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Title: History of the Rise of the Huguenots
       Volume 2

Author: Henry Baird

Release Date: December 18, 2009 [EBook #30708]

Language: English

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HISTORY OF THE
RISE OF THE HUGUENOTS.



BY

HENRY M. BAIRD,

PROFESSOR IN THE UNIVERSITY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK.



IN TWO VOLUMES.



VOL. II.

FROM THE EDICT OF JANUARY (1562), TO THE
DEATH OF CHARLES THE NINTH (1574).



London:
HODDER AND STOUGHTON,
27, PATERNOSTER ROW.
MDCCCLXXX.


Hazell, Watson, and Viney, Printers, London and Aylesbury.


CONTENTS

OF

VOLUME SECOND.



BOOK II.

CHAPTER XIII.
1562-1563.
Page
The First Civil War3
Unsatisfactory Character of the Edict of January3
Huguenot Leaders urge its Observance3
Seditious Sermons5
Opposition of Parliaments6
New Conference at St. Germain7
Defection of Antoine of Navarre, and its Effects9
He is cheated with Vain Hopes10
Jeanne d'Albret constant10
Immense Crowds at Huguenot Preaching11
The Canons of Sainte-Croix12
The Guises meet Christopher of Würtemberg at Saverne13
Their Lying Assurances15
The Guises deceive Nobody17
Throkmorton's Account of the French Court17
The Massacre of Vassy19
The Huguenots call for the Punishment of the Murderers23
The Pretence of Want of Premeditation24
Louis of Condé appeals to the King26
Beza's Remonstrance27
An Anvil that had worn out many Hammers28
Guise enters Paris28
The Queen Mother takes Charles to Melun30
Her Letters imploring Condé's Aid31
Revolutionary Measures of the Triumvirs32
Condé retires to Meaux33 [Pg iv]
La Noue justifies his Prudence33
The Huguenot Summons34
Admiral Coligny's Reluctance to take up Arms34
Guise and Navarre seize the King and bring him to Paris36
Montmorency's Exploit at the "Temples"37
He earns the Title of "Le Capitaine Brûlebanc"37
Condé throws himself into Orleans38
His "Justification"39
Stringent Articles of Association40
The Huguenot Nobles and Cities41
Can Iconoclasm be repressed?42
An Uncontrollable Impulse43
It bursts out at Caen44
The "Idol" of the Church of Sainte-Croix45
Massacre of Huguenots at Sens46
Disorders and War in Provence and Dauphiny47
William of Orange and his Principality48
Massacre by Papal Troops from Avignon49
Merciless Revenge of the Baron des Adrets50
His Grim Pleasantry at Mornas51
Atrocities of Blaise de Montluc51
The Massacre at Toulouse52
The Centenary celebrated53
Foreign Alliances sought54
Queen Elizabeth's Aid invoked55
Cecil's Urgency and Schemes56
Divided Sympathies of the English56
Diplomatic Manœuvres57
Condé's Reply to the Pretended "Petition"59
Third National Synod of the Protestants61
Interview of Catharine and Condé at Toury62
The "Loan" of Beaugency63
Futile Negotiations64
Spasmodic Efforts in Warfare65
Huguenot Discipline66
Severities of the Parisian Parliament68
Military Successes of the "Triumvirs" at Poitiers and Bourges71
Help from Queen Elizabeth73
Siege of Rouen76
Ferocity of the Norman Parliament80
Death of Antoine, King of Navarre81
The English in Havre84
Condé takes the Field and appears before Paris85
Dilatory Diplomacy90
The Battle of Dreux93
Montmorency and Condé Prisoners94 [Pg v]
Riotous Conduct of the Parisians96
Orleans Invested98
Coligny again in Normandy99
Huguenot Reverses101
Assassination of Duke François de Guise103
Execution of Poltrot105
Beza and Coligny accused106
They vindicate Themselves106
Estimates of Guise's Character109
Renée de France at Montargis110
Deliberations for Peace113
The "Noblesse" in favor of the Terms—the Ministers against them114
The Edict of Pacification115
Remonstrance of the English Ambassador116
Coligny's Disappointment116
Results of the First Civil War118
It prevents France from becoming Huguenot119

Huguenot Ballads and Songs120
 
 
CHAPTER XIV.
1563-1567.
 
The Peace of Amboise and the Bayonne Conference126
Charles demands Havre of the English126
The Siege127
How the Peace was received128
Vexatious Delays in Normandy129
The Norman Parliament protests and threatens130
A Rude Rebuff131
Commissioners to enforce the Edict132
A Profligate Court alienated from Protestantism132
Profanity a Test of Catholicity134
Admiral Coligny accused of Guise's Murder135
His Defence espoused by the Montmorencies135
Petition of the Guises136
The King adjourns the Decision137
Embarrassment of Catharine137
Charles's Majority proclaimed138
The King and the Refractory Parisian Parliament139
The Pope's Bull against Princely Heretics141
Proceedings against Cardinal Châtillon141
The Queen of Navarre cited to Rome141
Spirited Reply of the French Council142
Catharine seeks to seduce the Huguenot Leaders144 [Pg vi]
Weakness of Condé145
Recent Growth of Protestantism146
Milhau-en-Rouergue147
Montpellier—Béarn148
Jeanne d'Albret's Reformation148
Attempt to kidnap her150
Close of the Council of Trent152
Cardinal Lorraine's Attempt to secure the Acceptance of its Decrees154
His Altercation with L'Hospital155
General Plan for suppressing Heresy156
"Progress" of Charles and his Court157
Calumnies against the Huguenots159
Their Numbers159
Catharine's New Zeal—Citadels in Protestant Towns160
Interpretative Declarations infringing upon the Edict160
Assaults upon Unoffending Huguenots—No Redress162
Condé appeals to the King163
Conciliatory Answers to Huguenot Inhabitants of Bordeaux and Nantes164
Protestants excluded from Judicial Posts165
Marshal Montmorency checks the Parisian Mob166
His Encounter with Cardinal Lorraine166
The Conference at Bayonne167
What were its Secret Objects?168
No Plan of Massacre adopted169
History of the Interview170
Catharine and Alva172
Catharine rejects all Plans of Violence175
Cardinal Granvelle's Testimony176
Festivities and Pageantry176
Henry of Béarn an Actor177
Roman Catholic Confraternities179
Hints of the Future Plot of the "League"180
The Siege of Malta and French Civilities to the Sultan181
Constable Montmorency defends Cardinal Châtillon182
The Court at Moulins183
Feigned Reconciliation of the Guises and Coligny184
L'Hospital's Measure for the Relief of the Protestants185
Another Altercation between Cardinal Lorraine and the Chancellor186
Progress of the Reformation at Cateau-Cambrésis187
Insults and Violence192
Huguenot Pleasantries192
Alarm of the Protestants193
Attempts to murder Coligny and Porcien194
Alva sent to the Netherlands195
The Swiss Levy196 [Pg vii]
Condé and Coligny remonstrate197
Discredited Assurances of Catharine198
"The very Name of the Edict employed to destroy the Edict itself"199

The Huguenot Attempts at Colonization in Florida199
The First and Second Expeditions (1562, 1564)199
Third Expedition (1565)200
Massacre by Menendez200
Indignation of the French Court201
Sincere Remonstrances201
Sanguinary Revenge of De Gourgues202
 
 
CHAPTER XV.
1567-1568.
 
The Second Civil War and the Short Peace203
Coligny's Pacific Counsels203
Rumors of Plots to destroy the Huguenots203
D'Andelot's Warlike Counsels prevail204
Cardinal Lorraine to be seized and King Charles liberated205
The Secret slowly leaks out206
Flight of the Court to Paris207
Cardinal Lorraine invites Alva to France208
Condé at Saint Denis209
The Huguenot Movement alienates the King210
Negotiations opened210
The Huguenots abate their Demands211
Montmorency the Mouthpiece of Intolerance211
Insincerity of Alva's Offer of Aid212
The Battle of St. Denis (Nov. 10, 1567)213
Constable Montmorency mortally wounded215
His Character216
The Protestant Princes of Germany determine to send Aid217
The Huguenots go to meet it219
Treacherous Diplomacy220
Catharine implores Alva's Assistance221
Condé and John Casimir meet in Lorraine222
Generosity of the Huguenot Troops223
The March toward Orleans223
The "Michelade" at Nismes224
Huguenot Successes in the South and West226
La Rochelle secured for Condé226
Spain and Rome oppose the Negotiations for Peace228
Santa Croce demands Cardinal Châtillon's Surrender229
A Rebuff from Marshal Montmorency229 [Pg viii]
March of the "Viscounts" to meet Condé230
Siege of Chartres231
Chancellor L'Hospital's Memorial232
Edict of Pacification (Longjumeau, March 23, 1568)234
Condé for and Coligny against the Peace235
Condé's Infatuation235
Was the Court sincere?236
Catharine short-sighted238
Imprudence of the Huguenots238
Judicial Murder of Rapin at Toulouse239
Seditious Preachers and Mobs240
Treatment of the Returning Huguenots241
Expedition and Fate of De Cocqueville242
Garrisons and Interpretative Ordinances244
Oppression of Royal Governors245
"The Christian and Royal League"246
Insubordination to Royal Authority247
Admirable Organization of the Huguenots247
Murder runs Riot throughout France248
La Rochelle, etc., refuse Royal Garrisons250
Coligny retires for Safety to Tanlay, Condé to Noyers251
D'Andelot's Remonstrance252
Catharine sides with L'Hospital's Enemies254
Remonstrance of the three Marshals255
Catharine's Intrigues255
The Court seeks to ruin Condé and Coligny256
Téligny sent to remonstrate256
The Oath exacted of the Huguenots257
The Plot Disclosed259
Intercepted Letter from Spain259
Isabella of Spain her Husband's Mouthpiece261
Charles begs his Mother to avoid War262
Her Animosity against L'Hospital263
Another Quarrel between Lorraine and the Chancellor263
Fall of Chancellor L'Hospital264
The Plot265
Marshal Tavannes its Author266
Condé's Last Appeal to the King267
Flight of the Prince and Admiral268
Its Wonderful Success269
The Third Civil War opens270

The City of La Rochelle and its Privileges270
 
 
CHAPTER XVI.
1568-1570.
 
The Third Civil War274 [Pg ix]
Relative Advantages of Huguenots and Roman Catholics274
Enthusiasm of Huguenot Youth274
Enlistment of Agrippa d'Aubigné275
The Court proscribes the Reformed Religion275
Impolicy of this Course277
A "Crusade" published at Toulouse278
Fanaticism of the Roman Catholic Preachers279
Huguenot Places of Refuge280
Jeanne d'Albret and D'Andelot reach La Rochelle281
Successes in Poitou, Angoumois, etc.282
Powerful Huguenot Army in the South284
Effects a Junction with Condé's Forces284
Huguenot Reprisals and Negotiations287
William of Orange tries to aid the Huguenots288
His Declaration in their behalf290
Aid sought from England291
Generously accorded by Clergy and Laity292
Misgivings of Queen Elizabeth294
Her Double Dealing and Effrontery295
Fruitless Sieges and Plots297
Growing Superiority of Anjou's Forces298
The Armies meet on the Charente299
Battle of Jarnac (March 13, 1569)301
Murder of Louis, Prince of Condé302
The Prince of Navarre remonstrates against the Perfidy shown305
Exaggerated Bulletins307
The Pope's Sanguinary Injunctions308
Sanguinary Action of the Parliament of Bordeaux310
Queen Elizabeth colder310
The Queen of Navarre's Spirit311
The Huguenots recover Strength312
Death of D'Andelot312
New Responsibility resting on Coligny314
The Duke of Deux Ponts comes with German Auxiliaries315
They overcome all Obstacles and join Coligny317
Death of Deux Ponts318
Huguenot Success at La Roche Abeille319
Furlough of Anjou's Troops320
Huguenot Petition to the King320
Coligny's Plans overruled324
Disastrous Siege of Poitiers324
Cruelties to Huguenots in the Prisons of Orleans326 [Pg x]
Montargis a Safe Refuge327
Flight of the Refugees to Sancerre328
The "Croix de Gastines"329
Ferocity of Parliament against Coligny and Others330
A Price set on Coligny's Head330
The Huguenots weaker332
Battle of Moncontour (Oct. 3, 1569)333
Coligny wounded334
Heavy Losses of the Huguenots335
The Roman Catholics exultant336
Mouy murdered by Maurevel337
The Assassin rewarded with the Collar of the Order338
Fatal Error committed by the Court338
Siege of St. Jean d'Angely340
Huguenot Successes at Vézelay and Nismes344
Coligny encouraged347
Withdrawal of the Troops of Dauphiny and Provence348
The Admiral's Bold Plan348
He Sweeps through Guyenne349
"Vengeance de Rapin"351
Coligny pushes on to the Rhône351
His Singular Success and its Causes351
He turns toward Paris353
His Illness interrupts Negotiations353
Engagement of Arnay-le-Duc354
Coligny approaches Paris356
Progress of Negotiations356
The English Rebellion affects the Terms offered358
Better Conditions proposed360
Charles and his Mother for Peace360
The War fruitless for its Authors361
Anxiety of Cardinal Châtillon363
The Royal Edict of St. Germain (Aug. 8, 1570)363
Dissatisfaction of the Clergy365
"The Limping and Unsettled Peace"366
 
 
CHAPTER XVII.
1570-1572.
 
The Peace of St. Germain367
Sincerity of the Peace367
The Designs of Catharine de' Medici369
Charles the Ninth in Earnest370
Tears out the Parliament Record against Cardinal Châtillon371
His Assurances to Walsingham371 [Pg xi]
Gracious Answer to German Electors372
Infringement on Edict at Orange373
Protestants of Rouen attacked374
The "Croix de Gastines" pulled down375
Projected Marriage of Anjou to Queen Elizabeth of England377
Machinations to dissuade Anjou379
Charles indignant at Interference379
Alençon to be substituted as Suitor380
Anjou's new Ardor380
Elizabeth interposes Obstacles381
Papal and Spanish Efforts382
Vexation of Catharine at Anjou's fresh Scruples383
Louis of Nassau confers with the King384
Admiral Coligny consulted386
Invited to Court387
His Honorable Reception389
Disgust of the Guises and Alva390
Charles gratified391
Proposed Marriage of Henry of Navarre to the King's Sister392
The Anjou Match falls through396
The Praise of Alençon398
Pius the Fifth Alarmed400
Cardinal of Alessandria sent to Paris400
The King's Assurances400
Jeanne d'Albret becomes more favorable to her Son's Marriage403
Her Solicitude403
She is treated with Tantalizing Insincerity404
She is shocked at the Morals of the Court405
Her Sudden Death407
Coligny and the Boy-King408
The Dispensation delayed410
The King's Earnestness411
Mons and Valenciennes captured412
Catharine's Indecision413
Queen Elizabeth inspires no Confidence414
Rout of Genlis415
Determines Catharine to take the Spanish Side416
Loss of the Golden Opportunity416
The Admiral does not lose Courage417
Charles and Catharine at Montpipeau418
Rumors of Elizabeth's Desertion of her Allies419
Charles thoroughly cast down420
Coligny partially succeeds in reassuring him421
Elizabeth toys with Dishonorable Proposals from the Netherlands422
Fatal Results423
The Mémoires inédits de Michel de la Huguerye423 [Pg xii]
His View of a long Premeditation423
Studied Misrepresentation of Jeanne d'Albret424
 
 
CHAPTER XVIII.
1572.
 
The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day426
The Huguenot Nobles reach Paris426
The Betrothal of Henry of Navarre to Margaret of Valois427
Entertainment in the Louvre429
Coligny's Letter to his Wife430
Festivities and Mock Combats431
Huguenot Grievances to be redressed432
Catharine and Anjou jealous of Coligny's Influence over the King433
The Duchess of Nemours and Guise434
Was the Massacre long premeditated?435
Salviati's Testimony435
Charles' Cordiality to Coligny436
Coligny wounded437
Agitation of the King439
Coligny courageous440
Visited by the King and his Mother441
Catharine attempts to break up the Conference443
Charles writes Letters expressing his Displeasure444
The Vidame de Chartres advises the Huguenots to leave Paris445
Catharine and Anjou come to a Final Decision446
They ply Charles with Arguments447
The King consents reluctantly449
Few Victims first selected450
Religious Hatred452
Precautionary Measures452
Orders issued to the Prévôt des Marchands454
The First Shot and the Bell of St. Germain l'Auxerrois455
Murder of Admiral Coligny456
His Character and Work460
Murder of Huguenot Nobles in the Louvre465
Navarre and Condé spared468
The Massacre becomes general470
La Rochefoucauld and Téligny fall470
Self-defence of a few Nobles471
Victims of Personal Hatred472
Adventures of young La Force472
Pitiless Butchery474
Shamelessness of the Court Ladies476
Anjou, Montpensier, and others encourage the Assassins476 [Pg xiii]
Wonderful Escapes477
Death of the Philosopher Ramus478
President Pierre de la Place479
Regnier and Vezins480
Escape of Chartres and Montgomery481
Charles himself fires on them482
The Massacre continues484
Pillage of the Rich485
Orders issued to lay down Arms487
Little heeded487
Miracle of the "Cimetière des Innocents"488
The King's First Letter to Mandelot490
Guise throws the Responsibility on the King491
Charles accepts it on Tuesday morning492
The "Lit de Justice"492
Servile Reply of Parliament493
Christopher De Thou493
Ineffectual Effort to inculpate Coligny495
His Memory declared Infamous496
Petty Indignities496
A Jubilee Procession498
Charles declares he will maintain his Edict of Pacification498
Forced Conversion of Navarre and Condé499
 
 
CHAPTER XIX.
1572.
 
The Massacre in the Provinces, and the Reception of the Tidings Abroad501
The Massacre in the Provinces501
The Verbal Orders502
Instructions to Montsoreau at Saumur503
Two Kinds of Letters504
Massacre at Meaux505
At Troyes507
The Great Bloodshed at Orleans508
At Bourges511
At Angers512
Butchery at Lyons513
Responsibility of Mandelot517
Rouen519
Toulouse521
Bordeaux522
Why the Massacre was not Universal524
Policy of the Guises525 [Pg xiv]
Spurious Accounts of Clemency525
Bishop Le Hennuyer, of Lisieux525
Kind Offices of Matignon at Caen and Alençon526
Of Longueville and Gordes526
Of Tende in Provence527
Viscount D'Orthez at Bayonne528
The Municipality of Nantes529
Uncertain Number of Victims530
News of the Massacre received at Rome530
Public Thanksgivings532
Vasari's Paintings in the Vatican533
French Boasts count for Nothing535
Catharine writes to Philip, her son-in-law536
The Delight of Philip of Spain537
Charles instigates the Murder of French Prisoners539
Alva jubilant, but wary540
England's Horror541
Perplexity of La Mothe Fénélon541
His Cold Reception by Queen Elizabeth543
The Ambassador disheartened546
Sir Thomas Smith's Letter546
Catharine's Unsuccessful Representations547
Briquemault and Cavaignes hung for alleged Conspiracy548
The News in Scotland550
In Germany550
In Poland552
Sympathy of the Genevese554
Their Generosity and Danger557
The Impression at Baden558
Medals and Vindications559
Disastrous Personal Effect on King Charles560
How far was the Roman Church Responsible?562
Gregory probably not aware of the intended Massacre564
Paul the Fifth instigates the French Court564
He counsels exterminating the Huguenots565

A New Account of the Massacre at Orleans569
 
 
CHAPTER XX.
1572-1574.
 
The Sequel of the Massacre, to the Death of Charles the Ninth572
Widespread Terror572
La Rochelle and other Cities in Huguenot Hands573 [Pg xv]
Nismes and Montauban573
La Rochelle the Centre of Interest576
A Spurious Letter of Catharine577
Designs on the City577
Mission of La Noue579
He is badly received580
The Royal Proposals rejected581
Marshal Biron appears before La Rochelle582
Beginning of the Fourth Religious War582
Description of La Rochelle582
Resoluteness of the Defenders583
Their Military Strength584
Henry, Duke of Anjou, appointed to conduct the Siege585
The Besieged pray and fight585
Bravery of the Women586
La Noue retires—Failure of Diplomacy587
English Aid miscarries588
Huguenot Successes in the South589
Sommières and Villeneuve589
Beginning of the Siege of Sancerre589
The Incipient Famine590
Losses of the Army before La Rochelle591
Roman Catholic Processions592
Election of Henry of Anjou to the Crown of Poland593
Edict of Pacification (Boulogne, July, 1573)593
Meagre Results of the War594
The Siege and Famine of Sancerre continue595
The City capitulates597
Reception of the Polish Ambassadors598
Discontent of the South with the Terms of Peace599
Assembly of Milhau and Montauban600
Military Organization of the Huguenots600
Petition to the King601
"Les Fronts d'Airain"603
Catharine's Bitter Reply604
The Huguenots firm604
Decline of Charles's Health605
Project of an English Match renewed606
Intrigues with the German Princes608
Death of Louis of Nassau610
Anjou's Reception at Heidelberg610
Frankness of the Elector Palatine611
Last Days of Chancellor L'Hospital613
The Party of the "Politiques"615
Hotman's "Franco-Gallia"615
Treacherous Attempt on La Rochelle616 [Pg xvi]
Huguenots reassemble at Milhau617
They complete their Organization618
The Duke of Alençon619
Glandage Plunders the City of Orange620
Montbrun's Exploits in Dauphiny621
La Rochelle resumes Arms (Beginning of the Fifth Religious War)622
Diplomacy tried in Vain623
The "Politiques" make an Unsuccessful Rising625
Flight of the Court from St. Germain626
Alençon and Navarre examined627
Execution of La Mole and Coconnas628
Condé retires to Germany629
Reasons for the Success of the Huguenots630
Montgomery lands in Normandy631
He is forced to Surrender632
Delight of Catharine632
Execution of Montgomery633
Last Days of Charles the Ninth635
Distress of his Young Queen636
Death and Funeral Rites of Charles638
Had Persecution, War and Treachery Succeeded?639

BOOK SECOND.

FROM THE EDICT OF JANUARY (1562)
TO THE DEATH OF CHARLES
THE NINTH (1574).


CHAPTER XIII.

THE FIRST CIVIL WAR.

Inconsistencies of the Edict of January.

[Pg 3] The Edict of January was on its very face a compromise, and as such rested on no firm foundation. Inconsistent with itself, it fully satisfied neither Huguenot nor Roman Catholic. The latter objected to the toleration which the edict extended; the former demanded the unrestricted freedom of worship which it denied. If the existence of two diverse religions was compatible with the welfare of the state, why ignominiously thrust the places of Protestant worship from the cities into the suburbs? If the two were irreconcilable, why suffer the Huguenots to assemble outside the walls?

Huguenot leaders urge the observance of the edict.

Yet there was this difference between the attitude assumed by the rival parties with reference to the edict: while the Roman Catholic leaders made no secret of their intention to insist upon its repeal, [1] the Huguenot leaders were urgent in their advice to the churches to conform strictly to its provisions, restraining the indiscreet [Pg 4]zeal of their more impetuous members and exhibiting due gratitude to Heaven for the amelioration of their lot. To the people it was, indeed, a bitter disappointment to be compelled to give up the church edifices, and to resort for public service to the outskirts of the town. Less keen was the regret experienced by others not less sincerely interested in the progress of the purer doctrines, who, on account of their appreciation of the violence of the opposition to be encountered, had not been so sanguine in their expectations. And so Beza and other prominent men of the Protestant Church, after obtaining from Chancellor L'Hospital some further explanations on doubtful points, addressed to their brethren in all parts of France a letter full of wholesome advice. "God," said they, "has deigned to employ new means of protecting His church in this kingdom, by placing those who profess the Gospel under the safeguard of the king, our natural prince, and of the magistrates and governors established by him. This should move us so much the more to praise the infinite goodness of our Heavenly Father, who has at length answered the cry of His children, and lovingly to obey the king, in order that he may be induced to aid our just cause." The provisional edict, they added, was not all that might yet be hoped for. As respected the surrender of the churches, those Huguenots who had seized them on their own individual authority ought rather to acknowledge their former indiscretion than deplore the necessity for restitution. In fine, annoyance at the loss of a few privileges ought to be forgotten in gratitude for the gain of many signal advantages. [2] The letter produced a deep impression, and its salutary advice was followed scrupulously, if not cheerfully, even in southern France, where the Huguenots, in some places, outnumbered the adherents of the Romish Church.

Seditious Sermons.

The papal party was less ready to acquiesce. The Edict of January was, according to its representative writers, the most pernicious law for the kingdom that could have been devised. By forbidding the magistrates from interfering with the Protestant [Pg 5] conventicles held in the suburbs, by permitting the royal officers to attend, by conferring upon the ministers full liberty of officiating, a formal approval was, for the first time, given to the new sect under the authority of the royal seal.[3] The pulpits resounded with denunciations of the government. The King of Navarre and the queen mother were assailed under scriptural names, as favoring the false prophets of Baal. Scarcely a sermon was preached in which they did not figure as Ahab and Jezebel.[4] A single specimen of the spirited discourses in vogue will suffice. A Franciscan monk—one Barrier—the same from whose last Easter sermon an extract has already been given[5]—after reading the royal ordinance in his church of Sainte-Croix, in Provins, remarked: "Well now, gentlemen of Provins, what must I, and the other preachers of France, do? Must we obey this order? What shall we tell you? What shall we preach? 'The Gospel,' Sir Huguenot will say.[Pg 6] And pray, stating that the errors of Calvin, of Martin Luther, of Beza, Malot, Peter Martyr, and other preachers, with their erroneous doctrine, condemned by the Church a thousand years ago, and since then by the holy œcumenical councils, are worthless and damnable—is not this preaching the Gospel? Bidding you beware of their teaching, bidding you refuse to listen to them, or read their books; telling you that they only seek to stir up sedition, murder, and robbery, as they have begun to do in Paris and numberless places in the realm—is not this preaching 'the Gospel?' But some one may say: 'Pray, friar, what are you saying? You are not obeying the king's edict; you are still talking of Calvin and his companions; you call them and those who hold their sentiments heretics and Huguenots; you will be denounced to the courts of justice, you will be thrown into prison—yes, you will be hung as a seditious person.' I answer, that is not unlikely, for Ahab and Jezebel put to death the prophets of God in their time, and gave all freedom to the false prophets of Baal. 'Stop, friar, you are saying too much, you will be hung.' Very well, then there will be a gray friar hung! Many others will therefore have to be hung, for God, by His Holy Spirit, will inspire the pillars of His church to uphold the edifice, which will never be overthrown until the end of the world, whatever blows may be struck at it."[6]

Opposition of the parliaments.

The parliaments exhibited scarcely less opposition to the edict than did the pulpits of the Roman Catholic churches. One—the Parliament of Dijon—never registered it at all;[7] while that of Paris instituted a long and decided resistance. "Non possumus, nec debemus," "non possumus, nec debemus pro conscientia," were the words in which it replied when repeatedly pressed to give formal sanction.[8] The counsellors were equally displeased with the contents of the edict, and with the irregularity committed in sending it first to the provincial parliaments. Even when the king, yielding to their importunity, by a supplementary "declaration," interpreted the provision of the edict relative to the attendance of royal officers [Pg 7] upon the reformed services, as applicable only to the bailiffs, seneschals, and other minor magistrates, and strictly prohibited the attendance of the members of parliament and other high judicatories,[9] the counsellors, instead of proceeding to the registry of the obnoxious law, returned a recommendation that the intolerant Edict of July be enforced![10] It was not possible until March to obtain a tardy assent to the reception of the January Edict into the legislation of the country, and then only a few of the judges vouchsafed to take part in the act.[11] The delay served to inflame yet more the passions of the people.

New conference.

Scarcely had the edict which was to adjust the relations of the two religious parties been promulgated, when a new attempt was made to reconcile the antagonistic beliefs by the old, but ever unsuccessful method of a conference between theologians. On the twenty-eighth of January a select company assembled in the large council-chamber of the royal palace of St. Germain, and commenced the discussion of the first topic submitted for their deliberation—the question of pictures or images and their worship. Catharine herself was present, with Antoine of Navarre and Jeanne d'Albret, Michel de l'Hospital, and other members of the council. On the papal side appeared the Cardinals of Bourbon, Tournon, and Ferrara, and a number of less elevated dignitaries. Beza and Marlorat were most prominent on the side of the reformed. The discussion was long and earnest, but it ended leaving all the disputants holding the same views that they had entertained at the outset. Beza condemned as idolatrous the practice of admitting statues or paintings into Christian churches, and urged their entire removal. The Inquisitor De Mouchy, Fra Giustiniano of Corfu, Maillard, dean of the Sorbonne, and others, attempted to refute his positions in a style of argument which[Pg 8] exhibited the extremes of profound learning and silly conceit. Bishop Montluc of Valence,[12] and four doctors of theology—Salignac, Bouteiller, D'Espense, and Picherel—not only admitted the flagrant abuses of image-worship, but drew up a paper in which they did not disguise their sentiments. They recommended the removal of representations of the Holy Trinity, and of pictures immodest in character, or of saints not recognized by the Church. They reprobated the custom of decking out the portraits of the saints with crowns and dresses, the celebration of processions in their honor, and the offering of gifts and vows. And they yielded so far to the demands of the Protestants as to desire that only the simple cross should be permitted to remain over the altar, while the pictures should be placed high upon the walls, where they could neither be kissed nor receive other objectionable marks of adoration.[13] It was a futile task to reconcile views so discordant even among the Roman Catholic partisans. Two weeks were spent in profitless discussion, and, on the eleventh of February, the new colloquy was permitted to dissolve without having entered upon any of the more difficult questions that still remained upon the programme marked out for it.[14] The cardinals had prevailed upon Catharine de' Medici to refer the settlement to the Council of Trent.[15] The joy of De Mouchy, the inquisitor, and of his companions, knew no bounds when Chancellor L'Hospital declared the queen's pleasure, and requested the members to retire to their homes, and reduce their opinions to writing for future use. They were ready to throw themselves on Beza's neck in[Pg 9] their delight at being relieved of the necessity of debating with him![16]

Defection of Antoine and its results.
Constancy of Jeanne.

But, in truth, the time for the calm discussion of theological differences, the time for friendly salutation between the champions of the rival systems of faith, was rapidly drawing to a close. If some rays of sunshine still glanced athwart the landscape, conveying to the unpractised eye the impression of quiet serenity, there were also black and portentous clouds already rising far above the horizon. Those who could read the signs of the times had long watched their gathering, and they trembled before the coming of the storm. Although they were mercifully spared the full knowledge of the overwhelming ruin that would follow in the wake of that fearful war of the elements, they saw the angry commotion of the sky, and realized that the air was surcharged with material for the most destructive bolts of heaven. And yet it is the opinion of a contemporary, whose views are always worthy of careful consideration, that, had it not been for the final defection of the King of Navarre at this critical juncture, the great woes impending over France might still have been delayed or averted.[17] That unhappy prince seemed determined to earn the title of the "Julian Apostate" of the French Reformation. Plied by the arts of his own servants, D'Escars (of whom Mézeray pithily remarks that he was ready to sell himself for money to anybody, save his master) and the Bishop of Auxerre; flattered by the Triumvirate, tempted by the Spanish Ambassador, Cardinal Tournon, and the papal legate, he had long been playing a hypocritical part. He had been unwilling to break with the Huguenots before securing the golden fruit with which he was lured on, and so he was at the same time the agent and the[Pg 10] object of treachery. Even after he had sent in his submission to the Pope by the hands of D'Escars, he pretended, when remonstrated with by his Protestant friends, that "he would take care not to go so far that he could not easily extricate himself."[18] He did not even show displeasure when faithfully rebuked and warned.[19] Yet he had after long hesitation completely cast in his lot with the papal party. He was convinced at last that Philip was in earnest in his intention to give him the island of Sardinia, which was depicted to him as a terrestrial paradise, "worth four Navarres."[20] It was widely believed that he had received from the Holy See the promise of a divorce from his heretical consort, which, while permitting him to retain the possessions which she had justly forfeited by her spiritual rebellion, would enable him to marry the youthful Mary of Scots, and add a substantial crown to his titular claims.[21] But we would fain believe that even Antoine of Bourbon had not sunk to such a depth of infamy. Certain it is, however, that he now openly avowed his new devotion to the Romish Church, and that the authority of his name became a bulwark of strength to the refractory parliament in its endeavor to prevent the execution of the edict of toleration.[22] But he was unsuccessful in dragging with him the wife whom he had been the instrument of inducing first to declare herself for the persecuted faith of the reformers. And when Catharine de' Medici, who cared nothing for religion, tried to persuade her to arrange matters with her husband, "Sooner," she said, "than ever go to mass, had I my kingdom and my son in my hand, I would cast them both into the depth of the sea, that they might[Pg 11] not be a hinderance to me."[23] Brave mother of Henry the Fourth! Well would it have been, both for her son and for France, if that son had inherited more of Jeanne d'Albret's devotion to truth, and less of his father's lewdness and inconstancy!

Immense crowds at Huguenot preaching.
The canons of Sainte Croix.

As early as in February, Beza was of the opinion that the King of Navarre would not suffer him to remain longer in the realm to which he himself had invited him so earnestly only six months before. At all events, he would be publicly dismissed by the first of May, and with him many others. With this disquieting intelligence came also rumors of an alliance between the enemies of the Gospel and the Spaniard, which could not be treated with contempt as baseless fabrications.[24] But meanwhile the truth was making daily progress. At a single gathering for prayer and preaching, but a few days before, twenty-five thousand persons, it was computed, had been in attendance, representing all ranks of the population, among whom were many of the nobility.[25] In the city of Troyes, a few weeks later, eight or nine thousand persons assembled from the neighboring country to celebrate the Lord's Supper, and the number of communicants was so great that they could not all partake on a single day; so the services were repeated on the morrow.[26] Elsewhere there[Pg 12] was equal zeal and growth. Indeed, so rapid was the advance of Protestantism, so pressing the call for ministers, that the large and flourishing church of Orleans, in a letter written the last day of February, proclaimed their expectation of establishing a theological school to supply their own wants and those of the adjacent regions; and it is no insignificant mark of the power with which the reformatory movement still coursed on, that the canons of the great church of Sainte Croix had given notice of their intention to attend the lectures that were to be delivered![27] In such an encouraging strain did "the ministers, deacons, and elders" of the most Protestant city of northern France write on the day before that deplorable massacre of Vassy, which was to be the signal for an appeal from argument to arms, upon which the newly enkindled spirit of religious inquiry was to be quenched in partisan hatred and social confusion. Within less than two months the tread of an armed host was to be heard in the city which it had been hoped would be thronged by the pious students of the gospel of peace, and frenzied soldiers would be hurling upon the floors of Sainte Croix the statues of the saints that had long occupied their elevated niches.

We must now turn to the events preceding the inauspicious occurrence the fruits of which proved so disastrous to the French church and state.

The Guises meet the Duke of Würtemberg at Saverne.

Having at length made sure of the co-operation of the King of Navarre in the contest upon which they had now resolved with the view of preventing the execution of the Edict of January, the Guises desired to strengthen themselves in the direction of Germany, and secure, if not the assistance, at least the neutrality of the Protestant princes. Could the Protestants on the other side of the Rhine be made indifferent spectators of the[Pg 13] struggle, persuaded that their own creed resembled the faith of the Roman Catholics much more than the creed of the Huguenots; could they be convinced that the Huguenots were uneasy and rebellious radicals, whom it were better to crush than to assist; could, consequently, the "reiters" and "lansquenets" be kept at home—it would, thought the Guises, be easy, with the help of the German Catholics, perhaps of Spain also, to render complete the papal supremacy in France, and to crush Condé and the Châtillons to the earth. Accordingly, the Guises extended to Duke Christopher of Würtemberg an invitation to meet them in the little town of Saverne (or Zabern, as it was called by the Germans), in Alsace, not far from Strasbourg.[28] The duke came as he was requested, accompanied by his theologians, Brentius and Andreä; and the interview, beginning on the fifteenth of February,[29] lasted four days. Four of the Guises were present; but the conversations were chiefly with Francis, the Duke of Guise, and Charles, the Cardinal of Lorraine; the Cardinal of Guise and the Grand Prior of the Knights of St. John taking little or no active part. Christopher and Francis had been comrades in arms a score of years back, for the former had served several years, and with no little distinction, in the French wars. This circumstance afforded an opportunity[Pg 14] for the display of extraordinary friendship. And what did the brothers state, in this important consultation, respecting their own sentiments, the opinions of the Huguenots, and the condition of France? Happily, a minute account, in the form of a manuscript memorandum taken down at the time by Duke Christopher, is still extant in the archives of Stuttgart.[30] Little known, but authentic beyond the possibility of cavil, this document deserves more attention than it has received from historians; for it places in the clearest light the shameless mendacity of the Guises, and shows that the duke had nearly as good a claim as the cardinal, his brother, to the reputation which the Venetian ambassador tells us that Charles had earned "of rarely telling the truth."

Lying assurances.

Duke Christopher made the acquaintance of Charles of Lorraine as a preacher on the morning after his arrival, when he heard him, in a sermon on the temptation in the wilderness, demonstrate that no other mediators or intercessors must be sought for but Jesus Christ, who is our only Saviour and the only propitiation for our sins. That day Christopher had a long conversation with Guise respecting the unhappy condition of France, which the latter ascribed in great part to the Huguenot ministers, whose unconciliatory conduct, he said, had rendered abortive the Colloquy of Poissy. Würtemberg corrected him by replying that the very accounts of the colloquy which Guise had sent him showed that the unsuccessful issue was owing to the prelates, who had evidently come determined to prevent any accommodation. He urged that the misfortunes that had befallen France were much rather to be ascribed to the cruel persecutions that had been inflicted on so many guiltless victims. "I cannot refrain from telling you," he added, "that you and your brother are strongly suspected in Germany of having contributed to cause the death, since the decease of Henry the Second—and even before, in his lifetime—of several thousands of persons who have been miserably executed on account of their faith. As a friend, and as a Christian, I must[Pg 15] warn you. Beware, beware of innocent blood! Otherwise the punishment of God will fall upon you in this life and in the next." "He answered me," writes Würtemberg, "with great sighs: 'I know that my brother and I are accused of that, and of many other things also. But we are wronged,[31] as we shall both of us explain to you before we leave.'"

The cardinal entered more fully than his brother into the doctrinal conference, talking now with Würtemberg, now with his theologian Brentius, and trying to persuade both that he was in perfect accord with them. While pressing his German friends to declare the Zwinglians and the Calvinists heretics—which they carefully avoided doing—and urging them to state the punishment that ought to be inflicted on heretics, there seemed to be no limit to the concessions which Lorraine was willing to make. He adored and invoked only Christ in heaven. He merely venerated the wafer. He acknowledged that his party went too far in calling the mass a sacrifice, and celebrating it for the living and the dead. The mass was not a sacrifice, but a commemoration of the sacrifice offered on the altar of the cross ("non sacrificium, sed memoria sacrificii præstiti in ara crucis"). He believed that the council assembled at Trent would do no good. When the Romish hierarchy, with the Pope at its head, as the pretended vicar of God on earth, was objected to, he replied that that matter could easily be adjusted. As for himself, "in the absence of a red gown, he would willingly wear a black one."

The Guises deceive no one.

He was asked whether, if Beza and his colleagues could be brought to consent to sign the Augsburg confession, he also would sign it. "You have heard it," he replied, "I take God to witness that I believe as I have said, and that by God's grace I shall live and die in these sentiments. I repeat it: I have read the Confession of Augsburg, I have also read Luther, Melanchthon, Brentius, and others; I entirely approve[Pg 16] their doctrines, and I might speedily agree with them in all that concerns the ecclesiastical hierarchy. But I am compelled still to dissemble for a time, that I may gain some that are yet weak in the faith." A little later he adverted to Würtemberg's remarks to Guise. "You informed my brother," he said, "that in Germany we are both of us suspected of having contributed to the execution of a large number of innocent Christians during the reigns of Henry and of Francis the Second. Well! I swear to you, in the name of God my Creator, and pledging the salvation of my soul, that I am guilty of the death of no man condemned for religion's sake. Those who were then privy to the deliberations of state can testify in my favor. On the contrary, whenever crimes of a religious character were under discussion, I used to say to King Henry or to King Francis the Second, that they did not belong to my department, that they had to do with the secular power, and I went away."[32] He even added that, although Du Bourg was in orders, he had begged the king to spare him as a learned man. "In like manner," says Würtemberg, "the Duke of Guise with great oaths affirmed that he was innocent of the death of those who had been condemned on account of their faith. 'The attempt,' he added, 'has frequently been made to kill us, both the cardinal and myself, with fire-arms, sword, and poison, and, although the culprits have been arrested, I never meddled with their punishment.'" And when the Duke of Würtemberg again "conjured them not to persecute the poor Christians of France, for God would not leave such a sin unpunished," both the[Pg 17] cardinal and the Duke of Guise gave him their right hands, promising on their princely faith, and by the salvation of their souls, that they would neither openly nor secretly persecute the partisans of the "new doctrines!" Such were the barefaced impostures which this "par nobile fratrum" desired Christopher of Würtemberg to publish for their vindication among the Lutherans of Germany. But the liars were not believed. The shrewd Landgrave of Hesse, on receiving Würtemberg's account, even before the news of the massacre of Vassy, came promptly to the conclusion that the whole thing was an attempt at deception. Christopher himself, in the light of later events, added to his manuscript these words: "Alas! It can now be seen how they have kept these promises! Deus sit ultor doli et perjurii, cujus namque res agitur."[33]

Throkmorton's account of the French court.

Meanwhile events of the greatest consequence were occurring at the capital. The very day after the Saverne conference began, Sir Nicholas Throkmorton wrote to Queen Elizabeth an account of "the strange issue" to which affairs had come at the French court since his last despatch, a little over a fortnight before. His letter gives a vivid and accurate view of the important crisis in the first half of February, 1562, which we present very nearly in the words of the ambassador himself. "The Cardinal of Ferrara," says Throkmorton, "has allured to his devotion the King of Navarre, the Constable, Marshal St. André, the Cardinal of Tournon, and others inclined to retain the Romish religion. All these are bent to repress the Protestant religion in France, and to find means either to range [bring over to their side] the Queen of Navarre, the Prince of Condé, the Admiral, and all others who favor that religion, or to expel them from the court, with all the ministers and preachers. The queen mother, fearing this conspiracy might be the means of losing her authority (which is as dear to her as one religion or the other), and mistrusting that the Constable was going about to reduce the management[Pg 18] of the whole affair into the King of Navarre's hands, and so into his own, has caused the Constable to retire from the court, as it were in disgrace, and intended to do the like with the Cardinal of Tournon and the Marshal St. André. The King of Navarre being offended with these proceedings, and imputing part of her doings to the advice of the Admiral, the Cardinal Châtillon, and Monsieur D'Andelot, intended to compel those personages to retire also from the court. In these garboils [commotions] the Prince of Condé, being sick at Paris, was requested to repair to the court and stand her [Catharine] in stead. In this time there was great working on both sides to win the house of Guise. So the Queen Mother wrote to them—they being in the skirts of Almain—to come to the court with all speed. The like means were made [use of] by the King of Navarre, the Cardinal of Ferrara and the Constable, to ally them on their part. During these solicitations the Duke D'Aumale arrived at the court from them, who was requested to solicit the speedy repair to the court of the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine.

"The Prince of Condé went from hence in a horse litter to the court of St. Germain, where he found the Protestant preachers prohibited from preaching either in the King's house or in the town, and that the King of Navarre had solemnly vowed to retain and maintain the Romish religion, and had given order that his son should be instructed in the same. The Prince, finding the Queen of Navarre and the house of Châtillon ready to leave the court, fell again dangerously sick. Nevertheless his coming so revived them, as by the covert aid of the Queen Mother, they attempted to make the Protestant preachers preach again at the town's end of St. Germain, and were entreated to abide at the court, where there is an assembly which is like to last until Easter. The Cardinal of Ferrara assists daily at these disputes. The King of Navarre persists in the house of Châtillon retiring from the court, and it is believed the Queen of Navarre, and they, will not tarry long there."[34]

Such was the picture drawn by the skilful pencil of the English[Pg 19] envoy. It was certainly dark enough. Catharine and Navarre had sent Lansac to assure the Pope that they purposed to live in and defend the Roman Catholic religion. Sulpice had gone on a like mission to Spain. It was time, Throkmorton plainly told Queen Elizabeth, that she should show as great readiness in maintaining the Protestant religion as Ferrara and his associates showed in striving to overthrow it. And in a private despatch to Cecil, written the same day, he urged the secretary to dissuade her Majesty from longer retaining candles and cross on the altar of the royal chapel, at a time when even doctors of the Sorbonne consented to the removal of images of all sorts from over the altar in places of worship.[35]

From Saverne the Cardinal of Lorraine returned to his archbishopric of Rheims, while the duke, accompanied by the Cardinal of Guise, proceeded in the direction of the French capital. On his route he stopped at Joinville, one of the estates of the family, recently erected in their favor into a principality. Here he was joined by his wife, Anne d'Este; here, too, he listened to fresh complaints made by his mother, Antoinette of Bourbon, against the insolence of the neighboring town of Vassy, where a considerable portion of the inhabitants had lately had the audacity to embrace the reformed faith.

Vassy in Champagne.
Origin of the Huguenot Church.

Vassy, an important town of Champagne—though shorn of much of its influence by the removal of many of its dependencies to increase the dignity of Joinville—and one of the places assigned to Mary of Scots for her maintenance, had apparently for some time contained a few professors of the "new doctrines." It was, however, only in October, 1561, after the Colloquy of Poissy, that it was visited by a Protestant minister, who, during a brief sojourn, organized a church with elders and deacons. Notwithstanding the disadvantage of having no pastor, and of having notoriously incurred the special hatred of the Guises, the reformed community grew with marvellous rapidity. For the Gospel was preached not merely in the printed sermons read from the pulpit, but by the lips of enthusiastic converts.[Pg 20] When, after a short absence, the founder of the church of Vassy returned to the scene of his labors, he came into collision with the Bishop of Châlons, whose diocese included this town. The bishop, unaccustomed to preach, set up a monk in opposition; but no one would come to hear him. The prelate then went himself to the Protestant gathering, and sat through the "singing of the commandments" and a prayer. But when he attempted to interrupt the services and asserted his episcopal authority, the minister firmly repelled the usurpation, taking his stand on the king's edict. Then, waxing warm in the discussion, the dauntless Huguenot exposed the hypocrisy of the pretended shepherd, who, not entering the fold by canonical election, but intruding himself into it without consulting his charge, was more anxious to secure his own ease than to lead his sheep into green pastures. The bishop soon retired from a field where he had found more than his match in argument: but the common people, who had come to witness his triumph over the Huguenot preacher, remained after his unexpected discomfiture, and the unequal contest resulted in fresh accessions to the ranks of the Protestants. Equally unsuccessful was the Bishop of Châlons in the attempt to induce the king to issue a commission to the Duke of Guise against the unoffending inhabitants, and Vassy was spared the fate of Mérindol and Cabrières. At Christmas nine hundred communicants, after profession of their faith, partook of the Lord's Supper according to the reformed rites; and in January, 1562, after repeated solicitations, the church obtained the long-desired boon of a pastor, in the person of the able and pious Leonard Morel. Thus far the history of Vassy differed little from that of hundreds of other towns in that age of wonderful awakening and growth, and would have attracted little attention had not its proximity to the Lorraine princes secured for it a tragic notoriety.[Pg 21][36]

Approach of the Duke of Guise.

On the twenty-eighth of February, Guise, with two hundred armed retainers, left Joinville. That night he slept at Dommartin-le-Franc. On Sunday morning, the first of March, he continued his journey. Whether by accident or from design, it is difficult to say, he drew near to Vassy about the time when the Huguenots were assembling for worship, and his ears caught the sound of their bell while he was still a quarter of a league distant. The ardor of Guise's followers was already at fever-heat. They had seen a poor artisan apprehended in a town that lay on their track, and summarily hung by their leader's order, for the simple offence of having had his child baptized after the reformed rites. When Guise heard the bell of the Vassy church, he turned to his suite to inquire what it meant. "It is the Huguenots' preaching," some one replied. "Par la mort-Dieu," broke in a second, "they will soon be huguenotted after another fashion!" Others began to make eager calculations respecting the extent of the plunder. A few minutes later an unlucky cobbler was espied, who, from his dress or manner, was mistaken for a Huguenot minister. It was well that he could answer the inquiries of the duke, before whom he was hurried, by assuring him that he was no clergyman and had never studied; otherwise, he was told, his case had been an extremely ugly one.[37]

The massacre.

On entering Vassy Guise repaired to the monastery chapel to hear mass said. He was followed by some of the gentlemen of his suite. Meantime, their valets found their way to the doors of the building in which the Protestants were worshipping, scarcely more than a stone's throw distant. This motley crowd was merely the vanguard of the Papists. Soon two or three gentlemen sent by Guise, according to his own account, to admonish the Huguenot assembly of their want of due obedience, entered the edifice, where they found twelve hundred persons quietly listening to the word of God. They were politely invited to sit down: but they replied by noisy interruption and threats. "Mort-Dieu, they must all be killed!" was their exclamation as they returned to report to Guise[Pg 22] what they had seen. The defenceless Huguenots were thrown into confusion by these significant menaces, and hastened to secure the entrance. It was too late. The duke himself was approaching, and a volley from the arquebuses of his troop speedily scattered the unarmed worshippers. It is unnecessary to describe in all its details of horror the scene that ensued. The door of the sheep-fold was open and the wolf was already upon his prey. All the pent-up hatred of a band of fanatical and savage soldiers was vented upon a crowd of men, women, and children, whose heterodoxy made them pleasing victims, and whose unarmed condition rendered victory easy. No age, no sex was respected. It was enough to be a Huguenot to be a fit object for the sword or the gun. To escape from the doomed building was only possible by running the gauntlet of the troops that lay in wait. Those who sought to climb from the roof to the adjacent houses were picked off by the arquebuses of the besieging party. Only after an hour and a half had elapsed were the soldiers of Guise called off by the trumpet sounding a joyful note of victory. The evidence of their prowess, however, remained on the field of contest, in fifty or sixty dead or dying men and women, and in nearly a hundred more or less dangerously wounded.[38]

In a few hours more Guise was resuming his journey toward Paris. He was told that the Huguenots of Vassy had forwarded their complaints to the king. "Let them go, let them go!" he exclaimed. "They will find there neither their Admiral nor their Chancellor."[39] [Pg 23]

Upon whose head rests the guilt of the massacre of Vassy? This was the question asked by every contemporary so soon as he realized the startling fact that the blow there struck was a signal that called every man to take the sword, and stand in defence of his own life. It is the question which history, more calm and dispassionate, because farther removed from the agitations of the day, now seeks to solve, as she looks back over the dreary torrents of blood that sprang from that disastrous source. The inquiry is not an idle one—for justice ought to find such a vindication in the records of past generations as may have been denied at the time of the commission of flagrant crimes.

The Huguenots declared Guise to be a murderer. Theodore Beza, in eloquent tones, demanded the punishment of the butcher[Pg 24] of the human race. So imposing was the cry for retribution that the duke himself recognized the necessity of entering a formal defence, which was disseminated by the press far and wide through France and Germany. He denied that the massacre was premeditated. He averred that it was merely an unfortunate incident brought about by the violence of the Protestants of Vassy, who had provided themselves with an abundant supply of stones and other missiles, and assailed those whom he had sent to remonstrate courteously with them. He stated the deaths at only twenty-five or thirty. Most of these had been occasioned by the indignant valets, who, on seeing their masters wounded, had rushed in to defend them. So much against his will had the affair occurred, that he had repeatedly but ineffectually commanded his men to desist. When he had himself received a slight wound from a stone thrown by the Huguenots, the sight of the blood flowing from it had infuriated his devoted followers.

The Duke's plea of want of premeditation we may, perhaps, accept as substantially true—so far, at least, as to suppose that he had formed no deliberate plan of slaughtering the inhabitants of Vassy who had adopted the reformed religion.[40] It is difficult, indeed, to accept the argument of Brantôme and Le Laboureur, who conceive that the fortuitous character of the event is proved by the circumstance that the deed was below the courage of Guise. Nor, perhaps, shall we give excessive credit to the asseverations of the duke, repeated, we are told, even on his death-bed. For why should these be more worthy of belief than the oaths with which the same nobleman had declared to Christopher of Würtemberg that he neither had persecuted, nor would persecute the Protestants of France? But the Duke of Guise admits that he knew that there was a growing community of Huguenots at Vassy—"scandalous, arrogant, extremely[Pg 25] seditious persons," as he styles them. He tells us that he intended, as the representative of Mary Stuart, and as feudal lord of some of their number, to admonish them of their disobedience; and that for this purpose he sent Sieur de la Bresse (or Brosse) with others to interrupt their public worship. He accuses them, it is true, of having previously armed themselves with stones, and even of possessing weapons in an adjoining building; but what reason do the circumstances of the case give us for doubting that the report may have been based upon the fact that those who in this terror-stricken assembly attempted to save their lives resorted to whatever missiles they could lay their hands upon? If the presence of his wife, and of his brother the cardinal, is used by the duke as an argument to prove the absence of any sinister intentions on his part, how much stronger is the evidence afforded to the peaceable character of the Protestant gathering by the numbers of women and children found there? But the very fact that, as against the twenty-five or thirty Huguenots whom he concedes to have been slain in the encounter, he does not pretend to give the name of a single one of his own followers that was killed, shows clearly which side it was that came prepared for the fight. And yet who that knows the sanguinary spirit generally displayed by the Roman Catholic masses in the sixteenth century, could find much fault with the Huguenots of Vassy if they had really armed themselves to repel violence and protect their wives and children—if, in other words, they had used the common right of self-preservation?[41]

[Pg 26]

The fact is that Guise was only witnessing the fruits of his instructions, enforced by his own example. He had given the first taste of blood, and now, perhaps without his actual command, the pack had taken the scent and hunted down the game. He was avowedly on a crusade to re-establish the supremacy of the Roman Catholic religion throughout France. If he had not hesitated to hang a poor pin-dealer for allowing his child to be baptized according to the forms of Calvin's liturgy; if he was on his way to Paris to restore the Edict of July by force of arms, it is idle to inquire whether he or his soldiers were responsible for the blood shed in peace. "He that sowed the seed is the author of the harvest."

Condé appeals to the king.

The news quickly flew to Condé that the arch-enemy of the Protestants had begun the execution of the cruel projects he had so long been devising with his fanatical associates; that Guise was on his way toward seditious Paris, with hands yet dripping with the blood of the inhabitants of a quiet Champagnese town, surprised and murdered while engaged in the worship of their God. Indignant, and taking in the full measure of the responsibility imposed upon him as the most powerful member of the Protestant communion, the prince, who was with the court at the castle of Monceaux—built for herself by Catharine in a style of regal magnificence—laid before the king and his mother a full account of the tragic[Pg 27] occurrence. It was a pernicious example, he argued, and should be punished promptly and severely. Above all, the perpetrators ought not to be permitted to endanger the quiet of France by entering the capital. Catharine was alarmed and embarrassed by the intelligence; but, her fear of a conjunction between Guise and Navarre overcoming her reluctance to affront the Lorraine family, induced her to consent; and she wrote to the Duke, who had by this time reached his castle of Nanteuil, forbidding him to go to Paris, but inviting him to visit the court with a small escort. At the same time she gave orders to Saint André to repair at once to Lyons, of which he was the royal governor. But neither of the triumvirs showed any readiness to obey her orders. The duke curtly replied that he was too busy entertaining his friends to come to the king; the marshal promptly refused to leave the king while he was threatened by such perils.[42]

Beza's remonstrance.
An anvil that has worn out many hammers.

The King of Navarre now came from Paris to Monceaux, to guard the interests of the party he had espoused. He was closely followed by Theodore Beza and Francour, whom the Protestants of Paris had deputed, the former on behalf of the church, the latter of the nobility, to demand of the king the punishment of the authors of the massacre. The queen mother, as was her wont, gave a gracious audience, and promised that an investigation should be made. But Navarre, being present, seemed eager to display a neophyte's zeal, and retorted by blaming the Huguenots for going in arms to their places of worship. "True," said Beza, "but arms in the hands of the wise are instruments of peace, and the massacre of Vassy has shown the necessity under which the Protestants were laid." When Navarre exclaimed: "Whoever touches my brother of Guise with the tip of his finger, touches my whole body!" the reformer reminded him, as one whom Antoine had himself brought to France, that the way of justice is God's way, and that kings owe justice to their subjects. Finally, when he discovered, by Navarre's adoption of all the impotent excuses of Guise, that the former had sold himself to the[Pg 28] enemies of the Gospel, Theodore Beza made that noble reply which has become classic as the motto of the French Reformation: "Sire, it is, in truth, the lot of the Church of God, in whose name I am speaking, to endure blows and not to strike them. But also may it please you to remember that it is an anvil that has worn out many hammers."[43]

Guise's entry into Paris.

At Nanteuil, Guise had been visited by the constable, with two of his sons, by Saint André, and by other prominent leaders. Accompanied by them, he now took the decided step of going to Paris in spite of Catharine's prohibition. His entry resembled a triumphal procession.[44] In the midst of an escort estimated by eye-witnesses at two thousand horse, Francis of Guise avoided the more direct gate of St. Martin, and took that of St. Denis, through which the kings of France were accustomed to pass. Vast crowds turned out to meet him, and the cries of "Vive Monsieur de Guise!" sounding much like regal acclammations, were uttered without rebuke on all sides. The "prévost des marchands" and other members of the municipal government received him with great demonstrations of joy, as the defender of the faith. At the same hour the Prince of Condé, surrounded by a large number of Protestant noblemen, students, and citizens, was riding to one of the[Pg 29] preaching-places.[45] The two cavalcades met, but no collision ensued. The Huguenot and the papist courteously saluted each other, and then rode on. It is even reported that between the leaders themselves less sincere amenities were interchanged. Guise sent word to Condé that he and his company, whom he had assembled only on account of the malevolent, were at the prince's commands. Condé answered by saying that his own men were armed only to prevent the populace of Paris from making an attack upon the Protestants as they went to their place of worship.[46]

Anxieties of Catharine de' Medici.

For weeks the position of the queen mother had been one of peculiar difficulty and anxiety. That she was "well inclined to advance the true religion," and "well affected for a general reformation in the Church," as Admiral Coligny at this time firmly believed,[47] is simply incredible. But, on the other hand, there can be little doubt that Catharine saw her interest in upholding the Huguenot party, of which Condé and the three Châtillon brothers were acknowledged leaders. Unfortunately, the King of Navarre, "hoping to compound with the King of Spain for his kingdom of Navarre," had become the tool of the opposite side—he was "all Spanish now"[48]—and Chantonnay, Philip's ambassador, was emboldened to make arrogant demands. The envoy declared that, "unless the house of Châtillon left the court, he was ordered to depart from France." Grave diplomatists shook their heads, and thought the menace very strange, "the rather that another prince should appoint what counsellors should remain at court;" and sage men inferred that "to such[Pg 30] princes as are afraid of shadows the King of Spain will enterprise far enough."[49] None the less was Catharine deeply disturbed. She felt distrust of the heads of the Roman Catholic party, but she feared to break entirely with them, and was forced to request the Protestant leaders to withdraw for a time from the vicinity of Paris. That city itself presented to the eye a sufficiently strange and alarming aspect, "resembling more a frontier town or a place besieged than a court, a merchant city, or university." Both sides were apprehensive of some sudden commotion, and the Protestant scholars, in great numbers, marched daily in arms to the "sermons," in spite of the opposition of the rector and his council.[50] The capital was unquestionably no place for Catharine and her son, at the present moment.

She removes the king to Melun.
and thence to Fontainebleau.
Her painful indecision.

At length, Catharine de' Medici, apprehensive of the growing power of the triumvirate, and dreading lest the king, falling into its hands, should become a mere puppet, her own influence being completely thrown into the shade, removed the court from Monceaux to Melun, a city on the upper Seine, about twenty-five miles south-east of Paris.[51] She hoped apparently that, by placing herself nearer the strongly Huguenot banks of the Loire, she would be able at will to throw herself into the arms of either party, and, in making her own terms, secure future independence. But she was not left undisturbed. At Melun she received a deputation from Paris, consisting of the "prévost des marchands" and[Pg 31] three "échevins," who came to entreat her, in the name of the Roman Catholic people of the capital, to return and dissipate by the king's arrival the dangers that were imminent on account of Condé's presence, and to give the people the power to defend themselves by restoring to them their arms. Still hesitating, still experiencing her old difficulty of forming any plans for the distant future, and every moment balancing in her mind what she should do the next, she nevertheless pushed on ten miles farther southward, to the royal palace of Fontainebleau, and found herself not far from half the way to Orleans. But change of place brought the vacillating queen mother no nearer to a decision. Soubise, the last of the avowed Protestants to leave her, still dreamed he might succeed in persuading her. Day after day, in company with Chancellor L'Hospital, the Huguenot leader spent two or three hours alone with her in earnest argument. "Sometimes," says a recently discovered contemporary account, "they believed that they had gained everything, and that she was ready to set off for Condé's camp; then, all of a sudden, so violent a fright seized her, that she lost all heart." At last the time came when the triumvirs were expected to appear at Fontainebleau on the morrow, to secure the prize of the king's person. Soubise and the indefatigable chancellor made a last attempt. Five or six times in one day they returned to the charge, although L'Hospital mournfully observed that he had abandoned hope. He knew Catharine well: she could not be brought to a final resolution.[52] It was even so. Soubise himself was forced to admit it when, at the last moment—almost too late for his own safety—he hurriedly left, Catharine still begging him to stand by her, and made his way to his friends.

She implores Condé's aid.

It seems to have been during this time of painful anxiety that Catharine wrote at least the last of those remarkable letters to Condé which that prince afterward published in his own[Pg 32] justification, and respecting the authenticity of which the queen would have been glad had she been able to make the world entertain doubts. They breathed a spirit of implicit confidence. She called herself his "good cousin," that was not less attached to him than a mother to a son. She enjoined upon him to remember the protection which he was bound to give to "the children, the mother, and the kingdom." She called upon him not to desert her. She declared that, in the midst of so many adverse circumstances, she would be driven almost to despair, "were it not for her trust in God, and the assurance that Condé would assist her in preserving the kingdom and service of the king, her son, in spite of those who wished to ruin everything." More than once she told him that his kindness would not go unrequited; and she declared that, if she died before having an opportunity to testify her gratitude, she would charge her children with the duty.[53]

In Paris events were rapidly succeeding each other. Marshal Montmorency, the constable's eldest son, was too upright a man to serve the purposes of the triumvirs; and, with his father's consent and by Navarre's authority, he was removed, and Cardinal Bourbon installed in his place as governor of the city.[54] A few days after Antoine himself came to Paris and lodged in the constable's house. Here, with Guise, Saint André, and the other chief statesmen who were of the same party, conferences were[Pg 33] held to which Condé and his associates were not invited; and to these irregular gatherings, notwithstanding the absence of the king, the name of the royal council was given.[55]

Condé retires to Meaux.

There were nine or ten thousand horse—Papist and Huguenot—under arms in Paris.[56] It was evident that Condé and Guise could not longer remain in the city without involving it in the most bloody of civil contests. Under these circumstances the prince offered, through his brother, the Cardinal of Bourbon, to accede to the wish of Catharine, and leave Paris by one gate at the same moment that the triumvirs should leave by another. Indeed, without waiting to obtain their promise, he retired[57] with his body of Protestant noblesse to Meaux, where he had given a rendezvous to Admiral Coligny and others whom he had summoned from their homes. This step has generally been stigmatized as the first of Condé's egregious mistakes. Beza opposed it at the time, and likened the error to that of Pompey in abandoning Rome;[58] and the "History of the Reformed Churches" has perpetuated the comparison.[59] The same historical parallel was drawn by Étienne Pasquier.[60] But the judicious François de la Noue, surnamed Bras-de-Fer, thought very differently; and we must here, as in many other instances, prefer the opinion of the practical soldier to that of the eminent theologian or the learned jurist. Parliament, the clergy, the municipal government, the greater part of the university, and almost all the low populace, with the partisans and servants of the hostile princes and noblemen, were intensely Roman Catholic.[61] The three hundred resident Protestant gen[Pg 34]tlemen, with, as many more experienced soldiers, four hundred students, and a few untrained burgesses, were "but as a fly matched with an elephant." The novices of the convents and the priests' chambermaids, armed only with sticks, could have held them in check.[62] It were better to lose the advantages of the capital than to be overwhelmed within its walls by superior forces, being completely cut off from that part of France where the main strength of the Protestants lay.

The Huguenot summons.

From Meaux messengers were sent to the Protestant churches in all parts of France to request their aid, both in money and in men. "Since," said the letter they bore, "God has brought us to such a point that no one can disturb our repose without violating the protection it has pleased our king to accord us, and consequently without declaring himself an enemy of his Majesty and of this kingdom's peace, there is no law, divine or human, that does not permit us to take measures for defence, calling for help on those whom God has given the authority and the will to remedy these evils."[63]

Admiral Coligny's reluctance.

Happily for the Huguenot cause, however, the nobles and gentry that favored it had not waited to receive this summons, but had, many of them, already set out to strengthen the forces of the prince. Among others, and by far more important than all the rest, came Gaspard de Coligny, whose absence from court during the few previous weeks has been regarded as one of the most untoward circumstances of the time. At his pleasant castle of Châtillon-sur-Loing, surrounded by his young family, he received intelligence, first, of the massacre, then of the ominous events that had occurred at the capital. Condé sent to solicit his support; his brothers and many friends urged him to rush at once to the rescue. But still, even after the threatening clouds had risen so high that they must soon burst over the devoted heads of the Huguenots,[Pg 35] the admiral continued to hesitate. Every instinct of his courageous nature prompted the skilful defender of St. Quentin to place himself at once at the post of danger. But there was one fear that seemed likely to overcome all his martial impulses. It was the fear of initiating a civil war. He could not refer to the subject without shuddering, for the horrors of such a contest were so vividly impressed upon his mind that he regarded almost anything as preferable to the attempt to settle domestic difficulties by an appeal to the sword. But the tears and sighs of his wife, the noble Charlotte de Laval, at length overmastered his reluctance. "To be prudent in men's esteem," she said, "is not to be wise in that of God, who has given you the science of a general that you might use it for the good of His children." When her husband rehearsed again the grounds of his hesitation, and, calling upon her seriously to consider the suffering, the privations, the anxiety, the bereavements, the ignominy, the death which would await not only those dearest to her, but herself, if the struggle should prove unsuccessful, offered her three weeks to make her decision, with true womanly magnanimity she replied: "The three weeks are already past; you will never be conquered by the strength of your enemies. Make use of your resources, and bring not upon your head the blood of those who may die within three weeks. I summon you in God's name not to defraud us any more, or I shall be a witness against you at His judgment." So deep was the impression which these words made upon Coligny, that, accepting his wife's advice as the voice of heaven, he took horse without further delay, and joined Condé and the other Protestant leaders.[64]

The king seized and brought to Paris.

It was unfortunate that the prince, for a week after leaving Paris, should have felt too feeble to make any movement of importance. Otherwise, by a rapid march, he might, according to his plan,[65] have reached Fontainebleau in advance of his oppo[Pg 36]nents, and, with the young king and his mother under his protection, have asserted his right as a prince of the blood to defend Charles against those who had unjustly usurped the functions of royalty. As it was, the unlucky delay was turned to profit by his enemies. These now took a step that put further deliberation on Catharine's part out of the question, and precluded any attempt to place the person of the king in Condé's hands. Leaving a small garrison in Paris, Guise proceeded with a strong body of troops to Fontainebleau, determined to bring the king and his mother back to Paris. Persuasion was first employed; but, that failing, the triumvirate were prepared to resort to force. Navarre, acting at Guise's suggestion, at length told Catharine distinctly that, as guardian of the minor king, he must see to it that he did not fall into his brother's hands; as for Catharine, she might remain or follow him, as she pleased.[66] Tears and remonstrances were of no avail.[67] Weeping and sad, Charles is said to have repeatedly exclaimed against being led away contrary to his will;[68] but the triumvirs would not be balked of their game, and so brought him with his mother first to Melun, then, after a few days, to the prison-like castle of Vincennes, and finally to the Louvre.[69]

[Pg 37]

The constable's exploits at the "temples."
D'Andelot and Condé throw themselves into Orleans.

The critical step had been taken to demonstrate that the reign of tolerance, according to the prescriptions of the Edict of January, was at an end. The constable, preceding the king to Paris, immediately upon his arrival instituted a system of arbitrary arrests. On the next morning (the fourth of April) he visited the "temple of Jerusalem,"[70] one of the two places which had been accorded to the Huguenots for their worship outside of the walls. Under his direction the pulpit and the benches of the hearers were torn up, and a bonfire of wood and Bibles was speedily lighted, to the great delight of the populace of Paris. In the afternoon the same exploits were repeated at the other Huguenot church, known from its situation, outside of the gate of St. Antoine, as "Popincourt." Here, however, not only the benches, but the building itself was burned, and several adjacent houses were involved in the conflagration. Having accomplished these outrages and encouraged the people to imitate his lawless example, the aged constable returned to the city. He had well earned the contemptuous name which the Huguenots henceforth gave him of "Le Capitaine Brûlebanc."[71] If the triumvirate succeeded, it was plain that all liberty of worship was proscribed. It was even believed that the Duchess of Guise had been sent to carry a message, in the king's name, to her mother, the aged Renée of France, to the effect that if she did not dismiss the Huguenot preachers from Montargis, and become a good Catholic, he would have her shut up for the rest of her life in a convent.[72] Whatever truth there may have been in this story, one thing was certain: in Paris it would have been as much as any man's life was[Pg 38] worth to appear annoyed at the constable's exploit, or to oppose the search made for arms in suspected houses. Every good Catholic had a piece of the Huguenots' benches or pulpit in his house as a souvenir; "so odious," says a contemporary, "is the new religion in this city."[73] Meantime, on Easter Monday (the thirtieth of March) Condé left Meaux at the head of fifteen hundred horse, the flower of the French nobility, "better armed with courage than with corselets"—says François de la Noue. As they approached the capital, the whole city was thrown into confusion, the gates were closed, and the chains stretched across the streets.[74] But the host passed by, and at St. Cloud crossed the Seine without meeting any opposition. Here the news of the seizure of the person of Charles by the triumvirs first reached the prince, and with it one great object of the expedition was frustrated.[75] The Huguenots, however, did not delay, but, instead of turning toward Fontainebleau, took a more southerly route directly for the city of Orleans. D'Andelot, to whom the van had been confided, advanced by a rapid march, and succeeded by a skilful movement in entering the city, of which he took possession in the name of the Prince of Condé, acting as lieutenant of the king unlawfully held in confinement. Catharine de' Medici, who, having been forced into the party of the triumvirs, had with her usual flexibility promptly decided to make the most of her position, sent messengers to Condé hoping to amuse him with negotiations while a powerful Roman Catholic detachment should by another road reach Orleans un[Pg 39]observed.[76] But the danger coming to Andelot's knowledge, he succeeded in warning Condé; and the prince, with the main body of the Protestant horse, after a breakneck ride, threw himself, on the second of April, into the city, which now became the headquarters of the religion in the kingdom.[77] The inhabitants came out to meet him with every demonstration of joy, and received him between double lines of men, women, and children loudly singing the words of the French psalms, so that the whole city resounded with them.[78]

Condé's justification.

No sooner had the Prince of Condé established himself upon the banks of the Loire, than he took measures to explain to the world the necessity and propriety of the step upon which he had ventured. He wrote, and he induced the Protestant ministers who were with him to write, to all the churches of France, urging them to send him reinforcements of troops and to fill his empty treasury.[79] At the same time he[Pg 40] published a "declaration" in justification of his resort to arms. He recapitulated the successive steps that revealed the violent purposes of the triumvirs—the retreat of the Guises and of the constable from court, Nemours's attempt to carry the Duke of Orleans out of the kingdom, the massacre at Vassy, Guise's refusal to visit the royal court and his defiant progress to the capital, the insolent conduct of Montmorency and Saint-André, the pretended royal council held away from the king, the detention of Charles and of his mother as prisoners. And from all these circumstances he showed the inevitable inference to be that the triumvirs had for one of their chief objects the extirpation of the religion "which they call new," "either by open violence or by the change of edicts, and the renewal of the most cruel persecutions that have ever been exercised in the world." It was not party interest that had induced him to take up arms, he said, but loyalty to God, to his king, and to his native land, a desire to free Charles from unlawful detention, and a purpose to insist upon the execution of the royal edicts, especially that of January, and to prevent new ministers of state from misapplying the sums raised for the payment of the national debts. He warned all lovers of peace not to be astonished at any edicts that might emanate from the royal seal so long as the king remained a prisoner, and he begged Catharine to order the triumvirs to lay down their arms. If they did so, he declared that he himself, although of a rank far different from theirs, would consent to follow their example.[80]

Stringent articles of association.

The Huguenots had thrown off the shackles which a usurping party about the king endeavored to fasten upon them; but they had not renounced the restraints of law. And now, at the very commencement of a great struggle for liberty, they entered into a solemn compact to banish licentious excesses from their army. Protesting the purity of[Pg 41] their motives, they swore to strive until the king's majority to attain the objects which had united them in a common struggle; but they promised with equal fervor to watch over the morals of their associates, and to suffer nothing that was contrary to God's honor or the king's edicts, to tolerate no idolatrous or superstitious practices, no blasphemy, no uncleanness or theft, no violation of churches by private authority. They declared their intention and desire to hear the Word of God preached by faithful ministers in the midst of the camps of war.[81]

Huguenot nobles and cities.

The papal party was amazed at the opposition its extreme measures had created. In place of the timid weakling whom the triumvirate had expected, they saw a giant spring from the ground to confront them.[82] To Orleans flocked many of the highest nobles of the land. Besides Condé—after Navarre and Bourbon, the prince of the blood nearest to the crown—there were gathered to the Protestant standard the three Châtillons, Prince Porcien, Count de la Rochefoucauld, the Sieurs de Soubise, de Mouy, de Saint Fal, d'Esternay, Piennes, Rohan, Genlis, Grammont, Montgomery, and others of high station and of large influence and extensive landed possessions.[83] And, what was still more important, the capture of Orleans was but the signal for a general movement throughout France. In a few weeks the Huguenots, rising in their unsuspected strength, had rendered themselves masters of cities in almost every province. Along the Loire, Beaugency, Blois, Tours, and Angers declared for the Prince of Condé; in Normandy, Rouen, Havre, Dieppe, and Caen; in Berry and the neighboring provinces, Bourges, La Rochelle, Poitiers; along the Saône and Rhône, Châlons, Mâcon, Lyons, Vienne, Valence, Montélimart, Tournon, Orange; Gap and Grenoble in Dauphiny; almost the whole of the papal "Comtât Venaissin;" the Vivarais; the Cevennes; the greater part of Languedoc and[Pg 42] Gascony, with the important cities of Montauban, Castres, Castelnaudary, Beziers, Pézénas, Montpellier, Aiguesmortes, and Nismes.[84] In northern France alone, where the number of Protestants was small, the Huguenots obtained but a slight foothold.[85]

Can iconoclasm be repressed?

In the midst of this universal movement there was one point in the compact made by the confederates at Orleans, which it was found impossible to execute. How could the churches, with their altars, their statues, their pictures, their relics, their priestly vestments, be guaranteed from invasion? To the Huguenot masses they were the temples and instruments of an idolatrous worship. Ought Christians to tolerate the existence of such abominations, even if sanctioned by the government? It was hard to draw a nice line of distinction between the overthrow of idolatry by public authority and by personal zeal. If there were any difference in the merit of the act, it was in favor of the man who vindicated the true religion at the risk of his own life. Nay, the Church itself had incontrovertibly given its sanction to this view by placing among the martyrs those primitive Christians who had upon their own responsibility entered heathen temples and overthrown the objects of the popular devotion. In those early centuries there had been manifested the same reckless exposure of life, the same supreme contempt for the claims of art in comparison with the demands of religion. The Minerva of Phidias or Praxiteles was no safer from the iconoclastic frenzy of the new convert from heathenism than the rude idol of a less cultivated age. The command, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," had not excepted from its prohibition the marvellous products of the Greek chisel.

It was here, therefore, that the chief insubordination of the[Pg 43] Huguenot people manifested itself—not in licentious riot, not in bloodshed, not in pillage. Calvin, with his high sense of law and order, might in his letters reiterate the warnings against the irregularity which we have seen him uttering on a previous occasion;[86] the ministers might threaten the guilty with exclusion from the ordinances of the Church; Condé might denounce the penalty of death. The people could not restrain themselves or be restrained. They must remove what had been a stumbling-block to them and might become a snare to others. They felt no more compunction in breaking an image or tearing in pieces a picture, than a traveller, whom a highwayman has wounded, is aware of, when he destroys the weapons dropped by his assailant in his hurried flight. Indeed, they experienced a strange satisfaction in visiting upon the lifeless idol the punishment for the spiritual wrongs received at the hands of false teachers of religion.[87]

It bursts out at Caen.

We have an illustration of the way in which the work of de[Pg 44]molition was accomplished in events occurring about this time at Caen. Two or three inhabitants of this old Norman city were at Rouen when the churches were invaded and sacked by an over-zealous crowd of sympathizers with the "new doctrines." On their return to their native city, they began at once to urge their friends to copy the example of the provincial capital. The news reaching the ears of the magistrates of Caen, these endeavored—but to no purpose, as the sequel proved—to calm the feverish pulse of the people. On a Friday night (May eighth), the storm broke out, and it raged the whole of the next day. Church, chapel, and monastery could testify to its violence. Quaint windows of stained glass and rich old organs were dashed in pieces. Saints' effigies, to employ the quaint expression of a Roman Catholic eye-witness, "were massacred." "So great was the damage inflicted, without any profit, that the loss was estimated at more than a hundred thousand crowns." Still less excusable were the acts of vandalism which the rabble—ever ready to join in popular commotions and always throwing disgrace upon them—indulged. The beautiful tombs of William, Duke of Normandy and conqueror of England, and of the Duchess-queen Mathilda, the pride of Caen, which had withstood the ravages of nearly five hundred years, were ruthlessly destroyed. The monument of Bishop Charles of Martigny, who had been ambassador under Charles the Eighth and Louis the Twelfth, shared the same fate. The zealous Roman Catholic who relates these occurrences claims to have striven, although to no purpose, to rescue the ashes of the conqueror from dispersion.[88]

The "idol" of Sainte Croix.

The contagion spread even to Orleans. Here, as in other[Pg 45] places where the Huguenots had prevailed, there were but few of the inhabitants that had not been drawn over to the reformed faith, or at least pretended to embrace it. Yet Condé, in his desire to convince the world that no partisan hatred moved him, strictly prohibited the intrusion of Protestants into the churches, and assured the ecclesiastics of protection so long as they chose to remain in the city. For a time, consequently, their services continued to be celebrated in the presence of the faithful few and with closed doors; but soon, their fears getting the better of their prudence, the priests and monks one by one made their retreat from the Protestant capital. On the twenty-first of April, word was brought to Condé that some of the churches had been broken into during the preceding night, and that the work of destruction was at that very moment going forward in others. Hastening, in company with Coligny and other leaders, to the spacious and imposing church of the Holy Rood (Sainte Croix), he undertook, with blows and menaces, to check the furious onslaught. Seeing a Huguenot soldier who had climbed aloft, and was preparing to hurl from its elevated niche one of the saints that graced the wall of the church, the prince, in the first ebullition of his anger, snatched an arquebuse from the hands of one of his followers, and aimed it at the adventurous iconoclast. The latter had seen the act, but was in no wise daunted. Not desisting an instant from his pious enterprise, "Sir," he cried to Condé, "have patience until I shall have overthrown this idol; and then let me die, if that be your pleasure!"[89]

The Huguenot soldier's fearless reply sounded the knell of many a sacred painting and statue; for the destruction was accepted as God's work rather than man's.[90] Henceforth little exertion was made to save these objects of mistaken devotion, while the greatest care was taken to prevent the robbery of the costly reliquaries and other precious possessions of the churches,[Pg 46] of which inventories were drawn up, and which were used only at the last extremity.[91]

Massacre of Huguenots at Sens.

Far different in character from the bloodless "massacres" of images and pictures in cities where the Huguenots gained the upper hand, were the massacres of living men wherever the papists retained their superiority. One of the most cruel and inexcusable was that which happened at Sens—a city sixty-five or seventy miles toward the south-east from Paris—where, on an ill-founded and malicious rumor that the reformed contemplated rising and destroying their Roman Catholic neighbors, the latter, at the instigation, it is said, of their archbishop, the Cardinal of Guise, and encouraged by the violent example of Constable Montmorency at Paris,[92] fell on the Protestants, murdered more than a hundred of both sexes and of every age, and threw their dead bodies into the waters of the Yonne.[93] While these victims of a blind bigotry were floating on under the windows of the Louvre toward the sea, Condé addressed to the queen mother a letter of warm remonstrance, and called upon her to avenge the causeless murder of so many innocent men and women; expressing the fear that, if justice were denied by the king and by herself, the cry of innocent blood would reach high heaven, and God would be[Pg 47] moved to inflict those calamities with which the unhappy realm was every day threatened.[94]

A few days before Condé penned this appeal, the English ambassador had written and implored his royal mistress to seize the golden opportunity to inspirit the frightened Catharine de' Medici, panic-stricken by the violent measures of the Roman Catholic party; assuring her that "not a day passed but that the Spanish ambassador, the Bishop of Rome, or some other papist prince's minister put terror into the queen mother's mind."[95] But Throkmorton's words and Cecil's entreaties were alike powerless to induce Elizabeth to improve her advantage. The opportunity was fast slipping by, and the calamities foretold by Condé were coming on apace.

Disorders in Provence and Dauphiny.

In truth, few calamities could exceed in horror those that now befell France. In the south-eastern corner of the kingdom, above all other parts, civil war, ever prolific in evil passions, was already bearing its legitimate fruits. For several years the fertile, sunny hills of Provence and Dauphiny had enjoyed but little stable peace, and now both sides caught the first notes of the summons to war and hurried to the fray. Towns were stormed, and their inhabitants, whether surrendering on composition or at the discretion of the conqueror, found little justice or compassion. The men were more fortunate, in being summarily put to the sword; the women were reserved for the vilest indignities, and then shared the fate of their fathers and husbands. The thirst for revenge caused the Protestant leaders and soldiers to perpetrate deeds of cruelty little less revolting than those which disgraced the papal cause; but there was, at least, this to be said in their favor, that not even their enemies could accuse them of those infamous excesses of lewdness of which their opponents were notoriously guilty.[96] Their vengeance was satisfied with the lives, and did not demand the honor of the vanquished.

[Pg 48]

The city of Orange.

The little city of Orange, capital of William of Nassau's principality, contained a growing community of Protestants, whom the prince had in vain attempted to restrain. About a year and a half before the outburst of the civil war, William the Silent, then a sincere Roman Catholic,[97] on receiving complaints from the Pope, whose territories about Avignon—the Comtât Venaissin—ran around three sides of the principality, had expressed himself "marvellously sorry to see how those wicked heresies were everywhere spreading, and that they had even penetrated into his principality of Orange."[98] And when he received tidings that the Huguenots were beginning to preach, he had written to his governor and council, "to see to it by all means in the world, that no alteration be permitted in our true and ancient religion, and in no wise to consent that those wicked men should take refuge in his principality." As Protestantism advanced in Orange, he purposed to give instructions to use persuasion and force, "in order to remedy a disorder so pernicious to all Christendom."[99] While he was unwilling to call in French troops, lest he should prejudice his sovereign rights, he declared his desire to be authorized to employ the pontifical soldiers in the work of repression.[100] But in spite of these restrictive measures, the reformed population increased rather than diminished, and the bishop of the city now called upon Fabrizio Serbelloni, a cousin of Pope Pius the Fourth, and papal general at Avignon, to assist him by driving out the Protestants, who, ever since the massacre of Vassy, had feared with good reason the assault of their too powerful and hostile neighbors, and had taken up arms in self-defence. They had not, however, apprehended so speedy an attack as Serbelloni now made (on the fifth of June), and, taken by surprise,[Pg 49] were able to make but a feeble resistance. The papal troops entered the city through the breach their cannon had effected. Never did victorious army act more insolently or with greater inhumanity. None were spared; neither the sick on their beds, nor the poor in their asylums, nor the maimed that hobbled through the streets. Those were most fortunate that were first despatched. The rest were tortured with painful wounds that prolonged their agonies till death was rather desired than dreaded, or were hurled down upon pikes and halberds, or were hung to pot-hooks and roasted in the fire, or were hacked in pieces. Not a few of the women were treated with dishonor; the greater part were hung to doors and windows, and their dead bodies, stripped naked, were submitted to indignities for which the annals of warfare, except among the most ferocious savages, can scarcely supply a parallel. That the Almighty might not seem to be insulted in the persons only of living creatures formed in His own image, the fresh impiety was perpetrated of derisively stuffing leaves torn from French Bibles into the gaping wounds of the dead lying on this field of carnage. Nor did the Roman Catholics of Orange fare much better than their reformed neighbors. Mistaken for enemies, they were massacred in the public square, where they had assembled, expecting rather to receive a reward for their services in assisting the pontifical troops to enter, than to atone for their treachery by their own death.[101]

François de Beaumont, Baron des Adrets.

But the time for revenge soon came around. The barbarous warfare initiated by the adherents of the triumvirate in Dauphiny and Provence bred or brought forward a leader and soldiers who did not hesitate to repay cruelty with cruelty. François de Beaumont, Baron des Adrets, was a merciless general, who affected to believe that rigor and strict retaliation were indispensable to remove the contempt in which the Huguenots were held, and who knew how by bold movements to appear where least expected, and by vigor to multiply the apparent size of his army. Attached to the[Pg 50] Reformation only from ambition, and breathing a spirit far removed from the meekness of the Gospel, he soon awakened the horror of his comrades in arms, and incurred the censure of Condé for his barbarities; so that, within a few months, becoming disgusted with the Huguenots, he went over to the papal side, and in the second civil war was found fighting against his former associates.[102] Meantime, his brief connection with the Huguenots was a blot upon their escutcheon all the more noticeable because of the prevailing purity;[103] and the injury he inflicted upon the cause of Protestantism far more than cancelled the services he rendered at Lyons and elsewhere. At Pierrelate he permitted his soldiers to take signal vengeance on the garrison for the recent massacre. At Mornas the articles of the capitulation, by which the lives of the besieged were guaranteed, were not observed; for the Protestant soldiers[Pg 51] from Orange, recognizing among them the perpetrators of the crimes which had turned their homes into a howling desert, fell upon them and were not—perhaps could not be—restrained by their leader.[104] The fatal example of Orange was but too faithfully copied, and precipitating the prisoners from the summit of a high rock became the favorite mode of execution.[105] Only one of the unfortunates, who happened to break his fall by catching hold of a wild fig-tree growing cut of the side of the cliff, was spared by his enemies.[106] A number of the naked corpses were afterward placed in an open boat without pilot or tiller, and suffered to float down the Rhône with a banner on which were written these words: "O men of Avignon! permit the bearers to pass, for they have paid the toll at Mornas."[107]

Blaise de Montluc.
Massacre at Toulouse.

The atrocities of Des Adrets and his soldiers in the East were, however, surpassed by those which Blaise de Montluc inflicted upon the Huguenots of the West, or which took place under his sanction. His memoirs, which are among the most authentic materials for the history of the wars in which he took part, present him to us as a remorseless soldier, dead to all feelings of sympathy with human distress,[Pg 52] glorying in having executed more Huguenots than any other royal lieutenant in France,[108] pleased to have the people call the two hangmen whom he used to take about with him his "lackeys."[109] It is not surprising that, under the auspices of such an officer, fierce passions should have had free play. At Toulouse, the seat of the most fanatical parliament in France, a notable massacre took place. Even in this hot-bed of bigotry the reformed doctrines had made rapid and substantial progress, and the great body of the students in the famous law-school, as well of the municipal government, were favorable to their spread.[110] The common people, however, were as virulent in their hostility as the parliament itself. They had never been fully reconciled to the publication of the Edict of January, and had only been restrained from interference with the worship of the Protestants by the authority of the government. Of late the Huguenots had discovered on what treacherous ground they stood. A funeral procession of theirs had been attacked, and several persons had been murdered. A massacre had been perpetrated in the city of Cahors, not far distant from them. In both cases the entire authority of parliament had been exerted to shield the guilty. The Huguenots, therefore, resolved to forestall disaster by throwing Toulouse into the hands of Condé, and succeeded so far as to introduce some companies of soldiers within the walls and to seize the "hôtel de ville." They had, however, miscalculated their strength. The Roman Catholics were more numerous, and after repeated con[Pg 53]flicts they were able to demand the surrender of the building in which the Protestants had intrenched themselves. Destitute alike of provisions and of the means of defence, and menaced with the burning of their retreat, the latter accepted the conditions offered, and—a part on the day before Pentecost, a part after the services of that Sunday, one of the chief festivals of the Reformed Church—they retired without arms, intending to depart for more hospitable cities. Scarce, however, had the last detachment left the walls, when the tocsin was sounded, and their enemies, respecting none of their promises, involved them in a horrible carnage. It was the opinion of the best informed that in all three thousand persons perished on both sides during the riot at Toulouse, of whom by far the greater number were Huguenots. Even this effusion of blood was not sufficient. The next day Montluc appeared in the city. And now, encouraged by his support, the Parliament of Toulouse initiated a system of judicial inquiries which were summary in their character, and rarely ended save in the condemnation of the accused. Within three months two hundred persons were publicly executed. The Protestant leader was quartered. The parliament vindicated its orthodoxy by the expulsion of twenty-two counsellors suspected of a leaning to the Reformation; and informers were allured by bribes, as well as frightened by ecclesiastical menaces, in order that the harvest of confiscation might be the greater.[111]

Such were the deeds which the Roman Catholics of southern France have up to our times commemorated by centenary celebrations;[112] such the pious achievements for which Blaise de[Pg 54] Montluc received from Pope Pius the Fourth the most lavish praise as a zealous defender of the Catholic faith.[113]

Foreign alliances sought.

Meanwhile, about Paris and Orleans the war lagged. Both sides were receiving reinforcements. The ban and rear-ban were summoned in the king's name, and a large part of the levies joined Condé as the royal representative in preference to Navarre and the triumvirate.[114] Charles the Ninth and Catharine had consented to publish a declaration denying Condé's allegation that they were held in duress.[115] The Guises had sent abroad to Spain, to Germany, to the German cantons of Switzerland, to Savoy, to the Pope. Philip, after the abundant promises with which he had encouraged the French papists to enter upon the war, was not quite sure whether he had better answer the calls now made upon him. He was by no means confident that the love of country of the French might not, after all, prove stronger than the discord engendered by their religious differences, and their hatred of the Spaniard than their hatred of their political rivals.[116] "Those stirrings," writes Sir Thomas Chaloner from Spain, "have here gevyn matter of great consultation day by day to this king and counsaile. One wayes they devise howe the Gwisans may be ayded and assisted by them,[Pg 55] esteming for religion sake that the prevaylment of that syde importithe them as the ball of theire eye. Another wayes they stand in a jelousie whither theis nombers thus assembled in Fraunce, may not possibly shake hands, and sett upon the Lowe Countries or Navarre, both peecs, upon confidence of the peace, now being disprovided of garisons. So ferfurthe as they here repent the revocation of the Spanish bands owt of Flanders.... So as in case the new bushops against the people's mynd shall need be enstalled, the Frenche had never such an opertunyte as they perchauns should fynd at this instant."[117] To the Duke of Würtemberg the Guises had induced Charles and Catharine to write, throwing the blame of the civil war entirely upon Condé;[118] but Christopher, this time at least, had his eyes wide open, and his reply was not only a pointed refusal to join in the general crusade against the Calvinists, but a noble plea in behalf of toleration and clemency.[119]

Queen Elizabeth's aid invoked.

The Huguenots, on the other hand, had rather endeavored to set themselves right in public estimation and to prepare the way for future calls for assistance, than made any present requisitions. Elizabeth's ambassador, Throkmorton, had been carefully instructed as to the danger that overhung his mistress with all the rest of Protestant Christendom. He wrote to her that the plot was a general one, including England. "It may please your Majesty the papists, within these two days at Sens in Normandy, have slain and hurt two hundred persons—men and women. Your Majesty may perceive how dangerous it is to suffer papists that be of great heart and enterprise to lift up their crests so high."[120] In another despatch he warned her of her danger. "It standeth your Majesty upon, for the conservation of your realm in the good terms it is in (thanks be to God), to countenance the Protestants as much as you may, until they be set afoot again, I mean in this realm; for here dependeth the great sway of that matter."[121]

[Pg 56]

Cecil's urgency and schemes.
Divided sympathies of the English.

Cecil himself adopted the same views, and urged them upon Elizabeth's attention. Not succeeding in impressing her according to his wish, he resorted to extraordinary measures to compass the end. He instructed Mundt, his agent in Germany, to exert himself to induce the Protestant princes to send "special messengers" to England and persuade Elizabeth to join in "a confederacy of all parts professing the Gospel." In fact, the cunning secretary of state went even farther, and dictated to Mundt just what he should write to the queen. He was to tell her Majesty "that if she did not attempt the furtherance of the Gospel in France, and the keeping asunder of France and Spain, she would be in greater peril than any other prince in Christendom," for "the papist princes that sought to draw her to their parts meant her subversion"—a truth which, were she to be informed of by any of the German princes, might have a salutary effect.[122] But the vacillating queen could not be induced as yet to take the same view, and needed the offer of some tangible advantages to move her. No wonder that Elizabeth's policy halted. Every occurrence across the channel was purposely misrepresented by the emissaries of Philip, and the open sympathizers of the Roman Catholic party at the English court were almost more numerous than the hearty Protestants. A few weeks later, a correspondent of Throkmorton wrote to him from home: "Here are daily bruits given forth by the Spanish ambassador, as it is thought, far discrepant from such as I learn are sent from your lordship, and the papists have so great a voice here as they have almost as much credit, the more it is to be lamented. I have not, since I came last over, come in any company where almost the greater part have not in reasoning defended papistry, allowed the Guisians' proceedings, and seemed to deface the prince's quarrel and design. How dangerous this is your lordship doth see."[123] The Swiss Protestant cantons were reluctant to appear to countenance rebellion. Berne sent a few ensigns to Lyons at the request of the Protestants of that city, but wished[Pg 57] to limit them strictly to the defensive, and subsequently she yielded to the urgency of the Guises and recalled them altogether.[124] But as yet no effort was made by Condé to call in foreign assistance. The reluctance of Admiral Coligny, while it did honor to the patriotism which always moved him, seems to have led him to commit a serious mistake. The admiral hoped and believed that the Huguenots would prove strong enough to succeed without invoking foreign assistance; moreover, he was unwilling to set the first example of bringing in strangers to arbitrate concerning the domestic affairs of France.[125] And, indeed, had his opponents been equally patriotic, it is not improbable that his expectation would have been realized. For, if inferior to the enemy in infantry, the Huguenots, through the great preponderance of noblemen and gentlemen in their army, were at first far superior in cavalry.

Diplomatic manœuvres.

The beaten path of diplomatic manœuvre was first tried. Four times were messengers sent to Condé, in the king's name, requiring his submission. Four times he responded that he could not lay down his arms until Guise should have retired from court and been punished for the massacre of Vassy, until the constable and Saint André should have returned to their governments, leaving the king his personal liberty, and until the Edict of January should be fully re-established.[126] These demands the opposing party were unwilling to concede. It is true that a pretence was made of granting the last point, and, on the eleventh of April, an edict, ostensibly in confirmation of that of January, was signed by Charles, by the advice of Catharine, the King of Navarre, the Cardinals of Bourbon and Guise, the Duke of Guise, the constable, and Aumale. But there was a glaring contradiction between the two laws, for Paris was ex[Pg 58]pressly excepted from the provisions. In or around the capital no exercises of the reformed religion could be celebrated.[127] Such was the trick by which the triumvirs hoped to take the wind out of the confederates' sails. Though the concession could not be accepted by the Protestants, it might be alleged to show foreigners the unreasonableness of Condé and his supporters. Meantime, in reply to the prince's declaration as to the causes for which he had taken up arms, the adherents of Guise published in their own vindication a paper, wherein they gravely asserted that, but for the duke's timely arrival, fifteen hundred Huguenots, gathered from every part of the kingdom, would have entered Paris, and, with the assistance of their confederates within the walls, would have plundered the city.[128]

The month of May witnessed the dreary continuation of the same state of things. On the first, Condé wrote to the queen mother, reiterating his readiness to lay down the arms he had assumed in the king's defence and her's, on the same conditions as before. On the fourth, Charles, Catharine, and Antoine replied, refusing to dismiss the Guises or to restore the Edict of January in reference to Paris, but, at the same time, inviting the prince to return to court, and promising that, after he should have submitted, and the revolted cities should have been restored to their allegiance, the triumvirs would retire to their governments.[129]

On the same day two petitions were presented to Charles. Both were signed by Guise, Montmorency, and Saint André. In the first they prayed his Majesty to interdict the exercise of every other religion save the "holy Apostolic and Roman," and require that all royal officers should conform to that religion or forfeit their positions; to compel the heretics to restore the churches which had been destroyed; to punish the sacrilegious; to declare rebels all who persisted in retaining arms without[Pg 59] permission of the King of Navarre. Under these conditions they would consent, they said, to leave France—nay, to go to the ends of the world. In the second petition they demanded the submission of the confederates of Orleans, the restitution of the places which had been seized, the exaction of an oath to observe the royal edicts, both new and old, and the enforcement of the sole command of Navarre over the French armies.[130]

Condé's reply to the pretended petition.

Condé's reply (May twentieth) was the most bitter, as well as the ablest and most vigorous paper of the initiatory stage of the war. It well deserves a careful examination. The pretended petition, Louis of Bourbon wrote to the queen mother, any one can see, even upon a cursory perusal, to be in effect nothing else than a decree concocted by the Duke of Guise, Constable Montmorency, and Marshal Saint André, with the assistance of the papal legate and nuncio and the ministers of foreign states. Ambition, not zeal for the faith, is the motive. In order to have their own way, not only do the signers refuse to have a prince of the blood near the monarch, but they intend removing and punishing all the worthy members of the royal privy council, beginning with Michel de l'Hospital, the chancellor. In point of fact, they have already made a ridiculous appointment of six new counsellors. The queen mother is to be banished to Chenonceaux, there to spend her time in laying out her gardens. La Roche-sur-Yon will be sent elsewhere. New instructors are to be placed around the king to teach him riding, jousting, the art of love—anything, in short, to divert his mind from religion and the art of reigning well. The conspiracy is more dangerous than the conspiracy of Sulla or Cæsar, or that of the Roman triumvirs. Its authors point to their titles, and allege the benefits they have conferred; but their boasts may easily be answered by pointing to their insatiable avarice, and to the princely revenues they have accumulated during their long connection with the public administration. They speak of the present dangerous state of the country. What was it before the massacre of Vassy? After the publication of the Edict of January universal peace prevailed.[Pg 60] That peace these very petitioners disturbed. What means the coalition of the constable and Marshal Saint André? What mean the barbarities lately committed in Paris, but that the peace was to be broken by violent means? As to the obedience the petitioners profess to exhibit to the queen, they showed her open contempt when they refused to go to the provinces which they governed under the king's orders; when they came to the capital contrary to her express direction, and that in arms; when by force they dragged the king, her son, and herself from Fontainebleau to the Louvre. They have accused the Huguenots of treating the king as a prisoner, because these desire that the decree drawn up by the advice of the three estates of the realm should be made irrevocable until the majority of Charles the Ninth; but how was it when three persons, of whom one is a foreigner and the other two are servants of the crown, dictate a new edict, and wish that edict to be absolutely irrevocable? There is no need of lugging the Roman Catholic religion into the discussion, and undertaking its defence, for no one has thought of attacking it. The demand made by the petitioners for a compulsory subscription to certain articles of theirs is in opposition to immemorial usage; for no subscription has ever been exacted save to the creed of the Apostles. It is a second edict, and in truth nothing else than the introduction of that hateful Spanish inquisition. Ten thousand nobles and a hundred thousand soldiers will not be compelled either by force or by authority to affix their signatures to it. But, to talk of enforcing submission to a Roman Catholic confession is idle, so long as the Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine do not retract their own adhesion to the Augsburg Confession lately given in with such protestations to a German prince. The charge of countenancing the breaking of images the prince would answer by pointing to the penalties he has inflicted in order to repress the irregularity. And yet, if it come to the true desert of punishment, what retribution ought not to be meted out for the crimes perpetrated by the petitioners, or under their auspices and after their examples, at Vassy, at Sens, at Paris, at Toulouse, and in so many other places? For the author of the petition should have remembered that it is nowhere written that a dead image[Pg 61] ever cried for vengeance; but the blood of man—God's living image—demands it of heaven, and draws it down, though it tarry long. As for the accusation brought against Condé and the best part of the French nobility, that they are rebels, the prince hopes soon to meet his accusers in the open field and there decide the question whether a foreigner and two others of such a station as they are shall undertake to judge a prince of the blood. To allege Navarre's authority comes with ill-grace from men who wronged that king so openly during the late reign of Francis the Second. Finally, the Prince of Condé would set over against the petition of the triumvirate, one of his own, containing for its principal articles that the Edict of January, which his enemies seek to overturn, shall be observed inviolate; that all the king's subjects of every order and condition shall be maintained in their rights and privileges; that the professors of the reformed faith shall be protected until the majority of Charles; that arms shall be laid down on either side; above all, that foreign arms, which he himself, so far from inviting to France, has, up to the present moment, steadfastly declined when voluntarily offered, and which he will never resort to unless compelled by his enemies, shall be banished from the kingdom.[131]

Third National Synod.

While the clouds of war were thus gathering thick around Orleans, within its walls a synod of the reformed churches of France had assembled on the twenty-fifth of April, to deliberate of matters relating to their religious interests. Important questions of discipline were discussed and settled, and a day of public fasting and prayer was appointed in view of the danger of a declared civil war.[132] [Pg 62]

Interview of Catharine and Condé.

The actual war was fast approaching. The army of the Guises, under the nominal command of the King of Navarre, was now ready to march in the direction of Orleans. Before setting out, however, the triumvirs resolved to make sure of their hold upon the capital, and royal edicts (of the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh of May) were obtained ordering the expulsion from Paris of all known Protestants.[133] Then, with an army of four thousand foot and three thousand horse, the King of Navarre marched toward the city of Châteaudun.[134] On hearing of the movement of his brother's forces, the Prince of Condé advanced to meet him at the head of six thousand foot and two thousand horse. There were those, however, who still believed it to be possible to avert a collision and settle the matters in dispute by amicable discussion. Of this number was Catharine de' Medici. Hastily leaving the castle of Vincennes, she hurried to the front, and at the little town of Toury, between the two armies, she brought about an interview between Condé, the King of Navarre, and herself. Such was the imbittered feeling supposed to animate both sides, that the escorts of the two princes had been strictly enjoined to avoid approaching each other, lest they should be tempted to indulge in insulting remarks, and from these come to blows. But, to the great surprise of all, they had no sooner met than papist and Huguenot rushed into each other's arms and embraced as friends long separated. While the principals were discussing the terms of union, their followers had already expressed by action the accord reigning in their hearts, and the white cloaks of Condé's attendants were to be seen indiscriminately mingled with the crimson cloaks of his brother's escort. Yet, after all, the interview came to nothing. Neither side could accept the only terms the other would offer, and Catharine returned disappointed to Paris, to be greeted by the populace with the most insulting language[Pg 63] for imperilling the orthodoxy of the kingdom.[135] Not, however, altogether despairing of effecting a reconciliation, Condé addressed a letter to the King of Navarre, entreating him, before it should be too late, to listen to his brotherly arguments. The answer came in a new summons to lay down his arms.[136]

The "loan" of Beaugency.

Yet, while they had no desire for a reconciliation on any such terms as the Huguenots could accept, there were some substantial advantages which the Roman Catholic leaders hoped to reap under cover of fresh negotiations. All the portion of the valley of the Loire lying nearest to Paris was in the hands of the confederates of Orleans. It was impossible for Navarre to reach the southern bank, except by crossing below Amboise, and thus exposing the communications of his army with Paris to be cut off at any moment. To attain his end with less difficulty, Antoine now sent word to his brother that he was disposed to conclude a peace, and proposed a truce of six days. Meanwhile, he requested Condé to gratify him by the "loan" of the town of Beaugency, a few miles below Orleans, where he might be more comfortably lodged than in his present inconvenient quarters. The request was certainly sufficiently novel, but that it was granted by Condé may appear even more strange.

Futile negotiations.

This was not the only act of folly in which the Huguenot leaders became involved. Under pretence of showing their readiness to contribute their utmost to the re-establishment of peace, the constable, Guise, and Saint André, after obtaining a declaration from Catharine and Antoine that their voluntary retreat would do no prejudice to their honor,[137] retired from the royal court, but went no farther than the neighboring city of Châteaudun. The Prince of Condé, swallowing the bait, did not hesitate a moment to place himself, the very next day, in the hands of the queen mother and his brother, and was led more like a captive than a freeman from Beaugency to Talsy,[Pg 64] where Catharine was staying. Becoming alarmed, however, at his isolated situation, he wrote to his comrades in arms, and within a few hours so goodly a company of knights appeared, with Coligny, Andelot, Prince Porcien, La Rochefoucauld, Rohan, and other distinguished nobles at their head, that any treacherous plans that may have been entertained by the wily Italian princess were rendered entirely futile. She resolved, therefore, to entrap them by soft speeches. With that utter disregard for consistency so characteristic both of her actions and of her words, Catharine publicly[138] thanked the Huguenot lords for the services they had rendered the king, who would never cease to be grateful to them, and recognized, for her own part, that her son and she herself owed to them the preservation of their lives. But, after this flattering preamble, she proceeded to make the unpalatable proposition that they should consent to the repeal of the edict so far as Paris was concerned, under the guarantee of personal liberty, but without permission to hold public religious worship. The prince and his associates could listen to no such terms. Indeed, carried away by the fervor of their zeal, they protested that, rather than surrender the rights of their brethren, they would leave the kingdom. "We shall willingly go into exile," they said, "if our absence will conduce to the restoration of public tranquillity." This assurance was just what Catharine had been awaiting. To the infinite surprise of the speakers themselves, she told them that she appreciated their disinterested motives, and accepted their offer; that they should have safe-conducts to whatever land they desired to visit, with full liberty to sell their goods and to receive their incomes; but that their voluntary retirement would last only until the king's majority, which would be declared so soon as he had completed his fourteenth year![139] It needs scarcely be said that, awkward as was the pre[Pg 65]dicament in which they had placed themselves, the prince and his companions had little disposition to follow out Catharine's plan. On their return to the Protestant camp, the clamor of the soldiers against any further exposure of the person of their leader to peril, and the opportune publication of an intercepted letter said to have been written by the Duke of Guise to his brother, the Cardinal of Lorraine, on the eve of his departure for Châteaudun, and disclosing treacherous designs,[140] decided the Huguenot leaders to break off the negotiations.[141]

The long period of comparative inaction was now succeeded by a spasmodic effort at energetic conduct. The six days' truce had scarcely expired when the prince resolved to throw himself unexpectedly upon the neighboring camp of the Roman Catholics, before Montmorency, Guise, and Saint André had resumed their accustomed posts. One of those nocturnal attacks, which, under the name of camisades, figure so frequently in the military history of the period, was secretly organized, and the Protestant soldiers, wearing white shirts over their armor, in order that they might easily recognize each other in the darkness of the night, started with alacrity, under D'Andelot's command, on the exciting adventure. But their guides were treacherous, or unskilful, and the enterprise came to naught.[142] Disappointed in this attempt, and unable to force the enemy to give battle,[Pg 66] Condé turned his attention to Beaugency, which the King of Navarre had failed to restore, and carried it by storm. He would gladly have followed up the advantage by laying siege to Blois and Tours, which the triumvirate had taken and treated with the utmost cruelty; but heavy rains, and the impossibility of carrying on military operations on account of the depth of the mud, compelled him to relinquish his project, and reduced the main army to renewed inactivity.[143]

The protracted delays and inexcusable sluggishness of the leaders had borne their natural fruits. Many of the Protestant gentlemen had left the camp in disgust at the mistakes committed; others had retired to their homes on hearing that their families were exposed to the dangers of war and stood in need of their protection; a few had been corrupted by the arts of the enemy. For it was a circumstance often noticed by contemporaries, that no envoy was ever sent from Orleans to the court who did not return, if not demoralized, yet so lukewarm as to be incapable of performing any good service in future.[144] Yet the dispersion of the higher rank of the reformed soldiers, and the consequent weakening of Condé's army in cavalry, were attended with this incidental advantage, that they contributed greatly to the strengthening of the party in the provinces, and necessitated a similar division of the opposing forces.[145]

Huguenot discipline.

Never, perhaps, was there an army that exhibited such excellent discipline as did the army of the Protestants in this the first stage of its warfare. Never had the morals and religion of soldiers been better cared for. It was the testimony of a soldier, one of the most accomplished and philosophical writers of his times—the brave "Bras de Fer"—that the preaching of the Gospel was the great instrument of imbu[Pg 67]ing the army with the spirit of order. Crimes, he tells us, were promptly revealed; no blasphemy was heard throughout the camp, for it was universally frowned upon. The very implements of gambling—dice and cards—were banished. There were no lewd women among the camp-followers. Thefts were unfrequent and vigorously punished. A couple of soldiers were hung for having robbed a peasant of a small quantity of wine.[146] Public prayers were said morning and evening; and, instead of profane or indelicate songs, nothing was heard but the psalms of David. Such were the admirable fruits of the careful discipline of Admiral Coligny, the true leader of the Protestant party; and they made a deep impression upon such enthusiastic youths as François de la Noue and Téligny. Their more experienced author, however, was not imposed upon by these flattering signs. "It is a very fine thing," he told them, "if only it last; but I much fear that these people will spend all their goodness at the outset, and that, two months hence, nothing will remain but malice. I have long commanded infantry, and I know that it often verifies the proverb which says: 'Of a young hermit, an old devil!' If this army does not, we shall give it a good mark."[147] The prediction was speedily realized; for, although the army of the prince never sought to rival the papal troops in the extent of its license, the standard of soldierly morality was far below that which Coligny had desired to establish.[148]

Severities of the parliament.

So far as cruelty was concerned, everything in the conduct of their antagonists was calculated to provoke the Protestants to bitter retaliation. The army of Guise was merciless. If the infuriated Huguenots selected the priests that fell into their hands for the especial monuments of their retribution, it[Pg 68] was because the priesthood as a body had become the instigators of savage barbarity, instead of being the ministers of peace; because when they did not, like Ronsard the poet, themselves buckle on the sword, or revel in blood, like the monks of Saint Calais,[149] they still fanned, as they had for years been fanning, the flame of civil war, denouncing toleration or compromise, wielding the weapons of the church to enforce the pious duty of exterminating every foul calumny invented to the disadvantage of the reformers. No wonder, then, that the ecclesiastical dress itself became the badge of deadly and irreconcilable hostility, and that in the course of this unhappy war many a priest was cut down without any examination into his private views or personal history. Parliament, too, was setting the example of cruelty by reckless orders amounting almost to independent legislation. By a series of "arrêts" succeeding each other rapidly in the months of June and July, the door was opened wider and wider for popular excess. When the churches of Meaux were visited by an iconoclastic rabble on the twenty-sixth of June, the Parisian parliament, on the thirtieth of June, employed the disorder as the pretext of a judicial "declaration" that made the culprits liable to all the penalties of treason, and permitted any one to put them to death without further authorization. The populace of Paris needed no fuller powers to attack the Huguenots, for, within two or three days, sixty men and women had been killed, robbed, and thrown into the river. Parliament, therefore, found it convenient to terminate the massacre by a second order restricting the application of the declaration to persons taken in the very act.[150] A few days later (July, 1562), other arrêts empowered all inhabitants of towns and villages to take up[Pg 69] arms against those who molested priests, sacked churches, or "held conventicles and unlawful assemblies," whether public or secret; and to arrest the ministers, deacons, and other ecclesiastical functionaries for trial, as guilty of treason against God as well as man.[151] Not content with these appeals to popular passion,[152] however, the Parisian judges soon gave practical exemplifications of their intolerant principles; for two royal officers—the "lieutenant general" of Pontoise, and the "lieutenant" of Senlis—were publicly hung; the former for encouraging the preaching of God's word "in other form than the ancient church" authorized, the latter for "celebrating the Lord's Supper according to the Genevese fashion." These were, according to the curate of St. Barthélemi, the first executions at Paris for the simple profession of "Huguenoterie" since the pardon proclaimed by Francis the Second at Amboise.[153] A few days later,[Pg 70] a new and more explicit declaration pronounced all those who had taken up arms, robbed churches and monasteries, and committed other sacrilegious acts at Orleans, Lyons, Rouen, and various other cities mentioned by name, to be rebels, and deprived them of all their offices. Yet, by way of retaliation upon Condé for maintaining that he had entered upon the war in order to defend the persons of the king and his mother, unjustly deprived of their liberty, parliament pretended to regard the prince himself as an unwilling captive in the hands of the confederates; and, consequently, excepted him alone from the general attainder.[154] But the legal fiction does not seem to have been attended with the great success its projectors anticipated.[155] The people could scarcely credit the statement that the war was waged by the Guises simply for the liberation of their mortal enemy, Condé, especially when Condé himself indignantly repelled the attempt to separate him from the associates with whom he had entered into common engagements, not to add that the reputation of the Lorraine family, whose mouthpiece parliament might well be supposed to be, was not over good for strict adherence to truth.

Meanwhile the triumvirs were more successful in their military operations than the partisans of the prince. Their auxiliaries came in more promptly, for the step which Condé now saw himself forced to take, in consequence of his opponents' course, they had long since resolved upon. They had received reinforcements from Germany, both of infantry and cavalry,[Pg 71] under command of the Rhinegrave Philip of Salm and the Count of Rockendorf; while Condé had succeeded in detaching but few of the Lutheran troopers by a manifesto in which he endeavored to explain the true nature of the struggle. Soldiers from the Roman Catholic cantons had been allowed a free passage through the Spanish Franche-Comté by the regent of the Low Countries, Margaret of Parma. The Pope himself contributed liberally to the supply of money for paying the troops.[156] But the Protestant reinforcements from the Palatinate and Zweibrücken (Deux-Ponts), and from Hesse, which D'Andelot, and, after him, Gaspard de Schomberg, had gone to hasten, were not yet ready; while Elizabeth still hesitated to listen to the solicitations of Briquemault and Robert Stuart, the Scotchman, who had been successively sent to her court.[157]

Military successes of the triumvirs.
Fall of Bourges.

After effecting the important capture of the city of Poitiers, Marshal Saint André, at the head of a Roman Catholic army, had marched, about the middle of August, toward Bourges, perhaps the most important place held by the Protestants in central France. Beneath the walls of this city he joined the main army, under Navarre's nominal command, but really led by the Duke of Guise. The siege was pressed with vigor, for the king was present in person with the "Guisards." To the handful of Huguenots their assailants appeared to be "a marvellous army of French, Germans, reiters, Spaniards, and other nations, numbering in all eighty or a hundred thousand men, with the bravest cavalry that could be seen."[158] And, when twenty or twenty-five cannon opened upon Bourges with balls of forty or fifty pounds' weight, and when six hundred and forty discharges were counted on a single day, and every building in the town was shaken to its very foundations, the besieged, numbering only a few hundred[Pg 72] men, would have been excusable had they lost heart. Instead of this, they obstinately defended their works, repaired the breach by night, and inflicted severe injury on the enemy by nocturnal sallies. To add to the duke's embarrassment, Admiral Coligny, issuing from Orleans, was fortunate enough to cut off an important convoy of provisions and ammunition coming from Paris to the relief of the besiegers.[159] Despairing of taking the city by force, they now turned to negotiation. Unhappily, M. d'Ivoy, in command of the Huguenot garrison, was not proof against the seductive offers made him. Disregarding the remonstrances of his companions in arms, who pointed to the fact that the enemy had from day to day, through discouragement or from sheer exhaustion, relaxed their assaults, he consented (on the thirty-first of August) to surrender Bourges to the army that had so long thundered at its gates. D'Ivoy returned to Orleans, but Condé, accusing him of open perfidy, refused to see him; while the Protestants of[Pg 73] Bourges shared the usual fate of those who trusted the promises of the Roman Catholic leaders, and secured few of the religious privileges guaranteed by the articles of capitulation.[160]

With the fall of Bourges, the whole of central France, as far as to the gates of Orleans, yielded to the arms of Guise. Everywhere the wretched inhabitants of the reformed faith were compelled to submit to gross indignities, or seek safety in flight. To many of these homeless fugitives the friendly castle of Montargis, belonging to the Duchess of Ferrara, to which reference will shortly be made, afforded a welcome refuge.[161]

Help from Queen Elizabeth.

The necessity of obtaining immediate reinforcements had at length brought Condé and the other great Huguenot lords to acquiesce in the offer of the only terms upon which Elizabeth of England could be persuaded to grant them actual support. As the indispensable condition to her interference, she demanded that the cities of Havre and Dieppe should be placed in her hands. These would be a pledge for the restoration of Calais, that old English stronghold which had fallen into the power of the French during the last war, and for whose restoration within eight years there had been an express stipulation in the treaties Cateau-Cambrésis. This humiliating concession the Huguenots reluctantly agreed to make. Elizabeth in turn promised to send six thousand English troops (three thousand to guard each of the cities), who should serve[Pg 74] under the command of Condé as the royal lieutenant, and pledged her word to lend the prince and his associates one hundred and forty thousand crowns toward defraying the expenses of the war.[162] On the twentieth of September the Queen of England published to the world a declaration of the motives that led her to interfere, alleging in particular the usurpation of the royal authority by the Guises, and the consequent danger impending over the Protestants of Normandy through the violence of the Duke of Aumale.[163]

The tidings of the alliance and of some of its conditions had already reached France, and they rather damaged than furthered the Protestant cause. As the English queen's selfish determination to confine her assistance to the protection of the three cities became known, it alarmed even her warmest friends among the French Protestants. Condé and Coligny earnestly begged the queen's ambassador to tell his mistress that "in case her Majesty were introduced by their means into Havre, Dieppe, and Rouen with six thousand men, only to keep those places, it would be unto them a great note of infamy." They would seem wantonly to have exposed to a foreign prince the very flower of Normandy, in giving into her hands cities which they felt themselves quite able to defend without assistance. So clearly did Throkmorton foresee the disastrous consequences of this course, that, even at the risk of offending the queen by his presumption, he took the liberty to warn her that if she suffered the Protestants of France[Pg 75] to succumb, with minds so alienated from her that they should consent to make an accord with the opposite faction, the possession of the cities would avail her but little against the united forces of the French. He therefore suggested that it might be quite as well for her Majesty's interests, "that she should serve the turn of the Huguenots as well as her own."[164] Truly, Queen Elizabeth was throwing away a glorious opportunity of displaying magnanimous disinterestedness, and of conciliating the affection of a powerful party on the continent. In the inevitable struggle between Protestant England and papal Spain, the possession of such an ally as the best part of France would be of inestimable value in abridging the contest or in deciding the result. But the affection of the Huguenots could be secured by no such cold-blooded compact as that which required them to appear in the light of an unpatriotic party whose success would entail the dismemberment of the kingdom. To make such a demand at the very moment when her own ambassador was writing from Paris that the people "did daily most cruelly use and kill every person, no age or sex excepted, that they took to be contrary to their religion," was to show but too clearly that not religious zeal nor philanthropic tenderness of heart, so much as pure selfishness, was the motive influencing her.[165] And yet the English queen was not uninformed of, nor wholly insensible to, the calls of humanity. She could in fact, on occasion, herself set them forth with force and pathos. Nothing[Pg 76] could surpass the sympathy expressed in her autograph letter to Mary of Scots, deprecating the resentment of the latter at Elizabeth's interference—a letter which, as Mr. Froude notices, was not written by Cecil and merely signed by the queen, but was her own peculiar and characteristic composition. "Far sooner," she wrote, "would I pass over those murders on land; far rather would I leave unwritten those noyades in the rivers—those men and women hacked in pieces; but the shrieks of the strangled wives, great with child—the cries of the infants at their mothers' breasts—pierce me through. What drug of rhubarb can purge the bile which these tyrannies engender?"[166]

The news of the English alliance, although not unexpected, produced a very natural irritation at the French court. When Throkmorton applied to Catharine de' Medici for a passport to leave the kingdom, the queen persistently refused, telling him that such a document was unnecessary in his case. But she significantly volunteered the information that "some of his nation had lately entered France without asking for passports, who she hoped would speedily return without leave-taking!"[167]

Siege of Rouen, October.

Meanwhile the English movement rather accelerated than retarded the operations of the royal army. After the fall of Bourges, there had been a difference of opinion in the council whether Orleans or Rouen ought first to be attacked. Orleans was the centre of Huguenot activity, the heart from which the currents of life flowed to the farthest extremities of Gascony and Languedoc; but it was strongly fortified, and would be defended by a large and intrepid garrison. A siege was more likely to terminate disastrously to the assailants than to the citizens and Protestant troops. The admiral laughed at the attempt to attack a city which could throw three thousand men into the breach.[168] Rouen, on the contrary, was weak, and, if attacked before reinforcements were received from England,[Pg 77] but feebly garrisoned. Yet it was the key of the valley of the Seine, and its possession by the Huguenots was a perpetual menace of the capital.[169] So long as it was in their hands, the door to the heart of the kingdom lay wide open to the united army of French and English Protestants. Very wisely, therefore, the Roman Catholic generals abandoned their original design[170] of reducing Orleans so soon as Bourges should fall, and resolved first to lay siege to Rouen. Great reason, indeed, had the captors of such strongholds as Marienbourg, Calais, and Thionville, to anticipate that a place so badly protected, so easily commanded, and destitute of any fortification deserving the name, would yield on the first alarm.[171] It was true that a series of attacks made by the Duke of Aumale upon Fort St. Catharine, the citadel of Rouen, had been signally repulsed, and that, after two weeks of fighting, on the twelfth of July he had abandoned the undertaking.[172] But, with the more abundant resources at their command, a better result might now be expected. Siege was, therefore, a second time laid, on the twenty-ninth of September, by the King of Navarre.

The forces on the two sides were disproportionate. Navarre,[Pg 78] Montmorency, and Guise were at the head of sixteen thousand foot and two thousand horse, in addition to a considerable number of German mercenaries. Montgomery,[173] who commanded the Protestants, had barely eight hundred trained soldiers.[174] The rest of the scanty garrison was composed of those of the citizens who were capable of bearing arms, to the number of perhaps four thousand more. But this handful of men instituted a stout resistance. After frequently repulsing the assailants, the double fort of St. Catharine, situated near the Seine, on the east of the city, and Rouen's chief defence, was taken rather by surprise than by force. Yet, after this unfortunate loss, the brave Huguenots fought only with the greater desperation. Their numbers had been reinforced by the accession of some five hundred Englishmen of the first detachment of troops which had landed at Havre on the third of October, and whom Sir Adrian Poynings had assumed the responsibility of sending to the relief of the beleaguered capital of Normandy.[175] With Killigrew of Pendennis for their captain, they had taken advantage of a high tide to pass the obstructions of boats filled with stone and sand that had been sunk in the river opposite Caudebec, and, with the exception of the crew of one barge that ran ashore, and eleven of whom were hung by the Roman Catholics, "for having entered the service of the Huguenots contrary to the will of the Queen of England," they succeeded in reaching Rouen.[176]

These, however, were not the only auxiliaries upon whom the Huguenot chief could count. The women were inspired[Pg 79] with a courage that equalled, and a determination that surpassed, that of their husbands and brothers. They undertook the most arduous labors; they fought side by side on the walls; they helped to repair at night the breaches which the enemy's cannon had made during the day; and after one of the most sanguinary conflicts during the siege, it was found that there were more women killed and wounded than men. Yet the courage of the Huguenots sustained them throughout the unequal struggle. Frequently summoned to surrender, the Rouenese would listen to no terms that included a loss of their religious liberty. Rather than submit to the usurpation of the Guises, they preferred to fall with arms in their hands.[177] For fall they must. D'Andelot was on his way with the troops he had laboriously collected in Germany; another band of three thousand Englishmen was only detained by the adverse winds; Condé himself was reported on his way northward to raise the siege—but none could arrive in time. The King of Navarre had been severely wounded in the shoulder, but Guise and the constable pressed the city with no less decision. At last the walls on the side of the suburbs of St. Hilaire and Martainville were breached by the overwhelming fire of the enemy. The population of Rouen and its motley garrison, reduced in numbers, worn out with toils and vigils, and disheartened by a combat which ceased on one day only to be renewed under less favorable circumstances on the next, were no longer able to continue their heroic and almost superhuman exertions.

Fall of Rouen.
The Norman parliament.

On Monday, the twenty-sixth of October, the army of the triumvirate forced its way over the rubbish into Rouen, and the richest city of France, outside of Paris, fell an unresisting prey to the cupidity of an insubordinate soldiery. Rarely had so tempting a prize fallen into the hands of a conquering army; rarely were the exactions of war more remorsely inflicted.[178] But the barbarities of a licentious army[Pg 80] were exceeded in atrocity by the cooler deliberations of the Norman parliament. That supreme court, always inimical to the Protestants, had retired to the neighboring city of Louviers, in order to maintain itself free from Huguenot influence. It now returned to Rouen and exercised a sanguinary revenge. Augustin Marlorat, one of the most distinguished among the reformed ministers of France, and the most prominent pastor of the church of Rouen, had been thrown into prison; he was now brought before the parliament, and with others was sentenced to death as a traitor and a disturber of the public repose, then dragged on a hurdle to the place of execution and ignominiously hung.[179]

The ferocity of the Norman parliament alarming the queen mother, she interfered to secure the observance of the edict of amnesty she had recently prepared. But serious results followed in the case of two prominent partisans of Guise who had fallen into Condé's hands, and were in prison when the tidings reached Orleans. On the recommendation of his council, the prince retaliated by sending to the gallows Jean Baptiste Sapin, a member of the Parisian parliament, and the Abbé de Gastines, who had been captured while travelling in company with an envoy whom the court were sending to Spain.[180] [Pg 81]

Death of Antoine de Bourbon, King of Navarre.

The fall of Rouen was followed within a few weeks by the death of the King of Navarre. His painful wound was not, perhaps, necessarily mortal, but the restless and vainglorious prince would not remain quiet and allow it to heal. He insisted on being borne in a litter through the breach into the city which had been taken under his nominal command. It was a sort of triumphal procession, marching to the sound of cymbals, and with other marks of victory. But the idle pageant only increased the inflammation in his shoulder. Even in his sick-room he allowed himself no time for serious thought; but, prating of the orange-groves of Sardinia which he was to receive from the King of Spain, and toying with Rouhet, the beautiful maid of honor by whom Catharine had drawn him into her net, he frittered away the brief remnant of an ignoble life. When visibly approaching his end, he is said, at the suggestion of an Italian physician, to have confessed himself to a priest, and to have received the last sacraments of the Romish Church. Yet, with characteristic vacillation he listened, but a few hours later, with attention and apparent devoutness, to the reading of God's Word, and answered the remonstrances of his faithful Huguenot physician by the assurance that, if he recovered his health, he would openly espouse the Augsburg Confession, and cause the pure Gospel to be preached everywhere throughout France.[181] His death occurred[Pg 82] on the seventeenth of November, 1562, at Les Andelys, a village on the Seine. He had insisted, contrary to his friends' advice, upon being taken by boat from Rouen to St. Maur-des-Fossés, where, within a couple of leagues of Paris, he hoped to breathe a purer air; but death overtook him before he had completed half his journey.[182]

Had Antoine embraced with sincerity and steadfastly maintained either of the two phases of religious belief which divided between them the whole of western Christendom, his death would have left a void which could have been filled with difficulty. He was the first prince of the blood, and entitled to the regency. His appearance was prepossessing, his manners courteous. He was esteemed a capable general, and was certainly not destitute of administrative ability. If, with hearty devotion, he had given himself to the reformed views, the authority of his great name and eminent position might have secured for their adherents, if not triumph, at least toleration and quiet. But two capital weaknesses ruined his entire course. The love of empty glory blinded him to his true interests; and the love of sensual pleasure made him an easy dupe. He was robbed of his legitimate claims to the first rank in France by the promise of a shadowy sceptre in some distant region, which every sensible statesman of his time knew from the first that Philip the Second never had entertained the slightest intention of conferring; while, by the siren voices of her fair maids of honor, Catharine de' Medici was always sure of being able to lure[Pg 83] him on to the most humiliating concessions. Deceived by the emissaries of the Spanish king and the Italian queen mother, Antoine would have been an object rather of pity than of disgust, had he not himself played false to the friends who supported him. As it was, he passed off the stage, and scarcely left a single person to regret his departure. Huguenots and papists were alike gratified when the world was relieved of so signal an example of inconstancy and perfidy.[183] Antoine left behind him his wife, the eminent Jeanne d'Albret, and two children—a son, the Prince of Béarn, soon to appear in history as the leader of the Huguenot party, and, on the extinction of the Valois line, to succeed to the throne as Henry the Fourth; and a daughter, Catharine, who inherited all her mother's signal virtues. The widow and her children were, at the time of Antoine's death, in Jeanne's dominions on the northern slopes of the Pyrenees, whither they had retired when he had first openly gone over to the side of the Guises. There, in the midst of her own subjects, the Queen of Navarre was studying, more intelligently than any other monarch of her age, the true welfare of her people, while training her son in those principles upon which she hoped to see him lay the foundations of a great and glorious career.

The English in Havre.

The sagacity of the enemy had been well exhibited in the vigor with which they had pressed the siege of Rouen. Condé, with barely seven thousand men, had several weeks before shut himself up in Orleans, after despatching the few troops at his[Pg 84] disposal for the relief of Bourges and Rouen, and could do nothing beyond making his own position secure, while impatiently awaiting the long-expected reinforcements from England and Germany.[184] The dilatoriness that marked the entire conduct of the war up to this time had borne its natural fruit in the gradual diminution and dispersion of his forces, in the loss of one important city after another, and almost of entire provinces, and, worst of all, in the discouragement pervading all classes of the Huguenot population.[185] Now, however, he was on the eve of obtaining relief. Two days after the fall of Rouen, on the twenty-eighth of October, a second detachment of the English fleet succeeded in overcoming the contrary winds that had detained them ten days in crossing the channel, and landed three thousand troops at the port of Havre.[186] D'Andelot had finally been able to gather up his German "reiters" and "lansquenets,"[187] and was making a brilliant march through Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy, and Champagne, skilfully avoiding the enemy's forces sent out to watch and intercept him.[Pg 85][188] On the sixth of November, he presented himself before the gates of Orleans, and was received with lively enthusiasm by the prince and his small army.[189]

Now at length, on the seventh of November, Condé could leave the walls which for seven months had sheltered him in almost complete inaction, and within which a frightful pestilence had been making havoc among the flower of the chivalry of France; for, whilst fire and sword were everywhere laying waste the country, heaven had sent a subtle and still more destructive foe to decimate the wretched inhabitants. Orleans had not escaped the scourge. The city was crowded with refugees from Paris and from the whole valley of the Loire. Among these strangers, as well as among the citizens, death found many victims. In a few months it was believed that ten thousand persons perished in Orleans alone; while in Paris, where the disease raged more than an entire year, the number of deaths was much larger.[190]

Condé takes the field.

With the four thousand lansquenets and the three thousand reiters brought him from Germany,[191] Condé was able to leave a force, under command of D'Andelot, sufficient to defend the city of Orleans, and himself to take the field with an army of about fifteen thousand men.[192] "Our enemies,"[Pg 86] he said, "have inflicted two great losses upon us in taking our castles"—meaning Bourges and Rouen—"but I hope that now we shall have their knights, if they move out upon the board."[193]

As he was leaving Orleans, he was waited upon by a deputation of fifty reformed ministers, who urged him to look well to the discipline and purity of the army. They begged him, by salutary punishment, to banish from the camp theft and rapine, and, above all, that more insidious and heaven-provoking sin of licentiousness, which, creeping in, had doubtless drawn down upon the cause such marked signs of the Lord's displeasure, that, of all the congregations in France, only the churches of a few islands on the coasts, and the churches of Montauban, Havre, Orleans, Lyons, and of the cities of Languedoc[194] and Dauphiny, continued to rear their heads through the storm that had prostrated all the rest; and, to this end, they warned him by no means to neglect to afford his soldiers upon the march the same opportunities of hearing God's Word and of public prayer which they had enjoyed in Orleans.[195]

[Pg 87]

The Huguenot army directed its course northward, and the different divisions united under the walls of Pluviers, or Pithiviers, a weak place, which surrendered after six hours of cannonading, with little loss to the besieging party. The greater part of the garrison was dismissed unharmed, after having been compelled to give up its weapons. Two of the officers, as guilty of flagrant breach of faith and other crimes, were summarily hung.[196] And here the Huguenot cause was stained by an act of cruelty for which no sufficient excuse can be found. Several Roman Catholic priests, detected, in spite of their disguise, among the prisoners, were put to death, without other pretext save that they had been the chief instigators of the resistance which the town had offered. Unhappily, the Huguenot regarded the priest, and the Roman Catholic the reformed minister, as the guilty cause of the civil war, and thought it right to vent upon his head the vengeance which his own religion should have taught him to leave to the righteous retribution of a just God. After the fall of Pithiviers, no resistance was attempted by Étampes and other slightly garrisoned places of the neighborhood, the soldiers and the clergy taking refuge, before the approach of the army, in the capital.

The prince appears before Paris.

The prince was now master of the country to the very gates of Paris, and it was the opinion of many, including among them the reformer, Beza, that the city itself might be captured by a sudden advance, and the war thus ended at a blow.[197] They therefore recommended that, without delay, the army should hasten forward and attack the terrified inhabitants before Guise and the constable should have[Pg 88] time to bring the army and the king back from Normandy, where they still lingered. The view was so plausible, indeed, that it was adopted by most of the reformed historians, and, being indorsed by later writers, has caused the failure to march directly against the capital to be regarded as a signal error of Condé in this campaign. But it would certainly appear hazardous to adopt this conclusion in the face of the most skilful strategists of the age. It has already been seen that François de la Noue, one of the ablest generals of whom the Huguenots could ever boast, regarded the idea of capturing Paris at the beginning of the struggle, with the comparatively insignificant forces which the prince could bring to the undertaking, as the most chimerical that could be entertained. Was it less absurd now, when, if the Protestant army had received large accessions, the walls of Paris could certainly be held by the citizens for a few days, until an army of fully equal size, under experienced leaders, could be recalled from the lower Seine? Such, at least, was the conclusion at which Admiral Coligny, the commanding spirit in the council-chamber and the virtual head of the Huguenot army, arrived, when he calmly considered the perils of attacking, with twelve or fifteen thousand men and four pieces of artillery, the largest capital of continental Europe—a city whose population amounted to several hundred thousand souls, among whom there was now not a single avowed Protestant, and whose turbulent citizens were not unaccustomed to the use of arms. He resolved, therefore, to adopt the more practicable plan of making the city feel the pressure of the war by cutting off its supplies of provisions and by ravaging the surrounding country. Thus, Paris—"the bellows by whose blasts the war was kept in flames," and "the kitchen that fed it"—would at last become weary of sustaining in idleness an insolent soldiery, and of seeing its villages given over to destruction, and compel the king's advisers to offer just terms of peace, or to seek a solution of the present disputes on the open field.[198]

[Pg 89]

But, whatever doubt may be entertained respecting the propriety of the plan of the campaign adopted by the Prince of Condé, there can be none respecting the error committed in not promptly carrying that plan into execution. The army loitered about Étampes instead of pressing on and seizing the bridges across the Seine. Over these it ought to have crossed, and, entering the fruitful district of Brie, to have become master of the rivers by which the means of subsistence were principally brought to Paris. With Corbeil and Lagny in his possession, Condé would have held Paris in as deadly a grasp as Henry the Fourth did twenty-eight years later, when Alexander of Parma was forced to come from Flanders to its assistance.[199] When, at last, the Huguenot army took the direction of Corbeil, commanding one of the bridges, the news arrived of the death of Antoine of Navarre. And with this intelligence came fresh messengers from Catharine, who had already endeavored more than once by similar means to delay the Huguenots in their advance. She now strove to amuse Condé with the hope of succeeding his brother as lieutenant-general of the kingdom during Charles's minority.[200]

In vain did the soldiers chafe at this new check upon their en[Pg 90]thusiasm, in vain did prudent counsellors remonstrate. There was a traitor even in the prince's council, in the person of Jean de Hangest, sieur de Genlis (brother of D'Ivoy, the betrayer of Bourges), whose open desertion we shall soon have occasion to notice, and this treacherous adviser was successful in procuring a delay of four days.[201] The respite was not thrown away. Before the Huguenots were again in motion, Corbeil was reinforced and rendered impregnable against any assaults which, with their feeble artillery, they could make upon it. Repulsed from its walls, after several days wasted in the vain hope of taking it, the prince moved down the left bank of the Seine, and, on the twenty-eighth of November, encamped opposite to Paris in the villages of Gentilly and Arcueil.[202] New proffers came from Catharine; there were new delays on the road. At Port à l'Anglais a conference with Condé had been projected by the queen mother, resulting merely in one between the constable and his nephew Coligny—as fruitless as any that had preceded; for Montmorency would not hear of tolerating in France another religion besides the Roman Catholic, and the Admiral would rather die a thousand deaths than abandon the point.[203]

Under the walls of Paris new conferences took place. The Parisians worked night and day, strengthening their defences, and making those preparations which are rarely completed except under the spur of an extraordinary emergency. Meanwhile, every day brought nearer the arrival of the Spanish and Gascon auxiliaries whom they were expecting. At a windmill near the suburb of St. Marceau, the Prince of Condé, Coligny, Genlis, Grammont, and Esternay met the queen mother, the Prince of La Roche-sur-Yon, the constable, his son Marshal Montmorency, and Gonnor, at a later time known as Marshal Cossé. On both sides there were professions of the most ardent desire for peace, and "Huguenot" and "papist" embraced each other cordially at parting. But the dangerous intimacy soon bore the bitter fruit of open treachery. A camisade had been secretly planned by the Huguenots, and the attack was about to[Pg 91] be made on the enemy's works, when word was brought that one of the chiefs intrusted with the knowledge of all their plans—the same Genlis, who had been the principal advocate of the delays upon the route—had gone over to the enemy, and the enterprise was consequently abandoned.[204]

The deliberations being set on foot by the one party, at least, only in order to gain time, it is not surprising that they accomplished nothing. The court would concede none of the important demands of the prince. It was resolved to exclude Protestantism not only from Paris, but from Lyons, from all the seats of parliaments, from frontier towns, and from cities which had not enjoyed the right of having preaching according to the Edict of January. The exercises of the reformed worship could not be tolerated in any place where the court sojourned—a cunning provision which would banish from the royal presence all the princes and high nobility, such as Renée of France, Condé, and the Châtillons, since these could not consent to live without the ordinances of their faith for themselves and their families and retainers. The triumvirs would not agree to the recall of those who had been exiled. They were willing to have all proceedings against the partisans of Condé suspended; but they would neither consent that all edicts, ordinances, and sentences framed against the Huguenots be declared null and void, nor assent to the restoration of those dignities which had been taken from them. In other words, as the prince remarked, the Protestant lords were to put a halter about their own necks for their enemies to tighten whenever the fancy should take them so to do.[205]

At last the Parisian defences were completed, and the Spanish and Gascon troops, to the number of seven thousand men, arrived. Then the mask of conciliation was promptly laid[Pg 92] aside. Two weeks of precious time had been lost, the capital was beyond doubt impregnable, and the unpleasant fact stared the prince in the face that, after leaving a sufficient force to garrison it, the constable and Guise might still march out with an army outnumbering his own.[206] On the tenth of December the Huguenot army broke up its encampment, and moved in the direction of Chartres, hesitating at first whether to lay siege to that city or to press on to Normandy in order to obtain the needed funds and support of the English. The decision was made in a few days to adopt the latter course, and Condé had proceeded as far as the vicinity of Dreux on the river Eure, when he found himself confronted by the enemy, who, enjoying the advantage of possessing the cities and bridges on the route, could advance with greater ease by the principal roads. The triumvirs, so lately declining battle in front of Paris, were now as eager as they had before been reluctant to try their fortunes in the open field. No longer having the King of Navarre behind whose name and authority to take shelter, they desired to cover their designs by the queen mother's instructions. So, before bringing on the first regular engagement, in which two armies of Frenchmen were to undertake each other's destruction, they had sent Michel de Castelnau, the well-known historian, on the fifteenth of December, to inquire of Catharine de' Medici whether they should give the Huguenots battle. But the queen was too timid, or too cunning, to assume the weighty responsibility which they would have lifted from their own shoulders.[Pg 93] "Nurse," she jestingly exclaimed, when Castelnau announced his mission, calling to the king's old Huguenot foster-mother who was close at hand, "the generals have sent to ask a woman's advice about fighting; pray, what is your opinion?" And the envoy could get no more satisfactory answer than that the queen mother referred the whole matter to themselves, as experienced military men.[207]

The battle of Dreux, December 19, 1562.

On the nineteenth of December, 1562, the armies met. The enemy had that morning crossed the Eure, and posted himself with sixteen thousand foot and two thousand horse, and with twenty-two cannon, between two villages covering his wings, and with the city of Dreux and the village of Tréon behind him as points of refuge in case of defeat. The constable commanded the main body of the army. Guise, to rebut the current charge of being the sole cause of the war, affected to lead only his own company of horse in the right wing, which was under Marshal Saint André. The prince's army was decidedly inferior in numbers; for, although he had four thousand horse,[208] his infantry barely amounted to seven thousand or eight thousand men, and he had only five pieces of artillery. Yet the first movements of the Huguenots were brilliant and effective. Condé, with a body of French horse, fell upon the battalion of Swiss pikes. It was a furious onset, long remembered as one of the most magnificent cavalry charges of the age.[209] Nothing could stand before it. The solid phalanx was pierced through and through, and the German reiters, pouring into the way opened by the French, rode to and fro, making havoc of the brave but defenceless mountaineers. They even penetrated to the rear, and plundered the camp of the enemy, carrying off the plate from Guise's tent. Meanwhile Coligny was even more successful than the prince. With a part of the Huguenot right he attacked and scattered the troops[Pg 94] surrounding his uncle, the constable. In the mêlée Montmorency himself, while fighting with his usual courage, had his jaw fractured by a pistol-shot, and was taken prisoner. But now the tide turned. The Swiss, never for a moment dreaming of retreat or surrender, had promptly recovered from their confusion and closed their ranks. The German infantry, or lansquenets, were brought up to the attack, but first hesitated, and then broke before the terrible array of pikes. D'Andelot, ill with fever, had thus far been forced to remain a mere spectator of the contest. But now, seeing the soldiers whom he had been at such pains to bring to the scene of action in ignominious retreat, he threw himself on his horse and labored with desperation to rally them. His pains were thrown away. The lansquenets continued their course, and D'Andelot, who scarcely escaped falling into the enemy's hands, probably concurred in the verdict pronounced on them by a contemporary historian, that no more cowardly troops had entered the country in fifty years.[210] It was at this moment that the Duke of Guise, who had with difficulty held his impatient horse in reserve on the Roman Catholic right, gave the signal to his company to follow him, and fell upon the French infantry of the Huguenots, imprudently left unprotected by cavalry at some distance in the rear. The move was skilfully planned and well executed. The infantry were routed. Condé, coming to the rescue, was unable to accomplish anything. His horse was killed under him, and, before he could be provided with another, he was taken prisoner by Damville, a son of the constable. The German reiters now proved to be worth little more than the lansquenets. Returning from the pursuit of the fugitives of the constable's division, and perceiving the misfortunes of the infantry, they retired to the cover of a wood, and neither the prayers nor the expostulations of the admiral could prevail on them to face the enemy again that day.[211] But Guise could not follow up his advantage.[Pg 95] The battle had lasted five hours. Almost the whole of the Huguenot cavalry and the remnants of the infantry had been drawn up by Coligny in good order on the other side of a ravine; and the darkness would not allow the Duke, even had he been so disposed, to renew the engagement.[212]

On either side the loss had been severe. Marshal Saint André, Montbéron—one of the constable's sons—and many other illustrious Roman Catholics, were killed. Montmorency was a prisoner. The Huguenots, if they had lost fewer prominent men and less common soldiers, were equally deprived of their leading general. What was certain was, that the substantial fruits of victory remained in the hands of the Duke of Guise, to whom naturally the whole glory of the achievement was ascribed. For, although Admiral Coligny thought himself sufficiently strong to have attacked the enemy on the following day,[213] if he could have persuaded his crestfallen German auxiliaries to follow him, he deemed it advisable to abandon the march into Normandy—difficult under any circumstances on account of the lateness of the season—and to conduct his army back to Orleans. This, Coligny—never more skilful than in conducting the most difficult of all military operations, a retreat in the presence of an enemy—successfully accomplished.[214]

[Pg 96]

The first tidings of the battle of Dreux were brought to Paris by fugitives from the constable's corps. These announced the capture of the commanding general, and the entire rout of the Roman Catholic army. The populace, intense in its devotion to the old form of faith, and recognizing the fatal character of such a blow,[215] was overwhelmed with discouragement. But Catharine de' Medici displayed little emotion. "Very well!" she quietly remarked, "then we shall pray to God in French."[216] But the truth was soon known, and the dirge and the miserere were rapidly replaced by the loud te deum and by jubilant processions in honor of the signal success of the Roman Catholic arms.[217]

Riotous conduct of the Parisian mob.

Recovering from their panic, the Parisian populace continued to testify their unimpeachable orthodoxy by daily murders. It was enough, a contemporary writer tells us, if a boy, seeing a man in the streets, but called out, "Voylà ung Huguenot," for straightway the idle vagabonds, the pedlers, and porters would set upon him with stones. Then came out the handicraftsmen and idle apprentices with swords, and thrust him through with a thousand wounds. His dead body, having been robbed of clothes, was afterward taken possession of by troops of boys, who asked[Pg 97] nothing better than to "trail" him down to the Seine and throw him in. If the victim chanced to be a "town-dweller," the Parisians entered his house and carried off all his goods, and his wife and children were fortunate if they escaped with their lives. With the best intentions, Marshal Montmorency could not put a stop to these excesses; he scarcely succeeded in protecting the households of foreign ambassadors from being involved in the fate of French Protestants.[218] Yet the same men that were ready at any time to imbue their hands in the blood of an innocent Huguenot, were full of commiseration for a Roman Catholic felon. A shrewd murderer is said to have turned to his own advantage the religious feeling of the people who had flocked to see him executed. "Ah! my masters," he exclaimed when already on the fatal ladder, "I must die now for killing a Huguenot who despised our Lady; but as I have served our Lady always truly, and put my trust in her, so I trust now she will show some miracle for me." Thereupon, reports Sir Thomas Smith, the people began to murmur about his having to die for a Huguenot, ran to the gallows, beat the hangman, and having cut the fellow's cords, conveyed him away free.[219]

Orleans invested.
Coligny returns to Normandy.

Of the triumvirs, at whose instigation the war had arisen, one was dead,[220] a second was a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, the third—the Duke of Guise—alone remained. Navarre had died a month before. On the other hand, the Huguenots had lost their chief. Yet the war raged without cessation. As soon as the Duke of Guise had collected his army and had, at Rambouillet, explained to the king and court, who had come out to meet him, the course of recent events, he followed the Admiral toward Orleans. Invested by the king with the supreme command during the captivity of the constable, and leading a victorious army, he speedily reduced Étampes and Pithiviers, cap[Pg 98]tured by Condé on his march to Paris. Meantime, Coligny had taken a number of places in the vicinity of Orleans, and his "black riders" had become the terror of the papists of Sologne.[221] Not long after Guise's approach, fearing that his design was to besiege the city of Orleans, Coligny threw himself into it. His stay was not long, however. His German cavalry could do nothing in case of a siege, and would only be a burden to the citizens. Besides, he was in want of funds to pay them. He resolved, therefore, to strike boldly for Normandy.[222] Having persuaded the reiters to dispense with their heavy baggage-wagons,[223] which had proved so great an incumbrance on the previous march, he started from Orleans on the first of February with four thousand troopers, leaving his brother D'Andelot as well furnished as practicable to sustain the inevitable siege. The lightness of his army's equipment precluded the possibility of pursuit; its strength secured it an almost undisputed passage.[224] In a few days it had passed Dreux and the scene of the late battle, and at Dives, on the opposite side of the estuary of the Seine from Havre, had received from the English the supplies of money which they had long been desirous of finding means to convey[Pg 99] to the Huguenots.[225] The only considerable forces of the Guise faction in Normandy were on the banks of the river, too busy watching the English at Havre to be able to spare any troops to resist Coligny. Turning his attention to the western shores of the province, he soon succeeded in reducing Pont-l'Evêque, Caen, Bayeux, Saint Lo, and the prospect was brilliant of his soon being able, in conjunction with Queen Elizabeth's troops, to bring all Normandy over to the side of the prince.[226] Meanwhile, however, there were occurring in the centre of the kingdom events destined to give an entirely different turn to the relations of the Huguenots and papists in France. To these we must now direct our attention.

François de Guise, relieved of the admiral's presence, had begun the siege of Orleans four days after the departure of the latter for Normandy (on the fifth of February), and manifested the utmost determination to destroy the capital city, as it might be regarded, of the confederates. Indeed, when the court, then sojourning at Blois, in alarm at the reports sent by Marshal de Brissac from Rouen, respecting Coligny's conquests and his own impotence to oppose him, ordered Guise to abandon his undertaking and employ his forces in crushing out the flames that had so unexpectedly broken forth in Normandy, the duke declined to obey until he should have received further orders, and gave so cogent reasons for pursuing the siege, that the king and his council willingly acquiesced in his plan.[227] From his independent attitude, however, it is evident that Guise was of Pasquier's mind, and believed he had gained as much of a victory in the capture of the constable, his friend in arms, but dangerous rival at court, taken by the Huguenots at Dreux, as[Pg 100] by the capture of the Prince of Condé, his enemy, who had fallen into his hands in the same engagement.[228]

Capture of the Portereau.

The city of Orleans, on the north bank of the Loire, was protected by walls originally of no great worth, but considerably strengthened since the outbreak of the civil war. On the opposite side of the river, a suburb, known as the Portereau, was fortified by weaker walls, in front of which two large bastions had recently been erected. The suburb was connected with Orleans by means of a bridge across the Loire, of which the end toward the Portereau was defended by two towers of the old mediæval construction, known as the "tourelles," and that toward the city by the city wall and a large square tower.[229] Against the Portereau the duke directed the first assault, hoping easily to become master of it, and thence attack the city from its weakest side. His plan proved successful beyond his expectations. While making a feint of assailing with his whole army the bastion held by the Gascon infantry, he sent a party to scale the bastion guarded by the German lansquenets, who, being taken by surprise, yielded an entrance almost without striking a blow. In a few minutes the Portereau was in the hands of Guise, and the bridge was crowded with fugitives tumultuously seeking a refuge in the city. Orleans itself was nearly involved in the fate of its suburb; for the enemy, following close upon the heels of the fleeing host, was at the very threshold of the "tourelles," when D'Andelot, called from his sick-bed by the tumult, posting himself at the entrance with a few gentlemen in full armor, by hard blows beat back the troops, already sanguine of complete success.[230] A few days later the "tourelles" themselves were scaled and taken.[231]

After so poor a beginning, the small garrison of Orleans had sufficient reason to fear the issue of the trial to which they [Pg 101] were subjected. But, so far from abandoning their courage, they applied themselves with equal assiduity to their religious and to their military duties. "In addition to the usual sermons and the prayers at the guard-houses, public extraordinary prayers were made at six o'clock in the morning; at the close of which the ministers and the entire people, without exception, betook themselves to work with all their might upon the fortifications, until four in the evening, when every one again attended prayers." Everywhere the utmost devotion was manifested, women of all ranks sharing with their husbands and brothers in the toils of the day, or, if too feeble for these active exertions, spending their time in tending the sick and wounded.[232]

"A new and very terrible device."

Not only did the Huguenots, when they found their supply of lead falling short, make their cannon-balls of bell-metal—of which the churches and monasteries were doubtless the source—and of brass, but they turned this last material to a use till now, it would appear, unheard of. "I have learned this day, the fifteenth instant, of the Spaniards," wrote the English ambassador from the royal court, which was at a safe distance, in the city of Blois, "that they of Orleans shoot brass which is hollow, and so devised within that when it falls it opens and breaks into many pieces with a great fire, and hurts and kills all who are about it. Which is a new device and very terrible, for it pierces the house first, and breaks at the last rebound. Every man in Portereau is fain to run away, they cannot tell whither, when they see where the shot falls."[233]

Huguenot reverses.

It could not, however, be denied that there was much reason for discouragement in the general condition of the Protestant cause throughout the country. Of the places so brilliantly acquired in the spring of the preceding year, the greater part had been lost. Normandy and Languedoc[Pg 102] were the only bright spots on the map of France. Lyons still remained in the power of the Huguenots, in the south-east; but, though repeated assaults of the Duke of Nemours had been repulsed, it was threatened with a siege, for which it was but indifferently prepared.[234] Des Adrets, the fierce chieftain of the lower Rhône, had recently revealed his real character more clearly by betraying the cause he had sullied by his barbarous advocacy, and was now in confinement.[235] Indeed, everything seemed to point to a speedy and complete overthrow of an undertaking which had cost so much labor and suffering,[236] when an unexpected event produced an entire revolution in the[Pg 103] attitude of the contending parties and in the purposes of the leaders.

Assassination of François de Guise.

This event was the assassination of François de Guise. On the evening of the eighteenth of February, 1563, in company with a gentleman or two, he was riding the round of his works, and arranging for a general attack on the morrow. So confident did he feel of success, that he had that morning written to the queen mother, it is said, that within twenty-four hours he would send her news of the capture of Orleans, and that he intended to destroy the entire population, making no discrimination of age or sex, that the very memory of the rebellious city might be obliterated.[237] At a lonely spot on the road, a man on horseback, who had been lying in wait for him, suddenly made his appearance, and, after discharging a pistol at him from behind, rode rapidly off, before the duke's escort, taken up with the duty of assisting him, had had time to make any attempt to apprehend the assassin. Three balls, with which the pistol was loaded, had lodged in Guise's shoulder, and the wound, from the first considered dangerous, proved mortal within six days. The murderer had apparently made good his escape; but a strange fatality seemed to attend him. During the darkness he became so confused that, after riding all night, he found himself almost at the very place where the deed of blood had been committed, and was compelled to rest himself and his jaded horse at a house, where he was arrested on suspicion by some of Guise's soldiers. Taken before their superior officers, he boldly avowed his guilt, and boasted of what he had done. His name he gave as Jean Poltrot, and he claimed to be lord of Mérey, in Angoumois; but he was better known, from his dark complexion and his familiarity with the Spanish language, by the sobriquet of "L'Espagnolet."[Pg 104] He was an excitable, melancholy man, whose mind, continually brooding over the wrongs his country and faith had experienced at the hands of Guise, had imbibed the fanatical notion that it was his special calling of God to rid the world of "the butcher of Vassy," of the single execrable head that was accountable for the torrents of blood which had for a year been flowing in every part of France.

After having been a page of M. d'Aubeterre, father-in-law of the Huguenot leader Soubise, Mérey, at the beginning of the civil war, had been sent by the daughter of D'Aubeterre to her husband, then with Condé at Orleans. Subsequently he had accompanied Soubise on his adventurous ride with a few followers from Orleans to Lyons, when the latter assumed command in behalf of the Huguenots. Soubise appears to have valued him highly as one of those reckless youths that court rather than shun personal peril, while he shared the common impression that the lad was little better than a fool. True, for years—ever since the tumult of Amboise, where his kinsman, La Renaudie and another relative had been killed—Mérey had been constantly boasting to all whom he met that he would kill the Duke of Guise; but those who heard him "made no more account of his words than if he had boasted of his intention to obtain the imperial crown."[238]

He had given expression to his purpose at Lyons, in the presence of M. de Soubise, the Huguenot governor, and again to Admiral Coligny before he started on his expedition to Normandy. But the Huguenot generals evidently imagined that there was nothing in the speech beyond the prating of a silly braggart. Soubise, indeed, advised him to attend to his own duties, and to leave the deliverance of France to Almighty God; but neither the admiral nor the soldiers, to whom he often repeated the threat, paid any attention to it. In short, he was regarded as one of those frivolous characters, of whom there is an abundance in every camp, who expect to acquire a cheap notoriety by extravagant stories of their past or prospective achievements, but never succeed in earning more,[Pg 105] with all their pains, than the contempt or incredulity of their listeners. Still, Poltrot was a man of some value as a scout, and Coligny had employed him[239] for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the enemy's movements, and had furnished him at one time with twenty crowns to defray his expenses, at another with a hundred, to procure himself a horse. The spy had made his way to the Roman Catholic camp, and, by pretending to follow the example of others in renouncing his Huguenot associations, had conciliated the duke's favor to such an extent that he excited no suspicion before the commission of the treacherous act.

Execution of Poltrot.

But, if Poltrot was a fanatic, he was not of the stuff of which martyrs are made. When questioned in the presence of the queen and council to discover his accomplices, his constancy wholly forsook him, and he said whatever was suggested. In particular he accused the admiral of having paid him to execute the deed, and Beza of having instigated him by holding forth the rewards of another world. La Rochefoucauld, Soubise, and others were criminated to a minor degree. During his confinement in the prisons of the Parisian parliament, to which he was removed, he continually contradicted himself. But his weakness did not save him. He was condemned to be burned with red-hot pincers, to be torn asunder by four horses, and to be quartered. Before the execution of this frightful sentence, he was, by order of the court, put to torture. But, instead of reiterating his former accusations, he retracted almost every point.[240] To purchase a few moments' reprieve, he[Pg 106] sought an interview with the first president of the parliament, Christopher de Thou; and we have it upon the authority of that magistrate's son, the author of an imperishable history of his times, that, entering into greater detail, Poltrot persisted constantly in exculpating Soubise, Coligny, and Beza. A few minutes later, beside himself with terror and not knowing what he said in his delirium, he declared the admiral to be innocent; then, at the very moment of execution, he accused not only him, but his brother, D'Andelot, of whom he had said little or nothing before.[241]

Beza and Coligny are accused, but vindicate themselves.

Coligny heard in Normandy the report of the atrocious charges that had been wrung from Poltrot. Copies of the assassin's confession were industriously circulated in the camp, and he thus became acquainted with the particulars of the accusation. With Beza and La Rochefoucauld, who were with him at Caen, he published, on the twelfth of March, a long and dignified defence. The reformer for himself declared, that, although he had more than once seen persons ill-disposed toward the Duke of Guise because of the murders perpetrated by him at Vassy, he had never been in favor of proceeding against him otherwise than by the ordinary methods of law. For this reason he had gone to Monceaux to solicit justice of Charles, of his mother, and of the King of Navarre. But the hopes which the queen mother's gracious answer had excited were dashed to the earth by Guise's violent resort to arms. Holding the duke to be the chief author and promoter of the present troubles, he admitted that he had a countless number of times prayed to God that He would either change his heart or rid the kingdom of him. But he appealed to the testimony of Madame de Ferrare (Renée de France, the mother-in-law of Guise), and all who had ever heard him, when he said[Pg 107] that never had he publicly mentioned the duke by name. As for Poltrot himself, he had never met him.

The admiral himself was not less frank. Ever since the massacre of Vassy he had regarded Guise and his party as common enemies of God, of the king, and of the public tranquillity; but never, upon his life and his honor, had he approved of such attacks as that of Poltrot. Indeed, he had steadfastly employed his influence to deter men from executing any plots against the life of the duke; until, being duly informed that Guise and Saint André had incited men to undertake to assassinate Condé, D'Andelot, and himself, he had desisted from expressing his opposition. The different articles of the confession he proceeded to answer one by one; and he forwarded his reply to the court with a letter to Catharine de' Medici, in which he earnestly entreated her that the life of Poltrot might be spared until the restoration of peace, that he might be confronted with him, and an investigation be made of the entire matter before unsuspected judges. "But do not imagine," he added, "that I speak thus because of any regret for the death of the Duke of Guise, which I esteem the greatest of blessings to the realm, to the Church of God, to myself and my family, and, if improved, the means of giving rest to the kingdom."[242]

The admiral's frankness was severely criticised by some of his friends. He was advised to suppress those expressions that were liable to be perverted to his injury, but he declared his resolution to abide by the consequences of a clear statement of the truth. And indeed, while the worldly wisdom of Coligny's censors has received a species of justification in the avidity with which his sincere avowals have been employed as the basis of graver accusations which he repelled, the candor of his defence has set upon his words the indelible impress of veracity which following ages can never fail to read aright. That Catharine recognized his innocence is evident from the very[Pg 108] act by which she endeavored to make him appear guilty. He had begged that Poltrot might be spared till after the conclusion of peace, that he might himself have an opportunity to vindicate his innocence by confronting him in the presence of impartial judges. It was Catharine's interest, she thought, to confirm her own power by attaching a stigma to the honor of the Châtillons, and so depriving them of much of their influence in the state.[243] Accordingly, on Thursday, the eighteenth of March, Poltrot was put to death and his mouth sealed forever to further explanations. The next day the Edict of Pacification was signed at Amboise.[244] After all, it is evident that Coligny's innocence or guilt, in this particular instance, must be judged by his entire course and his well-known character. If his life bears marks of perfidy and duplicity, if the blood of the innocent can be found upon his skirts, then must the verdict of posterity be against him. But if the careful examination of his entire public life, as well as the history of his private relations, reveals a character not only above reproach, but the purest, most beneficent, and most patriotic of all that France can boast in political stations in the sixteenth century, the confused and contradictory allegations of an enthusiast who had not counted the cost of his daring attempt—allegations wrung from him by threats and torture—will not be allowed to weigh for an instant against Coligny's simple denial.[245]

[Pg 109]

Various estimates of Guise.

Of the Duke of Guise the estimates formed by his contemporaries differed as widely as their political and religious views. With the Abbé Bruslart he was "the most virtuous, heroic, and magnanimous prince in Europe, who for his courage was dreaded by all foreign nations." To the author of the history of the reformed churches his ambition and presumption seemed to have obscured all his virtues.[246] The Roman Catholic preachers regarded his death as a stupendous calamity, a mystery of Divine providence, which they could only interpret by supposing that the Almighty, jealous of the confidence which His people reposed rather in His creature than in Himself, had removed the Duke of Guise in order to take the cause of His own divinity, of His spouse the Church, of the king and kingdom, under His own protection.[247] The Bishop of Riez wrote and published a highly colored account of the duke's last words and actions, in the most approved style of such posthumous records, and introduced edifying specimens of a theological learning, which, until the moment of his wounding, Guise had certainly never possessed, making him, of course, persist to the end in protesting his innocence of the guilt of Vassy.[248] The Protestants, while giving him credit for some compunctions of conscience for his persecuting career, and willingly admitting that, but for his pernicious brother, the Cardinal of Lorraine, he might have run a far different course, were compelled to view his death as a great blessing to France.[249]

[Pg 110]

Renée de France at Montargis.

A famous incident, illustrating the perils to which the Huguenots of the central provinces were subjected during the siege, is too characteristic to be passed over in silence. More than once, in the course of the war, the town and castle of Montargis, the Duchess of Ferrara's residence, had been threatened on account of the asylum it afforded to defenceless Protestants flocking thither from all quarters. When the minds of the Roman Catholics had become exasperated by nine or ten months of civil war, they formed a settled determination to break up this "nest of Huguenots." Accordingly the Baron de la Garde—Captain Poulain, of Mérindol memory—brought an order, in the king's name, from the Duke of Guise, at that time before the walls of Orleans, commanding Renée to leave Montargis, which had become important for military purposes, and to take up her abode at Fontainebleau, St. Germain,[Pg 111] or Vincennes. The duchess replied that it was idle to say that so weak a place as Montargis could, without extensive repairs, be of any military importance; and that to remove to any place in the vicinity of Paris would be to expose herself to assassination by the fanatical populace. She therefore sent Poulain back to the king for further instructions. Meantime, Poulain was followed by Malicorne, a creature of the duke's, at the head of some partisan troops. This presumptuous officer had the impertinence to demand the immediate surrender of the castle, and went so far as to threaten to turn some cannon against it, in case of her refusal. But he little understood the virile courage of the woman with whom he had to do. "Malicorne," she answered him, "take care what you undertake. There is not a man in this kingdom that can command me but the king. If you attempt what you threaten, I shall place myself first upon the breach, that I may find out whether you will be audacious enough to kill a king's daughter. Moreover, I am not so ill-connected, nor so little loved, but that I have the means of making the punishment of your temerity felt by you and your offspring, even to the very babes in the cradle." The upstart captain was not prepared for such a reception, and, after alleging his commission as the excuse for the insolence of his conduct, delayed an enterprise which the wound and subsequent death of Guise entirely broke off.[250] Montargis continued during this and the next civil wars to be a safe refuge for thousands of distressed Protestants.

A great obstacle to the conclusion of peace was removed by[Pg 112] Guise's death. There was no one in the Roman Catholic camp to take his place. The panegyric pronounced upon the duke by the English ambassador, Sir Thomas Smith, may perhaps be esteemed somewhat extravagant, but has at least the merit of coming from one whose sympathies were decidedly adverse to him. "The papists have lost their greatest stay, hope, and comfort. Many noblemen and gentlemen did follow the camp and that faction, rather for the love of him than for any other zeal or affection. He was indeed the best captain or general in all France, some will say in all Christendom; for he had all the properties which belong [to], or are to be wished in a general: a ready wit and well advised, a body to endure pains, a courage to forsake no dangerous adventures, use and experience to conduct any army, much courtesy in entertaining of all men, great eloquence to utter all his mind. And he was very liberal both of money and honor to young gentlemen, captains, and soldiers; whereby he gat so much love and admiration amongst the nobility and the soldiers in France, that I think, now he is gone, many gentlemen will forsake the camp; and they begin to drop away already. Then he was so earnest and so fully persuaded in his religion, that he thought nothing evil done that maintained that sect; and therefore the papists again thought nothing evil bestowed upon him; all their money and treasure of the Church, part of their lands, even the honor of the crown of France, they could have found in their hearts to have given him. And so all their joy, hope, and comfort one little stroke of a pistolet hath taken away! Such a vanity God can show men's hope to be, when it pleaseth Him."[251]

Of the four generals on the Roman Catholic side under whose auspices the war began, three were dead and the fourth was in captivity. The treasury was exhausted. The interest of old debts was left unpaid; new debts had been contracted.[Pg 113] Less than half the king's revenues were available on account of the places which the Huguenots held or threatened. The alienation of one hundred thousand livres of income from ecclesiastical property had been recently ordered, greatly to the annoyance of the clergy. The admiral's progress had of late been so rapid that but two or three important places of lower Normandy remained in friendly hands. After the reduction of these he would move down through Maine and Anjou to Orleans, with a better force than had been marshalled at Dreux;[252] the English would gain such a foothold on French soil as it would be difficult to induce them to relinquish. And where could competent generals be secured for the prosecution of hostilities? The post of lieutenant-general, now vacant, had, indeed, been offered to the Duke Christopher of Würtemberg; but what prospect was there that a Protestant would consent to conduct a war against Protestants?[253]

Deliberations for peace.

Catharine was urgent for an immediate conclusion of peace. For the purpose of fixing its conditions, Condé was brought, under a strong guard, to the camp of the army before Orleans, and, on the small "Isle aux Bouviers" in the middle of the Loire, he and the constable, released on their honor, held a preliminary interview on Sunday, the seventh of March, 1563.[254] At first there seemed little prospect of harmonizing their discordant pretensions; for, if the question of the removal of the triumvirs had lost all its practical importance, the old bone of contention remained in the re-establishment of the Edict of January. On this point Montmorency was inflexible. He had been the prime instrument in expelling Prot[Pg 114]estantism from Paris, and had distinguished himself by burning the places of worship. It could hardly be expected that he should rebuild what he had so laboriously torn down. And, whatever had been his first intentions, Condé proved less tenacious than might have been anticipated from his previous professions. The fact was, that the younger Bourbon was not proof against the wiles employed with so much success against his elder brother. Flattered by Catharine, he was led to suppose that after all it made little difference whether the full demands of the Huguenots were expressly granted in the edict of pacification or not. The queen mother was resolved, so he was assured, to confer upon him the dignity and office of lieutenant-general, left vacant by Navarre's death. When this should be his, it would be easy to obtain every practical concession to which the Huguenots were entitled. So much pleased was the court with the ardor he displayed, that he was at last permitted to go to Orleans on his own princely parole, in order to consult his confederates.

The Huguenot ministers whose advice he first asked, seeing his irresolution, were the more decided in opposing any terms that did not expressly recognize the Edict of January. Seventy-two united in a letter (on the ninth of March, 1563), in which they begged him not to permit the cause to suffer disaster at his hands, and rather to insure an extension, than submit to an abridgment of the liberty promised by the royal ordinance.[255] From the ministers, however, Condé went to the Huguenot "noblesse," with whom his arguments of expediency had more weight, and who, weary of the length and privations of the war, and content with securing their own privileges, readily accepted the conditions reprobated by the ministers. The pacification was accordingly agreed upon, on the twelfth of March, and[Pg 115] officially published in the form of a royal edict, dated at Amboise, on the nineteenth of March, 1563.

Edict of Pacification, March 12, 1563.

Charles the Ninth, by advice of his mother, the Cardinal of Bourbon, the Princes of Condé and La Roche-sur-Yon, the Dukes of Montmorency, Aumale, and Montpensier, and other members of his privy council, grants, in this document, to all barons, châtellains, and gentlemen possessed of the right to administer "haute justice," permission to celebrate in their own houses the worship of "the religion which they call reformed" in the presence of their families and retainers. The possessors of minor fiefs could enjoy the same privilege, but it extended to their families only. In every bailiwick or sénéchaussée, the Protestants should, on petition, receive one city in whose suburbs their religious services might be held, and in all cities where the Protestant religion was exercised on the seventh of March of the present year, it should continue in one or two places inside of the walls, to be designated hereafter by the king. The Huguenots, while secured in their liberty of conscience, were to restore all churches and ecclesiastical property which they might have seized, and were forbidden to worship according to their rites in the city of Paris or its immediate neighborhood. The remaining articles of the peace were of a more personal or temporary interest. Foreign troops were to be speedily dismissed; the Protestant lords to be fully reinstated in their former honors, offices, and possessions; prisoners to be released; insults based upon the events of the war to be summarily punished. And Charles declared that he held his good cousin, the Prince of Condé, and all the other lords, knights, gentlemen, and burgesses that had served under him, to be his faithful subjects, believing that what they had done was for good ends and for his service.[256]

Sir Thomas Smith's remonstrance.

Such was the Edict of Amboise—a half-way measure, very different from that which was desired on either side. The English ambassador declared he could find no one, whether Protestant or[Pg 116] papist, that liked the "accord," or thought it would last three weeks. And he added, by way of warning to Coligny and Condé: "What you, who are the heads and rulers, do, I cannot tell; but every man thinketh that it is but a traine and a deceipt to sever the one of you from another, and all of you from this stronghold [Orleans], and then thei will talke with you after another sorte."[257] He urged the Huguenots to learn a lesson from the fate of Bourges, Rouen, and other cities which had admitted the "papists," and to consider that these fine articles came from the queen mother, the Cardinals of Bourbon, Ferrara, and Guise, and others like them, who desired to take the Protestants like fish in a net. And he gave D'Andelot the significant hint—very significant it was, in view of what afterwards befell his brother Gaspard—that the report spread by the enemy respecting Poltrot's confession was only a preparation that, in case any of the Huguenot noblemen should be assassinated, it might be said that the deed had been done in just revenge by the Guises, who would not hesitate to sacrifice them either by force or by treason.[258]

Coligny's disappointment.

Of the other party, Catharine de' Medici alone was jubilant over the edict. On the contrary, the Roman Catholic people of Paris regarded it as an approval of every sort of impiety and wicked action, and the parliament would register it only after repeated commands (on the twenty-seventh of March), and then with a formal declaration of its reluctance.[259] But no one was so much disappointed as the admiral. Hastening from Normandy to Orleans, he reached that city on the twenty-third of March, only to find that the peace had been fully concluded several days before. In the council of the confederates, the next day, he spoke his mind freely. He reminded Condé that, from the very commencement of hostilities, the[Pg 117] triumvirs had offered the restoration of the Edict of January with the exclusion of the city of Paris; and that never had affairs stood on a better footing than now,[260] when two of the three chief authors of the war were dead, and the third was a prisoner. But the poor had surpassed the rich in devotion; the cities had given the example to the nobles. In restricting the number of churches to one in a bailiwick, the prince and his counsellors had ruined more churches by a single stroke of the pen than all the forces of their enemies could have overthrown in ten years. Coligny's warm remonstrance was heard with some regret for the precipitancy with which the arrangement had been made; but it was too late. The peace was signed. Besides, Condé was confident that he would soon occupy his brother's place, when the Huguenots would obtain all their demands.

But while the prince refused to draw back from the articles of peace to which he had pledged himself, he consented to visit the queen mother in company with the admiral, and endeavor to remove some of the restrictions placed upon Protestant worship. And Catharine was too well satisfied with her success in restoring peace, to refuse the most pressing of the admiral's requests. However, she took good care that none of her promises should be in writing, much less be incorporated in the Edict of Pacification. "The prince and the admyrall," wrote the special envoy Middlemore to Queen Elizabeth, "have bene twice with the quene mother since my commynge hyther, where the admirall hath bene very earnest for a further and larger lybertye in the course of religion, and so hath obtayned that there shall be[Pg 118] preachings within the townes in every balliage, wheras before yt was accordyd but in the suburbs of townes only, and that the gentylmen of the visconte and provoste of Parys shall have in theyr houses the same libertye of religion as ys accordyd elzwhere. So as the sayd admyrall doth now seame to lyke well inoughe that he shewyd by the waye to mislyke so muche, which was the harde articles of religion concludyd upon by the prince in his absence."[261]

On Sunday, the twenty-eighth of March, 1563—the anniversary of that Sunday which they had kept with so much solemnity at Meaux, on the eve of their march to Orleans—the Huguenot nobles and soldiers celebrated the Lord's Supper, in the simple but grand forms of the Geneva liturgy, within the walls of the church of the Holy Rood, long since stripped of its idolatrous ornaments, and on the morrow began to disperse to the homes from which for a year they had been separated.[262] The German reiters, at the same time, set out on their march toward Champagne, whence they soon after retired to their own country.

Results of the war.

The war that had just closed undoubtedly constituted a turning-point in the Huguenot fortunes. The alliance between the persecuted reformers, on the one hand, and the princes of the blood and the nobility of France, on the other, had borne fruit, and it was not altogether good fruit. The patient confessors, after manfully maintaining their faith through an entire generation against savage attack, and gaining many a convert from the witnesses of their constancy, had grasped the sword thrust into their hands by their more warlike allies. In truth, it would be difficult to condemn them; for it was in self-defence, not against rightful authority, but against the tyranny of a foreign and hostile faction. Candidly viewing their circum[Pg 119]stances at the distance of three centuries, we can scarcely see how they could have acted otherwise than as they did. Yet there was much that, humanly speaking, was unfortunate in the conjuncture. War is a horrible remedy at any time. Civil war super-adds a thousand horrors of its own. And a civil war waged in the name of religion is the most frightful of all. The holiest of causes is sure to be embraced from impure motives by a host of unprincipled men, determined in their choice of party only by the hope of personal gain, the lust of power, or the thirst for revenge—a class of auxiliaries too powerful and important to be altogether rejected in an hour when the issues of life or death are pending, even if by the closest and calmest scrutiny they could be thoroughly weeded out—a process beyond the power of mortal man at any time, much more in the midst of the tumult and confusion of war. The Huguenots had made the attempt at Orleans, and had not shrunk from inflicting the severest punishments, even to death, for the commission of theft and other heinous crimes. They had endeavored in their camp to realize the model of an exemplary Christian community. But they had failed, because there were with them those who, neither in peace nor in war, could bring themselves to give to so strict a moral code any other obedience than that which fear exacts. Such was the misery of war. Such the melancholy alternative to which, more than once, the reformed saw themselves reduced, of perishing by persecution or of saving themselves by exposing their faith to reproach through alliance with men of as little religion or morality as any in the opposite camp.

It prevents France from becoming Huguenot.

The first civil war prevented France from becoming a Huguenot country. This was the deliberate conclusion of a Venetian ambassador, who enjoyed remarkable opportunities for observing the history of his times.[263] The practice of the Christian virtue of patience and submission under suffering and insult had made the reformers an incredible number of friends. The waging of war, even in self-defence, and the reported acts of wanton destruction, of cruelty and sacrilege—it mattered little whether they were true[Pg 120] or false, they were equally credited and produced the same results—turned the indifference of the masses into positive aversion. It availed the Huguenots little in the estimate of the people that the crimes that were almost the rule with their opponents were the exception with them; that for a dozen such as Montluc, they were cursed with but one Baron des Adrets; that the barbarities of the former received the approbation of the Roman Catholic priesthood, while those of the latter were censured with vehemence by the Protestant ministers. Partisan spirit refused to hold the scales of justice with equal hand, and could see no proofs of superior morality or devotion in the adherents of the reformed faith.


Huguenot ballads and songs.

Besides their psalms, hallowed by so many thrilling associations, the Huguenots possessed a whole cycle of song. The meagre portion of this that has come down to us is among the most valuable of the monuments illustrative of their modes of thought and their religious and political aspirations. At the same time it brings vividly before us the great crises of their history. M. Henri Bordier has done a service not easily estimated at its full worth, by the publication of a considerable collection of the popular songs of the Protestants, under the title, "Le Chansonnier Huguenot du XVIe Siècle" (Paris, 1871). These songs are grouped in four divisions: religious songs, polemic and satirical songs, songs of war, and songs of martyrdom.

The three oldest Huguenot songs known to exist belong to the first two divisions, and have been saved from destruction by the enemies of their authors, in the very attempt to secure their suppression. They have recently been found upon the records of the Parliament of Paris, where they obtained a place, thanks to the zeal of the "lieutenant général" of Meaux in endeavoring to ferret out the composers of anti-papal ballads. They were entered, without regard to metre, as so much prose. A stanza or two of the song entitled Chanson nouvelle sur le chant: "N'allez plus au bois jouer," and evidently adapted to the tune of a popular ballad of the day, may suffice to indicate the character of the most vigorous of these compositions. It is addressed to Michel d'Arande, a friend of Farel, whom Bishop Briçonnet had invited to preach the Gospel in his diocese of Meaux, and begins:

Ne preschez plus la vérité,
Maistre Michel!
Contenue en l'Evangille,
Il y a trop grand danger
D'estre mené
Dans la Conciergerie.
Lire, lire, lironfa.
[Pg 121] Il y a trop grand danger
D'estre mené
Dans la Conciergerie
Devant les chapperons fourrez
Mal informez
Par gens plains de menterie.
Lire, lire, lironfa.

The "chants religieux," of which M. Bordier's collection reproduces twenty-five, are partly poetical paraphrases of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, etc., and partly original compositions on a variety of themes, such as patient endurance of insult, etc. They display great familiarity with the Holy Scriptures, and sometimes not a little poetic fire.

The "chants polémiques" treat of a number of subjects, prominent among which are the monks and nuns, and the doctrines of the papal church. In one the expiring papacy is represented as summoning to her bedside cardinals, bishops, and other members of the clergy, to witness her last struggles. In another the Sorbonne is held up to ridicule, in company with all the mediæval doctors of theology. In a third the poet more seriously combats the belief in purgatory as unscriptural. But it is the mass that bears the brunt of attack. The Host figures under the designation, current in the literature of the sixteenth century,[264] of Le Dieu de Pâte, or Le Dieu de Farine. The pompous and complicated ceremonial, with its repetitions devoid of meaning for the illiterate spectator, is, on the whole, the favorite object of satire. In strict accordance with the spirit of the rough controversy of the times, little mercy is shown to religious antagonists. There is a good specimen of this style of treatment in an interesting song dating from about 1564, entitled "Noel nouveau de la description ou forme et manière de dire la Messe, sur ce chant: Hari, bouriquet." Of the fifteen stanzas of which it is composed, two or three may serve as samples. The preliminary service over, the priest comes to the consecration of the wafer:

Un morceau de paste
Il fait adorer;
Le rompt de sa patte
Pour le dévorer,
Le gourmand qu'il est.
Hari, hari l'asne, le gourmand qu'il est,
Hari bouriquet!
Le Dieu qu'il faict faire,
La bouche le prend;
Le cœur le digère,
Le ventre le rend,
Au fond du retrait!
Hari, hari l'asne, au fond du retrait,
Hari bouriquet!
[Pg 122] Le peuple regarde
L'yvrongne pinter
Qui pourtant n'a garde
De luy présenter
A boire un seul traict.
Hari, hari l'asne, à boire un seul traict,
Hari bouriquet!
Achève et despouille
Tous ses drapeaux blancs,
En sa bourse fouille
Et y met six blancs.
C'est de peur du frais.
Hari, hari l'asne, c'est de peur du frais,
Hari bouriquet!

A somewhat older song (written before 1555) purports to be the dirge of the Mass uttered by itself—Désolation de la Messe expirant en chantant. The Mass in perplexity knows not how to begin the customary service:

Spiritus, Salve, Requiem,
Je ne sçay si je diray bien.
Quel Introite, n' Oremus
Je prenne; Sancti, Agimus.
Feray-je des Martyrs ou Vierges?
De ventre ad te clamamus!
Sonnez là, allumez ces cierges:
Y a-t-il du pain et du vin?
Où est le livre et le calice
Pour faire l'office divin?
Ça, cest autel, qu'on le tapisse!
Hélas, la piteuse police.
Ame ne me vient secourir.
Sans Chapelain, Moine, Novice,
Me faudra-il ainsi périr?

Pope and cardinals are summoned in vain. No one comes, no one will bring reliquary or consecrated wafer. The Mass must finally resign all hope and die:

Hélas chantant, brayant, virant,
Tant que le crime romp et blesse
Puis que voy tost l'ame expirant,
Dites au moins adieu la Messe.
A tous faisant mainte promesse
Ore ai-je tout mon bien quitté
Veu qu'a la mort tens et abaisse
Ite Missa est; donc Ite,
Ite Missa est.

[Pg 123] The "chants de guerre" furnish a running commentary upon the military events of the last forty years of the sixteenth century, which is not devoid of interest or importance. The hopeful spirit characterizing the earlier ballads is not lost even in the latest; but the brilliant anticipations of a speedy triumph of the truth, found before the outbreak of the first civil war, or immediately thereafter, are lacking in other productions, dating from the close of the reign of Henry the Third. In a spirited song, presumably belonging to 1562, the poet, adopting the nickname of Huguenots given to the Protestants by their opponents, retaliates by applying an equally unwelcome term to the Roman Catholics, and forecasting the speedy overthrow of the papacy:

Vous appellez Huguenots
Ceux qui Jesus veullent suivre,
Et n'adorent vos marmots
De boys, de pierre et de cuyvre.
Hau, Hau, Papegots,
Faictes place aux Huguenots.
Nostre Dieu renversera
Vous et vostre loy romaine,
Et du tout se mocquera
De vostre entreprise vaine.
Hau, Hau, Papegots,
Faictes place aux Huguenots.
Vostre Antechrist tombera
Hors de sa superbe place
Et Christ partout règnera
Et sa loy pleine de grâce.
Hau, Hau, Papegots,
Faictes place aux Huguenots.

The current expectation of the Protestants is attested in a long narrative ballad by Antoine Du Plain on the siege of Lyons (1563), in which Charles the Ninth figures as another Josiah destined to abolish the idolatrous mass:

Ce Roy va chasser l'Idole
Plain de dole
Cognoissant un tel forfait:
Selon la vertu Royale,
Et loyale,
Comme Iosias a fait.

It is noticeable that the words "va chasser l'Idole" are an anagram of the royal title Charles de Valois—an anagram which gave the Huguenots no little comfort. The same play upon words appears with a slight variation in a "Huictain au Peuple de Paris, sur l'anagrammatisme du nom du tres-Chrestien Roy de France, Charles de Valois IX. de ce nom" (Recueil des Choses Mémorables, 1565, p. 367), of which the last line is,

"O Gentil Roy qui chassa leur idole."

[Pg 124] But after the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day the hopes of the Huguenots were blighted. If the king is not referred to by name, his mother figures as the guilty cause of all the misfortune of France. She is a second Helen born for the ruin of her adopted country, according to Étienne de Maisonfleur.

Hélène femme estrangère
Fut la seule mesnagère
Qui ruina Ilion,
Et la reine Catherine
Est de France la ruine
Par l'Oracle de Léon.

"Léon" is Catharine's uncle, Pope Leo the Tenth, who was said to have predicted the total destruction of whatever house she should be married into. See also the famous libel "Discours merveilleux de la vie de Catherine de Medicis" (Ed. of Cologne, Pierre du Marteau, 1693), p. 609.

The massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day naturally contributes a considerable fund of laments, etc., to the Huguenot popular poetry of the century. A poem apparently belonging to a more remote date, discovered by Dr. Roullin, and perhaps the only Breton song of the kind that has come down to us, is as simple and unaffected a narrative as any of the modern Greek mœrologia (Vaurigaud, Essaie sur l'hist. des églises réf. de Bretagne, 1870, i. 6). It tells the story of a Huguenot girl betrayed to the executioner by her own mother. In spite of a few dialectic forms, the verses are easily understood.

Voulz-vous ouir l'histoire
D'une fille d'espit
Qui n'a pas voulu croire
Chose que l'on lui dit.
—Sa mère dit: "Ma fille,
A la messe allons donc!"
—"Y aller à la messe,
Ma mère, ce n'est qu'abus.
Apportez-moi mes livres
Avec mes beaux saluts.
J'aimerais mieux être brûlée
Et vantée au grand vent
Que d'aller à la messe
En faussant mon serment."
—Quand sa très-chère mère
Eut entendu c' mot là,
Au bourreau de la ville
Sa fille elle livra.
"Bourreau, voilà ma fille!
Fais à tes volontés;
[Pg 125] Bourreau, fais de ma fille
Comme d'un meurtrier."
Quand elle fut sur l'échelle,
Trois rollons jà montée,
Elle voit sa mère
Qui chaudement pleurait.
"Ho! la cruelle mère
Qui pleure son enfant
Après l'avoir livrée
Dans les grands feux ardents.
Vous est bien fait, ma mère,
De me faire mourir.
Je vois Jesus, mon père,
Qui, de son beau royaume,
Descend pour me quérir.
Son royaume sur terre
Dans peu de temps viendra,
Et cependant mon âme
En paradis ira."

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The nuncio alone seems to have thought that the edict would work so well, that "in six months, or a year at farthest, there would not be a single Huguenot in France!" His ground of confidence was that many, if not most of the reformed, were influenced, not by zeal for religion, but by cupidity. Santa Croce to Card. Borromeo, Jan. 17, 1562, Aymon, i. 44; Cimber et Danjou, vi. 30.

[2] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 428, 429. The letter is followed by an examination of the edict, article by article, as affecting the Protestants. Ib. i. 429-431.

[3] Abbé Bruslart, Mém. de Condé. i. 70. Barbaro spoke the universal sentiment of the bigoted wing of the papal party when he described "the decree" as "full of concealed poison," as "the most powerful means of advancing the new religion," as "an edict so pestiferous and so poisonous, that it brought all the calamities that have since occurred." Tommaseo, Rel. des Amb. Vén., ii. 72.

[4] Claude Haton, 211. "Et longtemps depuis ne faisoient sermon qu'ilz Acab et Hiésabel et leurs persécutions ne fussent mis par eux en avant," etc. In fact, Catharine seemed fated to have her name linked to that of the infamous Queen of Israel. A Protestant poem, evidently of a date posterior to the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, is still extant in the National Library of Paris, in which the comparison of the two is drawn out at full length. The one was the ruin of Israel, the other of France. The one maintained idolatry, the other papacy. The one slew God's holy prophets, the other has slain a hundred thousand followers of the Gospel. Both have killed, in order to obtain the goods of their victims. But the unkindest verses are the last—even the very dogs will refuse to touch Catharine's "carrion."

"En fin le jugement fut tel
Que les chiens mengent Jhésabel
Par une vangeance divine;
Mais la charongne de Catherine
Sera différente en ce point,
Car les chiens ne la vouldront point."

Appendix to Mém. de Claude Haton, ii. 1, 110.

[5] Ante, i. 477.

[6] Mém. de Claude Haton, 211, 212.

[7] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 431.

[8] Abbé Bruslart, Mém. de Condé. i. 70, 71.

[9] Declaration of Feb. 14, 1561/2, Du Mont, Corps diplomatique, v. 91, 92.

[10] And, indeed, with modifications which were to render it still more severe. Letter of Beza to Calvin, Feb. 26, 1562, Baum, ii., App., 167.

[11] The registry took place on Friday, March 6th. Isambert, xiv. 124; La Fosse, 45, who says "Ledict édict fut publié en la salle du palais en ung vendredy, 5e [6e] de ce moys, là où il y eut bien peu de conseillers et le président Baillet qui signèrent."

[12] The same prelate to whom Cardinal Lorraine doubtless referred in no complimentary terms, when, at the assembly of the clergy at Poissy, he said, "qu'il estoit contrainct de dire, Duodecim sumus, sed unus ex nobis Diabolus est, et passant plus outre, qu'il y avoit ung evesque de la compagnie ... qui avoit revelé ce qui se faisoit en laditte assemblée," etc. Journal de Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 50.

[13] See the document in Schlosser, Leben des Theodor de Beze, App., 359-361; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 436, 437.

[14] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 436-450; Baum, ii. 512-545. In connection with Prof. Baum's long and thorough account of the colloquy, Beza's correspondence, printed in the appendix, is unusually interesting.

[15] "Cardinalium intercessione ac precibus mox soluta sunt omnia." Beza to Bullinger, March 2, 1562. Baum, ii., App., 169.

[16] "Nihil hoc consilio gratius accidere potuit nostris adversariis quibus iste ludus minime placebat, adeo ut ipse Demochares ... pene sui oblitus in meos amplexus rueret, et ejus sodales honorifice me salutarent!" Beza to Calvin, Feb. 26, 1562, ibid., 165. The Venetian Barbaro represents this second conference as an extremely efficient means of spreading heresy: "La qual [in San Germano] apportò un grandissimo scandalo e pregiudizio alla religion nostra, e diede alla loro, reputazione e fomento maggiore." Rel. des Amb. Vén., ii. 74.

[17] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 432.

[18] "Qu'il ne s'y mettroit si avant qu'il ne s'en pust aisement tirer." Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ubi supra.

[19] See the frank letter of Calvin, written to him about this time, in Bonnet, Lettres franç., ii. 441; Calvin's Letters, Amer. ed., iv. 247.

[20] "That pestilent yle of Sardigna!" exclaimed Sir Thomas Smith, a clever diplomatist and a nervous writer, "that the pore crowne of it should enter so farre into the pore Navarrian hed (which, I durst warraunt, shall never ware it), [as to] make him destroy his owen countrey, and to forsake the truth knowen!" Forbes, State Papers, ii. 164.

[21] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ubi supra; De Thou, iii. (liv. xxviii.), 96-99.

[22] Letter of Beza to Calvin, Feb. 1, 1562, Baum, ii., App., 163.

[23] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., i. 433.

[24] Letter to Calvin, Feb. 26, 1562, apud Baum, ii., App., 167, 168.

[25] Ibid., ubi supra.

[26] Recordon, Le protestantisme en Champagne (Paris, 1863), from MSS. of Nicholas Pithou, p. 105. This learned jurist, the equal of his more celebrated brothers in ability, and their superior in moral courage, has left his testimony respecting the beneficent influence of the reformed doctrines upon his fellow-citizens: "A la verité la ville de Troyes en général fit une perte incroyable en la rupture de cette Église. Car c'était une grande beauté et chose plus que émerveillable de la voir si bien fleurie. Il se voyoit en la jeunesse, touchée par la prédication de la parole de Dieu, qui auparavant était si dépravée que rien plus, un changement si subit et si étrange que les catholiques mêmes en étoient tout étonnés. Car, tels qui au précédent se laissaient aller du tout à leurs voluptez et s'étaient plongez en gourmandises, yvrogneries et jeux défendus, tellement qu'ils y passaient la plus grande et meilleure partie du temps, et faisaient un fort mauvais ménage, depuis qu'ils étaient entrés dans l'Église quittaient du tout leur vie passée et la détestaient, se rangeant et se soumettant allègrement à la discipline ecclésiastique, ce qui était si agréable aux parents de tels personnages, que, quoiqu'ils fussent catholiques, ils en louaient Dieu." Ibid., pp. 107, 108.

[27] "Nous avons espérance que non seulement la jeunesse d'icy se façonnera par la main d'un si excellent ouvrier qui nous est venu; mais que les chanoines mesmes de Sainte-Croix le viendront ouyr en ses leçons, ce qu'ils ont desja déclaré. De quoy sortiront des fruicts surmontant toute expectation." Gaberel, Hist. de l'égl. de Genève, i., Pièces justificatives, 168.

[28] The archives of Stuttgart contain the instructive correspondence which the Duke of Guise had, ever since the previous summer, maintained with the Duke of Würtemberg. From the letters published in the Bulletin of the French Protestant Historical Society (February and March, 1875), we see that François endeavored to alienate Christopher from the Huguenots by representing the latter as bitter enemies of the Augsburg Confession, and as speaking of it with undisguised contempt. (Letter of July 2, 1561, Bull., xxiv. 72.) Christopher made no reply to these statements, but urged his correspondent to a candid examination of religious truth, irrespective of age or prescription, reminding him (letter of Nov. 22, 1561) that our Lord Jesus Christ "did not say 'I am the ancient custom,' but 'I am the Truth.'" (Ibid., xxiv. 114.) And he added, sensibly enough, that, had the pagan ancestors of both the French and the Germans followed the rule of blind obedience to custom, they would certainly never have become Christians.

[29] Guise's original invitation was for Saturday, January 31st, but Christopher pleaded engagements, and named, instead, Sunday, Feb. 15th. (Ibid., xxiv. 116, 117.)

[30] The relation was first noticed and printed by Sattler, in his Geschichte von Würtemberg unter den Herzögen. I have used the French translation by M. A. Muntz, in the Bulletin, iv. (1856) 184-196.

[31] In a letter of Würtemberg to Guise, written subsequently to the massacre of Vassy, he reminds him of the advice he had given him, and of Guise's assurances: "Vous savez aussi avec quelle asseurance vous m'avez respondu que l'on vous faisoit grand tort de ce que l'on vous vouloit imposer estre cause et autheur de la mort de tant de povres chrestiens qui ont espandu leur sang par ci-devant," etc. Mémoires de Guise, 494.

[32] There are some characters with whom mendacity has become so essential a part of their nature, that we cease to wonder at any possible extreme of lying. It was, however, no new thing with the cardinal to assume immaculate innocence. Over two years before this time, at the beginning of the reign of Francis II., when bloody persecution was at its height, Sir Nicholas Throkmorton wrote to Queen Elizabeth, Sept. 10, 1559: "I am enformed that they here begin to persecute againe for religion more than ever they did; and that at Paris there are three or four executed for the same, and diverse greate personages threatened shortly to be called to answer for their religion. Wherin the Cardinal of Lorraine having bene spoken unto, within these two daies, hathe said, that it is not his faulte; and that there is no man that more hateth extremités, then he dothe; and yet it is knowne that it is, notwithstanding, alltogither by his occasion." Forbes, State Papers, i. 226, 227.

[33] Bulletin, iv. 196. De Thou's account of the Saverne conference (iii. (liv. xxix.) 127, 128) is pretty accurate so far as it goes, but has a more decidedly polemic tone than the Duke of Würtemberg's memorandum.

[34] Throkmorton to the Queen, Paris, Feb. 16, 1562. State Paper Office. I have followed closely the condensation in the Calendars.

[35] Same to Cecil, of same date. State Paper Office.

[36] Discours entier de la persécution et cruauté exercée en la ville de Vassy, par le duc de Guise, le 1. de mars, 1562; reprinted in Mémoires de Condé, iii. 124-149, and Cimber et Danjou, iv. 123-156. This lengthy Huguenot narrative enters into greater details respecting the early history of the church of Vassy than any of the other contemporary relations. The account bears every mark of candor and accurate information.

[37] "Que son cas estoit bien sale s'il eust esté ministre."

[38] The "Destruction du Saccagement" has preserved the names of forty-five persons who died by Tuesday, March 3d; the "Discours entier" has a complete list of forty-eight that died within a month, and refers to others besides. A contemporary engraving is extant depicting in quaint but lively style the murderous affair. Montfaucon reproduces it. So does also M. Horace Gourjon in a pamphlet entitled "Le Massacre de Vassy" (Paris, 1844). He gives, in addition, an exterior view of the barn in which the Huguenots were worshipping.

[39] Besides a brief Latin memoir of minor importance, there were published two detailed accounts of the massacre written by Huguenots. The one is entitled "Destruction du Saccagement, exerce cruellement par le Duc de Guise et sa cohorte, en la ville de Vassy, le premier jour de Mars, 1561. À Caens. M.D.LXII.," and having for its epigraph the second verse of the 79th psalm in Marot's poetical version, "The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth." (The year 1562, it will be remembered, did not commence in France until Easter Sunday, March 29th.) The account seems to have been composed on the spot and within a very few days of the occurrence. This may be inferred from the list of those who died being given only up to Tuesday, March 3d. The other narrative: "Discours entier de la persecution et cruauté exercée en la ville de Vassy," etc., enters into much greater detail, and is preceded by a full account of the early history of the Church. It was written and published a little later in the spring of 1562. Both memoirs are reprinted in the invaluable Archives curieuses of Messrs. Cimber et Danjou, iv. 103-110, and 123-156, as well as in the Mémoires de Condé, iii. 111-115, 124-149 (the former document with the title "Relation de l'occasion"), etc. Another contemporary account was written in Guise's interest, and contains a long extract of a letter of his to the Duke of Würtemberg: "Discours au vray et en abbregé de ce qui est dernièrement aduenu à Vassi, y passant Monseigneur le Duc de Guise. A Paris. M.D.LXII.... Par priuilege expres dudict Seigneur." (Cimber, iv. 111-122; Mém. de Condé, iii. 115-122). To these authorities must be added Guise's vindication in parliament (Cimber, iv. 157, etc., from Reg. of Parl.; Mém. de Guise, 488, etc.), and his letter and that of the Cardinal of Lorraine to Christopher of Würtemberg, March 22 (Ib. 491, 492). Compare J. de Serres, De statu rel. et reip. (1571), ii. 13-17; De Thou, iii. 129, etc.; Jehan de la Fosse, 45. Davila, bk. iii. in init., is more accurate than Castelnau, iii., c. 7. Claude Haton's account (Mémoires, i. 204-206) may be classed with the curiosities of literature. This veracious chronicler would have it that a crowd of Huguenots, with stones in their hands, and singing at the top of their voices, attempted to prevent the passage of the duke and his company through the outskirts of Vassy, where they were apparently worshipping in the open air! Of course they were the aggressors.

[40] And yet there is great force in M. Sismondi's observation (Hist. des Français, xviii. 264): "Malgré leur assertion, il est difficile de ne pas croire qu'au moment où ils se réunissoient en armes pour disputer aux protestans l'exercise public de leur culte que leur accordoit l'édit de janvier, c'etoit un coup prémédité que l'attaque du duc de Guise contre une congrégation de huguenots, composée, à ce qu'il assure, en partie de ses vassaux, et qui se trouvoit la première sur son passage à peu de distance de ses terres."

[41] It is extremely unfortunate that Mr. Froude should have based his account of French affairs at this important point upon so inaccurate and prejudiced a writer as Varillas. To be correct in his delineation of these transactions was almost as important for his object, as to be correct in the narration of purely English occurrences. If he desired to avoid the labor, from which he might well wish to be excused, of mastering the great accumulation of contemporary and original French authorities, he might have resorted with propriety, as he has done in the case of the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day, to Henri Martin's noble history, or to the history of Sismondi, not to speak of Soldan, Von Polenz, and a host of others. Varillas wrote, about a century after the events he described, a number of works of slender literary, and still slighter historical value. His "Histoire de Charles IX." (Cologne, 1686)—the work which Mr. Froude has but too often followed—begins with an adulatory dedication to Louis XIV., the first sentence of which sufficiently reveals the author's prepossessions: "Sire, it is impossible to write the history of Charles IX. without beginning the panegyric of your Majesty." No wonder that Mr. Froude's account of the massacre of Vassy (History of England, vii. 401, 402), derived solely from this source (Hist. de Charles IX., i. 126, etc.), is as favorable to Guise as his most devoted partisan could have desired. But where in the world—even in Varillas—did the English historian ever find authority for the statement (vii. 402) that, in consequence of the necessity felt by Guise for temporizing, a little later "the affair at Vassy was censured in a public decree"? To have allowed that would have been for Guise to admit that he was guilty of murder, and that his enemies had not slandered him when they styled him a "butcher of the human race." The duke never did make such an acknowledgment; on the contrary, he asseverated his innocence in his last breath. What was really done on the occasion referred to was to try to shift the responsibility of the war from the shoulders of the papists to those of the Huguenots, by pretending to re-enact the edict of January with restrictions as to the capital.

[42] Jean de Serres, ii. 17, 18; De Thou, iii. 132, 133.

[43] "Sire, c'est à la vérité à l'Église de Dieu, au nom de laquelle je parle, d'endurer les coups, et non pas d'en donner. Mais aussi vous plaira-t-il vous souvenir que c'est une enclume qui a usé beaucoup de marteaux." Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 1, 2; Pierre de Lestoile, Journal de Henri III. (ed. Petitot), i. 55; De Thou, iii. 132, 133.

[44] Journal de Jehan de la Fosse, 45, 46; Santa Croce to Borromeo, Aymon, i. 96, 97; Jean de Serres, ii. 18; Chantonnay, ubi supra, ii. 27; Hist, ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 2, 3; Throkmorton to the Queen, March 20th, State Paper Office; De Thou, iii. 133; etc. The date was the 15th of March, according to La Fosse; the 16th, according to Languet (ii. 212) and Throkmorton; the 18th, according to Santa Croce; the 20th, according to J. de Serres. I prefer to all the authority of a letter of one Chastaigner, written from Paris to a friend in Poitou on the very day of Guise's entry. It is dated March 17th. "Quant aux nouvelles de Monsieur de Guyse, il est arrivé ce soir en ceste ville, Monsieur le connestable et Monsieur le maréchal de Saint-André avec luy, et en tout avoient bien deux mil chevaulx, les ungs disent plus." (Archives of Poitiers, and printed in Bulletin, xiii. (1864), 15, 16.)

[45] This was not by accident. It had been planned by Condé, to show that the Huguenots were brave and determined, and it succeeded so well that it not only made an impression on the party of Guise, but also largely augmented the courage of his own men. Letter of Beza to Calvin, March 22, 1562, apud Baum, ii., App., 171. Condé had returned to Paris by the urgent request of the Protestants. Jean de Serres, ii. 19.

[46] Letter of Chastaigner, ubi supra.

[47] Throkmorton to the queen, March 6th, State Paper Office.

[48] "The King of Navarre was never so earnest on the Protestant side as he is now furious on the papists' part, insomuch as men suspect he will become a persecutor." Throkmorton to Cecil, March 9th, State Paper Office. Summary in Calendar.

[49] Throkmorton to the queen, March 6, 1562, State Paper Office.

[50] The same to Cecil, same date, State Paper Office.

[51] "Whilst these assemblies were in the town, the queen mother conceived great jealousy (the King of Navarre being allied to the said duke [Guise]), lest she should be put from the government and the king taken from her hands, to prevent which she left Monceaux, her own house, for Orleans, thinking they were secure there, because the Prince of Rochesurion (being governor of the king's person and also of Orleans) was not conjoined with the King of Navarre, the Duke of Guise, and the constable, in their purposes. The King of Navarre, perceiving this, would not consent to the king going to Orleans, and, after great disputes betwixt the queen mother and him, she, with the king, were constrained to reside all this Easter at Fontainebleau." Throkmorton to the queen, March, 20, 1562, State Paper Office, Summary in Calendar.

[52] "Combien que le Chancelier luy dict, qu'il n'y espéroit plus rien, qu'elle n'avoit point de résolution, qu'il la congnoissoit bien." Mémoires de la vie de Jehan l'Archevesque, Sieur de Soubise, printed from the hitherto unknown MS. in the Bulletin, xxiii. (1874), 458, 459.

[53] Four of the seven letters that constituted the whole correspondence are printed in the Mém. de Condé, iii. 213-215. Jean de Serres gives two of them in his Comment. de statu rel. et reip., ii. 38, 39. They were laid by Condé's envoy before the princes of Germany, as evidence that he had not taken up arms without the best warrant, and that he could not in any way be regarded as a rebel. They contain no allusion to any promise to lay down his arms so soon as she sent him word—the pretext with which she strove at a later time to palliate, in the eyes of the papal party at home and abroad, a rather awkward step. The curé of Mériot, while admitting the genuineness of the letters, observes: "La cautelle et malice de la dame estoit si grande, qu'elle se délectoit de mettre les princes en division et hayne les ungs contre les aultres, affin qu'elle régnast et qu'elle demeurast gouvernante seulle de son filz et du royaume." Mém. de Cl. Haton, i. 269. The queen mother's exculpatory statements may be examined in Le Laboureur, Add. aux Mém. de Castelnau, i. 763, 764.

[54] Bruslart, in Mém. de Condé, i. 75, 76; J. de Serres, ii. 20; La Fosse, 46; De Thou, iii. 134. The date is variously given—March 17th or 18th.

[55] J. de Serres, ii. 21; De Thou, ubi supra; the Prince of Condé's declaration of the causes which have constrained him to undertake the defence of the royal authority, etc., ap. Mém. de Condé, iii. 222, etc.; same in Latin in J. de Serres, ii. 46.

[56] Throkmorton to the queen, March 20, State Paper Office.

[57] March 23d. "Ce même jour (lundi xxiii.) le Prince de Condé s'en partit de Paris pour s'en aller à une sienne maison, combien qu'il avoit dict qu'il ne bougeroit de Paris que M. de Guise ne s'en fut parti." Journal anonyme de l'an 1562, ap. Baum, iii. App., 175, note.

[58] Letter of March 28th, Baum, ii., App., 175, 176.

[59] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 3.

[60] Letter to Fonssomme, Œuvres choisies, ii. 248.

[61] One of the latest exploits of the populace was the disinterring of a Huguenot buried in the cemetery of the Holy Innocents, and throwing his body into a public sewer! March 15th, Journal de Jehan de la Fosse, 45.

[62] "Je cuide que si les novices des couvens et les chambrières des prestres seulement se fussent presentez à l'impourveue avec des bastons de cotterets (cotrets) ès mains, que cela leur eust fait tenir bride." Mém. de la Noue, c. ii.

[63] Circular letter dated Paris, March 25th, apud Baum, ii., App., 172.

[64] Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 132, 133 (liv. iii., c. 2). This striking incident rests on the sole authority of Agrippa d'Aubigné, who claims to have learned it "de ceux qui estoient de la partie." Hotman, who wrote his Gasparis Colinii Vita (1575) at the earnest request of the admiral's second wife, makes no allusion to a story throwing so much lustre upon the first.

[65] Throkmorton to the queen, April 10, 1562, State Paper Office.

[66] "Ou il faut que venez avec nous, ou nous emmenerons le Roy sans vous." Letter of Condé to the Emperor Ferdinand, April 20th, Mém. de Condé, iii. 305, etc.

[67] "Alors Leurs Majestez, ne pouvant mieux, eurent recours à quelques larmes." Mém. de Castelnau, liv. iii., c. 8.

[68] "Le Roy enfant de bonne nature et grande espérance, tesmoignoit non seulement par paroles, mais aussi avec abondance de larmes, extrême dueil et tristesse; et souventefois s'escriant, déploroit sa condition par telles paroles: 'Pourquoy ne me laissez-vous? Pour quelle raison me voy-je circuy et environné de gens armez? Pourquoy contre ma volonté me tirez-vous du lieu où je prenoye mon plaisir? Pourquoy deschirez-vous ainsi mon estat en ce mien aage?'" Letter of Condé, ubi supra, iii. 306.

[69] Charles the Ninth's entry into Paris was a sorry pageant compared with that of Guise only a few weeks earlier. "Only the merchants and a few counsellors of the city were present," says Jehan de la Fosse (p. 47). The king rode between the queen mother and the King of Navarre. According to Chamberlain, it was a sober, but not a solemn entry (C. to Chaloner, April 7, 1562, State Paper Office). Either when Guise returned to Paris from Fontainebleau, or on his previous entry into the city—it is difficult from Claude Haton's confused narrative to determine which was intended—the people sang: "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Mémoires, i. 245.

[70] The singular name of this building is explained by the sign that hung before it. "Apvril. En ung samedy. M. Anne de Montmorenssy, connétable de France, fut devant brasque en la maison où pendoit pour enseigne la ville de Jérusalem, où preschoient les huguenots, et fist mettre le feu dedans la maison." Journal de J. de la Fosse, 46.

[71] La Fosse, ubi supra; J. de Serres, ii. 27; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 8; De Thou, iii. 136, 137; Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 80; Santa Croce to Borromeo, April 5 (Aymon, i. 125); Throkmorton to the queen, ubi supra.

[72] Santa Croce to Borromeo, April 5th, Aymon, i. 126, and Cimber et Danjou, vi. 74.

[73] Chantonnay, ubi supra, ii. 32.

[74] Journal de Jehan de la Fosse, 46. The "Porte St. Honoré," before which the Huguenots, after passing north of the city, presented themselves (Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 78), was in Francis I.'s time near the present "Palais Royal," in the time of Louis XIII. near the "Madeleine." See the map in Dulaure, Histoire de Paris.

[75] Mém de la Noue, c. i. The letter of Beza to Calvin from Meaux, March 28, 1562, shows, however, that even before the prince left that city it was known that the triumvirs had set out for Fontainebleau. Beza, not apparently without good reason, blamed the improvidence of Condé in not forestalling the enemy. "Hostes, relicto in urbe non magno præsidio, in aulam abierunt quod difficile non erat et prospicere et impedire. Sed aliter visum est certis de causis, quas tamen nec satis intelligo nec probo." Baum, ii., App., 176.

[76] Yet, if we may credit the unambiguous testimony of Jean de Tavannes, Catharine did not cease to endeavor to favor the Huguenots. He assures us that, a few months later, during the summer, his father, Gaspard de Tavannes, intercepted at Châlons a messenger whom Catharine had despatched to her daughter the Duchess of Savoy ("qui agréoit ces nouvelles opinions") ostensibly as a lute-player. Among his effects the prying governor of Burgundy found letters signed by the queen mother, containing some rather surprising suggestions. "La Royne luy escrivoit qu'elle estoit resolue de favoriser les Huguenots, d'où elle espéroit son salut contre le gouvernement du triumvirat ... qu'elle soupçonnoit vouloir oster la couronne à ses enfans; et prioit madame de Savoye d'aider lesdits Huguenots de Lyon, Dauphiné et Provence, et qu'elle persuadast son mary d'empescher les Suisses et levée d'Italie des Catholiques." Mém. de Tavannes (Petitot ed.), ii. 341, 342. Tavannes did not dare to detain the messenger, nor to take away his letters; and if, as his son asserts, the enmity of Catharine, which the discovery of her secret gained for him, delayed his acquisition of the marshal's baton for ten years, he certainly had some reason to remember and regret his ill-timed curiosity.

[77] Mém. de la Noue, c. iii.; De Thou, iii. 138; Letter of Beza, of April 5th, Baum, ii., App., 177; Jean de Serres, ii. 24, 25; Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 79. Chamberlain (to Chaloner, April 7, 1562), who on his way from Orleans met the first detachment within a mile of that city—"a thousand handsome gentlemen, well mounted, each having two or three daggs, galloping towards him." State Paper Office.

[78] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 7.

[79] April 7th. Mém. de Condé, iii. 221; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii., 9; J. de Serres, ii. 58, 59; De Thou, iii. 139. The historian of the reformed churches, as well as Beza in his letter of March 28th (Baum, ii., App., 176), complains bitterly of the slowness and parsimony of the Parisian Protestants, who seemed to be unable to understand that war was actually upon them.

[80] April 8th. "Déclaration faicte par M. le prince de Condé, pour monstrer les raisons qui l'ont contraint d'entreprendre la défence de l'authorité du Roy," etc. Mém. de Condé, iii. 222-235; Jean de Serres, ii. 42-57; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 9, 10; De Thou, iii. 139-141.

[81] Traicté d'association, etc., April 11th. Mém. de Condé, iii. 258-262; J. Serres, ii. 31-37; De Thou, iii. 141.

[82] See Pasquier's letter to Fonssomme, already referred to, which contains a vivid picture of the confusion reigning in Paris, the surprise of the papal party, and the delight of the untrained populace at the prospect of war. Œuvres (ed. Feugère), ii. 246-250.

[83] Mém. de Castelnau, liv. iii., c. 8.

[84] Ibid., liv. iii., c. 9.

[85] Even so late as May 8, 1562, the English minister resident at the court, than whom probably no other person in France felt obliged to keep himself better informed, wrote to Cecil respecting the Prince of Condé's strength: "I can assur you att thys dyspatche he ys the strongest partie, and in suche state his matter standeth, that these men [the court] wold fayne have a reasonable end, thoughe yt were with some dishonnour." MSS. State Paper Office, Duc d'Aumale, Princes de Condé, Pièces justif., i. 370.

[86] It is strange that a historian at once so conscientious and generally so well-informed as M. Rosseeuw Saint-Hilaire should, in his Histoire d'Espagne, ix. 60, 61, have made the grave mistake of holding Calvin responsible for the excesses of the iconoclasts. See the Bulletin, xiv. 127, etc., for a complete refutation.

[87] Like the undeceived dupe in the old Athenian comedy, who mournfully laments that he had been led to worship a bit of earthenware as a god:

Οἴμοι δείλαιος,
Ὅτε καὶ σὲ χυτρεοῦν ὄντα θεὸν ἡγησάμην.
(Aristophanes, Clouds, 1473, 1474.)

On the other hand, the zealous Roman Catholic had his arguments for the preservation and worship of images, some of which may strike us as sufficiently whimsical. "I confess," says one, "that God has forbidden idols and idolatry, but He has not forbidden the images (or pictures) which we hold for the veneration of the saints. For if that were so, He would not have left us the effigy of his holy face painted in His likeness, on the cloth which that good lady Veronica presented Him, which yet to-day is looked upon with so much devotion in the church of St. Peter at Rome, nor the impression of His holy body represented in the 'saint suaire' which is at Chambéry. Is it not found that Saint Luke thrice made with his own hand the portrait of Our Lady?... That holy evangelist ought certainly to have known the will of his Lord and Master better than you, my opponent, who wish to interpret the Scripture according to your sensuality." Discours des Guerres de Provence (Arch. curieuses, iv. 501, 502). Of course, the author never dreamed that his facts might possibly be disputed.

[88] Les Recherches et Antiquitez de la ville de Caen, par Charles de Bourgueville, sieur du lieu, de Bras, et de Brucourt. À Caen, 1588. Pt. ii. 170-172. From page 76 onward the author gives us a record of notable events in his own lifetime. So also at Cléry, it is to be regretted that, not content with greatly injuring the famous church of Our Lady, the Huguenot populace, inflamed by the indiscretion of the priests, desecrated the monuments of the brave Dunois, and of Louis the Eleventh and his queen. Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 23. According to the author of the "Horribles cruautés des Huguenots en France" (Cimber et Danjou, vi. 304), they even burned the bones of Louis; nor did they respect those of the ancestors of the Prince of Condé.

[89] "Monsieur, ayez patience que j'aie abattu cette idole, et puis que je meure, s'il vous plaît."

[90] "Comme étant ce fait plutôt œuvre de Dieu que des hommes." Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 20. "L'impétuosité des peuples était telle contre les images, qu'il n'était possible aux hommes d'y résister." Ibid. ii. 23.

[91] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 20-22.

[92] "Ledict moys," says Jehan de la Fosse in his journal (p. 47), "des citoyens de Sens tuèrent beaucoup de huguenots, voyant que monsieur le connétable avoict faict brûler Popincourt."

[93] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 242-245; Jean de Serres, ii. 40; De Thou, iii. 144. The massacre commenced on Sunday, April 12th (not 14th, as the Hist. ecclés. states), and was continued the next day or two. According to De Serres, the horrors of Sens seemed to efface those of Vassy itself. Read the really terrible paragraph on the subject in the contemporary "Remonstrance au Roy sur le faict des Idoles abbatues et déjettées hors des Temples" (Mém. de Condé, iii. 355-364), beginning "Où sont les meurtres, les boucheries des hommes passés au fil de l'espée, par l'espace de neuf jours en la ville de Sens?" The address to the Cardinal of Guise is not less severe than the address to his brother in the famous "Tigre": "Te suffisoit-il pas, Cardinal, que le monde sceust que tu es Atheiste, Magicien, Nécromantien, sans le publier davantage, et faire ouvrir en pleine rue les femmes grosses pour voir le siége de leurs enfans?" P. 360. White (Mass. of St. Bartholomew, 200) confounds in his account the two brother cardinals, and makes Lorraine to have been Archbishop of Sens.

[94] Letter of Condé of April 19th, Mém. de Condé, iii. 300, 301; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 246, 247; J. de Serres, ii. 40-42.

[95] Throkmorton to Cecil, April 10, 1562. State Paper Office.

[96] I will not sully these pages even by a reference to the unnatural and beastly crimes which De Thou and other trustworthy historians ascribe to the Roman Catholic troops, especially the Italian part.

[97] So late as January, 1561, he wrote: "Quant à la religion, que sa Majesté se peult asseuré que je viveray et moreray en icelle." Gachard, Correspondance de Guillaume le Taciturne, ii. 6.

[98] "Et suis mervilleusement mari de veoir comme ces méchantes hérésies se augmente partout," etc.

[99] "Qu'il fasse tout debvoir du monde, tant par puplication, comme par force (autant qui j'en porrois la avoir) de remédier à telle désordre, qui est si domagable à tout la christienté."

[100] Letter to Card. Granvelle, Oct. 21, 1560, Gachard, i. 461-463.

[101] De Thou (whose graphic account I have principally followed), iii. 226-228; J. de Serres, ii. 183, 184; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., iii. 164-167.

[102] Agrippa d'Aubigné has inserted in his history (i. 154-156) an interesting conversation which he held with the Baron des Adrets, then an old man, a dozen years later, in the city of Lyons. In answer to the question, Why he had resorted to acts of cruelty unbecoming to his great valor? the baron replied that no one commits cruelty in avenging cruelty; for, if the first measures are cruelty, the second are justice. His severities, he urged, were needed in order to show proper spirit in view of the past, and proper regard for the future. His soldiers must be forced to commit themselves beyond hope of pardon—they must, especially in a war in which their opponents cloaked themselves with the royal authority, fight without respect of persons. "The soldier cannot be taught," said he with characteristic bluntness, "to carry his sword and his hat in his hand at the same time." When asked what motive he had in subsequently leaving his old comrades in arms, he explained that it was neither fear nor avarice, but disgust at their timid policy and at seeing himself superseded. And to D'Aubigné's third question—a somewhat bold one, it must be confessed—Why success had never attended his recent undertakings, he answered "with a sigh": "Mon enfant, nothing is too warm for a captain who has no greater anxiety for victory than have his soldiers. With the Huguenots I had soldiers; since then I have had only hucksters, who cared for nothing but money. The former were moved by apprehension unmingled with fear, and revenge, passion, and honor were the wages they fought for. I could not give those Huguenot soldiers reins enough; the others have worn out my spurs."

[103] And yet I agree with Von Polenz, Gesch. des Franz. Calvinismus (Gotha, 1859), ii. 188, 189, note, in regarding the Roman Catholic accounts of Des Adrets's cruelties and perfidy as very much exaggerated, and in insisting upon the circumstance that the barbarity practised at Orange had furnished him not only the example, but the incentive.

[104] According to Jean de Serres, this leader was the Baron des Adrets in person; according to De Thou, Montbrun commanded by the baron's appointment. So also Histoire ecclés., iii. 171.

[105] So at Montbrison, the Baron des Adrets reserved thirty prisoners from the common slaughter to expiate the massacre of Orange by a similar method. One of them was observed by Des Adrets to draw back twice before taking the fatal leap. "What!" said the chief, "do you take two springs to do it?" "I will give you ten to do it!" the witty soldier replied; and the laugh he evoked from those grim lips saved his life. De Thou (iii. 231, 232) and others.

[106] J. de Serres, ii. 188; Castelnau, liv., iv. c. ii. But the "Discours des Guerres de la comté de Venayscin et de la Prouence ... par le seigneur Loys de Perussiis, escuyer de Coumons, subiect uassal de sa saincteté" (dedicated to "Fr. Fabrice de Serbellon, cousin-germain de N. S. P. et son général en la cité d'Avignon et dicte comté,") Avignon, 1563, and reprinted in Cimber (iv. 401, etc.), makes no mention of the fig-tree, and regards the preservation as almost miraculous. There is a faithful representation of the ruined Château of Mornas above the frightful precipice, in Count Alexander de Laborde's magnificent work, Les Monuments de la France (Paris, 1836), plate 179.

[107] Discours des Guerres de la comté de Venayscin, etc., 453; De Thou, iii. 240.

[108] Mém. de Blaise de Montluc, iii. 393 (Petitot ed.): "pouvant dire avec la vérité qu'il n'y a lieutenant de Roy en France qui ait plus faict passer d'Huguenots par le cousteau ou par la corde, que moy."

[109] "Me deliberay d'user de toutes les cruautez que je pourrois." Ib., iii. 20. "Je recouvray secrettement deux bourreaux, lesquels on appella depuis mes laquais, parce qu'ils estoient souvent après moy." Ib., iii., 21. Consult the succeeding pages for an account of Montluc's brutality, which could scarcely be credited, but that Montluc himself vouches for it.

[110] Since the publication of the Edict of January at Toulouse (on the 6th of February), the Protestant minister had sworn to observe its provisions before the seneschal, viguier, and capitouls, and, when he preached, these last had been present to prevent disturbance. A place of worship, twenty-four cannes long by sixteen in width (174 feet by 116), had been built on the spot assigned by the authorities. Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., iii. 1.

[111] De Thou, iii. 294; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., iii. 1-32.

[112] Even in 1762, Voltaire remonstrated against a jubilee to "thank God for four thousand murders." Yet a century later, in 1862, Monseigneur Desprez, Archbishop of Toulouse, gave notice of the recurrence of the celebration in these words: "The Catholic Church always makes it a duty to recall, in the succession of ages, the most remarkable events of its history—particularly those which belong to it in a special manner. It is thus that we are going to celebrate this year the jubilee commemorative of a glorious act accomplished among you three hundred years ago." The archbishop was warm in his admiration of the last centennial procession, "at which were present all the persons of distinction—the religious orders, the officiating minister under his canopy, the red robes, and the members of parliament pressing behind the university, the seneschal, the bourgeoisie, and finally a company of soldiers." But the French government, not agreeing with the prelate in the propriety of perpetuating the reminiscence, forbade the procession and all out-door solemnities, and declared "the celebration of a jubilee of the 16th to the 23d of May next, enjoined by the Archbishop of Toulouse, to be nothing less than the commemoration of a mournful and bloody episode of our ancient religious discords." See a letter from a correspondent of the New York Evening Post, Paris, April 10, 1862.

[113] Papal brief of April 23, 1562: "Ista sunt vere catholico viro digna opera, ista haud dubie divina sunt beneficia. Agimus omnipotenti Deo gratias, qui tam præclaram tibi mentem dedit," etc. Soldan, ii. 61.

[114] De Thou, iii. 149-151.

[115] Ibid., iii. 143, April 7th.

[116] Catharine de' Medici stated to Sir Harry Sydney, the special English envoy, in May, 1562, that her son-in-law, the King of Spain, had offered Charles thirty thousand foot and six thousand horse "payd of his owne charge," besides what the Duke of Savoy and others were ready to furnish. Letter of Sidney and Throkmorton to Queen Elizabeth, May 8, 1562, MSS. State Paper Office. Duc d'Aumale, Princes de Condé, Pièces justif., i. 363.

[117] Sir T. Chaloner, ambassador in Spain, to Sir Nicholas Throkmorton, May 1, 1562, Haynes, State Papers, 382, 383.

[118] April 17th. Mém. de Condé, iii. 281-284.

[119] May 15th and 16th, Mém. de Condé, iii. 284-287.

[120] Froude, History of England, vii. 404.

[121] Throkmorton to the queen, April 1, 1562, State Paper Office.

[122] Cecil to Mundt, March 22, 1562, State Paper Office.

[123] Wm. Hawes to Throkmorton, July 15, 1562, State Paper Office.

[124] Hist. ecclés., iii. 143-145; De Thou, iii. 233, 234.

[125] Almost all the members of Condé's council favored a call upon the German Protestant princes for prompt support. But "the admiral broke off this plan of theirs, saying that he would prefer to die rather than consent that those of the religion should be the first to bring foreign troops into France." It was, therefore, concluded to send two gentlemen to Germany, to remain there until the conclusion of the war, in order to explain the position of the Huguenots. Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 23.

[126] Mém. de Condé, i. 79, 80. Cf. Baum, ii., App., 177.

[127] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 14; Mém. de Condé, i. 81-83, and iii. 256; De Thou, iii. 143.

[128] "Que sans sa venue à Paris, il fust arrivé vers les Pasques, plus de quinze centz chevaulx de tous costez du royaume, pour saccager la ville," etc. Response à la Déclaration que faict le Prince de Condé, etc. Mém. de Condé, iii. 242.

[129] Mém. de Condé, iii. 388-391; Hist, ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 30, 31; Jean de Serres, ii. 63; De Thou, iii. 152.

[130] J. de Serres, ii. 112-117; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 27-29; Mém. de Condé, iii. 392, 393; De Thou, iii. 153, 154.

[131] Jean de Serres, ii. 118-150; Mém. de Condé, iii. 395-416; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 32-46; De Thou, iii. 154-157. It is incredible that, as De Thou suggests, this answer should have been penned by Montluc, Bishop of Valence. On the other hand, it bears every mark of having proceeded from the pen of that learned, eloquent, and sprightly writer, Theodore Beza. As a literary production it fully deserves the warm encomium passed upon it by Professor Baum: "It is a masterpiece in respect both to the arrangement and to the treatment of the matter; and, with its truly Demosthenian strength, may, with confidence, be placed by the side of the most eloquent passages to which the French language can point." Baum, Theodor Beza, ii. 642.

[132] J. de Serres, ii. 93, etc.; De Thou, iii. 158. See the acts of the third National Synod in Aymon, Tous les Synodes, i. 23-31. The Second National synod had been held at Poitiers, on the tenth of March, 1561. Its acts are in Aymon, i. 13-22.

[133] J. de Serres, ii. 170; De Thou, iii. 160; Jehan de la Fosse, 50; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf. ii. 47.

[134] De Thou, iii. 160.

[135] Journal de Bruslart, Mémoires de Condé, i. 87; Claude Haton, i. 284; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf. ii. 48.

[136] See the prince's affectionate letter to Antoine, June 13th, Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf. ii. 49; De Thou, ubi supra; J. de Serres, ii. 156.

[137] Mém. de Guise, 495.

[138] It was in the presence of seven knights of the order of St. Michael, of the secretaries of state, etc. See Condé's long remonstrance against the judgment of the Parisian parliament, Aug. 8, 1562. Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 71; Mém. de Condé, iii. 587.

[139] Unlucky Bishop Montluc has received the doubtful credit of having laid this pretty snare for the Huguenot chiefs, but with what reason it is beyond my ability to conjecture. The same brain could scarcely have indited the bitter reply to the petition of the triumvirs, and devised the cunning project of entangling their opponents. Evidently the Bishop of Valence has received some honors to which he is not entitled.

[140] Mém. de Guise, 494; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 59. "Conclusion," says the duke in his confidence in the success of his project, "la religion réformée, en nous conduisant et tenant bon, comme nous ferons jusques au bout, s'en va aval l'eau, et les admiraux, mal ce qui est possible: toutes nos forces entièrement demeurent, les leurs rompues, les villes rendues sans parler d'édits ne de presches et administration de sacremens à leur mode." A memorandum of eight articles from the triumvirs to Navarre, seized at the same time, showed the intention to arrest the Prince of Condé. Ib., ii. 60.

[141] J. de Serres, ii. 170-180; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ubi supra; De Thou, iii. 164-168. Harangue of Bishop Spifame to the emperor, Le Laboureur, Add. aux Mém. de Castelnau, ii. 28-38. Mémoires de Jéhan de l'Archevesque, Sieur de Soubise, Bulletin, xxiii. (1874) 460, 461.

[142] La Noue, c. v., p. 597; De Thou, iii. 168, 169, etc.

[143] J. de Serres, ii. 180; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 61, 62.

[144] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 62; La Noue, c. iv.

[145] La Noue, c. vii., p. 600. "Ledict seigneur prince de Condé," says Jean Glaumeau of Bourges, in his journal, "voyant qu'il ne pouvoit avoir raison avec son ennemy et qu'il ne le pouvoit rencontrer, ayant une armée de viron trente ou quarante milles hommes, de peur qu'ilz n'adurassent (endurassent) fain ou soif, commence à les séparer et envoya en ceste ville de Bourges, tant de cheval que de pied, viron quatre milles, et y arrivèrent le samedi xie jour de juillet." Bulletin, v. (1857) 387.

[146] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 61.

[147] "Si celle-cy y faut, nous ferons la croix à la cheminée." Mém. de la Noue, c. vi. 598, 599.

[148] The author of the Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 61, regards the failure of the confederates promptly to put to the death—as Admiral Coligny and others had insisted upon their doing—a Baron de Courtenay, who had outraged a village girl, and their placing him under a guard from which he succeeded in making his escape, as "the door, so to speak, through which Satan entered the camp."

[149] De Thou, iii. 171.

[150] Abbé Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 90; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 66; Journal de Jehan de la Fosse, 52. The latter erroneously calls it an edict "de par le roi;" but certainly gives the essence of the order according to the popular estimate when he says "qu'il estoit permis au peuple de tuer tout huguenot qu'il trouveroit, d'où vint qu'il y en eust en la ville de Paris plusieurs tués et jetés en l'eau."

[151] Mém. de Condé, i. 91. Text of arrêt of July 13th, ib., iii. 544; of arrêt of July 17th, ib., iii. 547. Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ubi supra; Recordon, p. 108.

[152] Nicholas Pithou has left in his MSS., which, unfortunately, have not yet been published entire, a thrilling narrative of the savage excesses committed partly by the authorities of Troyes, partly by the soldiers and the rabble, under their eyes and with their approval. There is nothing more abominable in the annals of crime than what was committed at this time with the connivance of the ministers of law. The story of the sufferings of Pithou's sister, Madame de Valentigny, will be found of special interest. See Recordon, 107-129.

[153] Mém. de Condé, i. 91, and Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ubi supra. J. de la Fosse, 53, 54, "pour huguenoterye." Even with these judicial executions the people interfered, cutting off the heads of the victims, using them for footballs, and finally burning them. The contemptuous disobedience of the people of Paris and their cruelty are frequent topics touched upon in Throkmorton's correspondence. He acknowledges himself to be afraid, because of "the daily despites, injuries, and threatenings put in use towards him and his by the insolent, raging people." He sees that "neither the authority of the king, the queen mother, or any other person can be sanctuary" for him; for they "daily most cruelly kill every person (no age or sex excepted) whom they take to be contrary to their religion, notwithstanding daily proclamations under pain of death to the contrary." He declares that the king and his mother are, "for their own safety, constrained to lie at Bois de Vincennes, not thinking good to commit themselves into the hands of the furious Parisians;" and that the Chancellor of France, "being the most sincere man of this prince's council," is in as great fear of his life as Throkmorton himself, being lodged hard by the Bois de Vincennes, where he has the protection of the king's guards; and yet even there he has been threatened with a visit from the Parisians, and with being killed in his own house. See both of Throkmorton's despatches to the queen, of August 5, 1562, State Paper Office. One of them is printed in Forbes, ii. 7, etc.

[154] Mém. de Condé, i. 91-93; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ubi supra; De Thou, iii. 192, 193; J. de La Fosse, 54.

[155] It appears from a letter of the Nuncio Santa Croce (April 29th), that, as early as two months before, the court flattered itself with the hope of deriving great advantages from excluding Condé from the ban, and affecting to regard him as a prisoner (Aymon, i. 152, and Cimber et Danjou, vi. 91). "Con che pensano," he adds, "di quietar buona parte del popolo, che non sentendo parlar di religione, e parendoli ancora che la guerra si faccia per la liberatione del Principe de Condé, stara a vedere."

[156] "The byshopp off Rome hathe lent these hys cheampions and frends on hundrethe thousand crowns, and dothe pay monthely besyds six thousand sowldiers." Throkmorton to the Council, July 27, 1562, Forbes, State Papers, ii. 5.

[157] De Thou, iii. 191, etc.; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 64, etc.

[158] The number was, in fact, only about 15,000 foot and 3,000 horse, according to De Thou, iii. 198.

[159] Although Coligny captured six cannon and over forty wagons of powder, he was compelled reluctantly to destroy, or render useless, and abandon munitions of war of which he stood in great need; for the enemy had taken the precaution to kill or drive away the horses, and the wagons could not be dragged to Orleans, a distance of over twenty miles. It happened that Sir Nicholas Throkmorton, whose instructive correspondence furnishes so lucid a commentary upon the events from 1559 to 1563, was travelling under escort of the royal train, to take leave of Charles IX. at Bourges. In the unexpected assault of the Huguenots he was stripped of his money and baggage, and even his despatches. Under these circumstances he thought it necessary to accompany Coligny to Orleans. Catharine, who knew well Throkmorton's sympathy with the Protestants, and hated him heartily ("Yt is not th' Ambassador of Englande," he had himself written only a few days earlier, "which ys so greatlye stomackyd and hatyd in this countreye, but yt ys the persone of Nicholas Throkmorton," Forbes, ii. 33), would have it that he had purposely thrown himself into the hands of the Huguenots. His confidential correspondence with Queen Elizabeth does not bear out the charge. Despatch from Orleans, Sept. 9, 1562, Forbes, State Papers, ii. 36, etc. Catharine assured Sir Thomas Smith, on his arrival at court as English ambassador, that she wished he had been sent before, instead of Throkmorton, "for they took him here to be the author of all these troubles," declaring that Throkmorton was never well but when he was making some broil, and that he was so "passionate and affectionate" on the Huguenots' side, that he cared not what trouble he made. Despatch of Smith, Rouen, Nov. 7, 1562, State Paper Office.

[160] Histoire ecclés., ii. 296-306 (the terms of capitulation, ii. 304, 305); Mém. de Castelnau, liv. iii., c. xi. (who maintains they were implicitly observed); Throkmorton, in Forbes, State Papers, ii. 41; Davila, bk. iii., p. 71; De Thou, iii. 198, 199. "Bituriges turpiter a duce præsidii proditi sese dediderunt, optimis quidem conditionibus, sed quas biduo post perfidiosissimus hostis infregit." Beza to Bullinger, Sept. 24, 1562, Baum, ii., Appendix, 194. M. Bourquelot has published a graphic account of the capture of Bourges in May, by the Huguenots, under Montgomery, and of the siege in August, from the MS. Journal of Jean Glaumeau, in the National Library (Bulletin de l'hist. du prot. fr., v. 387-389). M. L. Lacour reprints in the same valuable periodical (v. 516-518) a contemporary hymn of some merit, "Sur la prise de Bourges." We are told that a proverb is even now current in Berry, not a little flattering to the Huguenot rule it recalls:

"L'an mil cinq cent soixante et deux
Bourges n'avoit prêtres ny gueux." (Ibid., v. 389.)

[161] Jean de Serres, De statu relig. et reip., ii. 258, 259.

[162] This conclusion was arrived at as early as Aug. 29th. Froude, Hist. of England, vii. 433. Seventy thousand crowns were to be paid to the prince's agents at Strasbourg or Frankfort so soon as the news should be received of the transfer of Havre, thirty thousand more within a month thereafter. The other forty thousand were in lieu of the defence of Rouen and Dieppe, should it seem impracticable to undertake it. Havre was to be held until the Prince should have effected the restitution of Calais and the adjacent territory according to the treaties of Cateau-Cambrésis, although the time prescribed by those treaties had not expired, and until the one hundred and forty thousand crowns should have been repaid without interest. The compact, signed by Queen Elizabeth at Hampton Court, Sept. 20, 1562, is inserted in Du Mont, Corps Diplomatique, v. 94, 95, and in Forbes, State Papers, ii., 48-51.

[163] See the declaration in Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 415, 416; and Forbes, State Papers, ii. 79, 80. J. de Serres, ii. 261, etc. Cf. Forbes, State Papers, ii. 60, 69-79.

[164] Throkmorton to the queen, Sept. 24, 1562. Forbes, State Papers, ii. 64, 65.

[165] Froude, ubi supra. In fact, Elizabeth assured Philip the Second—and there is no reason to doubt her veracity in this—that she would recall her troops from France so soon as Calais were recovered and peace with her neighbors were restored, and that, in the attempt to secure these ends, she expected the countenance rather than the opposition of her brother of Spain. Queen Elizabeth to the King of Spain, Sept. 22, 1562. Forbes, State Papers, ii. 55. It is not improbable, indeed, that there were ulterior designs even against Havre. "It is ment," her minister Cecil wrote to one of his intimate correspondents, "to kepe Newhaven in the Quene's possession untill Callice be eyther delyvered, or better assurance of it then presently we have." But he soon adds that, in a certain emergency, "I think the Quene's Majestie nead not be ashamed to utter her right to Newhaven as parcell of the Duchie of Normandy." T. Wright, Queen Elizabeth and her Times (London, 1838), i. 96.

[166] Froude, History of England, vii. 460, 461.

[167] Catharine to Throkmorton, Étampes, Sept. 21, 1562, State Paper Office.

[168] Mém. de la Noue, c. vii.; De Thou, iii. 206, 207 (liv. xxxi). Throkmorton is loud in his praise of the fortifications the Huguenots had thrown up, and estimates the soldiers within them at over one thousand horse and five thousand foot soldiers, besides the citizen militia. Forbes, ii. 39.

[169] Cuthbert Vaughan appreciated the importance of this city, and warned Cecil that "if the same, for lack of aid, should be surprised, it might give the French suspicion on our part that the queen meaneth but an appearance of aid, thereby to obtain into her hands such things of theirs as may be most profitable to her, and in time to come most noyful to themselves." Forbes, ii. 90. Unfortunately it was not Cecil, but Elizabeth herself, that restrained the exertions of the troops, and she was hard to move. And so, for lack of a liberal and hearty policy, Rouen was suffered to fall, and Dieppe was given up without a blow, and Warwick and the English found themselves, as it were, besieged in Havre. Whereas, with those places, they might have commanded the entire triangle between the Seine and the British Channel. See Throkmorton's indignation, and the surprise of Condé and Coligny, Forbes, State Papers, ii. 193, 199.

[170] In a letter to Lansac, Aug. 17, 1562, Catharine writes: "Nous nous acheminons à Bourges pour en déloger le jeune Genlis.... L'ayant levé de là, comme je n'y espère grande difficulté, nous tournerons vers Orléans pour faire le semblable de ceux qui y sont." Le Laboureur, i. 820.

[171] Mém. de François de la Noue, c. viii. (p. 601.)

[172] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 375, 376, 383; J. de Serres, ii. 181; De Thou, iii. 179-181.

[173] It was undoubtedly a Roman Catholic fabrication, that Montgomery bore on his escutcheon a helmet pierced by a lance (un heaume percé d'une lance), in allusion to the accident by which he had given Henry the Second his mortal wound, in the joust at the Tournelles. Abbé Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 97, who, however, characterizes it as "chose fort dure à croire."

[174] Mém. de la Noue, c. viii.

[175] When Lord Robert Dudley began to break to the queen the disheartening news that Rouen had fallen, Elizabeth betrayed "a marvellous remorse that she had not dealt more frankly for it," and instead of exhibiting displeasure at Poynings's presumption, seemed disposed to blame him that he had not sent a thousand men instead, for his fault would have been no greater. Dudley to Cecil, Oct. 30, 1562, Forbes, State Papers, ii. 155.

[176] De Thou, iii. 328; Froude, vii. 436; Sir Thomas Smith to Throkmorton, Paris, Oct. 17, 1562, Forbes, State Papers, ii. 117.

[177] "But thei will have there preaching still. Thei will have libertie of their religion, and thei will have no garrison wythin the towne, but will be masters therof themselves: and upon this point thei stand." Despatch of Sir Thomas Smith, Poissy, Oct. 20, 1562, Forbes, State Papers, ii. 123.

[178] The plundering lasted eight days. While the Swiss obeyed orders, and promptly desisted, "the French suffered themselves to be killed rather than quit the place whilst there was anything left." Castelnau, liv. iii., c. 13. The curé of Mériot waxes jocose over the incidents of the capture: "Tout ce qui fut trouvé en armes par les rues et sur les murailles fut passé par le fil de l'espée. La ville fut mise au pillage par les soldatz du camp, qui se firent gentis compaignons. Dieu sçait que ceux qui estoient mal habillez pour leur yver (hiver) ne s'en allèrent sans robbe neufve. Les huguenotz de la ville furent en tout maltraictez," etc. Mém. de Claude Haton, i. 288.

[179] On the siege of Rouen, see the graphic account of De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxiii.) 328-335; the copious correspondence of the English envoys in France, Forbes, State Papers, vol. ii.; the Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 389-396 (and Marlorat's examination and sentence in extenso, 398-404); J. de Serres, ii. 259; La Noue, c. viii.; Davila (interesting, and not so inaccurate here as usual, perhaps because he had a brother-in-law, Jean de Hemery, sieur de Villers, in the Roman Catholic army, but who greatly exaggerates the Huguenot forces), ch. iii. 73-75; Castelnau, liv. iii., c. 13.

[180] It is to be noted, however, that the order of the Prince of Condé, in the case of Sapin (November 2, 1562), makes no mention of the judicial murder of Marlorat, but alleges only his complicity with parliament in imprisoning the king, his mother, and the King of Navarre, in annulling royal edicts by magisterial orders, in constraining the king's officers to become idolaters, in declaring knights of the Order of St. Michael and other worthy gentlemen rebels, in ordering the tocsin to be rung, and inciting to assassination, etc. Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 115, 116. See Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 100. When Condé was informed that the Parisian parliament had gone in red robes to the "Sainte Chapelle," to hear a requiem mass for Counsellor Sapin, he laughed, and said that he hoped soon to multiply their litanies and kyrie eleysons. Hist. ecclés., ubi supra.

[181] As early as October 27th, Navarre sent a gentleman to Jeanne d'Albret, then at Pau in Béarn, "desiring to have her now to cherish him, and do the part of a wife;" and the messenger told Sir Thomas Smith, with whom he dined that day in Evreux, "that the king pretendeth to him, that this punishment [his wounds] came to him well-deserved, for his unkindness in forsaking the truth." Forbes, State Papers, ii. 167. The authenticity of the story of Antoine of Navarre's death-bed repentance is sufficiently attested by the letter written, less than a year later (August, 1563), by his widow, Jeanne d'Albret, to the Cardinal of Armagnac: "Où sont ces belles couronnes que vous luy promettiés, et qu'il a acquises à combattre contre la vraye Religion et sa conscience; comme la confession dernière qu'il en a faite en sa mort en est seur tesmoignage, et les paroles dites à la Royne, en protestation de faire prescher les ministres par tout s'il guerissoit." Pierre Olhagaray, Histoire de Foix, Béarn, et Navarre (Paris, 1609), p. 546. See also Brantôme (edition Lalanne), iv. 367, and the account, written probably by Antoine's physician, De Taillevis, among the Dupuy MSS. of the Bibliothèque nationale, ibid., iv. 419.

[182] Lestoile (Collection Michaud et Poujoulat), 15; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 397, 406-408; De Thou, 336, 337; Relation de la mort du roi de Navarre, Cimber et Danjou, iv. 67, etc.

[183] I am convinced that the historian De Thou has drawn of this fickle prince much too charitable a portrait (iii. 337). It seems to be saying too much to affirm that "his merit equalled that of the greatest captains of his age;" and if "he loved justice, and was possessed of uprightness," it must be confessed that his dealings with neither party furnish much evidence of the fact. (I retain these remarks, although I find that the criticism has been anticipated by Soldan, ii. 78). Recalling the earlier relations of the men, it is not a little odd that, when the news of Navarre's death reached the "holy fathers" of the council then in session in the city of Trent, the papal legates and the presidents paid the Cardinal of Lorraine a formal visit to condole with him on the decease of his dear relative! (Acta Conc. Tridentini, apud Martene et Durand, Amplissima Collectio, tom. viii. 1299). The farce was, doubtless, well played, for the actors were of the best in Christendom.

[184] Letter of Beza to Bullinger, Sept. 1, 1562, Baum, iii., App., 190. The Huguenots had sustained a heavy loss also in the utter defeat and dispersion by Blaise de Montluc of some five or six thousand troops of Gascony, which the Baron de Duras was bringing to Orleans.

[185] The sentiments of well-informed Huguenots are reflected in a letter of Calvin, of September, 1562, urging the Protestants of Languedoc to make collections to defray the expense entailed by D'Andelot's levy. "D'entrer en question ou dispute pour reprendre les faultes passées, ce n'est pas le temps. Car, quoy qu'il en soit, Dieu nous a réduicts à telle extrémité que si vous n'estes secourus de ce costé-là, on ne voit apparence selon les hommes que d'une piteuse et horrible désolation." Bonnet, Lettres franç., ii. 475.

[186] Hist. ecclés., ii. 421.

[187] See "Capitulation des reytres et lansquenetz levez pour monseigneur le prince de Condé, du xviii. d'aoust 1562," Bulletin, xvi. (1867), 116-118. The reiters came chiefly from Hesse.

[188] Claude Haton, no friend to Catharine, makes the Duke d'Aumale, in command of eight or nine thousand troops, avoid giving battle to D'Andelot, and content himself with watching his march from Lorraine as far as St. Florentin, in obedience to secret orders of the queen mother, signed with the king's seal. Mémoires, i. 294, 295. The fact was that D'Andelot adroitly eluded both the Duke of Nevers, Governor of Champagne, who was prepared to resist his passage, and Marshal Saint André, who had advanced to meet him with thirteen companies of "gens-d'armes" and some foot soldiers. Davila, bk. iii. 76; De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxiii.) 356.

[189] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 114, 115. The writer ascribes the fall of Rouen to the delay of the reiters in assembling at their rendezvous. Instead of being ready on the first of October, it was not until the tenth that they had come in sufficient numbers to be mustered in.

[190] Eighty thousand, according to the Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 91, 92; twenty-five thousand, according to Claude Haton, Mémoires, 332, 333.

[191] Letter of Beza to Bullinger, Sept. 1st, Baum, ii., App., 191; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 114, 115; Davila, bk. iii., 77; De Thou, iii. 355, 356.

[192] Letter of Beza to Calvin, Dec. 14, 1562, Baum, ii., App., 196. The authority of Beza, who had recently returned from a mission on which he had been sent by Condé to Germany and Switzerland and who wrote from the camp, is certainly to be preferred to that of Claude Haton, who states the Huguenot forces at 25,000 men (Mémoires, i. 298). The prince's chief captains—Coligny, Andelot, La Rochefoucauld, and Mouy—Haton rates as the best warriors in France after the Duke of Guise. According to Throkmorton's despatches from Condé's camp near Corbeil, the departure from Orleans took place on the 8th of November, and the prince's French forces amounted only to six thousand foot soldiers, indifferently armed, and about two thousand horse. Forbes, State Papers, ii. 195. But this did not include the Germans—some seven thousand five hundred men more. Ibid., ii. 196. Altogether, he reckons the army at "6,000 horsemen of all sorts and nations, and 10,000 footmen." Ibid., ii. 202.

[193] Mém. de La Noue, c. viii., p. 602.

[194] The Protestants of Languedoc held in Nismes (Nov. 2-13, 1562) the first, or at least one of the very first, of those "political assemblies" which became more and more frequent as the sixteenth century advanced. Here the Count of Crussol, subsequently Duke d'Uzès, was urged to accept the office of "head, defender, and conservator" of the reformed party in Languedoc. To the count a council was given, and he was requested not to find the suggestion amiss that he should in all important matters, such as treaties with the enemy, consult with the general assembly of the Protestants, or at least with the council. By this good office he would demonstrate the closeness of the bond uniting him as head to the body of his native land, besides giving greater assurance to a people too much inclined to receive unfounded impressions ("ung puple souvent trop meticulleux et de legiere impression"). Procès-verbal of the Assembly of Nismes, from MS. Bulletin, xxii. (1873), p. 515.

[195] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 117; De Thou, iii. 357. Calvin's, or the Geneva liturgy, was probably used but in part. Special prayers, adapted to the circumstances of the army, had been composed, under the title of "Prières ordinaires des soldatz de l'armée conduicte par Monsieur le Prince de Condé, accomodées selon l'occurrence du temps." Prof. Baum cites a simple, but beautiful evening prayer, which was to be said when the sentinels were placed on guard for the night. Theodor Beza, ii. 624, note.

[196] Throkmorton (Forbes, ii. 195, 197) represents the executions as more general, and as an act of severity, "chiefly in revenge of the great cruelty exercised by the Duke of Guise and his party at Rouen against the soldiers there, but specially against your Majesty's subjects."

[197] Throkmorton was convinced of the practicability of capturing Paris by a rapid movement even from before Corbeil: "The whole suburbes on this syde the water is entrenched, where there is sundry bastions and cavaliers to plante th' artillerye on, which is verey daungerous for th' assaylantes. Nevertheles, if the Prince had used celeritie, in my opinion, with little losse of men and great facilitie he might have woon the suburbes; and then the towne coulde not longe have holden, somme parte of the sayd suburbes havinge domination therof." Forbes, ii. 217.

[198] Mémoires de François de la Noue, c. ix., p. 603 (Collection Michaud et Poujoulat). See also Davila (bk. iii. 77), who represents the advice of the admiral rather to have been to employ the army in recapturing the places along the Loire, while Condé insisted on trying to become master of Paris. De Thou, iii. 358. Beza, in his letter of Dec. 14th, says: "Quum enim urbs repentino impetu facile capi posset, etc." So also the Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 118.

[199] See Motley, United Netherlands, iii. 59.

[200] "The Prince of Condé and his campe having approched the towne of Corbeille, and being ready to batter the same, the queene mother sente her principal escuyer, named Monsieur de Sainte-Mesme, with a lettre to the sayd prince, advertisinge him of the deathe of the kinge, his brother. The sayd de Sainte-Mesme had also in credence to tell the prince from the queene, that she was verey desirous to have an ende of theise troubles: and also that she was willinge that the sayd prince should enjoy his ranke and aucthorité due unto him in this realme.... This the queene mother's lettre and sweete words hathe empeached the battrye and warlyke procedings against Corbeill; the prince therby beeing induced to desist from using any violence against his ennemyes. I feare me, that this delaying will torne much to the prince's disadvantage; and that there is no other good meaning at this time in this faire speeche, then there was in the treaty of Bogeancy (Beaugency) in the monethe of July last." Throkmorton to the queen, from Essonne, opposite Corbeil, Nov. 22, 1562, Forbes, ii. 209.

[201] Letter of Beza to Calvin, Dec. 14th, Baum, ii., App., 197.

[202] Ib., ubi supra.

[203] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 120; De Thou, iii. 359.

[204] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 132; De Thou, iii. 361; Mém. de Castelnau, liv. iv., c. iv.; Forbes, ii. 227, 228. Even in September, the English ambassador wrote from Orleans, "there is greate practise made by the queene mother and others to winne Monsieur de Janlis and Monsieur de Grandmont from the prince." Forbes, ii. 41.

[205] "Par ce moyen, un chacun de nous trainera son licol, jusques à ce que les dessusdits le serrent à leur appetit." Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 126. The details of the conferences, with the articles offered on either side, are given at great length, pp. 121-136.

[206] "The queene mother and hyr councelours," wrote Throkmorton to Elizabeth, four or five days later (Dec. 13, 1562), "have at the length once agayne showed, howe sincerely they meane in their treatyes. For when their force out of Gascoigne together with two thousand five hundred Spainardes were arrived, and when they had well trenched and fortefyed the faulxbourges and places of advantage of Paris; espienge, that the prince coulde remayne no longer with his campe before Paris for lack of victuaill and fourrage, having abused him sufficiently with this treaty eight or ten dayes: the sayd queene mother ... refused utterly the condicions before accorded." Forbes, State Papers, ii. 226. It is not strange that the ambassador, after the meagre results of the past five weeks, "could not hope of any great good to be done, until he saw it;" although he was confident that "if matters were handled stoutly and roundly, without delay," the prince might constrain his enemies to accord him favorable conditions.

[207] Mém. de Castelnau, liv. iv., c. iv.

[208] Five thousand, according to the Duke d'Aumale (Les Princes de Condé, i. 190).

[209] "Quatre-vingtz salades ... lesquels sembloient estre quatre-vingtz saettes du ciel!" Explanation of plan of battle sent by Guise to the king, reprinted in Mém. de Condé, iv. 687.

[210] "Etant chose certaine qu'il n'entra de cinquante ans en France des plus couards hommes que ceux-là, bien qu'ils eussent la plus belle apparence du monde." Hist. ecclés. ii. 144.

[211] It ought perhaps, in justice to the reiters, to be noticed that Coligny attributes their failure not to cowardice, as in the case of both the French and the German infantry, but to their not understanding orders, and to the occasional absence of an interpreter.

[212] La Noue in his commentaries (Ed. Mich., c. x., p. 605 seq.) makes some interesting observations on the singular incidents of the battle of Dreux. The author of the Histoire ecclés., ii. 140, and De Thou, iii. 367, criticise both the Roman Catholic and the Protestant generals. They find the former to blame for not waiting to engage the Huguenots until they had reached the rougher country they were approaching, where the superiority of Condé in cavalry would have been of little avail. They censure the latter for leaving his own infantry unprotected, and for attacking the enemy's infantry instead of his cavalry. If this had been routed, the other would have made no further resistance.

[213] He had, according to Beza's letter to Calvin, Dec. 27th (Baum, ii. Appendix, 202), lost only one hundred and fifty of his horsemen; or, according to the Histoire ecclés. (ii. 146), only twenty-seven.

[214] For details of the battle of Dreux, see Hist. ecclés., ii. 140-148; Mém. de Castelnau, liv. ii., c. v.; De Thou, iii. 365, etc.; Pasquier, Lettres (Ed. Feugère), ii. 251-254; Guise's relation, reprinted in Mém. de Condé, iv. 685, etc., and letters subsequently written, ibid. iv. 182, etc.; Coligny's brief account, written just after the battle, ibid. iv. 178-181; the Swiss accounts, Baum, ii. Appendix, 198-202; Vieilleville, liv. viii., c. xxxvi.; Davila, 81, seq. Cf. letter of Catharine, ubi infra, and two plans of the engagement, in vol. v. of Mém. de Condé. The Duc d'Aumale gives a good military sketch, i. 189-205.

[215] "Et non sans cause," says Abbé Bruslart; "d'autant que de ceste bataille despendoit tout l'estat de la religion chrestienne et du royaume." Mém. de Condé, i. 105. A despatch of Smith to the Privy Council, St. Denis, Dec. 20, 1562, gives this first and incorrect account. MS. State Paper Office.

[216] H. Martin, Hist. de France, x. 156. Le Laboureur, ii. 450. Catharine's own account to her minister at Vienna, it is true, is very different. "J'en demeuray près de 24 heures en une extrême ennuy et fascherie, et jusques à ce que le S. de Losses arriva par-devers moy, qui fut hier sur les neuf heures du matin." Letter to the Bishop of Rennes, Dec. 23, 1562, apud Le Laboureur, Add. aux Mém. de Castelnau, ii. 66-68.

[217] The Council of Trent, on receiving an account of the battle, Dec. 28th, offered solemn thanksgivings. Acta Concil. Trid. apud Martene et Durand, Ampl. Coll., t. viii. 1301, 1302; Letter of the Card. of Lorraine to the Bishop of Rennes, French ambassador in Germany, apud Le Laboureur, Add. aux Mém. de Castelnau, ii. 70.

[218] Sir Thomas Smith to Cecil, February 4, 1563, State Paper Office.

[219] Same to same, February 26, 1563, State Paper Office.

[220] For Marshal Saint André, who had once gravely suggested in the council the propriety of sewing the queen mother up in a bag and throwing her into the river, it is understood that the Medici shed few tears. Brantôme and Le Laboureur, Add. aux Mém. de Castelnau, ii. 81. The marshal had been shot by a victim whom he had deprived of his possessions by confiscation. Ibid., ubi supra.

[221] "Black devils," Guise calls them in a letter of Jan. 17th. "M. de Châtillon et ces diables noirs sont à Jerjuau." Mém. de Guise, 502.

[222] Coligny had notified the English court of his intention early in January, and Cecil entertained high hopes of the result: "A gentleman is arryved at Rye, sent from the Admyrall Chastillion, who assureth his purpose to prosecute the cause of God and of his contrey, and meaneth to joyne with our power in Normandy, which I trust shall make a spedy end of the whole." Letter to Sir T. Smith, January 14th, Wright, Q. Eliz., i. 121.

[223] How important a matter this was, may be inferred from the fact that the Admiral took pains to dwell upon it, in a letter to Queen Elizabeth, written two or three days before his departure: "Advisant au reste vostre Majésté, Madame, que j'ay faict condescendre les reistres a laisser tous leur bagages et empechemens en ceste ville (chose non auparavant ouye): de sorte que dedans le dix ou douziesme de ce moys de Febvrier prochain au plus tard, avec l'aide de Dieu, nous serons bien prez du Havre de Grace," etc. Letter from Orleans, Jan. 29, 1563, Forbes, ii. 319.

[224] "En cest equipage, nous faisions telle diligence, que souvent nous prévenions la renommée de nous mesmes en plusieurs lieux où nous arrivions." Mém. de la Noue, c. xi. La Noue states the force at two thousand reiters, five hundred French horse, and one thousand mounted arquebusiers.

[225] "The 8th of that moneth" (February), says Stow, "the said Admirall came before Hunflew with six thousand horsemen, reisters and others of his owne retinues, beside footmen, and one hundred horsemen of the countries thereabout, and about sixe of the clocke at night, there was a great peale of ordinance shot off at Newhaven (Havre) for a welcome to the sayd Admirall." Annals (London, 1631), 653. The passage is inaccurately quoted by Wright, Queen Eliz., i. 125, note.

[226] Hist. des égl. réf., ii. 156, 157; Mém. de Castelnau, liv. iv., c. vii. and viii.

[227] Mém. de Castelnau, liv. iv., c. ix.

[228] Œuvres (Ed. Feugère), ii. 254; and again, ii. 257.

[229] Davila, bk. iii., p. 85.

[230] Castelnau (liv. iv., c. ix.), who was present, gives a less graphic account than Davila (bk. iii., pp. 85, 86), who was not. Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 159-161; La Noue, c. xi. 607-609.

[231] Feb. 9th—the day before Sir Thomas Smith reached Blois. Letter to Privy Council, Feb. 17, 1563, State Paper Office; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 160.

[232] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 162.

[233] Sir Thomas Smith to the Privy Council, Feb. 15th and 17th, 1563, State Paper Office, Calendar, pp. 138, 141. It is now known, of course, that bombs had been occasionally used long before 1563, by the Arabs in Spain, and others. But this kind of missile was practically a novelty, and was not adopted in ordinary warfare till near a century later.

[234] It was at a most trying moment—when M. de Soubise, the Protestant governor, found that only two weeks' provisions remained in the city, and therefore felt compelled to issue an order to force some 7,000 non-combatants—women, children, and the poor—to leave Lyons, that Viret, the Huguenot pastor, had an opportunity to display the great ascendancy which his eminent piety and discretion had secured him over all ranks in society. According to the newly published Memoirs of Soubise, Viret boldly remonstrated against an act which was equivalent to a surrender of thousands of defenceless persons to certain butchery, and declared that the ordinary rules of military necessity did not apply to a war like this, "in which the poorest has an interest, since we are fighting for the liberty of our consciences," adding his own assurance that help would come from some other quarter. Finally the governor yielded, saying: "Even should it turn out ill and my reputation suffer, as though I had not done my duty as a captain, yet, at your word, I will do as you ask, being well assured that God will bless my act." Bulletin, xxiii. (1874), 497. It will be remembered that Pierre Viret had been the able coadjutor of Farel in the reformation of Geneva, twenty-eight years before. The siege of Lyons was made the subject of a lengthy song by Antoine Du Plain (reprinted in the Chansonnier Huguenot, 220 seq.), containing not a few historical data of importance.

[235] "Nous venons maintenans d'estre advertyz de Lion par M. de Soubize, comme le Baron des Adrez, ayant esté practiqué par M. de Nemours, avoit comploté de faire entrer quelque gendarmerie et gens de pied de M. de Nemours dedans Rommans, ville du Daulphiné: dont il a esté empesché par le sieur de Mouvans, et par la noblesse du pays; qui se sont saisiz de sa personne, et le ont mené prisonnier à Valence, pour le envoyer en Languedoc devers mon frère, naguères cardinal de Chastillon, et Monsieur de Crussol (qui ont presque delivré tout le dict pays de Languedoc de la tyrannie des ennemys de Dieu et du Roy) a fin de le faire punir, et servir d'exemple aux autres deserteurs de Dieu, de leur debvoir, et de la patrie." Admiral Coligny to Queen Elizabeth, Orleans, January 29, 1562/3, Forbes, ii. 320.

[236] The gloomy picture is painted by Henri Martin, x. 158, etc.

[237] This statement does not rest upon any documentary proof that I am aware of. It is, however, vouched for by the Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 162. Moreover, Admiral Coligny, in his later defence, expressly states, "on the testimony of men worthy of belief," that Guise "was accustomed to boast that, on the capture of the city, he would spare none of the inhabitants, and that no respect would be paid to age or sex." Jean de Serres, iii. 29; Mém. de Condé, iv. 348.

[238] Mém. de Soubise, Bulletin, xxiii. (1874) 499.

[239] Not without some hesitation, however. So little confidence in his good judgment did his frivolous appearance inspire, that Coligny observed: "I would not trust him, without knowing him better than I do, had not Monsieur de Soubise sent him to me." Mém. de Soubise, Bulletin, xxiii. (1874) 502.

[240] The Procès verbal of Poltrot's examination just before his death, March 18th, is inserted in the Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 187-198. In this he declares that his first testimony was false and extorted by the fear of death, and exculpates Soubise, Beza, Coligny, etc., from having instigated him. He says that when put to torture he will say anything the questioners want him to. Accordingly, when so tortured, he accuses them, and when released a moment after the horses have begun to rend him in pieces, he conjures up a plot of the Huguenots to sack Paris, etc. May it not properly be asked, what such testimony as this is worth? For or against Coligny, volumes of it would not affect his character in our estimation.

[241] The direct testimony of Jacques Auguste de Thou, on a matter with which he was evidently intimately acquainted through his father, is unimpeachable, and will outweigh with every unprejudiced mind all the stories of Davila, Castelnau, etc., founded on mere report. De Thou, Histoire univ. (liv. xxxiv.), iii. 403.

[242] Poltrot's pretended confession of Feb. 26th, at Camp Saint Hilaire, near Saint Mesmin, with the replies signed by Coligny, la Rochefoucauld, and Beza to each separate article, is inserted in full in Mém. de Condé, iv. 285-303, and the Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 176-186. Coligny's letter to Catharine, ibid., ii. 186, 187, Mém. de Condé, iv. 303.

[243] That Catharine de' Medici was no very sincere mourner for Guise is sufficiently certain; and it is well known that there were those who believed her to have instigated his murder (See Mém. de Tavannes, Pet. ed., ii. 394). This is not surprising when we recall the fact that almost every great crime or casualty that occurred in France, for the space of a generation, was ascribed to her evil influence. Still the Viscount de Tavannes makes too great a draft upon our credulity, when he pretends that she made a frank admission of guilt to his father. "Depuis, au voyage de Bayonne, passant par Dijon, elle dit au sieur de Tavannes: 'Ceux de Guise se vouloient faire roys, je les en ay bien gardé devant Orléans.'" The expression "devant Orléans" can hardly be tortured into a reference to anything else than Guise's assassination.

[244] I entirely agree with Prof. Baum (Theodor Beza, ii. 719) in regarding "this single circumstance as more than sufficient to demonstrate both the innocence of Coligny and his associates, and the consciously guilty fabrication of the accusations."

[245] Besides the authorities already referred to, the Journal of Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 123, 124; Davila, bk. iii. 86, 87; Claude Haton, i. 322, etc.; J. de Serres, ii. 343-345; and Pasquier, Lettres (Œuvres choisies), ii. 258, may be consulted with advantage. Prof. Baum's account is, as usual, vivid, accurate, and instructive (Theodor Beza, ii. 706, etc.). Varillas, Anquetil, etc., are scarcely worth examining. There is the ordinary amount of blundering about the simplest matters of chronology. Davila places the wounding of Guise on the 24th of February, his death three days later, etc.

[246] Mém. de Condé, i. 124; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 164.

[247] Claude Haton, i. 325, 326.

[248] See Riez's letter to the king, reprinted in Mém. de Condé, iv. 243-265, and in Cimber and Danjou's invaluable collection of contemporary pamphlets and documents, v. 171-204; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 164.

[249] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ubi supra. There is extant an affecting letter from the aged Renée of Ferrara to Calvin, in which she complains with deep feeling of the reformed, and especially their preachers, for the severity with which even after his death they attacked the memory of her son-in-law, and even spoke of his eternal condemnation as an ascertained fact. "I know," she said, "that he was a persecutor; but I do not know, nor, to speak freely, do I believe that he was reprobated of God; for he gave signs to the contrary before his death. But they want this not to be mentioned, and they desire to shut the mouths of those who know it." Cimber et Danjou, v. 399, etc. Calvin's reply of the 24th of January, 1564, is admirable for its kind, yet firm tone (Bonnet, Lettres franç. de Calvin, ii. 550, etc., Calvin's Letters, Am. edit., iv. 352, etc.). He freely condemned the beatification of the King of Navarre, while the Duke of Guise was consigned to perdition. The former was an apostate; the latter an open enemy of the truth of the Gospel from the very beginning. Indeed, to pronounce upon the doom of a fellow-sinner was both rash and presumptuous, for there is but one Judge before whose seat we all must give account. Yet, in condemning the authors of the horrible troubles that had befallen France, and which all God's children had felt scarcely less poignantly than Renée herself, sprung though she was from the royal stock, it was impossible not to condemn the duke "who had kindled the fire." Yea, for himself, although he had always prayed God to show Guise mercy, the reformer avowed, in almost the very words of Beza, that he had often desired that God would lay His hand upon the duke to free His Church of him, unless He would convert him. "And yet I can protest," he added, "that but for me, before the war, active and energetic men would have exerted themselves to destroy him from the face of the earth, whom my sole exhortation restrained."

Some of the composers of Huguenot ballads were bitter enough in their references to Guise's death and pompous funeral; see, among others, the songs in the Chansonnier Huguenot, pp. 253 and 257.

[250] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 285, 286. The story is well told in Memorials of Renée of France, 215-217. De Thou (liv. xxx.), iii. 179, has incorrectly placed this occurrence among the events of the first months of the war. During the second war Brantôme once stopped to pay his respects to Renée, and saw in the castle over 300 Huguenots that had fled there for security. In a letter of May 10, 1563, Calvin speaks of her as "the nursing mother of the poor saints driven out of their homes and knowing not whither to go," and as having made her castle what a princess looking only to this world would regard almost an insult to have it called—"God's hostelry" or "hospital" (ung hostel-Dieu). God had, as it were, called upon her by these trials to pay arrears for the timidity of her younger days. Lettres franç., ii. 514 (Amer. trans., iv. 314).

[251] Despatch to the queen, Blois, February 26, 1562/3, Forbes, State Papers, ii. 340. "Of the thre things that did let this realme to come to unity and accorde," adds Smith, "I take th' one to be taken away. How th' other two wil be now salved—th' one that the papists may relent somwhat of their pertinacie, and the Protestants have som affiaunce or trust in there doengs, and so th' one live with th' other in quiet, I do not yet se."

[252] Mém. de Castelnau, liv. iv., c. xii.; Davila, bk. iii. 88; Journal de Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 124; Letter of Catharine to Gonnor, March 3d, ibid., iv. 278; Hist. ecclés., ii. 200.

[253] Rascalon, Catharine's agent, proffered the dignity in a letter of the 13th of March, and the duke declined it on the 17th of the same month. At the same time he gave some wholesome advice respecting the observance of the Edict, etc. Hist. ecclés., ii. 165-168.

[254] "La Royne ... y a si vivement procedé, que ayant ordonné que sur la foy de l'un et de l'autre nous nous entreveorions en l'Isle aux Bouviers, joignant presque les murs de ceste ville, dimenche dernier cela fut executé." Condé to Sir Thomas Smith, Orleans, March 11, 1563, Forbes, ii. 355.

[255] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 170, 171. Coupled with demands for the restitution of the edict without restriction or modification, the prohibition of insults, the protection of the churches, the permission to hold synods, the recognition of Protestant marriages, and that the religion be no longer styled "new," "inasmuch as it is founded on the ancient teaching of the Prophets and Apostles," we find the Huguenot ministers, true to the spirit of the age, insisting upon "the rigorous punishment of all Atheists, Libertines, Anabaptists, Servetists, and other heretics and schismatics."

[256] The text of the edict of Amboise is given by Isambert, Recueil des anc. lois franç., xiv. 135-140; J. de Serres, ii. 347-357; Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 172-176; Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. (liv. iii.) 192-195. See Pasquier, Lettres (Œuvres choisies), ii. 260.

[257] Smith to the queen, April 1, 1563, in Duc d'Aumale, Princes de Condé, i. Documents, 439.

[258] Smith to D'Andelot, March 13, 1563, State Paper Office.

[259] Journal de Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 125: "de expresso Regis mandato iteratis vicibus facto." Claude Haton is scarcely more complimentary than Bruslart: "elle (la paix) estoit faicte du tout au désavantage de l'honneur de Dieu, de la religion catholicque et de l'authorité du jeune roy et repos public de son royaume." Mémoires, i. 327, 328.

[260] Elizabeth of England was herself, apparently, awakening to the importance of the struggle, and new troops subsidized by her would soon have entered France from the German borders. "This day," writes Cecil to Sir Thomas Smith, ambassador at Paris, Feb. 27, 1562/3, "commission passeth hence to the comte of Oldenburg to levy eight thousand footemen and four thousand horse, who will, I truste, passe into France with spede and corradg. He is a notable, grave, and puissant captayn, and fully bent to hazard his life in the cause of religion." Th. Wright, Queen Elizabeth and her Times, i. 125. But Elizabeth's troops, like Elizabeth's money, came too late. Of the latter, Admiral Coligny plainly told Smith a few weeks later: "If we could have had the money at Newhaven (Havre) but one xiii daies sooner, we would have talked with them after another sorte, and would not have bene contented with this accord." Smith to the queen, April 1, 1563, in Duc d'Aumale, i. 439.

[261] Letter from Orleans, March 30, 1563, MSS. State Paper Office, Duc d'Aumale, i. 411.

[262] Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 203. Theodore Beza was the preacher on this occasion, and betrayed his own disappointment by speaking of the liberty of religion they had received as "not so ample, peradventure, as they would wish, yet such as they ought to thank God for." Smith to the queen, March 31, State Paper Office.

[263] Relazione di Correro, 1569. Rel. des Amb. Vén., ii. 118-120.

[264] It appears at least as early as in Farel's Epistre à tous Seigneurs, written in 1530, p. 166 of Fick's edition.


CHAPTER XIV.

THE PEACE OF AMBOISE, AND THE BAYONNE CONFERENCE.

The restoration of Havre demanded.
Fall of Havre.

[Pg 126] Scarcely had the Edict of Amboise been signed when a demand was made upon the English queen for the city of Havre, placed in her possession by the Huguenots, as a pledge for the restoration of Calais in accordance with the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis, and as security for the repayment of the large sums she had advanced for the maintenance of the war. But Elizabeth was in no favorable mood for listening to this summons. Instead of being instructed to evacuate Havre, the Earl of Warwick was reinforced by fresh supplies of arms and provisions, and received orders to defend to the last extremity the only spot in France held by the queen. A formal offer made by Condé to secure a renewal of the stipulation by which Calais was to be given up in 1567, and to remunerate Elizabeth for her expenditures in the cause of the French Protestants, was indignantly rejected; and both sides prepared for open war.[265] The struggle was short and decisive. The French were a unit on the question of a permanent occupation of their soil by foreigners. Within the walls of Havre itself a plot was formed by the French population to betray the city into the hands of their countrymen; and Warwick was forced to expel the natives in order to secure the lives of his own[Pg 127] troops.[266] But no vigilance of the besieged could insure the safety of a detached position on the borders of so powerful a state as France. Elizabeth was too weak, or too penurious, to afford the recruits that were loudly called for. And now a new and frightful auxiliary to the French made its appearance. A contagious disease set in among the English troops, crowded into a narrow compass and deprived of their usual allowance of fresh meat and wholesome water. The fearful mortality attending it soon revealed the true character of the scourge. Few of those that fell sick recovered. Gathering new strength from day to day, it reigned at length supreme in the fated city. Soon the daily crowd of victims became too great to receive prompt sepulture, and the corpses lying unburied in the streets furnished fresh fuel for the raging pestilence. Seven thousand English troops were reduced in a short time to three thousand, in a few days more to fifteen hundred men.[267] The hand of death was upon the throat of every survivor. At length, too feeble to man their works, despairing of timely succor, unable to sustain at the same moment the assault of their opponents and the fearful visitation of the Almighty, the English consented to surrender; and, on the twenty-eighth of July, a capitulation was signed, in accordance with which, on the next day, Havre, with all its fortifications and the ships of war in its harbor, fell once more into the hands of the French.[268]

[Pg 128]

How the peace was received.

The pacification of Amboise, a contemporary chronicler tells us, was received with greater or less cordiality in different localities of France, very much according to the number of Protestants they had contained before the war. "This edict of peace was very grievous to hear published and to have executed in the case of the Catholics of the peaceable cities and villages where there were very few Huguenots. But it was a source of great comfort to the Catholics of the cities which were oppressed by the Huguenots, as well as of the neighboring villages in which the Catholic religion had been intermitted, mass and divine worship not celebrated, and the holy sacraments left unadministered—as in the cities of Lyons and Orleans, and their vicinity, and in many other cities of Poitou and Languedoc, where the Huguenots were masters or superior in numbers. As the peace was altogether advantageous to the Huguenots, they labored hard to have it observed and published."[269]

Vexatious delays in Normandy.

But to secure publication and observance was not always possible.[270] Not unfrequently the Huguenots were denied by the illiberality of their enemies every privilege to which they were entitled by the terms of the edict. At Troyes, the Roman Catholic party, hearing that peace had been made, resolved to[Pg 129] employ the brief interval before the edict should be published, and the mayor of the city led the populace to the prisons, where all the Huguenots that could be found were at once murdered.[271] The vexatious delays, and the actual persecution still harder to be borne, which were encountered at Rouen, have been duly recorded by an anonymous Roman Catholic contemporary, as well as in the registers of the city hall and of the Norman parliament, and may serve as an indication of what occurred in many other places. From the chapter of the cathedral and the judges of the supreme provincial court, down to the degraded rabble, the entire population was determined to interpose every possible obstacle in the way of the peaceable execution of the new law. Before any official communication respecting it reached them, the clergy declared, by solemn resolution, their intention to reserve the right of prosecuting all who had plundered their extensive ecclesiastical domain. The municipality wrote at once to the king, to his mother, and to others at court, imploring that Rouen and its vicinity might be exempted from all exercise of the "new religion." Parliament sent deputies to Charles the Ninth to remonstrate against the broad concessions made in favor of the Protestants, and, even when compelled to go through the form of a registration, avoided a publication of the edict, in order to gain time for another fruitless protest addressed to the royal government.

When it came to the execution of the law, the affair assumed a more threatening aspect. The Roman Catholics had resolved to resist the return of the "for-issites," or fugitive Huguenots. At first they excused their opposition by alleging that there were bandits and criminals of every kind in the ranks of the exiles. Next they demanded that a preliminary list of their names and abodes should be furnished, in order that their arms might be taken away. Finally they required, with equal perverseness, that, in spite of the express stipulation of the king's rescript, the "for-issites" should return only as private individuals, and should not venture to resume their former[Pg 130] offices and dignities. Meantime the "for-issites," driven to desperation by the flagrant injustice of which they were the victims, began to retaliate by laying violent hands upon all objects of Roman Catholic devotion in the neighboring country, and by levying contributions upon the farms and villas of their malignant enemies. The Rouenese revenged themselves in turn by wantonly murdering the Huguenots whom they found within the city walls.

Protest of the Norman parliament.

The embittered feeling did not diminish at once after the more intrepid of the Huguenots had, under military compulsion, been readmitted into Rouen. There were daily complaints of ill-usage. But the insolence of the dominant party rose to a still higher pitch when there appeared a royal edict—whether genuine or forged has not as yet been settled—by which the cardinal demands of the Huguenots were granted. The alleged concessions may not strike us as very extraordinary. They consisted chiefly in disarming the Roman Catholics equally with the adherents of the opposite creed, and in erecting a new chamber in parliament to try impartially cases in dispute between the adherents of the two communions.[272] This was certainly decreeing but a small measure of the equality in the eye of the law which the Protestants might claim as a natural and indefeasible right. The citizens of the Norman capital, however, regarded the enactment as a monstrous outrage upon society. Charles the Ninth, happened at this time to be passing[Pg 131] through Gaillon, a place some ten leagues distant from Rouen, on his way to the siege of Havre; and Damours, the advocate-general, was deputed to bear to him a protest drawn up by parliament. The tone of the paper was scarcely respectful to the monarch; it was positively insulting to the members of the royal council who professed the Protestant faith. It predicted the possible loss of Normandy, or of his entire kingdom, in case the king pursued a system of toleration. The Normans, it said, would not submit to Protestant governors, nor to the return of the exiles in arms, nor to their resumption of their former dignities. If the "for-issites" continued their excesses, they would be set upon and killed. The Roman Catholic burgesses of Rouen even proclaimed a conditional loyalty. Should the king not see fit to accede to their demands, they declared themselves ready to place the keys of their city in his hands to dispose of at his pleasure, at the same time craving permission to go where they pleased and to take away their property with them.

A rude rebuff.

Truly the spirit of the "Holy League" was already born, though the times were not yet ripe for the promulgation of such tenets. The advocate-general was a fluent speaker, and he had been attended many a weary mile by an enthusiastic escort. Parliamentary counsellors, municipal officers, clergy, an immense concourse of the lower stratum of the population—all were at Gaillon, ready to applaud his well-turned sentences. But he had chosen an unlucky moment for his oratorical display. His glowing periods were rudely interrupted by one of the princely auditors. This was Louis of Condé—now doubly important to the court on account of the military undertaking that was on foot—who complained of the speaker's insolent words. So powerful a nobleman could not be despised. And so the voluble Damours, with his oration but half delivered, instead of meeting a gracious monarch's approval and returning home amid the plaudits of the multitude, was hastily taken in charge by the archers of the royal guard and carried off to prison. The rest of the Rouenese disappeared more rapidly than they had come. The avenues to the city were filled with fugitives as from a disastrous battle. Even[Pg 132] the grave parliament, which the last winter had been exhibiting its august powers in butchering Huguenots by the score, beginning with the arch-heretic Augustin Marlorat, lost for a moment its self-possession, and took part in the ignominious flight. Shame, however, induced it to pause before it had gone too far, and, putting on the gravest face it could summon, it reappeared ere long at Gaillon with becoming magisterial gravity. Never had there been a more thorough discomfiture.[273] A few days later the Marshal de Bourdillon made his entry into Rouen with a force of Swiss soldiers sufficient to break down all resistance, the "for-issites" were brought in, a new election of municipal officers was held, and comparative quiet was restored in the turbulent city.[274]

Commissioners to enforce the edict.
Alienation of a profligate court.
Profanity a test of Catholicity.

So far as a character so undecided could frame any fixed purpose, Catharine de' Medici was resolved to cement, if possible, a stable peace. The Chancellor, Michel de l'Hospital, still retained his influence over her, and gave to her disjointed plans somewhat of the appearance of a deliberate policy. That policy certainly seemed to mean peace. And to prove this, commissioners were despatched to the more distant provinces, empowered to enforce the execution of the Edict of Amboise.[275] Yet never was the court less in sympathy with the Huguenots than at this moment. If shameless profligacy had not yet reached the height it subsequently attained under the last Valois that sat upon the throne of France, it was undoubtedly taking rapid strides in that direction. For the giddy throng of courtiers, living in an atmosphere that reeked with corruption,[Pg 133][276] the stern morality professed by the lips and exemplified in the lives of Gaspard de Coligny and his noble brothers, as well as by many another of nearly equal rank, could afford but few attractions. Many of these triflers had, it is true, exhibited for a time some leaning toward the reformed faith. But their evanescent affection was merely a fire kindled in the light straw: the fuel was soon consumed, and the brilliant flame which had given rise to such sanguine expectations died out as easily as it sprang up.[277] When once the novelty of the simple worship in the rude barn, or in the retired fields, with the psalms of Marot and Beza sung to quaint and stirring melodies, had worn off; when the black gown of the Protestant minister had become as familiar to the eye as the stole and chasuble of the officiating priest, and the words of the reformed confession of sins as familiar to the ear as the pontifical litanies and prayers, the "assemblée" ceased to attract the curious from the salons of St. Germain and Fontainebleau. Besides, it was one thing to listen to a scathing account of the abuses of churchmen, or a violent denunciation of the sins of priest and monk, and quite another to submit to a faithful recital of the iniquities of the court, and hear the wrath of God denounced against the profane, the lewd, and the extortionate. There were some incidents, occurring just at the close of the war, that completed the alienation which before had been only partial. The Huguenots had attempted by stringent regulations to banish swearing, robbery, and other flagrant crimes from their army. They had[Pg 134] punished robbery in many instances with death. They had succeeded so far in doing away with oaths, that their opponents had paid unconscious homage to their freedom from the despicable vice. In those days, when in the civil struggle it was so difficult to distinguish friends from foes, there was one proof of unimpeachable orthodoxy that was rarely disputed. He must be a good Catholic who could curse and swear. The Huguenot soldier would do neither.[278] So nearly, indeed, did the Huguenot affirmation approach to the simplicity of the biblical precept, that one Roman Catholic partisan leader of more than ordinary audacity had assumed for the motto on his standard the blasphemous device: "'Double 's death' has conquered 'Verily.'"[279] But the strictness with which theft and profanity were visited in the Huguenot camp produced but a slight impression, compared with that made by the punishment of death inflicted by a stern judge at Orleans, just before the proclamation of peace, on a man and woman found guilty of adultery. Almost the entire court cried out against the unheard-of severity of the sentence for a crime which had never before been punished at all. The greater part of these advocates of facile morals had even the indiscretion to confess that they would never consent to accept such people as the Huguenots for their masters.[280]

Admiral Coligny accused.
His defence espoused by Condé and the Montmorencies.

Even after the publication of the Edict of Amboise, there was one matter left unsettled that threatened to rekindle the flames of civil war. It will be remembered that the murderer[Pg 135] of the Duke of Guise, overcome by terror in view of his fate had charged Gaspard de Coligny with having instigated the perpetration of the foul crime; that, as soon as he heard the accusation, the admiral had not only answered the allegations, article by article, but had written, earnestly begging that Poltrot's execution might be deferred until the return of peace should permit him to be confronted with his accuser. This very reasonable demand, we have seen, had been rejected, and the miserable assassin had been torn into pieces by four horses, upon the Place de Grève, on the very day preceding that which witnessed the signing of the Edict of Amboise. If, however, the queen mother had hoped to diminish the difficulties of her position by taking this course, she had greatly miscalculated. In spite of his protestations, and of a second and more popular defence which he now made,[281] the Guises persisted in believing, or in pretending to believe, Coligny to be the prime cause of the murder of the head of their family. His very frankness was perverted into a proof of his complicity. The admiral's words, as an eminent historian of our own day observes, bear the seal of sincerity, and we need go for the truth nowhere else than to his own avowals.[282] But they did not satisfy his enemies. The danger of an open rupture was imminent. Coligny was coming to court from his castle of Châtillon-sur-Loing, with a strong escort of six hundred gentlemen; but so inevitable did a bloody collision within the walls of Paris seem to the queen, that she begged Condé to dissuade him for the present from carrying out his purpose. Meantime, Condé and the two Montmorencies—the constable and his son, the marshal—espoused Coligny's cause as their own, by publicly declaring (on the fifteenth of May) his entire innocence, and announcing that any blow aimed at the Châtillons, save by legal process, they would regard and avenge as aimed at themselves.[283] Taking excuse[Pg 136] from the unsettled relations of the kingdom with England and at home, the privy council at the same time enjoined both parties to abstain from acts of hostility, and adjourned the judicial investigation until after arms had been laid down.[284]

Petition of the Guises.

At length, on the twenty-sixth of September—two months after the reduction of Havre—the Guises renewed their demand with great solemnity. Charles was at Meulan (on the Seine, a few miles below Paris), when a procession of mourners entered his presence. It was the family of Guise, headed by the late duke's widow, his mother, and his children, coming to sue for vengeance on the murderer. All were clad in the dress that betokened the deepest sorrow, and the dramatic effect was complete.[285] They brought a petition couched in decided terms, but making no mention of the name of Coligny, and signed, not only by themselves, but by three of the Bourbons—the Cardinal Charles, the Duke of Montpensier, and his son—and by the Dukes of Longueville and Nemours.[286] Under the circumstances, the king could not avoid granting their request and ordering inquisition to be made by the peers in parliament assembled.[287] But the friends of the absent admiral saw in the proposed investigation only an attempt on the part of his enemies to effect through the forms of law the ruin of the most prominent Huguenot of France. It was certain, they urged, that he could expect no justice at the hands of the presidents and counsellors of the Parisian parliament. Nor did they find it difficult to convince Catharine that to permit a[Pg 137] public trial would be to reopen old sores and to risk overturning in a single hour the fabric of peace which for six months she had been laboring hard to strengthen.[288] The king was therefore induced to evoke the consideration of the complaint of the Guises to his own grand council. Here again new difficulties sprang up. The Duchess of Guise was as suspicious of the council as Coligny of the parliament, and challenged the greater number of its members as too partial to act as judges. In fact, it seemed impossible to secure a jury to settle the matter in dispute. After months spent to no purpose in wrangling, Charles determined to remove the question both from the parliament and from the council, and on the fifth of January, 1564, reserved for himself and his mother the duty of adjudication. At the same time, on the ground that the importance of the case demanded the deliberations of a prince of greater age and of more experience than he as yet possessed, and that its discussion at present might prove prejudicial to the tranquillity of the kingdom, he adjourned it for three full years, or until such other time as he might hereafter find to be convenient.[289]

Embarrassment of Catharine.

The feud between the Châtillons and the Guises was not, however, the only embarrassment which the government found itself compelled to meet. Catharine was in equal perplexity with respect to the engagements she had entered into with the Prince of Condé. It was part of the misfortune of this improvident princess that each new intrigue was of such a nature as to require a second intrigue to bolster it up. Yet she was to live long enough to learn by bitter experience that there is a limit to the extent to which plausible but lying words will pass current. At last the spurious coin was to be returned discredited to her own coffers. Catharine had enticed Condé into concluding a peace much less[Pg 138] favorable to the Huguenots than his comrades in arms had expected in view of the state of the military operations and the pecuniary necessities of the court, by the promise that he should occupy the same controlling position in the government as his brother, the King of Navarre, held at the time of his death. We have seen that he was so completely hoodwinked that he assured his friends that it was of little consequence how scanty were the concessions made in the edict. He would soon be able, by his personal authority, to secure to "the religion" the largest guarantees. If we may believe Catharine herself, he went so far in his enthusiastic desire for peace as to threaten to desert the Huguenots, if they declined to embrace the opportunity of reconciliation.[290]

The majority of Charles proclaimed.

How to get rid of the troublesome obligation she had assumed, was now the problem; since to fulfil her promise honestly was, for a person of her crooked policy and inordinate ambition, not to be thought of for an instant. The readiest solution was found in abolishing the office of lieutenant-general. This could be done only by declaring the termination of the minority of Charles. For this an opportunity presented itself, when, on the seventeenth of August, 1563,[291] the queen and her children, with a brilliant retinue, were in the city of Rouen, on their return from the successful campaign against Havre. That day Charles the Ninth held a "lit de justice" in the palace of the Parliament of Normandy. Sitting in state, and surrounded by his mother, his younger brothers, and a host of grandees, he proceeded to address the assembled counsellors, pronouncing himself of full age, and, in the capacity of a major king, delivered to them an edict, signed the day before, ordering the observance of his Edict of Amboise and the complete pacification of his kingdom by a univer[Pg 139]sal laying down of arms.[292] True, Charles was but a few days more than thirteen years of age; but his right to assume the full powers of government was strenuously maintained by Chancellor L'Hospital, upon whom devolved the task of explaining more fully the king's motives and purposes. Then Catharine, the author of the pageant, rising, humbly approached her son's throne, and bowed to the boy in token that she resigned into his hands the temporary authority she had held for nearly three years. Charles, advancing to meet her, accepted her homage, saying, at the same time, in words that were but too significant and prophetic of the remainder of his reign: "Madame ma mère, you shall govern and command as much or more than ever."[293]

Charles and the refractory Parliament of Paris.

The Parliament of Rouen, flattered at being selected for the instrument in so important an act, published and registered the edict of Charles's majority, notwithstanding some unpalatable provisions. Not so the Parliament of Paris. The counsellors of the capital were even more indignant at the slight put upon their claim to precedence, than at the proposed disarming of the Roman Catholics—a measure particularly distasteful to the riotous population of Paris.[294] The details of their opposition need not, however, find a record here. In the end the firmness of the king, or of his advisers, triumphed. At Mantes[295] Charles received a deputation from the recalcitrant judges, with Christopher de Thou, their first president, at its head. After hearing their remonstrances, he replied to the delegates that, although young and possessed of little experience, he was as truly king of France as any of his predecessors, and that he intended to make himself obeyed as such. To prove, however, that he had not acted inconsiderately[Pg 140] in the premises, he called upon the members of his council who were present to speak; and each in turn, commencing with Cardinal Bourbon, the first prince of the blood, declared that the edict of Amboise had been made with his consent and advice, and that he deemed it both useful and necessary. Whereupon Charles informed the parliamentary committee that he had not adopted this course because he was under any obligation to render to them an account of his actions. "But," said he, "now that I am of age, I wish you to meddle with nothing beyond giving my subjects good and speedy justice. The kings, my predecessors, placed you where you are, in order that they might unburden their consciences, and that their subjects might live in greater security under their obedience, not in order to constitute you my tutors, or the protectors of the realm, or the guardians of my city of Paris. You have allowed yourselves to suppose until now that you are all this. I shall not leave you under the delusion; but I command you that, as in my father's and grandfather's time you were accustomed to attend to justice alone, so you shall henceforth meddle with nothing else." He professed to be perfectly willing to listen to their representations when modestly given; but he concluded by threatening them that, if they persisted in their present insolent course, he would find means to convince them that they were not his guardians and teachers, but his servants.[296] These stout words were shrewdly suspected to come from "the shop of the chancellor,"[297] whose popularity they by no means augmented. But Charles was himself in earnest. A fresh delegation of counsellors was dismissed from the royal presence with menaces,[298] and the parlia[Pg 141]ment and people of Paris were both finally compelled to succumb. Parliament registered the edict; the people surrendered their arms—the poor receiving the estimated value of the weapons, the tradesmen and burgesses a ticket to secure their future restoration. As a matter of course, the nobles do not appear at all in the transaction, their immemorial claim to be armed even in time of peace being respected.

The Pope's bull against princely heretics.
Cardinal Châtillon.

Pope Pius the Fourth had been as indignant as Philip the Second himself at the conclusion of peace with the Huguenots. He avenged himself as soon as he received the tidings, by publishing, on the seventh of April, 1563, a bull conferring authority upon the inquisitors general of Christendom to proceed against heretics and their favorers—even to bishops, archbishops, patriarchs and cardinals—and to cite them before their tribunal by merely affixing the summons to the doors of the Inquisition or of the basilica of St. Peter. Should they fail to appear in person, they might at once be condemned and sentenced. The bull was no idle threat. Without delay a number of French prelates were indicted for heresy, and summoned to come to Rome and defend themselves. The list was headed by Cardinal Odet de Châtillon, Coligny's eldest brother, who had openly espoused the reformed belief, and St. Romain, Archbishop of Aix. Caraccioli, who had resigned the bishopric of Troyes and had been ordained a Protestant pastor, Montluc of Valence, and others of less note, figured among the suspected.[299] As they did not appear, a number of these prelates were shortly condemned.[300] Not content with this bold infraction of the Gallican liberties, the Roman pontiff went a step farther, and, through the Congregation of the Inquisition, cited Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre, to appear at Rome within six months, on pain of being held attainted of heresy, and having her dominions given in possession to the first Catholic occupant.[301]

[Pg 142]

The council protests against the papal bull.

In other words, not only Béarn, the scanty remnant of her titular monarchy, but all the lands and property to which the Huguenot queen had fallen heir, were to follow in the direction the kingdom of Navarre had taken, and go to swell the enormous wealth and dominion of the Spanish prince,[302] who found his interest to lie in the discord and misfortunes of his neighbors. Surely such an example would not be without significance to princes and princesses who, like Catharine, were wont occasionally to court the heretics on account of their power, and whose loyalty to the papal church could scarcely be supposed, even by the most charitable, to rest on any firmer foundation than self-interest. Nor was the lesson thrown away. Catharine and Michel de l'Hospital, and many another, read its import at a glance. But, instead of breaking down their opposition, the papal bull only forearmed them. They saw that Queen Jeanne's cause was their cause—the cause of any of the Valois who, whether upon the ground of heresy or upon any other pretext, might become obnoxious to the See of Rome. The royal council of state, therefore, promptly took the matter in hand, in connection with the recent trial of the French prelates, and replied to the papal missive by a spirited protest, which D'Oisel, the French ambassador at Rome, was commissioned to present. In his monarch's name he was to declare the procedure against the Queen of Navarre to be not only derogatory to the respect due to the royal dignity, which that princess could claim to an equal degree with the other monarchs of Christendom, but injurious to the rights and honor of the king and kingdom, and subversive of civil society.[Pg 143] It was unjust, for it was dictated by the enemies of France, who sought to take advantage of the youth of the king and his embarrassments arising from civil wars, to oppress a widow and orphans—the widow and orphan children, indeed, of a king for whom the Pope had himself but recently been endeavoring so zealously to secure the restoration of Navarre. The malice was apparent from the fact that nothing similar had been undertaken by the Holy See against any of the monarchs who had revolted from its obedience within the last forty years. Sovereign power had been conferred upon the Pope for the salvation of souls, not that he might despoil kings and dispose of kingdoms according to his caprice—an undertaking his predecessors had engaged in hitherto only to their shame and confusion. Finally, the King of France begged Pius to recall the sentence against Queen Jeanne, otherwise he would be compelled to employ the remedies resorted to by his ancestors in similar cases, according to the laws of the realm.[303] Not content with this direct appeal, Catharine wrote to her son's ambassador in Germany to interest the emperor and the King of the Romans in an affair that no less vitally affected them.[304] So vigorous a response seems to have frightened the papal court, and the bull was either recalled or dropped—at least no trace is said to be found in the Constitutions of Pius the Fourth—and the proceedings against the bishops were indefinitely suspended.[305]

[Pg 144]

But while Catharine felt it necessary, for the maintenance of her own authority and of the dignity of the French crown, to enter the lists boldly in behalf of the Queen of Navarre, she was none the less bent upon confirming that authority by rendering it impossible for the Huguenots ever again to take the field in opposition to the crown. A war for the sake of principle was something of which that cynical princess could not conceive. The Huguenot party was strong, according to her view, only because of the possession of powerful leaders. The religious convictions of its adherents went for nothing. Let the Condés, and the Colignies, and the Porciens, and the La Rochefoucaulds be gained over, and the people, deprived of a head, would subordinate their theology to their interest, and unity would be restored under her own rule. It was the same vain belief that alone rendered possible a few years later such a stupendous crime and folly as the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. Many an obscure and illiterate martyr, who had lost his life during her husband's reign, might have given her a far juster estimate of the future than her Macchiavellian education, with all its fancied shrewdness and insight into human character and motives, had furnished her.

Catharine's attempt to seduce Condé from the Huguenots.

To overthrow the political influence of the Huguenots she must seduce their leaders. Of this Catharine was sure. With whom, then, should she commence but with the brilliant Condé? The calm and commanding admiral, indeed, was the true head and heart of the late war—never more firm and uncompromising than after defeat—as reluctant to renounce war without securing, beyond question, the religious liberty he sought, as he had been averse to take up the sword at all in the beginning. Of such a man, however, little hope could be entertained. But Louis of Bourbon was cast in another mould. Excessively small in stature and deformed in person, he was a general favorite; for he was amiable, witty, and talkative.[306] Moreover, he was fond of pleasure[Pg 145] to an extent that attracted notice even in that giddy court, and as open to temptation as any of its frivolous denizens.[307] For such persons Catharine knew how to lay snares. Never did queen surround herself with more brilliant enticements for the unwary. Her maids of honor were at once her spies and the instruments of accomplishing her designs. As she had had a fair Rouhet to undermine the constancy of Antoine, so she had now an Isabeau de Limueil to entrap his younger brother. Nor did Catharine's device prove unsuccessful. Condé became involved in an amorous intrigue that shook the confidence of his Huguenot friends in his steadfastness and sincerity; while the silly girl whom the queen had encouraged in a course that led to ruin, as soon as her shame became notorious, was ignominiously banished from court—for no one could surpass Catharine in the personation of offended modesty.[308] Yet, notwithstanding a disgraceful fall which proved to the satisfaction of a world, always sufficiently sceptical of the depth of religious convictions, that ambition had much more to do with the prince's conduct than any sense of duty, Condé was not wholly lost to right feelings. The tears and remonstrances of his wife—the true-hearted Éléonore de Roye—dying of grief at his inconstancy, are said to have wrought a marked change in his char[Pg 146]acter.[309] From that time Catharine's power was gone. In vain did she or the Guises strive to gain him over to the papal party by offering him, in second marriage, the widow of Marshal Saint André, with an ample dower that might well dazzle a prince of the blood with but a beggarly appanage;[310] or even by proposing to confer upon him the hand of the yet blooming Queen of Scots,[311] the Prince of Condé remained true to the cause he had espoused till his blood stained the fatal field of Jarnac.

Huguenot progress.

But while the queen mother was plying the great with her seductions, while the Roman Catholic leaders were artfully instilling into the minds of the people the idea that the Edict of Amboise was only a temporary expedient,[312] while royal governors, or their lieutenants, like Damville—the constable's younger son—at Pamiers, were cruelly abusing the Protestants whom they ought to have protected,[313] there was much in the tidings that came especially from southern France to encourage the reformers. In the midst of the confusion and carnage of war the leaven had yet been working. There were even to be found places where the progress of Protestantism had rendered the application of the provisions of the edict nearly, if not quite impossible. The little city of Milhau, in Rouergue,[314] is a striking and very interesting instance.

[Pg 147]

Milhau-en-Rouergue.

The edict had expressly directed that all churches should be restored to the Roman Catholics, and that the Protestants should resort for worship to other places, either in the suburbs, or—in the case of cities which the Huguenots had held on the seventh of March, 1563—within the walls. But, soon after the restoration of peace, the consuls and inhabitants of Milhau presented a petition to Charles the Ninth, in which they make the startling assertion that the entire population has become Protestant ("de la religion"); that for two years or thereabouts they have lived in undisturbed peace, whilst other cities have been the scene of disturbances; and that, at a recent gathering of the inhabitants, they unanimously expressed their desire to live in the exercise of the reformed faith, under the royal permission. By the king's order the petition was referred for examination to the commissioners for the execution of the edict in the province of Guyenne. All its statements were found to be strictly correct. There was not one papist within the city; not one man, woman, or child expressed a desire for the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic ceremonial. The monks had renounced the cowl, the priests their vestments. Of their own free will, some of the friars had married, some had taken up useful trades. The prior had voluntarily resigned the greater part of his revenues; retaining one-third for his own support, he had begged that the remainder might be devoted to the preaching of God's Word and the maintenance of the poor. The two churches of the place had for eighteen months been used for Protestant worship, and there were no other convenient places to be found. Indeed, had the churches been given up, there would have been no one to take possession. A careful domiciliary examination by four persons appointed by the royal judge had incontestably established the point. Over eight hundred houses were visited, constituting the greater part of the city. The occupants were summoned to express their preferences, and the result was contained in the solemn return of the commission: "We have not found a single person who desired or asked for the mass; but, on the contrary, all demanded the preaching of the Word of God, and the administration of His holy sacraments as instituted by Himself in that Word.[Pg 148] And thus we certify by the oath we have taken to God and to the king."[315]

The cry for ministers.

From other places the cry of the churches for ministers to be sent from Geneva was unabated. In one town and its environs, so inadequate was a single minister to the discharge of his pastoral duties, that the peasants of the vicinity were compelled to baptize one another's children, or to leave them unbaptized.[316] At Montpellier it is the consuls that beg that their corps of ministers may be doubled; their two pastors cannot preach every day and three times upon Sunday, and yet visit the neighboring villages.[317]

Establishment of the Reformation in Béarn.

Nowhere, however, was the advance of Protestantism so hopeful as in the principality of Béarn, whither Jeanne d'Albret had retired, and where, since her husband's death, she had been dividing her cares between the education of her son, Henry of Navarre, and the establishment of the Reformation. A less courageous spirit than hers[Pg 149][318] might well have succumbed in view of the difficulties in her way. Of the nobility not one-tenth, of the magistracy not one-fifth, were favorable to the changes which she wished to introduce. The clergy were, of course, nearly unanimous in opposition.[319] She was, however, vigorously and wisely seconded in her efforts by the eminent reformed pastor, Merlin, formerly almoner of Admiral Coligny, whom Calvin had sent from Geneva at her request.[320] But when, contrary to his advice, the Queen of Navarre had summoned a meeting of the estates of her small territory, she detected unexpected symptoms of resistance. She accordingly abstained from broaching the unwelcome topic of reformation. But the deputies of the three orders themselves introduced it. Taking occasion from a prohibition she had issued against carrying the host in procession, they petitioned her to maintain them in the religion of their ancestors, in accordance with the promise which the princes of the country were accustomed to make.[321] Fortunately a small minority was found to offer a request of an entirely opposite tenor; and Jeanne d'Albret, with her characteristic firmness, declared in reply "that she would reform religion in her country, whoever might oppose." So much discontent did this decision provoke that there was danger of open sedition.[322]

[Pg 150]

These internal obstacles were, however, by no means the only difficulties. The court of Pau was disturbed by an uninterrupted succession of rumors of trouble from without. Now it was the French king that stood ready to seize the scanty remnants of Navarre, or the Spaniard that was all prepared for an invasion from the south; anon it was Montluc from the side of Guyenne, or Damville from that of Languedoc, who were meditating incursions in the interest of the Roman Catholic Church. "In short," exclaims her indefatigable coadjutor, Raymond Merlin, "it is wonderful that this princess should be able to persist with constancy in her holy design!"[323] Then came the papal citation, and the necessity to avoid the alienation of the French court which would certainly result from suddenly abolishing the papal rites, especially in view of the circumstance that Catharine de' Medici had several times begged the Queen of Navarre by letter to refrain from taking that decided step.[324]

A plan to kidnap Jeanne and her children.

It speaks well for the energy and intrepidity of Jeanne d'Albret, as well as for the wisdom of some of her advisers, that she was able to lay in these troublous times such broad foundations for the Protestant system of worship and government as we shall shortly have occasion to see her laying; for she was surrounded by courtiers who beheld in her bold espousal of the Reformation the death-blow to their hopes of advancement at Paris, and were, consequently, resolute in their opposition. An incident occurring some months later demonstrates that the perils from her treacherous neighbors were not purely imaginary. This event was nothing less than the discovery of a plan to kidnap the Queen of Navarre and her young son and daughter, and to give them over into the hands of the Spanish Inquisition. Shortly after Antoine's[Pg 151] death, her enemies in France—among whom, despite his subsequent denial, it is probable that Blaise de Montluc was one—had devised this plot as a promising means of promoting their interests. They had despatched a trusty agent to prepare a few of their most devoted partisans in Guyenne for its execution; he was then to pass into Spain, to confer with the Duke of Alva. The latter part of his instructions had not been fulfilled when the assassination of Guise took place. Nothing daunted by this mishap, the conspirators ordered their agent to carry out the original scheme. Alva received it with favor, and sent the Frenchman, with his own approval of the undertaking, to the Spanish court, where he held at least three midnight interviews with Philip. No design was ever more dear to that prudent monarch's heart than one which combined the rare attractions of secrecy and treachery, particularly if there were a reasonable hope in the end of a little wholesome blood-letting. Fortunately, however, the messenger had not been so careful in his conversation but that he disclosed to one of Isabella's French servants all that was essential in his commission. The momentous secret soon found its way to the Spanish queen's almoner, and finally to the queen herself. The blow impending over her cousin's head terrified Isabella, and melted her compassionate heart. She disclosed to the ambassador of Charles the Ninth the astounding fact that some of the Spanish troops then at Barcelona, on their way to the campaign in Barbary, were to be quietly sent back from the coast to the interior. Thence, passing through defiles in the Pyrenees, under experienced guides, they were to fall upon the unsuspecting court of the Queen of Navarre at Pau. In such a case, to be forewarned was to be forearmed. The private secretary of the French envoy was despatched to inform Jeanne d'Albret of her peril, and to notify Catharine de' Medici of the intended incursion into the French territories. The premature disclosure occasioned the abandonment of the plan; but it is said that Philip the Second never forgave his unfortunate wife her part in frustrating its execution.[325] [Pg 152]

The Council of Trent closes its sessions.

The month of December, 1563, witnessed the close of that celebrated convocation, the Council of Trent. This is not the place for the discussion of its extraordinary history, yet it is worth while to note the conclusion of an assembly which exerted so weighty an influence in establishing the dogmas of the papal church. Resumed after its long suspension, on the eighteenth of January, 1562, the council from whose deliberations such magnificent results of harmony had been expected, began its work by rendering the breach between the Roman Catholic and the Protestant worlds incurable. Fortunately for the Roman See, all the leading courts in Christendom, although agreed in pronouncing for the necessity of reform, were at variance with one another in respect to the particular objects to be aimed at. It was by a skilful use of this circumstance that the Pope was enabled to extricate himself creditably from an embarrassing situation, and to secure every essential advantage. At the reopening of the council, the French and German bishops were not present, and the great majority of the members being poor Italian prelates dependent almost for their daily bread upon the good pleasure of the pontiff, it is not surprising that the first step taken was to concede to the Pope or his legates the exclusive right to introduce subjects for discussion, as well as the yet more important claim of sitting as judge and ratifying the decisions of the assembled Fathers before they became valid. Notwithstanding this disgraceful surrender of their independence and authority, the Roman See was by no means sure as to the results at which the prelates of the Council of Trent would arrive. France and the empire demanded radical reforms in the Pope and his court, and some concessions to the Protestants—the permission of marriage for the priesthood, the distribution of the wine to the laity in the eucharistic sacrament, and the use of the vernacular tongue in a[Pg 153] portion, at least, of the public services. The arrival of the Cardinal of Lorraine and other bishops, in the month of November, 1562, to reinforce the handful of French prelates in attendance, enhanced the apprehensions of Pius. For, strange as it may appear to us, even Pius suspected Charles of favoring innovation—so far had the arch-hypocrite imposed on friend as well as foe by his declaration of adhesion to the Augsburg Confession! The fact was that there was no lack of dissimulation on any side, and that the prelates who urged reforms were among the most insincere. They had drawn up certain articles without the slightest expectation, and certainly without the faintest desire, to have them accepted. Their sole aim seemed to be to shift the blame for the flagrant disorders of the Church from their own shoulders to those of the Pope. If their suggestions had been seriously entertained and acted upon, no men would have had more difficulty than they in concealing their chagrin.[326] The monarchs—and it was their ambassadors who, with the papal legates, directed all the most important conclusions—were at heart equally averse to the restoration of canonical elections, and to everything which, by relieving the ecclesiastics of their servile dependence upon the crown, might cut off that perennial fountain for the payment of their debts and for defraying the expenses of their military enterprises, which they had discovered in the contributions wrung from churchmen's purses. Thus, in the end, by a series of compromises, in which Pope and king each obtained what he was anxious to secure, and sacrificed little for which he really cared, the council managed to confirm the greater number of the abuses it had been expected to[Pg 154] remove, and to render indelible the line of demarcation between Roman Catholic and Protestant, which it was to have effaced.

Cardinal Lorraine returns to France,

The Cardinal of Lorraine returning to France, after the conclusion of the council (the fourth of December, 1563), made it his first object to secure the ratification of the Tridentine decrees. He had now thrown off the mask of moderation, which had caused his friends such needless alarms, and was quite ready to sacrifice (as the nuncio had long since prophesied he would sacrifice)[327] the interests of France to those of the Roman See. But the undertaking was beyond his strength.

and unsuccessfully seeks the approval of the decrees of Trent.

On Lorraine's arrival at court, then stopping at St. Maur-sur-Marne (January, 1564), Catharine answered his request that the king should approve the conclusions of Trent by saying that, if there was anything good in them, the king would gladly approve of it, even if it were not decreed by the council. And, at a supper, to which he was invited the same evening at the quarters of the Cardinal of Bourbon, he had to put up with a good deal of rough jesting from Condé and his boon companions, who plied him with pungent questions respecting the Pope and the doings of the holy Fathers.[328]

Wrangle between Lorraine and L'Hospital.

A few weeks later Lorraine made a more distinct effort to secure recognition for the late council's work. Several of the presidents of parliament, the avocat-général, and the procureur du roi had been summoned to court—which, meanwhile, had removed to Melun (February, 1564)—to give their advice to the privy council respecting this momentous question. The cardinal's proposition met with little favor. Chancellor L'Hospital distinguished himself by his determined opposition, and boldly refuted the churchman's arguments. The cardinal had long been chafing at the intractability[Pg 155] of the lawyer, who owed his early advancement to the influence of the house of Guise, and now could no longer contain his anger. He spoke in a loud and imperious tone, and used taunts that greatly provoked the illustrious bystanders. "It is high time for you to drop your mask," he said to L'Hospital, "for, as for myself, I cannot discover what religion you are of. In fact, you seem to have no other religion than to injure as much as possible both me and my house. Ingrate that you are, you have forgotten all the benefits you have received at my hands." The chancellor's answer was quiet and dignified. "I shall always be ready, even at the peril of my life, to return my obligations to you. I cannot do it at the expense of the king's honor and welfare." And he added the pointed observation that the cardinal was desirous of effecting, by intrigue, what he had been unable to effect by force of arms. Others took up the debate, the old constable himself disclaiming any intention of disputing respecting doctrines which he approved, but expressing his surprise that Lorraine should disturb the tranquillity of the kingdom, and take up the cause of the Roman pontiff against a king through whose liberality he was in the enjoyment of an annual revenue of three or four hundred thousand francs. Catharine, as usual, did her best to allay the irritation; but the cardinal, greatly disappointed, retired to Rheims.[329]

Opposition of Du Moulin.

A few months after the scene at Melun, the most eminent of French jurists, the celebrated Charles Du Moulin, published an unanswerable treatise, proving that the Council of Trent had[Pg 156] none of the characteristics of a true œcumenical synod, and that its decrees were null and void.[330] And the Parliament of Paris, although it ordered the seizure of the book and imprisoned the author for some days, could not be induced to consent to incorporate in the legislation of the country the Tridentine decrees, so hostile in spirit to the French legislation.[331] Evidently parliament, although too timid to say so, believed, with Du Moulin, that the acceptance of the decrees in question "would be against God and against the benefit of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, against the ancient councils, against the majesty of the king and the rights of his crown, against his recent edicts and the edicts of preceding kings, against the liberty and immunity of the Gallican Church, the authority of the estates and courts of parliament of the kingdom, and the secular jurisdiction."[332]

It was shortly before this time that the report gained currency that Charles the Ninth had received an embassy from Philip of Spain and the Duke of Savoy, inviting him, it was said, to a conference with all other "Christian" princes, to be held on the twenty-fifth of March (1564), to swear submission in common to the decrees of Trent and devise means for the repression of heresy. But neither Charles nor his mother, still very much under the influence of the tolerant chancellor, was disposed to enter upon the path of persecution marked out for them. The conference was therefore, we are told, gracefully, but firmly declined.[333] The story was but an idle rumor, the absurdity of which is clearly seen from this one fact among many, that Philip had not at this time himself accepted and published the Tridentine decrees;[334] while, from various docu[Pg 157]ments that have come down to us, it appears that Catharine de' Medici had for some months[335] been projecting a trip that should enable her son to meet several of the neighboring princes, for the purpose of cultivating more friendly relations with them. From this desire, and from the wish, by displaying the young monarch to the inhabitants of the different provinces, to revive the loyalty of his subjects, seriously weakened during the late civil war, apparently arose the project of that well-known "progress" of Charles the Ninth through the greater part of France, a progress which consumed many successive months.

The "progress" of Charles IX.

Whether the Cardinal of Lorraine had any direct part, as was commonly reported, in bringing about the journey of the king, is uncertain. He himself wrote to Granvelle that he had neither advocated nor opposed it;[336] but the character of the man has been delineated to little purpose in these pages if the reader is disposed to give any weight to his assertion. Certain, however, it is that the Huguenots looked upon the project with great suspicion, and that its execution was accepted as a virtual triumph of their opponents. Condé and Coligny could see as clearly as the cardinal the substantial advantages which a formal visit to the elder branch of the Lorraine family might secure to the branch of the family domiciled in France; and they could readily imagine that under cover of this voyage might be concealed the most nefarious designs against the peace of their co-religionists. It is not surprising that many Huguenot nobles accepted it as a mark of the loss of favor, and that few of them accompanied the court in its wanderings.[337] The English ambassador, noting this im[Pg 158]portant fact, made, on his own account, an unfavorable deduction from what he saw, as to the design of the court. "They carry the king about this country now," he observed, "mostly to see the ruins of the churches and religious houses done by the Huguenots in this last war. They suppress the losses and hurts the Huguenots have suffered."[338] On the other hand, the Roman Catholic party received their success as a presage of speedy restoration to full power, and entertained brilliant hopes for the future.[339] The queen mother was beginning to make fair promises to the papal adherents, and the influence of the admiral and his brothers seemed to be at an end.

Leaving the palace of Fontainebleau, the court passed through Sens and Troyes to the city of Bar-sur-Seine, where Charles acted as sponsor for his infant nephew, the son of the Duke of Lorraine. The brilliant fêtes that accompanied the arrival of the king here and elsewhere could not, however, hide from the world one of the chief results, if not designs, of the journey. It was a prominent part of the queen mother's plan to seize the opportunity for carrying out the system of repression toward the Huguenots which she had already begun. While there is no reason to suppose that as yet she felt any disposition to lend an ear to the suggestions of Spanish emissaries, or of Philip him[Pg 159]self, for a general massacre, or at least an open war of extermination, she was certainly very willing by less open means to preclude the Protestants from ever giving her trouble, or becoming again a formidable power in the state. The most unfavorable reports, in truth, were in circulation against the Huguenots. At Lyons they were accused of poisoning the wells, or, according to another version of the story, the kitchen-pots, in order to give the impression that the plague was in the city, and so deter the king from coming.[340] Catharine had no need, however, of crediting these calumnious tales in order to be moved to hostile action. Her desire was unabated to reign under her son's name, untrammelled by the restraint of the jealous love of liberty cherished by the Huguenots. Their numbers were large—though not so large as they were then supposed to be. Even so intelligent a historian as Garnier regards them as constituting nearly one-third of the kingdom.[341] M. Lacretelle is undoubtedly much more correct in estimating them at fifteen or sixteen hundred thousand souls, or barely one-tenth of the entire population of France—a country at that time much more sparsely inhabited, and of which a much larger part of the surface was in inferior cultivation, or altogether neglected, than at present.[342] But, however small their number in proportion to the papists, the Huguenots, from their superior industry and intelligence, from the circumstance that their strength lay in the sturdy middle class and in the nobility, including little of the rabble of the cities and none of that of Paris,[343] were a party that naturally awakened the jealousy of the queen. We need make little account of any exasperation in consequence of such silly devices as the threatening letter said to have been put in[Pg 160] Catharine's bed-room, warning her that if she did not drive the papists from about her, "she and her L'Aubespine" (secretary of state) would feel the dagger.[344] She was too shrewd not to know that a Roman Catholic was more likely to have penned it than a Huguenot.

Catharine's new zeal.

In furtherance of the policy to which she had now committed herself, she caused the fortifications of the cities that had been strongholds of the Protestants during the late war to be levelled, and in their place erected citadels whereby the Huguenots might be kept in subjection.[345] As Easter approached, Catharine revealed the altered tone of her mind by notifying her maids of honor that she would suffer none to remain about her but those who were good Catholics and submitted to the ordinary test of orthodoxy. There is said to have been but a single girl who declined to go to mass, and preferred to return to her home.[346] Well would it have been if the queen had been as attentive to the morals[347] as to the orthodoxy of these pleasure-seeking attendants. But, to belong to the "religion ancienne et catholique" was a mantle large enough to cover a multitude of sins.

Interpretative declarations infringing upon the Edict.
Declaration of Roussillon.

More direct infringements upon the liberty guaranteed by the Edict of Amboise had already been made or were yet in store. The legislation which could not conveniently be repealed by formal enactment could be rendered null by interpretative declarations. Charles was made to proclaim that by the Edict he had not intended to permit preaching in places previously belonging to the patrimony of the Church,[Pg 161] or held as benefices. This was aimed at such prelates of doubtful catholicity as Saint Romain, Archbishop of Aix, or the Cardinal Bishop of Beauvais, Odet de Châtillon. He was made to say, that by the places where Protestant worship could be held within the walls, by virtue of its having been exercised on the seventh of March, 1563, were meant only those that had been garrisoned by Protestants, and had undergone a successful siege. This stroke of the pen cut off several cities in which Protestantism had been maintained without conflict of arms. The Huguenot counsellors of the parliament were deprived of the enjoyment of their right to attend the "assemblée," or "Protestant congregation," by a gloss which forbade the inhabitants of Paris from attending the reformed worship in the neighboring districts. When the court reached Lyons, a city which, as we have seen, had been among the foremost in devotion to the Protestant cause, a fresh edict, of the twenty-fourth of June, prohibited the reformed rites from being celebrated in any city in which the king might be sojourning. Five or six weeks later, at the little town of Roussillon, a few miles south of Vienne, on the Rhône, another and more flagrant violation of the letter and spirit of the edict of pacification was incorporated in a declaration purporting to remove fresh uncertainties as to the meaning of its provisions. It forbade the noblemen who might possess the right to maintain Protestant services in their castles, to permit any persons but their own families and their vassals to be present. It prohibited the convocation of synods and the collection of money, and enjoined upon ministers of the gospel not to leave their places of residence, nor to open schools for the instruction of the young. But the most vexatious and unjust article of all was that which constrained all priests, monks, and nuns, who during or since the troubles had forsaken their vows and had married, either to resume their monastic profession and dismiss their consorts, or to leave the kingdom. As a penalty for the violation of this command, the men were to be sentenced to the galleys for life, the women to close confinement in prison. I omit in this list of grievances suffered by the Huguenots some minor annoyances such as that which compelled the artisan to desist from working in his[Pg 162] shop with open doors on the festivals of the Roman Catholic Church.[348]

Assaults upon unoffending Huguenots.

These legal infractions were not all. Everywhere the Huguenots had to complain of acts of violence, committed by their papist neighbors, at the instigation of priests and bishops, and not infrequently of the royal governors. Little more than a year had passed since peace was restored, and already the victims of religious assassination rivalled in number the martyrs of the days of open persecution. At Crevant the Protestants were attacked on their way to their "temple;" at Tours they were attacked while engaged in worship. At Mans the fanatical bishop was the chief instigator of a work of mingled murder and rapine. At Vendôme it was the royal governor himself, Gilbert de Curée, who fell a victim to the hatred of the Roman Catholic noblesse, and was treacherously killed while hunting.[349] If anything more was needed to render the violence insupportable, it was found in the fact that any attempt to obtain judicial investigation and redress resulted not in the condemnation of the guilty, but in the personal peril of the complainant.[350]

Condé appeals for redress.

Smarting under the repeated acts of violence to which at every moment they were liable, and under the successive infringements upon the Edict of Amboise, the Huguenots urged the Prince of Condé to represent their grievances to the monarch, in the excellence of whose heart they had not yet lost confidence. The Protestant leader did not repel the trust. His appeal to Charles and to the queen mother was urgent. He showed that, even where the letter of the edict[Pg 163] was observed, its spirit was flagrantly violated. The edict provided for a place for preaching in each prefecture, to be selected by the king. In some cases no place had yet been designated. In others, the most inconvenient places had been assigned. Sometimes the Huguenots of a district would be compelled to go twenty or twenty-five leagues in order to attend divine worship. The declaration affecting the monks and nuns who had forsaken their habit was a violation of the general liberty promised. So also was the prohibition of synods, which, though not expressly mentioned, were implied in the toleration of the religion to which they were indispensably necessary. But it was the prejudice and ill-will, of which the Huguenots were the habitual victims at the hands of royal governors and other officers, which moved them most deeply. The evident desire was to find some ground of accusation against them. The ears of the judges were stopped against their appeals for justice. It was enough that they were accused. Decrees of confiscation, of the razing of their houses, of death, were promptly given before any examination was made into the truth of their culpability. On a mere rumor of a commotion in the Protestant city of Montauban, an order was issued to demolish its walls. The case was far otherwise with turbulent Roman Catholic towns. The people were encouraged to acts of violence toward the Huguenots by the impunity of the perpetrators of similar crimes, and by the evident partiality of those who were set to administer justice. Out of six or seven score murders of Protestants since the peace, not two of the abominable acts had been punished. Under such circumstances it would not be surprising if the victims of inordinate cruelty should at length be driven in desperation to take their defence into their own hands.[351]

Conciliatory reply of the king.

The king, or his ministers, fearful of a commotion during his absence from Paris, answered the letter of the prince with tolerable courtesy, and even made a pretence of desiring to[Pg 164] secure justice to his Protestant subjects; but the attempt really effected very little. Thus, for instance, while sojourning in the city of Valence (on the fifth of September, 1564), Charles received a petition of the Huguenots of Bordeaux, setting forth some of the grievances under which they were groaning, and gave a favorable answer. He permitted them, by this patent, to sing their psalms in their own houses. He declared them free from any obligation to furnish the "pain bénit," and to contribute to the support of Roman Catholic fraternities. The Protestants were not to be molested for possessing or selling copies of the Bible. They must not be compelled to deck out their houses in honor of religious processions, nor to swear on St. Anthony's arm. They might work at their trades with closed doors, except on Sundays and solemn feasts. Magistrates were forbidden to take away the children of Huguenots, in order to have them baptized according to Romish rites. Protestants could be elected to municipal offices equally with the adherents of the other faith.[352] In a similar tone of conciliation the king published an order from Roussillon, remitting the fines that had been imposed upon the Huguenots of Nantes for neglecting to hang tapestry before their houses on Corpus Christi Day, and permitting them henceforth to abstain from an act so offensive to their religious convictions.[353]

Protestants excluded from judicial posts.

Such local concessions were, however, only the decoys by[Pg 165] which the queen mother intended to lure the Huguenots on to a fatal security. A few months later, at Avignon, Catharine caused an ordinance to be published in the king's name, which Cardinal Santa Croce characterized as an excellent one. It excluded Protestants from holding judicial seats. Catharine told the nuncio that her counsellors had been desirous of extending the same prohibition to all other charges under government, but that she had deterred them. It would have driven the Huguenots to desperation, and might have occasioned disturbances. "We shall labor, however," she said, "to exclude them little by little from all their offices." At the same time she expressed her joy that everything was succeeding so well, and privately assured the nuncio "that people were much deceived in her."[354]

And yet such are the paradoxes of history, especially in this age of surprises, that, at the very moment the king was depriving his own Protestant subjects of their rights, he was negotiating in behalf of the Protestant subjects of his neighbors! The king would not leave Avignon—so wrote the English envoy—without reconciling the inhabitants of the Comtât Venaissin and the principality of Orange, whom diversity of religion had brought into collision. And, by the articles of pacification which the ambassador enclosed, the king was seen "to have had a care for others also, having provided a certain liberty of religion even to the Pope's own subjects, which he had much difficulty in obtaining."[355]

Marshal Montmorency checks the Parisian mob.
His encounter with Cardinal Lorraine.

While the queen mother, under cover of her son's authority, followed the new policy of opposition to the Huguenots upon which she had now entered, an incident occurred at Paris show[Pg 166]ing that even the Roman Catholics were not unanimous in their support of the Guises and their plan of exterminating heresy. The governor of the metropolis was Marshal Montmorency, the most worthy of all the constable's sons. He had vigorously exerted himself ever since the king's departure to protect the Huguenots in accordance with the provisions of the treaty. A Protestant woman, who during the war had been hung in effigy for "huguenoterie," but had returned from her flight since the conclusion of peace, died and was secretly buried by friends, one Sunday night, in the "Cimetière des Innocents." The next morning a rabble, such as only Paris could afford, collected with the intention of disinterring the heretic. And they would have accomplished their design, had not Marshal Montmorency ridden in, sword in hand, and resolved to hang the culprits that very day. "He would assist the Huguenots," he is reported to have been in the habit of saying, "because they were the weaker party."[356] On Monday, the eighth of January, 1565, the Cardinal of Lorraine approached the city in full ecclesiastical dress, with the intention of entering it.[357] He was attended by his young nephew, the Duke of Guise, and by an escort of armed men, whom Catharine had permitted him to retain in spite of the general prohibition, because of the fears he undoubtedly felt for his personal safety. As he neared Paris he was met by a messenger sent by the governor, commanding him to bid his company lay down their arms, or to exhibit his pretended authority. The cardinal, accustomed to domineer over even such old noble families as the Montmorencies, would do neither, and attempted to ride defiantly into the city. But the marshal was no respecter of persons. With the troops at his command he met and dispersed the cardinal's escort. Lorraine fled as for his life into a shop on the Rue Saint Denis. Thence he was secretly con[Pg 167]veyed to his own palace, and shortly after he left the city in utter discomfiture, but breathing dire threats against the marshal.[358] The latter, calling into Paris his cousin the admiral, had no difficulty in maintaining order. Great was the consternation of the populace, it is true, for the absurd report was circulated that Coligny was come to plunder the city, and to seize the Parliament House, the Cathedral, and the Bastile;[359] and even the first president, De Thou, begged him, when he came to the parliament, to explain the reasons of his obeying his cousin's summons, and to imitate the prudence of Pompey the Great when he entered the city of Rome, where Cæsar's presence rendered a sedition imminent. The admiral, in reply, gracefully acknowledged the honor which parliament had done him in likening him to Pompey, whom he would gladly imitate, he said, because Pompey was a patriot. Still he saw no appositeness in the comparison, "as there was no Cæsar in Paris."[360]

The conference at Bayonne, June, 1565.

Early in the month of June, 1565, Charles the Ninth and his court reached the neighborhood of the city of Bayonne, where, on the very confines of France and Spain, a meeting had been arranged between Catharine and her daughter Isabella, wife of Philip the Second. Catharine's first proposal had been that her royal son-in-law should himself be present. She had urged that great good to Christendom might flow from their deliberations. Philip the Prudent, however, and his confidential adviser, the Duke of Alva, were sus[Pg 168]picious of the design. Alva was convinced that Catharine had only her own private ends in view.[361] Granvelle observed that little fruit came of these interviews of princes but discord and confusion, and judged that, had not the queen mother strenuously insisted upon improving perhaps the only opportunity which she and her daughter might enjoy of seeing each other, even the interview between the two queens would have been declined.[362] As it was, however, Philip excused himself on the plea of engrossing occupations.

Such were the circumstances under which the Bayonne conference took place—a meeting which Cardinal Granvelle assured his correspondents was a simple visit of a daughter to her mother,[363] but to which contemporaries, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, ascribed a far deeper significance. At this meeting, according to Jean de Serres, writing only four or five years after the event,[364] a holy league, as it was called, was formed, by the intervention of Isabella, for the purpose of re-establishing the authority of the ancient religion and of extirpating the new. France and Spain mutually promised to render each other assistance in the good work; and both pledged themselves to the support of the Holy See by all the means in their power. Philip himself was not present, either, it was conjectured, in order that the league might the better be kept secret, or to avoid the appearance of lowering his dignity before that of the French monarch.[365] The current belief—until recently[Pg 169] almost the universal belief of historians—goes farther, and alleges that in this mysterious conference Catharine and Alva, who accompanied his master's wife, concocted the plan of that famous massacre whose execution was delayed by various circumstances for seven years. Alva was the tempter, and the words with which he recommended his favorite method of dealing with heresy, by destroying its chief upholders, were embodied in the ignoble sentence, "Better a salmon's head than ten thousand frogs."[366]

In fact, a general impression that the conference had led to the formation of a distinct plan for the universal destruction of Protestantism gained ground almost immediately. Within about a month after the queen mother and her daughter had ended their interview, the English ambassador wrote to Leicester and Cecil that "they of the religion think that there has been at this meeting at Bayonne some complot betwixt the Pope, the King of Spain, and the Scottish queen, by their ambassadors, and some say also the Papists of England."[367]

No plan of massacre agreed upon.

Fortunately, however, we are not left to frame by uncertain conjecture a doubtful story of the transactions of this famous interview. The correspondence of the Duke of Alva himself with Philip the Second has been preserved among the manuscripts of Simancas, to dispel many inveterate misapprehensions. These letters not only prove that no plan for a massacre of[Pg 170] the Huguenots was agreed upon by the two parties, but that Alva did not even distinctly declare himself in favor of such a plan. They furnish, however, an instructive view, such as can but rarely be so well obtained, of the net of treacherous intrigue which the fingers of Philip and his agents were for many years busy day and night in cautiously spreading around the throne of France.

June 14th.
June 15th.

On Thursday, the fourteenth of June, the young Spanish queen, with her brilliant train of attendant grandees, crossed the narrow stream forming the dividing line between the two kingdoms, and was conducted by her mother, her brothers and sister, and a crowd of gallant French nobles, to the neighboring town of Saint Jean de Luz. On Friday, Catharine and Charles rode forward to make their solemn entry into Bayonne, where they were to await their guests' arrival. Before they started, Alva had already been at work complimenting such good Catholics as the constable, Cardinal Bourbon, and Prince La Roche-sur-Yon, flattering Cardinal Guise (his brother of Lorraine was absent from court, not yet being fully reinstated in favor), the Duke of Montpensier, and vain old Blaise de Montluc. Nor were his blandishments thrown away. Poor weak Guise—the "cardinal des bouteilles" he was called, from the greater acquaintance he had with the wine and good living than with religious or political affairs[368]—was overcome with emotion and gratitude, and begged Alva to implore the Catholic king, by the love of God, to look in pity upon an unhappy kingdom, where religion was fast going to ruin. Montpensier threw himself into Alva's arms,[Pg 171] and told him that Philip alone was the hope of all the good in France, declaring for himself that he was willing to be torn in pieces in his behalf, and maintaining the meanwhile, that, should that pleasant operation be performed, "Philip" would be found written on his heart. To Blaise de Montluc's self-conceit Alva laid siege in no very covert manner, assuring him that his master had not given his consent to Catharine's plan for an interview until he had perused a paper written by the grim old warrior's hand, in which he had expressed the opinion that the conference would be productive of wholesome results. The implied praise was all that was needed to induce Montluc to explain himself more fully. He was opposed to the exercise of any false humanity. He ascribed the little success that had attended the Roman Catholic arms in the last struggle to the half-way measures adopted and the attempt to exercise the courtesies of peace in time of war. The combatants on either side addressed their enemies as "my brother" and "my cousin." As for himself, he had made it a rule to spare no man's life, but to wage a war of extermination. To this unburdening of his mind Alva replied by giving Montluc to understand that, as a good Roman Catholic, it should be his task to discover the means of inducing Charles and his mother to perform their duty, and, if he failed in this, to disclose to Philip the course which he must pursue, "since it was impossible to suffer matters to go on, as they were going, to their ruin."

What the duty of the French king was, in Philip's and Alva's view, is evidenced by the advice of the "good" Papists which the minister reports to his master with every mark of approbation. It was, in the first place, to banish from the kingdom every Protestant minister, and prohibit utterly any exercise of the reformed religion. The provincial governors, whose orthodoxy in almost every case could be relied upon, were to be the instruments in the execution of this work.[369] But, besides this, it would be necessary to seize a few of the leaders and cut off their heads. Five or six, it was suggested, would be all the[Pg 172] victims required.[370] It was, in fact, essentially the plan of operations with which Alva undertook a year or two later the reduction of the Netherlands to submission to Spanish tyranny and the Papal Church. Treacherous imprisonments of the most suspected, which could scarcely have been confined within such narrow numerical limits as Alva laid down, together with a "blood council" to complete the work, or with a massacre in which the proprieties of judicial investigation would be less nicely observed—such was the scheme after Philip's own heart.

But this scheme suited the present frame of mind neither of Charles nor of Catharine. When the crafty Spaniard, cautiously feeling his way, begged the young king to be very careful of his life, "for God, he was convinced, was reserving him to execute a great work by his hands, in the punishment of the offences which were committed in that kingdom,"[371] Charles briskly responded: "Oh! to take up arms does not suit me. I have no disposition to consummate the destruction of my kingdom begun in the past wars."[372] The duke clearly saw that the king was but repeating a lesson that had been taught him by others, and contemptuously dismissed the topic.[373]

Catharine and Alva.

Catharine was not less determined than her son to avoid a resort to arms. It was with difficulty that Alva could get her to broach the subject of religion at all. Isabella having, at his suggestion, pressed her mother to disclose the secret communication to make which she had sought this interview, Catharine referred, with some bitterness, to the distrust of Charles and of herself evidently entertained by Philip, which would be likely[Pg 173] to lead in the end to a renewal of war between France and Spain. And she reproached Isabella with having so soon allowed herself to become "Hispaniolized"[374]—a charge from which her daughter endeavored to clear herself as best she could. When at last Alva succeeded in bringing up the subject, which was, ostensibly at least, so near what Philip called his heart, Catharine's display of tact was such as to elicit the profound admiration of even so consummate a master in the art of dissimulation as the duke himself. Her circumspection, he declared, he had never seen equalled.[375] She maintained that there was no need of alarm at the condition of religion in France, for everything was going on better than when the Edict of Pacification was published. "It is your satisfaction at being freed from war that leads you to take so cheerful a view," urged Alva. "My master cannot but require the application of a more efficient remedy, since the cause is common to Spain; for the disease will spread, and Philip has no inclination to lose his crown, or, perhaps, even his head." Catharine now insisted upon Alva's explaining himself and disclosing his master's plan of action. This Alva declined to do. Although Philip was as conversant with the state of France as she or any other person in the kingdom, yet he preferred to leave to her to decide upon the precise nature of the specific to be administered. Catharine pressed the inquiry, but Alva continued to parry the question adroitly. He asks if, since the Edict of Toleration, ground has been gained or lost. Decidedly gained, she replies, and proceeds to particularize. But Alva is confident that she is deceiving herself or him: it is notorious that things are becoming worse every day.

"Would you have me understand," interrupts Catharine, "that we must resort to arms again?"

"I see no present need of assuming them," answers Alva, "and my master would not advise you to take them up, unless constrained by other necessity than that which I now see."[Pg 174]

"What, then, would Philip have me do?" asks Catharine. "Apply a prompt remedy," answers Alva; "for sooner or later your enemies will, by their own action, compel you to accept the wager of war, and that, probably, under less favorable circumstances than at present. All Philip's thoughts are intent upon the expulsion of that wretched sect of the Huguenots, and upon restoring the subjects of the French crown to their ancient obedience, and maintaining the queen mother's legitimate authority." "The king, my son," responds Catharine, "publishes whatever edicts he pleases, and is obeyed." "Then, if he enjoys such authority over his vassals," breaks in Isabella, "why does he not punish those who are rebels both against God and against himself?"

That question Catharine did not choose to answer. Instead of it she had some chimerical schemes to propose—a league between France, Spain, and Germany, that should give the law to the world, and a confirmation of the bonds that united the royal houses of France and Spain by two more marriages, viz.: of Don Carlos to Margaret, her youngest daughter, and of the Duke of Anjou to the Princess of Portugal. Alva, however, making light of such projects, which could, according to his view, effect nothing more than the bond already connecting the families, was not slow in bringing the conversation back to the religious question. But he soon had reason to complain of Catharine's coldness. She had already expressed her mind fully, she said; and she resented, as a want of the respect due to her, the hint that she was more indifferent than previously. She would not fail to do justice, she assured him. That would be difficult, rejoined Alva, with a chancellor at the head of the judiciary who could not certainly be expected to apply the remedy needed by the unsound condition of France. "It is his personal enemies," promptly replied Catharine, "who, out of hatred, accuse L'Hospital of being a bad Catholic." "Can you deny that he is a Huguenot?" asked the Spaniard. "I do not regard him as such," calmly answered the French queen. "Then you are the only person in the kingdom who is of that opinion!" retorted the duke. "Even before I left France, and during the lifetime of my father, King Henry," said Isabella,[Pg 175] interrupting with considerable animation, "your Majesty knows that that was his reputation; and you may be certain that so long as he is retained in his present office the good will always be kept in fear and in disfavor, while the bad will find him a support and advocate in all their evil courses. If he were to be confined for a few days only in his own house, you would at once discover the truth of my words, so much better would the interests of religion advance."[376] But this step Catharine was by no means willing to take. Nor, when again pressed by Alva, who dwelt much on the importance to Philip of knowing her intentions as to applying herself in earnest to the good work, so as to be guided in his own actions, would she deign to give any clearer indications. Yet she avowed—greatly shocking the orthodox duke thereby[377]—that she designed, instead of securing the acceptance of the decrees of Trent by the French, to convene a council of "good prelates and wise men," to settle a number of matters not of divine or positive prescription, which the Fathers of Trent had left undecided. Alva expressed his extreme astonishment, and reminded her of the Colloquy of Poissy—the source, as he alleged, of all the present disgraceful situation of France.[378] But Catharine threw the whole blame of the failure of that conference upon the inordinate conceit of the Cardinal of Lorraine,[379] and persisted in the plan. The Spaniard came to the conclusion that Catharine's only design was to avoid having recourse to salutary rigor, and indulged in his correspondence with his master in lugubrious vaticinations respecting the future.[380]

Catharine rejects all violent plans.
Cardinal Granvelle's testimony.

So far, then, was the general belief which has been adopted[Pg 176] by the greater number of historians up to our own days from being correct—the belief that Catharine framed, at the Bayonne conference, with Alva's assistance, a plan for the extermination of the Protestants by a massacre such as was realized on St. Bartholomew's Day, 1572—that, on the contrary, the queen mother refused, in a peremptory manner that disgusted the Spanish fanatics, every proposition that looked like violence. That we have not read the correspondence of Alva incorrectly, and that no letter containing the mythical agreement of Catharine ever reached Philip, is proved by the tone of the letters that passed between the great agents in the work of persecution in the Spanish Netherlands. Cardinal Granvelle, who, in his retreat at Besançon, was kept fully informed by the King of Spain, or by his chief ministers, of every important event, and who received copies of all the most weighty documents, in a letter to Alonso del Canto expresses great regret that Isabella and Alva should have failed in their endeavor to induce Catharine de' Medici to adopt methods more proper than she was taking to remedy the religious ills of France. She promised marvels, he adds, but was determined to avoid recourse to arms, which, indeed, was not necessary, if she would only act as she should. He was persuaded that the plan she was adopting would entail the ruin of religion and of her son's throne.[381]

Festivities and pageantry.

While the policy of two of the most important nations on the face of the globe, in which were involved the interests, temporal and eternal, of millions of men, women, and children, formed the topic of earnest discussion between two women—a mother and her daughter, the mother yet to become infamous for her participation in a bloody tragedy of which she as yet little dreamed—and a Spanish grandee doomed to an equally unenviable immortality in the records of human suffering and human crime, the city of Bayonne was the scene of an ephemeral gayety that might well convey the impression that such merry-making was not only the sole object of the conference, but the great concern of life.[382] Two nations,[Pg 177] floundering in hopeless bankruptcy, yet found money enough to lavish upon costly but unmeaning pageants, while many a noble, to satisfy an ostentatious display, made drafts which an impoverished purse was little able to honor. The banquets and jousts, the triumphal arches with their flattering inscriptions, the shows in which allegory revelled almost to madness—all have been faithfully narrated with a minuteness worthy of a loftier theme.[383] This is, however, no place for the detailed description which, though entertaining, can be read to advantage only on the pages of the contemporary pamphlets that have come down to us.

Yet, in the discussion of the more serious concerns of a great religious and political party, we may for a moment pause to gaze at a single show, neither more magnificent nor more dignified than its fellows; but in which the youthful figure of a Bearnese destined to play a first part in the world's drama, but[Pg 178] up to this time living a life of retirement in his ancestral halls, first makes his appearance among the pomps to which as yet he has been a stranger. The pride of the grandfather whose name he bore, Henry of Navarre had been permitted, at that whimsical old man's suggestion, to strengthen an already vigorous constitution by athletic sports, and by running barefoot like the poorest peasant over the sides of his native hills. "God designed," writes a companion of his later days who never rekindles more of his youthful fire than when descanting upon his master's varied fortunes, "to prepare an iron wedge wherewith to cleave the hard knots of our calamities."[384] Later in childhood, when both father and grandfather were dead, he was the object of the unremitting care of a mother whose virtues find few counterparts or equals in the women of the sixteenth century; and Jeanne d'Albret, in a remarkable letter to Theodore Beza, notes with joy a precocious piety,[385] which, there is reason to fear, was not hardy enough to withstand the withering atmosphere of a court like that with which he was now making his first acquaintance.

One evening there was exhibited in a large hall, well lighted by means of blazing torches, a tournament in which the knights fought on foot.[386] From a castle where they held an enchanted lady captive, the knights challengers issued, and "received all comers with a thrust of the pike, and five blows with the sword." Each champion, on his arrival, endeavored to enter the castle, but was met at the portal by guards "dressed very fantastically in black," and repelled with "lighted instruments." Not a few of the less illustrious were captured here. The more exalted in rank reached the donjon, or castle-keep, but as they thought to set foot within it, a trap-door opened and they too found[Pg 179] themselves prisoners. It fared better with the princes; for the success of each champion was measured by a rigid heraldic scale. These passed the donjon, but, on a bridge leading to the tower where slept the enchanted lady, a giant confronted them, and in the midst of the combat the bridge was lowered, and they were taken, as had been their predecessors. "The Duke of Vendôme,[387] son of the late duke, whom they call in France the Prince of Navarre—a boy apparently ten or eleven years of age—crossed the bridge, and the giant pretended to surrender; but he too was afterward repulsed like the rest." The Duke of Orleans—whom the reader will more readily recognize under the title of Duke of Anjou, which he, about this time, received—next entered the lists. Naturally he penetrated further than his namesake of Navarre, and "the giant showed more fear of him than of the other;" but a cloud enveloped them both, and "thus the duke vanished from sight." King Charles was the last to fight, and for his prowess it was reserved for him to defeat the giant and deliver the lady.[388]

The confraternities.

The author of the pompous show had made a serious mistake. The giant "League," before whom so many a champion failed, it was the lot not of Charles, nor of Henry of Valois, but of the other Henry, of Navarre, to overcome. That giant was already in existence, although still in his infancy. For some time past the zealous papists, impatient of the sluggish devotion of the court, had been forming "confréries," or fraternities, whose members, bound together by a common oath, were pledged to the support of the Roman Catholic religion.[389] The plan was a dangerous one, and it shortly excited the apprehen[Pg 180]sion of the king and his mother. "I am told," Charles wrote in July, 1565, to one of his governors, "that in a number of places in my realm there is a talk of establishing an association amongst my subjects, who invite one another to join it. I beg you to take measures to prevent that any be made for any purpose whatsoever; but keep my subjects so far as possible united in the desire to render me duty and obedience."[390] And to prove the sincerity of his intentions, the French king ordered the late Edict of Pacification again to be proclaimed by public crier in the streets of the seditious city of Paris—a feat which was successfully performed under Marshal Montmorency's supervision, by the city provost, accompanied by so strong a detachment of archers and arquebusiers, as effectually to prevent popular disturbance.[391] Already there were restless spirits that saw in another civil war fresh opportunity for the advancement of their selfish interests. Months ago Villegagnon, the betrayer of the Brazilian colony of Coligny, had written to Cardinal Granvelle, telling him that he had resigned his dignities and offices in the French court, and had informed Catharine de' Medici, "that until Charles was the declared enemy of the enemies of God and of His church, he would never again bear arms in his service."[392] The vice-admiral, of whom modesty was never a conspicuous virtue, went so far as to draw a flattering portrait of himself as a second Hannibal, vowing eternal enmity to the Huguenots.[393] And Nicole de St. Rémy, whose only claim to honorable mention was found in her oft-paraded boast that, as a mistress of Henry the Second, she had borne him a son, and who held in France the congenial post of a Spanish spy, suggested the marriage of the Cardinal of Bourbon in view of the possible[Pg 181] contingency of the death of all Catharine's sons.[394] The centre of all intrigue, the storehouse from which every part of France was supplied with material capable of once more enkindling the flames of a destructive civil war, was the house of the Spanish resident envoy, Frances de Alava, successor of the crafty Chantonnay, the brother of Granvelle. It was he that was in constant communication with all the Roman Catholic malcontents in France.[395] Catharine endeavored to check this influence, but to no purpose. The fanatical party were bound by a stronger tie of allegiance to Philip, the Catholic king, than to her, or to the Very Christian King her son. Catharine had particularly enjoined upon the Cardinal of Lorraine to have no communication with Granvelle or with Chantonnay, but the prelate's relations with both were never interrupted for a moment.[396]

Siege of Malta, and French civilities to the Sultan.

The fact was that, so far from true was it that a cordial understanding existed between the courts of France and Spain, such as the mythical league for the extirpation of heresy presupposes, the distrust and hostility were barely veiled under the ordinary conventionalities of diplomatic courtesy. While Catharine and Philip's queen were exchanging costly civilities at Bayonne, the Turks were engaged in a siege of Malta, which has become famous for the obstinacy with which it was prosecuted and the valor with which it was repelled. Spain had sent a small detachment of troops to the assistance of the grand master, Jean de la Valette, and his brave knights of St. John, and the Pope had contributed ten thousand crowns to their expenses.[397] Yet at this very moment an envoy of the Sul[Pg 182]tan was at the court of the Very Christian King of France, greatly to the disgust of the Spanish visitors and pious Catholics in general,[398] and only waited for the departure of Isabella and Alva to receive formal presentation to the monarch and his mother.[399]

The constable espouses Cardinal Châtillon's defence.

Meantime, although the queen mother continued her policy of depriving the Huguenots of one after another of the privileges to which they were entitled, and replaced Protestant governors of towns and provinces by Roman Catholics, her efforts at repression seemed, for the time at least, to produce little effect. "The true religion is so rooted in France," wrote one who accompanied the royal progress, "that, like a fire, it kindles daily more and more. In every place, from Bayonne hither, and for the most part of the journey, there are more Huguenots than papists, and the most part of men of quality and mark be of the religion." If the writer, as is probable, was over-sanguine in his anticipations, he could not be mistaken in the size of the great gathering of Protestants—full two thousand—for the most part gentlemen and gentlewomen, which he witnessed with his own eyes, brought together at Nantes to listen to the preaching of the eloquent Perucel.[400] And it was not an insignificant proof of the futility of any direct attempt to crush the Huguenots, that Constable Montmorency pretty plainly intimated that there were limits which religious proscription must not transcend. The English ambassador wrote from France, late in November, that the Pope's new nuncio had within two days demanded that the red cap should be taken from the Cardinal of Châtillon. But the latter, who chanced to be at court, replied that "what he enjoyed he enjoyed by gift of the crown of France, wherewith the Pope had nothing to do." The old constable was even more vehement. "The Pope," said he, "has often troubled the quiet of this realm, but I trust he shall not be able to trouble it at this time. I am myself a papist; but if the Pope and his ministers go about[Pg 183] again to disturb the kingdom, my sword shall be Huguenot. My nephew shall leave neither cap nor dignity which he has for the Pope, seeing the edict gives him that liberty."[401]

The court at Moulins.

Early in the following year, Charles the Ninth convoked in the city of Moulins, in Bourbonnais, near the centre of France, an assembly of notables to deliberate on the interests of the kingdom, which had not yet fully recovered from the desolations of the first civil war. The extensive journey, which had occupied a large part of the two preceding years, had furnished him abundant evidence of the grievances under which his subjects in the various provinces were laboring, and he now summoned all that was most illustrious in France, and especially those noblemen whom he had dismissed to their governments when about to start from his capital, to assist him in discovering the best mode of relief. If the Florentine Adriani could be credited, there were other and sinister designs in the mind of the court, or, at least, in that of Catharine. According to this historian, the plan of the second "Sicilian Vespers," resolved upon at Bayonne, was to have been put into execution at Moulins, which, from its strength, was well suited for the scene of so sanguinary a drama; but, although the Huguenot chiefs assembled in numbers, their actions betrayed so much suspicion of the Roman Catholics, and it seemed so difficult to include all in the blow, that the massacre was deferred until the arrival of a more propitious time, which did not come until St. Bartholomew's Day, 1572.[402] I need not stop to refute a story which presupposes the adoption of resolutions in the conference of Bayonne, which we now know, from documentary evidence, were never for a moment entertained by Catharine and her son the king.

Feigned reconciliation of the Guises and Coligny.

So far from having any such treacherous design, in point of fact the assembly of Moulins was intended in no small degree to serve as a means of healing the dissensions existing among[Pg 184] the nobles. The most serious breaches were the feud between the Châtillons and the Guises on account of the suspected complicity of Admiral Coligny in the murder of the late duke, and that between Marshal Montmorency and the Cardinal of Lorraine, arising out of the affray in January, 1565. Both quarrels were settled amicably in the king's presence, with as much sincerity as generally characterizes such reconciliations. Coligny declared on oath, in the royal presence, that he was guiltless of Guise's murder, neither having been its author nor having consented to it; whereupon the king declared him innocent, and ordered the parties to be reconciled. The command was obeyed, for Anne d'Este, Guise's widow, and Cardinal Charles of Lorraine in turn embraced the admiral, in token of renewed friendship. How much of meaning these caresses contained was to be shown six years later by the active participation of the one in the most famous massacre which the annals of modern history present, and by the exultant rejoicings in which the other indulged when he heard of it. Young Henry of Guise, less hypocritical than his mother and his uncle, held aloof from the demonstration, and permitted the beholders to infer that he was quietly biding his time for vengeance.[403]

The chancellor introduces a measure for the relief of the Protestants.
A new altercation between Lorraine and the chancellor.

An event of principal importance that occurred during the stay of the court at Moulins was a fresh altercation between Lorraine and L'Hospital. A tolerant but apparently unauthorized act of the chancellor furnished the occasion. The Edict of Pacification had made provision for the worship of the Huguenots in but a small number of places through the kingdom. If living out of reach of these more favored localities, what were they to do, that they might not be compelled to exist without the restraints of religion during their lifetime, and to die without its consolations, nor leave their children unbaptized and uninstructed in the articles of their faith? L'Hospital proposed to remedy the evil by permitting the Protestants, in such cases, to institute a species of private worship in their houses, and had pro[Pg 185]cured the royal signature to an edict permitting them to call in, as occasion might require, ministers of the Gospel from other cities where their regular ministrations were tolerated by the law of Amboise.[404] This edict he had sent forthwith to the different parliaments for registration. The Parliament of Dijon, in Burgundy, however, instead of obeying, promptly despatched two counsellors with a remonstrance to the king.[405] On arriving at court, the delegation at first found it impossible to gain the royal ear. In such awe did the "maîtres de requêtes"—to whom petitions were customarily entrusted—stand of the grave and severe chancellor—that venerable old man with the white beard, whom Brantôme likened to another Cato—that none was found bold enough to present the Burgundian remonstrance. At last the delegates went to the newly-arrived cardinal, and Lorraine readily undertook the task. Appearing in the royal council he introduced the matter by expressing "his surprise that the Catholics had no means of making themselves heard respecting their grievances." The objectionable edict was read, and all the members of the council declared that they had never before seen or heard of[Pg 186] it. Cardinal Bourbon was foremost in his anger, and declared that if the chancellor had the right to issue such laws on his own responsibility, there was no use in having a council. "Sir," said L'Hospital, turning to the Cardinal of Lorraine, "you are already come to sow discord among us!" "I am not come to sow discord, but to prevent you from sowing it as you have done in the past, scoundrel that you are!" was the reply.[406] "Would you prevent these poor people, whom the king has permitted to live with freedom of conscience in the exercise of their religion, from receiving any consolation at all?" asked L'Hospital. "Yes, I intend to prevent it," answered the cardinal, "for everybody knows that to suffer such things is to tolerate secret preaching; and I shall prevent it so long as I shall have the power, in order to give no opportunity for the growth of such tyrannical practices. And," continued he, "do you, who have become what you now are by my means, dare to tell me that I come to sow discord among you? I shall take good care to keep you from doing what you have done heretofore." The council rose in anger, and passed into the adjoining apartment, where Catharine, who had not recovered from a temporary illness, strove to appease them as best she could. Charles ordered a new meeting, and, after hearing the deputies from Dijon, the king, conformably to the advice of the council, revoked the edict, and issued a prohibition of all exercise of the Protestant religion or instruction in its doctrines, save where it had been granted at Amboise. The chancellor was strictly enjoined to affix the seal of state to no papers relating to religious affairs without the consent of the royal council.

Protestantism on the northern frontier.
Progress of the reformation at Cateau-Cambrésis.

For several years the Protestants in the northern provinces of France had been busily communicating the religious views they had themselves embraced to their neighbors in Artois, Flanders, and Brabant. This intercourse became exceedingly close about the beginning of the year 1566;[Pg 187] and its result was a renunciation of the papal church and its worship, which was participated in by such large numbers, and effected so instantaneously, that the friends and the foes of the new movement were almost equally surprised. The story of this sudden outburst of the reformatory spirit in Valenciennes, Tournay, and other places, accompanied—as are all movements that take a strong hold upon the popular feelings—with a certain amount of lawlessness, which expended itself, however, upon inanimate images and held sacred the lives and honor of men and women, has been well told in the histories of the country whose fortunes it chiefly affected.[407] I may be permitted, therefore, to pass over these indirect results of Huguenot influence, and glance at the fortunes of a border town within the present bounds of France, and closely connected with the history of France in the sixteenth century, of which little or no notice has been taken in this connection.[408] Cateau-Cambrésis, famous for the treaty by which Henry the Second bartered away extensive conquests for a few paltry places that had fallen into the hands of the enemy, was, as its name—Chastel, Château or Cateau—imports, a castle and a borough that had grown up about it, both of them on lands belonging to the domain of Maximilian of Bergen, Archbishop and Duke of Cambray, and Prince of the Holy Roman Empire. It was smaller, but relatively far more important three hundred years ago than at the present day. For several years a few "good burgesses," with their families, had timidly studied the Holy Scriptures in secret, restrained[Pg 188] from making an open profession of their faith by the terrible executions which they saw inflicted upon the Protestants in the Netherlands. But, encouraged by the toleration prevailing in France, they began to cross the frontier, and to frequent the Huguenot "assemblées" at Crespy, Tupigny, and Chauny. The distance was not inconsiderable, and the peril was great. The archbishop had not only written a letter, which was read in every parish church, forbidding the singing of Marot's psalms and the frequenting of French conventicles, but he had sent his spies to the conventicles to discover cases of disobedience. The Huguenots of Cateau multiplied in spite of these precautions. "The eyes of the aforesaid spies," writes a witness of the events, "were so holden that they did not even recognize those with whom they conversed." Yet, although the Huguenots met at home to read the Bible and to "sing the psalms which were most appropriate to the persecution and dispersion of the children of God," the town was as quiet as it had ever been. A slight incident, however, revealed the intensity of the fire secretly burning below the surface. A Huguenot minister was discovered on Whitsunday, in an adjoining village, and brought to Cateau. His captors facetiously told the suspected Protestants whom they met, that they had brought them a preacher, and that they would have no further occasion for leaving the town in quest of one. But the joke was not so well appreciated as it might have been by the adherents of the reformed faith, who seem by this time to have become extremely numerous. The excitement was intense. When the bailiff of Cambrésis was detected, not long after, stealing into the place by night, accompanied by some sixty men, with the intention of carrying the preacher off to Cambray, he met with unexpected resistance. A citizen, on his way to his garden outside the walls, was the first to notice the guard of strange arquebusiers at the gate, and ran back to give the alarm. The tocsin was rung, and the inhabitants assembled in arms. It was now the turn of the bailiff to be astonished, and to listen humbly to the remonstrances of the people, indignant that he should have presumed to seize their gates and usurp the functions of the local magistrates. However, the intruders, after being politely informed that, ac[Pg 189]cording to strict justice, the whole party might have been summarily put to death, were suffered to beat a hasty retreat; not that so perfect a control could be put upon the ardor of some, but that they "administered sundry blows with the flat of their swords upon the back of the bailiff and a few of his soldiers."

Interference of the Archbishop of Cambray.

The incident itself was of trifling importance, for the Huguenot minister was promptly given up to the baron of the village where he had been captured, and was taken by his orders to Cambray. But it led to serious consequences. Threatened by the archiepiscopal city, the Protestants of Cateau, afraid to go to the French preaching-places, sent for Monsieur Philippe, minister of Tupigny, and held the reformed services just outside of their own walls. Alarmed at the progress of Protestant doctrines in his diocese, the Archbishop convened the estates of Cambray, and, on the eighteenth of August, 1566, sent three canons of the cathedral to persuade his subjects of Cateau to return to the Papal Church, and to threaten them with ruin in case of refusal. Neither argument nor menace was of any avail. The Protestants, who had studied their Bibles, were more than a match for the priests, who had not; and, as for the peril, the Huguenots quaintly replied: "Rather than yield to your demand, we should prefer to have our heads placed at our feet." When asked if they were all of this mind, they reiterated their determination: "Were the fires made ready to burn us all, we should enter them rather than accede to your request and return to the mass." These were brave words, but the sturdy Huguenots made them good a few months later.

The images and pictures overthrown.

Scarcely a week had passed before the news reached Cateau (on the twenty-fifth of August) that the "idols" had been broken in all the churches of Valenciennes, Antwerp, Ghent, Tournay, and elsewhere. Although stirred to its very depths by the exciting intelligence, the Protestant population still contained itself, and merely consulted convenience by celebrating Divine worship within the city walls, in an open cemetery. Unfortunately, however, the minister whom the reformed had obtained was ill-suited to these troublous times. Monsieur Philippe, unlike Calvin and the great majority of the ministers of the[Pg 190] French Protestant church, was rash and impetuous. Early the next morning he entered the church of St. Martin, in company with three or four other persons, and commenced the work of destruction. Altars, statues, pictures, antiphonaries, missals, graduals—all underwent a common fate. From St. Martin's the iconoclasts visited in like manner the other ecclesiastical edifices of the town and its suburbs. Upon the ruins of the Romish superstition the new fabric arose, and Monsieur Philippe preached the same day in the principal church of Cateau, to a large and attentive audience.

The Protestant claims.

And now began an animated interchange of proclamations on the one hand, and of petitions on the other. The archbishop demanded the unconditional submission of his subjects, and gave no assurances of toleration. The Protestants declared themselves ready to give him their unqualified allegiance, as their temporal sovereign, but claimed the liberty to worship God. Maximilian referred to the laws and constitutions of the Empire of which they formed an integral part. The burgesses answered by showing that they had always been governed in accordance with the "placards" issued by the King of Spain for his provinces of the Netherlands, and that, whenever they had appealed in times past to the chamber of the Empire, as for example at Spires, they had not only been repelled, but even punished for their temerity.[409] They claimed, therefore, the benefit of the "Accord" made by the Duchess of Parma at Brussels a few days previously, guaranteeing the exercise of the reformed religion wherever it had heretofore been practised;[410] while the archbishop, when forced to declare himself, plainly announced that he would not suffer the least[Pg 191] deviation from the Roman Catholic faith. In their perplexity, the Protestants had recourse to the Count of Horn, at Tournay, by whom they were received with the utmost kindness. The count even furnished them with a letter to the archbishop, entreating him to be merciful to them.[411]

The Archbishop's vengeance.

But nothing was further from the heart of Maximilian than mercy. He was the same blind adherent of Cardinal Granvelle and his policy, whom, a year or two before, Brederode, Hoogstraaten, and their fellow-revellers had grievously insulted at a banquet given to Egmont before his departure for Spain; the same treacherous, sanguinary priest who wrote to Granvelle respecting Valenciennes: "We had better push forward and make an end of all the principal heretics, whether rich or poor, without regarding whether the city will be entirely ruined by such a course."[412] On Monday, the twenty-fourth of March, 1567, the troops of the archbishop appeared before Cateau, and the same day the place was surrendered by the treachery of some of the inhabitants. At once Cateau became a scene of bloody executions. All that had taken part in the Protestant worship were brought before a tribunal, which often tried, condemned, and punished with death upon one and the same day. Monsieur Philippe, the rash preacher, and one of his deacons seem to have been the first victims. There was no lack of food for the gallows. To have been present at the "preachings," to have partaken of the communion, to have maintained that the Protestant was better than the Roman Catholic religion, to have uttered a jest or drawn a caricature reflecting upon the Papal Church and its ceremonies—any of these was sufficient reason for sending a man to be hung or beheaded. The duchess's "moderation" had effected thus much, that no one seems to have been burned at the stake. And so, at last, by assiduous but bloody work, the Reformation was completely extirpated from Cateau Cambrésis. It was, at least, a source of mournful satisfaction that scarce one of the sufferers failed to exhibit great constancy and pious resignation in view of death.[413]

[Pg 192]

The idea of toleration is not understood.

Let us return from the Flemish borders to France proper, where, notwithstanding attempts at external reconciliation, the breach between the Protestants and their Roman Catholic neighbors was daily widening, where, in fact, the elements of a new war were gathering shape and consistency. It was becoming more and more difficult—especially for a government of temporary shifts and expedients—to control the antagonistic forces incessantly manifesting themselves. The idea of toleration was understood by neither party. The Roman Catholics of Provins were so slow to comprehend the liberty of conscience and religious profession of which the Huguenots had wrung a concession in the last edict by force of arms, that they undertook to prosecute the Protestants for eating roast lamb and capons during Lent. With little more appreciation of the altered posture of affairs, the Archbishop of Sens (Cardinal Guise) initiated a trial against a heretical curate of Courtenay, according to the rules of canon law, and the latter might have stood but a poor chance to recover his freedom had not the Huguenot lord of Courtenay seized upon the archbishop's "official" as he was passing his castle, and held him as a hostage to secure the curate's release.[414]

Huguenot pleasantries.

It would be asserting too much to say that the Protestants were innocent of any infraction upon the letter or spirit of the Edict of Amboise. They would have been angels, not men, had they been proof against the contagious spirit of raillery that infected the men of the sixteenth century. Where they dared, they not unfrequently held up their opponents to ridicule in the coarse style so popular with all classes.[415] Thus a contemporary Roman Catholic recounts with indignation[Pg 193] how Prince Porcien held a celebration in Normandy, and among the games was one in which a "paper castle" was assaulted, and the defenders, dressed as monks, were taken prisoners, and were afterward paraded through the streets on asses' backs.[416] But these buffooneries were harmless sallies contrasted with the insults with which the Protestants were treated in every town where they were not numerically preponderating; nor were they anything more than rare occurrences in comparison with the latter. This page of history is compelled to record no violent commotion on the part of the reformed population, save in cases where, as at Pamiers (a town not far south of Toulouse, near the foot of the Pyrenees), they had been goaded to madness by the government deliberately trampling upon their rights of worship, at the instigation of the ecclesiastical authorities.[417] A trifling accident might then, however, be sufficient to cause their inflamed passions to burst out; and in the disturbances that were likely to ensue, little respect was usually paid to the churches or the monasteries. Such are wont to be the unhappy effects of the denial of justice according to the forms of established law. They would have been a hundred-fold more frequent had it not been for the persistent opposition interposed by the Huguenot ministers—many of them with Calvin carrying the doctrine of passive submission to constituted authority almost to the very verge of apparent pusillanimity.

Alarm of the Protestants.
Attempts to murder the admiral and Prince Porcien.

From month to month the conviction grew upon the Protestants that their destruction was agreed upon. There was no doubt with regard to the desire of Philip the Second; for his course respecting his subjects in the Netherlands showed plainly enough that the extermination of heretics was the only policy of which his narrow mind could conceive as pleasing in the sight of heaven. The character of Catharine[Pg 194]—stealthy, deceitful, regardless of principle—was equally well understood. Between such a queen and the trusted minister of such a prince, a secret conference like that of Bayonne could not be otherwise than highly suspicious. It is not strange that the Huguenots received it as an indubitable fact that the court from this time forward was only waiting for the best opportunity of effecting their ruin; for even intelligent Roman Catholics, who were not admitted into the confidence of the chief actors in that celebrated interview, came to the same conclusion. Those who knew what had actually been said and done might assure the world that the rumors were false; but the more they asseverated the less they were believed. For it is one of the penalties of insincere and lying diplomacy, that when once appreciated in its true character—as it generally is appreciated in a very brief space of time—it loses its persuasive power, and is treated without much investigation as uniform imposture.[418] With a suspicious vigilance, bred of the very treachery of which they had so often been the victims, the Huguenots saw signs of dangers that perhaps were not actually in preparation for them. And certainly there was enough to alarm. Not many months after the assembly of Moulins a cut-throat by the name of Du May was discovered and executed, who had been hired to murder Admiral Coligny, the most indispensable leader of the party, near his own castle of Châtillon-sur-Loing.[419] The last day of the year there was hung[Pg 195] a lackey, who pretended that the Cardinal of Lorraine had tried to induce him to poison the Prince of Porcien; and, although he retracted his statements at the time of his "amende honorable,"[420] his first story was generally credited. The rumor was current that in December, 1566, Charles received special envoys from the emperor, the Pope, and the King of Spain, warning him that, unless he should revoke his edict of toleration, they would declare themselves his open enemies.[421] This was certainly sufficiently incredible, so far as the tolerant Maximilian was concerned; but stranger mutations of policy had often been noticed, and, as to Pius the Fifth and Philip, nothing seemed more probable.

Alva in the Netherlands.
The Swiss levy.

With the opening of the year 1567 the portentous clouds of coming danger assumed a more definite shape. In the neighboring provinces of the Netherlands, after a long period of procrastination, Philip the Second had at length determined to strike a decisive blow. The Duchess of Parma was to be superseded in the government by a man better qualified than any other in Europe for the bloody work assigned him to do. Ferdinando de Toledo, Duke of Alva, in his sixtieth year, after a life full of brilliant military exploits, was to undertake a work in Flanders such as that which, two years before, he had recommended as the panacea for the woes of France—a work with which his name will ever remain associated in the annals of history. The "Beggars" of the Low Countries, like the Huguenots in their last war, had taken up arms in defence of their religious, and, to a less degree, of their civil rights. The "Beggars" complained of the violation of municipal privileges and compacts, ratified by oath at their sovereign's accession, as the Huguenots pointed to the infringement upon edicts solemnly published as the basis of the pacification of the country; and both refused any longer to submit to a tyranny[Pg 196] that had, in the name of religion, sent to the gallows or the stake thousands of their most pious and industrious fellow-citizens. The cause was, therefore, common to the Protestants of the two countries, and there was little doubt that should the enemy of either prove successful at home, he would soon be impelled by an almost irresistible impulse to assist his ally in completing his portion of the praiseworthy undertaking. It is true that the Huguenots of France were not now in actual warfare with the government; but, that their time would come to be attacked, there was every reason to apprehend. Hence, when the Duke of Alva, in the memorable summer of 1567, set out from Piedmont at the head of ten thousand veterans, to thread his way over the Alps and along the eastern frontiers of France, through Burgundy and Lorraine, to the fated scene of his bloody task in the Netherlands, the Protestants of France saw in this neighboring demonstration a new peril to themselves. In the first moments of trepidation, their leaders in the royal council are said to have acquiesced in, if they did not propose, the levy of six thousand Swiss troops, as a measure of defence against the Spanish general; and Coligny, the same contemporary authority informs us, strongly advocated that they should dispute the duke's passage.[422] Even if this statement be true, they were not long in detecting, or believing that they had detected, proofs that the Swiss troops were really intended for the overthrow of Protestantism in France, rather than for any service against the Duke of Alva. Letters from Rome and Spain were intercepted, we learn from François de la Noue, containing evidence of the sinister designs of the court.[423] The[Pg 197] Prince of La Roche-sur-Yon, a prince of the blood, a short time before his death, warned his cousin of Condé of the impending danger.[424] Condé, who, within the past few months, had repeatedly addressed the king and his mother in terms of remonstrance and petition for the redress of the oppression under which the Huguenots were suffering, but to no purpose, again supplicated the throne, urging in particular that the levy of the Swiss be countermanded, since, if they should come, there would be little hope of the preservation of the peace;[425] while Admiral Coligny, who found Catharine visiting the constable, his uncle, at his palace of Chantilly, with faithful boldness exposed to them both the impossibility of retaining the Protestants in quiet, when they saw plain indications that formidable preparations were being made for the purpose of overwhelming them. To these remonstrances, however, they received only what they esteemed evasive answers—excuses for not dismissing the Swiss, based upon representations of the danger of some Spanish incursion, and promises that the just requests of the Huguenots should receive the gracious attention of a monarch desirous of establishing his throne by equity.[426]

"The queene returned answer by letters," wrote the English[Pg 198] ambassador, Norris, to Elizabeth, "assuringe him"—Condé—"by the faythe of a princesse et d'une femme de bien (for so she termed it), that so long as she might any waies prevayle with the Kinge, her sonne, he should never breake the sayd edicte, and therof required him to assure himselfe; and if he coulde come to the courte, he shoulde be as welcome as his owne harte could devise; if not, to passe the tyme without any suspect or jealousie, protesting that there was nothing ment that tended to his indempnitie, what so ever was bruted abrode or conceyved to the contrary, as he should perceyve by the sequele erst it were long."[427]

Shall we blame those sturdy, straightforward men, so long fed upon unmeaning or readily-broken promises of redress, if they gave little credit to the royal assurances, and to the more honeyed words of the queen mother? Perhaps there existed no sufficient grounds for the immediate alarm of the Huguenots. Perhaps no settled plan had been formed with the connivance of Philip—no "sacred league" of the kind supposed to have been sketched in outline at Bayonne—no contemplated massacre of the chiefs, with a subsequent assembly of notables at Poitiers, and repeal of all the toleration that had been vouchsafed to the Protestants.[428] All this may have been false; but, if false, it was invested with a wonderful verisimilitude, and to Huguenots and Papists it had, so far as their actions were concerned, all the effect of truth. At all events the promises of the king could not be trusted. Had he not been promising, again and again, for four years? Had not every restrictive ordinance, every interpretation of the Edict of Amboise, every palpable[Pg 199] infringement upon its spirit, if not upon its letter, been prefaced by a declaration of Charles's intention to maintain the edict inviolate? In the words of an indignant contemporary, "the very name of the edict was employed to destroy the edict itself."[429]


The Huguenot attempts at colonization in Florida.

The Huguenot expeditions to Florida have been so well sketched by Bancroft and Parkman, and so fully set forth by their latest historian, M. Paul Gaffarel, that I need not speak of them in detail. In fact, they belong more intimately to American than to French history. They owed their origin to the enlightened patriotism of Coligny, who was not less desirous, as a Huguenot, to provide a safe refuge for his fellow Protestants, than anxious, as High Admiral of France, to secure for his native country such commercial resources as it had never enjoyed. "I am in my house," he wrote in 1565, "studying new measures by which we may traffic and make profit in foreign parts. I hope shortly to bring it to pass that we shall have the best trade in Christendom." (Gaffarel, Histoire de la Floride française, Paris, 1875, pp. 45, 46). But, although the project of Huguenot emigration was conceived in the brain of the great Protestant leader, apparently it was heartily approved by Catharine de' Medici and her son. They certainly were not averse to be relieved of the presence of as many as possible of those whom their religious views, and, still more, their political tendencies, rendered objects of suspicion. "If wishing were in order," Catharine (Letter to Forquevaulx, March 17, 1566, Gaffarel, 428) plainly told the Spanish ambassador, on one occasion, "I would wish that all the Huguenots were in those regions" ("si c'estoit souëter, ie voudrois que touts les Huguenots fussent en ce pais-là"). In the discussion that ensued between the courts of Paris and Madrid, the queen mother never denied that the colonists went not only with her knowledge, but with her consent. In fact, she repudiated with scorn and indignation a suggestion of the possibility that such considerable bodies of soldiers and sailors could have left her son's French dominions without the royal privity (Ibid., 427).

1562.

The first expedition, under Jean Ribault, in 1562, was little more than a voyage of discovery. The main body promptly returned to France, the same year, finding that country rent with civil war. The twenty-six or twenty-eight men left behind to hold "Charlesfort" (erected probably near the mouth of the South Edisto river, in what is now South Carolina), disheartened and famishing, nevertheless succeeded in constructing a rude ship and recrossing the Atlantic in the course of the next year.

1564.

A second expedition (1564), under René de Laudonnière, who had taken part[Pg 200] in the first, was intended to effect a more permanent settlement. A strong earthwork was accordingly thrown-up at a spot christened "Caroline," in honor of Charles the Ninth, and the colony was inaugurated under fair auspices. But improvidence and mismanagement soon bore their legitimate fruits. Laudonnière saw himself constrained to build ships for a return to Europe, and was about to set sail when the third expedition unexpectedly made its appearance (August 28, 1565), under Ribault, leader of the first enterprise.

1565.
Massacre by Menendez.

Unfortunately the arrival of this fresh reinforcement was closely followed by the approach of a Spanish squadron, commanded by Pedro Menendez, or Melendez, de Abila, sent by Philip the Second expressly to destroy the Frenchmen who had been so presumptuous as to settle in territories claimed by his Catholic Majesty. Nature seemed to conspire with their own incompetency to ruin the French. The French vessels, having gone out to attack the Spaniards, accomplished nothing, and, meeting a terrible storm, were driven far down the coast and wrecked. "Caroline" fell into the hands of Menendez, and its garrison was mercilessly put to death. The same fate befell the shipwrecked French from the fleet. Those who declared themselves Roman Catholics were almost the only persons spared by their pitiless assailants. A few women and children were granted their lives; also a drummer, a hornblower, and a few carpenters and sailors, whose services were valuable. Laudonnière and a handful of men escaped to the woods, and subsequently to Europe. About two hundred soldiers, who threatened to entrench themselves and make a formidable resistance, were able to obtain from Menendez a pledge that they should be treated as prisoners of war, which, strange to say, was observed. The rest—many hundreds—were consigned to indiscriminate slaughter; Ribault himself was flayed and quartered; and over the dead Huguenots was suspended a tablet with this inscription: "Hung, not as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans" (Gaffarel, 229; De Thou, iv. 113; Ag. d'Aubigné, i. 248). Spain and Rome had achieved a grand work. The chaplain Mendoza could piously write: "The greatest advantage from our victory, certainly, is the triumph our Lord grants us, which will cause His Holy Gospel to be introduced into these regions." (Mendoza, apud Gaffarel, 214).

The report of these atrocities, tardily reaching the Old World, called forth an almost universal cry of horror. Fair-minded men of both communions stigmatized the conduct of Menendez and his companions as sheer murder; for had not the French colonists of Florida been attacked before being summoned to surrender, and butchered in cold blood after being denied even such terms as were customarily accorded to Turks and other infidels? Among princes, Philip alone applauded the deed, and seemed only to regret that faith had been kept with any of the detested Huguenots (Gaffarel, 234, 245). It has been commonly supposed that whatever indignation was shown by Catharine de' Medici and her son, was merely assumed in deference to the popular clamor, and that but a feeble remonstrance was really uttered. This supineness would be readily explicable upon the hypothesis of the long premeditation of the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day. If the treacherous[Pg 201] murder of Admiral Coligny and the other great Huguenot leaders had indeed been deliberately planned from the time of the Bayonne conference in 1565, and would have been executed at Moulins in 1566, but for unforeseen circumstances, no protests against the Florida butchery could have been sincere. On the other hand, if Catharine de' Medici was earnest and persistent in her demand for the punishment of Menendez, it is not conceivable that her mind should have been then entertaining the project of the Parisian matins. The extant correspondence between the French queen mother and her envoy at the court of Madrid may fairly be said to set at rest all doubts respecting her attitude. She was indignant, determined, and outspoken.

So slowly did news travel in the sixteenth century, that it was not until the eighteenth of February, 1566, that Forquevaulx, from Madrid, despatched to the King of France a first account of the events that had occurred in Florida nearly five months before. The ambassador seems to have expressed becoming indignation in the interviews he sought with the Duke of Alva, repudiating with dignity the suggestion that the blame should be laid upon Coligny, for having abused his authority as admiral to set on foot a piratical expedition into the territories of a friendly prince; and holding forth no encouragement to believe that Charles would disavow Coligny's acts. He told Alva distinctly that Menendez was a butcher rather than a good soldier ("plus digne bourreau que bon soldat," Forquevaulx to Charles IX., March 16, 1566, Gaffarel, 425). He declared to him that the Turks had never exhibited such inhumanity to their prisoners at Castelnovo or at Gerbes—in fact, never had barbarians displayed such cruelty. As a Frenchman, he assured the Spaniard that he shuddered when he thought of so execrable a deed, and that it appeared to him that God would not leave it unpunished (Ibid., 426).

Catharine's own language to the Spanish ambassador, Don Francez de Alava, was not less frank. "As their common mother," she said, "I can but have an incredible grief at heart, when I hear that between princes so closely bound as friends, allies, and relations, as these two kings, and in so good a peace, and at a time when such great offices of friendship are observed between them, so horrible a carnage has been committed on the subjects of my son, the King of France. I am, as it were, beside myself when I think of it, and cannot persuade myself that the king, your master, will refuse us satisfaction" (Catharine to Forquevaulx, Moulins, March 17th, Gaffarel, 427). Not content with this plain talking to Alava, she "prayed and ordered" Forquevaulx to make Philip himself understand her desires respecting "the reparation demanded by so enormous an outrage." He was to tell his Catholic Majesty that Catharine would never rest content until due satisfaction was made; and that she would feel "marvellous regret" should she not only find that all her pains to establish perpetual friendship between the two kings had been lost, but one day be reproached by Charles for having suffered such a stain upon his reputation ("que ... j'aye laissé faire une telle escorne à sa reputation." Gaffarel, 429).

Forquevaulx fulfilled his instructions to the very letter, adding, on his own account, that in forty-one years of military service he had never known so[Pg 202] execrable an execution. He seems also to have disposed effectually of the Spanish claim to Florida through right of ancient discovery, by emphasizing the circumstance that Menendez, after his victory, thought it necessary to take formal possession of the land. He informed Philip that no news could be more welcome to the Huguenots than that the subjects of Charles had been murdered by those very persons who were expected to strengthen him by their friendship and alliance (Forquevaulx to Catharine, April 9th, Gaffarel, 432). His words had little effect upon any one at the Spanish court, save the young queen, who felt the utmost solicitude lest her brother and her husband should become involved in war with each other. ("Me sembla qu'il tint à peu qu'elle ne pleurast son soul de crainte qu'il ne survienne quelque alteration." Forquevaulx, ubi supra, 430.)

But, although no progress was made toward obtaining justice, the French government did not relax its efforts. Charles wrote from Saint Maur, May 12, 1566, that his will was that Forquevaulx should renew his complaint and insist with all urgency upon a reparation of the wrong done him. "You will not cease to tell them," said the king, "that they must not hope that I shall ever be satisfied until I see such a reparation as our friendship demands." (Gaffarel, 437.)

Sanguinary revenge of De Gourgues, April, 1568.

The French ambassador continued to press his claim, and, in particular, to demand the release of the French prisoners, even up to near the time when a private citizen, Dominique de Gourgues, undertook to avenge his country's wrongs while satisfying his thirst for personal revenge. De Gourgues was not, as has usually been supposed, a Huguenot; he had even been an adherent of Montluc and of the house of Guise (Gaffarel, 265). But, having been captured in war by the Spaniards, in 1566, he had been made a galley-slave. From that time he had vowed irreconcilable hatred against the Catholic king. He obtained a long-deferred satisfaction when, in April, 1568, he surprised the fort of Caroline, slew most of the Spanish soldiers, and placed over the remainder—spared only for the more ignominious punishment of hanging upon the same trees to which Huguenots had been suspended—the inscription, burned with a hot iron on a pine slab: "I do this not as to Spaniards, nor as to seamen, but as to traitors, robbers, and murderers." (The words are given with slight variations. See "La Reprinse de la Floride par le Cappitaine Gourgue," reprinted by Gaffarel, 483-515; Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 354-356; De Thou, iv. 123-126.)

FOOTNOTES:

[265] Froude, Hist. of England, vii. 519. Seethe courteous summons of Charles, April 30, 1563, Forbes, State Papers, ii. 404, 405, and Elizabeth's answer, May 7th, ibid., ii. 409-411; Condé's offer in his letter of June 26, 1563, Forbes, ii. 442. See also the extended correspondence of the English envoys, in the inedited documents published by the Duc d'Aumale, Princes de Condé, i. 423-500.

[266] Froude, vii. 520; Castelnau, liv. v., c. ii. Compare Forbes, ii. 422.

[267] "The plage dothe increace here dayly, wherby our nombres are decayde within these fowr days in soche sorte, as we have not remayning at this present (in all our judgements) 1500 able men in this towne. They dye nowe in bothe these peces upon the point of 100 a daye, so as we can not geyt men to burye theym," etc. Warwick to the Privy Council, July 11, 1563. Forbes, ii. 458.

[268] De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 417-420; Mém. de Castelnau, liv. v., c. ii. and iii.; Cimber et Danjou, v. 229; Stow's Annals (London, 1631), 655, 656; Agrippa d'Aubigné, liv. iv., c. ii. (i. 198-200); Davila, bk. iii. (Eng. trans., London, 1678), p. 89; Froude, vii. 519-528. Consult especially Dr. Patrick Forbes, Full View of the Public Transactions in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth (London, 1741), vol ii. pp. 373-500. This important collection of letters, to which I have made such frequent reference under the shorter title of "State Papers," ends at this point. Peace was definitely concluded between France and England by the treaty of Troyes, April 11, 1564 (Mém. de Condé, v. 79, 80). Sir Nicholas Throkmorton, who had long been a prisoner, held to be exchanged against the hostages for the restitution of Calais, given in accordance with the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis, now returned home. Before leaving, however, he had an altercation with his colleague, Sir Thomas Smith, of which the latter wrote a full account. Sir Nicholas, it seems, in his heat applied some opprobrious epithets to Smith, and even called him "traitor"—a charge which the latter repudiated with manly indignation. "Nay, thou liest, quoth I; I am as true to the queen as thou any day in the week, and have done her Highness as faithful and good service as thou." Smith to Cecil, April 13, 1564, State Paper Office.

[269] Mém. de Claude Haton, i. 356, 357.

[270] See the order of the fanatical Parliament of Toulouse, which it had the audacity to publish with, or instead of, the king's edict. It contains this clause: "Ce que estant veu par nous, avons ordonné et ordonnons que, en la ville de Thoulouse ni aultres du ressort du parlement d'icelle, ne se fera publicquement ni secrettement aulcun exercice de la nouvelle prétendue religion, en quelque sorte que ce soit, sous peine de la hart. Item, que tous ceux qui vouldront faire profession de laditte prétendue religion réformée ayent à se retirer," etc. Mém. de Claude Haton, i. 358, 359.

[271] Recordon, Le Protestantisme en Champagne, 132, 133.

[272] M. Floquet, in his excellent history of the Norman Parliament (ii. 571), repudiates as "une de ces exagérations familières à De Bèze," the statement of the Histoire ecclés. des églises réformées, "that in the Parliament of Rouen, whatever the cause might be, whoever was known to be of the (reformed) religion, whether plaintiff or defendant, was instantly condemned." Yet he quotes below (ii. 571, 573, 574), from Chancellor de l'Hospital's speech to that parliament, statements that fully vindicate the justice of the censure. "Vous pensez bien faire d'adjuger la cause à celuy que vous estiméz plus homme de bien ou meilleur chrestien; comme s'il estoit question, entre les parties, lequel d'entre eux est meilleur poète, orateur, peintre, artisan, et enfin de l'art, doctrine, force, vaillance, ou autre quelconque suffisance, non de la chose qui est amenée en jugement." And after enumerating other complaints: "Ne trouvez point estrange ce que je vous en dy: car souvent sont apportéz au roy de vos jugements qui semblent, de prime face, fort esloignéz de toute droicture et équité."

[273] Chron. MS. du xvi. siècle, Registres, etc., apud Floquet, Hist. du parlement de Normandie, ii. 525-547.

[274] Ibid., ii. 548.

[275] The father of Agrippa d'Aubigné was, as his son informs us, one of the commissioners sent on this occasion to Guyenne. Mémoires d'A. d'Aubigné, ed. Buchon, 474.

[276] What else can be said, in view of such well authenticated statements as the following? On his progress through France, to which reference will soon be made, Charles the Ninth stopped with his court at Troyes, where no expense was spared in providing tournaments and games for his amusement. Just as he was about to leave the city, and was already booted for his journey, he was detained for a little while that he might witness a novel entertainment. He was taken to a garden where a number of young girls, selected for their extraordinary beauty and entirely nude, executed in his presence the most obscene dances. It was two churchmen that are said to have provided the boy-king with this infamous diversion—Cardinal Charles of Bourbon and Cardinal Louis of Guise. Recordon, 143.

[277] "Il est notoire qu'au temps du colloque de Poissy la doctrine evangelique y fut proposée en liberté; ce qui causa que plusieurs, tans grands que petits, prindrent goust à icelle. Mais, tout ainsi qu'un feu de paille fait grand' flamme, et puis s'esteint incontinent d'autant que la matière défaut, après que ce qu'ils avoient receu comme une nouveauté se fut un peu envieilly en leur cœur, les affections s'amortirent, et la pluspart retourna à l'ancienne cabale de la cour, qui est bien plus propre pour faire rire et piaffer, et pour s'enrichir." Mém. de Franç. de la Noue, c. ii. (Ed. Mich, et Pouj., 591).

[278] "Quelque chose qu'il sût dire avec blasphêmes horribles—moyen ordinaire à telles gens pour prouver leur religion." Hist. ecclés. des églises réformées, ii. 458. To stuff leaves torn from French Bibles into the mouths or wounds of dying or dead Huguenots, as we have seen, was a diversion not unknown to their opponents. Of course, there is nothing astonishing in the circumstance that the invocation of Calvin's liturgy—"Notre aide soit au nom de Dieu qui a fait le ciel et la terre"—should have been a favorite formula for the beginning of a game of chance, or that the doxology—"Louange à Dieu de tous ses biens"—["Praise God from whom all blessings flow."]—should have been esteemed a fitting ejaculation for the winner. Ibid., ii. 310, 431.

[279] "'Double mort Dieu' a vaincu 'Certes'; entendant par ce dernier mot ceux de la religion qui condamnent ces juremens et blasphêmes." Hist. ecclés. des égl. réf., ii. 507.

[280] De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 409.

[281] Declaration dated Châtillon-sur-Loing, May 5, 1563. Mém. de Condé, iv. 339-349; and Jean de Serres, iii. 15-29.

[282] Martin, Hist. de France, x. 164.

[283] De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.), 415, 416. Catharine had been the involuntary instrument of renewing the old friendship between the constable and his nephews, when, on Guise's death, she conferred the office of grand master upon his young son, instead of restoring it to Anne de Montmorency, to whom the dignity had formerly belonged. Three months later (Aug. 30, 1563) Condé drew up another paper, assuming the entire responsibility for all the acts of the Châtillon brothers during the war: "Acte par lequel M. le prince de Condé déclare que tout ce que M. l'amiral de Coligny et M. D'Andelot son frère ont fait pendant les troubles, ils ont fait à sa réquisition et par ses ordres." Mém. de Condé, iv. 651.

[284] See Martin, x. 174, 175.

[285] Davila, bk. iii. 92, and D'Aubigné, liv. iv., c. iii. (i. 201), both of whom mistake the place of the occurrence, supposing it to have been Paris.

[286] Copie de la requeste présentée au Roy très-chrestien par ceulx de la mayson de Guyse, etc. Mém. de Condé, iv. 667, 668.

[287] Ibid., iv. 668.

[288] "C'est un vray moyen pour destruire et gaster en une heure tout le fondement de ce qu'elle a prins grand' peine de bastir depuis six mois." Mémoire présenté à la Reine-mère, pour empêcher que la maison de Guyse n'allât demander justice au parlement de Paris, de l'assassinat de François duc de Guise. Mém. de Condé, iv. 493-495.

[289] Arrêt du conseil du Roy, par lequel il évoque à sa personne le procès meu entre les maisons de Guyse et de Chastillon, etc. Mém. de Condé, iv. 495.

[290] "Ne parlez encore à personne," writes Catharine to M. de Gonnor (March 12, 1563), "des conditions, car j'ay toûjours peur qu'ils ne nous trompent; encore que le Prince de Condé leur a déclaré que s'ils n'acceptent ces conditions et s'ils ne veulent la paix, qu'il s'en viendra avec le Roy mon fils, et se déclarera leur ennemy, chose que je trouve très-bonne." Le Laboureur, ii. 241.

[291] Not September 15th, as Davila states, nor September 24th, as D'Aubigné seems to assert; but his narrative is confused.

[292] The two documents—address and edict—in Mém. de Condé, iv. 574-581.

[293] Floquet, Hist. du parlement de Normandie, ii. 584. The entire scene is very vividly portrayed, ibid., ii. 561-586. Bruslart, Mém. de Condé, i. 132; De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 421-424; Jean de Serres, iii. 32; Mém. de Castelnau, liv. v., c. iv., etc.; Agrippa d'Aubigné, Hist. univ., liv. iv., c. iii. (i. 200-202); Davila, bk. iii. 90.

[294] "Les Parisiens furent fort pressés qu'ils eussent à mettres les armes bas," says the metropolitan curate, Jean de la Fosse, under date of May, 1563, "mais ils n'en volurent jamais rien faire." Mém. d'un curé ligueur, 63, 64.

[295] A town on the left bank of the Seine, four leagues beyond Meulan.

[296] Mém. de Condé (Bruslart), Sept., 1563, i. 133-135.

[297] Ibid., ubi supra. "Ces parolles là sont venues de la boutique de Monsieur le Chancellier et non du Roy."

[298] Ibid., i. 136. Even after Charles's lecture and a still more intemperate address of Montluc, Bishop of Valence, when parliament came to a vote there was a tie. To please Catharine, whose entire authority was at stake, the royal council of state gave the extraordinary command that the minute of this vote should be erased from the records of parliament, and the edict instantly registered. This last was forthwith done. De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 426, 427. Bruslart (ubi supra, i. 136) denies that the erasure was actually made as Charles had commanded.

[299] De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 441, etc.

[300] Letter of Card. de la Bourdaisière, Rome, Oct. 23, 1563, in which sentence is said to have been pronounced, the day before, on the Archbishop of Aix, and the bishops of Uzès, Valence, Oléron, Lescar, Chartres, and Troyes. Le Laboureur, i. 863, 864.

[301] Monitorium et citatio officii sanctæ Inquisitionis contra illustrissimam et serenissimam dominam Joannam Albretiam, reginam Navarræ, Mém. de Condé, iv. 669-679; and Vauvilliers, Histoire de Jeanne d'Albret, iii. Pièces justif., 221-240. It is dated Tuesday, September 28, 1563. De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 442. The Card. de la Bourdaisière (ubi supra) merely says: "Tout le monde dit à Rome, que la Reine de Navarre fut aussi privée audit Consistoire, mais il n'en est rien, bien est-elle citée." Mém. de Castelnau, liv. v., c. ix.

[302] It needed no very extraordinary penetration to read "Philip" under the words of the monitorium: "Ita ut in casu contraventionis (quod Deus avertat) et contumaciæ, regnum, principatus, ac alia cujuscunque status et dominia hujuscemodi, dentur et dari possint cuilibet illa occupanti, vel illi aut illis quibus Sanctitati suæ et successoribus suis dare et concedere magis placuerit."

[303] Summary of the protest in De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 441-447; and Vauvilliers, ii. 7-17; in full in Mém. de Condé, iv. 680-684. "Quant au fait de la Reine de Navarre, qui est celuy qui importe le plus, ledit sieur d'Oysel aura charge de luy faire bien entendre," says Catharine in a long letter to Bishop Bochetel (ubi infra), "qu'il n'a nulle autorité et jurisdiction sur ceux qui portent titre de Roy ou de Reine, et que ce n'est à luy de donner leur estats et royaumes en proye au premier conquerant."

[304] See the interesting letter of Catharine to Bochetel, Bishop of Rennes, French ambassador at Vienna, Dec. 13, 1563, in which the papal assumption is stigmatized as dangerous to the peace of Christendom. "De nostre part nous sommes délibéréz de ne le permettre ny consentir," she says, and she is persuaded that neither Ferdinand nor Maximilian will consent. Le Laboureur, i. 783.

[305] De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 447. Castelnau (liv. v., c. ix.) gives a wrong impression by his assertion that "the Pope could never be induced to reverse the sentence against the Queen of Navarre."

[306] Le Laboureur, ii. 610, 611; Brantôme, Hommes illustres (Œuvres, ix. 259). We cannot accept, without much caution, the portraits drawn of the prince by the English while they were still smarting with resentment against him for concluding peace with the king without securing the claims of Elizabeth upon Calais. "The Prince of Condé," wrote Sir Thomas Smith, April 13, 1563, "is thought ... to be waxen almost a new King of Navarre. So thei which are most zelous for the religion are marvelously offendid with him; and in great feare, that shortly all wil be worse than ever it was. Et quia nunc prodit causam religionis, as they say, διὰ τὴν ῥᾳθυμίαν αὐτοῦ καὶ ψυχρότητα πρὸς τὰ καλά, and begynnes even now γυναικομανεῖν, as the other did; they thinke plainly, that he will declare himself, ere it be long, unkiend to God, to us, and to himself; being won by the papists, either with reward of Balaam, or ells with Cozbi the Midianite, to adjoigne himself to Baal-peor." Forbes, State Papers, ii. 385.

[307] "Le bon prince," says Brantôme, "estoit aussi mondain qu'un autre, et aimoit autant la femme d'autruy que la sienne, tenant fort du naturel de ceux de la race de Bourbon, qui ont esté fort d'amoureuse complexion." Hommes illustres, M. le Prince de Condé. Granvelle wrote to the Emperor Ferdinand from Besançon (April 12, 1564), that word had come from France, "que le prince de Condé y entendoit au service des dames plus qu'en aultre chose, et assez froid en la religion des huguenotz." Papiers d'état, vii. 467.

[308] See Bayle's art. on Isabeau de Limueil; J. de Serres, iii. 45, 46; De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 42.

[309] Jean de Serres, iii. 50, 51; De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 412, 413. Cf. Bolwiller to Cardinal Granvelle, Sept. 4, 1564, Papiers d'état du cardinal de Granvelle, viii. 305. See, however, the statements in chapter xvi. of this history.

[310] His revenue from his county of Soissons was not 1,000 crowns a year, and he had little from his other possessions (Le Laboureur, ii. 611). Secretary Courtewille, in his secret report (Dec., 1561), states that the Huguenot nobles of the first rank were in general poor—Vendôme, Condé, Coligny, etc.—and that were it not for a monthly sum of 1,200 crowns, which the Huguenots furnished to Condé, and 1,000 which the admiral received in similar manner, they would hardly know how to support themselves. Papiers d'état du card. de Granv., vi. 440.

[311] Mary herself, however, writing to her aunt, the Duchess of Aerschot (Nov. 6, 1564), represents the offer of marriage as made by Condé, both to her grandmother and to her uncle the cardinal: "à qui il a fait toutes les belles offres du monde." Papiers d'état du card. de Granv., viii. 481.

[312] Jean de Serres, iii. 32, 33.

[313] Ibid., iii. 45, 46; De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 414; D'Aubigné, Hist. univ., i. 197.

[314] On the upper Tarn, in the modern department of the Aveyron.

[315] The very important documents which exhibit these facts at great length are in the archives of the "Mairie" of Milhau and in the Bibliothèque nationale, and were inedited until printed in the Bulletin, ix. (1860) 382-392. Among the names of the Huguenots of Milhau figuring here is that of Benoit Ferragut, apothecary.

[316] Graignan, pour l'église de Someyre, à la Vénérable Compagnie, 19 juin, 1563, Gaberel, Hist. de l'église de Genève, i., Pièces justificatives, 153. "Et pourtant, je ne peux pas suffire à tout. Les paysans se baptisent les enfants les ungs les autres, ou sont contraincts de les laisser à baptiser."

[317] Les consuls de Montpellier à la Vén. Comp., 30 janvier, 1563 (1564), ibid., i., Pièces just., 179.

[318] I know of no more beautiful monument of Jeanne's courage and piety than the letter she wrote to the Cardinal of Armagnac, in reply to a letter of the cardinal, dated August 18, 1563, intended to frighten her into a return to the papal church. It was sent by the same messenger who had brought the letter of Armagnac, and it has every mark of having been Jeanne's own composition. Both letters are given in full by Olhagaray, Hist. de Foix, Béarn, et Navarre, 536-543, and 544-551; a summary in Vauvilliers, i. 347-362. The Queen of Navarre boldly avowed her sentiments, but declared her policy to be pacific: "Je ne fay rien par force; il n'y a ny mort ny emprisonnement, ny condemnation, qui sont les nerfs de la force." But she refused to recognize Armagnac—who was papal legate in Provence, Guyenne, and Languedoc—as having any such office in Béarn, proudly writing: "Je ne recognois en Béarn que Dieu auquel je dois rendre conte de la charge qu'il m'a baillée de son peuple." The publication of these letters produced a deep impression favorable to the Reformation.

[319] Letter of Jehan Reymond Merlin to Calvin, Pau, July 23, 1563, printed for the first time in the Bulletin, xiv. (1865) 233, 234.

[320] Olhagaray, Hist. de Foix, Béarn, et Navarre, p. 535; Vauvilliers, Hist. de Jeanne d'Albret, i. 319.

[321] Letter of Merlin, ubi supra, 237, 238; Vauvilliers, i. 320.

[322] Ibid., 238. "Dont plusieurs, voire des grands, s'en allèrent fort mal contens, et singulièrement quelques-uns qu'elle rabroua plus rudement que je n'eusse désiré." Merlin adds that all now saw the excellence of his advice, for, had it been followed, "il y auroit apparence que la réformation eust esté faite en ce pays par l'authorité des estats; maintenant il faut qu'elle se fasse de seule puissance absolue de la royne, voyre avec danger." In other parts of France, as well as in Béarn, Jeanne's reformatory movements were looked upon with great disfavor. Upon a glass window at Limoges (made about the year 1564, and still in existence, I believe) she is represented, by way of derision, as herself in the pulpit, and preaching to a congregation of eight Huguenots seated. Underneath is the bitter couplet,

"Mal sont les gens endoctrinés
Quand par femme sont sermonés."

M. Hennin, Monuments de l'hist. de France, Paris, 1863, tome ix. (1559-1589) 76. The statement that this and a somewhat similar representation, also described in this work, came from an old abbey, whose monks thus revenged themselves upon the queen for removing their pulpit, seems to be a mistake.

[323] Letter of Merlin, ubi supra, 239: "Brief c'est merveille que ceste princesse puisse persister constamment en son sainct vouloir." Cf. letter of same, Dec. 25, 1563, 245.

[324] Letter of Merlin, Dec. 25, 1563, ubi supra, 245.

[325] "Récit d'une entreprise faite en l'an 1565 contre la Reine de Navarre et messeigneurs les enfans," etc., etc.; Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, vi. 281-295. The year should be 1564. The best authority is, however, that of De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxvi.) 496-499, who states that he simply gives the account as he had it from the lips of Secretary Rouleau, who brought the tidings to France, and from the children of the domestic of Isabella who detected the conspiracy. See, also, Léon Feer, in Bulletin, xxvi. (1877), 207, etc., 279, etc.

[326] Michel de l'Hospital frankly told Santa Croce that the misfortunes of France came exclusively from the French themselves, "e della vita dei preti, molto sregolata, i quali non vogliono esser riformati, e principalmente quelli del Concilio, e poi nelle loro lettere rejiciunt culpam in Papam." "Io so," adds the nuncio himself, "che sono loro che non vogliono esser riformati, e hanno mandati di quà certi articoli che hanno parimente mandati a Roma, circa gli quali io vi posso dir che se Sua Santita li accordasse, conformamente alle loro petitioni, sariano i più malcontenti del mondo; ma no le hanno fatte ad altro fine che per haver occasione di mostrar di quà, che il Papa è quello che non vuole, mentre che sono loro che non vogliono quella riformatione del clero." Santa Croce to Borromeo, March 28, 1563, Aymon, i. 230, 231; Cimber et Danjou, vi. 138.

[327] "Il quale (Cardinal di Lorreno) con la morte del suo fratello, havera manco spiriti, e credo io che terra più conto della satisfattione di Sua Santita che di qua." Santa Croce to Borromeo, Blois, March 28, 1563, shortly after Guise's death. Aymon, i. 233; Cimber et Danjou, vi. 140.

[328] "Sed hæ nugæ ipsi nequaquam placebant." Languet, letter of Feb. 3, 1564, Epist. secr., ii. 283.

[329] Letter of Santa Croce to Borromeo, Melun, Feb. 25, 1564, Aymon, i. 258, 259; Letter of Beza to Bullinger, Geneva, March 6, 1564, Simler Coll. (Zurich) MSS.; Languet, March 6, 1564, Epist. secr., ii. 286, 287. There has been great confusion respecting this altercation between Lorraine and L'Hospital. According to Henri Martin (Histoire de France, x. 194), it took place "à propos d'un nouvel édit qui accordait aux réformés quelques facilités pour l'enseignement et l'exercise de leur religion en maisons privées dans les villes où le culte public leur était interdit." M. Jules Bonnet has kindly made search for me in the Zurich and Paris libraries, and obtained corroborative proof of what I already suspected, that M. Martin and others had confounded the scene at Melun in February, 1564, with another quarrel between the same persons in March, 1566, at Moulins. See the documents, including the letter of Beza referred to above, published together with my inquiries, in the Bulletin de la Soc. du prot. fr., xxiv. (1875) 409-415.

[330] "Conseil sur le fait du Concile de Trente," etc. Mém. de Condé, v. 81-129. The dedication to Prince Porcien is dated May 29, 1564. See De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxvi.) 501.

[331] Du Moulin was ordered by a royal letter to be set at large, Lyons, June 24, 1564.

[332] Conclusion of "Conseil," etc. Mém. de Condé, v. 129.

[333] De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxvi.), 499, 500; Ag. d'Aubigné, Hist. univ., i. 203 (liv. iv., c. iv.); Mém. de Castelnau, liv. v., c. vi.

[334] Prof. Soldan has discussed the matter at great length. Gesch. des Prot. in Frank., ii. 197, etc.

[335] As early as Dec. 13, 1563, the queen mother had announced to the French ambassador in Vienna her son's expected journey, toward the end of February or the beginning of March, to visit his sister, the Duchess of Lorraine, and her infant son. Letter to Bochetel, Bishop of Rennes, Le Laboureur, i. 784. See, too, Languet's letter of Nov. 16, 1563, Epist. secr., ii. 268.

[336] Lorraine to Granvelle, ubi infra. The progress was resolved upon, it will be seen, before Lorraine's return from Trent.

[337] "I am going to meet their Majesties at Châlons," wrote the Cardinal of Lorraine from Tou-sur-Marne, between Rheims and Châlons, April 20, 1564; "thence they are to leave for Bar, where they will, I think, remain no more than four or five days. I hope that the voyage will be honorable and profitable for our house.... As to our court, it was never so empty of persons belonging to the opposite religion as it is now. The few that are there show very great regret at this voyage, in which I can assure you that I have not meddled at all, either to further or to retard it; only a short time after my return from Trent, I succeeded in having Nancy changed for Bar." Papiers d'état du card. de Granvelle, vii. 511.

[338] Smith to Cecil, Tarascon, Oct. 21, 1564, State Paper Office, Calendar.

[339] "Assuredly, sir," wrote the cardinal in the letter just cited, "the queen my mistress shows, daily more and more, a strong and holy affection. This evening I have heard, by the Cardinal of Guise, my brother, who has reached me, many holy intentions of their Majesties, which may God give them grace to put into good execution." Ibid., ubi supra. In a somewhat similar strain Granvelle about this time wrote: "I am so strongly assured that religion is going to take a favorable turn in France, that I know not what to say of it. The world in that quarter is so light and variable, that no great grounds of confidence can be assumed. But it is at any rate something that matters are not growing worse." Letter to Bolwiller, April 9, 1564, Papiers d'état, etc., vii. 461.

[340] Letter of Granvelle to the Emperor Ferdinand, May 8, 1564, Papiers d'état, vii. 613; also 622, 631.

[341] "Les réformés qui formoient presque le tiers du royaume." Garnier, Hist. de France, xxx. 453.

[342] "On peut présumer qu'il n'y eut jamais en France plus de quinze on seize cent mille réformés.... La France possédait a peine quinze millions d'habitans. Ainsi les protestans n'en formaient guère que le dixième." Lacretelle, Histoire de France pendant les guerres de religion, ii. 169, 170. The entire passage is important.

[343] Giov. Michiel, Rel. des Amb. Vén., i. 412.

[344] Capefigue, from MS., Hist. de la réforme, de la ligue, etc., ii. 408.

[345] Jean de Serres, iii. 47, 48; De Thou, iii., liv. xxxvi. 504; Mém. de Castelnau, l. v., c. x.; Pasquier, Lettres, iv., 22, ap. Capefigue, ii. 410.

[346] Granvelle to the Emperor Ferdinand, April 12, 1564, Pap. d'état, vii. 467.

[347] Of solicitude on this score, the only evidence I have come across is furnished by the following passage of one of the "Occurrences in France," under date of April 11, 1565, sent to the English Government. "Orders are also taken in the court that no gentleman shall talk with the queen's maids, except it is in the queen's presence, or in that of Madame la Princesse de Roche-sur-Yon, except he be married; and if they sit upon a form or stool, he may sit by her, and if she sit upon the ground he may kneel by her, but not lie long, as the fashion was in this court." State Paper Office, Calendar, 331.

[348] Edict of Vincennes, June 14, 1563, and Declarations of Paris, Dec. 14, 1563; of Lyons, June 24, 1564; and of Roussillon, Aug. 4, 1564. Isambert, Recueil des anc. lois. franç., xiv. 141, 159, 170-172, and Drion, Hist. chronol., i. 102-108. See Jean de Serres, iii. 35-41, 55-63, and after him, De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxv.) 411, 412, 504, 505.

[349] Jean de Serres, iii. 54, 55, 64, 65, etc. De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxvi.) 503, etc.

[350] Ibid., ubi supra. There are no similar cases of assassination on the part of Huguenots at this period. That of Charry at court seems to have resulted partly from revenge for personal wrongs, partly from mistaken devotion on the part of one of D'Andelot's followers to his master's interests. See Languet, letter of Feb. 3, 1564, Epist. secr., ii. 284.

[351] Jean de Serres, iii. 65-82; De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxvi.) 505; Lettres de Monseigneur le Prince de Condé à la Roine Mère du Roy, avec Advertissemens depuis donnéz par ledit Seigneur Prince à leurs Majestez, etc, (Aug. 31, 1564, etc.), Mém. de Condé, v. 201-214.

[352] "Articles respondus par le Roy en son Conseil privé, sur la requeste présentée par plusieurs habitans de la ville de Bourdeaux," etc. The signature of the secretary, Robertet, was affixed Sept. 5, 1564; but such was the obstinacy of the judges of Bordeaux, that the document was not published in the parliament of that city until nearly eight months later (April 30, 1565). Mém. de Condé, v. 214-224. Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, vi. 271-278. The Protestants petitioned for another town in place of St. Macaire, which had been assigned them for their religious worship—the most inconveniently situated in the entire "sénéchaussée." They desired a city which they could go to and return from on the same day. They stated that "la plus grande partie des plus notables familles de la ville de Bourdeaux est de la religion réformée." This part of their request the king referred to the judgment of the governor.

[353] Ordonnance du roi Charles IX., 6 août, 1564, Nantes MS., Bulletin, xiii. (1864), 203, 204.

[354] Aymon, i. 277, 278, and Cimber et Danjou, Archives cur., vi. 167. As by this time both Papists and Huguenots knew Catharine de' Medici to be a woman utterly devoid of moral principle, it may fairly be considered an open question whether there was any one in France more deceived than she was in supposing that she had deceived others.

[355] Sir Thomas Smith to the queen, from Tarascon (near Avignon), Oct. 21, 1564, enclosing "Articles of pacification for those of the religion in Venaissin and Avignon agreed to by the ministers of the Pope and those of the Prince of Orange, Oct. 11, 1564." Signed by the vice-legate, Bishop of Fermo, and Fabrizio Serbellone, State Paper Office.

[356] Journal d'un curé ligueur (Jehan de la Fosse), 55, 56, 68.

[357] "Lundi passé, viiie du present mois, ung peu avant les trois heures après midy, monsieur le révérendissime cardinal de Lorraine, vestu du robbon et chappeau, ... est entré en Paris." Account written two days after the occurrence by Del Rio, attached to the Spanish embassy in Paris. Papiers d'état du card. de Granvelle, viii. 600-602.

[358] Mém. de Castelnau, liv. vi., c. iii.; Jean de Serres, iii. 85, 86; De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxvii.) 533-537; Mém. de Claude Haton, i. 381-383; Journal de Jehan de la Fosse, 70-72; Condé MSS., in Duc d'Aumale, Princes de Condé, i. 518; Le Livre des Marchands (Ed. Panthéon) 424, 425, where the ludicrous features of the scene are, of course, most brightly colored. "J'espère bien aussi m'en resentir ung jour," wrote the cardinal himself, a few weeks later, from Joinville. Pap. d'état du card. de Granvelle, viii. 681.

[359] Jehan de la Fosse, 72.

[360] Harangue de l'Admiral de France à Messieurs de la Cour de Parlement de Paris, du 27 janvier 1565, avec la réponse. Papiers d'état du card. de Granvelle, viii. 655-657. M. de Crussol, in a letter of February 4, 1565, alludes to the admiral's flattering reception by the clergy and by the Sorbonne, "qui sont allé le visiter et offert infiny service;" and states that both parties were gratified by the interview. Condé MSS., in Duc d'Aumale, Princes de Condé, Pièces inédits, i. 520.

[361] Philip II. to Alva, Dec. 14, 1563, Pap. d'état du card. de Granvelle, vii. 269; Alva to Philip II., Dec. 22, 1563, ib., vii. 286, 287.

[362] Granvelle to the Baron de Bolwiller, March 13, 1565, ib., ix. 61, 62.

[363] Ibid., ubi supra. "Je vous asseure, comme il est véritable, qu'il n'y a aultre chose en cecy que simple visitation de fille à mère."

[364] Prof. Kluckholn, strangely enough, speaks of Jean de Serres's Commentarii de statu relig., etc., as "zuerst im Jahre, 1575, erschienen" (Zur Geschichte des angeb. Bündnisses von Bayonne, Abhand. der k. bayer. Akademie, München, 1868, p. 151). I have before me the earlier edition of 1571, containing verbatim the passage he quotes, with a single unimportant exception—"ecclesiarum" instead of "religiosorum."

[365] J. de Serres, Comment, de statu reipublicæ et religionis in Gallia regno, Carolo IX. rege (1571), iii. 92. The Prince of Condé, in his long petition sent to Charles, Aug. 23, 1568, at the outbreak of the Third Civil War, says expressly in reference to events a year preceding the Second War: "Quandoquidem ego et alii Religionis reformatæ viri fuerimus jampridem admoniti de inito Baionæ consilio cum Hispano, ad eos omnes plane delendos atque exterminandos qui Religionem reformatam in tuo regno profiteantur." Ibid., iii. 200.

[366] The remark is said to have been accidentally overheard by Henry of Navarre, afterward Henry the Fourth, of whose presence little account was taken in consequence of his youth. (He was just eleven years and a half old.) But his intimate follower, Agrippa d'Aubigné, would have been likely to give him as authority, had this been the case. He only says: "Les plus licentieux faisoient leur profit d'un terme du Duc d'Alve à Baionne, que dix mille grenouilles ne valloient pas la teste d'un saumon." Hist. univ., liv. iv., c. v. (i. 206). Jean de Serres, ubi supra, iii. 125, gives the expression in nearly the same words: "Satius esse unicum salmonis caput, quam mille ranarum capita habere."

[367] Smith to Leicester and Cecil, July 2-29, 1565, State Paper Office, Calendar, 403.

[368] "On apelloit ce bon prélat 'le cardinal des bouteilles,'" says Lestoile, "pource qu'il les aimoit fort, et ne se mesloit guères d'autres affaires que de celles de la cuisine, où il se connoissoit fort bien, et les entendoit mieux que celles de la religion et de l'estat." In chronicling the death of Louis, Cardinal of Guise, at Paris, March 29, 1578, he records the suggestive fact that "he was the last of the six brothers of the house of Guise; yet died he young, at the age of forty-eight years." Journal de Henri III., p. 96 (edit. Michaud). So closely is the scriptural warning fulfilled, that "bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days." Cardinal Guise (not Cardinal Lorraine, as Mr. Henry White seems to suppose, Massacre of St. Bartholomew, Am. edit., 187, 188) was the abettor of the massacre of Vassy.

[369] Cartas que el Duque de Alba scrivió, etc. Papiers d'état du cardinal de Granvelle, ix. 296.

[370] "Con no mas personas que con cinco ó seys que son el cabo de todo esto, los tomasen á su mano y les cortasen las cabeças," etc. Ibid., ix. 298.

[371] "Que mirase mucho por su salud, pues que della dependia todo el bien de la christiandad, y creya que le tenia Dios guardado para venir por su mano un gran servicio, que era el castigo de las offensas que en este su reyno se le hazian." Cartas que el Duque de Alba scrivió a su Magestad ... que contienen las vistas en Bayona, etc. Papiers d'état du card. de Granvelle, ix. 291.

[372] "Saltó luego con dezirme: 'ó, el tomar las armas no conviene, que yo destruya mi reyno como se començó á hazer con las guerras passadas.'" Ibid., ubi supra.

[373] "Como es, descubrí lo que le tenian pedricado; passé á otras materias," etc. Ibid., ubi supra.

[374] "Que venia muy Española." Ibid., ix. 300.

[375] "Ella començó cierto la plática con el mayor tiento que yo he visto tener jamas á nadie en cosa." Ibid., ix. 303.

[376] Cartas que el Duque de Alba scrivió, etc. Papiers d'état du card. de Granvelle, ix. 315.

[377] "Yo me alteré terriblemente de oírselo, y le dixe que me maravillava mucho." Ibid., ix. 317.

[378] "La junta passada de adonde començáron todas las desverguenças que al presente ay en este reyno." Ibid., ix. 317.

[379] "En la otra el cardenal de Lorena havia sido el que avia hecho todo el daño, pensando poder persuadir á los ministros." Ibid., ubi supra.

[380] "Parécenos que quiere con esta semblea (i.e., assemblée), que ellos llaman, remendar lo que falta en el rigor necessario al remedio de sus vasallos, y plega á Dios no sea," etc. Ibid., ix. 318.

[381] Letter of Granvelle, Aug. 20, 1565, Papiers d'état, ix. 481.

[382] "Depuis l'arrivée n'y eust mention que de festins, récréations et passe-temps de diverses manières." Relation du voyage de la reine Isabelle d'Espagne à Bayonne, MSS. Belgian Archives, Compte Rendu de la commission royale d'histoire, seconde série, ix. (1857) 159. This paper was drawn up by the Secretary of State Courtewille, and sent to President Viglius.

[383] Over the first triumphal arch was a representation of Isabella (or Elizabeth) trampling Mars under foot, with the mottoes Sacer hymen pacem nobis contulit and Deus nobis hæc otia fecit, and below the lines:

Élizabeth, de roy fille excellente,
Vous avez joint ung jour deux rois puissans;
France et l'Espaigne, en gloire permanente,
Extolleront voz âges triumphans, etc.

Over a second arch at the palace gate, which was reached by a street hung with tapestry and decorated with the united arms of France and Spain, was suspended a painting of Catharine with her three sons and three daughters, and the inscription:

C'est à l'entour de royalle couronne
Que le jardin hespérien floronne:
Ce sont jardins de si belle féconde,
Qui aujourd'huy ne trouve sa seconde;
Ce sont rameaux vigoureux et puissans;
Ce sont florons de vertu verdissans.
Royne sans per (paire), de grâce décorée,
Vous surmontez Pallas et Cythérée.

Catharine's portraits scarcely confirm the boast of her panegyrist that she surpassed Venus, however well she might match Minerva in sagacity.

[384] Agrippa d'Aubigné, Histoire universelle, i. 1.

[385] "Le feu bon homme Monsieur de La Gaucherie y marchoit en rondeur de conscience, et mesme mon filz lui doibt et aux siens cette rasine (racine) de piété qui lui est, par la grasse de Dieu, si bien plantée au cueur par bonnes admonitions, que maintenant, dont je loue ce bon Dieu, elle produit et branches et fruitz. Je lui suplie qu'il luy fasse ceste grasse qu'il continue de bien en mieulx." Letter of Dec. 6, 1566, MSS. Geneva Library, Bulletin de la Soc. de l'hist. du prot. français, xvi. (1867) 65.

[386] "Ung tournoy a pied."

[387] It will be remembered that the Spaniards never acknowledged the claim of Antoine or his wife to the title of sovereigns of Navarre. In all Spanish documents, therefore, such as that which we are here following, their son Henry is designated only by the dukedom of Bourbon-Vendôme which he inherited from his father.

[388] Relation du voyage de la reine Isabelle à Bayonne, MSS. Belgian Archives, ubi supra, ix. 161, 162.

[389] See Jean de Serres, iii., 53, for the fraternities of the Holy Ghost in Burgundy. Blaise de Montluc's proposition of a league with the king as its head had been declined; the monarch needed no other tie to his subjects than that which already bound them together. Agrippa d'Aubigné, Hist. univ., liv. iv., c. v. (i. 206.)

[390] Letter of Charles IX. to M. de Matignon, July 31, 1565, apud Capefigue, Hist. de la Réforme, de la Ligue, etc., ii. 419, 420. The same letter stipulated for the better protection of the Protestants by freeing them from domiciliary visits, etc.

[391] Maniquet to Gordes, August 1, 1565, Condé MSS. in Aumale, i. 528.

[392] Letter of Villegagnon to Granvelle, May 25, 1564, Papiers d'état, vii. 660. The Huguenots figure as "les Aygnos, c'est-à-dire, en langue de Suisse, rebelles et conjurés contre leur prince pour la liberté."

[393] Letter of May 27, 1564, Ibid., vii., 666.

[394] Letter of N. de St. Rémy, June 5, 1564. Ibid., viii. 24, 25. "Le peuple l'aymeroit trop mieulx pour roy que nul aultre de Bourbon."

[395] Catharine never forgave Ambassador Chantonnay for having boasted that, with Throkmorton's assistance, he could overturn the State. "Jusqu'à dire que Trokmarton, qui estoit ambassadeur d'Angleterre au commencement de ces troubles, pour l'intelligence qu'il a avec les Huguenots, et luy pour celle qu'il a avec les Catholiques de ce royaume, sont suffisans pour subvertir cet Estat." Letter to the Bishop of Rennes, Dec. 13, 1563, La Laboureur, i. 784.

[396] Granvelle to Philip II., July 15, 1565. Papiers d'état, ix. 399, 402, etc.

[397] See Alex. Sutherland's Achievements of the Knights of Malta (Phila., 1846), ii. 121, which contains an interesting popular account of this memorable leaguer.

[398] Papiers d'état du card. de Granvelle, ix. 545, etc.

[399] Giovambatista Adriani, Istoria de' suoi tempi (Ed. of Milan, 1834), ii. 221.

[400] Sir Thomas Smith to Cecil, Nantes, Oct. 12, 1565, State Paper Office, Calendar.

[401] Sir Thomas Smith to Leicester, Nov. 23, 1565, State Paper Office.

[402] "Al qual tempo si riservò tale esecuzione per alcuni sospetti, che apparivano negli Ugonotti, e per difficoltà di condurvegli tutti, e ancora perchè più sicuro luogo era Parigi che Molino." Giovambatista Adriani, Istoria de' suoi tempi (lib. decimottavo), ii. 221.

[403] De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxix.) 660-664; Castelnau, liv. vi., c. ii.; Jehan de la Fosse, 76; Davila, bk. iii. 98.

[404] The edict, of course, is not to be found in Isambert, or any other collection of French laws; but a letter in Lestoile (ed. Michaud, p. 19), to whom we are indebted for most of our knowledge of the event, refers to the very wording of the document ("ce sont les mots de l'édict"). The letter is entitled "Mémoire d'un différend meu à Moulins en 1566, entre le Cardinal de Lorraine et le Chancellier de l'Hôpital," and begins with the words: "Je vous advise que du jour d'hier," etc. M. Bonnet has discovered and published, in the Bulletin de la Soc. de l'hist. du prot. franç., xxiv. (1875) 412-415, a second and fuller account, dated Moulins, March 16, 1566 (MS. French Nat. Library, Dupuy, t. lxxxvi., f. 158). As was seen above (p. 155), this altercation has been generally confounded with that of two years earlier. The letter given by Lestoile (see above) is also published in Mém. de Condé, v. 50, but is referred to the wrong event by the editor. Prof. Soldan (Gesch. des Prot. in Fr., ii. 199), follows the Mém. de Condé in the reference.

[405] Not many months before this occurrence a guest at the Prince of Orange's table told Montigny that there were no Huguenots in Burgundy—meaning the Spanish part, or Franche-Comté. "If so," replied the unfortunate nobleman, "the Burgundians cannot be men of intelligence, since those who have much mind for the most part are Huguenots;" a saying which, reported to Philip, no doubt made a deep impression on his bigoted soul. Pap. d'état du card. de Granvelle, vii. 187, 188. The Burgundians of France were equally intolerant of the reformed doctrines.

[406] "Je ne suis venu pour troubler; mais pour empescher que ne troubliez, comme avez faict par le passé, belistre que vous estes." Lestoile and Mém. de Condé, ubi supra.

[407] See Prescott, Philip II., and Motley, Rise of the Dutch Republic.

[408] M. Charles L. Frossard, of Lille, discovered the MSS. on which the following account is wholly based, in the Archives of the Department du Nord, preserved in that city. As these papers appear to have been inedited, and are referred to, so far as I can learn, by no previous historian, I have deemed it proper to deviate from the rule to which I have ordinarily adhered, of relating in detail only those events that occurred within the ancient limits of the kingdom of France. However, the reformation at Cateau-Cambrésis received its first impulses from France. Mr. Frossard communicated the papers to the Bulletin de la Société de l'histoire du protestantisme français, iii. (1854), 255-264, 396-417, 525-538. They are of unimpeachable accuracy and authenticity.

[409] Lille MSS., ubi supra, 403.

[410] "De sorte qu'ils espèrent que lesdits de la requeste et du compromis les adsisteront suyvant leur promesse, à ce qu'ils puissent jouyr de la mesme liberté accordez à Bruxelles, asçavoir, que l'exercise de la religion aye lieu par tout où il a esté usité auparavant, comme ceulx du Chastel en Cambrésis ont eue aussy, et ce seulement par manière de provision, jusques à ce que aultrement il y soict pourveu par le Roy avec l'advis des estatz, estimans que le Roy ne souffrira rien en son pays qui ne soict conforme ausdites ordonnances de l'empire." Lille MSS., ubi supra.

[411] Letter of P. de Montmorency, Sept. 11, 1566, Lille MSS., ubi supra.

[412] Motley, Dutch Republic, i. 458-462.

[413] Lille MSS., ubi supra.

[414] Mémoires de Claude Haton, i. 416, 417.

[415] The satirical literature of the period would of itself fill a volume. The Huguenot songs in derision of the mass are particularly caustic. See M. Bordier, Le Chansonnier Huguenot, and the note to the last chapter. The Bulletin de la Soc. de l'hist. du prot. franç., x. (1861), 40, reprints a "dizain" commencing—

"Nostre curé est un fin boulanger,
Qui en son art est sage et bien appris:
Il vend bien cher son petit pain léger,
Combien qu'il ait le froment à bon prix."

[416] "Chose indigne d'un prince tel qu'il se disoit." Journal d'un curé ligueur (Jehan de la Fosse), 73.

[417] See the moderate account of the dispassionate Roman Catholic De Thou, iii. (liv. xxxix.) 666-670. Also Agrippa d'Aubigné, liv. iv., c. vi. (i. 208), and Discours des troubles advenus en la ville de Pamiers, le 5 juin 1566, Archives curieuses (Cimber et Danjou), vi. 309-343. The massacre of Protestants at Foix was caused by an exaggerated and false account of the commotion at Pamiers, carried thither by a fugitive Augustinian monk.

[418] The good policy of straightforward dealing on the part of an ambassador is set forth in a noble letter of Morvilliers, Bishop of Orleans, from which I permit myself to quote a few sentences: "Il y en a toutesfois qui pensent que, pour estre habille homme, il fault tousjours aller masqué, laquelle opinion j'estime du tout erronée, et celluy qui la suit grandement dêceu. Le temps m'a donné quelque expérience des choses; mais je n'ay jamais veu homme, suivant ces chemins obliques, qui n'ait embrouillé les affaires de son maistre, et, luy, perdre beaucoup plus qu'acquérir de réputation; et au contraire ceux, qui se sont conduits prudemment avec la verité, avoir, pour le moins, rapporté de leur négotiation ce fruict et l'honneur d'y avoir faict ce que les hommes, avec le sens et jugement humain, peuvent faire." Correspondance diplomatique de Bertrand de Salignac de la Mothe Fénélon, vii. 97.

[419] Journal de Jehan de la Fosse, 79, 80; Vie de Coligny (Cologne, 1686), 321-323; Gasparis Colinii Vita, 1575, 55; Agrippa d'Aubigné, Hist. univ., 1, 207.

[420] Journal d'un curé ligueur (Jehan de la Fosse), 81.

[421] "December (1566.) Au commencement vinrent plusieurs ambassades à Paris, tant de la part de l'Empereur, que du Pape, que du roy d'Espagne, lesquels mandèrent au roy de France, qu'il eust à faire casser l'esdict de janvier, ou autrement qu'ils se déclareroient ennemys." Ibid., 80. The fanatical party affected to regard the Edict of Amboise, March, 1563, as a mere re-establishment of the edict of January 17, 1562.

[422] Mémoires de Castelnau, liv. vi., c. ii. Castelnau was certainly in a favorable position for learning the truth respecting these matters; and yet even he speaks of the "holy league," formed at Bayonne, as of something beyond controversy. According to a treaty and renewal of alliance between Charles the Ninth and the Roman Catholic cantons of Switzerland, entered into Dec. 7, 1564, for Charles's lifetime, and seven years beyond, the Swiss were to furnish him, when attacked, not less than six nor more than sixteen thousand men for the entire war. The success of the negotiation occasioned great rejoicing at Paris, and corresponding annoyance in the Spanish dominions. Du Mont, Corps diplomatique, v. 129-131; Jehan de la Fosse, 70; Papiers d'état du card. de Granvelle, viii. 599.

[423] Mém. de Fr. de la Noue, c. xi.

[424] He did more than this, according to the belief of the times, as expressed by Jean de Serres; for, "having been present at the Bayonne affair," he brought him irrefragable proof of the "holy league entered into by the kings of France and Spain for the ruin of the religion." Comment. de statu. rel. et reip., iii. 126.

[425] Yet so much were intelligent observers deceived respecting the signs of the times, that only a little over two months before the actual outbreak of the second civil war (July 4, 1567), Judge Truchon congratulated France on the edifying spectacle of loving accord which the court furnished. "I have this very day," he writes, "seen the king holding, with his left hand, the head of my lord, the prince [of Condé], and with his right the head of my lord the Cardinal of Bourbon, and playfully trying to strike their foreheads together. The Duke d'Aumale was paying his attentions to Madame la Mareschale [de Montmorency.] ... The Cardinal of Châtillon was not far off. In short, all, without distinction, seemed to me to be so harmonious that I wish there may never be greater divisions in France. It was a fine example for many persons of lower rank," etc. Letter to M. de Gordes, MS. in Archives de Condé, Duc d'Aumale, Princes de Condé, i. 540, Pièces inédites.

[426] Jean de Serres, iii. 128, 129. See, also, Condé's letter of Aug. 23, 1568. Ibid., iii. 201.

[427] Norris to Queen Elizabeth, Aug. 29, 1567, State Paper Office, Duc d'Aumale, Pièces inédites, i. 559.

[428] "Sed ne frustra laborare viderentur, de Albani consilio, 'Satius esse unicum salmonis caput, quam mille ranarum capita habere,' ineunt rationes de intercipiendis optimatum iis, qui Religionem sequerentur, Condæo, Amiralio, Andelotio, Rupefocaldio aliisque primoribus viris. Ratio videbatur præsentissima, ut a rege accerserentur, tanquam consulendi de iis rebus quæ ad regnum constituendum facerent," etc. Jean de Serres, iii. 125. It will be remembered that this volume was published the year before the St. Bartholomew's massacre. The persons enumerated, with the exception of those that died before 1572, were the victims of the massacre.

[429] "Ita Edicti nomen usurpabatur, dum Edictum revera pessundaretur." Jean de Serres, iii. 60.


CHAPTER XV.

THE SECOND CIVIL WAR AND THE SHORT PEACE.

Coligny's pacific counsels.
Rumors of plots to destroy the Huguenots.
D'Andelots warlike counsels prevail.
Cardinal Lorraine to be seized and King Charles liberated.

[Pg 203]A treacherous peace or an open war was now apparently the only alternative offered to the Huguenots. In reality, however, they believed themselves to be denied even the unwelcome choice between the two. The threatening preparations made for the purpose of crushing them were indications of coming war, if, indeed, they were not properly to be regarded, according to the view of the great Athenian orator in a somewhat similar case, as the first stage in the war itself. The times called for prompt decision. Within a few weeks three conferences were held at Valéry and at Châtillon. Ten or twelve of the most prominent Huguenot nobles assembled to discuss with the Prince of Condé and Coligny the exigencies of the hour. Twice was the impetuosity of the greater number restrained by the calm persuasion of the admiral. Convinced that the sword is a fearful remedy for political diseases—a remedy that should never be applied except in the most desperate emergency—Coligny urged his friends to be patient, and to show to the world that they were rather forced into war by the malice of their enemies than drawn of their own free choice. But at the third meeting of the chiefs, before the close of the month, they were too much excited by the startling reports reaching them from all sides, to be controlled even by Coligny's prudent advice. A great friend of "the religion" at court had sent to the prince and the admiral an account of a secret meeting of the royal council, at which the imprisonment of the former and the execution of the latter was agreed upon. The Swiss were to be distributed in equal de[Pg 204]tachments at Paris, Orleans, and Poitiers, and the plan already indicated—the repeal of the Edict of Toleration and the proclamation of another edict of opposite tenor—was at once to be carried into effect. "Are we to wait," asked the more impetuous, "until we be bound hand and foot and dragged to dishonorable death on Parisian scaffolds? Have we forgotten the more than three thousand Huguenots put to violent deaths since the peace, and the frivolous answers and treacherous delays which have been our only satisfaction?" And when some of the leaders expressed the opinion that delay was still preferable to a war that would certainly expose their motives to obloquy, and entail so much unavoidable misery, the admiral's younger brother, D'Andelot, combated with his accustomed vehemence a caution which he regarded as pusillanimous, and pointedly asked its advocates what all their innocence would avail them when once they found themselves in prison and at their enemy's mercy, when they were banished to foreign countries, or were roaming without shelter in the forests and wilds, or were exposed to the barbarous assaults of an infuriated populace.[430] His striking harangue carried the day. The admiral reluctantly yielded, and it was decided to anticipate the attack of the enemy by a bold defensive movement. Some advocated the seizure of Orleans, and counselled that, with this refuge in their possession, negotiations should be entered into with the court for the dismissal of the Swiss; others that the party should fortify itself by the capture of as many cities as possible. But to these propositions the pertinent reply was made that there was no time for wordy discussions, the controversy must be settled by means of the sword;[431] and that, of a[Pg 205] hundred towns the Protestants held at the beginning of the last war, they had found themselves unable to retain a dozen until its close. Finally, the prince and his companions resolved to make it the great object of their endeavors to drive the Cardinal of Lorraine from court and liberate Charles from his pernicious influence. This object was to be attained by dispersing the Swiss, and by conducting hostilities on a bold plan—rather by the maintenance of an army that could actively take the field,[432] than by seizing any cities save a few of the most important. On the twenty-ninth of September, the feast-day of St. Michael, the Huguenots having suddenly risen in all parts of France, Condé and Coligny, at the head of the troops of the neighboring provinces, were to present themselves at the court, which would be busy celebrating the customary annual ceremonial of the royal order. They would then hand to the king a humble petition for the redress of grievances, for the removal of the Cardinal of Lorraine, and for the dispersion of the Swiss troops, which, instead of being retained near the frontiers of the kingdom which they had ostensibly come to protect, had been advanced to the very vicinity of the capital.[433] It might be difficult to prevent the enterprise from wearing the appearance of a plot against the king, in whose immediate vicinity the cardinal was; but the event, if prosperous, would demonstrate the integrity of their purpose.[434]

The secret slowly leaks out.

The plan was well conceived, and better executed than such schemes usually are. The great difficulty was to keep so impor[Pg 206]tant a secret. It was a singular coincidence that, as in the case of the tumult of Amboise, over seven years before, the first intimations of their danger reached the Guises from the Netherlands.[435] But the courtiers, whose minds were taken up with the pleasures of the chase, and who dreamed of no such movement, were so far from believing the report, that Constable Montmorency expressed vexation that it was imagined that the Huguenots could get together one hundred men in a corner of the kingdom—not to speak of an army in the immediate vicinity of the capital—without the knowledge of himself, the head of the royal military establishment; while Chancellor de l'Hospital said that "it was a capital crime for any servant to alarm his prince with false intelligence, or give him groundless suspicions of his fellow-subjects."[436]

The news, however, being soon confirmed from other sources, a spy was sent to Châtillon-sur-Loing to report upon the admiral's movements. He brought back word that he had found Coligny at home, and apparently engrossed in the labors of the vintage—so quietly was the affair conducted until within forty-eight hours of the time appointed for the general uprising.[437] It was not until hurried tidings came from all quarters that the roads to Châtillon and to Rosoy—a small place in Brie, where the Huguenots had made their rendezvous—were swarming with men mounted and armed, that the court took the alarm.

Flight of the court to Paris.

It was almost too late. The Huguenots had possession of[Pg 207] Lagny and of the crossing of the river Marne. The king and queen, with their suite, at Meaux, were almost entirely unprotected, the six thousand Swiss being still at Château-Thierry, thirty miles higher up the Marne. Instant orders were sent to bring them forward as quickly as possible, and the night of the twenty-eighth of September witnessed a scene of abject fear on the part of the ladies and not a few of the gentlemen that accompanied Charles and his mother. At three o'clock in the morning, under escort of the Swiss, who had at last arrived, the court started for Paris, which was reached after a dilatory journey that appeared all the longer because of the fears attending it.[438] The Prince of Condé, who had been joined as yet only by the forerunners of his army, engaged in a slight skirmish with the Swiss; but a small band of four or five hundred gentlemen, armed only with their swords, could do nothing against a solid phalanx of the brave mountaineers, and he was forced to retire. Meanwhile Marshal Montmorency, sent by Catharine to dissuade the prince, the admiral, and Cardinal Châtillon from prosecuting their enterprise, had returned with the message that "the Huguenots were determined to defeat the preparations made to destroy them and their religion, which was only tolerated by a conditional edict, revocable by the king at his pleasure."[439]

Cardinal Lorraine invites Alva to invade France.

The Cardinal of Lorraine did not share in the flight of the court to Paris. Never able to boast of the possession of overmuch courage, he may have feared for his personal safety; for it was not impossible that he might be sacrificed by a queen rarely troubled with any feelings of humanity, to allay the storm raging about the ship of state; or he may have hoped to be of greater service to his party away from the capital.[440] However this may be, the Cardinal betook himself in hot haste to the city of Rheims, but reached his palace only after an almost[Pg 208] miraculous escape from capture by his enemies.[441] Once in safety, he despatched two messengers in rapid succession[442] to Brussels, and begged Alva to send him an agent with whom he might communicate in confidence. The proposals made when that personage arrived at Rheims were sufficiently startling; for, after calling attention to Philip's rightful claim to the throne of France, in case of the death of Charles and his brothers, he offered in a certain contingency to place in the Spanish monarch's hands some strong places that might prove valuable in substantiating that claim. In return, the Cardinal wished Philip to assume the defence of the papal church in France, and particularly desired him to undertake the protection of his brothers and of himself. The message was not unwelcome either to Alva or to his royal master. They were willing, they said, to assist the King of France in combating the Huguenots,[443] and they made no objection to accepting the cities. At the worst, these cities would serve as pledges for the repayment of whatever sums the King of Spain might expend in maintaining the Roman Catholic faith in France. With respect to the propriety of Philip's becoming the formal guardian of the Guises, Alva felt more hesitation, for who knew how matters might turn out? And Philip, never quite ready for any important decision, praised his lieutenant's delay, and inculcated further procrastination.[444] But the succession to the throne of France was worthy of deep consideration. As Alva intimated, the famous Salic law, under which Charles's sister Isabella was excluded from the crown, was merely a bit of pleasantry, and force of arms would facilitate the acknowledgment of her claims.[445]

[Pg 209]

Condé at Saint Denis.

The blow which the Huguenots had aimed at the tyrannical government of the Cardinal of Lorraine had missed its mark, through premature disclosure; but they still hoped to accomplish their design by slower means. Shut up in Paris, the court might be frightened or starved into compliance before the Roman Catholic forces could be assembled to relieve the capital. With this object the Prince of Condé moved around to the north side of the city, and took up his quarters, on the second of October, in the village of Saint Denis. With the lower Seine, which, in one of its serpentine coils, here turns back upon itself, and retreats from the direction of the sea, in his immediate grasp, and within easy striking distance of the upper Seine, and its important tributary the Marne—the chief sources of the supply of food on which the capital depended—the Prince of Condé awaited the arrival of his reinforcements, and the time when the hungry Parisians should compel the queen to submit, or to send out her troops to an open field. At the same time he burned the windmills that stretched their huge arms on every eminence in the vicinity. It was an ill-advised measure, as are all similar acts of destruction, unless justified by urgent necessity. If it occasioned some distress in Paris,[446] it only embittered the minds of the people yet more, and enabled the municipal authorities to retaliate with some color of equity by seizing the houses of persons known or suspected to be Huguenots, and selling their goods to defray part of the expense incurred in defending the city.[447]

The Huguenot movement alienates the king.

The attempt "to seize the person of the king"—for such the movement was understood to be by the Roman Catholic party—was even more unfortunate. It produced in Charles an alienation[Pg 210][448] which the enemies of the Huguenots took good care to prevent him from ever completely forgetting. They represented the undertaking of Meaux as aimed, not at the counsellors of the monarch, but at the "Sacred Majesty" itself, and Condé and Coligny, with their associates, were pictured to the affrighted eyes of the fugitive boy-king as conspirators who respected none of those rights which are so precious in the view of royalty.

Negotiations opened. The Huguenots gradually abate their demands.
Constable Montmorency the mouthpiece of intolerance.

Meantime Catharine was not slow in resorting to the arts by which she was accustomed to seek either to avert the evil consequences of her own short-sighted policy, or to gain time to defeat the plans of her opponents.[449] The Huguenots received a deputation consisting of the chancellor, the Marshal de Vieilleville, and Jean de Morvilliers—three of the most influential and moderate adherents of the court—through whom Charles demanded the reason of the sudden uprising which causelessly threatened his own person and the peace of the realm. The Huguenot leaders replied by denying any evil design, and showing that they had armed themselves only in self-defence against the manifested malice of their enemies.[450] Subsequent interviews between Condé and the envoys of Charles seemed to hold forth some hopes of peace. The king declared himself ready to furnish the Protestants with proofs of the uprightness of his intentions, and L'Hospital even exhibited the draft of an edict in which their rights should be guaranteed. As this proved unsatisfactory, the prince, at the chancellor's suggestion, submitted the requests of his associates. These related to the banishment of the foreign troops, the permission to come and present their petitions to the king, the confirmation and maintenance of the past edicts, with the repeal of all restrictive interpretations, the assembling of the states gen[Pg 211]eral, and the removal of the burdensome imposts under which the people groaned, and which were of advantage only to the crowd of Italians and others enjoying extraordinary credit at court.[451] If the first of these demands were sufficiently bold, the last demand was little calculated to conciliate Catharine, who naturally conceived herself doubly insulted by the covert allusion to her own prodigality and by the reference to her countrymen. She found no difficulty in inducing Charles to answer through a proclamation sent by a herald to the confederates, commanding Condé, Coligny, D'Andelot, La Rochefoucauld, Genlis, and the other leaders, by name, to lay down the arms which they had taken up without his consent.[452] Perceiving the mistake they had committed in making requests which, although just and appropriate, were in part but ill-suited to the times, the Protestants began to abate their demands. Confining themselves to the matter of religion, they now petitioned only for an unrestricted liberty of conscience and worship, confirmed by the repeal of all ordinances or parliamentary decisions conflicting with it. Their moderation inspired fresh hopes of averting the resort to arms, and a new conference was held, between the Huguenot position and the city of Paris, at the hamlet of La Chapelle Saint Denis. It was destined to be the last. Constable Montmorency, the chief spokesman on the Roman Catholic side, although really desirous of peace, could not be induced to listen to the only terms on which peace was possible. "The king," he said, "will never consent to the demand for religious toleration throughout France without distinction of persons or places. He has no intention of permanently tolerating two religions. His edicts in favor of the Protestants have been intended only as temporary measures; for his purpose is to preserve the old faith by all possible means. He would rather be forced into a war with his subjects than avoid it by concessions that would render him an object of suspicion to neighboring princes."[453]

[Pg 212]

Insincerity of Alva's offers of aid.

The simultaneous rising of the Huguenots in every quarter of the kingdom, and the immediate seizure of many important cities, had surprised and terrified the court; but it had also stimulated the Roman Catholic leaders to put forth extraordinary efforts to bring together an army superior to that of their opponents. Besides the Parisian militia and the troops that flocked in from the more distant provinces, it was resolved to call for the help repeatedly promised by Philip of Spain and his minister, the Duke of Alva, when urging Charles to break the compacts he had entered into with his reformed subjects. But the assistance actually furnished fell far short of the expectations held forth. When Castelnau, after two efforts, the first of which proved unsuccessful,[454] reached Brussels by a circuitous route, he found Alva lavish of good wishes, and urgent, like his master, that no arrangement should be made with the rebels before they had suffered condign punishment. But the envoy soon convinced himself that all these protestations meant little or nothing, and that the Spaniards were by no means sorry to see the French kingdom rent by civil war. Ostensibly, Alva was liberal above measure in his offers. He wished to come in person at the head of five thousand horse and fifteen thousand foot, and make short work of the destruction of Condé and his followers—a proposition which Castelnau, who knew that Catharine was quite as jealous of Spanish as of Huguenot interference in her schemes, felt himself compelled politely to decline; especially as the very briefest term within which Alva professed himself ready to move was a full month and a half. For seven or eight days the duke persisted in refusing the Spanish troops that were requested,[Pg 213][455] and in insisting upon his own offer—precious time which, had it been husbanded, might have changed the face of the impending battle before the walls of Paris. When, at length, pressed by the envoy for a definite answer or for leave to return, the duke offered to give him, in about three weeks' time, a body of four or five thousand German lansquenets—troops that would have been quite useless to Charles, who already had at his disposition as many pikemen as he needed, in the six thousand Swiss. All that Castelnau was finally able to bring home was an auxiliary force of about seventeen hundred horse, under Count Aremberg. Even now, however, the officer in command was bound by instructions which prevented him from taking the direct road to the beleaguered capital of France, and compelled him to pass westward by Beauvais and Poissy.[456]

Battle of Saint Denis, Nov. 10, 1567.
The constable is mortally wounded.

The impatience of the Parisians, who for more than a month had been inactive spectators, while their city was besieged by an insignificant force and they were deprived of the greater part of their ordinary supplies of food, could scarcely be restrained. They were the more anxious for battle since they had received encouragement by the recapture of a few points of some military importance along the course of the lower Seine. Unable to resist the pressure any longer, Constable Anne de Montmorency led out his army to give battle to the Huguenots on the tenth of November, 1567. Rarely has such an engagement been willingly entered into, where the disproportion between the contending parties was so considerable. The constable's army consisted of sixteen thousand foot soldiers (of whom six thousand were[Pg 214] Swiss, and the remainder in part troops levied in the city of Paris) and three thousand horse, and was provided with eighteen pieces of artillery. To meet this force, Condé had barely fifteen hundred hastily mounted and imperfectly equipped gentlemen, and twelve hundred foot soldiers, gathered from various quarters and scarcely formed as yet into companies. He had not a single cannon. Of his cavalry, only one-fifth part were provided with lances, the rest having swords and pistols. The greater number had no defensive armor; and not a horse was furnished with the leathern barbe with which the knight continued, as in the middle ages, to cover his steed's breast and sides. The constable had wisely chosen a moment when the prince had weakened himself by detaching D'Andelot, with five hundred horse and eight hundred arquebusiers, to seize Poissy and intercept the Count of Aremberg.[457] In the face of such a disparity of numbers and equipment, the Huguenots exhibited signal intrepidity.[458] With Coligny thrown forward on the right, in front of the village of Saint Ouen, and Genlis on the left, near Aubervilliers, they opened the attack upon the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, who descended from higher ground to meet them. Marshal de Montmorency, the constable's eldest son, commanding a part of the royal army, alone was successful, and had the valor of his troops been imitated by the rest, the defeat of the Huguenots would[Pg 215] have been decisive; but the "Parisian regiment," despite its gilded armor,[459] yielded at the first shock of battle and fled in confusion to the walls of Paris. Their cowardice uncovered the position of the constable, and the cavalry of the Prince penetrated to the spot where the old warrior was still fighting hand to hand, with a vigor scarcely inferior to that which he had displayed more than fifty years earlier, in the first Italian campaign of Francis the First.[460] A Scottish gentleman, according to the most probable account—for the true history of the affair is involved in unusual obscurity—Robert Stuart by name, rode up to Montmorency and demanded his surrender. But the constable, maddened at the suggestion of a fourth captivity,[461] for all reply struck Stuart on the mouth, with the hilt of his sword, so violent a blow that he broke three of his teeth. At that very moment he received, whether from Stuart or from another of the Scottish gentlemen is uncertain,[462] a pistol-shot that entered his shoulder and inflicted a mortal wound. At a few paces from him, Condé, with his horse killed under him, nearly fell into the hands of the enemy. At last, however, his partisans succeeded in rescuing him, and, while he retired slowly to Saint Denis, the dying constable was carried to Paris, whither the Roman Catholic army returned at evening.[463]

[Pg 216]

Character of Anne de Montmorency.

The battle of Saint Denis was indecisive, and the victory was claimed by both sides. The losses of the Huguenots and the Roman Catholics were about equal—between three and four hundred men—although the number of distinguished Huguenot noblemen killed exceeded that of the slain belonging to the same rank in the royal army. If the possession of the field at the end of the day, and the relief of Paris, be taken as sufficient evidence, the honor of success belonged to the Roman Catholic army. But the loss of their chief commander far more than counterbalanced any advantage they may have gained. Not that Anne de Montmorency was a general of remarkable abilities. Although he had been present in a large number of important engagements ever since the reign of Louis the Twelfth, and had proved himself a brave man in all, he was by no means a successful military leader. The late Duke of Guise had eclipsed his glory, and in a much briefer career had exhibited much more striking tactical skill. The battle of Saint Denis, it was alleged by many, had itself been marred by his clumsy disposition of his troops. Proud and overbearing in his deportment, he alienated even those with whom his warm attachment to the Roman Catholic Church ought to have made him popular. Catharine de' Medici, we have seen, had long been his enemy. In like manner, even the bigoted populace of Paris forgot the pious exploits that had earned him the surname of "le Capitaine Brûlebanc," and remembered only his suspicious relationship to Cardinal Châtillon, Admiral Coligny, and D'Andelot, those three intrepid brothers whose uncompromising morality and unswerving devotion to their religious convictions made them, even more than the Prince of Condé, true representatives of the dreaded Huguenot party.[464] [Pg 217]

But the loss of the principal general at this important juncture in military affairs dealt a severe blow to the Roman Catholic cause. There was no other leader of sufficient prominence to put forth an indisputable claim to succeed him. Catharine, not sorry to be relieved of so formidable a rival, was resolved that he should have no troublesome successor. Accordingly she induced the king to leave the office of constable vacant, and to confer upon her second surviving son, Henry, Duke of Anjou, whose unscrupulous character had already made him her favorite, the supreme command of the army, with the less ambitious title of royal lieutenant-general.[465]

The death of the constable, who survived his wound only a single day, and the subsequent divisions of the court, furnished the Prince of Condé with an immunity from attack, of which, in view of his great inferiority in number of troops, he deemed it most prudent to take advantage by promptly retiring from his exposed position. Besides this, he had now an imperative summons to the eastern frontier of the kingdom.

The Protestant princes of Germany determine to aid the Huguenots.

At the very commencement of the war the Protestants had sent a deputation to the German princes to solicit their support in a struggle in which the adherents of the Augsburg Confession were no less vitally interested than the reformed. But Bochetel, Bishop of Rennes, the envoy of Charles the Ninth, had so skilfully misrepresented the true character of the contest, that the Landgrave of Hesse, and the Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, persuaded that political motives, rather than zeal for religion, were the occasion of the revolt, had refused to assist the Huguenots, while permitting William of Saxony and the Marquis of Baden to levy troops for the king. To the Elector Palatine, Frederick the Third, surnamed "the Pious," who from a Lutheran had become a Calvinist, a special ambassador was despatched in the person of M. de Lansac. This gentleman, by more than usually reckless misstatements, sought to persuade the elector to abandon[Pg 218] the enterprise of assistance which he had intended to intrust to his second son, John Casimir. But his falsehoods were refuted by the straightforward exposé of the prince's agents,[466] and Lansac was only so far successful that the elector consented to delay the departure of the troops until he had sent a messenger to France to acquaint himself with the true state of the case. It needed no more than this to determine him; for the minister whom the elector had intrusted with the commission, after visiting successively the court of the king and the camp of the prince of Condé, returned with certain proofs that the representations of Bochetel and of Lansac were altogether false.[467] Consequently the army which John Casimir had gathered was speedily despatched to furnish Condé the support the Huguenots so much needed.

In the letter which the elector palatine sent about the same time to the King of France, the motives of this apparently inimical action are vividly set forth. His envoy, the Councillor Zuleger, says the elector, has made a careful examination. Lansac and his companion have industriously circulated throughout Germany the report that the Edict of Toleration is kept entire, that Condé and the Protestants have no other object in view but a horrible rebellion against Charles to deprive him of his crown, and that the prince has had money struck as if he were king himself.[468] But Zuleger has, on the contrary, reported that when,[Pg 219] in the presence of the royal council, he asked for proofs of Condé's intention to make himself king, Catharine de' Medici replied that it was a "mockery," and that, though Condé had struck money, both in the late and in the present troubles, it was with the king's inscription and arms, and not as though he were himself king. So far from that, Zuleger declares that, during the eleven days of his stay in the prince's camp, he heard prayers offered morning and night for the preservation of the state and for the king's safety. As to the maintenance of the edict, the constable before his death openly affirmed that Charles would not permit a free exercise of religion, and never intended the Edict of Orleans to be other than provisional. Indeed, the queen-mother remarked to Zuleger that it is a privilege of the French monarchs never to make a perpetual edict; to which Charles, who was present, promptly responded, "Pourquoi non?"[469]

It was to form a junction with the force brought by John Casimir that the prince now raised the siege of Paris, two or three days subsequently to the battle of Saint Denis,[470] and after that D'Andelot, disappointed in having had no share in the engagement, had scoured the field, driving back into Paris an advanced guard of the enemy, and burning, by way of bravado, some windmills in the very suburbs.[471]

The Huguenots go to meet the Germans.
Treacherous diplomacy.

The purpose of the Huguenot leaders could not be mistaken, and Catharine was determined to frustrate it. The chief object at which all her intrigues now aimed was to delay the Prot[Pg 220]estant army in its march toward Lorraine, until the Duke of Anjou, at the head of a force which was daily gaining new accessions of strength from the provinces, should be able to overtake Condé and bring on a general and decisive action. From Saint Denis the Huguenots had first followed the course of the upper Seine to Montereau. Crossing the stream at this point, Coligny, as usual commanding the vanguard, had, at Pont-sur-Yonne, received a powerful detachment, under the Count of La Rochefoucauld, which had made its way from the provinces of Poitou, Saintonge, and Guyenne, across the valley of the Loire, to reinforce the Prince of Condé's army.[472] Having effected a junction, the united body had changed its course, recrossed the Seine, and countermarched to the river Marne, at Épernay and Châlons. Coligny's skilful manœuvre had disappointed the queen's plan, and she resorted to her accustomed arts of negotiation. So flattering, indeed, were her promises, that Condé, had he not been restrained by the more prudent counsels of his associates (among whom the Vidame of Chartres was most urgent in his protests against so suicidal a policy), would instantly have relaxed the sinews of war.[473] A petty act of treachery served to open his eyes, and to prevent the Protestants from involving themselves in more serious disaster; for the Count de Brissac took advantage of a three days' armistice to fall unexpectedly upon an outpost of the prince's army and gain an advantage, which was duly magnified by report at Paris into a brilliant victory.[474] Unabashed by this incident, Catharine soon[Pg 221] after renewed her seductive offers (on the twentieth of December, 1567). She invited a conference with the Cardinal of Châtillon and other Protestant leaders, and herself went so far as Châlons to meet them. Thence the scene of the negotiations was transferred to Vincennes, in the vicinity of Paris, and for a time the prospect of reconciliation was bright and encouraging. The king's envoys consented to the re-establishment of the Edict of Amboise, without any past or future restrictions, until the decision of the religious question by that mythical assembly which, like a mirage of the desert, ever and anon arose to entrance and disappoint the longing eyes of thoughtful men in this century—a free, universal, and legitimate council of the Church. But the hopes founded on these promises were as illusory as any previously conceived. Instead of a formal and unambiguous ratification of the terms by Charles himself, the Cardinal of Châtillon was treated only to complaints about the causeless rising of the Protestants, and expressions of astonishment that Condé had not instantly countermanded the approach of the German auxiliaries on receiving the king's gracious proffers.[475]

Catharine implores Alva's assistance.
Alva's view of accommodations with heretics.

Meantime Catharine was not idle in soliciting foreign aid. The Duke d'Aumale—who had also marched to Lorraine, in order to meet the Germans coming to the assistance of the Roman Catholics, under command of the Marquis of Baden—not being strong enough to block the passage of Condé's troops, Catharine wrote to Alva, begging him to send to the duke, in this emergency, two thousand arquebusiers. She warned him that if, through the failure to procure them, the German reiters of John Casimir should be permitted to enter the kingdom, she would hold herself exonerated, in the sight of God and of all Christian princes, from the blame that might otherwise attach to her for the peace which she[Pg 222] would be compelled to make with the heretics.[476] Alva, in reply, declined to send the Spanish arquebusiers, who, he said, were needed by him, and could do little good in France; but he added that, if Aumale, who was a soldier, would guarantee with this accession to stop the reiters, he would let them go, useful as they were in the Netherlands. As to the accommodation with the Huguenots, which Catharine suggested, he viewed it as a frightful evil, and exclaimed "that it was better to have a kingdom ruined in preserving it for God and the king, than to retain it whole, but without religion, for the advantage of the devil and his partisans, the heretics."[477]

Condé and John Casimir meet in Lorraine.
Generosity of the Huguenot troops.

About the beginning of the new year the foot-sore Huguenot army, after nearly two months of tedious marches through a hostile country, and no less tedious negotiations, reached Lorraine, only to find that their German allies had not yet arrived. Sick at heart, with a powerful enemy hanging on their rear, and seeking only an opportunity to make a sudden descent upon them, many of the Huguenots were disposed to take advantage of the proximity of the German cities to disperse and find a refuge there. But Condé, with his never-failing vivacity and cheerfulness, and Coligny, with his "grave words," succeeded in checking their despondency until the welcome news of John Casimir's approach was announced. He brought six thousand five hundred horse, three thousand foot, and four cannon of moderate size. His arrival did not, however, prove an occasion of unmingled satisfaction. The reiters, serving from purely mercenary motives, demanded the immediate payment of one hundred thousand crowns, promised as a first instalment on account of their wages, and were resolved to go no farther without receiving it. The Prince of Condé had but two thousand crowns to meet the engagement. In this new perplexity the Huguenots, from the leaders down to the very lowest, gave a noble illustration of devotion to their[Pg 223] religion's cause. Condé and Coligny set the example by giving up their plate to replenish the empty coffers of the army. The captains urged, the ministers of the gospel preached, a generous sacrifice of property in the common interest. Their exhortations did not fall upon dull ears. Money, gold chains, silver, articles of every description, were lavishly contributed. An unpaid army sacrificed its own private property, not only without a murmur, but even joyfully. The very camp-servants vied with their masters, and put them to shame by their superior liberality.[478] In a short time a sum was raised which, although less than what had been pledged, contented the reiters, who declared themselves ready to follow their Huguenot fellow-soldiers into the heart of the kingdom.[479] Well might an army capable of such heroic contempt for personal gain or loss be deemed invincible!

The march toward Orleans.

And now, with feelings widely different from those which had possessed them in the journey toward Lorraine—a movement too nearly akin to a flight to inspire anything but disgust—the Huguenot soldiers, over twenty thousand strong, turned their faces once more westward. Their late pursuers, no longer seeking an engagement where the result might be worse than doubtful, confined themselves to watching their progress from a safe distance. As all the cities upon their route were in the hands of the Roman Catholics, the Huguenots were forced to take more circuitous and difficult paths through the open country. But the dispositions made by Coligny are said to have been so thorough and[Pg 224] masterly, that they travelled safely and in comfort.[480] Not that the soldiers, dispersed at night through the villages, were freed from the necessity or the temptation to pillage;[481] for the poor farmers, robbed of the fruits of their honest toil, frequently had good reason to complain that those who had recently dispensed their own treasure with so liberal a hand were even more lavish of the property of others. But they were far more merciful and considerate toward their enemies than the Roman Catholic army to its friends. Even a curate of Brie—no very great lover of the Huguenots, who relates with infinite gusto the violation of Huguenot women by Anjou's soldiers[482]—admits that, excepting in the matter of the plundering of the churches and the distressing of priests, the Roman Catholics were a little worse than the heretics.[483]

The "Michelade" at Nismes.

Leaving the Huguenot army on its march toward Orleans, let us glance at the operations of the party in other quarters of the kingdom. Southern France, where the Protestants were most numerous, and where the excitable character of the people disposed them more easily than elsewhere to sudden outbreaks, was not behind the north in rising at the appointed time (September, 1567). At Nismes, indeed, a furious commotion broke out—the famous "Michelade," as it was called, because it immediately followed the feast-day of St. Michael—a commotion whose sanguinary excesses gave it an unenviable notoriety, and brought deep disgrace upon the Protestant cause. Here the turbulent populace was encouraged by the report that Lyons was in friendly hands, and maddened by the intelligence that, besides the common dangers impending over all the Huguenots of France, the Huguenots of Nismes had more particular occasion for fear in the troops of[Pg 225] the neighboring Comtât Venaissin. These troops, it was said, had been summoned by the bishop and chapter of the cathedral of Nismes. The mob accordingly took possession of the city, closing the gates, and imprisoning a large number of persons—consuls, priests, and other obnoxious characters. That night the cathedral and the chapter-house witnessed a wild scene of destruction. Pictures of the saints, and altars, including everything associated with Roman Catholic worship, were ruthlessly destroyed. But the most terrible event occurred in the episcopal palace. The bishop was saved from capture and certain death by the intervention of a courageous man, himself a Protestant; but others were less fortunate. No fewer than eighty prisoners, brought in detachments to the court of the palace, were butchered in rapid succession, and their corpses thrown promiscuously into a well. The next morning the Protestant pastors and elders assembled, and, sending to the ringleaders a minister and a deacon, begged them to discontinue their horrible work. Already, however, had returning shame made everybody unwilling to avow his complicity in the crime. Quiet was restored. The Protestant seneschal and council released such prisoners as had escaped the fate of their comrades, and the bishop himself was sent away under an escort to a place of safety, by order of the very judge whom the clergy had, a year before, sought to deprive of his office as a heretic.[484] Nismes remained in the hands of the Protestants through the war.

Huguenot successes in the south and west.
La Rochelle secured for Condé.

Meanwhile more important movements took place. René of Savoy, son of the Count de Tende, but better known as Cipierre,[Pg 226] was Condé's agent in assembling the Huguenots of Provence; but Paul de Mouvans, whom we have met with before in this history, was the real hero of the region. In Dauphiny, Montbrun commanded. In Bourbonnais and the neighboring provinces west of the Rhône, Parcenac and Verbelai raised three thousand foot and five hundred horse, but sustained so severe a loss while passing through Forez, that the number was soon reduced to barely twelve hundred. Nearer the Pyrenees, seven thousand men were assembled, known as "the army of the viscounts," to which further reference will shortly be made. Lyons, one of the Huguenot strongholds in the first war, the Protestants failed to capture.[485] But Orleans was secured by the skill of François de la Noue, a young champion whose name was destined long to figure in the most brilliant deeds of arms of his party, both in France and in the Low Countries.[486] In the west, too, the Huguenots made the most important gain of the war in the city of La Rochelle, for the next half-century and more their secure refuge on approach of danger.

This place, strong by nature, surrounded by low, marshy grounds, rendering it almost unapproachable from the land side, save by the causeways over which the roads ran, with a large and convenient harbor and with easy access to the sea, was already rich and populous. The citizens of La Rochelle were noted for their independent spirit, engendered or fostered by their maritime habits. Although the great importance of the city dates from the civil wars, when its wharves received the commerce driven from older ports, and when its privateers swept the shores of Brittany and the bosom of the English channel, it had long boasted extraordinary privileges, among which the most highly prized was the right to refuse admission to a royal garrison.[487] Besides this, the citizens were accustomed to choose[Pg 227] three candidates for the office of major, from whom the king or the royal governor made his selection; and the magistrate thus appointed enjoyed an authority which the Rochellois would scarcely concede to their monarch.[488] La Rochelle—whose former orthodoxy Father Soulier attempts to establish by instancing the sentence which the "présidial" of the city pronounced in 1552 against some Protestants, condemning them to be dragged on a hurdle with a fagot of sticks bound to their backs, and afterward to be burned, one of them alive[489]—had been so far affected by the progress of the Reformation, that it was perhaps only the fear of losing its trade and privileges that prevented it from openly siding with Condé in the first religious war.[490] By this time, however, Protestantism had struck such deep roots, that one of the three candidates for the mayoralty, at the Easter elections of 1567, was Truchares, a political Huguenot. The king was, indeed, warned of his sentiments; but the royal governor, M. de Jarnac, supported his claims, and Truchares received the requisite confirmation.[491] Still La Rochelle hesitated to espouse the Protestant side. It was not until midwinter,[492] that Condé, re[Pg 228]turning from Lorraine, commissioned M. de Sainte-Hermine to assume command of the city in his name; and on the tenth of February, 1568, the mayor and échevins of La Rochelle opened their gates to their new friends, with protestations of their purpose to devote their lives and property to the advancement of the common cause. "The sequel proved only too clearly," writes a Roman Catholic historian, "that they were very sincere in their promises; for, having soon after demolished all the churches, they employed the materials to fortify this city in such a manner that it served from this time forward as a citadel for the Protestants, and as a secure retreat for all the apostates and malcontents of the kingdom until it was reduced by Louis the Thirteenth."[493]

Spain and Rome oppose the negotiations for peace.

Meantime the irresolute queen mother, always oscillating between war and peace, had again begun to treat with the Huguenots. Between the fifth and twentieth of January she held repeated interviews with Cardinal Châtillon, D'Esternay, and Téligny. The bigots took the alarm. The Papal Nuncio and the ambassadors of Spain and Scotland did their utmost "to impeach the accord." A post arrived from Philip the Second, offering a hundred thousand crowns of gold if Charles would continue the war. The doctors of the Sorbonne remonstrated. All united in a common cry that "it was impossible to have two religions in one realm without great confusion." Poor Charles was so moved by the stale falsehood, as well as by the large promises made him, that he sent the Protestant envoys word that he would treat no further unless Condé and his "complices" would send the reiters back to Germany, and, wholly disarming, come to him with their ordinary retinues to purge themselves of the attempt made at Meaux.

Cardinal Santa Croce demands that Cardinal Châtillon be surrendered to the Pope.
Retort of Marshal Montmorency.

Even this amount of complaisance on the part of the weak monarch, however, did not satisfy Cardinal Santa Croce, who, on one occasion entering the council chamber (on the twentieth[Pg 229] of January), boldly demanded the fulfilment of the queen mother's promise to surrender Cardinal Châtillon into the Pope's hands. Catharine did not deny the promise, but interposed the plea that the present was a very unsuitable time, since Châtillon had come to court upon the king's safe-conduct. To this the churchman replied that no respect ought to be had toward the Cardinal, for he was "an excommunicate person," condemned of schism, and dead in the eyes of the law. Up to this point the Duke de Montmorency, who was present, had kept silence; but now, turning to the queen mother, he is reported by the English ambassador to have made a pungent address. "But, madam," he said, "is it possible that the Cardinal Châtillon's delivery should come in question, being warranted by the king and your Majesty to the contrary, and I myself being made a mean therein? Wherefore this matter is odious to be talked of, and against the law of arms and all good civil policy; and I must needs repute them my enemies who go about to make me falsify my promise once made." After these plain words Santa Croce "departed without attaining his most cruel request."[494]

March of the viscounts to meet Condé.

During the first few months after the assumption of arms, the Huguenots of southern France, surrounded by domestic enemies, had confined themselves to attempting to secure their own safety and that of their neighbors, by taking the most important cities and keeping in check the forces of the provincial governors—an undertaking in which they met with more success in the districts bordering upon the Mediterranean than in those adjoining the Bay of Biscay. These events, although in themselves important and interesting, would usurp a dispropor[Pg 230]tionate place in this history. While Condé was absent from the vicinity of the capital, however, a body of six thousand troops, drawn from the army of the viscounts, under Mouvans and other experienced southern leaders, undertook a hazardous march from Dauphiny, intending to join the prince's army at Orleans.[495] The cities were in the possession of the enemy, the fords were carefully guarded, the entire country was hostile. But the perils which might have deterred less resolute men only enhanced the glory of the success of the gallant Huguenots. Abandoned by a considerable number of their comrades, who preferred a life of plunder to a fatiguing journey under arms, they met (on the eighth of January, 1568) and defeated, with a force consisting almost exclusively of infantry, the cavalry which the governor of Auvergne and the local nobility had assembled near the village of Cognac[496] to dispute their passage. Continuing their march, they reached Orleans in time to relieve that city, to whose friendly protection against the Roman Catholic bands of Martinengo and Richelieu that infested its neighborhood and threatened its capture Condé and the other Huguenot leaders of the north had entrusted their wives and children.[497]

Siege of Chartres.

Having stopped a brief time to rest the soldiers after the protracted march, the viscounts turned their victorious arms against the city of Blois. After the surrender of this place, they had[Pg 231] proceeded down the valley of the Loire, and were about to take Montrichard, on the Cher, when recalled by Condé. The prince had by forced marches anticipated the army of Anjou, resolving to strike a blow which should be felt at the hostile capital itself, and had selected Chartres, an important city about fifty miles in a south-westerly direction from Paris, as the most convenient place to besiege.[498] Rapid, however, as had been his advance—and a part of his army had travelled sixty miles in two days—the enemy had sufficient notice of his intention to throw into the city a small force of soldiers; and when Condé arrived before the walls (on the twenty-fourth of February, 1568), he found the place prepared to sustain an attack, in which the courage of the assailants was equalled by the skill and resolution of the defenders. As usual, the Huguenots were badly off for artillery; the united armies could only muster five siege-pieces and four light culverines. "For, although the Catholics esteem the Huguenots to be 'fiery' men," says a quaint old writer, who was as ready with his sword as with his pen, "they have always been poorly provided with such implements. Nor have they, like the former, a Saint Anthony, who, they say, presides over the element in question."[499]

The operations of the siege of Chartres were interrupted by fresh negotiations for peace. Half a year had the flames of war been desolating the fairest parts of France; yet the court was no nearer the attainment of its ends than at the outbreak of hostilities. If the Roman Catholic forces had been swollen to about forty thousand men, they were confronted by a Huguenot army of twenty-eight or thirty thousand men in the very neighborhood of the capital. The voice of prudence[Pg 232] dictated an immediate settlement of the dispute before more lives were sacrificed, more towns and villages destroyed, more treasure squandered. Catharine, reigning supreme under her son's name, with her usual inconstancy of purpose, was ready to exchange the war, into which she had plunged France by lending too willing an ear to the suggestions of Philip of Spain, as they came to her through the Cardinal of Lorraine and others, and which had produced only bloodshed, devastation of the kingdom, and deeper depression of the finances, for the peace to which Michel de l'Hospital, her better genius, was constantly urging her by every consideration of policy and justice.

Chancellor Michel de l'Hospital's memorial.

In a paper, wherein about this time the chancellor committed to writing the arguments he had often ineffectually employed to persuade the king and his mother, he combats with patriotic indignation the flimsy pretexts of which the priests and the Spaniard made use in pressing the continuance of hostilities. "'The king has more men than the Huguenots.' True, but we find twice as many battles on record gained by the smaller as by the greater number; in consequence of which fact all princes and nations have recognized the truth that victory is the gift of God. 'The king's cause is the more just.' Grant it—yet God makes use of such instruments as He wills to punish our iniquities—the Babylonians, for instance, of old, the Turks in our own days. The Huguenots have thus far succeeded beyond all expectation. They have little money, but what they have they use well, and they can get more. Their devotion to their cause is conspicuous. They are not a rabble hastily gotten together, which has risen imprudently, in disorder, without a leader, without discipline. They are experienced, resolute, desperate warriors, with plans formed long ago—men ready to risk everything for the attainment of their matured designs. Necessity and despair render them docile and wonderfully subject to discipline; and with this cooperates the high esteem they have conceived of their leaders, whose ambition is restrained, whose union is cemented by the same necessity which the ancients called 'the bond of concord.' On the contrary, the king's camp is rent by quarrels, envy, and rivalry; ambition is unbridled, avarice reigns supreme. With[Pg 233] the termination of so wretched a war, there will shine forth a joyous and blessed peace, which I can justly term a 'precious conquest,' since it will render his Majesty redoubtable to all Europe, which has learned the greatness of the two powers which the king will restore to his own subjection.

"The true method of breaking up the leagues of the Huguenots is to remove the necessity for forming them. This must be done by treating the Huguenots no longer as enemies, but as friends. For, if we examine carefully into the matter, we shall find that hitherto they have been dealt with as rebels; and this has compelled them to resort to all means of self-preservation. This has placed arms in their hands; this has engendered the horrible desolation of France. For the intrigues set on foot against them in all quarters were conducted with so little attempt at secrecy—the disfavor was so evident, the disdain was so apparent, the threats of the rupture of the Edict of Pacification and of the publication of the decrees of the Council of Trent were so open, and the injustice of their handling was so manifest, that they had been too dull and stupid, had they not avoided the treachery in store for them.[500] Even brute beasts perceive the coming of the storm, and seek the covert; let us not find fault if men, perceiving it, arm themselves for the encounter. Our menaces have been the messengers of our plots, as truly as the lightning is the messenger of the thunderbolt. We have shown them our preparatives; let us, therefore, cease to wonder that they stand ready to start on the first intimation of danger.[501] When they see that they have no longer anything to fear, they will certainly return to their accustomed occupations."[502]

[Pg 234]

Edict of Pacification, Longjumeau, March 23, 1568.

L'Hospital was right. The Huguenots wanted nothing but security of person and conscience—the latter even more than the former. And they were ready to lay down their arms so soon as the court could bring itself to concede the restoration of the Edict of Amboise, without the restrictive ordinances and interpretations which had shorn it of most of its value. On this basis negotiations now recommenced. The more prudent Huguenots suggested that the party ought to receive at the king's hands some of the cities in their possession, to be held as pledges for the execution of the articles of the compact. But Charles and his counsellors resented the proposal as insulting to the dignity of the crown,[503] and the Huguenots, not yet fully appreciating the fickleness or treachery of the court, did not press the demand—a fatal weakness, soon to be atoned for by the speedy renewal of the war on the part of the Roman Catholics.[504] After brief consultation the terms of peace were agreed upon, and were incorporated in the royal edict of the twenty-third of March, 1568, known, from the name of the place where it was signed, as the "Edict of Longjumeau." The cardinal provisions were few: they re-established the supremacy of the Edict of Amboise, expressly repealing all the interpretations that infringed upon it; and permitted the nobles, who under that law had been allowed to have religious exercises in their castles, to admit strangers as well as their own vassals to the services of the reformed worship. Condé and his followers were, at the same time, recognized as good and faithful servants of the crown, and a general amnesty was pronounced covering all acts of hostility, levy of troops, coining of money, and similar offences. On the other hand, the Huguenots bound themselves to disband and lay down their arms, to surrender the places they held, to renounce foreign alliances, and to eschew in future all meetings other than those religious[Pg 235] gatherings permitted under the last peace. The new edict was not a final and irrevocable law, but was granted "until, by God's grace, all the king's subjects should be reunited in the profession of one and the same religion."[505]

Condé favors and Coligny opposes the peace.

The Huguenots gained by this peace all their immediate demands, and so far the edict might be deemed satisfactory. But what better security had they for its observance more than they had had for the observance of that which had preceded it? Coligny, prudent and far-sighted, had shown himself as averse to concluding it without sufficient guarantees for its faithful execution, as he had been opposed to beginning the war a half-year before. The peace, he urged, was intended by the court only as a means of saving Chartres, and of afterward overwhelming the reformers;[506] and he attempted to prove his assertions by the signal instances of bad faith which had provoked the recourse to arms. But Condé was impatient. If we may believe Agrippa d'Aubigné, his old love of pleasure was not without its influence;[507] but he covered his true motives under the specious pretext afforded him by the Huguenot nobles, who, fatigued with the incessant toils of the campaign, reduced to straits by a warfare which they had carried on at their own expense, and longing to revisit homes which had been repeatedly threatened with desolation, had abandoned their standards and scattered to their respective provinces at the first mention of peace.[508] François de la Noue, more charitable to the prince, regards the universal desire for peace, without much concern respecting its conditions, as the wild blast of a hurricane which the Huguenot captains could not resist if they would.[509] When whole cornets of cavalry started without leave, before the siege of Chartres was actually raised, what could generals, deserted[Pg 236] by volunteers who had come of their own accord and had served for six months without pay, expect to accomplish?

Was the court sincere?
A treacherous plot detected. The king indignant.

Was the peace of Longjumeau—"the patched-up peace," or "the short peace," as it was called; that "wicked little peace," as La Noue styles it[510]—a compact treacherously entered into by the court? This is the old, but constantly recurring question respecting every principal event of this unhappy period; and it is one that rarely admits of an easy or a simple answer. So far as the persons who had been chiefly instrumental in forwarding the negotiations which ended in the peace of Longjumeau were concerned, they were Chancellor L'Hospital and the Bishops of Orleans and Limoges—the most moderate members of the royal council,[511] whose fair spirit was so conspicuous that for years they had been exposed to insult and open hostility as supposed Huguenots. Nothing is clearer than that the purpose of these men was the sincere and entire re-establishment of peace on a lasting foundation. The arguments of L'Hospital which I have laid before the reader furnish sufficient proof. This party had, through the force of circumstances, temporarily obtained the ascendancy in the council, and now had the ear of the queen mother. But there were by the side of its representatives at the council-board men of an entirely different stamp—advocates of persecution, of extermination; a few, from conscientious motives, preferring, with Alva, a kingdom ruined in the attempt to root out heresy, to one flourishing, with heresy tolerated; a larger number—and Cardinal Lorraine, who had now resumed his seat and his influence, must be classed with these—counting upon deriving personal advantage from the supremacy of the papal faction. It is equally manifest that this party could have acquiesced in the[Pg 237] peace, which again formally acknowledged the principle of religious toleration, only with the design of embracing the first favorable opportunity for crushing the Huguenots, when scattered and disarmed. Their desires, at least, deceived no one of ordinary perspicacity. Indeed, the peace came near failing to go into effect at all, in consequence of the discovery of the fact that a "privy council" had been held in the Louvre, to which none but sworn enemies of the Huguenots were admitted, "wherein was conspired a surprise of Orleans, Soissons, Rochelle, and Auxerre," to be executed by four designated leaders, while the Protestants were laying down their arms. In an age of salaried spies, it is not astonishing that by ten o'clock the next morning the whole plot was betrayed to Cardinal Châtillon, who immediately sent word to stay the publication of the peace. When Charles heard of it, we are told that he swore, by the faith of a prince, that, if there had been any such conspiracy, it had been formed wholly without his knowledge, and, laying his hand on his breast, said: "This is the cardinal and Gascoigne's practice. In spite of them, I will proceed with the peace;" and, commanding pen and ink to be brought, he wrote Condé a letter promising a good and sincere observance of the articles agreed upon.[512]

Short-sightedness of Catharine.

But, besides the two parties, and wavering between them—fluctuating in her own purposes, as false to her own plans as she was to her promises, with no principles either of morality or of government, intent only on grasping power, the enemy of every one that stood in the way of this, even if it were her son or her daughter—was that enigma, Catharine de' Medici, whose secret has escaped so many simply because they looked for something deep and recondite, when the solution lay almost upon the very surface. Was Catharine sincerely in favor of peace? She was never sincere. Her Macchiavellian training, the enforced hypocrisy of her married life, the trimming policy she had thought herself compelled to pursue during the minority of the kings, her two sons, had eaten from her soul, even to[Pg 238] its root, truthfulness—that pure plant of heaven's sowing. Loving peace only because it freed her from the fears, the embarrassments, the vexations of war—not because she valued human life or human happiness—she embraced it as a welcome expedient to enable her to escape the present perplexities of her position. It is improbable that Catharine distinctly premeditated a treacherous blow at the Huguenots, simply because she rarely premeditated anything very long. I am aware that this estimate of the queen is quite at variance with the views which have obtained the widest currency; but it is the estimate which history, carefully read, seems to require us to adopt. Catharine's plans were proverbially narrow in their scope, never extending much beyond the immediate present. After the catastrophe, which had perhaps been the result of the impulse of the moment, she was not, however, unwilling to accept the homage of those who deemed it a high compliment to her prudence to praise her consummate dissimulation. She probably entered upon the peace of Longjumeau without any settled purpose of treachery—unless that state of the soul be in itself treachery that has no fixed intention of upright dealing. But she had not, in adopting the advice of Chancellor de l'Hospital, renounced the policy of the Cardinal of Lorraine, in case that policy should at some future time appear to be advantageous; and it was much to be feared that the contingency referred to would soon arrive. Catharine, not less than Charles himself, resented "the affair of Meaux" of the preceding September. It was studiously held up to their eyes by the enemies of the Huguenots as an attempt upon the honor, and indeed even upon the personal liberty and life of their Majesties. Might not Catharine and Charles be tempted to retaliate by trying the effect of a surprise upon the Huguenots themselves?

Imprudence of the Huguenots.

The Huguenots had certainly been grossly imprudent in putting themselves at the mercy of a woman whom they had greatly offended, and whose natural place, according to those mysterious sympathies which bind men of similar natures, was with their adversaries. They had been warned by their secret friends at court, some of them by Roman[Pg 239] Catholic relatives.[513] But the caution was little heeded. It was not long[514] before those who had been the most strenuous advocates of peace began to admit that the draught they had put to their own lips, and now must needs drink, was likely to prove little to their taste.[515]

Judicial murder of Rapin, at Toulouse.

The parliaments made serious objections to the reception of the edict. Toulouse was, as usual, pre-eminent for its intolerance. The king sent Rapin, a Protestant gentleman who had served with distinction under Condé in Languedoc, to carry the law to the parliament, and require its official recognition. The choice was unfortunate, for it awakened all the hatred of a court proverbial for its hostility to the Reformation. An accusation of matters quite foreign to his mission was trumped up against Rapin, and, contrary to all the principles of justice, and notwithstanding the privileged character he bore as the king's envoy, he was arrested, condemned to death, and executed. So atrocious a crime might perhaps have been punished, had not the new commotions to which we shall soon be obliged to pay attention, intervened and screened the culprits from their righteous retribution.[516] Not[Pg 240] content with murdering Rapin, the Parliament of Toulouse still refused to register the edict, and not less than four successive orders were sent by the king before his refractory judges yielded an unwilling consent, even then annexing restrictive clauses which they took care to insert in their secret records.[517]

Seditious preachers and mobs.

Again Roman Catholic pulpits resounded, as they did whenever any degree of toleration was accorded the Protestants, with denunciations of Catharine, of Charles, of all in the council who had advocated such pernicious views. Again Ahab and Jezebel appear; but while Catharine is always Jezebel, it is Charles that now figures, in place of poor Antoine of Navarre, as Ahab.[518] Again, in the struggle of royalty with priests and monks breathing sedition, it is the churchman who by his arrogance carries off the victory with the common people, while from the sensible he receives merited contempt.[519] So fine a text as the edict afforded for spirited Lenten discourses did not present itself every day, and the clergy of France improved it so well that the passions of their flocks were inflamed to the utmost.[520] Except where their numbers were so large as to command respect, the Protestants scarcely dared to return to their homes.

Riot when the edict is published at Rouen.

The very mention of the peace, with its favorable terms for the Protestants, was enough to stir up the anger of the ignorant populace. When the Parliament of Rouen, after agreeing to the Edict of Longjumeau in private session, threw open its doors[Pg 241] (on the third of April, 1568) to give it official publication, a rabble that had come purposely to create a tumult, interrupted the reading with horrible imprecations against the peace, the Huguenots, the edicts, the "prêches," and the magistrates who approved such impious acts. The presidents and counsellors fled for their lives. The populace, as though inspired by some evil spirit, raged and committed havoc in the "palais de justice." The mob opened the prisons and liberated eight or ten Roman Catholics; then flocked to the ecclesiastical dungeons and would have massacred the Protestants that were still confined there, had these not found means to ransom their lives with money. It was not until six days later that the royal edict was read, in the presence of a large military force called in to preserve order.[521]

Treatment of the returning Huguenots.

In spite of the provisions of the edict, the Huguenots wandered about in the open country, avoiding the cities where they were likely to meet with insult and violence, if not death. The Protestants of Nogent, Provins, and Bray hesitated for three months, and then we are told that each man watched his opportunity and sought to enter when his Roman Catholic friends might be on guard to defend him from the insolence of others.

At Provins.

But the sufferings of the Huguenot burgess were not ended when he was once more in his own house. He was studiously treated as a rebel. Every movement was suspicious. A Roman Catholic chronicler, who has preserved in his voluminous diary many of the details that enable us to restore something of its original coloring to the picture of the social and political condition of the times, vividly portrays the misfortunes of the unfortunate Huguenots of Provins. They were not numerous. One by one, thirty or forty had stealthily crept into town, experiencing no other injury than the coarse raillery of their former neighbors. Thereupon the municipal government met and deliberated upon the measures of police to be taken "in order to hold the Huguenots in check and in fear, and to avoid any treachery they might intend to put into prac[Pg 242]tice by the introduction of their brother Huguenots into the city to plunder and hold it by force." The determination arrived at was that each of the four captains should visit the Huguenot houses of his quarter, examine the inmates, and take all the weapons he found, giving a receipt to their owners. This was not the only humiliation to which the Protestants were subjected. A proclamation was published forbidding them from receiving any person into their houses, from meeting together under any pretext, from leaving their houses in the evening after seven o'clock in summer, or five in winter, from walking by day or night on the walls, or, indeed, from approaching within two arquebuse shots' distance of them—all upon pain of death! They could not even go into the country without a passport from the bailiff and the captain of the gate, the penalty of transgressing this regulation being banishment. No wonder that the Huguenots were irritated, and that most of them wished that they had not returned.[522] Since, however, a royal ordinance of the nineteenth of May expressly enjoined upon all fugitive Huguenots to re-enter the cities to which they belonged, and in case of refusal commanded the magistrates to raise a force and attack them as presumptive robbers and enemies of the public peace,[523] they were perhaps quite as safe within the walls as roaming about outside of them.

Expedition and fate of De Cocqueville.

Early in the summer an event occurred on the northern frontier, which, although in itself of little weight, augmented the suspicions which the Protestants began to entertain of the Spanish tendencies of the government. One Seigneur de Cocqueville, with a party of French and Flemish Huguenots, had crossed the northern boundary and invaded Philip's Netherland provinces. He had, however, been driven back into France. As he was believed to have acted under Condé's instructions, that prince was requested by Charles to inform him whether Cocqueville were in his service. When Condé disavowed him, and declined all responsibility for the[Pg 243] movement, Marshal Cossé was directed to march against Cocqueville, and, on the eighteenth of July, the Huguenot chieftain was captured at the town of Saint Valéry, in Picardy, where he had taken refuge. Of twenty-five hundred followers, barely three hundred are said to have been spared. In order to please Alva, the Flemings received no quarter. The leaders, Cocqueville, Vaillant, and Saint Amand, were brought to Paris and gibbeted on the Place de Grève.[524]

Attitude of the government suspicious.
Garrisons and interpretative ordinances.

The central government itself gave the gravest grounds for fear and suspicion. The Huguenots had promptly disbanded. They had lost no time in dismissing their German allies, who, retiring with well-filled pockets to the other side of the Rhine, seemed alone to have profited by the intestine commotions of France.[525] On the contrary, the Roman Catholic forces showed no disposition to disarm. It is true that, in the first fervor of the ascendancy of the peace party, Catharine countermanded a levy of five thousand Saxons, much to the annoyance of Castelnau, who had by his unwearied diligence brought them in hot haste to Réthel on the Aisne, only to learn that the preliminaries of peace were on the point of being concluded, and that the troopers were expected to retrace their steps to Saxony.[526] But the Swiss and Italian soldiers, as well as the French gens-d'armes, were for the most part retained. To Humières, who commanded for the king in Péronne, Charles wrote an explanation of his course: "Inasmuch as there are sometimes turbulent spirits so constituted that they neither can[Pg 244] nor desire to accommodate themselves so soon to quiet, it has appeared to me extremely necessary to anticipate this difficulty, and act in such a manner that, force and authority remaining on my side, I may be able to keep in check those who might so far forget themselves as to set on foot new disturbances and be the cause of seditious uprising."[527] Large garrisons were thus provided for those towns which had rendered themselves conspicuous in the defence of the Huguenots during the late war, and the sufferings of the Protestants, upon whom, in preference to their Roman Catholic neighbors, the insolent soldiers were quartered, were terrible beyond description.[528] The horrors of the "dragonnades" of the reign of Louis the Fourteenth were rivalled by these earlier military persecutions. Multitudes were despoiled of their goods, hundreds lost their lives at the hands of their cruel guests. France assumed the aspect of a great camp, with sentries posted everywhere to maintain it in peace against some suspected foe. The sea-ports, the bridges, the roads were guarded; the Huguenots themselves were placed under a species of surveillance. Nor were the old resorts of the court forgotten. Again interpretative ordinances were called in to abrogate a portion of the law itself. Charles declared in a new proclamation that he had not intended by the Edict of Longjumeau to include Auvergne, nor any district belonging as an appanage to his mother, to Anjou, Alençon, or the Bourbon princes, in the toleration guaranteed by the edict. And thus a very considerable number of Protestants were by a single stroke of the pen stripped[Pg 245] of the privileges solemnly accorded to them but a few weeks before.[529] Other pledges were as shamelessly broken. The Huguenot gentlemen whom the court had attempted to punish by declaring them to have forfeited their honors and dignities, were not reinstated according to the terms of the edict.[530]

Oppression by royal governors.

The conduct of individual governors furnished still greater occasion for complaint and alarm. The Duke of Nemours, who, in marrying Anne of Este, Guise's widow, two years before, seemed also to have espoused all the hatred which the Lorraines felt for Protestantism, and for the family of the Châtillons, its most prominent and faithful defenders, was governor of the provinces of Lyonnais and Dauphiny. This insubordinate nobleman loudly proclaimed his intention to disregard the Edict of Longjumeau, as opposed to the Roman Catholic Church and to the king's honor. In vain did the Protestants, who were numerous in the city of Lyons, demand to be allowed to enjoy the two places of worship they had possessed, before the late troubles, within the city walls. The duke would not listen to their just claims, and the court, in answer to their appeals, only responded that the king did not approve of the holding of Protestant services inside of cities, and that a place would shortly be assigned for their use in the vicinity.[531] Unrebuked by the queen or her son for his flagrant disobedience, Nemours received nothing but plaudits from the fanatical adherents of the religion he pretended to maintain, and was honored by the Pope, Pius the Fifth (on the fifth of July, 1568), with a special brief, in which he was praised for being the first to set a resplendent example of resistance to the execution of an unchristian peace.[532]

Marshal Tavannes, in Burgundy, earned equal gratitude for his opposition to the concession of Protestant rights. Not content with remonstrance respecting a peace which had excited every one "to raise his voice against the king and Catharine," and with dark hints of the danger of handling so carelessly a[Pg 246] border province like Burgundy,[533] he openly favored the revival of those "Confraternities of the Holy Ghost" which Charles had so lately condemned and prohibited. Being himself detained by illness, two of his sons were present at a meeting of one of these seditious assemblages, held in Dijon, the provincial capital, where, before a great concourse of people, the most inflammatory language was freely uttered.[534]

The "Christian and Royal League."
Insubordination to royal authority.

At Troyes, the capital of Champagne, a similar association assumed the designation of "the Christian and Royal League." The document, containing the oath taken by the clergy whom the king's lieutenant had associated with the nobility and the provincial estates in the "holy" bond, is still extant, with the signatures of the bishop, the deans, canons, and inferior ecclesiastics appended.[535] The primary object was the maintenance of "the true Catholic and Roman Church of God;" and after this the preservation of the crown for the house of Valois was mentioned. It was to be sustained "against all persons, without excepting any, save the persons of the king, his sons and brothers, and the queen their mother, and without regard to any relationship or alliance," and "so long as it might please God that the signers should be governed according to the Roman and Apostolic Church."[536] In less public utterances the spirit of insubordination to the regal authority made itself understood even more clearly. When the formation of such associations was objected to, on the ground of the king's prohibition, the response given by those[Pg 247] who pretended to be better informed than the rest was that the Cardinal of Lorraine could make the matter agreeable to his Majesty. Others more boldly announced the intention of the Roman Catholic party, in case Charles should refuse to sanction its course, to send him to a monastery for the rest of his days, and elect another king in his place. Three months' time was all that these blatant boasters allowed for the utter destruction of the Huguenots in France. An end would be made of them as soon as the harvest and vintage were past.[537]

Admirable organization of the Huguenots.

If the Roman Catholics had resolved upon a renewal of the war, they certainly had reason to desire a better combination of their forces than they had effected in the late contest. They had been startled and amazed at the rapidity with which, although embracing but an inconsiderable minority of the population, the Huguenots had succeeded in massing an army that held at bay that of the king. They admired the completeness of the organization which enabled the Prince of Condé and the admiral to summon the gentry of the most distant provinces, and bring them to the very vicinity of the court before the movement was suspected even by Constable Montmorency, who believed himself to be kept advised of the most trifling occurrences that took place in any part of France. The triumph of the Huguenots—for was it not a triumph which they had achieved in securing such terms as the Edict of Longjumeau conceded?—was a disgrace to the papists, who had not known how to use their overwhelming preponderance in numbers. Never had a more signal example been given of the superiority of united and zealous sympathy over discordant and soulless counsels.[538] While their[Pg 248] enemies, with nothing in common but their hatred of Protestantism, were hampered by the want of concert between their leaders, or cheated of their success by their positive jealousies and quarrels, the Huguenots had in their common faith, in their well-ordered form of church government, combining the advantages of great local efficiency with those of a representative union, and in their common danger, the instruments best adapted to secure the ends they desired. "They were so closely bound together by this order and by these objects," wrote the Venetian ambassador Correro, "that there resulted a concordant will and so perfect a union that it made them prompt in rendering instant obedience and in forming common designs, and most ready to execute the commands of their superiors."[539]

Murder runs riot throughout France.

With such associations as "the Confraternities of the Holy Ghost," and "the Christian and Royal League" springing up in various parts of France, under the express sanction of the provincial governors, and publishing as their chief aim the extirpation of heresy from the realm; with priests and monks, especially those of the new order of Jesus, inflaming the passions of the people by seditious preaching, and persuading their hearers that any toleration of heretics was a compact with Satan, it is not strange that murder held high carnival wherever the Protestants were not so numerous as to be able to stand on the defensive. The victims were of every rank and station, from the obscure peasant to the distinguished Cipierre, son of the Count de Tende and a relative of the Duke of Savoy, the orders for whose assassination were confidently believed to have issued from the court.[540] At Auxerre,[Pg 249] which had been given up by the Huguenots in accordance with the provisions of the peace, one hundred and fifty Protestants paid with their lives the price of their good faith. Their bodies were thrown into the public sewers. In the city of Amiens one hundred and fifty persons were slaughtered at one time. Instead of punishment, the rioters obtained their object: the reformed worship was forbidden in Amiens, or within three leagues of the city.[541] At Clermont the assassins, after plundering the wares of a wealthy merchant, who had refused to hang tapestry before his house at the time of the procession on Corpus Christi Day—La Fête-Dieu—buried him in a fire made of furniture taken from his own house.[542] At Ligny, in Champagne, a Huguenot was pursued into the very bedchamber of a royal officer, and there killed. Troyes, Bourges, Rouen, and a host of other places, witnessed the commission of atrocities which it would be rather sickening than profitable to narrate.[543] In Paris itself the murders of Huguenots were frequent. "On Sunday last," wrote Norris, the English envoy, to his royal mistress, "the Prince of Condé sent a gentleman to the king, to beseech his Majesty to administer justice against such as murder them of the religion, and as he entered into the city there were five slain in St. Anthony's street, not far from my lodging."[544] The aggregate of homicides committed within the brief compass of this so-called peace was enormous. Jean de Serres and Agrippa d'Aubigné may possibly go somewhat beyond the mark when[Pg 250] they state the number of victims in three months—April, May, and June, 1568—at over ten thousand;[545] but they are substantially correct in saying that the number far exceeded that of the armed Huguenots slain during the six months of the preceding war;[546] for the Venetian ambassador, who certainly had no motive for exaggeration, asserts that "the principal cities of the kingdom, notwithstanding the conditions of the peace, refused to readmit 'the preachings' to their territories, and slew many thousands of Huguenots who dared to rise and complain."[547]

Rochelle and other cities refuse to receive garrisons.
Condé and Coligny retire.
D'Andelot's remonstrance.

While the majority of the cities held by the Protestants had, as we have seen, promptly opened their gates to the king, a number, perceiving the dangers to which they were exposed, alarmed by the attitude of the Roman Catholics, and doubtful of the good faith of the court, declined to allow the garrisons to enter. This was the case with La Rochelle, which defended its course by appealing to its privileges, and with Montauban, Albi, Milhau, Sancerre, Castres, Vézelay, and other less important towns.[548] The events of a few[Pg 251] weeks had amply vindicated the wisdom and justice of their refusal. La Rochelle even began to repair its fortifications, confident that the papal faction would never rest until it had made the attempt to destroy the great Huguenot stronghold in the west. Evidently there was no safety for a Protestant under the ægis of the Edict of Longjumeau. The Prince of Condé dared not resume the government of the province nominally restored to his charge, and retired to Noyers, a small town in Burgundy, belonging to his wife's dower, where he would be less exposed than in the vicinity of Paris to any treacherous attempt upon his person. Admiral Coligny was not slow in following his example. He abandoned his stately manor of Châtillon-sur-Loing, where, with a heart saddened by recent domestic affliction,[549] he had been compelled to exercise a princely hospitality to the crowds that daily thronged to consult with him and to do him honor,[550] and took[Pg 252] up his abode in the castle of Tanlay, belonging to his brother D'Andelot, and within a few miles of the prince's retreat.[551] D'Andelot himself had recently started for Brittany, where his first wife, Claude de Rieux, had held extensive possessions.[552] Before leaving, however, he had written to Catharine de' Medici, a letter of remonstrance full of noble sentiments. The occasion was the murder of one of his gentlemen, whom he had sent to the neighboring city of Auxerre; but his letter embraced a complete view of "the calamitous state of the poor kingdom," whose misery "was such as to cause the hair of all that heard to stand on end." "Not only," said D'Andelot, "can we feel no doubt that God will not leave unpunished so much innocent blood, which continues to cry before Him for vengeance, as well as so many violations of women and maidens; so many robberies; so much oppression—in one word, every species of iniquity. But, besides this, we can look for nothing else than the near-approaching desolation and ruin of this state: for no one that has read sacred and profane history will be able to deny that such things have always preceded the overthrow of empires and monarchies. I am well aware,[Pg 253] madam, that there will be those who, on seeing this letter, will ridicule me, and will say that I am playing the part of prophet or preacher. I am neither the one nor the other, since God has not given me this calling. But I will yet say, with truth, that there is not a man in the kingdom, of any rank or quality, who loves his king and his kingdom better than I do, or who is more grieved at seeing those disorders that I see, which can, in the end, result only in general confusion. I know full well that I shall be met with the taking up of arms, in which I participated, with so many others, on the eve of last St. Michael's Day, as if we had intended to attack the persons of your Majesties, or anything belonging to you, or this state, as was published wherever it was possible, and as is still daily asserted. But, not to undertake other justification, I will only say that, if such wickedness had entered into my heart, though I might conceal it from men, I could not hide it from God, from whom I never have asked forgiveness for it, nor ever shall I." D'Andelot proceeded to show that the movement in question had been caused by absolute necessity, and that this was rendered evident to all men by that which was now occurring in every part of France. He told her that it was sufficiently manifest that this universal oppression was only designed to provoke "those of the religion" to such a point that they would lose patience, and to obtain a pretext for attacking and exterminating them. He reminded her that he had often insisted "that opinions in matters of religion can be changed neither by fire nor by force of arms, and that those deem themselves very happy who can lay down their lives for the service of God and for His glory." He warned her of those who, unlike the Huguenots, would sacrifice the interests of the state to their own individual ends of ambition or revenge. In conclusion, after alluding to a recent sudden death which much resembled a mark of the divine displeasure upon the murderous assault that had called forth this letter, he exclaimed: "I do not mean to be so presumptuous as to judge the dealings of God; but I do mean to say, with the sure testimony of His word, that all those who violate public faith are punished for it."[553]

[Pg 254]

Catharine takes side with the chancellor's enemies.

That salutary warning had been rung in Catharine's ears more than once, and was destined to be repeated again and again, with little effect: "All those who violate public faith are punished for it." L'Hospital had but a few months before been urging to a course of political integrity, and pointing out the rock on which all previous plans of pacification had split. There was but one way to secure the advantages of permanent peace, and that was an upright observance of the treaties formed with the Huguenots. But Catharine was slow to learn the lesson. Crooked paths, to her distorted vision, seemed to be the shortest way to success. Her Italian education had taught her that deceit was better, under all circumstances, than plain dealing, and she could not unlearn the long-cherished theory. Whether L'Hospital's views were originally the chief motives that influenced her in consenting to the peace of Longjumeau, or whether she had acquiesced in it as a cover to treacherous designs, certain it is that she now began to side openly with the chancellor's enemies, and that the Cardinal of Lorraine regained his old influence in the council. The fanatical sermons that had been a premonitory symptom of the previous wars were again heard with complacency in the court chapel; for, about the month of June, the king appointed as his preachers four of the most blatant advocates of persecution: Vigor, a canon of Notre Dame; De Sainte Foy; the gray friar, Hugonis; and Claude de Sainctes, whose acquaintance the reformers had made at the Colloquy of Poissy.[554]

Remonstrance of the three marshals.
Catharine's intrigues.

There had been a desperate struggle in the royal council ever since the conclusion of the peace. The extreme Roman Catholics, recognizing the instability of Catharine, had long since[Pg 255] begun to base their hopes upon Henry of Anjou's influence. Their opponents accepted the issue, and resolved to circumscribe the duke's inordinate powers. Three of the marshals of France—Montmorency, his brother Damville, and Vieilleville—presented themselves at a meeting of the royal council held in the queen mother's sick-chamber (on the second of May, 1568), to remonstrate against Anjou's retaining the office of lieutenant-general. Even Cardinal Bourbon supported their movement, and, sinking for the time his extreme religious partisanship, threatened to leave the court, and give the world to understand how much he had at heart the honor of his house and the welfare of his friends. The object of the marshals could not be mistaken: it was nothing less than the overthrow of the Cardinal of Lorraine, who sought supreme power under cover of Anjou's name. The end of the war, remarked the ambassador, Sir Henry Norris, had brought no end to the mortal hatred between the houses of Guise and Montmorency. The prospect of permanent peace was dark. The king was easy to be seduced, his mother bent upon maintaining these divisions in the court, and Anjou so much under the cardinal's influence that it was to be feared that the Huguenots would in the end be forced to have recourse once more to arms. In the midst of these perils, the queen mother had been exercising her ingenuity in playing off one party against the other; now giving countenance to the Guises, now to the Montmorencies. At one time she used Limoges, at another Morvilliers or Sens, in her secret intrigues. Presently she resorted to Lorraine, and, when jealous of his too great forwardness, would turn to the chancellor himself, "undoing in one day what the cardinal had intended long afore." Besides these prominent statesmen, she had not scrupled to take up with meaner tools—men whose elevation boded no good to the commonwealth, and with whom she conferred about the imposition of those onerous taxes which had cost her the forfeiture of the good-will of the people. To add to the confusion, the jealousy between the king and his brother Anjou had reappeared, and the chancellor had lost his characteristic courage and avowed his utter despair of being able to stem[Pg 256] the fierce tide of human selfishness and passion. Cardinal Lorraine was realizing his long-cherished hope: "for this one man's authority had been the greatest countermand of his devices."[555]

The court tries to ruin Condé and Coligny.

The Huguenot leaders had entered into engagements to repay to the king the nine hundred thousand francs advanced by him to the German reiters of Count Casimir. This sum—a large one for the times—Charles now called upon Condé and Coligny to refund, and he expressly commanded that it should not be levied upon the Protestant churches, but be raised by those who had taken up arms in the late contest.[556] It was a transparent attempt to array the masses that had suffered little pecuniarily in the war against the brave men who had not only impoverished themselves, but hazarded their lives in defence of the common cause. Nothing less than the financial ruin of the prince and the admiral, who had voluntarily become sureties, seemed likely to satisfy their enemies.

Téligny sent to carry a reply.

The Prince of Condé despatched young Téligny to carry his spirited reply to this extraordinary demand, and, not confining himself to the exhibition of its flagrant injustice, he recapitulated the daily multiplying infractions upon the edict. The Protestants were treated as enemies, he said, and were safe neither at home nor abroad. An open war could not be more bitter.[557] Besides countless general massacres, he complained of the recent assassination of two of his own dependants, and of the surveillance exercised over all the great noblemen "of the religion," who were closely watched in their castles by the commanders of neighboring forces. Against[Pg 257] himself the unparalleled insult had been shown of placing a garrison in the palace of a prince of the blood. Nay, he had arrested a spy caught in the very act of measuring the height of the fortifications of Noyers, and sounding the depth of the moat, with a view to a subsequent assault, and the capture not only of the prince, but of the admiral, who frequently came there to see him. He rehearsed the grounds of just alarm which the Protestants had in the threats their indiscreet enemies were daily uttering, and in "the confraternities of the Holy Ghost," defiantly instituted with the approval of the king's own governors. What safety was there for the Huguenots when a counsellor of a celebrated parliament had lately asserted, in the presence of an assembly of three thousand persons, "that he had commands from the leading men of the royal council admonishing the Catholics that they ought to give no credence to any edicts of the king unless they contained a peculiar mark of authenticity." And he was induced to believe him right, by noticing the fact that, since the establishment of peace, no one had obeyed the royal letters. Finally, in decided but respectful language, he remonstrated against the pernicious precedent which the court was allowing to become established, when the express commands of the monarch were set at naught with impunity.[558]

An oath to be exacted of the Huguenots.

As the time approached for the blow to be struck that should forever put an end to the exercise of the reformed faith in France, the conspirators began to betray their anxiety lest their nefarious designs might be anticipated and rendered futile by such a measure of defence as that which the Huguenots had taken on the eve of Michaelmas. They resolved, therefore, if possible, to bind their victims hand and foot; and no more convenient method presented itself than that of involving them in obligations of implicit obedience which would embarrass, if they did not absolutely preclude, any exercise of their wonderful system of combined action. About the beginning of August, Charles despatched to all parts of his dominions the form of an oath which was to be demanded of every Protestant subject, and the royal officers and magistrates[Pg 258] were directed to make lists of those who signed as well as of those who refused to sign it.[559] "We protest before God, and swear by His name"—so ran the oath—"that we recognize King Charles the Ninth as our natural sovereign and only prince ... and that we will never take up arms save by his express command, of which he may have notified us by his letters patent duly verified; and that we will never consent to, nor assist with counsel, money, food, or anything else whatsoever, those who shall arm themselves against him or his will. We will make no levy or assessment of money for any purpose without his express commission; and will never enter into any secret leagues, intrigues, or plots, nor engage in any underhand practices or enterprises, but, on the contrary, we promise and swear to notify him or his officers of all that we shall be able to learn and discover that is devised against his Majesty.... Moreover, we protest that we will not leave the city, whatever necessity may arrive, but will join our hearts, our wills, and our abilities with our fellow-citizens in defence of that city, to which we will always entertain the devotion of true and faithful citizens, whilst the Catholics will find in us sincere and fraternal affection: awaiting the time when it may please God to put an end to all troubles, to which we hope that this reconciliation will be a happy prelude."[560]

The trap was not ill contrived, and its bars were strong enough to hold anything that might venture within. Fortunately, however, the bait did not conceal the cruel design lurking behind it. Why, it might be asked, this new test? Was Condé, whom the king had only four or five months ago recognized by solemn edict as his "dear cousin and faithful servant and subject," a friend or a foe? Had peace been concluded with the Hugue[Pg 259]nots only that they might anew be treated as rebels and enemies? What had become of the prescribed amnesty? Was it at all likely that private citizens would bury in oblivion their former dissensions and abstain from mutual insults, when the monarch officially reminded them that there was one class of his subjects whose past conduct made them objects of grave suspicion? While, therefore, the Huguenots professed themselves ready to give the king all possible assurances of their loyal devotion, they declined to swear to a form that bore on its face the proof that it was composed, not in accordance with Charles's own ideas, but by an enemy of the crown and of public tranquillity. They requested that it might receive such modifications as would permit them to sign it with due regard to their own self-respect and to their religious convictions, and they entreated Charles to confirm their liberty of conscience and of religious observance; for, without these privileges, which they valued above their own existence, they were ready to forsake, not only their cities, but their very lives also.[561]

The plot disclosed by an intercepted letter.

At this critical moment the destiny of France was wavering in the balance, and the decision depended upon the answer to be given to the question whether Chancellor L'Hospital or Cardinal Lorraine should retain his place in the council. The tolerant policy of the former is too well understood to need an explanation. The designs of the latter are revealed by an intercepted letter that fell into the hands of the Huguenots about this time. It was written (on the ninth of August) at the little country-seat named Madrid,[562] whose ruins are still pointed out, near the banks of the Seine, on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, and not far from the walls of the city of Paris. The writer, evidently a devoted partisan of the house of Guise, had been entrusted by the Cardinal of Lorraine[563] with a glimpse at the designs of the party of which the latter[Pg 260] was the declared chief. A proclamation was soon to be made in the king's name, through Marshal Cossé, to the Protestant nobles, assuring them of the monarch's intention to deal kindly and peaceably with them, to preserve their religious liberties, and to treat them as his faithful subjects; and explaining the design of the movement which he was now setting on foot to be merely the reduction of the inhabitants of some insolent cities (those that, like La Rochelle, had refused to admit garrisons) to his authority. This announcement, the cardinal proceeded to say, might disturb some good Catholics, who would think that their labors and the dangers they had undergone were all in vain. In reality, however, it was only intended to secure the power in the hands of the king, and to take away from the Protestant leaders all occasion for assembling, until, being reduced to straits, that rabble, so hostile to the king and the kingdom, should be wholly destroyed. Thus the very remnants would be annihilated; for the seed would assuredly spring up again, unless the same course should be pursued as that of which the French had resplendent examples shown them by their neighbors.[564] Meanwhile, until these plans could be carried into effect, as they would doubtless be within the present month, the Protestant nobles must be carefully diverted, as some were already showing signs of security, and others of falling into the snare prepared for them. The cardinal, so he informed the writer, was confident, with God's favor, of an easy and most certain victory over the enemies of the faith.[565]

Isabella of France again her husband's mouthpiece.

Such were the cardinal's intentions as expressed by himself and reported almost word for word[566] in a letter to which I shall[Pg 261] presently have occasion again to direct the reader's attention. It was the policy advocated persistently both by Pius the Fifth and by Philip the Second, and embodied in counsel which would have been resented by a court possessed of more self-respect than the French court, as impertinent advice. For, in the report made to Catharine by one of her servants at the Spanish capital, there is a wonderful similarity in the language employed to that used at the conference of Bayonne. Isabella of France is again the speaker, though much suspected of uttering rather the sentiments of Philip, her husband, who was present,[567] than her own. Again, after expressing the most vehement zeal for the welfare of her native country, she advocated rigorous measures against the Huguenots, in phrases almost identical with those which, as the Duke of Alva relates, she had addressed to her mother three years before. "She told me among other things," says the queen's agent, "that she would never believe that either the king her brother, or you, will ever execute the design already entered into between you (although, by your command, I had notified the king [Philip] and herself of your good-will respecting this matter), until she saw it performed; for you had often before made them the same promises, but no result had ever followed. She feared that your Majesties might be dissuaded from action by the smooth speeches of certain persons in your court, until the enemy gained the opportunity of forming new designs, not only against the king's authority, but even against yourselves. The apprehension kept her in a constant state of alarm."[568]

King Charles entreats his mother to avoid war.

But, although Catharine had now given in her adhesion to the Spanish and Lorraine party, the success of that party was as yet incomplete. L'Hospital was still in the privy council, and Charles himself greatly preferred the conciliation and peace ad[Pg 262]vocated by the chancellor. The same letter from the pleasure-palace of "Madrid," on the banks of the Seine, whose contents have already occupied our attention, makes important disclosures respecting the attitude of the unhappy prince, of whom it may be questioned whether his greatest misfortune was that he had so unprincipled a mother, or that he had not sufficient strength of will to resist her pernicious designs. "I observed," wrote this correspondent still further in reference to the Cardinal of Lorraine, "that he was very much excited on account of a conversation which the king had recently had with the queen, and which he believed to have been suggested to him by others. For the king entreated his mother, almost as a suppliant, 'to take the greatest care lest war should again break out, and that the edict should everywhere be observed: otherwise he foresaw the complete ruin of his kingdom.'[569] And when the queen alleged the rebellion of the inhabitants of La Rochelle, he replied, as he had been instructed beforehand, 'that the Rochellois only desired to retain their ancient privileges. Their demand was not unreasonable; and even if it were, it was better to make a temporary sacrifice to the welfare of the realm than to plunge in new turmoil. As to the nobles, he was persuaded that they would live peaceably if the edict were properly executed. In short, he was earnestly desirous that matters should be restored to their best and most quiet state.' The queen and very many other illustrious persons have but one object of fervent desire, and that is to see the kingdom of France return to the condition it was in under Francis and Henry. The queen mother knows that this speech was dictated to him by certain men, and she owes the authors of it no good-will. So much the more anxiously does she desire, in common with a vast multitude of good Catholics, to prove to[Pg 263] the king that whatever is done in this affair has for its sole object to liberate him from servitude and make him a king in reality, and to expel the pestilence and those infected by it—a result utterly unattainable in any other way."[570]

Catharine's animosity against L'Hospital.

Catharine could not doubt that it was Michel de l'Hospital that had infused into Charles his own just and pacific spirit. From the moment she had come to this conclusion the chancellor's fall was inevitable. The particular occasion of it, however, seems to have been the opposition which he offered to the reception of a papal bull. To relieve the royal treasury, the court had applied to Rome for permission to alienate ecclesiastical possessions in France yielding an income of fifty thousand crowns (or one hundred and fifty thousand francs), on the plea that the indebtedness had been incurred in defence of the Roman Catholic faith. Pius the Fifth granted the application, but in his bull of the first of August, 1568, he not only made it a condition that the funds should be exclusively employed under the direction of a trustworthy person—and as such he named the Cardinal of Lorraine—in the extermination of the heretics of France, or their reconciliation with the Church of Rome, but he ascribed to Charles in making the request the declared purpose of continuing a work for which his own means had proved inadequate. The reception of the document was in itself an act of bad faith, and the chancellor resisted it to the utmost of his power, urging that the pontiff should be requested to alter its objectionable form.[571]

Another quarrel between Lorraine and the chancellor.

Another of those painful scenes occurred in the privy council (on the nineteenth of September), of which there had been so many within the past four or five years. Again the disputants were the Cardinal of Lorraine and the chancellor. The former angrily demanded the reason why L'Hospital had refused to affix his signature to the bull; whereupon the latter alleged, among many other[Pg 264] grounds, that to revoke the Edict of Pacification, as demanded by the Pope, "was the direct way to cause open wars, and to bring the Germans into the realm." The cardinal was "much stirred." He called L'Hospital a hypocrite; he said that his wife and daughter were Calvinists. "You are not the first of your race that has deserved ill of the king," he added. "I am sprung from as honest a race as you are," retorted the other. Beside himself with fury, Lorraine "gave him the lie, and, rising incontinently out of his chair," would have seized him by the beard, had not Marshal Montmorency stepped in between them. "Madam," said the cardinal, "in great choler," turning to the queen mother, in whose presence the angry discussion took place, "the chancellor is the sole cause of all the troubles in France, and were he in the hands of parliament his head would not tarry on his shoulders twenty-four hours." "On the contrary, Madam," rejoined L'Hospital, "the cardinal is the original cause of all the mischiefs that have chanced as well to France, within these eight years, as to the rest of Christendom. In proof of which I refer him to the common report of even those who most favor him."[572]

The chancellor's fall.

But the chancellor accomplished nothing. Catharine had overcome her weak son's partiality for the grave old counsellor by persuading him that, as the chancellor's wife, his daughter, his son-in-law, and indeed his entire house, were avowedly Huguenots, it was impossible but that he was himself only restrained from making an open profession of Protestantism by the fear of losing his present position.[573] Finding himself not only stripped of all influence, and compelled to witness the enactment of measures repugnant to his very nature, but an object of hatred to his associates, Michel de l'Hospital withdrew from a council board where, as he asserted, even Charles himself did not dare to express his opinions freely.[574] Subsequently retiring altogether from the court to his country-seat of Vignai, not far from Étampes, he surrendered his insig[Pg 265]nia of office to a messenger of Catharine, who came to recommend him, in the king's name, to take that rest which his advanced years demanded. Monsieur de Morvilliers succeeded him, with the title of keeper of the seals, but the full powers of chancellor.[575] In quiet retirement, the venerable judge and legislator lingered more than four years, unhappy only in being spared to see the melancholy results of the rejection of his prudent counsels, the desolation of his native land, and the transformation of an amiable king into a murderer of his own subjects. Few days in this eventful reign were more lasting in their consequences than that which beheld the final removal from all direct influence upon the court of the only leading politician or statesman who could have forestalled the horrors of a generation of inhuman wars.

The plot.
Marshal Tavannes its author.

The crisis now rapidly approached. The Huguenot chiefs were widely separated from each other—Montgomery in Normandy, Genlis and Mouy in Picardy, Rochefoucauld at Angoulême, D'Andelot in Brittany, Condé and Coligny in Burgundy. The royal court, now entirely in the interest of the Guises, resolved to execute the plan which the Roman Catholic nobles of this faction had sketched to Alva three years before at Bayonne, by the seizure of five or six of the leaders, as a measure preliminary to the total suppression[Pg 266] of Protestantism in France. Gaspard de Tavannes was entrusted with the execution of the most important part of the scheme—the arrest of the prince and the admiral. Fourteen companies of gens-d'armes and as many ensigns of infantry stood under his orders, and Noyers was closely beset on all sides.[576] It was at this moment, when secrecy was all important to the success of the plot, that the tidings of the threatening storm reached its destined victims. It has long been believed and reported that Tavannes, unwilling to lend himself to unworthy machinations whose execution would have wounded his soldierly pride, took measures to warn Condé and Coligny of their danger. Unfortunately, the story rests on no better authority than his "Mémoires," written by a son who has often shown a greater desire to vindicate his father's memory than to maintain historical truth, and who, writing under the rule of the Bourbons, had in this case, as in that of the pretended deliverance of Henry of Navarre and Henry of Condé, at the great Parisian massacre four years later, sufficient inducements for endeavoring to represent the reigning family as indebted to his father for its preservation.[577] Brantôme is consistent with the entire mass of contemporary documents in representing Tavannes as the author of the whole scheme; and certainly one who was so deeply implicated in the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day cannot have been too humane to think of capturing, or even assassinating, two nobles, although one of them was a prince of the blood. A more probable story is that Tavannes was the unintentional instrument of the disclosure, a letter of his having fallen into Huguenot hands, containing the words: "The deer is in the[Pg 267] net; the game is ready."[578] But, in point of fact, the Huguenots needed no such hints. With their perfect organization, in the face of so treacherous a foe, after so many violations as they had of late witnessed of the royal edict, they were already on their guard, and the hostile preparations had not escaped their notice.

Condé's last appeal to the king.

When the news first reached him that the troops sent ostensibly to besiege La Rochelle were recalled, Condé, alarmed by what he heard from every quarter, had begged his mother-in-law, the Marchioness de Rothelin, to go to the court and entreat the king, in his name, to maintain the sanctity of his engagements, confirmed by repeated oaths. Scarcely had she departed, however, before he received fresh and reiterated warnings that his safety depended upon instant escape. He determined, nevertheless, to make a last attempt to avert the horrid prospect of a war which, from the malignant hatred exhibited by all classes of Roman Catholics, he rightly judged would exceed the previous contests both in duration and in destructiveness. He addressed to his young sovereign a letter explaining the necessity of the step he was about to take, accompanied by a long appeal, of which it would be impracticable to give even a brief summary. Every point in the multitudinous grievances of which the Huguenots complained was recapitulated. Every counter-charge with which the court had endeavored to parry the force of previous remonstrances was satisfactorily answered. In eloquent terms the prince indicted Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine, as the enemy alike of the royal dignity and of the liberties of the people, as the author of all the troubles of France, and the advocate and defender of robbers and murderers.[579] He reminded the king of[Pg 268] the declaration of Maximilian, the present Emperor of Germany, in a letter written before his election to Charles himself: "All the wars and all the dissensions that are to-day rife among the Christians have originated from two cardinals—Granvelle and Lorraine."[580] And he closed the long and eloquent document by protesting, in the sight of God and of all foreign nations, that the Huguenot nobles sought the punishment of Lorraine and his associates alone, as the guilty causes of all the calamities that portended destruction to the French crown, and would pursue them as perjured violators of the public faith and capital enemies of peace and tranquillity. He therefore hoped that no one would be astonished if he and his allies should henceforth refuse to receive as the king's commands anything that might be decided upon by the royal council, so long as the cardinal might be present at its sessions, but should regard them as fabrications of the cardinal and his fellows. The causes of the misfortunes that might arise must be attributed, not to himself and his Huguenot allies, but to the cardinal and his Roman Catholic confederates.[581]

The flight of the prince and the admiral.
Proves wonderfully successful.

Having despatched "this testimony of the innocence, integrity, and faith" of himself and of his associates, "to be transmitted to posterity in everlasting remembrance," the Prince of Condé set out on the same day (the twenty-third of August) from Noyers. Coligny had joined him, bringing from Tanlay his daughter, the future bride of Téligny—and, after that nobleman's assassination on St. Bartholomew's Day, of William of Orange, the hero of the revolt of the Netherlands—and his young sons, as well as the wife and[Pg 269] infant son of his brother D'Andelot. Condé was himself accompanied by his wife, who was expecting soon to be confined, and by several children. His own servants and those of the admiral, with a few noblemen that came in from the neighborhood, swelled their escort to about one hundred and fifty horse.[582] With such a handful of men, and embarrassed in their flight by the presence of those whom their age or their sex disqualified for the endurance of the fatigues of a protracted journey, Condé and Coligny undertook to reach the friendly shelter of the walls of La Rochelle. It was a perilous attempt. The journey was one of several hundred miles, through the very heart of France. The cities were garrisoned by their enemies. The bridges and fords were guarded. The difficulties, in fact, were apparently so insurmountable, that the Roman Catholics seem to have expected that any attempt to escape would be made in the direction of Germany, where Casimir, their late ally, would doubtless welcome the Protestant leaders. This mistake was the only circumstance in their favor, for it diminished the number and the vigilance of the opposing troops.

The march was secret and prompt. Contrary to all expectation, an unguarded ford was discovered not far from the city of Sancerre,[583] by which, on a sandy bottom, the fugitive Huguenots crossed the Loire, elsewhere deep and navigable as far as Roanne.[584] If the drought which had so reduced the stream as to render the passage practicable was justly regarded as a providential interposition of Heaven in their behalf, the sudden[Pg 270] rise of the river immediately afterward, which baffled their pursuers, was not less signal a blessing.[585] Other dangers still confronted them, but their prudence and expedition enabled them to escape them, and on the eighteenth of September[586] the weary travellers, with numbers considerably increased by reinforcements by the way, entered the gates of La Rochelle amid the acclamations of the brave inhabitants.

The third civil war opens.

The escape of the prince and the admiral rendered useless all further attempt at the concealment of the treacherous designs of the papal party; and the third religious war dates from this moment.


The city of La Rochelle and its privileges.

The city of La Rochelle, said to have become a walled place about 1126, had received many tokens of favor at the hands of its successive masters before the accession of Queen Alienor, or Éléonore, last Duchess of Aquitaine. It was by a charter of this princess, in 1199, that the municipality, or "commune," was established. (Arcère, Hist. de la Rochelle, ii., Preuves, 660, 661.) The terms of the charter are vague; but, as subsequently constituted, the "commune" consisted of one hundred prominent citizens, designated as "pairs," or peers, in whom all power was vested. The first member in dignity was the "maire" or mayor, selected by the Seneschal of Saintonge from the list of three candidates yearly nominated by his fellow-members. The historian of the city compares him, for power and for the sanctity attaching to his person, to the ancient tribunes of Rome. Next were the twenty-four "échevins," or aldermen, one-half of whom on alternate years assisted the mayor in the administration of justice. Last of all came seventy-five "pairs" having no separate designation, who took part in the election of the mayor, and voted, on important occasions, in the "assemblée générale." (See a historical discussion, Arcère, i. 193-199.)

From King John Lackland, of England, the Rochellois are said to have received express exemption from the duty of marching elsewhere in the king's service, without their own consent, and from admitting into their city any troops from abroad. (P. S. Callot, La Rochelle protestante, 1863, p. 6.) When, in 1224, after standing a siege of three weeks, La Rochelle fell into the hands of Louis VIII. of France, its new master engaged to maintain all its privileges—a promise which was well observed, for not only did the city lose[Pg 271] nothing, but it actually received new favors at the king's hands. (Arcère, i. 212; Callot, 6.) In 1360, the disasters of the French, consequent upon the battle of Poitiers, compelled the monarch to surrender the city of La Rochelle to his captors in order to regain his liberty. The concession was reluctantly made, with the most flattering testimony to the past fidelity of the inhabitants (see letters of John II. of France, to the Rochellois, Calais, Oct., 1360, Arcère, ii, Preuves, 761), and it was with still greater reluctance that the latter consented to carry it into effect. "They made frequent excuses," says Froissard, "and would not, for upwards of a year, suffer any Englishman to enter their town. The letters were very affecting which they wrote to the King of France, beseeching him, by the love of God, that he would never liberate them of their fidelity, nor separate them from his government and place them in the hands of strangers; for they would prefer being taxed every year one-half of what they were worth, rather than be in the hands of the English." (Froissard, i. c. 214, Johnes's Trans.) When compelled to yield, it was with the words: "We will honor and obey the English, but our hearts shall never change." Edward the Third had solemnly confirmed their privileges (Callot, 8).

But La Rochelle's unwilling subjection to the English crown was of brief duration. By a plot, somewhat clumsily contrived, but happily executed (Aug., 1372), the commander of the garrison, who did not know how to read, was induced to lead his troops outside of the castle wall for a review. The royal order that had been shown him was no forgery, but had been sent on a previous occasion, and the attesting seal was genuine. At a preconcerted signal, two hundred Rochellois rose from ambush, and cut off the return of the English. The latter, finding their antagonists reinforced by two thousand armed citizens under the lead of the mayor himself, soon came to terms, and, withdrawing the few men they had left behind in the castle, accepted the offer of safe transportation by a ship to Bordeaux. (See the entertaining account in Froissard, i. c. 311.) The wary Rochellois took good care, before even admitting into their city Duguesclin, Constable of France, with a paltry escort of two hundred men-at-arms, to stipulate that pardon should be extended to those who immediately after the departure of the English had razed the hateful castle to the ground, and that no other should ever be erected; that La Rochelle and the country dependent upon it should henceforth form a particular domain under the immediate jurisdiction of the king and his parliament of Paris; that its militia should be employed only for the defence of the place; and that La Rochelle should retain its mint and the right to coin both "black and white money." (Froissard, ubi supra, corrected by Arcère, i. 260.) Not only did the grateful monarch readily make these concessions, and confirm all La Rochelle's past privileges, but, for its "immense services," by a subsequent order he conferred nobility upon the "mayor," "échevins" and "conseillers" of the city, both present and future, as well as upon their children forever. (Letters of January 8, 1372/3, Arcère, ii., Preuves, 673-675.)

The extraordinary prerogatives of which this was the origin were recognized and confirmed by subsequent monarchs, especially by Louis the Eleventh, Charles the Eighth, Louis the Twelfth, and Francis the First. (Callot, 11.)[Pg 272] The resistance of the inhabitants to the exaction of the obnoxious "gabelle," or tax upon salt, did indeed, toward the end of the reign of the last-named king (1542), bring them temporarily under his displeasure; but, with the exception of a modification in their municipal government, made in 1530, and revoked early in the reign of Henry the Second, the city retained its quasi-independence without interruption until the outbreak of the religious wars.

As we have seen (ante, p. 227), La Rochelle was in 1552 the scene of the judicial murder of at least two Protestants. The constancy of one of the sufferers had been the means of converting many to the reformed doctrines, and among others Claude d'Angliers, the presiding judge, whose name may still be read at the foot of their sentence. (Arcère, i. 329.) So rapidly had those doctrines spread, that on Sunday, May 31, 1562, the Lord's Supper was celebrated according to the fashion of Geneva, not in one of the churches, but on the great square of the hay-market, in a temporary enclosure shut in on all sides by tapestries and covered with an awning of canvas. More than eight thousand persons took part in the exercises. But if the morning's services were remarkable, the sequel was not less singular. "As the disease of image-breaking was almost universal," says an old chronicler, "it was communicated by contagion to the inhabitants of this city, in such wise that, that very afternoon about three or four o'clock, five hundred men, who were under arms and had just received the same sacrament, went through all the churches and dashed the images in pieces. Howbeit it was a folly conducted with wisdom, seeing that this action passed without any one being wounded or injured." (P. Vincent, apud Callot, 34, and Delmas, 61.) As usual, the whole affair was condemned by the ministers.

Although La Rochelle had steadily refused, during the earlier part of the first religious war, to declare for the Prince of Condé, and had maintained a kind of neutrality, the court was in constant fear lest the weight of its sympathies should yet draw it in that direction. It was therefore a matter of great joy when, in October, 1562, the Duke of Montpensier succeeded, by a ruse meriting the designation of treachery, in throwing himself into La Rochelle with a large body of troops. With his arrival the banished Roman Catholic mass returned, and the Protestant ministers were warned to leave at once. (Arcère, i. 339.)

For two months after the restoration of peace, the Huguenots of La Rochelle, embracing almost the entire population, held their religious services, in accordance with the terms of the Edict of Pacification, in the suburbs of the city. But, on the 9th of May, 1563, Charles the Ninth was prevailed to give directions that one or two places should be assigned to the Huguenots within the city. This gracious permission was ratified with greater solemnity in letters patent of July 14th, in which the king declared the motive to be the representations made to him of "the inconveniences and eminent dangers that might arise in our said city of La Rochelle, if the preaching and exercise of the pretended reformed religion should continue to be held outside of the said city, being, as it is, a frontier city in the direction of the English, ancient enemies of the inhabitants of that city, where it would be easy for them, by this means, to execute some evil enterprise." (Commission of Charles IX., to M. de Jarnac. This valuable MS., with other MSS., carried to Dublin at[Pg 273] the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, by M. Elie Bouhereau, and placed in the Marsh Library, has recently been restored to La Rochelle, in accordance with M. Bouhereau's written directions. Delmas, 369.)

Two years later, Charles and his court, returning from their long progress through France, came to La Rochelle, and spent three days there (Sept., 1565). A noteworthy incident occurred at his entry. The jealous citizens had not forgotten an immemorial custom which was not without significance. A silken cord had been stretched across the road by which the monarch was to enter, that he might stop and promise to respect the liberties and franchises of La Rochelle. Constable Montmorency was the first to notice the cord, and in some anger and surprise asked whether the magistrates of the city intended to refuse their sovereign admission. The symbolism of the pretty custom was duly explained to him, but for all response the old warrior curtly observed that "such usages had passed out of fashion," and at the same instant cut the cord with his sword. (Arcère, i. 349; Delmas, 80, 81.) Charles himself refused the request of the mayor that he should swear to maintain the city's privileges. After so inauspicious a beginning of his visit, the inhabitants were not surprised to find the king, during his stay, reducing the "corps-de-ville" from 100 to 24 members, under the presidency of a governor invested with the full powers of the mayor; ordering that the artillery should be seized, two of the towers garrisoned by foreign troops, and the magistrates enjoined to prosecute all ministers that preached sedition; or banishing some of the most prominent Protestants from La Rochelle.

It was characteristic of the government of Catharine de' Medici—always destitute of a fixed policy, and consequently always recalling one day what it had done the day before—that scarcely two months elapsed before the queen mother put everything back on the footing it had occupied before the royal visit to La Rochelle.

FOOTNOTES:

[430] The most authentic account of these important interviews is that given by François de la Noue in his Mémoires, chap. xi. It clearly shows how much Davila mistakes in asserting that "the prince, the admiral, and Andelot persuaded them, without further delay, to take arms." (Eng. trans., London, 1678, bk. iv., p. 110.) Davila's careless remark has led many others into the error of making Coligny the advocate, instead of the opposer, of a resort to arms. See also De Thou, iv. (liv. xlii.) 2-7, who bases his narrative on that of De la Noue, as does likewise Agrippa d'Aubigné, l. iv., c. vii. (i. 209), who uses the expression: "L'Amiral voulant endurer toutes extremitez et se confier en l'innocence."

[431] "Ains avec le fer."

[432] "Une armée gaillarde." La Noue, ubi supra.

[433] Mém. de Castelnau, liv. vi., c. iv., c. v.; La Noue, c. xi.; De Thou, iv. (liv. xlii.) 5, 6. Davila, l. iv., p. 110, alludes to the accusation, extorted from Protestant prisoners on the rack, that "the chief scope of this enterprise was to murder the king and queen, with all her other children, that the crown might come to the Prince of Condé," but admits that it was not generally credited. The curate of Saint Barthélemi is less charitable; describing the rising of the Protestants, he says: "En ung vendredy 27e se partirent de toutes les villes de France les huguenots, sans qu'on leur eust dit mot, mais ils craignoient que si on venoit au dessein de leur entreprise qui estoit de prendre ou tuer le roy Charles neuvième, qu'on ne les saccagea ès villes." Journal d'un curé ligueur (J. de la Fosse), 85.

[434] La Noue, and De Thou, ubi supra.

[435] The historian, Michel de Castelnau, sieur de Mauvissière, had been sent as a special envoy to congratulate the Duke of Alva on his safe arrival, and the Duchess of Parma on her relief. As he was returning from Brussels, he received, from some Frenchmen who joined him, a very circumstantial account of the contemplated rising of the Huguenots, and, although he regarded the story as an idle rumor, he thought it his duty to communicate it to the king and queen. Mémoires, liv. vi., c. iv.

[436] Mém. de Castelnau, ubi supra. It is probable that the French court partook of Cardinal Granvelle's conviction, expressed two years before, that the Huguenots would find it difficult to raise money or procure foreign troops for another war, not having paid for those they had employed in the last war, nor holding the strongholds they then held. Letter of May 7, 1565, Papiers d'état, ix. 172.

[437] Mém. du duc de Bouillon (Ancienne Collection), xlvii. 421.

[438] La Fosse, p. 86, represents Charles as exclaiming, when he entered the Porte Saint Denis: "Qu'il estoit tenu à Dieu, et qu'il y avoit quinze heures qu'il estoit à cheval, et avoit eust trois alarmes."

[439] Mém. de Castelnau, liv. vi., c. v.; La Noue, c. xiii. (Anc. Coll., xlvii. 180-185); De Thou, iv. 8; J. de Serres, iii. 129-131; La Fosse, 86; Agrippa d'Aubigné, Hist. univ., i. 210.

[440] "Ravi d'avoir allumé le feu de la gùerre," says De Thou, iv. 9.

[441] De Thou, ubi supra.

[442] The circumstance of two messengers, each bearing letters from the same person, while the letters made no allusion to each other, following one another closely, struck Alva as so suspicious, that he actually placed the second messenger under arrest, and only liberated him on hearing from his own agent on his return that the man's credentials were genuine.

[443] Alva proposed to detach 5,000 men to prevent the entrance of German auxiliaries into France, and protect the Netherlands.

[444] Letter of Alva to Philip, Nov. 1, 1567, Gachard, Correspondance de Philippe II., i., 593.

[445] "Que la ley sálica, que dizien, es baya, y las armas la allanarian." Ibid, i. 594.

[446] The price of wheat, Jehan de la Fosse tells us (p. 86) advanced to fifteen francs per "septier."

[447] Journal d'un curé ligueur (J. de la Fosse), 86.

[448] In one of Charles's first despatches to the Lieutenant-Governor of Dauphiny, wherein he bids him restrain, and, if necessary, attack any Huguenots of the province who might undertake to come to Condé's assistance, there occurs an expression that smacks of the murderous spirit of St. Bartholomew's Day: "You shall cut them to pieces," he writes, "without sparing a single person; for the more dead bodies there are, the less enemies remain (car tant plus de mortz, moins d'ennemys!)" Charles to Gordes, Oct. 8, 1567, MS. in Condé Archives, D'Aumale, i. 563.

[449] Davila (i. 113) makes the latter her distinct object in the negotiations: "The queen, to protract the time till supplies of men and other necessary provisions arrived, and to abate the fervor of the enemy, being constrained to have recourse to her wonted arts, excellently dissembling those so recent injuries, etc."

[450] Of course "Sieur Soulier, prêtre" sees nothing but perversity in these grounds. "Ils n'alleguèrent que des raisons frivolles pour excuser leur armement." Histoire des édits de pacification, 64.

[451] Davila is certainly incorrect in stating that the Huguenots demanded "that the queen mother should have nothing to do in the government" (p. 113).

[452] October 7th, Soulier, Hist. des édits de pacification, 65.

[453] De Thou, iv. (liv. xlii.) 10-15; Jean de Serres, iii. 131, 132; Davila, bk. iv. 113-115; Agrippa d'Aubigné, Hist. universelle, l. iv., c. 6, 7 (i. 211, 212); Castelnau, l. vi., c. 6.

[454] So closely was Paris invested on the north, that, although accompanied by an escort of sixty horse, Castelnau was driven back into the faubourgs when making an attempt by night to proceed by one of the roads leading in this direction. He was then forced to steal down the left bank of the Seine to Poissy, before he could find means to avoid the Huguenot posts. Mémoires, l. vi., c. 6.

[455] Castelnau was instructed to ask for three or four regiments of Spanish or Italian foot, and for two thousand cavalry of the same nations.

[456] I have deemed it important to go into these details, in order to exhibit in the clearest light the insincerity of Philip the Second—a prince who could not be straightforward in his dealings, even when the interests of the Church, to which he professed the deepest devotion, were vitally concerned. My principal authority is the envoy, Michel de Castelnau, liv. vi., c. 6. Alva's letter to Catharine de' Medici, Dec., 1567, Gachard, Correspondance de Philippe II., i. 608, 609, sheds some additional light on the transactions. I need not say that, where Castelnau and Alva differ in their statements, as they do in some essential points, I have had no hesitation in deciding whether the duke or the impartial historian is the more worthy of credit. See, also, De Thou, iii. (liv. xli.) 755.

[457] Mém. de Fr. de la Noue, c. xiv. (Ancienne coll., xlvii. 189); Davila, bk. iv. 116; Agrippa d'Aubigné, Hist. universelle, i. 212, 213; De Thou, iv. 22; Martin, Hist. de France, x. 246. There is some discrepancy in numbers. There is, however, but little doubt that those given in the text are substantially correct. D'Aubigné blunders, and more than doubles the troops of the constable.

[458] Agrippa d'Aubigné relates an incident which has often been repeated. Among the distinguished spectators gathered on the heights of Montmartre, overlooking the plain, was a chamberlain of the Turkish sultan, the same envoy who had been presented to the king at Bayonne. When he saw the three small bodies of Huguenots issue in the distance from Saint Denis, and the three charges, in which so insignificant a handful of men broke through heavy battalions and attacked the opposing general himself, the Moslem, in his admiration of their valor, twice cried out: "Oh, that the grand seignior had a thousand such men as those soldiers in white, to put at the head of each of his armies! The world would hold out only two years against him." Hist. univ., i. 217.

[459] "Autant de volontaires Parisiens bien armez et dorez comme calices." Agrippa d'Aubigné, l. iv., c. 8 (i. 213). "Tenans la bataille desjà achevée, tout ce gros si bien doré print la fuitte." (Ibid., i. 215.)

[460] At Marignano, in 1515.

[461] He was taken prisoner by the Emperor Charles V. at Pavia, in company with Francis I.; at the battle of Saint Quentin, in 1557; and in 1562, at the battle of Dreux, by the Huguenots. It was rather hard that the story should have obtained currency, according to the curé of Mériot, that Constable Montmorency was shot by a royalist, who saw that he was purposely allowing himself to be enveloped by the troops of Condé, in order that he might be taken prisoner, "comme telle avoit jà esté sa coustume en deux batailles!" Mém. de Claude Haton, i. 458.

[462] Even Henry of Navarre, in a letter of July 12, 1569, published by Prince Galitzin (Lettres inédites de Henry IV., Paris, 1860, pp. 4-11) states that he is unable to say whether it was Stuart, "pour n'en sçavoir rien;" but asserts that "il est hors de doubte et assez commung qu'il fut blessé en pleine bataille et combattant, et non de sang froid."

[463] Mémoires de Fr. de la Noue, c. xiv.; Jean de Serres, iii. 137, 138; De Thou, iv. 22, etc.; Agrippa d'Aubigné, Hist. univ., i. 214-217; Castelnau, liv. vi., c. 7; Claude Haton, i. 457; Jean de la Fosse, 88, 89; Charles IX. to Gordes, Nov. 11, 1567, Condé MSS., D'Aumale, i. 564.

[464] "La mort dudit connestable fut plaincte de peu de gens du party des catholicques, à cause de la huguenotterie de l'admiral, du card. de Chastillon, et d'Andelot, ses nepveux, qui estoient, après le Prince de Condé, chefz des rebelles huguenotz françoys et des plus meschant; et avoient plusieurs personnes ceste oppinion du connestable, qu'il les eust bien retirez de ceste rebellion s'il eust voulu, attendu que tous avoient esté avancez en leurs estatz par le feu roy Henry, par son moyen." Claude Haton, i. 458.

[465] Charles IX. to Gordes, Nov. 17, 1567, Condé MSS., Duc d'Aumale, i. 565.

[466] This exposé, committed to writing by the elector palatine's request, and translated for Frederick's convenience into German, is published by Prof. A. Kluckholn, in a monograph read before the Bavarian Academy of Sciences: "Zur Geschichte des angeblichen Bündnisses von Bayonne, nebst einem Originalbericht über die Ursachen des zweiten Religionskriegs in Frankreich." (Abhandlungen, iii. Cl., xi. Bd., i. Abth.) Munich, 1868. The Huguenot envoys were Chastelier Pourtaut de Latour and Francour. The document is probably from the pen of the former (p. 13).

[467] De Thou, iv. 28, 29; Castelnau, liv. vi., c. 8; Jean de Serres, iii. 144, 146. Agrippa d'Aubigné, Hist. univ., i. 217, 218. Wenceslaus Zuleger's Report is printed in full by F. W. Ebeling, Archivalische Beiträge, 48-73, and by A. Kluckholn, Zwei pfälzische Gesandtschaftsberichte, etc. Abhandl. der Bayer. Akad., 1868, 189-205.

[468] It is needless to say that no authentic coins or medals bearing Condé's head, with the designation of "Louis XIII.," have ever been found. After the direct contradiction by Catharine de' Medici, no other testimony is necessary. The Jesuits, however, impudently continued to speak of Condé's treason as an undoubted truth, and even gave the legend of the supposed coin as "Ludovicus XIII., Dei gratia, Francorum Rex primus Christianus." See "Plaidoyé de Maistre Antoine Arnauld, Advocat en Parlement, pour l'Université de Paris ... contre les Jesuites, des 12 et 13 Juillet, 1594." Mémoires de la ligue, 6, 164. Arnauld stigmatizes the calumny as "notoirement fausse."

[469] Frederick, Elector Palatine, to Charles IX., Heidelberg, Jan. 19, 1568. Printed in full in F. W. Ebeling, Archivalische Beiträge, 74-82.

[470] Agrippa d'Aubigné, ubi supra.

[471] November 13th, "Hier au soyr, vers les sept heures," says Charles to Gordes, Nov. 14, 1567, MS. Condé Arch., D'Aumale, i. 565. The king naturally represents the movement as confused—"une bonne fuyte"—and confidently states that he will follow, and, by a second victory, put a speedy end to the war.

[472] Agrippa d'Aubigné, liv. iv., c. 11 (i. 219).

[473] Ibid., i. 219, 220.

[474] La Noue, c. xiv.; De Thou, iv. 37; Jehan de la Fosse, 89, 90; Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 227. Davila, bk. iv., pp. 119, 120, represents Brissac's attack (which, according to him, was not made till after the expiration of the truce) as a part of a projected general assault. Anjou's main body failed to come up, and so Condé was saved. The blame was thrown on Marshal Gonnor (Cossé) and on M. de Carnavalet, the king's tutor, whom some suspected of unwillingness to allow so much noble blood to be shed. Others accused the one of too much friendship with the Châtillons, the other of a leaning to heresy ("de sentir le fagot") Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 227. See also Cl. Haton, i. 503. These two noblemen were accused of advocating other designs which were very obnoxious to the Roman Catholic party. "La vérité est," says Jehan de la Fosse, in his journal, p. 90, under date of December, 1567, "que aulcuns grands seigneurs entre lesquels on nomme Gonor [et] Carnavallet donnoient à entendre que si Monsieur, frère du roy, voloit prendre une partie de ces gens et les joindre avec le camp des huguenots, qui [qu'ils] le feroient comte de Flandre."

[475] De Thou, iv. 37-41; Castelnau, liv. vi., c. 8; La Fosse, 91.

[476] Catharine de' Medici to Alva, Dec. 4, 1567, Gachard, Correspondance de Philippe II., i. 607.

[477] Alva to Catharine de' Medici, Dec., 1567, Gachard, Correspondance de Philippe II., i. 608, 609.

[478] It is told of one lackey that he contributed twenty crowns.

[479] The scene is described in an animated manner by François de la Noue, c. xv. (Ancienne Collection, xlvii. 199-201); De Thou, iv. 41. "Marque le lecteur," writes Agrippa d'Aubigné, in his nervous style, "un trait qui n'a point d'exemple en l'antiquité, que ceux qui devoient demander paye et murmurer pour n'en avoir point, puissent et veuillent en leur extreme pauvreté contenter une armée avec 100,000 livres à quoi se monta cette brave gueuserie; argument aux plus sages d'auprès du roi pour prescher la paix; tenans pour invincible le parti qui a la passion pour difference, et pour solde la nécessité." Hist. univ., i. 228. D'Aubigné is mistaken, however, in making the army contribute the entire 100,000. Davila and De Thou say they raised 30,000; La Noue, over 80,000.

[480] Mém. de Fr. de la Noue, c. xv.

[481] Ibid., ubi supra.

[482] Mémoires de Claude Haton, i. 500-503.

[483] Ibid., ii. 517. "Et dès lors fut le pillage mis sus par les gens de guerre des deux partis; et firent tous à qui mieux pilleroit et rançonneroit son hoste, jugeant bien en eux que qui plus en pilleroit plus en auroit. Les gens de guerre du camp catholicque, excepté le pillage des églises et saccagemens des prebstres, estoient au reste aussi meschans, et quasi plus que les huguenotz."

[484] Ménard, Hist. de Nismes, apud Cimber et Danjou, vii. 481, etc.; Bouche, Histoire gén. de Languedoc, v. 276, 277. Prof. Soldan, Geschichte des Protestantismus in Frankreich, ii. 274-276, whose account of an event too generally unnoticed by Protestant historians is fair and impartial, calls attention to the following circumstances, which, although they do not excuse in the least its savage cruelties, ought yet to be borne in mind: 1st, That no woman was killed; 2d, that only those men were killed who had in some way shown themselves enemies of the Protestants; and, 3d, that there is no evidence of any premeditation. To these I will add, as important in contrasting this massacre with the many massacres in which the Huguenots were the victims, the fact that the Protestant ministers not only did not instigate, but disapproved, and endeavored as soon as possible to put an end to the murders.

[485] De Thou, iv. 33-35.

[486] Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 211.

[487] Henri Martin (Histoire de France, x. 255), on the authority of Coustureau, Vie du duc de Montpensier, states that the Rochellois had, after the peace of 1563, bought from Catharine de' Medici, for 200,000 francs, the suppression of the garrison placed in their city by the Duke of Montpensier, and remarks: "Ces 200,000 francs coutèrent cher!" The authority, however, is very slender in the absence of all corroborative evidence, and Arcère, more than a century ago, showed (Histoire de la Rochelle, i. 625) how improbable, or, rather, impossible the story is. If any gift was made to Catharine by the city, it must have been far less than the sum, enormous for the times and place, of 200,000 crowns; and, at any rate, it could not have been for the purchase of a privilege already enjoyed for hundreds of years. See the illustrative note at the end of this chapter.

[488] Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 218. "Plus absolument et avec plus d'obeïsance que les Rochellois, qui depuis ont tousjours tenu le parti réformé, n'en ont voulu deferer et rendre aux princes mesmes de leur parti, contre lesquels ils se sont souvent picquez, en resveillant et conservant curieusement leurs privileges."

[489] Others were beaten and banished, and suffered the other penalties denounced by the Edict of Châteaubriant, as Soulier goes on to show with much apparent satisfaction. Hist. des édits, etc., 67, 68. The text of the joint sentence of Couraud, Constantin, and Monjaud is interesting. It is given by Delmas, L'Église réformée de la Rochelle (Toulouse, 1870), pp. 19-25.

[490] Martin, Hist. de France, x. 254.

[491] Agrippa d'Aubigné, ubi supra; Davila, bk. iv. 122; De Thou, iv. 27 seq.; Soulier, 69. According to Arcère, Hist. de la Rochelle, i. 352, the mayor's correct name was Pontard, Sieur de Trueil-Charays.

[492] The commission was dated from Montigny-sur-Aube, January 27, 1568, Soulier, 70. De Thou's expression (ubi supra), "peu de temps après," is therefore unfortunate.

[493] Soulier, Hist. des édits de pacification, 70.

[494] Norris to Queen Elizabeth, January 23, 1568, State Paper Office. I retain the quaint old English form in which Norris has couched the marshal's speech. It is plain, in view of the perfidy proposed by Santa Croce, even in the royal council, that Condé was not far from right in protesting against the proposed limitation of Cardinal Châtillon's escort to twenty horse, insisting "que la qualité de mondict sieur le Cardinal, qui n'a acoustumé de marcher par païs avecques si peu de train, ny son eage (age) ne permectent pas maintenant de commencer." Condé to the Duke of Anjou, Dec. 27, 1567, MS. Bibl. nat., Aumale, Prince de Condé, i. 568.

[495] The "seven viscounts"—often referred to about this period—were the viscounts of Bourniquet, Monclar, Paulin, Caumont, Serignan, Rapin, and Montagut, or Montaigu. They headed the Protestant gentry of the provinces Rouergue, Quercy, etc., as far as to the foot of the Pyrenees. Mouvans held an analogous position in Provence, Montbrun in Dauphiné, and D'Acier, younger brother of Crussol, in Languedoc. Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 220, 221; De Thou, iv. 33; Duc d'Aumale, Princes de Condé, i. 327. When "the viscounts" consented, at the earnest solicitation of the second Princess of Condé, to part with a great part of their troops, they confided them to Mouvans, Rapin, and Poncenac.

[496] The village of Cognac, or Cognat, near Gannat, in the ancient Province of Auvergne (present Department of Allier), must not, of course, be confounded with the important city of the same name, on the river Charente, nearly two hundred miles further west.

[497] Jean de Serres, iii. 146, 147; De Thou, iv. 48-51; Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 226.

[498] Opinions differed respecting the propriety of the movement. According to La Noue, Chartres in the hands of the Huguenots would have been a "thorn in the foot of the Parisians;" while Agrippa d'Aubigné makes it "a city of little importance, as it was neither at a river crossing, nor a sea-port;" "but," he adds, "in those times places were not estimated by the standard now in vogue."

[499] "Car encore que les Catholiques estiment les Huguenots estre gens à feu, si sont-il toujours mal pourveus de tels instrumens," etc. Mém. de la Noue, c. xviii. For the siege of Chartres, besides La Noue, see Jean de Serres, iii. 148; De Thou, iv., 51-53; Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 229-232.

[500] "Ils eussent esté par trop lourds et stupides, s'ils n'en eussent évité la feste."

[501] "Cessons donc de nous esbahir s'ils ont un pied en l'air et l'œil en la campagne."

[502] The whole of this remarkable memorial is inserted in the older Collection universelle de mémoires, xlv. 224-260. Its importance is so great, as reflecting the views of a mind so impartial and liberal as that of Chancellor L'Hospital, that I make no apology for the prominence I have given to it. Besides the omission of much that might be interesting, I have in places rather recapitulated than translated literally the striking remarks of the original.

[503] La Noue, c. xviii.

[504] Castelnau, who was behind the scenes, assures us that had "the Huguenots insisted upon keeping some places in their own hands, for the performance of what was promised, it would have been granted, and, in all probability, have prevented the war from breaking out so soon again," etc. Mém., liv. vi., c. 11.

[505] Jean de Serres, iii. 149-154; De Thou, iv. 54, 55; Davila, bk. iv. 124; Castelnau, ubi supra; Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 260, etc.

[506] "L'Amiral maintenoit et remonstroit que cette paix n'estoit que pour sauver Chartres, et puis pour assommer separez ceux qu'on ne pourroit vaincre unis." Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 232.

[507] "Le Prince de Condé plus facile, desireux de la cour, où il avoit laissé quelque semence d'amourettes, se servit de ce que plusieurs quittoient l'armée," etc. Ibid., ubi supra.

[508] La Noue, c. xviii.

[509] La Noue, c. xix.

[510] "La paix fourrée," Soulier, Histoire des édits de pacification, 73. "Ceste meschante petite paix," La Noue, c. xix. Agrippa d'Aubigné, Hist. universelle, i. 260, and, following him, Browning, Hist. of the Huguenots, i. 220, and De Félice, Hist. of the Protestants of France, 190, say that this peace was wittily christened "La paix boiteuse et mal-assise;" but, as we shall see, this designation belongs to the peace of Saint Germain-en-Laye, in 1570, concluding the third religious war.

[511] Leopold Ranke, Civil Wars and Monarchy in France in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (New York, 1853), 234.

[512] Norris to Cecil, Paris, March 30, 1568, State Paper Office.

[513] La Noue, c. xviii. (Anc. coll., 214).

[514] A fortnight had not elapsed since the date of the Edict of Pacification when Condé was compelled to call the king's attention to a flagrant outrage committed by Foissy, a royalist, against the Sieur d'Esternay. After having burned Esternay's residence at Lamothe during the preliminary truce, Foissy subsequently to the conclusion of peace returned and completed his work of devastation. Condé to Charles IX., April 5, 1568, MS., Archives du dép. du Nord, apud Duc d'Aumale, i. 572.

[515] "Nous avons fait la folie, ne trouvons donc estrange si nous la beuvons. Toutefois il y a apparence que le breuvage sera amer." La Noue, ubi supra.

[516] De Thou, iv. 55, 56; Jean de Serres, Comm. de statu, etc., iii. 160; Condé's petition of Aug. 23d, ibid., iii. 218; Mém. de Claude Haton, i. 357-359, who, however, makes the singular blunder of placing the incident of Rapin's death after the peace of Amboise in 1563. The curé's description of the zeal of the Toulouse parliament for the Roman Catholic Church confirms everything that Protestant writers have said on the subject: "Laditte court de parlement avoit tousjours résisté à laditte prétendue religion et faict exécuter ceux qui en faisoient profession, nonobstant édict à ce contraire faict en faveur d'iceux huguenotz." See also Raoul de Cazenove, Rapin-Thoyras, sa famille, sa vie, et ses œuvres (Paris, 1866), 47-49—a truly valuable work, and a worthy tribute to a distinguished ancestry.

[517] "Edictum promulgant, hac addita exceptione, Reservatis clausulis quæ secreto Senatus commentario continentur." J. de Serres, iii. 160, 161; De Thou, ubi supra. See the petition of Condé of Aug. 23d. J. de Serres, iii. 220, etc.

[518] Mém. de Claude Haton, ii. 527, etc.

[519] "Sire," said a nobleman, after listening to the arguments against the peace made by some of the remonstrants, and to Charles's replies, "it is too much to undertake to dispute with these canting knaves; it were better to have them strapped in the kitchen by your turnspits." Ibid., ii. 530.

[520] Playing upon the chancellor's name, Sainte Foy, one of the court preachers, exclaimed in the pulpit: "Be not astonished if the Huguenots demolish the churches, for they have turned all France into a hospital instead"—"donnant à entendre que par le chancelier nomme Hospital, la France estoit pauvre, pourtant qu'il a par trop encore de douceur pour les huguenots qui ont ruiné le pais de France." Jehan de la Fosse, 93, 94.

[521] Floquet, Hist. du parlement de Normandie, iii. 36-42.

[522] Mémoires de Claude Haton, ii. 533, 534. Similar regulations were made in many other places "cumplurimis in locis." Jean de Serres, iii. 156.

[523] Jean de Serres, iii. 158, 159.

[524] De Thou, iv. 77, 78; Castelnau, l. vii., c. 1; D'Aubigné, i. 260; La Fosse, 97; Motley, Dutch Republic, ii. 184.

[525] Charles was, however, near experiencing trouble with the reiters of Duke Casimir. He had, by the terms of the agreement with the Huguenots, undertaken to advance the 900,000 francs which were due, and on failing to fulfil his engagements his unwelcome guests threatened to turn their faces toward Paris. Mém. de Castelnau, liv. vi., c. 11. At last, with promises of payment at Frankfort, the Germans were induced to leave France. Du Mont, Corps diplomatique, v. 164, gives a transcript of Casimir's receipt, May 21, 1568, for 460,497 livres, etc.

[526] Mémoires de Castelnau, liv. vi., c. 9, c. 10. Duke John William of Saxe-Weimar was even more vexed at the issue of his expedition than Castelnau himself. It was with difficulty that he could be persuaded to accept an invitation to make a visit to the French court.

[527] Paris MS., apud Soldan, Gesch. des Prot. in Frankreich, ii. 300. Rumor, as is usual in such cases, outstripped even the unwelcome truth, and Norris wrote to Queen Elizabeth that the king had sent secret letters to two hundred and twelve places, charging the governors "to runne uppon them [the Huguenots] and put them to the sword." "Your Majestie will judge," adds Norris, "ther is smale place of surety for them of the Religion, either in towne or felde." Letter of June 4, 1568, apud D'Aumale, Les Princes de Condé, ii. 363, Pièces inédites.

[528] When the Protestants at Rouen begged protection, the king sent four companies of infantry, which the citizens at first refused to admit. At last they were smuggled in by night, and quartered upon the Huguenots. Floquet, Hist. du parlement de Normandie, iii. 43.

[529] Jean de Serres, iii. 157, 158.

[530] Ibid., ubi supra.

[531] Jean de Serres, iii. 161; Soldan, ii. 303.

[532] Soldan, ii. 306.

[533] Letter to Catharine, April 27, 1568, MS., apud Soldan, ii. 303.

[534] Jean de Serres, iii. 163, 164. Petition of Condé of Aug. 23d. Ibid., iii. 215, etc.

[535] MS. Bibl. nat., apud Mém. de Claude Haton, ii. App., 1152, 1153. Less correctly given in Lestoile's Mémoires. The title is "Sermens des Associez de la Ligue Chrestienne et Roiale," and the date is June 25, 1568.

[536] Prof. Soldan is certainly right (ii. 305) in his interpretation of the passage, "tant et si longuement qu'il plaira à Dieu que nous serons par eux régis en nostredicte religion apostolique et romaine," which Ranke (Civil Wars and Monarchy, p. 236), and, following him, Von Polenz (Gesch. des franz. Calvinismus, ii. 361), have construed as referring to "la maison de Valois." Involved as is the phraseology, I do not see how the word "eux" can designate any other person or persons than "ledit sr. lieutenant avec mesditz sieurs de la noblesse de cedit gouvernement et autres associez."

[537] Jean de Serres, iii. 164.

[538] "Den Erfolg des letzten Krieges," well observes Prof. Soldan, "hatten die Hugenotten nicht ihrer Anzahl, sondern der Organisation und dem Geiste ihres Gemeindewesens zu verdanken. Diese bewegliche, weitverzweigte, aus einem festen Mittelpunkte gleichmässig gelenkte und von Eifer für die gemeinsame Sache belebte Vereinsgliederung hatte über den lahmen und stockenden Mechanismus vielfach grösserer, aber in sich selbst uneiniger Kräfte einen beschämenden Triumph erlangt." Geschichte des Protestantismus in Frankreich, ii. 303.

[539] Relations des Amb. Vén., ii. 116.

[540] Cipierre, a young nobleman only twenty-two years of age, was returning, with a body-guard of about thirty-five men, from a visit to his cousin, the duke, at Nice, where he had been treated with great honor. When approaching Fréjus he perceived signs of treachery in a body of men lurking under cover of a grove, and betook himself for safety into the city, now, since his father's death, a part of the province of which his eldest brother was royal governor. The tocsin was rung, and his enemies, originally a band of three hundred men, being swollen by constant accessions to four times that number, the house in which Cipierre had taken refuge was assailed. After a heroic defence the small party of defenders surrendered their arms, on assurance that their opponents would at once retire. The papists, however, scarcely made a pretence of fulfilling their compact, for they speedily returned and massacred every one whom they found in the house. Cipierre himself was not among the number. To secure him a new breach of faith was necessary. The captain of the murderers pledged his own word to the magistrate that if Cipierre would come forth from his hiding-place he would spare his life. He discharged the obligation, so soon as Cipierre presented himself, by plunging a dagger into his breast. J. de Serres, iii. 166-168; Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 262.

[541] Petition of Condé, Aug. 23, 1568, J. de Serres, iii. 210, 211.

[542] Vie de Coligny (Cologne, 1686), 349, 350; J. de Serres, iii. 166.

[543] Ibid., iii. 165; Recordon, from MSS. of N. Pithou, 155-157; MS. Mém. historiques des Antiquités de Troyes, by Duhalle, apud Bulletin de l'hist. du prot. fr., xvii. (1868) 376. Of the royal edicts guaranteeing the Protestants, the last author remarks that "ils firent plus de bruit que de fruit."

[544] Duc d'Aumale, Princes de Condé, ii. 364, Pièces justificatives.

[545] J. de Serres, iii. 168; Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 262.

[546] Jean de Serres does not expressly state that he refers to the combatants, but I presume this to be his meaning.

[547] Relazione di Correro, Rel. des Amb. Vén., ii. 120.

[548] "Montauban, etc., faisoient conter les cloux de leurs portes aux garnisons qu'on leur envoyoit." Agrippa d'Aubigné, i. 261. It was the garrisons only that were refused; the royal governors were promptly accepted. M. de Jarnac, for instance, had no difficulty in securing recognition at La Rochelle; but he was not permitted to introduce troops to distress and terrify the citizens. See the letters of the "Maire, Echevins, Conseilliers et Pairs," of La Rochelle to Charles the Ninth, April 21st, June 6th and 30th, etc. Le Laboureur, Add. aux Mém. de Castelnau, ii. 547-551. They deny the slanderous accusation that the Roman Catholics have not been permitted to return since the peace, asserting, on the contrary, that they have greeted them as brethren and fellow-citizens. They appeal to M. de Jarnac himself for testimony to the good order of La Rochelle. "Meanwhile," they say, "we are preserving this city of yours in all tranquillity, and maintain it, under your obedience, with much greater security, devotion, affection, fidelity and loyalty, such as we have received from our predecessors, than would do all others who were strangers and mercenaries, and not its natural subjects and inhabitants." Norris to Queen Elizabeth, June 23, 1568: "The towne of Rochelle hathe now the thirde time bin admonished to render itself to the king." State Paper Office, Duc d'Aumale, ii. 367.

[549] His wife, Charlotte de Laval, whose brave Christian injunctions, as we have seen, decided the reluctant admiral to take up arms in the first religious war (see ante, chapter xiii., p. 35), lay dying of a disease contracted in her indefatigable labors for the sick and wounded soldiers at Orleans, whilst the admiral was at the siege of Chartres. On the conclusion of the peace he hastened to her, but was too late to find her alive. In a touching letter, written to her husband after all hope of seeing him again in this world had fled, a letter the substance of which is preserved by one of his biographers (Vie de Coligny, Cologne, 1686, p. 342), she lamented the loss of a privilege that would have alleviated the sufferings of her last hours, but consoled herself with the thought of the object for which he was absent. She conjured him, by the love he bore her and to her children, to fight to the last extremity for God and religion; warning him, lest through his habitual respect for the king—a respect which had before made him reluctant to take up arms—he should forget the obligations he owed to God as his first Master. She begged him to rear the children she left him in the pure religion, that they might one day be capable of taking his place; and, for their sakes, implored him not to hazard his life unnecessarily. She bade him beware of the house of Guise. "I do not know," she added, "whether I ought to say the same thing of the queen mother, as we are forbidden to judge evil of our neighbor; but she has given so many marks of her ambition that a little distrust is excusable." The earlier biographer of Coligny (Gasparis Colinii Vita, 1575, p. 63, etc.) gives an affecting picture of the deep sorrow and pious resignation of the admiral.

[550] Somewhat hyperbolically, the biographer of the admiral (Vie de Coligny, p. 346) says that the concourse at Châtillon and Noyers was so great that the Louvre was a desert in comparison! When ten gentlemen left by one gate, twenty entered by another. The churches raised a purse of 100,000 crowns, one-half of which was to go to him, and the other half to the Prince of Condé; but, though nearly ruined by the enormous expenses of his hospitality, he declined to receive his portion.

[551] Noyers and Tanlay are ten or twelve miles from each other, in the modern department of the Yonne.

[552] Jean de Serres, ubi supra. Cf. De Thou, iv. 142; Bulletin de la Soc. de l'hist. du prot. fr. (1854), iii. 239. This valuable periodical is mistaken in stating, vii. (1858) 120, that "D'Andelot s'était retiré dans ses terres de Bretagne à la conclusion de la paix." He did not leave Tanlay until after writing the letter referred to below, and shortly before Coligny's arrival: "partant de chez lui, pour se rendre chez son frère Andelot, il trouva qu'il étoit allé en Bretagne." Vie de Coligny, 350. D'Andelot was in Brittany at the outbreak of the third war. His adventures in escaping to La Rochelle will be narrated in the next chapter. Mr. Henry White is, of course, equally wrong when he says (Massacre of St. Bartholomew, New York, 1868, p. 291): "The admiral had gone to this charming retreat [Tanlay], to consult with his brother, to whom it belonged, and who had joined him there," and when he mentions D'Andelot as in the suite of Condé and Coligny in their celebrated flight (p. 292); "besides which, he (the prince) was accompanied by the admiral and his family, by Andelot and his wife," etc.

[553] Lettre de François d'Andelot à la Royne mère du Roy, de Tanlay, co 8me juillet, 1568. MS. Library of Berne. This letter has been twice printed in the Bulletin de la Soc. de l'hist. du prot. français, iv. (1856) 329-331, and vii. (1858) 121-123. The first reproduction is in one important part more correct than the second. It is not impossible, after all, that the author of the letter was not D'Andelot, but his brother, Admiral Coligny himself; for M. J. Tessier mentions (Bulletin, xxii. (1873) 47), that it exists in manuscript in the Paris National Library (MSS. Vc. Colbert, 24, f. 161), in the admiral's own handwriting, and signed with his usual signature, Chastillon. The whole tone, I must confess, seems rather to be his.

[554] Journal d'un curé ligueur (Jehan de la Fosse), 96.

[555] Norris to Queen Elizabeth, May 12, 1568, State Paper Office.

[556] Jean de Serres, iii. 170; Davila, bk. iv. 128; Condé to the king, Noyers, June 11, 1568, MS. Paris Lib., apud D'Aumale, ii. 351-353.

[557] As the prince had described the state of affairs in a letter to the king, of July 22, 1568: "Nous nous voions tuez, pillez, saccagez, les femmes forcées, les filles ravies des mains de leurs pères et mères, les grands mis hors de leurs charges," etc. All this injustice had been committed with complete impunity. In fact, to use his own forcible words, were the king to attempt to punish the outrages done to the Protestants, "the trees in France would have more men than leaves upon them"—"tous les arbres seroient plus couvertz d'hommes que de feuilles." MS. Paris Lib., apud D'Aumale, ii. 355, 356.

[558] J. de Serres, iii. 171-173; Davila, bk. iv. 128.

[559] The Bulletin de la Soc. de l'hist. du prot. français, ix. (1860) 217-219, published from MSS. in the Library of the British Museum, the letter of Charles the Ninth to the first president of the Parisian parliament, dated "du château de Bolongne, ce premier jour d'aoust," enclosing the formula. The pretext is "afin d'oster tout ce doubte et différend qui règne aujourd'huy parmi nos subjectz." The president is to associate with himself the seigneur de Nantouillet, provost of the city, and the seigneur de Villeroy, "prévôt des marchands."

[560] Bulletin, etc., ix. (1860) 218, 219; Jean de Serres, iii. 175, etc.

[561] Jean de Serres (Comm. de statu rel. et reipublicæ, iii. 174-183) inserts the reply of the Protestants to the proposed oath, article by article.

[562] Built by Francis I., and so named because constructed on the plan of the palace in which he lived when a captive in Spain.

[563] It is true the writer carefully avoids mentioning the cardinal's name, but there is no difficulty in discovering that he is intended.

[564] "Uti nimirum detur opera ut vires penes Regem sint, primoresque religionis illius occupentur, omnes conveniendi rationes illis demantur: ut ad illas angustias redacti, quemadmodum facillimum erit, possit hujusmodi colluvies regi regnoque adversaria, plane pessundari, omnesque adeo reliquiæ profligari: quoniam semen profecto esset in dies egerminaturum, nisi ea ratio observaretur, cujus a vicinis nostris adeo luculenta exempla demonstrentur." Jean de Serres, iii. 187.

[565] The letter is given entire, with the exception of some matters of no general interest, in the valuable chronicle of this period, by Jean de Serres (s. l. 1571), iii. 185-190.

[566] "Hæc sunt propemodum ipsa illius verba, quæ conatus sum memoriæ mandare, ut possem ad te de rerum omnium statu certius perscribere." Ib., iii. 188.

[567] "Et quoniam tunc vehementius quam assuevisset, rem illam mihi commemoravit, et fortasse regis domini sui, qui ibi tunc erat, mandatu, volui hac de causa te istarum rerum facere certiorem."

[568] This letter, which was also intercepted by the Huguenots, is preserved by Jean de Serres, iii. 184, 185. It bears unmistakable marks of authenticity.

[569] Condé himself alludes to these words of Charles the Ninth to his mother, in his letter of August 23d. Referring to the king's aversion to a resort to violence, he says: "Quod mihi repetitis literis sæpissime demonstrasti, et nuper quidem Reginæ matri, ex eo sermone quem cum illa habebas, quo significabas quantum odiosa tibi esset turbarum renovatio cum nimirum illam orabas, daret operam ut omnia pacificarentur, efficeretque ne rursus ad bella civilia rediretur, quæ non possent non extremum exitium afferre." Jean de Serres, iii, 193.

[570] Letter apud J. de Serres, iii. 188-190.

[571] De Thou, iii. 136; Castelnau, liv. vii., c. 1, where the sum is erroneously trebled; Davila, bk. iv., p. 130. See also Soldan, ii., 324, and Von Polenz, ii. 365.

[572] Norris, in a letter to Cecil, Sept. 25, 1568, gives almost the very words of the angry contestants. State Paper Office.

[573] Davila, bk. iv. 130; De Thou, iv. (liv. xliv.) 136.

[574] Ranke, Civil Wars and Monarchy in France, 236, 237.

[575] Davila and De Thou, ubi supra. De Thou seems certainly to be wanting in his accustomed accuracy when he represents—iv. (liv. xliv.) 136, 137—the submission of the test-oath to the Protestants as posterior to, and consequent upon the fall of L'Hospital: "La reine délivrée du Chancelier, et n'ayant plus personne qui s'opposât à ses volontés, ne songea plus qu'à brouiller les affaires, etc." I have shown that the papal bull which L'Hospital opposed was dated at Rome on the same day (August 1, 1568) on which Charles sent his orders to the president of the Parisian parliament to administer the oath to the Protestants of the capital. Yet, as early as on the 12th of May, 1568, the English ambassador, Norris, wrote to Cecil that Anjou, a cruel enemy of the Protestants, had a privy council of which Cardinal Lorraine was the "chiefest" member, and his own chancellor, who sealed everything submitted to him, "which thing he [the good olde chauncelor of the Kinges] hathe so to harte as he is retirid him to his owne house in the towne of Paris; and wheras the King's chauncelor I meane, who nether for love nor dread wolde seal enything against the statutes of the realme, or that might be prejudiciall to the same, this of Mr. d'Anjou's refusithe nothing that is proferid to him." State Paper Office, Duc d'Aumale, ii. 360.

[576] Jean de Serres, iii. 191; Davila, bk. iv., p. 128.

[577] See Soldan, Gesch. des Prot. in Frankreich, ii. 327, note 63. Yet Condé himself, shortly before the flight from Noyers, expressed himself in strikingly confident terms as to Tavannes's probity. In a letter to the king, complaining of the treacherous plots formed against himself, July 22, 1568, the prince says he is sure that Tavannes is not privy to these designs, "car je le cognois de trop longue main ennemy de ceulx qui ne veullent qu'entretenir les troubles. Parquoy je croy que cecy se faict à son desceu." MS. Paris Lib., apud D'Aumale, ii. 356.

[578] "Le cerf est aux toiles, la chasse est préparée." See Anquetil, Esprit de la ligue, i. 278.

[579] "Turbarum causas imputamus adversario illi tuo ac tuæ dignitatis hosti Cardinali Lotharingo et sociis, quorum nimirum pravis consiliis et arcta necessitudine et familiaritate quam cum Hispano habent, dissensiones et simultates inter tuos subjectos ab hinc sex annis continuantur, et misere foventur atque aluntur per cædes atque strages, quæ ipsorum nutu quotidie ubique perpetrantur." Jean de Serres, iii. 194. "Impurusne Presbyter, tigris, tyrannus," etc., ibid., iii. 196. "Cardinalis Lotharingus, quasi sicariorum ac prædorum patronus," etc., ibid., iii., 210.

[580] "Quodnam item de illo judicium tulerit Cæsar Maximilianus hodie imperans, cum ad te prescripsit, omnia bella et omnes dissensiones, quæ inter Christianos hodie vagantur, proficisci a Granvellano et Lotharingo Cardinalibus." Jean de Serres, iii. 234.

[581] This petition or protestation of Condé is among the longest public papers of the period, occupying not less than forty-three pages of the invaluable Commentarii de statu religionis et reipublicæ of Jean de Serres. It well repays an attentive perusal, for it contains, in my judgment, the most important and authentic record of the sufferings of the Huguenots during the peace. The reader will notice that I have made great use of its authority in the preceding narrative.

[582] Jean de Serres, iii. 241.

[583] The place is sufficiently designated by Ag. d'Aubigné (Hist. univ., i. 263) "à Bonni près Sancerre;" by Jean de Serres (iii. 242) "ad Sangodoneum vicum (Saint Godon) qui tribus ferme milliaribus distat ab ea fluminis parte, qua transiit Condæus;" by Hotman, Gasparis Colinii Vita, 1575 (p. 68), "ad flumen accessit, quo Sancerrani collis radices alluuntur," and by the "Vie de Coligny" (p. 351), "vis à vis de Sancerre." It will surprise no one accustomed to the uncertainties and perplexities of historical investigation, that while one author, quoted by Henry White (Mass. of St. Bartholomew, 292), puts the crossing "near les Rosiers, four leagues below Saumur," Davila (p. 129) places it at Roanne. The two spots are, probably, not less than 230 miles apart in a straight line.

[584] See De Thou, etc.

[585] Recueil des choses mém. (Hist. des Cinq Rois), 336. The Life of Coligny (1575), p. 68, states that the rise took place within three hours after the Huguenots crossed.

[586] Jean de Serres, iii. 192, and De Thou, iv. (liv. xliv.) 140. The dates of Condé's departure from Tanlay and arrival at La Rochelle are, as usual, given differently by other authorities.


CHAPTER XVI.

THE THIRD CIVIL WAR.

Relative advantages of the Roman Catholics and Huguenots.
Enthusiasm of Huguenot youth.
Enlistment of Agrippa d'Aubigné.

[Pg 274] Having narrowly escaped falling into the hands of their treacherous enemies, and finding themselves compelled once more to take up arms in defence of their own lives and the liberties of their fellow-believers, the Prince of Condé and Admiral Coligny resolved to institute a vigorous contest. A single glance at the situation, the full dangers of which were now disclosed by the tidings coming from every quarter, was sufficient to convince them that in a bold and decided policy lay their only hope of success. The Roman Catholics had, it is true, enjoyed rare opportunities for maturing a comprehensive plan of attack; although the sequel seemed to prove that they had turned these opportunities to little practical use. But the Huguenots possessed countervailing advantages, in close sympathy with each other, in fervid zeal for their common faith, as well as in an organization all but perfect. Simultaneously with their flight from Noyers, the prince and the admiral had sent out a summons addressed to the Protestants in all parts of the kingdom, and this was responded to with enthusiasm by great numbers of those who had been their devoted followers in the two previous wars. Multitudes of young men, also, with imaginations inflamed by the recital of the exploits of their fathers and friends, burned to enroll themselves under such distinguished leaders. Many were the stratagems resorted to by these aspirants for military honors. Among others, the eminent historian, Theodore Agrippa d'Aubigné, has left an amusing account of the adventures he passed through in reaching the[Pg 275] Huguenot recruiting station. His prudent guardian had taken the precaution to remove Agrippa's clothes every evening, in order to prevent him from carrying out his avowed purpose of entering the army; but one night, on hearing the report of the arquebuse—which a number of his companions, bent on the same course, had fired as a signal near his place of confinement—the youth boldly lowered himself to the ground by the sheets of his bed, and, with bare feet and no other clothing than a shirt, made his way to Jonzac. There, after receiving an outfit from some Protestant captains, he jotted down at the bottom of the receipt which he gave them in return, the whimsical declaration "that never in his life would he blame the war for having stripped him, since he could not possibly leave it in a sorrier plight than that in which he entered it."[587]

The court proscribes the reformed religion.

The resolution and enthusiasm of the Huguenots were greatly augmented by the imprudent course of the court. Notwithstanding their own guilty designs, Catharine and the Cardinal of Lorraine were taken by surprise when the news reached them that Condé and Coligny had escaped, and that the Huguenots were everywhere arming. So sudden an outbreak had not been expected; and, while awaiting the muster of that portion of the troops that had been dismissed, but was now summoned to assemble at Étaples on the 10th of September,[588] it was thought best to quiet the agitated minds of the people. A declaration was accordingly published, assuring all the adherents of the reformed faith who remained at home and furnished no assistance to the enemy, of the royal protection, Charles promising, at the same time, to give a gracious hearing to their grievances.[589] But, as soon as the Roman Catholic forces began to collect in large numbers, and the apprehension of a sudden assault by the Huguenots died away, the court threw off the mask of conciliation, and Charles was made to sign two laws unsurpassed for intolerance. The first purported to be "an irrevocable and perpetual edict."[Pg 276] It rehearsed the various steps taken by Charles the Ninth and his brother Francis in reference to the "so-called reformed religion," from the time of the tumult of Amboise. It alluded to the edicts of July and of January—the latter adopted by the queen mother, by advice of the Cardinals of Bourbon and Tournon, of the constable, of Saint André, and others, because less objectionable than an edict tolerating the worship of that religion within the walls of the cities. None of these concessions, it asserted, having satisfied the professors of the new faith, who had collected money and raised troops with the intent of establishing another government in place of that which God had instituted, the king now repealed the edicts of toleration, and henceforth prohibited his subjects, of whatever rank and in all parts of his dominions, on pain of confiscation and death, from the exercise of any other religious rites than those of the Roman Catholic Church. All Protestant ministers were ordered to leave France within fifteen days. Quiet and peaceable laymen were promised toleration until such time as God should deign to bring them back to the true fold; and pardon was offered to all who within twenty days should lay down their arms.[590] The second edict deprived all Protestant magistrates of the offices they held, reserving, however, to those who did not take part in the war, a certain portion of their former revenues.[591]

In order to give greater solemnity to the transaction, Charles, clothed in robes of state and with great pomp, repaired to the parliament house, to be present at the publication of the new edicts, and with his own hands threw into the fire and burned up the previous edicts of pacification. "Thus did his Royal Highness of France," writes a contemporary German pam[Pg 277]phleteer with intense satisfaction, "as was seemly and becoming to a Christian supreme magistrate, pronounce sentence of death upon all Calvinistic and other heresies."[592]

Impolicy of this course.

Nothing devised by the papal party could have been better adapted to further the Huguenot cause than the course it had adopted. The wholesale proscription of their faith united the Protestants, and led every able-bodied man to take up arms against a perfidious government, whose disregard of treaties solemnly made was so shamefully paraded before the world. "These edicts," admits the candid Castelnau, "only served to make the whole party rise with greater expedition, and furnished the Prince of Condé and the admiral with a handle to convince all the Protestant powers that they were not persecuted for any disaffection to the government, but purely for the sake of religion."[593]

Attempts to make capital of the proscriptive measures.

Efforts were not spared by the Guisard party to make capital abroad out of the new proscriptive measures. Copies of the edicts, translated from the French, were put into circulation beyond the Rhine, accompanied by a memorial embodying the views presented by an envoy of Charles to some of the Roman Catholic princes of the empire. The king herein justified himself for his previous clemency by declaring that he had entertained no other idea than that of allowing his subjects of the "pretended" reformed faith time and opportunity for returning to the bosom of the only true church. Lovers of peace and good order among the Germans were warned that they had no worse enemies than the insubordinate and rebellious Huguenots of his Very Christian Majesty's dominions, while the adherents of the Augsburg Confession were distinctly given to understand that Lutheranism was safer with the Turk than where Calvin's doctrines were professed.[594] [Pg 278]

To influence the princes the offices of skilled diplomatists were called into requisition, but to no purpose. When Blandy requested the emperor, in Charles's name, to prevent any succor from being sent to Condé from Germany, Maximilian replied by counselling his good friend the king to seek means to restore concord and harmony among his subjects, and professing his own inability to restrain the levy of auxiliary troops. And from Duke John William, of Saxony, the same envoy only obtained expressions of regret that the war so lately suppressed had broken out anew, and of discontent on the part of the German princes at the rumor that Charles had been so ill advised as to join in a league made by the Pope and the King of Spain, with the view of overwhelming the Protestants.[595]

A "crusade" preached at Toulouse.

On the other hand, the new direction taken by Catharine met with the most decided favor on the part of the fanatical populace, and the pulpits resounded with praise of the complete abrogation of all compacts with heresy. The Roman Catholic party in Toulouse acted so promptly, anticipating even the orders of the royal court, as to make it evident that they had been long preparing for the struggle. On Sunday, the twelfth of September, a league for the extermination of heresy was published, under the name of a crusade. A priest delivered a sermon with the consent of the Parliament of Toulouse. Next day all who desired to join in the bloody work met in the cathedral dedicated to St. Stephen—the Christian protomartyr having, by an irony of history, more than once been made a witness of acts more congenial to the spirit of his persecutors than to his own—and prepared themselves for their undertaking by a common profession of their faith, by an oath to expose their lives and property for the maintenance of the Roman Catholic religion, and by confession and communion. This being done, they adopted for their motto the words, "Eamus nos, moriamur cum Christo," and attached to their dress a white cross to distinguish them from[Pg 279] their Protestant fellow-citizens. Of success they entertained no misgivings. Had not Attila been defeated, with his three hundred thousand men, not far from Toulouse? Had not God so blessed the arms of "our good Catholics" in the time of Louis the Eighth, father of St. Louis, that eight hundred of them had routed more than sixty thousand heretics? "So that we doubt not," said the new crusaders, "that we shall gain the victory over these enemies of God and of the whole human race; and if some of us should chance to die, our blood will be to us a second baptism, in consequence of which, without any hinderance, we shall pass, with the other martyrs, straight to Paradise."[596] A papal bull, a few months later (on the fifteenth of March, 1569), gave the highest ecclesiastical sanction to the crusade, and emphasized the complete extermination of the heretics.[597]

Fanaticism of the Roman Catholic preachers.

The faithful, but somewhat garrulous chronicler, who has left us so vivid a picture of the social, religious, and political condition of the city of Provins during a great part of the second half of this century, describes a solemn procession in honor of the publication of the new ordinance, which was attended by over two thousand persons, and even by the magistrates suspected of sympathy with the Protestants. Friar Jean Barrier, when pressed to preach, took for his text the song of Moses: "I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea." His treatment of the verse was certainly novel, although the exegesis might not find much favor with the critical Hebraist. The Prince of Condé was the horse, on whose[Pg 280] back were mounted the Huguenot ministers and preachers—the riders who drove him hither and thither by their satanic doctrine. Although they were not as yet drowned, like Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, France had great reason to rejoice and praise God that the king had annulled the Edict of January, and other pernicious laws made during his minority. As for himself, said the good friar, he was ready to die, like another Simeon, since he had lived to see the edicts establishing "the Huguenotic liberty" repealed, and the preachers expelled from France.[598]

The Huguenot places of refuge.

Similar rejoicings with similar high masses and sermons by enthusiastic monks, were heard in the capital[599] and elsewhere. But the jubilant strains were sounded rather prematurely; for the victory was yet to be won. The Huguenot nobles, invited by Condé, were flocking to La Rochelle; the Protestant inhabitants of the towns, expelled from their homes, were generally following the same impulse. But others, reluctant, or unable to traverse such an expanse of hostile territory, turned toward nearer places of refuge. Happily they found a number of such asylums in cities whose inhabitants, alarmed by the marks of treachery appearing in every quarter of France, had refused to receive the garrisons sent to them in the king's name. It was a wonderful providence of God, the historian Jean de Serres remarks. The fugitive Huguenots of the centre and north found the gates of Vézelay and of Sancerre open to them. Those of Languedoc and Guyenne were safe within the walls of Montauban, Milhau, and Castres. In the south-eastern corner of the kingdom, Aubenas, Privas, and a few other places afforded a retreat for the women and children, and a convenient point for the muster of the forces of Dauphiny.[600]

Jeanne d'Albret and D'Andelot reach La Rochelle.

Meantime, the Queen of Navarre, with young Prince Henry and his sister Catharine, started from her dominions near the Pyrenees. The court had in vain plied her with conciliatory letters and messages sent in the king's name. Gathering her[Pg 281] troops together, and narrowly escaping the forces despatched to intercept her, she formed a junction with a very considerable body of troops raised in Périgord, Auvergne, and the neighboring provinces, under the Seigneur de Piles, the Marquis de Montamart, and others, and, after meeting the Prince of Condé, who came as far as Cognac to receive her, found safety in the city of La Rochelle.[601]

From an opposite direction, François d'Andelot, whom the outbreak of hostilities overtook while yet in Brittany, was warned by Condé to hasten to the same point. With his accustomed energy, the young Châtillon rapidly collected the Protestant noblemen and gentry, not only of that province, but of Normandy, Touraine, Maine, and Anjou, and with such experienced leaders as the Count of Montgomery, the Vidame of Chartres, and François de la Noue, had reached a point on the Loire a few miles above Angers. It was his plan to seize and hold the city and bridge of Saumur, and thus secure for the Huguenots the means of easy communication between the two sides of the important basin intervening between the smaller basins of the Seine and the Garonne. His expectations, however, were frustrated principally by the good fortune of M. de Martigues, who succeeded in making a sudden dash through D'Andelot's scattered divisions, and in conveying to the Duke of Montpensier at Saumur so large a reinforcement as to render it impossible for the Huguenots to dream of dislodging him.[602] For a time D'Andelot was in great peril. With only about fifteen hundred horse and twenty-five hundred foot,[603] he stood on the banks of a river swollen by autumnal rains and supposed[Pg 282] to be utterly impassable, and in the midst of a country all whose cities were in the hands of the enemy. He had even formed the desperate design of retiring twenty or thirty miles northward, in hope of being able to entice Montpensier to follow him so incautiously that he might turn upon him, and, after winning a victory, secure for himself a passage to the sources of the Loire or to his allies in Germany. At this moment the joyful announcement was made by Montgomery that a ford had been discovered. The news proved to be true. The crossing was safe and easy. Not a man nor a horse was lost. The interposition of heaven in their behalf was so wonderful, that, as the Huguenot troopers reached the southern bank, the whole army, by common and irresistible impulse, broke forth in praise to Almighty God, and sang that grand psalm of deliverance—the seventy-sixth.[604] Never had those verses of Beza been sung by more thankful hearts or in a nobler temple.[605]

Success in Poitou, Angoumois, etc.

Full of courage, the exultant troops of D'Andelot now pressed southward. First the city of Thouars fell into their hands; then the more important Partenay surrendered itself to the Huguenots. Here, according to the cruel rules of warfare of the sixteenth century, they deemed themselves justified in hanging the commander of the place, who had thrown himself into the castle, for having too obstinately insisted upon standing an assault in a spot incapable of defence,[Pg 283] together with some priests who had shared his infatuation.[606] Admiral Coligny now met his brother, and the united army, with three cannon brought from La Rochelle, forming his entire siege artillery, demanded and obtained the surrender of Niort, the size and advantageous position of which made it a bulwark of La Rochelle toward the east. Angoulême, Blaye, Cognac, Pons, and Saintes, were still more valuable acquisitions. In short, within a few weeks, so large a number of cities in the provinces of Poitou, Angoumois, and Saintonge had fallen under the power of the Protestants, that they seemed fully to have retrieved the losses they had experienced through the treacherous peace of Longjumeau. "In less than two months," writes La Noue of his fellow-soldiers, "from poor vagabonds that they were, they found in their hands sufficient means to continue a long war."[607] And the veteran Admiral Coligny, amazed at the success attending measures principally planned by himself, was accustomed to repeat with heartfelt thankfulness the exclamation attributed to Themistocles: "I should be lost, if I had not been lost!"[608]

Affairs in Dauphiny, Provence, and Languedoc.
Powerful Huguenot army in the south.
It effects a junction with Condé's forces.

Meantime, in the south-eastern part of France, the provinces of Dauphiny, Provence, and Lower Languedoc, the Huguenots had not been slow in responding to the call of the Prince of Condé. The difficulty was rather in assembling their soldiers than in raising them; for there was little lack of volunteers after the repeal of the royal edicts in favor of the Protestants. With great trouble the contingents of Dauphiny and Provence were brought across the Rhône, and at Alais the Baron d'Acier[609] mustered an army to go to the succor of the Prince of Condé at La Rochelle. A Roman Catholic historian expresses his profound astonishment that the Huguenots of this part of the kingdom, when surprised[Pg 284] by the violation of the peace, should so speedily have been able to mass a force of twenty-five thousand men, well furnished and equipped, and commanded by the most excellent captains of the age—Montbrun, Mouvans, Pierre-Gourde, and others.[610] The abbé's wonder was doubtless equalled by the consternation which the news spread among the enemies of the Huguenots. The Roman Catholics could bring no army capable of preventing the junction of D'Acier's troops with those of Condé; but the Duke of Montpensier succeeded, on the twenty-fifth of October, in inflicting a severe loss upon one of the divisions at Messignac, near Périgueux. Mouvans and Pierre-Gourde, who were distant from the main body, were attacked in their quarters, by a force under Brissac, which they easily repulsed. D'Acier, suspecting the design of the enemy, had commanded the Huguenot captains to make no pursuit, and to await his own arrival. But brave Mouvans was as impatient of orders as he was courageous in battle. Disregarding the authority which sat so lightly upon him, he fell into an ambuscade, where he atoned for his rashness by the loss of his own life and the lives of more than a thousand of his companions. After this disaster, D'Acier experienced no further opposition, and, on the first of November, he met the advancing army of Condé at Aubeterre, on the banks of the Dronne.[611]

With the new accessions to his army, the prince commanded[Pg 285] a force very considerably larger than any he had led in the previous wars. Among the conflicting statements, we may find it difficult to fix its numbers. Agrippa d'Aubigné says that, after the losses consequent upon the defeat of Messignac and those resulting from camp diseases, Condé's army consisted of only seventeen thousand foot soldiers, and two thousand five hundred horsemen.[612] A Huguenot bulletin, sent from La Rochelle for the information of Queen Elizabeth and the Protestants of England, may have given somewhat too favorable a view of the prince's prospects, but was certainly nearer the truth, in assigning him twenty-five thousand arquebusiers and a cavalry force of five or six thousand men.[613] On the other hand, Henry of Anjou, who had been placed in nominal command of the Roman Catholic army, had not yet been able to assemble a much superior, probably not an equal, number of soldiers. The large forces which, according to his ambassador at the English court, Charles the Ninth could call out,[614] existed only on paper. The younger Tavannes, whose father was the true head of the royal army, gives it but about twenty thousand men.[615]

It was already nearly winter when the armies were collected, and their operations during the remainder of the campaign were indecisive. In the numerous skirmishes that occurred the Huguenots usually had the advantage, and sometimes inflicted considerable damage upon the enemy. But the Duke of Anjou, or the more experienced leaders commanding in his name, studiously avoided a general engagement. The instructions from the court were to wear out the courage and enthusi[Pg 286]asm of Condé's adherents by protracting a tame and monotonous warfare.[616] The prince's true policy, on the contrary, lay in decided action. His soldiers were inferior to none in France. The flower of the higher nobility and the most substantial of the middle classes had flocked to his standard so soon as it was unfurled. But, without regular commissariat, and serving at their own costs, these troops could not long maintain themselves in the field.[617] The nobles and country gentlemen, never too provident in their habits, soon exhausted their ready funds, with their crowd of hungry retainers, and became a more pitiable class than even the burgesses. The latter, whom devotion to their religious convictions, rather than any thirst for personal distinction, had impelled to enter the service, could not remain many months away from their workshops and counting-rooms without involving their families in great pecuniary distress. It was not, however, possible for Condé and Coligny to bring about a combat which the duke was resolved to decline, and the unparalleled severity of the season suspended, at the same time, their design of wresting from his hands the city of Saumur, a convenient point of communication with northern France. Early in December the vines were frozen in the fields,[618] disease broke out in either camp, and the soldiers began to murmur at a war which seemed to be waged with the elements rather than with their fellow-men. While Anjou's generals, therefore, drew off their troops to Saumur, Chinon on the Vienne, and Poitiers, Condé's army went into winter quarters a little farther west, at Montreuil-Bellay, Loudun and Thouars, but afterward removed, for greater commodity in obtaining provisions, to Partenay and Niort.[619]

Huguenot reprisals and negotiations.

It was while the Huguenots lay thus inactive that their leaders deliberated respecting the best means of providing for their sup[Pg 287]port during the coming campaign. Jeanne d'Albret, whose masculine vigor[620] had never been displayed more conspicuously than during this war, was present, and assisted by her sage counsels. It was determined, in view of the cruelties exercised upon the Protestants in those parts of the kingdom where they had no strongholds, and of the confiscation of their property by judicial decisions, to retaliate by selling the ecclesiastical possessions in the cities that were now under Huguenot power, and applying the proceeds to military uses. The order of sale was issued under the names of the young Prince of Navarre, of Condé, Coligny, D'Andelot and La Rochefoucauld, and a guarantee was given by them. As a reprisal the measure was just, and as a warlike expedient nothing could be more prudent; for, while it speedily filled the coffers of the Huguenot army, it cut off one great source of the revenues of the court, which had been authorized both by the Pope and by the clergy itself to lay these possessions under contribution.[621]

Already the temper of the Protestant leaders had been sounded by an unaccredited agent of Catharine de' Medici, who found Condé at Mirebeau, and entreated him to make those advances toward a peace which would comport better with his dignity as a subject than with that of Charles as a king. But the prince, who saw in the mission of an irresponsible mediator only a new attempt to impede the action of the confederates, had dismissed him, after declaring, in the presence of a large number of his nobles, that he had been compelled to resort to arms in order to provide for his own defence. The war was, therefore, directed not against the king, but against those capital enemies of the crown and of the realm, the Cardinal of Lorraine and his associates. All knew his own vehement desire for peace, of which his late excessive compliance was a sufficient proof; but, since the king was surrounded by his ene[Pg 288]mies, he intended, with God's favor, to come and present his petitions to his Majesty in person.[622]

William of Orange attempts to aid the Huguenots.

Abroad the Huguenots had not been idle in endeavoring to secure the support of advantageous alliances. So early as in the month of August, after the disastrous defeat of Louis of Nassau, at Jemmingen, the Prince of Orange had contemplated the formation of a league for common defence with the Prince of Condé and Admiral Coligny. A draft of such an agreement has been preserved; but it is unsigned, and may be regarded rather as indicative of the friendly disposition of the French and Dutch patriots than as a compact that was ever formally adopted.[623] That same autumn William of Orange had undertaken an expedition intended to free the Netherlands from the tyranny of Alva. He had been met with consummate skill. The duke refused to fight, but hung remorselessly on his skirts. The inhabitants of Brabant extended no welcome to their liberator. The prince's mercenaries, vexed at their reception, annoyed by the masterly tactics of their enemy, and eager only to return to their homes, clamored for pay and for plunder. Orange, outgeneralled, was compelled to abandon the campaign, and would gladly have turned his arms against the oppressors of his fellow-believers in France; but his German troops had enlisted only for the campaign in the Netherlands, and peremptorily declined to transfer the field of battle to another country. However, the depth of the Meuse, which had become[Pg 289] unfordable, furnished more persuasive arguments than could be brought forward by Genlis and the Huguenots who with him had joined the Prince of Orange, and the army of the patriots was forced to direct its course southward and to cross the French frontier.

Consternation and devices of the court.
Declaration of the Prince of Orange.

Great was the consternation at the court of Charles. Paris trembled for its safety, and vigorous were the efforts made to get rid of such dangerous guests. Marshal Cossé, who commanded for his Majesty on the Flemish border, was too weak to copy successfully the tactics of Alva; but he employed the resources of diplomacy. His secretary, the Seigneur de Favelles, not content with remonstrating against the prince's violation of the territory of a king with whom he was at peace, endeavored to terrify him by exaggerating the resources of Charles the Ninth and by fabricating accounts of Huguenot reverses. Condé, he said, had been forced to recross the river Vienne in great confusion; and there was a flattering prospect that he would be compelled to shut himself up in La Rochelle; for "Monseigneur the Duke of Anjou" had an irresistible army of six thousand horse and twenty-five or thirty thousand foot, besides the forces coming from Provence under the Count de Tende, the six thousand newly levied Swiss brought by the Duke d'Aumale, and other considerable bodies of troops.[624] Gaspard de Schomberg[625] was despatched on a similar errand by Charles himself, and offered the prince, if he came merely desiring to pass in a friendly manner through the country, to furnish him with every facility for so doing. In reply, William of Orange, although the refusal of his soldiers to fight against Charles[626] left him no alternative but to embrace the[Pg 290] course marked out for him, did not disguise his hearty sympathy with his suffering brethren in France. In view of the attempts made, according to his Majesty's edict of September last, to constrain the consciences of all who belonged to the Christian religion, and in view of the king's avowed determination to exterminate the pure Word of God, and to permit no other religion than the Roman Catholic—a thing very prejudicial to the neighboring nations, where there was a free exercise of the Christian religion—the prince declared his inability to credit the assertions of his Majesty, that it was not his Majesty's intention to constrain the conscience of any one. He avowed his own purpose to give oppressed Christians everywhere all aid, comfort, counsel, and assistance; asserting his conviction that the men who professed "the religion" demanded nothing else than the glory of God and the advancement of His Word, while in all matters of civil polity they were ready to render obedience to his Majesty. He averred, moreover, that if he should perceive any indications that the Huguenots were pursuing any other object than liberty of conscience and security for life and property, he would not only withdraw his assistance from them, but would use the whole strength of his army to exterminate them.[627] After this declaration, the prince prosecuted his march to Strasbourg, where he disbanded his troops, pawning his very plate and pledging his principality of Orange, to find the means of satisfying their demands. Great was the delight of the royalists, great the disappointment of the Huguenots, on hearing that the expedition had vanished in smoke. "The army of the Prince of Orange," wrote an agent of Condé in Paris, "after having thrice returned to the king's summons a sturdy answer that it would never leave France until it saw religion re-established,[Pg 291] has retreated, in spite of our having given it notice of your intention to avow it. I know not the cause of this sudden movement, for which various reasons are alleged."[628] William the Silent had not, however, relinquished the intention of going to the assistance of the Huguenots, whose welfare, next to that of his own provinces, lay near his heart. Retaining, therefore, twelve hundred horsemen whom he found better disposed than the rest, he patiently awaited the departure of the new ally of the French Protestants, Wolfgang, Duke of Deux-Ponts (Zweibrücken), in whose company he had determined to cross France with his brothers Louis and Henry of Nassau.[629]

Aid sought from England.
Generous response of the English people.
Bishop Jewel's noble plea.

The Prince of Condé received more immediate and substantial assistance from beyond the Channel. When Tavannes undertook to capture Condé and Coligny at Noyers, it was in contemplation to seize Odet, Cardinal of Châtillon, the admiral's elder brother,[630] in his episcopal palace at Beauvais. He received, however, timely warning, and made his escape through Normandy to England, where Queen Elizabeth received him at her court with marks of distinguished favor.[631] His efforts to enlist the sympathies and assistance of[Pg 292] the English monarch in behalf of his persecuted countrymen were seconded by Cavaignes, who soon arrived as an envoy from Condé. Cavaignes was instructed to ask material aid—money to meet the engagements made with the Duke of Deux-Ponts, and ships with their armaments to increase the small flotilla of privateersmen, which the Protestants had, for the first time, sent out from La Rochelle. Soon after appeared the vice-admiral, Chastelier-Pourtaut de Latour, under whose command the flotilla had been placed, bearing a letter from the Queen of Navarre to her sister of England, in which she was entreated to espouse a quarrel that had arisen not from ambition or insubordination, but from the desire, in the first place, to defend religion, and, next, to rescue a king who was being hurried on to ruin by treacherous advisers.[632] To these reiterated appeals, and to the solicitations for aid addressed to them by other refugees from papal violence who had found their way to the shores of Great Britain, the subjects of the queen returned a more gracious answer than the queen herself. The exiled Huguenot ministers were received with open arms by men who regarded them as champions of a common Christianity,[633] and some Protestant noblemen had in a few[Pg 293] weeks after their arrival raised for their relief, the sum—considerable for those days—of one hundred pounds sterling. Not only the laity, but even the clergy of the Church of England, took a tender pride in receiving the "few servants of God"—some three or four thousand—whom Providence had thrown upon their shores. They welcomed them to their cities, and resented the attempts of Pope and king to secure their extradition. Could the Pope, who harbored six thousand usurers and twenty thousand courtesans in his own city of Rome, call upon the Queen of England to deny the right of asylum to "the poor exiles of Flanders and France, and other countries, who either lost or left behind them all that they had—goods, lands, and houses—not for adultery, or theft, or treason, but for the profession of the Gospel?" "It pleased God," wrote Bishop Jewel, "here to cast them on land: the queen of her gracious pity hath granted them harbor. Is it become so heinous a thing to show mercy?" "They are our brethren," continued their noble-minded advocate, "they live not idly. If they have houses of us, they pay rent for them. They hold not our grounds but by making due recompense. They beg not in our streets, nor crave anything at our hands, but to breathe our air, and to see our sun. They labor truly, they live sparefully. They are good examples of virtue, travail,[Pg 294] faith, and patience. The towns in which they abide are happy, for God doth follow them with His blessings."[634]

Misgivings of Queen Elizabeth.
Her double-dealing and effrontery.

Queen Elizabeth was less decidedly in their favor. Her court swarmed with creatures of the Spanish king, who openly gloried in the victories of the Guises. The ambassadors of Charles and Philip strove to the utmost to render the Huguenots odious to her mind, and to give a false coloring to the war raging in France. Her jealousy of the royal prerogative was appealed to, by the repeated declaration that the Protestants of France were turbulent men, who, for the slightest occasion and upon the most slender suspicion, were ready to have recourse to arms—enthusiasts, who could not be dissuaded from rash enterprises; sectaries, who employed their consistories and their organized form of church government to levy men, to collect arms, munitions of war, and money—rebels, in fine, who could at any moment rise within an hour, and surprise his most Christian Majesty's cities and provinces. The abrogation of religious liberty was, therefore, not merely advisable, but absolutely necessary. Elizabeth was reminded, also, of her own intolerant measures toward the Roman Catholics of her dominions; and she was assured that her fears of a combined attack on all the Protestants were devoid of foundation—that Charles had neither taken up arms, nor revoked the edicts of toleration at the desire of any other prince, still less because of the instance of any private individuals, but of his own free will, in order to secure his kingdom.[635] These arguments, if they did not convince Elizabeth, gave her a fair excuse for trying to maintain an appearance of non-intervention, which the perilous position of England seemed to her to dictate. With the problem of Scotland and Mary Stuart yet unsolved—with a very considerable part of the lords and commons of her own kingdom scarcely con[Pg 295]cealing their affection for the Romish faith—she deemed it hazardous to provoke too far the enmity of Philip the Second, her brother-in-law, and a late suitor for her hand. As if any better way could be found of warding off from her island the assaults of Philip than by rendering efficient aid to Condé and Orange! As if England's dissimulation and refusal to support the "Huguenots" and the "Gueux" in any other than an underhand way were likely to retard the sailing of the great expedition that was to turn the Pope's impotent threats against the "bastard of England" into fearful realities! As if Protestantism, everywhere menaced, could hope for glorious success in any other path than a bold and combined defence![636] Unfortunately Elizabeth was fairly launched on a sea of deceitful diplomacy, and not even Cecil could hold her back. She gave La Mothe Fénélon, the French envoy, assurances that would have been most satisfactory could he have closed his eyes to the facts that gave these assurances the lie direct. At one time, with an appearance of sincerity, she told the Spanish ambassador, it is true, that she could not abandon the family of Châtillon, who had long been her friends, whilst she saw the Guises, the declared enemies of her person and state, in such authority, both in the council and the field; that she could not feel herself secure, especially since a member of the French council had inadvertently dropped the hint that, after everything had been settled at home, Charles would turn his arms against England. She had rather, consequently, anticipate than be anticipated.[637] But to La Mothe Fénélon himself she maintained unblushingly that, so far from helping the French Protestants, "there was nothing in the world of which she entertained such horror as of seeing a body[Pg 296] rising in rebellion against its head, and that she had no notion of associating herself with such a monster."[638] And again and again she protested that she was not intriguing in France—that she had sent the Huguenots no assistance.[639] At the same time Admiral Winter had been despatched with four or five ships of war and a fleet of merchantmen, to carry to La Rochelle, in answer to the request of Condé and of the Queen of Navarre, 100,000 "angelots" and six pieces of cannon and ammunition.[640] When the ambassador was commissioned to lay before the queen a remonstrance against this flagrant breach of neutrality, and to demand an answer, within fifteen days, respecting her intentions,[641] Elizabeth, in declaring for peace, had the effrontery to assert that the assistance in cannon and powder (for she denied that any money was left at La Rochelle) was involuntary, not only with her, but even with the admiral himself. Having dropped into the harbor to obtain the wine and other commodities with which his fleet of merchantmen were to be freighted, Admiral Winter was approached by the governor of the city, who so strongly pressed him to sell or lend them some pieces of artillery and some powder, which they could not do without, that, considering that he, as well as the ships, were in their power, he thought it necessary to comply with a part of their requests, although it was against his will.[642] Such were the[Pg 297] paltry falsehoods to which Elizabeth's insincere course naturally and directly led. La Mothe Fénélon was well aware that Admiral Winter, besides his public commission, had been furnished with a secret order, authorizing him to assist La Rochelle, signed by Elizabeth's own hand, without which the wary old seaman absolutely refused to go, doubtless fearing that he might be sacrificed when it suited his mistress's crooked policy. What the order contained was no mystery to the French envoy.[643] Neither party in this solemn farce was deceived, but both wanted peace. Catharine would have been even more vexed than surprised had Elizabeth confessed the truth, and so necessitated a resort to open hostilities.[644] As the honor of the government was satisfied, even by the notoriously false story of Winter's compulsion, there was no necessity for pressing the question of its veracity to an inconvenient length.

Fruitless sieges and plots.

The cold winter of 1568-1569 passed without signal events, excepting the great mortality among the soldiers of both camps from an epidemic disease—consequent upon exposure to the extraordinary severity of the season—and the fruitless siege of the city of Sancerre by the Roman Catholics. Five weeks were the troops of Martinengo detained before the walls of this small place, whose convenient proximity to the upper Loire rendered it valuable to the Huguenots, not only as a means of facilitating the introduction of their expected German auxiliaries into central France, but still more as a refuge for their allies in the neighboring provinces. The bravery of the besieged made them superior to the forces sent to dislodge them. They repulsed, with great loss to their enemies, two successive assaults on different parts of the works, and, at last, gaining new courage from the advantages they had obtained, assumed the offensive, and forced Martinengo and the captains by whom he had been reinforced to retire humiliated from the[Pg 298] hopeless undertaking.[645] Meantime, in not less than three important cities which the Huguenots hoped to gain without striking a blow, the plans of those who were to have admitted the Protestants within the walls failed in the execution; and Dieppe, Havre, and Lusignan remained in the power of the Roman Catholic party.[646]

Growing superiority of Anjou's forces.

At the opening of the spring campaign the Prince of Condé found his position relatively to his opponents by no means so favorable as at the close of the previous year. His loss by disease equalled, his loss by desertion exceeded, that of the Duke of Anjou; for it was impossible for troops serving at their own expense, however zealous they might be for the common cause, to be kept together, especially during a season of inaction, so easily as the forces paid out of the royal treasury. Besides this, the Duke of Anjou had received considerable reinforcements. Two thousand two hundred German reiters, under the Rhinegrave and Bassompierre, had arrived in his camp. They were the first division of a force of five thousand six hundred men who had crossed the Rhine, near the end of December, under Philibert, Marquis of Baden, and others. The young Count de Tende brought three thousand foot soldiers from Provence and Dauphiny, and smaller bodies came in from other parts of France.[647] Condé, on the contrary, had received scarcely any accessions to his troops. The "viscounts," whose arrival had turned the scale at the conclusion of the last war, lingered in Guyenne, with an army of six thousand foot soldiers and a well-appointed cavalry force, preferring to protect the Protestant territories about Montauban and Castres, and to ravage the lands of their enemies, as far as to the gates of Toulouse, rather than leave their homes unprotected and join Condé. A dispute respecting precedence had not been without some influence in causing the delay, and M. de Piles, who had been twice sent to urge them forward, had only succeeded in[Pg 299] bringing a corps of one thousand two hundred arquebusiers and two hundred horse.[648] It was now expected, however, that realizing the vital importance of opposing to Anjou a powerful Protestant army, the viscounts would abandon their short-sighted policy; and it was the intention of Condé and Coligny, after effecting a junction, to march with the combined armies to meet the Duke of Deux-Ponts. Anticipating this plan, the court had despatched the Dukes of Aumale and of Nemours to guard the entrance into France from the side of Germany. There seemed to be danger that the precaution would prove ineffectual through the jealousy existing between the two leaders; but this danger Catharine attempted to avert by removing the royal court to Metz, where she could exert her personal influence in reconciling the ambitious rivals.[649] In order to prevent the threatened union of Condé and the viscounts, the Duke of Anjou now left his winter quarters upon the Loire and moved southward. On the other hand, the Prince of Condé left Niort, and, pursuing a course nearly parallel, passed through St. Jean d'Angely to Saintes, thence diverging to Cognac, on the Charente.[650]

The armies meet on the Charente.

The Charente, although by no means one of the largest rivers of France, well deserves to be called one of the most capricious. For about a quarter of its length it runs in a northwesterly direction. At Civray it abruptly turns southward and flows in a meandering course as far as Angoulême, receiving on the way the waters of the Tardouère (Tardoire), and with it almost completely inclosing a considerable tract of land. At Angoulême, the old whim regaining[Pg 300] supremacy, the Charente again bends suddenly westward, and finally empties into the ocean below Rochefort, through a narrow arm of the sea known as the Pertuis d'Antioche. The tract of country included between the river and the shores of the Bay of Biscay, comprising a large part of the provinces of Aunis and Saintonge, was in the undisputed possession of the Huguenots. They held the right bank of the river, and controlled the bridges. Here they intended to await the arrival of the viscounts. Jarnac, an important town on this side, a few miles above Cognac, Admiral Coligny with the advance guard of the prince's army had wrested from the enemy. They had also recovered Châteauneuf, a small place situated higher up, and midway between Jarnac and Angoulême.

In pursuance of his plan, the Duke of Anjou, after crossing the Charente near Ruffec, had moved around to the south side, determined to prevent the junction of the two Huguenot armies. Once more Châteauneuf fell into his hands; but the garrison, after retreating to the opposite bank, had destroyed the bridge behind them. This bridge the Roman Catholics set themselves at once to repair. At the same time they began the construction of a bridge of boats in the immediate vicinity. While these constructions were pushed forward with great vigor, the royal army marched down as far as Cognac and made a feint of attack, but retired after drawing from the walls a furious cannonade. It was now that prudence demanded that the Protestant army should withdraw from its advanced position with only the Charente between its vanguard and the far superior forces of the enemy. This was the advice of Coligny and of others in the council of war. But Condé prevented its prompt execution, exclaiming: "God forbid that it should ever be said that a Bourbon fled before his enemies!"[651]

Battle of Jarnac, March 13, 1569.

The bridges being now practicable, almost the whole army of Anjou was thrown across the Charente under cover of the dark[Pg 301]ness, during the night of the twelfth and thirteenth of March, only a small force remaining on the left bank to protect Châteauneuf and the passage. So skilfully was this movement effected that it escaped the observation even of those divisions of the Protestant army that were close to the point of crossing. When at length the admiral was advised that the enemy were in force on the northern bank, he at once issued the order to fall back toward Condé and the main body of the Huguenots. Unfortunately, the divisions of Coligny's command were scattered; some had been discontented with the posts assigned them, and had on their own responsibility exchanged them for others that better suited their fancy. The very command to concentrate was obeyed with little promptness, and the afternoon was more than half spent before Coligny, and D'Andelot, who was with him, could begin the retreat. Never was dilatoriness more ill-timed. The handful of men with the admiral, near the abbey and hamlet of Bassac, fought with desperation, but could not ward off the superior numbers of the enemy. La Noue, in command of the extreme rear, with great courage drove back the foremost of the Roman Catholics, but was soon overpowered and taken prisoner. His men were thrown in disorder upon D'Andelot, who, by an almost superhuman effort, not only sustained the shock, but retook and for a short time held the abbey. D'Andelot was, however, in turn forced to yield the ground.

Meantime Coligny had called upon Condé for assistance, and the prince, leaving his infantry to follow, had hurried back with the few horse that were within reach, and now took position on the left. But it was impossible for so unequal a struggle to continue long. The Huguenots were outflanked and almost enclosed between their adversaries and the Charente. It was a time for desperate and heroic venture. Coligny's forces had lost the ground which they had been contesting inch by inch about a raised causeway.

Condé himself had but three hundred knights. One of his arms he carried in a sling, because of a recent injury. To render his condition yet more deplorable, his thigh had just been broken, as he rode up, by a kick from the unmanageable[Pg 302] horse of his brother-in-law, La Rochefoucauld. The prince was no coward. Turning to his little company of followers, he exclaimed: "My friends, true noblesse of France, here is the opportunity we have long wished for in vain! Our God is the God of Battles. He loves to be so called. He always declares Himself for the right, and never fails to succor those who serve Him. He will infallibly protect us, if, after having taken up arms for the liberty of our consciences, we put all our hope in Him. Come and let us complete what the first charges have begun; and remember in what a state Louis of Bourbon entered into the combat for Christ and for his native land!" Thus having spoken, he bent forward, and, at the head of his devoted band, and under an ensign bearing for device the figure of the Roman hero Marcus Curtius and the singularly appropriate motto, "Doux le peril pour Christ et le Pays," he dashed upon a hostile battalion eight hundred strong.[652]

Death of Louis, Prince of Condé.

The conflict was, in the judgment of that scarred old Huguenot warrior, Agrippa d'Aubigné, the sharpest and most obstinate in all the civil wars.[653] At last Condé's horse was killed under him, and the prince was unable to extricate himself. The day was evidently lost, and Condé, calling two of the enemies' knights with whom he was acquainted, and the life of one of whom he had on a former occasion saved, raised his visor, made himself known, and surrendered. His captors pledged him their word that his life should be spared, and respectfully endeavored to raise him from the ground. Just at that moment another horseman rode up. It was Montesquiou, captain of Anjou's guards, who came directly from his master, and was charged—so it was said—with a secret commission. He drew a pistol as he approached, and, without inquiring into the terms of the capture, shot Condé in the back. The shot penetrated between the joints of his armor, and caused almost instantaneous death. [Pg 303]

So perished a prince even more illustrious for his courage and intrepidity than for his exalted rank—a prince who had conscientiously espoused the reformed faith, and had felt himself constrained by his duty to his God and to his fellow-believers to assert the rights of the oppressed Huguenots against illegal persecution. "Our consolation," wrote Jeanne d'Albret a few weeks later, "is that he died on the true bed of honor, both for body and soul, for the service of his God and his king, and the quiet of his fatherland."[654] So magnanimous a hero could not be insensible to the invasion of his claims as the representative of the family next in the succession to the Valois; but I cannot agree with those who believe that, in his assumption of arms in three successive wars, he was influenced solely, or even principally, by selfish or ambitious motives. His devotion to the cause which he had espoused was sincere and whole-souled. If his love of pleasure was a serious blot upon his character, let charity at least reflect upon the fearful corruption of the court in which he had been living from his childhood, and remember that if Condé yielded too readily to its fascinations, and fell into shameful excesses, he yet bore with meekness the pointed remonstrances of faithful friends, and in the end shook off the chains with which his enemies had endeavored to bind him fast.[655] As a soldier, no one could surpass Condé for bra[Pg 304]very.[656] If his abilities as a general were not of the very first order, he had at least the good sense to adopt the plans of Gaspard de Coligny, the true hero of the first four civil wars. The relations between these two men were well deserving of admiration. On the part of Condé there was an entire absence of jealousy of the resplendent abilities and well-earned reputation of the admiral. On the part of Coligny there was an equal freedom from desire to supplant the prince either in the esteem of his followers or in military rank. Coligny was inflexible in his determination to accept no honors or distinctions that might appear to prejudice the respect due by a Châtillon to a prince of royal blood.[657]

The Prince of Condé was, unfortunately, not the only Huguenot leader murdered in cold blood at the battle of Jarnac. Chastelier-Pourtaut de Latour, who, having lately brought his flotilla back in safety to La Rochelle, had hastened to take the field with the Protestants, was recognized after his capture as the same nobleman who, five years before, had killed the Sieur de Charry at Paris, and was killed in revenge by some of Charry's friends. Robert Stuart, the brave leader descended from the royal house of Scotland, who was said to have slain Constable Montmorency in the battle of St. Denis, was assassinated after he had been talking with the Duke of Anjou, within hearing and almost in sight of the duke, by one of the constable's adherents.[658]

Henry of Navarre remonstrates against the perfidy.

These flagrant violations of good faith incurred severe ani[Pg 305]madversion. A letter is extant, written by young Prince Henry of Navarre, or in his name, to Henry of Anjou, on the twelfth of July, 1569, about four months after the battle of Jarnac. He begins by answering the aspersions cast upon his mother and himself, and by asserting that, if his age (which, however, is not much less than that of Anjou) disqualifies him from passing a judgment upon the present state of affairs, he has lived long enough to recognize the instigators of the new troubles as the enemies of the public weal. It is not Henry of Navarre, whose honors and dignities are all dependent upon the preservation of France, who seeks the ruin of the kingdom; but, rather, they seek its ruin who, in their eagerness to usurp the crown, have gone the length of making genealogical searches to prove their possession of a title superior to that of the Valois, "and have learned how to sell the blood of the house of France against itself,[659] constraining the king, as it were, to make use of his left arm to cut off his right, so as more easily to wrest his sceptre from him afterward." In reply to the statement of Anjou that Stuart alone was killed in cold blood, Henry of Navarre affirms that he can enumerate many others.[660] "But I shall content myself with merely reminding you of the manner in which the late Prince of Condé was treated, inasmuch as it touches you, Sir, and because it is a matter well known and free of doubt. For his death has left to posterity an example of as noted treachery, bad faith and cruelty as was ever shown, seeing that those, Sir, who murdered him could not be deterred from the perpetration of so wicked an act by the respect they owed to the greatness of your blood, to which he had the honor of being so nearly[Pg 306] related, and that they dealt with him as they would have done with the most miserable soldier of the whole army."[661]

The Huguenot loss in the battle of Jarnac was surprisingly small in the number of men killed. It is probable that, including prisoners, they lost about four hundred men, or about twice as many as the Roman Catholics.[662] But the loss was in effect much more considerable. The dead and the prisoners were the flower of the French nobility. Among those that had fallen into the enemy's hands were the bastard son of Antoine of Navarre, François de la Noue, Soubise, La Loue, and others of nearly equal distinction. Of infantry the Huguenot army lost but few men, as the regiments, with the exception of that of Pluviaut, did not enter the engagement at all. Coming up too late, and finding themselves in danger of falling into the hands of the enemy's victorious cavalry, they evacuated Jarnac, crossed to the left bank of the Charente, and, after breaking down the bridge, retreated leisurely toward Cognac. Admiral Coligny, meantime, upon whom the command in chief now devolved, diverged to the right, and conducted the cavalry in safety to Saintes. The Roman Catholic army, apparently satisfied with the success it had gained, made no attempt at pursuit.

The Duke of Anjou entered Jarnac in triumph. With him was brought the corpse of the Prince of Condé, tied to an ass's back, to be afterward exposed by a pillar of the house where Anjou lodged—the butt of the sneers and low wit of the sol[Pg 307]diers.[663] In the first glow of exultation over a victory, the real credit of which belonged to Gaspard de Tavannes,[664] Anjou contemplated erecting a chapel on the spot where Condé fell. The better counsels of M. de Carnavalet, however, induced him to abandon a design which would have confirmed all the sinister rumors respecting his complicity in the assassination.[665] The prince's dead body was given up for interment to the Prince of Navarre, and found a resting-place in the ancestral tomb at Vendôme.[666]

Exaggerated bulletins.

Henry of Anjou was not inclined to suffer his victory to pass unnoticed. Almost as soon as the smoke of battle had cleared away, a careful description of his exploit was prepared for circulation, and it was no fault of the compiler if[Pg 308] the account he gave was not sufficiently flattering to the young prince's vanity. Condé's body had not been four days in the hands of the Roman Catholics, before Anjou wrote to his brother, the King of France, announcing the fact that he had already despatched messengers with the precious document to the Pope and the Duke of Florence, to the Dukes of Savoy, Ferrara, Parma, and Urbino, to the Republic of Venice and the Duke of Mantua, and to Philip of Spain; while copies were also under way, intended for the French ambassadors in England and Switzerland, for the Parliaments of Paris, Bordeaux, and Toulouse, the "prévôt des marchands," and the "échevins" of the capital, and others.[667]

The Pope's sanguinary injunctions.

The exaggerated bulletins of the Duke of Anjou were received with great demonstrations of joy by all the Roman Catholic allies of France. Pope Pius the Fifth in particular sent warm congratulations to the "Most Christian King" and to Catharine de' Medici. But he was very careful to couple his expressions of thanks with an earnest recommendation to pursue the work so auspiciously begun, even to the extermination of the detested heretics. "The more kindly God has dealt with you and us," he promptly wrote to Charles, "the more vigorously and diligently must you make use of the present victory to pursue and destroy the remnants of the enemy, and wholly tear up, not only the roots of an evil so great and which had gathered to itself such strength, but even the very fibres of the roots. Unless they be thoroughly extirpated, they will again sprout and grow up (as we have so often heretofore seen happen), where your Majesty least expects it." Pius pledged his word that Charles would succeed in his undertaking, "if no respect for men or for human considerations should be powerful enough to induce him to spare God's enemies, who had spared neither God nor him." "In no other way," he added, "will you be able to appease God, than by avenging the injuries done to God with the utmost severity, by the merited punishment of most accursed men." And he set as a warning before the[Pg 309] eyes of the French monarch the example of King Saul, who, when commanded by God, through Samuel the Prophet, so to smite the Amalekites, an infidel people, that none should escape, neither man nor woman, neither infant nor suckling, incurred the anger and rejection of the Almighty by sparing Agag and the best of the spoil, instead of utterly destroying them.[668]

Two weeks later the pontiff received the unwelcome tidings that some of the Huguenot prisoners taken in the battle of Jarnac had been spared. La Noue, Soubise, and other gentlemen had actually been left alive, and were likely to escape without paying the forfeit due to their crimes. At this dreadful intelligence the righteous indignation of Pius was kindled. On one and the same day (the thirteenth of April) he wrote long letters to Catharine, to Anjou, to the Cardinal of Lorraine, to the Cardinal of Bourbon, as well as to Charles himself.[669] Of all these letters the tenor was identical. Such slackness to execute vengeance would certainly provoke God's patience to anger; the king must visit condign punishment upon the enemies of God and the rebels against his own authority. To the victor of Jarnac he was specially urgent, supplicating him to counteract any leanings that might be shown to an impious mercy. "Your brother's rebels have disturbed the public tranquillity of the realm. They have, so far as in them lay, subverted the Catholic religion, have burned churches, have most cruelly slain the priests of Almighty God, have committed numberless other crimes; consequently they deserve to receive those extreme penalties (supplicia) that are ordained by the laws. And if any of their number shall attempt, through the intercession of your nobles with the king your brother, to escape the penalties they deserve, it is your duty, in view of your piety to God and zeal for the divine honor, to reject the prayers of all that intercede for them, and to show yourself equally inexorable to all."[670]

The sanguinary action of the Parliament of Bordeaux.

Was it in consequence of the known desire of the occupant of the Holy See that the policy of the French courts of justice[Pg 310] became more and more sanguinary? We can scarcely doubt that the Pope's injunctions had much to do with these increasing severities. Beginning in March, 1569, the Parliament of Bordeaux issued a series of decrees condemning a crowd of Protestants to death. The names that appear upon the records within the compass of one year number not less than twelve hundred and seventeen. The victims were taken out of all grades of society—from noblemen, military men, judges, priests and monks, down to humble mechanics and laborers. The lists made out by their enemies prove at least one fact which the Huguenots had long maintained: that they counted in their ranks representatives of the first families of the country, as well as of every other class of the population. Happily sentence was pronounced generally upon the absent, and the barbarous punishment of beheading, quartering, and exposing to the popular gaze, remained unexecuted. But the incidental penalty of the confiscation of the property of reputed Huguenots, which, so far from being a mere formal threat, was in fact the principal object contemplated by the prosecution, proved to be sober reality, and the goods of the banished Protestants afforded rich plunder to the informers.[671]

Queen Elizabeth becomes colder.

Upon Elizabeth of England the first effect of the reported victory at Jarnac was clearly marked. Her favorite, the Earl of Leicester, assured the French ambassador that, although the queen was sorry to see those professing her religion maltreated, yet, as queen, she would arm in behalf of Charles when fighting against his own subjects.[672] Her own declarations, however, were not so strong, or perhaps, after a little reflection, she took a more hopeful view of the fortunes of the Huguenots. For, although she exhibited curiosity to hear the "true" account, which a special messenger from Charles the Ninth was commissioned to bring her, and received the tidings in a manner satisfactory to the French am[Pg 311]bassador, she would not rejoice at the death of Condé, whom she held to be a very good and faithful servant of his Majesty's crown, and deplored a war which, whether victory inclined to one side or the other, must lead to the diminution of Charles's best forces and the ruin of his noblesse.[673]

Spirit of the Queen of Navarre.

In point of fact, however, the defeat which the royalists had flattered themselves would terminate the war, and over which they had sung Te Deums, weakened the Huguenots very little.[674] The Queen of Navarre, on hearing the intelligence, hurried to Cognac, where she presented herself to the army, and reminded the brave men who heard her voice that, although the Prince of Condé, their late leader, was dead, the good cause was not dead; and that the courage of such good men ought never to fail. God had provided, and ever would provide, fresh instruments to uphold His own chosen work. Her brief address restored the flagging spirits of the fugitives. When she returned to La Rochelle, to devise new means of supplying the necessities of the army, she left behind her men resolved to retrieve their recent losses. They did not wait long for an opportunity. The Roman Catholics, advancing, laid siege to Cognac, confident of easy success. But the garrison, which included seven thousand infantry newly levied, received them with determination. Sallies were frequent and bloody, and when, at last, the siege was raised, the army of Anjou had sacrificed nearly as many men before the walls of a small provincial city as the Huguenots had lost on the much vaunted field of Jarnac.[675]

The Huguenots recover strength.

The events of the next two or three months certainly exhibited no diminution in the power or in the spirit of the[Pg 312] Huguenots. St. Jean d'Angely, into which Count Montgomery had thrown himself, defied the entire army of Anjou, and the siege was abandoned. Angoulême, an equally tempting morsel, he tried to obtain, but failed. At Mucidan, a town somewhat to the south-west of Périgueux, he was more successful. But he effected its capture at the expense of the life of Brissac, one of his bravest officers—a loss which he attempted to avenge by murdering the garrison, after it had surrendered on condition that life and property should be spared.[676] Within a month or two after the battle of Jarnac the Protestants at La Rochelle wrote, for Queen Elizabeth's information, that they were more powerful than ever, that Piles had brought them 4,000 recruits, that D'Andelot was soon to bring the viscounts with a large force.[677]

Death of D'Andelot.

But the course of that indefatigable warrior was now run. D'Andelot's excessive labors and constant exposure had brought on a fever to which his life soon succumbed. There were not wanting those, it is true, who ascribed his sudden death, like most of the deaths of important personages in the latter part of this century, to poison; and Huguenot and loyal pamphleteers alike laid the crime at the door of Catharine de' Medici.[678] But there is no sufficient evidence to[Pg 313] substantiate the accusation, and we must not unnecessarily ascribe this base act to a woman already responsible for too many undeniable crimes.[679] The death of so gallant and true-hearted a nobleman, a faithful and unflinching friend of the Reformation from the time when it first began to spread extensively among the higher classes of the French population, and who had amply atoned for a momentary act of weakness, in the time of Henry the Second, by an uncompromising profession of his religion on every occasion during the reigns of that monarch's two sons, was deeply felt by his comrades in arms. As "colonel-general of the French infantry," he had occupied the first rank in this branch of the service,[680] and his experience was as highly prized as his impetuous valor upon the field of battle. The brilliancy of his executive abilities seemed to all beholders indispensable to complement the more calm and deliberative temperament of his elder brother. It was natural, therefore, that the admiral, while pouring out his private grief for one who had been so dear to him, in a touching letter to D'Andelot's children,[681] should experience as deep a sorrow for[Pg 314] the loss of his wise and efficient co-operation. He might be pardoned a little despondency as he recalled the prophetic words that had dropped from D'Andelot's lips during a brief respite from his burning fever: "France shall have many woes to suffer with you, and then without you; but all will in the end fall upon the Spaniard!"[682] The prospect was not bright. Peace was yet far distant—peace, which Coligny preferred a thousand times to his own life, but would not purchase dishonorably by the sacrifice of civil liberty and of the right to worship his God according to the convictions of his heart and conscience. The burden of the defence of the Protestants had appeared sufficiently heavy when Condé, a prince of the blood, was alive to share it with him. But now, with the entire charge of maintaining the party against a powerful and determined enemy, who had the advantage of the possession of the person of the king, and thus was able to cloak his ambitious designs with the pretence of the royal authority, and deprived of a brother whom the army had appropriately surnamed "le chevalier sans peur,"[683] the task might well appear to demand herculean strength.

New responsibility imposed on Admiral Coligny.

Henry of Navarre had, indeed, just been recognized as general-in-chief, and he was accompanied by his cousin, Henry of Condé; but Navarre was a boy of little more than fifteen, and his cousin was not much older. Nothing could for the present be expected from such striplings; and the public, ever ready to look upon the comical side of even the most serious matters, was not slow in nicknaming them the "admiral's two pages."[684] Coligny, however, was not crushed by the new responsibility which devolved upon him. No longer[Pg 315] hampered by the authority of one whose counsels often verged on foolhardiness, he soon exhibited his consummate abilities so clearly, that even his enemies were forced to acknowledge that they had never given him the credit he deserved. "It was soon perceived," observes an author by no means friendly to the Huguenots, "that the accident (of Condé's death) had happened only in order to reveal in all its splendor the merits of the Admiral de Châtillon. The admiral had had during his entire life very difficult and complicated matters to unravel, and, nevertheless, he had never had any that were not far below his abilities, and in which, consequently, he had no need of exerting his full capacity. Thus those qualities that were rarest, and that exalted him most above others, remained hidden, through lack of opportunity, and would apparently have remained always concealed during the lifetime of the Prince of Condé, because the world would have attributed to the prince all those results to whose accomplishment it could not learn that the admiral had contributed more than had the former. But, after the battle of Jarnac had permitted the admiral to exhibit himself fully on the most famous theatre of Europe, the Calvinists perceived that they were not so unhappy as they thought, since they still had a leader who would prevent them from noticing the loss they had experienced, so many singular qualities had he to repair it."[685]

The Duke of Deux Ponts comes with German auxiliaries.

Wolfgang, Duke of Deux Ponts, had at length entered France, and was bringing to the Huguenots their long-expected succor. He had seven thousand five hundred reiters from lower Germany, six thousand lansquenets from upper Germany, and a body of French and Flemish gentlemen, under William of Orange and his brother, Mouy, Esternay and others, which may have swelled his army to about[Pg 316] seventeen thousand men in all.[686] In vain did his cousin, the Duke of Lorraine, attempt to dissuade him, offering to reimburse him the one hundred thousand crowns he had already spent upon the preparations for the expedition. Even Condé's death did not discourage him. He came, he said, to fight, not for the prince, but for "the cause."[687] When about entering his Most Christian Majesty's dominions, he had published the reasons of his coming to assist the Huguenots. In this paper he treated as pure calumnies the accusations brought by their enemies against Condé, Coligny, and their associates, and proved his position by quoting the king's own express declaration, in the recent edicts of pacification, "that he recognized everything they had attempted as undertaken by his orders and for the good of the kingdom."[688] The point was certainly well taken. Charles's various declarations were not remarkably consistent. In one, Condé was "his faithful servant and subject," and his acts were prompted by the purest of motives. In the next, he and his fellow-Huguenots were incorrigible rebels, with whom every method of conciliation had signally failed. But Charles did not trouble himself to attempt to smooth away these contradictions. He is even said to have replied to the envoy whom Deux Ponts sent him (April, 1569), demanding the restitution of the Edict of January and the payment of thirty thousand crowns due to Prince Casimir, that "Deux Ponts was too insignificant a personage (trop petit compagnon) to undertake to dictate laws to him, and that, as to the money, he would deliberate about that when the duke had laid down his arms."[689]

[Pg 317]

The secret of this arrogant demeanor is found in the fact that the court believed it impossible for the Germans to join Coligny. Even so late as the middle of May, when Deux Ponts had penetrated to Autun in Burgundy, Charles regarded the attempt as well nigh hopeless. The fortunes of the Huguenots were desperate. "There remains for them as their last resort," he wrote to one of his ambassadors, "but the single hope that the Duke of Deux Ponts will venture so far as to go to find them where they are. But there is little likelihood that an army of strangers, pursued by another of about equal strength—an army destitute of cities of its own, without means of passing the rivers, favored by no one in my kingdom, dying of hunger, so often harassed and put to inconvenience—should be able to make so long a journey without being lost and dissipated of itself, even had I no forces to combat it." "The duke," continued the king, "will soon repent of his mad project of entering France, and attempting to cross the Loire, where such good provision has been made to obstruct him."[690]

They overcome all obstacles and join Coligny.
Death of Deux Ponts.

Charles had not exaggerated the difficulties of the undertaking; but Deux Ponts, under the blessing of Heaven, surmounted them all. The discord between Aumale and Nemours rendered weak and useless an army that might, in the hands of a single skilful general, have checked or annihilated him.[691] Mouy and his French comrades were good guides. The Loire was reached, while Aumale and Nemours followed at a respectful distance. Guerchy, an officer lately belonging to Coligny's army, discovered a ford by which a part of the Germans crossed. The main body laid siege to the town of La Charité, which was soon reduced (on the twentieth of May), the Huguenots thus gaining a bridge and stronghold that proved of great utility for their future operations. Six days[Pg 318] after the king had demonstrated the impossibility of the enterprise, Deux Ponts was on the western side of the Loire.[692] Meantime, Coligny and La Rochefoucauld were advancing to meet him with the élite of their army and with all the artillery they had. On approaching Limoges on the Vienne, they learned that the Germans had crossed the river and were but two leagues distant. Coligny at once took horse, and rode to their encampment, in order to greet and congratulate their leader. He was too late. The general, who had conducted an army five hundred miles through a hostile country, was in the last agonies of death, and on the next day (the eleventh of June) fell a victim to a fever from which he had for some time been suffering. "It is a thing that ought for all time to be remarked as a singular and special act of God," said a bulletin sent by the Queen of Navarre to Queen Elizabeth, "that He permitted this prince to traverse so great an extent of country, with a great train of artillery, infantry, and baggage, and in full view of a large army; and to pass so many rivers, and through so many difficult and dangerous places, of such kind that it is not in the memory of man that an army has passed through any similar ones, and by which a single wagon could not be driven without great trouble, so that it appears a dream to those who have not seen it; and that being out of danger, and having arrived at the place where he longed to be, in order to assist the churches of this realm, God should have been pleased, that very day, to take him to Himself; and, what is more, that his death should have produced no change or commotion in his army."[693]

Duke Wolfgang of Deux Ponts was quietly succeeded in the command of the German troops by Count Wolrad of Mansfeld. A day later the two armies met with lively demonstrations of joy. In honor of the alliance thus cemented a medal was struck, bearing on the one side the names and portraits of Jeanne and Henry of Navarre, and on the other the significant words,[Pg 319] "Pax certa, victoria integra, mors honesta"—the triple object of their desires.[694]

Huguenot success at La Roche Abeille.

The combined army, now numbering about twenty-five thousand men, soon came to blows with the enemy. The Duke of Anjou, whose forces were somewhat superior in numbers, had approached within a very short distance of Coligny, but, unwilling to risk a general engagement, had intrenched himself in an advantageous position. A part of his army, commanded by Strozzi, lay at La Roche Abeille, where it was furiously assaulted by the Huguenots. Over four hundred royalists were left dead upon the field, and Strozzi himself was taken prisoner. The disaster had nearly proved still more serious; but a violent rain saved the fugitives by extinguishing the lighted matches upon which the infantry depended for the discharge of their arquebuses, and by seriously impeding the pursuit of the cavalry.[695]

Furlough of Anjou's troops.

Although the Duke of Anjou had recently received considerable reinforcements—about five thousand pontifical troops and twelve hundred Florentines, under the command of Sforza, Count of Santa Fiore[696]—it was now determined in a military[Pg 320] council to disband the greater part of the army, giving to the French forces a short furlough, and, for the most part, trusting to the local garrisons to maintain the royal supremacy in places now in the possession of the Roman Catholics. In adopting this paradoxical course, the generals seem to have been influenced partly by a desire to furnish the "gentilhommes," serving at their own expense, an opportunity to revisit their homes and replenish their exhausted purses, and thus diminish the temptation to desertion which had thinned the ranks; partly, also, by the hope that the new German auxiliaries of the Huguenots would of themselves melt away in a climate to which they were unaccustomed.[697]

Huguenot petition to the king.

Meanwhile, the admiral, whose power had never been so great as it now was, exhibited the utmost anxiety to avert, if possible, any further effusion of blood. Under his auspices a petition was drawn up in the name of the Queen of Navarre, and the Princes, Seigneurs, Chevaliers, and gentlemen composing the Protestant army. A messenger was sent to the Duke of Anjou to request a passport for the deputies who were to carry it to the court. But the duke was unwilling to terminate a war in which he had (whether deservedly or not) acquired so much reputation, and reluctant to be forced to resume the place of a subject near a brother whose capricious and jealous humor he had already experienced. He therefore either refused or delayed compliance with the admiral's demand.[698] Coligny succeeded, however, in forwarding the document to his cousin Francis, Marshal of Montmorency—a nobleman who, although he had not taken up arms with the Huguenots, virtually maintained, on his estates near Paris, a neutrality which, from the suspicion it excited, was not without its perils. Montmorency laid the petition before Catharine and the king. [Pg 321]

The single purpose of the Huguenots.

The voluminous state papers of the period would possess little claim to our attention, were it not for the singleness of purpose which they exhibit as animating the patriotic party through a long succession of bloody wars. The Huguenots were no rebels seeking to undermine the authority of the crown, no obstinate democrats striving to carry into execution an impracticable scheme of government,[699] no partisans struggling to supplant a rival faction. They were not turbulent lovers of change. They had for their leaders princes and nobles with interests all on the side of the maintenance of order, men whose wealth was wasted, whose magnificent palaces were plundered of their rich contents,[700] whose lives, with the lives of their wives and children, were jeoparded in times of civil commotion. Even the unauthorized usurpations of the foreigners from Lorraine[701] would not[Pg 322] have been sufficient to move the greater part of them to a resort to the sword. Their one purpose, the sole object which they could not renounce, was the securing of religious liberty. The Guises—even that cruel and cowardly cardinal with hands dripping with the blood of the martyrs of a score of years—were nothing to them, except as impersonations of the spirit of intolerance and persecution. Liberty to worship their God in good conscience was their demand alike after defeats and after successes, under Louis de Bourbon or under Gaspard de Coligny. They did, indeed, sympathize with the first family of the blood, deprived of the position near the throne to which immemorial custom entitled it—and what true Frenchman did not? But Admiral Coligny, rather than the Prince of Condé, was the type of the Huguenot of the sixteenth century—Coligny, the heroic figure that looms up through the mist of the ages and from among the host of meaner men, invested with all the attributes of essential greatness—pious, loyal, truthful, brave, averse to war and bloodshed, slow to accept provocation, resolute only in the purpose to secure for himself and his children the most important among the inalienable prerogatives of manhood, the freedom of professing and practising his religious faith.

The present petition differed little from its predecessors. It reiterated the desire of the Huguenots for peace—a desire evidenced on so many occasions, sometimes when prudence might have dictated a course opposite to that which they adopted. The return they had received for their moderation could be read in broken edicts, and in "pacifications" more sanguinary than the wars they terminated. The Protestant princes and gentlemen, therefore, entreated Charles "to make a declaration of his will respecting the liberty of the exercise of the reformed religion in the form of a solemn, perpetual, and irrevocable edict." They begged him "to be pleased to grant universally to all his subjects, of whatever quality or condition they might be, the free exercise of that religion in all the cities, villages, hamlets, and other places of his kingdom, without any exception, reservation, modification, or restriction as to persons, times, or localities, with the necessary and requisite securities." True,[Pg 323] however, to the spirit of the age, which dreaded unbridled license of opinion as much as it did the intolerance of the papal system, the Huguenots were careful to preclude the "Libertines" from sheltering themselves beneath this protection, by calling upon Charles to require of all his subjects the profession of the one or the other religion[702]—so far were even the most enlightened men of their country and period from understanding what spirit they were of, so far were they from recognizing the inevitable direction of the path they were so laboriously pursuing!

It scarcely needs be said that the petition received no attention from a court not yet tired of war. Marshal Montmorency was compelled to reply to Coligny, on the twentieth of July, that Charles refused to take notice of anything emanating from the admiral or his associates until they should submit and return to their duty. Coligny answered in a letter which closed the negotiations; protesting that since his enemies would listen to no terms of accommodation, he had, at least, the consolation of having done all in his power to avert the approaching desolation of the kingdom, and calling upon God and all the princes of Europe to bear witness to the integrity of his purpose.[703]

Coligny's plans overruled.
Disastrous siege of Poitiers.

The Huguenots now took some advantage of the temporary weakness of the enemy in the open field. On the one hand they reduced the city of Châtellerault and the fortress of Lusignan, hitherto deemed impregnable.[704] On the other, they despatched into Béarn the now famous Count Montgomery, who, joining the "viscounts," was successful in wresting the greater part of that district from the hands of Terrides, a skilful captain sent by Anjou, and in restoring it to the Queen of Navarre.[705] Respecting their plan of future operations a great diversity of opinion prevailed among the Huguenot leaders. Admiral Co[Pg 324]ligny was strongly in favor of pressing on to the north, and laying siege to Saumur. With this place in his possession, as it was reasonable to suppose it soon might be, he would enjoy a secure passage across the river Loire into Brittany, Anjou, and more distant provinces, as he already had access by the bridge of La Charité to Burgundy, Champagne, and the German frontier. Unfortunately the majority of the generals regarded it as a matter of more immediate importance to capture Poitiers, a rich and populous city, said at that time to cover more ground than any other city in France, with the single exception of Paris. They supposed that their recent successes at Châtellerault and Lusignan, on either side of Poitiers, and the six pieces of cannon they had taken at Lusignan would materially help them. Coligny reluctantly yielded to their urgency, and the army which had appeared before Poitiers on the twenty-fourth of July, 1569,[706] began the siege three days later. It was a serious blunder. The Huguenots succeeded, indeed, in capturing a part of the suburbs, and in reducing the garrison to great straits for food; but they were met with great determination, and with a singular fertility of expedient. The Count de Lude was the royal governor. Henry, Duke of Guise (son of the nobleman assassinated near Orleans in 1563), with his brother Charles, Duke of Mayenne, and other good captains, had thrown himself into Poitiers two days before Coligny made his appearance. It was Guise's first opportunity to prove to the world that he had inherited his father's military genius; and the glory of success principally accrued to him. He met the assailants in the breach, and contested every inch of ground. Their progress was obstructed by chevaux-de-frise and other impediments. Boiling oil was poured upon them from the walls. Burning hoops were adroitly thrown over their heads. Pitch and other inflammable substances fell like rain upon their advancing columns. They were not even left unmolested in their camp. A dam was constructed on the river Clain, and the[Pg 325] inundation spread to the Huguenot quarters. To these difficulties raised by man were added the ravages of disease. Many of the Huguenot generals, and the admiral himself, were disabled, and the mortality was great among the private soldiers.

In spite of every obstacle, however, it seemed probable that Coligny would carry the day. "The admiral's power exceedeth the king's," wrote Cecil to Nicholas White: "he is sieging of Poitiers, the winning or losing whereof will make an end of the cause. He is entered within the town by assault, but the Duke of Guise, etc., are entrenched in a stronger part of the town; and without the king give a battle, it is thought that he cannot escape from the admiral."[707] Just at this moment, the Duke of Anjou, assembling the remnants of his forces, appeared before Châtellerault; and the peril to the Huguenot city seemed so imminent, that Coligny was compelled to raise the siege of Poitiers, on the ninth of September, and hasten to its relief. Seven weeks of precious time had been lost, and more than two thousand lives had been sacrificed by the Huguenots in this ill-advised undertaking. The besieged lost but three or four hundred men.[708] Great was the delight manifested in Paris, where, during the prevalence of the siege, solemn processions had gone from Notre Dame to the shrine of Sainte Geneviève, to implore the intercession of the patron of the city in behalf of Poitiers.[709]

Meanwhile the Huguenots had been more fortunate on the upper Loire, where La Charité sustained a siege of four weeks by a force of seven thousand Roman Catholics under Sansac. Its works were weak, its garrison small, but every assault was bravely met. In the end the assailants, after severe losses experienced from the enemy and from a destructive explosion of their own magazine, abandoned their enterprise in a panic, on hearing an ill-founded rumor of Coligny's approach.[710]</