne chose a happy moment for disregarding all but the personal, and
special qualities of the chancellor; shortly after his departure,
L’Hospital was warned that some sinister-looking horsemen were coming,
and that he would do well to take care of himself.  “No matter, no
matter,” he answered; “it will be as God pleases when my hour has come.”
 Next day he was told that those men were approaching his house, and he
was asked whether he would not have the gates shut against them, and have
them fired upon, in case they attempted to force an entrance.  “No,” said
he, “if the small gate will not do for them to enter by, let the big one
be opened.”  A few hours afterwards, L’Hospital was informed that the
king and the queen-mother were sending other horsemen to protect him.
“I didn’t know,” said the old man, “that I had deserved either death or
pardon.”  A rumor of his death flew abroad amongst his enemies, who
rejoiced at it.  “We are told,” wrote Cardinal Granvelle to his agent at
Brussels (October 8, 1572), “that the king has had Chancellor de
l’Hospital and his wife despatched, which would be a great blessing.”
 The agent, more enlightened than his chief, denied the fact, adding,
“They are a fine bit of rubbish left, L’Hospital and his wife.”  Charles
IX. wrote to his old adviser to reassure him, “loving you as I do.”  Some
time after, however, he demanded of him his resignation of the title of
chancellor, wishing to confer it upon La Birague, to reward him for his
co-operation in the St. Bartholomew.  L’Hospital gave in his resignation
on the 1st of February, 1573, and died six weeks afterwards, on the 18th
of March.  “I am just at the end of my long journey, and shall have no
more business but with God,” he wrote to the king and the queen-mother.
“I implore Him to give you His grace, and to lead you with His hand in
all your affairs, and in the government of this great and beautiful
kingdom which He hath committed to your keeping, with all gentleness and
clemency towards your good subjects, in imitation of Himself, who is good
and, patient in bearing our burdens, and prompt to forgive you and pardon
you everything.”

From the 24th to the 31st of August, 1572, the bearing and conduct of
Charles IX. and the queen-mother produced nothing but a confused mass of
orders and counter-orders, affirmations and denials, words and actions
incoherent and contradictory, all caused by a habit of lying and the
desire of escaping from the peril or embarrassment of the moment.  On the
very first day of the massacre, about midday, the provost of tradesmen
and the sheriffs, who had not taken part in the “Paris matins,” came
complaining to the king “of the pillage, sack, and murder which were
being committed by many belonging to the suite of his Majesty, as well as
to those of the princes, princesses, and lords of the court, by noblemen,
archers, and soldiers of the guard, as well as by all sorts of gentry and
people mixed with them and under their wing.”  Charles ordered them “to
get on horseback, take with them all the forces in the city, and keep
their eyes open day and night to put a stop to the said murder, pillage,
and sedition arising,” he said, “because of the rivalry between the
houses of Guise and Chatillon, and because they of Guise had been
threatened by the admiral’s friends, who suspected them of being at the
bottom of the hurt inflicted upon him.”  He, the same day, addressed to
the governors of the provinces a letter in which he invested the
disturbance with the same character, and gave the same explanation of it.
The Guises complained violently at being thus disavowed by the king, who
had the face to throw upon them alone the odium of the massacre which he
had ordered.  Next day, August 25, the king wrote to all his agents, at
home and abroad, another letter, affirming that “what had happened at
Paris had been done solely to prevent the execution of an accursed
conspiracy which the admiral and his allies had concocted against him,
his mother, and his brothers;” and, on the 26th of August, he went with
his two brothers to hold in state a bed of justice, and make to the
Parliament the same declaration against Coligny and his party.  “He could
not,” he said, “have parried so fearful a blow but by another very
violent one; and he wished all the world to know that what had happened
at Paris had been done not only with his consent, but by his express
command.”  Whereupon it was enjoined upon the court, says De Thou, “to
cause investigations to be made as to the conspiracy of Coligny, and to
decree what it should consider proper, conformably with the laws and with
justice.”  The next day but one, August 28, appeared a royal manifesto
running, “The king willeth and intendeth that all noblemen and others
whosoever of the religion styled Reformed be empowered to live and abide
in all security and liberty, with their wives, children, and families, in
their houses, as they have heretofore done and were empowered to do by
benefit of the edicts of pacification.  And nevertheless, for to obviate
the troubles, scandals, suspicion, and distrust, which might arise by
reason of the services and assemblies that might take place both in the
houses of the said noblemen and elsewhere, as is permitted by the
aforesaid edicts of pacification, his Majesty doth lay very express
inhibitions and prohibitions upon all the said noblemen and others of the
said religion against holding assemblies, on any account whatsoever,
until that, by the said lord the king, after having provided for the
tranquillity of his kingdom, it be otherwise ordained.  And that, on pain
of confiscation of body and goods in case of disobedience.”

These tardy and lying accusations officially brought against Coligny and
his friends; these promises of liberty and security for the Protestants,
renewed in the terms of the edicts of pacification, and, in point of
fact, annulled at the very moment at which they were being renewed; the
massacre continuing here and there in France, at one time with the secret
connivance and at another notwithstanding the publicly-given word of the
king and the queen-mother; all this policy, at one and the same time
violent and timorous, incoherent and stubborn, produced amongst the
Protestants two contrary effects: some grew frightened, others angry.
At court, under the direct influence of the king and his surroundings,
“submission to the powers that be” prevailed; many fled; others, without
abjuring their religion, abjured their party.  The two Reformer-princes,
Henry of Navarre and Henry de Conde, attended mass on the 29th of
September, and, on the 3d of October, wrote to the pope, deploring their
errors and giving hopes of their conversion.  Far away from Paris, in the
mountains of the Pyrenees and of Languedoc, in the towns where the
Reformers were numerous and confident, at Sancerre, at Montauban, at
Nimes, at La Rochelle, the spirit of resistance carried the day.  An
assembly, meeting at Milhau, drew up a provisional ordinance for the
government of the Reformed church, “until it please God, who has the
hearts of kings in His keeping, to change that of King Charles IX. and
restore the state of France to good order, or to raise up such
neighboring prince as is manifestly marked out, by his virtue and by
distinguishing signs, for to be the liberator of this poor afflicted
people.”  In November, 1572, the fourth religious war broke out.  The
siege of La Rochelle was its only important event.  Charles IX. and his
councillors exerted themselves in vain to avoid it.  There was everything
to disquiet them in this enterprise: so sudden a revival of the religious
war after the grand blow they had just struck, the passionate energy
manifested by the Protestants in asylum at La Rochelle, and the help they
had been led to hope for from Queen Elizabeth, whom England would never
have forgiven for indifference in this cause.  Marshal de Biron, who was
known to favor the Reformers, was appointed governor of La Rochelle; but
he could not succeed in gaining admittance within the walls, even alone
and for the purpose of parleying with the inhabitants.  The king heard
that one of the bravest Protestant chiefs, La Noue _Ironarm,_ had retired
to Mons with Prince Louis of Nassau.  The Duke of Longueville, his old
enemy, induced him to go to Paris.  The king received him with great
favor, gave up to him the property of Teligny, whose sister La Noue had
married, and pressed him to go to La Rochelle and prevail upon the
inhabitants to keep the peace.  La Noue refused, saying that he was not
at all fitted for this commission.  The king promised that he would ask
nothing of him which could wound his honor.  La Noue at last consented,
and repaired, about the end of November, 1572, to a village close by La
Rochelle, whither it was arranged that deputies from the town would come
and confer with him.  And they came, in fact, but at their first meeting,
“We are come,” they said, “to confer with M. de La Noue, but we do not
see him here.”  La Noue got angry.  “I am astonished,” he said, “that you
have so soon forgotten one who has received so many wounds and lost an
arm fighting for you.”  “Yes, there is a M. de La Noue, who was one of
us, and who bravely defended our cause; but he never flattered us with
vain hopes, he never invited us to conferences to betray us.”  La Noue
got more fiercely angry.  “All I ask of you is, to report to the senate
what I have to say to them.”  They complied, and came back with
permission for him to enter the town.  The people looked at him, as he
passed, with a mixture of distrust and interest.  After hearing him, the
senate rejected the pacific overtures made to them by La Noue.  “We have
no mind to treat specially and for ourselves alone; our cause is that of
God and of all the churches of France; we will accept nothing but what
shall seem proper to all our brethren.  For yourself, we give you your
choice between three propositions: remain in our town as a simple
burgess, and we will give you quarters; if you like better to be our
commandant, all the nobility and the people will gladly have you for
their head, and will fight with confidence under your orders; if neither
of these propositions suits you, you shall be welcome to go aboard one of
our vessels and cross over to England, where you will find many of your
friends.”  La Noue did not hesitate; he became, under the authority of
the mayor Jacques Henri, the military head of La Rochelle, whither
Charles IX. had sent him to make peace.  The king authorized him to
accept this singular position.  La Noue conducted himself so honorably in
it, and everybody was so convinced of his good faith as well as bravery,
that for three months he commanded inside La Rochelle, and superintended
the preparations for defence, all the while trying to make the chances of
peace prevail.  At the end of February, 1573, he recognized the
impossibility of his double commission, and he went away from La
Rochelle, leaving the place in better condition than that in which he had
found it, without either king or Rochellese considering that they had any
right to complain of him.

Biron first and then the Duke of Anjou in person took the command of the
siege.  They brought up, it is said, forty thousand men and sixty pieces
of artillery.  The Rochellese, for defensive strength, had but twenty-two
companies of refugees or inhabitants, making in all thirty-one hundred
men. The siege lasted from the 26th of February to the 13th of June,
1573; six assaults were made on the place; in the last, the ladders had
been set at night against the wall of what was called Gospel bastion; the
Duke of Guise, at the head of the assailants, had escaladed the breach,
but there he discovered a new ditch and a new rampart erected inside;
and, confronted by these unforeseen obstacles, the men recoiled and fell
back.  La Rochelle was saved.  Charles IX. was more and more desirous of
peace; his brother, the Duke of Anjou, had just been elected King of
Poland; Charles IX. was anxious for him to leave France and go to take
possession of his new kingdom.  Thanks to these complications, the peace
of La Rochelle was signed on the 6th of July, 1573.  Liberty of creed and
worship was recognized in the three towns of La Rochelle, Montauban, and
Nimes.  They were not obliged to receive any royal garrison, on condition
of giving hostages to be kept by the king for two years.  Liberty of
worship throughout the extent of their jurisdiction continued to be
recognized in the case of lords high-justiciary.  Everywhere else the
Reformers had promises of not being persecuted for their creed, under the
obligation of never holding an assembly of more than ten persons at a
time.  These were the most favorable conditions they had yet obtained.

Certainly this was not what Charles IX. had calculated upon when he
consented to the massacre of the Protestants.  “Provided,” he had said,
“that not a single one is left to reproach me.”  The massacre had been
accomplished almost without any resistance but that offered by certain
governors of provinces or towns, who had refused to take part in it.  The
chief leader of French Protestantism, Coligny, had been the first victim.
Far more than that, the Parliament of Paris had accepted the royal lie
which accused Coligny of conspiring for the downfall of the king and the
royal house; a decree, on that very ground, sentenced to condemnation the
memory, the family, and the property of Coligny, with all sorts of
rigorous, we should rather say atrocious, circumstances.  And after
having succeeded so well against the Protestants, Charles IX. saw them
recovering again, renewing the struggle with him, and wresting from him
such concessions as he had never yet made to them.  More than ever might
he exclaim, “Then I shall never have rest!”  The news that came to him
from abroad was not more calculated to satisfy him.

[Illustration: The St. Bartholomew----383]

The St. Bartholomew had struck Europe with surprise and horror; not only
amongst the princes and in the countries that were Protestant, in
England, Scotland, and Northern Europe, but in Catholic Germany itself,
there was a very strong feeling of reprobation; the Emperor Maximilian
II. and the Elector Palatine Frederic III., called the Pious, showed it
openly; when the Duke of Anjou, elected King of Poland, went through
Germany to go and take possession of his kingdom, he was received at
Heidelberg with premeditated coolness.  When he arrived at the gate of
the castle, not a soul went to meet him; alone he ascended the steps, and
found in the hall a picture representing the massacre of St. Bartholomew;
the elector called his attention to the portraits of the principal
victims, amongst others that of Coligny, and at table he was waited upon
solely by French Protestant refugees.  At Rome itself, in the midst of
official satisfaction and public demonstrations of it exhibited by the
pontifical court, the truth came out, and Pope Gregory XIII. was touched
by it when certain of my lords the cardinals who were beside him “asked
wherefore he wept and was sad at so goodly a despatch of those wretched
folk, enemies of God and of his Holiness: ‘I weep,’ said the pope, ‘at
the means the king used, exceeding unlawful and forbidden of God, for to
inflict such punishment; I fear that one will fall upon him, and that he
will not have a very long bout of it (will not live very long).  I fear,
too, that amongst so many dead folk there died as many innocent as
guilty.’” [_Brantome,_ t. iv.  p. 306.  He attributes this language to
Pope Pius V., who died four months before the St. Bartholomew.  Gregory
XIII., elected May 15, 1572, was pope when the massacre took place.] Only
the King of Spain, Philip II., a fanatical despot, and pitiless
persecutor, showed complete satisfaction at the event; and he offered
Charles IX.  the assistance of his army, if he had need of it, against
what there was remaining of heretics in his kingdom.

Charles IX. had not mind or character sufficiently sound or sufficiently
strong to support, without great perturbation, the effect of so many
violent, repeated, and often contradictory impressions.  Catherine de
Medici had brought up her three sons solely with a view of having their
confidence and implicit obedience.  “All the actions of the
queen-mother,” said the Venetian ambassador Sigismund Cavalli, who had
for a long while resided at her court, “have always been prompted and
regulated by one single passion, the passion of ruling.”  Her son Charles
had yielded to it without an effort in his youth.  “He was accustomed to
say that, until he was five and twenty, he meant to play the fool; that
is to say, to think of nothing but of enjoying his heyday; accordingly he
showed aversion for speaking and treating of business, putting himself
altogether in his mother’s hands.  Now, he no longer thinks and acts in
the same way.  I have been told that, since the late events, he requires
to have the same thing said more than three times over by the queen,
before obeying her.”  It was not with regard to his mother only that
Charles had changed.  “His looks,” says Cavalli, “have become melancholy
and sombre; in his conversations and audiences he does not look the
speaker in the face; he droops his head, closes his eyes, opens them all
at once, and, as if he found the movement painful, closes them again with
no less suddenness.  It is feared that the demon of vengeance has
possessed him; he used to be merely severe; it is feared that he is
becoming cruel.  He is temperate in his diet; drinks nothing but water.
To tire himself at any price, is his object.  He remains on horseback for
twelve or fourteen consecutive hours; and so he goes hunting and coursing
through the woods the same animal, the stag, for two or three days, never
stopping but to eat, and never resting but for an instant during the
night.”  He was passionately fond of all bodily exercises, the practice
of arms, and the game of tennis.  “He had a forge set up for himself,”
 says Brantome, “and I have seen him forging cannon, and horseshoes, and
other things as stoutly as the most robust farriers and forgemen.”  He,
at the same time, showed a keen and intelligent interest in intellectual
works and pleasures.  He often had a meeting, in the evening, of poets,
men of letters, and artists--Ronsard, Amadis Jamin, Jodelle, Daurat,
Baif; in 1570 he gave them letters patent for the establishment of an
Academy of poetry and music, the first literary society founded in France
by a king; but it disappeared amidst the civil wars.  Charles IX.
himself sang in the choir, and he composed a few hunting-airs.  Ronsard
was a favorite, almost a friend, with him; he used to take him with him
on his trips, and give him quarters in his palace, and there was many an
interchange of verse between them, in which Ronsard did not always have
the advantage.  Charles gave a literary outlet to his passion for
hunting; he wrote a little treatise entitled La Chasse royale, which was
not published until 1625, and of which M. Henry Chevreul brought out, in
1857, a charming and very correct edition.  Charles IX. dedicated it to
his lieutenant of the hunt, Mesnil, in terms of such modest and
affectionate simplicity that they deserve to be kept in remembrance.
“Mesnil,” said the king, “I should feel myself far too ungrateful, and
expect to be chidden for presumption, if, in this little treatise that I
am minded to make upon stag hunting, I did not, before any one begins to
read it, avow and confess that I learnt from you what little I know.
.  .  .  I beg you, also, Mesnil, to be pleased to correct and erase what
there is wrong in the said treatise, the which, if peradventure it is so
done that there is nothing more required than to re-word and alter, the
credit will be firstly yours for having so well taught me, and then mine
for having so well remembered.  Well, then, having been taught by so good
a master, I will be bold enough to essay it, begging you to accept it as
heartily as I present it and dedicate it to you.”

These details and this quotation are allowable in order to shed full
light upon the private and incoherent character of this king, who bears
the responsibility of one of the most tragic events in French history.
In the spring of 1574, at the age of twenty-three years and eleven
months, and after a reign of eleven years and six months, Charles IX.
was attacked by an inflammatory malady, which brought on violent
hemorrhage; he was revisited, in his troubled sleep, by the same bloody
visions about which, a few days after the St. Bartholomew, he had spoken
to Ambrose Pare.  He no longer retained in his room anybody but two of
his servants and his nurse, “of whom he was very fond, although she was a
Huguenot,” says the contemporary chronicler Peter de l’Estoile.  “When
she had lain down upon a chest, and was just beginning to doze, hearing
the king moaning, weeping, and sighing, she went full gently up to the
bed.  ‘Ah, nurse, nurse,’ said the king, ‘what bloodshed and what
murders!  Ah! what evil counsel have I followed!  O, my God! forgive me
them and have mercy upon me, if it may please Thee!  I know not what hath
come to me, so bewildered and agitated do they make me.  What will be the
end of it all?  What shall I do?  I am lost; I see it well.’ Then said
the nurse to him, ‘Sir, the murders be on the heads of those who made you
do them!  Of yourself, sir, you never could; and since you are not
consenting thereto, and are sorry therefor, believe that God will not put
them down to your account, and will hide them with the cloak of justice
of His Son, to whom alone you must have recourse.  But for God’s sake,
let your Majesty cease weeping!’  And thereupon, having been to fetch him
a pocket-handkerchief, because his own was soaked with tears, after that
the king had taken it from her hand, he signed to her to go away and
leave him to his rest.”

On Sunday, May 30, 1574, Whitsunday, about three in the afternoon,
Charles IX. expired, after having signed an ordinance conferring the
regency upon his mother Catherine, “who accepted it,” was the expression
in the letters patent, “at the request of the Duke of Alencon, the King
of Navarre, and other princes and peers of France.”  According to
D’Aubigne, Charles used often to say of his brother Henry, that, “when he
had a kingdom on his hands, the administration would find him out, and
that he would disappoint those who had hopes of him.”  The last words he
said were, “that he was glad not to have left any young child to succeed
him, very well knowing that France needs a man, and that, with a child,
the king and the reign are unhappy.”



CHAPTER XXXIV.----HENRY III. AND THE RELIGIOUS WARS. (1574-1589.)

[Illustration: Henry III----388]

Though elected King of Poland on the 9th of May, 1573, Henry, Duke of
Anjou, had not yet left Paris at the end of the summer.  Impatient at his
slowness to depart, Charles IX. said, with his usual oath, “By God’s
death! my brother or I must at once leave the kingdom: my mother shall
not succeed in preventing it.”  “Go,” said Catherine to Henry; “you will
not be away long.”  She foresaw, with no great sorrow one would say, the
death of Charles IX., and her favorite son’s accession to the throne of
France.  Having arrived in Poland on the 25th of January, 1574, and been
crowned at Cracow on the 24th of February, Henry had been scarcely four
months King of Poland when he was apprised, about the middle of June,
that his brother Charles had lately died, on the 30th of May, and that he
was King of France.  “Do not waste your time in deliberating,” said his
French advisers; “you must go and take possession of the throne of France
without abdicating that of Poland: go at once and without fuss.”  Henry
followed this counsel.  He left Cracow, on the 18th of June, with a very
few attendants.  Some Poles were apprehensive of his design, but said
nothing about it.  He went a quarter of a league on foot to reach the
horses which were awaiting him, set off at a gallop, rode all night, and
arrived next day early on the frontier of Moravia, an Austrian province.
The royal flight created a great uproar at Cracow; the noblemen, and even
the peasants, armed with stakes and scythes, set out in pursuit of their
king.  They did not come up with him; they fell in with his chancellor
only, Guy du Faur, Sieur de Pibrac, who had missed him at the appointed
meeting-place, and who, whilst seeking to rejoin him, had lost himself in
the forests and marshes, concealed himself in the osiers and reeds, and
been obliged now and then to dip his head, in the mud to avoid the arrows
discharged on all sides by the peasants in pursuit of the king.  Being
arrested by some people who were for taking him back to Cracow and paying
him out for his complicity in his master’s flight, he with great
difficulty obtained his release and permission to continue his road.
Destined to become more celebrated by his writings and by his Quatrains
moraux than by his courtly adventures, Pibrac rejoined King Henry at
Vienna, where the Emperor Maximilian II. received him with great
splendor.  Delivered from fatigue and danger, Henry appeared to think of
nothing but resting and diverting himself; he tarried to his heart’s
content at Vienna, Venice, Ferrara, Mantua, and Turin.  He was everywhere
welcomed with brilliant entertainments, which the Emperor Maximilian and
the senators of Venice accompanied with good advice touching the
government of France in her religious troubles; and the nominal sovereign
of two kingdoms took nearly three months in going from that whence he had
fled to that of which he was about to take possession.  Having started
from Cracow on the 18th of June, 1574, he did not arrive until the 5th of
September at Lyons, whither the queen-mother had sent his brother, the
Duke of Alencon, and his brother-in-law, the King of Navarre, to receive
him, going herself as far as Bourgoin in Dauphiny, in order to be the
first to see her darling son again.

The king’s entry into France caused, says De Thou, a strange revulsion in
all minds.  “During the lifetime of Charles IX., none had seemed more
worthy of the throne than Henry, and everybody desired to have him for
master.  But scarcely had he arrived when disgust set in to the extent of
auguring very ill of his reign.  There was no longer any trace in this
prince, who had been nursed, so to speak, in the lap of war, of that
manly and warlike courage which had been so much admired.  He no longer
rode on horseback; he did not show himself amongst his people, as his
predecessors had been wont to do; he was only to be seen shut up with a
few favorites in a little painted boat which went up and down the Saone
he no longer took his meals without a balustrade, which did not allow him
to be approached any Hearer; and if anybody had any petitions to present
to him, they had to wait for him as he came out from dinner, when he took
them as he hurried by.  For the greater part of the day he remained
closeted with some young folks, who alone had the prince’s ear, without
any body’s knowing how they had arrived at this distinction, whilst the
great, and those whose services were known, could scarcely get speech of
him.  Showiness and effeminacy had taken the place of the grandeur and
majesty which had formerly distinguished our kings.”  [De Thou, _Histoire
universelle,_ t. vii.  p. 134.]

[Illustration: Indolence of Henry III---390]

“The time was ill chosen by Henry III. for this change of habits and for
becoming an indolent and voluptuous king, set upon taking his pleasure in
his court and isolating himself from his people.  The condition and ideas
of France were also changing, but to issue in the assumption of quite a
different character and to receive development in quite a different
direction.  Catholics or Protestants, agents of the king’s government or
malcontents, all were getting a taste for and adopting the practice of
independence and a vigorous and spontaneous activity.  The bonds of the
feudal system were losing their hold, and were not yet replaced by those
of a hierarchically organized administration.  Religious creeds and
political ideas were becoming, for thoughtful and straightforward
spirits, rules of conduct, powerful motives of action, and they furnished
the ambitious with effective weapons.  The theologians of the Catholic
church and of the Reformed churches--on one side the Cardinal of
Lorraine, Cardinals Campeggi and Sadolet, and other learned priests or
prelates, and on the other side Calvin, who had been nursed, so to speak,
in the lap of war, of that manly and warlike courage which had been so
much admired.  He no longer rode on horseback; he did not show himself
amongst his people, as his predecessors had been wont to do; he was only
to be seen shut up with a few favorites in a little painted boat which
went up and down the Saone he no longer took his meals without a
balustrade, which did not allow him to be approached any nearer; and if
anybody had any petitions to present to him, they had to wait for him as
he came out from dinner, when he took them as he hurried by.  For the
greater part of the day he remained closeted with some young folks, who
alone had the prince’s ear, without anybody’s knowing how they had
arrived at this distinction, whilst the great, and those whose services
were known, could scarcely get speech of him.  Showiness and effeminacy
had taken the place of the grandeur and majesty which had formerly
distinguished our kings.”  [De Thou, Histoire universelle, t. vii.
p. 134.]

The time was ill chosen by Henry III.  for this change of habits and for
becoming an indolent and voluptuous king, set upon taking his pleasure in
his court and isolating himself from his people.  The condition and
ideas of France were also changing, but to issue in the assumption of
quite a different character and to receive development in quite a
different direction.  Catholics or Protestants, agents of the king’s
government or malcontents, all were getting a taste for and adopting the
practice of independence and a vigorous and spontaneous activity.  The
bonds of the feudal system were losing their hold, and were not yet
replaced by those of a hierarchically organized administration.
Religious creeds and political ideas were becoming, for thoughtful and
straightforward spirits, rules of conduct, powerful motives of action,
and they furnished the ambitious with effective weapons.  The theologians
of the Catholic church and of the Reformed churches--on one side the
Cardinal of Lorraine, Cardinals Campeggi and Sadolet, and other learned
priests or prelates, and on the other side Calvin, Theodore de Beze,
Melancthon, and Bucer--were working with zeal to build up into systems of
dogma their interpretations of the great facts of Christianity, and they
succeeded in implanting a passionate attachment to them in their flocks.
Independently of these religious controversies, superior minds, profound
lawyers, learned scholars were applying their energies to founding, on a
philosophical basis and historic principles, the organization of
governments and the reciprocal rights of princes and peoples.  Ramus,
one of the last and of the most to be lamented victims of the
St. Bartholomew; Francis Hotman, who, in his Franco-Gallia, aspired to
graft the new national liberties upon the primitive institutions of the
Franks; Hubert Languet, the eloquent author of the _Vindicice contra
tyrannos, or de la Puissance legitime du Prince cur le Peuple et du
Peuple sur le Prince;_ John Bodin, the first, in original merit, amongst
the publicists of the sixteenth century, in his _six livres de LA
REPUBLIQUE;_ all these eminent men boldly tackled the great questions of
political liberty or of legislative reforms. _Le Contre-un,_ that
republican treatise by De la Boetie, written in 1546, and circulated, at
first, in manuscript only, was inserted, between 1576 and 1578, in the
_Memoires de l’Etat de France,_ and passionately extolled by the
independent thinker Michael de Montaigne in his Essais, of which nine
editions were published between 1580 and 1598, and evidently very much
read in the world of letters.  An intellectual movement so active and
powerful could not fail to have a potent effect upon political life.
Before the St. Bartholomew, the great religious and political parties,
the Catholic and the Protestant, were formed and at grips; the house of
Lorraine at the head of the Catholics, and the house of Bourbon, Conde,
and Coligny at the head of the Protestants, with royalty trying feebly
and vainly to maintain between them a hollow peace.  To this stormy
and precarious, but organized and clearly defined condition, the
St.  Bartholomew had caused anarchy to succeed.  Protestantism,
vanquished but not destroyed, broke up into provincial and municipal
associations without recognized and dominant heads, without discipline
or combination in respect of either their present management or their
ultimate end.  Catholicism, though victorious, likewise underwent a
break-up; men of mark, towns and provinces, would not accept the
St. Bartholomew and its consequences; a new party, the party of the
policists, sprang up, opposed to the principle and abjuring the practice
of persecution, having no mind to follow either the Catholics in their
outrages or royalty in its tergiversations, and striving to maintain in
the provinces and the towns, where it had the upper hand, enough of order
and of justice to at least keep at a distance the civil war which was
elsewhere raging.  Languedoc owed to Marshal de Damville, second son of
the Constable Anne de Montmorency, this comparatively bearable position.
But the degree of security and of local peace which it offered the people
was so imperfect, so uncertain, that the break-up of the country and of
the state went still farther.  In a part of Languedoc, in the Vivarais,
the inhabitants, in order to put their habitations and their property in
safety, resolved to make a league amongst themselves, without consulting
any authority, not even Marshal de Damville, the peace-seeking governor
of their province.  Their treaty of alliance ran, that arms should be
laid down throughout the whole of the Vivarais; that none, foreigner or
native, should be liable to trouble for the past; that tillers of the
soil and traders should suffer no detriment in person or property; that
all hostilities should cease in the towns and all forays in the country;
that there should everywhere be entire freedom for commerce; that cattle
which had been lifted should be immediately restored gratis; that
concerted action should be taken to get rid of the garrisons out of the
country and to raze the fortresses, according as the public weal might
require; and finally that whosoever should dare to violate these
regulations should be regarded as a traitor and punished as a disturber
of the public peace.  “As soon as the different authorities in the state,
Marshal de Damville as well as the rest, were informed of this novelty,”
 says De Thou, “they made every effort to prevent it from taking effect.
‘Nothing could be of more dangerous example,’ they said, ‘than to suffer
the people to make treaties in this way and on their own authority,
without waiting for the consent of his Majesty or of those who
represented him in the provinces.’ The folks of the Vivarais, on the
contrary, presumed to justify themselves by saying that the step they had
taken did not in any way infringe the king’s authority; that it was
rather an opening given by them for securely establishing tranquillity in
the kingdom; that nothing was more advantageous or could contribute more
towards peace than to raze all those fortresses set up in the heart of
the state, which were like so many depots of revolt; that by a diminution
of the garrisons the revenues of his Majesty would be proportionately
augmented; that, at any rate, there would result this advantage, that the
lands, which formed almost the whole wealth of the kingdom, would be
cultivated, that commerce would flourish, and that the people, delivered
from fear of the many scoundrels who, found a retreat in those places,
would at last be able to draw breath after the many misfortunes they had
experienced.”

It was in this condition of disorganization and red-hot anarchy that
Henry III., on his return from Poland, and after the St. Bartholomew,
found France; it was in the face of all these forces, full of life, but
scattered and excited one against another, that, with the aid of his
mother, Catherine, he had to re-establish unity in the state, the
effectiveness of the government, and the public peace.  It was not a task
for which the tact of an utterly corrupted woman and an irresolute prince
sufficed.  What could the artful manoeuvrings of Catherine and the
waverings of Henry III. do towards taming both Catholics and Protestants
at the same time, and obliging them to live at peace with one another,
under one equitable and effective power?  Henry IV. was as yet unformed,
nor was his hour yet come for this great work.  Henry III. and Catherine
de’ Medici failed in it completely; their government of fifteen years
served only to make them lose their reputation for ability, and to
aggravate for France the evils which it was their business to heal.  In
1575, a year only after Henry III.’s accession, revolt penetrated to the
royal household.  The Duke of Alencon, the king’s younger brother, who,
since his brother’s coronation, took the title of Duke of Anjou, escaped
on the 15th of September from the Louvre by a window, and from Paris by a
hole made in the wall of circumvallation.  He fled to Dreux, a town in
his appanage, and put himself at the head of a large number of
malcontents, nobles and burgesses, Catholic and Reformed, mustered around
him under this name of no religious significance between the two old
parties.  On the 17th of September, in his manifesto, he gave as reasons
for his revolt, excessive taxation, waste of the public revenues, the
feebleness of the royal authority, incapable as it was of putting a stop
to the religious troubles, and the disgrace which had been inflicted upon
himself “by pernicious ministers who desire to have the government in
their sole patronage, excluding from it the foremost and the most
illustrious of the court, and devouring all that there is remaining to
the poor people.”  He protested his devotion to the king his brother, at
the same time declaring war against the Guises.

King Henry of Navarre, testifying little sympathy with the Duke of Anjou,
remained at court, abandoning himself apparently to his pleasures alone.
Two of his faithful servants (the poet-historian D’Aubigne was one of
them) heard him one night sighing as he lay in bed, and humming half
aloud this versicle from the eighty-eighth Psalm:--

               “Removed from friends, I sigh alone,
               In a loathed dungeon laid, where none
               A visit will vouchsafe to me,
               Confined past hope of liberty.”


“Sir,” said D’Aubigne eagerly, “it is true, then, that the Sprit of God
worketh and dwelleth in you still?  You sigh unto God because of the
absence of your friends and faithful servants; and all the while they are
together, sighing because of yours and laboring for your freedom.  But
you have only tears in your eyes, and they, arms in hand, are fighting
your enemies.  As for us two, we were talking of taking to flight
tomorrow, when your voice made us draw the curtain.  Bethink you, sir,
that, after us, the hands that will serve you would not dare refuse to
employ poison and the knife.”  Henry, much moved, resolved to follow the
example of the Duke of Anjou.  His departure was fixed for the 3d of
February, 1576.  He went and slept at Senlis; hunted next day very early,
and, on his return from hunting, finding his horses baited and ready,
“What news?” he asked.  “Sir,” said D’Aubigne, “we are betrayed; the king
knows all; the road to death and shame is Paris; that to life and glory
is anywhere else.”  “That is more than enough; away!” replied Henry.
They rode all night, and arrived without misadventure at Alencon.  Two
hundred and fifty gentlemen, having been apprised in time, went thither
to join the King of Navarre.  He pursued his road in their company.  From
Senlis to the Loire he was silent but when he had crossed the river,
“Praised be God, who has delivered me!” he cried; “at Paris they were the
death of my mother; there they killed the admiral and my best servants;
and they had no mind to do any better by me, if God had not had me in his
keeping.  I return thither no more unless I am dragged.  I regret only
two things that I have left behind at Paris--mass and my wife.  As for
mass, I will try to do without it; but as for my wife, I cannot; I mean
to see her again.”  He disavowed the appearances of Catholicism he had
assumed, again made open profession of Protestantism by holding at the
baptismal font, in the conventicle, the daughter of a physician amongst
his friends.  Then he reached Bearn, declaring that he meant to remain
there independent and free.  A few days before his departure he had
written to one of his Bearnese friends, “The court is the strangest you
ever saw.  We are almost always ready to cut one another’s throats.  We
wear daggers, shirts of mail, and very often the whole cuirass under the
cape.  I am only waiting for the opportunity to deliver a little battle,
for they tell me they will kill me, and I want to be beforehand.”
 Mesdames de Carnavalet and de Sauve, two of his fair friends, had warned
him that, far from giving him the lieutenant-generalship, which had been
so often promised him, it had been decided to confer this office on the
king’s brother, in order to get him back to court and seize his person as
soon as he arrived.

It was the increasing preponderance of the Guises, at court as well as in
the country, which caused the two princes to take this sudden resolution.
Since Henry III.’s coming to the throne, war had gone on between the
Catholics and the Protestants, but languidly and with frequent
suspensions through local and shortlived truces.  The king and the
queen-mother would have been very glad that the St. Bartholomew should be
short-lived also, as a necessary but transitory crisis; it had rid them
of their most formidable adversaries, Coligny and the Reformers of note
who were about him.  Henry and Catherine aspired to no more than resuming
their policy of manoeuvring and wavering between the two parties engaged
in the struggle; but it was not for so poor a result that the ardent
Catholics had committed the crime of the St. Bartholomew; they promised
themselves from it the decisive victory of their church and of their
supremacy.  Henry de Guise came forward as their leader in this grand
design; there are to be read, beneath a portrait of him done in the
sixteenth century, these verses, also of that date:--

               “The virtue, greatness, wisdom from on high,
               Of yonder duke, triumphant far and near,
               Do make bad men to shrink with coward fear,
               And God’s own Catholic church to fructify.
               In armor clad, like maddened Mars he moves;
               The trembling Huguenot cowers at his glance;
               A prop for holy church is his good lance;
               His eye is ever mild to those he loves.”

Guise cultivated very carefully this ardent confidence on the part of
Catholic France; he recommended to his partisans attention to little
pious and popular practices.  “I send you some paternosters [meaning, in
the plural, the beads of a chaplet, or the chaplet entire],” he wrote to
his wife, Catherine of Cleves; “you will have strings made for them and
string them together.  I don’t know whether you dare offer some of them
to the queens and to my lady mother.  Ask advice of Mesdames de Retz and
de Villeroy about it.”  The flight and insurrection of the Duke of Anjou
and the King of Navarre furnished the Duke of Guise with a very natural
occasion for re-engaging in the great struggle between Catholicism and
Protestantism, wherein the chief part belonged to him.  Let us recur, for
a moment, to the origin of that struggle and the part taken in it, at the
outset, by the princes of the house of Lorraine.  “As early as the year
1562, twenty-six years before the affair of the barricades,” says M.
Vitet in the excellent introduction which he has put at the head of his
beautiful historic dramas from the last half of the sixteenth century,
“Cardinal Charles of Lorraine, being at the Council of Trent, conceived
the plan of a Holy League, or association of Catholics, which was to have
the triple object of defending, by armed force, the Romish church in
France, of obtaining for the cardinal’s brother, Duke Francis de Guise,
the lieutenant-generalship of the kingdom, and of helping him to ascend
the throne, in case the line of the Valois should become extinct.  The
death of Duke Francis, murdered in front of Orleans by Poltrot, did not
permit the cardinal to carry out his plan.  Five years afterwards, Henry
de Guise, eldest son of Francis, and then eighteen years of age, caused
to be drawn up, for the first time, a form of oath whereby the
dignitaries bound themselves to sacrifice their goods and lives in
defence of the Catholic religion in the face of and against all, except
the king, the royal family, and the princes of their connection.  This
form was signed by the nobility of Champagne and Brie, a province of
which Henry de Guise was governor, and on the 25th of July, 1568, the
bishop and clergy of Troyes signed it likewise.  The association is
named, in the form, _Holy League, Christian and royal_.  Up to the year
1576 it remained secret, and did not cross the boundaries of Champagne.”
 To this summary of M. Vitet’s may be added that independently of the
Champagnese league of 1568 and in the interval between 1568 and 1575
there had been formed, in some provinces and towns, other local
associations for the defence of the Catholic church against the heretics.
When, in 1575, first the Duke of Anjou and after him the King of Navarre
were seen flying from the court of Henry III. and commencing an
insurrection with the aid of a considerable body of German auxiliaries
and French refugees, already on French soil and on their way across
Champagne, the peril of the Catholic church appeared so grave and so
urgent that, in the threatened provinces, the Catholics devoted
themselves with ardor to the formation of a grand association for the
defence of their cause.  Then and thus was really born the League, secret
at first, but, before long, publicly and openly proclaimed, which held so
important a place in the history of the sixteenth century.  Picardy and
Champagne were the first scene of its formation; but in the neighboring
provinces the same travail took place and brought forth fruits.  At
Paris, a burgess named La Roche-Blond, and devoted to the Guises, a
perfumer named Peter de la Bruyere and his son Matthew de la Bruyere,
councillor at the Chatelet, were, says De Thou, the first and most
zealous preachers of the Union.  “At their solicitation,” continues the
austere magistrate, “all the debauchees there were in this great city,
all folks whose only hope was in civil war for the indulgence of their
libertinism or for a safe means of satisfying their avarice or their
ambition, enrolled themselves emulously in this force.  Many, even of the
richest burgesses, whose hatred for Protestants blinded them so far as
not to see the dangers to which such associations expose public
tranquillity in a well-regulated state, had the weakness to join the
seditious.”

Many asked for time to consider, and, before making any engagement, they
went to see President de Thou [Christopher, premier president of the
Parliament of Paris since 1562, and father of the historian James
Augustus de Thou], informed him of these secret assemblies and all that
went on there, and begged him to tell them whether he approved of them,
and whether it was true that the court authorized them.  M. de Thou
answered them at once, with that straightforwardness which was innate in
him, that these kinds of proceedings had not yet come to his knowledge,
that he doubted whether they had the approbation of his Majesty, and that
they would do wisely to hold aloof from all such associations.  The
authority of this great man began to throw suspicion upon the designs of
the Unionists, and his reply prevented many persons from casting in their
lot with the party; but they who found themselves at the head of this
faction were not the folks to so easily give up their projects, for they
felt themselves too well supported at court and amongst the people.  They
advised the Lorraine princes to have the Union promulgated in the
provinces, and to labor to make the nobility of the kingdom enter it.

Henry de Guise did not hesitate.  At the same time that he avowed the
League and labored to propagate it, he did what was far more effectual
for its success: he entered the field and gained a victory.  The German
allies and French refugees who had come to support Prince Henry de Conde
and the Duke of Anjou in their insurrection advanced into Champagne.
Guise had nothing ready, neither army nor money; he mustered in haste
three thousand horse, who were to be followed by a body of foot and a
moiety of the king’s guards.  “I haven’t a son,” he wrote to his wife;
“take something out of the king’s chest, if there is anything there;
provided you know that there is something there, don’t be afraid; take it
and send it me at once.  As for the _reitres,_ they are more afraid of us
than we of them; don’t be frightened about them on my account; the
greatest danger I shall run will be that a glass of wine may break in my
hand.”  He set out in pursuit of the Germans, came up with them on the
10th of October, 1575, at Port-a-Binson, on the Marne, and ordered them
to be attacked by his brother the Duke of Mayenne, whom he supported
vigorously.  They were broken and routed.  The hunt, according to the
expression at the time, lasted all the rest of the day and during the
night.  “A world of dead covers the field of battle,” wrote Guise.  He
had himself been wounded: he went in obstinate pursuit of a mounted foe
whom he had twice touched with his sword, and who, in return, had fired
two pistol-shots, of which one took effect in the leg, and the other
carried away part of his cheek and his left ear.  Thence came his name of
Henry the Scarred (_le Balafre_), which has clung to him in history.

[Illustration: Henry le Balafre----400]

Scarcely four years had rolled away since the St. Bartholomew.  In vain
had been the massacre of ten thousand Protestants, according to the
lowest, and of one hundred thousand, according to the highest estimates,
besides nearly all the renowned chiefs of the party.  Charles IX.’s
earnest prayer, “That none remain to reproach me!” was so far from
accomplishment that the war between Catholicism and Protestantism
recommenced in almost every part of France with redoubled passion, with a
new importance of character, and with symptoms of much longer duration
than at its first outbreak.  Both parties had found leaders made, both
from their position and their capacity, to command them.  Admiral Coligny
was succeeded by the King of Navarre, who was destined to become Henry
IV.; and Duke Francis of Guise by his son Henry, if not as able, at any
rate as brave a soldier, and a more determined Catholic than he.  Amongst
the Protestants, Sully and Da Plessis-Mornay were assuming shape and
importance by the side of the King of Navarre.  Catherine de’ Medici
placed at her son’s service her Italian adroitness, her maternal
devotion, and an energy rare for a woman between sixty and seventy years
of age, for forty-three years a queen, and worn out by intrigue, and
business, and pleasure.  Finally, to the question of religion, the
primary cause of the struggle, was added a question of kingship, kept in
the background, but ever present in thought and deed: which of the three
houses of Valois, Bourbon, and Lorraine should remain in or enter upon
possession of the throne of France.  The interests and the ambition of
families and of individuals were playing their part simultaneously with
the controversies and the passions of creed.

This state of things continued for twelve years, from 1576 to 1588, with
constant alternations of war, truce, and precarious peace, and in the
midst of constant hesitation, on the part of Henry III., between alliance
with the League, commanded by the Duke of Guise, and adjustment with the
Protestants, of whom the King of Navarre was every day becoming the more
and more avowed leader.  Between 1576 and 1580, four treaties of peace
were concluded; in 1576, the peace called Monsieur’s, signed at Chastenay
in Orleanness; in 1577, the peace of Bergerac or of Poitiers; in 1579,
the peace of Nerac; in 1580, the peace of Fleix in Perigord.  In
November, 1576, the states-general were convoked and assembled at Blois,
where they sat and deliberated up to March, 1577, without any important
result.  Neither these diplomatic conventions nor these national
assemblies had force enough to establish a real and lasting peace between
the two parties, for the parties themselves would not have it; in vain
did Henry III. make concessions and promises of liberty to the
Protestants; he was not in a condition to guarantee their execution and
make it respected by their adversaries.  At heart neither Protestants nor
Catholics were for accepting mutual liberty; not only did they both
consider themselves in possession of all religious truth, but they also
considered themselves entitled to impose it by force upon their
adversaries.  The discovery (and the term is used advisedly, so slow to
come and so long awaited has been the fact which it expresses), the
discovery of the legitimate separation between the intellectual world and
the political world, and of the necessity, also, of having the
intellectual world free in order that it may not make upon the political
world a war which, in the inevitable contact between them, the latter
could not support for long, this grand and salutary discovery, be it
repeated, and its practical influence in the government of people cannot
be realized save in communities already highly enlightened and
politically well ordered.  Good order, politically, is indispensable
if liberty, intellectually, is to develop itself regularly and do the
community more good than it causes of trouble and embarrassment.  They
only who have confidence in human intelligence sincerely admit its right
to freedom; and confidence in human intelligence is possible only in the
midst of a political regimen which likewise gives the human community the
guarantees whereof its interests and its lasting security have absolute
need.  The sixteenth century was a long way from these conditions of
harmony between the intellectual world and the political world, the
necessity of which is beginning to be understood and admitted by only the
most civilized and best governed amongst modern communities.  It is one
of the most tardy and difficult advances that people have to accomplish
in their life of labor.  The sixteenth century helped France to make
considerable strides in civilization and intellectual development; but
the eighteenth and nineteenth have taught her how great still, in the art
of governing and being governed as a free people, are her children’s want
of foresight and inexperience, and, to what extent they require a strong
and sound organization of political freedom in order that they may
without danger enjoy intellectual freedom, its pleasures and its glories.

From 1576 to 1588, Henry III. had seen the difficulties of his government
continuing and increasing.  His attempt to maintain his own independence
and the mastery of the situation between Catholics and Protestants, by
making concessions and promises at one time to the former and at another
to the latter, had not succeeded; and in 1584 it became still more
difficult to practise.  On the 10th of June in that year Henry III.’s
brother, the Duke of Anjou, died at Chateau-Thierry.  By this death the
leader of the Protestants, Henry, King of Navarre, became lawful heir to
the throne of France.  The Leaguers could not stomach that prospect.  The
Guises turned it to formidable account.  They did not hesitate to make
the future of France a subject of negotiation with Philip II. of Spain,
at that time her most dangerous enemy in Europe.  By a secret convention
concluded at Joinville on the 31st of December, 1584, between Philip and
the Guises, it was stipulated that at the death of Henry III. the crown
should pass to Charles, Cardinal of Bourbon, sixty-four years of age, the
King of Navarre’s uncle, who, in order to make himself king, undertook to
set aside his nephew’s hereditary right, and forbid, absolutely,
heretical worship in France.  He published on the 31st of March, 1585,
a declaration wherein he styled himself premier prince of the blood, and
conferred upon the Duke of Guise the title of lieutenant-general of the
League.  By a bull of September 10, 1585, Sixtus V., but lately elected
pope, excommunicated the King of Navarre as a heretic and relapsed,
denying him any right of succession to the crown of France, and releasing
his Narvarrese subjects from their oath of fidelity.  Sixtus V. did not
yet know what manner of man he was thus attacking.  The King of Navarre
did not confine himself to protesting in France, on the 10th of June,
1585, against this act of the pope’s: he had his protest placarded at
Rome itself upon the statues of Pasquin and Marforio, and at the very
doors of the Vatican, referring the pope, as to the question of heresy,
to a council which he claimed at an early date, and at the same time
appealing against this alleged abuse of power to the court of peers of
France, “of whom,” said he, “I have the honor to be the premier.”  The
whole of Italy, including Sixtus V. himself, a pope of independent mind
and proud heart, was struck with this energetic resistance on the part of
a petty king.  “It would be a good thing,” said the pope to Marquis
Pasani, Henry III.’s ambassador, “if the king your master showed as much
resolution against his enemies as the King of Navarre shows against those
who attack him.”  At the first moment Henry III. had appeared to unravel
the intentions of the League and to be disposed to resist it; by an edict
of March 28, 1585, he had ordered that its adherents should be
prosecuted; but Catherine de’ Medici frightened him with the war which
would infallibly be kindled, and in which he would have for enemies all
the Catholics, more irritated than ever.  And Henry III. very easily took
fright.  Catherine undertook to manage the recoil for him.  “I care not
who likes it and who doesn’t,” she was wont to say in such cases.  She
asked the Duke of Guise for an interview, which took place, first of all
at Epernay, and afterwards at Rheims.  The hard demands of the Lorrainers
did not deter the queen-mother, and, on the 7th of July, 1585, a treaty
was concluded at Nemours between Henry III. and the League, to the effect
“that by an irrevocable edict the practice of the new religion should be
forbidden, and that there should henceforth be no other practice of
religion, throughout the realm of France, save that of the Catholic,
Apostolic, and Roman; that all the ministers should depart from the
kingdom within a month; that all the subjects of his Majesty should be
bound to live according to the Catholic religion and make profession
thereof within six months, on pain of confiscation both of person and
goods; that heretics, of whatsoever quality they might be, should be
declared incapable of holding benefices, public offices, positions, and
dignities; that the places which had been given in guardianship to them
for their security should be taken back again forthwith; and, lastly,
that the princes designated in the treaty, amongst whom were all the
Guises at the top, should receive as guarantee certain places to be held
by them for five years.”

This treaty was signed by all the negotiators, and specially by the
queen-mother, the Cardinals of Bourbon and Guise, and the Dukes of Guise
and Mayenne.  It was the decisive act which made the war a war of
religion.

On the 18th of July following, Henry III., on his way to the Palace of
Justice to be present at the publication of the edict he had just issued
in virtue of this treaty with the League, said to the Cardinal of
Bourbon, “My dear uncle, against my conscience, but very willingly, I
published the edicts of pacification, because they were successful in
giving relief to my people; and now I am going to publish the revocation
of those edicts in accordance with my conscience, but very unwillingly,
because on its publication hangs the ruin of my kingdom and of my
people.”  When he issued from the palace, cries of “Long live the king!”
 were heard; “at which astonishment was expressed,” says Peter de
l’Estoile (t. i.  p. 294), “because for a long time past no such favor
had been shown him.  But it was discovered that these acclamations were
the doing of persons posted about by the Leaguers, and that, for doing
it, money had been given to idlers and sweetmeats to children.”  Some
days afterwards, the King of Navarre received news of the treaty of
Nemours.  He was staying near Bergerac, at the castle of the Lord of La
Force, with whom he was so intimate that he took with him none of his
household, as he preferred to be waited upon by M. de la Force’s own
staff.  “I was so grievously affected by it,” said he himself at a later
period to M. de la Force, “that, as I pondered deeply upon it and held my
head supported upon my hand, my apprehensions of the woes I foresaw for
my country were such as to whiten one half of my mustache.”  [_Memoires
du Due de la Force,_ t. i.  p. 50.] Henry III., for his part, was but
little touched by the shouts of Long live the king! that he heard as he
left the palace; he was too much disquieted to be rejoiced at them.  He
did not return the greeting of the municipal functionaries or of the mob
that blocked his way.  “You see how reluctant he is to embroil himself
with the Huguenots,” said the partisans of the Guises to the people.

It was the recommencement of religious civil war, with more deadliness
than ever.  The King of Navarre left no stone unturned to convince
everybody, friends and enemies, great lords and commonalty, Frenchmen and
foreigners, that this recurrence of war was not his doing, and that the
Leaguers forced it upon him against his wish and despite of the justice
of his cause.  He wrote to Henry III., “Monseigneur, as soon as the
originators of these fresh disturbances had let the effects appear of
their ill-will towards your Majesty and your kingdom, you were pleased to
write to me the opinion you had formed, with very good title, of their
intentions; you told me that you knew, no matter what pretext they
assumed, that they had designs against your person and your crown, and
that they desired their own augmentation and aggrandizement at your
expense and to your detriment.  Such were the words of your letters, Mon
seigneur, and you did me the honor, whilst recognizing the connection
between my fortunes and those of your Majesty, to add expressly that they
were compassing my ruin together with your own.  .  .  .  And now,
Monseigneur, when I hear it suddenly reported that your Majesty has made
a treaty of peace with those who have risen up against your service,
providing that your edict be broken, your loyal subjects banished, and
the conspirators armed, and armed with your power and your authority
against me, who have the honor of belonging to you, I leave your Majesty
to judge in what a labyrinth I find myself.  .  .  .  If it is I whom
they seek, or if under my shadow (on my account) they trouble this realm,
I have begged that, without henceforth causing the orders and estates of
this realm to suffer for it, and without the intervention of any army,
home or foreign, this quarrel be decided in the Duke of Guise’s person
and my own, one to one, two to two, ten to ten, twenty to twenty, in any
number that the said Lord of Guise shall think proper, with the arms
customary amongst gentlemen of honor.  ...  It will be a happiness for
us, my cousin [Henry de Conde] and myself, to deliver, at the price of
our blood, the king our sovereign lord from the travails and trials that
are a-brewing for him, his kingdom from trouble and confusion, his
noblesse from ruin, and all his people from extreme misery and calamity.”

The Duke of Guise respectfully declined, at the same time that he thanked
the King of Navarre for the honor done him, saying that he could not
accept the offer, as he was maintaining the cause of religion, and not a
private quarrel.  On his refusal, war appeared to everybody, and in fact
became, inevitable.  At his re-engagement in it, the King of Navarre lost
no time about informing his friends at home and his allies abroad, the
noblesse, the clergy, and the third estate of France, the city of Paris,
the Queen of England.  the Protestant princes of Germany, and the Swiss
cantons, of all he had done to avoid it; he evidently laid great store
upon making his conduct public and his motives understood.  He had for
his close confidant and his mouth-piece Philip du Plessis-Mornay, at
that time thirty-six years of age, one of the most learned and most
hard-working as well as most zealous and most sterling amongst the
royalist Protestants of France.  It was his duty to draw up the
documents, manifestoes, and letters published by the King of Navarre,
when Henry did not himself stamp upon them the seal of his own language,
vivid, eloquent, and captivating in its brevity.

Henry III. and the queen-mother were very much struck with this
intelligent energy on the part of the King of Navarre, and with the
influence he acquired over all that portion of the French noblesse and
burgesses which had not fanatically enlisted beneath the banner of the
League.  Catherine, accustomed to count upon her skill in the art of
seductive conversation, was for putting it to fresh proof in the case of
the King of Navarre.  Louis di Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers, an Italian, like
herself, and one of her confidants, was sent in advance to sound Henry of
Navarre.  He wrote to Henry III., “Such, sir, as you have known this
prince, such is he even now; nor years nor difficulties change him; he is
still agreeable, still merry, still devoted, as he has sworn to me a
hundred times, to peace and your Majesty’s service.”  Catherine proposed
to him an interview.  Henry hesitated to comply.  From Jarnac, where he
was, he sent Viscount de Turenne to Catherine to make an agreement with
her for a few days’ truce.  “Catherine gave Turenne to understand that,
in order to have peace, the King of Navarre must turn Catholic, and put a
stop to the exercise of the Reformed religion in the towns he held.”
 When this was reported by his envoy, Henry, who had set out for the
interview, was on the point of retracing his steps; he went on, however,
as he was curious to see Catherine, to satisfy his mind upon the point
and to answer her.”  They met on the 14th of December, 1586, at the
castle of St. Brice, near Cognac, both of them with gloomy looks.
Catherine asked Henry whether Turenne had spoken to him about what, she
said, was her son’s most express desire.

“I am astounded,” said Henry, “that your Majesty should have taken so
much pains to tell me what my ears are split with hearing; and likewise
that you, whose judgment is so sound, should delude yourself with the
idea of solving the difficulty by means of the difficulty itself.  You
propose to me a thing that I cannot do without forfeiture of conscience
and honor, and without injury to the king’s service.  I should not carry
with me all those of the religion; and they of the League would be so
much the more irritated in that they would lose their hope of depriving
me of the right which I have to the throne.  They do not want me with
you, madame, for they would then be in sorry plight, you better served,
and all your good subjects more happy.”  The queen-mother did not dispute
the point.  She dwelt “upon the inconveniences Henry suffered during the
war.”  “I bear them patiently, madame,” said Henry, “since you burden me
with them in order to unburden yourself of them.”  She reproached him
with not doing as he pleased in Rochelle.  “Pardon me, madame,” said he,
“I please only as I ought.”  The Duke of Nevers, who was present at the
interview, was bold enough to tell him that he could not impose a tax
upon Rochelle.  “That is true,” said Henry: “and so we have no Italian
amongst us.”  He took leave of the queen-mother, who repeated what she
had said to Viscount de Turenne, “charging him to make it known to the
noblesse who were of his following.”  “It is just eighteen months,
madame,” said he, “since I ceased to obey the king.  He has made war upon
me like a wolf, you like a lioness.”  “The king and I seek nothing but
your welfare.”  “Excuse me, madame; I think it would be the contrary.”
 “My son, would you have the pains I have taken for the last six months
remain without fruit?”  “Madame, it is not I who prevent you from resting
in your bed; it is you who prevent me from lying down in mine.”  “Shall I
be always at pains, I who ask for nothing but rest?”  “Madame, the pains
please you and agree with you; if you were at rest you could not live
long.”  Catherine had brought with her what was called her flying
squadron of fair creatures of her court: but, “Madame,” said Henry, as he
withdrew, “there is nothing here for me.”

Before taking part in the war which was day by day becoming more and more
clearly and explicitly a war of religion, the Protestant princes of
Germany and the four great free cities of Strasbourg, Ulm, Nuremberg, and
Frankfort resolved to make, as the King of Navarre had made, a striking
move on behalf of peace and religious liberty.  They sent to Henry III.
ambassadors, who, on the 11th of October, 1586, treated him to some frank
and bold speaking.  “Our princes and masters,” they said to him, “have
been moved with surprise and Christian compassion towards you, as
faithful friends and good neighbors of yours, on hearing that you, not
being pleased to suffer in your kingdom any person not of the Roman
religion, have broken the edict of peace which was so solemnly done and
based upon your Majesty’s faith and promise, and which is the firm prop
of the tranquillity of your Majesty and your dominions; the which changes
have appeared to them strange, seeing that your royal person, your
dominions, your conscience, your honor, your reputation and good fame
happened to be very much concerned therewith.”  Shocked at so rude an
admonition, Henry III. answered, “It is God who made me king; and as I
bear the title of Most Christian King, I have ever been very zealous for
the preservation of the Catholic religion.  .  .  .  It appertains to me
alone to decide, according to my discernment, what may contribute to the
public weal, to make laws for to procure it, to interpret those laws, to
change them, and to abolish them, just as I find it expedient.  I have
done so hitherto, and I shall still do so for the future;” and he
dismissed the ambassadors.  That very evening, on reflecting upon his
words, and considering that his answer had not met the requirements of
the case, he wrote with his own hand on a small piece of paper, “that
whoever said that in revoking the edict of pacification he had violated
his faith or put a blot upon his honor, had lied;” and he ordered one of
his officers, though the night was far advanced, to carry that paper to
the ambassadors, and read it to them textually.  They asked for a copy;
but Henry III., always careful not to have to answer for his words, had
bidden his officer to suppress the document after having read it; and the
Germans departed, determined upon war as well as quite convinced of the
king’s arrogant pusillanimity.

Except some local and short-lived truces, war was already lazing
throughout nearly the whole of France, in Provence, in Dauphiny, in
Nivernais, in Guienne, in Anjou, in Normandy, in Picardy, in Champagne.
We do not care to follow the two parties through the manifold but
monotonous incidents of their tumultuous and passionate strife; we desire
to review only those events that were of a general and a decisive
character.  They occurred, naturally, in those places which were the
arena, and in those armies which were under the command, of the two
leaders, Duke Henry of Guise and King Henry of Navarre.  The former took
upon himself the duty of repulsing, in the north-west of France, the
German and Swiss corps which were coming to the assistance of the French
Reformers; the latter put himself at the head of the French Protestant
forces summoned to face, in the provinces of the centre and south-west,
the royalist armies.  Guise was successful in his campaign against the
foreigners: on the 26th of October, 1587, his scouts came and told him
that the Germans were at Vimory, near Montargis, dispersed throughout the
country, without vedettes or any of the precautions of warfare; he was at
table with his principal officers at Courtenay, almost seven leagues away
from the enemy; he remained buried in thought for a few minutes, and then
suddenly gave the order to sound boot-and-saddle [_boute-selle,_
i.e., put-on saddle].  “What for, pray?” said his brother, the Duke of
Mayenne.  “To go and fight.”  “Pray reflect upon, what you are going to
do.”  “Reflections that I haven’t made in a quarter of an hour I
shouldn’t make in a year.”  Mounting at once, the leader and his
squadrons arrived at midnight at the gates of Vimory; they found,
it is said, the Germans drunk, asleep, and scattered; according to the
reporters on the side of the League, the victory of Guise was complete;
he took from the Germans twenty-eight hundred horses: the Protestants
said that the body he charged were nothing but a lot of horse-boys, and
that the two flags he took had for device nothing but a sponge and a
currycomb.  But fifteen days later, on the 11th of November, at Auneau,
near Chartres, Guise gained an indisputable and undisputed victory over
the Germans; and their general, Baron Dohna, and some of his officers
only saved themselves by cutting their way through sword in hand.  The
Swiss, being discouraged, and seeing in the army of Henry III. eight
thousand of their countrymen, who were serving in it not, like
themselves, as adventurers, but under the flags and with the
authorization of their cantons, separated from the Germans and withdrew,
after receiving from Henry III.  four hundred thousand crowns as the
price of their withdrawal.  In Burgundy, in Champagne, and in Orleanness,
the campaign terminated to the honor of Guise, which Henry III. was far
from regarding as a victory for himself.

But almost at the same time at which the League obtained this success in
the provinces of the east and centre, it experienced in those of the
south-west a reverse more serious for the Leaguers than the Duke of
Guise’s victory had been fortunate for them.  Henry III. had given the
command of his army south of the Loire to one of his favorites, Anne,
Duke of Joyeuse, a brilliant, brave, and agreeable young man, whose
fortunes he had advanced beyond measure, to the extent of marrying him to
Marguerite de Lorraine, the queen’s sister, and raising for him the
viscountship of Joyeuse to a duchy-peerage, giving him rank, too, after
the princes of the blood and before the dukes of old creation.  Joyeuse
was at the head of six thousand foot, two thousand horse, and six pieces
of cannon.  He entered Poitou and marched towards the Dordogne, whilst
the King of Navarre was at La Rochelle, engaged in putting into order two
pieces of cannon, which formed the whole of his artillery, and in
assembling round him his three cousins, the Prince of Conde, the Count of
Soissons, and the Prince of Conti, that he might head the whole house of
Bourbon at the moment when he was engaging seriously in the struggle with
the house of Valois and the house of Lorraine.  A small town, Coutras,
situated at the confluence of the two rivers of L’Isle and La Dronne, in
the Gironde, offered the two parties an important position to occupy.
“According to his wont,” says the Duke of Aumale in his _Histoire des
Princes de Conde,_ “the Bearnese was on horseback whilst his adversary
was banqueting.”  He outstripped Joyeuse; and when the latter drew near
to Contras, he found the town occupied by the Protestant advance-guard,
and had barely time to fall back upon La Roche-Chalais.  The battle began
on the 20th of October, 1587, shortly after sunrise.  We will here borrow
the equally dramatic and accurate account of it given by the Duke of
Aumale: “At this solemn moment the King of Navarre calls to his side his
cousins and his principal officers; then, in his manly and sonorous
voice, he addresses his men-at-arms: ‘My friends, here is a quarry for
you very different from your past prizes.  It is a brand-new bridegroom,
with his marriage-money still in his coffers; and all the cream of the
courtiers are with him.  Will you let yourselves go down before this
handsome dancing-master and his minions?  No, they are ours; I see it by
your eagerness to fight.  Still we must all of us understand that the
event is in the hands of God.  Pray we Him to aid us.  This deed will be
the greatest that we ever did; the glory will be to God, the service to
our sovereign lord the king, the honor to ourselves, and the benefit to
the state.’  Henry uncovers; the clergymen Chandieu and Damours intone
the army’s prayer, and the men-at-arms repeat in chorus the twenty-fourth
versicle of the hundred and eighteenth Psalm: ‘This is the day which the
Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’  As they were
hastening each to his post, the king detains his cousins a moment.
‘Gentlemen,’ he shouts, ‘I have just one thing to say: remember that you
are of the house of Bourbon; and, as God liveth, I will let you see that
I am your senior.’  ‘And we will show you some good juniors,’ answered
Conde.”

Before midday the battle was won and the royalist army routed, but
not without having made a valiant stand.  During the action, D’Epinay
Saint-Luc, one of the bravest royalist soldiers, met the Duke of Joyeuse
already wounded.  “What’s to be done?” he asked.  “Die,” answered
Joyeuse; and a few moments afterwards, as he was moving away some paces
to the rear in order to get near to his artillery, says D’Aubigne, he was
surrounded by several Huguenots, who recognized him.  “There are a
hundred-thousand crowns to be gained,” he shouted; but rage was more
powerful than cupidity, and one of them shattered his skull with a
pistol-shot.  “His body was taken to the king’s quarters: there it lay,
in the evening, upon a table in the very room where the conqueror’s
supper had been prepared: but the King of Navarre ordered all who were in
the chamber to go out, had his supper things removed else-whither, and,
with every mark of respect, committed the remains of the vanquished to
the care of Viscount de Turenne, his near relative.  Henry showed a
simple and modest joy at his splendid triumph.  It was five and twenty
years since the civil war commenced, and he was the first Protestant
general who had won a pitched battle; he had to regret only
twenty-five killed, whereas the enemy had lost more than three thousand,
and had abandoned to him their cannon, together with twenty-nine flags or
standards.  The victory was so much the more glorious in that it was
gained over an army superior in numbers and almost equal in quality.
It was owing to the king’s valor, decision, vigilance, quick eye,
comprehension of tactics, and that creative instinct which he brought
into application in politics as well as in war, and which was destined to
render him so happily inspired in the beautiful defensive actions of
Arques, at the affair of Ivry, and on so many other occasions.”
 [_Histoire des Princes de Conde, &c.,_ by M. le Due D’Aumale, t. ii.
pp. 164-177.]

And what was Henry III., King of France, doing whilst two great parties
and two great men were thus carrying on, around his throne and in his
name, so passionate a war, on the one side to maintain the despotic unity
of Catholic Christianism, and on the other to win religious liberty for
Christian Protestantism?  We will borrow here the words of the most
enlightened and most impartial historian of the sixteenth century, M. de
Thou; if we acted upon our own personal impressions alone, there would be
danger of appearing too severe towards a king whom we profoundly despise.

“After having staid some time in Bourbonness, Henry III. went to Lyons in
order to be within hail of his two favorites, Joyeuse and Epernon, who
were each on the march with an army.  Whilst he was at Lyons as
unconcerned as if all the realm were enjoying perfect peace, he took to
collecting those little dogs which are thought so much of in that town.
Everybody was greatly surprised to see a King of France, in the midst of
so terrible a war and in extreme want of money, expending upon such
pleasures all the time he had at disposal and all the sums he could
scrape together.  How lavish soever this prince may have been, yet, if
comparison be made between the expenditure upon the royal household and
that incurred at Lyons for dogs, the latter will be found infinitely
higher than the former; without counting expenses for hunting-dogs and
birds, which always come to a considerable sum in the households of
kings, it cost him, every year, more than a hundred thousand gold crowns
for little Lyonnese dogs; and he maintained at his court, with large
salaries, a multitude of men and women who had nothing to do but to feed
them.  He also spent large sums in monkeys, parrots, and other creatures
from foreign countries, of which he always kept a great number.
Sometimes he got tired of them, and gave them all away then his passion
for such creatures returned, and they had to be found for him at no
matter what cost.  Since I am upon the subject of this prince’s
attachment to matters anything but worthy of the kingly majesty, I will
say a word about his passion for those miniatures which were to be found
in manuscript prayer-books, and which, before the practice of printing,
were done by the most skilful painters.  Henry III. seemed to buy such
works, intended for princes and laid by in cabinets of curiosities, only
to spoil them; as soon as he had them, he cut them out, and then pasted
them upon the walls of his chapels, as children do.  An incomprehensible
character of mind: in certain things, capable of upholding his rank; in
some, rising above his position; in others, sinking below childishness.”
 [_Histoire universelle de F. A. de Thou,_ t. ix.  p. 599.]

A mind and character incomprehensible indeed, if corruption, lassitude,
listlessness, and fear would not explain the existence of everything that
is abnormal and pitiable about human nature in a feeble, cold, and
selfish creature, excited, and at the same time worn out, by the business
and the pleasures of kingship, which Henry III. could neither do without
nor bear the burden of.  His perplexity was extreme in his relations with
the other two Henries, who gave, like himself, their name to this war,
which was called by contemporaries the war of the three Henries.  The
successes of Henry de Guise and of Henry de Bourbon were almost equally
disagreeable to Henry de Valois.  It is probable that, if he could have
chosen, he would have preferred those of Henry de Bourbon; if they caused
him like jealousy, they did not raise in him the same distrust; he knew
the King of Navarre’s loyalty, and did not suspect him of aiming to
become, whilst he himself was living, King of France.  Besides, he
considered the Protestants less powerful and less formidable than the
Leaguers.  Henry de Guise, on the contrary, was evidently, in his eyes,
an ambitious conspirator, determined to push his own fortunes on to the
very crown of France if the chances were favorable to him, and not only
armed with all the power of Catholicism, but urged forward by the
passions of the League, perhaps further and certainly more quickly than
his own intentions travelled.  Since 1584, the Leaguers had, at Paris,
acquired strong organization amongst the populace; the city had been
partitioned out into five districts under five heads, who, shortly
afterwards, added to themselves eleven others, in order that, in the
secret council of the association, each amongst the sixteen quarters of
Paris might have its representative and director.  Thence the famous
Committee of Sixteen, which played so great and so formidable a part in
the history of that period.  It was religious fanaticism and democratic
fanaticism closely united, and in a position to impose their wills upon
their most eminent leaders, upon the Duke of Guise himself.

In vain did Henry III. attempt to resume some sort of authority in Paris;
his government, his public and private life, and his person were daily
attacked, insulted, and menaced from the elevation of the pulpit and in
the public thoroughfares by qualified preachers or mob-orators.  On the
16th of December, 1587, the Sorbonne voted, after a deliberation which,
it was said, was to be kept secret, “that the government might be taken
away from princes who were found not what they ought to be, just as the
administration of a property from a guardian open to suspicion.”  On the
30th of December, the king summoned to the Louvre his court of Parliament
and the faculty of theology.  “I know of your precious resolution of the
16th of this month,” said he to the Sorbonne; “I have been requested to
take no notice of it, seeing that it was passed after dinner.  I have no
mind to avenge myself for these outrages, as I might, and as Pope Sixtus
V. did when he sent to the galleys certain Cordeliers for having dared to
slander him in their sermons.  There is not one of you who has not
deserved as much, and more; but it is my good pleasure to forget all, and
to pardon you, on condition of its not occurring again.  If it should, I
beg my court of Parliament, here present, to exact exemplary justice, and
such as the seditious, like you, may take warning by, so as to mind their
own business.”  At their exit after this address, the Parliament and the
Sorbonne, being quite sure that the king would not carry the matter
further, withdrew smiling, and saying, “He certainly has spirit, but not
enough of it” (_habet quidem animum, sed non satis animi_).  The Duke of
Guise’s sister, the Duchess of Montpensier, took to getting up and
spreading about all sorts of pamphlets against the king and his
government.  “The king commanded her to quit his city of Paris; she did
nothing of the kind; and three days after she was even brazen enough to
say that she carried at her waist the scissors which would give a third
crown to brother Henry de Valois.”  At the close of 1587, the Duke of
Guise made a trip to Rome, “with a suite of five; and he only remained
three days, so disguised that he was not recognized there, and discovered
himself to nobody but Cardinal Pelleve, with whom he was in communication
day and night.”  [_Journal de L’Estoile,_ t. i.  p. 345.] Eighteen months
previously, the cardinal had given a very favorable reception to a case
drawn up by an advocate in the Parliament of Paris, named David, who
maintained that, “although the line of the Capets had succeeded to the
temporal administration of the kingdom of Charlemagne, it had not
succeeded to the apostolic benediction, which appertained to none but the
posterity of the said Charlemagne, and that, the line of Capet being some
of them possessed by a spirit of giddiness and stupidity, and others
heretic and excommunicated, the time had come for restoring the crown to
the true heirs,” that is to say, to the house of Lorraine, which claimed
to be issue of Charlemagne.  This case was passed on, it is said, from
Rome to Philip II., King of Spain, and M. de Saint-Goard, ambassador of
France at Madrid, sent Henry III. a copy of it.  [_Memoires de la Ligue,_
t. i.  pp. 1-7.]

Whatever may have been the truth about this trip to Rome on the part of
the Duke of Guise, and its influence upon what followed, the chiefs of
the Leaguers resolved to deal a great blow.  The Lorraine princes and
their intimate associates met at Nancy in January, 1588, and decided that
a petition should be presented to the king; that he should be called upon
to join himself more openly and in good earnest to the League, and to
remove from offices of consequence all the persons that should be pointed
out to him; that the Holy Inquisition should be established, at any rate
in the good towns; that important places should be put into the hands of
specified chiefs, who should have the power of constructing
fortifications there; that heretics should be taxed a third, or at the
least, a fourth of their property as long as the war lasted; and, lastly,
that the life should be spared of no enemy taken prisoner, unless upon
his swearing and finding good surety to live as a Catholic, and upon
paying in ready money the worth of his property if it had not already
been sold.  These monstrous proposals, drawn up in eleven articles, were
immediately carried to the king.  He did not reject them, but he demanded
and took time to discuss them with the authors.  The negotiation was
prolonged; the ferment in Paris was redoubled; the king, it was said,
meant to withdraw; his person must be secured; the Committee of Sixteen
took measures to that end; one of its members got into his hands the keys
of the gate of St. Denis.  From Soissons, where he was staying, the Duke
of Guise sent to Paris the Count of Brissac, with four other captains of
the League, to hold themselves in readiness for any event, and he ordered
his brother the Duke of Aumale to stoutly maintain his garrisons in the
places of Picardy, which the king, it was said, meant to take from him.
“If the king leaves Paris,” the duke wrote to Bernard de Mendoza, Philip
II.’s ambassador in France, “I will make him think about returning
thither before he has gone a day’s march towards the Picards.”  Philip
II. made Guise an offer of three hundred thousand crowns, six thousand
lanzknechts, and twelve hundred lances, as soon as he should have broken
with Henry III.  “The abscess will soon burst,” wrote the ambassador to
the king his master.

On the 8th of May, 1588, at eleven P. M., the Duke of Guise set out from
Soissons, after having commended himself to the prayers of the convents
in the town.  He arrived the next morning before Paris, which he entered
about midday by the gate of St. Martin.  The Leaguers had been expecting
him for several days.  Though he had covered his head with his cloak, he
was readily recognized and eagerly cheered; the burgesses left their
houses and the tradesmen their shops to see him and follow him, shouting,
“Hurrah! for Guise; hurrah! for the pillar of the church!”  The crowd
increased at every step.  He arrived in front of the palace of Catherine
de’ Medici, who had not expected him, and grew pale at sight of him.
“My dear cousin,” said she to him, “I am very glad to see you, but I
should have been better pleased at another time.”  “Madame, I am come to
clear myself from all the calumnies of my enemies; do me the honor to
conduct me to the king yourself.”  Catherine lost no time in giving the
king warning by one of her secretaries.  On receipt of this notice, Henry
III., who had at first been stolid--and silent, rose abruptly from his
chair.  “Tell my lady mother that, as she wishes to present the Duke of
Guise to me, I will receive him in the chamber of the queen my wife.”
 The envoy departed.  The king, turning to one of his officers, Colonel
Alphonso Corso, said to him, “M. de Guise has just arrived at Paris,
contrary to my orders.  What would you do in my place?”  “Sir, do you
hold the Duke of Guise for friend or enemy?”  The king, without speaking,
replied by a significant gesture.  “If it please your, Majesty to give me
the order, I will this very day lay the duke’s head at your feet.”  The
three councillors who happened to be there cried out.  The king held his
peace.  During this conversation at the Louvre, the Duke of Guise was
advancing along the streets, dressed in a doublet of white damask, a
cloak of black cloth, and boots of buffalo-hide; he walked on foot,
bareheaded, at the side of the queen-mother in a sedan-chair.  He was
tall, with fair clustering hair and piercing eyes; and his scar added to
his martial air.  The mob pressed upon his steps; flowers were thrown to
him from the windows; some, adoring him as a saint, touched him with
chaplets which they afterwards kissed; a young girl darted towards him,
and, removing her mask, kissed him, saying, “Brave prince, since you are
here, we are all saved.”  Guise, with a dignified air, “saluted and
delighted everybody,” says a witness, “with eye, and gesture, and
speech.”  “By his side,” said Madame de Retz, “the other princes are
commoners.”  “The Huguenots,” said another, “become Leaguers at the very
sight of him.”  On arriving at the Louvre, he traversed the court between
two rows of soldiers, the archers on duty in the hall, and the forty-five
gentlemen of the king’s chamber at the top of the staircase.  “What
brings you hither?” said the king, with difficulty restraining his anger.
“I entreat your Majesty to believe in my fidelity, and not allow yourself
to go by the reports of my enemies.”  “Did I not command you not to come
at this season so full of suspicions, but to wait yet a while?”

“Sir, I was not given to understand that my coming would be disagreeable
to you.”  Catherine drew near, and, in a low tone, told her son of the
demonstrations of which the duke had been the object on his way.  Guise
was received in the chamber of the queen, Louise de Vaudemont, who was
confined to her bed by indisposition; he chatted with her a moment, and,
saluting the king, retired without being attended by any one of the
officers of the court.  Henry III. confined himself to telling him that
results should speak for the sincerity of his words.

Guise returned to his house in the Faubourg St. Antoine, still
accompanied by an eager and noisy crowd, but somewhat disquieted at heart
both by the king’s angry reception and the people’s enthusiastic welcome.
Brave as he was, he was more ambitious in conception than bold in
execution, and he had not made up his mind to do all that was necessary
to attain the end he was pursuing.  The committee of Sixteen, his
confidants, and all the staff of the League, met at his house during the
evening and night between the 9th and 10th of May, preparing for the
morrow’s action without well knowing what it was to be, proposing various
plans, collecting arms, and giving instructions to their agents amongst
the populace.  An agitation of the same sort prevailed at the Louvre; the
king, too, was deliberating with his advisers as to what he should do on
the morrow: Guise would undoubtedly present himself at his morning levee;
should he at once rid himself of him by the poniards of the five and
forty bravoes which the Duke of Epernon had enrolled in Gascony for his
service?  Or would it be best to summon to Paris some troops, French and
Swiss, to crush the Parisian rebels and the adventurers that had hurried
up from all parts to their aid?  But on the 10th of May, Guise went to
the Louvre with four hundred gentlemen well armed with breastplates and
weapons under their cloaks.  The king did nothing; no more did Guise.
The two had a long conversation in the queen-mother’s garden; but it led
to no result.  On the 11th of May, in the evening, the provost of
tradesmen, Hector de Perreuse, assembled the town-council and those of
the district-colonels on whom he had reliance to receive the king’s
orders.  Orders came to muster the burgher companies of certain
districts, and send them to occupy certain positions that had been
determined upon.  They mustered slowly and incompletely, and some not at
all; and scarcely had they arrived when several left the posts which had
been assigned to them.  The king, being informed of this sluggishness,
sent for the regiment of the French Guards, and for four thousand Swiss
cantoned in the outskirts of Paris; and he himself mounted his horse, on
the 12th of May, in the morning, to go and receive them at the gate of
St. Honord.  These troops “filed along, without fife or drum, towards the
cemetery of the Innocents.”  The populace regarded them as they passed
with a feeling of angry curiosity and uneasy amazement.  When all the
corps had arrived at the appointed spot, “they put themselves in motion
towards different points, now making a great noise with their drums and
fifes, which marvellously astonished the inhabitants of the quarter.”
 Noise provokes noise.  “In continently,” says L’Estoile, “everybody
seizes his arms, goes out on guard in the streets and cantons; in less
than no time chains are stretched across and barricades made at the
corners of the streets; the mechanic leaves his tools, the tradesman his
business, the University their books, the attorneys their bags, the
advocates their bands; the presidents and councillors themselves take
halberds in hand; nothing is heard but shouts, murmurs, and the seditious
speeches that heat and alarm a people.”  The tocsin sounded everywhere;
barricades sprang up in the twinkling of an eye; they were made within
thirty paces of the Louvre.  The royal troops were hemmed in where they
stood, and deprived of the possibility of moving; the Swiss, being
attacked, lost fifty men, and surrendered, holding up their chaplets and
exclaiming that they were good Catholics.  It was thought sufficient to
disarm the French Guards.  The king, remaining stationary at the Louvre,
sent his marshals to parley with the people massed in the thoroughfares;
the queen-mother had herself carried over the barricades in order to go
to Guise’s house and attempt some negotiation with him.  He received her
coldly, demanding that the king should appoint him lieutenant-general of
the kingdom, declare the Huguenot princes incapacitated from succeeding
to the throne, and assemble the states-general.  At the approach of
evening, Guise determined to go himself and assume the conqueror’s air by
putting a stop to the insurrection.  He issued from his house on
horseback, unarmed, with a white wand in his hand; he rode through the
different districts, exhorting the inhabitants to keep up their
barricades, whilst remaining on the defensive and leaving him to complete
their work.  He was greeted on all sides with shouts of “Hurrah! for
Guise!” “You wrong me, my friends,” said he; “you should shout, ‘Hurrah!
for the king!’”  He had the French Guards and the Swiss set at liberty;
and they defiled before him, arms lowered and bareheaded, as before their
preserver.  Next morning, May 13, he wrote to D’Entragues, governor of
Orleans, “Notify our friends to come to us in the greatest haste
possible, with horses and arms, but without baggage, which they will
easily be able to do, for I believe that the roads are open hence to you.
I have defeated the Swiss, and cut in pieces a part of the king’s guards,
and I hold the Louvre invested so closely that I will render good account
of whatsoever there is in it.  This is so great a victory that it will be
remembered forever.”  That same day, the provost of tradesmen and the
royalist sheriffs repaired to the Louvre, and told the king that, without
great and immediate concessions, they could not answer for anything; the
Louvre was not in a condition of defence; there were no troops to be
depended upon for resistance, no provisions, no munitions; the investment
was growing closer and closer every hour, and the assault might commence
at any instant.  Henry III. sent his mother once more to the Duke of
Guise, and himself went out about four o’clock, dressed in a country suit
and scantily attended, as if for a walk in the Tuileries.  Catherine
found the duke as inflexible as he had been the day before.  He
peremptorily insisted upon all the conditions he had laid down already,
the lieutenant-generalship of the kingdom for himself, the unity of the
Catholic faith, forfeiture on the part of the King of Navarre and every
other Huguenot prince as heir to the throne, perpetual banishment of the
king’s favorites, and convocation of the states-general.  “The king,” he
said, “purposes to destroy all the grandees of the kingdom and to harry
all those who oppose his wishes and the elevation of his minions; it is
my duty and my interest to take all the measures necessary for my own
preservation and that of the people.”  Catherine yielded on nearly every
point, at the same time, however, continually resuming and prolonging the
discussion.  One of the duke’s most trusty confidants, Francis de
Mainville, entered and whispered in his ear.  “Madame,” cried the duke,
“whilst your Majesty has been amusing me here, the king is off from Paris
to harry me and destroy me!”  Henry III., indeed, had taken horse at the
Tuileries, and, attended by his principal councillors, unbooted and
cloakless, had issued from the New gate, and set out on the road to St.
Cloud.  Equipping him in haste, his squire, Du Halde, had put his spur on
wrong, and would have set it right, but, “That will do,” said the king;
“I am not going to see my mistress; I have a longer journey to make.”  It
is said that the corps on guard at the Nesle gate fired from a distance a
salute of arquebuses after the fugitive king, and that a crowd assembled
on the other bank of the river shouted insults after him.  At the height
of Chaillot Henry pulled up, and turning round towards Paris, “Ungrateful
city,” he cried, “I have loved thee more than my own wife; I will not
enter thy walls again but by the breach.”

It is said that on hearing of the Duke of Guise’s sudden arrival at
Paris, Pope Sixtus V. exclaimed, “Ah! what rashness!  To thus go and put
himself in the hands of a prince he has so outraged!”  And some days
afterwards, on the news that the king had received the Duke of Guise and
nothing had come of it, “Ah, dastard prince! poor creature of a prince,
to have let such a chance escape him of getting rid of a man who seems
born to be his destruction!” [_De Thou,_ t. x.  p. 266.]

When the king was gone, Guise acted the master in Paris.  He ordered the
immediate delivery into his hands of the Bastille, the arsenal, and the
castle of Vincennes.  Ornano, governor of the Bastille, sent an offer to
the king, who had arrived at Chartres, to defend it to the last
extremity.  “I will not expose to so certain a peril a brave man who may
be necessary to me elsewhere,” replied the king.  Guise caused to be
elected at Paris a new town-council and a new provost of tradesmen, all
taken from amongst the most ardent Leaguers.  He at the same time exerted
himself to restore order; he allowed all royalists who wished to depart
to withdraw to Chartres; he went in person and pressed the premier
president of Parliament, Achille de Harlay, to resume the course of
justice.  “It is great pity, sir,” said Harlay, “when the servant drives
out the master; this assembly is founded (seated) on the fleur-de-lis;
being established by the king, it can act only for his service.  We will
all lose our lives to a man rather than give way a whit to the contrary.”
 “I have been in many battles,” said Guise, as he went out, “in assaults
and encounters the most dangerous in the world; and I have never been so
overcome as at my reception by this personage.”  At the same time that he
was trying to exercise authority and restore order, unbridled violence
and anarchy were making head around him; the Sixteen and their friends
discharged from the smallest offices, civil or religious, whoever was not
devoted to them; they changed all the captains and district-officers of
the city militia; they deposed all the incumbents, all the ecclesiastics
whom they termed Huguenots and policists; the pulpits of Christians
became the platforms of demagogues; the preachers Guiticestre, Boucher,
Rose, John Prevost, Aubry, Pigenat, Cueilly, Pelletier, and a host of
others whose names have fallen into complete obscurity, were the popular
apostles, the real firebrands of the troubles of the League, says
Pasquier; there was scarcely a chapel where there were not several
sermons a day.  “You know not your strength,” they kept repeating to
their auditors: “Paris knows not what she is worth; she has wealth enough
to make war upon four kings. France is sick, and she will never recover
from that sickness till she has a draught of French blood given her.
.  .  .  If you receive Henry de Valois into your towns, make up your
minds to see your preachers massacred, your sheriffs hanged, your women
violated, and the gibbets garnished with your members.”  One of these
raving orators, Claude Trahy, provincial of the Cordeliers, devoted
himself to hounding on the populace of Auxerre against their bishop,
James Amyot, the translator of Plutarch, whom he reproached with “having
communicated with Henry III. and administered to him the eucharist;”
 brother John Moresin, one of Trahy’s subalterns, went about brandishing a
halberd in the public place at Auxerre, and shouting, “Courage, lads!
messire Amyot is a wicked man, worse than Henry de Valois; he has
threatened to have our master Trahy hanged, but he will repent it;” and,
“at the voice of this madman, there hurried up vine-dressers, boatmen,
and marchandeaux (costermongers), a whole angry mob, who were for having
Amyot’s throat cut, and Trahy made bishop in his stead.”

Whilst the blind passions of fanatics and demagogues were thus let loose,
the sensible and clear-sighted spirits, the earnest and moderate
royalists, did not all of them remain silent and motionless.  After the
appearance of the letters written in 1588 by the Duke of Guise to explain
and justify his conduct in this crisis, a grandson of Chancellor de
l’Hospital, Michael Hurault, Sieur du Fay, published a document, entitled
Frank and Free Discourse upon the Condition of France, one of the most
judicious and most eloquent pamphlets of the sixteenth century, a
profound criticism upon the acts of the Duke of Guise, their causes and
consequences, and a true picture of the falsehoods and servitude into
which an eminent man may fall when he makes himself the tool of a popular
faction in the hope of making that faction the tool of his personal
ambition.  But even the men who were sufficiently enlightened and
sufficiently courageous to tell the League and its leader plain truths
spoke only rather late in the day, and at first without giving their
names; the document written by L’Hospital’s grandson did not appear until
1591, after the death of Henry III. and Henry de Guise, and it remained
anonymous for some time.  One cannot be astonished at such timidity;
Guise himself was timid before the Leaguers, and he always ended by
yielding to them in essentials, after having attempted to resist them
upon such and such an incidental point.  His own people accused him of
lacking boldness; and his sister, the Duchess of Montpensier, openly
patronized the most violent preachers, whilst boasting that she wielded
more influence through them than her brother by his armies.  Henry III.,
under stress of his enemies’ zeal and his own servants’ weakness,
Catherine de’ Medici included, after having fled from Paris and taken
refuge at Chartres to escape the triumph of the Barricades, once more
began to negotiate, that is, to capitulate with the League; he issued at
Rouen, on the 19th of July, 1588, an edict in eleven articles, whereby he
granted more than had been demanded, and more than he had promised in
1585 by the treaty of Nemours; over and above the measures contained in
that treaty against the Huguenots, in respect of the present and the
future, he added four fresh surety-towns, amongst others Bourges and
Orleans, to those of which the Leaguers were to remain in possession.
He declared, moreover, “that no investigation should be made into any
understandings, associations, and other matters into which our Catholic
subjects might have entered together; inasmuch as they have given us to
understand and have informed us that what they did was but owing to the
zeal they felt for the preservation and maintenance of the Catholic
religion.”  By thus releasing the League from all responsibility for the
past, and by giving this new treaty the name of edict of union, Henry
III. flattered himself, it is said, that he was thus putting himself at
the head of a new grand Catholic League which would become royalist
again, inasmuch as the king was granting it all it had desired.  The
edict of union was enregistered at the Parliament of Paris on the 21st of
July.  The states-general were convoked for the 15th of October
following.  “On Tuesday, August 2, his Majesty,” says L’Estoile, “being
entertained by the Duke of Guise during his dinner, asked him for drink,
and then said to him, ‘To whom shall we drink?’  ‘To whom you please,
sir,’ answered the duke; ‘it is for your Majesty to command.’  ‘Cousin,’
said the king, ‘drink we to our good friends the Huguenots.’  ‘It is well
said, sir,’ answered the duke.  ‘And to our good barricaders,’ said the
king; ‘let us not forget them.’  Whereupon the duke began to laugh a
little,” adds L’Estoile, “but a sort of laugh that did not go beyond the
knot of the throat, being dissatisfied at the novel union the king was
pleased to make of the Huguenots with the barricaders.”  What must have
to some extent reassured the Duke of Guise was, that a Te Deum was
celebrated at Notre-Dame for the King of Navarre’s exclusion from all
right to the crown, and that, on the 14th of August Henry de Guise was
appointed generalissimo of the royal armies.

[Illustration: The Castle of Blois----428]

The states-general met at Blois on the 16th of October, 1588.  They
numbered five hundred and five deputies; one hundred and ninety-one of
the third estate, one hundred and eighty of the noblesse, one hundred and
thirty-four of the clergy.  The king had given orders “to conduct each
deputy as they arrived to his cabinet, that he might see, hear, and know
them all personally.”  When the five hundred and five deputies had taken
their places in the hall, the Duke of Guise went to fetch the king, who
made his entry attended by the princes of the blood, and opened the
session with the dignity and easy grace which all the Valois seemed to
have inherited from Francis I.  The Duke of Guise, in a coat of white
satin, was seated at the king’s feet, as high steward of his household,
scanning the whole assembly with his piercing glance, as if to keep watch
over those who were in his service.  “He seemed,” says a contemporary,
“by a single flash of his eye to fortify them in the hope of the
advancement of his designs; his fortunes, and his greatness, and to say
to them, without speaking, I see you.”  The king’s speech was long, able,
well delivered, and very much applauded, save by Guise himself and his
particular friends; the firmness of tone had displeased them, and one
sentence excited in them a discontent which they had found difficulty in
restraining: certain grandees of my kingdom have formed such leagues and
associations as, in every well-ordered monarchy, are crimes of high
treason, without the sovereign’s permission.  But, showing my wonted
indulgence, I am quite willing to let bygones be bygones in this respect.
Guise grew pale at these words.  On leaving the royal session, he got his
private committee to decide that the Cardinal of Guise and the Archbishop
of Lyons should go to see the king, and beg him to abandon the printing
of his speech, and meanwhile Guise himself sent to the printer’s to stop
the immediate publication.  Discussion took place next day in the king’s
cabinet; and a threat was held out to him that a portion of the deputies
would quit the meeting of states.  The queen-mother advised her son to
compromise.  The king yielded, according to his custom, and gave
authority for cutting out the strongest expressions, amongst others those
just quoted.  “The correction was accordingly made,” says M. Picot, the
latest and most able historian of the states-general, “and Henry III.
had to add this new insult to all that were rankling at the bottom of his
heart since the affair of the Barricades.”

This was, for the Duke of Guise, a first trial of his power, and great
was his satisfaction at this first success.  On leaving the opening
session of the states-general, he wrote to the Spanish ambassador
Mendoza, “I handled our states so well that I made them resolve to
require confirmation of the edict of union (of July 21 preceding) as
fundamental law of the state.  The king refused to do so, in rather sharp
terms, to the deputies who brought the representation before him, and
from that it is presumed that he inclines towards a peace with the
heretics.  But, at last, he was so pressed by the states, the which were
otherwise on the point of breaking up, that he promised to swear the
edict and have it sworn before entering upon consideration of any
matter.”

The next day but one, in fact, on the 18th of October, at the second
session of the states-general, “the edict of July 21 was read and
published with the greatest solemnity; the king swore to maintain it in
terms calculated to dissipate all anxieties on the part of the Catholics.
The deputies swore after him.  The Archbishop of Bourges delivered an
address on the sanctity of oaths, and those present began to think the
session over, when the king rose a second time to recommend the deputies
not to leave Blois before the papers were drawn up and the ordinances
made.  He reminded them that at the last assembly of the states the
suggestions and counsels of the three estates had been so ill carried out
that, instead of a reformation and an establishment of good laws,
everything had been thrown into confusion.  Accordingly the king added to
this suggestion a solemn oath that he would not budge from the city until
he had made an edict, sacred and inviolable.  The enthusiasm of the
deputies was at its height; a rush took place to the church of St.
Sauveur to chant a Te Deum.  All the princes were there to give thanks to
God.  Never were king, court, and people so joyous.”  The Duke of Guise
wrote to the Spanish ambassador, “At length we have, in full assembly of
the states, had our edict of union solemnly sworn and established as
fundamental law of this realm, having surmounted all the difficulties and
hinderances which the king was pleased to throw in the way; I found
myself four or five times on the point of rupture: but I was verily
assisted by so many good men.”

After as well as before the opening of the states-general, the friends of
the Duke of Guise were far from having, all of them, the same confidence
that he had in his position and in his success.  “Stupid owl of a
Lorrainer!” said Sieur de Vins, commanding, on behalf of the League, in
Dauphiny, on reading the duke’s despatches, “has he so little sense as to
believe that a king whose crown he, by dissimulating, has been wanting to
take away, is not dissimulating in turn to take away his life?”  “As they
are so thick together,” said M. de Vins’ sister, when she knew that the
Duke of Guise was at Blois with the king, “you will hear, at the very
first opportunity, that one or the other has killed his fellow.”  Guise
himself was no stranger to this idea.  “We are not without warnings from
all quarters that there is a design of attempting my life,” he wrote on
the 21st of September, 1588: “but I have, thank God, so provided against
it, both by the gathering I have made of a good number of my friends, and
in having, by presents and money, secured a portion of those whose
services are relied upon for the execution of it, that, if once things
begin, I shall finish more roughly than I did at Paris.”

After the opening of the states-general and the success he obtained
thereat, Guise appeared, if not more anxious, at any rate more attentive
to the warnings he received.  On the 10th of December, 1588, he wrote to
Commander Moreo, confidential agent from the King of Spain to him, “You
cannot imagine what alarms have been given me since your departure.  I
have so well provided against them that my enemies have not seen their
way to attempting anything.  .  .  .  But expenses have grown upon me to
such an extent that I have great need of your prompt assistance.  .  .  .
I have now so much credit with this assembly that I have hitherto made it
dance to my tune, and I hope that as to what remains to be decreed I
shall be quite able to maintain the same authority.”  Some of his
partisans advised him to go away for a while to Orleans; but he
absolutely refused, repeating, with the Archbishop of Lyons, “He who
leaves the game loses it.”  One evening, in a little circle of intimates,
on the 21st of December, a question arose whether it would not be
advisable to prevent the king’s designs by striking at his person.  The
Cardinal of Guise begged his brother to go away, assuring him that his
own presence would suffice for the direction of affairs: but, “They are
in such case, my friend,” said the Balafre, “that, if I saw death coming
in at the window, I would not consent to go out by the door to avoid it.”
 His cousin, the Duke of Elbeuf, paid him a visit at night to urge him to
withdraw himself from the plot hatched against him.  “If it were
necessary to lose my life in order to reap the proximate fruits of the
states’ good resolution,” said Guise, “that is what I have quite made up
my mind to.  Though I had a hundred lives, I would devote them all to the
service of God and His church, and to the relief of the poor people for
whom I feel the greatest pity;” then, touching the Duke of Elbeuf upon
the shoulder, he said, “Go to bed, cousin;” and, taking away his hand and
laying it upon his own heart, he added, “Here is the doublet of
innocence.”  On the evening of the 22d of December, 1588, when Charlotte
de Semblancay, Marchioness of Noirmoutiers, to whom he was tenderly
attached, pressed him to depart, or at any rate not to be present at the
council next day, the only answer he made her was to hum the following
ditty, by Desportes, a poet of the day:--

               “My little Rose, a little spell
               Of absence changed that heart of thine;
               And I, who know the change full well,
               Have found another place for mine.
               No more such fair but fickle she
               Shall find me her obedient;
               And, flighty shepherdess, we’ll see
               Which of the twain will first repent.”

Henry III.  was scarcely less disturbed, but in quite a different way,
than the Duke of Guise.  For a long time past he had been thinking about
getting rid of the latter, just as he had thought for a long time, twenty
years before, about getting rid of Admiral de Coligny; but since the date
of his escape from the popular rising on the day of the Barricades, he
had hoped that, thanks to the adoption of the edict of union and to the
convocation of the states-general, he would escape the yoke of the Duke
of Guise.  He saw every day that he had been mistaken; the League, and
consequently the Duke of Guise, had more power than he with the
states-general; in vain had the king changed nearly all his ministers; in
vain had he removed his principal favorite, the Duke of Epernon, from the
government of Normandy to that of Provence; he did not obtain from the
states-general what he demanded, that is, the money he wanted; and the
states required of him administrative reforms, sound enough at bottom,
but suggested by the Duke of Guise with an interested object, and
calculated to shackle the kingly authority even more than could be done
by Guise himself directly.  At the same time that Guise was urging on the
states-general in this path, he demanded to be made constable, not by the
king any longer, but by the states themselves.  The kingship was thus
being squeezed between the haughty supremacy of the great lords,
substitutes for the feudal regimen, and the first essays of that free
government which is nowadays called the parliamentary regimen.  Henry
III. determined with fear and trembling to disembarrass himself of his
two rivals, of the Duke of Guise by assassination, and of the
states-general by packing them off home.  He did not know how intimately
the two great questions of which the sixteenth century was the great
cradle, the question of religious liberty and that of political liberty,
were connected one with the other, and would be prosecuted jointly or
successively in the natural progress of Christian civilization, or
through what trials kings and people would have to pass before
succeeding in any effectual solution of them.

On the 18th of December, 1588, during an entertainment given by Catherine
de’ Medici on the marriage of her niece, Christine de Lorraine, with
Ferdinand de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, Henry III. summoned to his
cabinet three of his most intimate and safest confidants, Marshal
d’Aumont, Nicholas d’Angennes, Lord of Rambouillet, and Sieur de Beauvais
Nangis.  After having laid before them all the Duke of Guise’s intrigues
against him and the perils of the position in which they placed him,
“What ought I to do?” he said; “help me to save myself by some speedy
means.”  They asked the king to give them twenty-four hours to answer in.
Next day, the 19th, Sieur de Maintenon, brother of Rambouillet, and
Alphonso Corso d’Ornano Were added to the party; only one of them was of
opinion that the Duke of Guise should at once be arrested and put upon
his trial; the four others were for a shorter and a surer process, that
of putting the duke to death by a sudden blow.  He is evidently making
war upon the king, they said; and the king has a right to defend himself.
Henry III., who had his mind made up, asked Crillon, commandant of the
regiment of guards, “Think you that the Duke of Guise deserves death?”
 “Yes, sir.”  “Very well; then I choose you to give it him.”  “I am ready
to challenge him.”  “That is not what is wanted; as leader of the
League, he is guilty of high treason.”  “Very well, sir; then let him be
tried and executed.”  “But, Crillon, nothing is less certain than his
conviction in a court of law; he must be struck down unexpectedly.”
 “Sir, I am a soldier, not an assassin.”  The king did not persist, but
merely charged Crillon, who promised, to keep the proposal secret.  At
this very time Guise was requesting the king to give him a constable’s
grand provost and archers to form his guard in his quality of
lieutenant-general of the kingdom.  The king deferred his reply.
Catherine de’ Medici supported the Lorrainer prince’s request.  “In two
or three days it shall be settled,” said Henry.  He had ordered twelve
poniards from an armorer’s in the city; on the 21st of December he told
his project to Loignac, an officer of his guards, who was less
scrupulous than Crillon, and undertook to strike the blow, in concert
with the forty-five trusty guards.  At the council on the 22d of
December, the king announced his intention of passing Christmas in
retreat at Notre-Dame de Cleri, and he warned the members of the council
that next day the session would take place very early in order to
dispose of business before his departure. On the evening of the 22d, the
Duke of Guise, on sitting down at table, found under his napkin a note
to this effect: “The king means to kill you.”  Guise asked for a pen,
wrote at the bottom of the note, “He dare not,” and threw it under the
table.  Next day, December 23, Henry III., rising at four A. M., after a
night of great agitation, admitted into his cabinet by a secret
staircase the nine guards he had chosen, handed them the poniards he had
ordered, placed them at the post where they were to wait for the meeting
of the council, and bade Charles d’Entragues to go and request one of
the royal chaplains “to say mass, that God might give the king grace to
be able to carry out an enterprise which he hoped would come to an issue
within an hour, and on which the safety of France depended.”  Then the
king retired into his closet.  The members of the council arrived in
succession; it is said that one of the archers on duty, when he saw the
Duke of Guise mounting the staircase, trod on his foot, as if to give
him warning; but, if he observed it, Guise made no account of it, any
more than of all the other hints he had already received.  Before
entering the council-chamber, he stopped at a small oratory connected
with the chapel, said his prayer, and as he passed the door of the
queen-mother’s apartments, signified his desire to pay his respects and
have a few words with her.  Catherine was indisposed, and could not
receive him.  Some vexation, it is said, appeared in Guise’s face, but
he said not a word.  On entering the council-chamber he felt cold, asked
to have some fire lighted, and gave orders to his secretary, Pericard,
the only attendant admitted with him, to go and fetch the silver-gilt
shell he was in the habit of carrying about him with damsons or other
preserves to eat of a morning.  Pericard was some time gone; Guise was
in a hurry, and, “Be kind enough,” he said to M. de Morfontaines, “to
send word to M. de Saint-Prix [first groom of the chamber to Henry
III.], that I beg him to let me have a few damsons or a little preserve
of roses, or some trifle of the king’s.”  Four Brignolles plums were
brought him; and he ate one.  His uneasiness continued; the eye close to
his scar became moist; according to M. de Thou, he bled at the nose.  He
felt in his pocket for a handkerchief to use, but could not find one.
“My people,” said he, “have not given me my necessaries this morning:
there is great excuse for them; they were too much hurried.”  At his
request, Saint-Prix had a handkerchief brought to him.  Pericard passed
his bonbon-box to him, as the guards would not let him enter again.  The
duke took a few plums from it, threw the rest on the table, saying,
“Gentlemen, who will have any?”  and rose up hurriedly upon seeing the
secretary of state Revol, who came in and said to him, “Sir, the king
wants you; he is in his old cabinet.”

As soon as he knew that the Duke of Guise had arrived, and whilst these
little incidents were occurring in the council-chamber, Henry III. had in
fact given orders to his secretary Revol to go on his behalf and summon
the duke.  But Nambu, usher to the council, faithful to his instructions,
had refused to let anybody, even the king’s secretary, enter the hall.
Revol, of a timid disposition, and impressed, it is said, with the
sinister importance of his commission, returned to the cabinet with a
very troubled air.  The king, in his turn, was troubled, fearing lest his
project had been discovered.  “What is the matter, Revol?” said he; “what
is it?  How pale you are!  You will spoil all.  Rub your cheeks; rub your
cheeks.”  “There is nothing wrong, sir: only M. de Nambu would not let
me in without your Majesty’s express command.”  Revol entered the
council-chamber and discharged his commission.  The Duke of Guise pulled
up his cloak as if to wrap himself well in it, took his hat, gloves, and
his sweetmeat-box, and went out of the room, saying, “Adieu, gentlemen,”
 with a gravity free from any appearance of mistrust.  He crossed the
king’s chamber contiguous to the council-hall, courteously saluted, as he
passed, Loignac and his comrades, whom he found drawn up, and who,
returning him a frigid obeisance, followed him as if to show him respect.
On arriving at the door of the old cabinet, and just as he leaned down to
raise the tapestry that covered it, Guise was struck five poniard blows
in the chest, neck, and reins.  “God ha’ mercy!” he cried, and, though
his sword was entangled in his cloak, and he was himself pinned by the
arms and legs and choked by the blood that spurted from his throat, he
dragged his murderers, by a supreme effort of energy, to the other end of
the room, where he fell down backwards and lifeless before the bed of
Henry III., who, coming to the door of his room and asking “if it was
done,” contemplated with mingled satisfaction and terror the inanimate
body of his mighty rival, “who seemed to be merely sleeping, so little
was he changed.”  “My God!  how tall he is!” cried the king; “he looks
even taller than when he was alive.”

[Illustration: Henry III.  and the Murder of Guise----437]

“They are killing my brother!” cried the Cardinal of Guise, when he heard
the noise that was being made in the next room; and he rose up to run
thither.  The Archbishop of Lyons, Peter d’Espinac, did the same.  The
Duke of Aumont held them both back, saying, “Gentlemen, we must wait for
the king’s orders.”  Orders came to arrest them both, and confine them in
a small room over the council-chamber.  They had “eggs, bread, wine from
the king’s cellar, their breviaries, their night-gowns, a palliasse, and
a mattress,” brought to them there; and they were kept under ocular
supervision for four and twenty hours.  The Cardinal of Guise was
released the next morning, but only to be put to death like his brother.
The king spared the Archbishop of Lyons.

“I am sole king,” said Henry III. to his ministers, as he entered the
council-chamber; and shortly afterwards, going to see the queen-mother,
who was ill of the gout, “How do you feel?” he asked.  “Better,” she
answered.  “So do I,” replied the king: “I feel much better; this morning
I have become King of France again; the King of Paris is dead.”  “You
have had the Duke of Guise killed?” asked Catherine “have you reflected
well?  God grant that you become not king of nothing at all.  I hope the
cutting is right; now for the sewing.”  According to the majority of the
historians, Catherine had neither been in the secret nor had anything to
do with the preparations for the measure.  Granted that she took no
active part in it, and that she avoided even the appearance of having any
previous knowledge of it; she was not fond of responsibility, and she
liked better to negotiate between the different parties than to make her
decisive choice between them; prudent tendencies grow with years, and in
1588 she was sixty-nine.  It is difficult, however, to believe that,
being the habitual confidant of her favorite son, she was ignorant of a
design long meditated, and known to many persons many days before its
execution.  The event once accomplished, ill as she was, and contrary to
the advice of her physicians, she had herself carried to the Cardinal of
Bourbon’s, who was still under arrest by the king’s orders, to promise
him speedy release.  “Ah! madame,” said the cardinal, as he saw her
enter, “these are some of your tricks; you are death to us all.”  However
it may be, thirteen days after the murder of the Duke of Guise, on the
5th of January, 1589, Catherine de’ Medici herself died.  Nor was her
death, so far as affairs and the public were concerned, an event: her
ability was of the sort which is worn out by the frequent use made
of it, and which, when old age comes on, leaves no long or grateful
reminiscence.  Time has restored Catherine de’ Medici to her proper place
in history; she was quickly forgotten by her contemporaries.

She had good reason to say to her son, as her last advice, “Now for the
sewing.”  It was not long before Henry III. perceived that to be king, it
was not sufficient to have murdered his rival.  He survived the Duke of
Guise only seven months, and during that short period he was not really
king, all by himself, for a single day; never had his kingship been so
embarrassed and impotent; the violent death of the Duke of Guise had
exasperated much more than enfeebled the League; the feeling against his
murderer was passionate and contagious; the Catholic cause had lost its
great leader; it found and accepted another in his brother the Duke of
Mayenne, far inferior to his elder brother in political talent and prompt
energy of character, but a brave and determined soldier, a much better
man of party and action than the sceptical, undecided, and indolent Henry
III.  The majority of the great towns of France--Paris, Rouen, Orleans,
Toulouse, Lyons, Amiens--and whole provinces declared eagerly against the
royal murderer.  He demanded support from the states-general, who refused
it; and he was obliged to dismiss them.  The Parliament of Paris,
dismembered on the 16th of January, 1589, by the council of Sixteen,
became the instrument of the Leaguers.  The majority of the other
Parliaments followed the example set by that of Paris.  The Sorbonne,
consulted by a petition presented in the name of all Catholics, decided
that Frenchmen were released from their oath of allegiance to Henry III.,
and might with a good conscience turn their arms against him.  Henry made
some obscure attempts to come to an arrangement with certain chiefs of
the Leaguers; but they were rejected with violence.  The Duke of Mayenne,
having come to Paris on the 15th of February, was solemnly received at
Notre-Dame, amidst shouts of “Hurrah for the Catholic princes! hurrah for
the house of Lorraine!”  He was declared lieutenant-general of the crown
and state of France.  He organized a council-general of the League,
composed of forty members and charged with the duty of providing for all
matters of war, the finance and the police of the realm, pending a fresh
convocation of states-general.  To counterbalance in some degree the
popular element, Mayenne introduced into it fourteen personages of his
own choice and a certain number of magistrates and bishops; the delegates
of the united towns were to have seats at the council whenever they
happened to be at Paris.  “Never,” says M. Henry Martin [_Histoire de
France,_ t. i.  p. 134] very truly, “could the League have supposed
itself to be so near becoming a government of confederated municipalities
under the directorate of Paris.”

There was clearly for Henry III. but one possible ally who had a chance
of doing effectual service, and that was Henry of Navarre and the
Protestants.  It cost Henry III. a great deal to have recourse to that
party; his conscience and his pusillanimity both revolted at it equally;
in spite of his moral corruption, he was a sincere Catholic, and the
prospect of excommunication troubled him deeply.  Catholicism, besides,
was in a large majority in France: how, then, was he to treat with its
foes without embroiling himself utterly with it?  Meanwhile the case was
urgent.  Henry was apprised by one of his confidants, Nicholas de
Rambouillet, that one of the King of Navarre’s confidants, Sully, who was
then only Sieur de Rosny, was passing by Blois on his way to his master;
he saw him and expressed to him his “desire for a reconciliation with the
King of Navarre, and to employ him on confidential service;” the
difficulty was to secure to the Protestant king and his army, then
engaged in the siege of Chatellerault, a passage across the Loire.  Rosny
undertook Henry III.’s commission.  He at the same time received another
from Sieur de Brigueux, governor of the little town of Beaugency, who
said to him, “I see well, sir, that the king is going the right way to
ruin himself by timidity, irresolution, and bad advice, and that
necessity will throw us into the hands of the League: for my part, I will
never belong to it, and I would rather serve the King of Navarre.  Tell
him that I hold, at Beaugency, a passage over the Loire, and that if he
will be pleased to send to me you or M. de Rebours, I will admit into the
town him whom he sends to me.”  Upon receiving these overtures, the King
of Navarre thought a while, scratching his head; then he said to Rosny,
“Do you think that the king has good intentions towards me, and means to
treat with me in good faith?”  “Yes, sir, for the present; and you need
have no doubt about it, for his straits constrain him thereto, having
nothing to look to in his perils but your assistance.”  He had some
dinner brought into his own cabinet for Rosny, and then made him post off
at once.  On arriving in the evening at Tours, whither Henry III. had
fallen back, Rosny was taken to him, about midnight, at the top of the
castle; the king sent him off that very night; he consented to everything
that the King of Navarre proposed; promised him a town on the Loire, and
said he was ready to make with him not a downright peace just at first,
but “a good long truce, which, in their two hearts, would at once be an
eternal peace and a sincere reconciliation.”

When Rosny got back to Chatellerault, “there was nothing but rejoicing;
everybody ran to meet him; he was called ‘god Rosny,’ and one of his
friends said to the rest, ‘Do you see yon man?  By God, we shall all
worship him, and he alone will restore France; I said so six years ago,
and Villandry was of my opinion.’”

Thus was the way paved and the beginning made, between the two kings, of
an alliance demanded by their mutual interests, and still more strongly
by the interests of France, ravaged and desolated, for nearly thirty
years past, by religious civil wars.  Henry of Navarre had profound
sympathy for his country’s sufferings, an ardent desire to put a stop to
them, and at the same time the instinct to see clearly that the day had
come when the re-establishment of harmony and common action between
himself and Henry de Valois was the necessary and at the same time
possible means of attaining that great result.  On the 4th of March,
1589, soon after the states of Blois had been dismissed, he set before
France, in an eloquent manifesto, the expression of his anxieties and his
counsels: “I will speak freely,” said he, “to myself first and then to
others, that we may be all of us without excuse.  Let us not be puffed up
with pride on one side or another.  As for me, although I have received
more favors from God in this than in all past wars, and, whilst the two
other parties (how sad that they must be so called!) are enfeebled, mine,
to all appearance, has been strengthened, nevertheless I well know that,
whenever I go beyond my duty, God will no longer bless me; and I shall do
so whenever, without reason and in sheer lightness of heart, I attack my
king and trouble the repose of his kingdom.  .  .  .  I declare, then,
first of all to those who belong to the party of the king my lord, that
if they do not counsel him to make use of me, and of the means which God
hath given me, for to make war, not on them of Lorraine, not on Paris,
Orleans, or Toulouse, but on those who shall hinder the peace and the
obedience owed to this crown, they alone will be answerable for the woes
which will come upon the king and the kingdom.  .  .  .  And as to those
who still adhere to the name and party of the League, I, as a Frenchman,
conjure them to put up with their losses as I do with mine, and to
sacrifice their quarrels, vengeance, and ambition to the welfare of
France, their mother, to the service of their king, to their own repose
and ours.  If they do otherwise, I hope that God will not abandon the
king, and will put it into his heart to call around him his servants,
myself the first, who wish for no other title, and who shall have
sufficient might and good right to help him wipe out their memory from
the world and their party from France.  .  .  .  I wish these written
words to go proclaiming for me throughout the world that I am ready to
ask my lord the king for peace, for the repose of his kingdom and for my
own.  .  .  .  And finally, if I find one or another so sleepy-headed or
so ill-disposed that none is moved thereby, I will call God to my aid,
and, true servant of my king, worthy of the honor that belongs to me as
premier prince of this realm, though all the world should have conspired
for its ruin, I protest, before God and before man, that, at the risk of
ten thousand lives, I will essay--all alone--to prevent it.”

It is pleasing to think that this patriotic step and these powerful words
were not without influence over the result which was attained.  The King
of Navarre set to work, at the same time with Rosny, one, of the most
eminent, and with Philip du Plessis-Mornay, the most sterling of his
servants; and a month after the publication of his manifesto, on the 3d
of April, 1589, a truce for a year was concluded between the two kings.
It set forth that the King of Navarre should serve the King of France
with all his might and main; that he should have, for the movements of
his troops on both banks of the Loire, the place of Saumur; that the
places of which he made himself master should be handed over to Henry
III., and that he might not anywhere do anything to the prejudice of the
Catholic religion; that the Protestants should be no more disquieted
throughout the whole of France, and that, before the expiration of the
truce, King Henry III. should give them assurance of peace.  This
negotiation was not concluded without difficulty, especially as regarded
the town of Saumur; there was a general desire to cede to the King of
Navarre only some place of less importance on the Loire; and when, on the
15th of April, Du Plessis-Mornay, who had been appointed governor of it,
presented himself for admittance at the head of his garrison, the
royalist commandant, who had to deliver the keys to him, limited himself
to letting them drop at his feet.  Mornay showed alacrity in picking them
up.

On the 29th of April, the two kings had, each on his own behalf, made
their treaty public.  Henry III. sent word to the King of Navarre that he
wished to see him and have some conversation with him.  Many of the King
of Navarre’s friends dissuaded him from this interview, saying, “They
are traitors; do not put yourself in their power; remember the
St. Bartholomew.”  This counsel was repeated to him on the 30th of April,
at the very moment when he was stepping aboard the boat to cross the
Loire and go to pay Henry III. a visit at the castle of Plessis-les-
Tours.  The King of Navarre made no account of it.  “God hath bidden me
to cross and see him,” he answered: “it is not in the power of man to
keep me back, for God is guiding me and crossing with me.  Of that I am
certain;” and he crossed the river.  “It is incredible,” says L’Estoile,
“what joy everybody felt at this interview; there was such a throng of
people that, notwithstanding all efforts to preserve order, the two kings
were a full quarter of an hour in the roadway of Plessis park holding out
their hands to one another without being able to join them; people
climbed trees to see them; all shouted with great vigor and exultation,
Hurrah for the king! hurrah for the King of Navarre! hurrah for the
kings!  At last, having joined hands, they embraced very lovingly, even
to tears.  The King of Navarre, on retiring in the evening, said, ‘I
shall now die happy, since God hath given me grace to look upon the face
of my king and make him an offer of my services.’  I know not if those
were his own words; but what is certain is, that everybody at this time,
both kings and people, except fanatical Leaguers, regarded peace as a
great public blessing, and were rejoiced to have a prospect of it before
their eyes.  The very day of the interview, the King of Navarre wrote to
Du Plessis-Mornay, ‘M. du Plessis, the ice is broken; not without numbers
of warnings that if I went I was a dead man.  I crossed the water,
commending myself to God, who, by His goodness, not only preserved me,
but caused extreme joy to appear on the king’s countenance, and the
people to cheer so that never was the like, even shouting, Hurrah for the
kings! whereat I was much vexed.’”

Some days afterwards, during the night of May 8, the Duke of Mayenne made
an attack upon Tours, and carried for the moment the Faubourg St.
Symphorien, which gave Henry III. such a fright that he was on the point
of leaving the city and betaking himself to a distance.  But the King of
Navarre, warned in time, entered Tours; and at his approach the Leaguers
fell back.  “When the white scarfs appeared, coming to the king’s rescue,
the Duke of Mayenne and his troops began shouting to them, ‘Back! white
scarfs; back! Chatillon: we are not set against you, but against the
murderers of your father!’ meaning thereby that they were set against
King Henry de Valois only, and not against the Huguenots.  But Chatillon,
amongst the rest, answered them, ‘You are all of you traitors to your
country: I trample under foot all vengeance and all private interests
when the service of my prince and of the state is concerned; ‘which he
said so loudly that even his Majesty heard it, and praised him for it,
and loved him for it.”  The two kings determined to move on Paris and
besiege it; and towards the end of July their camp was pitched before the
walls.

Great was the excitement throughout Europe as well as France, at the
courts of Madrid and Rome as well as in the park of Plessis-les-Tours.
A very serious blow for Philip II., and a very bad omen for the future
of his policy, was this alliance between Henry de Valois and Henry of
Navarre, between a great portion of the Catholics of France and the
Protestants.  Philip II. had plumed himself upon being the patron of
absolute power in religious as well as political matters, and the
dominant power throughout Europe in the name of Catholicism and Spain.
In both these respects he ran great risk of being beaten by a King of
France who was a Protestant or an ally of Protestants and supported by
the Protestant influence of England, Holland, and Germany.  In Italy
itself and in Catholic Europe Philip did not find the harmony and support
for which he looked.  The republic of Venice was quietly but certainly
well disposed towards France, and determined to live on good terms with a
King of France, a friend of Protestants or even himself Protestant.  And
what hurt Philip II. still more was, that Pope Sixtus V. himself, though
all the while upholding the unity and authority of the Roman church,
was bent upon not submitting to the yoke of Spain, and upon showing a
favorable disposition towards France.  “France is a very noble kingdom,”
 he said to the Venetian ambassador Gritti; “the church has always
obtained great advantages from her.  We love her beyond measure, and we
are pleased to find that the Signiory shares our affection.”  Another day
he expressed to him his disapprobation of the League.  “We cannot praise,
indeed we must blame, the first act committed by the Duke of Guise, which
was to take up arms and unite with other princes against the king; though
he made religion a pretext, he had no right to take up arms against his
sovereign.”  And again: “The union of the King of France with the
heretics is no longer a matter of doubt; but, after all, Henry of Navarre
is worth a great many of Henry III.; this latter will have the measure he
meted to the Guises.”  So much equity and mental breadth on the pope’s
part was better suited for the republic of Venice than for the King of
Spain.  “We have but one desire,” wrote the Doge Cicogna to Badoero, his
ambassador at Rome, “and that is to keep the European peace.  We cannot
believe that Sixtus V., that great pontiff, is untrue to his charge,
which is to ward off from the Christian world the dangers that threaten
it; in imitation of Him whom he represents on earth, he will show mercy,
and not proceed to acts which would drive the King of France to despair.”
 During the great struggle with which Europe was engaged in the sixteenth
century, the independence of states, religious tolerance, and political
liberty thus sometimes found, besides their regular and declared
champions, protectors, useful on occasion although they were timid, even
amongst the habitual allies of Charles V.’s despotic and persecuting
successor.

On arriving before Paris towards the end of July, 1589, the two kings
besieged it with an army of forty-two thousand men, the strongest and the
best they had ever had under their orders.  “The affairs of Henry III.,”
 says De Thou, “had changed face; fortune was pronouncing for him.”
 Quartered in the house of Count de Retz, at St. Cloud, he could thence
see quite at his ease his city of Paris.  “Yonder,” said he, “is the
heart of the League; it is there that the blow must be struck.  It was
great pity to lay in ruins so beautiful and goodly a city.  Still, I must
settle accounts with the rebels who are in it, and who ignominiously
drove me away.”  “On Tuesday, August 1, at eight A.  M., he was told,”
 says L’Estoile, “that a monk desired to speak with him, but that his
guards made a difficulty about letting him in.  ‘Let him in,’ said the
king: ‘if he is refused, it will be said that I drive monks away and will
not see them.’  Incontinently entered the monk, having in his sleeve a
knife unsheathed.  He made a profound reverence to the king, who had just
got up and had nothing on but a dressing-gown about his shoulders, and
presented to him despatches from Count de Brienne, saying that he had
further orders to tell the king privately something of importance.  Then
the king ordered those who were present to retire, and began reading the
letter which the monk had brought asking for a private audience
afterwards; the monk, seeing the king’s attention taken up with reading,
drew his knife from his sleeve and drove it right into the king’s small
gut, below the navel, so home that he left the knife in the hole; the
which the king having drawn out with great exertion struck the monk a
blow with the point of it on his left eyebrow, crying, ‘Ah! wicked monk!
he has killed me; kill him!’  At which cry running quickly up, the guards
and others, such as happened to be nearest, massacred this assassin of a
Jacobin who, as D’Aubigne says, stretched out his two arms against the
wall, counterfeiting the crucifix, whilst the blows were dealt him.
Having been dragged out dead from the king’s chamber, he was stripped
naked to the waist, covered with his gown and exposed to the public.”

Whilst Henry de Valois was thus struck down at St. Cloud, Henry of
Navarre had moved with a good number of troops to the Pre-aux-Clercs;
and seeing Rosny, who was darting along, pistol in hand, amongst the
foremost, he called one of his gentlemen and said, “Maignan, go and tell
M. de Rosny to come back; he will get taken or wounded in that rash
style.”  “I should not care to speak so to him,” answered Maignan.  “I
will tell him that your Majesty wants him.”  Meanwhile up came a
gentleman at a gallop, who said three or four words in the King of
Navarre’s ear.  “My friend,” said Henry to Rosny, “the king has just been
wounded with a knife in the stomach; let us go and see about it; come
with me.”  Henry took with him five and twenty gentlemen.  The king
received him affectionately, exhorted him to change his religion for his
salvation’s sake in another world and his fortunes in this; and,
addressing the people of quality who thronged his chamber, he said, “I do
pray you as my friends, and as your king I order you, to recognize after
my death my brother here.  For my satisfaction and as your bounden duty,
I pray you to swear it to him in my presence.”  All present took the
oath.  Henry III. spoke in a firm voice; and his wound was not believed
to be mortal.  Letters were sent in his name to the queen, to the
governors of the provinces and to the princes allied to the crown, to
inform them of the accident that had happened to the king, “which, please
God, will turn out to be nothing.”  The King of Navarre asked for some
details as to the assassin.  James Clement was a young Dominican who,
according to report, had been a soldier before he became a monk.  He was
always talking of waging war against Henry de Valois, and he was called
“Captain Clement.”  He told a story about a vision he had of an angel,
who had bidden him “to put to death the tyrant of France, in return for
which he would have the crown of martyrdom.”  Royalist writers report
that he had been placed in personal communication with the friends of
Henry de Guise, even with his sister the Duchess of Montpensier, and his
brother the Duke of Mayenne.  When well informed of the facts, the King
of Navarre returned to his quarters at Meudon, and Rosny to his lodging
at the foot of the castle.  Whilst Rosny was at supper, his secretary
came and said to him, “Sir, the King of Navarre, peradventure the King of
France, wants you.  M. d’Orthoman writes to him to make haste and come to
St. Cloud if he would see the king alive.”  The King of Navarre at once
departed.  Just as he arrived at St. Cloud, he heard in the street cries
of “Ah! my God, we are lost!”  He was told that the king was dead.  Henry
III., in fact, expired on the 2d of August, 1589, between two and three
in the morning.  The first persons Henry of Navarre encountered as he
entered the Hotel de Retz were the officers of the Scottish guard, who
threw themselves at his feet, saying, “Ah! sir, you are now our king and
our master.”

[Illustration: Henry of Navarre and the Scotch Guard----448]

END OF VOLUME IV.





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